Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

It’s that time of year again… The time of year where people drive me crazy more than usual. 

Today’s post doesn’t have anything to do with pets, kids, or travel.  Today is about something else.  My complete bewilderment on why this is even an issue in the media, on Facebook, and among my friends.  I just don’t understand.  I’m looking for some feedback on this post, so if you feel inclined to comment, please do so. 

I’m sure you’ve all seen it… angry Christians posting/commenting/screaming about how corporations and stores are trying to take the “Christ” out of “Christmas.”  

This is why I think this entire argument is ridiculous: 

Christmas is the most prominent holiday this time of the year.  However, there are several other holidays that are celebrated as well. 

So why is it that one religion believes that they should get priority over all of the others?  Why do Christians feel that they’re the only people who deserve to be mentioned?  I haven’t seen arguments of “Happy Hanukkah” vs “Happy Holidays,” or anything about Kwanzaa.  No, it’s only the Christians that seem the most vocal about their disdain for the “Happy Holidays” greeting.  Is it due to Christmas being the most commercialized holiday out of all of those celebrated this time of year?  Or is there some underlying cause that I’m not aware of? 

I’m Christian.  

When I hear “Happy Holidays” or see it written on a storefront, it doesn’t send me into a crazy rage.  I don’t feel the urge to sceam, yell, kick my feet, or boycott the store. You know why?  Because I’m aware of the fact that not everyone else chooses the same faith as myself.  I’m also aware that Christmas isn’t the only thing that is celebrated this time of year.  I can’t be the only one, right?  Not everyone believes the same thing.  And I’m okay with that.  I actually believe in Freedom of Religion.  I don’t need to run around making it my winter-time mission to shove Christmas down everyone’s throat that doesn’t believe or celebrate the (extremely commercialized) holiday. 

When thinking of this from the typical business view, of course they’re going to say “Happy Holidays!”  Because why would they cater to just one particular group of many?  Millions of people celebrate Christmas, and millions don’t.  By saying “Happy Holidays” they’re able to include everyone.  Whereas the Christian movement’s attempt to force everyone to say “Merry Christmas” excludes everyone else.  Why do they want to exclude everyone?  I just don’t understand. 

Either way, I’m sick of it.  I’m sick of seeing my Facebook feed covered in this crap.  If you choose to exclude every other religion this time of year and pretend that they don’t exist, then there’s nothing I can do to stop you.  Everyone celebrates this season their own way, and if they choose to spend their energy being angry and flying into a rage each time they see/hear “Happy Holidays” then I feel sorry for them. 

I choose to celebrate by making homemade gifts for my loved ones, spending time with them, and being thankful for everything I have and how far I’ve come.  

Everyone has their own point of view, we will never all be the same.  Why can’t we just accept that people are different?  I hope that one day, people will stop trying to force everyone to see/live through their eyes.  We should be celebrating our diversity.

5-year workiversary, looking back

Wow… It’s hard to believe I’ve been working as a travel agent for 5 years.  If you add the 18 months I worked for an airline, that puts me at over 6 years in the industry.  I haven’t done nearly as much travelling as I would have liked, but that is largely due to the fact that getting my passport keeps slipping my mind. 

However, during my career, I have managed to make a few trips.  Las Vegas, NV is always one of my favorite destinations.  Although my visits there have never gone as planned.  I still haven’t managed to go during a time when I was able to ride the roller coasters.  But playing roulette at Barbary Coast on the strip is one of my favorite things!

I’ve visited friends everywhere from Colorado Springs and Puebla, CO to Houston, TX, to Jacksonville, NC. 

I managed to get myself and a good chunk of my family stuck in Lewiston, ID.  Don’t ask… it’s a long story.  The short of it is that we were all on our way to a Seahawk’s game.  Due to unforseen circumstances with another airline’s crew, we were bumped from our flight and spent the night watching the game in Lewiston in our hotel.

My family has taken a road trip down to Phoenix, AZ.  We went to see BSU play in the Fiesta Bowl.  That was pretty fun!  The Grand  Canyon is absolutely gorgeous!  You can’t fathom how big it actually looks and feels until you stand on the edge.   I, personally, had never really been that interested in seeing it.  But when we were actually there, I sure changed my tune!  It is breathtaking.  Here’s a picture, although I know it doesn’t even do it justice. 

I’ve also been on a FAM(familiarization trip) to Detroit, MI.  We didn’t leave the airport, but it was very interesting to spend the day getting a tour of the inner workings of such a major airport. 

Next trip was down to Charlotte, NC to visit a dear friend of mine.  We had a grand ol’ time!  I had the best sushi of my life and, believe it or not, at some point I found myself dancing to some song called “Sic ’em on a chicken.”  Good times were had by all!

I’ve gone to my family reunion in Union, OR.  That probably qualifies for its own post.  I love my family!  They’re fun, crazy, loving people.  I always enjoy spending time with them.  We don’t see each other as often as we would like, but we do make the most of our time together when we do!

I’ve also been to Jackpot, NV a few times.  It’s a lot closer than Las Vegas.  So it’s a nice spot to drive down to, have dinner, gamble a little, then head home before I break my bank. 

So, I haven’t travelled as much as I would have liked to over the years.  But then again, in order for that to happen I would have to win a high enough lottery that I can retire and spend my days exploring the world.  But I have managed to get out there a few times.  It’s always an adventure, always an amazing time. 

Baby substitute

The fall of 2010 until the summer of 2011 is a timeframe I lovingly refer to as “the time of the stork.”  During this time, my baby itch was particularly strong.  It has been a chronic condition that I’ve had for the past 5 – 6 years or so.  It usually flares up only about once a year.  However, the time of the stork multiplied my symptoms to nearly unbearable levels.  Several members of my friends and family were bringing their little bundles of joy into the world.  As happy as I was for them, I must admit that I was just as equally jealous. 

I battled the urges as much as I possibly could.  It was weighing heavily on me, and something that Jason and I talked about on more than a few occasions.  Much to my dismay, he was very certain that he wasn’t ready to father another child. 

I tried to find ways to distract myself from the constant tugging on my uterus.  One thing that seemed to do the trick was browsing through the local animal shelter websites.  I started to consider volunteering.  I had previously volunteered to assist a good friend of mine coach a girl’s youth soccer team and found it to be very rewarding.  However, browsing through the animal shelter sites pained my heart.  I knew it would be nearly impossible for me to volunteer there.  Seeing all of the animals ended up tugging on my heart-strings more than I anticipated.  I couldn’t help myself, I wanted to save them all. 

Then I had a brilliant idea!

I brought up the idea of rescuing another dog with Jason.  He said that if we got anymore dogs, that they couldn’t be male.  And we couldn’t just get one female because they would fight over her (we’ve seen this every time we dog-sit Jason’s mother’s husky/malamute female).  So he said the only way it would work is if we adopted two girls. 

I agreed.

Well apparently, that was not the response he was expecting.  He was bluffing.  He didn’t think I would ever agree to having 4 dogs, so he thought I would just surrender and find some other antidote to my baby-fever. 


I called animal control shortly after the conversation to see if there were any restrictions on pet ownership in my city.  Afterall, 4 dogs and a rabbit are a lot of animals.  I didn’t want to get in trouble.  As it turns out, in Meridian Idaho, you can legally only have three dogs per household within the city limits.  I inform Jason of this new development.  He takes the opportunity to attempt to strengthen the argument of not getting any more dogs by pointing out the fact that we don’t have a vehicle large enough to transport three dogs and his son.  He also argues that with three dogs, there wouldn’t be any room for us on our queen-sized bed during movie time since it was already so crowded. 

Okay, valid points I suppose.

I guess this is where normal people would give up.

Not me.  I was determined.  If I couldn’t have a baby, then I was going to at least save one more dog from being put down. 

So I marched Jason right down to the furniture store and we bought a king-sized bed to show that I was serious.  We than began our search for our next rescue. 

We had a few dogs picked out.  We packed up the boys and headed over to the shelter to meet them.  Once we got there, we discovered that one of the dogs had been misplaced and the other didn’t get along with our boys.  We had one final dog to check out.  A young female lab. 

She met the boys and they didn’t seem to hate each other.  So we ended up adopting her and naming her Sage….. for about a week.

Turns out she is quite the lunatic.  She is extremely vocal, pounces and bounces like a cat, and when she walks, her tail wags with such enthusiasm, that she looks like a fish trying to swim upstream.  Sage seemed like a name for a much calmer dog.  So after careful consideration, we dubbed her Luna the Tuna.  She’s been a happy pup in our home and loves terrorizing the boys.  Her first month with us was touch and go, but now we couldn’t imagine not having her. 

Also, as a side note, I did agree that we should go out and buy a vehicle that can actually fit all of us comfortably, so we did.  I let Jason pick it out, and he did pretty well, finding something that I liked too. 

The baby-itch seems to have dissipated for now… and for the slight, occasional flare-ups, I can usually find a baby to play with for a few hours to satisfy the hunger.  🙂

When Hank was stuck in pee-mode.

Things were going very well with the two new dogs.  We’ve had Hank for about three months at this time.  He’d been neutered and the attitude had settled down, somewhat. 

During February of this year, while visiting my mom and step-dad in my home town, things took a turn for the worst for little Hank.  He was out back, playing with the two resident female malamutes and Doo.  They seemed to be having a pretty good time.

When it was time to go Doo came right inside w/ the girls… but Hank didn’t.  I went out back to see if he had gotten himself into any trouble, and there he was.  Standing, leg up in the air, aiming himself at a post with a very determined look on his face.  The first thing that came to mind was that he had been running around marking everything in my mom’s yard, and he had run out of pee, yet was determined to get this one last post.  I called to him, he casually glanced over his shoulder at me.  Then I told him it was time to go, and with a sigh he trotted into the house. 

After we had leashed up the dogs and said our goodbyes, we headed out to the car.  Hank stopped again, trying to pee on a snow bank.  It was actually pretty amusing at the time.  Him just standing there, leg up in the air, not doing anything.  Jason tugged on his leach to get him walking again but Hank refused!  He gave a little grunt and kept right on attempting to pee.  We all giggled a little, but worry was starting to creep into my mind.  I suggested we get on the road since it was a two-hour drive to get home.  Then we would see why he was acting so strangely.

The drive home was AWFUL.  Hank started whining about halfway back, so we pulled over and tried to walk him.  Poor little guy tried soooo hard to muster up a good pee but he just couldn’t.  He was just whining, trying to pee.  Something was definitely wrong. 

Maybe he was dehydrated and getting some sort of UTI?  Maybe he peed so much that he somehow hurt himself.  We offered him water and he turned his nose away.  Since he wasn’t making any progress we forced him back into the car and kept driving home.  We stopped a few more times with the same results, then we decided we were just delaying ourselves from getting home and getting him some help. 

We finally made it home and Hank was now in so much distress that he gave up even lifting his leg.  The poor little fella just stood there on all fours, crying and peed just a little on the carpet.  We didn’t scold him or get mad at all, in fact, that was the only time we’ve ever cheered about a dog peeing in the house. 

We call around to a few vets, trying to find somewhere that could take a look at him.  It was late enough that many were closed and we didn’t have a regular vet at the time.  We had to do something, upon examining him, his belly was as hard as a rock, and the whimpering was continuous at this point. 

We packed the pups up and went down to a local emergency vet.  When we got inside, Hank peed a little on their floor.  There was blood in his urine now, but that seemed to reflect the urgency of our situation and they took him back right away. 

After waiting for what seemed a like a lifetime, we were called back.  The doctor came in the room and showed us Hank’s x-ray:

As you can see, there was something blocking him up.  They explained that he had some sort of sediment in there that was making it nearly impossible for him to pee, and that his bladder was completely full. 

The doctor explained that they were going to empty his bladder to relieve the pain, and then they would have to have someone massage the grit out of him.  (As serious as the situation was, that still just sounds funny).  We reluctantly left him over night and went home.  They were supposed to call us after the procedure and let us know what was going on.  Neither one of us got any sleep that night.  I guess a dog that was severely injured in an accident came in after Hank, so our little guy was put on the back burner.  But they eventually did get to him, and get him all fixed up. 

We drove over to pick him up the next morning.  Boy, was he happy to see us!  He had been through such an ordeal and since we had only adopted him a short time ago, he may have even thought we were abandoning him (he was taken to the kill shelter we rescued him from as an owner surrender). 

Our sweet Hank was okay.  After a follow-up visit with who is now our regular vet, we now have Hank on a special diet.  It turns out his body was creating little stones, similar to kidney stones, but it was making so many of them that thousands of the tiny stones had plugged him all up and more were sitting in his bladder.  We were all happy to have the little guy back home, and I’m pretty sure he was happy to have us as well.  🙂

The addition of our boys.

After we moved into the house I found myself dog-sitting a sweet pup named Dahlia for a friend of mine.  I swear she must have been part cat, because she was terrified of water!  So much, in fact , that if the neighbor’s sprinklers were on, she wouldn’t go out into OUR back yard.  But we had some good times during her brief visit. 

After she went back home, Jason asked if his dog, Doo (as in Scooby Doo) could come live with us.  I was a little skeptical.  I had some strict dog rules (no getting on the furniture, or beds, stay out of the kitchen, etc.)  Despite the fact that I was dog-sitting not to long ago, I worried about the house and my belongings getting covered in hair.  Not to mention the fact that I’m actually allergic to dogs.  But, I thought that Doo should be w/ Jason.  You know… all that “man’s best friend” stuff and whatnot. 

So Doo came to live with us.  He’s a black Border Collie/Rottweiler mix w/ curly black fur.  He’s pretty tall, although thin and lanky.  Still, a good-sized dog.  He’s well-behaved in his old age (11 maybe?) and listens very well.  But my OCD flares up when I see his dog hair everywhere.

So what do I do? 

I get another dog! 

Yeah… I know… my brain contradicts itself all the time.

Try living in here… it’s even worse.

Anyway, I start browsing for dogs and then I fell in love.  I saw the cutest Pembroke Corgi listed at a kill shelter about 150 miles away.  He had just been listed that day, so (with Jason’s blessing) I called and requested to meet him.  It turns out, a local animal rescue group was picking up some other dogs from that shelter so they said they would pick him up too and drive him here to meet me, Jason, and Doo.  We were all introduced, the little guy had an attitude but we figured that getting him fixed would probably help that issue.  We decided to adopt him, and so Hank joined our family. 


Well… you see, it has always been a dream of mine to have a corgi and name him Hank (I have some strange dreams).  And it was either Hank, or Huck… like Huckleberry Finn.  But considering we had a three-year-old staying with us on weekends… we didn’t want him to stumble with the name “Huck” and accidentally say something else… So Hank it is!

Now, you remember all the rules I mentioned about the dogs?

Apparently I didn’t.  Because those little pups are spoiled!  Okay, so they aren’t allowed on the couches still.  And they understand the meaning of “get out of the kitchen,” but that whole thing about no dogs being allowed on the bed.  Well…. they’re just so cute.  We don’t let them sleep up there, but they come up and join us for a movie from time to time. 

And about that dog hair?  Well Hank is a rather fluffy corgi.  Who sheds 2x a year, for about 6 months at a time.  I swear, my vacuum weeps every time I pull it out of the closet.  If I wait more than a few days between vacuuming, then I have to stop every minute or so to unclog the thing. 

But in the end, it’s all worth it because they’re our sweet (mostly) boys.  And I couldn’t stand the thought of a dog as wonderful as Hank being put down in that shelter.

Introduction ambush!

I like to think that most people are introduced to their significant other’s family in a well thought out, planned manner.  Unfortunately, I always seem to get the family ambush introduction….

It was a chilly day in February 2010.  There was snow on the ground.  I was at my boyfriend’s house on the couch in pajamas, messy hair, smudged makeup… quite the sight.  We were talking about what to have for breakfast when the phone rang.  As Jason talked on the phone, he looked up at me.  I could sense that something horrible was about to happen.  Sure enough, the next words out of his mouth were “sure, come on over.” 


As soon as he hung up he asked if I minded that his son, Jayden, was getting dropped off.  I hadn’t met his then 2-year-old son, but it didn’t seem like it would be too bad.  I took a deep breath and relaxed a little.  Two year olds don’t care about your hair, make-up and outfit, do they?  Then he continued… “my mom and my sister are bringing him by, they want to meet you.”


I remembered he said his sister lived next door, and his mother lived in the house next to that one.  It wouldn’t take anyone long to get there.  Suddenly, I transformed into a primping tornado!  Whirling around, changing clothes, brushing my hair, cleaning up my make-up… It was a sight to behold.  You never know how fast a woman can clean herself up until you ambush her with meeting your family. 

I managed to plop back down on the couch the same moment that they knocked on the door.  I’m still extremely nervous, but Jason reassured me that there’s nothing to worry about.  And there wasn’t.  His mom and his sister were very nice.  They didn’t stay very long.  And Jayden was pretty cute, although very shy.

After Jason’s mom and sister left, it was just the three of us.  The next moment is the one that pretty much defines Jayden’s personality.  Jason quietly said to Jayden, “This is Jenn, why don’t you go say ‘Hi.'”  I tried to look as non-threatening as possible in order to encourage the little guy to be comfortable. 

It worked.  Maybe a little too well….

He wanders over to me, studies my smiling face briefly, then reaches up with outstretched hands and….WHOA!  I’m pretty sure my eyes about popped right out of my head and my cheeks turned bright red! 

I’ve met the children of men I’ve dated before, but this is the first time any of them had copped a feel!  What are you supposed to do? 

Jason, naturally, busts up laughing.  I have this horrified/amused look on my face… because, lets face it.  It was funny.  After the brief ta-ta tickling moment, Jayden wandered around looking for something else to play with.  All I could think was, “thank goodness he waited to do that until after Jason’s mom and sister left!” 

After the initial shock of what happened died down, we all sat down to watch a movie.  Jayden, apparently pleased with our first encounter, insisted on sitting right next to me. 

All in all, I think it went pretty well.  🙂

First there was Stew…

Before I begin, let me fill in a few details.  🙂

My Dad has many hobbies.  One of them includes breeding and/or raising various animals.  Two years ago was the year of the rabbit.  😀

At the time I still was living in my 2-bedroom apartment with a friend of mine as my roommate.  I was visiting dear ol’ Dad who was showing me his assortment of rabbits.  And there was this cute little black bunny off in a cage by himself.  At the time I didn’t particularly have any feelings, good or bad, towards the furry little creatures.  Sure, they were kinda cute.  But I had never considered owning one.  

I guess a family contacted my Dad and they wanted two rabbits.  Well, it just so happens they picked out two male rabbits.  Of course they weren’t as willing to co-habitate as the family had hoped for.  They were constantly attacking and trying to kill each other(Men… what can you do?).  Needless to say, one of the rabbits was returned.  My Dad promptly named him Stew and then convinced me to take him home with me.  After consulting with my roommate, I agreed. 

Owning a rabbit turned out to be a lot different than I would have thought.  I had mistakenly assumed it would be like having a hamster or some other small rodent that would live happily in its cage and I would be responsible for making sure it had food and water.  Simple enough. 

Well folks, there’s a little bit more to owning a rabbit.  First of all, you would not believe how much they POOP.  I swear, Stew was a poop factory.  I’m not sure how it worked… but he somehow managed to turn a handful of food into a bucketful of poop.  It is ridiculous!  I’m pretty sure it defies the laws of physics.  Luckily for me, I was able to put a liter pan and some liter in his cage and he litter-trained himself.  That made cleanup significantly easier.  Problem solved… more or less.

Problem two… my conscience… Sure, it was all cute when I would come in from work and call out the cute little “Bunny I’m  home” greeting then see his big dark eyes looking up at me from his cage.  After a few months he had grown quite a bit more.  He looked so cramped in there.  A larger cage was ridiculously expensive, so I let the crafty genius in me take charge.   First I bought him a little harness that had an attached leash.  I figured I could walk(or hop?) him around on the grassy area outside my apartment.  So I picked him up, put it on him.  He glared at me.  I swear!  He started kicking and flipping out more than I’ve ever seen him do.  So I quickly removed it and placed him back in his cage where he refused to even look at me for 3 days.  Perhaps he didn’t like the red color I picked out?  Or I suppose it could have been too tight.  The package said it was for his size, but he MAY have gotten just the slightest bit chubby in our care… 

So with the harness idea out the window, we devised another plan.  With the careful use of baby gates I was able to corral him using the kitchen and laundry room area.  I figured this area was probably the safest for him since it was free of exposed cords and other things he could chew on.  Problem two solved…. or so I thought. 

For quite some time things had run smoothly.  Until…..

It began in the middle of the night.  I was sleeping peacefully and I heard a THUD…. THUD…. THUD…. I looked around… a bit confused.  Now, my roommate and I had gone out to our local watering hole earlier that night so we were slightly intoxicated.  Add to that the fact that my eyesight is sooooo bad that I’m blind without my contacts.  I didn’t have a pair of glasses to put on, so I’m just blindly looking around wondering what I’m hearing.  Then I see it!

There was just enough light from the moon and the lights in the parking lot to confirm that I wasn’t crazy and hearing imaginary noises.  There was a small (blurry) black figure against the tan carpet on the floor at the foot of my bed.  I stumble out of bed and go to grab the little bugger that so generously woke me up from my slumber. 

As it turns out…. Rabbits are fast.

Stew had a grand time!  He was dashing about, around and under the kitchen chairs and table.  He would hide behind the rocking chairs and dart out of reach at the last possible second.  It was the ultimate game of “you can’t catch me!”  Afterall, what could possibly be more entertaining than an intoxicated, blind, sleepy 20-something year old girl chasing a black rabbit around a dark apartment?  That’s right!  TWO intoxicated, sleepy, 20-somethings chasing a black rabbit around the apartment.  My roommate had come out of her room to see what the commotion was about.  

After she finished laughing at me, we were able to combine forces and corner him.  We put him back on his side of the gate and put a kitchen chair in front of the gate to discourage him from hopping over again, then headed off to bed. 

The next morning, our living/dining room was quite a sight.  Things had been knocked over, the lone casualty, a book, had been nibbled to death.  Thankfully he hadn’t decided to litter the apartment w/ little surprises for us to find.