Be kind whenever possible...It is always possible...except when you have a 3 year-old, then just go insane.
Be kind whenever possible...It is always possible.
-The Dalai Lama
Thanks for the kind words gals and guy. I feel a bit more closure after watching the memorial service last night, it really helped.

Poor Connor, he is confused about Steve Irwin. "But Mommy he is not died, he is on the TV now! He's all better!"

In other news: Connor has been enjoying pre-school, he is now in his 3rd week. I LOVE pre-school, we get an early start to the day, I get to run errands and spend time with my baby girl, Connor has a good time and actually is happy to see me when I pick him up! Woohoo! He eats lunch there with the optional "lunch bunch" program so that is yet an additional hour and a half that I have to get things done. Sometimes he eats his lunch, sometimes he has to finish it when he gets home, the "Mommy Mommy I love you!" when I pick him up is so worth it.

Alanna is walking! She is walking and falling and walking some more. She enjoys frustrating me by pulling out her earrings and chucking them. We have gone through 4 pairs in the last few weeks. I just ordered some screw back earrings with a rounded back so they don't poke her. I hope they work!

I have been exercising regularly now for a month, pushing that double stroller all over base with my ipod at full blast to drown out Connor's yammering. Alanna thinks this is a great time to throw toys and her hat out of the stroller and make me backtrack all over the place. Oh to have a 14 month-old. I rememeber being frustrated with Connor over the same I just have new frustrations appropriate for a three year old: "Connor stop hitting your sister", Connor stop pushing your sister", Connor stop kicking your sister", Connor stop throwing the ball at your sister", Connor stop licking your sister"...and on and on...I guess life IS back to normal.
I feel like I am at the crossroads in my belief system. I have been a PETA supporter since I was 15 and have gone through several stages of activism. I am pretty laid back about it now, I don't preach to anyone unless they ask me about something. I don't wear my activism on my sleeve, I am too busy with the rest of my life. I really think that the best way to make other people change their habits for the better is to be a good role model. If they see that I can live a life without meat, leather and stuff and still be happy, then I am doing my job. I am not perfect in any sense of the word, but I do make an effort to make sure that my daily life choices reflect my innermost beliefs. Sometimes I totally fail and I suck. I am human.

That being said, I really am unsure about the best way to keep public awareness of compassion for animals strong and alive in the minds of the next generation. PETA takes the absolute stance that no animal should ever be in any spotlight:zoos, circuses, TV shows of any sort...I just don't know if I believe that. If we don't show people why they should care, they won't care. It is idealistic to think that all animals should be left in their own habitat at peace. Yes, we should! But the biggest threat that most endangered animals face is from human encroachment! So how do we stop this? We have to make the public care enough to want to save the animals and preserve their habitats. PETA seems to think that they can say "keep animals out of entertainment and they will all live happily ever after in thier forest homes", but that is not the real world.

Being a parent I see that having some animals serve as ambassadors sparks an interest in my children that I hope will never be extinguished. But the gray area comes on a case by case basis. Yes I would take my kids to Australia Zoo, from what I know they are working hard to save animals and promote conservation. No I would never take my kids to The National Zoo here in DC because of how many animals they have killed through mismanagement. No I would never take my children to a circus that featured animals, unless it would be to protest on the corner. Making elephants dance for our amusement can NEVER be justified.

I made the decision after much contemplation (and phone calls to whale specialists)to take Connor to SeaWorld this past April. I don't know if I would do it again. I was assured that they no longer take animals from the wild and that they are the best of the best when it comes to animal care, but to go and see a killer whale perform tricks is really sad in a way, much like the circus.

After I saw how PETA attacked Steve Irwin in the media yesterday I went right to the source and e-mailed Dan Mathews from PETA, the guy in the interview. It just so happens that I worked for him in his office at PETA when I was an intern there. After 3 rounds of e-mails with him begging him to to take a different approach, I came away from it feeling disheartened. I urged him to make statements like "while we didn't always agree with his tactics, his passion for animals was always clear" or even just a "no comment" but he wouldn't budge. I told him how sad it was that the animal rights movement is attacking members within the movement...dead ones at at that...instead of working to bring the grieving Irwin fans into the PETA fold. The MSNBC article COULD have been about "Hey if you liked the Crocodile Hunter come learn about what you can do to save animals", turning this percieved negative into a positive. This just disheartens me. For the first time I was really ashamed for my group. I will write to Ingrid Newkirk, the boss of PETA who I have met several times and let her know that I am saddened by the needless negativity they are generating.

Dan Mathews incidentally is like the main media dude who gets PETA's name in the papers and gets celebrities to endorse PETA. Before I met Jason I wanted to go and work for him. There goes my hero, crashing and burning.

Wow, I no longer walk the PETA party line. What am I now, a moderate? Am I not a left-winged tree hugger anymore? I am a mom, and a free-thinker. Long live the free-thinkers, there are so few of us in this world.

At the end of the day, argued Lawrence Downes in a New York Times appreciation, it was easy to parody Irwin's boisterous shtick. But "future environmentalists and conservationists have to come from somewhere, and if the energetic wonderment of the Crocodile Hunter has seeped into the brains of significant numbers of children - as it did that of Sean, who went trick-or-treating as Mr Irwin last year, who turned six with a crocodile cake, who wears khaki and boots and fills notebooks with meticulous drawings of reptiles - then Mr Irwin used his 44 years remarkably well.

From an article at The Age

No, I'm not any better yet. Thanks for asking.
I know, I know...he's just a guy on tv. But he was more than just a guy on tv, if you had ever read his website he posted all sorts of stuff on his conservation efforts. Had used his money to set aside pristine wilderness in many different countries to protect endangered species. He funded all sorts of efforts with the World Wildlife Fund to protect Tigers and Cheetahs from poachers. This man lived and breathed for animals. He put his money where his mouth was. He did more in his 44 years to make a difference in this world than 99.9% of us will. Sure his tactics were different, and he wore his heart on his sleeve. He got our attention and made us care about animals we normally wouldn't even want to see on tv.

For me Steve Irwin was the dictionary definition of the word passionate, to think of him as gone from this world is just so impossible. He was larger than life.

I had to get my feelings out, so I wrote a letter to Steve and a letter to Terri and her kids. The next thing I knew I was taking a picture of my kids holding a sign that says "Crocs Rule". I basically did a scrapbook page when I was done. I read about how the garden in front of The Discovery Channel's headquaters (1/2 hour away)was going to be renamed in honor of Steve Irwin, so I took the kids there this morning for a picnic. I left my dedication to him next to the sign for the garden. Connor wanted to tell every Discovery Channel employee "Crocs Rule", he had a blast. The people walking by had smiles for him. In our own small way, we were trying to carry on Steve's passion.

So I will never get to meet Steve Irwin like I had planned to one day, that really makes me sad. However, we WILL travel to Australia and swim the Great Barrier Reef when both kids are scuba certified. Hopefully we'll meet the Irwin family.

I am shocked, I am saddened. I am crying. I feel like a close member of my family has died.

We watch The Crocodile Hunter every night as we eat dinner. We have made plans to go to Australia to meet Steve Irwin and swim the Great Barrier Reef. I watched his lousy movie. I watched Croc Hunter marathons. I sent a fan e-mail to him once. I cried like a baby when I saw the episode about his dog dying.

It is so unfair. He was only 44 and had so much to give to the world. He was SO passionate about wildlife, even though he ran a zoo. He changed people's minds about crocodiles and made us care. He changed the face of animal tv because he was fun to watch.

Please tell me this is not true.

My family will miss you Steve Irwin. To have this much of an impact on us without ever even meeting us is quite an accomplishment. God bless you Terri, Bindi Sue and Bob.