Sunday, September 22, 2013

A bit of a break...somethingsomething...yeaaah


I think in every bloggers life there is a hiatus of sorts. Lately it has been unintentional but today I have decided to announce an indefinite hiatus during which I hope to take care of myself a little bit better and regularly and learn to balance a few other things within my life: blogging, full time veterinary technician, 5 pets, a relationship that needs some work, pet sitting business, craft etsy shop, exercise, healthy cooking/eating, social activities with friends, and learning to slow down and do stuff just for me. I'm even planning to put my etsy shop on vacation. I'm trying to juggle too many things and none of which I am successfully moving forward. So I appreciate each of you who read regularly (sporadically) and I promise to be back soon, I need to focus on myself right now. I've even stopped writing for Talk Nerdy.

There may be big life changes coming in the future and although amazing/scary/most likely sad--it will end well.

See you soon.

peace. love. pawprints.

PS--when I do come back expect a re-vamp of the site :) new life (in the making), new look, new series.


Edit: oh and school--taking 3 courses towards my CVT degree...prolly more stuff too...


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Finally A Post

Sometimes life just gets away from you. Suddenly I look up and it's been almost two months since my last post--which means the same time has past since i posted on my blog.

Where have I been?

Mostly work. Home hospice care for a family pet. Pet sitting a lot. Trying to craft but inspiration of any kind escapes me lately. I need to become more disciplined, more zen. Watch less TV (oh now I love mindless reruns of family guy, Simpsons, American dad, Cleveland show. It's not good for productivity. After weeks of being double and triple booked with pet sitting and kennel duty at my clinic--all I really want to do is sit on the couch, smoke a lil maryjane, and relax and unwind from the mentally, physically, and emotionally draining day-week-month that I have had. Oh yeah and after a month of putting all my energy, love, and modern medicine the pancreas and kidneys just couldn't do their job anymore and we had to say goodbye to beloved Milo, David's family pet.

I put all I have into my work--body, mind, soul/spirit/energy. Sometimes it's not enough. Sometimes the disease isn't progressed and they pull through. Sometimes shit happens when it isnt supposed to. Sometimes we need a break.

I have to write more. I've been better with my depression and anger but learning to let go and just be zen is something that must happen for my health. Writing allows an outlet for me, when I can actually express myself into words that is.

So what has happened in the last two months?

Well went to Denver for 5 days in April and it was amazing. I would love to move there one day but another visit is definitely in our future. We went to several different local places for food, beer, entertainment. Sampled some of Denver's finest herbal medicine :) Exquisite! We were unable to obtain transportation to visit some further outlying areas without spending all day traveling to one place so we have big plans for next time.

I told briefly of Milo--which is enough.

Work has been extremely overwhelming lately--nothing I can't handle but not for extended lengths of time. We may be looking to add another experienced vet tech--we need a good tech to add to our work family.

Oh yeah and PETA is taking issue with some anonymous online's getting pretty heated between them and anonymous (the hacker group). I'm on board just because I feel I have been misinformed by PETA on exactly what they do--perhaps it's for the donations. I know they have done good work for some animals but the concern is they are misleading donors. Now the shelter is one of last resort. I just want non profit groups to be honest and transparent with their donors.

That's what going on over here...I've been working on trying to be more inspired by going outside or doing things I enjoy. I've been saying for months (a year?) that I need to improve certain things in my life--and I have slightly but I have not committed fully to making myself happy. As my friend Jen of says, you are in control of your own happiness. :)

Peace. Love. Paw prints. Think Zen. <3


I WILL be back Dammit.


Get at me on twitter: @thecraftafarian




Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reflection Part 4 {Most Memorable Patients}

Reflection Part 4--Most Memorable Patients


Last time I shared Part 3 of the Reflections series (read part 1 and part 2 here) which ended with a photo of the young Bengal tiger I was fortunate enough to work with during my time at UF. He was certainly one of my most memorable cases for just being what he was. How many people get to work with tigers? I consider myself truly lucky to have had so many amazing experiences. I'd like to share a few more from University of FL Vet School:


There was the pet cougar(I do not recommend keeping wild animals as pets!!) who stayed in ICU overnight. She was under a constant sedative IV drip for pain and to keep her from eating us. Apparently she was someone's pet and actually slept in bed with the owner. Due to the fact that she was a cougar she stayed under sedation and closely monitored for her safety (and ours). The coolest thing about working with the big cats (even though this one was sedated and the tiger was essentially a baby and used to human interaction) is that they are exactly like house cats.

resized large cougar

They are playful, vindictive, sweet, true hunters, and you really want to stay on their good side! The tongues of tiger and cougar felt just like one from a house cat. They are beautiful and dangerous animals. The slightly frightening part of this case was that the wildlife department at the university came in to transfer her to us and update us on her case also brought a dart gun that we were to use in case the cougar awoke unexpectedly. They explained how to use it, locked the syringe/darts in our controlled substance machine, and left us for the night. It went perfectly--what a cool experience!


I briefly assisted cleaning and medicating a great horned owl's wing injury. I applied the medication as the student gently restrained the owl. A deer was brought in by two young men after they saw her injured on the side of the road. They dropped her off with wildlife emergency and went back to look for her fawn while we examined her. Wildlife department requested help from ICU and I got to go down there to help sedate the doe and place an IV catheter.


We had a wallaby hospitalized in ICU for a few days. That was really interesting as they were using canine plasma and several other infusions. He was pretty sick initially but when he was more aware he was just very shy. We had to do blood work on him frequently and monitor his vitals. He had surgery so we were trying to keep his temperature up which is why he is covered up with blankets and a warm air heater. 


Finally one of the most touching cases was a middle aged couple who were traveling through Florida  saw a large young dog get hit by two different cars (who didn't bother to stop). They stopped and were able to carefully lift him and carry him to their car. He ended up at UF on emergency and have fractured pelvis as well as a few other fractures in addition to head trauma. He needed thousands of dollars in surgery and care. The couple had fallen in love with the sweet pup and decided to pay for his treatment AND adopt him. Such a great ending to a sad beginning! 


It's cases like this one that makes my job so worth all the sad and frustrating times. 

On another note: we got back from Denver, CO last week and had SUCH an amazing time! I definitely want to go back (I'd love to move there!!) to visit--it was amazing to see all my close friends. <3 Next post I will share our trip to Colorado :)


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reflection Part 3

Reflection Part 3

(Catch up by reading Part 1 and Part 2)
We last left off on Reflection Part 2 in 2007 when I left AVS and was accepted into the University of Florida undergraduate program. I took a position at UF's Small Animal Veterinary Medical Center. After working with the amazing staff at AVS I knew that no matter what I couldn't let anyone keep me from my passion--animals, science, veterinary medicine. Since this story is about my career and not the blunders of college (again that can be for another time) I will keep it short and just say my acceptance was conditional but I wasn't informed in time to complete the requirement thus my acceptance was rescinded. At this point I was focused and refused to give up--I stayed in Gainesville with my new job and resumed classes at Santa Fe College.
My job was in the small animal ICU/CC (intensive care unit/critical care). I worked the "swing" shift which was 5 days a week 5pm to 1am. I also went to class during the day. The shift I worked was mostly unsupervised--no doctors--just techs with doctors on call. When I first got up there I had to get blood drawn, physical exam, rabies vaccinations, and training on the day shift. They told me usually new employees train for a week but after 3 days I was put onto my new shift. The rabies vaccinations were administered in a series of a few weeks and they made me feel sick every time--which is supposedly a normal side effect.
I fit in fairly well with the diverse staff and learned many new skills quickly. Most of the time we were monitoring and administering medications and treatments to the patients in our ward. We had many post operative patients as well as critically ill patients. I went in with general nursing skills and came out knowing advanced skills. Despite all the obstacles I've faced everything has made me into the person and professional that I am today. Working in ICU we had our unfortunate fair share of experience in CPR and because of this I am quite comfortable (for lack of a better word) performing the potentially life saving action. My almost two years of employment at UF was a crash course in emergency care/resuscitation, cardiology, surgery, advanced nursing and venipuncture (special IV catheters and blood drawing) and so much more.
I wish I kept journals during so much of this time but I never really wrote about work and when I did write about anything it was sporadic depressive ramblings. Anyway, for about a year I worked that shift and most weekends drove back to orlando to visit David. I never specifically had trouble with management but a few of my coworkers did and I developed a healthy disdain for my employers (or at least the people they put in charge). For whatever reason our department (there was cardiology, radiology, etc--just like human specialists, they had everything) was the only one in small animal that ran 24 hours a day and constantly brought in money but our staff was often the most harassed and we were always an after thought. Upper management purposely misled our direct manager during evaluations (that were supposed to lead to raises) so that most of us did not score high enough despite what our manager reported about us. They created this "career ladder" format of rigorous checklists, signatures, written and verbal testing which was the graded using a mysterious formula that equaled to a dollar amount for an individuals raise. When questioned they were unable to provide said formula or explain their conclusions. Several other little rude, condescending, selfish actions and remarks that aren't even the point of this story. They often forgot about the late shifts when they actually planned something for the staff whether if was educational, fun, or mandatory. We would have to stay hours late after our shifts or come in during the middle of the day just for a meeting. Even though I am still a little bitter about a few things I would do it all over again because it made me just that much better at what I do!
I'm having a difficult time remembering which cases came and what point while I worked at UF so I'm going to go through some photos (thankfully the files has date taken recorded...awesome!) and try to figure out what happened at what time. During my last year there I was suddenly switched from the swing shift to an overnight position (10pm to 8am) which entailed more duties, longer shifts, less help, and I would at one point be the senior technician. I didn't have an option. I asked for an increase in pay and was denied. I had to drop all of my classes as my new schedule was effective within two weeks. I had a really hard time adjusting to the overnight shift but I still have some amazing experiences and became good friends with someone I probably wouldn't have if we didn't work so close together. I'll share this photo of a 10 month of white bengal tiger baby boy. He's quite large as he is almost a year old. The "little" guy injured a bone in his leg and was on cage rest with a cast. Our duty at night was to check on him and make sure he didn't remove his cast. If he did then we would call the zoo med veterinarian. However we did get to pet him through the cage a few times. ;-o He was very sweet and would try to lick your hand through the bars and would place his paw against your palm.

Next week I will share special and interesting cases I experienced during my time there. I hope at the very least to show you some cool photos of animals you wouldn't usually get to see up close and also to show you what I do and have done in my career in veterinary medicine.

Friday, March 15, 2013

It’s nice to have time off!!


I’m taking a break from my series called “Reflection” (See Part 1 and Part 2) which is literally me reflecting on the last 13 years of my career as a veterinary technician (basically the beginning of my career to current). Sometimes remembering certain things can be overwhelming or even tiresome. I try to let go of some of the bitterness I still feel toward some situations but writing about it tends to bring those feelings back. AND since I’ve been dealing with headaches and just general “run down-ness” I decided to give you guys more of an update with the current rather than the next installment of “Reflection.”

Luckily for all of us at the clinic, our boss is taking a few days off—which means we all get a little extra time off also. Our manager scheduled it so we each have at least two days off in a row (or more!). I’m actually watching their pets as I type. <3

We’ve been slowing upgrading our apartment—it feels nice to have our own furniture that we bought. It’s nothing expensive but it all matches and we picked it out. All we’ve ever had was hand-me-downs (and they were all awesome!) but there is something different about picking out and purchasing your own stuff. Now we need a cover for our love sac (giant awesome bean bag couch/bed) and a few shelves to help us organize the rest of our belongings.

As part of my valentines day gifts David arranged to get us park hopper passes for Disney—particularly so we can go to Animal Kingdom. We may go Sunday :) I usually dislike zoo and don’t visit them but Animal Kingdom and Miami Zoo are the absolute shit. Miami Zoo is wicked cheap and an incredible experience—“cage free” zoo!!

We will also be visiting Colorado in three weeks! I’ve never visited anywhere in the US for fun. I’ve always been dragged around by family to visit family. Thanks to David’s family I’ve been able to travel to Cancun, Mexico and The Bahamas. Those are the only places I have traveled—it may be a lot to some but I’ve always wanted to visit places and see their natural beauty and other “must see” sights. I have two best friends out there and their lovely significant others and I am so freaking excited to visit them and explore Denver and Ft. Collins. They will be trying to convince us to move there, hehe. If you live in or near those areas in Colorado hit me up on facebook or twitter and maybe we can all meet up for drinks or coffee while we are wandering around Colorado. I’m so ready to see some mountains and National Park and just the awesomeness that is in the west of the US. I can’t wait to see you guys!! Tanya, Myke, Leashy, Seth, Bryan, Lily, Nette. <3 You guys are my family! <3

Luckily David’s time off was approved so he can come with me and all our pets will be staying at the clinic boarding kennel. That’s the only place I know that can handle all four of them and their behaviors and medical issues. The whole herd is too much for one person unless they are skilled in medicating animals and pet mischief. My fellow techs are professionals and they love my little hooligans.

Upcoming Changes: my blog is suffering because of my lack of routine but with these few extra days off and then vacation coming up I’m planning some slight changes to the design, but nothing big. The other change is my etsy shop—I’m currently researching recycled metals (sterling silver) and acquiring some beach glass and other natural beauties. Maybe some pretty little stones from Rocky Moutain national park! I’ll let you know :)

In the meantime you can check out the new additions to my shop. A few pieces I have made in the past I am re-offering for purchase.

I’m still trying to figure out how to design my own logo, even though I want to support small business I really can’t afford to pay a graphic designer.

IMG_2780  IMG_0037

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader


So I just found out today that Google announced several features and services that they are closing. Apparently there have been 70 services closed from the start of their “Spring Cleaning” which began in 2011. One that affects many of us is Google Reader—well maybe it doesn’t affect us but at least the good majority of us know what Google Reader is. The reader will no longer be available as of July 1st—I saw this on bloglovin, the blog reader that I prefer. So I encourage you all to follow me on bloglovin, or whatever reader you prefer. Make sure you import all your favorite blogs to your new reader. Bloglovin has some instructions on how to do so. They are awesome!

So, follow The Craftafarian on bloglovin (please? hehe, only if you want to!)

PS—I am NOT being paid or compensated for this post. I just LOVE bloglovin.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Reflection—Part 2

I’ve been awful about blogging and writing anything lately. However, I have been keeping a notebook/journal/doodle thing. I jot down ideas, thoughts, drawings, whatever. I date each page when I start a new one. I keep changing up the color pen to keep me feeling creative. Anyway, if you remember the last post I did—about the beginning of my career in veterinary medicine. I will pick up right after Part 1.


There were so many other things that happened, but that was the only death on my watch. My friend Myke and I could make you laugh and cringe in disgust at some of the things we experienced. I heard other stories later from staff that remained after I left—they didn’t stay long. I try not to dwell on it much, its quite upsetting. I was already stressed out from working for Dr. D so when he cut my hours, I handed him my resignation letter—effective immediately. I already was on the job search and had an offer as a personal assistant to a couple of realtors. Just as I was starting the new job my friend and I had a falling out and I moved into a duplex with some friends. I started dating one of my roommates—as I had a crush on him before I moved in. I was on the rebound after dating one guy on and off for several years—and he was there for me. After a long time of searching and applying I finally landed a job at a local veterinary clinic. (I actually had a job interview to work for Dixie Stampede as a rider but I wasn’t able to get a ride out there *sad times*)

I worked at the clinic for about 6 weeks. I was having trouble sleeping and my boyfriend (at the time) had a friend that was over often with a drug problem—he would come and crash at our place after arguing with his fiancĂ© (not that we didn’t get a little wild back then). When I was hired I was told they would teach me to do the things I didn’t know. At my first review I scored a D because I wasn’t excelling as they had expected. I told them I wasn’t being trained. Finally one day I was called by the manager. She stated that she was going to talk to me that day but I wasn’t there (it was my day off). She said I didn’t seem happy and it wasn’t working out so if I could please come by tomorrow to drop off my key and pick up my final check. I was crushed. That’s the first time and only time I’ve ever been fired. I was so devastated—I thought that maybe this wasn’t for me. I took a job at the local publix as cashier. I figured what the hell, might as well earn some money while looking for a better job or just work there while I went to school.

I didn’t last long. I grew tired of staying hours after my scheduled time. Tired of the monotonous scanning of barcodes and weighing vegetables. So very tired of being exhausted every week and paychecks that weren’t worth it. I found a job for the local specialty clinic on and literally like 15 minutes after applying I received a call from the hospital manager. After two interviews (one was a working interview) I was hired as Vet Assistant/Treatment Tech. I originally applied for position of tech but after speaking with the manager I told her I wasn’t comfortable doing the job without training—but once trained I knew I could. They hired me with the knowledge that they could use my practically anywhere.  And they did. I was used the most as “cat whisperer”, as I was really good at restraining and calming pets, particularly cats. This was especially important during chemotherapy as movement could cause the injection to come out of the vein. I often helped in chemotherapy with our patients, in ultrasound restraining patients, I was able to encourage sick cats and dogs to eat, I did treatments while the other techs were busy in procedures, I took appointments a few times, but the most interesting part was when they asked me to take over physical therapy once a week.

Every friday I did physical therapy exercises with a few dogs and then the underwater treadmill. It was amazing to watch animals rebuild strength or maintain severe arthritis. The best part was Lucky (I think that was his name). He was a little dachshund that was unable to walk when I started working with him. The most special thing about him was he exclusively saw me. The other patients sometimes came on friday when they couldn’t make their regular visit or at least they had already been evaluated by the physical therapy assistant (all of our instructions came from the orthopedic surgeons, there wasn’t an actual physical therapist). So Lucky came only once a week and it was recommended at least twice a week for results. He came in unable to walk and I watched him go from needing total assistance to being able to support himself and almost walk completely unaided. It was absolutely amazing.

I worked there for almost 2 years and learned so much. We had many joyful times and many heartbreaks. That’s the curse of working with animals. We will almost always outlive our pets. It was so refreshing to finally be somewhere that had the same medical ethics as me and didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. They thanked each of us everyday and I loved working there. I only left because I was finally accepted into University of Florida and my dream of becoming a veterinarian had been delayed too long already (the story of school is also an epic one, I’ve had one hell of a time just trying to work on my bachelors. That will be for another time).


This photo is Lucky and I our last day together. It sucked because he didn’t care for the person taking over my job. I have several other photos from my last day. Special patients that were still hanging in there, goofy coworkers, and all the doctors. I remember him the most because he was MY patient. I used to have video of him walking without support for several steps. Just amazing.

The next step of my journey was that of acceptance into the school I had been dreaming/planning to attend since I was a little girl. Once I was accepted and knew I would be moving up there I informed the doctors at the specialty hospital and they told me to apply to the vet school. I wasn’t sure if I was qualified but I was assured that I could do it and I would be great. I applied for any veterinary technician position within the small animal hospital but I would work in large animal if trained. I went up for my interview and to apartment search. The interview was a success and I was offered a job working the middle shift (without veterinarian supervision—except by phone call or if they came in) in the small animal ICU and critical care. The job was a huge promotion for me and came with a nice raise from my current salary. I decided to room with a friend for a few months before deciding on my own place up there. A month or so before the move my boyfriend and I broke up and I ended up moving in with friends for those few weeks—I also dated a few people and found the guy I’m dating now (and have been for almost 6 years).

This is the Spring of 2007 and I am about 22 years old. I have been in veterinary medicine for approximately 8 years. The fun has just begun.

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