Four of my inspirations...Bonkers, Osito, HoneyBun, and Callie in the back.
Four of my inspirations…Bonkers, Osito, HoneyBun, and Callie in the back.

When I look back to my life almost 5 years ago, what I see in myself makes me sad. I was sleep walking through life. The only time I think I felt alive is when I was running. And that’s because I was running from a lot of problems, or maybe the better word to use is doubts. Doubts about myself. Doubts about my marriage. About whether or not I wanted to have kids. About whether what I had then was all that there is to be in life. Read more

Things I Love

Max and Osito, two that like to be as close to me as possible at ALL times.
Max and Osito, two that like to be as close to me as possible at ALL times.

Sitting here on a Sunday night as I start to write this post. Looking around me and seeing all of my animals dozing or just about there…the bed was just freshly made with laundered sheets and two fleece blankets, so you know what kind of a magnet that’s gonna be this evening for all of the felines! (Well, and this human and of course, the dog.)

It just makes me feel content, moments like this. The heat is running (of course, it is Boston on Feb. 1st, after all, and we are expecting ….wait for it…., more snow!!!) YAYYY (yes folks, you’re not imaging it…that is sarcasm you are hearing as you read this post to yourself.)

But really, it does. I feel content because I know I’m settled in for the night, and don’t have to go out in the cold. (Gotta love having a dog that is trained to use pee pads and who hates the cold, too.) Well, at least I don’t have to go out until the morning anyway, since it’s unlikely my workplace will close.

My buddy, Ross, the pony!!
My buddy, Ross, the pony!!

Earlier today, as is my normal Sunday routine, I got up early, had my two cups of coffee and got ready to go to the shelter to take care of some animals. I was delighted to see that they had another goat that wasn’t there last week! Even the skiddish goats who came in a few weeks ago as emaciated strays seemed a bit more acclimated to us today. And at the end of my shift there, I spent some time with Fancy the horse, and Ross, the pony, outside. Ross can be a bit, how shall we say, overzealous, when food is in front of him, so it was hard holding the last carrot out of his reach so Fancy could eat it. He is such a cutie – he kept backing up or sidling up next to me to be petted and scratched, and then at one point, he got down onto the ground and rolled over on his back and kicked his legs up in the air. It made me so happy to see him so happy (and relieved from his itchy back, I’m sure.)

My cute, little HoneyBun. This is the dog's bed, but whenever the dog is close to me, she loves to spend time there. In this picture, she is kneading the blanket, happy as a cat can be.
My cute, little HoneyBun. This is the dog’s bed, but whenever the dog is close to me, she loves to spend time there. In this picture, she is kneading the blanket, happy as a cat can be.

I have come to realize that whenever I am at the shelter with those animals, I laugh. I talk to them just like I would my pets at home, always in a calming voice, and the horse and pony make me laugh. There are five goats there now, including a mama and baby girl, and the baby girl is such a nut – she has taken to jumping into the wheelbarrow while we are cleaning out her pen. Both myself and  the other volunteer this morning thought it looked super cute, but we still both shook our heads like “girlll….you are weird!!” Only for these animals would I get up so early on a Sunday and actually look forward to cleaning up after them.

That's ok, Max, you just go ahead and lie right there. It's not like I was actually reading that or anything.... :-)
That’s ok, Max, you just go ahead and lie right there. It’s not like I was actually reading that or anything…. 🙂

Other things I love? Spending time with good friends, having a good conversation and four forks to eat a piece of chocolate cake. That’s how I spent my evening last night. It was very needed – with the weather and my starting school two weeks ago, I found myself in a very down mood toward the end of the week. Seeing my best friend and two others definitely helped lift me out of a funk. And hearing that my best friend is still feeling amazing as she reaches week 17 of her pregnancy, that is just awesome in my book. She will find out what she is having in two weeks – my guess is it’s a girl. Don’t know why, but I just do. She is blond haired and blue eyed, and her husband is from the Bahamas, so you all know just how beautiful that baby will be. (I gotta admit, girls are so much more to buy stuff for, what with all the pink clothes and stuff, but …ok, I digress.)

From what I could tell, this was a minivan at one point in its life.
From what I could tell, this was a minivan at one point in its life.

Did I already mention chocolate? (Yeah, there was that bit above about the chocolate cake.) I could go on and on forever about how much I love chocolate, but I’ll stop now so I can shove a few chocolate chips into my mouth…ok, I’m back!

I am sorry for not having blogged the past few weeks but I just started school and am settling into a rhythm of handling that and working full-time. I have to admit, I am enjoying learning again. And I started auditing an animal law class last week at work – it’s so cool to be in a room with so many others that feel the same way about animals you do, and are passionate about it.

Yeah, this is NOT something that I love. Ever. Thank God it's not mine.
Yeah, this is NOT something that I love. Ever. Thank God it’s not mine.

Oh, and one last thing I love? Knowing that this is my LAST winter in the northeast. The location where I am looking to move hardly ever gets snow and as of last week, while we expected a blizzard, its weather forecast was for highs in the 50s. Enough said. I’m going, baby!

What  kinds of things do you love – what warms your heart and makes you laugh as if you don’t have a care in the world? Please drop me a line below and let me know!

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Easy Like Sunday Morning

Callie, asleep in her princess bed.
Callie, asleep in her princess bed.

For the life of me, I can’t remember who sang that song, Easy Like Sunday Morning (and maybe that’s not even the title of the song, but it’s those four words that have been running through my head today. Lionel Richie sang it, maybe?) Anyway… Read more

A New Direction

Part of my inspiration for today’s post: 

Instead of my usual thankful post to end the week, I wanted to share some information about some decisions I’ve made about my life. Whereas before I was changing my mind almost week to week, this one has stuck, and when I see videos like this, it hits me in the gut that the decision I’m making now is the right one and probably one which I’ve been drawn to my whole life, but didn’t know how to properly act on.

In case you’re a recent reader, I’ll recap briefly. A few years ago, I thought, well, since I’m so interested in fitness, why not get certified to be a professional trainer? (This idea was prompted in part by many of my friends and coworkers saying to me, “you know, you should be a trainer!”) So I took two certification tests, and also took a few specialization tests, so I could work with a few different “populations” and I got a job at a fitness club so I could see what that life is like from the other side. I really kept telling myself that that was what I meant to do, even as I started to question things as I was studying for the second (and very difficult) certification test. And it started to nag at me that I wouldn’t be able to be outside more if I became a trainer, and of all the hours I would need to spend away from my animals. Then, I thought of living in an RV and doing the travel and workamping thing to support myself, but I realized that lifestyle might not be best for my animals, and also, it would likely not end up costing me less than living in a stationary place. That, and I do like some stability in my life. (This is not to say that I won’t ever end up full time RVing, just not right now.)

Then, I thought “well, maybe I should do some sort of survival program, or even go into organic farming.” Notice, both of those kinds of paths would keep me outdoors a lot. So that seemed to be a theme. I also found that I was happiest when around my pets. Yes, it’s the unconditional love thing at work, I am sure. But it’s also that animals don’t play politics, so we understand each other just fine. Because that’s one thing I just don’t do. Play politics and say yes until I feel like a bobblehead that’s been broken. It’s just not me and I will never apologize for it.

Then there is that punched-in-the-gut feeling I get whenever I read about animals being neglected or abused, or treated like they are just a thing without feelings or souls.  It makes me ashamed for not doing more to help them on a day to day basis. So, I’ve decided I am going to go back to school for an associates degree of applied science with a concentration in veterinary technology. My plan is to go through the formal application process over the next few months with Colby Community College, based out of Kansas. Yes, they are accredited by the AVMA, or I wouldn’t even consider the program. They have been quite responsive to my questions so far. They have just recently been accredited so I am sure they want to really get the word out.

I might be thought insane to do this at age 42, and I do know now that a lot of the job is learned on-the-job but I’ve always felt better also having the book knowledge behind me. Plus, while the program I will be going to will be a distance-based program, there are lots of requirements that will have me learning on the job. An externship/internship will be required, and I’m hoping that the fact that I am going to school for it will help me find a job working for a vet in a new location. And when there is time, I also want to be more involved in animals’ rights issues.

So, since I have been out of school for a while and I didn’t have the foresight as a teenager to take more AP classes than I did, I have a lot of prerequisites to catch up on, like Biology and Chemistry, etc. I will be taking three classes in the spring semester while working, and three over the summer as well. There is also a 1-credit class called Intro to Vet Technology that I have to take, so I’m hoping to squeeze that in by August. This schedule may seem a bit aggressive, or insane, to some, but when you finally figure out what your heart desires or what you really want to do with your life, you want that life to start NOW.  There is also the incentive to start now and take as many classes as I can because my employer will pay 75% of the tuition up to 10 credits taken per semester, even if the classes are not related to my current position. This, and the fact that I will be auditing the Animal Law class in the spring means it’s going to be animals, animals, and more animals for me this coming year!!

Just an aside – do you know how weird it felt to call up my high school last week and ask for my high school transcript? Talk about transported back into the past! Seeing those classes and grades listed again, there are no words….

By the way, I usually don’t get into politics on this blog, but I just have to say, this speech did bring some tears to my eyes and a big shit-eating grin to my face last night. Whatever you think of her, Elizabeth Warren is someone who is not afraid to call Bullshit when she sees it. She is my new role model. I’m hoping her husband’s door is open on Monday morning when I go into work so that I can say a personal thank you for her bravery for naming names and taking numbers. She might be one of the most hated women in certain circles, but what’s that saying? Quiet women never changed history.  And with that, I wish you a good weekend!

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Little Things for Which I am Thankful

My baby girls, Callie and HoneyBun. So cute and snuggly (HoneyBun is kneading her bed in bliss.)
My baby girls, Callie and HoneyBun. So cute and snuggly (HoneyBun is kneading her bed in bliss.)

I wish I could say I was thankful for the extremely cold weather we are having in the Northeast, but I can’t. I hate the cold. That’s why I want to move someplace a lot milder!  However, there are many things I am thankful for this week.

  1. I was officially offered a part-time front desk job at the gym where I work out – yay! I’m hoping this means that my monthly membership is going to be free, as that would be a savings of $59/month. I’m also really hoping to gain a lot of knowledge about the inner workings of the health and fitness industry. Not to mention that I will be taking all the money I earn from it and put it in my tiny house fund, or to pay off debt! (I’m thinking the tiny house is the place I would most like for it to go.)
  2. Though it’s been frigid all week, it has made for some incredible sunrises. As I walk into the gym from the bus, I have a great view of the Boston skyline. Some mornings, the sky is a fiery red. The other day, the grayish clouds hanging over the skyline were so solid and opaque looking that they looked like mountains behind the buildings.
  3. Really frigid mornings make for extremely short “pee and poop” trips outside with baby Osito! If time permits, when we come back in, I hold her on my chest like a baby to help her warm up. Doing that, she gives me lots and lots of doggie kisses!
  4. I was also contacted by someone to do some freelance research on a book – yay again! This lady is super awesome and so down to earth. And, right now, I’m very focused on doing the best I can do at whatever project I set out to do.
  5. I’ll be gaining more space in my studio tomorrow when I give my old bike to someone off of Freecycle. It feels good to be giving it to someone who can really use it, and I can already tell by our phone call and our emails, that she is going to REALLY appreciate it.
  6. The heat broke in my apartment last night, but the guys who take care of the building are so awesome, they had it working again within a half hour! Warm and toasty!
  7. After the payment I just made today on my personal loan clears, the balance will be about $633!!
  8. Memories. Yes, memories. They remind me of what life used to be like, and while sometimes they can make you sad, or nostalgic, you can learn from them, time and time again. Literally.

What are you thankful for this week?

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

My babies, Max and Osito. <3<3<3<3<3
My babies, Max and Osito. <3<3<3<3<3

Every week, in some way or another, I am reminded how fortunate I am. That’s a good thing.

  1. I met with a former student yesterday who is from a country that is pretty much run by a dictator. It made me realize how much we take technology for granted here, as well as our individual freedoms. I’m able to see my family whenever I want. He cannot.
  2. I met with my financial advisor yesterday and she told me my goals are definitely doable. That makes me feel so empowered. Just need to keep on staying the course.
  3. The other night, my cat Bonkers was making some strange noises and making these weird squatting stances. It seems to have cleared up, though, thank God. I really didn’t want to have to make an emergency trip to the vet where walking through the door costs you $150 and that’s before he even sees the vet. If it’s an emergency though, have no doubt about it, though. I will do it without question for my animals because they are everything to me.
  4. I have gone VEGAN this week, diet-wise. Threw out my dairy products or took them to work for others to enjoy if I knew the time lag between my place and work wouldn’t make them go bad. Now working on replacing my personal care products to be vegan friendly. (Oh, I also went through my clothes and filled up another trash bag with clothes that contain wool. I’m a tiny bit allergic to them anyway, so it’s the right choice in my mind.)
  5. My brother just ran his best marathon time EVER in Philly this past weekend. He smashed his PR by ten minutes. Oh, did I mention his old PR was already UnDER three hours?? That’s right. He is 39, and came in 9th in his division of men aged 35-39, as well as 90th OVERALL and 89th in his gender. (Yep, there was a female in that top 90. Wahoo!) His new PR is ….. Wait for it….. 2:45:31!!!! That is an average mile pace of 6:18. I’m so super proud of him! (And he has agreed to let me interview him for the blog….yay!)
I feel like every week, I am getting closer and closer to knowing my true purpose in this life. It energizes me to get up every day and to continue enriching my mind and learning from others.
What things are you most thankful for this week?

Tiny House of Animals

Now where do I sleep?? (clockwise: HoneyBun, Callie, Osito and Max)
Now where do I sleep?? (clockwise: HoneyBun, Callie, Osito and Max)

During my online writing class was asked to write about our obsessions and how they affect our writing. Do they get in the way? In a word, no. Unless their walking across my tablet counts as getting in the way. 🙂

(My other obsession is checking out tiny houses, RVs, simple living blogs and videos, but more on that in another post…)

The above photo says it all. I might pay the rent for my apartment but my place really belongs to the animals. At least three of them sleep with me regularly at night, and sometimes a fourth one joins us. They all have their usual “spots” on the bed too. When I wake in the morning, the first thing I usually do is put the dog down on the floor (she’s blind and teeny tiny so she can’t really jump down on her own), and then my white cat, Max, turns to me for his morning snuggles. It can make it hard to get up some mornings but I do it!

Does this mean I will never make space for another human in my bed? No, of course not. They will just need to understand how important my animals are to me and accept that they are staying. If they don’t, we’ll, then they (meaning a guy) won’t understand me, and just won’t be right for me. It’s as simple as that.

Do you have any obsessions you would be willing to share? If so, please leave a comment below. (Or, you can just let me know how cute my animals are.)

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Love....she makes my heart melt.
Love….she makes my heart melt.

This week has been much better than last week. Even took a day off all for myself. “Mental health days” as I like to call them, are much needed sometimes, especially when you are facing the longer, colder nights of the Northeast. Not looking forward to looking out my window at work and seeing that it’s dark out by a little bit after 4 p.m.  But I have a plan to combat that SAD syndrome I usually go through! (See number 4 below.) Read more

And Then, They Were One More

The newest member of our family, Bonkers!!
The newest member of our family, Bonkers!!

A few weeks ago, a friend called me in a panic, and the first words were “feel free to say no.”  She had a twelve year old cat who was supposed to be taken care of by the rescue with which she works, but no foster home had yet been arranged. She couldn’t take him due to her already having two cats and several roommates, one of whom she thought might not appreciate having a cat in the bathroom all of a sudden. Fair enough.

Long story short. I took in the kitty whose name is Bonkers, thinking it would only be for two nights. That turned into five, and then a visit to the vet confirmed it would be longer. He was way too underweight to be put up for adoption. I could definitely see that. He was eating food like every meal would be his last. Most people notice the uniqueness of his ears first. He suffered frostbite as a kitten, so they are a lot smaller than normal. I think they make him look even more adorable.

After a couple of weeks, the Bonk-Man, as I like to call him, started to get antsy in my kitchen. He wanted to get out and explore and my resident cats had figured out he was in there. So, I let him out so I could see how he acted around other cats. My thinking was that with his age, if he could at least get along with other cats, that would make him that much more adoptable.  Luckily, he’s pretty chill around the other cats and little Osito, my senior chihuahua. (She is also 13, and a recent adoption. Yes, I am a sap when it comes to animals, especially the older ones.)

My smallest, Callie, is a bit fearful around him and hissed, but he simply walks away and I have been giving her lots of love to reassure her that she’s still my littlest girl. The alpha male cat, Max, has needed some reassuring too, but he seems to be understanding his position is not in jeopardy. Bonkers seemed to know he was auditioning for the role of Newest Family Member, i swear. Bonkers simply wants a place to hang his head, and sleep. So, I’m giving it to him.

When I tell people I decided to adopt him, they laugh. There is definitely some judging going on and the phrase Crazy Cat Lady has definitely been thrown around. If they want to mock, fine. I know the love I receive from these animals is priceless. I feel proud knowing I can provide for them, and they never want for a thing. I. Keep my place as clean as possible for myself and for them. And the nights that I sit on the couch with several of them around me (usually one or two on my lap), I know we are a family. And that’s all that matters.

Do you have any animals in your life? And if so, how have they changed it?