Being Run Ragged

I watched one of my tamed barn cats lose some serious pounds in a short two weeks. Mocha went from a healthy happy active tomcat to skin and bones. I am and always will be a softy for animals. God gave me a place in my heart and mind for critters.

As I was watching Mocha sleep, his breathing is labored. You can see his spine and he sleeps a great portion of the day. Concerned I got up and went into my refrigerator. I had cooked up a pork liver for Tucker the other day, so I thought some mushed up warmed pig liver should add some pep back to him.

After mushing the liver up, I popped it into the microwave for 15 seconds. Out of the microwave I carefully blew on the liver to make sure it wasn’t too hot. It smelled awful to me, so I figured Mocha would find it irresistible

I called to him, but he lay in the patio chair. His pitiful eyes sunken into his head. So I carefully set the bowl of liver right next to him. In an instant, he popped up, began the loudest purring, and dove into the bowl He finished that and I made him some more. Finally satisfied, he pulled his head out of the bowl, licked his lips, and laid back down.

The next morning I dropped him off at the Vet Clinic. I chatted briefly with the Vet. Tech and Dr. A. In our discussion I shared my thoughts on why I thought Mocha was in the condition he was:

  • His littermate had F.I.P. so maybe now he has it
  • A new tomcat moved in and was beating him up on a regular basis
  • This new tomcat was probably keeping him from getting into the barn to eat, which is a big problem in being healthy and able to run or fight.

Dr. A thought that the “tomcat” scenario was the likely culprit, but they would check things out. Dr. A called a while later and said Mocha looked to be well, but given his emaciated condition gave him a shot of antibiotics, wormed him and said to feed him food by the house where I can control how much he gets and keep the bad tomcat from beating him up. All’s well that ends well.

Do you feel run ragged by certain people in your life? Maybe it’s a situation that has you running? Do you find you need food, refreshment, and rest? God wants to shower you with his loving care through good friends, nutritious food, and rest.

Sometimes we do have to run, but know God runs with you!

-Resting and eating and relaxing with you so we can run the race He has set before us.

He Can’t Help It

I never really knew how much Labs like water till we got our Lab. Water is life for Tucker. He seeks it out daily in his drink and for play and enjoyment.

Often on our walks, he will pause at the creek or river and “ask”. The asking looks like this: he stops and turns, looks at me, makes direct eye contact, ears are raised and set, eyes glowing as if to say “Mommy, please?”

It’s hard to resist him. So, I say “Okay, go.” And with a big smile, he runs down the bank into the river or creek. As he swims he laps up water. I laugh because I envision him trying to drink his way out of this big “bathtub”. After his drink, he finds a shallow spot and then rests.

I see his joy in being in the water, he just can’t help it. The peace and contentment I see fills me also. Reminds me to find joy and contentment in little things.

Today, where ever you may be. I hope you find a big “creek” to run into, to drink of and play in. Finding joy and contentment it just being there even though it may not last long. Soak it up, let your tongue hang out and smile.

-Finding “creeks” of contentment to enjoy today, wherever they may be.

movie marathon

Lessons Learned from Four True Life Movies

movie marathon, true story movies, lessons learned

What happens when you decide to watch only true story movies?

You’re emotions get all flummoxed.

I told my husband that I wanted to watch some movies based on true stories. Wow! He did some searching and we were on our way to a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I’ll try to give a little overview.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Who doesn’t love Mr. Rogers? And, of course, we love everything Tom Hanks has done. Sometimes you wonder if the person you see on TV is the same in person. IF you know Tom Hanks. you know he does his homework when he does a real-life movie. And “Neighborhood” was no different.

You might watch this and say, “This really wasn’t about Mr. Rogers.” It’s true. Rogers wasn’t the main character; the reporter was. But this movie showed the effect Mr. Rogers has on everyone he met. When you were in his presence, he was totally focused on you. One Hundred Percent.

Lessons Learned: I’d like people to say this about me.

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Tom Hanks stars in this Clint Eastwood movie. I actually remember when this pilot landed a disabled jet on the Hudson River. It was a pretty scary event as it came not long after the 911 event. New Yorkers felt a bit uneasy when a plane is flying out from its normal paths.

We often don’t realize the effect it has on someone (and their family) to be thrown into the limelight basically for just doing their job. The side we didn’t see was all the investigating going on in the background. While we were praising Mr. Sully for saving all the lives on his plane, the FAA was trying to blame him for not returning to the airport. It kind of opens your eyes to a lot.

Eastwood is another one that does his homework before making a movie. I appreciate that. He has done several of this caliber lately. Some have said that the movie was lackluster, but I will remind you that life is often lackluster. I like how it showed us the “other side” of fame.

Lessons Learned? Hmmm. Don’t fly… anywhere? haha. Or maybe make sure you have everything in order every time you leave home. OR Things are not always as they seem.

Into the Wild

 After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Even living as a “Bum” he actually did pretty well for himself. He moved here and there meeting people, establishing friendships.

But ultimately, he wanted to go to the wild of Alaska, so he would pick up and move on. He finally, made it to the remote parts of Alaska crossing the frozen Tundra: ALONE.

Lessons Learned: True happiness only comes when it is shared.


Here’s one for the dog lovers. In the adventure film Togo, a team of sled dogs races across Alaska to deliver much-needed medicine. The film is inspired by a true event that took place in 1925.

It might sound familiar because there was a Disney movie made years earlier called “Balto”. Here is the true story: A relay of 20 sled dog teams then traveled a distance of 674 miles from Nenana to Nome. Leonhard Seppala and his sled dog team led by Togo traveled 340 miles roundtrip to pick up the serum and start bringing it back, eventually handing it off to Charlie Olson’s team. One of his dogs was named Balto.

Lessons Learned: You don’t always get the reward you deserve. Don’t sweat it. It’s teamwork that counts.

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Your Turn: Legacy Link Up

Any good lessons learned for leaving a legacy? Any good movies that teach values or lead to good discussions?

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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The Summer Veterinary Technician Internship

The summer Veterinary Technician Internship was the highlight of each student’s training. I had finished my first year of studies and was eager to embark on a summer of learning my trade. A summer filled with critters galore and I was to be in the center of it all. Pure heaven!

Developing my skills as a Veterinary Technician was a priority as graduation from the MATC Veterinary Technician program was less than a year away. Having this experience would make me very marketable. At summers end I would have gained a world of knowledge and skill in using it.

Here is where the fun begins

Photo Credit: Skeez pixabay

Earlier in the year I had contacted the Columbus Countryside Veterinary Clinic and asked if they would agree to take me on as a Veterinary Technician intern in the coming summer. Dr. Gerber agreed to me interning with him and his staff. We set a start date and the clock began to tick down.

I remember vividly that morning I left for the first day of my internship. It was a mix of a nervous tummy and super excitement- all a recipe for throwing up. But, I got into my Ford Pony Escort (I always wanted a horse, but this was the closest I got!) and headed down the road, praying I wouldn’t vomit all over myself. What an introduction that would have been. Me with vomit clinging to the front of my shirt and pants. “Hi, I’m Michele. I am here for my summer Veterinary Technician Internship. Don’t mind the vomit on the front of my clothes. That’s just excitement.”

You don’t have to be crazy to work here…

As I entered the clinic the receptionist Diane smiled and welcomed me. The smell of vitamins, dog food and rubbing alcohol greeted me as well. It wasn’t a bad smell but it was unique and I grew used to it.

I was given the usual tour. Here is the bathroom, the lunchroom, the exam rooms, and doctor’s offices. Put your stuff here, hang your coat there and let’s get you over to Kris our Veterinary Technician. This was not my first time meeting Kris. I had stopped in at the clinic during early spring to confirm my summer internship and to scope out if that had any Veterinary Technicians on staff- sometimes when they have no technician the intern is a shoo-in! RATS! They have one already. Oh well.

The new best friend

Photo Credit” Cally L pixabay

Since I was the summer Veterinary Technician intern, I was going to be everyone’s best friend. A whole list of duties awaited me from exam room upkeep to front desk reception and kennel chores. Introductions to the staff were next. Dr. Hensler’s (I say “s” cause they were a husband-wife team) and once again Dr. Gerber. Next, I got a pair of farm overalls ( snicker, I used to think it was overhauls…ha!) and boot covers.

Dr. Gerber told me to “suit up” and we got into his Ford truck and were off. As the morning went on I got braver in conversation. I asked more questions (I love “why?”) and began to learn the in’s and out’s of Veterinary medicine. I had taken my skills requirement sheet along and we discussed all the skills I needed to learn and participate in by the end of the internship (I think I needed 600 hours in, which would take about 3 months).  At the end of the program, everyone in the clinic would be given a critique sheet which they would fill out rating my skills and participation during the internship.

Over hill over dale

In a large animal practice, in the middle of America’s dairyland, you get to see a lot of beautiful countryside as well as some historic barns. One of my favorite farms was a barn that had two flights of stairs. The first flight of stairs went down to the milk house and then the second flight of stairs led down to the main floor with milking stanchions. The first time I walked down into the milking floor I was surprised by the high ceilings. It was very bright as the windows were large and gave lots of light. Very open and airy. I want to say the barn was over 100 years old, but I saw a lot of old barns with great history so I can’t really be sure.

Part of a good client relationship is a mix of teasing and honest friendly conversation. I was Dr. Gerber’s helper and I witnessed how important good relationships made for good clients and happy animals. We saw lots of cows that summer along with horses, beef cattle, llamas, sheep and loads of dogs and cats and the occasional exotic animal.

Learning my trade

Photo Credit: Jan-Mallander pixabay

If one was shy about animals using the bathroom, this is not the profession for you. I got peed on pooped on, slapped in the face with urine-soaked cow tails, scratched and bit. Along with pushed, squeezed and an occasional stomp, but it was all worth it.

While watching my first surgery I nearly passed out. The smell of the warm room mingling with blood and rubbing alcohol was a bit too much. Dr. Gerber and Kristen recognized the familiar white-faced glassy-eyed look, so Kristen quickly got me a chair and had me sit in the corner and watch. Once I got used to the smell I asked to stand closer and watch.  In time the smell no longer bothered me and I began to participate as a technician in the surgeries.

Radiographs were always work getting your patient to cooperate with the position, but interesting to see what was inside. Running laboratory service for urine, feces or milk cultures along with blood counts/tests was fascinating as well.  I enjoyed microbiology the most.  It was fun to grow out cultures and then figure out what type of bacteria they are.

C-sections were fun but equally as intense. Every dog breeder wants healthy pups, so as soon as they come out, you quickly dry them and carefully “swing” them to drive the fluid from their lungs. Like babies first cry, we all loved to hear puppies’ first cry, especially the owner.

A disappearing essential life tool

Learning to work is an important step in becoming an adult. I learned that the quality of work you do is a reflection of you. Honoring those older and wiser is to your advantage- they have a lot of wisdom to impart. Generally speaking, they are people on the way back from where you are headed.  Listening and obedience are essential.

Navigating personalities was also a newfound skill. What one doctor liked, the other did not. Reception liked you to file this way, doctors liked your notes to be written that way. It was all a part of learning how to be a technician and growing up.

Animals are God’s gift to us and we are to care for them kindly and lovingly. I like to think of our pets as ministers. They are there supporting us with there presence, a blood pressure-lowering pet or a nice healthy walk outside. Truly a gift to be treasured.

The summer Veterinary Technician internship was educational as well as developmental. It did lead to a job cleaning kennels and assisting where needed at the clinic. Kristin offered to sublet me a room for my last year in Veterinary Technician school. Kristen became one of my best friends and technician mentor- not to mention she pitied me and fed me protein when I could only afford pancake mix.

That was then, this is now

I went on to finish the Veterinary Technician School and take my State Board Exam. I passed and became a Certified Veterinary Technician and worked a year for Dr. Gerber. But today I find myself writing and stocking shelves at the Edgerton Food Center.

Life has an interesting road to travel with lots of twists and turns. My education was never wasted. I am able to care for and treat my own animals, and I have fun doing it. What we start out doing early in our adult life isn’t necessarily what we finish doing. It’s good to be flexible and learn new skills. It makes life interesting and keeps you engaged in life and learning!

Hunters are Chomping at the Bit Waiting For Fall

The recent warm weather has been encouraging to local farmers, but discouraging to hunting enthusiasts. Even my hunting dog senses something isn’t quite right. Deer, Duck, Goose or Pheasant, hunters are chomping at the bit waiting for fall.

Generally speaking, my Chocolate Labrador Retriever Tucker, is wise to natures cycles. It doesn’t take many cold mornings to remind him pheasant hunting is right around the corner. With each frosty morning, his allergies begin to subside. It usually takes 3 hard freezes before he feels relief. I am sure he would love 45 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.

Waiting for fall

With pheasant season just weeks away, my dog should be on pins and needles waiting for opening day. But this year has him confused with the lack of cold temperatures. With each throw of the dummy, we move forward with our hunting preparations. I can tell a bit of laziness has settled into us both. A busy summer derailed our usual training sessions. Together he and I are a team and when we are not working together our hunting has little success. A continual reminder to me that “school” is never out for either of us.

Pulling out his kennel from storage has gotten his attention. He races over and immediately inspects it. I rattle the kennel door and he barks excitedly and repeatedly throws my hand up with his nose. As I open the kennel door his tail beats wildly against the basement wall. Smiling I open the kennel door. Without hesitation, he races in and turns around with a great big dog smile. He is definitely in his happy place.

A good walk

The pheasant chick population on our property this summer gave me encouragement for a great season ahead, not to mention some tasty pheasant pot pie.

I always enjoy the time spent walking and watching him work. Nose to the ground and tail wagging, he busily sniffs running back and forth till he pauses, lifts a foot and points. The first time out hunting with him I had no clue what “getting birdy” looked like. My lack of understanding his cues led to a late shot and a missed bird.

The look of bewilderment on his face as the rooster flew away made my heart sink.  If Tucker could talk he would have said: “I set you up and YOU MISSED.”  Undaunted, he got right back to work.

Flush after flush I missed. Each time I was too high or too low. With both of us feeling dejected, we decided to call it a day and head back. A reward for Tucker’s good work awaited him in the truck. I pulled out a dish and gave him a good drink and then threw him a biscuit. After several additional laps, he turned and gave me another Labrador smile. It was almost as if he was saying I shouldn’t be discouraged and that we would try again.

Chomping at the bit

Photo Credit: JanTemmel

As I drove out to the Pheasant’s Forever land Tucker began to whine. He knew where we were going and what was expected of him. He too had been waiting for fall. Every muscle in his body trembled with excitement. I had to admit, I was doing some shaking of my own. After parking, I turned around and gave Tucker a good head scratch. Today was our day. We were going home with a bird!

I hopped from the driver’s seat and walked to the back of the truck. Tucker had all he could do to contain himself- he was still waiting in the cab. With all the appropriate gear on and license in my back pocket, I walked back to the cab and opened the door. Tucker launch from the back seat, barely touching. The prairie grass began to envelop him and all I could see was the tops of the grass waving back and forth in the direction he was working.

Locked and Loaded

Tucker worked back and forth for what seemed like an eternity, and then it happened. He started to get birdy. Coming to a stop, he picked up his front right paw, bent his head down in a point. I knew it was all up to me and I had seconds to get ready.

Fluttering wings broke the silence as two roosters hit the sky. I pulled up my shotgun and pulled the trigger twice. Boom! Boom! The last shot hit the slower rooster and it plummeted to the ground, landing in some tall prairie grass.

Eagerly Tucker dove in. Little did we know the rooster had buried himself deep into the grass. Ten minutes had passed into the search and I began to think we had been “skunked” again. Tucker grew silent and then I saw him pounce and wag his tail. Underneath the deep prairie grass lay the dead hidden rooster.

Carefully I reached into the grass, but Tucker wasn’t so sure I should do the retrieving. He began to dig playfully at my handwith his front paws. It was his honor to pull it out, so I let him.

Proud as a Peacock

Photo Credit: BrodyT Pixabay

Tucker nosed his way into the bottom of the grasses. Bringing his head up with a mouthful of rooster, he walked proudly through the prairie grass path. After a few feet down the path he dropped the rooster and looked at me with a big smile and began to pant. I reached down and congratulated him with a good head rub and a pat on the back.

Bending over I picked up the rooster and placed it in my jacket. We both were tired and the walk back to the truck seemed to take longer than we both wanted. As we caught sight of the truck our spirits lightened and we both picked up the pace.

Waiting for fall had been worth all the training we have done. It’s rewarding to work together, and a successful hunt makes it all the sweeter.  It’s good to be out in nature walking around, enjoying creation. It’s good to have a Tucker.

The Day I Ate Dog Food

Most of you don’t know, but I went to school for Veterinary Technician. I attended MATC in Madison, WI. After graduating from the program, I took my state certification test and became a Certified Veterinary Technician. As part of one of our courses, we studied a section on animal nutrition. Professor Kaye invited a Hill’s Science Diet Nutritionist to come and give us a lecture on animal nutrition.  Following the lecture, there would be samples for us to try. It was the day I ate dog food.

Samples? Did she just say samples?

Yes, I heard that right, because the rest of the girls in the class were looking around to see if that word “sample” was registering with anyone else. We were all going to have to eat dog food. Oh my! Professor Kaye nodded to the class. It was if she was reassuring us that yes- yes there would be samples to give to you poor and hungry college students. My brain was stuck in a loop of asking and re-asking “Are we really going to eat dog food?” “Are we really going to eat dog food?” “Are we really going to eat dog food?”

I’ve got a bone to pick with you

I ate dog foodSometimes when one is dreading an event, one tends to place it far from their consciousness. And then when you can no longer consciously put it out of your mind, it happens. The dreaded event arrives and you are stuck dealing with reality. We filed into the lecture hall silently. There was a “green around the gills” look on just about everyone’s face. Of course, you had your “tougher- than nails- show- boaters” who relished the thought of the bragging rights to having eaten dog food, but I was not one of those. No sir! The lecture was interesting and the speaker was entertaining. I was feverishly taking notes and trying to think of an intelligent question to ask, as it was part of my grade for participating. With my question formulated I listened on. Hill’s Science Diet was no fool. We were putty in their hands. All of us were ready to graduate and go out into practices throughout the state. What easier way to influence veterinary practices than to have armed burgeoning new technicians with their wonderful information! Genius move on Hill’s Science Diet part! -Side note- I really like Hill’s Science Diet. It’s a great product and I have used it on all my pets!

What you talkin’ about Willis?

I could tell the lecture was winding down because the speaker began to reach into bags on the table and slowly set out cans of dog and cat food as well as lecture on dog foodsmall bags of kibble. I swallowed hard… here it comes, the moment of truth.  The speaker smiled as she opened bags and cans. Setting out her display like a smorgasbord. Professor Kaye with all grace and decorum stepped up to the line and carefully chose the items for her plate. With a smile, she turned around and gestured to the students. It was now our turn to come through the line.

Every which way but loose

It is a well-known fact that women use bathrooms in groups. So I decided that we would apply this to today’s adventure. That way if I need assistance getting to the bathroom I was well prepared. Like the benediction at church, somberly my table rose, said our personal prayers and headed for the table. Single file each of us grabbed a plate and a napkin. I smiled at the speaker and quickly scanned the table looking for something, ANYTHING that looked remotely edible. There. Dog biscuits. What luck! I quickly grabbed one and set it on my plate. Hmm. Now, what else should I choose? Then it hit my nose, the smell of Sunday dinner. Where was that coming from? I carefully sniffed around the table and found a can of Canine c/d. Ok, well… here we go, and I took a small scoop. Finished! I had my two items.

Dog-gone good

We all sat down and stared blankly at our plates. Who was going to go first? With a shrug, the gal next to me picked up an item and took a bite. We all held our breath. “Well?” said someone. “It’s not bad.” was the reply. That was all the courage I needed.  I grab my dog biscuit and took a bite. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Hmm. Well… it has a beefy flavor. A little grainy. I can taste milk, maybe? Okay, now for a scoop of canned dog food. Smells good,open wide Michele. Eww, it’s cold. A silent moment of deciding if this is going to go down or will it be going out? Just then my tongue found a piece of rice and I could detect a chicken flavor. Not so bad. A little more chewing and a swallow. It was done. My tongue was dry and so was my mouth. With no complimentary bowls of water to lap at the table, I was now wishing I could have a strawberry margarita. That would be refreshing.

Making the grade

Closing the lecture event we handed in our questions to Professor Kaye and were dismissed. I made my way through the college campus and exited to the parking lot. I chuckled to myself. Maybe I will turn into a Golden Retriever.  Then I could hand my head out the window and bark at bad drivers on highway 151. When I get back to my apartment I sure hope my roommate will give me a good scratch and some extra kibble.  I was a good girl today. I ate dog food. Michele

Kitchen Catastrophe Number Two


That darn cat!  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  If you read my articles faithfully, you would have read about my  “Kitchen Catastrophe” with brownies.  Well, as luck would have it, the cats have struck again.  This time they upped the game.  But before I can tell you the rest of the story, I have to take you on a short “rabbit trail” of storytelling sorts.

This is how it all began

I signed up late last year to take an online baking class( more on this later).  As part of the class, our instructor Tessa Arias from Handle the Heat has been sharing with her students baking products that she recommends.   One of her recommendations was to get a Cuisinart 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker.  I really like ice cream, so I jotted it down on my list of products to watch for on sale.

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of cats and brownies

Kitchen Cat-astrophes

Kitchen catastrophes.  We’ve all had them.  Some of us keep them as secret as an FBI file and others of us publish them.  So today reader, you are witness to my confession.  I stand in my pantry and solemnly swear upon my 1963, twelfth printing of the “Good Housekeeping Cookbook”, to tell you the truth, and nothing but the whole truth, so help my KitchenAid standing mixer. Continue reading

The Glass Is Either Half Empty or Half Full

How full is your glass today?

Half full or half empty?

Over four inches of rain fell from yesterday morning through last night here in southwest Minnesota.  It’s the time of year when farmers want warm sunshine and breezes to help dry the corn and beans for harvest, not four inches of rain.  Just twenty miles to the West in South Dakota and they have had a very dry summer. This rain system that went through was very important to them!  Isn’t that like life though?  The glass is either half empty or half full.

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