Friday, October 28, 2016

Election craziness

I vacillate between worry about the election and a complete, "I'm done" with it all.  There's uncertainty in everyone's future and if you listened to the news and political people you would think whoever gets elected in 11 days the world will possibly end.

I work in an area where many people have opposing viewpoints and I work with people who either agree or agree to disagree.  This is a good thing.  It reminds me the world will go on and most people are just as frustrated as I am by our choices and the hostility in our current political climate.  I also am reminded everyday of the dogs and cats I work with who have no clue as to the partisanship around them and just display loyalty and friendship.  I'm not suggesting we should send our politicians to the dogs, but it restores my memory of what life is like with simplicity and without partisanship.

This election does matter.  It's important that everyone votes and understands the consequences, but should you be getting anxious and worried consider doing the following:

  1. Know that as faith-filled people, "Jesus I Trust In You," can lower your blood pressure and remind you, render on to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.  Think what you will about either political leader, but either way, we aren't living in the time of Nero's Circus and the Roman Emperors.
  2. Read a little about the Founding Fathers.  They may not have had e-mail, but their scandals and drama was every bit as scary as ours.  Even Alexander Hamilton had a rather racy sex scandal.  At least we don't do duels anymore.  This was also a time when we were still known as "The American Experiment".  At least with over 200 years worth of corrupt politicians, we know that our democracy has been through it before.
  3. Consider turning off the TV and going for a walk.  Sometimes it's good to get outside, smell the fresh air, watch the autumn leaves and think of America as a simple idyllic land.
  4. Drink some wine, or hot chocolate, or whatever warm (or cold) drink that makes you happy and be grateful for the little things.
  5. Think about how we are blessed.  Sure, we have politicians who we wouldn't want our kids to look up to.  I'm grateful that I don't have to explain everything in the news to my son.  With liars and language that even my thirty-something self doesn't like it can get rough.  I listened to Francesca Battistelli's song, "This Is The Stuff" on my way home tonight.  If you haven't listened to it, give it a try.  It talks about losing your keys and all sorts of other stuff that is a regular occurrence in many people's busy lives.  It talks about, "this is the stuff that gets under my skin".  It also ultimately comes out with the message, "when I'm in the middle of this little mess it reminds me exactly how much I'm blessed."  Yes, no one wants to deal with all the politics right now.  November 8th (or November 9th if you are the other party, you know republicans and democrats vote on different days, right?  Just kidding...) can't come soon enough.  But we all need to remember, we are blessed to live in a country where we can vote, where both sexes and all ideologies vote and no matter all the dirty tricks and other tactics, we actually do live in a democracy.  Take advantage of it.  Vote and most importantly pray.  Pray for unity and peace.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

But Why? A commentary on why answering a toddler's questions can be hard... or entertaining.

I was kind of looking forward to this stage of childhood, the "But why" times.  I was remembering the times when I think I enjoyed sailing with my dad more for the hours of talking to him and him having to answer my questions than I did for the actual sailing.   The constant circle of how things work and why was what kept my young head spinning.
Alas- I am getting older and the time has come and my three year old can outsmart me on solids, liquids and gases.  Do I pull out one of my old physics books that I have kept in the hope I can help him with homework someday?  No, I pull up YouTube and am equally fascinated by the non-native English speaker's rendition.
          Some examples of these conversations I find myself in:

  1. No, it's not ok to be naked in front of the window.  Anyone who is an adult knows the rationale behind this, but alas a 3 year old descends into "Why not?"  "I want to be able to see the moon and not be in my clothes at the same time."  After a discussion and trying to rationalize that quickly evolved into a dumbed down version of Theology of The Body, mixed with common sense, mixed with health class, he ended up coming up with an answer that was reasonable for both of us, "Is this like my book 'God made me special'?"  "Yes, yes that's it, God made you special and not for everyone to see everything.  Works for me."
  2. Warm dirty water on the bathroom floor = not a good idea.  "But why?"  "Because it feeds yeast and bacteria."  "But why?"  Because yeast and bacteria get fed by dirt and warm water.  But why?  Because they are going to have a party in that water.  But why?  Yeast and Bacteria and infection like a warm, moist and dirty environment.  But why are the yeast and Bacteria having a party?  Because they are excited to have a buffet.  But why is that bad if they want to have a party?  Because that's what causes an infection and that's gross.  But why?  Because it injures and destroys healthy tissue.  But why?  Because that's what happens when infection takes over.  I think at that point I distracted him with his Charlie Brown toy and got out of a further discussion.
  3. Mommy needs to drink more water.  "But Why?"  To stay hydrated.  But why?  Because it keeps her body healthy.  But why?  Because your blood needs water to transport nutrients to and from your tissues.  But why?  Because your tissues need nutrients and to get rid of waste.  But why?  Because that's how a body stays healthy.  But why?  You know how mommy needs to measure the right ingredients to make you a cake?  The body needs the right ingredients at the right balance to stay healthy. (I can't remember if that was my exact answer, but typically I've found I can shut off the but why if I start making him think of dessert).
  4. Why we are respectful of heroes.  We were at a memorial and I was trying to explain to him why we need to be quiet, not run and shout.  But why?  Because these people were heroes and we need to be respectful of them.  But what does "respectful" mean.  It means being grateful and thankful for their sacrifice.  What's a sacrifice?  Some more dialogue that was circular happened here and then I came up with, "You know how mommy's and daddy's will do anything they can to protect you?"  "Yes", he answered.  "Well, heroes are like mommy's and daddy's and do everything they can to protect other people.  Does that make sense?"  "Yes," he said, "that makes sense."

I have now come to realize if he's only three now even with three degrees I might just have to get him a tutor and forget about my old text books when he reaches school.  Or I could embrace this time and relearn everything with him.  We will see what time and patience allows.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Small Business Appreciation

A lot of people (especially politicians) talk about small businesses.  They really are the bread and butter of our economy.  Many people are small businesspeople and you might not even realize it.  While corporations may seem like they are slowly taking over the world (including the veterinary world) there are still many small businesses that keep our economy going.  Your plumber, doctor, electrician, daycare provider are all important small businesses.

So I can safely say I never thought I would never be a small businesswoman.  I kind of fell into it.  Initially, it was intimidating, exciting and scary.  I may be pretty good at math, but accounting and tax law is a whole other world.

While my first official employment was for a university, and then corporate medicine, I've worked at (and with) many small businesses.  They actually say my line of work as a traveling veterinarian is a great way to work prior to starting your own clinic because you get to see what works (and doesn't) when owning a small business.

I have had many clients tell me I should open my own clinic.  While I can't say I ever thought about being a small businessperson prior to starting my current line of work, I've definitely thought I NEVER want to own my own clinic.  It's one thing to be a single person, taking on the risk (and rewards) of your own business.  It's quite another matter to be responsible for other people, and managing them.  Human resources is the single thing that would scare me away and providing healthcare for employees in this current climate would also scare me.

I grew up in a business environment, with my dad working with businesses and even having his own business.  I remember watching, as a small child that he kept his struggling business open, even at a monetary loss so that every last one of his employees could get a job before closing it down.  That type of experience leaves an impression.  First, it left an impression of what a wonderful man my father is, but also an impression that this is what separates small business owners from the big corporations.

Supporting small businesses is something I've become more aware of and whether its supporting an artist on Etsy, a vendor at a farmer's market, or just patronizing a local store, I try to consciously make a decision to support small businesses.  Please, as you consider where you do your shopping this season, consider patronizing more small businesses.  They improve our world, one job at a time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Acorn creativity

Sometimes it's tempting to just turn on a TV to entertain children.  Sometimes a parent has to get creative and choose the least destructive of destructive entertainment...

I found myself today with two rambunctious boys on a historic property.  How was I going to entertain them?  They didn't want to throw footballs, they basically wanted to throw rocks at anything they could.  They didn't want to run, talk or play other games, just throw rocks.  First, I transitioned them to- "if you need to throw something, throw acorns."  They struck me as somewhat less dangerous and less destructive than rock throwing-  about 30 minutes of acorn throwing (with brief periods of picking up and piling acorns) ensued.  I then started to wonder if the founding father who the property had belonged to ever sent his rambunctious grandchildren on a mission like this and perhaps that is where some of the mighty oak trees we saw got their start.  Just a thought...

And what did both boys want to thank Jesus for after a long day of adventure, visiting history and eating great food?  "Thank you Jesus, for throwing acorns" , they said simultaneously.

Friday, October 14, 2016

You know your a mom of a toddler when...

There could be lots of things parents could add to this list, but here are some of my unique experiences this week I wouldn't have appreciated without my little one.
  1. You reach into your purse for business cards and you pull out baseball cards.
  2. You're sitting on the floor holding a dog for a heartworm test at work and you realize you have a sparkly baseball sticker on your shoe.
  3. You go to an Imax movie about National Parks and instead of watching in awe at the bicycles jumping over rocks you're grateful your son didn't see it because he would try it at home.
  4. You're relieved when you talk with another mom about dropping balls and balancing things.  She said she's given up on not dropping them and just rejoices in how fast she can pick them up after they drop.
  5. You find yourself laughing at spilled milk.  My son insisted on his sippy cup from when he was a baby  He had bit some of the pieces off of the top and so it was leaky.  I told him that his decision was not a good choice.  He tried it out, got milk all over himself and said, "That WAS a bad choice."
  6. You find yourself explaining the presidential debate.  Even though my husband and I shelter him from most of the stuff going on, he overheard his Dad say, "ooh it's going to get ugly."  "What's going to get ugly Daddy?"  "Two people arguing tonight and they don't like each other and say mean things."  "oh, that is not nice, that is not nice at all!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

In the busyness of it all...

What a busy Holiday weekend!  Nothing like post-hurricane (from several hundred miles away) weather for flying a kite.  The last time we were able to get this kite to fly was on the day my husband proposed to me, post Hurricane Irene in 2011.

We've been busy around here, cleaning up for summer, getting ready for Fall and Winter.  Apparently my son loves apple cider and pumpkin toasters with frosting from Trader Joes.  As I told my husband, maybe they aren't the healthiest, but he's not allergic to them and I'd like to get him acquainted with the tastes of Fall.  I'd also like to get him to eat healthier, but apparently he keeps living out every kids dream.  He's allergic to vegetables.  We aren't sure exactly how many for real, but he's definitely allergic to peas and he's allergic to beans "sometimes".  Green beans, bush beans, black beans, kidney beans.  Do you realize how many things have beans in them?  Last night he had some type of reaction to red peppers.  Dear God, I don't know what I'm going to be able to get this kid to eat (My theory about the peppers is that he's not actually allergic to it, but he made such a production over eating them, I think he had a topical reaction).  We will give it another go tonight.  (He's had red peppers numerous times in so many things that an allergy to peppers is unlikely).

It's pumpkin time and clean up the yard time and I will have to get over and clean out our garden which started marvelously and then totally fizzled because the deer figured out how to get in.  I think next year, if I bring myself to do it again, I will get an inside lot, somewhat protected by others and with much stronger fencing.  You learn from your mistakes...

My son is now getting to the age where we can do "art projects" so that is exciting too.  So much going on around here, I will try to keep everyone posted.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

My heart goes out to all those in Florida and the South Atlantic today and they are all in my prayers.

When you hear about people who have not evacuated, consider that some of these people are people who can't go to shelters because they are taking care of animals.  Dogs, cats and others that are not allowed in shelters and horses that are not only difficult to move, but regulations sometimes prevent movement.  To move a horse from Florida, they need a current Coggins test, which takes a veterinary visit and up to 30 days to get a health certificate.  Moving a horse doesn't simply involve getting it in a trailer and moving, it requires much more logistical planning.

I'm sure University of Florida Veterinary School will probably be offering ways to help the animals, I will keep everyone posted.  Not only do we need to worry about the movement of the hurricane with weather damage, scientists have also said there is a possibility the Zika mosquitoes can move north with the hurricane, as well as all the animals moving north (One of the un-publicized effects of Hurricane Katrina was a real increase of cases of Heartworm Disease in places of the country that had never really had it before because of all the animals rescued from the South and transported to other parts of the country).  I just received a notice that ScrewWorm, a tropical disease that effects dogs is now in the Florida Keys, hopefully this hurricane will not increase disease in either humans or animals.

Monday, October 3, 2016

You know you are a tired mommy when....

You know you are a tired mommy when....

1) You forget you put the keys in the refrigerator when you were trying to get your son's orange juice out.

2) You dress your child in clothes for the next day the night before to try to bypass the conflict in the morning of changing out of pajamas.  Your child thinks you are a cool mommy for letting them wear pajamas and other parents don't judge you because they can't tell.

3) You accidentally text your boss, "Remember to tell the teachers not to flush the toilet because it makes a scary noise."  Yes.  This is a true story.  Fortunately boss knew the mommy was so mortified, no response was made.

4) It's hard to stay awake even when you really want to do something and your spouse questions whether you need to talk to a doctor about narcolepsy.

5) You reach Starbucks Gold Star Status over the course of a month.  It's supposed to take a lot longer to do this.

6) You are completely honest with your hairstylist that absolutely nothing that requires any work will ever happen to your hair until the next time she sees you.  Forget the movie star haircut, you're looking for the brush and air dry haircut.

7) You challenge a co-worker on Fit Bit.  She wonders, "wow, why did you get 13,000 steps today, you must be doing something awesome."  Your response- "I'm chasing a toddler- Coming to work to wrestle with large dogs and angry cats is my idea of relaxation."

8) You make a peanut butter sandwich for your son for breakfast and save the "leftovers" for his lunch.

You may be a tired mommy, but even through the sleep deprivation, you know it's all worth it.  Some day, way too soon, your child will let you sleep in late in the morning and you will miss your "tired mommy" days.