Focus, Leap, and Do Good “Stuffs”

As of today, the plural of stuff is stuffs! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ūüôā

 

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FOCUS!

 

I had a conversation on Facebook over the weekend with someone who was in the first class of law students with whom I worked as a professional law librarian, while at Boston University Law School. That was a long 12 years ago, but he still remembers me and when I was typing back and forth with him, I could still hear that accent of his and see his big smile on his face. I remember thinking back then that he was so, so, so incredibly smart, and how in the world did I think I could help someone like him?!

Anyway, the point of this walk down my memory lane is this – he reminded me of how much I enjoyed teaching others and teaching them to teach themselves how to do things. ¬†How sometimes when a patron would come up to me, completely lost and not exactly know what they were looking for, and sometimes it was a subject I didn’t know much about myself, how I would fumble through with them until we’d finally hit on some piece of knowledge or thought and then we’d both run with it! (Not all interactions were like this, of course, but it was these types that made me glad to do my job.) ¬† He told me that I was so devoted to helping them learn, and a few other nice things, and said he thought it had been the opinion of many of his classmates as well. ¬† He also told me that time and kindness are two of the most precious resources you can give. ¬† I certainly gave them a lot of my time, and especially in the beginning of my career as a librarian, when I was learning so much myself every day, I remember thinking to myself how confused the foreign students must be, and how different it all must seem to them to learn about this whole other country’s set of ¬†laws. ¬†And how scary it can seem. ¬†So if they saw my manner towards them as kind, well, I am glad, because I wanted to treat them the same way I would have wanted to be treated if in their shoes.

 

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LEAP! 

 

One thing I don’t get to do much of these days is teach people. ¬† Also, because it’s a for-profit business, sometimes, I feel like I have to really hold my tongue from expressing my opinions to customers, such as on issues of declawing cats, docking tails or ears of dogs such as Doberman’s, breeding in general, and failing to spay/neuter your pets. ¬†Sometimes, I just want to scream at people, “What are you?? Stupid??!! Don’t you know all the various health issues with not spaying or neutering? And do you really think the world needs MORE unwanted animals? ¬†WHY in the hell are you going to a breeder when the shelters are FULL of homeless pets?!” (Anybody who works in animal issues that says that they never say these things or even think them to themselves is lying, trust me.) ¬†I also see the animals that come in that are being fostered after being removed from bad situations. ¬†It sickens me. ¬†Days like that, you catch yourself saying things like “I hate people” to yourself or under your breath.

However, there was one random day that a lady came in and asked about where she could get a German Shepherd dog, and we started talking.  The librarian in me took over, and before I knew it, I had turned the computer monitor towards her and started showing her how to do some searches on sites like Petfinder.com, how to navigate the ABQ city website, and started asking her some more questions about what it was she was really looking for in a dog.  As with some of my favorite interactions at the reference desk in the past, she took out a pen and paper and started writing stuff down so she could look on her own later on.

I’ve been doing some soul searching and thinking about what it is that makes me tick. ¬†What kind of movies or videos I like to watch, or podcasts I like to listen to, or blog posts I like to read, and then share with others because I find them inspiring. I have tried to figure out a common thread between them. ¬†In the past, I wrote this post about the movie called Opening Our Eyes. ¬†I think I need to go back and watch the movie again. ¬†I also wrote this post about the movie, I’m Fine, Thanks¬†in which the filmmaker travels around the country and interviews people who want to make a change in their life, and then DO IT.

I may have talked about this on the blog before, and I thought about applying in the past, but of course, the issue of money is one that has stopped me from applying. ¬†But I’m starting to really feel this pull inside like this is the right thing to do. ¬†There is a Master’s degree program in Humane Education offered by the Institute for Humane Education. ¬†The degree is taught online and has a week long residency requirement in a beautiful part of Maine, not far from Acadia National Park. The program is accredited through Valapraiso University, and the program I would look to finish is a Masters in Arts in Humane Education, because if I’m going to educate, I would rather it be outside of a traditional classroom, and have it be through my daily work, either with a non-profit, or a civic engagement, or an animal shelter, etc. ¬†(They describe the MA in Humane Education as “designed for educators who wish to work outside of school settings, such as through community work, non-profits, arts activism, social services, law, and many other professions.“) ¬†I like the idea of being able to use the education in many fields.

Part of the program involves a master’s thesis. It can be creative, professional, and/or research-based. All of those sound right up my alley. ¬†If I could find a way to marry research with a realistic plan of how to bring my ideas into reality, I will feel successful. ¬†And hey, maybe it could even become that book I have been wanting to publish. ūüôā

 

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DO GOOD STUFFS! (Picture from the ABQ BioPark where lots of good stuffs are happening!)

I am grateful to have friends to bounce these ideas off of. ¬†I swear to God, my friend Dan is kind of my grandmother reincarnated in the way that he kindly asks me probing questions to get me to think, and he reminds me that I’m always “go, go, GO!!” when I set my mind to something. ¬†He wants me to sit back and breathe and really think about things, and for that, I love him to death. ¬†I need someone like that in my life. ¬†Especially when I’m 44 and considering putting yet even more money into education without the 100% guarantee it will get me a job that will pay that tuition money back, and again, I’m 44! ¬† Putting myself through school again? ¬†Didn’t I just consider this with the vet tech program at CNM? These are all questions I really need to think about.¬†

 

Dan has asked me to think about why I would want to do such a program, and here is my long-winded answer. ¬†Many of you who have read my blog for a long time, or who were gluttons for punishment, and decided to go back to the beginning and start and catch yourselves up (and I LOVE all of you!), know that I have these big dreams, or big ideas, and I want to do so much, both in every ordinary day of my life, and with my life as a whole! But one of the problems I know I suffer from is being able to focus. ¬†I can be like a raccoon that you throw something shiny in front of, and I’m already distracted.

My point is this: ¬†I need the structure and guidance of someone else who has felt the same way and knows how to narrow down the wish list, how to take all the grandiose ideas and ACTUALLY put them into concrete action. ¬†And I want to meet with others, both virtually, and in person, through the online class tools and at a practicum where I live, who feel the same way, who I can be made accountable to, and who can encourage me when I get discouraged along the way. ¬†And I can learn how to integrate some of my ideas, because really, a lot of my concerns are interconnected: ¬†animal protection, environmental protection, etc. You can’t really look at things in a vacuum anymore. ¬†I look back at these earlier posts of mine and know now that figuring out how to focus my energies and integrate my ideas, has been my problem.

I also want to be like some of the students you see profiled on this page.  Some of the students who really caught my eye were involved in issues related to animals:

When I die, I don’t need to have been known for winning a Nobel Prize or having been someone like Bill Gates, or Mother Theresa. ¬†I just want to have left this world in a little bit better place than it was when I entered it, and for some people to think of me and think “You know? ¬†Terri was all right. ¬†She did some good stuffs!”

What kind of good stuffs have you seen being done around you or do you want to achieve in your life?

Selling the RV, moving into a studio

IMAG0566.jpgSome of you may be disappointed upon reading my blog title, but yes, it’s true. I am selling the RV and moving into a studio. I feel in my heart it’s the right thing to do. It’s one less stress on my mind at a time when I’ve felt a whole lot of stress and overwhelmed-ness. I move in on April 1st, and will have the assistance of a friend to move my large cat tree and a recliner chair, plus the table and chairs he has offered to give me for free.

The studio is furnished and comes with basic cable and internet. I’m responsible for the electric, but the place is only 499 sq feet so I don’t think it will cost too, too much, to heat or cool. At least it will be better insulated than my RV was this past summer and winter. That should help. All the appliances in the building are electric – I’m finding that to be the case a lot in the southwest, or the heat is by propane in some places. (It’s a weirdness to get used to after having been in the northeast where houses or buildings were sometimes heated by oil or natural gas. Rarely did I hear about a house being heated by propane.) ¬†I am going to like being surrounded again by four walls of a permanent nature, rather than living in a structure that was only built to be lived in for three seasons of the year. And also, it comes with a washer and dyer and a NORMAL shower. Or, should I say, a NORMAL-SIZED shower?

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This is from a hike known as the Toadstools. It’s located a bit less than halfway between Lake Powell and Kanab, UT. (If I can, I’ll write up a separate blog post about this hike at a later date.)

So. Now, I get to sell the RV. A few people have asked about it in the employee housing area where I am, and have offered to make some payments on it. I am very leery of doing something like that as it makes me a defacto landlord, and that’s just another stress I don’t want on my head. Plus, I have a loan on the RV and because of that, I carry more insurance on it. I don’t want to be liable for anything that happens with it. My other option is do it as a consignment sale with the dealer from whom I originally bought it. ¬†I am a bit worried about not being able to sell it for what I still owe on the loan, but I have resigned myself to possibly losing money on it and just doing the best I can to minimize the chance of that happening.

 

I have made it through the first few days without the girl who had been training me, on site. There were only two of us all day on Monday, ¬†and we were hopping, especially in the afternoon at rush time. We had problems getting the door closed and were there past closing by about a half hour. But we did the best we could. I guess that’s all we can ask.

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This was from my Toadstools hike. At one point, I just sat and tried to listen to the sounds of nature and forget about everything else going on in my life.

I’ve been having issues controlling my anxiety lately, and it is quite possible it’s all situational. But I decided to take Prozac again, just the very smallest dosage of 20 mg. I started a few days ago and it does seem to be helping me to focus. ¬†I need to find a local doctor to discuss it with, and it’s my plan to find one as soon as I have medical insurance again, sometime in April. I found myself feeling many moments of panic over the past few weeks, much more than I ever remember experiencing in the past several years. I also had crying jags that have made me very uncomfortable. ¬†(Not sure if “jags” is a real word, but hey, it is now.) And just all around feeling like shit about myself, indulging in negative self-talk. I started to let it get out of control,¬†which was really bad.

 

I know that it sounds like I have been see sawing back and forth on the decision whether to take Prozac or not, and I admit, I have. Part of me has wanted to just be free of all medicine for two reasons. I’ve wanted to see what I am like when not taking medication for anything. And a small part has not wanted to have to deal with doctors or paying for the medicines on a long term basis. I now understand those commercials that show people choosing to either pay for their medicines or put food on the table. (It’s not that dire, but when you were living as close to the line as I was when in Utah, it totally hits home.) ¬†But as a very wise friend or two, or three (ok, many) have told me, it’s important to gauge what ¬†and how I am feeling, and to listen to my body and what it is telling me.

While my financial situation has improved, having the studio is not cheap in an area known for having lots and lots of tourists. I will still have to mind my income and not be spending all crazy in one direction or another. I still have items I need to save for, and the RV will need to be paid off entirely. I want to pay off my car this year if at all possible. It would be awesome to no longer have a car payment. But I’m getting ahead of myself and that is a blog post for another day.

Thank you, as always for reading, and for be patient with long stretches in between blog posts. It’s just been a lot to take in these past few weeks and sometimes, I just want to sit and relax either on my couch or with Baby O on my lap at the beach. I believe this last bit is what they call self-care. It’s something none of us should ever neglect. It might not be the same as a physical activity like running, but it’s a way to relax. I’ll still run whenever I can, but working 10-11 hour days will also take a lot out of me too, and I need to remember that too.

If you have any words of wisdom or thoughts on all this craziness that is my life, please feel free to share. Just be nice, and try to not be too disappointed in that I am giving up the RV life. This is just the right thing for me to do. I need to have four permanent walls around me again, to be happy. And yes, it means I am setting up roots in the Lake Powell area for at least a year.

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A pic of Baby O, to reward you for having read this far. And really, what is a blog post without a picture of some sort of furry cuteness?

 

 

 

 

 

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

fall leavesThis has become my favorite post to write. It keeps me grounded in the here and now which is important, considering how much time I spend thinking about the future — my future job as a trainer (and who knows what else? maybe a writer? or animal rescuer?), my future house, my animals that will still be with me with I move and any new ones that may come along and bless me in this life.

Keeping myself grounded in the present, I am so thankful for the people that have come into my life these past three and a half years. If I had stayed married, I think my world would have remained small, and I wouldn’t have realized so many passions as I now feel in my heart and I wouldn’t have been able to learn from others like I have. My friends, both in real life and those with whom I talk online (and plan to meet in the future, you know who you are!) teach me so much every day. I am feeling very blessed this morning and my list comes from a place of abundance.¬† Continue reading