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.

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

I’m Alive!

My Max. You just wanna squeeze him in this photo, don't ya??
My Max. You just wanna squeeze him in this photo, don’t ya??

Sorry if any of you have worried about me over the past few weeks but a lot has taken place. I started school and was taking 11 credits of classes in addition to working about 42 hours per week. In short, it was too much. The five credit BIO class was killing me. It took up literally every single free moment of my time. And I found myself asking “how does my knowing about photosynthesis actually help me help animals?!” So I ended up dropping down to just 6 credits. Well, 7 credits when I start the Intro to Vet Tech class next week.

Winter scene on land I hope to soon take care of (because really, do any of us really own the land we live on?)
Winter scene on land I hope to soon take care of (because really, do any of us really own the land we live on?)

I went to North Carolina last week and think I found a place to live. And a little house in which to live. It will likely be about 396 sq feet and on a 2 acre wooded lot. Some of it will have to be cleared, of course, and I’ll either hook up to city water or dig a well (the lot is up an incline so it may be more expensive in the long run to connect to city water due to the size of the pipe, but we’ll find out about that as time goes on.  It’ll be a little bit outside of a small town outside of Charlotte, and I think it’s what I need right now. When I was down there, I went to the property one time on my own (I let the builder’s property manager know what I was doing) and just kind of wandered around a bit and listened to the breeze in the trees. A car passed, and once it was gone, I realized how quiet it was. And I thought of myself, sitting outside with Osito on my lap about a year in the future, just listening to the breeze and the birds in the trees.  It will be so different from how I live now, in a big city, in an apartment, but I think it’s just what I need.

Um....hello?
Um….hello?

Living in a smaller space will mean giving up or letting go of more stuff from my life, and it’s something I look forward to doing. Every time I let go of something else, it makes me feel lighter and freer.

I also met with two different vet offices when I was down there. One was a companion animal office in a part of town that I learned was not so great, by personal observation and by talking to a new friend (who feels like an old one, I am very glad to say.)  The other was an equine vet practice that I learned was a bit unusual due to its size and the fact that it actually had a vet tech. I guess a lot of equine vets don’t usually have their own vet techs. Usually, they rely on the horse owner and at most, have a receptionist.

<3 my Bonkers

So, my plan will be to try working with companion animals (with which I feel very comfortable right now) and volunteer with larger animals. I also found from talking to different vet techs that the hands-on experience is definitely more needed for me right now than to be taking a ton of classes through a distance-based program. I’m going to continue on with the classes I’m already taking and take a Medical Terminology class this summer, for sure. But I think the regular Bio and Chem can wait until I’m quite certain that formal schooling is the way to go and worth the small bump in pay it would give me as a result.

Just when I wondered whether I should keep my cat condo, this happened.  <3 HoneyBun!
Just when I wondered whether I should keep my cat condo, this happened.

I can’t wait for the next phase of my life to start. Until then, I’m going to save every penny I can to put down on the house and to make sure I have enough savings. I know my salary will likely be a third of what it is now and I’m preparing myself for that mentally. I may have some medical stuff coming up in the next month or so that will require me to spend some time out of work and if I do, I know it will be a good break to keep myself focused and on the positive, right track. (And who knows, maybe I will even have more time to blog?!) 🙂

If you have liked this post please hit like or subscribe, or drop me a line below. And thanks for reading!

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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Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Some days, you just don't want to get out of bed. I <3 my diva, Max.
Some days, you just don’t want to get out of bed. 

Just so you know, my cat Max didn’t crawl in under the pillows in the above pic. Rather, he refused to get out of bed or from under the covers so I made my best attempt at making the bed around His Highness. I’d say this past Thursday, many of us felt the same way.

I know I haven’t written this type of post in a while but I have not been in the mood to do so.  Not sure why, but when I’ve thought about writing the post at the end of the night, I’ve just felt way too tired. I know I should always be thankful for what I’ve got, so I’ll try to get back into the routine again.

  1. As of the time I’m starting this post, they’ve caught three of the four suspected terrorists in France. Well, killed three of four of them. I’m just thankful they have caught them, and hope they find the fourth.  With all the news reports making comparisons to the Boston Marathon Bombings, which are still fresh in a lot of our minds, it’s a bit depressing, going back to that day in my mind, when my friend Lisa, Mom2Marathon, was running and got stopped just before the 26 mile marker. I remember her saying she was having a crappy run that day, but that crappy run probably saved her life, so I’m thankful she had an off day.
  2. So thankful the heat is included in my rent, especially when it gets so bitterly cold as it did for most of the country this week. Thursday morning, the temp was -2F and it felt like -22F. In a word, it felt brutal.
  3. My cat Bonkers has a heart murmur so the vet suggested he get an echocardiogram before we give him a dental procedure in February. His results? All good, as I thought they would be. Speaking of pets, my friend Penny from PlanetYnnep Photography has a Australian cattle dog who had a procedure done earlier this week to remove a mass. So far, she seems to be recovering from surgery very well. I don’t know her prognosis as of yet, but it seems like she is recuperating very well, and I’m not surprised as Penny is one of the kindest people I know, and also such a great fur mom.
  4. I went to my mailbox at work the other day and was so surprised to see a gift card in my mail from a professor with whom I’ve worked a bit over the past several years and worked on a somewhat lengthy project. It was totally unexpected and the amount of it made my mouth fall to the floor, quite literally. I was speechless. Still am when I think about it, as it’s been put to good use already and there’s still a good portion of the balance left! Since I had found out earlier that day that I have an unexpected medical bill, it kind of evened things out.
  5. I was able to connect via phone with the vet who handles the large animals for the ARL and she was completely awesome! We talked for over an hour on the phone and I am definitely going to shadow her one day, or if she doesn’t have calls, she said she could show me how she takes care of her horses and other animals. Yay!!! We talked about where I was thinking of moving to and she said something that supported what one of my friends was saying the other day. My friend said when she thinks of horses, she thinks of VA and NC first before Kentucky. The vet said most of her clients who have horses move south to NC.

    So I started looking into NC again as an option. I looked at LocalRanchVets.com, and found that there is an insanely high number of vets or vet practices in or around Greensboro, NC. that work with large animals. It’s a bit over an hour from the Raleigh area and in the area that most people refer to as the Triad, rather than the Triangle. (It’s near Winston-Salem, and High Point, etc.) I started looking at job postings on craigslist for vet assistants/receptionists/technicians and wow, there are a ton!  And even better, the cost of living appears to be doable!

    Needless to say, I will do more research but am excited. When I found myself thinking of Kentucky, I was feeling this little nagging feeling in the back of my mind as I saw how many houses were available in a very low price range and was worried it also meant that the job market was extremely bad. I could be wrong. Hell, I could be wrong about a lot of things!  But I plan on making at least one trip pretty soon, maybe even in February to check out areas. Even if it’s only for a long weekend, it’s better to see something in person and do your own research than to rely on other’s opinions.

  6. Earlier this week, I paid my tuition for my prereq classes – thank you to all of you who have supported and encouraged me as I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! 🙂

If you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe, and if you’re thankful for something this week and feel like sharing, drop me a line below!

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

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I know these posts usually come out on a Friday, but I wanted to be able to write this post from a place of gratitude, you know? And that’s how I am feeling today. Yesterday, well, in the words of someone who commented on my blog recently, I was just “waiting until Friday.”

1. I was lamenting with a colleague how it seems like libraries have changed so much over the past few years. To me, they seem to have become very corporatized (well, some of them, anyway) and I look at my own library and see how it’s changed. When I started there, I was by far, the most inexperienced person. And I mean, BY YEARS, I was the least experienced. And knowledgeable. Now, I’m the one who has been in the department the longest. It’s scary, and it’s sad.

But, someone decided to make my day yesterday, and it came in the form of one of the reference librarians with whom I worked in the very beginning. Naomi came into the library yesterday for the first time since she had retired, back in 2006. She’s the only librarian in our library who has a plaque dedicated to her near the reference desk. At first when she walked in with her family, I asked “are you here for the reunion?” and then I looked at her and was like “oh my God, Naomi!!” and immediately ran at her.

That woman has probably forgotten more than I will ever learn in my life. She reminded me of a time in my job when I was always, always learning. You’d think you had exhausted every avenue you knew of, and every resource, and you’d go to one of the more senior librarians and ask, “is there anything I’m missing?” and inevitably they would come up with something. (I still have that today in a colleague or two, but it’s just not the same. When you add up all the years of experience in my department these days, we probably add up to about 1 to 1.75 of the library reference librarians’ experience before, and that was a big department of about 7.

When she left, her husband turned to me and said “you made her day,” and I said “no, she made mine.”  We just kept giving each other hugs.

2. I may be dating myself by bringing up this movie, but does anyone out there remember the movie, Legends of the Fall? Back from around 1994? You may remember it had Aidan Quinn and Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins? Well, there was a line in the movie where the old Native American says something about Brad Pitt’s character, Tristan, coming into the “quiet stage” of his life. That’s kind of how I felt earlier this week when we had all that rain, and the shortness of the daylight seemed to be strikingly obvious to me, much more so than normal. It made me really start to think about things and get some things sorted out in my mind. And I have felt kind of “quiet.” It’s kind of like the feeling that comes over me when all I can hear in the apartment is the sound of the bubbling pet water fountain and maybe a snoring animal or two. Like right now, as I sit here typing this, every single furball in this place is sound asleep. It’s a feeling of contentment, of just feeling like everything is right as it should be, right now.

3. I am grateful for having good friends and for having good friends who give me good advice. Not necessarily what I want to hear, but good advice in that it comes from a good place inside of them and because it’s honest.  One of them told me to think of my dreams or life as a sentence that you diagram – think about the big picture, and then see the parts that make up the whole. Think of what you want the end result to be, and then you’ll figure out how to get there.

4.  I am grateful that the weather today is absolutely gorgeous. The sun is out, and lots of people are walking and running around the reservoir out back. It’s one of those days where I wish we could just freeze the calendar and not move forward.

5. I am grateful for quiet, peaceful days like today, where there is nothing on the schedule unless I want it to be. So, I’m going to the movies tonight with my best friend and her husband. We’re a movie watching trio – Gone Girl is what we will be seeing. I’ve read the book, so I can’t wait to see how it translates to the big screen. Definitely one of those books that is hard to put down.

6. I am grateful for young adult fiction about vampires. Yes, I said it. There, I admit it!! It’s what I like to read! It allows me to escape into another world and reminds me of what I loved about reading as a child. I used to lose myself in books, and now I”m doing it again.

7. I am grateful for views like those pictured above. And for coming home and seeing my two boys, Max and Sebastian, curled up on the loveseat (see below.)  I wanted to sit there, but I don’t have heart to make them move. Could you??

Sleepy boys...
Sleepy boys…

What are you thankful for this week? Please drop me a line below. And if you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe! Thanks for reading.

Getting Rid of My Debt, Part 13 (Catching Up)

Don't we all wish we could stay in bed some mornings?
Don’t we all wish we could stay in bed some mornings?

Been a few weeks and I haven’t reported in on my progress. Well, not much has changed since the past two weeks, but that is about to change this week. I should have been able to pay my extra $430 to my private loans, as usual out of my regular paycheck, but this month that didn’t work out. I am now taking an e-course called Dreaming of Mortgage-Freedom that is run by Hari of the Tiny House Family blog and one of our first assignments is to start tracking our spending.  (To get to where you’re going, you need to know where you are right now.) She suggested an app and I know others who do the same thing. (By the way, she was on the Today Show this morning! But for me, sometimes, it’s literally the writing down of everything with pen and paper that helps me to see things clearly. And here’s what happened this month: Read more