Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Musings on Children? I hate coming up with titles.

Without going into details, I have a story:

On Friday, we had a dog come in that was having puppies.  However, one was stuck.  So after an exam and oxytocin, they managed to get the puppy out - it was "not right" and didn't survive, to put it lightly.  Mom came back in on Monday, totally sick, having lost two more puppies.  We stabilized here and took her into surgery for an emergency/critical spay for a pyometra.  (Warning! If you are of a queasier disposition, DO NOT google "pyometra."  If you still wish to, I warn you your uterus - even if you don't have one - will cringe in pain and disgust.) She made it through surgery (we got that nasty uterus out just in time), but we're waiting to see how she recovers afterwards.

This story, along with all the sickening sweet stories and photos acquaintances post on social media of their pregnancies and babies, really makes me consider: do I want to have children?  I already knew I wanted to adopt most/all kids we have, but the hubby has always wanted to have at least one too.  Now I know people have better prenatal care/hospital care in the process of having babies, than dogs, but seeing what this dog went through, just makes me question.  Why would I want want put myself through that?  Do I want to potentially put myself in a situation that could lead to something similar?  It can't all be wonderful and sunshine like *all* moms insists it is.  I get paranoid of things that appear too happy, because nothing in life is like that - there's two sides to everything.  Are they trying to justify the terrible parts by overcompensating?  And also in insisting that having a baby is so awesome, I sometimes feel like they're implying I could never love and feel as connected to an adopted child as one I had (even though these are people, that in all honesty, probably don't know I'm reading/looking at their updates).  While the hubby has said he'd like to have a child, he also acknowledges and respects that it's my body, and ultimately, my decision.  (He's awesome like that.)

The whole thing doesn't really change my mind about raising children.  It just makes me question if I even want to go the route of having children.  I've always said that I wanted to have at least one, just to know the experience; but now, do I even want the experience?  Did I say that just because of social stigma?  I mean, I've always viewed adoption (for animals or children) as a way to provide a loving home and family for someone that isn't privileged enough to have those things.  But a lot of people don't look at it that way - it almost seems like a last resort for people - after having spent thousands and thousands on infertility procedures.  Then there are still some people that see having a child as a means of "carrying on the family."  (Yes, I've been told this before.)  Am I just responding to these pressures?  Or is it something that I really want?

I was hoping that writing out the musings will help sort out an answer in my head.  We'll see...

Monday, November 17, 2014


So today I count as the first official snow day this year.  We've had a few flurries, but nothing that's stuck to the ground much.  Today we have a good 1-2 inches.  Luckily nothing's sticking to the roads though.  (I think they use a different kind of asphalt up here that retains heat better - it takes a lot more for the roads to snow/freeze over than other places I've lived.)  Also luckily, it's my day off, so I don't have to go out in the cold and wet!

Just a few quick updates to keep track of life:
- The knit blanket is almost done... I have one more round of the pattern left.  It just gets so tedious working on the same large project for so long.
- I finished a hat! It's a pattern that I found that was actually circulated during WWII as a easy hat to knit and send abroad for soldiers.  Very plain, but easy - it didn't have a gauge recommendation, so I just made a guess with what I know: picked a similar weight yarn from my stash and went up two needle sizes from the recommendations, since my tension tends to be super tight.  The hat came out well, and fits my head and the hubby's head.  Now I'm going to make one in a boring gray yarn for my FIL (who loves WWII and boring colors :-P).
- We got new beds for the girls - fuzzy and warm and they love them with the colder weather.
- I switched the kitty over to all wet food a couple months ago - there is some new research that indicates that it is healthier for our cats, and it is more like what they have evolved to eat.  The idea being they eat whole prey in the wild (even feral cats these days, not any of this "my dog is a wolf, my cat is a lion" shit. Our animals spend more time indoors than we do, and my dog can't even tell when there is a raccoon 5 ft. away growling at her. NOT. A. WILD. ANIMAL.)  Ranting aside - they've evolved to get most of their water from food intake, so they don't have a huge thirst drive.  There's some thinking that wet food increases their water intake and helps them stay healthier longer.  Makes sense to me, especially when you look and see how many old cats die of renal disease (still will probably be inevitable, but maybe we can push off the onset for a few years).  Either way, she loves it, her hair coat looks better, and she seems sweeter/cuddlier.  I can't tell if it's the food, or the cold weather that's attributing to these behaviors, but we'll see.
- Gone Girl was a fantastic book and movie.  The movie adaptation was really true to the book.  Very messed up, psychological thriller/drama.  I recommend it!

I might come back through and elaborate and add pictures later.  I mostly just wanted to get the update here so I have some continuation of this blog.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Trying something new

I'm trying something new to cut down on straightening heat damage. And to just try something new. This is the second time I tried this, but this time I curled it first with sponge curlers, then scrunched it with diy sea salt spray.

I think I like it better this time!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Crazy Hippie Ravings

So this post is really to chronicle the hubby's and my decision to try to simplify/green? our lives a little more.  I feel a little silly writing this out, because I feel like I sound like a crunchy-hippie-tree-hugger...but I don't feel like one! :-P

We've always tried to be aware of earth-friendly type things - recycling, green products (when cost effective...), etc.  But recently, one of my friends made the decision to go vegetarian.  And after about a week of her doing this (I tried to help by providing advice and cookbooks), she went from never cooking, to trying some simple cooking, and loving it.  One of the most profound conversations I had with her, really didn't have much to do with meat or no meat.  It had to do with the fact that she was more aware of what was in her food (b/c she was looking for meat products), and how she's come to realized there's A LOT of extra CRAP that gets put in food!  And with that realization, she's trying to prepare more things at home to avoid some of that.  It's something that I've realized before, since we cook a lot at home, but it was brought to the forefront of my awareness again.  Around the same time, a family member has had the beginnings of sugar issues, and I started looking again at some of the foods I was eating and realizing, "Wow, why do they even put sugar in this?!"  I'm trying to be more aware of my sugar consumption (not too worried about natural sugar in fruits/veggies, more added sugar) and it's a little unnerving to realized that some of the "healthy" snacks/juice I was consuming had almost as much sugar as drinking a Coke.  Ridiculous.

Anyway, that lead to me questioning additives in other products.  Hence the reason I decided to give making laundry detergent a shot.  Also, I ran out of the Seventh Generation detergent I was using, so it gave me a convenient excuse (I do love their detergent though, just pricey.)  I like the idea of simplicity.  So far the detergent experiment is going well.  My scrubs (this is part of my REAL test) are still looking clean and stain free.  I still use oxyclean occasionally, because I have a lot of it still, but I have transitioned to using other methods (that work better too) on certain stains: rubbing alcohol for ink stains, hydrogen peroxide for blood, and dish soap for greasy spots.  Oxyclean is mostly hydrogen peroxide, so it'll work for blood too, but H202 is much cheaper. :-P  Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol tend to get most betadine stains out too.  I'm hoping that from this soap making experiment the hubby's going to try, I'll get a decent chunk of soap that'll make a good stain stick too.

Also, I've stopped using dryer sheets.  I've never really liked them, so it didn't take a lot of convincing to get me to stop using them.  Dryer balls seem to be a good alternative, so made a couple foil balls and got a couple tennis balls that go in with each load.  The foil helps with static, and the tennis balls help with dryer time and softness; they are loud however.  And I think the foil is slowly losing it's magic - I think instead of replacing them with more foil, I'll get a set of wool dryer balls, that last forever and are "rechargeable."  I think they might be quieter too, judging on size.  Vinegar in the wash helps with fabric softening too (without a vinegar-y smell!)

We've tried to cut back on paper towels, by switching to washcloths for napkins and to wipe down surfaces.  We still have paper towels, but we save them for really "dirty" issues - like for vomit, when the girls get into something they shouldn't. :-P

We're planning on trying a dishwasher detergent recipe soon.  My dish soap I'll continue to get from Seventh Generation for two reasons: 1) I love it, and 2) my last try of making liquid soap was a major FAIL - I ended up with hard soap in the shape of a plastic body wash bottle.  OOPS.  I made some changes related to feminine care - won't go into details here (email me if you're truly interested) - that was one of the best decisions EVER and cut down on waste on that aspect.

Overall, I feel better about these changes, and I don't feel like I'm giving up my life to spend extra time making these things.  That was one of my major concerns before I started the transition.  I'm not going to go miles and miles out of my way to change EVERY little detail, and I am going to finish up the products that I do have (that's just wasteful otherwise).  But I am going to make changes that are feasible, that have evidence to back it up - using things that WORK, not just convincing myself they work b/c they're "natural."  For example, I'll probably stick to bleach in certain situations, b/c bathroom scum is gross and PERSISTENT.  So I guess on that hand, I'm not very hippie-like, but on the other I am.  Which is fine by me. :-)

Monday, August 11, 2014

New skirt from an old one

So I've had this skirt for YEARS.  It's one of those that's shirred at the top, and you could wear it as a skirt or strapless dress.  Apparently, I've worn it so much that I've killed the elastic at the top that holds it up.  However, I love it so much, the colors and the soft cotton fabric, I couldn't throw it away. 

Then, on Pinterest I saw this the other day.  I thought that maybe I could salvage my poor skirt so I could wear it again.  I had a pair of jeans that I had thrifted a while back that fit well, however, whoever owned them before me had worn some lines down the sides from heavy duty ironing (and not on the seams).  Now that I've extended my collection of jeans to some nicer ones, I figure that I should retire them.  So I decided to use them for this project.  I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out, however, ignore the lack of modeling skills. 
front of skirt
The skirt hits right above the ankles, so it may be a little short.  I'm thinking about add a layer of plain black as a ruffle to the bottom.  Might make it a little more gypsy/bohemian.  Any opinions?
In action!
Backside (with pockets!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hello again...

Heh, so I may have kind of, *slightly*, forgotten that I had a blog. (Checks date on last post.) Yikes, for two whole months.

Since then what I have I been up to, you may or may not wonder.  Work's pretty much the same.  My schedule got shaken up there for a bit - one of our three doctors left.  So with two doctors, we had to redo surgery days a bit, which changed the techs' schedules slightly - so now instead of Tuesdays off, I have Wednesdays off.  The hubby still loves his job and is doing great there.

The girls are still adorable as ever.  The dog will even venture out on the porch on her own (she asks to go out) for short periods of time.  Huge for a dog that's terrified of pretty much everything.

We've got a small garden going on the porch - not sure how well it'll work out, but we'll see. :-P

Oh, and the number one reason I forgot that I have a blog - I finally got a library card here.  SO. MANY. BOOKS.  Must read them all! Lol. They also have a TON of e-books that you can borrow.  I may have hijacked the hubby's kindle for a solid month or two... Although, as an early anniversary present, he did get me my own kindle.  I love it!  Even if he had a sneaky reason for the gift.  :-P  The other really cool part is that we can share all the books on the old kindle (a.k.a. I don't have to start my own Amazon account!)

We also gotten back into our video games - a few months ago when we re-did the entertainment center, all the games got rearranged so that we could actually see them, which lead to us actually playing them again. We replayed the Mass Effect trilogy.  The hubby just picked up Dishonored used, and he started that.  I love the combination of storytelling and art in video games.  Which brings me to my latest project idea - a series of landscape paintings based on stills from video games.  The hubby loves the idea - we like the idea of the geekiness without it being in your face.  For the first couple, we're thinking of doing Rapture from Bioshock, Columbia from Bioshock Infinite, and the Citadel from Mass Effect.  Once I start thinking about the idea there's so many that are pretty - the desert from Red Dead Redemption, like ALL of Skyrim, the really cool ruins and cities in Morrowind, the castle in twilight from Twilight Princess, the city from Dishonored, even parts of the ruined cities in the Fallout games.  It would be so cool.  Anyway, enough of my nerdiness.

Hopefully I'll continue to remember I have this silly thing. :-P

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


So along with the question about Banfield, you wanted to know about puppy stuff.  A great place for me to start with this is vaccines and exams.  I love vaccines.  I had such an "ah-ha" moment when we went over immunology in school and puppy/kitten series.  When I talk about vaccines I really hope people understand the importance of why we do so many.  And exams!  90% of people just think a vet is good for two things: shots and sick visits.  Sure, we do those, but the best part of an annual or semiannual is a good thorough exam.  I'll get more into those after I go from puppies to adults.

So I'm going to start with puppies.  Depending on how long this post is, kittens maybe be a separate one (also due to the fact that out of the people I know read this blog, I think I'm the only crazy cat lady >_<).

Core puppy vaccines are a distemper/parvo series, a bordatella, and a rabies.  The distemper/parvo series, also called a DHAPP or a DA2PP, is generally a 4 vaccine series that covers various diseases.  The series should start around 6-8 weeks of age, with the puppy getting 4 vaccines in the series (usually at 6, 9, 12, and 16 weeks).  This vaccine is an important one.  The "D" is for distemper virus; young puppies (up to 6 months) are most vulnerable to this one.  It can be fatal, and if contracted, there is only supportive treatment available.  The "H" or first "A" is for canine hepatitis which is caused by adenovirus-1.  The second "A," is for adenovirus-2, which can cause some strains of kennel cough.  The first "P" is parvovirus, which is also another one young puppies are more susceptible to.  It razes the intestinal tract, and can affect the heart in some forms.  Also another disease that can be fatal if contracted, and the only thing we can do is supportive care.  The final "P" is for parainfluenza - another culprit in kennel cough.

The reason for boostering this shot four times has to do with maternal antibodies.  When babies are born, they have little to no immune system.  They get most of it from mother's first milk, which is a special type of milk called colostrum.  This is the reason why doctors will try to get you to breastfeed right away after your baby is born (unless the baby needs pressing medical attention).  It transfers maternal antibodies (read: temporary immune system) to the baby, so the baby has protection until it's own immune system has time to boot up.  Now these maternal antibodies last until somewhere between 6-16 weeks, depending on the individual.  When vaccinate a child or puppy or kitten, the point is to jump start their own immune system against the disease you are vaccinating for.  However if maternal antibodies are present, they interfere with the vaccine response, and the baby's own immune system does not create it's OWN antibodies to the vaccines.  Since there's no way of knowing if your puppy's maternal antibodies will wear off at 6 weeks and 1 day, or at 13 weeks, we booster this important vaccine at four 3 to 4 week intervals to minimize any risk of the vaccine "not taking."  Why not just wait until after 16 weeks?  Because while dogs of any age can get the viruses in the DA2PP vaccine, the MOST susceptible dogs are puppies in that 6-16 week age group.  And because of the maternal antibodies, even this vaccine series is not 100% - we had one puppy that broke with parvo while her parents were in the middle of this series.

The other two vaccines are given later in the puppy series.  Bordatella is a vaccine that gets a few more strains of kennel cough.  Puppies generally get this around 12 weeks of age, and they generally get the intranasal form.  The reason for the intranasal is that this type of vaccine is squirt up the nose, and stimulates the local immune system in the nose for a faster, better response in a puppy that has never had it before.  Older dogs can get the injectable just to booster it after their puppy vaccines.  The last in the series is rabies.  Rabies is no laughing matter.  This vaccine can be given at 16 weeks; we usually wait until 20 weeks at our clinic.  Rabies is a legal require in every state (I'm pretty sure about this one).  If rabies is contracted, there is no cure, and it is almost always fatal.  Then head has to be sent in for testing (gruesome, I know).  Out of all the other viruses we've talked about in this post, this one is one people can get.  And it is just as fatal in people.  Which is why there are laws about this, because it is a human health issue as well.

Then there are non-core vaccines.  When a person brings in a puppy, we always risk factor them - will they be camping/hiking/hunting or going to rural or wooded areas with you?  Will they be show dog?  If it turns out a dog will be going to or living in a wooded area, a lyme vaccine is also suggested.  If the dog will be in a rural area where there's standing water or they could be in contact with animal urine, a leptospirosis vaccine is suggested.  For show dogs, they may also suggest a K-9 influenza vaccine.

Other than vaccines - there are several other things that are suggested.  At least two negative fecal tests for any puppy.  The reason for two, is that the test in not 100% accurate (it can only detect worms if the puppy is current actively shedding worms), so two tests a few weeks apart is thought to increase the chance of catching any potential worms.  Also, 2 to 3 dewormings are recommended, even if the fecals are negative.  The reason for this is that some crazy high number of puppies (like 90%) are born with roundworms that they get from the mother in utero.  The dewormings are generally something like pyrantel, that'll get your roundworms, plus a couple other worms.  If the fecals show other worms outside the scope of pyrantel, you may be given additional worm medications.

And of course, let's not forget booster visit exams.  These let the vet get their hands on the puppy to make sure our development and growth is normal.  That teeth are coming in properly, testicles are descending like they should, etc.  It is also a great time to ask questions about potty training, teething problems, and anything else!

Another important thing we can work with you on at this time is getting a good quality diet on board.  Food is the easiest thing that you can do to help your puppy have a good, healthy life.  You feed them every day!  They only see us like once or twice a year.  Puppies should be on puppy food, not adult food, because they require extra nutrients and calories to grow.  Good brands that we like to recommend are Science Diet, Royal Canin, Purina's higher quality foods (think Purina ONE and higher), Iams, Eukanuba, etc.  I'm not too familiar with "natural" brands, mostly because A) there are too many on that bandwagon, and B) I think the whole "natural" movement is 90% marketing and about 10% quality.  I like "big name dog food companies" because they've been around longer, and I've seen long-living, healthy dogs on those foods.  But that's just my humble opinion.  I also like the above brands because they feed test.  Meaning they come up with recipes, then they feed them to real animals in studies to see how they do on them.  A lot of other brands are just "formulated to meet AAFCO standards," which means they made a recipe, but they never did a test to see how animals do on that recipe.  Personally, I feed Science Diet to both my babies.  I always get comments from my coworkers about how nice their haircoats are.  And it helps keep them at nice weights.

Finally, we'll also get you started on a heartworm prevention regime at this time.  Your puppy won't get tested until he's older than 6 months, since it takes 6 months for baby heartworms to mature into adult heartworms.  However, if we get him on prevention at that first visit, it only leaves a 6 week window where the puppy may have become infected.  If your puppy didn't come fixed already, we'll also talk to you about spaying/neutering around 6 months of age.

Whew, that's a lot more in writing than I thought.  So I guess I'll make a continuation post later about vaccines and visits as a puppy grows into a dog.  And kittens will have to wait.  I hope this is helpful.  Ask questions if you feel like I've forgotten anything!

EDIT: One thing I forgot about is breeders.  Most clinics will recommend ignoring/re-doing shots that a breeder does.  The reasoning behind this is that breeders get their vaccines from feed stores.  Vaccines are very temperature sensitive - there is no guarantee that the feed store kept them refrigerated, or that the shipping to the feed store, or the breeder themselves actually properly stored the vaccines.  Also, breeders don't always give vaccines properly at the proper times.  I've seen pups that got their bordatella vaccine at 8 weeks of age.  That one really shouldn't be given before 12 weeks, since it doesn't get boostered like the DHPP.  Another thing to keep in mind - there are reputable breeders out there, however, there is no training or schooling needed to become a breeder.  So beware where they may be getting their information.  And please, DON'T take the word of a breeder over that of a veterinarian that went to school for 8 years. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Life Musings and Pinterest Fail

This past week I've been feeling a little...let's say, unsettled.  For the longest time, my life has a been a fast blur of a hot mess.  Too many things going on, with me just barely hanging on.  I've become way to used to being too busy for everything.  But now that's changed.  I'm out of school with a stable job, and so is the husband.  We're both settled into our new jobs and really like them.  For the first time, we are both working normal work weeks (close to 40 hours, rather than 50 or 60).  And without both of us being in school, we have time to come home and just relax.  As terrible as this may sound, we live far enough away from family now that we aren't obligated to spend every free weekend with them. (For the record, it would be nice to have them closer, but I guess this is kind of a silver lining.  It is nice that we can talk to them every weekend - yay cellphones!)  With all of the above, I can actually watch TV or play a video/board game or knit or EVEN HAVE A BLOG in my spare time!  Hah.

Anyway, this normal amount of spare time was starting to make me feel weird.  Like I'm doing something wrong.  Everyone else is so busy, I must be forgetting something out of the manual of life.  But you know what?  I realized I'm looking at this the wrong way.  When we were both in school and working at the same time a little over 2 years ago, the type of person I am now is who I used to look at in envy.  Past-me would have looked at present-me and thought that how unfair it was that my life is so easy.  It's easy because I accomplished my goals.  This is my reward, and I should be grateful about it and enjoy it right now.  I shouldn't be looking elsewhere and worrying that my life isn't hard enough.  That's silly.  I was feeling unsettled for all the wrong reasons.

It doesn't mean that I've run out of goals; we're just transitioning between goals.  We've finished our goals of school and getting started on our career tracks.  Now we're just hanging out here for a bit and refining those goals and working down debt before tackling the next big thing.  I'm sure once we decide that children should enter the picture, life will be anything but easy.  But that won't be for a least a couple years.  We like where we are now, and we want to enjoy it a little.

On a different, less philosophical note: I had my first Pinterest fail the other day.  Let me start from the beginning.  I was trying to rearrange our living area.  This is what our living area used to look like.
Pardon the 2 minute photoshop job - I didn't have a "before photo" so I (BADLY) photoshopped the after photo.
When we first moved in, we thought it would be great to put our monster of a TV up on the mantle.  That ended up being problem #1 with the set up.  If you were sitting on the sofa, you'd have to look up to watch, and you could end up with a crick after a long movie.  Plus, the remotes weren't registering too well with the height.  Problem #2 was that bookcase - we had LOTS of DVDs and games, to the point where we were stacking them two to three stacks deep in the bookcase.  The problem with that was we never played/watched a lot of our stuff because it was such a pain to get it out.  Plus, it looked cluttered and terrible.  Problem #3 - if the curtains were closed, and it was dark inside, in order to get enough light, we had to use all three light source to get decent lighting.

So, my ideas were to move the TV and add a hanging light.  We turned the bookcase on it's side so it's more like an entertainment center and put the TV on top of that to free up the mantle.  Then I got a CD/DVD case binder and ditched the plastic covers movies come in.  This opened up a lot of bookcase space - nothing is double stacked and is easy to access.  Then I got rid of the paper floor lamp the husband found in the dumpster while at Emory and got a swag kit to hang a light from the ceiling without too many holes/destruction.  This is where the fail comes in; I found this light on Pinterest and thought "hey, that's cool, I can do that!"
as found on http://www.craftynest.com/2009/03/hemp-pendant-lamps/
Actually, not so.  I cannot do that, and it was so frustrating and gooey that I gave up.  And went out and bought a regular lampshade that I thought looked cool.  So I ended up with this.  Still looks much better, and we only really need the one lamp to light the room.  The other two are still sitting next to the sofa, mostly because I don't know what I'm going to do with them yet.
Final result: feels much less cluttered.
Now, I just need to make up my mind on what to do with the mantle.  Right now it's just holding a bunch of photo frames that I didn't know what to do with.  Overall, I'm much happier with the result.  Also, we discovered some movies and games we'd forgotten we had because they were hidden in the mess!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In my humble opinion: Banfield

So it's been awhile since I updated.  I think part of the problem is I started to think too much about what vet subject I wanted to shared that I just bogged myself down.  So we're going to keep it simple.

This is based off the comment about Banfield.  So not really about animal health, as to more about the opinions I've formed about the company.  Disclaimer: I am not a huge fan of Banfield, and this post will probably reflect that.  If you don't like that, I suggest you stop reading.  I did a small internship through a Banfield when I was in school.  I'm not going to go into details about the internship, but I did get a look at how they run things.  A lot of people think that Banfield is the cheaper place to go.  Not true.  The truest thing you can say about it, is that it is corporate.  The have wellness plans that they are forced to sell, and they have a way they have to do things.  The end feeling I get, is they have a bunch of mandates as to what they "have" to do, that you don't get a lot of personalized care, so much as you get put through the "hospital machine" and hope you come out fixed.  Most problems are common, so 95% of the time this model works.  It doesn't work so well if you happen to be in that unfortunate 5% that has a really weird disease process or problem. 

The other factor with Banfield being corporate is they charge a lot for everything.  I feel I have to address this problem delicately, so I'm going to frame it.  The main complaint I get from people, is the impression that veterinary clinics are gouging you for money, and if we really loved animals, we'd do all this for free.  I am all for getting paid for doing the work I do.  Even then, the important part that people don't realize is, we don't get paid a whole hell of a lot comparatively.  I get paid maybe a half to two-thirds what a human nurse's average salary is.  And (this is not a negative comment against nurses) I have to know how to do a lot more than a nurse, in many more species.  This comparison is the same for vets and human doctors.  And for them - vet school is just about as expensive as medical school.  Please, I invite anyone to come look at the parking lot at my clinic.  99% of the cars our staff (two of our doctors included) are maybe one good wreck from being junked and are at least 8 years old.  The only nice car we have is the doctor that owns the clinic - and he's a few years from retirement after being a successful businessman for years and years and being married to a lawyer.  It may seem that I've gone off on a tangent, but I just really feel like people outside the field don't understand the problem.  They just see the bill and resent the vet clinic.

All that being said, there is no shame in us charging for our services.  There are a range of vet clinics from cheap to more expensive.  There are cheaper ones that will do a dental with just sedation (no anesthesia, no pre-op bloodwork, no proper patient monitoring, no x-rays with extractions, and no endotracheal tube) for barely a $100, but if your pet gets aspiration pneumonia, you're SOL.  There are clinics that are more expensive because they take all the precautions.  So there's no problem in dishing out the bucks, if you know you're paying for quality.  Banfield unfortunately is not always like that.  They have a price tag that goes across the board.  However, quality can range widely.  At one, they may have excellent services and licensed staff that are well worth the price.  At another, they may have mediocre services with some half trained staff that they got off the street - not worth that same price tag for the much better medicine you would have gotten at the other Banfield down the street with the better staff.  So I'm not saying that high price tag = terrible evil, money grubbing vet clinic.  I'm saying that the price tag should equal the quality you're paying for.  If you pay $20 at a vaccine clinic - don't expect more than a couple shots a from a tech (you probably won't even see a doctor).  If you pay $150 to $200, your doctor better do a full exam on your pet and answer your questions, in addition to your shots, etc.

So hopefully that sheds a little light on the Banfield business model.  I'm sure there are some great ones out there, but overall, I feel like they get lost in the corporate structure.  Besides, I'm all for supporting your local businesses and going to a local vet clinic.  You'll get more personalized care and the staff there will appreciate your business more.  And if you find a good local vet clinic, they'll treat their employees better, and happier staff means better care for your pet!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Books and Learning

So I don't have much in the way of life updates this week.  Next week, I *may* forget to update, because the second book in the Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson is coming out on the 4th.  It's a good day I have Tuesday off!!  If you like fantasy - particularly large ongoing fantasy universes - I highly recommend.  However, it is supposed to be a 10 book series, and he's only on book 2.  The next books shouldn't take as long to publish however (first one was in 2010, this one comes 4 years later), because he's done with the Wheel of Time series now.  If you don't like huge 1000+ page books, his other (smaller, normal sized) books are really good too. Some of those are: Elantris, The Mistborn Trilogy, and Warbreaker.  He's also got some really good novellas and young adult books (haven't read all of those yet).  Legion is a really good novella of his that I've read.  Anyway, to end that aside, if you like fantasy, you have to check out Brandon Sanderson.

Anyway, since there are times when life is just life and there's not much new to report on, I thought I'd do this.  I'm thinking about writing some posts that are like client education in a vet's office.  I thought I'd do one on puppy/kitten vaccines, vaccines in general, or maybe parasites, but is there any particular topic that you guys want to hear about?  I love answering questions; while some might be out of my realm of knowledge, I can still try!  Either way, it's just an idea on how to fill up some space.

P.S. - As a side note for taxes: if you ever have a weird situation or something you can't quite figure out how to represent on your return, and your job isn't being helpful - call the IRS!  We've had issues when the husband was a graduate student, since part of his stipend came from a W-2 and the rest the school reported as coming directly from a grant (plus he had a T-1098), because Emory liked to be *extremely* difficult like that (don't get me started on their payroll and HR department).  Then to throw a wrench in it, NIH stopped sending out grant income forms (whatever they're called, I can't remember), so Emory decided that they didn't need to either... Unfortunately, that's how they recorded most of his income, and we didn't not want to get penalized AGAIN for failing to report income.  But we called the IRS (second year now), and they were super helpful, and even said that "do it xyz way and we'll put it on record that you're trying to do this correctly, so if there's a problem in the future, we know it's not your fault."  I mean, I think they're so helpful because we're trying to be honest and do things right, which probably makes their jobs easier down the line.  Just thought I'd share - they've been really helpful with questions, since we had to pay the penalties 3 years ago due to our misunderstanding on what documents we needed for his taxes.  We even asked other "tax professionals," and they didn't quite know how to properly state his income.  I didn't think that many people know that the IRS has services like that, so just trying to spread the word!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Warmth, puppies, and alterations.

It was in the in the 50s today and glorious.  It's been so gloomy and snowy for the past month and a half, that the sun was shining in the apartment, and I was like "where's my sunglasses?!"

Anyway, so I've started getting in to the whole working out thing some more.  I've started going to zumba twice a week; I go with a bunch of people from work, so they keep me accountable.  Weirdly enough, the prospect of going to zumba later in the week makes me do my third workout at home on the weekend.  So far I haven't fallen off the wagon, so that's good.  I'm not really looking to lose weight.  As weird as this will sound, my fitness goal is to be fit enough that I would know I could beat someone up if needed.  Not necessarily actually beating anyone, just the knowledge that I could.

Other than that, Rasha has been going through a training class that one of my co-workers is doing.  She already knows a lot of the commands, but she's having fun relearning and getting a lot of attention from mom and dad.
Puppy selfie!

 Craft-wise, I've been learning how to adjust the waistline on jeans (AKA getting rid of that gap at the back that shows the world your underwear).  I think I did pretty well on this pair; you can't even really tell.
 Thanks to my trusty huskystar!  I got it from my MIL, the bobbin casing was loose and messing up the timing, so it wasn't working and snapping needles.  She told me if I could fix it I could keep it.  It works so much better than my Singer.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Knitting helper

So, there is a knitting project that I've been working on, a knitted lace and cables blanket. Knitting a blanket is taking forever. I think part of the reason why it is taking so long is because Lily likes to help me. Here's an example of her "helping."

I just don't have the heart to move her. :-P

Sunday, February 2, 2014



So I've finally joined the smartphone world.  I love it!!  I decided to go with the droid mini - I liked the features, the Android platform, and most of all, the size.  I'm going to try not to get sucked into it, but I do love it.

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in central Kentucky!  It actually reached the 60s.  Unfortunately they're calling for up to 8 inches of snow tonight.  Looks like the groundhog did see his shadow today...

The husband is thinking about starting a blog explaining science things to normal people.  Like vitamin supplements and why they're not all great.  He's thinking about getting into science writing, and possibly doing outreach stuff like that, so I think it'll be good practice at least.  Any suggestions?

Not much to update right now, so I think that's about it.


Edit: So the hubby was just asked to be a moderator at the conference he goes to. How exciting!

Also, I've started zumba with the girls at the clinic, and it is so much fun!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


So, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and create another blog - I found my old one (from over 3 years ago) and briefly thought about just continuing that one. But I'm a very different person from that one, living in a whole new place, so I thought it would be appropriate to start a new one...

Unfortunately, when you start a new blog, they ask you for a name. I don't have a clever name thought up (let's face it, this is a spontaneous thought over coffee, who knows if I'll even keep up with this). Then, I remembered that the hubby got a hankering to pick up Rock Band again. We had to start a new band (his old save data was linked with an older profile that no longer exists), and of course, they wanted a name. And this is what I came up with for our band name...Knitted Genetics. Well, he liked it, so I figure it can't be a totally terrible name for a blog. That, and I'm lazy, and I don't want to come up with another name.

Hopefully, the plan for this blog is to keep random tidbits of knowledge, my life, my fur babies, and my crafts in a single place. Mostly to share with friends and family that now live in different parts of the country.  And also to hold myself accountable to record these things.

So, for today's post, here are two happy thoughts:

1) I spoke with a client on the phone last week, who had her old cat boarding with us.  I told her she was doing great and she'd started eating really well for us when we discovered she liked her food warmed up.  This lady was over the moon - she says that her cat loves to be spoiled, and it seems like we're doing a great job spoiling her.  I love happy clients.

2) I got my student loan statement today.  This makes me happy because I've started making a little over double payments each month since I started working as a tech.  I've paid off all the interest that accrued while I was in school (both times), so now 90% of those payments are going to my principles.  And I do love seeing that amount I owe go down with each statement.  My goal is to be rid of those loans in the next 3 years for sure.  But I'm being optimistic and aiming for 2 years.