Posted by: yogavet | December 22, 2010

A gentle start to the new year

Well, so far so good!  I woke up at 7am (on my day off) and brewed some green tea, got my yoga gear on and got my butt to the studio.  This yoga studio, to be specific.  I attended the Gentle class, and it was just what I needed.  Very relaxing, and restorative, with just enough Warriors and Utkatasana to make me feel like I got the blood pumping.  I noticed that the balancing poses were difficult today – my mind needs to be calmer for those to come back to me.  But overall, I feel a million times better this morning. 

I stopped at Sacred Grounds on my way home, which is the cutest little Christian coffee shop you ever saw.  I got a latte, since the 1/4 cup of green tea that I sipped on before my yoga class was just not quite cutting it.  I’ve made some hearty oatmeal for brunch (rolled oats with mixed dried berries, walnuts, ground flax, wheat germ and agave syrup, plus lots of cinnamon… have I mentioned I love real oatmeal?  Oh my.) 

In other news, the kittens are keeping me entertained by doing serious “airs above the ground” in the kitchen.  We should seriously videotape this stuff, we could entertain the masses on YouTube.

Time to get myself together, clean the house, decorate a bit more (I can’t help it!) and then meet the lovely Jenna for coffee.  Maybe some more Christmas shopping?  I told myself I was done… maybe I’m not  😉

Posted by: yogavet | December 22, 2010

Happy Solstice!

In honor of the winter solstice and the start of a new solar year, I have been doing some thinking.  This year has been a hard one on a personal level, and I’m very much looking forward to a fresh start in this new one.

I’ve always waited until Jan 1st for New Years “resolutions”, which I don’t keep, ever.  So, this year, I’m celebrating the new solar year as my new start.  Therefore, I resolve to honor my body and the planet in the following ways:

1.  Drinking more water.  Way more water.  I’ve realized that I can go a whole day drinking only caffienated or alcoholic beverages.  This is not okay. 

2.  Establishing a regular yoga practice.  Tomorrow, I’m kicking off with a gentle yoga class at 8am.  I’ve been avoiding paying for classes in order to save money, but I need a jump start, and classes are the best way to get my butt back in gear.   Plus, the first one’s free! 

3.  Eating more veggies and grains, and less meat.  I recently read Mark Bittman’s approach to healthy, sustainable eating, which he refers to as “vegan before 6” – that is, vegan for breakfast and lunch, and then omnivorous for dinner.  I like this approach, it seems balanced to me. 

That’s all.  Nothing crazy.  Just trying to refocus, get centered again after a crazy year.  Here’s to a new trip around the sun, new possibilities and new adventures.

Posted by: yogavet | December 8, 2010

Life in a Northern Town

You know when it’s too cold to practice ambulatory equine medicine?  When you can’t draw up a syringe of sedative without it freezing mid-dose.  Or, when you have to hold a vial of medication in your armpit for 10 minutes to thaw it out of the slushie it has become.  Theoretically, my vet box has a heater… I’m not really noticing a difference between when it’s on or off, however.  Probably blown a fuse?  Suffice it to say, today was chilly. 

It’s been snowing now, on and off, for about 4 days.  It was coming down hard enough this morning that my little Virginia-minded brain thought, “surely people will call the clinic and cancel their appointments.”  Then I laughed at myself.  You’re practically in Canada.  People won’t cancel because of a little SNOW.   And of course, they didn’t.  And the roads really only got a little scary in the hills of the back-country, which I’d expect.   For the most part, my beat up old Ford truck did just fine in 4 wheel drive. 

Today began our full-on attack on the mice population that has been laying claim to our little farmhouse.  The pest guy came over to investigate.  He told me that they’re in the basement (shocker.  the dirt basement from 1842?  Impossible.), and he put down the “bait” which is a fancy term for poison.  Now, the idea of poisoning the little buggers does flip my stomach a bit.  And I did tell him that my preference would be to keep the poison “to a minimum”.  I prefer the snap-traps – quick and clean.  But, these little gremlins have been waking me up nightly, chewing and scurrying in the wall next to my head.  And I don’t go into the basement daily, to check traps.  So when he came back up from the basement and said he’d put down “bait”, I didn’t argue.   Sigh.  I’m still justifying it, I know. 

The most amusing part of the conversation with the pest guy was when I expressed my concern to him that the cats might get into the poison – not through the traps directly (they don’t go in the basement), but if they get ahold of a poisoned mouse.  (Now, yes, I know, rationally – the amount of poison that will kill a mouse should not be enough to harm a full grown cat, especially since cats don’t tend to eat the WHOLE mouse.  But it’s hard to be a rational, detached person when they snuggle with you and lick your face.  The cats, not the mice…)  At this concern, he assured me that the cats aren’t likely to get a lethal dose from a mouse, but even if they did, “there’s an antidote.  they get a shot, and they’re fine!”  At which point I admitted to being a veterinarian, and that I knew about rodenticide toxicity… I did not, however, correct him on his analysis of the treatment.  Perhaps I should have?  Ah well.  Larger battles.

Not I have ever seen a mouse inside this house, except for the one I killed in a cupboard with a snap trap.  Nor do I think my silly kittens would know what to do with one even if they saw it.  Sigh.  When did I turn into such a worrier?  Haha, oh yes.  1982. 

Enough obsessing over rodents for one night.  Time for sleep.  Another chilly and snowy day tomorrow!

Posted by: yogavet | December 7, 2010

bad cats

Alright, slacking on the blog again.  Sometimes, I just feel like I don’t have enough to say to warrent writing anything at all.  But, just watched “Julie and Julia” and have been reinspired.  Not, however, to cook my way through “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some butter.  But I think there are other cookbooks I could work my way through first.  I’m like 1/100th of the way through “How to Cook Everything”, for example  🙂 

Matt’s out of town, so I’ve been keeping weird hours and letting the cats sleep in my bed… I don’t know what it is, I used to live alone and not be bothered by the silence.  But without Matt in the house it’s empty.  I eat weird, too.  Black bean and squash burrito, two nights in a row?  Sure.  Tonight I ate nutella and pretzels, followed by a cheesy tortilla roll-up, then instant pudding.  Okay, that’s a little embarrassing.  Enough about my crazy bachelorette habits. 

In an attempt to transition the kittens from their lock-down in the laundry room to being allowed to roam the house while we’re gone, I’ve been leaving them out for stretches while I run errands.  This weekend they handled 3 or 4 hour stretches to their own devices just fine.  Or so I thought.  The favorite game is climbing up on the counter, into the sink, and licking dishes.  Or stealing the sponge, but I’ve begun hiding it under the sink, so that’s less of an option.  I’ve been trying to keep the dirty dishes to a minimum, to decrease temptation. 

But today I came home after leaving them out all day, and noticed two very guilty looking kittens in the kitchen.  Right after I noticed that the kitchen sink was running water.  The hot water.  It was still warm, so we hadn’t run out of it, at least.  I have no idea how long it had been on.  20 minutes?  6 hours?  We’re on city water, which I suppose is good because we’re not at risk of burning out a well, but on the other hand, I have to pay for all that water that the kittens put down the drain.  And the electricity to heat it.  Sigh.  I can only hope it doused which ever one was responsible.  Not that they’ve learned, at all. 

Alright.  I think that’s enough random doses of reality for one evening.  Here’s to a more consistent tomorrow!

Posted by: yogavet | November 11, 2010

The mustn’ts

As a kid, I loved Shel Silverstein.  We had beat-up hard copies of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Light in the Attic”, and they got read a lot.  A few years ago I found readings of these poems on iTunes  🙂  I sometimes forget I have them, and then the iPod will be on shuffle and a strange creepy little voice will launch into one of these poems. 

Tonight, it was “Listen to the Mustn’ts” :

Listen to the Mustn’ts, child.

Listen to the Don’ts.

Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts.

Listen to the Never Haves…

Then listen close to me.

Anything can happen, child.

Anything can be.

I needed to hear that.  Funny sometimes how that happens.

Posted by: yogavet | November 8, 2010

Early mornings

I’ve never really been a morning person.  The alarm goes off a couple times before I can roll out of bed.  My first stop is the coffee pot, which was set the night before to be brewed by now.  I drink a cup, eat something light (freshly made english muffin from the farmers market with cream cheese, yes please!) and browse the internet while the fog clears. 

But, my job sometimes makes me a morning person.  (These days, it’s not my job, but Matt’s, that gets me up early – he has to be at the track at dawn.)  And sometimes I appreciate the views…

That’s not the sunrise this morning, that was a few weeks back.  The weather in this region is a little gloomy – the lakes cause lots of cloud cover (one of the reasons for all the snow), but we get some spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

I also, theoretically, have time for things like cleaning and making bread when I get up with Matt and don’t have to be at work until 8:30 or so.  Last night, I started some sourdough bread.  The thing about baking good bread, I’m beginning to learn, is TIME.  You can’t rush it.  It has to be kneaded for a good 5-10 minutes.  Then it has to rise – most recipes say for an hour, but let me tell you, in a cooler house it can take many hours for the dough to “double in size”.  Then you have to knead it again, and riiiise again.  What I’ve started to do is either start it in the early morning (if I’m going to be home during the day), or start it the night before I want to bake it.  Then it can rise overnight in my cool, 60 degree house, I can punch it down in the morning and let it rise for the day.  Then when I come home from work, pop it in the oven, and voila!  Fresh bread for dinner.  🙂   Magical. 

But in order to get all that cleaning and bread making done, I have to detach myself from the computer.  ::tear::

Posted by: yogavet | November 7, 2010

Perks of the job

Sometimes I wish I had the kind of career where I wore pretty skirts and necklaces to an office, where I would sip coffee and do some sort of normal work (is there such a thing?).  When 5pm hit, I would close up whatever I was doing and it would wait patiently until the next day.  I would drive away in my little car, and go home to a life that didn’t have anything to do with my job. 

Instead, I wear beat up jeans (I’ve given up on the stained khakies since I’m not required to wear them anymore… jeans show way less dirt!) and boots, and drive a diesel pickup truck with a white vet unit in the back, to barns where I wrestle with horses.  When I’ve run out of scheduled appointments, sometimes I drive to emergency calls.  When there are no more emergency calls, half the time I drive that truck home and keep my phone on me at all times, waiting for more emergencies. 

I wouldn’t trade my job for anything in the world.  But there are times I wonder what it would be like, if I’d pursued… I dunno… financial planning or something. 

Anyway, this sort of leads me to a funny story.  Stay with me. 

Last Sunday, I was doing some dishes, waiting for Matt to get home from work.  I was not actually on call, but I’d driven the truck home to cover for my boss for a few hours on call the day before.  The doorbell rang, so I dried my hands and went to the door, thinking perhaps Jehova’s Witnesses or Boy Scouts were paying me a visit.  No such luck, turns out.  The man at the door identified himself as my neighbor from down the street. 

“I heard you worked for a vet or something.  Is that right?”  he asked.

Sigh.  This can only go one way.  “Yes, actually, I am a vet,” I say, somewhat reluctantly.

His eyes lit up.  “How would you like some work?”

(Let me stop at this point to say that this is not the first time a neighbor has come to my house, on a day off, to petition me for vet work.  Anyway.)

I aked him what was going on, thinking perhaps he had a horse that was colicking, or some other emergency, and thought I would be the closest help.  In which case, I’d like to think, I would be more than happy to pitch in, regardless of my on-call status.

Nope.  “My dog has a lump on his side.  My regular vet already aspirated it, it’s a lipoma.  I was wondering if you’d take it off for me.”

Sigh.  I spent the next 5 minutes explaining that I was a horse vet, and while I did have anesthetics for large animals on my truck, I really didn’t have the appropriate anesthetic for a small animal.  He complained, saying that while he was in MEDICAL SCHOOL, he used to use the human anesthetics to neuter his friends cats. 

Sir, did you really come to my house on a Sunday afternoon to ask me to remove a lump from your dog which your REGULAR vet already worked up?  Does your salary as  a NEUROSURGEON not pay enough for you to have this surgery done properly?  Really?

Sure, I could have taken the lump off.  I neutered my own cats later that day, after all, the injectable anesthetics work well for simple procedures.  But it’s the PRINCIPLE of the thing.  Not to mention the dog is way better off in the hands of an actual small animal vet, with inhaled anesthetics and IV access, pain meds and antibiotics. 

I’m really tempted to knock on his door this Sunday and tell him I’ve had a headache for 5 days, I’ve already had an MRI but I’d like a consult from him.

Posted by: yogavet | October 13, 2010


My evenings are predictable and mundane, and I like them that way.   Unless I’m on call, and then they can be exciting and insane.  Which is okay, too. 

But mostly, I find comfort in the predictable.   Cooking dinner with Matt; likely, some hunk of meat defrosted during the day, paired with a starch of some sort (rice, potatoes or bread) and a green salad or other veggie.  Sipping a beer or glass of wine as we eat, and catch up on our days.  Then dishes, setting up coffee for the next morning.  A few hours may remain, and we can watch a movie, or play guitar, or just sit and read or listen to the radio.  Watching the kittens tear around the house like maniacs until they calm down enough to cuddle

Right now, I’m listening to the radio (100.5 The Drive, the best radio station in the Rochester area in my humble little opinion….) and watching the kittens be crazy.  It’s a good little life.

Posted by: yogavet | October 10, 2010

Hunt Races

Whew!  This here is one tired, slightly sun- and wind-burnt girl.

Yesterday I attended the Genessee Valley Hunt Races, as a paddock veterinarian.  Basically, the paddock vet is there to go over the horses and make sure they are sound enough to participate – limbs cool, tendons not sensitive, joints flex well, and they trot soundly.  So my morning was spent running my hands over some very lovely equine athletes.  I didn’t have to scratch a single one, so the morning ran smoothly.  Then it was on to hang out in the warm up ring, and make sure none of the horses looked unfit to race then.  And of course, watch the races in between!

Now, I suppose I should start by explaining these races a bit.  They are put on by the Genesee Valley Hunt, which was founded in 1876 – they have been foxhunting in this area every since.  The race meet was begun in 1894, and was one of the first race meets to offer sanctioned steeplechase racing.  It is still the only place in NY to offer sanctioned steeplechase racing.  Now, I’ve been to sanctioned steeplechase races, and while it’s very exciting, I sometimes get bored of watching professional jockeys over and over.  But these races are different.  There were all sorts of races offered, in addition to the sanctioned ones, some just on turf and some over fences.  So local people, on local horses, were competing as well.  Here’s a little taste…

The day started off with a few pony races:

The announcer offered, “Some of you may be surprised by how fast these ponies can go!”  A few knowledgable horsepeople in the crowd shared a knowing smile.  We weren’t surprised.  We’d tried to catch these little monsters in a field before.

Then there was a race for kids younger than 16 years old.  My favorite was a young girl named Erin, it was her first race ever.  She was up against only one other girl, who was clearly more experienced.  When they broke away at the start, the more experienced girl took off like a shot.  Erin seemed shook up, and was travelling at a slow canter.  The distance between them quickly became a furlong, then a quarter mile.  It seemed like Erin didn’t have a shot.  But she kept going.  Then came the announcement that the other girl had gone off course!  She travelled inside a fence when she should have gone around.  She clearly didn’t know, since she was barrelling down to the finish.  Erin was a half mile out.  But it looked like she’d win! 

After the other girl crossed the finish, her trainer started screaming – “go back, you need to go around that fence!”  My heart sunk.  Was this girl really going to go back, and still beat Erin?  She took off, and the crowd went wild.  A few seconds later, Erin roared into view.  She had gotten her pace together, and was coming to the finish at a good clip.  The other girl had completed her circle, though, and was behind her by only a few lengths.  Erin kicked it into high gear, and won.  The crowd was going insane.  It was a great, great race. 

They had a “stock horse sprint” where non-thoroughbreds raced 1/3 mile on turf, in Western gear.  This was a bit of a harried race, though – with so many horses at such a short distance, there wasn’t time for them to spread out.  One horse fell right after the finish, leaving the rider in the path of more than a few galloping horses.  She was fine, and the horse was fine, but it was a tense moment. 

My favorite race of all was the Heavy Horse race – for drafts and draft crosses.  Um, have you ever seen a Clydesdale gallop

Okay, maybe “gallop” is a strong word.  Definitely a canter.  He didn’t win, or even come close, but they had a blast, and the crowd loved them. 

And of course, there was plenty of this:

And finally, there were the tailgaters.  These people paid top dollar for infield parking, they had awesome spreads of food, beer, wine, you name it.  There was a competition, and different categories – “harvest theme”, “horse theme”, etc.  Some people went ALL out.  My favorite tailgaters, though, was a lovely little bunch of Irishmen right next to the paddock (the warm up area, which I was slightly tied to).  They had a cute older man playing the fiddle.  Need I say more?  Okay, they also had soda bread, a growler of stout, Jameson…  I kind of wanted them to take me home. 

All in all, a beautiful day.  The horses ran clean, mostly, and there were no significant injuries.  A few jockeys got tossed, but they seemed alright as well.  My lips are seriously sunburnt, but that seems like a small price for a good day outside in the country.

Posted by: yogavet | October 1, 2010

For the love of teeth…

Just a quick note to say happy Friday AND happy first day of October! 

I am not on call this weekend (happy day!) which means it is a real weekend.  I have plans to check out a local beer festival as well as do some hiking with the boy.  There will probably also be some baking of sourdough bread (I just made a new starter, it doesn’t seem as sour as the last one, so we’ll see!), and definitely a trip to the farmer’s market.  All good weekend activities. 

But for now I must be off for my day of dentistry.  Gotta love fall, it seems every horse out there needs their teeth floated…. it’s okay, I kinda like horse teeth. 

But not ’till I finish my coffee…

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