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Monday, August 3, 2009

The Etiquette of the Twitter Retweet

I am a writer, graphic designer, and ranked by Google,MSN and Yahoo America's Favorite Love columnist I am engaged to Rick London a writer, cartoonist and brand designer, together, we own the seo and branding firm Pen And Ink Inc.

Although it is not an official Twitter function, one of the most important Twitter abbreviations is "RT" (retweet). These two letters represent the origin of every tweet ever copied and resent by another Twitter-user on Twitter each day. Recently new Twitter mobile access software has created an increase of tweets where the RT is missing and instead a (via @anyID) tag is found on the end of Tweets. This deviation from the classic RT can cause confusion and result in plagiarizing of tweeted messages. It is important to understand the one of the basic tenants of the retweet syntax to credit the original author, so that when it appears in a new network, other readers understand its origins.

The syntax of the proper retweet is simple. [RT][Original twitterer ID][Original tweet]; RT @JoyAndLife: @LeeHiller @ricklondon Yes, great poets knew this. We hope by speaking the Language of Love others will remember. The RT is recognition of an original tweeted message writer and the equivalent of copyright recognition. The RT also saves confusion over meaning and intention of sender in relation to recipient. Removing an ID and placing it after the Tweet can drastically alter the sender's intent.

One Twitter misleading scenario could look like this could lead to tragic consequences: @TheGroom sends the following Tweet; @TheGroom @TheBride Love you baby. Will meet later for wedding rehearsal can't wait to marry you. Another person sees this and decides to retweet in the "via" format. @BobJ @TheBride Love you baby. Will meet later for wedding rehearsal can't wait to marry you. (via @TheGroom). It now appears that @BobJ is going to meet and eventually marry the bride. A second retweet would totally remove the groom from the end of the tweet creating even more confusion. The correct RT form would have been, BobJ: RT @TheGroom @TheBride Love you baby. Will meet later for wedding rehearsal can't wait to marry you.

We often see quotes being used in tweets. On closer inspection you find the words of classic poets, political figures, authors and other high-profile people. However there are often quotes are created and tweeted by an individual who may or may not be considered a writer. @CindyQ tweets, @CindyQ "My life crunches like sneakers on eggshells". The words signed or not are her intellectual property. It does not matter that she is not a published author in the traditional sense. When she tweets she is self- publishing. This is her original quote, tagged or not, by not adding the RT with her Twitter ID it is plagiarism. Using any method other than a classic RT would violate her copyright. There are copyright attorneys who spend many hours each day on all social networks looking for this, and find it often. Usually it does not make it to court, a settlement is made between Twittering attorney and plagiarizing Twitterer.

What we tweet or retweet is indexed by Google, Yahoo, MSN etc. making it a permanent record outside Twitter. How each of us retweets can reinforce original writer's quotes or messages, or alter the meaning of information others are creating and search engines are indexing. Millions of us enjoy sharing the information we find daily on Twitter. Remember always to retweet others as you would have others retweet you.

Mastering Love From the Masters of Love

Rick London is a writer, cartoonist and brand designer. He is the founder of the world's only shoes featuring famous love quotes, Shoes That Amuse, and his offbeat cartoon Londons Times has been Google's #1 ranked since 2005.
He is engaged to the love advice columnist for the Herald de Paris, Lee Hiller, who is also an EzineArticles expert author. Together, they own the seo and branding firm PenAndInkInc. They are currently in development of a radio call-in talk show about love.

What is love? Love is one of those few nouns that expresses something intangible. In the case of romantic love it is something we feel with our significant other, but, still, it is intangible. It has no color, no flavor, and no texture, unlike a garment or dvd. The ancient masters and even current literary giants have taken a stab at describing what this mysterious noun means, and though many come close, still, until one has experienced real love, the words are only words that are interpretations written by masterful writers. Some of them may or may not have experienced love, even so we enjoy reading their words about love.

One of Dr. Seuss' most famous quotes is about love. He said, "When you are in Love you can't fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams." The great Sufi master and poet Rumi gave a caveat to others who were or are in observation of the lovers; Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absent-minded. Someone sober will worry about events going badly. Let the lover be." Obviously it was meant as a warning that this thing called love can be quite intoxicating and the person or persons in love should be left to their devices. In a way, Rumi is giving a fair warning to others. That those not in love should not show envy or try to interfere with the Lovers.

In many of Ralph Waldo Emerson's quotes he talks about love and those trying to interfere with it or drive wedges out of envy or hate. He is saying that nature (which he often capitalized with an "N" or in quotes ("Nature") is at one with God as are we (humans). So interference is based on ego, and, ego has never won over nature, because nature has God behind it. He doesn't come out and say this, he leaves it to the discretion of his readers, but it becomes a very clear thread in the theme of his famous quotes. It is almost a "Love conquers all" theme in that, how can it not? Love is simply a part of nature as is everything and everyone else; and only ego can try to interfere with it, and ego always loses in the end (if it is up against nature).

Ralph Waldo Emerson who was keenly aware of love and humanity's connection with nature and this is reflected in one of his more famous quotes. "Everything in nature contains all the power of nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff." Even given Emerson's brilliant observance of human behavior and fascinating theories of how the universe works, he had a childlike fascination with nature and it reflects in all his quotes regarding it. The theme of Emerson's famous nature quotes is that we, as human beings, are not separate from nature, and to develop a faith, one must first develop a love and/or devotion to (outer nature) such as trees, flowers, animals, etc. Nature imparts a very telling "secret"; we are a part of it. Even Voltaire echoed Emerson's sentiments about love with "Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination". Notice Voltaire, also capitalizes the "N" in Nature; as he considered it, like Emerson, one of God's greatest creation, if not the greatest, since it included the love of humans towards other humans.

I have now lived on planet earth a little over a half decade. Though I was taught many of these "famous love quotes" in my early days of college, they really meant nothing to me, as, I didn't think they pertained to me. I was still finding myself, as were many of my peers, and in that self-absorption of "finding oneself", there is not a lot of room for real love; but, plenty of room for ego. That is what I had and projected. Human ego is just a small blip on the radar screen that makes a lot of noise by talking the talk, but can't walk the walk because its shoes are missing.

Now at fifty five, I have been blessed to experience the give and take of real love with my finance Lee Hiller, who, like me, walked many similar paths in her early life in search of self and finally love. Ironically, we were both ready for real love at the same time; as we had almost simultaneously learned we were and are "at one with nature". We have discovered while finding love in each other so many friends, who we know are God's children (we'd always heard the term but it didn't make as much sense until we felt the connection; very much like a tree feels "at home in the forest"). Of course our love attracted a few naysayers, some in the form of "Life Coaches" others in the form of "Spiritual leaders", a few trying to drive wedges but it did not work; and, as Emerson and Voltaire said, "How could it, it was/is ego fighting God and/or Nature". Now, unlike the early years of college over thirty years ago; we love studying the great spiritual masters such as Emerson, Rumi, Voltaire and others. We were and are able to "test their theories" of human ego vs. God, and can our love withstand "the heat". It did and it does. Love is forever. Ego is but for a few days or weeks until Nature turns it into dust.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dreams plus action equals reality

I am a writer, graphic designer, and ranked by Google,MSN and Yahoo America's Favorite Love columnist I am engaged to Rick London a writer, cartoonist and brand designer, together, we own the seo and branding firm Pen And Ink Inc.

How often have you had a daydream about a future you wish you were having? What is the difference between that daydream and the life you are living? Fear of change often leaves us paralyzed and unable to move forward. Yet one step forward in to the unknown could result in the realization of our dreams. Our own inaction is the only thing holding us back from the life we desire. Taking action is the only way to move forward changing dreams into reality.

When I stepped onto the path of change it sent a ripple out that affected many people. I had been living in a cloud of confusion for nearly five years and I was afraid to be myself. One day I awakened to find I was not the woman I had once been. I no longer pursued the interests at the core of whom I really was. As time passed, the harsh circumstances locked me into a role that was destroying my soul. The day I wrote my first paragraph in ten years I felt free to be myself. As I typed each word it opened the cell door a bit more that I was locked behind. When I completed my new article I knew there was no going back and I must continue to grow and change..

Change is rarely easy and can cause those around you to feel you are abandoning them. They too, have become comfortable in their role and do not want anything to disturb their comfort zone. Change can be as simple as dressing differently or as complex as ending a long-term relationship. Many around you will believe as you move forward it will mean leaving them behind. To find your true self again this might be true.

Are you being true to yourself? Have you been conforming to the perception of you that others have created? Your dreams cannot and should not be dismissed. Take one hour each day to pursue your dream. Try it on and test the fit. See how it feels to actually live your dream. Does it make you happy? If yes, you must now decide, “Am I willing to make changes to continue on a new path?” .

There will be naysayers and those who will accuse you of making waves. Some of your family and friends may try to dissuade you from achieving your dream. They may not want you to be yourself for fear they will not know what their place will be in your life. It will take courage and commitment to live your dreams and to be the person that is best for you. Doing something that is only for you may be difficult in the beginning. Recognize that what you feel is real and valid. You are worthy of following your own dream.

Nearly nine months have passed since I began to see that to be myself I must change. I took many steps backward before I could begin to see the path I must follow. In being true to myself I am now engaged to Rick London, my love and my business partner in our new SEO and Branding Company Pen and Ink Inc. I publish a weekly Love advice Column in the “Insiders” section of The Herald de Paris ( and enjoy the status as “expert author” at Ezinearticles. Change is never easy but living my dreams is worth all the pain and every obstacle I had to endure to be myself.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Karen Maunu: Love Without Boundaries

I am a writer, graphic designer, and ranked by Google,MSN and Yahoo America's Favorite Love columnist I am engaged to Rick London a writer, cartoonist and brand designer, together, we own the seo and branding firm Pen And Ink Inc.

Karen’s love and passion for the children LWB helps can be felt in every conversation. She is a wife and mother who gave up a successful career in computer science to devote herself to her family. Karen Explains, “I went to school and majored in computer science, because I was good at it, but it wasn’t exceptionally meaningful to me. It was a job,” Karen says. She continues, “After our second child was born, I quit work to stay at home to be a mom it was the most wonderful thing that I could have ever done. I loved the time that I had with my children.”

Her decision to join LWB was in part influenced by a neighbor early in her life. “One of the events that touched me the most growing up was the family who lived across the street who adopted a child from Korea. Watching her adoption touched me deeply,” she added. She continued about her decision to adopt. “When the younger of first started kindergarten, I knew that I wasn’t ready to be done and the visions of adoption came back into my head. At first my husband said “no”. As I showed him photo after photo of waiting children, he relented.” She continued, “I researched many different countries, but for a number of reasons, we were drawn to China. We started our paperwork and a year later, we were in China receiving our beautiful 2 ½ year old daughter. It was the most incredible experience being in a conference room with 11 other families all receiving our children at the same time.” The Love for her husband radiates from her next statement. “While we were in China, my husband turned to me and said that this was the best thing that we had ever done and he would do it again.”

Karen took up her husband up on his offer to adopt once more and less than two years later they traveled back to China to adopt again. Unlike with their first daughter the orphanage where their second daughter had been raised was much closer and they were able visit. They were overwhelmed by all the lovely toddlers reaching up and wanting to be held and comforted. The image of all those children in need of a home stayed with Karen, “I often thought of those children left behind but knew that our family was done. How could I help?” she thought to herself.

Karen and her husband did not adopt again because she believed that there was more she could do in other ways as well. As she watched the Yahoo! list of parents adopting children from China she noticed a woman who had adopted a child a year earlier. Karen followed her blog and watch as she traveled back to China to visit her daughter’s orphanage. “It was hard not to see the parallels between hers and the experiences of Amy Eldridge.” Karen said, “Later that year, I saw that she had formed a nonprofit and soon learned her story. While visiting her daughter’s orphanage, she had seen a very blue baby dying of heart disease. When she asked when the baby would have his surgery, she was told that there was no money and he was going to die. Amy prayed and began to ask family, friends and adoption community for fund to save this baby. She was overwhelmed by the volume of donations and soon had enough to heal three children. Amy Formed Love Without Boundaries (LWB) an all volunteer charity that put children first. In 2009 gave LWB its highest rating of 4 Stars.

Karen made contact with the then medical director of LWB as he had a daughter from the same orphanage from where her first adopted daughter was born. He and Amy were arranging a clef healing trip to China but he had to cancel as he was about to adopt another child. Although Karen had the opportunity to travel to China with LWB, she decided not to go on this occasion. Karen explained, “Not going on this trip was the biggest regret I had ever made. I vowed afterwards to live without regrets and that I would try hard to go on the next trip.”

Soon another trip was being planned and Karen immediately became involved. “We planned a trip that was two weeks long, had 4 surgeons, two dentists, and we set up an operating room with recovery in an orphanage. I actually look back at that trip and think we were just crazy but it was the most amazing trip,” Karen beamed. She adds, “We had 75 volunteers, both with and without medical experience. We ran three shifts and by the end of the two weeks, 125 children were healed and we had done numerous dental exams. It was truly a remarkable time and there are many funny stories but it was so wonderful.”

In China Amy told Karen she was looking for a new medical director for Love Without Boundaries. Karen recounted their conversation, “Amy was busy with so many different projects and running most of the programs, but medical was the largest. I kept asking her, How could I? I was just a mom?”, but I kept hearing a voice in my head tell me, “Why can’t you?” In the back seat of a taxi, in Luoyang, Henan, I said yes.”

Karen began studying the information about all the special need children in their care. She surrounded herself with a team of doctors both in the USA and China. “I continued to form a support network of doctors both in and out of China that Amy had started, the experts that were needed to make sure that the children we helped received the very best care.”She adds, “With the help of wonderful people, we found the very best hospitals to use in China.” I always had the thought in the back of my head, “Would I send my own child to have surgery at this hospital?”

Karen also facilitated the creation of LWB’s special needs manual which has currently been translated into Chinese and Spanish. This valuable manual helps orphanage workers and the families that are considering a special needs child for adoption. This past spring during the reorganization of LWB Karen was promoted to associate assistant director. Karen now aids Amy Eldridge in seeking new ways to raise additional funds for LWB. “Amy and I have been working hard, submitting grants, researching social media, and looking at other funding opportunities. Karen says, “This new restructuring has allowed us this time and in the long run, hopefully more children’s lives can be saved.”

With the gracious assistance and support of the Chinese government, Love Without Boundaries has five programs that provide vital services to children in China. The Medical program allows LWB to help over 400 children each year by bringing them to the U.S. and Spain for surgery. It also sends surgical teams to China and donations are always needed to send more physicians. . LWB’s Foster Care has almost 300 children in more than 13 orphanages and foster families throughout China. They believe that the loving care of a foster care family allows orphaned children an opportunity to blossom and grow. Healing Homes include the Heartbridge Pediatric Healing Unit in Beijing that cares for children both pre and post surgery. LWB has two cleft healing homes one in Anhui and the other in Henan. These healing home provide vital care for the vulnerable orphans. The LWB Education program currently has 5 “Believe in Me Schools” located with the orphanages children unable to attend public school. Higher Education is providing funding for over 100 students to attend high school or college so they can be successful adults. The fifth program is orphanage assistance and it provides supplemental nutrition, clothing, coats, shoes, cloth diapers, cribs and beds, quilts, air conditioning and heating units, and incubators to over 54 orphanages.

During the 4 years while Karen ran the LWB Medical program she touched the lives of over 1000 children. She finally adds, “When I sat down and saw that number, I was humbled.” “I love being part of a worldwide group of volunteers that includes more than 150 people in 9 countries and 38 states, all working together to affect the lives of more than 1500 children a year.” She and the team of amazing volunteers who work selflessly for Love Without Boundaries are the angels that often pass us unrecognized each day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Social Networking: My Adventures on Twitter

I am a writer, graphic designer, and ranked by Google,MSN and Yahoo America's Favorite Love columnist I am engaged to Rick London a writer, cartoonist and brand designer, together, we own the seo and branding firm Pen And Ink Inc.

Would I have joined Twitter had I been warned it might occasionally be akin to a “cyber office water cooler” or worse high school with adults? The short answer would have been, “no, No, NO”! Followed up by, “Are you crazy? I work at home to avoid those situations”. I am however extremely thankful I did not receive this warning until long after I had become part of the social networking phenomenon called Twitter. The heartfelt truth is that I would have missed out on events and people that would change my life forever.

Why did I sign up for a Twitter account? Our local TV station’s current events show used it to promote audience interaction. After months of watching and dying to respond I finally gave in and opened a Twitter account (@thehillers) so I could participate. Day one I sat staring mesmerized as all the data rapidly passed with every update. Each of the 140 character tweets containing personal messages, links to blogs, photos, products, and news left me wanting more. It was a buffet of delicious information delivered in rapid tasty bite size morsels.

There was a daily excitement watching as the effect of each tweet I sent out with a closing of “Hugs & Love” resulted in an increase of my follower numbers. It became a ritual to click on tweets of people I thought were interesting and follow them in the hopes of being followed back. Soon I had 100, 200, 300 followers. At 500 I realized to keep from missing favorite tweets I would need Tweetdeck. Suddenly I had multiple columns of tweets streaming in front of me and like a director choosing characters for a film I sorted those I was following into manageable groups.

Was Twitter becoming a necessary part of my daily routine? “Oh Yes, I needed to meet more people so I could discuss humor, poetry, animal rights, humanitarian causes and patriotism”. Soon I was chatting daily with a variety of interesting people who were witty, loving and engaging. This amazing group of individuals began to feel more like a family and I looked forward to learning more about them.

An important moment can be missed in the blink of an eye online, especially in the accelerated micro-blogging world of Twitter. If I had blinked I would have missed a wildly funny infidelity cartoon posted by Rick London (@ricklondon). The illustration depicted a cockroach discovering a matchbook from the Roach Motel in her husband’s jacket. I knew he would have to be my next follow. Rick as it turned out was a master of the humorous Tweet and I looked forward to our daily exchange of puns & double entendres. From sushi to pens and Ink every night we tried to raise the level of repartee.

A single DM (direct message) sent by Rick asking me to retweet something would set in motion an incredible series of events. I clicked on the DM (direct message) to respond when I noticed his Twitter background was a “horrible gray”. Rick’s cartoons were fantastic and colorful so I included an offer to create a new background for him in my DM reply. He told me he had no idea which cartoons to use so I created a collage of my favorites from his website. When I contacted him 2 hours later Rick seemed surprised that I had actually followed through with my offer. The email to send the background led to phone calls as he was unable to upload it to Twitter. We spoke twice that day for an hour in an effort to ensure the layout was perfect.

I was perplexed next morning when an email arrived asking if he could call me immediately. That phone call lasted 3 hours and each day after that we spoke longer and later like old friends trying to catch up on each other’s lives. Our friendship grew daily while we were exchanging favorite poetry, telling jokes, writing and working on a plan for our new SEO article marketing business idea (Pen and Ink Inc.). One night while Rick was showing me how to publish an article we realized our friendship had blossomed into love. Not more than three weeks later was born. In cyberspace, “this thing called twitter”, we had built a foundation for love and a new business in which we have already gained clients; most of whom have come to us on Twitter.

Rick was already working on a grass roots campaign with his sister Kathy Ireland “Citizens For Dame Elizabeth Taylor For The Presidential Medal Of Freedom”. At the early stages, I was asked to join the Twitter campaign which filled the White House mailbox with Emails sent from (most likely) tens of thousands of fellow Twitterers within our networks and other networks connected to ours. Stories of it appeared worldwide from MSNBC to my article in the Herald de Paris (@Heralddeparis), both of whom use Twitter regularly.

Several weeks later we decide it was not good to hide our love for each other. Rick & I agreed it was time to bring our love out into the open on twitter so it would no longer be a secret we kept from our friends. Our love notes in open tweets felt so wonderful and filled my heart with joy each day. (These are verbatim actual tweets from Twitter) @ricklondon Waking up to your voice & hearing your love for me in your wit warmth & wisdom makes my soul sing I Love You, Your Lee xx00xx. @thehillers I can look at a sky full of shining stars and then your face, and in your face I see the whole universe. Love Your Rick @thehillers <---- There is beautiful & there is lovely. And then there is Lee = exquisite. @ricklondon Love is trembling happiness. ~ Kahlil Gibran - I Love You, Your Lee xx00xx. @thehillers Kahlil is singing 2 us baby. I love you. Ikea'nt wait 2 cu.

How could love provoke hostile behavior in others? At fifty-one the thought of going back to high school was not a thrilling construct. On Twitter it was worse as its adults that are playing the games of gossip and innuendo. Although 99.9% of close friends and acquaintances on Twitter were extremely happy for us the other 1% left me feeling betrayed with their vile words and deeds.

The detractors had a wide range of concerns about our relationship it was bad for us, bad for them, I would break his heart, he would break my heart and we can’t possibly be in love we needed to date others. Comments of displeasure of course were not expressed in open tweets to us. Their obsessive habits have included following our network of friends to gain access to sending DMs. Instead they tweet gossiped, sent DM’s to us, DM’s to others, left voice mail and sent emails professing their doing these things out of love for us. After weeks of a small group interfering and meddling in our relationship Rick’s Sister Kathy decided to act on her own plan.

To say our engagement was nothing as I imagined it might or would ever be is an understatement. As was our nightly pattern Rick and I were speaking on the phone while typing out our final tweets of the day. A single tweet caught my attention and I told Rick he might want to read what his sister had just tweeted me. After a brief silence Rick said to me, “Well, baby, as you know I was going to ask you anyway, but it's a nervous time in a man's life (to ask a woman to marry him), and it was a relief to have a third party (Kathy) do it for me. That's what sisters are for. Will you marry me”? My reply, “Yes”! I was engaged to my Rick the man who loves me and as deeply as I love him.

(These are verbatim actual tweets from Twitter) @thehillers Darling Lee...Will you be my sister in law? Sending love and prayers 2U. Angel...walking in light..8:19 PM Jun 19th from web in reply to thehillers. @kathyIreland Sis Lee says "YES!" & TY Sis 4 asking as it is a nervous thing ya know when a man asks. xx00Blessing Ur Bro & Sis In Law xx08:25 PM Jun 19th from web @kathyireland I would Love to be your Sister In Law Rick @ricklondon just asked on phone & I said Yes Love to You, Lee & Rick xx00xx8:27 PM Jun 19th from TweetDeck in reply to ADD @ to kathyireland. As Rick reminded me that night he communicates with his “Sis”, author/entrepreneur Kathy Ireland often. She already had knowledge that he had planned to ask me to marry him in July. We were both thrilled by her Tweet.

Are social networks like Twitter for you? This you will have to decide for yourself. I can only say you never know what you might be missing if you don’t try. My adventures in Twitterville have been blessed with true love, new family, new friends, great conversation and opportunities to help others. What could be better than that?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Amazing Dog Thor

Rick London Founded the Internet’s #1 ranked Offbeat Cartoon, Londons Times & numerous peripheral stores featuring Cartoon Collectibles

July, 1997 the hot, mugginess engulfed me as my rescue dog “Thor” my shadow and companion was wrapped neatly in a blanket. I had just started my very first online offbeat cartoons and funny gifts venture, and stopped immediately my daily creative routine. Thor was about twelve years old but was staring at the walls and not responding to my voice. He had been very active up until then. I got him to the veterinarian within ten minutes and the diagnosis was “some rare ailment that dogs that age often get similar to seizures and he must be put down”. I had been a dog lover and owner since age four. My intuition made me skeptical of the veterinarian’s conclusion instead I decided to keep Thor comfortable for a few days at home. Once Thor was resting I urgently began searching the Internet for alternative solutions and discovered Dr. Ian Billinghurst an Australian veterinarian.

It took two days to find Dr. Ian Billinghurst, an Australian holistic/but also allopathic (traditional western medicine) veterinarian surgeon who had written a controversial book titled “Give Your Dog A Bone”. It entailed a diet plan that was basically raw foods, bought at the grocery preferably organic. The special recipe contained lots of raw meaty bones and occasionally a blend of vegetables, raw burger, etc. in a blender. I discovered that raw organic tripe is one of the most perfect foods for domestic animals. The first time I fed Thor a raw chicken wing, I was mortified. I had heard all my life this was the surest way to kill a dog, but I was desperate. I could already see and feel his soul energy fading. Oddly enough, he immediately took to this new diet, after not eating at all or drinking very much water for three days. I switched his water to bottled and ordered herbal tinctures and live flash-glanced vitamins with live minerals as well. He was devouring these raw foods, from hamburger to raw chicken to broccoli to watermelon (and a blend of them all).

Slowly, very slowly, I could see him coming back to life. The biggest problem was the terrible odor and coloration of his stools and urine for the first month. Dr. Billinghurst warned me that would happen. The toxins of commercial pet food were leaving his system. One morning, about a month after beginning Thor on the B.A.R.F. (Bones And Raw Foods or Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods), Thor jumped on my bed, something he had never done prior to the diet. He was wagging his tail and ready to go out and play. He grabbed his leash and was ready for a walk. He didn't want a short walk but was willing to go with me my usual five miles. He kept up with me without even panting or having a shortness of breath. The vet had also advised me that in addition to the mystery disease, Thor also suffered from level two heart diseases. I started giving him the same herbs I was taking for my heart disease such as hawthorn berry and very hot cayenne tincture. I stopped all vaccinations as advised and bought homeopathic nosode vaccines ordered online from an only pet care service in California. His daily diet also consisted of fresh organic fruit and vegetables (and occasionally yogurt mixed in a blender. He loved it all and devoured every meal like a wolf in a hen house, whereas in the days of feeding him commercial dog food, even the best, he approached it with great disappointment and rarely finished a bowl (usually left it less than half-finished).

I later learned this shouldn't have been a surprise at all. According to Dr. Billinghurst and now other experts on the subject of B.A.R.F., dog’s digestive systems have not evolved very much from their earlier days, before domestication, when they were still wolves, just as cat's systems had not since they were lions. Thor's energy level kept growing and growing as did his wanting to be near me and play at every given chance, whereas he used to mostly lay around and sleep during his pre-barf days. Up until age twenty, he continued to greatly enjoy our walks, usually three to five miles. It was only when he was about twenty one, that his phase two heart disease changed to phase four, and I knew that was dangerous. It was only then, almost a decade since his last vet visit, except for checkups, that I was forced to also use allopathic medicines, such as Lasix for his heart. I did so very hesitantly, as I was aware this type medicine would eventually hurt his liver and kidneys, which of course it did. In his final year, he had several near-death experiences in which I rushed him to the vet. I was already resolved that if he were in any kind of discomfort, or his quality of life was compromised, I would sadly have my best friend put down. The vet insisted he would not put him down. After all Thor had made three major comebacks at age twenty-two which he considered nothing less than a miracle. After a final try of a “body flush”, I could tell he was “almost gone”. I asked the vet what to do. He said to take him home, there was still a chance. I knew there was not. I could see his life and soul fading from his eyes. I knew him too well. He had been by my side, by my desk at home where I work, for a decade. I said I would take him home but I ordered a bottle of morphine which I administered around the clock as I slept on the floor cradling him during his final night. I had to put the morphine pill down his throat and set my alarm clock for every three hours so as to wake up and give him another. On the 6 am alarm, I opened the bottle to give Thor his pill, but his soul had left his furry body. I looked down and saw there was no breathing. Any pain he may have experienced was now gone, but tears flooded from my eyes. I looked at his face carefully and he was still smiling. He always had a smile through life, and now it stayed with him in death. I will never forget his beautiful smile.

It was snowing heavily outside, icy, and it was hard to carry his almost forty pound body up the
hill. He had a favorite hill behind our home where he chased birds, squirrels, eagles, chipmunks, rabbits and every animal imaginable. I built a small casket for him and a headstone. I had a shovel in the other hand. I lay him down in the casket, and begin digging, first through the snow and ice and finally through the hard dirt until the hole was about four feet deep. I lay him in it, said a prayer, and filled it cold and shivering and still crying. I carefully placed the coffin in the ground and filled it up. I placed the headstone. It's epitaph read, “To Thor: A Special Dog Who Brought Only Joy & Happiness To All. Loved and missed more than he will ever know. Your best friend, Rick”.

A year and a half has passed since Thor's death. The grieving process took longer and was more intense than I had calculated lasting nearly six months. Friends were suggesting I go immediately to the shelter and adopt another. I could not do it then but now I know I will one day. It is after all what Thor would have wanted. I can only thank God, and thank Dr. Ian Billinghurst the Father of “The Raw Food Diet”, and Shirley’s Wellness Cafe, for giving Thor and I another beautiful ten years together. Although one veterinarian had decided it was time to “put Thor down”, it was, in reality, time for Thor to begin living. Thanks to the B.A.R.F. diet, Thor lived a long and healthy life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shoes That Amuse: Love on the Run

I am a writer, graphic designer, and ranked by Google,MSN and Yahoo America's Favorite Love columnist I am engaged to Rick London a writer, cartoonist and brand designer, together, we own the seo and branding firm Pen And Ink Inc.

Designer Rick London’s hip Keds “Champion” funky shoes series, allow you to proclaim your love by jumping in feet first. His savvy and yes sexy famous love quotes shoes for woman are the perfect romantic gift for any occasion. Rick carefully chooses from the great romantic poets and writers for the most powerful declarations of love. From Rumi to Emerson and Dickinson to Buddha every woman will be walking on cloud 9 in any of the over 100 unique design styles. They are the only footwear featuring famous love quotations made by any designer.

Speaking with Rick you can feel his passion for the subject of and belief in true love. “My inspiration for Shoes That Amuse began right before the summer of 2008. I was growing wary of relationship issues, and watching those around me whom I loved dearly walking away from relationships that I felt reparable.” Rick continues, “I purposely started associating with friends and couples who were in long-term marriages and relationships that were happy. So I began thinking about those in successful relationships. They didn't just talk the talk" they "Walked the Walk" of love. “

He has chosen a diverse selection of the most romantic poets, philosophers, politicians and writers throughout history. "And I will make thee beds of roses, and a thousand fragrant posies" (Marie Antoinette). "Come out of the circle of time, And into the circle of love" by the great poet Rumi. Aristotle’s "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies". One of Mother Theresa most famous love quotes "Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand". Classic Shakespeare "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely”. London imprints a graphic or photograph of the master who penned the quote on the top panel of each pair of shoes. He has also designed shoes with graphics and famous love quotations of Hemingway, Einstein, Gibran, Lao Tzu, F. Scott Fitzgerald, (and Zelda) and many others.

Rick London’s famous love quote shoe designs are on quality US manufactured Keds Shoes. The beautifully designed shoes come in 3 great styles the mini slip-on, the slip-on and lace-ups. The colorful panels and detailing make each pair the perfect fashion statement for any occasion. To complete the “Look of Love there are matching famous quotes bags and totes in 6 different styles and 8 color schemes.

On first glance on the most amazing feature of the shoes that amuse site might easily be missed. Every pair of shoes can be customized to the colors you want. Pick a poet with a quote you love then start designing. Color elements such as side quarters to insoles and stitching to binding can be changed to make any pair an original. The unique designs are the perfect gifts for lovers and can be an individual item or ordered in multiple as the perfect gift from a bride to her bridesmaids.

Share the love with a sweet pair of love quote shoes and a matching tote each original design is created to inspire the wearer by bringing great words of love into their life. When words fail you giving these will leave no doubt about how you feel about the recipient. As Rick says , "Why just talk about love when you can walk the walk in a pair of Shoes That Amuse, the world's only famous love quote shoes".