Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Birthday "Peter Parker"!

I work in healthcare, as an radiologic technologist at a pediatric hospital.
I am one of the blessed people that goes to work everyday and genuinely loves what she does.
I make a difference in the lives of one of God's greatest gifts to this world: the child.
For some folks, "real life" starts as soon as they leave their job.
For me, and the amazing group of people I work with, "real life" stares us in the face everyday.
We see this everyday.
We walk these emotions everyday.

Today was "super hero" day and we were all encouraged to dress up like "super heroes".
Today also is the birthday of a patient who touched my heart as well as an entire hospital's heart.

Happy Birthday to a "super hero" who I will never forget.
Here's to all the laughs that we shared together.
To you making me belt out Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" in the ICU via karaoke machine anytime you could, just because you knew I would look like an idiot to anyone just to make you smile.
To a little boy who even mostly blind, always noticed when I got my hair cut.
 And who I often had to bribe with an endless supply of stickers, paper hats and Justin Bieber t-shirts.

I love you, "Peter Parker".
You are "my boy".
You are OUR boy, and I can't wait to see you in Heaven one day, where we will sing an encore together again.....

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lack of responsibility

What is not responsible about this face?!

I came home tonight and upon approaching my house I notice we had no curtains in the living room windows.  Immediately my heart jumped to my throat and I instantly knew what had happened.  We had been robbed....  

I twisted the door knob, and it was locked.  

Well, isn't that nice?  The jerk who robbed us could have at least left the door unlocked for me!  I slid my key into the key hole, turned the knob and SLAM!

Suddenly it felt like a cinder block hit the back of the door as the door snapped back and hit me in the face!  Now I was just flat out angry.  I again tried to open the door only to feel someone pushing back on it again, only this time the push was accompanied by barking, snarling, and I could feel hot air on my fingers.  Immediately I realized my puppies were loose....  I also quickly realized, I was going to get bit if I didn't announce who I was upon coming through the door.  

As soon as I said: "It's me guys!"  I was greeted by a fury of tail wagging exuberance and two bouncing, puppies looking at me as if to say:  "Well, why didn't you just say so?!"  

As I surveyed the house I was nervous.  Two shepherd puppies out all day, left to their own devices, is never a good thing.  Luckily, there was no real damage to my house, just the curtains they tore down, balled into the perfect heap and clearly slept on all afternoon, a destroyed dog bed and busted up baby gate.  Tomorrow they will go back to their crates while we are at work since they are not responsible enough to stay in the laundry room by themselves without escape.  

I'm not ready to risk my house to these monsters just yet....
Some of their handy work....

Offering Square Foot Gardening Class!

Want a garden this year, but don't have any clue where to start?
Is no yard space deterring you from the garden of your dreams?
Join me at Hayner Cultural Center on April 26th. for a class on Square Foot Gardening.
Details and cost below.  Only 7 spots still available!

Introduction to Square Foot Gardening
Emily Browning

Emily is an urban farmer in Tipp City, Ohio.  She has been producing food from her backyard for the last 2 years, feeding herself and her family for 8 out of 12 months of the year.  “I have a passion for teaching others how they too can produce their own food out of their backyard or deck. No space is too small!”

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but obstacles stand in the way of your success?
Brown thumb? Hate weeding? No space? Bad soil quality? No clue where or how to begin?  No problem! 
Come learn how to grow your own vegetables no matter what the obstacle.  This class will start you on the path to having the successful garden of your dreams! Learn how to maintain your own raised bed garden. Included will be heirloom seeds/seedlings.
Student Age Limits: 15 years and up
Class Fee: $30
Week Day: Saturday 
Time:10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Session Days: 1
Date: 4/26/14
Register online at:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stray for a Stay

On Friday I receive a text message from The Reluctant Farmer that said: "I think God sent me something to feed today.  When I pulled up to the house after dropping Katzya off at school, he was sitting on the doorstep.  I thought he would run away but he didn't."  

Of course, there was no picture with the accompanying text....

I text back in a panic: "There is no picture!  What did you find?!"  In my mind I was afraid.  I had just given up rescue and where I knew God never gives someone more than they can handle, I wanted to make sure God and the universe knew I could handle no more critters!  (I feed FROMM Family dog and cat food to all of these critters, and that with medical costs makes it expensive around here!)

The Reluctant Farmer text me back this picture with a message that said:  "I just found it funny he didn't run off the porch, but stayed there like he was waiting.  I think God sent him to me.  We are calling him Bob."  

Bob has been hanging around the porch now for 2 days.  He looks well fed, but he is hungry and thirsty every time he comes to visit.  I don't know if maybe he is normally fed by an elderly person that can't get out in the snow?  Regardless, I worry about him since we have received several more inches of snow since yesterday, drifts two feet deep and the temperatures are dipping into the single digits.  It's rough to be any creature, man or beast, out in these elements....

 We didn't want to leave Bob out in the elements with no protection so tonight we made a makeshift shelter out of two cardboard boxes to help keep him warm and so he would be sheltered from the wind. 

 Our design is fairly ingenious, has a veranda to house Bob's food dish and has an L-shaped entrance so the wind can't blow directly in on him.  To add to more comfort to our "homeless feline housing project," we put  a non-electric warming disc and fleece blanket into the box to keep him toasty.  

At this rate, Bob won't leave until spring!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lifeboat in a Storm

I have shared before that our New Year's resolution was to pay off our unsecure debt in 2014.  We started this adventure in the middle of November, and as of this week we have reduced our debt by $4000.00 and paid off a student loan.  That feels great, and I would love to tell you that this challenge has been easier than buttering toast, however that would be the biggest lie of 2014!  This budget has been the hardest thing I have done in my entire life and I am reminded daily why I have never been a successful dieter.  I lack any type of willpower....

This week I have had to dig deep for my willpower due to a minor mistake in mathematics that left us with roughly $3.72 to our name, therefore curbing any extra spending money.  I won't lie, I have been sad and my budget has been extra hard this week.  Tonight on my way home from work though, life got so much better!

I received a call from my amazing friend Julie, asking if I was free for dinner and girl talk.  It was her treat AND I got to pick the restaurant!  Naturally, I picked Chipotle and it was great, but not as great as my friend and the offer of a "lifeboat" in a storm.  

I expected (or at least hoped) to lessen my debt in this process, but I never expected to discover a more authentic side of myself.  This adventure has made me so much more appreciative, it's the little things that mean the most to me now....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Last week I noticed Brent the kitten was brazenly urinating on our dogs beds.  He had no care if someone was watching him, if the dog was sleeping on the bed, whenever the mood hit him he would pop a squat and pee.  I called our veterinarian, explained the situation, and she advised a product called Cat Attract (A litter additive that makes cats want to return to the litter box...) and an examination.  

I took him to visit her, she obtained a urine sample and determined there was nothing wrong with Brent.  I asked her if there was anything else to be done for my boy, and she mentioned we could do the surgery to reroute Brent's urethra in the next month and that possibly that would fix the problem.  She did also warn me there was a possibility that since his urine didn't show any signs of infection or sediment, there was nothing medically wrong with him and there was a good chance he would continue to urinate outside the litter box.  

I was deflated.  Here was a life that I had nursed back to health, loved with my whole heart, and I didn't want to give up on yet.  I knew in my heart though, I could not have a cat urinating in  my house.  That is disgusting....  I thought about making Brent an outside cat, but the possibility he wouldn't have someone keep an eye on him, and that he still was in danger of having a urinary blockage, made me question if that was the right thing to do for him.  (I am not someone who would ever want to put an aniaml's life in jeopardy just to make myself feel better.)  It was eventually decided that I would take Brent in to be euthanized sometime this week.  

Flash forward to this evening.....

I got home, was gathering a load of laundry to put into the washing machine and noticed it was wet.  I smelled it, immediately knew it was cat urine, and quickly realized the entire pile of laundry was soaked.  I could take no more.  I loaded Brent up in the car and with huge tears rolling down my cheeks, prepared to say goodbye to my little buddy.  

I got to the veterinary office, and the staff was so kind to me.  (They have come to love this little nut as much as I do, and no one wanted to see him die.)  Dr. Kalo came in, talked with me about my decision, and then offered to take Brent on as a barn cat if I was interested.  You could tell she was nervous about broaching the subject of Brent living outdoors, I however was relieved!  Yes, there are risks such as predators, weather and traffic, but is death and death and if he stayed on the exam room table, death would have been imminent.  In fact, I love the idea of a Brent living as a barn cat, and think this will be the perfect opportunity for him.  He can run around like a crazy, eat a lot of food, urinate wherever his heart desires, and his new mom is a veterinarian!  We couldn't have gotten any luckier then that!    

Monday, January 13, 2014

People like me!

Tonight as I was leaving work, this little reminder popped up on my iPhone.  (I'm not sure how this happened, because usually my phone doesn't alert me for anything.  Perhaps my smart phone new I was sad yesterday...)  The phone was reminding me about an informational meeting for an event called EarthFest.  I was intrigued, and only 1.5 miles from the event, so I drove down to the meeting spot, nervously went in and WOW!

EarthFest is an event that was held last year in Dayton, Ohio and had nearly 1,000 visitors and over 30 free workshops on everything from bee keeping to lasagna gardening and a bunch of stuff in between.  It's an all day affair and sounds absolutely amazing.  I volunteered to teach a class on backyard meat animals, if they have workshop space still available, and I won't lie the thought of helping others learn to be more self sustaining excites me.

Perhaps the coolest part of the evening was meeting the 20 some people that were there with the same interests as me!  I met other urban farmers, beekeepers, pottery enthusiasts, and even other chicken keepers.  (And this was just the people I was able to talk with, there were more people that I didn't get to interact with, but I will next time!)  And one very kind woman, Mandy, invited me to meet with a group of urban farmers that are meeting this weekend.  I am pretty excited!  And to think, I thought I might be bored without dog rescue.....

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rescue: I quit....

"And no matter how hard you try to fight it, over time, here's the truth about what happens in animal rescue.

The neglect changes you.

The abuse hardens you.
The suffering breaks you.
The ignorance angers you.
The indifference disturbs you.
The injustice destroys you.

On a daily basis, your faith will be tested.

Your heart will be wounded.
Your soul will be altered.

On a weekly basis, you'll question yourself.

You'll question your strength.
You'll question the world.

On a monthly basis, you'll fall down.

You'll get up.
You'll go on.

On a yearly basis, you'll look back.

You'll see faces.
You couldn't save them.
You'll learn to mourn.
To grieve.
To sob.

You'll learn to trust a little less.

To do a little more.
To fight a little harder.

You'll learn to try, to hope, to pray.

You'll learn to fail, succeed, accept.

You'll learn when to hold on.

When to give up.
When to let go."
Author Unknown

On Friday night, as I looked around my cluttered house, I realized I couldn't breathe.  My world felt as if it was closing in on me and I was just so overwhelmed.  In the middle of an absolute breakdown I tossed out to Facebook:  "FRUSTRATED with my life!".  When I verbalized my frustration to my friends in cyber space, I wasn't really expecting for my life to change, however after some major internalizing within and with a clarity gained at church this morning, I have resolved to make 2014 different for myself.  

After much deliberation I have decided to quit dog rescue.  

Several months ago, I made the resolve that I was just going to quit fostering for the rest of 2013, and I did.  That really has not silenced the voice in the back of my mind, so I am going to take a break from dog rescue for at least 2014 and possibly forever.  

I live in an ADHD vortex, and frequently have so much going on in my life that people often remark:  "I just don't know how you do all that you do!"  In truth, I have to admit to you, I don't know how I do all that I do either, and honestly the one thing I would get rid of is rescue.  It is time consuming, never ending, and has jaded me.  I'm tired of judging people who have to get rid of their pets.  I'm tired of being lied to by people who just don't want their dogs anymore.  And where normally I would see the good in people, and try to be positive, I'll be honest: rescue has turned my into a bitter woman who really just wants to punch stupid people in the face.  

That is not my authentic self.  
This is not who I wish to be.  
The time to let go is now.  

I have been blessed to be able to save a lot of furry lives in my 18 years of rescue.  I have met the most kind and generous people because of my dogs, and I have been privileged to work along side my best friends at Lost & Found K9 Rescue, but I am not going to get another childhood with my daughter. I'm not promised tomorrow with my partner or even my own animals.  So, it's time for me to slow down, scale back, and simplify.  

It's long overdue....

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cats and Carbon Monoxide

Photo credit to

I got home from work today, and heard what sounded like my neighbor screaming as I got out of the car, but with the -22 degree wind beating at me it was hard to make out exactly what I was hearing.  That was until I opened my front door.

I opened the front door to all of my smoke detectors screaming a chorus of shrill sounds, and immediately my heart sank.  I stopped, inhaled deeply, didn't smell any smoke and continued on.

I ran to the kitchen, checked the stove and the coffee pot, nothing there.
I peeked in the office, no fire there.
I checked the hot water heater and the furnace.  No fire there either.

Then it dawned on me.  My daughter's electric blanket that I bought her for Christmas in an attempt to be mother of the year!  I raced up the stairs expecting to find her room in flames, but no, nothing there.

With my mother of the year status still intact I went back downstairs, ran into the bathroom and called my man friend, Brent.  I explained to Brent that my smoke detectors were going off, I couldn't find a fire, and asked him how to make the chaos stop.  Brent, knower of all things manly, had no answer for me as to why this was happening, but encouraged me to call the the fire department in case the smoke detectors were also carbon monoxide detectors.

I called 911, and explained to the woman, through a chorus of 6 smoke detectors screaming and 8 howling dogs, that I had smoke detectors that were hard wired into my house and I could not figure out how to make them stop screaming.

"Miami County 911, what is your emergency?" asks the dispatcher.

"Umm, all of my smoke detectors are going off, they are hard wired into my house, and I can't get them to stop.  I don't smell any smoke and I don't see any fire, but I don't know what to do!" I exclaimed.

"I am going to dispatch the police and fire right away ma'am.  I fear that you have a carbon monoxide leak and the smoke detectors are actually dual purpose.  I want you to go to your car, and sit inside that until help arrives." she informs me.

"Seriously?!  But it's so cold outside and I just got home and I really don't want to go outside.  Plus, the cat is still alive!" I whine.


"Ma'am did you just say the cat is still alive?!"

"Yes, he's a small cat.  If there was a carbon monoxide leak, I am sure he would be dead because he is so small, so because he is alive, I must be safe." I ramble.

Smartly the 911 operator replies: "Ma'am, the cat is NOT a canary, and you are NOT stuck in a mine.  Do you know how many people tell me it can't be carbon monoxide poisoning?!"

Well, played 911 operator, well played....

As I am bundling myself up to go sit in my car with the cat, a police man knocks on the door, "I'm here for the alarm dysfunction!"

"Umm, it's not an alarm dysfunction, sir.  It's my smoke detectors.  They are all going off and I can't get them to quit!" I reply.

As the officer puts his hand jokingly on his gun, he says:  "Oh, we'll get them to stop one way or the other!"  I instantly love this man, and invite him to come inside to live with me forever.  He climbs up on a dining room chair, and quickly dismantles the first smoke alarm, then informs me the fire department is on their way and tells me they will look around my house with their fancy equipment to see if they can find a carbon monoxide leak.

The officer advises me to wait outside in my car and asks me if I'm feeling nauseous, tired or weak.  I think to myself and then yell:  "Kitty!  Kitty!  Kitty!"  The cat comes running and is clearly still alive, so I decide to wait for the firemen inside, braving the 5 screaming smoke detectors instead of the cold weather.

The firefighters arrive at the house, find no carbon monoxide, examine the smoke detector directions and can't figure out how to turn them off either.  I'm getting worried, my head hurts, and I am feeling a little nauseous from the carbon monoxide that is not leaking into my house, but since the officer mentioned the symptoms, I am sure I am dying a slow death.  Then the chief walks in the door...

"Did you boys check for red lights on any of the smoke detectors?"  he barks.

One of the fire fighters says:  "This one at the top of the stairs is red!"

The chief instructs him to change the battery in that alarm, and the house goes silent.

I stand there stupidly, in disbelief.  Did I just call the fire department out to change the batteries in my smoke detectors?!  Well yes, it would appear that I did.   I shyly mention that the alarm the police officer disconnected was red too, and the gorgeous "Made by Mattel" fireman changed the battery on that alarm also.

I learned a few things today:

-  If your smoke detectors are hard wired into your house, and the battery back up dies on 2 or more alarms, ALL of the alarms will alert.  This will go on for forever or until you change the batteries.

-  Smoke detectors that are hard wired are more sensitive than regular smoke detectors and if the temperature is less that 10 degrees outside, they pick up on the vapor/condensation in the house and will ALL alert.

-  Replace the batteries on your smoke alarm regularly because it's better to look stupid in from of a few hot firemen then to be dead.

The most important thing I learned today though?!

Cats are more resilient than canaries!