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How Could Anyone Not Love This Dog?

My baby girl doesn’t cry. And by “baby girl” I mean my basset hound Rosie. Yes, she howls when the phone rings and she’ll bark when she gets excited, but she rarely cries.

Rosie Bone

Sweet Rosie

Last week we were out for a walk and she walked through a patch of dirt and pebbles. She’s walked over this area many times before without any problems. Unbeknownst to us, a recent storm blew a bunch of dry stickers into the rocks and we didn’t realize it until she stepped in them. She didn’t make a sound, but picked up one of her back paws. It had at least five stickers in it. I removed them, and gently put her foot down on clear ground. I picked up each of paws and removed several stickers from each one. I pulled at least fifteen stickers out from her feet. She didn’t make a sound, not even when one of them drew blood. When her paws were sticker-free again, she looked up at me, turned around, and headed for home. She was done.

Rosie almost never cries when she’s in pain. She didn’t cry when she pulled a muscle in her leg. She didn’t cry when she had valley fever. She didn’t cry when she had tumors in her gums that had to be surgically removed. She didn’t cry when she got a bug bite between her toes that had swelled up bigger than a nickel. It makes me wonder what her life was like before I adopted her and if she learned not to cry because she was punished when she did or because no one cared.

I adopted Rosie from the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue a little over two years ago. She was four years old at the time. As the story was told to me, her first owner took good care of her. I have her AKC registration and her records that show she got a check-up every six months. Then something happen and he gave her away. Rosie ended up with someone who was neglectful for about six months. I don’t know all the details but I know by the time the Basset Rescue got her, one of her nails had grown so long it curled under her paw and was pushing into the pad of her foot. Her teeth were so bad she needed surgery.

Sleepy Rosie

Sleepy Rosie

How could anyone treat my baby girl so badly? How could her first owner never check on her? I can’t let her go to the kennel for more than a few days without checking on her. Rosie is one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. Even people who aren’t fond of dogs in general love her. All she wants is to be loved.

The other day I was getting Rosie’s dinner ready and I added a few bites of chicken to her kibble. She was sitting at my feet and I decided to see if she could catch a piece of chicken if I tossed it at her. I took a few steps back, got her attention, and gently lobbed a piece of chicken at her. Instead of trying to catch it, she cringed. It makes me sick to think that this reaction means that someone used to throw things at her.

I hope Rosie’s forgotten what her life used to be like.  I try not to think about what it used to be like, because it makes me sad and disgusted.  I just try to give her the best life I can from now on. Few things make me smile faster than seeing that tail wag.

New Kicks!

In my last post I talked about my latest running injury. Today, I’m going to share the culprit behind my pain – dead shoes.

Here’s what I’ve learned in my short life as a runner from the staff at Runner’s Den and the physical therapists at Endurance Rehab – running shoes have a lifespan of about 400-500 miles. If you run particularly hard on your feet, it’ll be shorter. If you live conditions that are hard on your shoes, like the desert, it’ll be shorter.  And the soles of a pair of running shoes will rot in about a year even if you never wear them.

Usually the tell-tale sign that I need new shoes is pain in the arch of my foot, but since I added SOLE insoles this year, my arches have held up really well and have been virtually pain free for months. When I started experiencing leg pain last month, my first thought wasn’t that my shoes had worn out, especially considering how fast it came on. With minimal improvement after 2 weeks of home treatment, I headed to Runner’s Den for their weekly injury clinic.

Matt from Endurance Rehab confirmed the inflammation in my leg and speculated that my shoes were dead. Something was letting my arch roll in when I ran which pulled on my soleus and my post-tibialis, which caused the inflammation and pain.

Nate at Runner’s Den confirmed that my shoes were dead. He popped out my insoles and easily bent them in half. Runner’s Den does a great job fitting people for shoes – they watch how you walk, talk about your specific needs, and make you run outside in every pair you try on. Nate noted that the wear pattern on my shoes looked really good so we probably had the right shoe for me. Even then, we tried on another type to confirm that we had the best shoe for my needs – the Asics GT-2000.

My New Shoes

My New Shoes – Asics GT-2000

When it comes to running shoes, function surpasses fashion. I don’t care what color my shoes are as long as they work. And Runner’s Den usually carries my shoes in only one color. Last time, they had the GT-2000 in black, purple, and a touch of yellow. This time they had it in white, hot pink, and neon yellow.

There is something about these white and hot pink shoes that make me smile.  They’re so happy. And I wanted to document how pretty they are because they won’t stay white for very long on my feet.

I think there was something more than the color of my new shoes that made me happy. Buying something usually does not make me giddy, but these shoes did. And I think it’s because these shoes embody hope for me. Running pain-free in these shoes keeps me dream of running the marathon next year alive. It was hard sitting out the 2014 race with injuries and now that I’m so close to getting back into the training groove, I didn’t want to be sidelined again.

I’m excited and optimistic about taking care of this injury and getting back to pounding pavement.

Old-School Icing Techniques for my Running Injury

I’m using this summer to get my legs ready to train for the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon – Arizona in January. Training will start in mid-September and I want to be comfortably running 18 miles a week by then.

A few weeks ago I did an easy 4-mile run. I felt good, until about 8 hours later when I felt a searing pain in my left post-tibialis (inner calf). It was the strangest thing. I figured I pushed a little too hard (even though it didn’t feel like I did) and I rested it for a few days – but the pain didn’t go away. I emailed my physical therapist who suggested ice and stretching. It was kind of hard to get my gel pack to mold to this part of my leg so I decided to go old school for this.

(My gymnastics family knows I much prefer the suck-it-up-ibuprofen-and-tape approach to injuries and if I’m icing something, it must really hurt. And in this case, I’m thinking about the long game. I’ll take care of myself now to be able to have the race I want in January.)

Ripped Cup

Ripped Cup

I opted to go back to using ice cups instead of gel packs. I learned about ice cups when I was a gymnast. It’s what my club used for the communal ice needs – mostly by the team kids who were there the most and got the most injuries. Ice cups are fairly simple to make – fill a disposable cup (styrofoam or high-quality paper) with water and freeze. My drug store only had styrofoam cups so I went with those. Their smallest package had 51 cups.

Double Cup

Double Cup

I ran into a small a problem right off the bat – the ice ripped through the bottom. I think what happened was the top (not being insulated by the cup) froze first and when the ice at bottom froze and expanded, had nowhere to go but down and out. Paper cups are less insulated by nature and may not have this problem as much – and probably freeze faster.

The solution: add a second cup before using.

Using an ice cup is simple: tear off the top edge of the cup and apply to the injured area is a smooth motion. It’s essentially a big ice cube and the cup protects your hand from getting cold and wet. It’s best to do this outside or with a thick towel folded several times beneath the area you’re icing because it drips a lot. As the ice melts, tear off more of the cup as needed.

Icing my Leg

Icing my Leg

My physical therapist friend reminded me to only do this for 5-7 minutes at a time to prevent frostbite. I’ve frostbitten myself several times over the years (I usually call it an ice burn) and those things hurt like hell.

I can usually get 2-3 ice jobs out of each ice cup so I’m going through about one a day. This makes me wonder how often my club had to make these when people were icing every day.  I’m on the road to recover and hope to be back pounding pavement in the next week.

Going old school with my injury treatment has supplied a nice trip down memory lane. In gymnastics, somebody is always hurt so it was a regular sight to see a team kid sitting the sidelines, moving an ice cup against their skin, with a paper towel soaking up the drips and little pile of styrofoam pieces next to them. Ah . . . fun times.

Finally! Funny Legal T-shirts that are Comfy to Wear

This is the first time I’ve found legal eagle t-shirts that aren’t cheap and itchy.

RP shirt2

Anyone who knows me knows I love t-shirts. My law firm even celebrates T-shirt Friday every week where I wear a t-shirt not matter what’s on my calendar. I love shirts that are witty, have beautiful artwork, or are affiliated with an event or cause that’s important to me.

There are lots of fun legal t-shirts out there. I thought it was hilarious when my lawyer friends told me that he and his buddies all wore t-shirts that said “Reasonable Person” to their bar exam.

Hal Cohen rocking his Reasonable Person shirt during a study break

Hal Cohen rocking his Reasonable Person shirt during a study break

(For those of you who aren’t legal eagles, like the unicorn, the Reasonable Person doesn’t exist. It’s a fictitious person who acts in a reasonable manner in every situation. In many cases, the court compares what a person actually did to what the Reasonable Person would have done under similar circumstances to determine if the person should be held responsible for causing harm.)

Unfortunately, most legal t-shirt aren’t worth buying because they’re cheaply made, uncomfortable to wear, and horribly overpriced. I have seen or can think of at least six legal t-shirts that I would wear if I could find them. I’m contemplating having a shirt made with a quote from my Administrative Law professor: “Most of law is totally flawed.  Just go with it.

Posita shirt2Thankfully, Brand X in Tempe has stepped in to fill the void.  They recently created their own version of the “Reasonable Person” t-shirt. I love Brand X. They make all the shirts for Ignite Phoenix and they’ve made at least eight custom shirts for me, including my “Life is Blog Material” shirt and my “GeekLawFirm.com” shirts. Their base shirt is super soft and the quality of their work is top-notch. I’m so glad someone is making shirts for legal eagles that I can wear. I may have to ask them to make some more legal eagle shirts for me for some of my upcoming projects.

At the request of one of my patent-enthusiast friends, they’ve also made a “Person of Ordinary Skill in the Art” shirt. (And yes, you can buy both shirts online and have them shipped to you if you want.)

For full disclosure: I am not a paid spokesperson for Brand X. I receive no financial benefit from either of these shirts. I just love Brand X, and I want people to know that there are high quality legal t-shirts available so we don’t have to settle for the crappy ones anymore.  

 

You Know There’s A Story Behind This

A Sign in my Neighborhood

A Sign in my Neighborhood

I took this photo while I was walking my dog, Rosie.

Every time I see this sign I can’t help but grin.

I bet the original sign said, “Animal Waste Must Be Removed By Pet Owner” and then someone got out of a pooper-scooper ticket by proving that they weren’t the owner, just merely the dog walker.

Independents Week 2014 – Who’s In?

I’m excited for Independents Week next week (6/29 – 7/6) and I hope you are too. This is the week where you’re encouraged to spending your money locally. When you spend locally, more of your money stays in the community compared to when you shop at big box stores – a lot more. I participated last year and had an awesome time shopping at some of my favorite businesses in the valley and trying out some new ones too.

Independents Week is also Golden Coupon week. Members of Local First Arizona will be offering 20% discounts when you shop with a Golden Coupon. (See their site for details and limitations.) Over 260 businesses all over the state are participating. It’s a great reason to try a new place in your neighborhood.

Golden Coupon 2014

These are some of the places in metro Phoenix that I’m excited to see are participating. I’m sticking to Phoenix area places because, well, I live here.

  • Arizona Fun Services – where my partner-in-crime and I got our root suits
  • Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange
  • Brand X Custom T-shirts – makes all my custom t-shirts and running shirts
  • Changing Hands Bookstore
  • Nobel Beast – great pet supply shop
  • Practical Art on Central – I’ve never been here but it looks interesting
  • Phoenix Art Museum
  • Write Ons – where I get all my greeting cards
  • Zia Records

If you’re looking for a new place to eat, there are awesome restaurants that are accepting the Golden Coupon, including:

  • Duck and Decanter
  • Fez
  • Scramble
  • Sun Up Brewing
  • The Dhaba
  • The Refuge

Some of you might be asking, “How does being a minimalist comport with Independents Week?” To me, being a minimalist means I try to only buy things that add value to my life. I still need to buy things. I think Independents Week is a great reason to pop into places you wouldn’t ordinarily visit to get to know them. (It’s important to me to spend my money locally when I can.) These places might have things that would add value to my life – now or in the future. There’s no pressure to buy anything this week, but if I do, I get a nice discount.

If you do participate in the Local First Independents Week Golden Coupon program, you’re eligible to enter to win a staycation in Flagstaff. Why am I telling you that? Shop with the Golden Coupon but don’t enter the contest. You’ll be hurting my chances of winning.

Happy Independents Week! Who’s in?

Gender Inequality Under the Arizona Decency Law

It’s officially summer in Arizona . . . and it’s hot. (Yeah yeah yeah I live in a desert. Suck it up.) I got home from work one day recently and when I changed out of my work clothes, I threw on a pair of workout shorts and that’s it – no shirt, no sports bra, nothing from the waist up. I’ve been known to hang around my home dressed like that. It’s not sexual, it’s just comfortable.

2013 Go Topless Day Protest with Evo Terra. Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission.

2013 Go Topless Day Protest with Evo Terra. Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission.

Then I realized I needed to walk down the street to get the snail mail so I had to put a shirt on. That got me thinking, “I wouldn’t care if my male neighbor got his mail in just a pair of shorts, but if I did that, I’d be breaking the law. What’s the difference?”

How can we say that men and women are equal when the law clearly treats us differently? It’s only an issue if we make it an issue. I’ve heard of cities where it’s legal to be naked in public and it’s a novelty for the high school kids to sit in the park in their birthday suits but otherwise no one cares.

I’ve had guy friends try to explain that women’s chests are more sexual than men and I don’t buy that. I think that guys may be more visually stimulated than women, but that sounds more like their issue than mine. In my experience, if someone is turned on by a body part, it really doesn’t matter if there’s a layer of fabric over it. They’re still going to look (though some of you need to learn to be more discrete about it).

And I don’t buy the argument that a woman’s breasts are more sexual than a man’s chest. I know lots of guys who get uber turned on if you touch their nipples. And given how big some guys’ man boobs are, you can’t say that women’s boobs should be covered up because they’re bigger.

What are we telling girls about their bodies by having different laws for men and women? I’m concerned that this law teaches girls that they should be ashamed of their bodies and tells heterosexual and bisexual boys that it’s ok to treat women like sex objects. Are we telling girls that showing your body could result in people not being able to control themselves? I think we’ve long established that no one has a right to touch or harass you regardless of what you’re wearing.

When I posted the question about gender inequality on Facebook, a friend responded that women going topless would result in traffic problems. And that pissed me off. What happened to personal responsibility? If you get too distracted by pedestrians to safely operate a vehicle, you shouldn’t drive. We had the same questions come up with the No Pants Light Rail Ride. If we are lawfully standing on the platform in our underwear, and someone causes an accident because they were looking at us instead of where they were going, that’s not our fault.

I know we have bigger legislative fish to fry in Arizona than changing the Decency Law, but gender equality should be a priority. It will be an important milestone, more important than most people realize, when we treat men and women’s bodies equally and with the same level of autonomy and respect.

There is an International Go Topless Day every August to bring attention to this issue. My friend and I participated last year and I did a video rant about the news coverage of the event.

Preventing Skin Cancer with Vanity

These are my friends - real photo from my medicine cabinet

These are my friends – real photo from my medicine cabinet

I had an appointment with my doctor a few weeks ago – nothing serious, just my annual exam and blood work. He took one look at my pasty pale skin and remarked that we didn’t need to have the discussion about the importance of sunblock.

He went on to share how when he talks to patients who aren’t as diligent about protecting themselves from the sun, he doesn’t tell them about the dangers of skin cancer. He said he tells them that the sun in aging them prematurely and making them look older than their true age.

Life lesson: Vanity works.

(BTW: I firmly believe that sunblock and moisturizer are why I can still pass as 22.)

Getting Out of Dodge with Rosie

I won a night at the Sedona Rouge during Independents Week last year. The gift certificate expired in July 2014 so I had to use-it-or-lose-it. They’re a dog-friendly hotel so I booked a room for Rosie and I during mid-week last week to get away from the heat for a few hours.

Sedona Rouge

Sedona Rouge – Sedona, AZ

At first I was thinking, “Why am I doing this? We’re not even going to be gone for 24 hours. There’s so much I could be getting done if I just stay here instead of packing up the pup and me, driving 2 hours to Sedona, just to drive back the next day.” I’m so glad I ignore this voice in my head. We had an awesome time and it provided a much needed break from the daily grind.

The staff was so nice to Rosie and me. Rosie is an experienced traveler and I packed her box of bowls, food, and toys plus her bedding. Her stuff took up a lot more room in the trunk than my overnight bag and backpack. I thought it was very sweet when we got to our room and saw that the staff had put out dog bowls and a bed for Rosie.

Dog Bed and Bowls

Sorry About the Poor Quality

I could tell they’re used to having canine guests that are smaller than Miss Rosie and evidenced by the size of the dog bed. But that didn’t stop her from using it.

Rosie on the Dog Bed Nex t to her Real Bed

Rosie on the Dog Bed Next to her Regular Bed

Rosie and I had a great time at the Sedona Rouge. We took a self-guided tour through the Column Garden and the pool area. All the guests who saw her gushed over her. I spent most of this trip reading Jason SurfrApp’s book, Creativity for Sale. It’s hard to make reading a priority at home. I found a comfortable seat in the courtyard, looped Rosie leash through one of the legs of the chair, and enjoyed Jason’s book while a gentle breeze blew through my hair. It’s a really good book – my brain is buzzing with ideas about my future professional endeavors. I really wish I didn’t need sleep or work/life balance so I could spend more time working on them.

Rosie in the Column Garden

Rosie in the Column Garden

In the evening, I trooped to the pool area to do some writing before taking a soak in the hot tub. I do a 2-day personal/professional retreat every December, and this trip gave me a chance to check in on how things are going so far this year. Rosie snuggled up in the chaise next to mine.  She was so cute but it was too dark to get a picture so we had to recreate the shot the next morning.

Poolside Rosie

Poolside Rosie

We spent less than 24 hours in Sedona. The next morning we got up early, got a walk for her, a run for me, and breakfast for both of us before heading back to Phoenix. Even though it was a short trip, it was a good reminder of how important it is to occasionally get away to reflect and recharge.

I really enjoyed my time up north. I’ve been thinking about my next book and this trip made me consider the possibility of taking a month away just to write instead of working writing into my daily routine as I’ve done with my other books . . . definitely something to think about.

Paying It Forward to an Aspiring Flash Mob Organizer

This past Friday night, I was sitting at home watching a movie when my phone chimed with a new email. It was from a fifteen year-old girl in Ohio. She wanted to do a flash mob in response to violence in her community. She’d never done anything like this before and she wanted some help.

I was quite impressed by her email. It was so sweet that she was trying hard to be respectful. You could tell she put some time and effort into writing this. She started it with “Dear Ms. Ruth Carter…” and closed with “Sincerely” and her full name. She was upfront about her age and that she couldn’t afford to hire me. She said that she and her friends wanted to do a flash mob to “get the young adults in my city to do something fun and to stop the violence” but they didn’t want to cause any trouble because “the city legal justice system has enough to deal with.” And she thanked me for my time even if I couldn’t help.

Listen by Johan Larsson from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Listen by Johan Larsson from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Her message came in around 8pm my time, so that means it was 11pm her time. What 15 year-old sends thoughtful emails to a lawyer late on a Friday night? I was inspired to help her. I scooped up my phone and responded with, “Give me a call. Right now. I’ll give you some tips,” and I included my personal cell phone number.

I’m sure she didn’t expect that.

I’ve had a few moments in my life where I’ve sent an email and received the “Give me a call right now” response. And those messages usually get my heart racing because there’s no time to prepare for the conversation.

About ten minutes later, my phone rang. I walked around the house for about twenty minutes, sharing stories from my flash mob experiences and how I approach planning events with this young lady. (I tend to pace when I’m excited or nervous. It helps get my creative juices flowing too.) I suggested that her group look at their ideas from an outsider’s perspective and think about what they might be doing wrong and what they might be accused of doing wrong. We talked about deciding when to ask for permission vs when to ask for forgiveness. I shared with her my experiences with getting in trouble with mall cops and why malls are generally a bad location for flash mobs. We also talked about who she could partner with and I was pleased to hear that she has contacts in her police department who can advise her.

At one point in the conversation, she called me “ma’am.” I was amused that she was being so respectful. I bet it is intimidating to be fifteen and talking with a lawyer who is almost twenty years her senior. I totally get it even though I thought it was funny. When I was fifteen, every adult except my gymnastics coaches were “Mr.” or “Mrs.” plus their last name. To this day, there are some adults who I still address as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” I giggled and told her to call me “Ruth.”

It felt really good to pay it forward to this young lady. So many people have been exceptionally generous with their time and knowledge when I was young and it’s nice to be able to do the same for someone else. I told her to keep me in the loop and to let me know how her flash mob goes. It sounds like her heart is in the right place so I hope she can pull it off.