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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Devil's Rock

As I am writing this it is just below sixty degrees. It feels like fall. School has started. Yes... I am back in school! But before I move onto the next season I must discuss the capstone of this one.

My summer has been a crazy one. The stress has far out-weighed the enjoyment. It has been hard to focus on the positives when I felt I was surrounded by demands, obligations, and work. All it took was one afternoon, where for the first time in months I truly enjoyed myself. I really had no idea that one place where I spent just a few hours with a couple friends would completely make my summer. I guess life is intriguing like that.

For the first time ever I went swimming in Lake Willoughby in Westmore.. It is not only a beautiful lake, but it is incredibly fun to swim in, with clear water and tons of flat smooth rocks dotting the water and underwater. The last time I went swimming, like really swimming, just bobbing around in the water and relaxing, was probably four or five years ago. I was in heaven and wouldn't have left...ever... except that another idea was brought up.

Devils Rock.

This is the view from up on top of the rock. Shawn is down below... chicken.

Obviously the idea was for us to jump off into the lake. An adrenaline rush, so to speak. I was not convinced injury wouldn't result. Actually... relatively nothing scares me, but I don't have the ability to jump off things, particularly into water.

When I was about eight I went to a summer camp where they had a 10 foot diving board at the pool. I immediately climbed it the first chance I got, only to be scared and nearly frozen by the incredible heights I discovered at the end of the board. Once I finally talked my self into making the huge drop into the water the 0.4 seconds I was in free fall was exhilarating and frightening. Then I hit the water... in the worst angle possible. Some quasi-belly flop. The pain was excrutiating. I could barely swim and cried as I tried to paddle my way to the ladder. A year later, back at camp, I was determined to conquer the diving board successfully. Once again I climbed it and froze. Completely. Then took the climb of shame back down. From then on I have been petrified of jumping off high things into the water. I haven't done anything more than a foot or two high since.
--End Preface--

Devils Rock is more than twenty feet high.

I was scared.


I watched my friend jump. A couple strangers jump. I crept to the edge, feeling shivers all over. The same feeling of being eight years old up on that diving board returned. That was it... I was going to shatter that fear. One the count of three.


And I jumped.

I jumped off of Devil's Rock. It was freeing. The best feeling this summer, by far. Almost nothing compares to conquering a childhood fear.

Take that old diving board.
You're nothing compared to Devils Rock!

Why I Shouldn't go to a Pet Store

This isn't the first time... I walk into a pet store, or a store that sells agricultural supplies, and am mesmerized by the lonely animals staring at me through cages. Shortly later I fall in love and go home with an extra being to care for. I swear that if I was an old lady (lord help me in the future!) I would be a cat lady. Loving every little animal I could cram into my home.

Ok. I swear I won't let that happen...

But today when I went into the local feed store with my partner who was in search of dog food I noticed something that wasn't normally in the feed store....

A kitten. Actually a two year old spayed cat named "Lacie". As my partner shopped the aisles for a toy and dog food I played with the cat. She was awesome. So loving and playful. I fell in love. Dun...dun... dun..........

Its exactly how I ended up with Clyde two years ago. Walked into a pet supply store in search of toys for our two dogs and saw one lonely beagle inside in a pen. I fell in love. Clyde was mine. Don't think it is just me. Shawn won't admit it, but he is just as bad as I am. Falling in love at the wag of a tail or purr of a kitten.

So this afternoon, after we were called to take a hypovolemic man to the hospital, we went back and I adopted Lacie in the span of ten minutes. She is going home tonight to meet and greet the rest of our pets.

Oh, I am such a sucker.
Lets hope for Shawn's sake I am not like this with babies!

Monday, August 17, 2009


In one week I will be in my first nursing course. Summer is officially coming to an end... and so is the rest of my life for the next ten months. Willingly! Imagine that... I am willingly going back to school full time, working full time, and keeping my part time job. I know..... insanity. Please don't commit me until next June because I have to have something to show for all my student loans. I may come out of all this batter, bruised, cranky, and antisocial, but I will come out of it wearing scrubs with a name tag that has LPN next to my name (and hopefully RN the year to follow)

Speaking of scrubs...

They arrived the other day. "Teal" and "White" It is my school uniform. Note that the flip-flops are unacceptable footwear attire that I shall replace with white socks and sneakers by next week. I've never worn scrubs in my life until now and I am excited--but I am convinced I look like a man wearing them. Its a completely different uniform than my EMS pants and shirt. It will be so exciting to pick out colorful and cute scrubs once I am officially an LPN! Ok... maybe not exciting, but I get a choice in my work attire! I feel like I am escaping the Amish and their drab simple style to discover a whole world of color and possibilities.

And these also arrived...

Textbooks! By the dozen. Literally. As weird as it is, I actually love getting new text books. There is something enticing about the colorful colors and all the unknown knowledge waiting to be absorbed. The price is what I cringe about... $600. Yes.... SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS for my text books. But for now I will let my bank account absorb that and get ready for what I fear is going to be a hell of a next ten months!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


So my plans for a vacation unfortunately changed.... oh the sacrifices we make for marriage. Seriously... marriage sometimes seems like a lot more giving on your part and taking on theirs, but both parties see it that way so you can't get slighted. The key is in enjoying giving. Selfless giving to another person.

Alright... that is enough of my marital advice. After all, our marriage is still in its infancy.

Anyway... So my vacation has turned into a "staycation". Its a novel concept, one my husband loves. Rather than going far and away for several days we stick close to home. And in sticking close to home I have slowly...slooooowwwlllyyy.... begun to unwind.

Shawn and I have driven all over much of northern Vermont and New Hampshire. We've been stuck behind many pieces of farm equipment. It wouldn't be a drive through the north country without a reminder of how tied in to agriculture we are. Overall, the drives have been scenic and interesting. Yesterday we drove to the northernmost tip of New Hampshire, counting the Conneticut Lakes along the way. Today we drove to Burlington, but took an extreme scenic route. Along the way we stumbled across a piece of Vermont History I did not know...

That is the birthplace of Chester A Aurther. Techincally its a replica and technically it is where he was raise from infancy because he was really born in Fairfield Vermont. How neat. Just a random piece of American history in Bordoville (near Enosburg).

And its not the same as the ocean, but close and even more impressive in its own way. More close to God it seems.

Sometimes, driving home in the late afternoon as the sun begins to set behind the mountain it is the most peaceful and beautiful scene. Listening to country music. Feet hanging out the window. Nothing in the world seems to matter. I just tried to soak it all in. Breath deep and feel the sweet goodness of a hot summer day coming to an end in the hills of Vermont. And I remember why I love it here. And I remember why I love my husband. And all is right with the world.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Looks can be Decieving

At first glance the little town I call home isn't the most photogenic or beautiful. If you look at Island Pond at the wrong angle it is down right sad and run down.

A town that has seen better days. That once, when the railroad was booming, boasted a population of thousands. Had scores of factories, mills, and businesses. There was even an opera house. Its claim to fame was the first stop and connecting point of the first international railway The Montreal Portland Railway. Now the town is a mere skeleton of its former self.

But if you look just right you see something totally different. It just takes the right light to bring it out...or the right weather.

A summer storms looms over downtown Island Pond, if you could call that a "down town".

Maybe it is just me, but storms, even in their ugliness, seem to make everything look more beautiful. The contrasting dark and angry clouds bring out the light and beauty of what is around them. And the simplest or plainest of things suddenly have a new appearance.

Like this dock... a pitiful aluminum dock that barely stays afloat. But when it appears in front of such a dark and angry backdrop the whole scene has a difference appearance. I love capturing views like this. Its as if for a moment, when the weather is just right, I can see things differently than they appear any other time. There is a hidden beautiful and photogenic world, even in the most unlikeliest of places.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Crunch Time

Less than a week to go. I am running on empty, seriously. Its to the point where I haven't been sleeping well and I am feeling tired all the time, but there is so much to do this week. I've finally turned towards a stimulant to help me function.

CAFFEINE! Just to stay awake and prevent myself from constantly napping I decided to ingest a caffeinated beverage. or two. or four. My Dentist is shaking his head right now... But I will tell you, I never gave much stock to caffeine before now, but dang it does work! The crash afterward is unpleasant and often results in the urge for more to combat it. Ah, the ugly cycle of stimulants. I don't drink coffee or soda ever so this roller coaster ride is quite annoying and I would like to get off please. Thanks.

Everything ends the middle of next week. All my assignments are due. All final exams are to be completed. And my EMT course I've been teaching since mid-May comes to an end! I will be emerging into the light at the end of the tunnel that appeared so faint just a few weeks ago and I am excited. Although it will be short lived... Nursing school starts in just two weeks! Jeez.... no time to unwind.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Most Accurate Weather Forecast Ever.

During a whirl-wind of an afternoon we stopped to pick up our brand new furniture. I am convinced that is the number one sign you are an adult, right after making a mortgage payment... you buy new furniture. As we were parked waiting to load our new couch and bed set I noticed this...

Its very to the point. I can't think of a more accurate weather prediction theory either. Now I am pretty sure tornadoes aren't a big concern in Vermont, but the logic still proves valid. Or else there is a theif running around with a large rock.

And of course, I went over and tested its theory. The rock was hot. And sure enough... it was sunny. Hot damn... gotta love that simple logic!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Take Your Wife to Work Day!

It wasn't really "Take Your Wife to Work Day". Does such a day really exist? But the idea sounded good enough. I am fortunate to not only be interested in what my husband does, but also have the same profession so when the first time in the almost three years he's worked there where he was only going down for one shift and I happened to be off the same day arrived I jumped on the opportunity to spend a day at the Hartford Fire Department.

The entire E-One fleet. New Engine 1 is farthest on the right.

My day started at 4am, which is an ungodly hour. I hate 4am any day of the week and quickly dismissed it by sleeping the entire hour and a half trip to my husbands work as he drove over the mountains and through the fog (to the fire station station we go... ha). Once there everyone was in the kitchen. My husband proceeded to read the paper and have "man chit-chat". I tried not to giggle seeing an image of my father in him. Shawn really never reads the paper and sits around and talks like that when I'm around. It was as if I was getting to see a different side of him. How mysterious. Ok... enough of that nonsense.

Most of the day we painstakingly put their brand new engine-one, which is conincidently an E-One, in service. All day we were moving equipment from their old engine to the new one. The captain on the shift directed where everything should go. I felt helpful most of the time. At least I knew the equipment, what it was for, and how to use it. The whole job was suppose to take an hour. It took eight and we didn't even get a lunch break. Honestly I never realized they worked so hard all day long. I really have it easy at my job.

Near the end of shift the truck was finally placed in service. Shawn and I went out for the first "in service" ride in the engine. It was just him and I cruising the back roads of Hartford and Quechee. I even got to sit up front! It was a neat ride and uneventful, except for accidently stepping on the air horn button in front of the prestigious Quechee club. Ooopps. Only a confused golfer and woman with an infant noticed.

Oh, what about calls?! Well there were three medical calls. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed on the first ambulance because there was a "regular rider" signed up before me so I had to wait for a second medical call, which actually did happen, or a fire call. The medical call was a fall victim with a skin tear that we didn't transport, but the guys were so nice and polite I couldn't believe it. There were no fire calls at all, not even a box or still alarm, but it was a great experience. I really hope I get a chance to go back, but with nursing school starting soon I imagine that I will not have the free time for a while.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Like an Unripened Tomato

...Its just not ready yet.

After all... it's still a little green. hyuck!

A couple weeks ago our new rescue truck for our local fire department arrived. We purchased it from the Albany Fire Department through a Home Land Security grant we received to replace our current 1970s era rescue truck that hardly anyone can drive and often doesn't function well. Oh, did I mention that it rolled into a house? yeah...

So our new rescue truck has been sitting at my father in law's house (The chief) and members of the department have been taking it out occasionally to get some driving practice. I believe its 38 feet long! Everyone jokes about me driving it.... ha...yeeeeaaaah. No thank you. I would rather just be a firefighter passenger. Not the driver, who is also responsible for truck/pump operations. Let me be the one who puts a pack on and goes inside.

Shawn checking out the hose beds and trying to figure out what sized hose should go where. He's got some plan of exactly how to lay out the truck. I trust him. Not only is he my husband... he's my assistant chief. Yeah, its a small town.

Why do assistant chief's always have to be so serious? Especially when in the driver's seat. There is no room for fooling around when in the driver's seat, apparently. So I'm going to go sit over here....