Log in

The Excellent Neon Fish
03 September 2007 @ 12:07 am
Sleepy time. I really ought to go to bed.

Got all moved yesterday. I spent Friday lugging a few more boxes to the new place and cleaning the old quite thoroughly, and then John's family came up Saturday morning (after John and I dropped Jaina-the-cat off in my new bedroom) complete with pickup truck and loaded up my furniture and remaining miscellany. As  my place has an elevator, it was quite painless and uneventful. And I'm even mostly unpacked now!

Jaina is getting settled in pretty quickly, thankfully, and I'm getting used to not living in my old place. Really, I liked that apartment...but I really like this roommate, so it's a fair tradeoff :) We watched a few episodes of Arrested Development (season 3) tonight before bed and there is definite promise. Her cats Abner and Lucy are ador-or-orable and although Jaina's still hissing at them, she'll chill out soon for sure.

Speaking of cats, I wanted to post again about the MSPCA Walk for Animals, in case someone might still be interested in donating. Even five dollars would be a worthy contribution towards the amazing work the organization does! There's still time to sign up too, so if you're in the area, I implore you to join me and walk too; help raise awareness of this amazing organization and contribute to the lives of the thousands of animals they rescue. Go to walkforanimals.org - and if you're not in Boston, please consider sponsoring me by following this link: http://www.mspca.org/goto/dmazuz
I'm no artisan or creator who can promise any special goodie for those who donate, but what I will do is create a photo essay of an animal at the shelter (your choice: cat, dog, rodent, bird, bunny, etc) and tell you all I know about the animal, so you can see where your money is going. My camera died recently so I will just have to remember to borrow John's old one this week. And if you have any questions about the organization, please feel free to ask me.

Will write more in the next few days, including a follow-up about the dog I mentioned in a recent entry. I know I should be emailing a few people to catch up and hope to soon; at the moment I'm a bit tense worrying that I've caused a serious problem with a project at work and I will probably be better off sorting through those kinds of things on Tuesday, after I've gotten back there and hopefully solved everything. Sigh.
Current Location: 270 Highland Ave.
Current Mood: tiredtired
The Excellent Neon Fish
10 August 2007 @ 12:36 pm
Yesterday I spent my usual Thursday evening volunteering at the MSPCA shelter in Jamaica Plain (a southern part of Boston, for the non-locals). I had been neglecting my weekly visits for a while, making them more like bi-weekly, while searching for apartments, and am very glad I finally found a place and will be going back more regularly.

Some of you might know that working in animal rescue and advocacy is my career goal. That said, I don't have a whole lot of shelter experience, mostly because it was difficult to impossible to get involved in it while at Simon's Rock, so it's been a few years of disconnect. I got into the MSPCA stuff in April with gusto - and I really should have started much earlier. In my lower periods where depression or anxiety take over, working at this shelter is the only thing I'm really motivated by, the one thing I can still be passionate about. It is constant.

Much of the time it is fun, relaxing, and refreshing to be there. I get to cuddle with cats, walk dogs, and see wonderful animals find wonderful homes, often as a result of my coaching, informing, and aiding the potential adopters. That said, an animal shelter is an inherently heartbreaking environment to anyone who loves animals. This shelter is a special one, with amazing facilities for the homeless animals and such dedicated staff; the animals are not suffering in any way. But they are, nonetheless, wanting. Sometimes I have to remind myself not to get too caught up in thought when I am there, because it is so easy to want to grab a cat and hide in a corner with my emotions.

One of the big hazards of volunteering there regularly is getting to know the animals really well, especially the "old-timers" who stick around for months without finding homes. I've been lucky enough to see most of mine get homes eventually in the time I've been there. I can't even describe the rapturous feeling of seeing 9-year-old calico Cassie, who'd been there from early March to mid-July, and been through so much trauma (she stopped eating for a while and had to be isolated, then in foster care, for a few weeks), finally get scooped into a cardboard box for a thrilled couple. Some others have been transferred to other shelters, in the hopes they'd find a more interested clientele there. But whatever good endings might be possible, there's nothing scarier than coming in to find one of your old-timers missing. You run around frantically...maybe he's been moved, maybe she's sick in iso. You want to know, you're dying to know, oh it's probably good news, he probably has a home, someone finally saw how great she is...but you're clammy. You freeze up. You try to let the news find you because you are afraid to ask, afraid that they may have decided there was nothing they could do for this one.

It's not cruel. It hurts the people more than it hurts the animals. Unlike some of the Yelpers who gave the place a cursory glanced and immediately judged the organization - and therefore, the people who work so hard for the animals - because their shelters are not "no-kill" (or more aptly, "limited admission"), I bear no ill will about this. But when Frankie, my last old-timer from my starting days (he'd been there since at least April and probably before) wasn't there last night, I was relieved when the staff were so busy that I didn't get a chance to ask. I have to, I know, because if I want this to be my life's work, I have to be willing to face the possibilities, the realities of it all. And you know, with the track record at this shelter, it's not like I'm convinced it will be sad news - but I have to be willing to deal with it if it is.

Some things remind me even more that every trip to the shelter is an exercise in dedication, and that I have to grow a little stronger before this can become my living. Yesterday, I wandered over to the dog receiving area to check out what was back there; I'm always curious about who's coming in. My eye was first drawn to the enormous harlequin Great Dane (oh, how I love those giants), but quite quickly I was distracted by him, because Luna's barking was too desperate to ignore. He was in the kennel next to the Dane, howling repeatedly, chilling me.

The dog was a pit bull-type, squat and with a long torso and very clearly inbred, displaying some awful deformities like joints splayed out in every direction and seriously webbed toes. And he was emaciated. Signs all over his kennel door ordered staff and volunteers not to feed him; if he ate too much too fast, he could develop "refeeding syndrome." He was on a special diet and a strict feeding schedule monitored closely by the veterinary team.

When I say emaciated, I'm not using that word lightly. This dog had some muscle, but every bone on his body and in particular, every notch of his spine, strained against his dull tan coat. Even his face was bony, the skin stretched taut over his skull. Even more, he had superficial injuries all over his body, especially his legs and face. His severely cropped ears were scabby. I've never in person seen a dog that was so badly abused in my life.

I couldn't look at him very long. Even turning my head towards the Dane, Luna's yelps started tears. I was there for perhaps 4 or 5 minutes saying hello to all the dogs in the back before I could not take it anymore. I could not look at him, think on what people had done to him, but the pathetic picture in my mind will, of course, always stick. I know that someday I need to build up some resilience, and learn to deal with these things. Someday, I will; no, I won't be immune (if ever you do, that is the day you quit the field and seek therapy), but I will be strong, and know that the strength of the people who do this work is what it takes to bring animals like Luna out of the dark.
The Excellent Neon Fish
06 October 2006 @ 07:20 pm
I participated in a SPELLING BEE tonight!

Yes indeedy, you read that right. John's friend Caitlin works at the Brattle Theatre, a non-profit movie theatre that not only screens movies of all crazy kinds, but holds lots of events. Go google it, it's super cool.

Anyway, they had a fundraising event tonight which involved a children's spelling bee, a screening of some Charlie Brown movie, and then an adults' spelling bee. Upon hearing about this, I of course told John I'd be handing his ass to him on a platter. We got there late enough that we were told there were no more slots, and we were BUMMED. But apparently it was so damn popular, they made a waiting list to sign people up for a second round. SCORE!

Caitlin was in the first round, and did promisingly until she spelled "hieroglyphics" with "ei" instead of "ie." I was surprised that the first round of 17 people only took a little over half an hour...and surprised at how many words I wasn't sure about o_O It wasn't a ton - but it was a larger handful than I expected. Shouldn't have been so cocksure, eh? There were a lot of clearly scientific (mostly biology-related, of course) words that no one had ever heard of, and they were scary.

John and I both strolled through a few pretty simple words. I got "mitosis," "clientele," "nocturnal," and "eschew." Then the Beemaster goes from the "hard" category to the "very hard." A bunch of words went by that weren't too scary, and then he says some word that I didn't think I'd ever heard of. "SIR-shee-oh-rare-ee," he says.

Say WHAT? He defines it as some legal term or other, and my wheels are a-turnin'. I know I should know this, I think, but I'd never bloody well heard it before! I stand there thinking to myself for a minute, visualizing it on a page. For a second I thought an S, and then I realized that was ridiculous - surtiorary just didn't look like a word in my head. Suddenly it clicked - DUH. Legal terms. Most of them are out of Latin verbatim. Verbatim. I knew this. It was the passive infinitive of "certioro!" It's not..."S!" I said confidently.

"...oh shit. I didn't mean that! I...I didn't mean S...it's C..."

But of course, I'd screwed myself over. It was done. I was not winning the Book of American Comics, American Heritage Dictionary, Harvard Bookstore totebag, and even more importantly, the tickets to the musical "Spelling Bee." It was...over :-'( For what it was worth, I definitely got sympathy from the audience, especially the round one folks! :-P

John's word, right after me, was "gemutlichkeit." He definitely made an ass of himself, basically insinuating he had no clue, then saying "G...E...M...U...uh...D...;alsjdf;aweoiransd" and various other gibberish. It was quite funny.

What's really amusing is I shared an anecdote with John from my 7th or 8th grade bee (I was in it 6th-8th grades - and actually won in 6th, but was unable to continue to the county bee because we were due in Israel that week). The bee was down to the last three - I was already out - and a kid who I'd pegged to win, a very bright kid, got "millennium." Now, it's not a super hard word, but you have to keep the letters straight, and you have to remember that there are TWO double letters in it, not just one. He hemmed and hawed for a few minutes and had that glint in his eye as though yes, he certainly had this one...and then blurted out "L!"

It's so easy to do. You'd be amazed at how much your heart pounds even when so little is at stake.
Current Mood: restless
Current Music: Bishop Allen - Corazon
The Excellent Neon Fish
04 September 2006 @ 11:33 pm
Shit, dude. I don't usually go on about movies or other little mundane things in my journal. But seriously. John and I went to see Little Miss Sunshine tonight, and oh my god, that movie was fantastic. I can't even describe why or how or what the deal is, but I haven't enjoyed myself that thoroughly at a movie since Hedwig. (Those of you who know me well know how damn much that's saying.) Goodness. Go see it now. You shan't regret it. I didn't expect to be so into it, but it's the best movie I've seen in years. Entertainment value, cleverness, characters...it was fabulous. Go.
The Excellent Neon Fish
04 September 2006 @ 03:35 pm
On Saturday, I moved to Cambridge, MA. Just so everyone knows. No, I don't have a job yet, but I do have another interview this week at the Boston Medical Center (administrative assistant) and am waiting to hear the results of an interview at the JFK School of Gov't at Harvard from a couple weeks ago; they warn me they are very slow. Meanwhile, just sent off three more resumes just now. No problem temping if I don't get anything very soon. No problems there! The job at the printing company ended up with a no, and stupid NEAVS offered the job to someone else before I could even confirm my availability for interviews, which rather frustrated me, but I'm still fairly optimistic. I'm getting a rather ratio of interview requests to applications.

I will put the new address and various contact info in a locked post later on. I really would say there's not much else to share. BreyerFest was an incredibly good time, and I was on a bit of a low for a few days afterwards. It was so, so good to spend time with everyone, and that was all that really mattered. I did okay at NAN, sales were a bit slow, I didn't buy very much, but I had a complete and total BLAST with my friends and that's the important thing. I also visited the_sea_lingers in Jersey a couple weekends ago, and as always, she was an amazing host and we did LOTS. I went to the PA Renaissance Faire with dokool last weekend, before moving, which was lots of fun and highly nostalgic. I spent lots of time with John in August as I went to interviews and looked at apartments; he now lives a mere 20-minute walk or one subway stop away from me. He helped me move in, which was dear of him <3 I missed Lauren a lot in August and Talya too, but I kept busy enough!

Very excited about living here indeed :) I can't wait to spend time with Michelle this Friday; for once, I am finally living near enough to my oldest friend. Philly and Reading wasn't so bad, but then she went to Brandeis and I was in Scotland, and although I managed to visit her once my senior year, and she me once as well, it's really cool to actually be in the same city.

So, in sum: I have a fabulous roommate named Laura, a nice apartment 5 minutes from the Red Line, my kitty who smiles pretty lives with me (though she is a bit traumatized to be in a new place with Buford, Laura's adorable big brown tabby), my boyfriend's just across Mass Ave and one of my best friends is a short train ride away. I'm living in what's probably my favorite model horse region, not far from some good friends, and I am excited for what's next.
Current Mood: excited
Current Music: Bishop Allen - The Monitor
The Excellent Neon Fish
22 July 2006 @ 11:59 pm
I am frantically packing and cleaning in an effort to get ready for my trip to Kentucky. Tomorrow evening I head down to Maryland to stay with Maggie Bennett for the night, and then bring her with me down to Lexington. The trip will be, as mcflynnthm would put it, OFF THE HOOK. There will be late nights, dinners of revelry, DullCote in my lungs, horsies to smooch at the Horse Park, money (hopefully!) collected, probably more money spent, and meeting and re-meeting of many people I've come to consider some of my dearest friends. A quick thank you and prayer to Heather, goddess of Model Horse Blab, for creating the thing that totally changed my involvement with this hobby and consequently made my life more fun.

I know I have not updated in ages and ages. All of you who aren't down with the model horse thing probably got glazed over at that last paragraph. Oh well, sucks to be you :-P For those who don't care, well, it's mostly what I've been up to this summer. Painting horses like a little madwoman. I've done some temping jobs, but when crunch time came, I stopped with those and started really going at it with the brushes. I have a vending table at the Artisans' Gallery at BreyerFest, where I will be selling my little horsie creations, so it really was necessary. Here and there I have been volunteering at the Petsmart adoption center and visiting some John. I had an interview at a Mass. SPCA shelter back at the beginning of the month, but I very sadly did not get that job. I was going to post about it, as I was excited outta my seat over it, but I got lazy. Really bummed I didn't get it. That was such a dream job. BUT I have interviews for two more places! They haven't been definitively scheduled yet but I intend for them to happen probably the week after I get back from Kentucky. One is a customer service rep at a non-profit, worker-owned printing and graphic design business; the other is a program and admin assistant at NEAVS. The former pays much, MUCH better than the latter but the interest level is for the other way around. We'll see. I want to get out of this 'burg (I'm often surprised, with the number of -burg towns in PA, why I live in Reading and not Readingsburg) by sometime in the fall at the latest; if that means stockpiling my moolah to move to Cambridge or Somerville or somewhere else arond Boston and temping until I find something good, so be it.

I'm surprised at how okay I've been being at home. It's draining sometimes to have the expectations of my parents on me all the time - I'm much better living by myself, for myself - but it still has been alright. I miss Talya, who is in Asheville NC right now, and worry about her at times, but I'm glad for her that she's somewhere else. She will be interning in November at Best Friends and I'm wicked jealous. I'd rather have something longer-term going on than that and the timing was no good so I didn't apply, but it sounds excellent. Happily, although I really don't know many people here in Reading anymore, I have been spending loads of time with Lauren, who's basically my last friend left in the area. She's wonderful and amazing and we've had so much fun hanging out this summer. She's actually moving to Asheville next week herself, so I will miss her very much - and all the more reason to get my own booty outta here.

I honestly have had a hard time fathoming what was going to come after BreyerFest. I guess I secretly hoped that I would be preparing to move to the Boston area once that was over. Now, I'm still doing okay considering how sporadic I've been about sending out my resume here and there - I applied to three jobs at the end of June, and they have all eventually contacted me for interviews, then three more a few weeks ago that I've not heard from - but still. I'm a little lost right now. The temping was really dull, but I'll probably have to go back to it if I don't get one of these jobs I'm interviewing for soon.

One reason I'd really like to be moved by August is because it would be really nice to be able to take some evening classes in the fall. Nothing stressful, but something to fill in the science gaps that I never filled at the Rock. Introductory biology and chemistry courses, or environmental science stuff. One at a time to start. I am looking to applying to Tufts Vet School's Master of Science in Animals and Public Policy in the next 2-4 years, if I don't get the itch to go back into ancient history. Right now, I am a little burned out on that, but it could happen again. We'll see.

That trip to Seattle was a fantastic time, by the way, since I mentioned it in my second-to-last entry ;-) It was wonderful to see chemicallace again, especially since she missed out on Mayfest and brought me to the most fabulous restaurant and showed me around a wonderful city - and general was wonderfully hospitable despite having just moved. monocleostrich and Mel were awesome as well, and we had a blast at the zoo, having some great meals, and showing at Northwest Congress. I'm so excited to be staying with them in Lexington because we had such a good time together and it was so the opposite of that worry you get when meeting internet friends - that you won't get along as well as you do online, that it will be awkward - instead it was fantastic.

I hope to visit thesealingers before too long, probably after the interviews in Boston, and if there's time, Jen in West Virginia. I haven't been as productive this summer as I'd hoped; I haven't read enough, and I haven't worked out as regularly as I'd have liked to. But hopefully things will calm down a little bit after BreyerFest, and I can start feeling productive. Of course, if I get a job offer, then nothing will calm down for a while until I move, settle in, and get trained at the job. We can only see.

On a side note, for those who have been wavering on the new Dresden Dolls album, give it a few listens. I was unimpressed at first, but I gave it a few more whirls recently, and I really like it. There's nothing comparable to "Half Jack" on it, but it's still really quite good musically, and some of the songs (such as the one listed here) have really powerful lyrics. On another musical note, tell Morrissey to get his ass on tour in the US, eh?
Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: The Dresden Dolls - Mandy Goes To Med School
The Excellent Neon Fish
24 May 2006 @ 11:34 pm

mcflynnthm is doing the silly "5 questions interview" meme and I thought I'd play along. Maybe, just maybe, #4 will soon cease to be a valid question :-P

1) What is just so alluring about John Flynn?
Those DREAMY EYES! *swoons* :-P In all seriousness, I dunno. He's just fabu. Maybe even a little fabulous ;-)

2) Why are kitties just SO awesome?
Because Jaina says so, duh. You don't question the will of the kitty.

3) What is the best way to get these motherfucking snakes off of this motherfucking plane?
Well, you're no Samuel L. Jackson but if you paint your skin black, John, I think your help would be the clincher. (Okay, I have no idea what to do with this question. Silly boy.)

4) Why are you not as addicted to LJ as I? :-P
Becauuuuse....I'm que windy? Because I don't browse the internets as much as you do so I don't have infinite links to pepper my entries with to make me look like a cool blogger. Because I'm secretly crazy introverted and don't like to share my life with everyone. Because I hate whining and that's what I tend to do if I write in LJ ;-)

5) What makes Morrissey so DREAMY??
Oh man, dude.
you are repressed
but you're remarkably dressed
is it Real?
but you're just too busy
busy scissors
busy clippers, oh oh oh
hair dresser on fire
all around Sloane Square
Man, a guy who sings THOSE lyrics, swaggering around stage in his nearly operatic voice and just being MORRISSEY - what more could I WANT?


Current Mood: silly
The Excellent Neon Fish
20 April 2006 @ 09:16 am
Yes yes, I haven't updated in ages. All year, practically.

But as I am a bit...hmm...dazed right now, I feel the need to mention that I just did my first schoolwork-related all-nighter. Yup. Ever. Never in my four years here have I neglected to sleep for an entire night simply for homework.

The thesis has proved me wrong about things about thirteen trillion eight hundred times. I hope it dies soon. I've almost killed it.

When it's good and dead, I will return with better news and real updates. This was not really my year, so maybe it was better that I didn't post all the time like I did as a whiny little freshman :-P Instead John took the brunt of all of it o_O He's far more tolerant than I.

Now to translate some Latin. Then voice lesson. Then well-earned nap.
Current Mood: dazed
The Excellent Neon Fish
02 October 2005 @ 09:49 pm
Yeah, I know I don't use LJ much to begin with, but I figured for those of you who chat with me on AIM, this may be useful info.

Schoolwork hasn't been going so well and I need to take stock of everything and...I dunno, regroup or something. I need to stop being so constantly distracted. So I'm going to be getting rid of internet distractions as much as possible. I'm going to have John set up some controls through my net security program to block me from the websites that distract me the most (notably model horse ones and LJ) and uninstall AIM for a while. I've just gotten terribly behind and I need to get back on track and stop being so flighty and lazy.

So you won't be able to chat with me for a while, but I will still use my email. That's necessary for important communications if nothing else. So the email's in my profile if you want to contact me.

Don't know how long this will be - hopefully only for the next week or two. However long it takes, really, to change my habits and start focusing on school...so it might be longer, but seeing as we have break after this week, I'm counting on not more than one or two weeks...

Anyway...I'll still be in touch, feel free to email me :)
The Excellent Neon Fish
17 August 2005 @ 05:59 pm
She's going to drive from Reading to Great Barrington on Sunday to bring the car that I'll be using this year: it was my sister's, but she's gone to California to do god-knows-what for who-knows-how-long - it's a very bland, boring beige Toyota Corolla station wagon, and it's comfy to drive and gets good gas mileage! yay! I'm really happy about this, cos I wasn't expecting her to come up until the following weekend, after my dad gets back from Israel. Instead, she is putting up with a long drive alone and a train back (probably Albany to Philly, I'll have to get her to Albany and Daniel will pick her up in Philly) so I can have it right away! I'm really happy about this because now I can visit with mizg before she moves, and bribe freshlings into being my friend by offering rides. Uhh, I didn't say that :-P And also just generally get away when I feel like it! Plus, she decided that because she is doing me a nice favor she gets to treat herself to a nice dinner (why she didn't ask ME to treat her...but whatever, I'm not complaining! I'm giving her my bed to sleep on that night) and that "you can come too, if you want." She wants to go to Verdura, so DUH I want to come too!

I have a lot of translation to do and my final on Friday, and I wish I cared a little more and was more motivated. Granted, all I need is a 77 on the final and I'll have an A- (though I want to get an A really badly since I am well on my way and I've never gotten an A in a language class before; for that I would need an 84), but I really should be working harder. This doesn't bode well for my work ethic. Sigh.

I really should call Gill so I can be reminded which Room 5 in which Orchard I am in, and how I'm supposed to collect my key. I've never moved in at the Rock during normal returning student times (sophomore year I was an RA and last year of course I wasn't there) so I don't know the procedure for getting the key and the like. So silly.

I'm excited to go back, but I'm really going to miss being in the middle of somewhere! A small town so isolated from anywhere big and bustling is such a change for me...at least St Andrews was only an hour from Edinburgh! I guess I spent a lot of time in Amherst and Northampton my sophomore year, which definitely are bigger and busier than Great Barrington by a large margin. But man, not being walking distance from a lot of stuff, or having frequent and readily available public transport will be so strange.

I wonder what all the new RDs are like. All of my favorites from my first two years have gone, which is so sad for me :( Especially sad is that Nicole has left, and taken Tucker with her. I will miss that doggie something awful when I am there.

Anyway, I'm going to pretend I'm doing homework again and then go and get some dinner with John and his bunch.