Monday, November 20, 2006

Sorry...it's been on backorder

So, where did I leave off?
Fall Break. October 9 & 10, 2006

A girl in my class had the idea to get folks together (a bit of bonding & lots of fun) and go rafting on the Lower Gauley River in West Virginia.
She's an outdoorsy girl with rafting experience and her excitement was contagious.
I'd never been rafting before, so I was psyched about the trip. The couple of girls I'd become friendly with were kind of interested and we all decided to go together. I was so proud of myself...new friends!...how long has it been?
Anyhow...the planning process was a little frustrating but in the end it worked out well. $80 for a nights camping and a 4-5 hour rafting trip including lunch. Can't say it wasn't a great deal!

  • New & Gauley River Adventures
  • is the company we used. They've got all kinds of specials off & on during the season and their guides were REALLY cute!
    (Here I am staring at our cute guide)

    We left early Monday morning...our rafting trip was scheduled to leave @ Noon...we left at 7:30am-ish (the professor was late!) It's an easy 3-hour drive to Lansing, WV and turned out to be a pretty one too...but I'm getting a little ahead of myself.
    After starting out about 20 minutes late we got the caravan going. 3 cars. Me, Sketter (pronounced Skeeter---don't ask me why), her boyfriend Daniel and Caitlyn were in one car. Jenny, Tiffany & her boyfriend (crap, i forgot his name...he's a military guy, though...army) were in another car and Dr. Faulconer (one of our future professors) drove herself - she planned to stay an extra nite.
    We headed out South on I-81 to get onto I-64 West towards West Virginia. A pretty easy guess..wouldn't you say? Not so for our illustrious leader. As we approached the entrance to 64 Mr. Military guy entered 64 East...the sign plainly said "Richmond". Obviously the wrong way.
    As you well know, no one can drive as well as me and I have a small problem with keeping opinions about others driving to myself. So, I immediately expressed my displeasure (which was great given our already postponed departure) and proceded to call Tiffany in the car ahead of us. She answered and I told her my worry...that we were going the wrong way and she responded "Good Call"...what? Duh. That's a pretty dumb mistake to make....
    sidenote: later that night Mr. Military tried to make a joke and it backfired. see, none of us could remember what branch of the military he was in and folks kept asking...at one point someone suggested he was a marine. He said, "No way, if I were a Marine I wouldn't be able to read the signs on the way up here."...to which I immediately replied, "Well, you did go the wrong way this morning."...which got a good laugh from everyone...even Mr. Military.

    ....after correcting the directionary mistake (and adding another 15 minutes time) we were finally on our way. By now I was getting worried about getting to WVa on time and was rather ancy when another block tumbled our way....
    Daniel, Sketters boyfriend and a Great guy I'd soon learn, tends to get car sick and doesn't travel well. On top of which, he gets very nervous and anxious when meeting new people and his stomach responds greatly to all of this. AKA- he needed to go to the bathroom alot. We'd already waited about 10 minutes for him when they picked me up that morning...and now we had to pull off the highway and stop again.
    It was actually kind of amusing. He's such a nice guy...and we didn't know him well so we didn't want to give him too much shit about his problem. (Sketter explained all of this to us while we were waiting for him) So, we pulled off the highway and called the lead car in our caravan telling her to go ahead without us and we'd catch up...this turned out to be a really good thing because just before we had to pull off I'd begun to complain that the lead car was driving WAY too slow...not even with freakin' traffic! It was making me nuts. As I mentioned, I tend to be very vocally critical of other peoples driving....when i'm alone there's lots of shouting and gestures along with the commentary.

    When we finally got back on track, it was a really pretty and uneventful drive. The colors were still turning and the mountains were gorgeous. Caitlyn & Daniel slept the whole way. (caitlyn can sleep anywhere!...the girl was practically falling headfirst to the floor sound asleep)

    We pulled up to New & Gauley River Adventures basecamp a little after 11am. We were supposed to meet the guides at 11:30am to prep for the trip. We quickly picked a camp site and threw up the tents since it'd be sundown by the time we got back. It wasn't horribly hurried, but not the laid-back setting up of camp that most folks are used to.

    We made a potty pit-stop and headed to the parking lot to meet the guides and have a safety talk. At this point we talked some more about the temperature of the water...the day was gorgeous and the water temp in the 60s...it was then I decided to rent a rafting shirt. Its a waterproof material shirt that slips over your head, has elastic waist and sleever and a velcro enclosure at the neck. Since I had no other shirt protection...just my swimsuit...I thought it better to rent a shirt than take my chances in a cotton t-shirt. Thank goodness I made this decision...i don't think i'd have had such a good time if I hadn't.

    It's a 40 minute or so bus ride (yes, an ANCIENT school bus smelling strongly of must and mold) to the river site where we'd put in. A nice ride, we chatted and ate trail mix (as most of us hadn't really had a proper breakfast)

    After a rather precarious and scary ride up the VERY NARROW mountain roads in the bus we had to disembark and hike about a mile to the river carrying our vests, paddles and hemlets along the way. Luckily we didn't have to carry the boats, another truck was able to get closer down by the river.


    Our group before rafting...much adventure to come.
    me, 4 classmates from Blue Ridge, a professor from our program and 2 boyfriends.

    When it came tome to choose seats on the raft Caitlyn and I ended up in the rear seat nearest to the guide at the back. Of course, AFTER we'd picked seats the guide told us that we were in the seats where people usually get tossed out of the boat. Thanks a bunch! Of course, no one would switch with us...but hey, it's an adventure, right?...We got under way and couldn't have had better conditions..the water was up, meaning we'd have some good rapids (i think thats the logic, anyway)and the sun was shining. Before heading to the first rapid we practiced paddling and turning and learned the calls that the guides use. ("take a break"=stop paddling, "back left/right"=paddle backwards on the left or right side, "all back"=everybody paddle backwards...etc...you get the gist)
    We seemed to get the hang of things pretty well.
    Now, during our safety talk and just before getting to the first rapid our guides were adamant about listening to their commands if we were to fall out of the boat while in, or just before, a rapid. Before each rapid they'd tell us which way to swim if we fell out...always emphasizing to swim towards the shore and away from any large rocks...
    So we headed into our first rapid...we hit a small wave and my stomach jumped a little...this was fun!
    Then, we hit our first large wave (the first rapid we hit was a class III)...before I knew what happened I had gone feet over head backwards into the water...oh, yeah.
    The water was COLD. So cold that it took my breath away. All I could think of was what our guide had just said...swim left!!! to avoid the big rock coming up.
    SO, i swam left. I felt that I was doing pretty good...following directions well...at least I hadn't gone under the freakin' boat!
    Then, I heard everyone in my boat calling to me...to stop swimming so they could come and get me. Apparently, in my furvor to get to shore I'd unwittingly swam AWAY from my boat which could've picked me up almost immediately after I'd fallen out.
    great.
    So,I stopped swimming and continued to catch my breath while starting to worry how in the hell these little people in this huge boat were going to haul my considerable weight out of the water and back into the boat. Well, it turned out well. With considerable effort the guide and two others hauled me in. Talk about THE most graceless moment ever experienced. I don't think i've ever felt more awkward than when trying to figure out where the hell my limbs were and how to use them to traverse this wet, plastic boat. NO ONE can look cool trying to do that. (and I'm nowhere NEAR cool to begin with!)
    I actually was really relieved to fall out...after it happened once, I wasn't as afraid of it happening and kind of knew what to expect. Staying in the stupid boat is no easy task. My knees and ankles killed me for a few days after.

    The rest of the trip had plenty more excitement and TONS of beautiful scenery...by the end I'd fallen out twice, so had Caitlyn and NO ONE else in any of the 3 boats in our group (we had a big boyscout troop from Kentucky with us)had fallen out. We did (many of us) jump from "Orgasm Rock" a huge rock just past some rapids...we had to paddle to the back of the rock and hold the boats together...climb up the rock...yes, i needed a little push from below to get started but I did it!...then jump off. so much fun!!!!
    Before we jumped the guides explained that the best way to do it was to cross your ankles and cross your arms in front of your chest...well, it was all I could think about...jumping in the right position...well, true to Mariah-form, when it came my turn to jump..just after launching off the rock my brain decided to ignore that good advice and instead I grabbed my nose (what the hell was I thinking?) and splooshed below....pics are below:

    Just Before Jumping...


    Wide shot of my infamous jump from "Orgasm Rock"


    Close up of my absolutely fabulously graceful form while jumping...HA!



    Anyhow...it was a GREAT time.
    We had lunch on a rock in the middle of the river and most of us snoozed on the way back to base camp. We made hobo packs for dinner (ground beef, frozen veggies, potatoes and some spice in foil and chucked into the fire to cook)they were really good! I hadn't had those since girl scouts. We all slept well and had an uneventful trip back the next morning. It was great...some of the girls want to try the Upper Gauley next year. NO FREAKIN' WAY. People die up there...but I'd do the Lower again! I won't be scared to fall out!

    For more pics check out my snapfish site. If you need the link, email me.

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    wow. so, it's been a while

    wow.
    so, it's been a while.

    my mind is blank.
    it's not that nothing exciting has happened...in fact, i've got a couple of things that happened today...
    I recieved one of the Walter Reams Scholarships at school, there was a luncheon thing today.
    ($1500 for next semester) :)
    I also got a call from Pender Veterinary Centre in Fairfax, Va. I've applied for a scholarship that they offer and it stipulates that you do your externship with their practice. Of course, I was a little wary (right word?) about that until i heard the whole offer. For 12 weeks you work as a full-time vet tech, getting paid $13 an hour! (more than i made at the station) AND they provide (completely provide) housing for the summer. hmmm..good pay, no rent and tons of experience...no thanks....
    are you nuts?
    Anyhow, I applied and got a call today asking me to come and visit the clinic and meet with the staff. I've already met one of the owners of the practice, he came and visited campus last thursday. If i get this scholarship...its gonna ROCK!
    check out their website:
  • Pender Veterinary Centre

  • it's literally three separately functioning practices housed in one building and all owned by the same people. It's HUGE and they have all the latest toys. :)
    They've got an exotics practice, a regular dog/cat practice and an emergency hospital.
    i'm excited just to visit there...can't you tell?

    Monday, October 23, 2006

    Finally...an update...the 2nd half of "Ginger" day

    So...finally, an update...well, continuation really

    The second half of "Ginger" day was just as exciting as the first.
    We had our first field trip for Animal Science class. Horses, was the topic.
    Went to Keezlenutten Farm about 10 minutes from campus. Nice place..we got a tour of the facilities and learned about the different kinds of horses, anatomy, types of shoes, types of gait, feed types (they actually smell rather appetizing!), vaccinations...etc.
    it always makes things more clear when you've got a living specimen to look at.
    We're required to have coveralls & rubber boots to wear on field trips. It was a beautiful day, really warm for October..and it being our first field trip everyone was busting out the crunchy new overalls & Dickies coveralls...nice, because we all look equally dorky...
    The highlight of the day, though, was the trail ride. $15 for a 45 min. ride! (we got a nice discount) I got to ride Butch. An enormous Quarterhorse...i was really hoping that I got to ride him..the bigger, the better I always say :)
    So, we were all assigned a horse and mounted...talk about a rather amusing scene.
    I could get my big butt about halfway up but couldn't quite get my leg over his back.
    So, the trail guide had to give my leg some help...oh, yes...
    So, i'm finally up there..pretty compfy! We get on our way..i'm near the front, 3 horses back from the guide. Butch was great, a little preoccupied with trying to eat bushes on the way down the trail, but I handled him okay...kept him on track.
    Things were going great...had to stop a few times for horsey potty stops. (the guide told us in the beginning, if the horse starts to go potty, stop!) I must say, my horse and the one behind me stopped at the same time and it sounded like a freakin' garden hose was running.
    Anyhow, we come to a particulary muddy part of the trail and the first couple of horses get through fine. Then, the horse in front of me stopped and kind of threw his head around..the girl riding him edged him forward and he seemed fine, then...my horse stopped and started to throw his head and tried to back up...then, I saw the problem. Yellowjackets. Suddenly, they were all over the place. Not a swarm, but enough to start spooking the horses. The girl ahead of me was far enough forward to avoid them, but Butch started to swing his head and try to back up..but wouldn't go forward to get away from the bees...he started turning in circles and reeling up on his hind legs (not really really high...but the girl a couple of horses in front of me is really experienced with horses and said it looked like he was trying to buck me off and that she was impressed i did so well and didn't fall off) while all this was going on for me, the horse behind me was kind of frozen, then suddenly bolted into the woods to the left of the trail. The woman riding had never ridden before, lost her hold and fell off the horse among the trees. ouch. She ended up with some bruising and a sore upper back..but is otherwise ok. After her horse bolted, the rest of the group behind us had to back up and find another section of trail to cut through and meet up with us. The rest of the ride was uneventful in comparison...it was great fun, though.

    What a Day!

    (pictures to come...a couple of girls had their cameras)

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    A Most Eventful Day

    well...i can't say my life is boring.
    Today was quite a day.

    The day started off well. I was up before my alarm went off, snug in the sheets listening to the sounds of the morning. Ate my cereal while listening to NPR Morning Edition. It was chilly so I made a cup of cocoa to take with me on Frisco's morning walk. Had a great walk, saw a bunny run across the road and some really cool spider webs.
    Got back to the house, took a shower, got my books and stuff ready and headed off to school about 7:30am. (I've got "clinic week" this week...my team is responsible for the care of all the resident cats and dogs on campus...we clean the runs, walk, feed, play, etc...they'll be up for adoption!!!! hint hint hint)
    So, got to school and all is well. I was especially looking forward to today because by afternoon class was to be a field trip to a horse farm, followed by a 45 min. trail ride. Awesome!
    Well, I got there and fed the dogs...another team member arrived and we cleaned up all the kitties and fed them then headed back to the puppies to start walking them. Took the big boy "Bruno" out to the play pen to run around, then walked him around campus. (We're encouraged to do this so that the dogs can get some people socialization...and the affection nevers hurts)
    SOOOOO....
    all is going well, until I get back to the kennel. I put Bruno back in his run and my other team mate took the next dog for a walk while I stayed and cleaned her run. (we switch back and forth---there are 5 dogs) So, I finish cleaning her run and my team member wasn't back yet so I decided to get a jump on the next one by moving the dog to an empty run so I could clean.
    Well, I didn't follow procedure by the letter and the dog got out of her run without a leash on. This would have been the end of the story had the door to outside not been unlocked...and not just unlocked, but LOCKED OPEN...you know those push bar doors that usually click shut and have no handle on the outside but can be "locked" OPEN...confusing, i know...
    anyway....
    Ginger (the dog) ran towards the door and threw her body weight against it...normally it wouldn't have budged...but since it wasn't latched the door flew open and Ginger escaped into the wide world that is the rear of campus. She hauled ass into the woods and disappeared. I ran to get my team mate to help me look...but no luck. I was going to have to gather more people..that meant telling more people how badly I screwed up. yuck. So I ran into the Vet Tech building and notified some folks and soon the rear woods and parking lot were full of technicians and students looking for little Ginger the hound/beagle...the FAST little thing.

    Needless to say, I was beside myself.

    I kept composure but was internally raging at myself for being so stupid.
    What mattered was finding the dog, though.

    ......imagine about a 1/2 hour pause where you don't know what's going on and the dog hasn't turned up.....

    here's a bad reference map... the squiggly black line is gingers flight path... it goes off the map.

    (Yes, thats I-81 Interstate right on the fence line of BRCC property...nothing like visions of 18-wheelers flying by to let the imagination run wild when a dog's on the loose)


    Then I saw my team member walking towards me smiling...I was worried.

    She said..."They've found her!...she was way back behind the barn in the field..they're chasing her down now." I've not felt so relieved in a long time. I hugged everyone around me.
    Aside from some nasty side-glances from the staff technicians, I was okay...rattled, yes...and emotionally drained for the day...but got a lot of supportive remarks from my fellow classmates.
    "Everybody screws up once"......"At least you know it won't happen again"..."Don't worry, a dog escaped on our first day of clinic too"..."It's okay, she was found, that's what matters"...
    and the best came from one of the staff technicians.
    "Well, chasing a dog all over campus is rough, yes...but imagine chasing two cats, this was a few years ago...we caught one, the other was hit and killed on I-81."

    True.
    No one was killed.
    That's always a good thing.

    And that was all BEFORE 9:30am!

    I'm pooped.
    I'll recall the second half of may day later....it's no less exciting!

    Saturday, September 30, 2006

    news from the western (virginia) front

    so...this thing DOES still work.
    weird.

    hope all is well with everyone.
    things here are pretty good.
    Thanks to the supportive reference of some great folks over at Channel 6 I've got a new job at
    (....mhhhh...let me clear my throat...)
    The Shenandoah Regional Veterinary Emergency Clinic
    I think that's the official name. I don't have the business card in front of me.
    anyhow, i start training a couple nights a week in october and should be on my own in november (front desk reception)
    i think it'll be exciting.

    all for now.
    more soon.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    where the heck have i been?

    taking tests. that's where.
    3 "quiz" a week for the last 3 weeks.
    Only 2 this week..wow, what a break.
    what's funny is that they call them quizzes.
    quiz, my butt.
    these are freakin' tests!
    a quiz is 5 or so general questions...NOT 50-60 detailed questions covering multiple topics
    i think NOT calling them tests is supposed to reduce the stress you feel.
    it doesn't work.

    things have been good, though.
    i still want to be here.
    my advisor is the head of the department, which is good because i think it makes him less intimidating...because i HAVE to sit there and talk to him.
    he's a neat guy anyway. i'll have him as a professor next year.

    my grades are good.
    if final grades were handed out today i think i'd have straight "A's"
    the test i had last friday was a doozie.
    Anatomy & Physiology. test covered cell anatomy, the entire skeletal system AND joints. that's a HUGE amount of information....i actually had to stop the professor in the middle of lecture and remind her of the test by asking how much time we'd have to take it. (there were only 45 min left in class and i knew there would be AT LEAST 50 questions.....whatever happened to about 1 min per question????)
    who knows how long the lecture would've continued...
    taking a test AFTER 2 hours of NEW lecture material SUCKS!

    more new pics of where i'm living are up on the snapfish site. if you don't still have the link i sent, let me know and i'll send it again. i'll try my hand at making a link to a page of them (wish me luck)

    i miss Richmond. i really do.
    (i miss walking around the block with Frisco at midnight barefoot....one of our favorite things to do)

    hugs to everyone!

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    A Bit of Relief....

    Well...had my first anatomy test today...had to wade through 2 1/2 hours of lecture (new material) BEFORE taking the test the last 1/2 hour of class. shear torture.
    But, good news, the prof had the test results up a few hours later and ta-da! I got a 95! woohoo.
    Doing well so far.
    Got a test monday & tuesday (yes, i've got classes on labor day) and then 2 tests a week for the next three weeks...talk about moving through some material!
    I hope to get involved in the vet tech club once meetings start, and i got a free student membership in the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Assoc)and into NAVTA too (National Assoc. of Vet Techs in America). All sorts of neat stuff will start going on in the fall with those associations.
    Hope all is well in Richmond and elsewhere.
    Its been raining all day today.
    i couldn't be happier....its not hot! :)

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Reality Check

    Ok. first week of classes went well...
    positives-
    1. I got a 100 on my first quiz (taken on the 1st day of class)
    2. I still want to be a vet tech
    3. I've got lorazepam for any panic attacks that may occur
    (already had one on wednesday...not too bad, though)
    also...don't worry, mariah's no junkie...i take 1/2 mg pill...nothing compared to some folks..just helps me calm down so i can focus, function (aka..talk to people instead of looking like a hunkered down surly hermit crab/turtle staring/glaring into space...ie..looking creepy and mean)
    4. I've been talking to folks and interjecting in conversations...not worrying so much about how i'm percieved (ie..typically mariah overthinking the situation and ending up not participating at all)

    negatives-
    1. none, really.
    i did have a bit of a panic attack on wednesday when we recieved our "CVTEA Essential Task List" ... the Committe on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. A thin green bound volume containing everything that i should be proficient in at the time of graduation. each item must be witnessed, signed and dated by either a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician. yeah. and its 52 pages long with tasks such as "dehorning cattle & goats, gastric intubation, restraining rats and expressing canine anal sacs" interesting stuff to say the least.

    on Friday at my first Anatomy & Physiology class i had a mini-attack when presented with materials for the entire semester all at once. Three bound volumes. one thin & blue, a lecture outline. One green and about 110 pgs, part 1 of the prof. slide presentation (the text of her powerpoint slides) and last a thick white volume of lecture illustrations to accompany the powerpoint slides.
    very convenient and helpful material, yes. makes it much easier to take notes, review material and pay attention in class. but...
    to recieve it all at once on the first day of class...
    just a little shocking. (not to mention that she immediatley launched into lecture and sped through 88 slides in 3 hours) we do get a ten-min. break every hour, though.
    all of the prof. are good about that.

    My schedule has turned out interesting.
    I've got the same prof. for 2 classes (intro to animal science & intro to vet tech)
    which meet 2x a week on Mon & Wed for about 75 min...back to back.
    then Tues. I've got the same prof for lab (for the same 2 classes) that's 3 hour labs, back to back.
    So, i only see one prof all day MTW.
    ThF i have anatomy (3hr lab TH/ 3hr lecture F)

    woohoo.
    actually, i really am liking it.
    its intimidating and a hard program, yes.
    its not so much the difficulty of the material as it is the sheer mass we're expected to ingest in such a short time period. intense, to say the least.
    and i still want to be here!
    yeah!

    ok, enough babble...got to study my vocab...got a test on Tues.

    Sunday, August 20, 2006

    The Day has Finally come.

    well, tomorrow begins my journey. i had a mini panic attack earlier tonight. the old "what the heck was i thinking" thing. But it didn't last long. I know I can do this. I'm just nervous. I think its finally hit me how long its been since i've been in a classroom.
    I'm excited too.
    i know you're all wishing me the best.
    thanks.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Pictures! Finally.

    Chainsaw Kitty in her favorite spot under the stairs..nice and shady


    Me & Frisco out on the Deck (before the caterpillar poo attacks)




    The view from the hill...this is part of th 1/2 mile or so "driveway"..the corn is much much taller now..pics of that to come


    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    My Latest Adventure

    The adventures just keep comin' here in Weyers Cave.
    Today was a fine day...no real problems anywhere. I came home from work and spoke with Libby for a few minutes. Then went upstairs to greet Frisco and feed him his dinner.
    I knew that after he ate we had to go to Harrisonburg to PetSmart and get him a new bag of dry food so after he ate I put him in the car and we were off!
    Now, I am notorious for forgetting things at home when leaving...this time was no different.
    I'd forgotten the $5 gift card for PetSmart I'd gotten as a rebate the last time I bought Friscos food. So, I left the car running and ran in to get it. Still, no problems.
    We were driving down the VERY bumpy gravel road that is the "driveway" and just as we began the drive up the little hill i could've sworn that a 4-wheeler was suddenly behind me. That tell-tale engine sound that identifies it. So, I slowed down..unsure of where the sound was coming from and feeling a bit nervous about it. The sun was setting and was in my eyes and reflecting gold light from the tops of the corn that surrounds the road. The last thing i wanted was to hit some poor kid riding up the hill on the other side.
    I stopped...and the sound whined a bit.
    After a minute of listening, I realized that it was my car that was making that awful noise.
    I figured something had happened with the muffler. I was on an incline and so there was no really safe way to check things out so I backed slowly down the incline a neighbors driveway and turned around to head back to the house. I didn't want to shut the car off, for fear of getting stuck...(that's another adventure i had on saturday...i'll explain later (electrical problems))
    So, i slowly made my way back to the house and upon reaching even ground stopped and looked under the car...
    yuck.
    the muffler pipe separated near the front end...i think its due to the rough road..and me probably driving too fast down it.
    so, i found even ground and jacked up the rear end. i crawled under the car and bungeed the muffler in place and slid the pipe back into place.
    now, tomorrow morning i get to hand out at the local garage and pray that all i need is a good clamp and not a new muffler pipe.
    wish me luck.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Attack of the Catalpa Caterpillar

    It's raining caterpillar poop.

    literally.

    yuck.

    Iit started about a week & a half ago...i thought it was the tree seeding itself or something like that. these little black dots all over the deck. dry and segmented, it was hard to tell exactly what they were. I asked libby (my landlord) what they were and she said she thought it was some seeding from the oak tree..but i knew it was coming from the tree directly above the deck..which was definitely no oak. and the black stuff seemed to get heavier everyday...at times it sounded like it was raining. (my living room has a tin roof)
    A few days later i came home from work to find libby's friend owen up on the deck. he was looking straight up at the tree. i looked up too. there were caterpillars everywhere! all over the leaves and you could see them eating the leaves, big chunks at a time. you could even hear it.
    well, it didn't take me long to guess what the black stuff falling from the sky was...i asked owen and he said "yup", it's caterpillar poop. he was there trying to harvest some caterpillars for fish bait. (apparently they're really great fish bait)
    Day by day the poop fell faster and more heavily. i would sweep the deck and not even a 1/2 hour later it would be covered again.
    Now, its at its worst. i've not even bothered sweeping the past few days...and i don't go out the door to the deck much. after finding pieces of caterpillar poo in my hair, i'd had enough.
    i cooked my dinner on the little outdoor grill i've got and had to use an umbrella to brings food in and out and held it over the grill when it was open to make sure no poo got in my food.
    GROSS!
    if you look at the tree now, it's about 1/2 defoliated. i wish they would hurry up and finish the tree...its finally starting to get cooler and i can't sit outside...i don't dare uncover the outdoor furniture...it would get covered in poop. (think of miniature rabbit poop...in layers on the furniture covers)

    Now the caterpillars have begun to committ suicide.
    it started a couple of days ago. instead of the falling rain sound, i'd heard these sporadic thumps on the roof and deck. now, instead of just poop i've now got rotting caterpillar corpses to deal with...and they don't just fall, they splatter. trying to keep frisco from walking through the guts has proven difficult. ((you don't even want the description of the poo and its smell when is DOES rain....blechh...it falls in friscos outside water bowl and makes it look like urine))

    So, that's whats been occupying my attention as of late.

    check out the picture...they've got these weird sucker things for feet and are neat to look at. apparently, the second generation of these this summer will turn into butterfly's (or moths)

    Love to all - Mariah

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Beware the Cat People


    Ok...so I've discovered this really cool comic called "Pooch Cafe".
    It's just great. They started this bit on "cat people" last week and its just been so great that
    I have to share it. You can find it at www.mycomicspage.com

    Monday, July 31, 2006

    My friends are awesome

    ok, so i sent out a distress call because i need something new to read.
    everyone came through for me! thanks! I got some great ides about where to start.
    I did get a web link from my friend Melissa that I just had to pass on...
    just in case anyone else is having trouble too.
    thanks again guys!
    you're the best!

    http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/

    Saturday, July 29, 2006

    jabber jabber jabber...ramble

    I got a present from Chainsaw this morning. I felt so honored! A mouse, right in the middle of the doormat. I know for sure that she likes us now. Took some pics today of Frisco and Chainsaw, Pretty Kitty and I think I got one of Jelly too. (Jelly is a yellow lab owned by Libby, the lady i rent from) Interesting side note, Jelly is an alumnus of the BRCC Vet Tech program. Every year, the program takes in 5 cats and dogs to be used as "guinea pigs" for the students. A student was living with Libby at the time and introduced the two...Libby just couldn't resist Jelly. she's a sweet puppy. well, just thought i'd drop a line in. later.

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    Frisco's got a girlfriend...



    Frisco has a girlfriend. Her name is Chainsaw, she weighs less than 10 lbs and is of the feline persuasion.

    Right now they are laying side by side on the living room floor trying to stay cool and take an afternoon snooze.

    Apparently, Chainsaw thinks she's a dog. so, it makes sense that since Frisco thinks he's a cat, they make a perfect pair. I wasn't sure if frisco would take to having kitties around, but he's really done great. Chainsaw has helped, of course. She's kept him in his place and shows him who's boss. She's swiped at him a few times, but never bared her claws which i take as a good sign because according to her mom...she can be one mean kittie.
    The two of them started slow, keeping their distances. But then i noticed that every time we went outside Frisco started sniffing around the places that Chainsaw hangs out. (she's mostly an outside cat) I thought perhaps he was just curious, but he'd spend several minutes poking his nose into various crevasses around the back porch. he kept doing this with ever-increasing energy and feverishness, it was weird. Then, Chainsaw started hanging out up on our deck. Good sign. So, Frisco would immediatley find her and start sniffing, then backing away, sniffing, then backing away. A lovely dance those two have.
    It got so that Frisco would mostly keep still when she came around, then they'd pretty much ignore each other...until Chainsaw decided to take the next step. She started getting really close and trying to rub on Frisco's legs. He wasn't too sure about this at first, jumping up and running away the first few times. I think he thought it was a setup of some kind, you know?
    Anyhow, with increasing tolerance Frisco got used to her advances and they found a happy medium.
    Then, the other night it was storming.
    Chainsaw was hanging out on our deck and I was herding frisco in from a brief potty break. She was right next to the door and when I opened it she quickly invited herself in.
    Frisco wasn't sure what to do. There was a cat in his house.
    It was so funny. He got really excited. He started pacing around and drooling and panting, his nub wagging the whole time. Chainsaw slowly made her way around the apartment (all 2 rooms- hehe) and followed her everywhere. Sniffing at her here and there. The entire time, she seemed completely unfazed while Frisco was about to have a heart attack. I was caught between being really worried and laughing hysterically at the spectacle.
    After about a 1/2 hour, Frisco still hadn't calmed down..hadn't even sat down really...so I decided that Chainsaw had to go back outside (the weather had calmed a little, don't worry)
    That was 2 days ago.
    Today, she came for a visit again and this time Frisco has been able to calm himself down and, while aware and interested, doesn't seem too concerned about her prescence. I can't wait to get a picture of these two up for you to see. It's so sweet. Frisco still gets flustered and backs away a bit when Chainsaw rubs up against him, but I think he'll get used to it.
    I'm just happy to see him doing so well with a cat.
    I think part of it is that Chainsaw doesn't back down or run away. In the beginning they had several staring contests and she won all of them. Now, the other kittie (Pretty Kitty) who lives here runs away at the mere sight of Frisco and I think it encourages him. When they run, he thinks its a game. "Wow. look at her go...wait for me!" -- i can hear him think to himself.
    But Chainsaw just sits there...boring...so he finds other things to do....like go back to sleep.

    Speaking of how compfy Frisco is getting, he's slept on the couch 2 nights in a row now. Which is where he usually likes to sleep...before that he'd follow me around until i went to bed and only then would he lay on his pillow in my room and, cautiously, go to sleep.

    Think these posts are long enough?
    I know...i'll try not to ramble so much.
    later.

    Interesting Website - Check it Out!

    ok, so i've been catching up on my email today and read a note from my friend Martina who lives in phoenix. (she worked at tv6 my first time around....and she's really cool)
    anyway, she sent a link to this really neat website. i think its hilarious.
    don't worry, martina's black too.
    do black people love me, too?

    http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com

    let me know what you think.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Starting to settle in....

    Well, the two week mark has arrived...i think that's how long i've been here.
    I never told you about my 2nd adventure...it was a short one...i "caught" a mouse with my plant water pitcher. yuck. I also use it to fill Frisco's water dish (he's got a drinking problem- haha)
    So, I went to fill his bowl and no water was coming out. I shook it around thinking that maybe a piece of plastic or something got caught in the spout. No good. I looked down into the pitcher and saw a mouse floating around. I suppose he was a REALLY thirsty critter.
    There must be more mice too because the next night Frisco jumped up and tried to chase something running away from the pantry and his water dish. So, i'm on the lookout for mouse poop...until i find something everything is getting sealed in extra plastic bags.

    I finished my Chemistry class yesterday (online= no lab!) Checked today to see if final grades were posted and they were....I thought I got a 'B', but apparently an 88 gets you an 'A' these days. WOO HOO!! That'll look very nice on the transcript.

    So, with the class out of the way...I have no excuse for not getting a job..not that i haven't been trying..i actually got offered 2. But i'm trying to find something close to home. I've gone through a lot more gas than i expected on trips to and from harrisonburg. So, finding a job on campus or in and around Weyers Cave has become the priority. We'll see what happens. I'm waiting to hear from the bookstore on campus..which i really hope comes through.

    I got a letter from the Vet Tech department the other day. School has begun!
    I've got homework and the warning of a test on the first day! YES! I'm actually excited about this. Basically, I've got to learn about 150 latin roots, suffixes and prefixes for medical terminology. Luckily, there are many I already know. (or can at least take an educated guess at)
    So, my project this weekend is making flash cards for all the words. exciting, huh?
    I think so.

    Well, unfortunately i don't have any pics yet, but my folks may come visit soon and i'll ask them bring the video cam (has a digital cam function). And then I can have some pics up for you.

    more to come soon...

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Weyers Cave 24486

    Well, I'm here. It's officially been one week and I've had a few adventures already.
    My first morning here I took a walk out to the mailbox (about 1/2 mile). There's a hill that crests in the middle of a field just before the mailboxes. It was a gorgeous morning and I turned around to face the direction I'd come from. The most beautiful sight greeted me. There were layers of mountains beyond the treetops and the sky was so blue. Inspiring. Unfortunately, it's been overcast, muggy and rainy since that morning...
    (I hope to have pics up soon..sorry i don't already..i'm going to have to get a digital camera)

    Saturday night, I decided it was time for a fire. Libby, the woman I rent from, has a field next to the house with a campfire pit all set up. She burns her paper trash and I had a bit, so I decided to burn mine. I don't need much convincing to start a fire :)
    It was great. Frisco and I hung out and set off some fireworks I got in South Carolina (on the way back from New Orleans) -- Frisco's not a fan of fireworks....it's funny...I took him to the "Great Outdoors" Fest last year and he sat still as a statue while guns were fired all around him...but he's 20 feet from a flashy firework and he runs away. I suppose it was the combo of lights and sound, so unpredictable, that he didn't like. We hung out at the fire for awhile...fire always mesmerizes me. I heard a noise, a jingling like Frisco's collar tags...but he was sitting right next to me. Out of the black around us comes a jet black labrador retriever. Scared the crap out of me. She and Frisco sniffed and said Hi...she sat for a few minutes and enjoyed the scratching I gave her then decided it was time to move on and jingled off into the dark field. Who knows where she was going, or in which direction she lived but she had tags and seemed to know where she was. Welcome to the country, huh?
    My trash was about gone and we still had to walk back to the house (across the field and up a hill) so I packed up my chair and walked back to the house. When I got back to the house I realized that I didn't have my phone. (I'd made a few phone calls while out in the field) Of course, I began to freak out a little. The phone was probably in the field somewhere. I tried to use the house phone to call my mom so she could call my phone to help find it, but the house phone wasn't working properly. So I decided to drive my truck back out to the field and use the headlights to search for my phone. I crept slowly down the hill and out to the field, not sure if my phone was laying on the ground next to the campfire or along the route I walked. I drove way around where I walked in case the phone was there and circled around so that my headlights faced the campfire. I got my flashlight to use in combo with the headlights and, luckily, there right next to the fire pit was my phone. I'd put it in the cupholder of my chair and it must've fallen out when I packed up the chair.
    Goodness, what relief.
    Well, that's enough rambling for now. More about my 2nd adventure later.

    We miss Richmond!
    (a little, anyway) :)

    Hugs to everyone!

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