Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Holidays and a Handful of Advertisements

Kinda hard to get up my usual enthusiasm for the annual recounting of the year's adventures, since the highlights are routinely posted on FB, but not all of you follow me religiously, for better or worse, so I'll try to summarize.

After being on the Masters Degree Fast Track in 2010, I hopped off altogether in 2011. Continual scanning of the job market revealed little improvement, and cost-benefit analysis led to a conclusion that a Masters Degree wasn't going to pay off when competing for entry level accounting jobs in this market. Better to conserve cash, enjoy life and gain some experience. And I have succeeded in doing all three!

Keeping up my fun with Safe Harbor Lab Rescue and adding Pawsitive Works to the mix, I spent Feb-May leisurely preparing for the biggest of the 4 CPA exams and was ecstatic to score an 89 on that 4 hour test. I passed the 2nd part in July, and after a road trip to visit Canine Angels Service Teams in Oregon, I registered with an accounting temp agency and immediately was placed at a well-respected local hospital. The original 6 week position was extended again and again, and will be up to 5 months when I wave good-bye at the end of this week.

The hospital gave me just exactly the experience that I felt I needed to get started in this field, so in 2012 I will go back to school part time and simultaneously prepare for the 4th part of the CPA exam, tax, which I dread. In case you were counting and wonder what happened to #3 - preparing as we speak and taking that baby on Jan 3, just about 2 weeks from now.

The dogs have been a source of entertainment, joy and pride this year, but you can read all about that, and even watch cool video, in the blog post prior to this one, in the archives over there on the right side of this page.

Under the topic of Reflected Glory, my brother was published twice this year. Timothy Braatz is his name. Disproportionates is his game. One book is a very clever comedy, the other a tough dose of reality. Available for Kindle and on paper.

I continue to enjoy the benefits of apartment living, and 'cept for not having a fenced yard for the pups, I don't miss having a house to take care of. If a lightbulb should burn out, or I should toss an earring down the sink, I just call the friendly maintenance man. And if the snow should fall overnight, my drive is plowed by morn. I even have a connected garage so I can carry my groceries right from the car into the kitchen, and I have a view out my big picture window that rivals that of most neighborhood houses.

Being close to my parents for the first time in 20 years paid off as hoped during a recent health scare, as did working at the right hospital, but they are still young and continue to be very independent and generally healthy. When they aren't flying south on the MedStar Leer Jet or helicopter, or driving south to CA or AZ for the winter, I make the 100 mile trek north about once a month to visit them where my dogs-in-lieu-of-grandchildren provide them with entertainment while I study or work and enjoy their very incredible views (see photo below).

Ok, here comes the last advertisement:

In addition to 3 non-profits, 2 turtle doves and a W-2 type job, I also keep busy with a 1099-type job, consulting in a former colleague's start-up 3 time zones away. I do a variety of tasks for RVNN.TV, and for the third consecutive year, I'll be Chief Cat Herder for the TPN.TV coverage of the huge Consumer Electronics Show coming up in Las Vegas in 3 weeks. Another project that RVNN is involved in right now is a social media promotion for client PetHub. Christmas gift idea? Follow this link (Click Here) and use the Coupon Code RVNN20, and you'll get a 20% discount and RVNN will get credit, which will help pay my paycheck. So, for the pet lover in your family, check it out and pass it on.

And on that note,

Happy Holidays to You and Yours

and All Your Furry Friends Too, and

Best Wishes for a Wonderful 2012!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Best Day of 2011

What happened to 2011? Did nothing happen worth writing about since January 7?

The dogs might say I've been too busy to pay them any mind, but little do they know that they are never far from my mind. I guess we're just past the honeymoon period when there were lots of new stories to tell and pictures to take.

A post for another day - the photos that were selected for the Safe Harbor Lab Rescue 2012 calendar.

But today is all about our accomplishments for the year, and especially this special day 11/20/11:

Mom - 2 parts of the CPA exam done, 2 to go, and more importantly, 5 months of employment and paychecks! After 3 years without - NICE!! Note to those HR types who say one's skills are out of date after 3 years, or that one loses their work ethic after so much time away from the daily grind: not true. At least not for this cat - phew! I did have a moment of panic when I realized I was going back to 8-5, but was relieved when I slid right back in like I had never left it.

Sunny - I (Mom) sent my wish out to the universe to meet the person who had always wanted to do pet assisted therapy but didn't have the right dog, since I had the dog but no time. In February, the universe moved Micki in next door. I really don't remember how it started, but by summer, she and Sunny were enrolled at the Spokane Dog Training Club and successfully completed the Canine Good Citizen test. They went on to take an intensive 2 day class to prepare for the Delta Society certification, passed the class, and went on 2 weeks later (11/20/11) to pass the evaluation! Way to Sunny and Micki.

And might I also mention, when I went back to work in August, Micki offered to visit the dogs every afternoon. Sometimes she would give them dinner, but not always, but then Star in her inimitable way, started to pout when dinner wasn't provided, so I gave in and let her give them dinner every day, and what a pleasure it is to come home from work and not have to worry about pottying and feeding the dogs. Thank you Micki!

Star - My little Agility Star. After a training break in the fall of 2010 while I staggered through 5 grad classes without dropping either of my NPFs, we started to train again in January. At home in the living room we practiced weave poles EVERY DAY - 3 times a day. We also had a handling class at SDTC where she really did great, but when we started an outdoor class in April, we started to have trouble. Just couldn't get her comfortable outside, which may have been in part due to the increasing stress in the home as the first part of the CPA exam crept up, after 3 months of daily studying. Finally got into Barb Davis's indoor class and started to make progress again. Postponed our intended June competitive debut until October. And finally on 11/20/11, same day as Sunny's big accomplishment, in our 3rd trial, 5th competitive run, we got our first Q. I may have teared up a little crossing the finish line. But my favorite part of the video (below) is my friend Rosemary, leash runner, getting air in her excitement and happiness for us.

It's been a good year!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy New Years - Failed Experiment

Lily and Network
circa 12/31/2000

Thinking I could repeat the picture with the same raggedy old jacket and sorrels:

Sunny and Star
Circa 12/31/2010

The dogs didn't cooperate.
The weather didn't cooperate - snow had melted off that morning.
And it was not spontaneous.
Oh well.
Joy, you win!