The Camper Queen Series - Tight Spaces  

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I currently live in a camper in my parents backyard. Fun right? Not so much. At 30 years old, it's never fun to have to go to your parents and beg them for a place to live. Especially not with 2 kids and a small zoo. In this new blog series, The Camper Queen, I explain how we get by.

Normally, when I tell someone we live in a camper, they automatically assume it's one of those really big, nice RV type things. Sadly, I have to burst their bubble. We are talking a late 80's early 90's throwback here. One of those smallish campers that one person starts feeling claustrophobic in, much less an entire family. It's tight and cramped at the best of times.

Let me explain how we came to live in said camper. In April of 2009, I broke my ankle. At the time I worked for an animal hospital and being around dogs that were extremely rambunctious more than half the time was not such a good place to find someone with broken limbs of any kind. The break didn't occur at work, but as soon as it happened I became a liability. If I got hurt at work, they would become liable for any further medical treatment, so basically, I lost my job. Not that I could work anyways, being on crutches for almost 6 months. (My ankle refused to heal.) So, we were down to only my husband's salary, which wasn't much, to get the bills paid. Around September of 2009 it got to the point where we just couldn't afford the rent anymore, so to my parents I went, thinking we will only need to live in a camper for a few months. Yea, well, I was wrong. Here it is November of 2011 and here we still are. The economy is shot so finding a decent job is hard enough in itself, but add in not having a vehicle and I'm pretty much S.O.L. Trying to find anything to do online is even harder because either you have to pay out what you don't have to start up something online or the jobs aren't legit to start with.

We've learned to deal with it on a day to day basis. The pros of living in such a confined area is it's super easy to keep clean, I don't lose stuff nearly as often as I did before, and I always know what the kids are doing at any given time. LOL. The cons are I'm slowly being overrun by my animals. With a Ball Python and her food taking up quite a bit of space, I'm constantly trying to make room and the kids are just as horrible here about keeping their stuff put up as they were in the house we lived in before. There is almost no counter space and the stove doesn't work.

It's certainly been a trying year to say the least, but we keep managing to look up and hope for the best. Be sure to look for next week's Camper Queen post on how to manage good meals in cramped spaces with no stove.

Wordless Wednesday - Avoidance Edition  

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The Loss Of A Friend  

Posted by: Savari in , ,

A couple of weeks ago, for Wordless Wednesday, I posted a picture of my Great Dane, Missy. She went over the Rainbow Bridge a year ago, today. Talking about this a year later isn't any easier than it was a day after she passed. In my humble opinion, for any true animal lover and pet owner, losing a beloved pet is very much like losing a family member. The pain never quite goes away. So in memory of Missy here is her story.

I worked as a vet tech and a volunteer for a local animal rescue when I first met Missy's owner. The rescue I worked with went to the local PetSmart every weekend to do adoptions. This guy was there every weekend with the most beautiful male Harlequin Great Dane. After a couple of months, he came up to me one morning as we were setting up and asked if we had any room for a female Great Dane. Being in a rush to get everything in order, I told him I would find out for him and went on about my business. After everything calmed down a bit, later in the day, I got to thinking about his request. I knew the shelter would gladly take her in, but I had always wanted a Dane. So I thought about it all that next week and when Friday came around and he showed up, I told him that I would take her. I asked that he bring her up the next day for me to see her. He showed up the next morning and came and got me. As I rounded the corner of the building, I stopped dead in my tracks. In the back of this man's truck was the skinniest dog I had ever seen in my life. As I got closer, I noticed she was missing large amounts of fur from her feet to her shoulders. Being in the business I was in, I immediately started asking questions. How old is she? How long have YOU had her? But the top most question in my mind was "How in the HELL could anyone let any animal get in the shape Missy was in?" I soon got all my answers. It turned out the guy was a breeder who had purchased Missy from another breeder basically site unseen. He had only seen pictures of the dog he was supposedly buying and had his daughter pick her up. Once he actually received Missy he realized his mistake. The "breeder" was a backyard breeder, according to his daughter. She said that when she got there, there were dogs everywhere and several were tied to their dog houses. Missy being one of those. Her tail was broken near the end from when she wagged it, it would hit her house. I don't know how many of you have ever been thwacked by a Great Dane's tail, but it has some serious force behind it and most have "happy tail syndrome", as in they wag their tails ALL the time at an alarming rate of speed. So, now every time her tail would wag it would crack and bleed and her skin was horrible.

He couldn't in good conscious return the dog to her previous owner so he kept her. Despite the fact that she was in horrible condition.  He took her to the vet and the end of her tail docked off to alleviate the pain of it basically rebreaking every time she bumped it on something and had her skin scraped. It turned out she had Demodex. Demodex is a hereditary mange that 99% of dogs carry. The mange presents itself due to a low immune system or poor living conditions and sometimes even changes in the weather. Stress can also cause demodectic mange to break. He got the medicines he needed to treat her and she started improving. Then he lost his job. The costs kept getting higher and higher to treat her skin conditions and it came down to finding her a home with someone who could afford to care for her or having her put to sleep.

Missy the day she came to live with me.

Here's where I come in. I couldn't say no. I realize that yes, I do probably have sucker tattooed across my forehead and everything he told me very well could have been a lie. But I could NOT let that dog suffer. I had a good job, my husband worked, everything would be fine. So, I took her home with me that day. Actually I took her straight to the vet office where I worked and had her weighed, her shots updated and scraped her skin again just to make sure that demodex was all she had. The poor thing weighed 117 lbs. (for a Dane of her bone structure and being 5 years old she should have been at LEAST 150), she was covered in fleas and her skin was just horrible. I got her on antibiotics, flea meds (the treatment for demodex is actually a flea med called ProMeris) and took her home and started feeding her.

Much improved.
In a month, she had gained up to 165 lbs. and her skin was excellent. She loved to ride in the back of my truck and play with the kids and my other dogs. She was the most well mannered, best behaved dog I had ever had, even though she liked to try to push me out of the bed. She loved to play and run and just thoroughly enjoyed being a dog. 2 months later, I broke my ankle and lost my job. No big deal, the hubby was still working and Missy was still making drastic improvements. Then the weather started to warm up and the skin treatments started failing. Where before she was only missing hair on her feet and legs, it was now on her feet, legs, chest, shoulders and face. And it wasn't just missing hair, it was turning into raw spots. I took her back to the vet. Skin scraping revealed nothing, no demodex, no mites at all actually. The vet decided to try her on some different antibiotics and see if that would clear it up. It worked. For awhile. Another 2 months later and her improvement was slow but steady. I kept thinking this is great, she's doing better, her skin is getting better, she's still putting on weight, awesome. 

September came and we had to move in with my parents. That is another story in and of itself. Missy was the only one of our dogs that didn't have to be fenced because she always stayed with me. She didn't run off or go near the road and she minded extremely well. For the first month we lived here, she was great, her skin had cleared up almost all the way. Then one day I noticed a small spot of hair missing on one of her front feet. It wasn't large by any means so I didn't much worry about it. Little did I know, that tiny spot would signify the end. As the week progressed, I noticed the spot growing and a few more had popped up. I started to worry then. Took her back to the vet, more antibiotics, more worrying. This time there was no improvement. It just kept getting progressively worse. The raw spots were now oozing sores. I took her to 4 different vets trying to find out exactly what was wrong with her. No one I took her to could give me any answers. They just kept pumping her full of meds, hoping for the best. By the first week of November, after all the medicines and treatments and everything else she was a shell of her former self. She would still willingly walk with me anywhere but her feet were so swollen that they would crack when she walked. I spent most of my days on the phone with different vets trying my hardest to figure out what was wrong with her. November 13th rolled around and she stopped eating, the vet said no big deal, dogs do that. November 14th came and she stopped drinking water, the vet said that is normal. November 15th arrived and she passed away. I remember knowing that she wouldn't make it through the day and that there was nothing I could do. I had no way to take her to the vet and the one vet that could make it out to the house wouldn't be able to make it until late in the afternoon. She passed away around lunch time. It turns out she had developed pneumonia due to the raging infection running through her body that no antibiotic would treat. Her immune system was so depleted from her earlier life, she never stood a chance.

Missy was my pet for less than a year, but she became my best friend from the moment I saw her. It took me months to be able to really talk about her without breaking down. She went everywhere with me, slept with me, listened to me rant and rave but loved me just the same. No judgement, no shame. I realize I've written a  novel but I felt the need to share and to just remember. Thanks for taking the time to read my diatribe and I'm sorry in advance for any typos that spell checker didn't catch. Can't read very well with blurry eyes.

Missy's favorite spot. The WHOLE couch.

So Not A Morning Person  

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5:30 a.m. comes all to early and despite the fact that I have to get up at 5:30 a.m. every weekday morning, I am NOT a morning person. I do not even remotely resemble a human being until at least 8:00 a.m. and have gotten  2 cups of coffee in me.

My children, however, are extremely bright and cheery first thing in the morning, enough so that they make me grit my teeth on a regular basis. Don't get me wrong, I love both of my children dearly and would do anything in the whole wide world for either of them. I just can't seem to get them to understand that I'm not Mama that early in the morning. I pretty much have Red, my oldest, trained. He sorta understands that what I say first thing in the morning can not be held against me, seeing as though I am not fully awake and am crabby, growly, grumbly, etc. He still slips sometimes, though. Mini Me on the other hand, *sigh*, she refuses to let me be.

Take for instance this morning, which incidentally led to this post. I claw my way up out of the fog and crack my eyes open to see her sitting there watching me. The very second my eyes open, off she goes. "Mama, did you know .........?" "Mama, come and look at the mice." "Mama, the dogs are barking." "Mama, Nuwa is in her warm hide." "Mama, can I watch TV?" "Mama, where is the hair brush?" Mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama. 

Inside, I'm gritting my teeth and trying my darnedest not to hurt her feelings. I got up and went and looked at the mice like she asked me to. I checked on Nuwa and made sure her temperatures were right. I checked outside to see what the dogs were raising sin about. I hunted down the remote for the TV. I hunted down the hair brush. And the whole time, Mini Me is following me around talking. 

My husband is the same way. His feet touch the floor and he's awake and bugging me. We've been married for going on 5 years and he has yet to realize that I just don't want to be talked to that early in the morning. I don't want to be pushed, poked or tickled, either. He can't seem to understand that, just because he doesn't feel like a zombie when he wakes up, I do.

Is it really to much to ask to be left alone until I feel human? Is it horrible of me to be happy to see the bus run every morning, because then I know everything will be quiet? 

How many of you are morning people? Are you not a morning person? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Honoring Our Veterans: Past and Present  

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The first Veterans Day or Armistice Day was proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson on November 11, 1919. This came a year after Germany's signing of the Armistice, at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. This treaty ended the major hostilities of World War I. Wilson had this to say during the proclamation:

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."

Our soldiers ARE heroes. Despite what some may say, our military men and women sacrifice their lives on a regular basis so that we may continue to enjoy what freedoms and liberties we have. And it's not just the soldiers who have already given their lives for their country who should be remembered on this day, but all of those still fighting and risking their lives on a daily basis. It hurts my heart to hear some people say spiteful and hateful things about those who have served so proudly, with honor, for us. It is their sacrifices which allow those same hurtful people to have the freedom to speak openly.

So, at the 11th hour on this 11th day of this 11th month of 2011, no matter where you are, take a moment to bow your head and thank those who have fought and died for our freedom and those who are still fighting.

The Things That Make A Soldier Great
by: Edgar Guest

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die, 
To face the flaming cannon's mouth nor ever question why, 
Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red, 
The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,
The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall: 
'Tis these that make a soldier great. 
He's fighting for them all.

'Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave; 
'Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;
For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam
As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.
Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run, 
You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun. 
What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees? 

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees, 
The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play, 
Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.
The golden thread of courage isn't linked to castle dome 
But to the spot, where'er it be — the humblest spot called home.
And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there
And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air; 
The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green, 
And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been. 

He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,
And only death can stop him now — he's fighting for them all.

Operation: Horse Pasture Clean Up  

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The start of every fall, we pick a portion of our property to clean up. This year, the horse pasture was the lucky recipient of the yearly clean up. A couple of years ago, pine beetles got into almost all of the pine trees around our house, and if any of you live in the south, you know that pine trees are the major make up of many yards. Well, pine beetles are horrendous little buggers that do A LOT of damage in a very short time. Last summer, the heavily damaged trees started falling like dominoes. It was to dangerous for any of us to go to far into the horse pasture. None of us wanted the headlines to read, Southerner Bludgeoned To Death By Falling Pine Tree, so we decided to give it until this fall to clean up. Most all of the trees that were gonna fall have already done so and even if one does fall now we have a lot more room to maneuver out of the way.

Anyways, starting Saturday afternoon, we got started. By 3 p.m. we had hauled out 3 extremely large truckloads of dead trees. Now anyone who knows me, knows I'm a pyromaniac, a firebug, a lover of gigantic, roaring bonfires. Truckloads of dead trees sounds like the making of a wonderful evening, to me. When we build fires at my house, they burn for a couple of days. We stacked up our initial burn pile and got it going.

THAT is gonna be a HUGE fire.

Speckles, my Pit Bull, joining in on the fire action.
After Dark. :-)

This fire went into the early morning hours. At first light, I went down and stirred the coals a bit and it flamed back up immediately.

7:30 a.m. Sunday morning and Speckles is back beside the fire.

We hauled out another 2 loads on Sunday, bringing the grand total to 5 truckloads. So, all in all, Operation: Horse Pasture Clean Up was a huge success. Yea, everyone was in bed by 8 p.m. last night but we all felt a major sense of accomplishment. There are still several loads of debris to gather up and haul out, but that's for another weekend. Right now, I'm doing my best to soothe out my sore muscles and burnt rear end. (LOL. Yep, leave it to me to stand a bit to close to the fire and singe my butt.) If you wanna read my post on aloe vera being a good remedy for burnt lips and dry, cracked skin, you can find it here.

House Cleaning Day *ugh*  

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Do the dishes, do the laundry, sweep and mop, clean mouse tubs, clean the bathroom, etc. Let me just say right now, I detest doing housework. I have never minded helping someone else clean THEIR house, but cleaning mine, heh, I consider it a chore worse than having my teeth pulled (with no anesthesia). However, I'm OCD and can't stand a mess. I'm also ADD and find myself straying from the task at hand quite often. (I just can't win.)

The dishes are the thing I hate the most. I've never liked doing dishes and I long for a dishwasher, but living in a camper provides very little room for one. Around here, I AM the dishwasher, as well as the dish dryer and the dish putter upper (Yep, it's a word cause I made it one. LOL)

My favorite cleaning task would have to be cleaning out my various tubs and tanks. I breed and raise mice and I also have a Ball Python. Cleaning their tubs and tanks give me more time to spend with them so I don't necessarily see it as a chore.

Music. I. Must. Have. Music. If it is quiet in the house, nothing is gonna get done. And I will listen to anything, although my cleaning playlist consists mostly of Alternative Rock. For some reason, A7X, Slipknot, Incubus, Theory of a Dead Man, etc. gets me through the cleaning with more ease than say country or classical. Wanna see what I listen to? You can find my playlists on Spotify. (If you have Spotify you can actually listen to and.or subscribe to my playlists. The My Music playlist is a collaborative playlist, so if you know of a song that you think I might like based on what is already there, feel free to add it.) Or you can see what I've listened to last on

So what I wanna know is:

  • What's your least favorite housework duty? Why?

  • What's your favorite? Why?

  • Do you have to have music to clean?

  • What kind of music?

  • And so now I suppose I need to stop procrastinating (procrastination by blog LOL) and get to cleaning. Leave me a comment and answer the questions I listed above if you want. I never turn down comments. :D They give me even more reason to procrastinate and one can never have enough of those. :D

    Yummy Grilled Pork Loin  

    Posted by: Savari in , , ,

    This past Sunday, I was looking for something I could cook that wouldn't take half the evening. I love to cook but sometimes I just want something quick and easy. This recipe for Grilled Pork Loin is just that, quick and easy.

    First, let's start with the marinade. I'll go ahead and warn you now, I'm not good with measuring ingredients out. I normally just sorta throw stuff together. I'll try, for the sake of others, to give an approximate amount of what I used.

    1/2 cup of olive oil
    1 Tbsp. garlic salt
    1 Tbsp. garlic powder
    1 Tbsp. onion powder
    1 Tbsp. cajun seasoning
    1/2 Tbsp. meat tenderizer
    1 Tbsp. parsley

    Put your pork loin in a gallon size freezer bag. (When I say pork loin, I'm not talking about the huge ones, I mean the small individually wrapped ones.) Add all the above listed ingredients to the bag and seal it. Try to make sure you've squeezed as much of the air out of the bag as you can and make SURE you seal it TIGHT. Otherwise you will have an oily mess. Roll the pork loin around in the bag. You can tell when everything has distributed itself somewhat evenly. Stick it in the fridge for about an hour. Longer is better but an hour works if you are pressed for time.

    Light your grill about 15 minutes before your hour is up. If you use a charcoal grill, you may need to light it about 30 minutes before the hour is up, though. You'll know best how long it takes for your own grill to heat up, so use your judgement for this part.

    When the grill is ready, take bag and all out to your grilling area. I would strongly suggest using a pair of grilling tongs to get the loin out of the bag, otherwise you might end up with a mess. Put the pork loin on the grill and shut the lid. Once again, you'll need to use your own judgement on cooking times, because all grills vary. It took about 30 - 45 minutes for mine to cook, but I use a gas grill. You'll need to flip the loin a couple of times during your cooking times.

    I don't have any pictures of the loin I cooked because as soon as I cut it, it disappeared. I think I managed to snag two pieces out of the whole thing. *shrugs* Growing kids and all that. :) If you decide to try this recipe leave me a comment and let me know how it turns out. I love comments. :)

    Wordless Wednesday - In Memory Of Edition  

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