Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Deep Thoughts by Me: Facebook

Whew, it's been a while, eh? I've been adjusting to my new job at the shelter, although it's not so new any more! I have been there for 5 months now as the Website & Volunteer Coordinator...there have been ups and downs, but mostly ups.

As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this evening, I saw that a few people on my friends list had used an app to show their first picture ever posted on Facebook. I was curious (that's how they always get you) so I clicked through the permissions and got this:

First reaction: Awwwww, me and Heather with Superman's crotch!

Second reaction: Holy shit, I've been on Facebook for 10 years!

After I got over the brief hipster urge to brag about how I was on Facebook before it was cool (okay okay, I did comment on it, on Facebook), it really got me thinking about how Facebook's role in my life today compared to then.

I mean, just look at the header advertisement on the photo above: "Games. Gifts. Photos. Chat. Find it all on Facebook." When I first joined as a high school senior taking full time classes at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, you had to have a college email address to sign up. Now everyone can be on it, which was groan-inducing at first (I vowed to never accept my parents' friend requests, and then my siblings all did and I couldn't be the one asshole who didn't) but today it has so much reach and impact.

Many people will comment about how Facebook is a time-killer, soul-sucker, etc etc, and I get weirdly defensive about it. All of my family and most of my friends are far far away from me, and getting glimpses of their lives through Facebook makes me feel grounded and connected, all while living in the boondocks of Maine. Sure there's plenty of drivel and those certain people who post everything they've ever done and/or all of their feelings they've ever felt. And misinformation spreads like wildfire -- in the last couple days a post about a giant imminent snowstorm has gone viral around here with ensuing panic, and the post is from 2013.

It helps that he's wicked cute.
But, then I look at what Facebook has done for the shelter. A large portion of my job is Facebook management. That too has its ups and downs, but the sheer reach of Facebook as a tool to network for animals is awe-inspiring. For example, today I posted a picture of a lab that came in as
a stray. In the 8 hours since it has been posted, 147 people have shared his photo and it has had over 7,400 views.

So Facebook can help reunite strays with their owners. It can also find animals new homes. When I started at the shelter, I began tracking where people had seen the animal they ended up adopting. For cats most people walk in and choose a cat without coming in for a specific one. For dogs however, Facebook is usually the source.

The post that coined him
as the Shelter Overlord.
In my opinion Facebook also connects people to what we do at the shelter, to make us more accessible and relatable. The recent phenomenon of "Cuddles the Overlord" showed that. We had a grumpy-faced kitten who quickly became a mini-star on our Facebook and Instagram; we were able to show the lighter side of what we do with silly captions. And when Cuddles had to be put to sleep because he had spinal deformities and was in severe pain, people got to know the heavier side of what we do as well.

Sometimes I lose sight that not everyone is on Facebook. It is such an important piece of my life, both personally and professionally, that I forget for some others it's something they check every once in a while, or never at all. The world in general does not revolve around Facebook, even if my section of the world does.

Anywho, there's not much point to this post other than to ruminate and to plug the fact that we're trying to get to 10,000 likes on the shelter page. If you haven't liked it already, please do!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Worlds Collide

Work meets search and rescue!

Tonight as we were leaving the shelter after a long day of work, a tricksy cat darted out into freedom.

An initial attempt to recoup the cat resulted in said cat darting across the fairly busy road and into the woods on the other side. I followed, trying to be nonchalant while waiting for an opportunity to tackle her.

The cat meandered through the trees with her tail held high, keeping juuuuuuust far enough in front of me. She lithely trotted across fallen birch logs while I clomped through the trees behind her, leaves and sticks cracking under my giant feet. She would stop and wait for me to get closer, then take off again.

I had to keep very focused on the cat because she is of course the exact color of dead leaves.

She was obviously plotting her escape early on.

As we went deeper and deeper into the woods, I had many different thoughts going through my mind. Including:

 - How far do I go before giving up?
 - I'm going to come across someone's house soon, right? How far down the rabbit hole are we going?
 - If I finally do catch her, will she come quietly or will I have scratches from both the woods and cat claws?
- Oh good lord, I hope I can find my way back or I will never live it down. 

Just when I was contemplating giving up the ghost, the cat let me get close enough to make my move.


Once I had her scruffed and in my arms, I turned around and paused. I could hear the road and I have a fairly good sense of direction, so I wasn't too worried. But I had been concentrating so hard on following the cat, going right left right right left double back left left right, that I could see how easy it would be to get lost.

But I didn't! Huzzah! I came out of the woods maybe 20 ft from where I went in.

After the cat was safely back in the building and I was in my car driving home, I reflected back upon the situation. How many stories have I read about following a magical animal deep into the woods to discover a wardrobe to another world, or that I have magical powers, or a species of intelligent trolls to teach me the secret of life?


And that is how I searched and rescued a cat today.

Monday, September 21, 2015

#1 Rule of Fostering Animals


I have failed. I am going to be super weird about adopting out the kittens and mamacat I've been fostering.  I'm thinking a 10-page questionnaire. Sample questions include:
    3.  Will you name the kitten something cool and amazing?

   19. What kind of voice will you use to talk to the kitten?

   37. Will there be small children around, possibly torturing the kitten?

I don't really want to keep any of them, but I was there for their birth, their eyes opening, their first wobbly steps, their first purrs.  Plus mamacat is SO friendly and so good with her kittens. It gives me all the feels!

It has been really really fun to watch their personalities arise.  They obviously all have names: mamacat is Minnow, then the kittens are Monkey, Millie, Moonpie, and Meeshka.

Meeshka, 2 hours old

Good mama Minnow with 2-day old kittens

Millie, 1 week old

Beautiful mama Minnow with 2 week old kittens

Millie, 3 weeks old 

Moonpie, 3.5 weeks old

Clockwise starting in front: Millie, Moonpie, Monkey, and Meeshka. 1 month old!

So if anyone wants to add an absolutely amazing kitten or very loving adult cat to their lives, hit me up and I'll send you the screening questionnaire! Or just come to the shelter and adopt them when they're 8 weeks old.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Line Up For Your Autographs Now

Because I'm basically famous.

For my A-list celebrity list status acceptance speech, I'd like to thank Mark Zuckerberg for inventing Facebook, Al Gore for inventing the internet, and my college hamster Ziggy Stardust for giving me inspiration.

Oh, and happy National Dog Day! Here's a picture of Finch with the guest kitty we had for one night.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dogs Who Bite

Sometimes not enough thought goes into what comes out of my fingertips, which is not a good thing when you manage a Facebook page with 8,000+ followers. Recently I posted a picture of one of the dogs available for adoption at the shelter, with a frank assessment of his history...he had been adopted out as an ~8 week old puppy, then around the age of 1.5 he bit the family's other dog and was returned to the shelter.

The post was up for a day and a half without any red flags...people liked the picture and commented about how they hoped he would find a forever home.

Then this morning there were a couple of comments that expressed outrage that we would adopt out a dog with a bite history. Some guy that is vehemently pro-breeder shared it as an example of how our "kill shelter" is awful.

It does not help that this dog is a pit bull.

I could write a whole post about how infuriating it is when someone is WRONG on the internet, but I think we've all been there, done that.

So let's talk about dog bites.


I grew up with chocolate labs. The very idea of them biting anything other than a chew toy or shoe was incomprehensible. I would have readily said that any dog who bites should get put down immediately because that just isn't acceptable.

Then, within the past few years, both of my dogs have bitten other dogs. Those who know Finch and Hobbes can hopefully attest that both of them are incredibly sweet and loving dogs, and yet they both drew blood on other dogs.

Finch is an alpha female and does not back down. She bit another alpha female when they got into a tussle.

Hobbes has become pretty anti-social towards other dogs now that I live in the country and I don't take him to the dog park to socialize. He bit a Great Dane puppy.

Both incidents mortified me and I cried over each. But it was never an option in my mind to put them to sleep because of it.

If I had to rehome Hobbes, on paper he would be a pit bull who attacked another dog. Would he
deserve a chance to find another home, instead of being euthanized because of his bite history? I certainly think so.

It's okay if you don't. But if the shelter went with a policy of euthanizing every dog with a bite history, can you just imagine the number of small dogs we would have to put down? Maybe you'd argue that bigger dogs can do much more damage when they bite. Which is true, but little dogs can still do significant damage. Where would we draw the line of with what size dog is a bite history acceptable, and what size mandates an automatic euth?

I understand when people take the position that biting is unacceptable, period, because I thought that before I owned two dog-aggressive dogs. And I don't blame people for worrying about the safety of themselves and their own pets.

But it's a lose-lose situation for the shelter when it comes to dogs who bite. If we put down dogs who have a bite history, people would (and do) call us a kill shelter who doesn't give dogs second chances. If we adopt out dogs who have a bite history, people would (and do) call us terrible and irresponsible.

I fully realize that you can never please everyone. But that doesn't make it any less frustrating when reading and responding to comments online. That pro-breeder assclown (aside: I didn't realize there was a pro-breeder, anti-shelter movement) who in one breath called us a kill shelter and in the next breath criticized us for trying to adopt out a dog with a dog-dog* bite history? He would've found something to fuel his indignation no matter what I posted.

The best we can do is temperament test dogs who come into the shelter, and give full disclosure to possible adopters about the dog's bite history.  Dogs who fail the temperament test and are deemed dangerous are humanely put to sleep.  Adopters who are looking at dogs with bite histories are educated by us before they make a decision.

I wish I could have this conversation with every person who comments because they're upset with the shelter's decisions. It wouldn't change everyone's minds, but at least some people could see the thought process behind what we do. Obviously I can't, but I can at least subject my loyal blog followers to it. Mwuhaha.

*I'm focusing on dog-dog bites because dog-person bites are even murkier and my opinion depends entirely upon the situation.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An Uneasy Truce

I take a certain amount of pride in not being squicked out by much. Snakes? Cool. Blood? Meh.

Spiders however...spiders are the devil incarnate. Including spider-like things, like daddy longlegs. I don't care how many people tell me they're harmless and they're not technically spiders. PURE EVIL.

But I like to think I'm pushing myself to grow and expand outside my comfort zone. Last year I noticed giant spiders had taken residence under the eaves outside my living room windows. I was on the phone with Annie at the time and all conversation screeched to a halt while I freaked out. After gearing myself up and a pep talk from Annie, I went out with a broom and the ladder and smashed those assholes.

The broom stayed right where I dropped it after the killings for a year because I wouldn't bring it inside.

They're back this year. At least 4 monstrous ones hang out right next to the ruined corpses of their deceased brethren, in outright declaration that they do not give a damn.

I bought a can of spider spray and went on a genocidal rage, attacking the lower eaves and the porch. I used the entire can. Because there's no such thing as overkill when it comes to spiders.

That leaves the upper eaves. Between forgetting and not finding spider spray at the store when I do remember to look, I've called an uneasy truce. Mostly because I'm too lazy to drag out the ladder and also I don't want to get anywhere near the bastards.

This is where I'm growing and expanding as a compassionate person...sort of. As long as they stay right there, I'll pretend that I'm cool with them and send insincere appreciation for them eating bugs. If any one of them so much as thinks about moving into the house, I will wipe them out and will do so with glee.

I may do it anyway because just looking at them gives me the paranoid creepy crawlies. We'll see how long my magnanimous attitude lasts.

For any spider enthusiasts out there, I believe it is a comb-clawed spider. Also, what is wrong with you that you like spiders?!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Hello Again

A month has lapsed since I've written on the blog. I kept thinking, Kelsey, you should really write something about your new job. And your friends visiting. And the parade you and Bisbee were in. And family vacation. And and it kept getting postponed and postponed until it felt too overwhelming to even take on.

So this is my sad attempt to jump back in to blog writing! Let's start with work.

Work has been going fabulously. It's so fun to go in and find out what kind of animals came in while I was gone, and to watch animals get adopted into loving families. Also, I get to wear jeans and a standard polo shirt every day.

The biggest adjustment so far is the workplace size and environment. I've always worked for big companies (hospital systems, retail stores, etc), so a standalone shelter with ~10 employees is a huge change. The staff dynamics are very different as well...not bad, just different!

My daily tasks involve: 
  • Taking pictures of new arrivals and posting to our electronic records, Facebook, website, and various pet adoption sites like Petfinder
  • Responding to Facebook and website inquiries
  • Assisting with the front desk as needed, including answering the phone and processing adoptions
  • Finding foster homes for animals
  • Managing the volunteer program
  • Planning fundraisers and thanking donors
Would've been such a cute picture if it didn't
make me dizzy every time I looked at the unfocusedness.
The most frustrating part so far is my ineptitude with a camera. I have these grand visions of how photos should look and am constantly disappointed with fuzzy picture after fuzzy picture. Every now and then I will accidentally take a decent picture, but that's far and few between.

Plus, posing pets is harrrrrrrrrd. Especially puppies. I have yet to get a passable picture of a puppy.

Everyone asks me "Isn't it hard to work at the shelter?!? I would want to bring all of them home!" My friends and family are unconvinced when I assert that I will NOT be bringing any animals home.

Honestly, the only animals that are tempting are the old ones. Like Herbert, the 10+ year old lab that came in as a stray. Sweet as pie, that old man. And well-trained...he had obviously had a loving home at some point.

I mean, look at that happy lab face!

Luckily he found a great home.

I did bring a pregnant mamacat home to foster, because as the volunteer/foster coordinator, I wanted to have the experience of fostering so I knew what I was talking about when I told other fosters about how to do it.  The hoarding habits of the farm's past owners were to my advantage in this siutation, as I'm keeping mamacat in the weird whelping room in my garage.

But, she and her future kittens will be going right back to the shelter when the kittens are old enough. Three cats (and two dogs, and two horses, and four chickens) is plenty for me, myself, and I, thankyouverymuch! 

Tanner, god bless his patient soul, came to work with me this past Thursday. The shelter was running "Critter Camp," a day camp for kids to come and learn about animals. I volunteered to bring in Tanner, and the shelter director said he was welcome to come for the whole day so I didn't have to run home multiple times to pick him up or drop him off. So he hung out in one of the large outdoor grass kennels, watching the activity and occasionally whinnying to the dogs and cats.  The kids got to paint him and walk him on the dog trail behind the shelter. 

And that's a little glimpse into my new job! So far, so great.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


I am so excited to announce that I am starting a new work adventure! On July 6th I will officially be the new Website/Volunteer Coordinator for the Franklin County Animal Shelter.

It is 15 minutes from the farm and the job involves a lot of aspects that I truly enjoy doing: graphic design, social media management, education and outreach, and volunteer coordination. And of course, I will get to play with PUPPIES AND KITTIES every day.

The Shelter director is very supportive of me continuing school although I will do so on a part time basis while working full time.

I am of course sad to end the MaineGeneral chapter of my life. I've been with an amazing team for almost four years and have learned so much while feeling like I'm making a difference in people's lives.

But I was ready to make a change. Things were getting a little slumpy and just when I was about to give up and curl into a ball, this job came along. And it all happened very quickly! It appeared on the Shelter's Facebook page late last Wednesday afternoon, just after I had had a cry and contacted a realtor about selling the farm that morning because something had to give. I immediately applied, heard back on that Thursday, had an interview the following Tuesday, was offered the job Wednesday, officially accepted the job and gave my two weeks' notice on Thursday!

The plan is to keep the farm while I figure out if I can swing it financially (perhaps getting one or two boarders or a roommate) and emotionally (i.e., I'm hoping the new job will give me the mental health boost I've needed), and then make a decision.

So yay!

While this whirlwind of change was happening, I was also gearing up for horse certification weekend for MMSAR. I had a lot of anxiety about it because last year was...not good. Plus I've only had Bisbee for three months and am still rebuilding my confidence as a rider.

I considered just bowing out completely because the anxiety was overwhelming, but after being talked down several times by a trusted friend, I tried to remove all pressure and frame it mentally as a practice certification for next year, in case we didn't pass.

But we did, with over 90% scores (as did the other two fabulous horse/rider pairs certifying). It started out a little rough when he wouldn't stand for me to get on, but once that was over we passed everything else with ease. Good boy, Bis!

I'm feeling much lighter and eager to start my new job...bring it on!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

End of Year 1

My first year of vet tech school is officially over!

I'm hoping to get a few more hours at work for the summer, but even so I think I'll have quite a bit of time on my hands for a few months. I'll have less money at my disposal (ie loans) but I also won't be spending 420 miles worth of gas each week. Woo!

Some goals for the summer:
- Work with Finch on agility
- Get the farm ready to possibly sell in the next couple years
- Find someone local to ride with

Horse updates:
Harlan is doing well in his new home and his new owner loves him. 

Bisbee is turning out to be SUCH a find. He is calm and has a great attitude; although he has some holes in his training I only have to teach him once before he gets it. He doesn't get upset and takes everything in stride. The dumb dogs have crashed into his legs play-snarling and wrestling and he didn't bat an eye (it helped that he was eating delicious grass at the time). 

But perhaps most importantly, the markings on his right side look like a widdle dragon blowing little puffs of smoke up into the air.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Harlan's New Home

Today Blonde Bomber Acres got a little less colorful, but Harlan has found his new person and I'm so excited for both of them.

Selling a horse like Harlan is difficult. He requires a special person to celebrate his quirks and not get side-tracked by his prettiness or big build. I had a lot of people ask about him who would have been completely inappropriate for him and he for them.

Then came Karen...she seems to have just the right mix of patience, calm energy, and adventurousness (is that a word?) that Harlan needs, and I think she'll enjoy how much of a fun ride and partner he can be.

It was a bittersweet moment to drop him off today, but I'm excited to see their partnership grow!

Zin (the boarder pony) is back at BBA to keep Bisbee company and Harlan seems to be settling into his new barn very well...they even had a stall name tag ready for him.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Getting Back to My (Blonde) Roots

There is a new strawberry blonde here at BBA!

After a few weeks of heavy thinking, I made the difficult decision that Harlan and I aren't the right match for each other.

When I first bought Harlan, I was confident and he was confident. We hit some snags but it was still a fun challenge...most of the falls I took could be explained by rider error or saddle dysfunction. Then came the last big fall, the one where I bruised my tailbone pretty badly. Something broke in our partnership. We lost trust in each other and I lost all confidence. Harlan is a horse that NEEDS a confident rider, someone to tell him that everything is okay when he's with them.

I know with time and miles we could probably get back to having fun together, but right now riding causes both of us wicked anxiety. Instead of a stress reliever it is a major stress causer. Harlan tenses up as soon as I stand on the mounting block and I have to fight to relax my body when riding. I had to do the tough job of looking at how many spoons I have available and how to apportion them between school, work, MMSAR responsibilities, correcting dog misbehavior, and riding.

I made pros and cons lists, I talked it over with trusted friends, and it ultimately seemed like selling Harlan and finding a more suitable horse was the best decision.

I had started casually looking at horses for sale, thinking I would get a head start for when I sell Harlan. I knew that what I was looking for, a thousand other people were looking for: big-boned, level-headed, calm, and with just a little bit of get up and go, all for a fairly small budget.

I trawled the sales websites and sent info on many, many horses to my friends; most were ruled out due to conformation issues, distance, price, training deficits, etc etc. One horse I came across and couldn't get out of my mind was a big Clydesdale mare...despite the fact that she was out of my price range and that I would probably have to buy a new trailer and tack to fit her big butt, I obsessed.

And then a new horse came on my radar. I had sent a message to one of the local sales barns, asking them to keep an eye out for something that might fit my needs. They promptly messaged back Sunday night saying they were out on a buying trip and had just bought something that I might be interested in. They sent me a picture of a 10-11 year old, 15.3 hh draft cross gelding and I was like "Clydesdale who?"

They also posted him to their Facebook page and his picture immediately got almost 100 likes and over a dozen comments. I made arrangements to go meet him the next day (yesterday) in the afternoon, and my friend Melissa graciously took time off of work to come with me.

The guy pulled "Ed" out and my first thought was Oh, he's smaller than I thought. His withers may measure at 15.3 but his back is more like 15.1 or 15.2. But he's stocky!

We poked at him for a while and then the guy saddled him up and rode him in front of us. Melissa rode him a little around the indoor and then I got on. I had the now-usual feeling of anxiety when I first sat on him, the fear of him exploding and me taking a dive again. But I forced myself to breathe out and relax, and I found that I didn't feel any nervous energy radiating beneath me, like I do with Harlan. This boy was awaiting my orders, not worrying about what was going on around him.

I took a few laps and then the guy opened the electric garage door that led to the parking lot. The boy (I refuse to call him Ed, that is a terrible name and was given to him by the sales barn) watched and listened to the whirring door and started to get a little nervous. I put a hand on his neck and he immediately stilled. My crusty old withered heart gave a thump at the thought that he trusted me.

We walked out past some machinery and blowing smoke from the woodstove, and toodled around the parking lot. He walked fast, not in a holy crap holy crap we're gonna DIEEEEEE way, more in a hey world, whatchu got going on? way.

I dismounted and we took him back into the barn and put him in the crossties. Melissa and I then proceeded to torture him with various objects, like a big push broom and some Kleenex. We jumped around and made weird noises to gauge his reaction...which was in total a look that said Really? You guys are weird.

His attitude the whole time was completely willing and calm, and he was very attentive and engaged. This horse had been put on a trailer in Ohio with 16 other horses and brought to Maine, where the very next day people came and ogled him. Pretty impressive behavior for going through that.

As a sign from the universe (at least that's how I'm interpreting it to justify my fairly impulsive buy), the woman who owns the barn where Harlan is currently boarded showed up half an hour after us. Completely a coincidence, she was buying a trailer from the sales barn and happened to come on the same day at the same time as me. She generously offered to trailer the horse home if I bought him.

I consulted with Melissa and my very patient mom, did some haggling on the price (PS, I am terrible at haggling), and I bought him. After I had signed the papers I found out that a woman who had arrived maybe 45 minutes after me had come to try him out. Scooped him up just in time!

He is probably an ex-Amish horse. Not gaited, I will have to get used to posting the trot again!

Because I am ridiculous, I had stared at his picture the night before and came up with a tentative name: Bisbee. He looks like a rugged old west gold mining horse to me, and Bisbee is an old mining town out west. Per my mom's request, his middle name is Ann. (Those who have seen me reprimand my animals know that most of them have the middle name Louise no matter their gender, so this is not a far-fetched request. Plus, Bisbee Ann has a nice ring to it.)

Now that Bisbee was officially mine I was faced with the reality that shit, he's coming home TODAY. Harlan is still at the boarding barn but because Bisbee's history is unknown and he was with a bunch of other sales horses it is best to keep him away from other horses for a quarantine period.

Which meant that I had to scramble and get my barn ready again for horses, including buying hay and grain.

It's going to be a challenge doing horse chores until the snow melts. The barn doors are frozen at the width of a person so a horse can't fit through, the path the barn is a long winding one I had done with the snowblower so I could access the chicken coop, and there is knee/thigh-deep snow everywhere.

Bisbee was a champ though when I led him through the hard, deep snow to access the gate outside the barn. He only made it so far in the pasture though before deciding that maybe sticking to the barn was a better idea.


Excuse me, there is no grain in this bucket.
It was nice to wake up and look out to see a face in the barn again, although I am SO. READY. for the snow to be gone. I'm looking forward to get to know Bisbee more and take him out for jaunts up the road.

Harlan is coming back from the boarding barn tomorrow and hopefully I'll find him a great new home soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Don't Eat The Yellow Snow

Every time there's a forecast of snow before a school day, I cross my fingers that we'll get a snow day.  When I woke up this morning and looked out the window to a tiny dusting of snow, I grumbled and got up.  The roads looked good so I decided to take gas-friendly Jerry the Honda Civic to school.

About half an hour into my drive to class I stopped and got a muffin and a cranberry juice. It had just started to snow big, fat, heavy flakes as I got onto the interstate so I kept an eye on my phone for a text from University of Maine-Augusta signaling that school is canceled.


I kept driving northeast while the snow got heavier and the visibility got lower. Still no text from UMA. Usually they cancel when there is a hint of a snowflake so I was thinking it was just a matter of time.

The road was slick as snot and I could barely see the car in front of me.  When I had to use my brakes to slow down the antilock brake system immediately engaged. I decided to call the school because if there was any chance of school being canceled, I wanted to turn around as soon as possible and get home safely.

The lady who answered the phone cheerfully answered my question with a "Nope! Drive safe!" Hmph. I would've already turned around and gone home if I didn't have a lab exam, so I continued going 45 mph and keeping a football field between me and the car in front. At this point I knew I was going to be late to my first class but figured it would only be by 10-15 minutes.

And then traffic stopped. Luckily I had that football field length in front of me to safely stop; the car behind me had to slide off onto the shoulder to avoid hitting me. Thinking it would only be a few minutes before whoever slid off the road up ahead would be cleared out, I pulled out my homework and got busy.

Do you ever have those moments when you know you can't access a bathroom so immediately you feel like you *have* to pee?

I was starting to feel a little discomfort but hoped it was just psychosomatic nonsense because I knew I was still 15 miles away from school and there was no bathroom in sight.

45 minutes later and it's definitely not psychosomatic. It was bad enough that I could no longer concentrate on my homework. I cursed my past self, thinking why o why did I pick cranberry juice on this of all days??

I posted a facetious complaint on Facebook and then immediately saw that someone else had posted a news article about a 40 car pile up.

After a brief moment of Oh shit, hope everyone's okay, thank god I wasn't in it, I immediately, selfishly started to panic because I HAD TO PEE. The news article said the highway was closed for the rest of the morning and I was a mile past the last exit before the accident.

I did a risk-benefit analysis of my options. Holding it was out if I was going to be sitting there for another few hours. I had beaucoup bottles in my car if I wanted to pee in the privacy of my car, but the risks of peeing all over myself and my car seemed too high. There were 5 foot snow banks on either side of the highway so tromping into the woods was going to be an effort plus the bare trees did not provide much cover.

That left opening both of the passenger side doors and squatting between them. I told myself that the worst that could happen would be maybe 3 people would be flashed by my pasty white butt. I'd probably never see them again, so what's the harm?

After steeling myself, I turned off the car (I was taking my keys with me, it would be just my luck to lock myself out) and peed on the side of the road like a goddamn animal. Huzzah!

I got back into the car, posted about my success on Facebook, and then looked out my window to see a state trooper signaling me. Shit, did I just flash a state trooper?!? Am I busted for public urination???

I rolled down the window and was extremely relieved (in more ways than one, get it??) when the trooper merely said that I could turn my car around and go back to the last exit if I wanted to. Which I did, ruing the fact that if I had just waited 10 more minutes I could've used a bona fide gas station bathroom instead of getting snow down my pants.

I opted not to try to find a different slippery route to school and just headed home; too much excitement (and exposure) for one day!

Sending good thoughts to all of those people in the wreck.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Livin' the Twister Life

I feel like my life is a giant game of Twister right now....right foot on work, left foot on school, right hand on MMSAR, and left hand on all other obligations. Now switch it all up and don't forget to trip over the dogs as you try to renegotiate the position of your various limbs.

It's both exhilarating and exhausting. Mostly exhausting.

I apologize for the dearth of blog posts. Here are some updates:

- Edith the chicken has gone missing. :(
The trainer is also a skilled photographer

- I FINALLY found a saddle that fits both Harlan and me.

- Harlan and I have been taking lessons and improving/rebuilding our partnership.

- Finch and I took some lessons to work on her obedience and doggy social skillz with the longterm goal of getting into agility.

- Feeling left out of the Problem Child Club, Hobbes bit a friend's puppy and I am currently trying to figure out how to improve his doggy social skillz in all my spare time.

- I accidentally volunteered for the new position of Education & Recruitment Officer for MMSAR and am trying to plan some neat events this spring/summer.

How I keep myself entertained in bio
- I finished wallpapering the living room after 2 years of "working on it".

- We got a shit ton of snow and it's been really cold.

- I am rejoicing in not having horses at home for the winter.

- A project I helped with at work got some good recognition.

- I drive 1.5 hours each way 3 days a week for school.

- I am taking chemistry, bio, and intro to vet tech this semester. They are not fascinating courses.

So there's a slice of the twister life! I am definitely ready for summer.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dream Weaver

I've been having recurring dreams / dream themes for a few months.  Would you like to know what they are? Of course you do.

1. Moose sighting
You guys, not having seen a moose haunts me. At least once per week I'll have a dream that I FINALLY see one. I dream about posting it on Facebook and happy-texting everyone I know. And then I wake up and I'm sad.

I really did graduate high
school legitimately.

2. School
I think it's pretty common for people to have school related nightmares. I've had them where I have forgotten to go to class all semester, forgot my locker combination, etc etc. However, I have had a particular dream multiple times. I'm me in this day and age, and I get a notice from my high school that there was a mistake and they shouldn't have let me graduate. So I have to go back to high school and take some dumb math or physics or something class, all the while knowing I have a college degree. It's terrible.

3. School Part 2
In this scenario I've decided to go back to my alma mater (for vet school pre-reqs or somesuch) and I'm going to live with my old roomie again. And then either a) we've forgotten to sign a lease and have nowhere to live or usually b) I realize I have a farm in Maine and I have to back out, leaving Annie with an apartment she can't afford all by herself. Sorry Annie.

He was definitely the type of cat who would haunt people.

4. Zombie Cat
A couple times I've dreamed that my childhood cat Simba is back from the dead. Not in a creepy zombie way, just...back.

What are your weird recurring dreams?

Friday, January 2, 2015

High Hopes for 2015

Happy New Year, errbody!

I just got home Wednesday from a week at the (temporary) familial homestead. My parents' new house renovations are taking longer than expected and since they have already sold the old house, they are basically camping out in the woods in their cabin. No internet, no TV, surrounded by 54 acres of woods.

Needless to say, it was really nice.

I had to go all to Wisconsin just to see a damn moose.

However, not only was this the first Christmas not in the old house, it was also while my parents/their belongings are in a state of limbo. Add in that sister, brother-in-law, and brand new nephew weren't there, my other sister and brother-in-law left the cabin Christmas morning, and my brother and his fiance arrived Christmas evening...and it was a strange holiday!

I did get to see two out of three sibling sets though, as well as a very dear friend and her toddler. And I ripped through ten books (I highly recommend the Chicagoland Vampire series if you like that kind of thing - although be forewarned, it's a little romance novel-y).

As with any trip's end, it is good to be back home.  My dogs were pretty excited to see me after a week's neglect (just kidding, KR took great care of them) and the cats only gave me the cold shoulder for a few hours.

Reflecting back on 2014, I look at the scar on my hand and shift my butt to find a comfortable spot for my bruised tailbone and I say good riddance to bad rubbish! Here's to 2015 being a bigger and better year with plenty of adventures but much less bodily harm.