Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Whale Wednesday

In the whale and dolphin news this week:

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) allows for wild animals to be removed for the purpose of public display.  In June, the Georgia Aquarium submitted an application for a permit from the MMPA to import 18 beluga whales from the Utrish Marine Mammal Research Station in Russia to the United States for the purpose of public display.  These animals were previously captured from the Russian Sea of Okhotsk.

They would be legally imported and held in the Georgia Aquarium with some transported to other facilities for a breeding loan agreement.  The other facilities include Sea World Orlando, Sea World Texas, Sea World California, and Shedd Aquarium.

This issue is open for public comments through October 9 before a public hearing will be held October 15.  For more information, click here

In other news

Sea World Orlando is appealing an OSHA citation recommending that Sea World trainers never again be allowed to have unprotected contact with killer whales during the shows.  The citation came about after the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau.  Dawn was a veteran trainer killed by Tillikum, a wild captured killer whale that remains at Sea World Orlando.  

In Taiji

The Japanese have been unsuccessful in corralling dolphins and whales this week and have come back empty handed almost every day. Yesterday, a pod of 10-12 bottlenose dolphins were brought into the cove.  Trainers came to the cove in skiffs to pick one for captivity.  The rest were released back into the wild.  For this one dolphin, he was torn from his family and home to live life in a tank.  Sad!
No killing this week though.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book signing

Last month I posted about helping a local author, Dianne Venetta, promote her books.  You can find the original post here.

Saturday, she had a signing at the shop that I visited.  I finally had the opportunity to meet Dianne in person and to get my signed copy of Whisper Privileges.  I'm looking forward to reading it.

Check out Dianne's website where she posted our picture and wrote about the signing.  You can find it here
She also posts gardening tips and various recipes.  

Saturday she served her Rosemary Lemonade at the signing.  Dianne's recipe is:

1 gallon of store purchased lemonade, pre-sweetened
Springs of fresh rosemary

Remove rosemary leaves from stems and cop.  Boil 2 cups of water, remove from heat and add rosemary leaves.  Steep for 2 minutes.  Combine rosemary water with lemonade by pouring liquid through sieve to prevent leaves from entering lemonade.

Serve chilled and enjoy!

She was incredibly gracious and her Rosemary Lemonade is delicious.  I realize it was the first day of fall but in Florida, our temperatures are still in the high 80s.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

RFW - Oh, how I hate...

Beauty is only skin deep- and it's remarkable just how shallow that can be. But not being the centre of attention has its own advantages. 

What has your beautiful friend done to make you hate her?

Do your really hate her, or are you just angry with yourself?

Hate is such a confusing emotion...and we all know it's closely aligned to love.

Pen your 400 words of prose/prosetry for this challenge! And, as always, don't forget the Romantic Element.

I'm trying something a little different this time.  Honest feedback is greatly appreciated.

Jen followed Sarah into the crowded bar in her shadow as usual.  Even in the dark, thick air Sarah was hard to miss in her leather mini and stiletto boots.  She carried herself with the confidence of a woman who had it all together.  It didn’t matter how much Jen primped before going out.  Sarah always stole the attention wherever they went.  It was all too familiar to Jen.

They headed for the bar towards Dylan, Sarah’s co-worker.   He had invited them out tonight to celebrate a major sale they had at work.  Jen figured she was Sarah’s tag-a-long of the night as usual.  

She heard an argument off to the side, and before she realized what happened some guy slammed into her.  The next few seconds were a blur as chaos broke out around them.

Jen felt the grip of strong arms come out of nowhere, flinging her away from the carnage.  Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.  The sounds of people shouting overshadowed the sounds of the booming music.  She looked up and realized she was safely in Dylan’s grasp.  He slowly set her down, releasing her to safety. 

Sarah was sprawled out on the floor, picking herself up slowly with a look of disgust on her face. The guy had plowed into Sarah and knocked her over when Dylan moved Jen out of the way.

“Nice to meet you”, Dylan smiled.  “You must be Jen”.  He hadn’t even acknowledged Sarah as she stood up, brushing the hair out of her eyes.
“Yes, nice to meet you too.  Thanks for catching me,” Jen’s face flushed. 

“Jen felt the need to make an entrance”, Sarah said snidely as she tried to brush off the dirt from the floor.  For the first time ever, Sarah looked disheveled.  Jen held back a snicker.

“I’m glad I could be of assistance”, Dylan said, still looking at Jen.
Sarah ran off to the restroom to pull herself together. 

Jen took a deep breath, inhaling the lingering scent of his cologne, as he offered her a seat.

The two of them hit it off instantly.  After a couple drinks, Jen realized Sarah had never returned.   Searching unsuccessfully for Sarah, Dylan offered to take Jen home.  Jen hesitantly agreed. 

Dylan gave Jen a peck on the cheek at her door, and she rushed in to call Sarah.  There was no answer.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Whale Wednesday - Taiji Update

Updates from Taiji

Last week we left off with approximately 40 dolphins corralled into the cove.   Half of these dolphins were chosen for a life of captivity while the other half were released.  Although none were killed, those chosen for captivity will lead a life imprisoned while their family will go "back home" without them.  

September 13 was a happy day for the dolphins as the boats returned empty handed.

Saturday, September 14 the cove guardians started the day by finding a mother pilot whale floating.  She had been captured for captivity from the previous hunt along with her calf and had been struggling all week.  The fisherman took her off to the butcher house in tarps as the calf looked on.
Approximately 85-100 pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins were brought into the cove.  Around 35-40 of these pilot whales were slaughtered as the others continue to be held in the cove for another day.

Sunday, this same group continued to be held in the cove.  No food, no freedom, and some with no family left.  Meanwhile buyers came to the butcher house to buy meat and make room for the next kill.

Monday approximately 35 more pilot whales were slaughtered while 30-40 continue to wait in the cove.  Days of waiting in captivity with nothing while watching other members of their pod being slaughtered.
CNN got wind of this story through the thousands of supporters and aired the following story on Monday night news.

Tuesday morning the remaining pilot whales and dolphins were released.
Wednesday there were no hunts.  Taiji is 13 hours ahead of EST and the hunts are in the early morning which is actually Tuesday night for me.

Why the big deal?  Because captivity is wrong!  Many of us, myself included, have enjoyed going to water parks to see dolphins and whales perform and think "aren't they cute?", right?  

When you look at the reality, it isn't so cute.  Dolphins in the wild travel in large pods, mainly family units.  They can swim up to 100 miles per day and only spend 10-20% of their time at the surface.  They are always aware and always swimming, even when the "sleep".  They are "volunteer breathers" meaning that they are conscious of every breath they take.

Captivity to them is like a swimming pool, only able to take a few strokes before running into a wall.  Since these tanks are shallow, they spend almost half of their time at the surface.  Their sonar is limited in this environment of cement tanks as well.  Skin problems often develop and dorsal fins of orcas bend over in captivity.

It rips families apart and the stress of capture can be severe, even fatal.  It also disrupts natural breeding.

The buzz word for these parks seems to be that they are doing this for "research".  Does this sound like research to you?

To follow the hunts yourself, check out:
Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians page here and/or
Melissa Sehgal at I Love Dolphins found here
Melissa is the on-ground leader for the cove guardians and was the spokesperson in the video above

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest

Genre Favorites Blogfest, September 17, 2012
One blogfest, four favorites!
List your favorite genre of:
And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!

Check out some of the other participants or join the fun yourself here

I apologize in advance because it seems that this blogfest is going to make me look like a complete sap but...

Favorite movie genre...Romantic dramas and Romantic comedies
A couple of my favorites would have to be:
The Notebook

and Dirty Dancing

Favorite music genre...I am a rocker at heart, particularly when it comes to 80s hair bands, but even they had some rockin' power ballads.  

Favorite book genre
I bet you don't even have to read on to figure this one out.  Once again, the romance lives on, of course this could be done in a number of ways...romantic fiction, romantic comedy, chik lit...well you get the idea

And for guilty pleasure...drum roll please...
Oh, come on!  Aren't these ALL guilty pleasures???  :)

Am I the only one stuck in a rut???

I do watch, read and listen to a wide variety but these are my favorites.  
Sorry for the cheese...does anybody have any wine? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Disney Part 2

Tuesday was our last scheduled day of Disney adventures.  

We started the day at Epcot hitting the highlights of our favorite attractions:  Soarin', The Living Seas, and of course walking around the World Showcase.  

Since it was 9/11 after all, the highlight of World Showcase was the America pavilion.  As the Voices of Liberty sang in the foyer before the show, I was very proud to be there with my boyfriend and best friend, both Vets.  That was our moment of pause in an otherwise "dreamy" day.

The other highlight of the World Showcase is the food.  You can eat (and drink) your way around the world.  Coffee from Morocco, chocolate in Germany and lunch in China were on the menu for us that day.  

After riding the viking ship in Norway, we headed to Hollywood Studios.  It had been so long since I had been there that it was actually called MGM Studios the last time I was there.  There were many new attractions and I had forgotten about some others.  

Of  course we had to check out the updated Star Tours attraction.  That has always been my favorite but now in 3D it's even better.  

If I lived in Hollywood Studios, I think I would hang out here

Or maybe here...

Another special part of the day was going to see my boyfriend's creation.  He has done lots of plaster work at Disney and surrounding areas in the past 30 years, but soon after we met he was hired to do the plaster work for a new Cars exhibit.  I finally got to see his work on Tuesday.  

These pics don't do it justice but take my word for's cute, and I'm very proud of him.

As you are reading this, I am back at work trying to catch up with the past couple weeks.  It was fun while it lasted!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dog Days of Disney

It's Fall in the Magic Kingdom.  

I just finished a week and a half long vacation including 2 days at Disney.  The first day at Magic Kingdom, AKA the happiest place on Earth.

It has been a tradition for my best friend from high school and I to go to Disney at any available opportunity.  We have been going since we were old enough to drive and have averaged at least annual trips.  We missed a few years when I was living out of state and she was out of the country in the Navy.  This year we have made up for lost time.

I noticed this time around that even though we have a great time, there are certain changes that have crept into our routine...

1.  We arrive a little later than we used to.  We used to wait for the gates to open and run to the line.  Not so much anymore.

2.  It used to be a chore to stop and eat.  Now it's a welcome break.

3.  The Teacups seem to spin a little faster than they used to!  Even though we turn the turnstile in the middle to make them go faster, it has become exhausting!

4.  The back and feet aren't as cooperative as they used to be, forcing me into very odd positions for some relief

5.  There is NO spring in my step the next day!

However, it is still as fun as ever 20+ years later, and I'm already looking forward to the next time.

Just be home by midnight...

I wish I was there today.  Instead I have returned back to work.  Tomorrow will be my 11th anniversary at my job.  Stay tuned for Day 2 to postpone reality just a little longer.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whale/Dolphin Wednesday - The Good and The Bad

The Good…

The four remaining pilot whales from the massive beaching off the coast of Florida were moved to Sea World Orlando for further rehabilitation last Wednesday.  One male and 3 females are now being held in a quarantine pool.  One is reportedly so young that it doesn’t have teeth and is thought to have not been weaned yet according to Mike Boos, the VP of zoological operations for Sea World.  He says they will attempt to nurse the whales to the point where they are able to eat on their own.  At that point, the federal government will determine whether they can be released back into the wild.  He says it could take months or a year.  (Info taken from Orlando Sentinel)

The Bad…

The fishermen in Taiji were able to lure a pod of 20-22 pilot whales into The Cove on Saturday.  They were held tightly in nets in the cove for 2 days while waiting for those from the captivity industry to take their pick.  Three pilot whales were chosen for captivity including 2 juveniles.  These three were moved to a separate holding area while their family was brutally slaughtered Sunday morning.  It was reported that pilot whale meat brings in big money.
Pilot whales are actually not whales but larger members of the dolphin family.

Monday a pod of approximately 25 bottle-nosed dolphins were corralled into the cove awaiting their fate.  Tuesday, they were joined by another pod, separated by a net.

The Japanese kill these animals to consume the meat as a food source.  Besides the fact that killing these intelligent animals in such an inhumane way is just wrong, studies have shown that dolphin and small whale meat is contaminated with high amounts of mercury, often thousands of times over the recommended level.  Radiation is also a concern following the nuclear accident there.

Even worse, the Japanese government is hiding these killings and the health risks from the Japanese people.

Are you angry yet?  Sign the petition HERE

Or contact the Japanese Embassy in your area to tell them that this is wrong:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

PhotoPrompt Monday

Photo submitted by Delores at thefeatherednest

I'm so bored!  Where's Shaggy?  Where's Scrappy?  

I just wanted to relax for a minute when some kid shot me with that stupid laser-looking thing.  I thought it would give me Superpowers but instead I can't move.  It seems like I've been here for hours, just waiting.  I'm stiff...and hungry.

To make matters worse, people keep touching me.  Some are even sitting on me.  Ouch!  

The shade has moved away and it is getting really hot too, burning my paws.  I can't even hang my tongue out to pant.  I'm surely going to die lying here if nobody comes to get me soon.

Oh good!  Here comes some guy getting out of a truck walking towards me.  Maybe he's going to help.  He's picking me up, but I still can't move.  Now I'm being set into the bed of his truck.  Perfect if I was able to enjoy it but NO...I'm just entertainment for the poodle back here.  Oye!

Monday, September 10, 2012


I'm back for another 100WCGU.  Today is my second time participating in this fun challenge at Julie's Place

This week's prompt is ...returning to the routine...
This is the time of year when many of us are returning to a routine whether it be school, work, etc.  What about you?

Here is my entry:

In a few days, vacation will be over and I will be returning to the routine of work.  This past week and a half have been amazing.  Writing, reading, sleeping, and trips to Disney and Daytona. 

It has been such a  that nice break I don’t want it to end.  Will I remember how to do my job?  What about dozen passwords that I need to get into the computer system?  Does the work I do even matter anyway?  Time will tell.  Until then, I’m going to bask in relaxation.  It will be a while before it comes around again.

Friday, September 7, 2012

RFW - I Should Have Kissed You

What we are looking for is the hesitation, the uncertainty, and the (however temporary or permanent) consequences of the missed opportunity TO KISS.  We want our lips to feel it, our tongues to taste it, our bodies and minds to be so involved in the anticipation that we have to kiss our hand (or our uninterested significant other) just to be fulfilled 

Here we are years later on the brink of  major change, and I remember those earlier days as if they were yesterday. 

That first weekend, there was a certain awkwardness, at least for me.  I felt the pressure of maintaining a certain level of professionalism while still trying to loosen up and have a good time.  It was Saturday after all, but come Monday, we would be back in the office and I would be your boss again. 

You maintained the carefree attitude that exudes out of you on a full time basis.  I wish I had more of that.  I used to.  You made life seem so easy, so simple.  I am drawn to that attitude in ways I can’t describe.  Freedom!

That was a day filled with new and fun things and it couldn’t have been much better…except I felt as it I was going to burst inside.  You would reach out to touch me, and I would move away.   I don’t think you even knew what you were doing to me.  You were only giving the conversation more emphasis with the touch, but it meant so much more to me.  I had to stay strong or I would lose control.  Was it just me?

Later came the time when you invited me on your epic road trip.  We joked and laughed about what we would do and what a good time we would have.  No doubt it would’ve been a blast.  Was the invitation sincere?  My insecurities held me back again, even though we talked every day that you were gone.  

Do you remember the time that I was planning to move away?  You took me out to lunch and told me you loved me.  WHAT???  You never elaborated and I never asked, so the conversation fell short.  My eyes teared as I looked away to pull myself together…but I stayed, just in case.

Now the tables have turned and times have changed.  I am in a relationship and you are the one who is moving away.  Even though separate paths seem to make sense for us both, I can’t help but wonder what could've been.  Was I being too cautious? 

We have made a good team and I will be losing a piece of myself when you go away.  Now I will never know…

Oh if only I had kissed you when I had the chance!  


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IWSG debut and Whale/Dolphin Wednesday

I finally broke down and joined IWSG.  I have been following several participants for a long time and I thought about posting before but ...I was too INSECURE.  It's true!

It has been almost a year since I have been blogging and actually taking my writing seriously.  When I started my blog, I really had no idea what to do with it once I got started.  I want to write, but what do I write about???  This has led me into a serious identify crisis.  

I have such a wide variety of interests and ideas that my struggle comes in choosing ONE and sticking to it long enough to get it down on paper.  I start with one train of thought, then switch over to another.  That causes a huge struggle for me to get anything accomplished. 

Is there an ADD Writer's Support Group?  Or a Dysfunctional Writers Support Group?  These are the types of groups that I need to join!  In the meantime, I am going to strive for FOCUS and continue on with IWSG.  

Thanks to Alex for starting this group and thanks to the blogging community for the encouragement and inspiration every day.

With that being said, one thing I have managed to stick with so far is my Whale and Dolphin Wednesdays, so for now I will continue with that train of thought.

Last week I highlighted Ric O'Barry and the work he is doing to save dolphins in Taiji, Japan.  If you missed it, check it out

The dolphin hunt in Taiji officially started on Saturday.  Ric's Dolphin Project activists arrived on Friday.  There are 32 people from 5 continents there to stop the dolphin slaughter in Japan.  They also have 8 Japanese Nationals joining them this year, which is quite an accomplishment.  The Japanese people face scrutiny from the Japanese government and the fishermen's union to take a stand against the hunt.

On September 1, groups from all over the world celebrated Dolphin Day and showed their support to stop the killing by holding rally's.  

On September 2, the activists attempted to go to the Taiji Whale Museum, which is right around the corner from the cove.  They were denied access to the museum.  This museum houses whales/dolphins who were "saved" from killing by being forced to live a life in captivity instead.  They also, ironically enough, sell whale meat in the museum gift store!
That evening Ric O'Barry arrived after being held up in court in a lawsuit after fighting the captivity of 12 Taiji dolphins to a casino/aquarium in Dominican Republic.  

Yesterday the Major closed a Tsunami evacuation escape in an attempt to prevent documentation of the killing.

So far, there has been no killing in the cove this year but that is sure to change.

To sign the petition to help stop the dolphin hunt, click here

In news closer to home for me, a pod of 22 pilot whales were found stranded at Avalon State Park in Florida on Saturday.  Sadly, seventeen of these whales died or had to be euthanized on the beach.  Five were rescued and taken to Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Institute for rehabilitation.  One of these five died in captivity on Monday.

The plan is to move them to Sea World for further rehabilitation when they have stabilized, and hopefully be released in the future.

Researchers are not sure what caused the stranding.  They believe that the leader of the pod became ill and disoriented causing the rest of the pod to follow suit.  Whales and dolphins stick together in their pods, which can sometimes lead to their demise, not only in this situation but also in the situation at Taiji.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hurricane, Hospital, and Humble request

Many of you are already followers of Writer and Blogger Extraordinaire Roland Yeomans, who blogs at Writing in the Crosshairs.  

If you are a follower of Roland's blog, you know that he lives in New Orleans and intertwines the fabulous city into all of his works.  New Orleans is one of the best cities in the country for music, food and the arts.  The downside is that the city is several feet below sea level and is located in a prime spot on the coast for hurricanes.  

Unfortunately, New Orleans was hit, yet again, with Hurricane Isaac last week.  This came on the 7th anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina.

In the midst of the carnage, our friend Roland was hit by a car while taking out his trash.  The car's breaks went out in the floodwaters, taking him out with them.  He was hospitalized with only catastrophic insurance and was released just in time for rent to be due.  

Without money to cover his rent, and mounting hospital bills surely piling up, I'd like to encourage any of you that haven't read any of Roland's books to purchase them now.  What a better way to spend a lazy Labor Day holiday than to do a little reading?

Already read Roland's books?  How about "gifting" them to a friend?

You can find them on Amazon here

Roland has not asked for anything but I think it would be nice of us to show him our support.  He has always been very supportive to me as a blogger and I have a feeling he is done the same for many of you.

Happy Labor Day everyone!