Monday, September 29, 2008

Runny Noses and Dishwashing...

sums up my first day of work. I got coughed on a lot. One of the little girls bit my sweatshirt. Oh, and I washed dishes for 2 hours. I don't even like to wash the dishes at home. In fact, it is my least favorite chore... Working in a daycare requires a lot of handwashing and cleaning. I never knew that I guess. I'm exhausted. I only worked at the daycare for three hours and change...and I of course taught my class...but wow. I'm still trying to keep an open-mind. I want to make it through a whole week before I make a judgment. So, I'm attempting to stay positive.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It begins

I start work tomorrow. My first shift is 12:30-3:45 and then I have to run (drive VERY quickly) to the university to make it to my class to be able to teach by 4:10. I feel that I will be cutting it very close...especially since I still can't move very quickly on my ankle (from the horse accident that happened almost 6 weeks ago!). I'm not excited. I have to spend most of the day in town since I have to get a TB test before 11, and driving back to the house just doesn't make sense. I'm trying to stay positive about this job. I really am. Especially since I haven't even started...but I'm finding it hard to get excited.

I'm almost done the wedding post...

Saturday, September 27, 2008


My father's death left a huge hole in my heart. I had no idea how to make it go away, or even how to be happy again. I struggled every day to keep going and often found it difficult. One of the ways I tried to fill the massive hole I felt was through animals. First, I got Onyx. His companionship and love were wonderful. But I still felt empty. I couldn't have Onyx with me at school, and missing him made me feel worse.

One day in April, as the end of the school year was still about two months away, I went to the local pet store. Now mind you, I am not a fan of pet stores. But I would often visit (and still do) just to look at the puppies and maybe play with one while there. On this day in particular, they had what appeared to be a black Chow (I say appeared because the puppy didn't fully look like a Chow, but the employees insisted it was a full Chow). I had loved Chows since I had first been introduced to the breed when I was about 10. My skating coach's parents had two Chows, Dutch and Bambi, and they were beautiful and sweet. I loved their blue tongues, and their fluffy coats, and hoped to one day own a Chow myself. I have no idea why I wanted a black one, but that was the color I pictured having (and black is not a very common color for a Chow).

Anyway, I saw this little ball of fur in the cage, and asked if I could play with her. I thought she was the cutest thing I had ever seen. She was extremely well behaved in the play area and I fell in love with her. Not to say I don't fall in love with most puppies. I do. I'll own it. I would probably own hundreds if I could because of my passion for making sure animals have a caring home and happy life, but I can typically leave the animal after seeing it and not really think about it again.

That was not the case with Jasmine. I went back to my apartment that night and continued to think of her. I talked to a friend about her, and he certainly didn't talk me out of getting her. In fact, he convinced me to get her. The whole next day, I thought about whether or not I should really get a dog. I had always wanted one. My parents never would let us. For good reason...we were hardly ever home and our house was not fit for a dog. But I was really against buying from a pet store. I knew she was WAY overpriced. There were thousands of dogs in the world at shelters that needed homes. I wouldn't be able to keep her when I got her because I wasn't allowed to have her in my apartment. I decided if she was still at the pet store when I went back that it was meant to be.

And I guess it was. She was still there. I played with her some more, and just loved her more. I noticed that her tag said she was a Chow mix. I asked about it, and they told me it was because she couldn't be registered. I didn't care, I had no plans to breed her. So, I walked out of the pet store that night with an overpriced puppy...but didn't feel any regret at her purchase. I just felt she was a special girl and perfect for me.

I decided to name the puppy Jasmine because I was thinking of Disney movies and Princess Jasmine had black hair, just like my puppy. Jasmine stayed with me for a few days in the apartment until I could get her up to my farm, where she would stay until I could have her during the summer.

I missed her dearly. But I felt so much love for the little furball. I was so excited to teach her how to sit and different tricks, and to have a pet I could go on runs with. Even though the rest of the time at school went slowly, I was finally reunited with her. And from that day on, she barely left my side.

Jasmine learned quickly, although she was incredibly stubborn. When I had to leave her, she whined, and laid by the door until I came back. She was always by my feet when I was on the couch and she slept in my bed. She loved people and people loved her. She also loved to ride in the car, and anytime I ran errands, she would go for a ride with me and sit happily in the passenger seat. People would often smile and wave at her when they'd see her sitting there. Jasmine also loved running with me. When I'd get my tennis shoes she'd run happily around. She loved even more when we'd go roller blading because she could go any speed she wanted. And she can run fast. I would let her drag me until she got tired and then I would have to pull her home. :) She also loved Onyx...even though Onyx wasn't totally sure what to think of her. She would chase him around, but then they would often lay around on the floor together. I also discovered that she had a ridiculously loud bark that did not seem to fit the way she looked. Such a ferocious sound, out of such a beautiful dog. It still surprises me to this day.

Jasmine was perfect for my hurting heart. She loved me well and I loved her. As she grew up, I began to see that she really was not a full Chow. She had many of the characteristics, but wasn't quite there. I didn't mind though really. I had a real jem in her.

As I was getting ready to head back to work at the end of the second summer I had Jasmine, I woke up to find her limping. She was in a lot of pain. I eventually discovered that she had torn a ligament in her leg. It would require a huge and very expensive surgery. It also required a very long recovery. She was barely allowed to move for over a month. It was dreadful. She was miserable. My active dog was no longer active, and couldn't sleep in the same bed as me. It was a scary time...I thought she would reinjure herself all the time and she was just so miserable. I was glad when months had passed and we were finally able to run again.

One thing I always felt bad about was not being able to give Jasmine the exercise I knew she needed. Although we would go on runs at times, my job kept me quite busy, and there were some days I was barely home. I knew she needed the exercise, but it was too hard for me. I really couldn't wait to get her to a place that she could run and be outside as much as she wanted (although, I was always scared about her and squirrels...she has a ridiculous obsession with them that has led her to run off on me a few times when she has broken leashes or gotten out before I could attach the leash). When B and I moved onto the farm, Jasmine became a whole different dog. She ran so much she lost a ridiculous amount of weight. But she needed it and truly enjoyed it.

Since I got Jasmine, she has dealt with the addition of several more cats and three more dogs just from me, and more recently, with the joining of B and my family, another dog and our new wolf pup additions. She became the surrogate mother to our first two wolf pups. They absolutely adored her, but you could always tell that she was not the most excited to be with them. They chewed on her, and part of being with the wolf pups 24/7 meant being outside with them 24/7. I could tell this was tough on Jasmine because she could no longer spend as much time with me and B (she loves B...listens to him better then me). B was really determined to keep her outside, because one of the worst things about Jasmine is the fact that she sheds a ridiculous amount, no matter the time of year. But eventually, I was able to convince him to let her back in. It is where she belongs (although she is no longer allowed to sleep on the bed).

Jasmine is a wonderful dog. Although she can be stubborn, and doesn't always listen the best. I love her with all my heart. Getting her that day was one of the best decisions I made. She helped my hurting heart, she has given me unconditional love and she has given me companionship. She is 3.5 now, and still just as great as she was as a puppy. :)

Friday, September 26, 2008


It is Friday night and I can't sleep. This often happens to me. I think I'm tired and go to bed, and then I lay there, things racing through my mind, and I'm suddenly wide awake. I'm very intentional at trying to go to bed the same time as B, mostly because I once read that one of the biggest downfalls couples can have is going to bed at different times. So, no matter what, I go to bed with him...and then wait for him to fall asleep before getting back up (lots of times I hope that I fall asleep too, but it is to no avail).

My dad used to tell me when I couldn't fall asleep that I should get up and write a list about what it was that I was thinking about. I fought doing that for the longest time because that would mean getting up and not getting sleep. But then I realized that lying there thinking of things, I wasn't sleeping either.

Tonight, I couldn't stop thinking of the fact that time goes so fast. Last week at this time I was spending time with two of my best friends, writing my vows, and sleeping in a hotel room. Now, I am sad that my wedding day is over, dealing with the aftermath (long story), and am feeling so sad to know that B goes back to work tomorrow and I start work on Monday. I'm really not looking forward to working again. I really enjoy my time at home with my animals, knowing I can get things done, and knowing that I am home when B gets home. Our schedules will be quite different now, and that is going to take some adjustment. I'll no longer have so much time to grade my papers and sit with the animals. I'm not sure how I'll deal with that quite yet. I think mostly though, I didn't fully think through taking this job, and it may not have been the best choice for me. I'm not really excited about it, and that makes it hard. But, I will have to suck it up for now.

We had really hoped to spend a lot of quality time together this week (we chose not to honeymoon yet with the responsibilities we have with the animals), but things got in the way. We had clean-up on Sunday, had to run around to get my name changed and I had to teach on Monday, spent lots of time trying to get the goats in a pen where they weren't getting out on Tuesday... just stuff. Before we knew it, Friday was here and our time together almost over. Life gets so busy. And if I have heard right, it really only gets worse.

I am working on my post about the wedding. I'm hoping to get it posted in the next few days. I took the week off from blogging, so it will take me a while. I'm also waiting to see if a few more pictures get posted (won't have the ones from the photographer for a bit). I can say I'm enjoying being married. All 7 days. :) I was talking to someone yesterday and said, "My husband," and boy did it feel weird, but also amazing, to say. Even though B and I lived together for a few months before we were married and had joined our lives (financially) when we moved in together, there is just something about looking at the ring on my finger, and knowing that we pledged to support and be with each other in front of friends and family that makes everything so much more special and permanent. I have no idea why.

Ok, I'm going to attempt to grade some papers...hopefully they will help me fall asleep.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It is getting closer.

In less then 48 hours I will be married. Wow. I feel like time is absolutely flying in my life anymore. I really can't wait to see everything come together. We have finished everything we wanted to get finished and all I have left to do is finish writing my vows.

People keep commenting on the fact that I don't seem nervous at all. I'm not nervous. I know I am getting married to my best friend and the best person for me. I have no reason to be nervous I guess. I asked B today if I was supposed to be freaking out. I've never actually been in a wedding or had a really good friend get married, so I suppose I've never been close enough to see if a person does freak out or not. The thing is, I don't want to stress about getting things done anymore, or the day being absolutely perfect...I know some things probably won't go as planned (like our little pup probably dragging the ring bearer down the aisle), but that is the kind of stuff that will make the day memorable. I can't freak out about getting married...I love B and he loves me.

Tomorrow everything starts arriving. Our house will be full with people getting stuff ready and the smell of good food for the rehearsal. I'm excited. All I have to do tomorrow is turn in some paperwork for the job, give the pup a bath, and get my nails done. The rest of the day will be spent enjoying the company of my best friends and my family.

I can't wait to see everything come together.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Amazing Maid of Honor

I thought I would tell you all about my best friend K, because she is a very special person, and because I am getting excited about the fact that she is going to be here tomorrow...I haven't seen her in 2 months, which is too long!

This is Me and K. I met K 5 years ago when she was one of my staff members. However, we didn't really become close friends until two years ago, when she once again became my staff member, but was more of my second-in-charge since she was a grad student. K had a very difficult year that year. She had a hard time adjusting to the fact that her best friends were no longer around, and had a harder time with the fact that her grandparents passed away within two months of each other. She was very close to her grandparents and their deaths impacted her greatly. I tried to help her through her grief, and later on, when I was struggling through sadness and a loss of passion for my job, she supported me and took on more work to ease up my life.

K is a very quirky person. She has a fear of water (will not go swimming, or watch water scenes in movies), she hates it when people touch her pens (although she is apparently getting better at this), loves the environment, so she recycles a lot, does the People crossword, and eats organic foods. She loves the Beatles and old movies and television shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and had an addiction to YouTube at one point. She has a wonderful sense of fashion that is all her, and absolutely adores Halloween. K has a way with people...she can just share her experiences in a way that makes people relate to her and trust her.

K makes me laugh and we share a love of ice cream, books and cats. Although we are different in many ways, we are able to talk and listen to each other. I miss her a lot, as she moved away in June to take a job in Michigan. She probably doesn't truly know how grateful I am to her for all she has done for me during our friendship. At a time when I felt lost and unsure and was hurting, she pulled me up and supported me as best she knew how. She helped me through my darkest moments and made me do things she knew would make me laugh.

K recently had her heart broken and has been struggling to adjust to a difficult new job. She has also had a hard time being away from her friends that have now scattered. I know she will make it through, but really wish I could be there for her in person to help her through these times. She deserves nothing more then to be happy and enjoying life.

She is a special person and I just wanted to give a glimpse of all that is her.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Well, yesterday I went to the university to teach my class. I parked in the same lot I've been using the past week, went and taught my class, and came back. To find a parking ticket on my car. I was shocked. I had asked B if the lot was for sure open after 3 (he said yes), had looked at the sign to make sure it was open after 3 (although I didn't have my glasses on...), and remembered from my time working full-time at the university that Dark Green lots were ALWAYS open after 3. I was quite mad. I didn't want to pay the university $30! As I inspected the ticket, I noticed that it said permit required until 5. "Got you now!" I thought. I drove up to the sign, took a look, and was surprised to see that it DOES say permit required until 5. "What the heck?" I think. They changed it after the first week of class?

I drive home. I am rather annoyed mind you. I hate the parking services department at the university, as they ticket people for ridiculous things, very once, when my pass fell down, I got ticketed, even though I was parked in MY DESIGNATED spot (and you don't even want me to tell you how many people parked in my spot through the years and never got ticketed). I tell B what happened. "That's weird." He says. He also didn't know the lots changed. But he tells me that since I am teaching a class, I should be able to get a parking pass for at least the times I have to be on campus. I'm glad someone told me that before. I immediately go to my computer and put in to appeal the ticket. My reason for appeal reads something like this:

"I have been a member of the University community for the past 5 years and am going into my fourth year as a faculty/staff member. During this time, Dark Green lots have always been open after 3pm. As I left my full-time job at the university after last year, and I am teaching a class from 4-5 twice a week, I did not think I would have a problem with parking, so I never inquired about parking passes, etc. I teach in G, and lot 90 is a short walk away...since it is a Dark Green lot, I figured after 3pm I would not need a pass to park. When I parked in the lot on Monday, September 8th, I looked at the sign, and am almost positive it still said that after 3pm a permit was not required. I parked there that day, and the next Wednesday. Today I received a ticket on my vehicle, and was surprised. I looked at the sign to see that the time had changed to a permit being required until 5pm. I of course, was not checking the sign every day, as I did not think the hours on the sign would change after the quarter started. I also was not told that as a part-time faculty member I could still receive a parking pass, so I never knew to go and get one. I was informed today, when inquiring about where I could park, that I would be able to get a pass, and plan to do so in the future. I would appreciate this citation being overturned, as I had no idea that the lot times changed, or I would not have parked there. Thank you."

I go in today and get my contract, go down to parking services, and attempt to get a pass. They issue me one right away. I then look at their map on the wall and ask them, have Dark Green lots always been pass required until 5pm? Yes, they tell me, they have. PURPLE lots (which are also faculty/staff and can be parked in with a Dark Green pass) are open after 3pm. Oh. Crap. I feel dumb.

Now it is quite possible my appeal would have been granted if I had just told them that I had not been given a copy of my contract until today. But I have a feeling that my incorrect information above will leave them laughing and denying my appeal quickly. I would like to take back my appeal to avoid this embarrassment. I hate nothing more then making an absolute idiot out of myself in such a way. So tomorrow, I am probably going to call them and ask if there is anything I can do. In a way, it was a simple mistake, but I don't want to be laughed at. I'd rather pay the fine then get laughed at by these people that don't know me (different when it is people you know and are telling the story to).

My lessons learned from this saga:

1) Don't listen to B. (Ha! And he even told me that. He said, "I don't know what I am talking about, why didn't you double check?" Fact of the matter is, he SHOULD know what he is talking about, his job requires it, and he even thought the lots were open after 3).

2) Wear my glasses when looking at signs. 3's and 5's look a lot alike when they are small and I don't have my glasses on.

3) Maybe wait a day or two before filing appeals to make sure my information is totally correct.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting There...

We are getting there. 5 days! I can't believe that these are my remaining days as a single woman! :) Every Monday from now on, I will be married. Weird. But I am looking forward to it! Eventually, I will introduce you to B. I'm surprised I haven't done it already. :)

We have been hard at work the last few days.

Another before and after shot:



I have two gardens left to trim up, and the gardens will be taken care of. I am hoping to finish them tomorrow since I have the day entirely off (no class in the evening). In addition, I have forty more programs and all 115 of the favors to make. But I just have to make the chocolate shapes, put them in the box and add the ribbon. I don't think they will be that bad (I'm hoping). I'm actually pretty impressed with myself. I'm not the most crafty person in the world (although I do try) and I really like the way the programs look. I've done them all myself. I'll post one here eventually if I can.

We did lose a tree yesterday in all the wind from the remnants of Hurricane Ike. It was one of our favorite trees...the whole side just fell off. I can't imagine how bad it must have been for all of those who actually had to go through much worse...a little wind and we had a lot of cleaning up to do, they had a lot more. Really made me count my blessings.

Thanks for all the well wishes. Time is flying by, and I really can't wait!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Four Years...

My dad died four years ago today. Three months to the day he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. It was a sunny, beautiful day like it is today (at least in Ohio). We'd been playing the waiting game for several days, not sure when the end would come, but my dad knew. As sick as he was, the night before he passed away, when I told him goodnight and gave him a hug. He held me so tight, told me he loved me and didn't let go. After several minutes, as I was in a very uncomfortable position and starting to cramp in my legs, I had to let go. I had a feeling that night or the next day would bring the end, as did my sister.

My dad was a very active man. My entire life he was always into something and out and about. He loved doing things with his hands. He especially loved the Christmas Tree Farm. He started the farm when he was 22...bought 204 acres and even though everyone thought he was crazy, he followed his dream. And by the time he passed away, 36 years later, the farm had become extremely successful, and would have been even more successful if he hadn't been so busy with the 50 million other things he had his hands in.

My dad hated his job. He was an extremely intelligent man, who earned his Master's in Chemistry and was the first at the place he worked to have a Master's. A lot of people didn't like that. Nor did they like the fact that my dad expected a lot out of them, and wouldn't kiss butt in order to get higher up. He followed the rules, and people either liked him or hated him for it. This didn't always work in positive ways for my dad though, as he was often looked over for promotions. He had just retired 2 months before his diagnosis, and was looking forward to finally being able to do all the things he wanted to do.

My dad expected a lot out of me. He wanted me to do my best, and he wanted the best for me. I found this hard at times, especially since I didn't see him a lot once I started figure skating because he was working a lot during the times I was free, and I was skating when he was free. I didn't always appreciate what he did for me growing up, as it was difficult to feel grateful to my dad when he kicked my boyfriend out for things we didn't do, or I got punished or told I wasn't allowed to do things that other kids my age did.

Regardless though, I always knew my dad loved me. He taught me so much. He taught me to work hard (even though I didn't always like trimming trees for as long as he wanted me too), he taught me a lot about money and success, he taught me about monarch butterflies, and gave me strong work ethic (same thing as working hard?). He also taught me to do what makes me happy, and not to settle. I'm not sure he knew about that one, but after seeing him struggle in his job for so long, and retire, only to pass away, I don't want to be stuck in a place I don't like while living my life.

I have many memories that I love. Spending time on the tree farm, his smile, spending time together on the beach and watching him be an absolute nut while in the ocean. Vacations, and his support through my skating. How can I forget the year we won Nationals when I heard him on the sidelines yelling for us late in our routine? How could I forget hearing him yell for me as I graduated?

I took care of my dad when he was sick. I have a lot of pain from that time still. But a few jems did come from that time. Like the night he woke me up just to tell me he loved me.

I still miss my dad every day. Although the pain is not at the forefront like it once was, it is still there, and every once in awhile strikes deep. I don't believe it will ever get better, as I think the fact that my dad is missing so much that has happened/is happening/will happen in my life is not easy for me. He won't be there in person (I know he will be in spirit) to walk me down the aisle on Saturday. He won't ever meet his grandchildren (if I have them). He didn't see me graduate from grad school, never met my future husband, didn't see my success at the farm. There are still times I think it would be so great to call him because I know he would know how to fix something or give me the advice I need.

Growing up with my dad was not always easy, but he truly helped make me the person I am today. I have a lot of his characteristics. I miss him dearly. I couldn't write enough to do him justice.


Friday, September 12, 2008


Onyx was my first ever pet that was solely mine. After my dad passed away, I knew I would be traveling a lot to our family farm, which was six hours away, and wanted company on the drive. A dog was out of the question, since I was staying with my mom at the time, so I decided to get a kitten. In all honesty, I was also looking for comfort, and felt the love a pet would bring would be perfect for me. Two weeks after my dad passed, I was at the local SPCA. I saw several kittens I thought were cute, but didn't pick one. There were too many! So, I decided to come back the next day with my mom and make my final choice.

One of my main criterion was that the cat not be black. We had already had black cats, and had had a bad experience with one (she died in the dryer...). I really wanted a grey cat, and when started looking at the cats, I ignored the black one in the corner. I showed my mom the grey one I had been looking at the day before, and she told me it wasn't active enough (it was cats do). She pointed me in the direction of a little black kitten that was up and about. He was putting his paws through the cage door, and the second we got him out he started purring. Before I knew it, I was walking out the door with the black kitten I had said I wouldn't be getting.

Little did we know what we had gotten into. Onyx was an amazing companion for my travels. He traveled extremely well and never gave me trouble. He was however, described by my cousin as an "imp" and I had to agree with her. He was into everything. But I could never get mad at him...who could get mad at such a cute little guy?

I eventually had to move back to school, and I left Onyx with my mom for the time being. She called and updated me on him often, and eventually we were reunited. Oh, how he had grown. He continued to grow and grow. And he developed some of the funniest personality traits. Onyx loves to lay in the sink. The first time B saw him in the sink he didn't know what to think. Needless to say, even though it is cute, it can get annoying to have to throw a 15 pound cat out of the sink every time you need to brush your teeth/wash your hands, etc. He has taught this habit to pretty much every cat that has entered the household since. Onyx also loves to drink out of the sink, and will tip the water dish over so he can get sink water. :)

Onyx loves to be up high. When he was still a small kitten, he one time jumped to the top of the door. He actually balanced up there. He then proceeded to look at me like, what do I do now that I am up here? He now jumps to places where he can actually lay down, and is commonly found on the top of our refrigerator. Everytime someone new comes into our home and he is there we hear the same thing: "That cat is on the refrigerator!" It makes us smile. He rules the roost and he knows it.

Onyx doesn't play that much anymore, now that he is no longer a kitten. But at one point he would fetch little mice. I'd thrown them far, and he'd run back to me and drop them so I'd throw again. And while he doesn't do that anymore, he has made sure that he still gives me a hard time. I can't have anything on my tables or surfaces, or he will knock it off and watch it fall. He always pats it down, watches it fall, and then looks at me. I've learned. :)

One thing that has remained constant about him is that he is a lover. He loves to be with his people and get attention. His favorite thing to do is lay on his mom's chest and headbutt her chin so he can get attention. 15 pounds of cat on my chest is not necessarily fun! He will sleep anywhere near my head and when he is hungry will bug you until you feed him! Unlike so many people's perception of cats, Onyx is not anti-social, and loves love. He has to be in the same room as people are, and will make sure you know he is there!

Onyx has seen several animals come and go in his four years with me (four years in two and a half weeks!). Through all of them he has been accepting and not a hissy, mean cat like so many others I've seen. He's taught them good and bad habits, but he's always made them feel welcome. He's a good boy, and I am beyond grateful my mom insisted I give the little black kitty a chance (and as you will see from my future animal profiles, the black has become a strong theme). We no longer take our long trips, and he doesn't ride as well now that we have stopped, but he will always be my boy and my baby.

I don't have any pictures of him on the fridge or in the sink on my laptop, and my desktop isn't hooked up yet, so I'll include one of the more recent pictures of him...he isn't quite happy, we were forcing him to pose! But it accurately shows how huge he has gotten!

And that is my Onyx.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


B has been hard at work the last two days (three days more like it). He took Wednesday off work since he didn't get time off last week and he spent the whole day outside in the garden. He's done the same today. I didn't do much outside yesterday, as I was prepping for class and working on programs (and trying to stay relatively clean since I tend to shower at night), but have been outside on and off today. Right now is one of my breaks. I will shortly be making more programs. I go back and forth as each are different kinds of work and I like to mix it up. I've got about 80 programs left to make, and haven't really even started the favors. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right? :)

Anyway, at least we can finally see our progress. We have about 4 more garden areas left to finish. Then we have to work on the area where the tent is going (which is near the dog kennel...ha...and near our extremely overgrown veggie garden...we haven't had the time to work on it or pick it really...I guess there is always next year. I think if we concentrate on one a day, we will be fine, even if it does rain a few days. B is just that kind of worker.

Anyway, here is a before and after photo of one of the garden areas (and the pictures aren't that great because I took them through a closed window in the house...I can't really say why...)

(For some reason I'm having trouble posting my pictures, but hopefully this looks ok and I'll fix it at a later time...)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Visual DNA

Youniverse Personality TestYouniverse Personality Test

Watch out kiddies...

here I come! I got offered a job today with the childcare center I interviewed with. It is not full-time...about 22.5 hours a week. I was really on the fence about whether or not I wanted to take it. It means I won't be home until 5 every day, and have to work on the days B has off. But, it may also lead into a full-time job eventually, and is good for our schedules with the animals.

B thought I was worried about taking it based on money. I could probably have made more substituting...but my big hang up was losing the time with him. I like being around on his days off (he doesn't get weekends off), and home most days when he gets home. Substituting would have allowed me not to work on those days, and to get home about the same time (except the days I teach). But this job allows me stability, in terms of knowing where I am working each day and isn't too far away. I also like the fact it is low stress, and they are allowing me to start on the 29th, so I don't have to worry about the wedding and the fact we already had planned to take time off getting in the way.

I guess if I don't like it, I can always try and find something else. But this will give me the opportunity to see how much I like working with this age group (toddlers), and give us a bit more money every month.

I hate being so undecided about what I want to do with my life. I once thought I knew for sure, and after such a rough experience in that realm, it has been hard to feel passion for anything else. Truth be told, I love spending time at home with the animals and working around the house (although B would say I could clean more...ha!). Too bad there isn't a major in that. 3.5 more years and I'll have more flexibility to really try what I want (opening my own business).

I guess sometimes you have to go with the flow to get where you want to be...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A New Look!

So, you'll notice that I've changed the blog around a bit. I've been meaning to try to be a bit more original, but really, I am procrastinating and attempting to distract myself from all the rain that is coming our way. Rain means no time to work outside, and, if it happens on September 20th, a very wet wedding that will have to be totally redone.

I'm trying not to think about it. But it's hard not to let it creep in my mind.

Monday, September 8, 2008

5 Things

My life the past few days has consisted of:

1) More weeding of the garden. However, the seeds are coming off all the weeds and floating up my nose and going in my eyes, so my allergies have decided to become the bane of my existence. We still have more gardens left to do then I want to admit. And 10 days left to do it (although, technically 9, since B is going out on Wednesday, leaving me by myself, and I can't get as much done without him...)

2) Job Interview. I alluded to this in the previous post. I actually applied to a childcare center about a month ago for a part-time position. They finally called me in and I was like, ok. I then realized I had no idea what I was in for. B says, "maybe they are just screening you to make sure you aren't crazy." Actually, they are interviewing me for a "teaching" position for toddlers and want to know my teaching philosophy and want curriculum I would develop for toddlers. UM? I don't know, I've never studied anything that has to do with toddlers, I thought I was just working at a day care where we were taking care of children...not applying to be a preschool teacher! A few quotes to tell you how it went:

-"I'm sorry if I am itching a lot, we've been spending a lot of time in the garden and I've been bit a lot" (before the interview started...I didn't want them to think I was nervous itching!)

-"My curriculum would consist of teaching them about colors, animals, sounds, we would color and I would read a lot of books because I feel children learn well from books."

-"I babysat for 4 years." (In response to a question about my experience with youngsters).

-"Um, I guess I didn't see anything about pay?" (My first question. Smart, smart...glad they think I'm all about the money. Thanks B, for making me so nervous about asking about it, it was the first thing that pops out of my mouth...)

Needless to say, there was probably a lot more then that, but those are the ones that stick out. I am normally a killer interviewer, if I can say that, but I was so unsure of what I was interviewing for here that I had no idea how to prepare. I don't think it went BAD, but I definately could have done better. I had my friend laughing so hard at what I told her because I was the one that gave her interview advice a few years ago that she still uses. Ah well. I don't know if I would take the job anyway. And I highly doubt I would be offered the job considering I have no experience with toddlers. All my experience is with college students (who act like toddlers). But it was a good learning experience. If I get it, I get it, if I don't, I don't. I'll just finish filling out my subbing application and finally get that started.

3) I started teaching my class today. It never ceases to amaze me that college students are so different now then they were when I was in school (I started 8 years ago). I feel like they don't want to learn/want easy A's, and no matter how hard you try to make a class interesting and fun for them, they look at you like you are a nutter. I'm trying not to judge my students too early, as I know it was the first day and they were nervous and unsure what to expect. But one actually said, "I was excited to take this class and wanted to take it until I found out the text cost $88." (Sorry bud, welcome to college and overpriced books).

4) I've been putting boxes together for our favors and have bought all the materials to get our programs together. My goal is to have programs together by the end of the week, so all I have to do is think about favors next week. Because next week I get married. (I'm still in shock at that one).

5) I had my bachelorette party. It was fun, and even more so because my best friend Trish flew out to see me when I haven't seen her in several years. We didn't go wild and crazy (in part, because I'm not that type). But I did get dressed up and we laughed a lot and just had fun. I love girl's nights and am glad B is the type to let me keep having them even after we are married!

Friday, September 5, 2008


That's how I feel! I know I've been slow on the updates (well, at least updates that contain pertinent information), but things are starting to hit crunch time around here! It is two weeks to the wedding (tomorrow) and we are in the midst of getting favors together, putting programs together, and getting the house in order (which means gardening...and I know I posted about gardening earlier...but imagine those pictures by about 10 because that is how many gardens we have to get weeded and trimmed...and mowing). Not to mention I had a job interview today, my bachelorette party is tomorrow (!!!), I start teaching my class on Monday and I've been trying to clean up the house because my friend is staying tomorrow. And on top of that, we are still trying to spend as much time with Cynder as possible, and we have all our typical day-to-day chores taking care of the animals...

Funny how all of a sudden everything hits at once...but I have a feeling it is going to be non-stop until the wedding and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Can anyone tell me how to get a more personalized blog? I'm not the biggest fan of the schemes they have here, and have seen so many other fun ones...I seem to be missing something?


Ok, I did not plan on coming on my blog to vent again...but...I just got done reading an article that was posted on a blog I check regularly My Yellowstone Wolves, because, lets face it I love wolves (and one time went to Yellowstone and hoped to see those wolves, but they were out of the region when we were there), and I am quite fired up. It was a nice article. Interesting, especially in terms of seeing how the wolves have adapted and how they are living. But what made me so angry were the comments left by ignorant people who feel that wolves should be removed from Yellowstone and all shot because they have no right to be there. This is a topic that is EXTREMELY touchy with so many people and has been controversial from the start. I'm not going to dive that deep into it. I can bet you could guess where I stand.


Ok. Just had to get that off my chest. As I stated in an earlier post, we don't have the right to kill off a species. I can understand population control (even though you will never see me kill during hunting season), but it is so wrong to think that just because, as some people say, "we are the superior species," that we play God. Once they are gone, we will never get them back people. And they were put here for a reason, just like mosquitos and deer and skunks. We might not agree with the reason, but you won't know it until they are gone. And by then, it will be too late to correct.

I'll get off my soap box now.

Can you see me?

B and I were out at the barn yesterday and saw 3 (yes three!) preying mantis' on the hay bales. I was bummed I didn't have my camera because how often do you see that many?

Anyway, I went back today and the one that blended in the best was in the same exact place. Can you find him?

I've always loved them...even though they bite the heads off their mates!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Wings of A Butterfly



For as far back as I can remember, my sister and I looked forward to the end of August/beginning of September. Not for the beginning of school, but for our family trip to our tree farm in Northern PA over Labor Day Weekend. Granted, we went to the farm many a weekend over the summer and throughout the year, but Labor Day weekend was special. It was the weekend that Monarch caterpillars were out in full force.

My dad loved insects of all shapes and sizes. When he was young, he collected them, and had an extremely large collection when he got married to my mom...only to have them blow away when they were moving once (it was always a sore subject with him). When he got older, he moved on to more specific "bugs." Like tarantulas. I was lucky enough never to meet any of his pet tarantulas (he even went to Mexico once to find some), but my mom was once greeted by one near the light switch when they first started dating. Talk about a shock.

He knew so much about bugs. If I found a caterpillar or butterfly I found interesting, he would tell me all about it. He had a special fondness for Monarchs...I never asked him why, but I think it had something to do with the amount we had up at the farm. Hundreds of thousands of them, if not more. And he passed that fondness on to his daughters.

My sister and I would go up and down the rows of trees looking at the milkweed, trying to find caterpillars. We could tell almost instantly if a caterpillar was on one of the plants, as we could see the places where they had eaten. We often liked to see who could find the smallest caterpillar, as we thought they were cute. :) We take the caterpillars off the milkweed (not at all squeamish with bugs, you see...and sometimes they even pooped or peed on us!) and stick them in our five gallon buckets, along with some milkweed for them to continue eating. That is really all the caterpillars do. Eat and eat and eat, until they get big enough to hang. One year, I made it my mission to find 100 caterpillars. And I did (100 caterpillars eating all at once makes quite a noise too).

My dad encouraged my sister and I to find these caterpillars (although he wasn't as excited about the 100 I found the one time), so we could bring them home and watch them transform to butterflies. He would make sure they had enough milkweed for the 6 hour trip home, and would continually bring home more milkweed throughout the weeks for us to feed them. And they needed new milkweed constantly, because it was either eaten quickly, or died from being broken off (imagine how much he had to get the year I brought home 100. See why he wasn't that excited?).

He would put them in a glass aquarium with sticks (for hanging) and of course, an escape-proof top (but we had escapees anyway...we'd be cleaning months later to find a used chrysalis on the bottom of a chair or under a table...and say oh, that's where that one came from...because yes, sometimes we'd come home and a butterfly would be flying around the house, waiting to be let outside). When a caterpillar would hang itself and eventually become a chrysalis, he would take them out and put them over a glass, so we could prepare for its hatching. The hatching was an incredible site. To see the butterfly break free from its shell - huge body and small wings - only to watch as it dried and the wings grew and the body became small, and as it took its first tentative flutters with its wings. It was incredible.

Some days, we would have 10-20 butterflies hatch. After their wings would dry we would put them outside the door to let them fly away as they were ready, or we would take them out and urge them to fly ourselves. Imagine the postman's surprise when he walked up to our door one day to see all the butterflies outside. He asked my mom "do you realize you have 8 butterflies outside your door?" She smiled and he enjoyed the sight.

My dad encouraged my sister and I to take some of the butterflies in to class with us so that other children could see the process of caterpillar to butterfly. My teachers and classmates always loved it (and I loved the fact that it was my family that brought in the cool experiment!).

I never grew sick of catching caterpillars, even as I grew up and moved on with my life. When I got too busy to go to the farm, I often asked my dad to bring me back some caterpillars once Labor Day arrived. He always told me I had to come in order to get any...his way of trying to get me to spend a weekend with him...

Those caterpillars and butterflies taught me so much...I wonder if my dad knew. It taught me to respect the life of an insect, especially butterflies (imagine what I did if I saw a kid on the playground messing with a butterfly!). It taught me about the circle of life, and also about death. Many of the Monarchs didn't make it. Some never hatched from the chrysalids because of bugs or other natural forces. Some died because my sister and I intervened when we shouldn't have. Some died because we picked up milkweed someone had sprayed with chemicals (it is a weed, afterall), and some died because they got out and we stepped on them. It taught me to recognize passion in my dad, and the things he loved and enjoyed so much...I didn't get to see a lot of that because he was always so busy.

What I loved the most about the process was the fact that it brought the family together. We all loved to watch as the caterpillars grew and changed, and eventually hatched into butterflies. It was a few small moments we all shared together.


To this day, whenever I see milkweed, I think of Monarchs. We are selling the tree farm and it pains me to think of the millions of butterflies up there that I could have collected with my children one day.(Ok, maybe not millions, but a couple hundred...). But, as luck would have it, I was riding through one of our fields yesterday and spotted an incredible amount of milkweed. I looked for caterpillars, but didn't find any...yet. I'm going to have to do some research to see when they hatch around here, or even if they do, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I'll happen upon some. I want to show B the magic...pass on something that my dad passed on to me.

These butterflies have so much meaning to me. It is something I will always have with my dad. Which is why, even though he can't be at my wedding, butterflies will be entwined throughout the decor at the ceremony and the reception. I can't see a butterfly without thinking of what he taught me, and the love he had for them.

**I know this was a bit scattered...I just kinda wrote without organizing...**


The process of caterpillar to butterfly, as my sister and I got to see it...

Funnel Cake!

Last night, B took me to his home county's fair. It was fun, and more importantly, I got funnel cake. I've been craving it all summer since fair season started. Mmm...funnel cake. Overpriced, hard to find anywhere but at fairs, amusement parks or boardwalks, and very bad for you. But I definately enjoyed it. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Here's what I've been doing the last few days...long weekend and B had a bit of it off (unlike most people, his job doesn't stop just because it is a holiday...)

You can see the piles in the lawn there...they are from our day lillies. You have to pick the stalks out of the dead flowers... We have WAY too many day lillies I think. Although, if you were to have asked me in the Spring if we had too many day lillies, I would have said no, because they are so beautiful when they are all in bloom at once. But anyway, it's been quite a process. This is what we did this weekend...and it is only ONE section of our yard. We actually have several more to get done before the we don't want the yard to look crappy when people are here...or in our pictures.

This is the same section of yard, just the other side, and you can see some of the humongous weeds we pulled out...and threw in our driveway. Ha. It is funny that we have this much gardening to do because neither B or I really know much about gardening. We might downsize in the future...but we don't really have that option right now... I can say that I definately have the bites to show I've been getting down and dirty, and they don't feel that great! But, I'm not complaining because I love to be outside, and I love our house. I think I really needed to get out in the sun (even though it was quite warm!) and get working again. Since I fell off the horse, I've been kinda sedentary and it is difficult for me. So, even though I could definately feel the pain that came with pulling weeds, it was good work, and I enjoyed it.

We also made some modifications to the dog kennel. We added electric wire to the top in hopes that it will discourage Cynder (and eventually Kaos) from climbing/jumping out. We've been told that one zap will teach them and they won't try again, but I'm not sure if I believe it! You can see some of the babies in there now... Jackson, Chief and Kaos up front, and Cynder in the very rear. Believe it or not, Kaos stands almost 5 feet now on his hind legs. As long as he is happy though, I think he'll stay's Cynder we worry about!

The owners to the lost horses also came forward so we got them home, which was nice.

All in all it was a productive weekend, but we have so much left to do, and only 2 1/2 weeks left to do it! Yikes!

Monday, September 1, 2008


Yes, Trivet. Not Pivot.

Last night, B cooked a nice dinner of catfish and potatoes. I mentioned to him that it would be nice if we had the plates that go under the serving dishes/plates to keep the table from getting burnt (because that would happen to us). Maybe, I should add them to the registry? He thought it was a good idea, so after dinner when we were relaxing in front of the tv (don't do that often anymore), I got online to look for them.

"What are they called, exactly?" I asked.
"Hot plates."

I search for hot plates.

"No, that seems to be the wrong thing."
"Hot pads."

I search for hot pads. Nope. I start typing in random words. Cooling plate. Table protector. Cooling pad. I even google, "how to stop my table from getting burnt". When that doesn't work, I try Yahoo search (because B likes it better then google), and try mats to stop burning table. None of these work. What the heck?

B even talks to his mom and asks what they are. She insists they are hot pads. Well, funny that is what we both called it in our homes as children, but that doesn't seem to be what the world out there calls them.

Finally, probably 30-45 minutes later, I find them. I can't remember how at this point. I believe I may have been looking at placemats in hopes they would show up as a similar item. But there they are, on Bed Bath and Beyond's site. Trivets. Yup. I had no idea (how'd they even come up with that name?). But now you know.

Trivets protect your table from getting burnt.

What's in a Name?

As the wedding draws closer, the one thing I'm still struggling on deciding is whether or not to change my name. I never used to think it would be such a difficult decision for fact, the first time I was engaged (yes, I was previously engaged), I had my mind all made up that I would be changing my name. Since then though, so much has happened in my life that I'm just not sure...

Reasons for keeping my name:
1) I like it. :)
2) It is very high up in the alphabet
3) Not having to go through all the pain of changing everything that has my current name on it to a new name
4) It is me. I truly feel in the past few years that I have really become who I am. My name is a part of that. It's how everyone knows me...
5) I feel it honors my dad. There are no males in our immediate family and our last name is dwindling...(there aren't very many with our last name anywhere, really, but only one male within even my extended family...).

Reasons for changing my name:
1) I think B would appreciate it, even though he tells me it wouldn't bother him if I didn't take his name
2) Makes it easier for other people. Ha!
3) Taking his name shows that we've come together to start our life as a unit...

I dunno. I'm not against it for all the feminist reasons, really, I could care less about those (no I don't hate feminists. This is the second time I've brought them up in posts...) I guess I feel like maybe I'll be losing something I feel is a part of my identity. How I see myself. But maybe how I see myself shouldn't be wrapped up in something so small as a name... Do others see me as a name? Those that don't know my name certainly don't, and I'd hope that those who do know me see me for all the other things about me.

I've still got time. Maybe the answer will eventually become clear.
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