My Quest….

Posted: November 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

OK, so maybe not a “quest” per se, but my current goal/obsession/good-for-me project/new-years-resolution/what-have-you has been to avoid soda and McDonald’s for an entire year.

And so far…I have been successful.  And it feels good (or at least part of it does) but not for the reason most would expect.

Since January 1, 2015, I have not eaten McDonald’s fast food or had one of their coffee drinks.  Why, because I hate their service and the lack of competency.  It irritates me to no end that when I request “no cheese” — I get cheese on my burger.  I get very frustrated that every time I order, regardless of any special requests, that I have to pull into one of the “wait” spots…for FAST food.  I despise the fact that when I call customer service, or a manager, to complain – nothing changes.  So, I decided to stop eating there.  I just wish that the rest of my household had the same resolve.

I think one of the biggest reasons, was due to the time that I had a McDonald’s manager tell me, “F*ck You!” in the drive through while flipping me off and then sticking out her tongue…I kind of realized at that point that the service and quality would never get any better if those were the types of management qualified people they chose to hire.  Now I realize that not all McDonald’s managers, or even workers, are of the sub par quality that was demonstrated that day; but honestly, the consistency in which I got poor service or incorrect food orders (and still do for the others in my house that are still addicted) shows that there is a high percentage of careless, uncommitted, unprofessional food service workers wearing the big yellow “M” on their hat.  I wish that I would have made my commitment to abandon the French fires and special sauce then, but actually waited a few months.  Seeing that manager still employed at that store made my blood boil every time I drove through.

And to think these employees consider themselves worth $15/hr when many of our Emergency Responders don’t make that.  Insane.

As for the soda, I really didn’t drink that much of it anyway so it hasn’t been much of a challenge.  It would have been nice to say that I lost 20 pounds just by cutting it out, but alas that is not the case.

I think that next year (in addition to my zero tolerance policy for McDonald’s) I will add a new boycotted restaurant…I just need to figure out which one it will be.  Any suggestions?

And as always…Thanks for stopping by!

 

Need to get back to this….

Posted: November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

Writing is therapeutic, cathartic and a relatively safe form of self expression for me…I think it might be time to dust off the blog and try and find my creative wit again.  😎

Wish me luck…

So I like to do nice things for people.  Nothing makes me feel better inside than helping someone that doesn’t expect it or better yet would probably not ask.  So yesterday, Abby and I set off to be helpers.

I have a good friend that is managing two properties right now (transitioning, so to speak) and has a full load of various big girl responsibilities.  She recently purchased a place in a neighborhood and is very conscience about not being a troublesome/problematic neighbor.  Since our weather doesn’t seem to know what bi-polar cycle is it in right now, the grass was starting to get pretty tall, pretty fast and I knew that she would have a hard time being available when there was no rain (or snow, with the current temps).  That being said, Abby and I loaded up our mower and lawn bags and headed over to surprise her.

Since my husband doesn’t buy anything that isn’t built like a stinking TANK, our push mower pretty much weighs as much as  a rider.  I didn’t have any issues loading or tying it down in the back of the truck for the trip over but once I got to her house and started to unload it….

RRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP…………………………………………….

Blew the seat outta the back of my pants.  And I don’t mean a little hole…  I turned around and said Abby, “I think I ripped my drawers!”  And she started giggling…  “Momma, I can see your, um….butt!”

Note to self, reconsider thong underwear if you’re inclined to blow your seat out.  Second note, go buy new pants….

Man, was that breezy!  Oh, and for anyone that happened to SEE that….my bad! Hope you are not blind now!

Thanks for stopping by….

Politically Incorrect….

Posted: March 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

I was going to post this on FaceBook as just a status, but figured it would 1) be long winded and 2) would certainly piss a few people off.  I have never been one to shy away from having my own opinions; but I try to be respectful and not beat people over the head with them.  I am not afraid to tell people that I am a Christian and I can’t think of any reason why I should feel like I need to hide my opinions about illegal immigrants, or other issues, concerns or things in general. I have attempted to be brief here with reason, trust me I could go into great, vivid detail to support my feelings on this.  Isn’t it the 1st Amendment and our ability to HAVE opinions that are supposed to make this country great?  I don’t think that being bullied into being agreeable for the sake of political correctness is quite my cup of tea.  While I can get extremely fired up about issues that I feel strongly about – it is never my goal or style to be rude or derogatory in expressing them; however, if you find offense – that would qualify as YOUR opinion.  That being said….

Something to think about… you don’t have to be a “sheep” or a “sheople” by only following what the government  is telling you, or following what direction the political winds direct you – i.e., GOP, Liberal, etc.  Any influence followed blindly qualifies.  Sometimes, the sheep among you are the wolves.  Sometimes, it’s easier and more comfortable to attempt to be politically correct or sympathetic – NOT EVERYTHING YOU ARE LED TO BELIEVE IS TRUE AND ACCURATE.  For some it might be many things, for others it might be one thing – one thing is for certain…for NONE is there not at LEAST one thing.  I used to have a liberal, sympathetic opinion about something in particular…and then I got close to that thing and found out it was NOTHING like it was being portrayed.  Did I feel betrayed?  Lied to and used?  Yes.  It is complete and total saturation? No, but I can say that based on my experience and slice of the demographic, it is far more prevalent than “few and far between” or isolated. In fact – wide spread and common, come to mind.  Is that judgmental?  Is that biased?  Is that stereotyping?  NO.  It is life experience.  It is research.  It is a census, based on my numbers and experience.  As a people, we should all base our opinions on more than just what someone else says…especially, if that someone has something to gain from it.

Please don’t believe everything you see, hear or read…we are so easily made to feel guilty if we don’t put a hand out for others.  Sometimes, when our hands are out – there is an accomplice reaching in our back pocket.  Would you give up your home and all your food and potentially your freedom for a total stranger in need?  Not because you wanted to…but because everyone told you that person deserved it so much that you were obligated to?  Would you let a squatter that broke into your home while you were away on vacation continue to live there after you returned?  If you went to get a mortgage and discovered that someone had been using your social security number – had earnings reported (that taxes were never reported to the IRS on) and have debts for items you never purchased – would you ignore it?  Of course not.

Then why is it acceptable for our country?

If someone came into your home, invited or by other means, and proceeded to disrespect you and your family members?  Not figuratively…verbally.  Physically.  Would you ask them to leave?  If they spat derogatory comments at you, laughed about your generosity toward them and made lewd, out of line comments about your wife or daughter – albeit in a language you did not understand and with a smile on their face – would you be inclined to embrace these persons?   What if it was your brother in law?  Your uncle?  Your neighbor?  Would you be going out of your way to provide for them…especially if you felt that they were ungrateful, greedy and unworthy?  These would be opinions formed from experience, would they not?

We are guilted into feeling like we have to agree with immigration reform.  We are guilted into believing that extreme welfare reform is inhumane.  We are bullied into accepting law breakers and con-artists as a human right to a life of abundance.  Not a better life…in America, these things end up being abundances – while middle class disappears and taxpayers foot the bill.

I talk to people every day that agree with then things I have stated here.  People that are in fear of America and it’s government no longer being viable because it diluted it’s economy with entitlements and Western Union Money Transfers to Mexico.  Yet, this side of the argument…gets buried – under the guilt, the fear of being labeled.  I can relay my family’s experiences (that are not isolated by any means) and people don’t want to “hear” the bad stuff – the things that make people feel uncomfortable. No one wants to be politically incorrect….until it hits them square in the gut.  Good luck with that.

Thanks for stopping by…

Gizmo…Gizzy…Gizzard…

Posted: July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Raising (or rehaIMG_20130701_160528_863bbing, if you prefer) an orphaned raccoon has been an interesting experience; but beyond interesting – it has been so rewarding.   The response from others to this adventure has ranged from excitement and interest to fear and doom.  Many people are urging me to keep her (of course, they don’t live with her 😎 ) and a couple of others are convinced that I will be found with my jugular chewed out of my throat.

 

I never expected to feel such a connection to this little critter – at least not anymore of one than I do any of the other wild animals that come to visit and sometimes stay; but Gizmo, or Gizzy  – as I tend to call her…is different on so many levels.  Her intelligence and interaction have created more of a relationship and the fact that I have been her primary caregiver since she was found (at about 5 weeks of age) has created a special bond.  She is excited to see me when I get home, she cries at the door when I am away; she follows me everywhere and comes when I call her.  She isn’t a great “listener” but of the humans in our house – I would say that I am the one she “minds” the beIMG_20130624_155758_380st.  She likes to sleep with me – in my bed and chatters at me when she is tired.

She has a personality and has definitive likes and dislikes.  She is getting more and more curious (i.e. destructive) and keeping her clock turned around to our convenience is getting harder and harder.  She uses the litter box – but not consistently, so I tend to take her in there frequently.  She has favorite snacks (Molasses cookies and Ritz crackers) and will snarl if she thinks you or the dogs are going to try and steal them.  She plays with and snuggles both the pups and isn’t overly fond of the cats…but I think that is due to a lack of interaction.

She likes to rough house and play fight, and her claws and teeth are sharp.  At night when she is tired, she likes to gently nibble on my fingers until she falls asleep…often either on my pillow or tucked under the blanket next to me.  If she wakes up before me (which fortunately, isn’t often) she will poke me in the ear or nose with her little fingers.  On occasion, I am the recipient of a loving wet Willie.

She is a clepto.  She likes shiny things – coins, fingernail clippers, hair clips, and plugs.  She also likes to steal the hair bands out of my hair.  She likes to play with cell phones and tries to carry them off.  Like a baby…everything goes in her mouth!   She likes car rides and spends most of the time curled up on my lap.  She doesn’t like confined spaces (unless it is by HER design – base cabinet in the bathroom) and will let you know by expelling her poop in the enclosure.

She seems to enjoy taking a shower, at the very least she didn’t shred me when we tried.  She stretched out in my arms and let the warm water run over her.  She didn’t seem to mind the good smelling shampoo and conditioner – unlike the dogs, who both roll in dirt and stinky stuff as soon as they get done being bathed.

I have been the recipient of random raccoon hugs and kisses (which just like they sound will melt your heart) and I have also been bitten.  I do not blame her for the bites, she was injured and it is her natural reaction – no different than me wanting to punch a wall (or the nearest available human) when I stub my toe.  Yes, she gets snarky at times, more so with others than with me… I respect that she is still a wild animal and understand that I will not always be in control of her.  And those are the things that will both make this the hardest and the best parting of ways ever.

I bottle fed this baby three times a day for weeks and have cared for and cleaned up after her.  Her response to me is unlike anything I have ever experienced from an animal.  She would not have survived had it not been for my inteIMG_20130526_073339_575intervention.  Could I or should I have done this differently, from a bonding perspective?  Probably.  Would I – no.  I find that during the day, I miss her – probably just like she misses me.  Sadly, she makes me feel needed and her affection and desire to seek me out makes me feel like she somehow appreciates what I have done for her. I know in my heart that she will eventually be much happier having the ability to roam free and it isn’t safe enough in our neighborhood for that to happen – but the thought of not having her running to me when I get home is really pulling at my heart.

I don’t want people to be disillusioned either – this has been a lot of work and not without risk.  I do not feel that the rabies hype is nearly as problematic as they make it out to be – however, it is still a very real concern with wild animals and especially raccoons.  Other types of parasites are an issue and general bacteria and infections, as well.  She is messy.  When she has separation anxiety, she freaks out and will make a mess with her feces.  She is busy and always into something, touching, tasting, digging, chewing.  From a pet care stand point, she is much harder than puppies or kittens and requires constant supervision.  She is FAST and stealthy.  If she follows me out the door I have to make sure that I know where she is so she doesn’t get hurt or better yet, get under my feet and trip me.  We tried a collar with a bell and that worked well until she figured out how to take it off.  Did mention she is smart?  😎

Every day she develops a little more and becomes a little more independent and obstinate, I think that in a couple of weeks we will be ready to move her to a new, more appropriate home…but not without many, many tears on my part.

Thank you for all those who have followed this adventure and thanks for stopping by….

 

I don’t understand people sometimes.  Heck, I don’t understand them most of the time.  I know we all go through periods of self discovery or reinvention – but what is up with all the blatant inaccuracies and fallacies?  I see it as much in “real” life, as I do through social media postings.  I would think that it would be far more exhausting to continually create an illusion or outright lie about things than it would be to accept it, own it and learn or grow from it.

These are grown folks – in a life on this planet aspect – but obviously they thrive on childish behaviors.  What can they possibly accomplish by lying, fabricating or assimilating?  Is it to hide from the truth or from other people?  Is it to make them self feel better or others to feel better about them?  Is it that they truly cannot see what others see?

I’m not perfect – Lord knows I have made my share of mistakes and then some and I struggle with things that I wish I didn’t – but what you see is what you get.  I don’t make up things that aren’t true…this is it.  Good, bad, pretty, ugly….   And if I don’t want it known – I just don’t say anything.  I don’t say that I am “widowed” when I have never been married.  I don’t say that I am from “X” when I am clearly from “Y”.  I do not profess that I have a wonderful life and loving relationship when there are witnesses to the fighting, screaming, cussing and abuse.  I don’t say I am single when I clearly in a relationship.  I don’t try to beg for attention, compliments or validation.   No one’s life is perfect every second of the day – but EVERY life has perfect moments.  I know that I have experienced some things that I would not wish on anyone and I have hurt people, been hurt and wished things had been different.  But the truth is…putting on a performance worthy of an Oscar isn’t the answer.

Maybe it is about taking responsibility, rather than feeling justified.  Perhaps it is about acknowledging the past and moving on rather than using is as an excuse.  Or it could just be that denial and delusion is the only cocktail they know…and when enough people see through the facade – they realize it is time for a new audience.

People come and go for a multitude of reasons – friends, family, and acquaintances – sometimes that is just what needs to be.   In the past, I would have been distraught to think that someone didn’t want me in their life – abandoned somehow – but the last two years taught me a valuable lesson.  Not all relationships have value and the ones that do…you know in your heart to wait it out and fight for it.  Sometimes you put on the gloves and other times you use patience.  I’m grateful for my second chances.

For those relationships that aren’t worth the effort, it becomes apparent as well.  Sometimes they are toxic.  Sometimes they are one-side…where the conversation never veers far from the other person, regardless of the effort.  Sometimes they are full of lies, drama and discord.  Other times…nothing you do is good enough, accurate enough, politically acceptable, cool enough, vegan enough, smart enough, hip enough…until one day you just say,  “ENOUGH!”  Funny thing is – if you are like me – the other person will be the one that decides to sever ties and portray it as though YOU are the problem.  That is ok though…I can accept it, own it, grow from it and especially – be relieved by it.

So, to make it perfectly clear…when it comes to me – this is it.  I may not dress trendy or listen to cool bands.   I may not be skinny or athletic or like to exercise.  I might REALLY, REALLY like to eat meat, especially bacon.  I might seem like I know quite a bit about a lot of stuff – but in reality, I really only know a little bit because I like to read and I do my research.  I love my family and my friends and I will do pretty much anything for them – often for much longer than I should.  I don’t like liars, cheats or thieves and do my best to maintain personal integrity at all times.  I am a Christian and I will NOT apologize for that – regardless of what insult is thrown at me for it.  I WILL call it like I see it, as gently as I can without losing the point.  If you aren’t listening – I will call it out harshly but honestly…especially in response to an attack.  I will defend you before I defend myself.  I have no place for arrogance or ego – humility is one of our greatest teachers.  I have my ups and downs, my moods and my issues.  I have a past, a present and thankfully a future.  I am previously divorced and soon to be remarried.   I am from Peoria, IL – it is not a fancy place, a cultural place, an exotic place…but it is home.  I am a Caucasian Mutt…meaning I do not hale from any specific culture, nor do I profess one that I am not.  I have Southern folk and Midwestern folk and I have friends far and wide.  I do not particularly care for music (yes, I know that makes me odd), the sound of whistling, spiders, or rude people.  I love animals (especially wild ones), the outdoors, playing softball, building things and working on cars (but not necessarily with my fiancé).  I am a Tomboy – I am not girly.  I love the color purple.  I have feelings – but sometimes I don’t let people see them…other times they see too much.  I work for the Government but not in a cool way.  I have three awesome kids…two of them are grown…I did not give birth at age 12 and if you look in my eyes when we are talking you will see that.  I have caught more snakes than I have ever had boyfriends…probably times 10 at least.  I do not scare easily but I have fears.  I do well under pressure and prefer deadlines.  I can handle medical emergencies and traumas but NOT vomit.  I am HAZMAT trained.  I have one and a half Associate Degrees (still trying to finish the second one).  I like to sing (but it’s not so good for others) and dance in the car.  I will try almost anything once…except jumping out of airplanes – that is just ridiculous…especially if the plane is still functional.  I do not like heights but I am marrying an Ironworker.  I sincerely believe that opposites attract.  I yell.  I cry.  I laugh.  I try even harder to make others laugh …at my expense.  So what you see is what you get and it has been like this for the bulk of my life.   I don’t put on a show and I don’t create an illusion.  I tried being something else once and it sucked.  I hope we can be friends…but if not that is ok too.  It took me 43 years for it to be ok…and I am looking forward for the next 43 being exactly that – OK.

 

Thanks for stopping by….

Those who know me (and my genetic pre-disposition) are fully aware that I am an Ellie May Clampette re-incarnate – I only lack a cement pond (and money).   I come by my “gift” naturally.  My dad is also an amateur wildlife rehabber and my brother has been known to take in a furry or feathered or scaled orphan or two.

My dad has stories of a multitude of wild “pets” that range from boyhood memories to nurtured bird babies that were fairly recent.  He tried his mother’s (and wife’s ) patience more than once – and to this I can relate…I am regularly getting the sideward’s look for whatever “helpless” creature I am befriending.

We have raised everything from insects to mammals to reptiles to birds…amphibians to fish…fortunately, not all at the same time.  My dad has stories of a hatching Praying Mantis pod that resulted in his mother swatting frantically at Mantids much to his upset and dismay.  He has tamed a shrew, raised and released countless birds from bare to fully feathered and flying, and reared baby squirrels and rabbits.  The irony of this…he is not allowed to have a dog – but that would be a story for another day.

It’s not as if we go out and look for these family additions; it truly is a gift (or a curse if you are the less enthusiastic spouse).  Orphaned or injured animals seem to fall in our lap and amazingly – calm in our presence.  I am not going to suggest that all of our pairings end in success or happiness; but it isn’t for lack of effort and compassion.  Sometimes it ends up just plain ugly…like when the chipmunk I rescued from drowning got smashed and died in the boy’s overly messy bedroom (how he got into that environment is a complete story in itself) or how the numerous baby bunnies (whether captured or not) end up as snacks for my otherwise non-foraging dogs.

Recently, this little bugger made its presence known.

IMG_20130512_155634_275

It (I say “it” because I have never been very proficient at sexing a young animal – the five kittens were testimony to that) was curled up in the middle of the yard behind the neighbor’s garage.  Bella, our Golden Retriever, was barking at something over the fence and Jay, being the ever curious type that he is….told me to go see what it was.  Within a few feet of getting to the fence, I could see that it was an animal of some kind.  Since we have a neighbor that has been trapping (and potentially poisoning) wildlife that they are “annoyed” by, I was concerned that it was sick or potentially dangerous to our animals.  I went and got heavy gloves (yea, I am compassionate – but only 50% stupid…and we will get to that later)(and I have been admonished for retrieving a bat before too)  and a towel and proceeded to determine if this was a “rescue” or a “removal.”  I could see, clearly, that the animal was still alive as I got within about three feet…but I also immediately recognized how young the poor thing was.  I wrapped it up in the towel and got it to a place where I could take a look at it.

It didn’t have any outward signs of injury, other than a potentially bobbed tail – but that might just be the length of it – despite the intense interest of a large tom cat that had been hanging around stalking it. (At first that was what Jay thought the dog was barking at.)  So I proceeded to see if it appeared ill by observing all the obvious signs – indication of severe diarrhea (wet tail), runny nose, matted eyes, missing fur, etc… (OK, I know I am not a Veterinarian, but some of this just comes naturally to me – maybe it is mother’s instinct.).   It was chilled and we figured it had to have been in the damp grass for a while – so my first goal was to warm it back up….and name it!  😎

So….say hello to Gizmo!

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Gizmo, or Gizzy, is estimated to be about 6-7 weeks old.  It still likes to nurse, so we feed it with a bottle but have been giving it “solids” as well – mostly canned cat food.  Unfortunately, I have determined – that despite the fact that the canned food is well received to the palate – it is a bit early and has caused loose stool.  A large amount of which landed all over me this morning after its bottle feeding…this also reinforced the similarities I have been noticing between baby raccoons and human babies.

  1. If you feed them both an “infant” formula, regardless if it is species specific or not, the poop smells the same.  Unfortunately, I have not figured out how to diaper Gizmo effectively.  Though, we are currently working on litter training it.
  2. If you feed a baby…the very next reflex is pooping.  Up until this morning, I have managed to relocate Gizzy to the cage before all hell breaks loose – literally.
  3. Babies, regardless of species, when awake – do not like to be alone.  And they will vocally inform you of this.  Gizzy will call out until one of us, or Bella, come into the room and interacts – either verbally or preferably physically.
  4. Babies , regardless of species,  are fast learners.  It knows to come to the door to get picked up and bottle fed AND (though this could be completely coincidental) it appeared to use the litter box this morning.  It also seems to know it is safe…despite the two extremely large canines that keep visiting its cage.
  5. Babies, regardless of species, and especially when very young…do not particularly like baths.
  6. Babies, regardless of species, like to suck on things.  Gizzy will suck on your finger (but will also attempt to teeth on it), and has even been caught sucking on its own “thumb”.  It did not take long for it to get the hang of the bottle, despite the fact that it is likely a very un-natural feeling for nursing.

I am also aware of the rabies vector species risk with raccoons.  Like I said earlier, I am only 50% stupid.  I tend to switch my stupid on when cute little animals are involved and when I am responding to an emergency situation where I will tend to throw my own safety to the wayside.  While I know there is no true guarantee without a neural post mortem test (whether the animal shows signs or not) to determine if a raccoon is rabid without symptoms, common sense, research and a conversation with a vet have helped me understand both the risks and the potential (or lack of ) that this particular baby is infected.  Have I been as careful as I could have been….no.  And hopefully, that will not be an issue.  As young as this raccoon is, it is likely that its very first time away from its mother was due to a separation that it had no control over…meaning that it would have had only one exposure – the mom.  A baby this age would progress through the disease very quickly due to size and therefore symptoms would probably (no guarantee of course) already be apparent or it would not have survived this long.  Of course, I am always going to err on the side of optimistic, because if it ends up that it is a sick coon – I will NEVER hear the end of it.

Also, despite the fact that it is absolutely adorable, I have made an effort to contact a qualified wildlife rehabber.  While I could have been far more aggressive in my efforts to have the animal removed from my care – I am also very realistic to the fact that raccoons are not a high priority save species in our region, both due to size of the population and the rabies risk – I know that in all likelihood this animal would have been destroyed, and that makes me sad.  They are often a nuisance, and have been for us at times but I cannot bring myself to not brake for a squirrel in the road how could I possibly hand down a death sentence to a baby?  I also struggle with the hundreds of warnings for potential risks of rabies contamination due to interaction – but nowhere does it say anything about the risks when trapping and skinning them for the hides (this isn’t intended to be a hunting/trapping debate) so I wonder if there is just a movement to justify raccoon genocide by whatever means necessary.  If we can get enough people paranoid about them crawling through our trash bins and calling animal control – they can be removed and destroyed with public acceptance.  I don’t know…just a thought from a fuzzy critter lover.

Either way, Gizmo is ridiculously cute – for now; and eventually, I am sure we will have to make a transition.  Also, by keeping it close and under our observation – if it were to develop an illness, I am able to go and get the necessary medical care sooner rather than when it is too late…because honestly, I probably wouldn’t have done anything any differently than I did – it’s just who I am. 😎

Thanks for stopping by….