Sunday, March 30, 2008

Blog tales

I'm flattered that someone believes my writing is worthy enough to ask me to contribute to a story telling blog that will have a different theme every month.

Blog Me A Tale

This month's theme is simply, Open Mic. My story is entitled Arts and Sciences.

Now back to my regularly scheduled Sunday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Non sequitur

The more hours you work, the longer your toilet paper lasts.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Skipping Stones

Ever since the day, 23 years ago, when I saw my best friend's older brother skip a stone across the pond at Long's Park I've wanted to be able to do it too. I watched the stone skim gracefully across the surface of the water and thought that that must be the most amazing skill to have. I immediately wanted to acquire and perfect such a trick and asked my friend's brother how to achieve such a feat. He gave me a brief tutorial that he, being a 12 year old boy, surely thought explained perfectly the intricacies involved in skipping a stone. Needless to say, my attempts at skimming the rocks I had collected across the pond failed with a few miserable "plunks". After that day, any time I came upon someone skipping stones across water I had to give it another go.

It's been many years since my last attempt to skip a stone.

This past weekend we traveled out to the eastern end of Long Island to visit Arbor Boy's family. Sunday afternoon the two of us along with his brothers and sister-in-law jumped in the car for a visit to the ocean, a tradition that we hold to no matter what the weather. We were wandering down the beach checking out the waves, picking up shells, zoning out on the beautiful day. I don't know who started it, but soon Arbor Boy and his oldest brother were skipping stones across the calm knee-deep water that was barely disturbed by the incoming waves. The determination that I've felt every time since that day at Long's Park came flooding back (along with the little 8 year old girl),

"I wanna skip stones, too."

Being a natural teacher, Arbor Boy gave me a much more detailed description of the art of skipping stones. Armed with my new found knowledge of stone size, shape and heft, wrist maneuver and stance I collect a few stones. My first stone again plunked loudly and solidly into the water, as did my next few. Dejectedly, I figured that I was just not meant to be a stone skipper. But my natural urge to keep doing something until I get it right kicked in and I searched carefully for the perfect stone. Finally I found one that looked like a candidate, flat, slightly rectangular and light weight. I grasp it as firmly as I could so that it would spin off my finger and flung it as low and level as I could. I saw it zip through the air along the water and hit...then, skip...skip....skip. I had skipped my first stone and, what was more, I had skipped it four times.

I am not ashamed to admit that I felt more satisfaction in that moment than I have for a long long time. It was the satisfaction felt only after many failed attempts. The satisfaction of finally squashing the frustration that comes with not being able to perform such a trivial task. The satisfaction of a spunky 8 year old girl who can now hang with the big boys.

And it felt great.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rainy Wednesday afternoon

It's a dreary rainy day in Astoria. I just spent the past day and a half studying for midterms, took the tests this morning and now I'm pretty fried so this will be a total stream of consciousness....

~ The Smiths are some of the best rainy day music you can listen to. It's the CD we grab first whenever we have to drive somewhere in bad weather. It just fits.

~ There is nothing I find more rude then when someone draws attention to a blemish. I have the misfortune of being plagued with sensitive skin that will break out at the slightest hint of stress, sticky humid weather, or fluctuating hormones. I have had to deal with this since high school. Believe me, I'm well aware of it which is why I don't appreciate someone pointing out a blemish or asking what happened to my face. I especially don't appreciate it when they do such things in front of other people because then I'm forced to announce to everyone that, yes, I have a pimple. Come on, it's not that hard to figure out, you've seen them before, haven't you? And if you yourself have never had a blemish, well, come closer so I can smack you.

~ There are a few things that pets should never eat. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, lethal doses are 1 ounce per pound of milk chocolate and 0.1 ounce per pound of baker's chocolate. Many people think this is an old wive's tale claiming that "my dog loves chocolate and nothing ever happens." Yes, it's true you might get lucky and your dog won't have a reaction but, please, for the dog's sake don't risk it.
~ Onions are toxic to dogs and cats. The poisoning will start as gastrointestinal problems but if enough onion was consumed it will lead to hemolytic anemia. Raw, cooked, and dried onions will all have the same effect.
~ Tylenol is extremely toxic to cats and, to a lesser extent, dogs. Cats lack an enzyme needed to make Tylenol water soluble and therefore utilized by the body. It will oxidize their hemoglobin (the stuff that carries oxygen) so that it no longer can carry oxygen through the bloodstream. I probably don't have to explain that that's bad.

~ Finally, this is ArborBoy, the fabulous guy who puts up with me. He's a horticulturist, an anthropologist, an artist and the love of my life. I realize you can't see his face but I like the view this picture affords me.

And, scene.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Snapshots (Palm Sunday Edition)

I love Sundays. Sunday is the one day that I don't feel the need to do anything productive and, save for a few Sunday lab classes this semester, I've been living up to that resolution. I usually try to go to yoga in the morning to help balance myself for the busy week ahead. Following my arm balances and headstands, I return home to enjoy brunch with my sweetie. The church across the street from our apartment offers good people watching when the services let out, and sometimes even some live theatre like their Palm Sunday procession.

Our Sunday plans vary, sometimes we relax at home and play Scrabble and Backgammon,

other times we hop in the car and go off on an adventure. Today it was a trip to the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing. The Cleansing Biotope at the QBC

It was a little chilly and some rain fell but the plants were starting to bud and it made us all the more eager for spring to arrive.

Plants growing on the sloping green roof of the administration building.

Winter flowering plants at the Queens Botanical Garden.

Enjoy your Sunday. Namaste.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Adult Defined

Ever since I was young I have wondered how I would know when I was adult. In legal terms I became an adult at the age of 18 but I was a far cry from an adult in any other sense of the word. I thought once I had graduated from college and was no longer financially dependent on my parents then I would definitely be an adult. But I moved into an apartment with my sister, got a job that had awful hours and bad pay and felt like nothing more than a big kid. A year later I decided to move to New York City with two other girls (nope, definitely wasn't an adult yet if I'm referring to the three of us as "girls"). I was sure that I would finally feel "grown up" living in the big city not knowing anyone, my family far away. The first year past, then another with me moving into my own apartment, then another. I was having a good time enjoying my independence but I still didn't feel like an adult.

I felt like "me" but I couldn't make "me" feel like an adult.

I often wondered how I looked to other people. Did I look like a grown woman? Or did I look like the oversized kid that I still felt like inside. I started designating landmarks in my life that would signify my official entrance into adulthood. A serious relationship, my parents retiring, the birth of my niece, a job that didn't require me to ask "would you like your margarita frozen or on the rocks?". I arrived at most of these landmarks only to find that I felt no significant change in status.

My job as a bartender kept me out of what I considered to be the normal adult world. I went to work when most people were coming home. My "full time" schedule demanded only about half the hours of a normal full time job. I served patrons who were older than me most of whom treated me more like a kid than an adult. And probably one of the most important points, I didn't feel like I was doing anything worthwhile, anything that was contributing to society (except maybe adding a few more alcoholics).

A short time ago, my boyfriend and I were walking through our Astoria neighborhood on our way to the fish market. After making a stop at a busy ATM vestibule where we listened to a woman chatting away loudly on her cell phone about some sort of legal/financial matter, he commented on how people's private lives have become such a public affair with the advent of cell phones. Our conversation then drifted to the "I remember when..." of our childhood when technological conveniences like cell phones, Mapquest and ATMs were just a science fiction story. All of a sudden I realized, I had stumbled upon my definition of adult. When you can look at how the world once was and see how far it's come, the changes in technology and society itself, only then can you really start to see yourself as an adult.

I still look at myself in the mirror and search for the 31 year old woman who is supposed to be there. More often than not, I see the same person I saw ten or fifteen years ago, perhaps partly due to my luck in inheriting "good genes". On a recent trip to Pennsylvania to see my family and celebrate my grandfather's 92nd birthday I rediscovered my mother's senior portrait that now hangs in my grandparent's bedroom. She looks exactly the same except for a close cropped hairdo in place of the 60's bouffant flip and the addition of a few laugh lines.

So I guess I'm an adult. I can remember going to the bank with my parents where we had to wait in long lines so they could cash their paychecks and withdraw money. I remember them laying out the road map the night before a family vacation to plan the drive. I remember when we finally got cable and then a VCR, we had to decide between VHS and Beta (we chose wisely). I remember when the the most convenient way to get in touch with people was to page them on their beeper. I remember when gas was $1.15 a gallon. In fact, the only thing I can't remember is when I became an adult.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


A menagerie of some of my favorite photographs from the past few years. Some are pretty, some are silly and a few are just strange.

Ants on a cheez-it taken at Walden Pond in Massachusetts. I never thought this picture would come out; when it did it quickly became one of my favorites.

Crystal and Jewelry taken at home in Astoria, NY. I was amusing myself taking pictures of random items in my apartment, I like the detail in this photo.

Christmas Day sunset taken in East Hampton, NY on our walk between gift giving and feasting on an amazing Christmas dinner.

Butterfly on Echinacea taken at The Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA. My boyfriend did a six month internship at this beautiful garden devoted to native plants. I spent much of my free time visiting him and the garden, usually wandering through looking for new plants to photograph.

Land's End on the Grand Mesa in Colorado is one of the most beautiful views you will ever see. The photo above was taken on the drive to the edge, the photo below was taken from the edge of the cliff.
I saw some of the most amazing cloud formations during my week in Colorado, they seem to be rolling by just above your head.

Enjoy the beauty of life any way you can.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What Perez Sez

I have had a definite dislike for Perez Hilton ever since he endorsed Hillary Clinton and started making political commentary, something he obviously knows little about. I admit I continue to check out his blog, mostly to see what kind of asinine statements he's making and then get pissed off about them. Apparently, I'm a masochist. Whatever. Today he posted what he calls "a very critical article" about Barack Obama written by The New York Times. Well, I read the article since I favor Obama and I don't find it to be very critical. On the contrary, I find it to be a fair article discussing his achievements and shortcomings during his first year in the senate. And, if Perez had read carefully (or at all), it states in the margin,

"This is part of a series of articles about the life and careers of contenders for the 2008 Republican and Democratic presidential nominations."

So, yes, the article has it's critical points but it also has praise for Obama. A very critical article? Perez is in way over his head. Isn't there anorexic starlet somewhere snorting coke off a hubcap who needs his attention?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Cats

Yeah, I have cats and no, I am not a crazy cat lady (although I may be 40 years from now) but my cats are fuckin' cool so I might talk about them from time to time. Deal with it.

This is Puck.
He's 21 pounds of cat and the biggest wuss you will ever meet. I once scared him into a brown paper bag with a stuffed animal big bad wolf puppet.

Aliases - Puckus Maximus, Fatty P, Da Biggs, Biggles.

Puck is the man.

And this is Pandora.
She's my lovely little siamese who will burrow under the covers and curl up against me, purring. She will also scream like a possessed banshee when she has had enough play time with Puck.

We call her Pandy, for short, or simply, Lady.

That's right. Love me, love my cats.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Animal House

I mention in my profile that I am a student. More specifically, I am a veterinary nursing student in my second to last semester. I had some wayward years after my post-high school college experience which ended with me receiving my bachelor of arts in theatre and moving to New York. At the age of 28 I realized that my bartending days were numbered and made the decision to go back to school, and here I am. This semester is by far the busiest one (which makes me wonder why I've decided to add a blog to my already overloaded agenda). I am an intern three days a week at a large 24 hour emergency animal hospital and a student the rest of the time, including Sundays. Since my world pretty much revolves around my internship and my veterinary program, I'm guessing it will turn up on this site every now and then. I've experienced a hell of a lot over the past month and a half that I've been there, I'm sure there is more to come.

1 vs. 100 pound German Shepherd

I'm holding the leash of an MTA police dog who would much rather make a break for the door every time it opens, me trailing behind him like a wind sock, than sit calmly and wait for the doctor to come examine his arthritic hind quarters. Did I mention he's an MTA police dog? Did I mention he's a German Shepherd weighing in close to one hundred pounds? Well, he is and he is and, even with his ailing legs, he's winning the tug-of-war. I'm not saying he was mean, he was actually a very nice dog, but he was trained to perform any number of tasks including drug sniffing, border patrolling, bomb sniffing, and tearing bad guys limb from limb.

The doctor finally arrives to examine Dog and asks to see him walk. Dog walks me back and forth in a frantic pace. Next she asks to have Dog on his side so she can manipulate his joints. This requests means that I am to wrestle him to his side and then continue to restrain him. I place one arm around his neck, grab his front legs with my free hand, say a little prayer to the god of muzzles and wrench his feet out from under him. It only takes a split second for Dog to catch on and start tossing his head and scrambling his feet around on the slick linoleum floor.

"You have to hold his head still!" says Dr. Obvious, to me.

Since I am aware of that fact but feel that it is in my best interest to let go rather than get pummeled, I let go. Dog rights himself on his feet shaking off his triumphant win as I sit back on my heels still holding his leash. The doctor is obviously exasperated at me for not being able to ease this struggling mass of fur and muscle to the floor and calls for back up. Two techs join us and we try again. Again Dog resists even with me on head duty, a male tech working the torso area and a female tech bringing up the rear. Dog twists free and down we all go with Dog's leash now wrapped around male tech's neck. We untangle and prepare for round three. In the end it takes myself, the two techs, and the doctor to hold him down, male tech sprawled across Dog's body with is own. I return Dog to his partner, Officer Can't-Say-Thank-You and return to the prep area pondering my shortcomings in MTA dog wrestling 101.

Some Pig

"The pig's here," someone says and half a dozen doctors and nurses, carrying ropes leads and slings head for the lobby. I can't wait to see what this is about. A short time later the nurses start returning to the treatment area. According to one, it's a pet potbellied pig. Cute, right? No, this pig bites, kicks, bucks and weighs in at 250 pounds. His name is Wilbur. He hasn't been eating for the past week and has been vomiting. I am happy to be just an intern at this moment in time.

"The pig's in ultrasound," comes the next report. Myself and a few others make a beeline for the room, already crowded with doctors and vet interns. Indeed, there is a pig in ultrasound. A moment later Wilbur is on his way to surgery prep so the head nurse can attempt to place a catheter in a vein that lies somewhere within the layers of fat. All in all, five people are working on Wilbur while another three, myself included, are circling him with our cell phones snapping pictures. My shift is over and I'm heading out the door as Wilbur rolls into surgery.

This is the stuff that makes all my student loans worthwhile.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Times Square is Booming

Early this morning, a small explosion occurred in Times Square. The only thing destroyed was the military recruiting office. Is disgruntled soldier the new disgruntled postal worker?

Save the Music

I was sitting here running through my morning routine of checking email, weather and the requisite blog sites on my trusty old Dell when a post on Perez Hilton caught my eye. Now let me make it clear, I don't think that the Cuban Hilton's word is law, most of his commentary is uneducated (or at the very least, biased) fluff and some is downright naive. This particular posting falls into the latter category. Most people have probably heard by now that Patrick Swayze is suffering from pancreatic cancer. The reports vary, some give him five weeks to live while others claim it was caught early and the prognosis is optimistic. But I digress. Senor Hilton has magnanimously decided to encourage everyone to purchase She's Like The Wind from itunes, in hopes that it will climb to the number one spot. He thinks it would "be a nice gesture". Yes, I couldn't agree more. When someone is suffering from a critical illness the best medicine is giving a mediocre song recorded over two decades ago the chance to sit at number one. On itunes. I'm sure Patrick is feeling better already. Good idea, Perez.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Welcome To The Nuthouse

It's true. I do not play well with others.

My mother used to tell me that I would always have a difficult time finding a boyfriend who would tolerate me because I was too opinionated. My typical response was to roll my eyes, shrug and say "then I guess I won't have a boyfriend." In truth, I had no idea what she was talking about. I wasn't opinionated, I was just being me.

I once had a co-worker (who subsequently became a good friend) tell me that when he first met me he thought me to be a total bitch. He divulged this piece of information to me months later over coffee while I was recounting the events that had taken place a few nights prior. My two roommates, who also happened to be co-workers of ours, had just informed me that my presence was no longer welcome in the apartment we shared and that I should find another, post haste. While I was perfectly willing to move on to greener pastures, I couldn't help but question why they felt the need to evict me. That's when he shared his little tidbit about his first impression of me. I found his initial opinion of me amusing, but that was about it.

Come to think of it, I've had very little success with roommates in general. Most have only lasted about a year and, after the aforementioned ousting, I decided that living on my own would be in my best interest.

Now, at the ripe old age of 31, I finally see what everyone was getting at. I typically have an opinion about everything, whether I'm qualified to or not. In the last few years I have found myself becoming increasingly more outspoken. I don't believe in censoring myself even if it means pissing off a few people in the process.

The point to my inane story? I need an outlet for my opinions, other than my friends and family who have been more than patient with my ranting over the years. So, this is my outlet. I don't pretend that my babbling is of any importance to anyone but myself, however, I have occasionally found a few people who will indulge me and sometimes even agree with me. That is where you come in. Agree with me, disagree with me, ignore me. I'll still be here, rambling on about anything and everything that makes my blood boil.

Welcome to the nuthouse... and, by the way, mom was wrong. I did find a boyfriend, and he doesn't want to hear my opinions anymore either.