Let’s Show Sandy We’re Stronger Than She Is (Or How You Can Help)

Social media sites have been fascinating microcosms for the minds of my east coast friends this week. From Monday night’s Facebook cries for more Makers Mark on the Upper West Side to Instagram photos of tiny dogs dripping with water, the mood was more jovial in the beginning. When the sun came up on Tuesday and Sandy’s devastation was evident by the light of day, the collective mood on my social media platforms shifted somewhat.

One friend in New Jersey posted: “The Namaste Wagon has drowned.” (Translation, in case you don’t speak yoga teacher: “My car is filled with water.”)

By Wednesday, things were starting to get a bit desperate. “At this point I’d trade my designer handbags for a generator. It’s 60 degrees in here.”

But throughout it all, I have seen kindness and generosity displayed by my friends. “We have fresh water and heat in Williamsburg [Brooklyn]. Come by if you need a shower or a place to sleep.”

Or as one doctor friend in Manhattan put it, “Guys, stop thanking ME for all I’m doing and go buy a Con Ed [utility] worker a cup of coffee. They’re outside in this.”

Gradually, more and more are giving thanks for newly restored heat (“I love electricity so much. It is so sleek.”), asking for information about ferries, and even sharing opportunities for volunteers to carry supplies to fellow New Yorkers trapped in high rises.

And while there are reports of looting, there are some political pundits finger pointing, and there is the brewing controversy over the New York Marathon, I’m choosing to focus on the positive. And I’m looking for ways I can help.

Even though I’m on the other coast and I can’t carry supplies or offer warm water, that doesn’t mean I’m powerless. And neither are you. That’s why I made an emergency donation to the Humane Society this morning, and I made an appointment to donate blood to the Red Cross on Monday.

I made my first donation to the Humane Society in 2005. It was images of helpless animals trapped on roofs in Katrina’s horrific aftermath that turned the tide for me, and I have remained a faithful donor since then.

It’s estimated that 250,000 pets died during Hurricane Katrina. These lucky pups were rescued by a local police officer. Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

This poor dog was abandoned and tied to a freeway during Hurricane Katrina. Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

Though we have learned a lot since Katrina, and the loss of life — human or animal — is not expected to come near that of 2005, there are still many in need of our help.

This heroic rescue worker saves one of Sandy’s furry victims. Photo courtesy of Babble.

These Sandy victims are comforting each other after the storm. I think of my bubba when I see this picture and I get so sad I want to hug my dogs all day long. Doesn’t he look like Albus? Photo courtesy of American Red Cross via Babble.

The ASPCA is a wonderful organization as well, and they’re also doing a lot to benefit the animal community in need. You can read more about it here. Or make a donation here.

Whether your heart calls you to make donations to alleviate human suffering or animal suffering, both are absolutely worthy of your support.

The American Red Cross has been heralded as an incredibly efficient organization and one that brings extraordinary relief to devastated areas. Even if you cannot afford to make a monetary donation, you can help their relief efforts by donating blood. I mean, we all have that, right? Growing up, my dad donated regularly. I remember him coming home with the band-aid covered cotton ball on his arm about once a month. He may not have donated a lot of money to charities, particularly when I was young and money was tight, but he gave what he could: he gave blood. Since I’m financially backing the pups, I’m giving the people my blood. Seems fair.

If you want to read about other opportunities to help animals, the Petfinder blog has a comprehensive list here.

Xena the Warrior Puppy (Or I’m a Warrior for Puppies)

I had originally planned to post about my bookshelf redesign today, but my plans changed when I logged into Facebook this afternoon.

Here’s the bookshelf before photo. This situation can wait.

See, last month, I began following a severely neglected puppy’s remarkable journey of rehabilitation via her Facebook fan page, and today marks her one-month rescue anniversary. I wanted to acknowledge it by sharing her photo slide show.

And her story.

Her transformation has been absolutely remarkable. Her heroic rescuers have named her Xena the Warrior Puppy, and when you watch her slideshow, you’ll see why. When she was first brought to the shelter, she had no hair on her body, and she was so emaciated, they did not know if she would survive one more day let alone a month. Now she is a playful little girl on the road to recovery in a foster home.

This little girl has come a long way in only one month. She and her kind caregivers deserve recognition. Photo Courtesy of Xena’s Dekalb Fund.

Though, Xena is just one little pup, her story reminds us that there are so many more dogs like her. So many abused, starving, and neglected creatures suffering at the hands of cruel and callous people.

Because I support the Humane Society and the ASPCA, and I also follow a variety of rescue blogs, I regularly see photos of abused or neglected animals like Xena. Each time I do, I cry a little. And then I kiss my rescue dogs on their spoiled heads for an hour.

My beasts may be spoiled, but they walk to raise money for their less fortunate friends through the Race for the Rescues every year. This year the Race raised over $303,000 for 12 animal welfare organizations.

Of course, I do lavish them with Jax and Bones gifts after their walk because I think they deserve rope toy rewards.

Here is Albus with his new Bambi. Jax and Bones donates a portion of their rope toy sales to the Rescue Train.

I’m often reminded of the human capacity for cruelty and also for compassion. There are so many dedicated people caring for the animals cast aside by others, and it’s important to remember that so we don’t focus so much on the suffering and the sadness that we lose hope.

So, that’s me. I’m a lunatic for dogs.

We’re all different, and not everyone was wired to love dogs like I do. I like it that way. I mean, I love that our hearts all break for different causes ‘cuz someone needs to worry about actual human orphans while I’m fretting over every one eyed, three legged puppy mill dog I see.

Speaking of which, tomorrow night, I’m attending the Burbank City Council Meeting to voice my support for a citywide ban on selling puppy mill dogs in Burbank.

More on that later.

And also the bookshelf…..

Peter Pan Party Wrap Up (Or Here’s Everything in One Place)

OK, this is it. The final Peter Pan Party post. The everything-in-one-place post. The you-never-have-to-hear-about-it-again post.

These Peter Pan Partygoers are eager to wrap this ish up.

See, I’m saving you from digging around my blog to piece together a Peter Pan Party the way I used to rummage through piles of black capris and halter tops on my floor in college just to find two matching Steve Madden platforms. (Note: I do NOT wear Maddens anymore. This is because I no longer think it’s acceptable to be hobbled by cheap footwear.)

Invitations
I used Paperless Post because I’m into saving the planet by saving some trees. And also because their designs are like the perfect storm of affordable and attractive.

Photo Courtesy of Paperless Post.

If you’re not into this design, here are a few more pirate-y options.

By the way, PP now offers a charity stamp option. They donate $0.05 to Amensty International, Red, or the ASPCA if you choose the charity stamp instead of the default option. Naturally, I went with the ASPCA puppy stamp. Since we had 142 people on our guest list, we bought a little bit of kibble for homeless pets just by inviting people to drink with us at our party.

Flowers
Here’s the work in progress post, complete with ordering info on the vases and sprinkles.
And this is the reveal.

Neverland Map
I explain how to age paper for a treasure map or Neverland map here.

Other Assorted Decorations
This is the decoration wrap up, complete with product ordering information.

Appetizers
Spicy Eggplant Dip
Truffle Popcorn

Taco Bar Main Course
Cola Carnitas
Slow Cooker Chicken (Note: I didn’t handle this part of the party, but if I had, I probably would have tried this recipe.)
Salsa
Salsa Verde

Dessert Bar
Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting
Banana Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
Glazed Lime Cake
Chocolate Stout Cake
Skull and Crossbones Sugar Cookies

And now… bacon wrapped meatloaf, because everything is better when it’s wrapped in bacon. Truth.