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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Week of Chaos

So I have been VERY busy this past week (big surprise huh?). The blog has been one of the things I've neglected, which I guess is acceptable because really, does anyone read this thing? I often just wonder if people only find my blog through random searches for "How to get over a cold" and "Why is McDonalds bad for me?". Seriously... that's how people end up here.

But anyway...

The past week I suffered through some random sickness. It came on fiercely with a fever, chills, and phlegm. Ugh... the phlegm. Apparently there is something going around and unfortunately I caught it. It definitely put me behind in about every aspect of my life. I'm finally getting over it after hours spent coughing and many nights without sleep.

Speaking of nights without sleep...
I had a completely unusual ambulance call last weekend. We spent most of Friday night staging on a dirt road with forty-some-odd police officers who were involved in a stand-off with a man held up in his house with a 12ga shotgun.

That is just a FEW of the police vehicles that were on scene. We spent hours staging behind the tactical unit you can on the right. Yes, thats a tactical forces unit that the Vermont SWAT Teams uses. It seemed like an extreme show of force for just one guy who was dilusional and baracaded in his home, but who am I to question so many men with guns? Like this one...

Well I don't think that's a gun... I technically think that's what they shoot tear gas with. And most of the officers were decked out in camo BDUs and helmets. When it became dark they all even sported night vision goggles. It was pretty interesting to see all the equipment in use. It was like an episode of SWAT Team or COPS. The only downside was that this whole incident extended past when my shift ended, so much so that I didn't have the oppurtuntity to go home before my next shift begin. So basically, I ended up working for two and a half straight days. Yuck.

So on the positive side of things...
The Forth of July is approaching! That means the big day of fire department fun. Parade, cookout, and of course.... fireworks! Its one of my most favorite times of the year. A whole day with Shawn, a day spent with friends, and a night lighting of beautiful explosives. Afterward Shawn and I have four more days off together! No meetings, no work, no classes, no NOTHING. We are making tentative plans for a little get away... can't wait!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Two Green Thumbs Down

Ok, so a month ago I was optimistic. Even two weeks ago I was still optimistic, but now, after over a month of germination I have pretty much lost all hope...

Yes, that is my garden...
I planted it in Mid-May. Peas, carrots, corn, beans, pumpkins, spinach, squash, cucumbers... a whole array of delicious sounding vegetables. As I mentioned before... I am no Jennie Appleseed (ha). The things I plant won't sprout up all over the country, but I have been able to grow some farm stand worthy vegetables in the past, but this year is a different case. I am about ready to mow over the garden. Just looking at it frustrates me and I have no idea why it has not grown. It was not overly wet, overly dry. Maybe it was a little cool? I have no idea, obviously. I've reached a new low in my gardening ventures...

The only thing that HAS grown are peas, but they are sorely behind schedule. Oh, and this thing that I didn't even plant...

It doesn't look like a weed... I think it might be a potato? Maybe? Left over from the people that owned the house three/four years ago. Their garden was phenomenal and flourishing when we first looked at the property. They had potatoes and in the years past one or two have popped up on their own. I guess left behind, never dug up, and then reseeded. Perhaps that is what that bushy plant is? The only excitement I get out of my garden this year is going to be digging that unidentified shrub up.

This year... definitely a garden fail.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For the Love of a Beagle

I just love this little guy. Really, he grows on my every day. Originally he was destined for another home, but things didn't work out as planned and we were saddled with yet another dog. I was apprehensive at first, but seriously... who could resist a face like this?

Such a loyal and persistent face...

And a nose like this...

Oh a beagle nose. They smell EVERYTHING and it gets them into EVERYTHING. But its always good to know that I have someone sitting beneath me waiting for the inevitable food morsel to fall to the floor when I am cooking. Keeps the floor clean and reduces the need for mopping!

What a cute little peanut. And his tail... the end of it almost looks transparent. That's because he is wagging it so fast!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Good Morning America?

Yesterday I got a really random message on my YouTube account. Normally I don't even pay attention to messages or comments on my YouTube account, but this time I checked the message and I am glad I did. Some woman was asking me for the rights to use one of my videos... she said she was a producer from "Good Morning America" and in search of funny videos to use on the show. She stumbled across a video of mine, of my cat Abby, as she pulled a daring escape from closed crate.

This is the video she was referring to...

Crazy huh?!

So I was skeptical at first... this woman left an email address to contact her which ended with "". I asked a couple of friends what they thought and they all told me to just send an email and see what kind of response I got back. Well today I got a reply back. Indeed it is legitimately from ABC and Good Morning America plans on using my YouTube video in a segment on the show! How cool is that? She couldn't tell me when exactly it would air, but would try to give me a heads up. I hope she does so I can watch it and tell everyone else to watch it as well!

Ok, so I am not winning an Oscar or anything, but I think its pretty cool that my cat and my video are going to be on national TV. Right now the video only has 62,000 views (last week it had 30,000--and I have no idea what caused the jump between then and now). I wonder what it will be once its on TV?

I feel famous... almost... close enough!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Proud Firefighter's Wife

Not only am I now a "real" credentialed firefighter, but I am also the wife of a real professional firefighter/paramedic. Just saying I am married to a firefighter makes me proud, makes me walk a little taller, and glow inside knowing my husband works so hard and selflessly for complete strangers. There is such a humble honor in that. But last night I had a reason to be extra-proud.

There was an awards banquet held in the town where he works for "Outstanding Citizens and Community Servants" and Shawn and his shift from work were being honored for a call that took place last year.

(Shawn is the fourth one from the left)

Because of these men there is a man who is walking, talking, and breathing that once wasn't. This man collapsed on the floor, went into cardiac arrest, and was pulse less when my husband and his fellow crew members arrived. There was a discussion of whether the man was "viable" or not and Shawn didn't hesitate to begin life saving measures. Moments later a pulse returned and they were all on the way to the hospital. Just a few days later, after undergoing extensive cardiac surgery, having hypothermia induced and then gradually rewarmed, the man awoke and went home, completely revived.

My husband simply did his job. I'm proud of him every day for what he chooses to face, for what he loves to do. But what makes me even more proud is watching him shyly and humbly be recognized for just doing his job. I'm so grateful to be a firefighter's wife.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


So I figured I had passed, but didn't want to count my chickens before they hatched, ya know. Then today it came in the mail, one of those big brown manila envelopes, the kind you put certificates in. The return address was from the "Vermont State Fire Academy". I knew exactly what it was... my final tests results for my Firefighter Level I class!

And what do you know... I passed!! I got an 83 on my written exam, 1% shy of my husband's 84 (dang- I was trying to out do him!). Not bad for having minimal time to study and completing the exam in the customary record time. I've always been a fast test taker, just answering the questions and never looking back. You can't second guess yourself or over think, and so far its worked just fine for me!

So now what? Well, I have another certificate to add to the others and call my self a real firefighter.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Nice Day for a Hike

There is nothing like going out for a hike on a beautiful sunny 72 degree day with man's best friend, ie: my black lab, Sutton. There is a hiking trail right here in town that I have been dying to hike for the last few years. Shawn doesn't believe in hiking, unless you call walking in the woods for hunting going for a hike so I haven't done much since we've been together. In fact, the one time that we did go hiking we never made it to the top of the mountain. He was complaining, we were arguing, and then he called me a "flat lander". I was furious, turned around and stormed back down the trail to go home. As I headed down the trail, full tilt, thinking I knew exactly where I was going, I somehow went off the trail and kept going straight a good quarter mile into the uncharted woods. Shawn knew this, smiled, and kept following me. When I realized I had stupidly gotten myself lost in a tamtrum I was furious and wanted to cry. Shawn then led us out of the woods and back to the trail. Neither of us said anything, but I remember wanting to punch him for the stupid smile he had one his face the entire time. I should have been humbled, but instead I was just pissed. Ah.. love.

So anyway, Shawn was at work and it was just too nice of a day to sit at home so I decided I would tackle the Bluff Mountain Trail right in town and take Sutton, our lab, along with me. It would be good exercise for the both of us and I was hoping to get a good view of the town below on the hike. I'm a view junky when it comes to hiking. If there isn't anything to see when you get to the top, then what's the point? The view is the reward.

The view on Bluff Mountain, looking at Island Pond, Vermont

Once we got going it wasn't very steep. The trail was well marked, and the dog was behaving well. I still had him on a leash, just in case he got the scent of something he couldn't run off. I didn't want to lose the dog in the middle of the woods! It was a hot feeling 72 degrees... maybe it was closer to 80. I sorely forgot to bring my waterbottle along with me. The dog happily drank out of the mountain streams we crossed while I pined in thurst.

Beautiful mountain stream, about halfway to the summit

Then, as we near the top of the mountain the slope went from slight to extreme. The poor dog was getting worn out. He was having to make leaps and bounds to climb the trail. I couldn't believe how steep it was and felt awful for bringing him once I realized how hard it was for him,but he was a champ and just kept climbing. Dogs are amazing with their stamina and drive.

At the Summit!

Once we reached the summit all there was was a little metal disk in the ground marking a US geological survey. That was the top. Woo hoo...? There was nothing around except for trees and moose poop. God, there was a lot of moose poop! So much so that I expected one to just walk right out in front of me. Then I wondered how the dog would react to a wild animal bigger than a horse appearing out of the thick of the forest. But the trail kept going, to "The Lookout". I was optimistic that the name of the trail meant I would be rewarded with a spectacular view if I followed it... and I was right.

At "The Lookout" overlooking Island Pond, Vermont

I relaxed in the sunshine on large granite rocks overlooking Island Pond for the better part of a half an hour. I even loaded a couple pictures onto my facebook and called Shawn to brag about the view...ah technology. Poor Sutton was dog tired. (yes. a pun, I know...). It was quite enjoyable until the black flies found us and then it was time to make our decent. There was a sign pointing out that the "Lookout Trail" kept going and went down the mountain a different way to the main trail. How cool, I could go down the mountain on an entirely differnt trail. Who knew what I would see. The sense of adventure and draw of the unknown overcame me and Sutton went along for the ride.

So steep! You can see the handles you have to use to climb the rock face.
Sutton looks oh so tired (and I'm not pulling on his leash, even though it looks like it)

Not long after I began to head down the mountain did I realize that the trail was steep. EXTREMELY steep. So steep that there were handles drilled into the rocks for people to use as steps and hand holds on the trail. It was sheer rock. I was fortunate enough to have thumbs, the dog, was not. Poor Sutton, took the rockface like a champ and I officially felt like a jerk for bringing my dog up and down such a mountain.

The rest of the hike was uneventful, as I figured it would be. The trail led back to the main trail and Sutton and I were enjoying our walk out of the woods. Then I heard a loud thrashing a few yards off. I stopped and stood still to listen. There was a large, dark colored animal about fifty yards away in the woods. A moose! I thought, excitedly. I have always wanted to see a moose in the woods, rather than driving by one on the side of the road. I reached for my camera, while trying to get a better look at the animal and then I realized... it wasn't a moose... it was a BEAR! I huge bear! And it was slowly, but steadily, wlaking towards Sutton and I. My mind raced. What should I do? If I run, will it chase me? Is it stalking me? What if is charges me? Is there a cub nearby that I didn't see? I was trying to flash back and remember all those "When Animals Attack" shows trying to think of what to do. Nothing rational came to mind except to get away as quickly as possible without startling it. So I ran... well jogged... as quickly and quietly as I could down the trail. The dog and I were already exhausted, but we both kept running. We ran until I thought we might be far enough away, and then ran some more, just to be safe. Moments later we were back at the trail head and at the side of my car. Relief. I never turned around and looked to see whether the bear tried to follow or if he paid no attention. I was too scared to look... and also to scared to take a picture.

But in the end Sutton and I made it, to the top and back, in one piece. Exhausted, but accomplished. It really was a great day for a hike.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I was there...

I was taking care of a man's badly injured body. There were fish flopping on the road side, but I didn't even notice them. I was distracted with the job at hand. No one knew how the accident had happened or who the man was, but that didn't matter. He was in good hands, being cared for the best way possible. Bandages, backboards, and oxygen cylinders surrounded me. I'm sure it looked like chaos on the outside, but I was in my own little world, just me, the man, and the trauma from his accident.

The man was lucky to be alive, but not out of the woods yet. A helicopter was called to the scene. He needed a trauma center, and most likely, a trauma surgeon. The interstate was closed. I am sure the people that had to be detoured to the next exit (18 miles away!) were not happy. I wouldn't have been happy if I were them, but instead I was there, doing my job. I was there, in the thick of it, making decisions that affected this man's outcome, people's drives home from work, and all the firefighter's and police. Not only that, but we made the front page of the paper.

Photo courtesy of the Caledonian Record.
We are clustered around the stretcher rolling it to the helicopter in the upper right of the photo

Small town... its not every day a helicopter lands on the interstate. Its not everyday that we get major trauma calls either, but often those calls are the ones where we can make the most and best difference for the injured. And did I mention I love my job? I really do...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

School... Anywhere... All the Time

I am now into my second week of online classes. My thought about taking a couple online classes, rather than actually attending a class, during the summer was that they would be fairly simple, not require a ton of work, and easily fit into my already hectic schedule, especially because I have taken the subjects before in college. Wrong... wrong... wrong...

So far the online classes have required an exorbitant amount of my time. The biggest hassle has been reading. Ugh.... the reading. So many pages. Then there is the whole issue with getting used to the online format. The concept is actually a lot harder than I imagined. There seems to be a lack of continuity in class and I feel as rather I am teaching myself than being taught anything.

My class room!
location = work
*Note the healthy snacks in the background! feeble attempt to be healthier while studying nutrition. Not to be confused with the pizza I had delivered for lunch....shhhh... don't tell my instructor.

The one good thing about the online classes is that I literally can do my school work and "attend class" anywhere and anytime (or all the time). I have been seen lately toting around notebooks and textbooks with my laptop and creating a classroom everywhere I go. A little reading here, a little online discussion there. Setting everything up makes me feel intellectual, but there is another issue with online classes... they are ONLINE. Online with a bazillion other distractions, like facebook, like my blog...


If I am learning anything I think it is that I have a hidden attention deficit disorder.