VTMAS No.66: The Big Leap

I remember my Great Grandmother once telling me that the small section of Orange County that my family called home was once labelled Rattlesnake Ridge. Growing up there, I can attest to this being very true. An interesting thing about rattlesnakes is how girthy they become. They don’t grow too long, but rather thicker and fatter depending on what they’ve been eating, which can include rats to even raccoons and cats. On this day, I was just a little girl, maybe ten at most. My

VTMAS No.65: Cow in Reverse

Most of my close friends know I was a fanatic about cows. I raised them, showed them, and even enjoyed drawing them on occasion in my sketchbook. In fact, my reputation had grown so large, I was coined the nickname Cow Goddess and became a feature in a friends comic once. One of the most memorable steers I worked with was the Chapter Steer, Beethoven. Yes, that’s me and the big guy in the picture. Here he was only 800-900 pounds, but by the time fair season, he weighed in at

VTMAS No.63: Polly & the Rat

I’m starting to learn that when I suggest something out of humor, I must be cautious to whom I give these snarky bits of humor. As we know it, in “VTMAS No.31: Who Did It?” that my intended joke can go further than I could ever expect. Imagine my surprise, when this very thing unfolded in the presence of my Mother-in-law, Polly. She has a wonderful garden out back, a deck right out her french doors next to a huge camphor tree whose base is wrapped with a purple passion flower

VTMAS No. 62: Squirrel Tattoo

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com by tpa: https://pixabay.com/en/squirrel-wildlife-nature-animal-498139/ I feel like I owe you guys some more Tattoo Shop stories, so here we go! At this point, I wasn’t doing any tattoo artwork directly, but was working the front desk and designing custom work upon request. Keith had taken a customer and his girlfriend to the back after I had acquired consent forms and copies of his driver’s license. After a few minutes, Keith came back, catching

VTMAS No. 61: Swimming With Manatees

Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com by PublicDomainImages: https://pixabay.com/en/manatee-mammal-underwater-marine-387195/ Florida is a melting pot of weirdos if you want my honest opinions. It’s a place where natives like myself, who were bizarre on our own, mingles with the retirees and tourists from all flocks of life. Which leads me into this next story, or life event. As you have discovered, a famous local pass time here is fishing. We have the best of all worlds in this hobby

VTMAS No. 60: I’m Not Cleaning This Classroom

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.com by Werner22brigitte: https://pixabay.com/en/steinbach-mennonite-heritage-village-56641/ If you hang around me long enough, I am pretty sure you may know this story. It was one of those moments you suspect happens, but never think you would be able to catch people in the act. At this time in my life I was my mother’s janitorial assistant. There are no words to express how awkward it was being a high schooler and being the “janitor” to a rival sc

VTMAS No.58: I Was Bad, Once

You see that blue gorgeous hunk of SUV. That was the love of my life in high school. I had somehow worked it out with my divorcing parents to sell me the truck. That’s right, I had the title on that 4×4 beauty and I could go anywhere without the fear of getting stuck. In FFA, it came in handy, loading up fellow members, both in my grade and below, along with supplies in the back and traveling to fairs or FFA competitions. Ah, those were the days. Oh, but this post is a confes

VTMAS No.55: Boob Juggler

I am a “People Watcher” and that is what brought on this whole thing. Whether I am at a mall, park, school, work, or even the bar, I can’t stop myself from observing people and then categorizing them by their behaviors. Not based on looks, but the things I watch them do and how they interact with their fellow human beings intrigues me greatly. I know, I know… this is why I attract weirdos… My husband and I had joined some friends out at a local club/bar named Cowboy’s. It’s a

VTMAS No.54: Put It Here Tattoo

This is a section of my life I don’t think I have introduced just yet in my “Val Tell Me A Story” Series. For a good year or so I apprenticed at a Tattoo Shop. It was a good night-time gig and on occasion I got paid for roughing out custom artwork or tattoo designs. Plus, I had been offered the apprenticeship and didn’t have to pay to be there like I’ve heard so many others having to do. On this particular night I was shadowing the artist Keith who was giving me the rundown o

VTMAS No.53: The Not-so Silent Cujo

I can’t remember what day it was, but we had been slow at the Veterinary office. As my routine dictated, I came in, clocked in, and set to work in the kennels. I had only three dogs to walk, but I was super excited to see we were temporarily housing a young red macaw by the name of Cujo. Naturally, as would any of you, I could not resist the urge to try to make him talk or repeat. After about ten minutes of no luck, I went back to my job. Ivette peeked around the corner, “Are

VTMAS No.52: Office Girls in a Mud Truck

If you haven’t noticed, I am quite the Jill-of-Trades and have a mixed bag for a resume. One of the jobs a held was in a office, managing accounts, where I was required to doll up. Button-up blouses, medium to long skirts, and modest makeup was a must. You can imagine that I looked forward to my lunch breaks and after a while my co-worker Alisha and I developed a routine. Wednesday was Chili-dog day at 7-11, and Monday I think was Kappy’s the local cheesesteak joint, and ever

VTMAS No.50: Rocko the Rottweiler

As you’ve read before, my first job was a kennel worker at a veterinary office. I would leave school, head to work, clock in and immediately start doing my thing. Hardworking, I had a routine, a process to make sure I never missed anything. Coming in the door there was a white board we all used to list kennel medications, warn one another of a volatile animal or list who the technicians still needed urine and/or stool samples from. On this particular day the white board indic

VTMAS No.48: Vaccinate the Tiger, Val

I have to admit, my first job was amazing. For three years, I got up close and personal with a wide range of animals that most only dream to at least see in person or at the zoo. Dr. Stephens was a talented veterinarian for both local foundations and residents. When I first came to work there, I started off at the “Kennel Worker” and it didn’t take long that my work experience with livestock made me a valuable asset throughout the office. By the time I left, I had aided in su

VTMAS No.47: Night Trip to the Cemetery

I believe at some point during our teen, pre-adult age we are curious enough to visit a cemetery at night. Well, my friends and I were on that cuspis of curiosity one late weekend night. In fact, we were all huddled there debating on what we wanted to do and somehow it came up to two choices: Cemetery or Wal-Mart? So we did what any practical person would do; flipped a coin. “Cemetery it is!” Ash declared. We all loaded up into my big blue 1992 GMC Yukon. I love (and miss) th

VTMAS No.46: Martin & The Cow

If you’ve been following this series, you’ve already been introduced to one of my all time best friends, Martin. The best part was I actually took a creative writing class with him and we became great buddies, but my expertise of the Bovine sorts sometimes led to some interesting questions from my peers. This was the one time I recall having a conversation with Martin about cows while I was still in high school. I can’t remember if I was driving him home or sitting in class o