Friday, October 29, 2010

"Staring Death in the Face- Dakota Loyal Until the End"

The other day I received some really bad news. News that maybe subconsciously I've
known for a long time and didn't really want to hear spoken out loud. My son is dying.
At almost 16 years of age his liver and kidney's are failing him. While 16 may sound
young to you, I must tell you that technically he's almost 112. His name is Dakota, he

has black fur and walks on four legs and I love him dearly.

I can still remember like it was yesterday the day he entered my life. For months I had been begging my boyfriend, Jim to get me a dog. Surely, it would mend my broken heart. It was something I wanted so badly. Finally Jim succumbed to my wishes and on Valentines day in the kitchen of our Euclid home presented me with the cutest little ball of fluff. He pulled him out from the inside of his jacket and I instantly fell in love. Taking college courses at the time he would lay on the table and crawl inside the sleeve of my jacket with just his face peering out at me as he slept and I studied.

Naming him was tough. It had to be just the right name. It took me almost two weeks to come up with it. I was driving one day and I said, "Dakota". Maybe I saw a Dodge truck or something. I don't remember exactly how it came to me but Dakota it was and for a middle name it was Arson. He was "our son",so Arson was the perfect fit. Dakota Arson Giallombardo. Now that was a name with substance.

As he grew he was a tough little dog. For years he was my morning running partner. We would get up at the crack of dawn and run two miles through the neighborhood together. He loved it and had a great little body from it, and so did I. He was always ready and willing to go. It was our time together.

You know how they say a cat has nine lives? I think Dakota did. He was attacked by my neighbor's Akita twice and lived to tell about it. Hit by a car, had a broken knee cap and had some skin cancer removed. He took a licking and kept on ticking. He was a manly man and never whined or complained. He took it all in stride and always maintained his joy and sense of humor and recovered from it all. This time he can't. The odds are against him. I know it and so does he.

Time is running out and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. Ever since he turned 12 I've expected him to die every year from old age. I always thought 12 or 13 was it for a dog. But I'm a fanatic about herbs and have home cooked for my dogs for years and also feed them Flax Seed, Probiotics  on their food, and he's been taking the supplement Sam-E for about 4 years now for his liver. Perhaps it was all the good nutrition that kept him ticking along all this time. I would like to think my good care had something to do with his longevity. Maybe he just didn't want to leave us.

Anyone who owns a dog knows that one day they will die and break your heart. I guess in my mind I always thought it was tomorrow or next week, or next year. Now I'm staring death in the face every day and I'm afraid. Afraid for my dog, afraid for what I may have to do to my dog soon, and afraid of what my life will be like after he's gone. Fear is my constant companion. I've never had to put a dog down in my life and unless he dies in his sleep it looks as if I'll be faced with this ugly event soon. How can I kill my friend? How do I end the life of someone who's always been there for me through thick and thin, good times and bad and been more loyal then any person has ever been to me? Just how do I do that? How do I kill a treasured family member? I'm not sure I can.

Watching him slowly deteriorate over this past year has not been easy. Where once stood an active healthy dog, now lays a weakened shell of his former self. His eyes are glazed over and sickly. His body covered in lumpy masses, his back legs shake so badly he can barely walk. He easily loses his balance and falls over. His weakened body sleeps most of the day, only waking for food, water and occasional potty break. Is this quality of life? I don't know. All I know is he still has one.

Every morning he wakes up, I give him his meds and we start all over again. Totally reliant on me for everything even carrying him outside to do his "business", as he can no longer maneuver the stairs. My little man has become an elderly sick doggy and I can't stand it. Father time can be so cruel. He strips away our youth, looks, and eventually even takes those that we love. There's no escaping time.

Somehow even with all the sadness I'm trying to enjoy each day with him. I've been sleeping on the floor outside of his cage, just to make sure he's still breathing, or just to let him know I care and I'm close by. Not knowing what or when will happen or when he'll be taken away from me forever. Just the thought of it kills me. I don't know if I'm strong enough to face what's coming. Then I look into his eyes and see how hard he's fighting what's raging inside his ravaged body and I think, if he can do it, so can I. He's so brave and strong, not once complaining or crying out in pain. He has given me unconditional love his entire life, so how can I give him anything less in his time of need.

Thank you Dakota for being the best son a mother could have. You've been the best dog anyone could ask for. You taught me to love again and for that I can never repay you. But I promise I'll never forget you and one day we will be together again. And on that day you will leap into my arms and it will be like we were never apart. That is my promise to you. I love you, and I will miss you every day for the rest of my life. But I will never forget.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

“5 Steps to Writing Your First Article”

For many people, the idea of actually sitting down and writing an article stops them cold. You may wonder if you have anything worth saying, or if your writing is "good" enough for publication. If it makes you feel any better, virtually every writer – even the professionals – start out with the same fears. Really, the only way out is through. But once you have one article under your belt, the next ones become much easier. Here’s a five-step plan to have you on your way to your first article: Green RSS reader

1. Brainstorm topics.

What questions do you get about your topic area? What are the sticking points for newbies to your field? What equipment or specialized knowledge do people need to get started? Make a list of the most common questions you are asked about your business.

For instance, if your niche is freezer cooking, people might want to know:

*How will freezer cooking benefit me?
*What equipment will I need?
*What are the problems I might encounter?
*How much money will it cost to get started?
*What are some basic recipes?

In five minutes, you can have topics for your first dozen articles.

2. Choose one to begin with.

Pick one of your topics to start with. Forget about choosing the "perfect" topic – there is no such thing. With a pen and a piece of paper (or a computer, if that is more comfortable), set the timer for 10 minutes and jot down everything you can think of related to that topic. Don't worry about complete sentences, formatting, or spelling, just get the ideas down.

For instance, if my topic is "How freezer cooking can benefit you," I might write,

*Save money
*Healthier diet
*Lose weight
*Social – can do with friends
*Helps you be prepared and organized
*Less stress

Some people like to use mind maps to create these lists. If you'd like more information on that process, I suggest googling "mindmap software."

3. Organize it and flesh it out.

The next step is to take the outline you created in Step 2 and organize it into common themes. You're aiming for an article about 400-700 words, so three to five main points is ideal. If you have more than that, never fear! You can turn that information into another article.

Then take your outline and build on it. If this is where you start feeling butterflies in your stomach, relax. Imagine you're writing an email to a friend to explain to him or her the topic of your article. Again, don't get stuck on grammar, spelling, etc. Just get the info on the page – you can always go back and edit it (professional writers often create several drafts of their work. Very few people get it right the first time!).

4. Proofread.

Now's the time when you can go back through the article and edit and polish, making each sentence say what you want it to. Be sure it’s cohesive, that the statements flow together, and that it makes sense. Also be on the lookout for places where you can tighten your writing – where you use three words when just one will do, or where there are redundancies. Let each word, each sentence, each paragraph have purpose.

When you think your article is finished, walk away from it for an hour or even a day. Then go back and read through again. By giving yourself some time away from your article, you will pick up previously missed errors or ones that spell check didn’t catch.

5. Submit!

After you’ve written your article and polished it until it shines, it’s time to submit it. Most article marketers submit to online directories – clearinghouses where experts post articles and editors find content to publish. While there are hundreds of online article directories, there’s no need to submit to more than a few. Each has its own pluses and minuses, so take some time to pick the best for your niche. A quick search on Google for "article directory" will bring up dozens of options. If you know of large circulation newsletters or ezines in your niche, submit directly to those publishers as well.

Make sure you follow their guidelines exactly, as some have minimum and maximum word lengths, as well as other requirements.

Article marketing is a valuable free marketing strategy, but it must be used consistently— and often — for the best results. So once you've finished one article, go back to the beginning and start writing your next. Keep the content flowing, and soon you'll see the results of your hard work. You can’t buy better promotion than that!

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

“Fun Apps for Your Droid”

Motorola MILESTONE smartphone displaying Wikip...
Image via Wikipedia
Droid and iPhones are so much fun because there are thousands of apps to download that can turn your phone into everything from a personal trainer to a fax machine. It's just downright cool. Even though I've been experiencing issues with my phone since the Froyo software update, I still love my Motorola Droid and wouldn't think about giving it up. Well, maybe for a Droid 2 <grin>

So how do you know which apps to download? Here's a list of my personal favorites. let me know what you think. I use, or have you used most of these on a daily basis. So many apps, but never enough space.

If you think of any I missed please post them in the comments section.

Files Anywhere

Directly upload, download and send files from your Android Phone.  Share, manage, email and fax remote files.


Share contacts info, pictures, calendar events, and more just by tapping two phones together. Works with Iphone and Android phones.


It’s easy to avoid a speed trap when you know where they are.

Where's My Droid

Lost your phone? Send a text message of "wheres my Droid" from any phone to yours and it will start ringing even if it's on vibrate. Cool.


Post to your blog, edit comments and more.

B&B Gallery

A better photo and video organizer then the default one on the phone.

HandCent Messaging

A Better Text messaging program. The factory installed one leaves a lot to be desired.

My Lookout

Protects your phone from viruses and also will locate it for you if lost. Back up your data too. All free.


Know what the weather forecast is in a jiffy and keep your eye on any approaching storms.

Twitter for Android
I love Tweeting from my phone.

Gmail for Android

Access your gmail account.

Alarming Alarm Clock

If you lead a busy life you need an alarm clock. This app gives extra customization to the built in program.


Read and Post Facebook Updates on the go. Be notified immediately of new comments.

SatSports Log

Monitors walking or Running Distance, hiking and bicycling too.

Blogger  Droid

Post Pix to Blogger and more.

Photoshop Express

Photos underexposed. All is not loss, edit them with Photoshop.


Why buy a GPS when it comes built into your phone.

Custom Car

Allows you to put all of your driving apps in one convenient location- Now with three home screens with six customizable shortcuts

Printer Share

Think you can't print from your phone? Think Again. With this app printing out pix is a breeze.


Read more then 700,000 books from  your phone. Free, no Kindle required.


Listen to Internet Radio and customize your own channels.

Daily Horoscope

Call me superstitious but I still get a kick out of reading what the stars have in store for me.


Tether your computer to your phone's Internet connection. Allows your phone to be used as a modem. Nice.

A replacement app for the built in messaging app.Loaded with extras like chat-style bubbles, contact pictures, quick reply, signatures and more.

Juice Defender
All of these apps put a lot of strain on your battery. Last longer with Juice Defender. It’s like Viagra, but for your phone <LOL>

Gives you the ability to take music files and turn them into ring tones.
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