I had ONE job.

“I need you to put your hand right here and hold on.”

“Hold on to the penis?”



Errrr, maybe I should put this conversation into context before things go any further….

It was 2am and I was standing next to a dashingly good looking man. I can’t say for sure because he was wearing a mask, but I think he smiled at me when he told me to pop on a pair of latex gloves. I bounded up with as much enthusiasm as I could muster for the late hour, eager to please.

That’s when he handed me the horse’s penis so he could prepare a catheter for it.

Did you honestly expect this story to turn out differently?

Now, there was a lot going on in addition to the catheterisation. Once a horse is anaesthetised, everything moves very quickly to get them on the table and ready for surgery. Nurses were scrubbing the surgical site and anaesthetists were doing some kind of magic to ensure the horse remained blissfully unaware of everything happening around them. Even with the skeleton crew on for after hours emergencies, things were ticking along nicely. The operating room flowed like a choreographed dance; everyone knew their role and their place.

Everyone, that is, except me. I was just awkwardly standing there with a firm (but -obviously – not too firm) grip on the Gelding’s Genitals. As people continued securing the horse to the operating table, it became apparent that I was in the way. I was asked to move to the other side of the horse, which I did with as much finesse as I could muster given the circumstances. Then, I was told to move back to the previous side as I had ended up in a region called, “The Danger Zone” (I don’t know if that is a technical phrase, or if people were just trying to get my attention.) Anyway, I was standing in a place where, I’m assuming, should the anaesthesia magic fail, my head could be separated from my neck by a flailing hoof. I contorted my body in a way that would have done my yoga instructor proud in an attempt to move away from “The Danger Zone” whilst still staying out of the way of the aforementioned surgery team and maintaining positive control of the penis entrusted to my care. As the vet walked up with a sterile catheter in his sterile gloved hands, it happened….

I dropped the penis.

It just slipped through my hand like a slick baby eel. And it was gone.



The penis was gone.

Horses have a musculovascular penis. This means very little. I just wanted to prove that vet school has indeed taught me something about horses (which, doesn’t say a lot if you’ve been following this little adventure since it started in 2013). It also means, however, that when one lets go of an extruded equine member, it snaps back into it’s sheath and hides like a shy church mouse.

Everything happened so quickly, but also in slow motion. I looked down at my empty hand, and then looked up at the vet.

“You dropped the penis.”

Statement of fact.

“I dropped the penis.”

There really wasn’t much room for argument.

I made a feeble attempt at fishing it back out, but this Geldings Goods were as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster and I wasn’t sure if I would ever see it emerge again. Fortunately, a qualified vet recognized the look of horror, shock and failure on my face (almost as if he sees it a lot) and knew exactly what to do. He extruded the penis in one deft move and the other vet passed the catheter.

Surprisingly, they still let me scrub into the surgery, even after failing at the one simple task they’d entrusted to me. I wish I could say I redeemed myself in the emergency middle of the night colic surgery. I wish I could report that I’d done so well assisting in the surgery, major equine hospitals around the world were calling to recruit me to their ranks. Unfortunately, all I can say is I did very little but hold instruments, untangle some guts, and get intestine juices dribbled down my leg.

It’s hard to describe colic surgery. Picture Grey’s Anatomy meets The Walking Dead – all the surgeons are so tired, they look like zombies and there are guts everywhere, but things are kept quite clean. Helping with the surgery meant that I pulled a 36 hour work day, but honestly, who says you can only cram 24 hours into a day? I think my out of hours team is doing a pretty good job squeezing in a few extra hours every day to save some lives.

And saving lives is exactly what we’re doing right now, which is pretty cool. In addition to a few horses in the hospital who have actually tried to die on us, we’ve had a few emergencies walk in the door. In addition to Thursday night’s colic surgery, Friday brought us a horse with guttural pouch mycosis who was at risk of spontaneous life-threatening haemorrhage. He required constant monitoring throughout the night and had surgery first thing Saturday morning to ligate the vessel that had been almost completely eroded away by a fungal plaque.


Here’s the best part, though: when I was handed his penis in preparation for surgery on Saturday morning, I knew exactly what to do with it: hold on for dear life (and stay out of The Danger Zone!)

The same surgeon was present to pass the catheter. I was so excited to see him, to have a second chance at proving my worth as a final year vet student, a soon-to-be veterinary surgeon in my own right!

I smiled boldly, “I didn’t let go this time! I got better at this!”

He said nothing. But he didn’t need to, I mean what could he say, “Congratulations. You are successfully holding a penis. You’ve gotten to be very good at it?” Really, is there an appropriate response?

I guess the important thing is I’m still moving forward, still improving. Baby steps are still steps, and even on the steep learning curve of vet school, life’s little anecdotes hold true: if you slip up and drop a penis, the important thing is you scrub in and get back on the horse the next chance you get….or something like that.



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Finding Nimmo (Or, The Dude For Whom I’m Willing To Smash My Boiler With A Hammer)

For going on 6 years now, it’s just been me and the little furries living the single lady life – which is ever so slightly less glamorous than Ricky Martin promised in the 1998 Grammy Award winning song Livin’ La Vida Loca. Still, I really can’t complain about my little four-footed-flatmates or our lifestyle.

We do things to make each other smile:

2014-08-28 17.59.23

They help keep the heating costs down in winter:

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We make a great team when it comes to doing household chores:


We shower each other with affection:


And they are always so “happy” to assist me with my veterinary studies…huck-suture-2pg

…even when they are not really much help….


Still, a woman has needs, you know? And although, being around boisterous children in movie theatres and restaurants is usually all it takes to hit the snooze button on my biological clock, my uterus sometimes wishes that the pitter-patter of little feet didn’t make me instantly wonder which of my beasts is overdue for a nail trim. Fortunately, I’ve spent the last 6 years of my spinsterhood chipping away at the ice left in place of my heart from an epic breakup and have formulated a fragile, yet delightfully optimistic concept of love.

As of two weeks ago, I now believe love can happen at first sight. Or at least, I will believe in love at first sight if my stalking skills prove up to snuff (errrr, I mean serendipitously cross paths with a certain gentleman again). But, I get ahead of myself. This all began with my boiler breaking…On a dark and stormy night…(or Once Upon a Time?)

I called Scottish Gas and they scheduled an engineer to fix my boiler first thing in the morning. I woke up early and made a pot of coffee, ran down to the shop in my pj’s for some milk and brushed my teeth. I didn’t shower because of there not being hot water and I didn’t put makeup on because why bother with that stuff if you are not even going to shower. Little did I know, fate was about to buzz the door and I’d kick myself for not even wearing lipstick…

When the engineer arrived, I was struck a bit dumb. I let him into my flat and then we both proceeded to stand for a prolonged time in the entryway, me smiling like a dafty and him patiently awaiting directions to the boiler. Once prompted, I ushered him to the kitchen and probably introduced him to the broken boiler with a cleverly-phrased, “Ta-da” or something. As I had just purchased fresh milk, I offered him tea and coffee with full confidence that the milk wouldn’t come out in stinking chunks when I poured it in the mug. He politely declined, so I offered again….and again….and once more…before telling him to help himself if he changed his mind and finally leaving him in peace.

I sat on the sofa, pretending to study all the while wishing he appreciated my Classic Alternative Rock and American Country Music Playlist. I went to the kitchen to see how things were going and he explained the inner workings of a boiler in great detail: “Blah blah blah Venturi pump blah blah blah more words that sound like physics blah blah blah thermo-something-sensor-regulator-thing blah blah.” I asked him what was wrong with the boiler and he said he wasn’t sure yet – he’d fixed it by turning it off and on again, but since that didn’t identify or address any underlying issue, he decided to take it all apart and do a full inspection. Hmmm maybe he was digging my tunes. 

I went back to my pretend studying, trying to think of non-physics things to talk about, but soon found myself back in the kitchen, apologising for my overly-affectionate cat who clearly thought that our guest was over to pet him instead of fix the boiler. That got us talking about cats and our mutual love for them – something in common! Conversation started to flow easily: Bob Dylan, military experience, thoughts on world peace, music, travel, tattoos, Thailand, the law of attraction, being real grown ups, hopes and dreams – you name it, we probably talked about it. During the course of the conversation, he didn’t mention “we” or “us” or “girlfriend” or “wife” or “boyfriend” or “partner” or “asexuality” once – something I took to be a very good sign.

Then, just as I was about to ask him if we could name our future twin daughters Maggie and Janey, he was gone. It happened so quickly – we were talking and laughing and then I signed the papers and walked him to the door and we both said, “See ya later,” and *poof* he was gone. On to the next appointment, I suppose. Another flat, another spinster cat lady with a broken boiler….

I was still thinking about him though, so I googled him using his first name and the company. I found an article about him winning an award from which I was able to glean his age (32) and his last name – Nimmo. After scouring the internet, I decided he has the smallest electronic footprint of anyone I’ve ever met – not even a facebook account.

I called my mom for advice. My gut instinct was to call and say my boiler was broken again. She told me not to lie. Then, as if reading my mind, she said, “And Erin? Don’t you dare break your boiler.” It was as if the same picture of me taking a hammer to my boiler had been conjured up in her mind!

Fighting the urge to accidentally pull a knob off the boiler, I turned to friends for advice. One of my brilliant lady friends suggested I call the gas company and leave a message for the engineer to call me back because I have a question. Then, when he does call, I could say something really slick like, “So, I was wondering if you wanted to ask me out on a date?” Knowing me, I’m sure it would come off as bold and confident – my milkshake bringing boys to the yard, and not be awkward, or anything.

I loved this plan. I called the gas company.

Me: “Um hi. I was calling because one of your engineers was out this weekend to fix my boiler and he did such a great job explaining everything to me, but I forgot this one thing he said and was trying to convey all the information to my landlord. Would it be possible for me to leave a message for him to call me when he gets a chance so I could ask him, please?”

Representative: “Sorry, we don’t allow our engineers to contact customers directly.”

Me: “Ok, thanks anyway.”

Representative: “If it’s a quick question, I could call him and ask and then tell you what he says?”

Me (panicking): “Oh please don’t worry about it. It’s just about this silly switch I was told not to use a few years ago that I was wondering if he fixed because he took everything apart, but I’ll just carry on not using the switch. It’s really silly. So silly in fact that I’m embarrassed I even called. I’ll just call back if the boiler breaks again. Thanks so much. Really. Bye!”

A dead end. An incredibly awkward and uncomfortable dead end at that. I had a sinking feeling that the representative could read my mind and Scottish Gas was start a case file on me and refuse to send engineers over to service my boiler.

But, a dead end is just a detour in the labyrinth of finding love, so I’m still hopeful. There’s a singer I found whilst searching for him that I’m hopeful may be his mother. I’m going to one of her gigs in about 2 weeks and if I bump into him there and the chemistry sparks again, I’m calling it serendipity. Other people might call this stalking. Some might even use words like, “crazy, obsessive, scary.” Bah to all those people. If there’s anything life has taught me, it’s you can’t just sit around and wait for things. You gotta do your research and go after what you want. Plus, it’s only “scary” if the interest wasn’t mutual. If he liked me as much as I like him, he’ll consider my efforts to accidentally bump into him again “cute” and he’ll feel “lucky.” I hope.

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32 Times Around The Sun

Year: noun : the period of about 3651/4 solar days required for one revolution of the earth around the sun; the time required for the apparent sun to return to an arbitrary fixed or moving reference point in the sky.

I’ve seen 32 of those now. I texted my mom this morning to say thanks for giving birth to me….and then deciding to keep me around and raise me to be the person I am today. Maybe it’s because 87% (statistic made up on the spot) of my friends have at least one child now and I have a new found appreciation for the literal labours of bringing a baby into the world (as many of them have explained these labours to me in gory detail), but I’m starting to think my birthday is more an accomplishment for my mother than it will ever be for me.

Thirty-two isn’t much of a landmark. It’s not like turning thirty. And I can no longer smile and proudly tell people I’m “Thirty-FUN” anymore. But it will be a big year for me. At 32, I’ll graduate (at least I hope I will) as a veterinary surgeon. I’ll seek (and hopefully gain) employment in this beloved field of mine. I’ll move back across an ocean and say goodbye to my life in Scotland.

However, between today and the day I set my sights westward, there is a lot more for me to do here. Like climb this mountain (in 2 weeks from now):Buachaille Etive Mor

I plan on breathing some new life into this little blog of mine. I want to record my adventures, to share and relive them.

Today was a good reminder of just how special this time is to me. Having a summer birthday, I’m not used to having many friends around to celebrate with me. For goodness sakes, when I turned 30, I took Huckleberry on a road trip to the west coast and imposed on my generous lambing family for tea and cake along the way! It would have been a very lonely day if not for my sidekick and the hospitality of the Hendersons.

This year is a little different as we are all in the midst of our final year clinical rotations.  When I arrived at the Hospital for Small Animals this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see a brightly coloured gift bag in my locker. So surprised, in fact, that I dropped my tea mug, spilling my tea all over the locker room. I giggled as I mopped up my mess wondering how my friend figured out which locker was mine and snuck a present into it (this is the locker I’ve used every day for over a week now and never bother locking…)

After checking on my inpatients, I rushed up the stairs, late to our “group meeting” where we were going to discuss our case loads and make sure everyone was comfortable with the amount of work they had for the week. ANOTHER SURPRISE – my group didn’t actually have a meeting planned, they had cupcakes and Costa lattes for everyone! I was also given a “Birthday Girl” badge to wear, which I attached to my pocket and promptly forgot about, leading to more surprises throughout the day as people I didn’t even know wished me a happy birthday. How do they all know, I wondered.


I didn’t expect 32 to feel like a glamorous birthday. I was actually feeling so tired – tired from the tips of my toes to my eye lashes kinda tired – that when I came home, I took a few minutes to be horizontal before slathering some make up on my face and changing into real clothes for going out in public.

When it came to making dinner, I poured a bowl of cereal. And when it came to ordering drinks, I opted for a dirty gin martini with 3 olives. Something about this combination felt very adult to me. Even though most adults probably balance their gin with real dinners that have vegetables and some form of lean protein, maybe even an ancient grain instead of cold cereal and ever so slightly soured milk (not so sour it was chunky, but sour enough to prove being single means it’s near impossible to keep dairy items around).

Gone are the days of apple-tinis and bubblegum lip gloss. I’m approaching my second real chance at adulthood. I expect it to be similar to my first go – with a bit more suave and little less patience for slum landlords and stiff off-street parking competition. I expect many more exhausted dinners of cheese and crackers or cereal. I expect to get a regular paycheck and an occasional pedicure. I expect to be chewing the chunks of sour milk in my tea tomorrow when I over sleep my alarm and forget that the milk in my fridge is slightly off….

Will expectations match reality? Stay tuned. Same bat day, same bat channel.

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Tipping Point

You’ve probably heard that pigs are intelligent animals. They are.  They are clean, easy to train and can be taught to do tricks. Pigs are considered to be as intelligent as a 3 year old child. In intensive pig farming situations, lack of enrichment in their environment will cause them stress. When this lack of enrichment (or boredom) combines with less than satisfactory management conditions (feeding, environment…) pigs start to show vices. They bully each other and bite at each other’s tails and ears. Multiple pigs may gang up on another pig and traumatise it. When pigs become uncomfortable, they get (for lack of better word) grumpy. When this grumpiness leads to the manifestation of vices, pigs are considered just past their tipping point.

I never expected to relate so much to an animal that makes an occasional appearance on my breakfast plate. But, learning about pigs reaching their tipping point struck a chord with me. Its easy to ignore how much stress I put on myself as a vet student: pressure to excel in my work, to be a good friend, a patient pet owner, to be financially responsible – these all sound like normal every day human being pressures. But, throw in variable factors, such as impending exams, a difficult social situation, a bank account balance that only decreases and that oh-so-dangerous pre-menstrual mixture of hormones and you have the perfect ingredients for a tipping point.

I won’t bite off anyone’s tail, but I can’t honestly say my tipping point is any less gruesome in its own way. Allow me to take you on a journey through the past few days so that you too can watch me bubble over like a kettle. The journey is awkward and infused with hilarity. But, actually reaching my tipping point is where the fun stopped.

Saturday: The Day I Kick A Friend Out Of My Kitchen For Making Too Many Potatoes

Saturday night was a “Friendsgiving” party for all of us homesick Americans and a few Canadians who came along for the turkey and pie. I don’t know if its the comfort food, or the closeness of so many differing personalities, but I always leave huge family style gatherings missing home a little less. Really, the only thing that was absent from our holiday celebration was the pitcher of margaritas I tend to fixate on during the massive political debate between my siblings and grandparents. 

My contribution was a Pecan Pie. It’s a quick and easy pie to make and allowed me to show off my fancy-flaky pie crust making skills. As I was hosting a little group study at my flat before the party, I offered my kitchen up to my friends to put together their contributions to the family-style dinner.

One of my friends was going to make potatoes. And here we find the critical point of failure: Expectation Misalignment.

My way of making potatoes is vastly different than his way. Still, I don’t tell people how to cook in their kitchen (even if it’s *technically* my kitchen), so I let him do his thing and stayed out in the living room….until I heard glass shatter. See, his delicious potatoes are very labour and resource intensive. Having all the burners on the stove going at full blast caused a glass picture in my kitchen to shatter. Coming into my kitchen felt like entering the set of The Walking Dead. I tried to plaster a Martha Stewart style smile on my face and, in the name of hospitality, offer to clean up all the glass and make some more room with my limited counter space for him to continue.

However, my smile was more like a grimace and the words that came out of my mouth were less hospitable and more like, “I just need to be the only one in here- I just need to get everything under control – I just need a minute. Just a minute.” Except those words sound nice (albeit awkward). I was awkward, but I wasn’t nice. Not even a little nice. I think I must have looked ready to projectile vomit pea soup whilst my head spun around 360 degrees a la The Exorcist.

I prepared my kitchen the best I could for “Operation boil 10 kg of potatoes whilst simultaneously frying up 3 kg of bacon and sausages” and sheepishly exited. I finished my mimosa. I made my pie. I apologized. But it wasn’t easy for me. It’s hard to admit you are wrong – especially when you’re the one being a snot about how to make potatoes.

Monday: The Day I Yell At A Stranger For The First Time in My Life 

I had received an e-mail from the financial aid office that had me a little bit on edge. Ok, a lot on edge. I was talking to a friend in the meadows, essentially throwing a bit of a pity party for myself. I also may have not been entirely over how silly I had acted about the potato situation.

Huckleberry was running around the meadows, sniffing used condoms and hunting down stale chips (french fries) left out for the birds. I really live in a classy part of town.  I looked over my shoulder and saw a woman approaching with a dog on the leash. If we were in closer proximity, I would have offered to leash my dog, but he was off sniffing and never really bothers with other dogs, so I didn’t give it a second thought.

Well, for the first time in 6 years, Huckleberry charged up to that woman and her dog, stopped about 5 feet away and let out his best beagle bay: ARRRROOOOOOOOOOO! I rushed over and apologized, “I”m so sorry! He’s never done that before!” As I was fumbling with his harness to leash him, she replied, “Yeah, that’s what they all say.” Taken aback by her tone, I aplogized again, “No really, he hasn’t ever run up and barked like that – I’m so sorry if he startled you.” She rolled her eyes at me and mumbled something.

Walking back to my friend with Huck at a close heel, I say, “What a b*tch.” (Because if someone upsets you, you should call them names until you feel better. Obviously.)

The woman hears me, stops and says, “Excuse me?”

And (ironically, for the first time in my life, because I never do this either) I have a ready comeback.

I say loudly, clearly (and thankfully without stuttering or losing my ability to say the letter R), “I was just saying how NICE it must be to have a perfect dog that has never embarrassed you in public. THANKS for so graciously accepting my apology.”

As you can imagine, when I said, “THANKS for so graciously accepting my apology,” it was clear I didn’t sincerely mean “Thank you.”

Tuesday: The Day I See The Stranger And Her Dog In The Meadows Again

I hid behind a post.

I’m actually terrible at confrontations.

Wednesday: Tipping Point – The Day I Cry Because People Were Nice To Me 

I volunteer at a local vet clinic on Wednesdays. Not just any veterinary surgery, but possibly the one staffed with the nicest and most compassionate team of professionals on the planet. I love going there for so many reasons, partly because I feel like I can help (if only keeping the kennels clean or washing instruments) but mostly because I like being around the staff. They help me remember why I am in vet school and inspire me to push through some of the less glamorous hoops vet students have to jump through.

Today, I arrived and was put to work right away taking a blood glucose reading from a diabetic dog. After getting the reading, I was to flush her catheter. Straightforward. Within my skill set. I can do this.

Well, getting the blood from her ear wasn’t easy. Whist there are many ways to poke a needle into a dog’s ear to get a drop of blood, none of them seem particularly painless. The poor dog yelped and I felt like a monster and dropped the glucose strip and then that happened again because after the first time my confidence was as shaky as my hands.

Then, I asked for help because there were only so many times I was willing to poke the dog before identifying the need for professional assistance. After getting the reading, I grabbed the needle and bag of saline from the dog’s kennel and flushed the catheter. As I was putting them back, I took a closer look at the bag. In bright green bold sharpie, I saw the words, “Drugs Added” written on the bag of saline. My heart rate escalated and I could hear the blood rushing in my ears. I ran into the prep room and grabbed a nurse and told her what I had done.

I couldn’t believe I had made such a mistake. My hands were shaking, even as she assured me it was fine, the saline contained very dilute glucose. It was the drip the dog had been on the previous day.  She assured me that my mistake wasn’t going to do anything to hurt the dog or mess anything up. She just told me to reflush with the correct saline and that it would be fine. She was kind. She was understanding. She appreciated me immediately owning my mistake and seeking help. She said I had done the right thing. She even made a joke about how the poor pup probably enjoyed a wee bit of extra glucose.

I reflushed the catheter with the appropriate saline solution and decided I would clean a few kennels and wash some dishes. I felt like I needed to take a break from medical chores for a bit. I demoted myself. I felt like I needed to be punished. I couldn’t let go of the fact that I had made an enormous mistake: I injected something into an animal without verifying what it was. At the time, it didn’t matter to me that it was a harmless solution. It didn’t even matter to me that the dog was safe. I still felt absolutely terrible. I couldn’t let go of the feeling that I could kill an animal doing that. The tears started and I couldn’t get them to stop. I had reached my tipping point.

The whole team I work with were kind and encouraging. They offered up their own stories of mistakes they made that could have been disastrous and the lessons they learned. They shared their imperfections and vulnerabilities. They reminded me that we are all human. No one said a harsh word to me. No one felt the need to remind me of the repercussions such a mistake might have in the future. I think we all realized that this was the first and only time I would make this mistake because I would never forget the feeling I had holding that bag of glucose and saline.

I hid in the bathroom and cried. I cried until my eye makeup was no longer salvageable.

I washed my face with cold water and made about 3 good starts out of the bathroom, but each time I broke down again as soon as someone saw my tell tale red blotchy face and asked me if I was ok. I tried slathering lavender hand cream on my face to tone down the redness. It didn’t help. When the nurse realized that I was at my tipping point, she told me to take the night off and relax. She thanked me for all the work I do at the clinic. She told me they trust me and that’s why they let me do things and owning up to my error was just another reason for them to keep trusting me. She told me I was appreciated.

Tipping points can be fickle, funny things. You lose your cool over something small. Too many potatoes. A snotty dog owner. The beagle being a beagle instead of a perfectly trained little robot dog. You boil over. You cry. YOU CRY A LOT. You phone a friend. You phone all your friends. You drink a glass of wine….and then maybe just half of another. You eat a piece of baking chocolate (because that’s all you have). You go for a long walk. And then, you go to bed and know when you wake up, you have a fresh start. Your emotional kettle is empty again. And the stresses can come and go and you can roll with them. They won’t tip you. Well, not so soon. You’ll tip again. Maybe over a stubbed toe or missing a bus. Or maybe you tip because you are professionally and personally embarrassed by a poor judgment call. I think tipping points must be how we cope. We have to get all that stress out before it actually leaves us shattered.

But isn’t that the key? To tip and tip and tip over again, but not let anything sink us?

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An Udder Mystery

I have an exam tomorrow morning worth 18% of my final grade in the Farm Animal course. Clearly, this is the time for me to sit down and update the blog I’ve neglected since JULY.

But, I need a study break. Our exam tomorrow is over all cow medicine. All of it. Like everything that can go wrong with cows and how to fix it…or even take things that are not broken and just make them better. Fortunately (unfortunately?), a lot of farm animal medicine can be summed up to “give it penicillin or shoot it.”

OK, seriously, it’s not that dismal, but it is quite different from learning about diagnostic MRIs for Morkie-poos, chemo therapy for Chihuahuas and CAT scans for cats… Farm medicine is a whole new wondrous world (and still holds a good deal of mystery for yours truly!)

So, after spending the day flirting with my flash cards and staring down the sizeable pile of notes on my coffee table, I decided to give my brain a real break. My head felt so full, I wanted to wrap a big bandage around it to keep all that information from leaking out of my ears! In hindsight, I should have done just that….and made a cup of herbal tea….and crawled into bed….at 6:30 pm.

Anyway, I was feeling a bit guilty for being a terrible dog owner and skimping on Huck’s walks today. Also, I might have looked at my animals dead in the eye this evening and said, “If you both don’t leave me alone, I’m going to the library to study and NEVER COMING BACK.”

Or, I might have said exactly that with some pointedly inserted profanity. So, to ease my guilt, I decided Huck and I would take a leisurely sniff-everything-off-lead stroll around the meadows, allowing me to clear my mind and digest my Thai takeout.

Not even halfway across the meadows, my phone lit up and I looked at it for the first time in hours. It was a message from this guy I’m (dating? I guess that’s what its called – we’re going out on dates…but that’s all for now.) So yeah, this guy I’m dating. period. no question mark.

He asked if we were still going to get together tomorrow. At first, I cringed. I have plans to see him Friday and after he sent me a photo of the 6 month old Clydesdale foal he just bought, I made plans to see his horses, errrhhhmmm to see him at the stable on Sunday afternoon. Getting together tomorrow night means three dates in one week!

That seems like a lot of dating. But, I decided three dates in one week is ok since all the dates are things I want to do. Is this how dating works? I don’t even know.

Anyway, I digress. The Dude and I made plans to get a drink tomorrow evening. I told him to pick the place and time, my brain was too full to plan anything. He asked if he could help and I told him just to let me know where to go and not to ask me any questions about cows. And then, I added a few of the little cow ermojis because I think that’s what people do when they’re dating.

Of course his response was to ask me something about cows:

How many nipples do cows have?

I roll my eyes and start typing my reply: “Four”

(*I didn’t correct him and say they were called teats not nipples because I am trying to be less emasculating in my text messages and he doesn’t go to vet school and for all intensive purposes, they are nipples).

Then, I continued, with growing anxiety, “Which, now that I think of it, doesn’t make any sense for them to have four because cows are designed to have one calf -sometimes two, but they are still considered monotocous!

At this point, I’m pretty sure my pupils dilated and my heart rate sped up:

WHY DO COWS HAVE FOUR NIPPLES – errr teats. Whatever. 

I messaged the one person I could trust to answer me honestly and without judgment, Jersey. She writes back, “Yes – And sheep only have two!

Key full blown panic! It’s nothing for sheep to have twin or triplet (sometimes quadruplet) lambs! AND THEY ONLY HAVE TWO TEATS! WHY DO COWS HAVE FOUR!!!

Jersey also kindly reminded me to not say nipples in front of farmers.

(She’s right. It’s just not done. I really will have to inform The Dude one day.)

Then, Jersey continued, “Seriously – where did the extra two come from? I don’t think hippos or whales have four.”

Good. It was getting to her, too. I wasn’t the only bamboozled vet student this evening in Edinburgh.

We discussed the possibility of cows fostering each other’s young and even being genetically selected for more teats to get more milk back in the early days of domestication.

I ran the theories by my friend who is a real life vet.

She thinks I’m a nutter.

When I got home from the walk, I tried to find out more about hippopotamus and whale teats on the internet, on the off chance I could gain some more insight into cow mammary development.

Fail.  I couldn’t find any pictures of hippopotamus teats and they are pretty hard to discern from a side-on photo:

I did find a really sweet article about baby beluga whales suckling. I think it was written for children. I loved it. Baby beluga. So freaking cute.

Still, I felt no closer to solving the mystery about why cows have four teats. I’ve been studying cows almost exclusively for over a month now and I couldn’t answer one simple question.

It would have been sad if I still had the capacity to feel.

I’ve certainly hit a wall. It’s time for that cup of tea and a good night’s sleep. It’s my hope, in the morning, I’ll awaken to a comment on this post answering this udderly mysterious conundrum.

Posted in Academia, Animals, Dating or Something Like it, Edinburgh, Vet School | 1 Comment

Lost In Translation?

Occasionally, I make rather odd requests to my friends, today was no exception:

“Ok, I just need you to say, ‘Hi my name is Paul‘ and then ‘Hi, my name is Robbie‘ in your Scottish accent really quick.”


“I’m wondering if there is any chance I could have heard the name Paul when someone said Robbie instead.”

“Ok. Hi my name is Paul. Hi my name is Robbie”

“Yeah, no way do they sound alike.”

“No they dinnae”

One of these days, I’ll get back to sharing stories about getting my butt kicked by newborn bovines or how great I am at nursing baby lambs and doing stuff around farms. But, somehow, all of my entries lately have been nostalgic of my days working as a dating columnist. I think that’s because although my age, career, time zone and opinions regarding the best time to drink a hot cup of English Breakfast tea (all the times!) have changed, some things, specifically my dismal hand-eye coordination, gigantic shoe size, and uncanny ability to almost-but-not-quite-actually-date people have all remained exactly the same.

Actually, it’s probably best I focus on writing about my “dating life” instead of vet school because, now that my clinical extra mural studies have started, my stories are less about funny farm antics and more about sponge bathing diarrhoea off a dog’s rear end. It’s glamorous, I know.

So back to the Paul/Robbie name debate. Something unexpected and kinda funny happened today: I realized I may have made out with the wrong handyman. Since the cake and kissing incident with J, I have seen him numerous times, during which he has had ample opportunity to compliment my superior culinary skills and kissing technique, but has done neither. He’s so dead to me.

However, J isn’t doing all the work in the flat next door alone, there’s been a team of guys working there, remodelling the whole place. One of these guys is Paul Joiner. (*Note – a “joiner” is like a “carpenter.” You’re welcome, North America.) Paul Joiner is tall and blonde and probably thinks I need help or guidance or a mentor or a boyfriend well-versed in local knowledge. I can’t entirely disagree with him as he has caught me leaving my door open before when I was taking the dog out for a walk in the morning. A true gentleman, Paul Joiner guarded my ajar door until I returned to ensure that no super-keen thief was going to rob my third floor walk up 7:50 am. He then informed me that I had left my door open, but in the polite British way of doing so, apologized and used passive voice as to not assign blame: “I’m sorry, I just noticed your door was somehow left slightly open.” As I am adapting to the UK lifestyle, I responded in turn, with an apology, “Oh, sorry about that, I’ll be more careful next time, thanks.” (*Note: I do apologize now, for EVERYTHING.) Sorry I’m not sorry about always saying I’m sorry.

Well, Paul Joiner and I have seen each other a few times, I always say hello and usually apologize for something, like having to walk around the ladder he stuck in the middle of my hallway (don’t ask me why I apologize for that, maybe a Canadian could explain this better?)  Well, today,  I asked to borrow a hammer so I could fix some cheap Ikea picture frames in my flat. Paul Joiner said the hammer was already loaded into the van downstairs, but he was happy to run down and get it for me. Six flights of stairs later, he returned with the hammer. I did my hammering and gave it back.

Paul Joiner then told me that they were done in the flat across the hall. I invited myself in and gave my approval for how much better it looked. Then, I told him to have a nice day and went back to my flat.

A few minutes later, Paul Joiner knocked on my door. He told me again they were all done. I validated his good work again, smiled and said bye.

Then, I get another knock on the door. Paul Joiner was there holding a sponge. He apologized and asked me if I had a bin and could throw the sponge away for him as he had just finished using it to wipe everything down in the flat because they were all done working. I said sure and took the sponge, possibly apologizing for my bin being in the kitchen instead of readily anticipating his need to dispose of said sponge. It’s getting harder to keep track of all the “sorry’s” I’ve started to drop.

Some more small talk ensued after Paul Joiner caught a glimpse of my cat, but I ultimately wished him luck and shut the door.

One more knock on the door. I opened it again and this time Paul Joiner handed me a piece of paper with a number on it and asked if he could leave his number with me in case I needed any joinery work. I said sure. Paul Joiner then asked for my number, which I happily gave him.

We then said goodbye for possibly the 8th time that day. I may have apologized for something else again, at this point, I can’t remember.

In the end, I decided I was flattered by the attention from Paul Joiner and should encourage it a little bit to see if he really was just looking for more business. I sent him a message:


I was puzzled. I checked the number  – I hadn’t copied it down wrong. None of the numbers were even printed in that “is this a 5 or a 2” serial killer/brain surgeon penmanship.

I wondered if maybe Robbie was another guy working on the flat and if Paul had given me his work number, but written one of the numbers incorrectly as sometimes coworkers all have very similar phone numbers.

Out of curiosity, I googled the number. It was tied to a landscaping company in a town I had never heard of before outside of London.

I put the number into Facebook and found Robbie who lives in that town just outside of London.

Curiouser and curiouser. I then started to look for joiners in Edinburgh named Paul so I could see if their contact number was similar.

I didn’t understand. Did he give me the wrong number on purpose? Was it some sort of a prank? Was his name Robbie? Did he, in fact, work for a landscaping company in England even though he said he was from Edinburgh and he didn’t look a thing like the Robbie I found on Facebook? What was going on? If he was going to give me a fake number, why did he approach me to give me the number and ask for my number? Things were not adding up. I couldn’t make any sense of them and it was driving me crazy.

Then, I GOT A GRIP.  Paul asked for my number, too. If he wanted, he could get ahold of me a lot easier than I could get ahold of him.

The end.

Or is it?

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNN *Suspenseful music plays as I exit stage left.*

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The Art of Seduction. Or Something Like That.

I’m not usually one to kiss and tell, but there are times when the telling is so epic, I have to cross that line. This is most definitely one of those times. Single friends, take notes.

Handy J has been working at the flat across the hall from me for the past week. He is installing a central heating system, that is when he isn’t busy chatting me up in the hallway (and you wonder why the repairman is always late!)

J is tall, dark, handsome and has an enormous toolbox. Literally. That’s not a euphemism or anything.

Upon meeting J, I told him not to hesitate to let me know if he needed anything. He held me to that and hasn’t been shy. J seems to always need something: water for the kettle, a phone charger, a kind and sympathetic ear…

The other day, he quite literally knocked on my door 3 times within an hour. Each time he was asking for more water for the kettle. Handing him his 3rd litre of water that morning I said, “Wow, you sure do drink a lot of tea.” He laughed and explained that he was using the water to clean things in the flat. Still skeptical, I told him to let me know if he needed anything else as I was going to be home revising for my exam. J said, “Oh, well maybe I’ll come by for lunch.”

I was caught off guard and said, “Oh. Lunch? Well, since it’s revision week, I don’t really have lunch. I have half a sweet potato and some brussels sprouts and was going to just eat that.” J laughed and told me not to worry.

And I did eat exactly that:


Still, I felt a bit bad I couldn’t invite J in for lunch. I don’t know the first thing about installing boilers and stuff, but it seems like the type of work that would leave you very hungry. So, I decided to bake him a cake. A vegan lemon cake as I was completely out of eggs and butter also (ref. eating brussels sprouts and sweet potato for lunch) and I really couldn’t be bothered to go to the shop and buy lunch or eggs and butter.

The next time J knocked for a kettle refill, I answered the door and said, “Hi-I-baked-you-a-cake.” He didn’t respond right away, so I said it again, a little louder, “I BAKED YOU A CAKE.”

J just looked at me. Probably processing these strange words said in my strange accent. The silence felt uncomfortable, so I kept talking:

“Well, since I said to let me know if you needed anything and then you said you needed lunch, but I didn’t really have lunch…”

“Oh I was just kidding about that…”


The third time I told him I’d baked a cake must have come off as a bit aggressive because J gave me an appeasing smile and said, “Thanks. I’ve only got about half an hour left of work.”

I threw my hands up and said, “Well, just knock on my door when you are getting ready to go and I’ll cut you a slice of cake to take away with you.”

J smiled and nodded. About half an hour later, he knocks again and says, “That’s me done.”

I nod and say, “Ok great. Let me go get you some cake.”

As I turn to leave, J takes a step into my flat and says, “Or, you could invite us in for a cup of tea?”

I say, “ok,” and turn and walk away, leaving the door open. J must have understood that as an invitation to come in, because that’s exactly what he did. He followed me into the kitchen and I say, “Welp, there’s the cake.”

I flip on the kettle and ask, “How do you take your tea?” He asks for milk and sugar.

Damn. I’d put all the sugar in the cake. I tell him, “I put all the sugar in the cake. I have honey. I’ll put honey in your tea.”

I hand him the mug, realizing I’d forgotten to take out the tea bag. With the swiftness of a ninja, I grab a spoon from the counter and reach into his mug to remove the tea bag, spilling tea all over his arm, “Sorry about that, Americans really are not that good with tea, ya know?”

J takes his tea to the table and I sit across from him. He smiles, “This is like a proper dinner date.”

“Yup. Sure is.”

I’m wishing the cake tasted better (I’d run out of sugar making the cake, and decided it would just be a lower calorie vegan lemon cake – it was quite tart). I’m wishing I had enough icing sugar to make frosting instead of a glaze. I’m wondering what the heck I am doing feeding this guy I don’t even know a slice of cake. I’m wishing I had a gin and tonic…

I ask J a little bit more about what he does, and when he starts talking about plumbing, I remember that I pulled the plug out of the bathroom sink while trying to flush a few large chunks of dried henna down the drain and haven’t been able to get it to go back in correctly. I ask him if he wouldn’t mind taking a look at it. And guess what, HE FIXES IT – WITH HIS TOOLS!

I thank him for fixing my sink and we return to THE CAKE.

J asks me if I have a flatmate. I say no.

He continues, “And no boyfriend, husband back in the US?”

“Not exactly,” I respond. Realizing how that must have sounded, I laugh and then (for some unknown reason) say it again, “Yea, not exactly.”

What J can not possibly understand here is that “not exactly” has just somehow become Erin-code for, “I haven’t even dated anyone in 4 years…” and that’s why it’s so funny.

I ask him if he has a girlfriend. He says, “Not exactly.”

Hmmm. I’m thinking “not exactly” possibly means something a little different for J – either that or he is “mirroring” in an attempt to get closer to me and build trust. All primates do it.

J finishes his cake, and tells me it was “braw,” but his parking is expiring and he has another job to get to. He takes the plates into the kitchen.

I walk J to the door. He thanks me for the cake and I thank him for fixing my sink. He gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and turns to the door. Then, with one hand on the doorknob, J turns back to me, looks in my eyes, and in one painfully halting and spasmodic motion, leans in and starts kissing me.

I’m taken off guard, but I kiss back. Then, I start thinking about how I am kissing Handy J from the flat across the hall in the middle of the day because I baked him a cake and I am overcome with the desire to laugh my head off. Fortunately, I learned when I was 17 that guys HATE it when they are kissing you and you start laughing (they REALLY, REALLY hate it), so I was able to repress the giggles and just smile and keep kissing back. However, with all the effort I had to put into not laughing and with the awkwardness of it all, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what to do with my hands while making out with a dude. So, I held them out to my sides, kinda like a penguin holds it’s flippers when it’s balancing on an ice float.

J pulls away from the kiss and says, “So, I guess I should go?”

Still wearing my incredibly literal hat from revision week,  I respond, “Yeah, you should, your parking is expiring, remember?”

J walks out the door and spills his toolbox. I tell him to have a great afternoon and close the door.

Then, I go sit down on my futon with my flash cards and laugh my head off for the whole afternoon. I daydreamed about future me, aged 58 walking around my beautiful Southern California outdoor swimming pool on a Thursday morning. I see my 20-something year old pool boy cleaning out the filter, lower my Ray-bands and winking, say, “Hey cutie, want a Piña Colada?”

Dear future me, if Handy J is the start of a trend, I think we’re going to be ok…

I didn’t get much revision done that day, but I did find a vintage cake advertisement on pintrest that really captured the moment:


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Just A Quickie

I am giving myself 15 minutes to write this quick catch up post before the lavender scent on my sheets sends me on the midnight express to Snoozeville.

Zzzzzzz….8 minutes. I’m giving myself 8 minutes. Even now, my eyes are drooping and heavy, but if not now, when? When will I even start to share the Adventures in Veterinary Medicine I have had the past few *eek* months I haven’t written.

I owe you stories. Intense stories of blood and gore, like how I castrated a cat and walked out of the operating room looking as if I had field dressed a grizzly bear with my bare hands….and teeth.

I owe you grand stories of the beautiful Scottish countryside and how I am trying my damnedest to grow into a country vet but it’s going to take a lot more than James Herriot novels to get me there.

I owe you  a gem of a story about meeting an aggressive Rottweiler head on to save Huckleberry. And I owe you a story about the best April Fool’s Day joke I’ve ever played.

But today’s stories are the quick ones. Short stores, stories that can’t be too complicated or exciting because they involve love and romance and me generally adjusting to grown up life.

For starters, my love life catch up: I was on Tinder for a week before I ran out of eligible men within 50 km of Edinburgh. I was half expecting to get a message from the executives at Tinder explaining that I was most likely single because I am too damn picky and should “swipe right” more.

*Hi Mom, Tinder is a dating game on the phone where you swipe people’s profile pictures left if you are not interested in them and right if you are. If two people match (both swipe right) then you can talk to each other. 

But let’s face it, Tinder could have criticised me for being more than too picky. I also struggled to get a “sexy” profile picture. After spending a lot of time in the late 18th/early 19th century (in my brain) I decided to feature a picture inspired by the very fashions that enticed Mr. Darcy. I wanted one that would show off and enhance my bosom, but gave up when I realised the beagle was coping a feel in it. I don’t even know where that awkwardly placed paw came from.

2015-03-21 16.16.22So, I ended up using a photo of me and a donkey. It just begged for men to complement my ASSets.

2015-03-25 21.40.15

I went out on a few dates and then Tinder got tired. And I deleted it.

Resigning myself to the fact that I would be doing all my own home improvements by myself for the rest of my life, I accepted my landlord’s challenge to replace the silicone seal (caulk) in my shower (I am also still really bad at saying no to such things).

At first I didn’t understand why he couldn’t be bothered to do it, reading up online, it didn’t seem difficult…ha.

I started off with every good intention to remove all the old nasty sealant….

2015-04-14 11.33.19…but got bored quickly, so quickly. The job was both difficult and unrewarding.

So, I pulled out a bit of sealant and then applied the new stuff in a thick heavy layer all around the shower. It looks horrendous. (And don’t tell me, it probably won’t be watertight, right?)

But it came at a much higher cost than the £7 tube of sealant I got at the store: I got silicone in my hair and up my nose. I effectively glued my hands together and sealed the drain in my bathroom sink. I sealed myself to a butter knife and I tracked footprints of white sealant across the dark blue carpet. I think I must have eaten some of the stuff, but am still unable to assess whether there is any lasting damage to my taste buds.

Seriously, my landlord will never ask me to do anything handy again. Ever.

And now, it’s reached the point of being past my bedtime once more. But I owe you grand tales of adventure and they are coming. When I have the energy to do them justice. Tonight is the night for hum drum adult life and falling asleep at a sensible hour. It is not the night for adventure…

Goodnight my friends.



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Oh Such Trials and Tribulations

Being a vet student isn’t easy.

Pretty much my home life revolves around this corner of my flat, except, of course, when I decide to play it “fast and loose” and bring my studies to the sofa or….even the bedroom! Ooo la la!

2015-02-12 18.46.37School is going well, but let’s just say there is a reason you haven’t heard much from me lately….there is a lot to learn, but I won’t bore you with a recap of our lectures this year (especially since I’m likely to stand corrected by one of my colleagues who probably has a better head for remembering all these nitty gritty details anyway).

No, this blog post is brought to you by a different type of vet student tribulation, the kind of tribulation that really makes you question if you are in the right place, doing the right thing. The type of tribulation that makes you pause and reconsider your future career plans.

*Tribulation – you keep using that word and I don’t think it means what you think it means…

Dear internet, I’m about to get completely, soul-baring, emotionally gross and unfiltered. I’m going to be honest with you.

I recently called into question my life choices. I recently began to wonder if I am made of the stuff of prolapsed vaginas and abscessed teeth and bloody projectile diarrhoea. I recently had a moment where I doubted. I wondered if I should have pursued that Masters degree in Public Relations after all. I wondered if I was Jimmy Choos and a corner office rather than wellies and mud and blood and amniotic fluids.

All of these doubts and questions rushed into my mind with a vengeance the day the engineer British Gas sent out to repair my boiler looked me in the eyes and said,

“It appears you have a dead mouse behind your fridge.”

My jaw dropped to the floor. Of course, I quickly picked my jaw up off the floor knowing that my kitchen floor was contaminated with decaying rotting dead mouse miasmas.

The engineer flashed his light behind the fridge and sure enough, there it was:2015-02-09 18.13.11Can you see it? Here, I’ll zoom in and make it a bit easier for you:

2015-02-09 18.13.11I thanked the engineer and apologised for having a decaying rodent in my place of food preparation! So humiliating! As if he would call the appropriate authorities and have me shut down for baking all those cookies in a dead-rodent infested venue! Le ugh.

I had just scrubbed out the cat litter box and washed the sheets on the sofa. I hadn’t noticed the smell of death permeating my kitchen per se, but I had blamed Huck for worse than normal flatulence and bleached every inch of my bathroom to make sure that there wasn’t any stinky mould growing in it, so maybe I had smelled it and not realised it?

The engineer gave me a non-judgy nod, packed up his things and said he would be back in 3 days with some replacement hoses for the boiler.

Great. I had 3 days to get rid of the decaying vermin. That gave me a deadline. If the mouse was still there in 3 days the engineer would know that I am truly, incurably gross.

I immediately told my friends about my situation, secretly hoping someone would just come over and take care of it for me. No one really jumped at the opportunity.

The rest of the day passed with me fully denying I had a problem. I ordered take out Indian food and poured myself a glass of wine.

Day 1 brought more anxiety and some judgement from the friends who now knew I was avoiding cleaning up a dead rodent. You seriously haven’t cleaned that up yet?

Day 2, my last day before the engineer returned. I debated slipping him a tenner and asking him just to go a little above and beyond the call of duty in the name of chivalry.

No. I had to do it. I had to put on my big girl panties, rubber gloves, some Chanel perfume, a silk French scarf and clean up this mess. I called my old uni roommate for emotional support and to be a witness if my worst fears came true and the dead mouse reanimated into a zombie mouse that bit me and made me into a brain-eating-zombie too.

2015-02-09 18.16.44


Coming up with a game plan wasn’t easy. I had a plastic bag, paper towels and latex gloves at the ready. I considered trying to scoop the mouse out with a wooden spoon, but I didn’t want to have to throw my wooden spoon away. I pulled out a set of disposable chopsticks and considered grabbing him like a little sushi roll, but Rachel wisely reminded me that upon even the most gentle touch with a chop stick, the dead mouse might just dissolve into a puddle of decay. Then, looking again at the chopsticks, she asked me if I’d considered skewering it.

I paused.

No. Absolutely not.

By the time we had discussed all of the options for rodent clean up and removal, the problem had grown 10 fold in size and Rach nearly gagged at the site of the “rat” behind my fridge.

I made several attempts to touch it; losing my nerve each time. Rachel cheered for me and egged me on….errr encouraged me.

Finally, I took a deep breath and told myself it was now or never. I took some paper towel and covered the mouse. Then, with my gloved hand inside the plastic bag, I reached over, scooped around the tiny fury body and pulled. I didn’t get him. He was lodged very securely in place. But, he didn’t dissolve into mouse mush at my touch! The mouse was actually a bit stiff and cold. I reached again, this time tugging harder, with the zen confidence of a yogi, and in one swift motion had him in the garbage can!

He didn’t turn to mouse mush! He wasn’t that decayed! I figured, especially with my boiler not firing on all cylinders this winter, it just wasn’t warm enough in my flat for the mouse to decompose. He was probably frozen-mummifying like the 9,300 year old bison mummy they found in Siberia.

I was euphoric spraying disinfectant all over my kitchen. Honestly, I probably got a little high off the stuff since I flooded that whole corner with it.

Truly, when I write my memoirs, this will be a turning point in my career. It wasn’t the fact that the mouse was dead – just that it had been dead – that grossed me out. Still, if I couldn’t handle 15 grams of dead  mouse in my kitchen, how could I expect myself to do some of the duties vets are called upon to do (words like dairy cow with a retained placenta suddenly leap into my head…)

School is going great. Sorry I’m so bad at sharing these scenes from my hum drum life. I’ll do better. I have big plans on the horizon. I’m going to pursue greatness and grossness. And I’ll bring you with me. I promise.






Posted in Academia, Animals, Apartment Living, Edinburgh, Vet School | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Cat-mas…

There are +4 cats in my life this Christmas and 0 Men.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to analyze the cats to men ratio and draw conclusions here. Even just reading that sentence again is enough to make me break out into a cold sweat….baby, it’s cold outside

Oh please, oh please, oh please don’t let this be the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

I spent this week cat sitting for friends and splitting my time between two flats (couldn’t take 4 cats in my micro-flat!) Huckleberry was in heaven having so many cat butts to sniff and cat poops to sneak out of the litterbox. He’s actually eaten so much cat poo that he gained a pound or two. Oh, bring him a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer!

And, while the cats are all lovely, I don’t see myself being a multiple cat owner just now. Mostly because I’m not ready to take that giant leap towards official “cat lady status.” Plus, cats play cat games that involve stampeding around the flat like a herd of elephants at 2am. Mama needs her silent night beauty sleep.

But back to the topic of spinsterhood…

It’s looking like a viable option for me right now. I mean, the last three dates I’ve gone on have fallen flatter than an unwanted fruitcake:

Mystery Date 1. Criticized my dog (scoff!), criticized my lack of knowledge about Shakespeare (double scoff!), and generally did his best to make me feel like an idiot. Which really isn’t tough to do, he could have just handed me our Pathology SPOT exam if he wanted to make me feel like a giggling moron. I don’t know why he had to use music to insult my intelligence. I mean, I like music. I listen to music. But, apparently, I don’t know music. Fa la la la la la la.

Mystery Date 2. Didn’t speak English very well. Never really called. Eh, no hard feelings there, Feliz Navidad number 2!

Mystery Date 3. Had a lovely flirty fun time with someone who could only be described as “Erin bait” – 35 yo cute police officer who saves puppies and volunteers in the Coast Guard. Obviously, I was interested! Played it about as cool as I play things and was rather coy in response to his drunken affectionate overtures. Still, was hoping for a call and a follow up date from this one. Until, a few days later when I found out he’d spread some gossip around my local pub, painting the situation in a different light, one that didn’t flatter me at all. Feelings about him turned Ice Queen Cold. And the worst part about it? He’d never actually contacted me, so he didn’t know that I hated him with the fire of 1,000 suns and was not speaking to him!

That is, until our paths crossed last week.

I made it pretty clear I wasn’t interested in talking to 3 by not talking to him (I’m a keep things simple kinda girl). I also shot him a death-ray glare that actually seemed to frighten him. He’s just lucky I’d had a week to simmer and cool down or I might have talked to him and I can’t imagine that being very pretty.

Still, hostility isn’t a cloak I don often or for long. It’s uncomfortable.

I saw 3 on my street again this afternoon. I walked past without saying a word. Then, overcome by Christmas Spirit and feeling goodwill toward men, I turned around, walked back to him and wished him a Happy Christmas. He took the opportunity to (sorta) apologize (can’t remember if the words “I’m sorry” actually came out of his mouth?) and give me a thinly veiled cover story in which he was actually the victim of slander. He’s charming alright, but somehow, call me crazy, I don’t believe a word he says. Still, it’s Christmastime! I let him talk, gave him an All-American smile and said, “Yeah, whatever, I really just didn’t want to be a dick on Christmas. So take care and Happy Christmas.” Then, I a-wassailed away among the leaves so green, joyful and triumphant.

Right back to the cats. Who never act like 19 year old frat boys.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?

And let’s face it, cats or no cats, there’s really only one reason why I’m single: I just haven’t met anyone as interesting as I am. And you shouldn’t date down, not when it comes to a person’s level of intrigue. I’m sure any day now I’ll bump into a tall, dark handsome world-traveling, PhD-holding, kitten-saving, mountain man-lumberjack-environmentalist who can write poetry, drive tractors and wash dishes. 2015 is coming, adventure looms on the horizon and love lies lurking behind almost every corner….



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