Category Archives: Thoughts On Life

Goals for Life

Me and Baxter Puppers

I was reading an article the other day about living your life to the fullest. It was geared towards middle aged people, but it still hit home for me. Here is a link to the article although it is not required reading to appreciate this post. https://www.marcandangel.com/2023/03/14/4-little-things-that-will-matter-a-lot-more-to-you-in-40-years/

I suppose the information is even more pertinent to me because I likely have less years left than the average middle-aged person. I still feel young and do the activities I have always done. I don’t have many aches and pains compared to what I hear from others. (Except for that knee I hurt a few years ago and it is mostly an occasional inconvenience.) But still. I am 60 years old. It is a biological fact that I have less years remaining ahead of me than I have already lived. Looking back, 20 years does not seem that long ago. Looking forward, that will put me at 80 years old. I must decide what is still important to me and do it now. This is the time to do the things that I think will make me happy and make a difference in the world. With longer life spans, I may well live past 80, but I need to at least get started with those things I still want to accomplish. There is no time like NOW! to take action.

I retired three years ago, and a few months before leaving my job, I made a Retirement Bucket List that I printed and framed. I wanted a plan for my path forward. Something concrete, to keep me moving. I have been less successful than I had hoped but some of this is due to the Covid pandemic.

And I have been successful on some of the items. The blog goal could be considered either way. I have 477 subscribers but earn no money from it. The most successful item on the list is number 7. We hike nearly every day that it doesn’t rain. We have covered hundreds of miles and seen many beautiful things that nature has to offer. This also leaves us with relatively well-behaved dogs! Because a tired dog is a good dog.

Other items are more of a work in progress. I am moving forward at a snail’s pace. I continue my dog rescue work. Not on the level that I had hoped to achieve, but I am still contributing and helping to save lives. Saving and improving lives must always be counted as a win. I started writing a book. Multiple books. I have chapters of different sorts saved on my computer. Still, they are something to work with.

Other items on the list, I have been less successful with. This tells me that it is time to re-evaluate and possibly make a new list. Some items I need to take a more in depth look at and maybe interpret them in a different way. The time may have passed for other things I wanted to do. I look at the dream of having a pit bull and think that I may be getting too old for this one. These are powerful dogs and I’m just not sure I have the strength to handle it anymore. Especially given the fact that I still intend to have multiple dogs and will be walking multiple dogs at the same time. There are still plenty of other deserving dogs out there who deserve a good home and would make me equally happy. We may downsize our pack a little. I think I could be happy with four dogs. Actually, it’s never that I wanted six or more dogs. There were just always dogs in need, and I was happy to have them around. Not everyone is cut out to take on some of the nutcases (and I say nutcases in the most loving way) we have adopted. Dan asked me recently if I liked having a dog as demanding as Zekie the Wonder Dog. I told him, it’s not that I want dogs with these types of issues, I consider it the price I pay because I love them. For the record, Dan loves him too. He and Dan are fast companions.

So, in the hopefully not too distant future, I may have an updated Retirment Bucket List to share with you. I’ve always heard that if you share your goals with someone, you are more likely to achieve them because you will feel accountable.

Do any of you have bucket lists? Bucket lists can make a difference in your world and possibly the world of others. And if you don’t have, or want, a bucket list, remember, you can make a difference just by being kind.

Left Brain vs. Right Brain Thinking

Heart ornament I made last year using the creative side of my brain.

I always assumed I was left brained, which is the analytical side because my degree is in Biology and I spent my career as an environmental scientist. Lately, I have been wondering if this is so. I also do a number of creative or right brained activities. I make felt ornaments, design gardens, do very amateur sketches, and of course, write among other artsy things.

I began to wonder if perhaps I was really right brained and just became a scientist as the result of hard work. I did have trouble with chemistry and calculus in college. Maybe that was why it took so much effort on my part? I passed calculus after much frustration and many tears.

Yesterday evening, I found a test on-line that tells you which side of your brain predominates according to your answers to their questions. Care to venture a guess how mine turned out? I was a little surprised but should have expected the outcome. I fall in the middle with 46% of my thinking being left brained. I discovered upon further research that apparently falling in the middle range is a common thing.

 37 percent of Americans are left-brained, while only 29 percent are right-brained. In 34 percent of participants, the two hemispheres exert equal influence on decision-making. -excerpt from a Huffington Post article

I don’t claim to be normal, and by the way, I think “normal” is highly overrated. In this case, there is no normal or abnormal. I find the concept fascinating, nonetheless. We all know those people who analyze every area of their lives and those who can barely focus enough to string two thoughts together.

During my career I was proud of my analytical thinking. I still am. Now, I have decided that I am also proud to have my thought processes fall in between analytical and creative or artistic abilities. Although different, both have value. By having two ways of thinking, it gives a wider range of ideas for problem solving. It allows the ability to appreciate the beauty of things as well as how they work. I think being able to see things both ways, has the potential to enable us to understand different points of view. And we all need to make the effort to understand others’ perspectives, even when we disagree with them.

I hope you all enjoy pondering this issue as much as I did. Peace to you.

Armor for Life

I was talking to my brother and his wife recently and mentioned that I have certain clothes that I wear when I anticipate I may need emotional comfort. I don’t know if this is something other people do or not, but it has always been helpful for me. It is usually clothing that was a gift from someone I know, who will always have my back. Often times it is something that my brother has given me, such as the purple sweatshirt I’m wearing above. It might also be something from my daughter or from my dear friend Becky. (See post about the ring Becky gave me posthumously Dear Friends Make Life Worthwhile.)

In the instance of the sweatshirt, I know my brother will always be there for me to help in any way he can. He also believes that I am a strong, intelligent, capable person who can handle most things. Somedays, when I wear this shirt, it is like putting on armor that protects me from negativity and gives me additional energy to face the day. Other days, it is just a shirt.

Now, I know that the shirt has no actual special power. But the fact that it reminds me of a loved one, makes me feel better. What the shirt really is, is something that channels my thoughts toward positivity. It gives me focus when I need it. And having something that brings us focus, does indeed make our minds work better.

When I was in college, I made sure I always wore my opal ring on exam days. The ring was a gift from my mother. We were shopping at the mall one day shortly before my high school graduation when I saw this beautiful opal ring at the jewelry store. It had a lovely opal in the center with smaller opals on each side in a gold setting. I remember staring at its loveliness for a long time. My mom told me that as a graduation gift, she would buy me a set of luggage or the ring. I immediately chose the ring. As I wore this ring on exam days, I imagined it had magical powers and that by focusing my mind on it, it would draw through the light of the universe and show me the answers to particularly tough exam questions. I know what the ring actually did was calm me and give me focus on the matter at hand. Isn’t that part of what good test taking skill are? Remaining calm and drawing on your knowledge? Worked for me.

Silly? Yes, definitely. Who cares? These potential talismans have assisted me with passing classes, graduating college, to survive tough times, and pursue goals that I made for myself. In actuality, I did these things for myself, sometimes with the help of others. The power of the mind is an amazing thing. We just need to harness our individual ways to use it.

Everyone must draw on the resources they have to make it through life in whatever way works for them. This is what works for me. I hope you have found something that works for you. And as we make our way through life, let’s all do our bit to leave the world a better place than we found it. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote, a copy of which hangs on my wall.

I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do…or any kindness that I can show-let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again.

Never Too Old for Dogs, Part II

My first post about never getting too old for dogs generated enough feedback and comments that it got me thinking and I have more thoughts to share on the matter. They will come later in the post.

I was using old profile pictures in my posts that I have taken over the past few years because it was easier. I didn’t want to mislead though, so this one is of me at 60 years old, as is the one in the last post. (Never Too Old for Dogs) If you’re wondering how I got my hair so much less poufy in this one, here is my trick. I put my hair in a ponytail when it is still wet and leave it that way until it dries. I have thick hair, so that is sometimes the next day. Once my hair is down, it does get “bigger” as time passes. Especially, if it is rainy or humid out.

I got to watch my nieces over the weekend. I was so excited to see them! It was supposed to happen last week but didn’t work out. I had a flat tire on one car and transmission trouble in the other car. Both discovered in the same afternoon! It was not my day and let me tell you, I was none too happy that something came between me and seeing my girls. Both vehicles are repaired and roadworthy again. While watching the girls, I got more of those flexibility experiences that I was talking about last time to help keep me young. We again played hide and seek. The game is a favorite of theirs’. I took Zekie with me this time. He seems to understand the concept of Hide and Go Seek. Or he at least sits with me and quietly waits until we are found. This does not work with Shelby. She stands in front of where I hide and stares a hole into the spot, so that I am found almost immediately. All the girls have to do is look for Shelby. When I hid under the computer desk, Zekie crawled in with me while I crouched in the knee hole waiting to be found. All I had to do was point at the spot beside me and make a down motion and we were hidden. Zekie was the perfect guest on our visit. He really is a good dog if I am with him.

Zekie resting after Hide and Go Seek.

On to why I will never be too old for dogs. The main reason is that I think it would kill me to be without a dog. How could I survive without a constant companion who thinks everything I do is wonderful and is happy to see me at all times? Dogs are mental health aides! So, what are some ways to pull this off for the older individual?

One. Stay healthy and active as much as you can. The better your health and activity level, the longer you will be able to care for a dog. (Or any animal.) The dog comes with built in health benefits. You should exercise and walk your dog. This will help to keep you both moving longer. There are studies that prove that people with pets age better than those without. Not just physically, but mentally as well.

Two. Downsize to a smaller or less active breed or mix of dog. Note that the two things do not go hand in hand. A French Bull Dog and a Jack Russell Terrier are similar in size, but you are not getting the same level of dog. The terrier is highly active, mentally and physically. They are a lot of dog in a small package. Many young people cannot handle this type of dog. Shelters were full of them after the television show starring a well-trained Jack Russell, Wishbone, rose to popularity. The Frenchie on the other hand is a low energy dog that needs only short walks. And then, you have the greyhound (approximately 55-80 lbs.) who is affectionately known as a couch potato. Do your research. There is a dog who is appropriate for nearly everyone.

Three. Who says you have to get a puppy? There are adult dogs who are in need of a home. Many through no fault of their own. Rescues and shelters have staff or volunteers who can help you choose a dog that fits your lifestyle. They know the personalities and habits of the dogs in their care and can guide you in picking a new best friend who is suitable for you. Some rescues even have Seniors for Seniors programs. This is when a senior dog is paired with a senior person. The rescue retains ownership of the dog and covers vet bills. The senior person provides a home for the dog and all daily care including food, walks, general grooming, etc. The person keeps the dog for the lifetime of the dog. Another benefit of this situation is, if something happens to the person, they know the dog will be taken care of. Someone from the rescue will come get the dog in this case and it will be rehomed or remain in foster care. It’s a win-win for all involved. Harder to place senior dogs get loving homes and the older person has a dog for companionship without the worry of expensive vet bills that can plague an older dog. The rescue I am involved with, Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue (NEOSSR), has such a program. Public donations make such programs possible. Here is a link about our rescue, complete with a donation button! https://www.neossr.org/ Our rescue tries to help in whatever way is best for the individual and the dog. Some of our senior families have needed temporary help in caring for their dogs. We have had a team of rotating volunteers show up to walk a dog for someone recovering from surgery until he was back on his feet. Right now, we have a dog in foster care because the owner was hospitalized from a fall and is in a facility for rehab. The foster mom takes the dog the facility to visit its owner occasionally. We hope the owner and dog can both go home again but if not, we will be here to care for the dog. By the way, the foster mom was on her way to pick up this dog from a neighbor within hours of NEOSSR receiving the call for help. Our members are awesome!

Four. Consider being a foster parent rather than having your own dog. You get the joy and rewards of having a dog around without the full-scale commitment. This option would also have veterinary care of the dog covered by the shelter or rescue. And though it may be painful when the dog gets adopted, you know that you gave the dog love and a home while he was waiting for his forever home. Most groups do give their foster families first rights to adopt if you happen to fall in love with your pup while you have him. And this happens often enough that there is a term for it. You are a foster failure. I have been a foster failure with several dogs. It is a term of endearment in the rescue world, and I am proud to be a member of this group. In fact, Shelby, Zekie, and Claire are foster failures. It can be a good way to try out a dog to see if he is a fit for your family. Many groups have a foster-to-adopt option. If the dog absolutely is not a fit for your home even on a foster basis, the group will take it back. It is helpful if you can keep the dog until it gets adopted or at least until the group can find another foster home. There are usually those of us crazy enough to foster most any dog. I have had to put up some foster limitations since we’ve had Zekie, and he is so much to handle. I would take them all, but sometimes you have to do what is best for the family and this includes the whole family, canines and felines as well!

Thanks for sticking with me to the end. My route can be rather circuitous as I have lots of random thoughts that get recorded along the way. Sometimes those can be the most valuable, and I hope, enjoyable. My goal was to give you options and lots to think about. May peace, and good health, be with you.

You can sign up to receive an email when I publish a new post if you want to follow along with the blog. There is an option for this on the top right-hand side of my blog page. https://sanctuary-acres.com/

Never Too Old for Dogs

I turned 60 years old recently. I did not see this as a big deal. After all, I’m not even old enough to qualify for Medicare. I fall into that donut hole that catches some of us between retirement and age 65. If the government does not see me as being of concern for health care, I should still be young, or at least middle aged, right? I’m going with it. I’m young! All in all, I do feel pretty good for my age. I don’t suffer too many aches and pains or other concerns. I do feel blessed about this.

I credit part of still feeling young to the fact that I have a little brother who is 16 years younger than me. When he was in college, I was in my mid-30’s. Since I was his sister, it seemed natural for us to run around doing things together sometimes. We spent many a Friday night hanging out at the local Borders bookstore together. Ok, maybe mentioning Borders, dates me a little. That store has been gone for years and a sad thing it is. My brother and I also spent some afternoons at Lake Erie and took a trip to North Carolina to see the Biltmore and Colonial Williamsburg. We went to local festivals and events in northeast Ohio where we live. Including a few trips to the local Buzzard Festival when we would get up at 4:30 in the morning to be there for the first sighting of the turkey buzzards returning to the area for the season.

As my brother became an adult and had his own family, complete with his wife and my two nieces, they all continued to keep me young of heart and mind. When you are playing with two little girls, it is hard to feel old. There is so much laughter and excitement. And all that crawling around on the floor and playing hide and go seek probably helps keep me flexible. Crouching behind furniture and hiding beneath clothes behind the closet door is sure to help. In case you haven’t guessed, my brother and I have always been, and continue to be, quite close. I’ve heard it said that everyone needs a “bandaid” person in their lives. Someone who thinks you can do no wrong and supports you through everything. We are that person for each other.

Now that my daughter is an adult, she helps keep me young too. It is true, a daughter is someone who grows up to be your best friend. And when you have a daughter who is supportive and always willing to listen and cheer you on, you have a built-in support system. When my daughter, who is the next generation, wants to hang out with me and do things together, doesn’t this mean that I am young? We are enjoying the same things, so this means I have interests of a young person, right? I choose to believe that it does.

Zekie, Claire, Baxter, Shelby, and Cassius

I also believe that having five dogs, and three cats, keeps me young. The number of dogs varies sometimes, if we are pet sitting or fostering another dog or two. I read a book a while back that had the following quotes. I’m sorry, I did not write down the author’s name, just the words, but they are not mine.

“I’m ten years older than when I brought home my last dog…and I hope I have it in me to be there for one more… I am almost sixty. What if I just don’t have the energy to keep up with the physical demands of a young dog?”

I read this and I thought, wait, what? I am not having trouble handling my dogs and I am nowhere near done having dogs. In fact, I am still rescuing dogs and my specialty is dogs with behavioral issues. This is a part of who I am, and I don’t see that everchanging. I can’t even imagine ever having only one dog. (Don’t worry, my daughter says if anything ever happens to us, she wants ALL the dogs. Yes, she is definitely my daughter.)

I will concede that there may come a day when I can no longer handle the large or troublesome dogs. I have a plan! When that day comes, I will get Pomeranians, and maybe a whippet and a French Bull Dog. It’s good to have a plan, isn’t it? Actually, our most difficult dogs have never been our biggest ones. And the most difficult dog of my life (Zekie!) has been a 35 pounder! Size is not a precursor to ease or difficulty. Small dogs are of course, easier to pick up when needed.

Zekie

And in reference to the above quote, I do not find it necessary to get my dogs when they are young. Young dogs are fun, but old dogs are equally rewarding. Bottom line, I have always been, and will ever be, a dog girl.

So, from this 60 year old woman, you’ll have to watch and see what I get up to next. Because I am nowhere near done making a difference in the world. I have many things to do and try and see what trouble I can get into next.

Take care, my friends!

The Magic of Christmas

Christmas scene

I love Christmas time! As wonderful as the present is, it’s nice to revel in some nostalgia and revisit old traditions. I think Christmas reawakens a little bit of the child in all of us. I remember Christmas’ past and experiences I shared with my mother who is long gone. I so enjoy getting out the Christmas decorations. They bring back so many memories.

The photo above is a time capsule of sorts. The Santas were given to me by many people and as I set them out, I have fond thoughts of each person who gave them to me. Several are from Lucinda, one of my group of college pals who met at Kent State University, Tuscarawas Campus in the early 1980’s. There were four of us girls who hung together over the years. We got together every year with families in tow, for a Christmas party up until a few years ago when two of the original four were no longer with us. Another of those Santas is from Tina who is one of the friends who has passed. There is a Santa and tree that is actually a salt and pepper shaker set. Those are from my stepfather Sam, who passed in 1995. The Mongolian Santa and the Nordic Santa are from my sister-in-law Annie. I am no longer married to her brother and don’t see her as often as I once did, but still consider her to be a great friend and all-around wonderful person. The little Noah’s Ark tree is from my husband’s family, and I find it to be adorable.

By the way, the painting on the wall was done by my husband. He made the frame too. Is he a talented guy, or what?

Christmas scene

This scene above resides on one of the two mantels in our house. Again, the Santas and the snow globe are from my friends Lucinda and Tina. Tina gave me the one holding all the puppies. She said it reminded her of me. Yes, my friends knew me well! I found the bells in my parents’ basement when we were cleaning out their house. I took them home because I loved them. The copy of the Currier and Ives print in the back is from Mumsey’s house. She was my first grandmother-in-law and I remember her fondly every time I look at this picture. This picture is in my office the rest of the year. I have always liked Currier and Ives (and winter), so I never put it away. The Santa holding the puppies is out in my office the rest of the year too. Just because it makes me happy.

Mr. Potato Head!

And speaking of Christmas memories, I used to ask for a Mr. Potato Head, but I never got one. I think my mom just forgot about it. Well, my nieces got a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and what fun I had! The creation above is mine. This is what happens when you let a scientist play with toys. You end up with something weird and non-traditional looking, just because.

My friends, I wish each of you the magic of Christmas, whether it comes from fond memories or new experiences. I hope you are blessed with both with holiday season.

Views from the Patio, 7/23

View from the patio
My view from the patio this morning.

It’s a patio type of morning for me. The weather is predicted to be hot today, and for nearly the entire country, not just here. So, I am spending some time outdoors before things heat up. My trusty canine companions are with me, except for Shelby who opted to stay in the house.

Due to some recent rains, I have been able to skip watering for the past several days saving me hours of work. What a treat! Except for the container plants. They look droopy by afternoon and long for a splash of water on their roots. We oblige them because we do not want unhappy hibiscus, mandevillas, gardenias, and such. They make views from the patio so much better!

Patio view
Patio time!

I have been thinking about the nature of friends in current times. Relationships have changed. I’m not sure if this is for good or bad. Probably a little of each as most things are or maybe only different.

I ponder why they have changed. My first thought is, we live in an electronic age. My second thought is we live in the time of Covid. Both have certainly changed things. People have cell phones and computers. Even most television viewing is by streaming rather than a live broadcast so we don’t even all get our news at the same time. We no longer use face to face interactions for the majority of our communications unless you count Zoom meetings and Facetime. We text, we email, and occasionally call. I am a believer that texts and emails can make life easier, but they also cause problems. Some emails are lost, but the sender doesn’t know it. If the message does arrive, vocal nuances and facial expressions do not accompany it so the meaning may be mis-taken. Sending, “That’s great”, does not convey the sarcastic tone that may, or may not be implied. Irony and a questioning lilt that is implied with a tone of voice is lost. Misunderstandings occur and feelings get hurt. I imagine this must be something we have all experienced. I do believe that electronic communication is a beneficial and powerful tool. We just need to take care with how we use it.

Keeping in touch with friends electronically is the new norm. I don’t feel that I have as many close friends now because we are texting and Facebooking, but not really visiting. This is exacerbated by Covid protocols. I am just as guilty of this as anyone. But it does make for a different type of relationship. Or maybe part of it is the natural progression as we get older, we don’t have the same intensity of friendships because we all have our own families and lives to take care of.

When I was younger, I had friends that I frequently spent time with. Even entire weekends. We went places and did things and were a regular part of each other’s lives. Fast forward to today. Does this still hold true? Not so much. Admittedly, two of my closest friends of my adult life have both passed away. So, it’s beyond my, or their, control that we don’t hang out.

On the flip side, I have many more friends than I ever did. These friends are more of the acquaintance variety. I have made most of them virtually. Or I may have met them in person once and we became friends via Facebook. I have made friends through other friends, at parties, at animal rescue events, and through other activities I have been involved in. People that I would only have had contact with one time, have been converted into regular acquaintances.

Some of my friends, I have never met in person at all. We hooked up through different Facebook groups or maybe as friends of friends or we find we share common interests. I have even had some of these virtual friends for years. And these friendships are important to me. I care about these people, and I believe they care about me. We “like” each other’s posts and frequently have conversations about life experiences and day to day life. In times of trouble or sadness, we offer each other words of comfort and support. One of my Facebook friends that I have never met in person was recently diagnosed with an aggressive and rare form of cancer. (Don’t give up, sometimes the doctor’s prognosis is wrong and there is more time to be had!) I am saddened by my friend’s diagnosis and think of her several times a day. My point is these types of friendships can have great value and be meaningful too.

I am blessed to live in an age where I can have friendships with people that live far away from me in distance, but we are close in spirit. I have reconnected with childhood friends and classmates, relatives that live far away. People I wouldn’t have the chance to be in touch with otherwise.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still have some friends that I visit with in person. Even a few new ones since I retired. And family members that I hang out with regularly. In fact, one of the best things is being friends with your adult daughter and your considerably younger brother and all the extended families that now come with them. I also know I am blessed that I love my family members and love spending time with them.

So, what is a friendship? I think it means different things to different people. May your friends be as dear to you as mine are to me.

Peace be with you!

Garden Gate
Appreciate all your friends!

Let Peace Prevail

I found something wonderful that I decided I wanted to be a part of. In my internet perusing’s this morning, I found a site called Blog4Peace on a friend’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Cat-Chat-With-Caren-Cody-208923585790514/ If you like dogs and cats, you’ll enjoy her page.

The new website I found is at this link. https://mimiwrites.blogspot.com/2022/03/blog4peace-ukraine-dona-nobis-pacem.html. It’s a website called Blog4Peace. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that? Right now, the page is promoting Blog4Peace4Ukraine. Or, if you don’t blog, make a Facebook post for peace for Ukraine. A worthy goal. Who can be against peace?

Even many of those aggressors who are being told to fight, I hope want peace. We are all human beings (or as my daughter said when she was little, “I’m a human bean!”) This war on Ukraine has brought most of the rest of the world together like nothing I have ever experienced in my lifetime, and my lifetime is more notable than it used to be. I will be 60 years old at the end of this year! The reasons for this war don’t seem very justified to the rest of the world, so we imagine how we would feel if it were us in the shoes of the Ukrainian people. Our visual connections via television, streaming, and many public medias immerse us in the suffering of the Ukrainians, and we are a part of it every day. We can turn it off and take a break, they cannot. They have no choice. They are living it every day. And so much of the world feels united by their desire for peace.

My husband made this replica of the Ukrainian flag in his workshop and planted it proudly in our front yard. All who pass can see our support for Ukraine. I encourage any of you who feel so called to do the same. A piece of paper with blue and gold colored on it will suffice. A plastic sunflower in your yard or window will also serve the purpose as the sunflower is also a Ukrainian symbol.

As you blog for peace, post for peace, share a symbol for peace, or have thoughts of peace, don’t forget to send up a prayer for peace. Be a Peace Warrior. Today, I sign off with my frequent wishes for my readers, which today I extend to the world, “Peace Be With You”.

When I Was Young, I Wanted to Be…

Dad, mom, and me on a trip to Montana.

What did you dream of being when you were a kid? I mostly dreamed of…well, just being a kid. I didn’t look much beyond what outfit to put on my Barbie next or what horse book I would read. Unless it was to remember what time the next episode of Tarzan the cartoon or Mary Tyler Moore was on.

I fell off a bike and broke my arm the summer after third grade. This resulted in the neighbor lady from two doors down getting me a book about being a nurse. I pondered what it would be like to be a nurse but that’s as far as it went. I was too busy being a kid to spend time on such ideas.

I fell into my first jobs. I babysat the two youngest kids that lived next door, Marc and Janelle. That was fun because although they were quite a bit younger than me, I enjoyed playing with them sometimes anyway. I just stayed up later than them and was old enough to call for help if it was ever needed. I’m sure the fact that my mom was always next door was a big factor.

My second job was from the same neighbors. Their three boys each had a paper route. They were also in a variety of sports-basketball, wrestling, football, baseball. Our town’s newspaper was published as an evening edition, so the stacks of papers were dropped off for delivery in the afternoon. This interfered with the sports which were all after school. So, I started delivering the papers for whichever boy was currently enrolled in a sport. When their entire family went on vacation, which luckily was only once a year in the summer, I would deliver all three paper routes. This covered most of our small town. With the boys being in that many sports, I was delivering at least one route a good portion of the year. I remember one or two days during the winter of The Blizzard of 1978 when their mom took pity on me and took me around in her car to deliver the papers.

When it was time to sign up for college, I felt the need to pick an actual career so I would know what to study. I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone that I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian. Vying for second place were forest ranger and zookeeper. But being a vet stood way out in front.

My last job before I started my professional career was at a pet store. I worked at Pet Kingdom during a college summer and over breaks. I loved that job! It was a small store so only one person worked each shift and I got to do everything. Dusting and rotating stock wasn’t so great, but dealing with the fish, small animals, and birds was right up my alley. We also sold puppies and kittens, but most of them were given to the store by local people who had accidental litters and needed to find homes for them. One of the perks of the job, at least in my mind, was that I could come to work early and walk the puppies.

To my knowledge, the store only ever had one litter of two purebred puppies for sale. They were supplied by a lady who lived in a nearby town. These turned out to be Shetland Sheepdogs. One of the puppies sold. The other did not. Our area was not wealthy, and the price of the mixes was a better fit with the local economics. The second puppy was set to be sent back to the breeder.

Anyone who knows me, knows where this story is going. That was my first sheltie, Bream. (Pronounced Bree-Um) Bream went off to college with me and many adventures thereafter. He saw me through a couple failed classes, several moves, marriage, and divorce. He was my rock. He cemented by love for the sheltie breed. More on this in a future tale.

My career? I never did end up becoming a veterinarian. There were only 17 veterinary schools in the United States at the time, so the competition was fierce. I experienced this in the classes I had with pre-med students and there are a lot more med schools around than vet schools. I remember asking a pre-med student in one of my classes if I could copy his notes from a class that I had missed because I was sick. He said no.

I couldn’t really decide what else I wanted to be. Zookeepers barely made any money and were all located in major cities. I wasn’t aware of many forest ranger or conservationist positions at the time. So, I settled for majoring in Biology. It was a general science with a wider range of options.

After graduating college, I hung out with my live-in boyfriend, and worked at Sea World of Ohio for a brief time. I was only tagging merchandise and cleaning for the park’s season opening. The best part of the job was at lunch time, I could go into the viewing area and watch the penguins in their exhibit or wander by the beluga whale tanks and touch them if they swam near. My best friend Becky worked there too, so I could see her before and after our shifts.

I had only worked at Sea World a few weeks when the opportunity for my first career-related job came along. I occasionally stopped by Kent State main campus and checked the job postings in the recruiter office. This was before such things were computerized. There was an opening in my county for a laboratory technician in a water/wastewater laboratory. I applied and soon interviewed with my future bosses and soon-to-be friends, Bill and Howard. Thus began my career in the field of water treatment. I just sort of fell into it. It suited me well. The department was composed of a small number of people who were close and hung out and helped each other outside of working hours, as well as during. It was an opportunity to help the environment and I ended up working that job and retiring from it after 32 1/2 years. I found it rewarding and feel I served a purpose.

Would I choose the same career again if given the choice? Actually, no. I should have stayed the course and tried to become a veterinarian. I never lost that love of animals. I did eventually find an outlet for that love. After taking in a number of animals, I realized I could not save them all on my own. So, I got into animal rescue work. I volunteered for a number of groups over the years before finally founding Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue. It takes a village as they say, and I found my village.

I do use my career choices to encourage young people to pursue the careers of their dreams. The working years are many. Follow your passion!

Books Read in February 2022 and Why I Didn’t Read One, or Maintaining Peace

One of the books from my home library.

My reading list is rather scant again this month. I expect next month’s list to be longer as I will be on my own for the next few days and intend to do lots of reading. The first thing on my list? A trip to the library! Hope I don’t hurt myself getting all those books and magazines to the car. My daughter is coming over on Saturday and we are going to look at books and magazines and have pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes. The Kent Free Library always has lots of fun specialty magazines. So, below is last month’s list, slim as it may be.

  1. My Love Affair with the State of Maine-Scotty Mackenzie with Ruth Goode: (Non/fiction) Scotty and her friend Dorothy vacation in Maine. They end up buying a store and becoming part of the community. A dream shared by many of us. A nice snapshot of 1950’s coastal Maine. This one is a keeper from my home library.
  2. A Rant of Ravens-Christine Goff: Rachel Stanhope goes to her aunt’s ranch for a long visit. The ranch is also a bird sanctuary. Aunt Miriam is scheduled for a trip to the Middle East, but a murder throws a monkey wrench in the plans. Aunt Miriam soon disappears, and it is up to Rachel to figure it out and set things right.
  3. RFD Vermont-Marguerite Hurrey Wolf: (Non-fiction) The author shares insights about her daily life in Vermont and her writing is magical. The style is reminiscent of Gladys Taber. I picked this little gem up at a library book sale. I will be keeping it to read again.
  4. The Nightingale-Kristen Hannah: A good book that I could not finish right now. I will pick it up again later.

Magazines-Country Living (2), Yankee Magazine, Smithsonian, Real Simple (2), Best Friends

You might wonder why I could not finish reading The Nightingale if it is a good book. I made it 180 pages before I stopped. It is a long book, over 500 pages. The reason I stopped reading it, is because of the war in Ukraine. There are so many parallels. The Nightingale takes place during World War II when France surrenders and the Nazi occupation occurs. Shortly after the book opens, one of the main characters flees Paris to join her sister in the French countryside. She is one of many escaping the city. She becomes hungry and battered and bruised.

When I watched the news, I saw many being interviewed as they fled from the Ukraine, looking for safety. I saw the bombed-out buildings and the bodies and the hungry, hiding underground. I see the Russian troops moving forward under direction from a dictator, moving towards occupation.

A similar thing to what was happening as I read the book, was unfolding before my eyes on my television screen. It became too much. The book and the reality were too similar. It made me feel surrounded by war. And so, I returned the book to the shelf for another day.

One of the reasons I read, is for down time. It has a meditative quality for me. I may be too sensitive on this, but hey, we all need to do what is necessary for our wellbeing. I moved on to the book about Vermont. It did the trick, and I perceived my life to have balance once again. And so, in these trying times…

Peace be with you, my friends.