Archive for November, 2010

Christmas Memories

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I was just informed at our family dinner yesterday that we will not be repeating the Purple Christmas Tree of last year.  Actually, it felt like an intervention of sorts.  Mom and Dad made a big, wonderful dinner.  Dave and Sara were there.  Russ looked into my eyes and said, “We still have purple dust in the living room.”  Both daughters nodded silently.  (We don’t.)

So, I am sad to say, the purple flocked tree may be, instead of a new holiday tradition, only a memory.  Because I will only have a plain old pine tree to show you this year, and because this is an especially cute picture of all three dogs together, I have posted here my favorite picture from Christmas 2009.

Ebony, Joy and Noodle, Christmas 2009

“What Happened to Russ”

Also, perhaps only a memory…my favorite Sunday School craft ever:  Peanut Baby Jesus.  Russ and I teach three to five year old Sunday School at Westwood Church.  For the past several years, we have made Peanut Baby Jesus with the kids.  (We stole the idea from the awesome teachers of Two Year Old Sunday School after our oldest daughter came home with one years ago.)

Last year, we had one child in our class with a peanut allergy.  Being kindhearted, anti-anaphylaxis types, we thought it would be a good idea to use a shortened wooden clothespin for Peanut Allergy Kid’s Peanut Baby Jesus.

Russ is a carpenter…with no saws at church.  But there were steak knives.  Never say “whatever” when you are choosing appropriate tools for a task.  Russ tried to cut off the end of the clothespin, sliced his thumb, could not get the cut to stop bleeding (even with top-of-the-line veterinary intervention) and ended up at Urgent Care with several stitches.  He still has a scar.

Peanut Baby Jesus:  Materials: Bottom half of a disposable cup, squares of brown paper, craft hay, scrap of cloth, peanut, Sharpie, glue.  Assembly: Glue the brown paper squares around the outside of the half cup.  Fill the “manger” with hay.  Draw a face on the peanut and place the scrap of cloth over Peanut Baby Jesus.  Place Peanut Baby Jesus in his manger.

SAFETY NOTES: Use kids’ safety scissors to cut the cup in half and cut the paper and cloth.  Also, if you have a kid with peanut allergies in your group, choose a different craft!

Update on The Purple Christmas Tree, 2010:

Yay.  Thanks Russ : )

Update on Peanut Baby Jesus, 2010:

Click here!



Friday, November 26th, 2010

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

We spent the weekend before Thanksgiving with our family in Ohio, yesterday with Mom and Dad, and the rest of the weekend will be spent catching up with the rest of the family.  I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

My imaginary friend, Dr. Amanda Brown, invited me to participate in Grand Rounds, a forum that is typically made up entirely of human medical doctors (not that we veterinarians are not both human and medical doctors, but you know what I mean…I never know what to call those guys.)

Anyways, this week, Dr. Brown was in charge of Grand Rounds, and I was out of town, but just look at the awesome group of veterinarians and…other guys…she gathered!  Anyways, she gathered a great group of doctors, and they came up with a great group of articles and blog postings about gratitude.


first time on facebook, first time to include veterinarians, first time hosted by an imaginary person!

Last year at this time, I posted something for which I was grateful for every day of November on facebook and twitter.  This year, the month got by me…it was full of all of those things I should have been listing!  So here is my “catch up” list.  It’s going to be sweeping and general, random and overlapping so as not to leave anyone or anything out.  What an awesome thing to have to consider…

Thank you that as Creator and Sustainer of the universe you would not only bother with me, which in itself is impossible to wrap my head around, but also love me and save me and walk through this life with me down to the detail and minute and very smallest whisker – I know what breaks my heart breaks Yours – May what breaks Your heart break mine.

Thank you too for…





the opportunity to write what I’m thinking

people to share it with

the Awesomes of Blogathon 2010

my job

my career

my kids




our house

our neighborhood

the girls’ school

Westwood Church

my baby niece and baby nephew

my big kid nieces and big kid nephews

my brothers

my Family-I-Love (Jodi and I came up with that gem-is that better than sister-in-law Sara Jean?? :))

my extended family…I love that my coworkers say “You are related to everyone!”

our garden



my kids’ awesome heritage from the Grandparents I miss dearly back to the ancestors I do not even know

Here comes the part of grace where my friend Beth’s little brother would start thanking God for the ketchup and the salt and the napkins…

our bread machine

hardwood floors

the clicking of dog toenails and the creaking of kid feet

Max the Cat’s habit of getting between me and my book or me and the keyboard

my art table

my camera phone



notebooks and sketchbooks

Petie the Cruiser

walking bridges

and so on…

Happy Thanksgiving All







4 Paws for Ability

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

As of November 22, 2010, $4667.00 has been raised for Bradyn’s service dog from 4 Paws for Ability.  You all are so generous!!  Money will continue to be raised through the remainder of 2010.  The goal is to have thirteen thousand dollars raised for 4 Paws for Ability in Bradyn’s name.

Some of you have asked (and I wondered too) how does our financial support help a puppy who will be a service dog? I wrote to 4 Paws for Ability, and the executive director, Karen Shirk, immediately returned my e-mail with very detailed information and a big “THANK YOU” from 4 Paws for Ability for all of us for helping their group and supporting Bradyn.

Thank YOU Karen!

We think you and your group are wonderful!

Here is the breakdown of what goes into supporting the care of a service dog in training…

Professional Training – Each dog has at least 500 hours of training and socialization!

Veterinary care – I know, I know, it can be expensive!  But SO worth it!  (C’mon, say it!)

* Dog care * Dog supplies * Equipment * Training supplies * Treats * Toys * Operational expenses *

All of the other “miscellaneous” things our “everyday” pet dogs also need

If you would like to donate for Braydn, click HERE. That will take you to the first Blogathon post on Pawcurious where you can donate directly through “Chip In” (which works with PayPal) or directly to 4 Paws for Ability.


Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Switch:  How to Change Things When Change is Hard


Chip Heath and Dan Heath

I loved it!  Five Stars!


I have had friends AND coworkers make fun of me for reading every single word of every book I read, starting with the table of contents.  I need context people!  I started this book with a search for the relationship between the authors.  In case you are not as neurotic as I am (or in case you are), the last sentence of the “about the authors” synopsis on the back cover reveals that they are brothers.  Now I was ready to begin.

I often say I do not like change.  In the middle of change, I moan about it.  After change, I gripe about it.  A year later, I look around and realize that change was the best thing for me.  As a new change comes up, I complain about it…

The authors challenged that attitude almost right from the beginning (p.4).  I liked getting married…that was change.  I liked having both kids enter our life…that was change.  I liked moving home to Omaha…that was change.  In response to their challenge to rethink our attitudes towards change, I have decided never to say “I just don’t like change” again.  There.  That will not change.  Ha!

They explained how to motivate others or even ourselves by breaking down the components of change into our rationality (rider), our emotions (elephant) and the path to change.  While I was reading, I kept coming back to some of my own “What if” big change dreams…

What if kids in Haiti were not hungry?

What if puppy mills were gone?

I already obsess about this and other stuff, of course.  We all have our “What if” dreams, I guess.  This book made me think “What if…I could have something to do with the changes?”  And that is huge.

Also, this book made me cry, which of course, even given my overly sappy nature, leadership books are not supposed to do.  The story that got me was the story about the transformation of an underachieving high school to a very successful high school brought about by the incoming principal (p. 173-175). She changed the entire school’s outlook on learning by changing the school’s grading system from A, B, C, D, F to A, B, C and NY (not yet).

(Side note:  Comments in parenthesis – Five Stars!  ✩✩✩✩✩  If the authors write a book containing everything they say in parenthesis in this book, and add some equally smart alec material, I will pay anything for it.  I found myself flipping ahead to read their usually related, always hilarious, smarty-pants side comments.)

One more “This Book is Awesome” point, then I will just let you read the book for yourself.  Anyone who mentions FlyLady and Dave Ramsey, two of my favorite leaders and authors, in the same sentence (p. 134), gets five stars just for that.

Bunny Trails: The images of an elephant and his rider as a person’s sometimes dueling emotions and mind are borrowed from The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt.  I have a feeling if these authors like a book, I will too.  So that’s on my “What’s Next” list.  Chip Heath and Dan Heath also wrote a book before Switch called Made to Stick which I assume is equally awesome.

Pile it on!  I’ve got plenty of bookmarks!  I’ve had bigger stacks on my nightstand!

This is number…something…of the twenty-five books I am reading in Veterinary Economics Leadership Series. As of this past weekend, I have all of the 25 books tracked down, and only seven more of them to get my hands on.  Thank you for all of your help with this fun project!

A Puppy for Bradyn ♥

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in Blogathon 2010 this past weekend!  You are awesome!

Bradyn is a four-year-old boy with epilepsy.  His Mom, Elizabeth, is raising money for 4 Paws for Ability so Bradyn can have a service dog.  Donations for the training of Bradyn’s service dog are being accepted until the end of the year!  So if the day was as much a blur for you as it was for me, or if it went right by you entirely, take heart!  You have not missed a thing!

Dr. V at Pawcurious headed a huge fundraiser over this past weekend (Blogathon 2010) in which we all posted one blog an hour for twenty-four hours to raise money for Braydn’s puppy (half of us) as well as other awesome charities and causes (the other half!)

If you would like to donate for Braydn, click HERE. That will take you to the first Blogathon post on Pawcurious where you can donate directly through “Chip In” (which works with PayPal) or directly to 4 Paws for Ability.

After that, check out all of the great Blogathon posts from this past weekend.  Donating will take a second.  Reading through all the great material is gonna take you months!

(YAY!  I got the turtle painting painted and auctioned by BZTAT!)


In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, here’s a quick, off the top of my head…

“Thanks for These Guys, God” List

my family

my friends

everyone I got to blog with this past weekend

everyone who participated and is still participating

and most of all…I am grateful for

the incredible overlap in my life of these categories of Awesomeness

Blogathon 2010 – Giraffe-Chicken!

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

As we wrap up Blogathon 2010, we look forward to what is ahead…well, let’s do that later.  Right now I would like to show you Giraffe-Chicken.

In the wee loopy-tired hours of the night, BZTAT (the awesome Paintathoner – Have you SEEN her work?  It is GORGEOUS!) said “I am painting a turtle in honor of Dr. Finch’s three am posting on turtle tips.”  I LOVED that, by the way!  AND I love her turtle painting!  

So, we, of course, assumed painting subject ideas were being solicited. “Chicken!” said Dr. Janet.  “Rabbit!” said BunnyJeanCook.  “Giraffe!” said Dr. V.  “How am I supposed to paint all these?” said BZTAT.  (I am paraphrasing – Maybe I should replace it all with direct quotes after I have slept.)

“brb!”  I said.  That is “be right back” in this new-fangled “texting” I have recently learned about.  I grabbed a Sharpie and some paper and sent her this:

Next year – Paintathon…Singathon…Blogathon, and just maybe…Sharpieathon.  You HAVE to be there.  It’s gonna be awesome.

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

The End

of the Riley and James portion of Blogathon 2010.

“That was good.  We had fun.”*

*overheard at the conclusion of Jurassic Park by a very small (three or four year old) child when Cathy and I went to see the movie in college.  I believe the quote is more appropriate to today.  I’ll bet that kid still has dinosaur violence issues.

Blogathon 2010 – Ebony Dog

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Overnight, Noodle the Poodle peed on Ebony’s bed.  I washed it and laid it in the hallway to dry.  While it was still soaking wet, Ebony came out of the bedroom and curled up on her bed and fell back asleep.  Which means when she wakes up, she will smell like the underbelly of a wet dog.

Looks like today is Dog Bath Day, not Crash After Blogathon Day.  I should have just posted the picture, huh?  That would have been much cuter.

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Saving the World

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

I am looking up a bit from this crazy Blogathon and am so proud of my friends!  Everyone here – look at all of the causes we are supporting!  A puppy for Braydn, a puppy for Natalie, pet rescues and shelters.  And everyone beyond here – Jenn and her marathon, Artists for Hope and their ongoing fight to end poverty and hunger in Haiti.  And beyond that even – causes and projects we do not even know about!

Have we all bit off more than we can chew?  Yes, of course we have!  Is it our job to save the world?  NO!  It is God’s job!  (Yup, you’re getting the God talk.  It is Sunday morning, after all!)  Is it our job to step in where we fit into that?  YES!  And look how fun it has been!

I have LOVED doing this Blogathon.  So encouraging to see so many people work so hard to help people and pets they may never meet, mainly because it is where they are supposed to be, what they are supposed to do, at the time they are supposed to do it.

As we look up, rub our eyes, decide exactly when to drink the last cup of coffee before we crash, remember to smile.  We showed up.  We had fun.  Now let’s see what happens from here.


Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Blogathon or Marathon?

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

My friend Jenn is in the beginning hours of a marathon as we are preparing to wrap up our Blogathon.  I am SO impressed!  She is running to raise money for a cure for cancer.  She is running for her Dad and our friends and her friends and family who have battled cancer.  She is an amazing person, and I just know she will excel.

SO excited for her!  SO happy it is her and not me!

In college (a prime time for goal setting), my good friend Cathy and I made a joint life goal to NEVER run a marathon.  I became a little nervous when she married an avid runner.  But what could she do?  Jason was, and is, perfect for her!  As Jason runs marathon after marathon, Cathy has supported him wholeheartedly while valiantly sticking to our goal.  Not to brag, but I too, have stuck to our goal.

Jenn has spent years running, and weeks training for this marathon.  She has followed a strict mental and physical schedule and dietary plan in preparation.

In preparation for the Blogathon, I wrote a few rough drafts of posts and made sure I had a good supply of Diet Coke.  Russ made a midnight run for chocolate and grapes.  (See, I am not totally neglecting nutrition!  OK, mostly, but I will get back on track after today.)

I want Bradyn to get his service dog.  Jenn wants a cure for cancer.  I do too.  It is not our job to save the world, it is our job to step in where God leads us, where we fit, and to cheer each other on.  I am so glad I fit into the blogging-all-night world and NOT into the running-all-morning world.  Better you than me Jenn!  I love you and I am behind you one hundred percent!

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Repetition, Redundancy and Routine

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

From one of my favoritest people ever…Su Smith.  Thank you Su!  I love this one!


Sometimes when I’m talking to a client I hear myself saying something I’ve said a blue million times a purple million ways and wonder, “Is the glazed look in this owner’s eye just my imagination?”  I try to be considerate and not keep telling people things they know, no matter how important it is to remember what our ancestors passed down to us–stock phrases to throw at our children like “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and “A stitch in time saves nine.”

The reason I am saying this is because it is sometimes in these “Why do I bother?” moments that a big “THAT’S why!” slaps me in the face.  Today was such a moment.  Here’s how it happened.

For a winter day it was pretty hopping. I like to whine about how busy we get, but I really do enjoy working up front when it’s hustle time.  Not only did we have four new clients bring in animals (which takes more time and concentration but what fun!) but had the full run of appointments and purchases and emergency surgeries and of course BOARDERS!  While so many things that happened today were so very bloggable, from the vet almost being eaten whole (“Not sure I can hold him down, Doc!” to vaccination allergy (“…her nose is swollen…” “Please bring her back *right now*!”), this mundane tale is about a boarder:  a perfectly healthy little dog being dropped off for a few nights with us.

For dogs to board with us, we require three vaccinations:  some kind of DHP combination vaccination, the legally-required veterinarian-administered rabies vaccination, and this little trick of a vaccination known as bordetella (AKA Kennel Cough).  The client wasn’t complaining about her otherwise up-to-date dog needing to be vaccinated for KC (as our whiteboard shorthand calls it) but simply had that classic, “Why?” look on her face.  I launched into my standard spiel about KC being airborne and very contagious in a kennel environment and how it’s not typically life-threatening but is a total pain to treat.  I even threw in my old story about how I was ready to throw my dog out the window when she caught it and kept me up night after night quacking like a hoarse duck.  The “That’s enough” nods began as I was explaining that we hadn’t seen a case in a while, but that they do pop up on occasion.  IAs she left I had that “Why did I ramble on about a disease that pampered pup will probably never encounter when I could have been entering these other clients into the computer or filing or something?”  An appointment was next in line and I went back to see about an empty exam room.  A tech said, “Room One is empty but don’t put anybody in there yet.  I have to clean it really well first.”  Of course I’m thinking parvo or an expelling of some egregious bodily something, but she says, “Kennel Cough.”

I’m sure I babbled something incoherent about just having talked to a client about that but I was really thinking, “For real? I’m not just talking and talking for no reason?” and of course “I’d better get them checked out and out of here fast!”

It’s not like we don’t see these diseases and parasites we babble about in our sleep.  We really do.  Some are rarer than others, though, and we begin to think, “Is that really something I need to push?” and suddenly there it is, staring us in the face saying, “That’s exactly for what I was waiting.” (No dangling preposition, Dr. Finch!)  We stop emphasizing that heartworm prevention isn’t just a one-time deal and BANG! three positive heartworm tests in one week.  We stop reminding people that their dog is at risk for leptospirosis and POW! a report of a kennel tech dying from caring for a lepto-positive pet.

So, if I begin one of my spiels about something you’re totally savvy on, it won’t hurt my feelings if you say, “I’m familiar with that.”  But if there’s something you don’t understand or aren’t sure you heard correctly, please ask me!  If I don’t know I will find somebody who does!  I want to help you keep your pet safe and happy.  If you have lettuce between your teeth, I’ll tell you that, too!

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥