mom2nomads

ahhh, the life of a diplomatic princess . . .

How You Like Him Now?

This morning a friend of mine sent me this piece from The Daily Kos. Think what you will about The Daily Kos, this is pretty cut and dry. His people lied to his press pool, telling them that Trump was in for the night. Then he ditched his press pool (you know, those folks who follow the President-elect around so that we, the people, know what he’s up to) so he could go have dinner at a posh restaurant. This is all unprecedented and scary because it speaks to his level of transparency. But what made me doubly angry is what he said to the wealthy diners:

We’ll get your taxes down, don’t worry.

The video of Trump in the restaurant is in The Daily Kos piece, it’s also here, at the 5 minute mark

Trump’s rhetoric throughout the campaign was that of populism and, clearly, enough people chose to ignore the fact that this is a man whose sole purpose in life is to enrich himself because now he is the President-elect. Anyone who lives in a fact based world knew that his populism was just a ploy to get him elected, because he’s transparent AF to anyone who is even slightly grounded in reality. But to those of you who voted for him because you believed the garbage he was spewing — how you like him now? To those of you who voted for him who are maybe not racists or bigots or misogynists but were willing to overlook the fact that he, and all those who surround him (you can read about them here and here) are, because you thought he had your best interests at heart and so you were willing to overlook the very real ugly underbelly of Trump — how you like him now?

All throughout the campaign I tried hard to understand why anyone who wasn’t a bigot and a misogynist would be willing to vote for him — him, a man accused of raping, beating and imprisoning a 13 year old girl. I had people I love and respect ask me to try to understand that people are scared because they’re on the economic brink and that was blinding them to the nastiness. And I did it, for a while. As a friend of mine messaged yesterday, I tried to step back and be a listener. But, honestly, I’m done. I’m done because those of us who live in a fact based world tried to tell those of you who voted for him for economic reasons that he was going to screw you over the first chance he got. And not just in a “we have to tighten our belts a bit more for four years” sort of way but in a royal, outrageous, man are we all fucked, sort of way. But you chose not to listen.

Those of you who voted for this false populist, thinking he was going to be your man in the trenches — you allowed yourselves to be duped. And now we’re left with hate crimes going through the roof because bigots and racists and misogynists feel empowered and they are on a fucking bender. And we’re left with people whose ugliness runs so deep it is truly terrifying being put into some of the most powerful positions The White house has to offer. And we’re seeing a dramatic spike in calls to suicide hotlines for members of the LGBTQ community — and most of those calls are coming from children. And this administration is the one we’re left with, an administration that has the wealthy cheering and Wall Street celebrating. So I’m done. I’m done trying to understand, I’m done trying to be a listener. Maybe I’ll get back to the place where I can do that again but, right now, I’m just pissed that people who claim to be decent folks — not racist, not bigoted, not misogynistic — voted for this psychopathic asshole who has done nothing but show his true colors. Because ya’ll fucked up. And we’re all going to pay the price. Except for those people in the restaurant cheering for him. They’re good. And they’ve always known it.

 

Today I Run

Tuesday evening this was me, ready to shatter a glass ceiling into a billion pieces as we welcomed our first female president elect

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Yes, I was pantsuit clad and beyond the moon, round my neck the last piece of jewelry my Da gave to my Nana before he passed, which was then handed down to me when she passed — a heart with each of their surnames engraved, and birthstones embedded, in it. Those surnames are important because, in an age when women were expected to lose their identity in their husbands, my Nana never did, and my Da never wanted her to. That was how I was raised. And I wanted that piece of them to be with me when we celebrated the moment when women finally reached a level of equality we could only dream of before. And then I watched in horror as that all fell to pieces.

For most of the evening I was at an embassy event, trying very hard to keep my abject terror to myself. And failing miserably. But then we went home and watched with our children. I had one child who, literally, got sick because of what was happening. And another, our daughter, the most kind and compassionate person I know, cry because our country — the country we serve overseas — just elected a man who dismisses her humanity and would treat her as an object to be used and tossed aside given half the chance. Such betrayal. Such disbelief.

Yesterday I grieved. Hard. I cried.  And, thankfully, I was helped through the day by friends and family as we vented our disbelief and fear to each other. And laughed, and then cried some more. And when I watched Secretary Clinton’s gracious and eloquent concession speech I was even more mesmerized by her then I’d been before. And then she said this

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And I broke into ugly tears. Because THAT is the country I want my daughter and sons to grow up in. THAT is the leader I want them to look up to and emulate. Not someone who says not only is it perfectly acceptable to grab women by the pussy but, hell, men are entitled to that.

I still cannot wrap my head round the fact that my country, the country our family has proudly served overseas for going on twelve years now, elected a man who I would not leave my daughter alone with and a man who thinks I, as a bi woman, should be subjected to electroshock therapy. How? How did this happen? How did we get here? I’m going to leave the answer to that question to people more capable of answering it than I am, like Van Jones, whose voice and reason I am even more grateful for than I was before the Tuesday that flipped our country upside down.

Yesterday I sobbed. Today I’ve cried. But I also steeled myself. I have a six mile run to do, I considered slinking back to my bedroom and burying myself under my covers with a glass of wine and a good book. Because that sounds so appealing right now. But that was yesterday. Today is today.

And today I will run. I will run to remind myself that I’m a goddamn fighter. To remind myself that I, like Secretary Clinton, have a fucking spine of steel. To remind myself that I don’t back down. Ever. That my voice, our voices, are needed now more than ever. To remind myself that I have children to protect — not just mine but a nation’s — and I will fight for them with every ounce of strength I have in my body. And my body is strong. It’s powerful. I will run to remind myself that I don’t run from my problems, I run into them, head on. I run to remind myself that I am a fucking force of nature and nobody — not the misogynistic psychopath who is now our president elect, or his bigot of a running mate — can take that from me. I OWN it. It is MINE. And I will never surrender. We are warriors, and it’s time to pick up our proverbial swords.

PETA: Lie Away, Doesn’t Change the Fact that Your Shelter is A Slaughterhouse

I’ve written many times about Maya, the dog who was stolen and killed by PETA employees, about the lawsuit Maya’s family has filed against PETA, and about my desire to do whatever I can to help Maya’s family find justice. Things in the legal realm are well under way, and the most recent thing to happen is that PETA responded to the individual complaints against them. For a spot on run down of PETA’s latest lies, er, response you can read the most recent blog piece by Nathan Winograd, “It’s the Family’s Fault We Stole and Killed Their Dog.

There’s no point in reiterating what Mr. Winograd has already concisely laid out so I only want to touch on one thing. I was reading through PETA’s answers yesterday and when I got to point 19, the point addressing my blog and my employment with PETA, I was a little shocked. After I wrote my initial blog piece about Black Boy, the dog who ultimately saved me from going too far down the evil rabbit hole that is the cult of PETA, PETA predictably responded by writing me off as a vindictive ex-employee out for revenge — a plot for revenge, apparently, that took me 15 years to cook up.  Because I’m just that slow. Whatever. Then came the point where PETA attempted to put into jeopardy my husband’s job with lies and, frankly, libelous accusations. That pissed me off, because when you mess with Eric’s job you mess with my family — my children. And that is beyond the pale. But their threats were hollow and we all knew it so we shook it off. Then came the relentless cyber bullying by one, or several, anonymous Twitter users — all in PETA’s name, all tagging PETA (so they were seeing it), which they did nothing about. My own moral compass would have led me to do whatever I could to stop attacks — attacks of a sexual nature, attacks that made racial and anti-LGBTQ slurs, attacks that accused me of abusing my children — in my name. PETA, not so much. But all of that was predictable so I rolled with it. And my older kids (who are on Twitter and, therefore, saw everything), bless them, handled the attacks with grace.

But when I read PETA’s latest lie about me I was a little gobsmacked because it was so out of left field.

Upon information and belief, the blog author is a prior employee of PETA who was terminated after a few months because her instability prevented her from doing her job.

Now, I don’t know how that sounds to ya’ll, but it sounds to me like PETA’s legal team is implying I was (am?) emotionally unstable and, therefore, unable to do my job. Which is news to me. I can be kind of flighty, sometimes a little scatterbrained, and, thankfully, my friends seem to think my awkward quirkiness is cute. But emotionally unstable? Wow, PETA, kudos to you for creativity. And for actually surprising me for once. Again, with libel, but I didn’t see this particular lie coming. Because, frankly, the only thing that prevented me from doing my job the way that PETA wanted me to was my humanity.

I suppose they’re trying to paint me as unhinged for the judge. Maybe, once again, they’re trying to intimidate me in the hopes that I’ll sit down and shut up. I can’t control what the judge thinks of me, I can only continue to tell the truth. But I would like, once again, to tell PETA a few things.

First, I am still Honey Badger. I don’t care what lies you put out there, I don’t care what people might assume about me. The only opinions about me that matter are those of the people I love — and they all know I’m telling the truth. Your attempts to soil my reputation mean nothing to me.

Second, I am not backing down. I am still determined to do whatever I can to expose the fact that you don’t run a shelter, you run a slaughterhouse. I am determined to do whatever I can to help the Zarate family find justice in their lawsuit against you. And every time you make up new lies about me the only  thing that happens is I dig my heels deeper into the muck that is the truth about PETA. You don’t scare me, you can’t intimidate me. But keep talking, because with each lie you tell about me, my fire burns brighter. And, once again, I won’t back down.

Using Bigotry to Defend Theft and Killing — Well Done, PETA

Yesterday I spent a few hours reading through the latest court documents in the lawsuit against PETA (you know the one I mean, the one against them because they stole and killed a little girl’s dog). Predictably, it’s full of lies and half truths and, man, are PETA’s lawyers snarky. But what really got under my skin is PETA’s attempt to smear Maya’s family. This is typical PETA behavior — they’re bullies and anyone who dares stand up to them becomes a target, which I know from personal experience. But what is especially heinous about this particular smearing is the not so subtle racism and xenophobia they’re employing. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, since PETA supporters also employ bigotry in order to try to silence truth tellers, and PETA never steps in to put a stop to it. But, holy hell, it’s low.

Time and time again Wilbur Zarate, the father of Cynthia, the little girl whose dog PETA stole and killed, was asked about his citizenship status, the citizenship status of his family members, the status of his green card by PETA’s attorney during his deposition. He even went so far as to ask if Cynthia was born in the US or in Mexico. Because Mr. Zarate’s citizenship status is relevant to the fact that PETA stole and killed his little girl’s dog how? From the beginning PETA has stated that the Zarate family is suing them in order to make money, which is offensive but not a shocking thing for them to say. But to bring into all of this the heritage of the Zarate family is a bridge too far even for PETA.

Here’s what I see: I see a massive labyrinth of an organization trying to shut up by any means necessary the one family — the ONE — who has dared stand up to PETA. I see PETA stating that Mr. Zarate is only after money and then, in order to further smear him, question his citizenship status. And here’s the larger picture — I see PETA asserting that anyone whose native language is Spanish, and/or is of Mexican heritage, can and should have their citizenship status questioned. Because, why the hell not? And, geez, if someone is in the US illegally how dare they stand up for their family, right? Some folks are just supposed to sit down, roll over, and ignore it when heinous things happen. Here’s what I see as PETA’s primary message to Mr. Zarate — “don’t you know your place?”

When you stole and killed a little girl’s dog, and it’s just the latest smoking gun in a pattern of behavior going back nearly twenty years, THIS is all you have left. The emperor has no clothes, so you throw everything you can at the victim. You know, the guy whose little girl’s dog was stolen and killed contrary to Virginia law. A dog who was not the only animal killed that day. The fact that PETA is using bigotry and xenophobia in order to defend themselves is offensive and shocking — as is the fact that the day of Maya’s death was just another day at the office for PETA employees. And keep talking, PETA, because the more your representatives say the more they reveal the moral wasteland at your core.

Another One Bites the Dust: What’s Up, Norfolk SPCA?

We all know PETA kills the vast majority of animals it takes into its “shelter.” That’s not a secret. In 2015, 72% of the animals PETA took in ended up dead. And we all know that PETA is vehemently anti-No Kill — for PETA there is no good to be found in searching for solutions, for finding alternatives to killing healthy and adoptable animals. So many animals end up dead at PETA’s hands that Virginia, the home of PETA’s headquarters and its “shelter”, had to pass a law aimed at stopping their wholesale killing (a law PETA has been fighting hard to undermine).

In 2015 PETA held an adoption event, several local shelters were invited to participate. I wrote a blog about their farce of an adopt-a-thon because, frankly, this was a publicity stunt for PETA. Another step in their dance of ingratiation, another layer to the mask they wear. One shelter that was not invited, or at least did not accept an invitation, was Norfolk SPCA. It made sense, they’re a No Kill shelter. Why would a No Kill shelter participate in an event being held by an organization that fights their moral center, so to speak. I saw that as a plus for Norfolk SPCA because any shelter who lends PETA credibility by teaming up with them should be treated with a lot of suspicion, IMO.

So I was a bit shocked when I saw Norfolk SPCA accepted PETA’s invitation to their  “adoption event” this year. I was a bit more shocked to learn that Norfolk SPCA seems to be partnering with PETA in the field. That was a real “say what?” moment for me. It seems the director of the Norfolk SPCA went into the field with PETA. To be clear, I think PETA does good work in the field, the problem is what they do with animals they bring back from the field. And because of what happens to the animals who fall into PETA’s hands, in my opinion, no ethical shelter should be partnering in any way with PETA.

I get that folks need to sometimes team up with people or organizations they don’t wholeheartedly agree with, compromise is an important way to build bridges and find solutions. But there are some devils you don’t put on your dance card and PETA is one of those devils. Because, at their very core, they believe animals are better off dead and any work they do is only done to that end. And any shelter that works with them is only lending credibility to that end. And any shelter that works with them should be questioned. So why, Norfolk SPCA?

A Whirlwind Trip to Roatan Island

We have, for what seems like forever, been encased in dust and smog in Honduras — especially in Tegucigalpa because we are all valleys and mountains. I haven’t been bothered much by it, other than the fact that it’s dreary. At least not until we were on our way to the airport to begin a short, but very appreciated, trip to the Caribbean island of Roatan, when we were informed the airport was closed — all out going flights were grounded and all incoming flights were being diverted. I get why, the airport in Tegus is a notoriously difficult one to land in. The pilot has to make this crazy hairpin turn, turning the plane nearly sideways  in order to avoid slamming into a mountain, before righting the plane and stopping it very quickly on the short runway. Takeoff is slightly less dodgy.

So, yea, nobody wants to mess with that in smog so thick that visibility is only 1 kilometer. Long story short, rather than spending my noon hour standing in crystal clear water with a margarita in my hand I was sitting with my feet propped up on my suitcase in the Tegus airport, playing Plants v Zombies on my iPad. Thankfully, the smog cleared enough that we could fly out and, seven hours after we were supposed to take off, we were finally Roatan bound, with a stop in La Ceiba to change planes. To a 17-seater. Not that I was nervous or anything. I can’t remember the last time I was on a plane where you could actually see what the pilots were doing …

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Eric thought it was fun to be able to watch the pilots, I found it mildly disconcerting and kept having to stop myself from shouting “Both hand on the wheel! BOTH HANDS!” But it was a short flight, maybe 15 minutes, and soon we were landing on Roatan …

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Our hotel shuttle delivered us to the Mayan Princess, where we checked into a room with this view, which made everything sunshine and rainbows …

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This was a work trip for Eric, I was just tagging along for the sand and the ocean (and because I really like the group of people who were holding the convention he was attending). For the record, I was on our dime — just so everyone is clear. There was an event to attend shortly after we arrived, but we had time to take a stroll along the beach before we needed to start scraping the airport funk off and get all prettied up. We did get to enjoy our first Caribbean sunset in a long time ..

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A highlight of the evening was a surprise performance by Garifuna musicians and dancers. Garifuna are an Afro-Caribbean people with an interesting history, you can click here to find out more about their culture. Whenever we see Garifuna musicians and dancers perform we are immediately swept back to Guinea, our first post in the FS, which was full of the music of djembe drums and mesmerizing dancing.

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After a lovely dinner with folks who are thoroughly enjoyable, Eric and I decided to finally get that margarita, which we drank in an open-air thatched beach cabana. Side note: anyone considering bidding Honduras, most of the places you’ll go on business are not quite like this but, every once in a blue moon, you get really, really lucky! And even the not-so-posh places are oh-so-interesting. So go for it!

The next day was all work for Eric so we woke up early for a beach stroll ..

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Exposed coral at the end of West Bay

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We’re pretty positive that when we bring our kids to Roatan they are going to ask to do this crazy climb/slide inflatable thingy

I spent the rest of the morning with a book, doing pretty much this …

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and after lunch we headed back to the airport. Where our flight was delayed, of course. Still, totally worth it just to stand in crystal clear water and feel the sand between my toes …

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We Run in the Footsteps of Giants

One thing running has helped me internalize is that my thoughts are powerful. Thoughts, and the direction they take, can be the difference between having an amazing run and having a run that is torment. I’ve also learned that even when I’m having a run full of self-doubt and general suckage, I need to keep moving forward, just one foot in front of the other, in order to come out the other end. Stopping during a run, even one that feels awful, is never an option because then the negativity wins, and I get stuck there — and I will never let negativity win. I remind myself often that mentally or physically tough runs can be a gift, because those are the runs that steel you, that teach you what you are made of.

A few days ago I wrote a blog piece entitled “PETA’s Silence About Cyber-Stalking Speaks Volumes.” I don’t want to go into detail about the cyber-bullying and stalking that continues on Twitter, simply because I’m not giving a troll, or trolls, any more air than I am forced to. And because, in order to balance out the negativity, I think it’s time for a blog that focuses on being fearless.

Today a friend of mine tagged me in a video of a fearless woman who just ran the International Pars Marathon in Iran, which women are banned from running. But one woman, a woman names Mahsa Torabi, made the incredibly brave decision to run the marathon. She is a woman paving the way for other women, and girls, who will follow in her footsteps.

Running has taught me that I am stronger than I think, that I can do more than I believed myself capable of doing, that I can push through pain and come out the other side feeling unstoppable. And I am constantly inspired by my fellow runners — both female and male. I love my tribe beyond the telling of it. I love their positivity, I love how supportive they are, I love how freely they share their stories, I love how they are largely non-judgmental of other runners. I love that it’s a given that we each run our own race, at our own pace, but that we are all in this crazy-ass tribe together.

And I couldn’t ask for better role models for my children.  Meb Keflezighi is an absolute favorite in our house, and whenever I need a pick me up I watch this video of his victory at the Boston Marathon the year after the bombing:

Because how can you help but smile from ear to ear after watching that? Now that I’ve mentioned our love for Papa Meb I’ll go back to the women.

Deena Kastor is another favorite in our house:

 

and any mention of her name is usually followed by my oldest saying “she’s such a beast!”

Lauren Fleshman, whose sense of humor and outspoken advocacy for body positive thinking I admire every bit as much as the fact that she is a kick-ass runner:

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The three women who will be representing the US in the next Olympics — Amy Cragg, Des Linden, and Shalane Flanagan. It was a thrill to watch them run in the trials and we will be on the edge of our seats when we watch them compete in the Olympics:

Kara Goucher, whose running is as inspiring as her absolute unwillingness to accept anything of herself that is less than what she can give. And she has the most infectious smile!

And, of course, Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run Boston:

Kathrine is a trailblazer for women in running, and was my first running hero. She has dedicated her life to bringing girls and women into running and now heads up 261 Fearless, an ever-growing organization that helps women join together in running and being fearless.

I am a very ordinary runner. But running empowers me, makes me feel strong, and I know I run in the footsteps of giants. Women who have come before me and fought for my right to do something I love, for my daughter’s right to run and compete. And women who are still fighting for themselves and others being held back by misogyny and bigotry. And the runners around me — both physically and virtually — inspire me every day. Sometimes when I need strength on a run I think of Deena Kastor and Kara Goucher. Sometimes I think of a woman I saw during a race we ran last time we were home. Eric and I had already gotten our bananas and Gatorade, we’d hung around for a bit soaking in the atmosphere and cheering runners as they crossed the finish line. Then we’d decided to head home, walking along the race route. I was clapping for the runners who were passing when I saw a woman running, she had the same look on her face that I’m sure I get when a run is really tough. I stopped walking and started clapping harder for her, I shouted encouragement — she looked up from the street and at me, got a huge smile on her face, nodded as if to say “you’re right, I’ve got this” and ran faster towards the finish line. She inspires me — her unwillingness to give up inspires me.

Sometimes in running you just have to remember it’s only a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, everything else is secondary. Which is pretty much how life works in general. One foot in front of the other, cherish the joy, know you can make it through the pain, soak in the beauty around you, get lost in the sound of your own heartbeat, smile when you feel like you can’t, don’t let negative thoughts ruin the gifts in your life, embrace your tribe wholeheartedly, and, always, always, always …

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PETA’s Silence About Cyber-Stalking Speaks Volumes

When unhinged people are tweeting out the most vile insults, lies, and accusations in your name, and you likely know it, what responsibility do you have to put a stop to that? This is a question PETA should be asking itself because this is exactly what has been happening on Twitter.

At this point I have lost track of how many new Twitter accounts have popped up in the past week targeting me and other Twitter users who are trying to spread the truth about PETA. New ones open, they get reported, Twitter mutes them so they don’t pop up in our feeds, and many are getting suspended. Mike Flynn, who has also been a target of this harassment, summed it up well today:

The tweets that have been aimed at those of us who are speaking out about how PETA has killed, and continues to kill, thousands of companion animals are pretty vile — fat shaming, LGBQT shaming, use of the word “retarded,” tweets of a sexual nature (including tweets of a sexual nature tagging PETA2, which is the PETA Twitter account for children), creepy “I will follow you wherever you go” tweets. And, my personal favorite, venomous accusations that I abuse my children and am raising them to hate.

So here’s the deal. You can argue that PETA can’t be held responsible for the tweets of their supporters. But this is targeted, nearly constant, harassment that PETA has been tagged in so you know they are seeing it. Any organization with any standards at all would have shut this down days ago by saying they don’t want this nastiness and cyber-bullying committed in their name. If anyone came to my “defense” with assaults like this I would tell them to knock it off, I would distance myself from them immediately, I would support the person being cyber-bullied — as would most people and organizations with any sense of ethics. But PETA, with their silence, is at least passively supporting this cyber-assault to continue — that speaks volumes about the depths to which they are willing to stoop to continue their killing.

So let’s take a look at some of what this person is tweeting out in PETA’s name.

We have fat shaming:

We have anti-LGBTQ slurs:

 

We have the use of the “R” word:

 

We have creepy stalker talking about the stalking:

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And the cyber-stalker ridiculing one of the people he/she is stalking:

These are only a tiny fraction of the tweets that are floating about, and there are others against people who likely had no idea what they were stepping into when they confronted PETA about their killing that I will not put here because the ugliness is unbelievable. Frankly, I don’t expect PETA to come to my defense, but the tweets I won’t put here are personal attacks, and have targeted someone who is young and should never be on the receiving end of this kind of nastiness.

I will post some of the tweets targeting myself and another Twitter user.

Tweets of a sexual nature, including tweets that were tweeted at PETA’s account that is specifically for children:

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Tweets stating that I am abandoning and abusing my children:

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New Twitter account that are clearly targeting me and Cathy:

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This tweet, by someone who has been tweeting with the stalker/s, seems to sum up their philosophy nicely:

There is no doubt for anyone who knows right from wrong that these tweets are reprehensible, reprehensible enough that I wonder about the sanity of the person who is writing them. But the larger picture is this: why is PETA silent about them? Even if they’ve only seen a fraction of them, that fraction is enough. I’ve only shown a fraction here — there are many, many more. What I’ve highlighted here displays so much hatred, so much venom, so much bigotry, so much misogyny, so many lies. But that’s okay, because it’s “no holds barred,” right? Is this what PETA believes? Why are they tacitly supporting this cyber-stalking and bullying? If you are on the side of right you don’t need to stoop to name calling, humiliation, and lies. So what does the fact that PETA is passively supporting exactly that say about them? There is as much truth in silence as there is in raising your voice. PETA is speaking volumes.

PS. I apologize for the screenshots with a lot of blank space, I can’t link to tweets from accounts that have been suspended and I just didn’t have time to edit the photos. But if anyone wants to know what the 20 best Supernatural episodes are, you can click here! Ya gotta have a sense of humor to get through it, folks.

 

 

 

Cave Spiders, Headache Herbs, and Elephant Ears — Oh My!

I’ve been meaning to blog about the last trip we took to what has become our go to weekend destination, Lago Yojoa, except life kept getting in the way. But if I don’t send out family-focused blogs now and again grandparents get twitchy and nobody wants that!

Yajoa has become our go-to weekend destination — it’s only a few hours away and the roads to the lake are good. Also, why wouldn’t you want to spend as much time as possible here …

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Normally we stay at the absolutely awesome D & D Lodge but my dad was visiting so we wanted to rent a house and we snagged this one at the coffee finca next to the D & D . The house is on stilts and it was fun to feel like we were sleeping in the trees!

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There are beautiful trails in the finca, which we always enjoy exploring!

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This time we found a gorgeous blue lagoon!

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D & D offers fun excursions and we decided to take a day long hike to a cave up in the mountains. Quite some time ago, when the Peace Corps still existed in Honduras, a volunteer, together with people who live in communities in the mountains, organized a tourism co-op. Once the volunteer left, the co-op continued on and D & D works with the local guides when they have visitors who want to find a bit of adventure.

Ours began with a ride in the back of a pickup. The kids thought that was pretty much the coolest thing ever, I was only slightly terrified because what could go wrong while riding in the back of a pickup truck up steep, muddy, mountain roads, right?

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There were some spots in the road that were extra rough so we got out an hoofed it behind the truck.

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Eventually we got to the point in the road where the truck just couldn’t go so the hike began. 12977161_10154092814892766_4350789952320006940_o

Our first stop was a spot where folks gather the coffee beans and ginger they pick in the mountains. So. Much. Coffee.

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And then we started our climb up into the jungle!

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Along the way our amazing guide, Dennis, taught us about the local plants and what their different uses were. It looks like Liam isn’t too sure about the taste of this one …

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But he was totally down with the one that cures headaches!

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Dennis also picked some very yummy citrus fruit for our snack!

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And, fortified, the hike continued!

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Eventually we reached the cave, as you can see everyone was quite chuffed! Okay, just Liam, I think the others were just happy to have arrived.

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I’m going to stop here and say I love caves — when they have interior lighting and you don’t have to noticeably descend while you’re in them. As you can see, there were no lights in the cave and the reason everyone is looking down is because they were watching Dennis climb down the rickety, wooden ladder that took you deeper into the cave.

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Eric and I were more than a little nervous about our kids going down the ladder and deeper into the cave. Our youngest was gung-ho from the beginning, he tends to be rather fearless. The older two were a tad uncertain but, in the end, decided they wanted to do it. Eric and I talked it over — firmly on the side of “no” at first and then realized, why the hell are we in Honduras if we won’t let the kids go on adventures like this? So, down the ladder everyone climbed! Lago Yojoa Jan2015 100Lago Yojoa Jan2015 107Lago Yojoa Jan2015 103

We explored the main section a bit and decided it was wise to not go any deeper since we had only flashlights, but it was pretty cool to wander about, at least until Aisleen came within a hair’s breath of putting her hand on this spider

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She had been chatting away until Dennis got her attention and told her not to run her hand along the wall, which she’d been doing as she talked. Then he shined his light at the spot right in front of where her hand had been, I was certain her screams were going to cause a cave in — she and I have a spider thing and this guy was the size of Eric’s hand (he’s nearly 6’5 so you have an idea of how big the spider was).

We decided it was time to head back and have lunch so we said goodbye to the cave

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and headed down the mountain, stopping for some freshly picked bananas along the way!

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Of course, it started to rain because — jungle. But that’s what the huge leaves, called Elephant Ears among other things, are for!

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The hike ended at Dennis’ house where his lovely family hosted us for lunch. We were tired, a little muddy …

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but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Despite the look on Ry’s face here …

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After lunch we climbed into the truck and headed back to D & D!

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The next day, before heading home, we took a morning hike through the national park down the road from D & D, where there are Lenca ruins. This is a spot we always hike when we come to Yojoa because it’s so gorgeous — also pretty cool to think about walking in the footsteps of the Lenca.

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This was a wonderful adventure for us, complete with doing something that was a bit frightening but, as we say in running, the only way to get comfortable in your discomfort zone is to spend time there! Also, we’ve decided to take advantage of the fact that Honduras is a hardship post and we, therefore, have the option to extend our assignment for a year. So we’re here for another nearly two and a half years — loads of time to find more adventures!

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More Questions Surrounding PETA’s 2015 Stats

I’m in no mood to fight the PETA battles today but something vitally important was just published — and it’s all based on the statistics of PETA and other area animal agencies.

PETA, Where Are the Missing Animals” is the title of the blog piece just published by Nathan Winograd. Mr. Winograd broke down some numbers — self-reported by PETA to the state of Virginia — and, unlike PETA, numbers don’t lie.

In 2015, PETA claims to have transferred 446 animals to other “Virginia Releasing Agencies,” and it lists on it’s VDACS paperwork where each animal was supposed to have gone. However, Mr. Winograd also has the numbers for the other VA agencies and this is where the massive red flag comes in because the numbers don’t add up. The entire blog is vital information for anyone who cares about animals so I encourage everyone reading this to read it. For now, let’s look at some of the most glaring red flags.

First,  the records for the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter. According to PETA’s records, they transferred 7 dogs and 27 cats to PRAS. According to PRAS they received exactly this number of animals from PETA: 0. In fact, they didn’t receive any animals at all from any other shelters. So where are those 34 animals PETA claims to have transferred to PRAS? It’s possible, I suppose that PRAS would list any animals it receives from PETA as being an “owner surrender” but, considering there is a nice big column for “Animals Received from Another Virginia Releasing Agency,” and PETA is a licensed animal shelter, it doesn’t seem likely.

Here’s another Mr. Winograd points out, Norfolk Animal Care Center:

Likewise, while PETA claims it sent 70 cats, 22 dogs, and two “other companion animals” to the Norfolk Animal Care Center, Norfolk reports taking in only 61 cats, 31 dogs, and two “other companion animals” from Chesapeake Animal Control and Virginia Beach Animal Control. It does not report taking in any from PETA.

So now we’re up to 128 missing animals. Where are those 128 animals? 128 cats, dogs, and “other” animals. We know, again by PETA’s own numbers, that they killed 1,502 animals in 2015. And we know that we have 128 missing cats, dogs, and “other”s. 128 animals don’t just go missing from a shelter, something happened to them. And if we know these animals are missing because there are no records of them at the agencies they were supposed to have been transferred to how do we know all the other animals PETA claims it transferred to area shelters were really transferred? How do we know they’re not just missing too? Again, Mr. Winograd has some possible explanations for the number discrepancies so please read his blog.

Let’s say PETA actually did make a clerical error to the tune of 128 animals, hypothetically. What does that say about their capabilities? It’s pretty dismal. And how does that reflect upon their other record keeping abilities?

The more sinister explanation, of course, is that PETA falsified their records to keep their already outrageous kill rates just a little less outrageous. I assume it’s illegal to falsify state records? Obviously, we can’t prove this is what happened to the 128 animals who are unaccounted for, right now this is just a question mark. But, man, that’s one hell of a question mark.

 

 

 

 

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