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Sunday, January 29, 2012



Along the theme of things I don't understand is the Westboro Baptist Church. The church that spreads pure hatred of anyone that is not them. They picket soldiers funerals. They say amen to tornadoes that rip through communities and destroy them. They call Obama the Antichrist. (Now, I'm not an Obama fan, but that's a wee bit harsh). Naturally they are against gay marriage. They hate Muslims, Jews, the gay community . . . anyone who is not them.

This makes me so angry. This makes me so sad. I cannot fully wrap my mind around this idea, this horrific concept. This makes me cry out of anger and sadness. How can a church be so full of hatred and racism - in the 21st Century?

No offense to anyone who attends church, or is religious in any form, but this is just one reason why I don't and am not (I won't go into my other reasons). This church, WBC, promotes hatred in it's purest form. I thought church was to preach the love of God. That as long as you accept Christ into your heart, He will love you and greet you in Heaven. And all that jazz.

I have spoken only a few times regarding religion. Mostly because I don't want to lose every single follower I have, but also because it's always such a controversial subject. However, I am entitled to my own opinion and beliefs. This is America, and I have those constitutional rights.

This church has hit my home town. Well, part of where I grew up anyway. Petty Officer Chad Regelin, 24 years old, was killed in combat on January 2, in the Helmand province in Afghanistan. His funeral was in Anderson. I have no idea who this young man is. But I tip my hat to him, and honor him for fighting in battle. This church picketed this young soldier's funeral. As they have for hundreds of other funerals.

In this church's mind, this young man, along with every other soldier apparently, is rotting in Hell. I believe the exact opposite - that these brave soldiers are welcomed into Heaven and watch over their families until it is time to meet them again.

How can a church say such things about people they know nothing about? How can they say that everyone who does not repent will go straight to Hell? How can the preach pure hatred and still believe they themselves will be given a one-way ticket to Heaven?

I believe that Hell is reserved for those that commit unspeakable crimes.

I have never attended church. I have never read the Bible. According to these people I'm the scum of the earth. What don't they know? I am a good person. I try to live by the Golden Rule. I respect my elders. I respect my peers. I volunteer where I can, when I can. I always buckle my seat belt. I am a tax-paying citizen. I work hard. I support my troops whether or not I support the war they are fighting in. I could go on.

So why then, should I be sent to Hell for being a good person? Simply because I don't have the same beliefs that this church does? I'm sorry, but that's just not a good enough reason. I don't see God or Jesus as hateful, spiteful beings. I don't believe that's their message. If God is as picky as this church claims, how can anyone make into Heaven?

I believe that God made us all hopelessly flawed. No matter how hard we try to attain perfection, we will never make it.

Families have asked this group to allow them to grieve in peace, to show some respect at the cemetery. Does this church allow those families to grieve? No, they don't. They shout out how their child will rot in Hell while a preacher/minister/reverend/bishop sends the soul to Heaven.

I am fully aware that this church has the right to believe what they want to believe. I am fully aware that they have a right to gather in a public place and protest. I am fully aware that this church shows absolutely no respect for other people, that they hate people because they are not them.

And with all due respect, they suck. And I hope that when they finally do meet their maker, He shakes His head at them and does the whole "tsk tsk" thing. And I hope He accepts the soldier before them to show them that He loves us all - and the ones that gave all.

My deepest sympathies to the Regelin family. And I say thank you to your son.

And I say a heartfelt thank you to all those serving in the military. You are far braver than I could ever be. God Bless. And come home safe.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Feaky noises, Libby, and horrible winter storms - Oh My!

I'm house-sitting for the H's tonight (my grandparents neighbors), and I'm completely freaking out. I've been out here two or three previous times, with no real mishaps, no horrific scary noises. However. Tonight is different. The minute I get out of my car, I hear these horrible screeching/squealing sounds. At first I was like, "OMG, who's there?!" Because the sounds almost resembled a squeaky belt on a car combined with squeaking wheels or something. Yeah, I realize my description suck, but you're just going to have to deal with it. Then I start thinking that perhaps it's just a screech owl. Another thought was something is dying. My scariest thought was that I was going to die some horrible Jurassic Park death from horrible monster-beast that was going to come crashing through the guest house. For a little while, this horrible sound was right by the side door into the guest house, which my bed sits right next to. It has stopped since I began writing.

But I'm still creeped out.

Now, I have a Libby update! I've been meaning to update y'all sooner, but I've been busy and had other posts that suddenly took precedent. If you're new here and have no idea who Libby is, please click here.

On, January 6th, Dr. J went back to re-fix Libby's knee. He put in a stronger suture around the knee-cap, which she broke the original, and also the suture to help realign her poor little leg. She stayed at the clinic for about a week or 10 days, with a cone on her head to keep her from getting at her stitches. It took a few days before she started setting her leg down, but she eventually did. I finally took her home to my house and begged Dr. J to let me take her on the road with me to visit her real parents while I delivered the publication. He agreed, so Libby got to go home for one night. Last Wednesday, Dr. R removed the stitches and had me put the dog back on the Tramadol (a bitter pain medicine) since she's still not using the leg. That worked for about two days. Saturday morning I took her to Town for Dr. R to watch her walk and get his opinion since Dr. J was out of town.

Dr. R and I had a nice discussion - he thinks we should just do surgery on the other leg. She's not really using either hind leg at this point, one because there's no support, and the other because it's possibly still painful. Oddly enough, if it was painful, she wouldn't let me stretch her leg out and rub the muscles. I did make a point of reminding him that after the first knee surgery, that Libby was in fact using that leg. I spoke to Dr. J today at work and told him the conversation I had with Dr. R, and he told me he's had similar thoughts. He also is worried that Libby is now just plain used to walking on her front legs (she's become an acrobat), and trying to fix that could become the next problem.

In the meantime, I had Libby until this past weekend, where I went back to Redding again, this time for a dentist appointment. I got Dr. R's permission to let Libby go home, and he thought we should try the Metacam instead of the Tramadol because that is so hard to get down her. Metacam is an anti-inflammatory/pain med and it's given via a syringe orally like a many antibiotics - which is much easier to get down her.

So, for now, our traveling acrobat, Libby, is at her real home with her real parents and my cat and I are happy to be back to normal. Until Sunday. My parents and Libby will invade to celebrate my birthday early, since I have to work on my birthday. They will also visit with Dr. J and maybe Dr. R to see what the options are at this point and to see what they would like to do.

So, here's a bit of what Libby and I did for a week together:

 Libby's first time at Lake Almanor

 Libby and I watching Princess Diaries. Don't remember which one . . . 

 Libby helping me at work.

We also had some very nice weather recently. The word "nice" is dripping with sarcasm. We finally got some good old fashioned winter storms. A week ago today (Wednesday), we had massive wind storms blowing snow off the mountain. It was not easy to feed that morning. I don't usually feed on Wednesdays because I have to be at work at the Sticksville clinic at 8am. However, K had to be on the road that day, so I covered for her. Needless to say, the wind nearly blew me and Papa D over a few times. I had to pull off whole bales at a time off the truck so the wind wouldn't blow all the hay away from the hungry cows.

 I know it may not look blustery, but believe me - it sucked. I had to take my work clothes with me and my hair dryer because I wound up being a sweatball under my hat. Miserable.

My pass was okay on Saturday morning - I headed out for work early because I figured it would be icy or still covered with a layer of snow or something. I was right. It tried snowing off and on all day in Town. It would cover the ground and melt away an hour or so later. And repeat all day. Until it was time to go home. Naturally.

As I started climbing the mountain more snow kept piling on road. I took a quick picture before it got really ugly.

 You can see by this picture that the road is completely covered and I was not so fortunate as to be able to follow in anyone's tracks. Well, not on my side of the road. About a mile ahead of this, visibility reached about 20 feet, and there had to be at least two to three inches of snow on the road. I only knew where the cliff was (directly to my right at all times), and where the mountain was (directly to my left at all times). What did not help matters once I started the real climb was that I had 200lbs of cattle mineral in my trunk for my grandparents. My car is front wheel drive only. Yeah. I'm really wishing now that I could have afforded the All Wheel Drive version of my car. Smalls got me home safe, although I was white-knuckling it the entire way.

The next day, Sunday, I caught a break in the storms and drove to Redding for my dentist appointment and to take Libby home. My pass was still splotchy, but way better than Saturday. The next two passes were clear, although it did start snowing over my third pass, Big Valley Summit. The snow got heavier and heavier as I made my way to Burney. My parents had texted me saying that Hatchet (my fourth and final pass) was clear. I got about half-way up the mountain and I thought, "um. this isn't clear".  Evidently, the CalTrans picture they were looking at was at least two hours old. As I reached the summit a snow plow pulled out and I gladly followed him a little more than half-way down the mountain.

 By the time I got to Redding, it was pouring down rain. But Monday was all sunny again.

Go figure.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Channeling My Inner Bookworm



I'm stealing this from The Frisky Virgin, who stole this from another blogger. Who doesn't love some stolen blog post ideas???  ;o)

1. Favorite childhood book?

That's easy - the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. I was never without one of those books. That series is the reason I fell in love with Arabian horses, and I was ecstatic that my first horse was an Arabian.

2. What are you reading now?

I just finished a book today actually - Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline. I enjoyed it - totally never guessed the "whodunnit". I now have a small stack to pick through.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

None. The library in Sticksville is only open a total of 8 hours  a week if you're lucky. And it's tiny - like my living room tiny. The next nearest library is about a half hour away. At this point, it's actually just a hassle, which is highly unfortunate. I remember Nana used to take me to the library in Redding every week in the summer. I miss those days.

4. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

Nothing.

5. Do you have an e-reader?

Technically yes as I can use my phone as one. However, I haven't downloaded any books onto it. It came with three free books, one of the being Pride & Prejudice, which I read when I go to lunch on Saturday's in Town, or if I have to sit in my car and wait. However, I don't really want a Kindle or Nook. I much prefer to have the book in hand. I'm a book lover, and I love the smell of books. Now if I traveled a lot, that would probably be a reasonable thing to have.

6. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

I typically read just one at a time. When I was younger I may have read a couple at a time, but I am definitely no Rory Gilmore. I find that sometimes I'll get plots confused or characters or events mixed up. Keep it simple.

7. Can you read on the bus?

Oh yes. Car, bus, plane - you name it. That's how I often passed my time on the school bus as a kid. It's the easiest way to keep me entertained in an airport or on the plane. And my parents will vouch that I passed many silent hours in the back seat of the car on road trips. Even had a little book light so I could still read after the sun decided it was bed time.

8. Favorite place to read?

My couch or my bed. Now that it's winter, if it's a sunny day, I open the blinds in my bedroom and lay on my bed in the sunshine. I almost always read before going to bed officially. And some days are just good days to curl up on the couch with the cat and read until my eyes go buggy.

9. Do you ever dog-ear books?

Only my text books! I may have dog-eared a few books in my time, but only when necessary. That's why humans invented that cute item called a "book-mark". Although I'm down to one, as I can't find one that someone gave me a few years ago - one I really liked. But I'm too cheap to buy any so this one better last!

10. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

NO!

11. What makes you love a book?

Oh, so many things. Characters, plots, the setting. Some books are tougher to get into than others. The first time I read Pride & Prejudice it took me quite awhile to get into it because it was written around 1800 in a form of English that we no longer use, with words I had to look up in the dictionary. I was often lost as to why the phrased things they way they did. When I reached the half-way point I couldn't put it down. It's now one of my favorite books of all time. 

12. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

One that brings my emotions to the surface - like The Diary of Anne Frank, Sarah's Key, The Help, Look Again, Harry Potter, Marley & Me, Seabiscuit, any of Jen Lancaster's Memoirs, among so many others. Books that make me laugh out loud for half an hour (one of Jen Lancaster's books) before I can calm down. Books that make me cry like Sarah's Key. Books that make me fall in love with the characters like Harry Potter or Pride & Prejudice. Or books that allow me into someone's life like Marley & Me.

13. Favorite genre?

I really like Mystery. Currently Harry Potter is the only Fantasy I've read and enjoyed.

14. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

I hate to say that a book sucked. I don't think I've come across any yet that truly sucked. There have been random books that just couldn't suck me in because of they way they were written. Like Secretariat. I think I went into that one thinking it would be written like Seabiscuit, but I was very wrong. I absolutely loved the way Seabiscuit was written. I got about 6 chapters into Secretariat and I realized I had absolutely no freaking idea what was going on because the author went into too much history about the horse's linage and their purse winnings, not to mention the people that owned these horses. I was so lost and disappointed I finally gave up. I may try again, but I'm not sure. Too much jargon.

15. Favorite poet?

I'm really not into poetry. The only poetry I ever read was in school because I couldn't escape.

16. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

None now. But as a kid, I could check out several at one time. On average I probably only checked out two or three at a time because Nana took me every week in summer.

17. How often have you returned books to the library unread?

I don't think I was ever guilty of that.

18. Favorite fictional character?

Alec Ramsey from the Black Stallion series. Elizabeth Bennett. Tempe Brennan. And pretty much the entire cast of Harry Potter.

19. Favorite fictional villain?

Voldemort and/or Dolores Umbridge. Both are evil, but two very different types of evil. But you still love to hate them.

20. Books I'm most likely to take on vacation?

Anything by Dean Koontz or Kathy Reichs.

21. The longest I've gone without reading?

Probably in college. I just simply had a hard time keeping up with my studies with work as well. Once breaks hit, though, I was all over normal books like flies on . . . um . . . well, you know.

22. Name a book you could not/would not finish.

So far, Secretariat. Which really disappoints me. And Uncle Tom's Cabin - I couldn't understand what they were saying!

23. What distracts  you easily when you're reading?

Anything going on outside my window. And if I'm at an airport, I often get distracted by the people around me.

24. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

Seabiscuit, Marley & Me, Pride & Prejudice (BBC mini-series with Colin Firth), The Help, Harry Potter's, Sense & Sensibility, Princess Bride. To name a few.

25. Most disappointing film adaptation?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Only in that I don't understand why the beginning had Harry in a train station - made absolutely no sense at all. I mean, I couldn't have been the only person dying to see wine goblets dancing on the Dursley's heads as Dumbledore lectured them. And at the end, Harry should have been petrified by the Petrificus Totalus curse by Dumbledore, because Harry doesn't just stand around and do nothing by nature - everyone knows that. Knowing that David Yates was also directing Deathly Hallows, it made me extremely nervous about how the final movies would turn out. Fortunately, I loved them.

26. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?

Too busy. But more than likely it would be because I can't relate to what's going on in the book. Like in Secretariat, too much information that I don't need or give a crap about.

27. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Sort of. I keep authors together. If they are random books, then they just get stacked or placed on a shelf in no particular order.

28. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?

I tend to keep. I will loan out books, like I share them with Mom or her circle of friends, or K if she's interested. My BFF will share books with me, but I don't think I've shared them with her, because I don't always read books that are up her alley. She will try books and if she doesn't care for it, she'll ask me if I'm interested. Every so often, I will clean out my book selection and send some to the  yard sale.

If you've read this, than consider yourself TAGGED - share your inner bookworm!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things I don't understand

There are things in this world I shall never fully comprehend. Lots of things, actually. I saw this link my Facebook news-reel from an old college classmate. It was a link to a story about how a group of people set fire intentionally to 14 cattle trucks at the Harris Ranch feed-lot in Coalinga, CA. And thus far, these thugs have gotten away with it.

Now, I understand (to a point) why people don't like cattle feed-lots, or animals that  are raised for consumption or consumerism in horrific, abusive conditions. I don't like to see animals abused, either. They should always be treated as humanely as possible. Sometimes I really think people ought to have a license to raise animals. It may help weed out the abusers, the hoarders, and the idiots who think they can make a quick buck.

HOWEVER. I have visited Harris Ranch, and while it houses a lot of cows, they treat all the animals as humanely as possible. If you've ever heard of Temple Grandin, they've adopted many techniques for humane treatment that she came up with.

I visited the slaughter house and packing plant, ate at their restaurant shortly thereafter, and then saw the feed-lot. While most people would think, "EEEWWW. You were in a packing plant? And then you ate after what you saw?"

Yes. Yes, indeed. Was it tough to watch? Yes. Actually, only the killing floor was tough to watch. But I'm glad I did. My beef science class got a tour of Harris Ranch's facilities. Our professor was in cahoots with them - as in, they did research in conjunction with them.

Did the feed-lot stink? You betcha.

Was the food good? Hell yes.

But what our class noticed was that the ranch hands didn't go around harassing the cattle. The cattle were not abused in any way. They had plenty of feed and water.

The world is now a place where things must be mass produced in order for the world to have food on supermarket shelves. That includes the meat that humans eat, the vegetables, the fruits, the grains, everything. While I know that there are farms out there there do  keep their animals in horrific conditions, they are not the majority.

What right does some animal rights group have to go onto someone's property and destroy it? None. That's what. The North American Animal Liberation group received an anonymous email from someone claiming responsibility for the arson committed at Harris Ranch.

anonymous claim of responsibility:

"at about 3:40 am on sunday, january 8th, 14 cattle trucks caught fire at the harris feeding company in coalinga, ca. containers of accelerant were placed beneath a row of 14 trucks with 4 digital timers used to light 4 of the containers and kerosene-soaked rope carrying the fire to the other 10 (a tactic adapted from Home Alone 2 [if you're going to try this make sure to use kerosene, gasoline dries too quickly]). we weren't sure how well this was going to work, so we waited until there was news reports before writing this. we were extremely pleased to see that all 14 trucks 'were a total loss' with some being 'completely melted to the ground.'

we're not going to use this space to expound upon the horrors and injustices of factory farming. there is more than enough armchair-activists and those of passive politics who are more than willing to do that (anything to keep from getting their hands dirty). we, the unsilent minority (the 1%, if you will), choose a more direct form of action.

we're not delusional enough to believe that this action will shut down the harris feeding company, let alone have any effect on factory farming as a whole. but we maintain that this type of action still has worth, if not solely for the participant's peace of mind, then to show that despite guards, a constant worker presence, and razorwire fence, the enemy is still vulnerable.

finally, to all those who fantasize and romanticize about direct action yet remain on the fence: there is a lot of stuff that needs to be destroyed and we can't count on spontaneous combustion and careless welders to do all the work.

until next time..."

I shall refrain from commenting on their lack of capital letters, grammar, etc. What is disturbing is that they want others to commit similar crimes against similar organizations.

I ask, what has Harris Ranch done to you? Provided you excellent meat that comes from well fed cattle, processed in a packing plant that was clean enough you could have ate on the floor, and had it delivered to your local supermarket for you. Just because you don't agree with it, does NOT give you the right to burn their trucks down. If you animal rights folks want to make a real difference, focus on those that are actually abusing the animals on their property.

Do I wholly agree with "factory farming"? Not completely. However, that is the way world now works. Raising cattle is not necessarily a local commodity, it's a world market. And as someone who was an Animal Science major in college, and now works on a ranch in a ranching and farming community, I feel more strongly about it than I did as a kid. Ranching, farming and "factory farming" will always have positives and negatives, just like everything in this world. That does not however, give anyone else who believes differently to trespass and harm someone's property. You have the right of free speech and the right to gather in public and protest.

I checked out the website for this Animal Liberation Front that claimed they got that anonymous email listed above. Their mission:

  • To liberate animals from places of abuse, i.e., laboratories, factory farms, fur farms, etc., and place them in good homes where they may live out their natural lives, free from suffering.
  • To inflict economic damage to those who profit from the misery and exploitation of animals.
  • To reveal the horror and atrocities committed against animals behind locked doors, by performing direct actions and liberations.
  • To take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.
Any group of people who are vegetarians or vegans and who carry out actions according to these guidelines have the right to regard themselves as part of the Animal Liberation Front.

Like I said, I can understand wanting to reveal atrocities committed against innocent animals, and I don't agree with animal testing. However, I am not about to take the law into my own hands and set fire to the place. Also, they are discriminating against those that eat meat and still don't like to see cruelty to animals. Nice.

Violence against property, as opposed to animals, human or non-human, is viewed by many as justifiable.

Seriously?

They even have a page dedicated to their members who are in prison for committing these violent acts on someone's property. They have prison addresses for them and donation pages so you can write to them and help them with bail or lawyer fees. They give details about the charges brought against them, their sentence, and any other updates they find out.

Again - seriously?

While I believe that those who abuse animals should get their just desserts, I'm not about to join a group that promotes violence as a means to an end. I can't even fathom supporting that. Why burn 14 cattle trucks, when you know that Harris Ranch's insurance will cover the loss and they will be able to purchase new trucks?

I probably didn't convey my message well. It feels disjointed, but there it is. This is my point of view, so sue me. I don't condone animal abuse, hoarding, or the like. But don't take something and twist it so that domestic terrorism becomes "logical" to you.

Monday, January 16, 2012

100 Things That Make Me Happy: Part 1

I have been thinking about taking after a couple blog-friends for awhile, and I think I'm just going to do it. Charlotte and Hazel both did a series of posts called 100 Things That Make Me Happy. So that's what I'm going to do. And in no particular order here they are:


#1. Hangin' with the fam.









#2. Pets. 

 Charley.

 Kassie, O'My, and me. O'My was about a week old here.

 Katie, aka Katie-bug.

 Libby, aka Rat

 Harriet

 Me with Brandy, Papa D's dog.

 Turbo, aka Captain Cute

#3. Sleeping in.
#4. Horses.


#5. Keeping a journal.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Craptastic Wednesday

8:00 am: Roll into work a couple minutes early (like 7:55) to find some guy sitting in his SUV waiting for me. He has a dog in his back seat. I couldn't figure out on my own what the dog and the guy were doing at the clinic because all of my four cat spays had been dropped off the afternoon before. I didn't have time for more. I wave at the guy to follow me in, where he then tells me that his dog still has a drain inside of it. Uhhhhhh........ He said the dog  chewed off the end of the drain that had been sticking out, but he can still see something inside this gaping hole. I had him drop the dog off and told him I'd call him when his dog was ready.

8:10 am: Finally get around to listening to the two messages on the machine. And I'm just realizing (at 5:30pm) that I forgot to call someone back..... The second message is from Dr. J telling me to "pop a cat" (meaning to anesthetize it) as he was on his way. As I'm listening to the message I heard the back door and looked up to find Dr. J standing  there. Oops.

8:15 am: Popped two kitties and a few minutes later was prepping for surgery. Took opportunity to bug doc about Libby. Update: Libby still at vet clinic in Town. Not using leg much, but is at least now setting it down while standing; he says it can easily take dogs two to three weeks before they start using leg much at all. Then its two months of healing before right knee is done. Goes to bathroom regular (which is good with all the meds she's on). Mention I'll be delivering publication to Redding this weekend; he says we'll talk about it Saturday. I hope he says Libby can go home because my mother is starting to drive me a bit nutso. (Love you tons Mom!)  :D  (please don't hit me)

8:30 am: A gal calls and says, "My neighbor trapped an extra cat, but has already taken two cats over to Town. Can you guys squeeze in an extra spay? Or well . . . we don't what the gender is." I explained to this gal that we had four spays already and that we didn't have time. She countered with, "well he won't be able to trap this cat again." Sigh. I talk to Dr. J and he just looks at me. Then he says that if I can get a spay pack autoclaved he can do it over lunch. So I tell the gal to have the cat dropped off and we will do it during our lunch hour. I kinda wished he had charged her extra. Is that wrong?

9:00 am: Second kitty is prepped and on the table, the doc doing surgery. Some guy comes in the front door:

Him: "I have two cats here for their vaccinations. I have an appointment." 

Me: I looked at the book and state, "You're an hour early. I have the doctor in surgery."

Him: "Well I have other things to do."

Me: OMG Seriously? Then why bother making the damn appointment??? "If you'd like you can drop them off and pick them up later this morning."

Him: "That will work."

9:15 am: Pop two more kitties and try to keep surgery area clean while answering the phone which has been ringing every two minutes since 8:15. People calling with their dire need to get their pets vaccinations today, even though I don't have anymore space and then we have the vet out on ranch calls 3/4 of the day.  I was double booked for 9:45, triple booked at 10:00, and so forth until 11am.

9:20 am: Third kitty on the table, doc starting surgery. I keep trying to do something productive, however that pesky phone keeps ringing and I can't ever find the stupid thing because I keep leaving it some place different. Three phones and I can't find a single one. Yet it still rings. And rings some more. I've also come to realize that though these cats are zonked, they still want to curl up into a ball, which makes trying to pre-prep them for surgery not easy.

9:40 am: Fourth kitty on the table, doc starting surgery. Our appointments start showing up. The first gal has never been to us before, so I have her fill out the contract and take down pet info. In the meantime I'm still helping Dr. J with stuff as he's finishing surgery. Dry cleaned surgery pack and quickly put it together, refill water in autoclave, put surgery pack in autoclave, and seal it up and turn it on. Second gal walks in and get her info, still helping Dr. J. Third gal walks in and she's got a dog with an abscess on its jaw but she can't bring it until the office is clear of cats. Um. Okay.

10:00 am: Surgeries are finally done, all kitties back in their carriers, surgery stuff pushed out of sight. Will clean up later. Call back first appointment, 15 minutes late. First gal with stray she picked up. Do vaccines, Dr. J pulls blood (which at 7pm just realized that I forgot to send blood over to Town with Dr. J . . . DAMMIT!), and she pays just under $200 for a stray. The CBC/Chem/T4 was altogether $160. Doc was nice and left off the $40 exam fee. I still thought she might keel over.

10:15 am: Call back second 9:45 appointment, quick and easy vaccines. As she's paying, 4th gal comes in for her 10:30 appointment. Dog has grown too much, so I quickly scold Petey for growing so much. He's not so easy to pick up and cuddle with anymore. Get second gal her receipt. Third gal brings most uncontrollable Weimaraner I've ever seen. Dog struggles on the table, owner has to attempt putting muzzle on because Dr. J can't do it without losing fingers. Owner asks me to hold onto dog's butt so he doesn't slide off exam table. Big mistake. Dog rounds on me, my life flashes before my eyes and I jumped back into my desk. Owner finally gets muzzle on, dog gets muzzle off. Repeat three more times. Doc suggests sedation. Owner declines. I suddenly tune them out so I have no idea what Doc suggests to owner. But they don't leave soon enough. Third gal with uncontrollable dog barely gets dog out of office before getting into a dog fight with cute Petey. Weimaraner would have had to die if he'd messed with Petey, because Petey actually behaves. It's called dog training you irresponsible pet owner.

10:30 am: Dr. J realizes he forgot cast cutter. Has a ranch call at 11am to cut cast off a calf's leg. Calls the main clinic in Town and asks one of the techs if she has time to run it 30 miles over the mountain. He then calls ranch to tell them he'll be about twenty minutes late. By this time, he's played phone tag with two people who called while he was in surgery. He's played phone tag with family as his mom was having a procedure done in SoCal today. During this time I check the autoclave and the temperature is rising. Should be done by noon - yay!

10:45 am: Call 4th gal back with Petey for his rabies shot. Visits with doc about her knee - apparently has been fighting with insurance or something for a much needed knee surgery for over a year. Hopes to be getting it soon. 5th gal comes in, for a quick shot for her cat. 

10:50 am: Send Petey on his way. Call 5th gal back. Done in two seconds. Easiest appointment of the day. I told her as such. Sent her on her way. Gal calls and says the cat that the ticks in his ears earlier needs to be seen. Something still wrong with ears. She's insistent. I finally tell her to come by at 12:30 during lunch since we will be doing surgery on lunch. Gee, what's one more freaking appointment?!

11:00 am: Grab dog from back to check on this whole 'drain left inside' thing. Doc says drain should have come out 3 days after surgery, can't believe drain could still be inside two months later. PLOP!! We just stared at each other. Both of us be damned, but that drain was still inside. Doc flushed wound, sent dog home with antibiotics. No charge for anything.

11:10 am: Tech shows up with cast cutter. Doc runs off to ranch call with it. Check autoclave, in the green zone - perfect! Let tech get her morning off her chest as apparently it was a clusterf*** over in Town as well. Must be something in the water. She runs off to grab lunch, realize I'm starving and know I won't get a real lunch today. Sigh.  Put other surgery pack in tub to soak in warm water and Nolvasan. Clean up vaccine syringes. Guy calls with questions about vaccinating cows that are aborting. Take name and number, tell him will talk to doc and call back.

11:30 am: Text K to please bring me a sandwich for lunch. Says she will. Clean up surgery area. Post on Facebook via my phone, "What a craptastic day! Stop the ride I want off!" (thanks to Average Girl, craptastic is my new favorite word)

Noon: K shows up with two sandwiches, peanuts & M&M's, a bag of Ruffles, and two Diet Pepsi's. Complete with napkins. Awesome grandmother. Shut down autoclave, open steam vent. Dr. J calls says, "on my way, pop kitty." Set trap on surgery table, draw up stuff. First attempt the syringe doesn't make it in kitty's thigh. Instead it sprays all over kitty's leg. Well damn, that's not gonna work. Draw up more, try again - success! Guy shows up to talk to doc about aborting cows. Have him wait in lobby.

12:10 pm: Doc shows up, I start prepping kitty for surgery. Check kitty for balls, hoping for a neuter, no such luck. Doc talks to guy, gets him squared away with proper vaccines. I write up ticket, send guy on his way. Gal shows up with cat with bad ears. Tell her to wait. I start eating lunch, tell Doc that K made a second sandwich if he wants it. Doc begins surgery, can't find uterine horns, tells me to check for balls - still none. Tells me to check ears for notching - ears are whole. We both stare inside and whoop! finally grabs a uterine horn. Would have high-fived, but he was in surgery.

12:30 pm: Doc finishes surgery on cat. Call in 6th gal to check cats ears. Left ear good. Right ear bad. Cat keeps shaking head, liquid flying all over. Figure it's slobber. Look down at smock, see blood spatter. What the hell? Find out cat had been in fight had scab on left ear, we had broken scab while looking in ear. All blood got on me, table and wall. None on doc or owner. Yay. Give owner medicine for cat's ear which has a ruptured ear drum. Wants to leave cat at clinic for couple of hours to make sure left ear doesn't bleed again. Owner leaves, I have bloody mess. Spend time in bathroom wiping off my face. GROSS. Change smock (fortunately there are extras at clinic).

1:00 pm: Doc heads out to afternoon ranch calls, running off with second sandwich and a water. Call dog's owner to pick up dog. Gal comes in for fluids on her dog. Guy shows up to work on electrical in back room. Doc calls while on road, having suddenly forgotten where he was going. I tell him.

1:20 pm: People are finally gone, except for electrical guy. Re-clean surgery after lunchtime spay. Finish putting away supplies unloaded from doc's truck at 8:15am. Put second surgery pack in another tub to soak in warm water and Nolvasan. Guy comes in to pick up dog. Send him home with antibiotics for dog. Decide not to tell him that drain should have come out two months ago.

2:00 pm: Finally get to sit down to clean up the disaster that is the front desk. Realize two minutes in I have prescriptions to refill, owners will be in soon. Stand back up to refill prescriptions.

2:10 pm: Sit back down to actually work on disaster desk. Write-up receipts for all surgeries. Write in charts for morning appointments, transcribe money onto cash/balance sheet. Fax credit card slips to main clinic in Town. Fax over new client/patient info. Have to keep waiting for fax machine to redial, evidently Town's fax machine is overwhelmed. I'm not helping.

3:00 pm: Doc shows back up, makes me clean bull ejaculator which is covered in bull shit. Literally. Yay. Guy shows up for prescription refill. Send doc off to final ranch call with clean bull ejaculator. Gal shows up to pick up kitty with bad ears.

3:15 pm: Gal comes in to pick up noon surgery kitty in trap. She gets all talkative, and I start running out of patience. Charge her, hand over kitty. Fax over her credit card slip.

3:30 pm: Gather up all the trashes. They are exceptionally full today. Finally realized phone hasn't been ringing off hook since before lunch. Yay! Guy comes in to get two surgery cats. Billed to Humane Society, send him home with cats.

3:50 pm: Trash done. Start doing money. Gal comes in to get last of surgery cats. She used to work at this clinic, sympathizes, so I complain about my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Take her money and send her home with cats.

4:10 pm: Finally get back to money, get it all squared away. Electrical guy leaves, will be back the next day - should be done then.

4:20 pm: Get wish-list, money, etc. back in box to back to Town with doc. Doc shows up with not one, but two dirty bull ejaculators. Yay. Bleh.

4:30 pm: Send him back to main clinic with two clean bull ejaculators, two bags of trash, and the box of stuff. Fist bump, and say, "see you Saturday". Go to close back door, and realize the neighbor was watching us through kitchen window. Creepy. Go back inside, scrub both surgery packs. Fax over new appointments made for future Wednesdays to main clinic.

4:45 pm: Start shutting off lights, turn signs to "closed", grab my stuff, and get the hell outta there.

5:00 pm: Have kicked off shoes, taken two Advil, fed cat, and sat down on couch. Holy shit, I'm exhausted!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Reviews

In December I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and completely loved it. I loved how it was written, from the perspective of three different women - Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. It was funny, it was sad, and it showed the terrible reality of life in 1962. It also showed just how  hypocritical white people were when it came to black people. The hypocrisy of things like blacks should have their own bathroom so whites don't get their diseases, BUT those same black people cleaned the white folks' silver, cooked their food, and raised their babies. I did a lot of head shaking while reading this because I just kept thinking, do these white people realize how insanely hypocritical they really are??? Of course, the answer is no, because the world was a vastly different place in 1962.

Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, raising her seventeenth white child. She's always taken orders quietly, but lately it leaves her with a bitterness she can no longer bite back. Her friend Minny has certainly never held her tongue, or held on to a job for very long, but now she's working for a newcomer with secrets that leave her speechless. And white socialite Skeeter has just returned from college with ambition and a degree but, to her mother's lament, no husband. Normally Skeeter would find solace in Constantine, the beloved maid who raised her, but Constantine has inexplicably disappeared.

Together, these seemingly different women join to work on a project that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town - to write, in secret, a tell-all book about what it's really like to work as a black maid in the white homes of the South. Despite the terrible risks they will have to take, and the sometimes humorous boundaries they will have to cross, these three women unite with one intention: hope for a better day.

I'm currently waiting for the movie from Netflix, it keeps telling me "long wait". Ugh. My parents saw the movie and said it was great, so I'm hoping I'll enjoy it like the book. I highly recommend this book - so get to it!

After the first of the year, I started Sarah's Key by Tatiana DeRosnay. This book came highly recommended from a friend of my parents last summer. I had no idea what it was about, but I know I had seen it on the shelves at Target for ages and had often wondered if it was any good. Just trying to write out how much you should read this book brings me to tears. This book was supremely excellent. While the characters are completely fictional, the history is true. The history portion follows a ten year old French Jewish girl in 1942, the year of the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup - where thousands of Jewish families were rounded up by French police - not Nazi's, although it was Nazi orders - and taken to the Vel' d'Hiv', then to camps outside Paris, then shipped to German concentration camps. In present day, it follows a journalist who is told to cover the 60th commemoration.

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard - their secret hiding place - and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.

Sixty years later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.

To me, this is a must read. A definite must.

In the fall, I read My Jane Austen Summer by Cindy Jones. It's not bad if you love Jane Austen's novels. It follows a gal to a Jane Austen literary festival in England (which could be fun but I'm not sure I'd fly all the way over to England just for that), and finds that the friend who invited her is more flaky than she realized - she's just the woman's pet project. And when her wish doesn't come true, is forced to find her own way as it were, and becomes a success to the delight of her friend and the dismay of others.

Lily has squeezed herself into undersized relationships all her life, hoping one might grow as large as those found in the Jane Austen novels she loves. But lately her world is running of places for her to fit. So when her bookish friend invites her to spend the summer at a Jane Austen literary festival in England, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself.

There, among the rich, promising world of Mansfield Park reenactments, Lily finds people whose longing to live in a novel equals her own. But real-life problems have a way of following her wherever you go, and Lily's accompany her to England. Unless she can change her ways, she could face the fate of so many of Miss Austen's characters, destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

My Jane Austen Summer explores how we fall in love, how we come to know ourselves better, and how it might be possible to change and be happier in the real world.

Another book I wanted to tell you about is also a Jane Austen take-off. My BFF gave it to me a couple years ago now, as kind of a joke because she knows how much I fell in love with Austen's novels. It's called Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Vierra Rigler. I enjoyed it.

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman's life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to even fool the most astute observer. But not even her level of Austen mania has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condomless seducers, and marriages of convenience. This looking-glass Austen world is not with its charms, however. There are journey's to Bath and London, balls in the Assembly Rooms, and the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who may not be a familiar species of philanderer after all. But when Courtney's borrowed brain serves up memories that are not her own, the ultimate identity crisis ensues. Will she ever get her real life back, and does she even want to?

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't care much for the whole chamber pot thing myself. And I'm pretty sure I would consider myself mad if awoke in 19th century England.

Anyway, the first two reviews I'm totally dead serious that you should read. The other two are fluff, so to speak.

Sarah's Key was the last in my stack of new books to read. I'm on the prowl for new authors/books. So if you have any recommendations of books or authors, please let me know. Please keep in mind I don't do vampires. At all. Facebook friends have recommended Janet Evanovich, Emily Griffin, and Jody Picoult (although I hear her books are real tear jerkers). As well as a few others, and I still have my regular addictions to tend to: Dean Koontz, Kathy Reichs, Jen Lancaster, and Sharon Lathan.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oh. My. Gawd.

Saturday's at the vet clinic can be a variety of things: slow, busy but easy, busy but rough, or downright insane. I'm putting this last Saturday on the downright insane list. Not only were we busy, but it was my day for the crazies and the talkers. You know the type: they never once take a breath while speaking the entire time their on the premises. I had not one but two of those.

Walking in I looked at the book and though, well, we're busy, but not insane. I think I may have jinxed myself.

Things were going well early on, but somewhere between 9am and 10am I noticed a slight spiral. First, I get this gal who calls in about a pregnant Yorkie who is having some discharge out her hoo-ha and they're not sure if this is normal. So this tells you that these folks are backyard breeders because they have no idea what they are doing. A person who has bred dogs before or is a professional breeder would know what's normal or not. So I took her name and number and told her I would talk with the vet, Dr. A and get back to her. Poor Dr. A has no idea as she's still a recent vet school graduate. So she starts looking stuff up. Eventually this gal calls back and then asks if they brought the dog in to be checked out how much it would cost and what would they do? I start by telling her the price of a regular exam, and then eventually hand her off to the vet. The vet then comes back to me and says this gal is coming in. They show up shortly before lunch, and I start taking down the dog's information as it hadn't been in before. When I asked a question, both mother and daughter answered in unison. Which of course I didn't understand because it wasn't perfect unison. I kept thinking, this isn't rocket science folks - just one of you answer me. The dog goes into the back and as I'm closing up for lunch the owners start panicking that we were going to leave the dog all alone suffering in the back. Seriously? I explained that we were giving her a drug to induce her labor and that we would keep checking on her about every 20 minutes, but that she did need some peace and quiet. I don't think the puppies survived as they were a bit premature - the vet did a c-section and then spayed the dog.

Also in the morning I had another gal call who literally never shut up. She had a service pet that was bleeding from it's rectum, and she had no money as her husband had taken $300 out of their account, and she was worried that her neighbor had poisoned her cat. She spoke so disjointedly about where she was from (as in, couldn't get the name of her town right the first time), the story of her service pet, and this cat that I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. I talk to Dr. A and she said that we're not taking any new charge accounts, and to have her call the Humane Society to see if they might help her out. Now the first time I talked to her I couldn't get her to stop talking. The second time was just as bad. I called her up and told her that we are unfortunately not taking on any new charge accounts (this is ruined of course by the idiots who make us take them to collections/court over $30), and then she runs her story by me again, which I had already heard twice in the first phone call. I gave her the number of the Humane Society, telling her that maybe they can help her out. She calls back a little later saying the Humane Society was going to loan her the money and she'd pay them back. Then I heard the whole story again. I kept trying to get her off the phone as I had other lines on hold and people waiting at the front desk. I finally say, "Okay, well we'll see you when you get here," click.

While I'm dealing with that lady, another lady comes in for her appointment. I grab her file and say, "Are we seeing Mugsy?" She replies with, "No, she's dead. This is Sophie." Um. Okay. So while she doesn't shut the hell up either, I'm trying to figure out why she keeps telling me we've seen this dog before but I have no record of her. Finally she says to look in a certain file. I tell her that's the file I have - hers. Then she says to look in her mom's file. Um. Okay. Well, there's the dog's record. She has yet to shut her trap. I have no idea what the hell she's talking about, but she keeps talking. I, of course, have a ton of other things to do, and don't have time for her chatter. Finally one of the girls takes her back to an exam room, and she continues whatever she's saying to the poor girl as if she's been there for the whole conversation. Yeah. When she comes back out, she's still going. Non-stop. And continues as I'm trying to check her out. In my head I was screaming, SHUT UP! And go get me a Cosmo! I need a drink!!

After lunch (sans Cosmo) it was just busy. We were still dealing with the pregnant Yorkie, had our scheduled appointments, phones ringing off the hook, and random people coming in for shopping. Plus I had payment checks to enter not to mention other stuff to finish.

Around 2pm, the phone call gal came in - with the service pet. Turns out, this service pet is a cat. It's a therapy pet, suggested by her mental health professional. Yep. She was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. From the minute she stepped foot in the door, she wouldn't shut up. I heard the story at least once more. After that I just tuned her out, saying, "yeah . . . uh huh . . ." every so often. I was never happier to hear the phone ring. And guess what? She still rambled on while I was on the phone. While I was on the phone, a guy came up to the counter. Once off the phone I wrote up a ticket for him, and during that time, the mental lady was still talking to me. The guy kept giving me a funny look as I was trying so hard to concentrate on writing up the ticket, and I kind of just looked at him. One of the girls took the gal back, and she was still rambling. No joke. I'm not sure how the vet ever got a word in, but she did. Once we got her all squared away billing-wise, it took me forever to get rid of her.

Then at 5 minutes til 4pm (which is closing time), some gal walks in saying she needs to get her dog his shots. Dude. Really? When she tells me her last name I paused and checked the appointment book. She had an appointment. For 11am. OMG. Seriously? So I mention that fact, and she mumbles something that I can't understand. *grrrrrr* Luckily, because we were so behind, our vet had called in one of the retired guys who had popped in earlier in the morning. He was doing some cattle work that was scheduled at the clinic while she did that spay on that Yorkie. So I had the girl go get him to do the vaccines instead - on a dog that had on a serious muzzle and the gal could barely control. Yeah.

Oh. My. Gawd.

In the end, I realized there's just not enough chocolate or Cosmopolitans in the world.

My head hurts from all the talkies that wouldn't shut up.