Friday, November 23, 2012

Tightrope + Trampoline = Slacklining

Two weekends ago I met a friend, Kari, in Boston to see slacklining for the first time.  What is slacklining, you ask?

Here are a couple of videos I took:



Basically, it's like trampolining on a tightrope, and it's just about the coolest thing I've ever seen.  Especially when I learned from Kari that even learning to walk across the line is incredibly hard, not to mention doing tricks on it.

Here is Kari practicing her slackline walking!

While my broken foot is almost better, x-rays show that it's not completely healed.  So I had to pass on the slackline myself.  Argh!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bunnies and Horses and Goats and Guinea Pigs and...

This past Saturday I had my orientation at the New Hampshire SPCA.  I have missed my volunteer work at the Seattle Animal Shelter, but what with my broken foot, I put off volunteering at NHSPCA until my foot was better.  (Which it is!  Woohoo!)

This place is amazing.  They must have some seriously wealthy donors.

For those of you wondering, they are a no-kill shelter (unless an animal is so far gone that it cannot be saved).  In fact, last year they had a 97% live adoption rate, which I can tell you is outstanding.

I will be volunteering with the Small Animal Team, which is almost the equivalent of the Critter Team at SAS.  The only difference is that the Critter Team also took care of barnyard animals, where NHSPCA has a separate Barnyard Animals Team because they get so many.

NHSPCA doesn't have very many dogs.  Apparently they've done such effective spay and neuter outreach that is has drastically decreased as a problem.  In fact, they often take dogs from other shelters.  The volunteer coordinator told me that the next day, Sunday, a load of dogs was arriving from Alabama!  They also don't have too many small animals.  But holy crap, do they have cats.  There are cats everywhere!  The small animals technically have two rooms, but the cats take up one.  Cats even take up one of the dog rooms!

Here are some pictures.  They are all from the outside, since I thought it would both give the wrong impression and be annoying if I was snapping pictures during my orientation tour.  I'll take inside pictures next time.

This was the best shot I could get of the campus.  Right in front is one of the paddocks for large barnyard animals.  To the right is their learning center.  The middle is the adoption center, and to the left is the barn for the farm animals.

Here is a closer shot of the front paddock with two horses in it.  There is another paddock in the back (which I didn't take a picture of).  On Saturday, the back paddock had two goats in it.

I include this picture because it is rare for many shelters to have a logo, or in fact to do much advertising at all, that includes animals other than cats and dogs.  This one officially includes a horse and a rabbit, which is fantastic!

Here is a closer shot of the barn.

This is a closer shot of the learning center.  In this building are administrative offices, a room for birthday parties, training rooms for people who have adopted new animals, and classrooms for camps, story times and more.  I peeked in the birthday party room while I was there.  A party was going on.  Some animals live in the party room.  One of those animals is a ferret.  The party room was loud and rambunctious, but the ferret was sleeping soundly.  That cracked me up for some reason!  I guess because ferrets are such spazzes, other people spazzing out don't effect them at all!

The entrance to the adoption center.

The Monday after Thanksgiving is my first shift at NHSPCA.  I'll take pictures of the inside and share them.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Night Owl in a Daytime Town

I am a night owl.  I've pretty much always been.  This is why I love being a public librarian.  Most public libraries don't open until a reasonable hour, and they have lovely evening shifts that don't end until 8 or 9pm allowing me to really sleep in.

One thing I loved about my neighborhood in Seattle was that everything was open late at the least, and a lot of places were open 24/7.  I get a great second wind around 10pm, so loved grocery shopping, going to the drug store, and exercising somewhere between 10pm and 2am.

In Newburyport, 10pm is the latest anything is open.  It doesn't have the courtesy to even wait until I get that second wind!  Both grocery stores close at 10pm and even earlier on Sundays.  K-Mart closes at 10pm.  The one and only Starbucks closes at 8pm, and Dunkin' Donuts, which is Massachusetts answer to Starbucks (one on every corner), closes at 8pm!  Two of the drug stores close at...get ready...8pm!  The post office doesn't even have an APC (an Automated Postal Center), and I loved using the APC at night!  No lines to ship holiday presents.  Even a restaurant, Panera, closes at 8pm.

Two places cater to me: the McDonald's stays open until 2am and has wifi, and the CVS is open 24 hours.  The CVS will be a getting a ridiculous amount of my business.  What is a night owl to do?

I'm posting some pictures of the parking lots at two nearby shopping centers:

Keep in mind this is 10pm on a Saturday night.  Look at the parking lots!  Holy cow!  In this shopping center are a grocery store, a drug store, Radio Shack, K-Mart, and a couple of other stores.

This shopping center has another grocery store, another drug store, a Marshall's, and a mailing place.  The only place I can personally confirm is open is the laundromat (thanks to my broken foot), which is open until midnight.

I think that if I started a business, any kind -- a coffee shop, an arcade, a Dunkin' Donuts for heaven's sake! -- I could make a killing.  You should see the swarms of teenagers that are in CVS in the middle of the night.