I mentioned in a recent post that one of my happy places is the Peace River Wildlife Center where I volunteer on the weekend as a tour guide. I love that I get to be around beautiful animals but cannot be tempted to bring them home with me because well, it’s illegal to have wildlife in your home as a pet. And if you’ve taken a look at The Herd page, well, you know I really don’t have room for more!! Nor can I afford to take care of any more!
PRWC is a small wildlife rehab center and sanctuary that does amazing work for the budget that it has. It is run on private donations and most of the folks that greet visitors are volunteers such as myself but there are some paid staff such as the wildlife rehabilitator and techs and an office manager/volunteer coordinator/she of many hats! I find that as I am learning more about the animals and the organization, my time at PRWC is becoming more and more important to me each week. I truly look forward to the hours I spend there, and have now joined their outreach team. (The photos below that were taken with humans around were from an outreach event about a week ago.)
If you’d like to help PRWC’s cause (or any one of a number non-profits like them), then when you shop on Amazon, go instead to Amazon Smile and pick the charitable organization of your choice. At no extra cost to you, that charity will get a small percentage of the cost of your items donated to them. It may only be pennies at a time but over time, believe me, it can add up.
Down here in Florida, I am fortunate to see a lot of wildlife so I am sharing some in this post that I have seen since I’ve moved here along with some photos of ambassador animals from PRWC. The ambassadors go to outreach events to let people know about the center and serve as great sources of education and inspiration for anyone who is able to see them up close.
By the way, these brown pelicans shown below were waiting for a fisherman who was cleaning off some fish, to throw them scraps. PSA: fisherman should not throw them parts of fish. If there are any bones sticking out, it can really do a number on ripping up their throat when they eat it. It’s best for a pelican to eat a fish whole.
So that’s it for this post. I plan on adding more information to the Animal Rights and Welfare Groups page and have some thoughts about adding an Educational Resources/Tools page to this blog. (You really can take the girl out of the library but not the library out of the girl.) Let me know what you think about that, and I hope that you enjoy these photos and the little bits of information I was able to share!
Oh, I wish I was talking about me!! Today is Wednesday. Hump Day. So, I thought you might like an overdose of cuteness to get you through the day. You can thank The Herd, aka the laziest supervisors ever, for their willingness to work so hard at sleeping and relaxing. It’s a hard job but someone has to do it, right?
I’ve been wanting to write for the past couple days and this is a faster one to get up here for you to remind you that no, I’m not dead. 🙂 My hardest decision about this post is which picture to make as The Designated Picture!
So without further adieu, here are some photos of The Herd, doing what they do best, other than pooping and eating. (And yes, Steel, the German Shepherd, who is an honorary member of the Herd until May 2020, when his dad (my roommate) and I will go our separate ways, has even joined in on the fun.) Many were taken from my office. While I slave away to make enough money to put food in their bowls on the floor (dogs) or on the dresser (cats, in order to keep it away from the dogs), they all work soooo hard. #notesarcasm
But yes….they really are my reason for existing and for living.
What is your reason for living and for working so hard? Drop me a comment below and share, if you can, pictures of your babies!!
Once again, many moons or months have passed since my last post. I’ve started quite a few since then, only to never finish them. I start writing and then I think, who even cares to read my drivel anymore? And is there anyone even out there still reading anything I write? It’s not like I’ve been consistent lately. (Understatement of the year.)
Since I’ve been doing transcription full-time, it is hard for me to rationalize writing on here and then typing about 70 pages a day. I know I should start the writing before the transcribing, because sometimes my fingers literally hurt at the end of the day. So maybe write posts on the days that I am mainly just audio proofing and therefore not typing so much? Anyway, it’s hard to believe I’ve been self-employed now for over a year. 15 months as of February to be exact.
Well, The Herd has grown by one since my last writing. Her name is Babs and she is a gorgeous calico cat whose previous fur mom died. Her human sister and I had a mutual friend who posted her picture and story on Facebook and one thing led to another. And well, Babs traveled across the country from LA to Jacksonville, Florida, where I picked her up and drove her back down to the Ft. Myers area. You know how I love my senior furballs.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am looking to move in May sometime as our lease is up at the end of that month. Thinking very seriously about the St. Pete/Clearwater area and its environs. Cheaper to live, more liberal and more people around my age. Down here there are a lot of 20-somethings and then there are a bunch of much older folks, like those who have been able to retire and live off of their savings or pensions or what have you. Really hard to make friends when you work at home and aren’t into the bar scene. I do volunteer at a wildlife center on the weekends when I am in town and I love it. But it’s not really a great way to make lasting friends since the volunteers change a lot on the weekends.
I have been dating someone now for the past few months. Yay! He’s about 5 yrs older than me and is very positive with his mindset. Also into fitness. Another yay! He lives north of Orlando. Boo! But he has two sons in the St. Pete/Clearwater area, so many times we meet halfway for both of us, around St. Pete. Or, I go up his way for a weekend, since I can take my work with me and he usually works 6 days a week due to staff shortages. (He works as a fitness director.) Oh, and he’s liberally minded and open to eating vegan or vegetarian food when he’s with me. Yay! Neither one of us makes a lot of money so it’s good that we like to spend time in parks, going for walks/visiting the beach, etc. We plan to go indoor rock climbing together in Tampa the next time we are up there.
The finances — eh, they’re there. Still working on improving them and increasing my income. Working with several different companies is helping in that I never have a shortage of work. I also learn about different types of proceedings and how they need to be transcribed, as well as from different jurisdictions. I won’t bore you with the details, but it does make my work more interesting as well.
So that’s about all that has changed. I have realized that being a nomad is just too difficult when you have as many furballs as me. I can’t afford nor would I want to drive around a huge Class A at this point. A Class C might work, but I would always be terrified about any of them getting out or being unhappy, and that is no way to live. Plus, living the RV life isn’t always that cheap, and I really do love being near the water. Even if you live somewhere inland like where my boyfriend lives, you are still just an hour away from a huge body of water like the Atlantic. To do the RV thing more cheaply means you live in the desert southwest or where there is a lot of BLM land, and I really need the greenery that I have around me here. I have come to realize that. I do miss the wide open spaces of the southwest though.
There are always compromises, aren’t there?
Anyway, I wanted to write this post while I had the ambition to do so, and while my hands weren’t hurting from typing 15-20,000 words in a day. Yes, you read that right. Not a typo.
Thank you to Dawn from Change is Hard for inspiring me to write this evening, after dropping a comment on my blog letting me know she was thinking about me. I admire her ability to blog so consistently. And if you haven’t read her blog or seen her pictures, well, you’re really missing something.
Again, I do want to write more. It’s just hard when you feel like you don’t have much to say, or you do feel like you have something to say but feel the need to earn an income for your furballs and put a bowl of food on the floor for them. Life, right? I’m not complaining. I love working from home and watching my babies sleep (seemingly all day, lol.)
Sooo much sleeping goes on during the day here. Sometimes I even join them. It cracks me up to go lay down on my bed and then hear the pitter patter of little feet as they wake up from their naps, only to realize that Mom has moved. So they pick their bodies up, stretch, and then come in and lay back down next to me. Sometimes, the bed is very crowded… LOL.
Anyway, I feel like I sound like a broken record when I say that I am sorry for the long lengths of time between posts. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. At least some of the photos were cute, right?
I got a text message from my friend Heather back in ABQ yesterday, saying “Terri, we miss your blog!” And I wrote her back saying I did too. I have missed writing here. So, I am back. I’m not sure how often I will write in the future – I was writing twice a week at one point, maybe once a week is more realistic. That will be my goal anyway.
As with all big changes in life, there has been a bit of an adjustment period, and it’s still ongoing now. The drive from ABQ to southwest Florida took 4 days and 3 nights. There is a limit as to how many hours I can drive in a day, and how many hours my cats could stay in their carriers before we would all collectively start to lose it.
I have started numerous drafts over the past three months, always intending to finish them, but something else came up, or I just wasn’t “feeling” like the post was really “me.” I need to stop always searching for the perfect words, or the perfect tone, and just put it out there.
It was freeing to move with only what I could fit into my car and the car-top carrier. I miss Morgan though, a whole lot. I know she is happy with my old roommate, and he sends me pictures of her. She is getting along better with other dogs, and his new living situation includes another dog and they have become best friends. I am glad to hear all that, and I know she wouldn’t be happy here in this small apartment, but still, I miss her and all of her goofiness.
I see pictures that friends post of ABQ, and I remember how beautiful the surrounding areas were. I see pictures friends have posted of Lake Powell and the awe-dropping, inspiring beauty of the expansive vistas in that part of Arizona and Utah. I miss those scenes but I think back and remember how when I was living there, I just didn’t feel completely like I belonged there. So, I remind myself, I can always visit.
I have been busy doing lots of side transcription jobs, partly out of necessity. It’s expensive to live in this part of Florida. Just a few miles away from me, there is a Bentley dealership. Right next to the Maserati dealership. Yes, you heard me right. A Maserati dealership. On my way to work, I pass by the Porsche dealership. There are lots of people in this town with LOTS of money. Many are retired.
Food is more expensive here, for sure. But some things are free, or close to free. I have an annual pass to the state parks, and once I change my license and tags over to Florida, I will be able to get a free beach parking permit. (Until then, I pay for the meters close to the beaches, but since the sun is so strong, I only go for a couple hours at a time anyway, and even then, I seek out shade whenever possible.)
My credit card balance has risen more than I would like it to have. That’s another reason for the extra transcription jobs. At some times, I feel hopeless about getting them back to zero. But I remind myself that they were before, I can do it again. It will just take hard work and discipline. But then there is that little voice in my brain that reminds me, I can’t live to work. It’s better to just live, so sometimes on my days off, I push the work aside and go to the beach or just take time off to hold Snuggles in my lap and love on him, or do the same with my kitties. Because I can’t control the future. No one can, and I don’t want to spend every moment of every day working. If something were to happen to me and today were to be my last, I don’t want my epitaph to say, “Well, she worked really hard.”
You may be wondering if I am going to continue school. For this fall semester at least, no. I need time to really adjust to my new life here, and I honestly don’t think I can stomach taking out more student loans. I have read through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and think I may actually qualify. (I think I misread some of the details in the past.) So, I’m in the process of filling out the paperwork and figuring out how to contact my past non-profit employers such as Harvard and Best Friends so I can determine how many payments I have made toward that 120 payment requirement since 2007. (Payments made during times of forbearance or deferment don’t count.) I believe my present employer also qualifies. Pray for me that my federal loan nightmare will end soon!!!
I promise to not wait another three months before posting again, I really do. And for those of you whose blogs I have subscribed to through email, I’ve been getting the updates and reading them. Sorry for not commenting. Just, some nights, I have been so exhausted when I get home, I fall asleep on the couch, wake up around midnight, take Snuggles out, and then crash into bed for the next few hours. (Oh and my couch was free, as was a lot of the stuff you see in my new apartment, thanks to some very generous folks.)
I know it’s all a matter of balance. I just have to continue looking for it. Thanks for your patience, if you’re still a faithful reader. I do appreciate the support.
My last day at work will be May 15th, and my plan is to start driving eastward on May 17th. I am so excited to be near a large body of water again, you have no idea!
I won’t keep you in suspense — I am going to be working at a humane society in southern Florida, on the Gulf side, or as they call it there, the “West Coast.” I’m going to be providing animal care to the animals directly, which includes bunnies!! I am also going to be working in adoption, which I have really missed doing since my time with the Animal Rescue League of Boston when I volunteered in cat adoption.
No, I don’t have experience living through hurricanes, but I’ve seen my fair share of blizzards, and well, at least you don’t have to shovel rain. 🙂
Why move back east? Well, I have now fulfilled a bucket list item of mine, which is to have lived in the west. I used to think I had to live on the west coast, California, to be exact. That didn’t happen but I have lived in the southwest now for just under three years. The landscapes out here are amazing. Such a feeling of openness. I have met some AMAZING people everywhere I have lived in the past three years, people that I will always call my friends, and thanks to Facebook, I can keep up with them and what’s happening in their lives.
Living in the desert or very arid climates takes some getting used to. I have found I really miss cloudy days and days of rain, because you appreciate the good weather days all the more. I also really miss green.It’s part of the reason why I have tried to go to the Bosque so often while living in ABQ. The woods reminded me of back east. And of course, there was the Rio Grande, the only large body of water around.
School is finishing up over the next few weeks, and there is no shortage of transcribing work, so I’ve had some long days over the past few weeks. While the new humane society is giving me a stipend to move, I won’t get it until I receive my first paycheck, so I’ve been trying to save as much as I can, and work as much as I can right now. The animal hospital is quite busy (it’s parvo season in an area of the country where it doesn’t get cold enough for that nasty virus to freeze and die.)
Once again, I plan on moving with just my car and the car top carrier. While you look online and see smart cars towing trailers, etc., they’re really not meant for that. A Mazda2, technically speaking, could have a trailer put on it, but I don’t want to pay for a hitch and trailer and then have something happen to my car as a result. While it is a stick shift, it’s a 4-cylinder car and you can tell when it’s loaded down with possessions or lots of people. It slows down. And nothing I own really has much monetary value. My most important items I want to move with are my pets and the urns from my pets who have already gone to heaven. And pictures of my grandmother.
Morgan is going to stay with my roommate, who she adores. When he’s around, I cease to have so much importance in her life, and she follows him around like, well, a lovesick puppy. It’s actually very sweet to see. And he clearly loves her. I know it’s for the best where she is concerned — he can give her so much more attention than I can. And they are calming influences on each other, but still I’m going to really miss her.
So it will be me and the cats and Snuggles making the 4 to 5 day trip. I suspect Snuggles will spend most of the trip on my lap as Osito did a few years ago. (Now if only he didn’t weigh about four times as much as she did!)
I’m excited at the idea of living in the same state again as my best friend and her husband, my “movie theatre husband.” 🙂 In August, they are moving to the eastern side of Florida but will only be about 120 miles away from me. An easy drive!
I’m excited to start fresh again. To purge what I don’t need and move with only the essentials. I suspect all my sweaters will not be making the trip with me, as will many other items.
So, I will do my best to keep blogging over the next few weeks, but during the move, I suspect this blog will stay pretty quiet. Driving by myself, I can only handle 400 miles a day or so. Anything more, and I start to get very sleepy while driving and that’s not safe. I’ve built in a cushion of time for me to arrive in Florida and get what little furniture I need from neighboring thrift stores.
In case you are wondering, the photos above are from one of the beaches only a few miles from where I will be living. On the day I was there, the water temperature was like bath water. 🙂
More updates to come! Until then, thanks, as always, for reading!
In case you didn’t know, I was out of town for about 11 days, from March 1st to the 11th. Went to Boston for my dad’s memorial on March 3, and then went to Florida for a conference and to spend some time there on my own. Since returning home, I’ve been pretty busy!!
I LOVED Florida!! I met a lot of really nice people (one guy even gave me a big piece of finger coral which I now have sitting on my desk to remind me of my time there.) I visited two animal sanctuaries while I was there and individual posts will be forthcoming about those. One was Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda, Florida (Gulf Coast side), and the other was Journey’s End Animal Sanctuary in Deland, Florida (Atlantic Coast side). I met friends in Sarasota who I first met online via Twitter so many years ago! They were super supportive to me during my going through a divorce, so it was so nice to finally meet them and give them big hugs, and meet their kids and their dogs.
Always value the friends you make online. For me, I think I have made some lifelong friendships that way.
I also went to a humane education conference, which was enlightening for me. Many of the traditional humane education positions include working at an animal shelter, and with groups of kids, running things like camps and birthday parties. I think I’ve been pretty honest on here before about my wanting to work with kids, as in, not so much. So I need to rethink what I want to do with my humane education part of my life, going forward. There are so many ways to use a humane education background so I’m not worried that it won’t get put to good use.
Many of you know I took a HUGE pay cut when I left Harvard Law Library. HUGE. 60K HUGE. In addition to taking that cut, I can no longer put as much into retirement (of course, I no longer will need as much since my priorities as to what I need to be comfortable have changed). I also get much less time off, and the health benefits through my current company are not great.
I’ve been struggling with the notion of discontinuing the formal schooling of humane education and trying to get positions just based on what I already know and my background of experiences. I’ve been told by a few people that I don’t need to do anymore school. So, most likely, this semester is my last.
No education is ever wasted. I have learned so much during these past two semesters, especially regarding how I communicate about certain issues, and my word choices. My teachers have asked us to respond to tough questions, and they are so supportive. I wish I had had them earlier on in my life, because I think my career path would have taken a much different path. But….you can’t change or shape the past, only your future, so onward and forward!!
You can’t change or shape the past, only your future, so onward and forward!
Determining “most good”
I’ve been struggling with the idea of how I can do the most good for animals. Is it by working with them directly? Or by working at a job that pays more but might not be necessarily working with them in a hands-on manner, or with an organization specifically dedicated to improving the rights and lives of animals? I know, only I can know the answer to these questions.
I have seen law library jobs posted (including one at my former employer, Harvard) which I know I am qualified for. Obviously, they pay more than one that has me working directly with animals. Working at a job like that again would help to engage the intellectual part of my brain during those hours when I am working for my paycheck and can make a positive impact on my bank account balance. I could help to donate more money to causes about which I care. All of those details are positives.
I think you know when you are doing the “most good” when you are excited to do something every day. A lot of people say that you don’t have to change the world for all animals, as long as you change the world of a few. Well, I think I’ve done that for some, but I also don’t feel like I’m way near the completion of improving the lives of many, many animals.
There is this difficult psychological hurdle to get over when considering returning to a former type of career. While I know that all life experiences are learning opportunities, a small part of me thinks that by returning to such a life, I’m giving up on my dreams. Admitting defeat.
The rational side of my brain knows that if I were to go back to being a librarian, I’m not giving up on my dreams. I’m just making a trade-off. I might be able to help a larger number of animals if I can donate more, financially, to the cause of animal welfare. And I will still be able to volunteer on my days off.
But, will I be happy? Read on, below. 🙂
Trusting my Intuition and Making Decisions:
I have spent some time talking to good friends and a trusted teacher. She asked me a question that really helped me think. She told me to imagine that I had interviewed for my old job, gotten it, and was getting ready to return to Boston. How did I feel?
I hesitated for a bit. My intuition knew the answer. My brain just felt hesitant in saying it. But once I said my answer aloud, it was like I was giving myself permission to say good bye to a portion of my life. The answer was “I feel like I have a pit in my stomach. That’s how it makes me feel.”
I also told my professor that as I see jobs listed for animal sanctuaries or shelters, I get excited about applying and the possibilities that are out there for me to explore. And that tells me something about myself. I just can’t go back to a job that I once held, without knowing I have exhausted all avenues of finding the right place for me, first. Does that make any sense?
The long and short of it is that I will never be a rich person, not in the monetary sense. And I think I have finally made peace with that. I just spent the past 6 1/2 hours today volunteering at a spay and neuter clinic along with so many other people who had given up their free time to provide a much-needed service in New Mexico and so many other places. It felt amazing.
You know something else? I didn’t feel like what I did today at the spay and neuter clinic was work. The time flew. To me, that’s how I know I was doing what I needed to be doing and what I am meant to be doing.
I didn’t want to leave but knew I had to, as I have homework and freelance work to do today, and maybe get a visit in at the gym or a run at the Bosque. (I’ve begun work with another transcription company as a legal transcriptionist. It’s a small company, which I like. The CEO even called me last week to welcome me aboard as a contractor and in his words, to collaborate on projects.) I like that when I am working on a new transcription project, I’m always learning about a new topic.
I have an interview this week via Skype for a position I think I am well suited for, and for an organization that is rapidly growing, so I like the idea of the potential growth something like that can include. I’m not one of those people who needs to feel like they are always moving upward in a job to feel like they are successful. But I do like the idea of being able to contribute a lot. So WISH ME LUCK! (And if it doesn’t come through, then I know the right place and job is still out there, waiting. The right place is out there. I just have to have hope that we will find each other.)
And thanks for reading as always, and being patient these past few weeks since I last posted. Now that I am back in ABQ, for now, anyway, I will try to get back on track with more regular posting.
Have you ever had to make a decision between taking the safe route or finding your way to a destination unknown?