Big News!!

Hi everyone, I’m so sorry it has been a few weeks since my last post, but believe me, I’ve been very busy and productive! Because times/things? They are a-changing!! (I’ve even had this post mainly written but haven’t had a chance to add photos until today.)

Ok, so first off, I’m moving to Albuquerque! I went there almost two weeks ago and found an apartment that will allow me to have my pets, and is in a safe neighborhood, is clean, and is just what I was looking for. Linoleum floors – awesome for animals and picking up animal hair! It’s about 380-400 sq feet, so it fulfills my dream of living tiny, and there are a lot of trees in the courtyard right outside my window! I can park my car close by, and keep an eye on it, and it’s close to school – only about a mile and a half away. There is a golf course close by so I can go for a run and see beautiful scenery.

Isn't she a cutie?? Her name is Morgan - this was taken on her first overnight visit with us.
Isn’t she a cutie?? Her name is Morgan – this was taken on her first overnight visit with us.

Oh, and guess what?? I am adopting a 3 year old beautiful cattle dog that I have fallen in love with at the Page Animal Adoption Agency! She is my favorite dog there and the one I always make sure to walk, no matter what. She just loves loves loves walks, and she is going to be my new running partner once I move! We will start out gradually, of course, since I think we both need to work up to running distances of 3-5 miles, but I’m looking forward to having that baby girl join my family. She has been with us for an overnight visit, and yesterday for a 5-6 hour visit, and it’s like my cats are invisible to her. The only time she even reacts to them is if they hiss at her, and then she just kind of looks at them as if to say “sorry!” and then moves away. No barking back, no chasing, nothing. And she is fine with having little Baby O around – she is only selective about dogs when they are larger or close to her size. They have met and she seems to “read” Baby O well. Many times, when Baby O meets a younger, friendly dog, they sniff at her and sniff and sniff and sniff…you get the idea, even as she tries to walk away from them. Morgan realizes that Baby O is done with the meet and greet and pretty much leaves her alone.  She loves to go for walks, and she loves doggy jogging! So I am looking forward to her getting me out there every day and getting exercise again.

Now, the question everyone asks is – do I have a job lined up yet? NO. Am I terrified of not finding one? YES! I have been trying to get schoolwork done, do prep work to move (i.e. trying to figure out the most cost effective way to do it with all the animals and the few things I have acquired over the past year), and look for jobs, jobs, jobs! Seriously, people, I am TERRIFIED of not finding a job!  I do have some savings, and thanks to a very generous friend in my life, I was able to put down a deposit on the new place without having to touch those funds. And I have applied for financial aid with the college – not that I want to have to take out any more loans, but just in case it takes me a bit of time to find something. Who knows, maybe I can even get some work study funds?!

Morgan, sitting near me, even though she had a comfy blanket just a few feet away.
Morgan, sitting near me, even though she had a comfy blanket just a few feet away.

I’ve been applying to vet receptionist, and vet assistant type positions, and am applying to retail spots in places like Petco and PetSmart,  and plan on applying to hotels as well. I’m also setting up a profile for myself with Rover.com, and have sent resumes and letters to some pet sitting services I’ve come across. I’ve applied to an animal sanctuary, and am happy to say that I have an interview set up with them just a few days after I arrive in ABQ.  Also, I plan on applying to seasonal jobs. I’m a hard worker – maybe it can turn into something more permanent.

Also, this past weekend, I went to Phoenix to celebrate one of my nephews getting married. I was able to see my younger brother (who many of you may think of as the crazy runner who does all these ultimate distance races like 100 miles) who came with his fiance all the way from NYC. I don’t dance, but while I was there, looking out at the dance floor, I looked at so many family members who I don’t get to see too often, just thinking how lucky I was to be able to spend the time with them. I realized then that there had been a change in my thinking. I used to go to weddings and look at the guests and wonder how happy were they really? Was everyone just faking being happy when really their lives weren’t? Or maybe their happiness that I saw that day was fleeting, just a moment in time. I know, it sounds very cynical, right?

You might be wondering, why Albuquerque? Because I want to give the southwest another shot. I’ve not felt completely at home where I’ve been so far but maybe because it’s been small towns, and I’ve come to the realization that I am more of a city girl. I need to live in a place that has more amenities and the possibility of more jobs. It’s a very dog friendly town, and there are many rescue groups as well as veterinary clinics. The weather is milder than the northeast – there are some cold(er) days, but hardly any snow, and it’s still an outdoor-activity friendly town. Lots of places to run and bike. There are mountains to the east, and lots of trees (it’s at a higher elevation than Lake Powell)< so I’ll be able to go hug trees whenever I feel the need. 🙂 The cost of living is low (necessary if you are looking to work in a field that doesn’t pay huge wages), and also, it’s where the community college is located that I am attending. It has a good vet technology program, and once I become an in-state student, the tuition is incredibly low. Since I am moving now, I should only have to pay out-of-state tuition for the first semester. It’s a 5-semester program, and it only begins in the fall (otherwise I’d just wait another semester until residency has been completely established.)

Again, sorry for the delay between posts. I wasn’t sure the Tuesday postings were working for me, honestly. I’m going to try to be more organized, going forward, and get posting more regularly. Thanks for sticking around with me.

As always, thanks for reading.

 

What the Heart Wants

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The night I took this photo, it had poured rain, so the sun was peeking through the clouds, shining on the large rock formations at Lake Powell.

What the heart wants and what the mind thinks it can do are sometimes two totally different things. Allow me to tell you a short episode from the other night. If you’re friends with me on facebook, you may already have seen this, so I apologize to those of you in that category.

The other night, I was driving home from having dinner with a friend in town. As soon as you drive out of town, it’s quite dark. The national recreation area is what they call a dark sky area, so there are no street lights and such like you would find in a city. It can sometimes make things feel pretty desolate, honestly. But, that night, I saw an animal in the middle of the road. It looked like it was just sitting there, but it was a jack rabbit. They don’t sit in the middle of the road and wait for cars to come by. They get the hell out of dodge and fast! So I knew that it must have been at the very least, injured. I quickly pulled over and turned around to try to take a look at it. Cars were coming along and I somewhat hoped that if it was injured, that someone might strike it so it would die quickly and not feel any pain. You see, out here, it’s not like there is an emergency vet I can take it to within a few minutes. The local vet isn’t open on weekends and the closest vet (even for domestic animals) is in Flagstaff, which is about 132 miles away. I don’t even know if they take wild animals. Best Friends is about an hour away, but I doubted that someone was there after 10 pm at night. (Actually, it would be even later them as Utah follows daylight savings time and Arizona does not.) Read more

Dreams…A Constant Evolution

I have a friend who seems to be at a bit of a crossroads in his life. In his twenties, not sure exactly of where he wants to be, but knows what he wants to do. And I started asking him some hard questions that a guidance counselor or career advisor would – in other words, questions I wish someone had put to me back in my twenties before I went to law school. It reminded me of many, many conversations I had with students over the years and how some of those conversations led to our being friends, which we still are today. Yes, I’m thinking of you, Claudia. :-))

And then it hit me – I’ve got to answer those questions for myself as well. I’ve got to be blunt and honest with myself, my financial situation, my living situation, what it is now and what it can become. Where I want to end up, and what I want to do with my time here on this earth. I still feel like I’m in my twenties a lot of days, and can’t believe I’m turning 44 this year. I guess age truly is what you make of it. It’s just a number, if you ask me. Your attitude defines you.

14080001_10154173687084930_8639474599137396149_nThis morning, I was thinking these thoughts and I remembered when I was taking prerequisite classes for a vet technology degree. At the time, Harvard was helping with the tuition payments through its tuition assistance program. That of course ended when I left its employment. And then I turned to my left and saw this little brown bird on the ground. It appeared to want to be able to fly but it just couldn’t. Its breathing was a bit labored. At first, I didn’t want to touch it, thinking, it’s just injured, and will eventually fly away and I don’t want my human scent to be on it because then if it’s a young bird, its mommy won’t want to be around it again.

However, I did reach out to help it, and realized it must be really hurt because it didn’t even attempt to fly away from me. I tried to give it some water but that only ended up getting the little guy wet which made me feel even worse. Soon after, he took his last labored breath. I petted him and told him I would take care of him, and shortly afterward, found a place to bury him outside of my apartment. That’s the second bird I’ve now buried since I live here. And it reminded me of the post that I wrote about a month ago on listening to  and watching for the signs that are presented in front of you.

I then spent a good part of today looking into the possibility of again attending vet tech school. And this evening, I spent some time looking up grant opportunities for the local animal shelter to apply to (Page Animal Adoption Agency.)  I realized how much I love the thrill of the chase of looking for information, and finding it, then evaluating it, and figuring out if it’s relevant or not. From having worked with a large number of students over the years, I have realized that it’s a skill that not everyone has. I need to have confidence in these abilities of mine and use them to accomplish my dreams. For some reason, it made me think of a conversation I had with my mom just a few days ago.

The other day I had a conversation with my mom during which she asked about my job and soul searching and what I was thinking of doing. I told her about the phone interview I had a little while ago with a farm animal sanctuary. And we talked about what would keep me interested in a job and use my skills, and as she said “You’re not stupid. You’re very smart and can use that intelligence and skills. Eventually you will have to find a job that will pay enough so that you’re not starving.” [My mom can make things seem much worse than they really are. It’s not that bad in the world of animal welfare, it’s just a huge pay decrease.)

The animal shelter and rescue had a team meeting last week and we spent some time talking about applying for grants, and finding someone who can do that type of work. I’ve only worked on a few very small grant applications, but one thing I know I can do is research the hell out of something like that! I feel like my writing skills are strong, and I know that one thing that those who run animal shelters and rescues never have enough of is time.  In addition to money, there NEVER seems to be enough time to do everything you need to keep the shelter running. It’s not just a 9-5 job that ends on Friday night and picks up where it left off, the following Monday morning. Animals need to eat and be walked, and they poop every day. They don’t know if it’s a Monday or a Saturday.

So, now I’m wondering …. can I somehow use my research skills to help shelters find and apply for grants? Is this something I could start to do on a freelance basis? How does one even get started on something like this?  And then, of course, I started looking into the possibility of attending grant writing classes or workshops. It’s my natural inclination to think this way – come up with an idea and then look to see who I can learn from, someone who already knows how to do it well, and then I will feel more qualified to offer my own services in that field. (Possibly, it’s having worked in academia for so many years that has me thinking that way. Or, maybe it’s because it provides a structured way of working on a goal. There’s still that part of me that likes the comfort of something that is structured and pre-established. It’s that fear of the unknown creeping in.)

So, yes, this is my long-winded way of saying, I’m still trying to figure out what my simple dreams are and how to achieve them. I have this feeling that they will always be changing, even if it’s just with little tweaks here and there. And slowly but surely, I am becoming more comfortable with that concept. (Oh, but trust me, there are definitely days where this constant questioning is super stressful and I just want to throw my hands up in surrender and just wish that life could be easy and someone could present the answers to me on a platter.)

Have you ever felt like this? I’m curious as to your thoughts on this – am I completely insane to be thinking along this route as a potential career path?

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By the way, I’ve made a few small changes to the appearance of the page – what do you think?

Do you believe in Signs?

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From the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. The place where I met the raven (see the story about him later in this post.)

Sorry for the long delay between posts. I’ve had this one almost done for a while, but I’ve been fighting some feelings here on my own which has cut down my motivation to get some things done. I’ve made some decisions though, which I will talk about in another post. However, I would like to get this out there today, so here goes nothing…

I’m not a religious person, but I do have a spiritual side of me, I guess. I don’t feel like when you die, you completely cease to exist. I think your energy is still out there, in the universe, somehow. And when i feel like I need guidance or a little extra “lift” sometimes, I ask for it. One time, I was out for a run, and I just felt so tired. So much that I just felt like walking and throwing in the towel on that run that day. And I said, aloud, “I think I could use a little help today.” And I swear, I felt a hand at my back. A gentle push. Just a little support. And during the rest of my run, if my energy seemed to wane, I felt it again. It’s very hard to describe or put into words, but I know  I was not alone on that run that day. I know I had angels, or something, looking out for me.

A few weeks ago, when I felt the need to just sit and be still, or “just be” as my friend Dan says, I talked aloud again. Thanked the universe for allowing me to see this beautiful place and hear the birds calling to each other, watch the road runners dart from bush to bush after some unseen-to-me prey, view the jack rabbits hope so quickly from one piece of scrub to another. I was completely alone and I loved it. It was at that time that I felt the need to put my questions out there. Am I supposed to do something with my life involving nature or animals? Should i keep pursuing my love of animals and wanting to make their lives better, to help keep them safe, or to contribute to this world in such a way that is positive, and somehow involves animals? Should it involve natural resource management, as I have been considering lately? Because aren’t the two intertwined? I also let my angels  know, expressly, that I knew I would need some very clear or obvious signs, as I’ve been known to be pretty “black and white” in the past. (I’d even talked to my therapist about it in the past.)

I’m aware that just because I asked these questions, it wasn’t like the next day, boom, there would literally be a sign in front of me like the one you find a few miles from where I live that says “Welcome to Utah” in HUGE letters. Sometimes the signs can take a bit of time to emerge.

A few days after that, I walked outside of my apartment to find what  looked to be a dead baby bird that didn’t even have any feathers on it, it was so little and young when it died. I have buried it in front of my apartment – he (I called him a “he”) deserved to be buried properly. Not sure if he had fallen out of a nest or what, but I felt like he was outside of my apartment for a reason.

A few weeks ago, I was at work. A coworker looked up from her computer screen and asked pleasantly “how may I help you?” and saw two foreign tourists shove what turned out to be a baby bunny in her face! She didn’t know what it was at first and freaked out, the tourists continued to shove it in her face, and of course, the bunny did then what bunnies do – it jumped! This little creature was so small, he fit in the palm of my hand. To make a long story short, I almost drove 75 miles to Utah that day to transport the bunny – I have since found out it was a baby jackrabbit – to an animal sanctuary, but luckily a gentleman from the AZ Game and Fish Department lives in my town and was able to transport the jackrabbit there. I just called the animal sanctuary to check up on him, and found out he is doing better. He started “wilding up” rather than acting calm at feeding time and for a jackrabbit, that is a really good sign. It will be touch and go over the next few months, I am told, but for now, he is doing well. I hung up the phone and cried tears of joy.

If you want to see just adorable this little bunny was – here’s the link to the facebook page of the Wild Friends section of Best Friends Animal Society. Scroll down to the video of the black-tailed jackrabbit giving himself a bath after being fed breakfast by “dreaded” humans. He’s trying to get all the human cooties off of him! 🙂 He is absolutely ADORABLE!!!  (Sorry, it may have really moved down on their page right now since it’s taken so long for me to get this post up and going.)

The following day, again at work, a gentleman came into the store to look at our books for sale and kill some time. He explained that his family was out on a boat and he was staying behind to make sure their puppy was safe and sound at the trailer. We got to talking and I learned that he worked for 30 years for the Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife. We talked about how both of us would be the type of person who would break open a car’s window to free an animal from dying of the heat trapped inside, and he told me how because of his work, he sometimes helped wildlife recuperate at his home in Oregon. While I was talking to him, I thought to myself “yep, angels, I’m seeing your work, loud and clear,” and I smiled to myself.

Recently, I met a friend in Zion National Park. We made our way to the top of the Emerald Pools trail, where there were some very smart squirrels who stayed close to the humans, but not too close so that they couldn’t get away if needed. As we left the pools, I saw a squirrel close by, watching me. I reached my hand out toward it, not expecting anything, but just wanting to let it know I meant it no harm. I expected it to run away when it saw my outstretched arm, but instead, it jumped down and walked toward me, and then tapped its feet on the front of both of my shoes. I’ve had a squirrel come close to me before, but always for food (outside of Harvard, the squirrels are so tame, they will take a sandwich out of your hands.)  I just felt like he was trying to give me a message.  Then, as we parted ways at the end of the night, I saw something in the middle of the road. As I drove closer, I saw it was a deer that was lying down in the road. I’m not sure what happened, if it was hit or not, but I saw a man come out and wave his arms at it, his face showing an expression of what appeared to be disgust. The poor thing got up as fast as it could and ran off away from him. I couldn’t tell if it was hurt, honestly. All I do know is that I almost broke into tears at the thought of this beautiful animal being in pain and now running in that pain. I can’t bear to see any animals, wild or not, in pain.

Recently, I talked to my mom on the phone and learned that she is feeding about 5 or 6 stray (or more likely, feral) cats in her neighborhood. She said, “I don’t know how the word is spreading, but it seems like it is. There used to be just one or two.” A few years ago, I don’t think my mom would have done something like that. She told me that she worries about their crossing the road to get to her house. By the time we got off the phone, she had decided to call the local animal sanctuary when she gets back from vacation and talk to them about trapping them. (At the beginning of the call, she thought that many of the cats look too old to still go into heat or make little baby cats. At the end of the call, she had changed her mind and become more open to the idea of TNR, or trap-spay/neuter-return.)

About a week ago, I was taking little Osito for our walk/carry, as I call it (she doesn’t walk a ton and gets tired in this heat so I end up carrying her a lot.)  I ended up talking to a guy in my complex who was just arriving home from the beach with his yellow lab. Turns out he had also had an experience with a jackrabbit, but his was one that had been hit by a car and was still alive when he and his dog found it. Took it to the local vet (who is awesome), who only charged him 50% of his regular rate, and then his girlfriend took the jackrabbit to Best Friends where he still resides today, and will if he can’t be returned to the wild in the end run because of his health.

And finally, this past weekend I was at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. There were a lot of people there but I still felt quite alone sometimes. It’s something I have been fighting (more on it in a later post which is itching to pour out of me.) At the end of my time there, I found a spot where I could be alone and just look at the canyon. After a little bit, another couple showed up, so I walked back to my car and found another spot where I could sit and be undisturbed, and write a few thoughts down in my journal to describe how I was feeling and why I felt so alone even when in a crowd.  I was also wondering if I was doing the right thing to start looking for animal-related jobs again.

Then, I saw a raven walking, close to the spot I had just vacated. He could easily have flown, but he decided to walk a few steps. Then he did take flight. I thought to myself how awesome it would be if he decided to come towards me. I went back to writing in my journal and then when I looked up, there he was. Within about 6 feet of me. And here’s the thing. He kept walking closer to me until he was about 3 feet away, just beyond my feet. He would stand there for a bit while I talked to him, and he let the strong winds rustle through his feathers. Occasionally, he would take a small step closer to me. He wasn’t looking for food, but just sat there silently with me. You will have to take my word for it that this happened – my cell phone was in the car and I sensed that sudden movement by me might spook him. And honestly I didn’t want to spoil the moment either.

So what does all this have in common? In a word, animals. Just have to translate it into something I can do or learn how to do – animal rescue or wildlife rescue or animal care (I know some of you may think I’m more qualified than to do something so manual but it’s what makes my heart happy in the long run. Helping creatures that can’t talk for themselves in a way us humans can understand.) I also need to learn or figure out a way to exist financially and get by if I do go back into working full time with animals. It’s really not a field you go into to get rich, at least not in the monetary sense. I don’t want or need a ton of money but just enough to feel stable and be able to take care of my fur family and myself. That’s all I ask for, and sometimes I feel like it’s too much.

I realize some folks may think I saw all these thing as “signs” because now I am looking for them, rather than ust going about my day. Maybe that is the case. Or, maybe it really is the universe or my angels reaching out to me. I choose to believe in the latter.

A friend shared a great link with me: Seven Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose and one of the questions is what makes you forget to eat and poop. I love this guy’s post!  I would say that if I were to be involved in an animal emergency or working with animals, that would be one of the times I would forget to do at least one of those (eat). Another question is what would make your 8 year old self cry? And it might be that I have not kept on writing at the same feverish pace that I did when I was that age. I let myself think that to follow a creative path like that was not going to mean a “success” in today’s world. I was not practical. Didn’t require me to wear a suit to work and work in an office and do “important” things for a big company. You get the idea.

I DO know that I have always loved animals, my entire life. I’ve always felt like I’ve had a connection to them that I know not all of us have. And I know I have always liked the feeling of pen to paper and creating stories from my mind. I find myself reading novels and wondering how the author came up with the ideas they have, and how many rewrites it might have taken to get the book to the point it’s at where I am holding it in my hands. I try to remind myself that the book is a finished product, not something easily come by and to not judge myself so much by what I put onto paper.

I also DO know that what I am doing now is not what I want to do for a career. I’ve gone back to being the supervisor, but will have a new (immediate) boss in another week or so, and because of that new addition in the hierarchy of the company, my pay has been decreased. The Team Lead position was not going to pay me enough to live, quite  literally. So for right now, it’s a means to an end. It’s what I am telling myself every day.

I’ve decided I will be moving when my lease is up, if not before.  (I am hoping to work overtime whenever possible through this season.) I would need to get a subletter if I moved before the end of the lease, and am wondering when to start that process. It’s a small town which helps and hurts me – there isn’t a lot of inventory available, but how many people then want to move here and can afford to do so? So if I stay until next April, I will be just trying to save and live as frugally as humanly possible, or buckle down and get a second job. I have $1200 tied up in security deposits with my apartment that I plan on getting returned back to me.  My tower garden (pictures will be coming in a future post) should hopefully allow me to grow my own produce and thereby save some money.

So this is where I am at right now. Definitely fighting feeling overwhelmed, and scared, and feeling lost. But I’m trying my best to get through all of it.

As always, I love to hear from all of you. Thank you so much for the support on my last post. It has meant so much to me.

 

 

Fighting Loneliness & Homesickness – Lee’s Ferry pics

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One of many HUGE boulders seen alongside a large hill along the route to Lee’s Ferry from Bitter Springs.  Note all the boulders in the background. 

Some astute folks have left comments on my blog lately that have really made me think about them for a long time afterward and marvel at how some people can see things inside of you that you might have trouble facing yourself. I apologize in advance if this post seems kind of all over the place, but as usual, writing it down helps me to confront the turmoil going on in my mind. Thank God for my pets who always seem to know or sense when something is going on with me. As I’ve been writing this post, HoneyBun has stuck like glue to my side.

Please enjoy the pics I took last week on my trip to Lee’s Ferry, which is about 50 miles from me, and still part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. I had a separate post I was writing about the day trip, but decided I needed to get this one published instead, and thought some of you might enjoy these at the same time.

Someone mentioned to me that maybe I should move back to where I am within a day’s drive from my mom. And I have to admit, I’ve not mentioned this aloud to many, but I will be traveling back east next May for my brother’s wedding. My lease ends on April 30th of next year, so there have been parts of me that have thought about combining that trip with a move back east at the same time. It would cut down on costs (i.e. already spending the money for the wedding, it would just be driving instead of flying).  I’m not sure to where I would move yet – I still hate the very cold winters of the northeast and I wouldn’t say I would want to live in Boston again – to do so without the same kind of job would be pretty hard financially as it’s an expensive city to live in if you don’t make good money. I think I would want to move somewhere where I had a simpler pace of life, and could do more with animals or the environment and actually be able to survive financially. So maybe someplace further south, like the Carolinas, etc. I’m just not sure yet.

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View from the pedestrian bridge of the Colorado River below – this is Navajo Bridge, which is on the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s along the route to Lee’s Ferry.

I told my sis (in law) Geneva last week that when I picture my ideal living situation, it’s in a small cabin or cottage near some woods. It’s a place where I can have a garden, live quietly and take my dog (or dogs if we are seeing far into the future) for a walk. A place where I can have quiet time but not feel isolated at the same time. A place that isn’t too far from a small city that has amenities for myself and my animals like a vet or emergency vet, and things to do. She said “where you have woods, you will have snow.” So I’m realizing that might be a trade off I need to make. Now, more than ever, the statement that life is about compromises makes more sense than ever.

I’d love to hear suggestions from folks about places that might have  a decent cost of living, where someone like me could make a difference, find a community of like-minded folks – people who respect animals or don’t look at me like I’m a freak for not wanting to eat meat, etc. (It’s just not the norm where I am now.)   And I MISS grass. I miss the color green. I really do. It’s made me think about moving to the mountains of Colorado – places like Grand Junction where the winters do get some snow but not a crazy amount because it’s on the western slope of the Rockies. But again, if I did that, I’m still a long way away from friends and family, for the most part.

Moving west was always something I wanted to do for quite a long time. And to experience something new and push myself. But it’s hard, I mean, really really hard to do all of this on your own. If I had a partner, it might be different. There is always that other person to lean on. Without that, I lean on friends, ones that I know will always tell it to me like it is and who don’t have a vested interest in seeing me act one way or another. My brother and sister in law who are nomads but recently have been in AZ for a while have given me frank thoughts and Geneva can always be counted on to tell it like it is, whether or not I want to hear it. My friend Dan is also very patient and listens to each of my cockamamy ideas and as I get excited about one thing, he knows it is usually just a matter of days til I am on to something else in my mind – something else to research and look into. Poor Dan – I know he doesn’t sleep much so even though there is a three hour time difference, he gets the brunt of my texting, etc. (Both he and my friend Anne, who recently commented on here, think I need to give myself time to think before pondering next moves and I know they are right. It’s just the stress about my finances, which I get into below, that has me thinking about it already.)

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I’ve not edited this pic at all – the sky was really that color that day. 

One person mentioned in the comments that it sounded like if I made a decision to change things or give up on what I am doing now (something to that effect, I’m paraphrasing) that I might view what I am doing now as having been a failure. And I think, in some regards, that is very true.  It’s like I will have viewed this past year or two as one big expensive mistake – giving up everything I owned back east other than what would fit in my car, just to replace some of it here, and put it in an RV, which I ultimately sold within 8 months, to getting an apartment that costs too much for the area, to changing jobs from something that fulfilled my soul to something that pays better to allow me to care for my fur family. I feel like I have spent a lot of money over the past year and now I second guess myself a lot. Was i wrong to move from Boston? Was I wrong to leave the comfort of my friends and family far away? Was it all for nothing if I move back? And even if I don’t find it all to be a failure, “Jesus, Terri, did you have to spend so much doing it??”  Part of me (irrationally) worries about those who thought I was insane to leave last year will look at me and go (even if only in their minds)….hm, I told you so….

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Loved the shadows of the clouds above on the sandstone formations below.

I’m feeling stressed right now because I am not sure what is going to go on with my job this winter. I found out the pay for what i thought I would be doing was going to be a LOT less than what I had expected, so that super stressed me out. As in, it would be a bit more than half of what I am making now, and with my rent, what I am making now allows me to pay my bills and make a bit of a payment on my credit cards, but not much. To go down to almost half of that was pretty much going to force me to stop saving for my car insurance, my brother’s wedding, get deferments or forebearances on my student loans and still leave me with about $100 to eat for the month and prayers that nothing would go wrong. In short, it would pretty much be next to impossible. Or get a second job and work a whole bunch of hours just to keep the lights on and food on the table (or couch, in the case of HoneyBun and Callie who move to their self-assigned positions at meal time.)  I understand my boss and her boss have come up with another alternative for me but I just don’t know what that is yet. Trying to not dwell or stress about it but I’ve never dealt well with a lot of uncertainty. Hoping to discuss that with my boss soon so at least I can figure out some plans.

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Yes, this is the Colorado River! Even in the heat of June, the water was still (and I understand, always) very cold to the touch. It was very refreshing that day as I stood in it, up to my shins.

Starting tomorrow, on the days where I don’t have to go into work until noon (I usually work 3 closing shifts per week which means 12-8:30 or so), I’m going to start going into town to the animal shelter to work with the animals there. My friend that runs it said that at that point, it’s not too hot to walk the dogs. That would give me a reason to get up early in the morning like I used to (lately, I feel like I’ve been sleeping too much and have no ambition to get up and exercise early.) In fact, I feel like I have not had much ambition to do much lately. My friend Liz from back east remarked to me that it’s so NOT like me to not get up and exercise every day, and she’s right. Although she didn’t say it at the time, I think she’s worried about me in that regard, and I am too. I feel like I’m kind of just existing and I hate feeling like this. I need goals and reasons to exist. I just feel like I am floundering right now. Other than going to work and taking care of my animals and the occasional trip to Lone Rock Beach, I don’t feel like I have much direction. 

So I guess that’s it – I just needed to get this post out there. Thanks, as always, for reading. I would love to hear any of your thoughts on this.

 

 

 

 

 

Lot Going On…

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Taken during my off-roading adventure yesterday, something I won’t ever forget.

Sorry it’s been a few weeks since I last updated everyone as to what is going on. It’s been a busy few weeks, and I have been working a fair amount of hours, only to grow larger, I suspect, over the summer. That’s ok, because any overtime I make will be going to pay off debt and save up cash for the leaner times.  Also, the way the internet works out here is not so reliable. For me to even be typing this, I have my chromebook tethered via USB to my phone and am using my cellular data. To get satellite internet at my apartment was going to be a huge hassle and a half, involving drilling through the roof (don’t even get me started) and quite expensive. I have decided to just buy more data for my phone if the need arises.

So…ok, where do I start?!

So, you might be wondering – did I sell the RV? Yes!!! I sold it to someone who used to work at the resort where I currently work. He was so happy when he drove away with it. I’ve moved into an apartment and there was a bit of a hassle over the furballs. That’s all I can really write about it publicly, but suffice it to say, it was stressful.  Then about a week and a half ago, when I went to a neighbor’s to hang out, I left my door closed (or so I thought) but unlocked. I came home a few hours later to find my door standing open, and Max and HoneyBun had flown the coop. We get high winds here sometimes, and the wind had blown the door open.  To say I was panicked is an understatement!

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HoneyBun, exhausted after her second escape to the outside world. Never letting that little one out of my sight again!

Max was returned to me the next night, but HoneyBun was on the lam for almost a week until I was able to catch her in a trap that a friend loaned me. She has since made a break for it once, and now I’m even more paranoid of opening the door and OCD-ish when making sure the door is locked every time I step foot outside of the apartment, even if it’s to sit on my own patio. I’ve ordered a flexi-gate to put near the door to act as another barrier – it should arrive in a few days.

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This photo epitomizes the sweetness of Bonkers, how he used to curl his paws when he slept, and how sweet and big his heart was. In his sleep, he kept moving closer and closer to Osito until they were touching. ❤ Bonkers. RIP.

I have some sad news, and it relates to my oldest cat, Bonkers. On the day after Max and HoneyBun escaped, I left work early to come home and search for them. Bonkers was having issues pooping, as he has had over the past year or so (he has dealt with constipation issues, an irregular colon, kidney failure and a heart murmur.) I called the local vet immediately, who was triple-booked, but they urged me that if I could bring him down within the hour, I might be able to get him seen.

Well, a few weeks before this episode, I ended up having to drive 150 miles one way to the town of St. George, in Utah, to help Bonkers out with another pooping issue that required sedation. At that time, because of his heart murmur and other health issues, the doc had wanted to do some blood work before putting him under sedation. His blood work came back and showed high calcium levels, which I learned usually means cancer. However, they couldn’t see a tumor at the time.

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After only one day of being on the run, Max seemed very happy to be at home and has stuck close by my side ever since. This photo was taken the day after he was returned (a helpful neighbor called me when Max found his way into their courtyard.)

Fast forward to the day that I took him to the local vet, who felt around his bum area and noticed it felt quite hard. He felt his colon and said that the lactulose which I had been giving him religiously was doing its job and his stool was soft as it should be. But he had a tumor growing near that area which was making his “exit” hole that much smaller, and therefore harder for him to defecate. The doc said that with anal gland tumors, they usually grow fast and are very malignant. If I wanted to consult with a specialist, he predicted it would mean a large medical bill, surgery, chemo, and in the end, a totally incontinent cat of 15 years. It was clear Bonkers didn’t feel well that am, and I had noticed he had not been eating as much the past few weeks, nor was he sitting still for his subcutaneous fluids like he used to.  So, I decided to do what was best for Bonkers, and he crossed over the rainbow bridge on April 15th.

Now that Max and HoneyBun have been safely returned to me, I feel like I can finally properly mourn Bonkers. I’ve arranged for him to be individually cremated, and I plan on donating all of his unused medicines to the local vet. The local vet said that while he can’t re-sell the meds himself, he can offer them to an owner who might come in in the future with a pet needing such expensive meds but can’t afford them. (I was able to buy them all at cost from the animal clinic with my former employer.)

I’ve been working as a supervisor of the resort’s campground, but have recently acknowledged what my physiological system has been telling me, and which I suspected was the case – I don’t like being The Boss, and dealing with all those stresses being The Boss entails. So I have asked to be moved to the role of Team Lead. I will still do a lot of what I am doing now – dealing with campers/customers, but not with all of the stresses of having to discipline employees, etc.  So right now I’m in a transition period where we are hiring lots of new employees for the summer, and working with my (temporary) replacement in the supervisory role. And yes, there have been some rough patches. Nothing is ever easy. I wish it was, but lately, that just doesn’t appear to be the case where my life is concerned.

I do like living in the apartment. I love taking long hot showers, and being able to even turn around in my bathroom! I love being able to do a load of laundry while I sleep at night. I love living close enough to work so that I can drive home the 2-3 miles at lunch and visit my furballs. I love living so close to Lone Rock that I can even see it from the front patio of my apartment. I love the fact that in April, just yesterday, I was in a tshirt and shorts and sitting at the beach, even if only for a short while after I volunteered at the local animal shelter. And yes, I have loved taking some of their energetic doggies for walks.

I am having a problem setting into a routine, however. I’ve not worked out in weeks now (shock, gasp!) because getting to work by 7 or 7:15 in the am already requires me to get up pretty early and after being on my feet all day, I just don’t feel like going for a run. And I’ve not been writing (obviously, as you’ve seen from the lack of posts on the blog). Until a few weeks ago, I’ll be quite honest. I was so stressed out of my mind on a daily basis from one thing or another that it was all I could do to get msyelf to eat an entire bagel for breakfast without feeling like I wanted to puke. That’s how I get affected by stress.

But lately, my stress level has been coming down somewhat, and I’m working on getting my positive attitude back on a more regular basis. I’m feeling like I can eat food again.  i did lose some much needed weight during those stress-filled weeks, so that was actually a good thing, in retrospect. And, I learned some valuable information about myself, so that was also good.

Well, this has been a rambling catch-up post, and I hope some of you are still out there, interested to read it. Please drop me a line or comment below if you like. I promise to write more now that I am slowly getting established. And I want to write more fiction as well. The book dream has not left me – it just got misplaced during the move and the following stress.

A LOT Has Been Going On!

Sorry I’ve been silent the past few weeks but wow, it has been quite the whirlwind!

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Try to handle the cuteness in this picture if you can. I ❤ Bonkers and Osito.

I couldn’t say things publicly but I was in the midst of making some big changes. You may have remembered my musing at times about finding some workamping gigs and my planning on doing Amazon Camperforce in the fall months. Well, I interviewed for three different workamping gigs and was offered positions at all three! (For the curious, they were at Yellowstone National Park, Cedar Pass Lodge in the Badlands, and also Lake Powell Resort in AZ.)

I couldn’t believe that three different people so quickly wanted to hire me! I was extremely flattered, and I made sure to tell the two employers with whom I decided to not pursue employment that I was going to be taking a job elsewhere and my reasons why. I decided to go with Lake Powell for many reasons.

Lake Powell is only 75 miles from where I am currently located, and the weather would be nicest. I’ve been there many times, and I love the area (did I mention there is a huge, huge, HUGE lake there?) Plus, the pay was pretty good, the housing was very, very inexpensive, and last but not least, I already knew people who lived in the area, both in Page, and also my friends here in Kanab. I thought it would be a good way of easing myself into the workamping lifestyle, and it gave me a lot of options, RV-wise. I could easily move my current RV there (the big fifth wheel) by having someone transport it for me, and not have it cost an arm and a leg. To move the fifth wheel to either of the other locations would be HUGELY expensive. Or, I could sell my fifth wheel and look into buying a smaller rig, with a different tow vehicle, before I would move in a few months.

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I took this pic from the beach that is located just below the Wahweap RV & Campground at the Lake Powell Resort. The difference in the colors you see in the rocks across the water shows how high the water used to be in Lake Powell, compared to today.

So flash forward to a few weeks ago. A friend asked me if I might be interested in pursuing a full-time position as a campground supervisor at Lake Powell! So I went and interviewed with who will be my future boss, and spent a few hours there, meeting some of the employees and the outgoing supervisor. They wanted me to think about it over the weekend and I did (a lot) and then we talked that following Monday, and they wanted me to take the job!  There are three permanent employees, who are all in what they call Lead positions, and then the rest are temporary, seasonal workers, and I understand that some of them are returning. Hearing that makes me feel better – if you keep coming back year after year, there must be something good going on there.

I should mention – during that weekend while I thought about the job, I was also able to see a lot of family members that I haven’t seen a ton of over the years. My younger brother, (who long time readers will remember is an amazing runner who has done several marathons and (now) four ultra marathons!) traveled out to the Phoenix area to run another 100 mile trail race. I am so proud of him for having completed it in 21 hours, 27 minutes, and 32 seconds!! He was pretty amazing, as always. The course was a 20 mile loop that they ran 5 times. He led the race in first place for the first 80 miles (and that includes his first 20 mile lap at a pace of about 8:30/mile.) He was only overtaken at about mile 85. He came in third overall and set a PR for himself at this distance, beating his first two races by about 7 hours!!

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This pic was taken from higher up than the beach, toward where the employee campground and lodging location is. My phone camera just doesn’t show the elevation change well.

I must say, I don’t take this job switch lightly, and a few people very close to me have expressed guilt in thinking that they were, in some way, partly to blame for my looking to move on from my current situation. Here’s the thing. Yes, I do take their opinions seriously.  I also consider these folks to be very close to me and always have my best interests at heart. However, no one forced me to make the decision to uproot myself and move from a big northeastern city to a small town in Utah. That was my decision to make. And it’s not one that I regret. That’s because I think the decision to come here was one that I was meant to make. Every decision has moved me closer to where I am supposed to be, and who I am supposed to be, and what I am supposed to be in this world. I have faith in that being true.  It’s been a learning experience and those are not always easy and comfortable. Unfortunately, learning can sometimes be painful, in the moment, anyway.

I realized this town is too small for me, and it doesn’t have enough going on to keep me happy. The town I am moving to is not a huge city like Boston but it does have more amenities than where I am now, relying so much on the tourism industry. Not that I love what Walmart stands for, but it is a huge advantage to have a store like Walmart so that if something breaks past 6 p.m., I will know that there is a place where I can likely buy a replacement part. Or, if I need a prescription filled on a weekend sometime after 12 noon on a Saturday, I have a hope of getting it filled.  To me, small things like that give me a measure of comfort. It’s not that I want to be spending all of my time at the local Walmart, but the fact that I won’t have to drive for 75 miles to get there, gives me comfort.

I’ve also realized I need to have some body of water near me. Back in Boston, my building had a beautiful reservoir out back. Even if I wasn’t going for a run around it, it was there if I wanted to just sit and “be.” To be able to sit and listen to the lap of waves on the shore is a huge comfort to me, even if I can see land on the other side. (In fact, I think seeing land on the other side actually makes me feel more comforted than sitting by the ocean and realizing the closest land mass is thousands of miles away.)

However, I feel guilt when I think of the fact that now the people with whom I work at the sanctuary have to look again for another staff member, leaving them short staffed again. And I also feel guilt when I think of leaving the amazing animals at the sanctuary behind. I know they are extremely well cared for, but caring for animals is what made me move 2600 miles. It’s what made me take such a huge cut in salary. I can’t ever give up on animals.

I really, really thought that when I made this big move, that this was IT. I really did. So, yes, I’m disappointed. But I’ve also made a very good friend or two over the past six months, and these are people I really feel like I was meant to meet and have in my life. They’ve taught me a lot about the goodness in people, and for that I am thankful. Sometimes I hear about such wickedness and crap going on in the world and wonder what makes some people the way they are.

So, I’ve already contacted the animal shelter in the town where I will be, and I plan on volunteering there as much as possible once I’m settled in. I stopped in this past weekend and immediately several cats came right up to me for attention. I didn’t let myself go visit with the dogs as I didn’t want to get them all excited and then not be able to take them on walks. As it was, I wanted to take home so many of the cats!! It is a small shelter but it does incredible work with the resources it has.

So now I’m thinking…maybe this is the reason I moved to this part of the US. To help share the beauty of this part of the country with visitors through my job.  To have a living situation that will allow me to be able to make some headway on paying off my RV and my car (and yes, that pesky private student loan), while also providing some comfort to shelter animals that can really use it.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. I’m sorry that I worried a few of you who wrote to me after not hearing from me on here for so long. I just had to focus my energies on things like job searching and stuff at certain times, so the blog had to step aside for a bit. Thanks for reading, as always.

 

 

 

 

Seeking answers

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I felt like this photo was my reward for being at Zion today. I felt honored they let me get so close. 

 

I’m sorry it has been a while since I posted. I’ve been trying to sort through some things – figuring out my place in this world, etc. I’m feeling like this town is too small for me to stay in permanently, having lived the last 20 or so years of my life in big cities. And I’m getting the urge to possibly pursue seasonal work as Becky does from Interstellar Orchard. But I don’t want to give up on helping animals either.  So, blog readers, I’m totally open to any and all suggestions you might have on that front! (And yes, I have signed up again with Workamper News so I can peruse the possibilities there in addition to Coolworks.com)

But seriously. I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately. Not sure why. It might be the weather, the ever-shortening days, the smallness and consequently isolated-feeling I get from being in this town. Maybe it’s because with the trees having lost all of their leaves, I can see just what a dump the property is behind where my RV is parked. Literally. It looks like the owner of the house just let a whole bunch of cars or other types of machines park themselves out back, to just rust away. It’s depressing and an eye sore. I’m told the guy is like 90 years old, though, so I just kind of ignore it and try to not look at it or dwell upon it. But it is an eyesore, to be quite blunt.

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I was amazed at how close this family of mule deer let me get to them. 

I’m just having a hard time of it right now and it’s frustrating to not be able to snap out of it. I used to be able to rely on my workouts to keep my mood up, but lately, I just don’t even have that motivation to work out like I used to. It’s been several weeks since I went on a real run. I don’t count the one or two nights on the treadmill where I did walk/run/walk/run, etc. I’ve also been sleeping a lot more than I used to. I get bored to death at the gym with the same routines over and over. Last week, I went to the gym once. Once. That’s unheard of from me. And, most nights, it’s all I can do to stay awake past 8, which might be one of the reasons you’ve not seen many blog posts from me lately.

I went to one of my favorite (and cheap) places to go, today. Zion National Park. (It’s cheap because I have an annual pass so it doesn’t cost me anything more than the gas required to get there.) I made sure to go early enough that the sun would be out and feel warm for quite a while. I found a good spot on a bench outside of the Zion Lodge and read a book while occasionally looking at the massiveness of this tree, pictured below, and tried to figure out just how old it is. Any guesses?

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I decided at one point to drive and park at the visitor’s center. Once there, I decided instead of doing the Pa’Rus Trail again, I  would do some walking toward the town of Springdale. Springdale is a small, artsy town that borders the park, and while it’s small, as you can see in the photo below, at least it has a large screen movie theatre. (That’s more than I can say for the town I’m in right now. But I digress.)

The town is definitely in its off-season mode. It seemed like almost every business I passed was closed. A coffee shop was open, as were some of the outdoor gear type places, but most of the restaurants were shuttered. I soon gave up on the idea of eventually people-watching, and started walking back toward my car and that’s when I saw this family of mule deer, up close and personal. I took so many photos – the ones sprinkled throughout this post are just a sampling.

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Mama and baby. I was so lucky to get this shot with the baby’s big ears turned toward me. 

Another guy came over and started taking pictures too and we got to talking. Earlier today, he had hiked Angels Landing, and he said at the top he saw a California Condor, which he told me was made extinct in the wild in the late 1990s. He said they’ve only recently begun to be released into the wild in Zion and the Grand Canyon, so we agreed that it was pretty amazing that he saw one today. Together, we just marveled at how close the deer let us walk toward them. They clearly know they are safe there, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Seeing these deer lifted my spirits in a way it is hard to describe. I’ve always felt this connection to animals, like they just know I mean them no harm. I also enjoyed connecting with another human being over how it felt to be so close to them and to feel such wonderment together. It got me to thinking of ways I can help animals other than or in addition to what I do now for work. I’m still sorting it out in my mind, that and a lot of other things. I just know spring can’t come fast enough, for so many reasons.

Have you ever been down and just can’t snap out of it, even after a few weeks? What did you do to get out of it?

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Paw Prints Forever on My Heart, RIP Sebastian and Daisy

A photo of my Sebastian (grey and white) with Bonkers. I used to love waking up in the morning and seeing that he had joined the family on the bed overnight.

Last month, I really cursed out this town. I know I wrote a comical post about how I live in a small town, but this one night, it really pissed me off. My Sebastian died. He was the youngest of all my cats, and the one I worried least about, health-wise, other than the fact that he was overweight. (He’d been homeless at one time and that fear of where and when his next meal would come, seemed to always be with him.)  I cursed this town because the only fully staffed emergency vet care is through the sanctuary but they have been short staffed, and even if they weren’t, the policy is that sanctuary animals get preference over employees’ animals for medical care. I understand this, as there are over 1700 animals at the sanctuary and they are the clinic’s first priority. There is a local vet and they have been amazing with the care of my Bonkers, simply amazing. But there are only two of them, and well, they have to go home sometime, so the closest 24 hour emergency animal clinic is in St. George, which is about 75-80 miles away.  While I understand all of this logically, when you are holding an unresponsive animal in your arms, all logic goes out the window.  Read more

Settling In, and Coming to Terms with My New Life

Um, yeah... The Grand Canyon is 78 miles from where i live.
Um, yeah… The Grand Canyon is 78 miles from where i live.

So I’ve just started my third week at my new job. I have to say, it’s some weird feelings that I go through sometimes.  A little bit of shock and disbelief.  Happiness. Some scared moments when I think ” how am I gonna do this on this new salary?”  The excitement of seeing new and amazingly beautiful places, the feel of trying out some new hiking shoes, meeting the ladies who work out in the morning at my gym and realizing, wow, they lift heavier than me!  (I still need to find my local “tribe” but I’m working on it.)  It’s just very hard to put into words. I mean, I went from living in a studio that cost me $1100/month in rent to an RV lot that costs $215 plus an RV payment of $82. How does this reconcile in your head?? Ever??

Another shot from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  i can go as often as I like!!!
Another shot from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. i can go as often as I like!!!

I got my first paycheck yesterday. Only for one week of work because of the way the pay periods fall. Needless to say, it’s less than I have ever earned.  I think, like, EVER. Yesterday, at work, as usual, I found myself cleaning a bunny’s butt. Yes, I have a law degree and a masters in library science, and there I was, pulling poop out of a bunny’s butt. (Have you ever heard someone make that statement before?? If so, WHO was it, and HOW can I meet them??!!) And then later on, I found myself cleaning the bathroom. It’s one of our weekly chores to do – no maid service for us. Again, I was wondering, um, is this really my life??!! (Not in a bad way, mind you. Just….it’s….. how do I put this? Surreal? After all this time and planning and thinking of making such huge changes, I’ve actually DONE it.)   But you know what? It’s all good. I knew coming out here my life was going to change in every aspect possible. And I take a look at my surroundings every day, even just the drive to work, and I cannot honestly believe such beauty exists. But don’t take my word for it. Just take a look at some of my pics. That is all.

This is from my walk the other day. Yes, my walk!!
This is from my walk the other day. Yes, my walk!!
A larger shot of the image that is my header on the blog now.
A larger shot of the image that is my header on the blog now.

A good friend of mine said he hoped I would still continue blogging after moving out here, as he said I had inspired him. (He’s even going meatless some days of the week and considering changing to vegetarian!!) Oh hell yeah, I’m going to keep blogging! (I wasn’t so sure about the inspiring part – I just write what makes me feel good to write and on topics that I think resonate with some folks.)

So yes, folks, I will keep talking about getting out of debt (just a different kind now) and chasing simple dreams, and all that good stuff. Please stay with me! Thank you for reading!