I have slowly been working my way through a book I borrowed from my sister called 'The Dance of the Dissident Daughter'. It is a book by Sue Monk Kidd that discusses many issues concerning feminism, christianity, etc. I have not gotten very far, but it has some interesting ideas. I would highly recommend it to women. Anyway, she discusses one of the characters from a previous novel who walks in her sleep every night. The character says that this is because 'people deposit their misery somewhere in their body...mine is apparently is the sleep center of my brain'. As someone who frequently gets sick whenever I am stressed, I totally agree with this idea, and I have recently had fresh evidence that this is the case.
For the past couple of months, I have been very stressed. I have been busy at work, apartment hunting (one of my least favorite things), traveling like crazy, and being very social (which is stressful for me since I am a bit of a hermit). A couple of months ago, I had a really bad cold (see my post Diseased). Last month, I noticed I had a big red patch on my thigh, and last week I broke out into red bumps all over my chest and back. Chicken pox? No, I all ready had those. Ringworm? Maybe, the red patch on my thigh looked right, but it spread to so many places. Although, I did pet some sheep while we were in Maine... I finally went into the doctor and they told me I had pityriasis rosea. Whaa? Well, apparently it is not contagious, goes away in 8-10 weeks, happens mostly to women my age, and they have absolutely no idea why it happens except that it may appear after exposure to a virus (like my bad cold). Maybe this is true, but I have another explanation. I was depositing my misery into my body, and it was made manifest by raised, red bumps. My misery definitely resides in body.
Recently, I have been contemplating a career change. I could write a number of posts on this blog about why and how long I have been thinking about this, but instead I decided to cut to the chase and firmly state I may/perhaps/am thinking about becoming a veterinarian. Before making such a life altering decision, however, I decided I needed to learn a little more about it. My biggest step towards this goal is that I have volunteered at an animal shelter called Nevin's Farm. My first day volunteering was last week, and it was very satisfying. I work indoors all day at a job that is mentally intensive, and I kind of miss doing more physical labor. I definitely got my chance to use my muscles, puny as they are, at the farm. My four hour shift started at 8 am mucking out stalls. Even though it is not the most glamorous job, I get to be around one of my favorite animals--horses. While I am not allowed to handle them myself, I still have the chance to admire their many colors and personality quirks up close. It was worth a couple of hours of scooping just to be around them. Plus, there is something peaceful about being in a barn full of contented animals, the smell of hay and sawdust, and the sound of soft whickers and snuffling from the inhabitant in the next stall. It's a pleasant change from police sirens, traffic, and general hubbub of the city.
Unfortunately, mucking stalls was not the only thing I had to do. I also had to clean out the pheasant and quail pen, which is definitely not as glamorous as mucking out stalls (okay so mucking out the stalls is glamorous compared to cleaning out a coop). Nevin's Farm rescued about 400(!) quail from an abandoned farm, and because they were so crowded and pecked each other to pieces, about 100 of them had to be euthanized. Don't worry, I did not have to clean up after hundreds of quail. Many of them have gone to good homes. But I did have to clean up after about 20 of them along with one rooster and hen pheasant pair. I was a little concerned about the rooster, since I have been told a number of times how awfully mean a rooster can be. Despite some indignant squawks, however, he was as gentle as a kitten. What I did have to worry about was the tiny quail! Or at least one quail in particular. She was a tiny little hen, who looked like she had been picked on by some of the other quail and was definitely the loner of the group. Whenever I came close, she hunkered down like a cat about to pounce on its prey then with a flurry of little quail wings fly at my shovel or boots pecking like crazy. Her frenzied attacks only felt like little taps on my big work boots or resulted in tinny clangs on the shovel, so it was kind of cute. Maybe she was tired of being picked on, and my presence was the last straw. Whatever the reason, her pluckiness was quite courageous, if a little stupid (but no one ever accused quails of bing too smart), and I had to admire her for trying.