I’m Still Alive, I’m Just Living Too Much

I feel like I have abandoned my poor blog and it makes me really sad.  Although there is no real good excuse for two or three empty months that are without one post, unfortunately at this point in my life I’m usually either too exhausted or too busy to actually sit down, clear my head, and write.  

See, my last post was right before spring break.  I camp back from spring break and had a week filled with tests.  Shortly after that the pressure of upcoming finals was upon me, and then I struggled through finals week to make it to summer break.  Honestly, this has been one of the most challenging and difficult semesters of my life.  I have never felt closer to a heart attack than I had this semester.  My course load was heavy, the material was extremely difficult for me, and some of my professors were sub-par yet demanding.  I didn’t enjoy it one bit.  I spent the majority of this year broke, exhausted, and stressed to the point of constant tears.  I didn’t get to do anything I enjoyed, such as salsa dancing or blogging, and instead spent all my free time working or studying.  The one positive was that Lance was down on campus to help me hold it all together.  Without him, I would have been lost.

However, that’s all done and in the past.  It is summer break for me and although I am as swamped as ever with things to do, I feel much better about everything.  I’m home with my pets and ultimately, I prefer work to classwork because at least at the end of a work day, I know I am done.  At the end of a school day, I still have to study.

So, being the crazy person I am, I’m working two jobs and an internship this summer.  I got accepted into the Aviary’s intern in the avian hospital.  I went back to Petscapes.  I’m also continuing my job as a vet tech with Luv My Pet.  It’s exhausting, but ultimately its rewarding and I’m learning a ton.  

I’ve got a lot to write about.  I’ve got a lot to talk about.  And I’m planning on keeping up.  After all, its when I get most busy that I get the best things to talk about!  Plus, with all the great stuff I’m learning about the birds, I’ve gained a whole new perspective on bird care already and I can only imagine it will grow from here.

Bare with me bloggers!  We’re going on a wild ride!


How to Be Successful in Your College Lab Class

One of the most frequent questions I get from my friends here at school is how I manage to be one of the first people out of all of my lab classes, yet manage to pull a good grade from the course.  I thought maybe I’d divulge some of my secrets here so future science majors may make a use of them.  After all, lets face it; Lab classes suck and no one wants to put more time and effort into them than they absolutely have to to get that one credit.  So, here are some of little secrets that keep me yielding good lab results even though I’m one of the first people to leave.

  • Clean your glassware!
Believe it or not, this is one of the most important things you need to keep in mind before preforming an experiment.  Chances are, whoever had your lab equipment before you didn’t bother to clean it before you checked into your drawer. I don’t care if you clean everything in your drawer the first day or clean everything your going to use before an experiment, but make sure that before you run your first experiment you wash whatever you are going to be using.  One of the biggest roadblocks people run into is random, off the wall results that leave you redoing the experiment from scratch.  One potential culprit is the left over chemical residue lining your beaker or test tube from the former occupant. Just do yourself a favor and wash your equipment. 
  • Read each sentence one at a time!

This sounds totally dumb, but reading each sentence and following the directions one at a time leaves much less room for error.  Often times, teachers write the lab manuals so that there may be 5 bulleted points, but there are several small steps in each point.  Leaving out one sentence can and will cost you an experiment.  So, if my step reads:

“Place 200 ml of H2O into a 500 ml beaker.  Add 3 drops of H2SO4 to H2O.  Stir.  Measure out 50ml of soln and place in a 100ml beaker”  

I literally measure out the H2O first.  Then I reread the next step.  Add 3 drops of H2SO4.  Stir.  Then I reread and make sure I am measuring out the right solution and putting it into the right sized beaker.  It seems counter productive if you want to get out of lab quicker, but in reality it eliminates little mistakes that a lot of other people make.  There’s nothing worse than realizing your forgot to add something and having to start again.

  • Don’t get caught up in lines for machines or chemicals.  Find other ways to accelerate your work.

Depending on the size of your lab, you may end up with long lines or masses of people milling around balance’s, the fume hood, or anything else that is in high demand and low supply.  My first plan is to beat out the rest of the people and get to the much needed things first.  However, if that doesn’t work, don’t get caught up waiting in the back of the line.  Look through the lab and see what else you can start working on.  Need to build an apparatus?  Start it.  Need the weight of a piece of equipment somewhere else in the lab?  Go get it.  Even just pulling out the things you need for your lab will help you move faster later.  Then, as soon as the line gets a little shorter, jump in, get your stuff, and get out.

  • Multiple Parts to the Lab?  Pick the Middle to Start!

Some annoying labs have three or four fully independent parts to the entire experiment.  It’s a lab teachers way of pushing together all the stuff that they don’t have enough weeks for you to do separately, and when you see one of these wonderful labs on the syllabus, you know almost certainly that you are going to be there for the entire two hours and forty minutes you are scheduled.  Not necessarily.  Start with the middle lab.  Most people will stupidly start at the beginning or at the end one.  Start in the middle, or pick the one that looks longest and most involved, if the other students seem to be evenly distributed throughout the sections.  

  • Need help?  Grab the TA pronto.

Don’t guess in lab.  Grab the TA, ask your question, and get cleared up.  Guessing leads to mistakes.  If you are shy, either bite the bullet or accept that you may be one of the last people to leave.

Other than that, try to work quickly and effectively, but carefully.   One misread step can send you back to the beginning like some bad game of Sorry.  And don’t feel bad if you hate lab; you’re not alone.  Most people don’t like having to put the amount of hours required to do well into a one credit class, but hopefully some of these tips will help you speed up your lab times and get out faster!


2011 in review

WordPress is such a considerate blogging platform that they issue these wonderful little reviews to their bloggers (totally better than tumblr or blogger ;P )  Here is my blogging review for 2011.  I’m hoping to double these number in the next year!  I thought it would just be a nice thing to share for all my viewers.  

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Dreaded Finals Week!

Finals week.  

The reason I have been  missing in action.  The reason my room is a mess.  The reason I haven’t called my mother and the reason my boyfriend sees me only once a day.

Finals week is by far the worst week out of my life.  I am a horrible finals week tester.  For some reason, even though my focus is unyielding throughout the entire semester and I can put my nose to the grind stone, finals week brings out the worst in me.  At the time that I need to be studying hard, understanding concepts, and making a huge dent in my pile of homework, I find myself struggling to even sit at my desk and absorb anything.  It’s like my learning button has turned off in my head.  

Lets face it:  I’m burnt out.  

I’ve discovered that most students take finals week as a get out of jail for free card on all of their behavior.  They try to make up for lost time by sitting in the library for hours, making it impossible for all the usual library dwellers to get a seat, they consume an unusually high level of Starbucks, and they invert their sleeping habits from studying during the day and sleeping at night to sleeping during the day and studying at night, a phenomenon I just can’t understand.  Still, even though it is finals week, I go to sleep at night and just put in the extra hours of studying during the day, when I would usually be hanging out with Lance or doing some other homework or club related activity.  My sleep doesn’t suffer.

However, my focus does.  I only have six more days until this whole semester is done and over with, and its like I can’t even convince myself to push out the last few days.  My body has said enough is enough and my brain is shutting down.  Not good.  I totally don’t understand two of the major concepts in Organic Chemistry at all, and I still need to read two chapters for Cellular and Molecular Biology.   And that’s not even getting into my biostats class or my online geography final.  

 I’m hoping tomorrow I can really bust my butt on some of this stuff.  It’s so important that I do well, but it’s like I’m just shutting down.  So frustrating.  My will wants to go but my mind keeps saying no lol.  It’s on vacation already.

I think my body is also depressed because I turn 21 on the 12th and what do I get for my birthday?  A final!  And a final the day after!  Oh goodie!

So, that is why I haven’t written in a while.   I will be back after December 13th.


It’s Just a Bird

It’s just a bird.  The words I hate hearing more than anything else.  I mean, how do you explain to people that your bundle of feathered joy isn’t ‘just a bird’ to you?  The hard facts in life is that if you are not a pet person, or a bird person, you probably won’t get it.  

Obviously, from my past posts, this whole blog, and all the numerous pictures I have posted of my feathered kids (fids for short), you can tell I love my birds.  They are not ‘just birds’ to me.  They are an important member of my family.  They are like my children.  So when I have people telling me that they are ‘just birds’ it definitely gets under my skin.

I especially have this problem when I start explaining the medical care that some of my birds require.  All of their handicaps require unique care and sometimes I have to do things that to normal everyday people are a little crazy.  A good example of this is Taylor.  When I explain to people that he has to be on medication forever to keep yeast from growing in his crop, that he has racked up around $500 in vet bills in his short life, and that his feet are so turned in I have to find or make special shelves to sit on, I get a lot of grumbling about how I am crazy and he is ‘just a bird’.  And sometimes I have a hard time understanding why they can’t see what I can.   About how he has overcome his handicaps, he has learned to be happy with what he has, and he is a terrific, sweet, and funny boy.  To me, he is a success story and he inspires a lot of hope in me and makes me look at life a little differently.  To everyone else, he’s ‘just a bird’.

I even get a lot of people who try to turn my own science major-ness against me and claim that according to Darwin, survival of the fittest rages and if he was in the wild he would be dead.  And I agree.  If any of my birds were in the wild, they would be dead.  But what they don’t understand is my birds would not have these problems if they were in the wild.  My birds are mostly a product of human made mistakes.  Inappropriate diet to the breeding parents, over breeding, in breeding, and just general not understanding what the term ‘bird breeding’ meant are the reason my babies are so crippled.  Also, they are not in the wild.  They are in my house and I have the means to care for them and make them comfortable, so why wouldn’t I?  Our science is great enough to help with the problems that inexperienced humans have created.  

To me, saying ‘its just a bird’ is an insult.  My birds are my choice in life and no one else should question that.  They are my hobby and my calling.  I enjoy caring for them and I enjoy having them in my life.  To me, saying ‘its just a bird’ is like telling a parent ‘its just a child’ or an expectant mother ‘ its just a conglomeration of cells acting as a  parasite off your body’.  Children are not my calling in life, yet I do not question the motives to why other people want to have them.  That is their life choice, and its no ones business but their own.

So my other animal loving friends, how do you deal with people when they say ‘its just a bird’ or ‘its just an animal’?  Leave me a comment!  I’m interested in knowing how everyone else deals with this, because to date I haven’t found a response that just gets people to leave it alone!

My Attempt to Revive this Blog

I’m going to make an attempt at reviving this blog.  I am finishing my last final of the 2010-2011 school year this afternoon, so I should have plenty of time to blog.  And I certainly have a lot to blog about as well.  This year was crazy and so much has happened that I am ashamed it isn’t posted.  When Lance and I entered into this last summer, we had all intentions on keeping up with it.  And, we had a lot of great stuff to write about as well.  Lance has participated in two different apprenticeships, one at the National Aviary and one at the Pittsburgh Zoo, and I have started an Animal Welfare Club on Duquesne’s campus and traveled to several different shelters, observed surgeries, and planned many more trips and opportunities for our members.  Overall, we have a heck of a life going on, and it should all be here!  After all, that’s what we created it for, right?  To document our journey.  Plus, we could always write about our birds!

However, life happened.  Lance became overwhelmed with AP classes and SAT’s and I became overwhelmed with General Chemistry and my new-found love of salsa dancing! 

So, I’m going to make an attempt at reviving this fallen blog.  I’m going to make an honest effort to write, nag Lance to write, and hopefully we can make something out of this still!

And Let the Games Begin!

The spring semester has now officially started!  Can’t you just feel my joy? 

On todays schedule was English and Chemistry II.  I would also normally have chem lab, but labs don’t start till next week so I gained a small reprieve. 

 Today went like most first days go.  You walk into a room, sit down awkwardly next to some Joe Schmo that looks sorta friendly, get the syllabus, listen to the professors tell you exactly what the last few professors told you, yadda yadda yadda.

If you can’t tell, being back at school brings out a very negative light to me.  I’m really not that mean of a person, honestly.  Sometimes, I even like Joe Schmo by the end of the semester.  However, college = stress.   Which = negativity.  And boy, I can feel the pressure already. 

You see, I’m not exactly like every other college student out there.  As pathetic as it sounds, I live, eat, breath, and function while at school to get A’s.  I am not here for the social life.  I am not here for the fun (although I do have some occasionally!).  I am here for my education.  I am here to get into vet school.  And this attitude I have adopted puts me very much so apart from my freshman peers.  Many of them have said they were coming to college to make friends and to have great memories.  I have always said that while friends were not on the front of my mind, if I made some along the way I would be quite pleased with that.  However, I am not shucking out $40,000 to make friends. 

I have already finished every stitch of homework those teachers gave me for the first day.  I have successfully read and created a study sheet on all of Chapter 10 in chemistry, recopied my chem notes, read the first chapter in english, written my reading journal on it, and have contacted my lab employers about continuing work for this semester.  And at only 9:19 the night is young! 

In all honesty, I guess I get a little obsessive about school work.  It makes me into a not so nice person sometimes.  However, with vet school as my destination and no back up plan, I kinda have to be that way.

I feel like the longer I do the whole college thing, the better I’ll be at balancing.  And staying ahead.  And doing more than just getting by.  And I feel like once Lance is here, he will drag me away from my books and make me have fun once in a while.  And, in turn, I will shackle him to his desk and make him study once in a while.  I feel like it will be a good trade. 

Whats worse?  Too much fun and too little work, or too much work and too little fun?  Is it worth risking your future career path for some fun now, or is it better to be a little more conservative now and have a future you know you are going to love? 

Long Time, No Write

Ewww. . . Its been a long time since I’ve wrote.  I hate when I get off track and stop writing for a long time.  But in reality, my time is super precious and I haven’t had very much of it.  I’m going to try harder, blog, but I can’t be promising anything.

A lot of great stuff has happened.  First, and probably most importantly, I have started a club!  Its an Animal Welfare Club, and we do great things like visit animal shelters, zoos, aviaries, and host fundraisers benifiting animal rescues.  Starting this club has been an emotional and stressful process.  I have never really taken the inititive to do something like this before.  However, it seemed like a good thing to do.  Duquesne has nothing regarding animals, I miss my pets so I’m sure a butt load of other people miss theirs, and it seemed like it would be a great thing to put on a resume to a vet school.  “Founder and President for 4 years of the DU Animal Welfare Club”.  Yep, it has a great ring to it 🙂 

If I have been busy, Lance has only been busier.  I explained before how the smarty bit off more than he could chew his senior year at school, but hes doing well all the same.  Hopefully, he’ll be back on board pretty soon too. 

Our birds are all doing well.  I went home a few weekends ago and made a startling discovery.  My birds are not being handled enough!  They are turning feral!  Everyone was biting and nipping and running!  They still loved to have their heads pet, and pushed their little heads against your hand to pet them, but they are not getting out enough.  I believe next time I go home, I need to buy everyone a bunch of new toys so they don’t start getting worse.  I’d just think, that with 5 people in that house, one of them could take the inititive to take the birds out pretty often. 

I’ve decided that Erin will be attending college with me next year.  I am going to try to become an RA, and if I cannot become an RA, I have a friend who has two parakeets of her own whom she misses dearly.  Erin is so quiet, no one would ever know she was there.  And she would probably love being down here, where she can be out for the majority of the day. 

I’m already so looking forward to the day when Lance and I can get a pet friendly apartment or rent a small house that allows animals.  I cant wait to have my birds back with me. 

And I really can’t wait to grow up and move out to wyoming, and have our farm!

Where Has Lance Been?

Even I start to wonder that sometimes lol.  But, don’t worry, I assure you he is alive and well.  He just has been pretty busy.  That doesnt mean what hes doing is any less cool or not worth recording.  Actually, its the opposite!  But because he can’t get to it yet, I’ll give you the general over view and he can fill in the blanks once he gets time.

Lance has gone MIA because it is once again September!  And that means its band season!  . . . . .  Can you feel my excitement?  Actually, every year between the months of September and October, everything falls on the wayside for band.  Band becomes life, breath, bread, and water.  We eat, drink, breath, and sleep band.   And this year, even under new managment and partially non competition and show band, is still no difference.

See, one thing you’ll learn about Lance that you haven’t had the chance to do yet, is that when he commits to something, there is no half assed job in it.  Its one thing I love more than anything about him.  At the same time, its one thing I hate more than anything about him lol.  Mostly just because I’m jealous that everything else becomes equally as important as me!  For example, you will not see him skimping on a practice to come visit me.  You will not find him napping through a show because he’s tired or sick.  Lance just doesn’t do that.

So, right now, my boyfriend has done a little biting off more than he can sucessfully chew this year.  He usually takes a big mouthful, but for whatever reason inspired him this year, he decided to pack his senior schedule in like a sardine.   So, he now has band practice Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursday evenings from around 5 or 6 till 8 or 9 I believe.  He has football games Friday night and he has band competitions Saturday all day.   Sundays and Wenesdays he works at the Giant Eagle.  He also took AP Bio, AP Calc, Honors English, and Anatomy and Physiology for his senior school schedule.  So, the only ones who really see or even talk to Lance are those other sad losers who have devoted their life to marching around with turf turds in their shoes.  Which I will fully admit, I gave into peer pressure and joined when I was a senior just so I wouldn’t have to miss him the way I do now.

He has also, on Wenesdays, began his apprenticeship at the National Aviary, which is the one cool thing that needs to be written down!  I am totally jealous of his apprenticeship.  He literally goes and spends the day on the behinds the scenes stuff at the aviary.  He’s learning so much already!  And now, he is super super pumped about growing up and getting a job.  I have to admit, he definatly picked the cooler one out of the two of us!

At his last trip there, he said he was in the wetlands room.  He got to go into the kitchen and help sort out the bugs for the birds to eat.  Then, they went to the wetlands room with the guy who runs the shows there (I cant remember his name, Lance would know) and they did a show for the people who came to watch.  He said there is a conure who has a vitamin deficiancy and she hops up on a scale and takes her medicine like a little champ before snagging a seed and flying away.  Some of the other birds were hopping on people’s hands and the one bird knows how to poop on command!  The show didn’t last very long because the audience was stupid.  They were shying away and ducking from the incan terns and stuff like that.  Losers. 

After that, they got to go into the flamingo pet and let the flamingos come up to them.  He said you squat down in the mud and they come up and groom you!  So cool!  He said though, if they honk at you, you have to leave.  Thats their warning before they attack! 

Then, they all got to help train some birds.  Lance got to point train a bird who was afraid of even the trainer because he was too tall!  Being short isnt always a sin! He’s really excited about next week and what he gets to do then!


A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

One of the things that keeps me most motivated in my life is what we have planned.  Lance and I have virtually planned every aspect of our lives, in several different ways.  We have spent hours upon hours debating about where is the best place to live, how large our feathered family should be, where we truly want to go to, and how we plan on living.  No doubt, many of our plans will change throughout the years.  Our opinions will change, God has other plans for us, and I’m sure that everything we want in life will not remain the same as it is now.  However, it’s still fun to dream about, it’s still fun to think about, and its one hell of a motivator to get me off my ass and writing a paper or studying. 

I think it would be fun to write about.  Then, when I am having a bad day, I can look back and see what the future holds.  When Lance doesn’t want to do his homework, he can look at what the future holds.  And everyone else can look and see that we are, indeed, going places. 

Someday, Lance and I are going to get married at the National Aviary.  We are going to have betta bowls as our center pieces, and my bridesmaids are going to wear blue and we are going to have the birds involved.  We don’t really like traditional.  We are not traditional, we are not really ‘normal’, so why bother trying to fit a mold that isn’t really us anyways?  More than anything, we are going to have a small, cozy, fun wedding.  I’ll have white lilies and our first dance will be a waltz.  We will smear cake in each others faces so much we wont be able to see, and we will spend the night wrapped up in each others arms, like everyone condemns us for doing now.  Its going to be a night of what we want.  Not what our mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers want.  Not what is expected.  What we want.  My friend Ella has already offered to be our impromptu wedding planner, as she is an interior design major.  She has promised to integrate water as a theme in our wedding, keep our mothers out of our hair, and make sure that my little sister showers and shaves her armpits for the wedding.  She has an eye for details and promises to make everything perfect.

Then again, if things get rough on the home front, and we don’t want to deal with everyone elses shit, we might just run away and elope.  Fuck that drama.

Shortly after, we plan to move out west.  Wyoming is our target right now, but anyplace that puts a few thousand miles between us and Pittsburgh is a good option.  Any place that serves elk burgers and beefalo steaks at restaurants.  Any place that has dry heat and antelope.  Anyplace that has animals to fix and animals to save. 

We want to have a farm.  Maybe we will just buy a plot of land and build a house on it, or maybe we will actually buy a premade home, we don’t really know.  But we want some property.  We wand a medium-sized house, one big enough to hold all the creatures that we want but small enough we arent struggling to clean it constantly.  Open floor plans are our favorite, with big windows and a cozy, homey feel.  Lance will have the Chevy Nova he has always wanted, and I will have the barn with a watering system and light to each stall. 

We will have cages from avianaccents.com or cages by design.  We will have the coffee table that doubles as a lizard tank and the end tables that house geckos.  Animals will be a part of our world.  Our birds will have huge fake tree play stands so they can be out throughout the day.  They will be socialized so we don’t have to worry about each bird being on its own.  We will accustom them to flight suits and they will travel with us.  We will have a large shaded outdoor pen with a play stand, so they can go outside without the constant fear of hawks.  We will wake up in the morning and prepare them a breakfast of fresh foods and sprouted seeds.  Lance will buy our seed mixtures in bulk and mix each birds foods according to its own needs.  We will buy our babies prior to weaning (something I never encourage anyone to do unless you are a very skilled handfeeder) and hand feed them ourselves.  After all, I will be a vet. 

We will have a room that is a grassland exhibit.  It will have finches and budgies, ground birds and cockatiels flying free in the room, just like the aviary.  We will have a bench that we can go sit on in the bird room and enjoy them.  We will rescue budgies from those huge petsmart cages where none of the birds are nice to humans, and set them free in our room, so they can live a life of freedom and friends. 

I will have one breeding pair of greater vasa parrots.  All of the babies will only be placed in homes I feel completely comfortable with, or they will stay with us until we find them one.  The pair will be monitored and separated when we do not want any more birds.  We will not shower the world with unwanted birds.

We will have fish tanks lining our walls.  We will have a tank of Xenopus frogs.  Our house will be unique.

We will have some horses.  Maybe not a ton, but some.  We will go for rides every evening together, and our animals will be well worked and responsive. 

Our dogs will go with us when we take rides.  We will have collies and shepherd and wiems.  Lance will have a set of hunting beagles to take out rabbit hunting.  We will rescue our dogs.  The one small dog I will have is a pappillon, a butterfly dog. 

Our feathered family will be large.  I’ll take a different parrot to work with me everyday.  Our birds will be out anytime we are home.  They will be a part of our family, as will all of our animals. 

We are not sure about having human children of our own.  Our christmas cards will consist of pictures of our feathered, furred, and scaled family, but may never have an actual child.  Or we may change our minds.  It’s hard to tell at this point. 

We will build my parents a house on the back acres of our farm.  They will live there for free, retired and happy.  Their sole job will be watching the feathered kids while we are both at work, and ensuring that they have ample time out to play and socialize, an agreement my mother has already embraced.  She can sit and play with the pets while we are gone, and take them outside to visit the horses, and all in all, just play with them.  Something my mom has always wanted time to do. 

My mom will probably also have her own bird.  Maybe a grey or one of my baby vasas.  She can bring him up to the house to visit the others while she is there.  They will have a golf cart or a gator to ride to and from the house.  They will be far enough back that they can feel like they are in their log cabin they always dreamed of having, but close enough that we can still be a family.  That is one thing I have always loved about my parents.  They have never once made me feel like I have had to choose between Lance and them.  They have just immediately made him a part of our family too.  And that’s how it will be forever. 

My dad will probably do something more handy in his time.  Maybe he will build something, or maybe he will fix fences for us or something.  But I know he will do something.  My father cannot stand to just take from everyone else, and he will find someway to show his thanks. 

Hopefully my brother will live close enough that he can come visit.  If not, maybe he will fly in for the holidays and send his children to come spend time with us in the summer months.  That would be nice.  Lucas and Lance will still probably play video games while the women do other things.  The boys are such controller hogs, I can’t see them becoming more giving in the future. 

Christmas will be big and noisy and fun.  We will all get together and everyone will cook.  The birds will all get some christmas dinner and so will the dogs.  The horses will get special peppermint bran mash and we will sit around and drink until everyone is silly. 

Sundays will be cleaning day for Lance and I.  We will clean the bird cages, the tanks, the house.  We will do it together, and take breaks to relax and cuddle.  We might take a picnic lunch out on horseback or just go out to eat after we are finished. 

Lance will have a huge garden where he grows all our vegetables.  He will drag me outside to help him weed, or maybe just to keep him company.  Other times, he will just go out alone to play in the mud, or maybe take a parrot along with him.  We will cook together, him being much better than I, but it will be fun instead of tedious. 

And we will get mad at each other.  And stressed.  And maybe yell and scream.  But after it all, we will still be together.  Forever. 

And I dare anyone to try and tell us we cannot get there.