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Are Pet Rescue Efforts Enough?

SophieI’ve been seeing a lot of Facebook posts and articles about rescue pets lately.  I’m glad so many people understand the importance of adopting these pets in need.  I’ve had three rescue dogs and they’re the best.  Here’s Sophie, my latest rescue.  She’s a Chihuahua from a busted puppy mill in Kansas.  Kansas has a lot of puppy mills.  Shame on Kansas.

On my way home from running errands today it occurred to me that we may be trying to use a bucket to empty a sinking boat without patching the hole first.

When I worked for the State of Kansas, I had a long discussion with someone who worked in the state office responsible for inspecting breeding operations.  They were under staffed and under funded.  And under appreciated.  This individual described horrific situations faced when their small staff  went into a puppy mill to close it down.  I will spare you the details.

They worked long hours and still couldn’t get the work done–it was just too big for their limited resources.  I’m reminded of the story of Sisyphus.  His punishment in hell was to push an immense boulder up a hill just to have it come crashing down on him again and again forever.  That must be how these inspectors feel.

As well as adopting a rescue pet, let’s also contact our state animal inspection offices (often called the Animal Health Office within the Department of Agriculture) and do some research.  These are some of the questions you might ask:

  • How many animal breeders are in the state and how often are they inspected
  • How many full and part-time staff are in the animal health inspection program
  • How many breeders are cited for deficiencies each year and how do inspectors follow up to be sure corrections are made
  • If found to be deficient or operating in a cruel manner, what is the penalty and how is it administered
  • Other questions?
Once armed with this information, contact your Governor’s office and your state legislators and tell them of any concerns you have  for animal welfare in breeding operations in your state.   Be sure to commend them for any positive and proactive measures they are taking as well.

Here’s an informative article that will give you a sense of the challenges at hand:

A Scathing Assessment of Missouri’s Puppy Mill Inspection Program

Comments Please.  What wisdom can you add to this situation?  How can we make a greater impact in patching the hole in the sinking boats we have in so many states?



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2012 Bluebird Calendar – My Gift to You

Described below are two gifts for you (a calendar and an invitation to a teleclass:  New Year’s Evolution:  Evolve Instead of Resolve)

Screen shot of blue bird calendarTo show my appreciation for you and your subscription to, I’d love to share this year’s beautiful “homemade” Bluebird of Happiness calendar.

Here are two printing options:

Option 1: Just click the link below to save the pdf to your computer and print on nice, medium-weight paper.

Option 2:  Or for a more beautiful and dramatic effect, save the file to a CD or flash drive and have it printed in high resolution (11 x 17) for just $1.78 at Kinkos.   Framed calendars make great gifts!  I purchased a bunch of inexpensive 11 x 17  frames and delivered several framed calendars to friends and colleagues in Lawrence and they loved them.

2012 bluebird calendar (download PDF – it’s a large file so give it a little time to download).

Gift #2:  Wednesday, January 18 (10am PT | 11am MT | 12pm CT | 1pm ET) I’m offering a FREE teleclass:  New Year’s Evolution:  Evolve Instead of Resolve!  Here’s the link to more details and to register.    Hope to meet you on the call!  This class is over, but here is a link to the notes and audio from this class:  I hope you enjoy it!

Happy New Year – 2012 is the year of power and action!

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Small Potatoes Redefined

soupWhile stirring and contemplating the soup I’m making (recipe below), I thought “I need more potatoes.”  I reached down into a sack without looking and grabbed one – a small one.  Perfect, I thought, a small potato.  That must be where the expression came from “oh that’s just small potatoes.”    One dictionary definition defines small potatoes as “someone or something of little significance or value, especially a small amount of money.”

But the small potato was perfect for my soup – sometimes it’s just that little bit extra, the small potato, the pinch of salt (or sugar), that rounds out the dish (life) perfectly.

In a bigger-is-better culture, the small potato might not seem worth much.  But in my soup, it’s perfect!

The finished product - soup ready to eat!“Recipe” for the Soup I’m Making as I write – inspired by the beef-rice mixture wrapped in cabbage and cooked in tomatoes.  There’s a name for it–anybody know the name?

  • Sauté diced onion, garlic, and ground beef in small amount of oil (ground beef is optional—I prefer grass fed)
  • Box or can of beef or vegetable broth (I prefer organic)
  • Large can of diced tomatoes (yes, organic) (28 ounces)
  • Small can of Rotel (10 ounces–some like it hot!)
  • 1/2 cabbage roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup of brown rice (I use a mixture of various brown rices and wild rice)
  • Once it begins to bubble, turn the heat down and simmer for 50 minutes or so stirring occasionally
  • As it cooks it will thicken slightly and look oh, so good!

Last step – Eat it!  Just in time for the cooler weather!

OOPS – just remembered I wanted to use up some mushrooms so I sautéed them (to help them catch up to the rest of the soup) and stirred them in.  It’s a tantalizing brothy stew and smells terrific! 

While I’m waiting for the mushrooms to integrate, I’m eating a small dish of peaches I froze during peach harvest this year.  A sweet, juicy appetizer that’s for sure.

Got a comment to share?  Post it at the comment link below.

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Skating Through Life

I had one of those days today when things came together – nothing spectacular – but things came together. 

After a quick walk with Toby on the levee before the storm hit, I got a memory flash of roller skating when I was a kid.  I was OK on skates but because I didn’t have enough skill to quickly change direction to get out of the way of an imminent crash, I was a bit vigilant – watching what others were doing (and what I was doing).

From this observant posture, I was amazed at how smoothly everyone skated round and round in the rink without disastrous consequences.  Rarely did skaters bump into each other, rarely did they have to work hard to stay out of each other’s way.  They merged, ebbed and flowed, and basically managed to be have a lot of fun without any downside. 

Skating through a day is one of life’s little pleasures—thankfully I noticed today.

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Let’s Talk About Having Fun!

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a bit serious about life—I could use more fun in my life.   But what?  How? Let's Talk About Healthy Happy LivingWe’re kicking off our Let’s Talk About Healthy, Happy living series talking about fun.   

Here’s who needs to come to the call, Tue. Feb 15:

• You, if you’re good at having fun (we need to hear your secrets)

• You, if you seldom have fun (we want to inspire and expand your world)

• You, if you are in the middle like me (we want to tip you onto the fun end of the spectrum)

Come to the first call in the series this Tuesday, February 15 and share your take on fun (Do you know how to have fun? Are you fun-deficient? Do you have suggestions for having more fun?)

More info about the series and signup:

When you sign up, you’ll receive an email with the call-in details.  If you’re not sure whether you have signed up for this series yet, go ahead and sign up.  You’ll get just one notice (unless you use a different email). 

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Are you Zen in 2010?

Learn How to be More Zen in 2010 – A new telecourse, my treat!

Zen in 2010 Are you an aspiring neatnik but just can’t shake your packrat ways? Have you vowed (once again) to get on top of your messy situation but can’t quite get there?

I know how you feel.

Yet, I do get inspired…

In honor of National Garage Clean up Day (it was Saturday if you didn’t know) I’ve swept the garage, organized the recycling, and taken the giveaways to Goodwill.

And you know what? Today I’m looking forward to spending a relaxed and calm Sunday, just puttering and pondering, and enjoying the fruits of my labor (sitting in the lotus position, of course).

Can you imagine how good it feels to have clear spaces, tidy shelves, and organized cabinets and drawers? Well, I’d have to say, it’s Zen-like. Add in the sunny 70-degree weather and plenty of time for watching the world go by on my front porch, and I’d say this is going to be a perfectly lovely day.

Do you need a little extra oomph when it comes to something like cleaning up your garage, organizing your closets or dealing with all those “someday” projects? Do you want to be Zen in 2010?

All you really need is a little inspiration. And a few secret weapons. I want you to be Zen in 2010 so I’ve picked the date for a lively, interactive telecourse (my treat)!

Mark your calendar for Thursday, September 30 (5pm PT, 6pm MT, 7pm CT, 8pm ET).  Click here to learn more.

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Summer Evening Walk – Where Do Dragonflies Come From?

Tonight there were at least 1,000 dragonflies on the levee – a sure sign of summer.  The hotter it gets, the more of them I see.  I’d never seen so many before, though.  Maybe it’s their last hoorah before the end of summer.  It occurred to me that I don’t know much about the life cycle of dragonflies.  How long do they live, what do they eat, how do they reproduce?  Where are they all going to go once it gets cold?  Do they just die and resurface next summer? 

I’m a city person – love nature – but don’t really know that much about the specifics.  I really appreciate the flora and the fauna and study it when I get curious – like now.  I see a Google search in my near future.  And the future is now.

I had no idea dragonflies started out in the water – and kind of ugly at that.  But fascinating.  Now to find out where they go before they die … to start the life cycle over again…..

Are there any insect experts out there who can add to the description provided in this short video?  Click the comment link below.

If you cannot see the video below, your work place is blocking it—I hope you can watch it at home or convince IT to allow this feature (a long shot but worth a try).  Once you click the arrow to watch, you will need to click the link to watch it on youtube – but it’s worth it.

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Celebrating 90 Years – my mom

At age 90, finding out you’ve got an aggressive rare cancer (stage 4), moving from one assisted living apartment to another one several states away with a husband who has dementia and congestive heart failure–that’s a lot to take in, but mom’s doing it.  She comes from pioneer stock to be sure. 

In the past month,  mom and dad moved from their assisted living apartment in Sanford, NC to their new assisted living apartment in Chelsea, Michigan to be near family for mom’s remaining weeks or months.  The surgeon removed a third of her colon and discovered that it had spread to her abdominal cavity.  She was hopeful that she could do chemotherapy but was recently informed that chemo was not recommended in her case.  She’s taking it like a trooper but confessed she wishes she had a couple more years.  Her family does too.   Her kids are heading to Michigan this weekend to celebrate her 90th birthday.  Dad turns 87 in August so we’ll be celebrating his birthday too.

The video below was made last year when mom was released for a few hours from the rehab hospital where she was recovering from a stroke.  My sister Diane and I were visiting and clearing out their home of 24 years so they could move into assisted living in Sanford, North Carolina.   She has a missing tooth (it broke when she bit into a biscotti biscuit she received in a birthday basket—tough luck!).  Other than that, she looks pretty good for 88 don’t you think.  This little snippet is so funny – she has an infectious laugh and sense of humor.

I welcome your comments and stories about your family. 

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A Wellness Moment When Life Takes a Turn

With much flurry, I emailed my blog subscribers that the Spring Clean Your Body series would be extended through June….then I got the call that my mother had colon cancer.  After several nights of tossing and turning about the tossing and turning events of life, I headed to Sanford, North Carolina to the Parkview Retirement Community.  The day after arriving, I got mom out of the hospital (no easy task) and into a rehab hospital one hour away in Pittsboro (also no easy task).  After a Dairy Queen treat with my dad, we settled down for a few wellness moments of story telling.  With my handy Flip video camera I pressed the red record button and dad reminisced.

Even though he has dementia, he can recall old stories with a good deal of accuracy.  But at this stage in life, accuracy is less important.  In fact, if someone asks what he had for lunch and he doesn’t remember, he’ll make something up.  That’s pretty smart.  An accurate account of life is over rated when you have dementia or when you’re listening to a story you’ve never heard before. 

The next day I took him to the emergency room for congestive heart failure.  After a stay in ICU, he was released – so glad to go home—read the paper, take a nap, read Time magazine, take a nap, watch Larry King or CNN, take a nap, eat dinner, take a nap, and then go to bed.  It gets simple for old folks.  And complicated for their kids.

So here’s a peek into my dad’s life the day before hospitalization.  He tells stories about his 44 years of selling on the road. 

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Caring for An Aging Parent (EAP Services)

Over the next several days, I will share stories and interviews about the journey my siblings and I are taking with our aging parents. I’ll post several short video interviews of my mom and dad. Many of you are currently on this journey. And many have already completed this journey. I welcome your comments at the end of each post. Just click on the comment link.

If you have an EAP program at your place of employment, contact them for services associated with aging.

As we live increasingly longer lives, more and more of us are finding that our loved ones need ongoing and long-term care. This care often falls to grown children, individuals in their forties, fifties, and sixties who are busy with work and often times have children still at home. Most of us have heard of “getting caught in this care-giving sandwich,” but it can be a real emotional and financial burden. This is especially true if you are new to the responsibility.

If you are about to become a caregiver, here are a few things that you might want to consider. First, you’ll need to think about some legal and financial matters. To provide good care for an elder loved one, it may be necessary to deal with care facilities, insurance, powers of attorney, and many more complex issues.

Figuring Out What Needs to Be Done

The following is a checklist that can help you determine what your loved one may need. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Simply use it to make your own list of things to do or to research, if necessary. Then you’ll be in a better position to ask others for help with the short and long-term tasks.

Remember also, there may be many terms or phrases used in the information below that you are not familiar with. Again, don’t be overwhelmed. A simple call to the HealthQuest EAP can be a real “clarifier,” and a great place to start. You can get an eldercare expert to help at no charge!

Type of Care Needed

To determine the types of care your loved one may require, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of care does my loved one need now and how will that change in the future?
  • Could my loved one be taken care of at home if he or she had help from a skilled nurse and/or a health aide?
  • Would assisted living be appropriate for my loved one?
  • Will he or she require a skilled nursing facility now or in the future?
  • Does my loved one’s mental condition require him or her to have special care and housing?

Health Insurance and Medicare

The following questions will help you understand what kind of health care coverage your loved one has or may need:

  • What are the likely costs of the care my loved one will need?
  • What do Medicare & Medicaid cover?
  • What kind of health insurance does my love one have, and what does it cover?
  • What if my loved one doesn’t have long-term care insurance? Does he or she need it?

Taking Over Finances and Decisions

The time may come when you or family members need to make basic financial and health care decisions for your loved one. Be sure to get answers to these questions:

  • Does my loved one have a living will (advance health care directive) or power of attorney for finances? If not, how can I help get the necessary documents?
  • Is my loved one no longer capable of making his or her own decisions or consenting to a power of attorney?

End-of-Life Issues

Finally, here are some important issues to consider about wills and other arrangements at the end of life:

  • Does my loved one have a will? If not, how can I help them create a legally binding will?
  • Has my loved one communicated any wishes for final ceremonies and the disposition of his or her body?
  • Has my loved one shared information on where to find important documents and passwords regarding bank accounts, retirement accounts, safe deposit boxes, stocks, life insurance policies, and wills or trusts?

Get Personalized Help

After you’ve reviewed the list above and have an idea of the tasks and issues involved, take a deep breath and remember that you can get the help you need. To begin, you can encourage your loved one to be as involved as possible in his or her care. Avoid taking control of tasks that your loved one can still perform. The more your loved one is allowed to do, the longer he or she will be able to maintain a sense of ownership over the course of his or her own life.

Then, make some phone calls. Your employer’s EAP program is a good place to start.

Finally, remember that caring for an elder relative is not easy, and you deserve all of the support you can get. During the hard times, it might help to remember that what you are doing is noble and generous. Whether or not your loved one is able to express it, he or she is fortunate to have someone who is willing and able to do the job you’ve taken on.

This article was provided by AlternativesEAP.

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