Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rainy Days Are The Best

You would think that with an interesting job like mine I would be blogging every day. I suppose I probably could come up with a short story about an interesting patient or weird client on a daily basis, but I prefer quality over quantity.
Plus I don't have a lot of free time. I do get ideas of what I want to write about and then when I get to the computer it's all out of my head, or I second guess myself and feel that it's not that interesting.

As I sit here today and wonder what to write about (I felt guilty that I've only posted once this month so I'm forcing myself) it's pouring rain outside. All the snow that fell earlier is melted and the entire world is wetter than you could possibly imagine.
I love rainy, windy days. When I wake up and the sky is gray and rain is in the forecast I can feel my spirit lift. The sound of rain on the roof is very soothing to me, and I can drift off to sleep easily.

I found this picture the other day and added it to another one of my websites. This describes me perfectly! Wind & rain outside, I'm warm and dry inside, reading and having a cup of tea.

I used to work outdoors and even then I just bundled myself up and got rained on. It is, after all, only water.

I enjoy water in all forms. One of my favorite summer activities is to float around the "lazy river" at my local water park. I always say--if I was rich I would create my own lazy river in my backyard.

Swimming pools and hot tubs beckon me as well. I can remember swimming in my own pool when I was very young. I would spend countless hours splashing and floating in the water, completely at peace.

Come to think of it, that is how I feel now, with the rain pelting down around me.

I don't get depressed and wish for sunshine, as I know that will come after the rain is done. I enjoy all types of weather, but most of all, I'm thankful for life giving rain.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Little Girl Lost Her Companion

A young girl lost her companion today, a dog named Jake.
Amid all the hustle and bustle of the season, the mad dash for presents, the brightly colored lights, and the cold air swirling around us all...time stopped for a moment.
It stopped for a dog named Jake, who was possibly 12, or 13 years old. His age is immaterial, because no matter the number the story still ends the same way.
Time stopped for this little girl, who accompanied her old friend to the clinic to wish him goodbye. She was blind to the gaily colored lights and Christmas decorations...because her eyes were full of tears and her heart was breaking.
As they wheeled her beloved pet in on a gurney, he was bundled up snugly against the cold, but he was still shivering. Perhaps he knew the journey that lay before him. He most certainly took comfort from the gentle hands stroking him as the gurney trundled along.
Time slowed down along with his heart and his breathing as my vet helped him depart this world, full of Christmas hopes and wishes, blinking lights and falling temperatures.
He passed surrounded by love, petted by the small hand of a little girl who will always remember this Christmas, not for what it has given, but what it has taken away.

A young girl lost her friend today.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Some Things Change, Some Things Stay The Same

In my previous post I wrote that I was not satisfied with an essay I was writing for a school contest. I finally gave up and sent it in.
I won.
When I got the email notifying me that I was the winner, I danced all around my house with my laptop. I yelled so loud I hurt my throat. I felt so wonderful that my writing was prize-worthy.

At least one thing turned out right this month. Money is still very tight and so is my back, for that matter. I'm seeing a chiropractor and she tells me that it will be a slow but steady recovery.
I still have NOT gotten my car back either...the body shop keeps telling me "the middle of next week" every time I call. That was about a month ago. I'm really hoping to get my car back before Christmas at this rate.
Of course, the Christmas season is in full swing right now. Thanksgiving was barely over before I began to get inundated with commercials exhorting me to buy and buy.
And what is the deal with Black Friday? Some stores were open on Thanksgiving, others opened up at 3 or 4 AM...and people were lining up around the block waiting to get in.
I know the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally a shopping day, but it seemed like this year the shopping and sales trampled over our quest to give thanks.
That's a change I don't like.

There is one change I'm looking forward to: a trip to Atlantic City in the near future. I have not returned there since my back gave out last year. I'm looking forward to my comped room and a great massage from the spa. And let's not forget The Pool, which is one of my favorite places ever.
Perhaps a New Year will bring some better things my way. I can only wait and see.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sometimes I Get Discouraged

Usually my posts are happy and pleasant in nature....not so today. I'm feeling very discouraged and down today. I'm upset because I have money issues and my husband is unemployed. My paycheck is not enough to cover all our bills. He's been looking for work, but things are just not working out for him at this time.
I'm sad because I still don't have my car back from the shop where it has been since early September, when I got T-boned by a driver that "didn't see me". It sustained $15,000 worth of damage and since it's a 2010 parts are not readily available. So I've been making car payments on something that I'm not even using.
I'm frustrated because I'm trying to write an essay for a school contest and want to give my best effort, but I'm not happy with what I've written and the deadline is looming.
I'm irritated because my back is stiff and sore, even with the physical therapy, and I thought a few months ago I was on the road to recovery...until my accident.
Don't get me wrong, I still love my job and my life...I just have some issues that are weighing heavily on my mind now and I just wish the road ahead would be smoother.

I guess I just have to give things some time to work out.

Friday, October 16, 2009


It takes a lot of confidence to be a vet tech. You have to assure yourself you will hit the vein every time you need blood, be able to restrain that 100 lb Rottweiler so your vet stays safe, and convey a positive attitude to a stressed out client that their pet is in good hands.
Vet techs have to repeat this confidence hour after hour, patient after patient. We cannot be scared of claws and teeth, or worry about dehydrated pets' invisible veins, or doubt our calculations when drawing up medication. It is definitely not a job for a shrinking violet!
My vet likens my job to that of a cruise director...keeping clients happy while they are waiting (and waiting) for their appointment, juggling patients (ok, I'll draw that blood on this patient while you clip the nails for the cat in the other room) while remembering to return phone calls and keep the paperwork moving smoothly along.
I always thought of myself as pretty confident, but since I've become a tech I've stepped it up a notch. I have confidence in my ability to help my vet do the best job that we can do, day after day. I know I may not hit the vein every time, but nobody does that. I keep on going, knowing I'm an integral part of that well oiled machine that is my vet hospital.
And at the end of the day I'm confident that I helped pets and their owners feel better.
I love what I do.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vet Tech Thoughts

It's a strangely unsettling feeling to have clients shake your hand and thank you after euthanizing their beloved pet. Yet this is a regular occurrence at my job. My vet performs euthanasia fairly regularly, and it never gets easier. The one thought I hold in my mind is that we are giving the old or sick pet a final gift, to end their suffering.
Clients see how we care for their dog or cat, and how we give them a last dignified moment. That is where the "thank you" comes in.
Thinking back, I thanked my vet for caring for both of my Greyhounds when the end of their days came. I suppose the gratitude comes from knowing their suffering has finally ended, and they are at peace.
We had a very sick senior pet at the clinic yesterday. We discovered that he had some masses on his spleen, and one on his lung. The dog was clearly depressed, unable to eat, and was vomiting. The owner chose euthanasia rather than submit his dog to surgery, which I think was the correct choice.
We cared for him with dignity and love, as we always do. As I escorted the bereaved clients out of the hospital they stopped to shake my hand and thank me for all my help. I told them I was sorry for their loss.
I had a mix of emotions inside me: sorrow for the clients, relief that the pet's suffering was finally over, and anticipation of our next appointment..where I would get another chance to make a difference in an animal's life.
As it turned out, that appointment was an ailing cat that had not been eating. I had opened a small can of cat food earlier in the day, as a treat to a Siamese cat that had come in for a well visit.
I offered this sick kitty a small portion of food. A few minutes later she had cleaned the plate! The clients thanked me and I felt a warm glow as I gave the cat some more food and she continued to eat.
The simple things at my job give me pleasure; and hopefully I can continue to make pets' lives better by continuing those simple things...a meal for a kitty, caring words for bereaved clients, and above all, love and compassion for those who cannot ask for it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some Things I'm Thankful For

There is a lot to be said about daily affirmations. They can cheer you up. help you keep a goal in sight, or just serve to remind you of what is good in your life. I'm thinking about some good stuff in my life right now:

I'm glad I work where I do, the hospital has a large and varied case load so I'm never bored.
I'm thankful for my vet and the close personal relationship I have with her..she is my intellectual companion as well as a mentor and friend.
I'm thankful that my Mom is in good health.
I'm happy to have a best friend that is always there for me, ready to dispense advice and words of wisdom.
I'm glad my hair is short, as I don't have to spend endless hours fussing over it before I leave the house.
I'm glad I have a mini Schnauzer girl who welcomes me home and snuggles up to me on chilly nights.
I'm happy to be married to the man that I have...he has nursed me through bad times and cheered me on through good times.
I'm grateful to myself for making a career change, because I'm the happiest I've ever been at work.

Finally, I'm glad to be me. I'm at the age where there is a definite generation gap going on, but I would not want to be young in this world. I'm content to be the age that I am, with the knowledge that I possess.
It's definitely the little things in life that makes you happy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another Compliment

Anyone who knows me thinks of me as an "animal person" but not necessarily a "cat person". That being said, I believed that I was violently allergic to cats for many years and subsequently avoided them. Of course, working as a vet tech requires you to handle cats on a daily basis. After cautiously approaching my first hands on cat encounter a year ago, I found that I can handle the fur without incident. Of course, I'm still very respectful of felines, as they have claws, teeth, and a temperament that can change without warning.
While I was doing my externship I had an opportunity to handle 2 Bengal felines. They were gorgeous! I started seeing cats in a new light, and felt more comfortable handling them. When I went back to work at my vet hospital, I brought my new found courage with me. My vet is very understanding of my (sometimes) hesitation to restrain cats and she works in conjunction with me so the client's vet visit is seamless & trouble free.
The other day we had to examine 2 cats from a rescue society. One was feral and the clients expressed their concerns to us, and even suggested sedating this cat so we could draw blood and clip the nails without worrying if we would get bitten or clawed. I suggested to them that we try to handle the cat first, before choosing drugs, to see how "bad" the cat would be.
My vet grabbed a towel, and I turned the trap on end so the kitty would slide out onto our exam table. We rolled the cat up in the towel, so she could still breathe, but her head was covered and we were protected. I restrained the cat while we slowly took each paw and clipped her long claws. We soothed the cat as we worked by talking to her in a gentle voice. She laid there quietly. The clients marveled at how my vet & I worked as a team, without stressing the cat. We were able to pull blood from her and finally she was able to go back into a carrier.
No fur flew, and no felines were harmed in the making of this appointment. Our clients were amazed and thanked my vet profusely for handling her with care. They then turned to me and told me what a good tech I was and that I had a great technique for handling cats.
In my mind I shouted "No! I'm still scared!" even as I thanked the clients for their kind words.

Their words gave me confidence to take with me the next time I have to handle a feral cat. I know that working with my vet sets my mind at ease and we can overcome any problem together.
I always love my job, but I get an extra special feeling when I get to help an animal who might otherwise have had a bad experience at the vet, and it's always good when client notices how hard we work.
It was a good day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rojo Loco Restaurant

The other day I went out with my BFF to a new restaurant. He had seen this place in a strip mall close to his bank and suggested we try it. The first thing that struck me when we walked in was the piles upon piles of FREE magazines offered to customers. The waitress told me that a local 7-11 or whatever has to throw them out if not sold past a certain date, and they take them and give them away. I walked out with Glamour, Redbook, Marie Claire, In Touch, a hairstyles magazine, a football preview magazine, and a few others. There were plenty more there, such as Sports Illustrated, Elle, Maxim, Star, etc. And the free mags weren't even the best part!
The menu had so much stuff on it I was not sure what to order. As luck would have it, the first items we ordered were not available, and the waitress ( who was really quite helpful & nice) advised us those items were going to be taken off the menu due to lack of interest. We were interested in those meals, but we were out of luck.
I then decided to order a chicken quesadilla and small salad. My friend ordered steak fajitas.
The salad dressing was a lime cilantro that was the best I've ever had!! And the plate of quesadillas that I received was easily twice the portion I've gotten at another restaurant. I literally could only eat half my meal (which was fine since I had the leftovers for lunch at work the next day). The fajitas were served with a delicious spicy rice that was not too "hot", spice-wise. That was perfect, since I don't like a lot of heat with my meals.
Since our original menu choices were not available the manager offered us dessert on the house.
No problem there!
We got a generous portion of chocolate lava cake, served warm with cool whip dollops here & there.
I ate ALL my dessert.
The waitress said she hoped we liked our first visit, and encouraged us to return even though we had some speed bumps when we first placed our order. I assured her that the food was great and I would be returning to sample other menu items.
When we received our bill we were flabbergasted. This giant meal cost us less than a smaller portioned meal at Moes (another favorite haunt of mine). It was a no brainer to make the choice to return to the Rojo-Loco Southwestern Grill. Their address is 4809 Route 9 North in Howell, NJ. They are located in the Lanes Mill Market Place, next to Barnes & Noble.
Try it, you won't be sorry!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My First Week Of Work

It turns out all the fears I had about going back to work were mostly unfounded! I made it through an entire week without incident, found a new way to drive to the hospital, remembered how to use the computer software (mostly) and was welcomed back heartily by everyone. There was not a day that went by without someone coming up to me and saying how happy they were to have me back, or how happy my vet was to get me back! Last night as I was leaving I told my vet "I'm not sure if I can get out the door, my head's so big" and we laughed about that.
There is so much good stuff about me being back at my old hospital.
I got to place a U-cath for the first time, thanks to my vet being patient and walking me through it; I was shown how to restrain a seagull that was being examined (seagulls have exquisitely soft feathers on their little heads!); I drew blood from a fractious cat and that did wonders for my self confidence; I ausculted a heart murmur in a Maltese; and it's wonderful to be back in scrubs again!
It was like I never left. My vet and I were laughing and sharing stories from the very first hour we started working together, and I fell right back into the swing of loading patients, taking history, and the like. Of course there were some cute puppies and kittens to pet and can't have a better job than mine!

My horoscopes this week have been quite relevant to my situation (I know they are random but they made a lot of sense this week).
From 9/3: Work gives you a sense of purpose. It's good to know people appreciate your efforts.
from 9/4: Fretting over finances has become something of an obsession. You will get on top of things.

I still have to get used to getting up early, and my body has to adjust to all the physical demands I'm putting on it. It's been a long time since I was sprawled out on the floor cutting nails and drawing blood.
All in all, things are going well right now, and I'm very happy. Everything happens for a reason, and now more than ever I see how that is true.
Going back to work was a great birthday present for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last Weekend Of Summer

When I was younger I used to love this time of year, because it meant that back to school was just around the corner. I loved starting a new year with empty notebooks and new pens and new goals.
I will have a new beginning next week once again. I will be returning to work after a year and a half hiatus. I'm a little worried that I won't be able to handle it, but I'm also looking forward to being with my vet. I won't have to learn a bunch of new things, since I'm going back to my last vet hospital, but I have to learn how to work again.
I am different mentally, physically and emotionally.
I have to get back into the habit of getting up early every day, no more "I don't feel good, I can stay in bed."
I will have to work thru anxiety (if I have any).
On the other hand, I will be surrounded by intelligent people, and I will be mentally stimulated all day long. I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything else.

3 days and counting.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Feeling A Bit Lonely

My Mom has gone home after spending a few days here at my house, and I'm feeling melancholy. Usually my husband drives her home and I'm left to stay in an empty house, but this time I took her home. The loneliness hit me as I was driving back. I always get sad when she leaves, it's a kind of mini empty nest syndrome. I don't mind hanging out at home with just the dog, but after having my Mom here for a visit the house seems emptier when she leaves.
Obviously, the house IS emptier without a 3rd person here, but the empty feeling I get is not just from the lack of a physical's emotional also.
I grew up very close to my parents because I was an only child. I spent a great deal of time with them until I got into the 7th grade...then I started hanging out with my friends a lot more. I was very upset when I lost my Dad in 2005, and am very aware that my Mom will not live forever. I enjoy hanging out with her, going to the stores to "gape" (my word) at all the items, talking about different books we've read, and just sharing my thoughts and dreams and goals with her. She gives me strength when I'm feeling sad, offers advice when I'm struggling with a problem, and I know I always have her in my corner no matter what.
I wish I had spent more time with my Dad, and as a result of that I make sure I always have time for my Mom. When I return to work things will be different, I will not have 3 or 4 days in a row to have a sleep-over trip with her as I have done for the last 18 months. Our time together will be a day or two, but just as enjoyable.
Too many times we think about a loved one after they are gone and we share all the things we loved about that person. I believe in sharing it before they die, that way they know exactly how you feel and you become happy sharing it with them.
Mom, I love you very much and I'm glad to be your daughter. I would not be what I am today without you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Queens Of The Dollar Store

The last few times I have gone to visit my Mom we have started a new trend. There are a lot of dollar stores in her city and we have visited most of them. We went to one only because we were looking for little clips for my hair, and couldn't find the right ones. So my Mom told me there was another store on the next block. There were actually 2 of them pretty close together, and we checked those for my little clips. Eventually we found what I was looking for, but in the meantime we did a thorough tour of all the cheap stores. Some of the items they offer are pretty good for a buck. It's amazing how some stores charge lots of money for the same thing you can get at a dollar store, and the quality of the items are pretty close. Both my Mom & I enjoy looking at the stuff, and occasionally we find something that we didn't know we really needed until we saw it.
She is visiting me for a few days, so we are going to make sure we hit the dollar stores in my area. I don't have as many as she does, but I"m sure we will discover something!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rest In Peace GiGi

My heart was broken Tuesday.
It was broken like this once before, much worse. I think the fact that I'm on anti depressants tempered the terrible event.
I had to say goodbye to my sweet Greyhound girl GiGi Tuesday.
I knew the day would come, after all, dogs do not live forever; but I did not expect it to happen so suddenly. She was having more and more trouble standing up on her own, and would "flop" over frequently after drinking water or going outside. Tuesday morning she did not want to eat, and had diarrhea on top of it all. We put her in the kitchen for safekeeping while we went out for a few hours. Upon our return it looked like she had not moved from the spot she was in when we left. She was unable to get up, and even when my husband walked her with her sling, she had no interest in food or going outside.
This was not good.
After much soul searching, I called my vet who cared for her last year. She was kind enough to fit me in during her evening appointments. I did not want GiGi's quality of life to get worse while my vet was off on Wednesday. We did not think she was going to get better; after all, she was just 3 weeks from her 15th birthday. Greyhounds are not expected to live past age 14.
I had a few precious hours left with her before her 6 pm appointment. I lay down with her on her soft dog bed and whispered to her what a good girl she was and how much I was going to miss her. Her expression was exactly the same as my other Greyhound's the day I had her euthanized. She was ready to leave this world. I knew I was making the correct decision for her.

I held her paw from time to time as we drove to the hospital. My husband did not want to go inside with her, and as he walked away he was crying. This surprised and touched me, as I never knew the deep affection he had for our Greyhound girl.
My vet hugged me, and patted me as I cried and held GiGi as she took her last breath. Dr Smith cared for GiGi with dignity and love, and I would have had it no other way. My girl passed from this earth surrounded by those who loved her.

The house seems very empty now, devoid of all her dog beds and food bowls. I still have little Slander, but 13 lbs of Schnauzer is no replacement for a full size Greyhound.

I have shared my life with Greyhounds since 1995. This is the first time since that year that there is no needle nose close by, helping me eat my food, following me around the house, and going with me for long walks all year round.
I may not get another Greyhound, as I feel I would constantly be comparing the new one to the ones that have passed away. I have love to give, but don't know if I would physically be able to handle a young Greyhound (and one who would eventually grow older and have to be sling walked) with the way my back is now.
Perhaps it's best to open my home to another Schnauzer...small yet lovable. In any case, I'm mourning the loss of my sweet mischevious GiGi, and remembering the good things about her:
The time she ate an entire Entenmann's raspberry danish.
The time she escaped from the back yard and was found wandering the streets 15 heart stopping minutes later.
Visiting nursing homes with her as part of the Therapy Dog program.
Countless meet & greets to educate people to the plight of the racing Greyhound.

The memories go on and on...just like the love she created in me along with her sister Heidi Q.

They will never be forgotten.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cash For Clunkers..What A Hassle

On a whim last week I went to a few car dealers to see what some new cars had to offer. (Being unemployed is dangerous, as you have lots of free time to get into trouble.) I knew the Jeep Grand Cherokee was unaffordable, but I wanted to see how much the smaller models were. They were not worth the money, as the interior was bare-bones and the ride not so good. I also didn't like the salesman.
We left and went back home to get on the internet. My husband suggested we use my old 1989 Mercury Cougar as a "clunker" to get some money towards the purchase of a new car. As I browsed the Honda website (and internally cringing for looking at a foreign car), the Honda Fit caught my eye. The dealer was close to us so off we went. The Fit was cute, but didn't grab me. As we strolled throughout the showroom, another car caught my eye...the Insight. It was interesting looking and the interior had a lot of amenities. A salesman saw me sitting in the car and asked if I wanted to test drive it. Of course I did!
When we returned to the dealer, he sat us down for the serious negotiations. I kept telling him we were just looking but the pressure was on. I really did like the Insight, a hybrid that boasts 40 mpg city. The negotiations got fast & furious, at one point I test drove the Fit to further cement my opinion of the Insight (it was lovely) and all of a sudden we were given a monthly payment we liked.
That was the easy part.
As Cash For Clunkers advertises, all you have to do is bring your old car to the dealer.

You need 2 years worth of insurance and registration papers to give the dealer. Sounds easy, right? Well, how many people keep their old insurance card & registration once the new ones come? I usually did, except last year my husband went on a cleaning kick and threw all the old ones out, saying that when you get stopped you have to search through all of them to find the right one.
WRONG! The new ones are always on top, and I have no problem finding them. Anyway, he tossed all the old ones. I had to go to the DMV to get a registration history. When I finally filled out the paperwork and talked to a clerk (after standing in 4 different lines and going to two different buildings) I was told that I could not get the printout the same day. I was livid. How long does it take to hit print screen and give someone a piece of paper? Apparently a few days if you are a government worker. Thus, I did not get my car that day.
The dealer called me later that day to say that others had gone to another DMV office and gotten their stuff right away. So Saturday I woke up at 7:45 am and went 45 minutes away to a DMV office that was clean, quiet and productive! I got my paperwork! I practically flew to the dealer. Of course, more roadblocks stood in my way...the dealer needed my original of the insurance card and registration for THIS year, which was home. I had already dropped my clunker off at the dealer the other day, so I just filed the papers. My poor husband drove home to get the documents while I filled out and signed millions of contracts. We were in the dealer's from 10 am to 2:30 pm. It was all worth it when I saw my car, however. She's a beauty!
Then I had to meet with the financial sales guy...who tried to up my monthly payment by offering extras like window etching, Lojack, gap insurance, extended warranty and something like road hazard insurance for the tires. My payment would have been more than 200 more!!!
I ended up taking the extended warranty after furious negotiations. My payment was only $8 more than I was promised. The warranty is great...I have no deductible and everything is covered for 8 years. My husband is happy, he doesn't have to work on the car at all!

I love driving around in my little hybrid....but the government sure didn't make it easy to get.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I Did My Job

Yesterday was a very fulfilling day. Thursday is surgery day at my clinic, and I help prepare the pets for their spays, neuters, and other surgeries. There was an older dog that was having a dental procedure done, and I noticed that her recovery cage did not have a heating pad in it. I mentioned that to the vet, and went to get one. I know that during surgery, the anesthesia impairs the body's ability to thermoregulate itself, and I also know that senior dogs feel the cold more. I was especially interested in this case because I knew the pet was older, and I have a soft spot in my heart for the seniors.
I got a warm feeling inside knowing that I made a difference in that pet's recovery. I'm not patting myself on the back, I'm just saying I did my job.
Later when she was in recovery, she was not feeling well. She had vomited and was whining a bit. I went over to her cage and petted her, while I told her she was a good girl and would feel better soon. She stopped whining and settled down. From time to time I stopped by her cage to make sure she was still ok, and to pet her. What I did was invisible to her owners, but I was not doing it for them...I was doing it for the dog. I think of my own pets when they had surgery, and hoped there was a kind vet tech around to make their scary hospital stay a little bit better. If so; they were doing their job.
I get so much more out of being a vet tech than I used to working in an office. There is no greater feeling in the world than seeing a healthy dog leave the vet clinic, or knowing that you helped a cat in pain. I wish I had gotten into it sooner in life, but there is no room for regrets. I just have to make sure I make up for lost time and give my patients the best care that I can.
I'm just doing my job.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cut It All Off

For the last few days I've been giving serious consideration to cutting my hair, and this picture is kind of the style I'm thinking about. It would be kind of drastic because my hair is all one length and it reaches my shoulders. I really hate having it in my face, so I wear it tied back constantly. I also don't go out to clubs like I used to so I don't need to have a really stylish cut. (Not that this isn't stylish, but I don't have to worry about looking hot at a club.)
In my field of work longer hair gets in the way, and can get dog slobber on it quite easily. There are many vet techs that have short haircuts, and to me that is very practical. I'm at the age now where I'm comfortable in my own skin and no longer want to be a slave to doing my hair (flat ironing in particular) every day. I'm going to my salon this Friday to talk to my stylist. When I return to work at the end of August I would like to just wash my hair & go, and not worry about it hanging in my face or looking stringy. I may not get it cut right away (yeah right, who am I kidding) but would like a 2nd opinion from my stylist anyway.
I'll keep you posted!

A Hibachi Dinner

Last night my best friend and I went to eat at a new hibachi restaurant by my house. There was not a soul in the place! I almost felt bad for a moment, having the chef come out and perform just for the two of us. As we watched our dinner being prepared, my friend started urgently whispering to me "do we tip this guy?" I said no, you just leave the tip at the end like every other restaurant. During the course of the meal he asked me THREE more times if he should slip the chef a few bucks. At this point I started thinking some things.
1. I actually never considered tipping the chef.
2. Didn't I ever take my friend to a hibachi before? I thought I did but he was acting like it was his first time.
3. If the tip gets left to the waiter (who only brought the drinks, hardly any work at all) then he should split it with the chef.
4. Finally, maybe the chef gets paid well and doesn't need the tip.

After some more frantic whispering I convinced my friend to leave the tip at the end of the meal like he would normally do.
The food was delicious, by the way. As we were finishing up our meal a large party came in and was seated by us. Then a couple came in and was seated at a different table. I would have ignored their arrival except for the fact that she called the waiter over and asked for "Diet Coke, in a kid's cup." Lo and behold, their child was up in the front of the restaurant with her hands in the koi pond trying to catch the fish. That caused me to think some more:
1. Why is that kid drinking DIET Coke? That is wrong on so many levels.
2. Can somebody please yell at her to stop harassing the fish? Where is the discipline?

At that point we were getting ready to leave, and as I passed the poor koi in their disturbed sanctuary, I gave the kid a hard stare. She ignored it.

Who would have thought that a simple dinner would result in a blog post? I never knew my meals were so interesting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Good And Evil

How wonderful a world this is that we can have both good and evil exist side by side. Well, almost side by side...I'm the only thing separating them! 
My neighbors on the left side of me (or the right if you are facing my house, not sure how you are supposed to face when describing neighbors) are totally evil. They try to cut down our bushes and trees, come out of their house to stare and see what we are doing, even if it's a mundane task like mowing the lawn or picking up dog poop, and park in front of our house even though they have plenty of space in front of theirs. The neighbor on the other side of me is such a pleasant person! He keeps his house neat and clean, plants flowers yearly, parks in his own driveway, minds his own business and is generally quiet. 
See what I mean about good & evil? 
This past Sunday, the woman of the house came by while I was vacuuming out my car to say hello and GIVE ME A GIFT. There was no reason for the present, she is just a good person. She gave me a hanging basket of flowers (just like the ones she has hanging on her fence) and told me she made it just for me. We usually speak in passing, about our gardens or flowers, but I never dreamed she could be so creative and thoughtful as to give me a floral gift.
I love flowers!!!

The only thing my evil neighbors give me is a headache. They are currently trying to sue me over growth of tree roots, and obviously I can't blog about that because it's happening now. Rest assured I will give all sorts of details once it's all finished.

Anyway, there you have it. Good and evil in the same place. 
Flowers on one side and stink weeds on the other.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

High School Reunion

Thanks to FaceBook, I have re-connected with many of my old high school classmates. There are still a few that are not on the website, but that cannot be helped. Anyway, an informal class reunion developed out of our virtual conversations with each other, and that reunion took place this past Friday. 
As the day grew closer, I felt myself falling into the trap of not wanting to go. There were so many excuses! I had to drive all the way to Bayonne, I had to work the next day, there were things to do at home, the list went on and on. I had committed to going, however, so I got dressed (that was an adventure, I changed clothes 4 times before deciding on an outfit) and got in the car. 
There were about 18 of us that showed up, and the wine and conversation flowed freely. (I didn't drink, I had Coke all night.) The majority of the girls were not the ones in my clique in high school, but we all got along greatly and there was no awkwardness. I found myself wishing I had been friends with them in high school...but perhaps we were all different people back then. The time for petty games was gone, and we bonded over things like struggles with money, recalcitrant husbands, and health issues. I discovered that our class of 1982 had conquered cancer; a few of us had passed away; some were struggling with cancer now; and we were all united in helping prevent our high school from closing. (Our school is in grave financial danger and one of our class almost singlehandedly took the reins and formed a committee to save the school.)
I discovered the class of '82 was resilient; hardworking, yet still self conscious. We have grown into strong, intelligent women and we are all proud of our accomplishments. I'm very glad I decided to go to this reunion, as I thoroughly enjoyed my evening and had to drag myself away after midnight. As the night was ending we all promised to get together again soon, even making it a yearly thing. 

Perhaps the toast that I gave before dinner sums it up perfectly: "To old friends, renewed friendships, and to growing old gracefully!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baby Back Rib Potato Chips

As my husband & I went to get a sandwich at WaWa, he noticed a new display in the front of the store. It was filled with flavored potato chips from Herr's. The flavor that caught his eye was "Baby Back Ribs". I figured, what the heck...they were only 99 cents. 

They are delicious! They taste exactly like ribs. I know that may sound gross, but if you shut your eyes and ignore the crunch, you would totally believe you are eating baby back ribs. 

I was unable to find this flavor on the Herr's website, but when I Googled the flavor I found out that they are discontinued. How awful! I would buy them to eat with a sandwich or even just by themselves. 
We live in a great country where there are potato chips with every flavor known to man. Of course, we are also a fast food nation and obesity is rampant. It's hard to eat healthy when you are tempted with all these quick and easy snacks with a variety of flavors. Herr's sells chips with flavors like boardwalk salt & vinegar, buffalo wing and Philly cheese steak. My husband is interested in trying the cheese steak ones.
Needless to say, I'm typing this post with greasy fingers from our new snack...and planning another trip back to WaWa to get more before they are all gone.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Learning A Lot

I've been on my externship for over a month now, and I can honestly say I'm really learning stuff. Each paper I have to write, each time I take an X-ray, every time I look under the microscope, I gain knowledge. The microscope is really not my friend, it seems like everyone can find Giardia or Coccidia except for me...but the other day the tech told me to "look under the 'scope, there is things to see", and I found a parasite that she missed! She told the vet that I was able to locate a tapeworm egg and that scored me BIG points. The tech jokingly told me that I got an A and she got an F for missing it. That did a lot for my confidence. 
And today I got to draw blood on a real live (not sedated) dog! I hit the vein and got the job done. 

At times I struggle with X-rays. I have had to take and re-take shots because the dog moved, or I didn't collimate correctly, or because I had the pet in the wrong position (THAT'S awkward). I will get better with time and practice. The good thing for me right now is that I finally got my old job back, and I won't have to take X-rays there. I plan on volunteering at my local ASPCA or another vet hospital to keep my hand in, however. It will look good on my resume also. 

Today I received my very own stethoscope. I was hoping to receive it as a graduation gift, but alas, I needed it to complete my externship. That is ok, that leaves me room for another cool gift after I graduate!

All in all, things are going well and I'm very pleased to be learning all that I am. I'm also pleased to be going back to work with my old vet. She is the best, most patient person ever. 
You will certainly be hearing about her once I get back to work.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Interesting Dinner

The other day I ate at Disneyland....oops, I meant Outback Steak House. You can see the similarities between those 2 places, right?

You can't? Well, let me tell you about my meal. As soon as I was seated I could hear the wailing of a child from 2 tables over. That parent did the right thing and quieted the child up quickly. No sooner did calmness settle over the air then more cries began, this time from the table right next to us. That mom was deaf. She turned away from the baby in the high chair and the chants of "mommy, mommy" for about 10 minutes. Everyone else at the table just sat there as well. 

No amount of staring at the parties involved would change things. The kid continued to bellyache and the adults just gazed blankly into space, unaware that my ears were bleeding.

As we ate our meals more families with children were seated. I felt a growing panic--suppose they ALL started acting up at once? Like dogs who howl when they hear other canines give voice, I think children do the same. 

Then the unthinkable happened! The mother picked up the child and gave it a piece of bread, effectively quieting the racket. I breathed a sigh of relief. 
Later on I asked our waiter, "Do kids eat free here?" and he told me no. I then queried about the many children in the restaurant and he replied, "Tell me about it". 
I have no idea why so many parents would bring their children to Outback, as the food is quite spicy and expensive. The children I saw were much too young to see the commercials and pester their parents to have an Australian experience. 

I'm baffled to this day. The food was really good, but I think the next time I go, I will bring earplugs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Namesake

Thanks to a dear friend of mine, I can now finally see the woman that I was named after! Perhaps I was not Googling thoroughly enough. 
Here's the backstory: I have the same initials as my father, K.W. When I was born in the early 60's, my parents wanted to give me an "unusual" name, one that was not common. They went through the Kathys and Karens and Kellys, etc. That still was not eclectic enough. Then (as my Mom says the story goes) they remembered a show with a woman named Kyle MacDonald. It was during the 50's. That was the jackpot, and Kyle I became. 
All my life I have had to explain to ignorant people that yes, I am a woman and no, my parents didn't want a boy, and yes, it's a girl's name and no, I wasn't named after Kyle Rote or whoever.
When I explained about the show with Kyle MacDonald on it I would get blank looks, even from those old enough to remember the 50's. I was beginning to think that this woman never existed. 

The spelling of my name (it's 4 letters!! how can you mis-spell it?!?) was mangled during my grammar school years. Cile, Kile, Klye, Cyle, the insanity goes on and on. 
When I was working in customer service and would leave messages for others during the course of my job, it never failed that people would call back asking for Kyle, "I'm returning HIS call". 

Lately people have been calling me Kylie, a mispronunciation on their part, since there is no "i" in my name. If that was how you pronounced it, I would be spelling it KyLee. That looks pretty cool, actually. 
I would never think to change it, because then I would not share my initials with my Dad. There are some folks who, after hearing my name and seeing me, a woman, tell me that my name is cool and unusual. To be sure, there are more girls named Kyle now than there were in the 70's & 80's, but not enough to make it commonplace. 

I have reached a grudging acceptance of my appellation as I reach middle age. It is still pretty unusual, and lots of names nowadays are unisex.
 I would rather be a girl named Kyle than a boy named Kim, that's for sure.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rest In Peace, Rocket

One of the sweetest Greyhounds I have ever known went to heaven yesterday. His name was Rocket and I used to board him at my house when his family went on trips. He came to my house for years & years, and I watched as he grew older. He had cheated death once before, when he was hit by a car and the vet took him home to watch over him at night and nurse him back to health. That health stayed with him until the beginning of this month, when he developed a large lump in his abdomen. 
He was at my house over the Memorial Day weekend, and showed no signs of feeling unwell. He played with us, begged for treats (one time he stole a meatball right off my husband's plate!) and slept on the futon day & night. I didn't even crate him. He was like family rather than a guest. 
A few days after he went home, I got a call from his owner. She was asking about some symptoms she was noticing with Rocket. After hearing what she had to say, I suggested she call her vet and bring him in for a visit. A few days after that she called to say the vet had diagnosed a lump, and Rocket was resting comfortably at home. That was all she said on the message she left me.
Last week I was thinking about Rocket and realized I had not called her back to see how he was doing. 
I heard from her today. It was as much of a shock to them as it was to me, since the day before she noticed his lump, he was chasing groundhogs in the yard and going for long walks. 
She told me they were doing palliative care at home, petting him and loving him, spoon feeding him soup when his appetite was failing, and giving him medication to ease his pain. 
Rocket was a happy, strong and well behaved Greyhound. He never caused me any trouble, even when there were 4 dogs in my house he got along well with them all. I will remember Rocket's quirks, from the way he used to lick my husband's legs for minutes on end, how he used to playfully growl when you tried to grab a toy out of his mouth, and how he would wrap his paw around your leg when he wanted you to pet him. 
I know it is a great loss to his family not to have him around, and it is a loss to my family too. One of the most poignant memories I have of the gentle Greyhound is how he absorbed my tears when my father died. I was boarding him that week, and when I came home from the hospital that night he came to me while I cried and cried. He stood by me and soaked up all my tears until there were no more. 
I am coming up on the 4th anniversary of my Dad's death June 25th. What a twist of fate is it that Rocket passed from this life almost the same time. 
Death comes to us all. His family gave him the final gift of love and caring, to ease his pain forever and give him peace. I know the feeling in their hearts tonight, because that feeling is in my heart too.
Rest in Peace, Rocket. You were loved.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A New Interest

I'm learning how to do many different things at my externship. As I may have mentioned before, I'm learning how to run lab tests (like 4DX heartworm tests, fecal parasite tests, spinning of blood, etc). 
I really enjoy doing this. Maybe because there is a set way to do it and the routine comforts me. Maybe it is a way for me to get closer to science. Maybe it's because I don't have to deal with clients directly. I really don't think of myself as a "people person", and I know as a vet tech it's part of my job description; but I would rather work in the back of the hospital and not have to deal with the owners. 
On that note, however, when I would be able to help someone's pet and they thanked me for my efforts, I did feel good. It's not always bad to interact with clients.
Anyway, back to the lab work. I will be learning more in the upcoming weeks and will share my feelings, as soon as I know what they are. I'm also grateful to the hospital for broadening my knowledge, as I will have a "leg up" on next semester, when I will be taking Lab and Parasitology classes. Having more knowledge now will make me more employable as well. 
Things are going well all around.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Report On My First Day

Well, I made it through a 12 hour work day without incident! There was a moment there when I thought I was going to pass out (seriously) but it was around 10 am, my blood sugar was low. Once I had my donut and tea I was fine. 
Everyone at the clinic is very nice and the vet is quite interested in teaching me a wide variety of things, even those things I don't need to know for my externship. I watched a training video on fecal exams and parasites, and she gave me a link to online classes. I was told I would be doing fecal examinations by the end of the week. Yay! (I think)
Thursday is surgery day. I will be observing a spay and possibly a declaw, also a pancreas operation. You know I'll be blogging about that.
I received 2 shirts with the clinic name and MY name embroidered on them, so I will blend in with the rest of the crew. My husband insists that they will hire me after the externship is over. I hope so. The techs there get to do a wide variety of things, not just restrain animals. On a typical day I will get to count out pills, run lab tests, help with surgery, take X-rays and more. 
I enjoyed having today off to sleep late, but I'm also looking forward to going back tomorrow. I plan to take my laptop computer with me to get some work done during lunch and dinner break. There will be an opportunity to bring my little schnauzer to the clinic to make her a patient, I may do blood draws or X-rays with her help. 
All in all, it's a good beginning. I will not get yelled at (a la Danvers) or browbeaten, and I will be taught many valuable skills. I'm so happy to finally be moving forward.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Totally Random Thoughts

I have nothing in particular to blog about today so I will just type whatever comes to mind for a few minutes. 
Bear with me.

I think the 3 favorite books of mine when I was a kid were Harriet The Spy; The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler; and The Lemon Freshened Active Enzyme Junior High School Witch. 
I know those are very long titles but they are really well written and funny books. Thinking about them makes me want to go to the library. 

My car has been vibrating very badly whenever I try to go over 65 mph. Since I do not have a speed governor on my vehicle, I knew something was wrong. My husband replaced a tie rod ( I regularly need front end work done on my car because I like to drive over things) but that did not solve the problem. Yesterday since it was pouring down rain, we went to Pep Boys and I got 4 new tires (a really bald tire was the issue. The steel belts were all sticking out due to uneven wear. I don't rotate my tires, obviously), new wiper blades, and other minor things for the car. 
Now it rides smoothly. It better, I spent about $600.00!

I'm looking forward to my externship starting this Monday. I'm not looking forward to waking up at 6AM, however. 
I'll have interesting things to blog about, though. If I'm not too exhausted from 12 hour days. 

Today is the Belmont, and I really hope Calvin Borel can get a jockey triple crown. He deserves it. I also hope sincerely that all the horses come out of the race healthy. 

The sky is such a pretty blue was raining for the last few days so a clear sky deserves a mention. I have errands to run today so I'd better finish up this post and get out the door. It may be a while before I post again, I will be concentrating on my studies for a bit. 

Saturday, May 30, 2009


The countdown is on..8 days left until I start my externship.

 I was always one of those geeky kids that was excited to start school. I loved going to the store and buying fresh new notebooks, pens, organizers, and the like. 30 years later, this time is no different. I fired up my laptop and made sure it was ready to go. I got a new notebook from my stash downstairs (yes, I have about 20 blank notebooks all ready to go, just in case). I packed up a couple of pens and a highlighter and I was set.
I'm all ready to start learning and typing and documenting. My time online will be greatly diminished while I'm doing this, as I will be busy for about 40+ hours each week. I'm sure I will have lots of new and interesting subjects to blog about, I will just have to find the time to do it. I'll also have some cool photos to publish, as part of my documentation involves pictures of me performing vet tech tasks. 

8 days and counting! I can hardly wait.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"The Associate" by John Grisham

As some of you may know, I am a voracious reader. One of my friends even suggested that I blog about books, or do a book review post from time to time. I used to write book reviews for a company newsletter many years ago, and got a lot of positive feedback. However, that time has passed and I just blog about whatever strikes me. 

This book I just finished has struck me. And not in a good way, either.

I enjoy John Grisham a lot. Every time I see a new one published I go to my library and check it out. "The Associate" is his new one. It took me about 3 days to read it. It started out ok, got to be good, then turned really great. There was lots of activity, subterfuge, legalese and suspense. There was even a murder. Pretty soon I was almost at the back of the book. Noticing how few pages were left, I said to myself, "This book better start wrapping all the loose ends up soon."
I wondered what was going to happen to the characters. My mind ran through different scenarios and I was looking forward to a few double crosses as the bad guys got what was coming to them. 

(At this point in my post I'm going to write about how the book ends. Consider this a SPOILER ALERT. Read no further if you intend to read this book yourself. You have been warned.)

The book...Just. Ended. The bad guys were not caught, there was no retribution, the scared associate didn't even go into the witness protection program as he was supposed to. Hell, he didn't even get the girl!! 
For 99% of the book the plot rolled along like a rock down a hill, twisting and turning, bumpy and fun. Then the plot slowly creaked to a stop. It was if he grew tired of the characters and gave it a quick and easy ending. 
I was so unsatisfied. Then I was angry. 
This was not the quality of writing I grew to expect from John Grisham. What was happening here? I felt cheated. 
I will still read his books, but will certainly be on the lookout for more lousy endings. I hope that he is continuing to write the books himself, and not employ a ghost writer. There will probably be a while before his next book comes out, and I may even forget and forgive this transgression. Really good authors are hard to find, and I hope he stays in that category.

Strange Neighbors

When I moved into my current house years ago, all the people on my block cautioned me about my next door neighbor. Suffice it to say, we have dubbed their family the "evil-doers". Their most interesting quirk is their extreme distaste for anyone turning around in their driveway. (We live on a dead end and when drivers ignore the sign and come down the block anyway, they inevitably pull a K-turn in front of either my house or the evil-doers.)
It's really not a big deal, I'm not saying everyone pulls all the way into the driveway, they just kind of put the nose of the car in a few inches and then back out. No big deal, right?
It is to these people.
The matriarch of the family (known to us as the Old Bat) will park her car all the way to the end of the driveway and walk, walk, walk all the way UP to her house. This, in turn, forces her daughter to park her car on the street. There is room for 3 cars in the driveway, but the Old Bat insists on hogging the whole thing.
Now, the second part of my story. The daughter was in the habit of parking her car in front of OUR house for a while. Then my Dad passed away and I put his car in front of my house. Suddenly the daughter (she has no pet name, sorry) discovered that her car fit just as well in front of her own house. She still parked in front of mine from time to time when they found out it annoyed us. 
The last week or so, however, she has been parking on the other side of her house, far away from us. I asked my husband what was up. He told me that the neighbors across the street have about 5 cars, and they were parking THEIR cars in front of the evil-doer's house! A little turnabout is fair play!
Needless to say, they took umbrage at that, and now park in front of their own house (as it should be) to prevent the neighbor's cars from going there. 
Are you still with me?

So now everyone's car is in front of their own house and all is well. 
I'm glad that I have more in my life to occupy me than the parking of cars.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Nation of Superficial People

My best friend & I went to a minor league baseball game today. The game started at 11AM and he advised me that there would be a million kids there. 
He was right. 

There were about 2 BILLION kids there. Bus after bus pulled up, from grammar and middle schools. Picture hundreds of kids all wearing their school t-shirts, waving foam fingers madly, milling about, screaming, laughing, throwing things, and generally not paying any attention to the game whatsoever.

This was my day.

I don't have much (if any) interaction with kids, so I gaped in amazement. And shock. Most of the girls were dressed way too provocatively, their hair was perfect (complicated styles too), and their makeup was done to a "T". 

I gaped some more. 
The boys were regular boys, t-shirts and caps on backward, so I went back to looking at the girls again. When did kids start looking older than they should? And no, it's not about the age thing (my age thing, that is).
It's just a general observation. 90% of the girls were so pretty that their dads must be having heart attacks just having them out of their sight. The other 10% were trying very hard. And 100% were totally rocking the cool factor, more than I remember me & my friends doing. 
I mentioned this to my friend, who replied, "Don't sweat it. This generation is obsessed with looking perfect, that means they are going to grow up to be idiots".
I thought about that for a minute. He told me another story about his niece being ecstatic that she got braces, and her friends were too. When we were younger we wanted nothing to do with braces, but nowadays all the kids want them because it's a means to PERFECT TEETH.

Don't get me wrong, having good teeth is certainly laudable, but there is absolutely no reason for an 8th grader to be wearing that much makeup and majorly short shorts. They should be worrying about other things, like school and hobbies, not getting their eyeliner perfect and spending all their parent's money on Hollister clothing. 

I'm really not viewing this as a "these young whippersnappers" moment. I guess it could be construed as a generational gap, but I think kids should be kids, enjoy being young while you can and leave the hot clothes and makeup to the older girls.

Believe me, aging prematurely is not good, no matter what age you are.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hard Work And Fun

I laughed yesterday. Not the "heh heh" polite kind when someone says something witty or sarcastic; a full out belly laugh. That in itself is pretty unremarkable, but if you know what I have been going through the 8 months or so--then it is pretty impressive. I laughed so much I couldn't breathe and I had to beg the person to stop talking! 

Since Thursday I have been helping a friend of mine in his warehouse. There are a million small boxes that have to go from one spot to another and I was asked to help. I managed to be there all day and not be anxious. I actually felt good! Some of my old work friends were there, I got a lot of hugs, and more importantly, I got out of the house and got the blood flowing. 
I brought along my best friend Saturday & Sunday, and that is when the laughing started. As we sat and ate lunch some funny topics came up and I cackled merrily. Yesterday I laughed so hard I almost cried. I'm sure part of it was that we were all tired of moving tiny boxes for 4 days straight, but the things that my friend was saying WERE funny. 
It felt so good to laugh. 

I never laughed like that at the vet hospital, but on the other hand we had constant cuteness and lots of animals to pet all day long. My previous job was stressful and boring, but we laughed there lots of times. I suppose it's a trade off. 

The bottom line is, I'm able to get out of the house and not panic, and actually laugh and feel good again. Exhausted though I was after 4 days of work, I also learned that my medication is working, and that in itself is something to smile about.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good News...Finally

This past Tuesday was a great day! I interviewed at a vet hospital and the vet agreed to take me on as an extern! I should be starting in a few weeks. I also got an extension for this semester, free of charge since I was having medical issues. 
My depression seems to be lifted, as I am much happier about things, even when they are going bad (like lack of money and no jobs available). I still have anxiety from time to time but it's nowhere near what I was experiencing last year. I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. 
Once I start my externship I will find out if I can truly go back to the regular world of work and responsibility. I may not be able to blog as frequently since I have essays to write as part of the externship. I'm sure there will be lots of things to write about..I will have to save it up for when I have a few free moments. 

Life is pretty good right now.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Act Your Age

As I was reading one of my books the other day I came upon this sentence: What seems eccentric and edgy when you're in your 20's or 30's turns into something closer to pathetic at 40. 
I stopped reading and thought for a moment. How true that is! How many times do we see an older person wearing something best left to a college student and thought to ourselves "what is THAT?"
I remember going to clubs and seeing 40-somethings on the dance floor and thinking unkind thoughts. Now that I'm up there in age I wonder what would people think if I showed up at a club?
The other day I was waiting on line at a restaurant. There were 4 kids in front of me. (I hate to say kids, they were probably 17 or so, it's hard to tell anymore, the older I get. Sigh.) Anyway, they were wearing their velour sweatpants and Ugg boots and lacrosse varsity jackets. They were giggling, the girls were smooching their boyfriends and gazing into each others' eyes as only the angsty teens can do.
I hated them. 

I wanted to be young & carefree, smooching my guy, with no weightier problems other than final exams and "does this shirt match these pants?"
I sighed to myself and immediately conjured up the thought that I had plenty of fun when I was younger, tempus fugit and all that, and I'm now experienced, wise & savvy. Obviously I was trying to talk myself out of the pathetic envy pit I had fallen into. 
It wasn't working. 
Today's teens are hip, well dressed, technologically advanced (compared to when we were teens) and very cool. Even though I have an iPod, go on FaceBook and Twitter daily I still feel like a dinosaur. This is not good. 

We never did get to eat at that restaurant. The line wasn't moving and it was getting quite near to 8 o'clock and American Idol time, so we left. I'd like to report that I stopped being disgruntled about my lack of youth but obviously it stuck with me, hence this post. 

To make matters worse, today in the mail I received a party invitation for a friend's 50th birthday party. I have known this person for over 16 years, but to hear that he just turned 50 made my mouth drop open. 

We are all aging, whether we like it or not. I guess the important thing is to stop worrying about it and make every day count, to make memories at every age. 
I will try to remember that the next time I see some giggling teenagers.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More Nostalgia

Albert Camus suggested that we spend our adult life seeking to restore our childhood's brief moments of happiness. As I get older I think this is very true. I have been thinking a lot about what made me happy during my grammar school years, and so today's post is a brief but certainly not all-inclusive list of happiness. I'm sure there was a great deal more but my memory fails me. 

going to the movies with my Dad (for example, The Poseidon Adventure or The Towering Inferno

swimming in my backyard pool

homemade chicken noodle soup for lunch on a rainy day (when kids were supposed to go home for lunch since my school didn't have a cafeteria)

Beeman's Gum

going to Lancaster, PA with my parents twice a year

Saturday afternoon movies at the Lyceum Theatre in Bayonne

hours upon hours spent at the Bayonne Public Library

I'd be devouring books by Lois Lenski, Louise Fitzhugh, all the Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twin series, reading about Pompeii and the Greek/Roman gods,  and of course, the Anne of Green Gables series.

Just thinking about any of these things makes me feel all warm & fuzzy. If I could have a wish, other than to be able to go back in time and be in grammar school again, it would be to have all the books I read as a child available to me again. I lost many books due to a house fire and that is one of the big regrets of my life. 

I did say this was a brief list; as more things come to mind I will continue this post. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Lack Of Excitement

The last few days here have been extremely warm, so I have gotten out of the house and done some yard work. I have also taken time to gaze around and see what nature has started this spring. So many plants and flowers have popped up seemingly overnight. As I got a closer look at the flowers I started thinking that I'm not really amazed at things any more. Sure, I feel content when I take a deep breath of fresh air, or feel good when I see wildflowers on the side of the road, but I'm talking about good old fashioned elation: the kind I used to get after watching a movie in the theatre when I was really young. I remember coming back from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and skipping along, wishing our car could fly. I remember seeing Willy Wonka and dreaming about my own Golden Ticket. 

Even a trip to Forest Lodge or Bowcraft Playland  was a guaranteed winner in the excitement department. My Dad used to take me regularly to both places, where I would go swimming, play in the playground, ride Cappy the pony, or even shoot a bow and arrow. 

Now kids have fun by playing video games or Dance Dance Revolution. 

And my capacity for feeling thrilled has greatly diminished. Oh sure, I enjoy living, and get pleasure from simple things like petting my dogs or relaxing on the couch after a good meal, but I no longer skip after seeing a movie. I suppose there are a few things to blame: getting older, becoming jaded as things in life disappointed me, etc. 

Perhaps this is a wake up call for me to take more time out to look for wildflowers, or take a few extra sniffs of the spring breeze. Life may not always be a thrill a minute, but it's certainly worth living. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Good Friend and An Unwelcome Companion

I would use the line "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" but that has been taken. This past Saturday I spent some time with a friend that has reconnected with me on FaceBook. We met in 1998 but lost touch around 2002 as our paths went divergent ways. Last year I had gotten an email and friend request from him and I was ecstatic. We had been trying to meet up since then but our schedules did not permit it..until now. We sat at my house and talked for hours, went to the diner for some food and talked there for hours, then back to my house to watch the Yankee game and still talked!
I so enjoy spending time with him. We are simply friends, there is no flirting, or trying to be someone that I'm not. The best part about him is that he is extremely intelligent, well read and has an impressive vocabulary. I can use words with him and I know he will understand and appreciate them. 
The downside of this is that I woke up with terrible anxiety that morning. I didn't make plans until about noon time so it wasn't that I was apprehensive about meeting him. And even when we were together I was still vibrating and anxious. I was terribly upset. What was wrong with me? I thought I was getting better! How could I be enjoying someone's company and still want to run away and hide?
Frustrated and scared though I was, I didn't say anything. I figured I would get better as the day went on. 
It did not get better. 
He went home around 8 PM, and I settled in to watch some TV and relax (or so I hoped). I was still anxious. 
I took my usual pill at 11 PM and about a half hour later I felt calm, for the first time that day. I hoped that I would not have to deal with the same issues on Sunday. Now I was getting anxious about being anxious! Not good.
I was better on Sunday, I'm pleased to report...but today I have a little bit of vibration. Not as bad as it could be, but it is still there. 
When will this all end?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Too Much Information

I was in the act of composing an email to a friend (he had posted a status update on FaceBook about a doctor visit and I was concerned) and something that I wrote made me stop and think for a second. I had written "nothing much new here, you can see what is going on by my FaceBook updates and my blog".
That sentence made me stop dead in my tracks. 
We are living in the "instant update zone", what with Twitter, FaceBook, blogs, MySpace (does anyone still use that?) and the like. There is no need to spend time hashing out long emails to our friends, when they can just follow our tweets or scan our status updates. I fear that we are becoming an entire nation of hyperactive multitasking people. We watch TV while texting, talk on our cell phones while driving, eat dinner while checking our email, and even give our children video games to play to keep them out of our hair for a while. 
Remember the old days, where you would write (by hand!) an actual letter? My parents had stationery, with a design. I remember them using it to write notes to my teacher when I was out sick. I also remember having pen pals and the thrill I got when there was mail for me. I so enjoyed writing to my pen pals and hearing their stories. 
Those days are gone. 
Now everyone is a virtual pen pal, information without intimacy.

This link confirms what I'm saying. The statistics are incredible. 
We can never go back to the old ways, and for that I am sad. There is a whole generation of people out there that have never, and will never, hand write a letter. 

One of my friends summed it up best while we were discussing the social media explosion. His Dad had recently passed away and one of his friends had taken the time to hand write a card expressing her condolences and some reassuring thoughts for the future. My friend keeps this card on his night stand and re-reads it from time to time. 
Here is his comment: "Twitter, FaceBook and emails have their place, it's true. But I don't keep any 'tweets' or emails on my nightstand."

Waiting...And Waiting...

I finally heard back from the one vet I was flapping about a few posts ago..the answer was NO. They said they could not accomplish all the tasks I had to learn in the time period allotted. How strange, other students have passed their externship with the exact same time constrictions. This program is accredited by the AVMA (governing body for veterinarians and techs) so they are not picking times and subjects arbitrarily.
Anyhow, I picked up my curriculum book and dropped it off at another vet I came upon while Googling. That was about a week ago. 
A former co worker of mine sent me a link to a vet hospital that has 2 of their staff members going to Penn Foster. That sounds promising! I emailed them a note yesterday outlining my externship and asking them if it was something they could help me with. 
I am also emailing out my resume, killing two birds with one stone.

So now I'm playing the waiting game again. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Unemployed People Are Busy Too

Just because I don't have a regular job, does not mean my days are filled with nothing to do. I have decided to make a list of what I have to do today just to comprehend the sheer immensity of things. 
--email JR inquiring about his health
--email JM in regards to vet tech websites
--print out some really good affirmations I have found and hang them up in the house
--watch my videotaped 1 AM SportsCenter (I love Neil Everett)
--walk the dogs throughout the day
--go on FaceBook and check out all my friends
--Twitter (need I say more)
--go to the bank
--pick up some RX's from the store
--pay some bills
--enter feedback on eBay for things I got
--do laundry
--help GiGi write in her blog
--compose my own blog entry
--email an animal hospital enquiring about my externship status
--look for jobs

That should do it for now. At this moment I'm having a nice cup of tea and listening to the rain as I type away. 
I also have about 10 magazines and 3 books waiting for me to read them also..I will do some reading tonight amid the American Idol results and the 10 PM news. 
There is nothing more for me to write here, so I'm off to start my to-do list. 
Wish me luck.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Confused And Annoyed

Why is it so hard to get an answer about my school externship? I dropped my curriculum book off to a vet that I know quite well over 2 weeks ago. I have left 3 messages and none of them have been returned. At this point I'm assuming he doesn't want to help me out, so I have to go pick up my book and drop it off at another vet to start the whole process again. I called the clinic to ask if I could pick the book up, and was told that the vet is not in today, and no one knows where the book is. 
I'm puzzled as to why I have not gotten a call back. How hard is it to call me and say "no, we don't want you" or even "I still need more time to peruse this curriculum."
And I don't want to be rude by calling every day..but I'm really confused by the lack of communication on the vet's part. I know he is really busy, but a "no" or "need more time" call could be made by the receptionist. 
So now it looks like I'm back to square one. I'm really getting disheartened with this whole externship deal. 

Monday, April 6, 2009


I got my '80's video game fix yesterday. We went to lunch at a place called Fuddruckers, where they make really good burgers & fries. After we stuffed ourselves I walked over to the video game section to see what games they had. I'm not a gamer, I just always check to see if they have my favorite game: Centipede.

To my surprise and delight...they did! I begged my husband for some quarters and proceeded to play a few games. I managed to get a high score on one of them, earning the honor of entering my initials into the game's main screen. By the 3rd game my right arm was sore & tired from spinning the trackball. 
For those of you unfamiliar with the greatest video game ever, here is a link to read: 

I never knew that it was one of the first games to have a lot of females playing it. Amazing what Wikipedia digs up, isn't it?

I have tried many times to obtain my own arcade sized game from eBay, but my funds are not equal to what the games are going for (approximately $1200 or up). I'm not sure if I could even fit the game down my stairs to put it in my basement! That never stopped me from bidding, however. 
It is getting harder and harder to find this game anywhere, and I consider myself very lucky to have had a fun Sunday. Burgers and can't beat it!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Update On Sorority

After I pledged Delta Lambda Sigma the other day, I emailed the President and Vice President with some suggestions for the website and other general thoughts. We corresponded back and forth a few times and I am proud to report that they asked me to consider handling one of the open offices of the sorority!
I am now the Vice President in charge of Recruitment. I'm happy to be a member and would like to share that enthusiasm with others. One of my first projects will be to contact other online colleges and let them know about our unique sorority. As soon as I get the "ok" for the letter I typed up I will start. Our new website will be up and running within a few weeks, and I will post a link to it.
It's good to feel useful again.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Delta Lambda Sigma Δ Λ Σ

I just joined a sorority through my online college. I had never joined one when I was actually IN college, and I have severe regrets right now. This morning I was looking through my college yearbook, and noticed that some of my friends were in a fraternity, played tennis, and joined other various clubs. I was in a few clubs but have no lasting memory of good times or close friends. Of course, that begs the question, "what did you actually DO in college?"
I have no idea. I studied, I know I cut a lot of classes, and hung out with my boyfriend a lot. I never made any close friends during those years, however. I'm still in touch with high school friends and people I worked with over the years, but I don't talk to any of my old college buddies. 
Anyway, back to the sorority. I'm quite excited to be a member, and am looking forward to wearing my "greek gear" as soon as I can. All this excitement and regret got me thinking. Why am I such a joiner? Earlier this year I was looking into a unitarian church, because I felt the need to "belong" and be a part of something ritualistic. I know I would find comfort in this. Unfortunately, the church was a little too far away for me to go every week and participate. 

What is lacking in my life that I need to be a part of something bigger than myself? Does that mean I feel like an outsider? Am I comforted by meaningless rituals? How would I know, I've never participated in something like that. 

Right now I have a lot of regrets. I truly wish I had gone to another college and been smart enough to participate in meaningful relationships. I wish I had been mature enough to find things on my own. 
I don't like to feel regretful but I can't shake this feeling right now. Perhaps I can fall back on the fact that I went to college in the 80's, and there was not as much "stuff" out there to join. (In the back of my mind I know that's not a good excuse, I was just lazy. It just looks like there is more out there due to the Internet and social networking sites.)

So what to do? I know wishing and thinking "could have, should have" is no good. I suppose I will wallow in self pity for a few more days, and then try to get out of it. I will offer to help get this new sorority off the ground, perhaps participating will help me feel like I'm finally a part of something. 
Maybe I'm just having a mid life crisis. I thought I had one a few years ago, but as I get older I've been thinking more about my own mortality and analyzing what I've accomplished during my life. 

I know I should not waste time with regrets. Hopefully I can find what I'm searching for and will finally feel fulfilled and happy.