Category Archives: Mel’s Sappy Side

Occasionally I’m sappy, what can I say.

Where Do We Go Now – My Professional Life Set To GNR

I would like to think that Axl Rose was tapping in the aimlessly wandering minds of millions and not trying to figure out where to score late night munchies while stoned when he sang the line, “Where Do We Go Now?” I’d also like to believe he’s still his thin, lanky late 80’s self as much as I’d like to believe I still look like I did in 2003 (oh my early 20’s prime!).  Well, we can’t turn back time but we can certainly reinvent our personal road maps.

It’s funny how the tides ebb and flow in our lives.  For the majority of mine, my romantic chapter has been a mess.  Not like a I didn’t sweep the floor this week mess, more like an episode of Hoarders Greatest Hits.  So many dysfunctional relationships shoved in such a small space!  Now that there is finally peace and balance in that section, fung shee has wavered in others.  I’ve not necessarily ignored it, but more so thrown my hands up in the air and said helplessly, “What can I do?’

Like a poison upstream, the toxins will eventually flow to other estuaries.  The deadly mental goo wasn’t quite like Roundup with overnight conquers, but more like that houseplant that your aunt gave you that you tried your best to water weekly but instead watered it daily, then forgot to water it at all, and finally overwatered it like you were on an episode of E.R. – The Houseplant Files.  (Get me a gallon jug of H2O – stat!)

I’ve not wanted to deal with this in public, but I feel like it will give me a sense of accountability.  Like Stella got her groove back, I’m going to get my life back.  My professional and my creative life.  You will be my witness and that will drive me to victory knowing someone is watching, waiting (Not creepily.  That sounded creepy.)  It might be an ugly no-holds barred fight to the end, but I’m coming in this like Napoleon Dynamite and planning on leaving like Hulk Hogan.  (Or the Rock.  Isn’t Dwayne Johnson to die for?)  Yes… let’s make that ‘I’m coming in like Napoleon Dynamite and going out like the Rock!’  Do you smelllllllllll what the Rock is cooking?  (PS- for years when I was in the ugly romantic phase of my life I had hoped that was a personal dinner invitation to me from the Rock.  No luck.  Turns out he wasn’t asking me out.)

I’ve not been able to put my finger on one thing that caused it because there are many contributing factors.  No one thing did this alone.  While beach erosion can be caused by one massive washout of a hurricane, it can also be caused by one lapping wave at a time.  Time marched on and waves slowly washed away the grains of sand in my professional happiness.

Truth be told, I have not had the easiest transition from independently owned to corporate life.  Though some can march on seamlessly, it has been different for me.  It took away the feeling of ownership for me.  I didn’t personally own my place of employment, but when you work at a ‘mom and pop’ kind of business you feel like your voice is strong and loud, heard clearly at all times.  In the corporate world, it has given me a sense of verbal meekness. I’m not trying to go all Stefanie Williams here because I still get my bills paid and I don’t think it is causing financial suffrage in my life.  I’ve gone from being a fish in a little pond to a fish in an ocean. I just feel like I’ve moved from the driver’s seat to the back bench seat in a mini-van.  I’m obviously still along for the ride but my voice doesn’t carry well over the radio and the people in the middle row.  Those people closest to me can hear me, but the people up front probably forgot I was even back here.

Presleigh’s death was so overwhelming I sometimes have a hard time placing its impact.  Was I like this to begin with?  I’d always felt 110% committed to my job.  Volunteering to cover empty shifts, coming in after hours when I wasn’t on call, skipping lunches, clocking in early and clocking out late were all part of my commitment.  The being there all the time and the wanting to be there not as much blend together with her death, the corporate buyout and honestly the healthy relationship.  Why would I want to spend long hours at a place that was causing me self-doubt and discontent when I was so much happier at home where I feel appreciated and loved?  Up to Presleigh’s death, I felt like my career had my back.  I had the training, the tools and the staff to make magical phenomenons happen.  Then my own dog died.  All of those times I was part of what felt like miracles and she perished in less than twenty-four hours.  There were so many thoughts that could basically be summed up as, “If I couldn’t save my own dog, what business do I have working on yours?”  I remember having such a sureness in myself.  I knew I completed task and that I followed through on instructions.  I double checked myself but never anything like what I do now which is like a quadruple check times fifty.  I miss my confidence.  People believed in me.  I believed in myself.  Was Presleigh dying the beginning of burnout/compassion fatigue or had it been slowly adding up all along and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back?

People come and go.  Welcome to veterinary medicine.  I always thought what would hurt the most was the people going.  There are so many people who have contributed to my skill set.  This whole section could be like an Oscar acceptance speech that keeps going on even with the ‘hurry the hell up’ music playing.  When people go, you hold on to the good things they instilled in you that made you better.  It’s a bittersweet parting full of sadness and thankfulness.  With all the tearful goodbyes through the years, I never in my wildest imagination thought that there would be people I would regret working beside.  I’m so lucky that in the majority of my time in this profession I have worked beside people who will build others up.  Unfortunately, I finally did encounter those that bring you down. There are people out there who will not only sabotage your happiness but they will lead you to self-destruction. I had never been called lazy in all of my life.  I had never had someone stare me down and insist I do something that was against our standards of quality care (side note: I still stood my ground and reported it).  I could not believe that I was being treated like an uneducated idiot because I was a female with the letters LVT behind my name and not a male with DVM behind it.  (Another side note:  I know good and well I am not a doctor and I fully accept my training/schooling/experience is nowhere near that of a doctor.  This previous sentence is more about respect than education.  Rock on, doctors.)   Unfortunately, all of these bad experiences happened at the same time one of my very favorite coworkers moved on.  The poor beau.  God bless him.  It takes a strong man to watch his significant other cry over another man with a frequency of every night/ every other night/ once a week/ and eventually only occasionally and still manage to get her the Kleenexes every time without any negative feelings.  Lucky for him, me and everyone, the existence of those hateful people were short in my life and I eventually recovered from the work breakup with said fantastic coworker.

To put a spin on Axl’s quote above, ‘Where Do We Grow Now?’  In my downward spiral of not feeling good enough, I began doubting that there were any more steps in my professional growth ladder.  Not to dwell on the subject of The Departure Of Coworkers That Cause Me To Drink Heavily, but there are doctors in this world who will utilize a technician to the fullest and then there are those who treat you like you an illegal citizen who dare not dream of being anything but their personal maid and janitor.  When it comes to the latter I’ve read about them, I’ve heard about them and as admitted above I unfortunately had to work with some of them.  The kick-ass coworker that I sobbed over macaroni and cheese about was the super utilizing kind.  I felt amazing about what I did because of the faith that person had in me and the tasks they trusted on my plate.  Then, the one aspect of my job that I still felt like I was a powerhouse rockstar in, I was pulled from my ‘doing’ position and put in a ‘teaching’ position. In retrospect, this should have been a compliment (and in the end it was a blessing because I discovered it was the repetitive motions of this task that was causing my ongoing neck and shoulder pain).  However, it just felt like being shit on by the man and I took it personally.  Favorite coworker exits, not so great people enter, I feel like shit about myself, I linger on feelings about my dead dog, my work reason for getting up every morning is taken away from me.  It was the Perfect Storm to start asking myself, “Where Do We Grow Now”.  Was this the end for me?  Should I start applying to fast food restaurants and accept that my veterinary technician degree was only suitable now for toilet paper or cleaning windshields (another new career option perhaps?)

I started dreaming of other jobs.  Baking, farming, fishing, Nascar racing, Team Tanqueray’s Official Birdwatcher.

Okay, there is no Team Tangueray but if there was I would totally be their official birdwatcher.

Instead of dealing with the problem head on, I started doing exactly what I used to do in that Ugly Relationship phase of my life.  I copied and pasted.  Something not working out? No problems.  Just copy and paste something over it.  Tada!  Not happy with your current job, dream of another, cut and paste.

It was over a month ago when I recognized the pattern and realized it was Operation Cut and Paste.  I had been cutting and pasting my professional life away.  It was then that I decided I was going to work towards change.  I was going to be better.  I was going to be happier.  Operation Be Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was in full effect.
To Be Continued…..


#fmsphotoaday Day 11 #fms_tiny

I spent most of the day writing “May 10th 2016” on everything so you are lucky that I’m not repeating the travel prompt.  There are days I wonder if I was to get on the Bullet Journal bandwagon, could I save my last remaining brain cells.

No.  No, I think my brain cells are near extinction.  It’s not all their fault really.

Day 11 was the photo prompt tiny.

#fmsphotoaday Day 11 #fms_tiny #kittens #ohnoyoukitten

A post shared by Melanie Jo Moore (@melanie_jo_moore) on


There are two kittens in this photo.  These orphans were on death’s doorstep yesterday.  They are better today, but I wouldn’t say completely out of the woods.  They are one thing for sure though, tiny.

Kittens are super cute and I do think the world is a better place because of them.  Us humans have to get better at controlling their population.  These little guys are so malnourished and I’m sure in every town right has litters and litters of kittens just like these.  Some will get homes but many of them will continue the feral cycle.  If you have stray cats in your neighborhood, you can give an amazing gift of having them spayed or neutered.  There are low cost spay/neuter clinics for feral cats providing the surgery and a rabies vaccine.  There are way too many homeless kittens and the only way to fix this is contributing to a better outcome for these wayward felines.

Tomorrow’s photo prompt:  Text


Day 7 of #fmsphotoaday

Day 7 of Fat Mum Slim’s Photo A Day challenge is… “This means a lot to me”.

I considered a lot of things to photograph today, but after all was said and done I realized I already had the picture I needed.  I uploaded a picture of Shamooki on her last day.  For the most part, that last week was filled with a 50/50 mix of Shamooki sleeping or staring at the floor.  She’d tolerate me petting her but would become agitated after a while and want me to leave her alone.  I worried about her being by herself during the day when we weren’t home.  Luckily, she had Ratchet.  Ratchet watched her like a hawk that last week.  Every time she moved to a new location he’d move so he could keep a watchful eye on her.


Ratchet is a bizarre little kitty but his dedication to Shamooki at the end was adorable.  It meant a lot to me that in the end, she was never alone.

Tomorrow’s photo challenge:  My Sunday!



Diversity Vs Hypocrisy: It Can Be Rough Being A Shore Girl #Mondayblogs


My plate has been full lately and my chore cup runneth over, folks. Every time I think things are settling down I take on a new project or event. I haven’t had time to write and I almost thought my inner dialogue had gone on hiatus until this morning. This morning I heard the voice clear its throat and say…

“Are you diverse or are you just a hypocrite?”

Yeah. That is exactly what it said to me.

I know this question has been brewing under the surface for about two weeks now and I know exactly what caused this to boil to the surface. I have all these elements of my past and my soul that melt together and become who I am. I’m a bird watcher. I’m a nature lover. I’m a waterman’s daughter (and also a farmer’s daughter). Look deep enough in my genetic history and you will see that I come from hunters and decoy makers. I’m the granddaughter of small business owners and now the wife of a small business owner. I am an employee of a corporation.  I’ve always known that this makes an interesting combination, but what does this melting pot of genes amount to at the end of the day?

This past week, I’ve been helping my husband at his new shop. The shop is located less than five miles from where I grew up so it’s great to see so many familiar faces. There are also people that I don’t remember but I’m sure I met them along the way as a child. One of those faces belongs to Mr. Brady.

As I said above, I am the daughter of a waterman. This profession goes on back for generations and generations. As a general rule, there were three things that I could almost always find when looking at old census records for my Eastern Shore lineage. The men worked on the water, they couldn’t read and they couldn’t write. Most of them dropped out of school and headed for the boats at a young age if they went to school at all. That’s what they did in those days. Now, I didn’t drop out of school but I can tell you that I did my fair share of labor. I was a small child but I was mighty and I had a great work ethic instilled in me from both of my parents and my maternal grandparents. Are you old enough to push a broom? Then get to it. Before I finished out middle school, I had made motel reservations, cleaned toilets, made beds, vacuumed, gardened, raked, harvested nuts and berries, drove a tractor, drove a truck beside a potato digger (which was a huge promotion from picking up the straggler potatoes behind the digger that got missed). I’ve helped pull in gill nets, baited crab pots (I was probably never very popular with the boys because the smell of bunker is hard to wash off), signed and dug clams, been the lookout for VMRC when maybe we weren’t doing something terribly legal, I’ve scaled gigantic drum fish with a garden hoe, and I’ve sworn I was going to freeze to death while being sprayed with saltwater from crab dredges in the winter. Other girls my age were learning how to apply eyeshadow and curl their hair while I learned how to work hard, take care of myself and that living off the land and the water was a tough job that didn’t necessarily put food on the table (and when it didn’t … you ate chewy old conch – BLEH!)

I realized I was a hypocrite a few weeks ago when I was part of a discussion about chicken houses. I tell you no lie when I say I want them to stay out of my county. I worry about how they will disrupt our environment here on our tiny peninsula. Of course, I’m a complete asshole because I do eat chicken. Over the years I eat smaller and smaller portions of meat and we do have at least one vegetarian dinner a week. The chicken I buy in the store is approved by the’s standards of humanely raised chicken. Since I have no plans to ever becoming a strict vegetarian, buying humanely and eating less is my way of finding a balance. Our food sources deserve our respect.

Then, I went to a No Offshore Drilling party. This wasn’t an event a sought out myself. My very good (and lucky friend!) Gay asked me to be her date. Trust me. I totally saw the irony as we were all parking our cars in front of a giant blowup oil barrel. I’m going to say 99% of the guest drove, including myself. Even if I rode a bike, guess what greases that chain? This is another moment of hypocrisy for me. I know the oil has to come from somewhere, but I don’t want it off of my coast. Our birds, our marine animals, and the livelihood of many of our jobs depend on our waters not becoming anymore polluted than they already are. 75% of the party was mostly socializing and eating (which may I mention they served hamburgers and hot dogs. Is it wrong that I assumed that a No Offshore Drilling party would serve vegetarian plates?) followed by fifteen minutes of informative ‘why offshore drilling is bad’ video. Again, you don’t have to show me pictures of oil drenched pelicans to get my vote… however they finished up the video with ‘Wind Turbines Will Save The World’ (okay they didn’t specifically say that). Wait. You came here with your giant blowup oil barrel to tell me you want to put giant wind turbines up our coast in the Atlantic Flyway which will surely kill migrating birds? They lost me there. Thanks for the free wine, but I’m not jumping in that parade. Note: As we approached the house the driveway was lined with balloons to signify that you were at the right place. I said to Gay, “They do realize that balloons are dangerous to sea life, right?”

I was able to get away and go to this party because my baby starling was finally eating worms on his own. I’ve continued to help out with baby birds here and there this year. Last week the starling graduated to being outside fulltime and then this week we began to see less and less of him for mealworm handouts. He hasn’t stopped by since Thursday I believe. Even though I feel great about a successful rehabilitation of a baby bird, I know there are people in the birding community who frown upon this. Starlings are not a native species and are quite invasive. They take nesting sites away from indigenous species and have caused severe decline in numbers for such birds as the Eastern Bluebird. Efforts have been made to eradicate the European Starling from this country and have failed. I’ve seen the comments online. A helping hand should not be extended to this creature. I ask you though, how can you say you love birds and then turn your back on a baby that couldn’t control that he was born here? I find that I sort of fit in with mainstream birders until I say how much I love the starling… or the brown-headed cowbird… or a vulture. Yeah, that last one really freaks people out.


Finally, I come back to my encounter with Mr. Brady. We were talking about my fondness of Kiptopeke State Park and he asked if I went for the beach. I smiled shyly and said, “I like birdwatching.  I love being outside in the woods. The trails are great there for walking and seeing birds. I know that makes me a nerd.”

What at first I thought was Mr. Brady gathering his thoughts on how to be kind to this girl who was obviously a geek was actually Mr. Brady gathering his thoughts on a subject that he perceived we would not see eye to eye on. You see, Mr. Brady is a waterman and this time of year he is fishing for horseshoe crabs. It’s been a long time since I ran barefoot along the docks of Oyster and Kings Creek, so I’ve missed out on a lot of legislative changes over the years. One of those changes has been restrictions on the horseshoe crab industry. The Red Knot pit stops at the Delaware Bay to feed on its journey between the wintering grounds in South America and the breeding sites in northern Alaska. Overfishing of horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay (where an estimated 90 percent of the entire population of the Red Knot subspecies C. c. rufa can be present on the bay in a single day) has reduced the amount of horseshoe crab eggs for the Red Knots to eat and therefor contributed to the reduction of their population. The laws put in effect to protect the horseshoe crab population for the Delaware Bay have also been implemented in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Listening to Mr. Brady tell me about the restrictions from his perspective reminded me of being a child. I was probably eating a super nutritious breakfast my dad bought me at Shore Stop – a hot dog and a Pepsi – surrounded by men eating the same thing. I’m petting someone’s dog – maybe our dog Willie or maybe Marty Spady’s dog Rambo. They were all discussing new laws for crabbing and how the government is trying to kill the waterman. My eyes bounce back and forth among this army of men wearing white waterproof boots until I am distracted by a bird caught in a crab pot sitting on the dock. I run off to remove the bird and free him. Even then, I was trying to find the balance between life and nature.

I gave him the response that my brain refers to on several subjects. “There has to be a balance.”

I’m not sure if he fully understood what I meant when he left that afternoon. I got up from the desk and we waved to each other as he pulled out of the parking lot. Like other birders, I want to fight for the survival of the birds. Like a Shore girl, I want to fight for another endangered species… the waterman. He’s disappearing all the time. A profession that was at once plentiful is now dwindling more and more. The way of life I knew as a child has been decreasing every year. There’s got to be a way to save him, too.

That’s me, folks. A melting pot of contradictions. A Buddhist just wanting to find a way that everyone can live in harmony, man and nature.

You tell me.

Diverse or hypocrite?

FullSizeRenderCobb Island near the old Coast Guard Station circa de 1989 – from left to right: my sister, my dad (note the white waterman boots) and me. The Coast Station was later moved to Oyster, Virginia.  I’m probably excited about birds.

Happy Endings : Stella #Mondayblogs

Knock, knock, knock.

Are you guys still there?

I know! I haven’t been around in a while. I think the wrath of winter finally won and I spent the last month or so in a mental fetal position. More on that in blogs to come!

I figured that the first order of business is to share some news.

Some really good news.



About a year after her rescue, Stella finally has a place to call home! (Did you miss out on Stella’s story? Read the first blog about her – Meet Stella)

It’s been a long year for everyone who loves Stella. Her discovery, her surgery, her move to the Norfolk SPCA and finally … home!

Information has trickled down to me third hand so I have some basic details. When I read the email I skimmed through the important facts. Stella had gone on a home trial a week before the email was sent out. Rightfully so, the SPCA didn’t want to get her fan club excited over an adoption fail. Her new dad had checked in a week later and things were going great. She obviously adored him. He was already making progress on some of her behavioral issues.

I ran around work telling everyone I could find. Our girl finally obtained what we had been wishing for her, a home where she would be loved. She has someone who will care for her, protect her and help her over her little ticks – surely things that came from a former life of neglect.

There are lots of people that need special thanks in this situation. First of all, the absolutely wonderful Jack Huh opened his heart and his connections to get this girl somewhere that she could be adopted. Without Mr. Huh’s time, incredible efforts, and constant worrying for Stella (true story, I’m sure his continual concern over her welfare has probably taken years off of his life!) she would still be living at our animal hospital becoming more and more of a neurotic mess.

The Norfolk SPCA – we are forever indebted to you for giving Stella a safe and stable place to live, grow and thrive. Thank you so much for keeping your promise that you would not give up on Stella. Stella was a hard case from the minute Jamin laid eyes on her in the ditch near him and Emmy’s home. Not every shelter could open their facility up to such a dog and all the baggage she brought with her. Your program and facility will always be in my heart as the place where Stella got her life back.

And to the man who adopted her. I don’t know you or your name, but you have restored my faith in a bad situation coming full circle and that peace can be achieved even after the most miserable existence has been lived. If you could have seen her that first night on the side of the road, you wouldn’t believe it is the same dog you have now. Every day has been a victory for Stella, although I’m sure none of her days have compared to the one when you took her home. I hope this blog post will find you one day and you’ll know how many people you have made happy by your simple act of kindness.  Thank you. Thank you so much for giving our girl the chance she needed to shine.

To learn more about the Norfolk SPCA please visit their website or their Facebook page.

I See London, I See France #Mondayblogs

I have a notorious and lengthy bad relationship with underwear and its proper placement. Thankfully there is only so much photographic evidence available. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChristmas Morning 2002 – That is my brother’s Christmas underwear on my head. So much for potty training with those things. 10398514_57472255381_5448980_n

March 2009 – That’s me on the right, joyfully peering over inappropriate placement of underwear.

April 2011 – Not only am I wearing a pair of underwear over my jeans but I am also wearing a bra on my head. I’m a real winner. Ain’t no shame in that game!

And again, April 2011 – These photos were taken in a bar… and that my friends… is me dancing on a bar with underwear over my pants. Who knew making an ass out of yourself could also be lucrative? Count those dollas! For the first time, I might be able to put this weird habit towards the greater good. In less than two months, my coworkers from the animal hospital will be rallying together again to participate in the Run For The Animals Marathon. Some of us hope to beat our times from last year, some of us dream of coming in at the front of the pack…. Me? Well, I hope I get to walk that six miles with that bright red pair of bloomers over my pants! 10947255_10152604856430382_8661537753403909868_n That’s right! Me and these skivvies will be strutting it the whole marathon over my pants (fans of this public embarrassment have suggested blue pants so I look like SuperMan) if our team can double the donation money! Last year we raised $450 for game day! If we can bring $900 to the table that chilly morning in April, I will wear these where the whole world can see them! Want to help me out? We have two upcoming events to raise money – an ‘Everything’s A Dollar’ bake sale on February 21st from 8:00 am to noon and a $15 Paw Wash on March 28th. All money raised will be donated! For an added bonus – because I didn’t buy these red britches to sit in the closet- we will be holding a raffle at the Paw Wash with tons of great local gift certificates and items AND my amazing neighbor Roxane Ward will be holding a jewelry show that day. These events will be held at my animal hospital in Painter,Virginia! Can’t make it but you’d like to make sure I’m going to strut my stuff in the drawers? You can use our GoFundMe account! I can’t tell you how many people said that they wish they had an extra $900 because they’d donate it all to see this happen. Hopefully in two months I’ll be able to share some fantastic race day photos with you… of the marathon, my team and of my red hot undies!

The Christmas Card Report #Mondayblogs

Some of you may remember that last year I went on a great crusade to bring back the Christmas card! I feel like my generation has fallen off the traditional holiday greeting bandwagon. With Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Ho Flash (okay I made that up), we’ve given up on the ways of seasons past. I, dammit, am going to bring back the Christmas card! Last year, I was sad to announce that after all of my planning, signing, envelope licking and stamping I received 5 cards. FIVE.

As you can imagine, there was some thoughts in my head about not doing it this year. Nope. No one appreciates me and my one stab at holiday jolliness. You can take that disregarded candy cane of a notion and stick it you know where.

I got over my pity party and trudged on topping last year’s mailing list of thirty two by sending out forty cards. I sent the majority of them early (except the ones to my neighbors which also included an apology for not doing goodie bags this year) and hoped it gave everyone enough time to get a card back to me. That’s reasonable right?


I’m a proud to report that I received 13 cards! Thank goodness! My faith is slowly being restored in humanity!


This may come to a surprise to some of you, but the majority of my Christmas cards have a bird in the design. I did include one card this year featuring a cat. Cat people are crazy and occasionally you have to throw them a fake mouse to keep them in check.

All over the United States, people head out of their homes strode with destroyed wrapping paper to find After Christmas Sales! I may not fall for the Black Friday hoopla, but I do go online post-Christmas to buy one thing on sale. Christmas cards! Barnes and Noble has the cutest damn cards. It may be tacky to buy this year’s cards at half off and send them out next year. Say what you want. I call it thrifty. If you don’t like it, feel free to write ‘Return To Sender Due To Sender’s Tackiness’ and send it back to me.  I urge you to open them though.  The ones I got this year on sale… AMAZING.  Birds!  Birds!  Birds!


This frickin’ cute card was from my neighbors, Roxane and Gil. This is how you get in my heart, folks. Seagulls wearing Christmas hats get me every time.

This card is from my ‘big brother’ Ernie. This is the second year Ernie has reciprocated and it means so much to me. I know sending Christmas cards isn’t a common bachelor activity, but he hasn’t let me down yet!

Here’s to next year. Can I hit twenty?  Do you send Christmas cards?


Our Longshot Case

It’s a small little world out there, so some of you may have already seen his story floating around on the USA Today website.  There’s so much I could say about the ‘miracle dog’, but the article says it all.  I’m proud of us for the care we have given him and so proud of this dog for pulling through.  The first few days he was with us, I wanted to cry every time I looked at him (and I know I’m not the only one).  I don’t think an hour passed during the work day that someone went back and sat with this motionless body, petting the few areas that weren’t wounded and shaved.

The article can be seen here on  Get your hankies, people.


One Month Later – #Mondayblogs

Freedom Starter Kit MJM
As the Freedom Starter Kit project came to an end, I was emotionally overwhelmed by the amount of donations that poured in over those few weeks.   Every night I’d spend time in my living room staring at the mounds of kits covering almost every available space on my floor and furniture.  Many times I’ve only been able to describe myself as speechless.  I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around how many amazing people were involved in making this project an absolutely huge success.

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It took three carloads to transport all of the donations.

When it came down to that final Friday, the total was unbelievable.  We provided our local domestic violence shelter with:

116 Freedom Starter Kits (each kit contained shampoo, comb or brush, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, tampons or maxi pads, deodorant and a pocket pack of tissues)

2 bottles of shampoo

26 bars of soap

16 bottles of mouthwash

25 shaving razors

9 combs

10 toothpaste

12 bottles of lotion

16 Twin Sheet Sets (enough for every bed in the shelter to have new sheets!)

16 Bath Towels

Diapers Size 1 – 5 … 2 packages of each of each

Over 1000 baby wipes

7 bottles of Johnson and Johnson’s baby wash


48 coloring books

24 packs of crayons

9 journals

6 bottles of toilet bowl cleaner

4 boxes of trash bags

32 rolls of paper towels

240 rolls of toilet paper

8 jugs of laundry detergent (100 loads each)

7 jugs of bleach

First Aid Supplies

A gigantic box of donated linens from Hampton Inn and Suites.

 Why This Cause?



These are pictures I generally never show to anyone. They stay tucked away as a constant reminder of where I have been. Most of you who know me personally will at first recognize my toothy smile, the way I always cock my head to the side when in front of the camera. But then, you’ll probably start to notice you can count all of my bones. These pictures were taken about a month after I got out of my abusive relationship. I wasn’t quite 21 years old and I weighed under a 100 pounds. I know this because three months prior to these photos being taken, one of my coworkers dragged me on to the scale and said, “Look! 99 pounds! You have to eat!”

I did eat, but only on my lunch breaks. It was the only time of day that I wasn’t at home. At home I became a worried ball of anxiety and couldn’t bear the thought of food. My mind constantly churned at what would set him off next. I tried really hard, but everything I did was always wrong. I knew this because he told me so when he yelled and screamed at me generally while he grabbed me and threw me into a wall. I was certain I would eventually die in this cycle, I just didn’t know when.

As I pieced these kits together, the thoughts always went back to that time of my life and how these will help some other young woman who needs to get away, who needs to eat, who needs to be safe.

Thank you guys so much for everything you have done here. As you can see, this has meant so much to me.  We’ve made a huge difference and I am so proud of us!

Three Pictures In Seven Days #Mondayblogs

The productive button has been pegged to the floor this week!  I have promised myself a sparkling clean house in a few hours and my dog a bird watching trip, so… you guys are going to get the short end of the stick so to speak.  Here it goes!


On Sunday the 7th we completed our second Adopt-A-Highway pickup!  Not only did we get trashy with it, we had an Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition!  It was awesome!  Cleaning up and being tacky is the best combination ever!  We had more people, less trash and a great time.  There was a stroller found… how the hell do you lose a stroller?


As of Friday, the completed Freedom Starter Kit count was up to 94!  There has also been a TON of monetary donations.  I had Friday afternoon off from work so I decided I’d go ahead and take a round of kits to the domestic violence office.  It turns out it’s a good thing I did.  I can only fit 50 in my car at a time!  The final donation day is the 15th.  I can’t wait to see how many kits I’m taking there this upcoming Friday.  Click here to learn more about Freedom Starter Kits.


Saturday I went to go visit our very dear Stella.  She’s still at the Norfolk SPCA wanting nothing buy an adoption for Christmas!  She seems to love the staff and the feeling is definitely mutual!  It was so good to see her.  To learn more about Stella, read this blog post:  Meet Stella.