A Loving Change.

So I don’t think I’ve written about it but I recently switched working environments and made a change of mind. I didn’t feel respected at my last job. The food industry, even just working as a barista, is a terrible place for employees. Even excluding my agoraphobia and how hard it is to be around people in general, my coworkers and bosses on top of customers are all demeaning rude and hypercritical. I can take critique. I have no problem learning under pressuring circumstances and working towards perfect standards despite being intangible. But being treated like an idiot despite being under these impossible standards is not something I feel anyone should endure.

So I made the decision to leave my job as a barista and looked into another work outlet. I’ve always loved animals and wanted to work with them. I got a job at a small family owned pet resort for birds and cats. I adore cats, but I was a little more hesitant with birds. I’ve never had much experience with birds as pets besides chickens and ducks. I used to clean emu and owl cages as a child. I didn’t think I would enjoy the bird handling/cleaning as much as the cats. But after a few days I fell in love with the world of birds. There are of course, with any area, uncomfortable areas when working with them but the joy of them is overwhelming. They are delightful and interesting creatures. Curious and wild. I love my job. Which is playing and cleaning after animals all day. Minimal human customer contact. All my coworkers are delightful woman who love animals as well. It’s been a refreshing and lovely switch. I hope this job helps me get on a new work track with animal care instead of the food industry.

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I’m learning a lot about animals. And teaching a lot. The job required a bio about myself and the animals I own or have taken care of in the past. I mentioned the 16 hermit crabs I’ve rescued and it stuck in the mind of my bosses so much that they told all the employees who have been asking me questions about them. One of my bosses asked me many questions about care and containment, all the while holding a huge macaw on his shoulder.

Needless to say I love my new job and it’s environment. I’m delighted to finally get my first steps into the animal care profession!

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Whirl-winded.

Things have been all over the place. Our last remaining non-community living house was vacated. We were working on fixing it up for new community members to move in but it was left in a gross shamble. One of the communities members found an aquarium tank outside the house which still had dirt and wood pieces for a habitat. It looked like it had been very recently inhabited and it was weird that they would take the inhabitant and not the tank. Or I assumed maybe the inhabitant had died recently. My partner helped me tank the tank to our room where I discovered two sad jumbo hermit crabs huddled underneath a log. It had been cold and rainy for days and they’d been left out in it for who knows how long. I was stricken with anger and sadness but immediately began researching care for these animals.

I have fallen in love with these little creatures. So cute and active. I have slowly given them a whole new environment. Researched every need and care detail. Given them a balanced and rather spoiling diet. I just want to do everything I can for these little guys. I even will be adopting two more from a friend of a community member who has been looking to get rid of hers for a while.

Their tank is still not quite done but this is it so far.

Other than the crabs I’ve been working a ton. Making money but its starting to weigh on me. I’ve been having really bad anxiety. A lot of my ptsd symptoms are increasing. Sleeping has become very hard. And despite have time, sometimes, and more money to work on jewelry or costuming, I ache and am usually too tired to work on any of it. I’m starting to not feel at home in my community anymore. The one person I was closest too is leaving because of similar problems I’m having. The two founders are not really familiar or accepting of anxiety and emotional problems. Sometimes it seems like because they don’t understand that they don’t care. And its beginning to feel like a work camp. It seems they want people who push and work as hard as they do, but for most normal human beings its not possible to be consistently that way. They push until they’re in pain most of the time. I don’t want to work til I’m in pain and then keep working. I also couldn’t even match their energy level if I tried. But remarks and attitudes they give makes it seem like nothing is ever enough. It tolls on me but I feel like speaking up won’t be understood. How do you explain anxiety to someone who has never felt it? Sometimes they seem like robots.

Bird Poop…

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So I have discovered some more caterpillars. Of the same family, Swallowtail, but different variety. They are Giant Swallowtail Caterpillars and they look like bird droppings on leaves. It’s for camouflage. I found three and currently have them nestled in my room. I can’t wait to watch these ones morph.

Transformations.

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I have loved and collected caterpillars ever since I can remember. My sister tells me, jokingly, that she still has nightmares about me keeping them in our garage. We used to make our own bug keepers by cutting up huge gatorade bottles. I love how fuzzy and delicate they are, and watching them transition.

Currently I have one pupa left from a few caterpillars I’ve been keeping of the variety Papilio polyxenes, or Black Swallowtail Butterfly. I love them. I have an invasive fennel behind one of our communal houses and I pick fresh fennel for them. One butterfly emerged and I was able to handle him before letting him go.

Mozart and me.

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I’d like to tell story about a very important figure in my life.

I was 16 years old when I started contemplating about my future. I started planning moving out as soon as possible. I didn’t understand yet but my anxiety and depression started becoming apparent. I wouldn’t say I “rebelled” necessarily but I started doing things behind my mothers back for myself and my health. I got myself on birth control because my cycle had always been very off, and I had several doctors tell me I probably had endometriosis. And if you know anything about the disease, birth control is one of the only ways to help it.

I met my first long term boyfriend at that age who would be my high school sweetheart. Still at the time I felt a longing for animal companionship that I wasn’t getting from my mothers cats or our family dog. I’d hinted to my mom I wanted another cat and she didn’t want to say yes but she didn’t want to say no, and I waited for an answer as long as I could until am opportunity I couldn’t pass arrived. At two weeks old I snuck this flea bitten tiny little orange kitty into my home and into my life. It was in October, 8 years ago, I washed a tiny dirty kitty in my sink before I abashedly presented him to my mom, who couldn’t say no.

Mozart and I became synonymous with each other. Whenever people asked how I was, they also asked how Mozart was. I thought the little bugger how to drink and  how to eat kibble. I potty trained him after a long and treacherous trial and error term. One night I even awoke to him playing in his own poop, on my chest, at four o’clock in the morning.

He was the most energetic animal I’d ever been around. All the cats we’d gotten, that I could remember, were older. After many sleepless nights, a punch to my eye, and LOTS of time he’s mellowed out.

He has been one of my biggest helps in my struggle with mental illness. He’s been through every house, every move, every decision I’ve made since October of 2006. He was my carry on when I moved to California.

Whenever I’ve had a bad day, he snuggles up to my head at night. When I cry in the middle of the day, he rubs his little chin against my arm and snuggles in my lap. Whenever I’ve been away too long or worked too much he reminds me to stop and chill out with him. He’s also been an amazing older brother to my little girl cat I recently acquired.

This man is my world. My sunshine. My love. Momo is my home. My old man. My cinnamon kitty. He’s been with me through my darkest times and he loves me despite it all (as long as I keep feeding him… XD). I think getting him so young has created a closer bond between him and I but people are always drawn to him. He’s a charming bugger, who’s a master escape artist. But he always comes back.

 

Growing up Snow White

Growing up Snow White was always my favorite princess. I was not a girly girl and didn’t actively collect or watch Snow White excessively. I was too busy collecting bugs and sharks teeth. I’ve heard a lot of my friends describe her as anti-feminist because of the way she’s portrayed, however I think it merely shows her good nature. To me she seems the one princess with the most innocence.

Not that I don’t condone curiosity and courage, but Snow White is the only princess that doesn’t think to disobey any given orders. Again, given the wicked nature of several of the order givers( i.e. the newest version of Rapunzel where her mother tells her to stay in the tower), I do not see this as a bad quality or something that should be followed, however I see this quality in Snow White not as a negative but a testament to her innocence and good nature. She is so simply looking to please and help that it does not cross her mind to do anything else. Though keeping in mind I’m merely following the Disney tale as I didn’t read or know of any tale otherwise until much later.

I always connected more with her. I doubted I would ever have courage enough to disobey or runaway. I always imagined if I just endured the bad, I would one day make it through to good. As I got older I realized this was not true and eventually I worked up courage to get help for myself in various ways I’d been lacking.

I also really loved the animal aspect. I’ve always gotten along better with animals than people. Bugs even. I love creatures, despite an arachnophobia that has lessened since being constantly surrounded by them in the community, and have always sought to be surrounded by them. From stray cats, caterpillars, worms, beetles, squirrels, ducks, snakes, lizards, mice, and such I’ve always collected, cared for and adored animals and bugs. I currently have two cats, a grub hub, three caterpillars, care for two chickens (and four eggs!!) and always look for others.

My intentional community is a lovely place for me to be mostly free about this love. I tend the gardens, keep some bugs, have my cats, and look forward to any other animals added to the community.

dirty it up.

something i do so love about my community is the gardens. everywhere gardens. and always work needing to be done with it. digging in the dirt and being in the earth always does me good, and making time for the community always helps. shoveled compost, redid some beds, planted a lot of herbs and vegetables, started a worm farm, and just plain dug in the dirt.

most of the time my feet are filthy from never wearing shoes here. i frequently just harvest or walk in the gardens just to be in them. i love being apart of growth and beauty.