Not-so-Great Pond Mountain Wildlands Hike

spotYesterday, Lonnie and I, and the pooches of course, attempted a hike to one of our favorite secluded spots in the Great Pond Mountain Wildlands/Trust whateveritscalled, or as I now call it, the Tick Sanctuary. It’s a PERFECT spot where we can make a little fire, hang our hammocks for a nap, take a dip in the lake, and not see one single other human. There is even a picnic table! To get there you have to walk around a mile on a dirt road, then you take a left down a slightly groomed grassy trail. ¬†We have been going to this spot for at least 4 years, maybe 5. Yesterday, when we turned onto the grassy trail portion of the trek, we were immediately inundated with ticks. We both ran back to the dirt road and had to strip off our socks, shoes, and pants to make sure we got them all off us. We quickly checked over the dogs and they seemed fine, we assumed their collars the vet recommended were doing their job. We turned back and decided on a Plan B adventure. Next time, we will kayak there like we did last year!

When we got home, we realized the dogs were not fine. They were very ticked up. We have spent last night and today thinking we got them all, and then finding another. We are all skeeved out and itchy and never wanting to go outdoors again. Fortunately, the collars actually DO do their job, and none of the ticks have been attached enough to feed.

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Throwback to Luna’s first visit to “the spot” in 2014. No ticks.

But WHY!? Why all of a sudden does it seem like ticks are taking over the world?? As I mentioned, we have been going there for years and have NEVER seen even ONE tick.

While driving to the grocery store, I theorized to Lonnie that I think it’s related to climate change. Maine’s shrimp industry is failing because of warmer water temps, wouldn’t it make sense that warmer temperatures would make ticks happy, happy, happy? Not completely sold on that theory, Lonnie theorized that ticks are becoming genetically heartier and more resistant to all climates. (Don’t you wish you could come grocery shopping with us zany kids!!?? LOL)

Well of course I had to do some research when we got home, mostly to prove my theory was right and his was wrong. #keepinitreal

Apparently the 2 largest factors in the tick increase are the mild winter, and acorns. Yup, acorns. Little did we all know…. in 2010 there was a bumper crop of acorns, resulting in an increase in the mice who eat them. And ticks love them some mice, so they increased too. Fast forward to 2107, shitty acorn crop, less mice, ticks still gotta eat.

So basically, I was right. Ok… not entirely right, but since my rightness occurs so rarely with him. I’m taking it.

Oh yeah… here are a couple of my sources because I am a grad student and that’s what we do ūüėČ

http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/the-year-of-the-tick/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/04/06/2017-may-very-bad-year-lyme-disease/100120496/

Trumpcare… Obamacare… How about ANYBODY care!??

20170517_144150You know there’s problem with the healthcare system when a girl who loves her cleavage as much as I do finds herself poised in front of a mirror¬†holding an exacto-knife and¬†pondering stabbing herself right between the ta-tas.¬†Spoiler alert: I didn’t do it.

Since 2007 part of my job has been educating the public on utilizing their primary care doctors rather than emergency rooms. So naturally, when what I thought was a zit turned into a ping pong ball over the course of¬†3 days, I named her Laverne and then went to¬†the doctor’s office.

‘Oh it’s a carbuncle/absess/boil type thing. No big deal.¬†It doesn’t look ready to be lanced or drained. Here’s some antibiotics.

Well… all the antibiotics did was make Laverne very, very angry. Like shying-away-from-hugs-from-my-family and not-sleeping-at-night angry. Then, (because I am me), I thought my antibiotics had been stolen from my car (they weren’t. I found them in a grocery bag in the fridge -because I am me). So I called the doctor’s office.

‘Sorry, no appts available to refill those or check out yer new¬†third boob, maybe call Monday or go to the walk-in.’

¬†I tried to wait til Monday, but the pain (pain in the chest from Laverne, and pain in the neck from Lonnie’s endless prattling on about messing up antibiotics and causing superbugs, death, and¬†world destruction.) So Saturday morning, off to the walk-in;

‘Oh it’s a carbuncle/absess/boil type thing. No big deal.¬†It doesn’t look ready to be lanced or drained. Here’s some antibiotics.

Obviously by this walk-in visit, I was a certified google expert in abscesses and knew that they usually don’t heal until they drain. But… she’s the doctor, right?

4 days later. I call the doc office again as Laverne is still growing.

‘We could probably get you in next Wednesday….. or you could go to the walk-in.’

5¬†days later… Pain is raging, the whole side of my boob is red and hot, and I am supposed to leave for Nashville the following day. Back to the walk in I go, determined to get this thing lanced. I mention the lancing and what I had read, she gets¬†snippy,

“We treat this with antibiotics ALL THE TIME without lancing.”

AND THEN…

Oh wow… that’s really bad and it looks like you now have cellulitis as well. We can’t help you here. I think you need to go to the ED and maybe be admitted for a few days for IV antibiotics. If you don’t, you could become septic and die. Oh, BTW, do you have breast cancer history in your family?”

That was it. I starting crying and completely went off on that bitch. “WHY WOULD YOU GO TO THE BREAST CANCER PLACE RIGHT NOW!?? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?” …..and off I went to the ED.

I was at the ED for a total of probably 20 minutes (I do work there 2 or 3 days a week, so I probably got a bit of red carpet treatment as I know everyone). Doc came in, said “YIKES! LET’S LANCE THAT SUCKER!” He also told me that the antibiotics she gave me did not treat what I had, as Laverne was a special gal who could only be destroyed with a combination of 2 antibiotics fighting as a team. And after I him my saga, he said,¬†“Why the hell didn’t you come here in the first place? You know we would take care of you!?”

Why!?

Because I spend my career telling people NOT to go to the ED except for ACTUAL emergencies.

Because I spend an hour before every appointment and walk-in visit considering the money I could save by just stabbing that bitch myself.

Because part of the reason I cried in the walk-in was because I know how much an ED visit is going to cost me.

20 minutes, ok 20 GROSS minutes, and I was pain-free and on the mend.

How am I supposed to preach to people to go to their PCP when we all know none of them actually DO PROCEDURES anymore????¬†Talky Talky Talky… here’s some pills.

 

Flying Solo

20170506_180454¬†I realize some of you out there are jet setters, but I don’t think I have ever traveled solo before and learned it’s actually quite lovely! Of course, I missed my usual travel companions, Lonnie and/or the kids. But hanging out with my own damn self is pretty great! I can eat when I want, watch makeup Youtube videos to my heart’s content, people watch. And when Delta offered up $800, meal vouchers, and a hotel stay, to people to who agree to give up their seats and fly out the following morning… I was all “GET DAT MONAAAAAY!!” ¬†A solo night in a hotel room was a major win because when I booked the trip, I hadn’t noticed it was finals week, and despite¬†hustling all week long to try and get all my papers and projects done before I left, I did not. I had $45(!!) in meal vouchers, so I grabbed some overpriced lobster fried rice to take back to the hotel, spread myself out on the bed with my food, my tablet, and my laptop. Snapped on the TV and TBS had on Couples Retreat and THEN 50 Shades of Grey on LIKE THEY KNEW I WAS COMING! ¬†Screenshot_20170515-152127

When I couldn’t stand to look at my homework anymore and decided to go to sleep, I suddenly realized I had NO IDEA what time to set the alarm to give myself time to get ready and over to the airport for breakfast before my¬†flight. Lonnie always sets his alarm, gets up and does his¬†thing, and then wakes me up and I do mine. I started laughing (right out loud, alone, like a psycho) because I knew how foolish it was and what a lazy princess of a traveler I have become! Up until my divorce in 2012, I usually travelled only with the kids because my ex didn’t like to travel, was wracked with anxiety when he did travel, ¬†and only liked to use his vacation time for hunting. As a result, even when the ex begrudgingly came along, I always had to take care of everything and be “on,” the whole time. Well no more, baby!! Husband #2 LOVES to travel and also loves dealing with all the little details, so I have become a little duckling just following him around in a happy daze; clueless about gate numbers, time it will take to get from gate 25C to 13B, how much cash we have, where my passport is….

Somehow I figured out what time to get up, and I did end up cutting it a little close, but it wasn’t¬†MY fault. If you haven’t been to Laguardia lately, it’s basically like being in the future. Rather than people waiting on you, you just touch pictures of what you want on any of 4672 ipads¬†that are all over the place, and then pick up your food when you get a text that it’s ready. Well that’s all well and good until the network goes down and then you have mass confusion and not-waiter-guys running around with post-it notes taking orders. Pretty sure Lonnie would have had built in time for such shenanigans… ūüėČ

 

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NASHVILLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

I read an article…

Did you know dogs get really smelly and are just plain gross and annoying when they are in heat? I didn’t. But then I read a couple articles, decided to wait until Piper was at least¬†year old to have her spayed, and now I know. ¬†Oh, oh, do I know….

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The sentence, “I read an article,” is the bane of existence for myself and all who know me.

I’ll tell ya right now though…. if this dog ever gets cancer or any of the other ailments I am supposedly helping her avoid by letting this happen… Shit is goin’ DOWN!! ¬†I’ll be writing my OWN article called, “DON’T DO IT! IT’S NOT WORH IT!”

“Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid…”


“Die in a fire, faggot!” “Kill yourself!” I laugh with them as they read through the comments on their videos. ¬†Peppered into the laughter are statements of disregard for those who say these things. Disregard certainly painted on as armor; layer-by-layer, with each comment, each look of disgust, each rejection.

But why? How does Jeffree Starr’s pink hair and outrageous behavior affect someone’s sense-of-being so much that they want him to die? ¬†How does Manny MUA’s winged eyeliner and just-a-little-too-orange foundation make someone tell him to hang himself? I know people who think this way. Feel this way. I have disassociated myself from most of them, but the nature of my job as a crisis worker often puts me eye-to-eye with statements like those above. I have asked the question; Why? I have never gotten a real answer. “The bible says so!” “It’s not natural!” “It’s just creepy.” I take particular exception to those who wave the bible while spewing their bullshit. I {unfortunately-but that is a blog for another day} went to a Christian school and Sunday school for many years. I even went to church camp. I know what the bible says, and doesn’t¬†say. I also know those same people wave that bible, don’t live the teachings of the book. None of them are spewing their venom at divorced people, or people who didn’t wait until marriage for sex, or cheaters.

I believe everyone does everything for a reason. Why does one person just think, “Ok, too weird for me.” and change the channel, or pray for Jeffree Starr’s soul, while another takes the time to type something hateful, or even threatening? My opinion; anger is¬†their¬†armor. Armor built of fear of things that are weird or different, causing feelings of discomfort. “Fucking Faggot,” gets out that discomfort. Puts you on the offense. Quickly dismisses any actual consideration of that person as a fellow human with a life, a story. Quickly dismisses the possibility that maybe¬†you share similarities. Quickly dismisses your mind from wandering to places you fear.

 

Listen!!

Dear Diary, It has been 7 days since I last listened to Dr. Laura. I went as far as to let my Sirius Radio subscription lapse, just¬†to get off the sauce ūüėČ While I am starting to feel cleansed of bitchy, judgmental, righteousness, I miss the chatter, the conversation, the stories of the people who call! My lifestyle and job leave me with¬†a LOT of listening time as I am aLONE aLOT, but busy doing things.¬† I’ve tried a few podcasts and nothing hooked me in.

Before I was big¬†non-book-reading loser, I used to read books …ALL THE TIME! Then for some reason, I couldn’t anymore. I just can’t sit and focus and read without my mind wandering. Magazines? yes. Articles? HELL YES…. ALL DAMN DAY! But books…. No.¬† And these days I have to read so much stuff for school, I don’t even want to THINK about reading.Screenshot_20170411-102955

The other day I was watching¬†a makeup video and she was talking about her love of audible, so I thought I’d give it a try. ¬†(Ok, ANOTHER try, I’ve tried listening to books before and¬†that whole mind wandering thing resulted in me spending more time rewinding to try to find where I stopped listening.)

Long story long….

I am currently listening to The Handmaid’s Tale which is RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!! ¬†I loooooooove me some post-apocalyptic/dystopian society shit! (If you have read this already, you see the irony that I left Dr Laura and jumped into this….) I LOVE THIS!!! I can listen in the car… and anywhere in my house, I can just say, “Alexa, open the Handmaid’s¬†Tale,” and off we go!

I haven’t yet decided if I will keep Audible after the free trial, we are TRYING to have LESS 14.95, 9.99, 12.95/per month things and it seems like every time we get rid of one, we add another. AND THAT’S HOW THEY GET YA!!!!

But… I mean…. I DID cancel my Sirius Radio.….¬†ūüėČ

Travel Journal: Playa del Carmen. Again :)

moments_c9562aa5-a84b-4204-aa26-718e14e2005d_orig_res.jpgwp-1490135081982.jpgwp-1490135022225.jpgwp-1490135061720.jpgOK, So SOME stuff that happened in Mexico will stay in Mexico…… BUT….

This most recent trip to Playa had it all! Dancing, swimming, sunshine, sea turtles, tequila, shopping, parasailing, eating…… We had an¬†eclectic group of people who mostly didn’t know each other and had a wide array of interests, but it worked!¬†¬†Only in a place like Playa where you can walk, ferry or cab,¬†to basically anything you could every want to do would this work so well. Everyone pretty much did their thing, and all came together from time-to-time to do stuff. No pressure. No drama. Lonnie pointed out that¬†he¬†was the mom of the trip, and I was the “cool dad.” So basically just like home ūüėČ

Of course, with all that fun, we had to have a some not-fun. That part came Monday night when all the flight cancellations started rolling in to everyone’s phones and we learned that we would not be leaving Tuesday morning as planned, and not Wednesday either. and MAYBE Thursday. And we would be homeless. And also broke since we just lived it up on vacation ūüėČ So we had to find a cheap place to stay for a couple days.¬† It was…um…. interesting?¬† You can read my review if you want to on Tripadvisor¬† ¬†OK, but be ready for some challenges¬† I will say, the “Talking Spanish Translator App” was AMAZING and hugely helpful. I can usually get by pretty well with my very limited Spanish, but when¬†I’m are trying to ask, “How will we get our $100 deposit back at 330am tomorrow when we leave since there is never anyone at the front desk?” I need to make extra sure nothing is lost in translation¬†ūüėČ

I am HUGELY BIGLY proud of my husband and kids though, and myself! We made the best of our unexpected extra days without lots of cash to throw around. Everyone stayed as positive as possible, and the last day, we actually had an awesome day of a little Mexican food, one last stop at our fav French Patisserie, and a little sunset photo shoot on the beach! A PERFECT¬†way to end our trip and prepare for the grueling 3am-midnight day of travel ahead……..