02 January 2013

2012 Review

This was my year, not too much thoughtful contemplation, but it is what it is. This year involved massive amounts of growing and stretching, and still deciding if that was a good thing.

The year 2012 began when I moved in to 402 N. Barrett Lane, Newark, DE with Laura Lariviere, Oil Spill Coordinator at Tri-State Bird Rescue.

I started work on January 4th, and in-between the 1st and the 4th was a mad dash around the area (without internet to guide the way, ugh!) trying to find furniture, groceries, and how to get to work.

Ikea was a lifesaver this year.

Alana stayed for 2 weeks getting me settled, etc. And we got to go see Janelle at UPenn. I think that was the first time I’d seen her in... I don’t even know how long.

And then, well, I worked. I worked a lot. I’m pretty sure my brain almost exploded from how much I had to learn and how fast.

Mid-January I went down to Prime Hook to see Snow Geese for the first time. So many geese!!

Also drove to Baltimore and explored a bit the week after that.

February 2nd Lee officially joined the army. And I’ve been slowly losing him ever since. Darn army.

At the beginning of February I started work on my second serious quilt. Still working on it...

All during February and into March and April there was a diesel oil spill in New Jersey. I learned how to wash geese and turtles during that spill.

February 23rd Lee sent me a “best gal pal” ring after joking for a few weeks about how his “wife” didn’t have a ring but his “fiance” did. Turns out it is solid white gold... I’ll never understand that boy, but it was sweet of him.

March 5th I drove to South St. in Philadelphia and bought myself a new tattoo. A baby quail on my left shoulder with the verse Luke 12:32.

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, on my way home from work I accidentally rear-ended the car in front of me and smashed in the front of my dear Totoro. Over the next couple weeks I wrestled with Progressive (though they were very helpful) and with trying to get to work without a car. Ugh.

March 7th I invested in a 2004 Mazda3 that has seen better days. Though with insurance money I only had to pay $500 out of pocket. Named him Apollo.

I met Sam in March, Brie in April. Good people :)

Mid-April Laura and I moved to 1211 Nottingham Road, Newark, DE 19711. Sooo much better than an apartment complex. Though honestly our landlord is a little crazy and the house isn’t built too terribly well, but it’s nice.

April 23rd I got a pretty white beta and named him Loki :)

We got our first ducklings in April and our first songbird babies in May

At the beginning of May I fostered a little cooter for a couple weeks until she got adopted. I named her Beatrice. Around about the same time Laura started fostering Turtle (aka Olivia) and she is still with us, with her goldfish and minnow worshipers in her 30 gallon tank in the living room.

In late May we started getting crazy amounts of baby English Sparrows and Starlings. And one day I just couldn’t handle it, and saved one. An old relief supervisor and I co-raised Finnegan over the course of May, June, and early July.

In mid-June I started building an aviary for Finny Fin Fin, and it took me over a month to finish, but darnit, it turned out pretty well for not having a chopsaw!

June 10th I met up with Jennifer Burghoffer in D.C. and saw the Smithsonians, White House, Washington Monument, etc. It was pretty cool to see everything in person finally.

June 30th I went to BroNYcon in Seacacus, NJ. Pretty crazy cool (but mostly just crazy). At one point we had to be evacuated because of an electrical fire in the Mane Hall. So we all waited outside, had a few sing-a-longs, you know, the normal stuff that 20 and 30 somethings do :)

July 7th, Finnegan moved in full time. Such an adorable handful and a half!

July 8th, discovered Milburn Orchards and picked 12lbs of blueberries. A good discovery!

Made a lot of cupcakes this year, and canned peaches on my own for the first time.

Summer was mass chaos. I didn’t think anything could compare to WRR, but learning how to supervise, plus being in charge, plus dealing with all the babies was even harder.

Early August we got a black-necked stilt from Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay and he started a 3 month long botulism outbreak that brought in 187 birds. Oh buddy.

August 21st I went up to Philly and met Phil (he was on a business trip) and we went and walked around all the historic sites in downtown Philadelphia. Got to meet the liberty bell!

August 22nd Brie and I took her two kayaks down to Assateague State Park and went kayaking, bird watching, and pony searching. AMAZING day, ate lunch on a little secluded beach, a hundred yards or so away from a herd of Chincoteague ponies. Saw a ton of life listers. Saw a pony that looked just like Misty. And put my toes in the Atlantic for the first time.

Mid-September I had to say goodbye to Finnegan because I was neglecting him with all my work and because Laura didn’t like him in the house :( I gave him to Phung Luu, bird trainer extraordinaire, where he’s hanging out, being spoiled until he and Jackie can find a good owner for him.

September 16-18th I took a mini-vacation up through New England
16th - Drove through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusets. Spent the afternoon exploring Boston. Spent the night on the Liberty Clipper in the Boston harbor. Cramped but cool! 
        17th - Did some more exploring in Boston, went to the Boston Public Garden, walked right past Julia Stiles on a film set! Saw the make way for ducklings statues.Then drove up through New Hampshire into Maine. Explored Portland and spent the night at a little farmette in the middle of nowhere. Met some super nice people (woot woot Airbnb.com!). 
       18th - Drove up to the LL Bean headquarters... it has it’s own zip code! Then drove all the way home from Maine to Delaware. In the midst of a tornado watch and a massive storm in NY and on the NJ turnpike...

Early October I started going to The Journey: Real Church for Real People. Met some pretty darn amazing people.

October 20th Alana came to visit me :) It was going to be 2 weeks, but then it turned into 3 weeks thanks to a hurricane...

October 21st and 22nd Alana and I took the Greyhound up to New York City and saw the sights. Did a hell of a lot of walking, fell in love with Central Park, saw the Statue of Liberty, explored Ellis Island, wandered around Time Square in awe. Spent the night at a lady’s house in Brooklyn, then explored some more the next day. Kinda fell in love with NYC actually. Shocking, I know.

October 29th and 30th were mass chaos on the east coast as Hurricane Sandy made landfall in NJ/DE and trashed the Jersey Shore and NYC. Tri-State was out of power for 24 hours, but made it through otherwise unscathed. First time I’ve ever experienced a driving ban.

Kinda missed Halloween in the midst of the madness... too bad, I had a costume and everything.

And by unscathed I mean the property was undamaged, but after 3 storm-caused oil spills, 3 shearwaters, 2 gannets, 3 scoters, a red-billed tropicbird, and a purple gallinule wandering around a McDonald’s parking lot, we were all pretty darn exhausted.

November 6th Barack Obama was re-elected in the 57th Presidential election. And the way I found out was by laying out newspapers for birds to poop on, and seeing OBAMA 2012 on the front page. It’s a funny world we live in.

November 10th was the annual Benefit for the Birds Gala. Met a lot of “famous” people (famous in the animal world, that is). Got dressed up all fancy. 

November 18th invested in a papasan chair. Yes, that deserves it’s own entry. It is just that comfortable.

November 22nd was Thanksgiving, made pumpkin and apple pies and went over to the Howey household for dinner. Super crazy family, but really fun :)

December 2nd I made it to a quarter century... pretty sure I’m still 17 though. Pretty boring day actually. Made myself a vegan carrot cake. Went over to Eric’s house and a bunch of us had a post-Thanksgiving/Birthday party, ate good food and watched Safe. Good people, and a decent time. Though I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever have a really good birthday again.

December 6th Laura and I went out and bought our Christmas tree (from a part time Elvis impersonator :) and a super friendly cat and some chickens). Fletcher was super stoked, since it was his first real full sized Christmas tree.

December 8th went to NYC to see the Christmas decorations, etc. with Jana, Meg, Estel, Renee, Shawn, Kaitlyn, and her two friends Ben and Jeff. Good times :D

December 10th Visited Finnegan and played with the other birds with Jackie. My little boy is so handsome now :S I miss him...

December 23rd - 26th I flew to Michigan for Christmas. First time we’d all been together since... I don’t even know when. Finally got to meet Don, and all 5 cousins got to squeeze onto the couch for lots and lots of pictures. So glad I got to see them all :)

New Years Eve 2012 I went to Firestone Roasting House in Wilmington for their NYE party. Went with Meg, Shawn, and a few of Shawn’s friends. So many drunk people, so much dancing, and after a whiskey sour, rum and coke, and champagne, I did some dancing too, and with a cute boy. Crazy but surprisingly fun. There was also wonderful pizza. And drunk people are kind of hilarious. Favorite quote of the night: “She rescues underprivileged birds!” Good way to ring in 2013 :)

So yeah, 2012, the year I got overwhelmed by birds, fell in love with birds all over again, discovered Doctor Who, started going to a fantastic church, went through the eye of a hurricane, met 10 states I’d never met before, met soooo many new people (I can’t even remember names anymore), and kinda sorta have a fashion sense now thanks to my roommate. God was good to me this year in so many ways, I wish I had been more grateful and less depressed. I just hope I can pay people back in the coming year.

22 November 2012

No apologies.
I very nearly bit off more than I could chew this year.
I've been overwhelmed so much of the time that it's almost a novelty to think "I've got this!"
I can't count how many times I've wanted to throw in the towel and just move back to Washington, to a less intense, more familiar type of life.
Would I regret it forever?

I'm really tired in a lot of ways.
But I'm really thankful too.
It's too bad that I forget about that on a regular basis.
I forget how good I've got it, how I work for an amazing and world famous organization, how I've been so welcomed by so many, how God has blessed me with everything I really need...
So here's to my yearly reminder that I am loved, despite me.

I've got that VeggieTales song running through my head, "I thank God for this day, for the sun in the sky, for my mom and my dad, for my piece of apple pie..."

And on that note, thank you God for you, for your grace, your forgiveness, your controlled anger, your willingness to listen to dust and vapor, your goodness, your justice, for not being fair.

P.S. Also, thank you for:

A family that loves me for me, it's kind of baffling.
Too many friends to keep up with, a blessing and a point of frustration, but mostly a blessing
Amazingly intelligent coworkers who are willing to teach me what they know, and empathize about the day to day chaos
The opportunity to do things most people don't even think to dream about... I've nursed bald eagles back to health, no biggie.
Constant reminders that in the big scheme of things, I know nothing
An affordable place to live that's not in a soul-sucking apartment complex
A wonderful kitty cat who's okay with being squeezed and held upside down while having his belly rubbed and who sometimes replaces my alarm clock
The opportunity to save a baby starling's life and have him as a friend, even if it was for only a short time
Finnegan finding a new, excellent, home
A paycheck that lets me eat what I want and also afford other little things
Good food
A Chipotle that just so happens to be on my way home from work
A car that runs
New tires on said car
A comfortable bed, desk on permanent loan, and a nest of a chair
A nearby library
Photographs of good times past so I can remember
Doctor Who and My Little Ponies, my escapes from reality when it was all just a little too much to face
The opportunity to go to BroNYcon
A computer that has survived several moves, drops, and a mug of peppermint tea
The opportunity to live so close to so many historical things... seriously, I live within a 3 hour radius of Philly, Baltimore, D.C. and NYC
The ability to build and repair and paint and draw and power tool it up
My little Tardis
My new cellphone that works surprisingly well
And so many many many more wonderful things that I could think of, but right now I'm just too tired and have to get up early
Oh yes, and finally, thanks for a job that lets me work mostly opening shifts

Much Love :)

06 March 2012

I'm still alive!

Oh wow... the things that you forget when you don't have readily available internet! Like not blogging for almost three months... oops?

Oh well, life goes on.

Just wanted to say a few things to the world :)

I love my job. It's stressful and intimidating at times (okay, intimidating a lot of the time), but overall, I get to do some pretty darn cool things, and handle some pretty amazing birds.

Delaware is not my favorite state ever... too many people, not enough trees and mountains. But the people are usually quite nice, and I guess it's nice to have everything close by. Being surrounded by so much history is a bit overwhelming at times. However, the Brandywine River runs through Wilmington... kinda cool, just sayin'.

I wear a ring now, given to me by a very dear friend. It's taken quite a lot of getting used to, and I almost lost it to an oiled goose in a tube full of Dawn and water. But so far so good.

Oh yes, and yesterday I went and got a new tattoo, downtown Philadelphia, all by myself. My little larger than life baby quail :) His feet are a little wonky, but his face is adorable, so it all works out. My arm really hurts though...

I think that's about it for now. Hopefully it won't be another 3 months before I remember my blog exists!

24 December 2011

Feliz Navidad


It's that time of year to be contemplative, and giving, and excited, and all that jazz.
It's the time of year when you can, if you'd like, be completely floored by the mercy that God showed to humanity.

After spending a significant amount of time with babies and toddlers this week, I've gotten a new appreciation for the fact that Jesus had to come to earth as a baby. I mean seriously, being God and having to deal with spit, drool, and gas bubbles... I wonder if He ever looked back and said 'ew'. Maybe it's just me being superficial, but that's pretty impressive. And even passing the baby stage... God learning how to talk, how to interact with people, having to go through puberty, growth spurts, and awkwardness. That's a lot of love right there, people.

I've discovered, since coming back to Washington, that a lot of my friends and family live in a secluded Christian world, where evolutionists, atheists, and agnostics are either frowned on, or even openly mocked in the Christian home. That's wrong. No way around that, sorry. Jesus came to earth not for the healthy, but for the sick. He wasn't simplistic, happy go lucky, or an ignorer of the facts of human nature. He hung out with the outcasts of society, He understood their struggles. He loved on them, but He also told them the truth in love, not condemnation (well, except the pharisees... but they're kind of a special case). Come to find out, that's a super delicate balance to keep. I don't know many people who are willing or capable of doing both.

I guess it just hit me hard the other day when someone went on a lecture about judgement and damnation, and I had to remind them that atheists are people too, and sometimes... no, all the time... mercy and love are what we should display. Who are we to judge? We are saved by the grace of God and absolutely nothing else. Not to say we should condone, but neither are we to condemn.

Still trying to figure out what that looks like.

But thank you Jesus, for being human for me and all the people who love you, and even for the ones who don't. Whether they feel it or not, your mercy is an overwhelming and beautiful thing, and is my prayer that some of my dearest friends would feel that love somehow, someway, this Christmas.

11 December 2011

Goodbye. Hello.

I'm saying goodbye to Texas tomorrow! Ahhhh! I'm sad to say goodbye :(
Happy to say hello to Washington again :)
Scared to death to get to know Delaware :S

Oh yeah, did I mention that I got the job at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Newark, DE?
Did I mention I'm coming home for two weeks?
That I really need to buy a car, ASAP?
That I need to see everyone before I move away again?!

I'm so nervous to move to a new place, new job, new people... I need to find a church as soon as I get there, otherwise I get the feeling that making friends will not be easy. It's so much more convenient when you live with the people you work with.

I died my hair 'black cherry' today. It's purple. It's pretty :) This may become my new addiction...

I need to write my year in review. Despite the fact that I didn't really go anywhere, it was a pretty darn crazy year!

*sniffle* I'm going to miss all my Texans so very much :'(

23 November 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is today. Wow.
It's shaping up to be a good one :)
I have the day off (yay!) so I get to make the turkey and gravy and pies.
Funny thing is, being a (mostly) vegetarian for several years, means that I don't really know much about cooking meat... at least not an entire bird.
I was putting our turkeys and roosters to bed last night, and told Pew Pew (our sweet de-beaked turkey) that I was eating his cousin tomorrow. And then I felt bad...
(Apparently I like parenthesis today)

I was reading old blogs the other day and found my string of Thankful For... blogs. I wish I'd remembered that sooner! But oh well, I guess a thankful list will have to do.


I am thankful for:
*The good timing of Thanksgiving this year, I've been whining a lot
*Work, because of how much it has taught me
*A crazy cool job
*My bed, because crazy cool job makes me crazy tired
*Friends who keep in touch
*Friends who don't
*Friends who let me borrow their cars when living in the middle of nowhere
*Fletcher, even when he's cranky, he's always up for a cuddle
*Hot chocolate with Irish Cream
*A computer that has a power cable with no cuts or chew marks
*Delicious food, and the ability to cook and bake
*My cellphone, so I can talk to people who I can't see
*Pipe cleaners, mainly because they make Fletcher uber happy, which makes me laugh
*The ability to sew, because little stuffed animals make people happy
*Cleaning supplies, they're good for OCD people like me
*Music that fits every mood (yay Pandora!)
*My Little Ponies, because they've made my year just that much better
*Good movies and good books in which to escape from reality
*The ability to wrangle raccoons, squirrels, skunks, emus, sheep, goats, raptors, giant tortoises, snakes, nutrias, deer, porcupines, and opossums. Not too many people can claim that :)
*My camera that captures so many good memories
*A God who sacrificed everything in order to bring me forgiveness
*A God who I can talk to as a friend and a savior
*The hope that someday all wrongs will be rightened, and every tear will be wiped away
*The hope that one day death will be swallowed up in victory

Happy Thanksgiving y'all :)

14 November 2011

Crazy Week

To answer everyone's question: the interview went really well on my end. I hope they liked me as much as I liked them. Beautiful facility, so nice, so well organized! So much less... extreme? than WRR. At least you can call the birds 'it' if you don't know their gender. And they don't have a problem with you hand raising non-indigenous birds in your home and making them into pets. So yeah, I'm praying hard that I get this job. But just to be on the safe side, I'm still looking for jobs to apply for. Found a good one through the HSUS... it's a start.

The entire trip out to Delaware was pretty crazy. Good, bad, and slightly insane, with some laughter thrown in for good measure. Jennifer still hasn't found a place to live in Virginia, so we stayed at a hotel one night, and then at her new boss' 'currently being renovated house' the other night. I'm praying that she finds a place to live soon though, since she started work today. So my job for pretty much the entire 4 days was to keep her from having a panic attack :P But on the upshot, her new job looks fantastic! And it's in a beautiful location (p.s. I'm in love with the countryside of Virginia/Delaware/Maryland, the fall colors were gorgeous). We also got to do a crazy driving tour of D.C. and I finally got to see the White House, the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington, etc. :)

On another note, we got a baby nighthawk in at work the other day (in case you were wondering, totally the wrong time of year for that!). He was adorable! We also got a juvi nutria, who someone was trying to raise as a pet. He's really friendly, and fits in my hand. Super cute as well :)

Now that Jupiter (Jennifer's cat) is gone, Fletcher has turned into the cuddliest cat ever! It's so weird... Not that I mind having him sleep with me again, it's just such an extreme change.

I think that's about it for now.

P.S. Never get a 50 minute layover. Guaranteed, your flight will be late, and you will have to run like a crazy person across the Houston airport, and be the last person to board the plane, and people will not be happy with you.