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It’s hard to believe that nearly a whole year has passed since I graduated from vet school and ventured out into the world.  So much has changed; I went from being a scared new doctor to having some level of confidence.  I’ve learned more than I could ever imagine I would.  At times it seems like school was a lifetime ago, while others it seems like I just stepped out yesterday.  Some memories are still strong, others have begun to fade.  I have come up with many things that I wish people would have told me that I thought I would share in case any new graduate stumbled upon this page and needed some advice.

*Internships aren’t everything.  Finding a good mentor/supervisor is everything.

*Vet school sets up unrealistic expectations.  You want to test your diagnostic superpowers?  Try doing it with $100 to cover the appointment, meds, and any tests you might be able to run afterward.

*There are other ways of doing things, and not all of them are bad/evil/wrong/malpractice.  If the two doctors teaching you surgery can’t agree on the proper way to ligate an ovarian pedicle, then chances are neither will your future employer.

*Specialists are all fine and dandy until it’s 3am and that surgery can’t wait until next Tuesday.

*The “common” diseases you hear about in school really aren’t that common.  Likewise, the ones they breezed over will be the ones you see in your first week.

*The name of the blood vessel you just cut through isn’t as important as knowing what to do next.  Look it up later if you care that much.  It’ll probably change names in a couple of years anyway.

*This video will happen on a regular basis.

*You can work there for a year and still send clients into a panic when you walk into the room instead of their regular vet.  You will get asked what happened to the other vet.  And you will have clients refuse to see you for no other reason than you aren’t Dr. So-and-So.  The world will not end.  Smile and move on.

*Free advice is expected of veterinarians.  Frequently after hours.  Sometimes multiple calls in one night.

*People in the medical field can sometimes be a pain.  Sometimes they genuinely think they know more than you.  Others just want to be respected for actually knowing more than the average joe.  Treat all these people like the latter.  That way if they ignore your instructions, it’s not because you were a jerk.

*Not all breeders run puppy mills.  And no matter what, breeders are clients and real people with real animals who need real help.  Do not treat them as anything else because of your own personal beliefs.  Same with pet shops.  Unless they are making medical decisions and dispensing stockpiled meds to someone else’s pets, let it go.

*On that same note, you CAN learn things from people outside of the profession.

*No matter how much you think you know when you graduate, you will still get stumped on your first case of ringworm.

I could probably think of many more, but those are the first to come to mind.  Anyway, just some random thoughts as I approach the one-year anniversary of being expected to know everything that was taught.  Keep learning.


So I’ve totally been slacking at the updates.  Sorry about that, but I figure I can only say, “Today was a busy day of vaccinations” so many times before people would quit reading.

Lots of history has been happening the past week, and despite my history minor from college, I just can’t get too excited.  I refused to get up early for the live coverage of the royal wedding because, honestly, I have to work and that’s what YouTube is for.  It was cool watching the carriage processional to Buckingham Palace and recognizing places I’ve been, and of course, the girl in me wanted to see the dress, but that was about it.  Then there was the long-awaited death of Bin Laden, which I might care more about if I thought it actually meant anything.  Fighting a “war” against a nameless, faceless enemy is not going to automatically end because a figurehead is gone.  The only solace is hoping that maybe the families of 9/11 victims might be a little more at peace now.

Enough of that.  May is looking to be a fantastic month for my jewelry business, and I am absolutely THRILLED to be having shows for such amazing ladies!  Looking forward to giving away tons of free jewelry to my wonderful amazing hostesses.  This is definitely the month to find jewelry collections “fit for a queen” and it’s so easy to get everything on your wish list for the cost of tax and shipping only!!  Anyone living in the Tulsa area who would like to get in on this wonderful deal, leave me a comment and I’ll let you know what my available dates are!

There is my one and only nod to history.  Back to present day and off to lunch.

Yes, I realize I haven’t updated in a week, so my apologies for those who want more insight into my incredibly boring life right now because this post will have very little to do with me.

Many people out there are aware of a site called Etsy, a place where artists and craftspeople can come and set up online shops to sell their creations.  It is an amazing site and there is no limit to what you can find on there.  This is, of course, where I have my own art shop.  I also have friends with shops here and have met people with amazing creations through here, people that I would love to go out for a coffee with someday if I ever make it up to Oregon.  However, no good deed goes unpunished, and Etsy is becoming overrun with resellers (who buy in bulk and resell for 500x the cost), people who don’t sell “vintage” or even attempt to make it appear older than 20 years, and those who blatantly steal other peoples’ designs and sell them as their own.  Not only is this sad for the people directly involved, it also is a black eye to the entire site that either cannot keep up or simply chooses not to.  This is where comes in, a website created to call out resellers, art thieves, and people who just generally make “more interesting” creations than others.  The great thing about this website is, aside from being downright hilarious, it opens up a whole other world of art, because as always, one person’s junk is another person’s masterpiece.  Trust me, I have found my next purchase after the shock of taxes wears off.

The other amazing thing about this site is the amount of charity work that is done.  Each month, a different charity or Etsy seller in need is featured and funds are raised to help them out.  It truly is incredible seeing people coming together to create for good, and I can’t wait until I can contribute something to the shop.  In the meantime, I have to settle for buying things I can’t afford.

The website is here: and I encourage everyone to check it out.  If you can afford it, make a purchase.  All the money from this shop will go to help an Etsy seller who has a loved one fighting pancreatic cancer.  This is an awesome opportunity to help someone out as well as support handmade and artisans.  And while you’re at it, check out to get backstories on some of the items you see.  (If it doesn’t make sense, it’s in a Regretsy archive, I promise you.)

I will update on my own life later, but for now, go enjoy some fun, hilarious, and crazy items made by people who enjoy doing good with a little bit of snarkiness thrown in.  Because seriously, what part of life isn’t made better with cats, snark, and vodka?

Hubby and I are currently living in a farmhouse that used to belong to a professional astronomer, which may not mean much to most but to us, it means we have a giant telescope in our backyard.  And I do mean giant.  It has it’s own building that can be opened up for night sky viewings.  After two years, we finally learned how to use the bloody thing, and let me say, it’s pretty darn awesome.  The building, on the other hand, is a bit difficult to manipulate.  Getting it open isn’t too bad, but trying to put it back together can be tricky.  And by “tricky,” of course I mean “damn near impossible.”

Last night, hubby decides that it would be a perfect night to go look at the moon through the telescope, since it was full enough to see some pretty awesome detail but not too full to blind you looking at it.  Never mind that I’m on call and he has a biology test, it’s a good night for moon viewing.  Plus, we start at about 7:00pm, so in theory, we were planning on being in bed around 10pm after getting a good look at Saturn.  Obviously, my use of the word “theory” should tell you that something didn’t quite go as planned.

Backing up a bit, I will try to explain how the building comes apart.  See, the roof and 4 corner beams are on tracks and can be pulled out away from the walls to open up the ceiling, creating the appearance of 4 walls next to a giant carport.  There are 4 wheels, each on the corner of the beams, and then one on the top of the roof for a track going down the middle.  Then, the top half of the walls are on hinges and can be folded down, allowing a relatively unobstructed view of the sky.  So to recap, giant carport on wheels next to 4 folding walls.  If you are able to picture this, good on ya.  I’m also sure you can imagine how this can all go horribly wrong.

The first thing we notice is that we can push the carport back about 2 feet before hitting what feels like a giant rock on the left side.  We discover the problem — one of the metal support brackets is too tall to allow the wheel track to pass over.  This happens several times, all in the same spot.  Thinking, “this isn’t right, we got it open and never had this problem,” further investigation reveals that the top wheel in the center of the roof has come off the track.  (By track, I mean “single beam.”)  At this point, we are trying to figure out how to get a 10ft (or higher) roof wheel back on the beam.  We realize that the only way to make that happen is to somehow figure out how to raise the roof up enough to replace the wheel.  This is where tire jack #1 comes in handy.  We manage to use a jack to get the roof up enough to push the wheel back on the track.  (We wind up having to do this twice, but I’ll spare the details.)

Once we get the top wheel aligned, the next step is to try to raise the left corner wheel up enough to get it over the bracket.  Tire jack #1 is used again, and we get the frame over the support beam, but in doing so, the bottom left wheel leaves its track.  It’s now about 11:15pm and we have made a solid 6 inches of progress.  Hubby runs to get tire jack #2 and tries to figure out a way to lift up the wheel to get it back on track.  Placing the jack was difficult due to all the metal framework, but eventually we get it set and lift the wheel up enough to put the frame back on the track.  Celebrating our victory, we continue pushing the roof frame back onto the 4 walls — and get about another 1.5ft before hitting obstacle #5,792.

Great.  At least this one is on the top, so no tire jacks should be required.  After removing a piece of weather stripping, hubby realizes that the problem is one piece of metal is literally splitting another in half.  The part that is split has also buckled into the track, making it impossible for the wheel to pass through.  Now hubby is ready to just leave one wall panel down, which would be perfectly fine except for the storms we are supposed to be getting soon.  And given the cost of the telescope (unknown, but probably more than my salary) and our inability to simply move it inside for the time being (ground bolts and all), I refuse.  So now we are using any possible long straight tools we have to try and straighten out that buckle.  The little tool used to remove the bolts from car tires came in handy for this part.  So finally after much straining and cursing, we get it flat enough to push the wheel over.  And make it about another 3 feet before hitting yet ANOTHER problem.  This was a minor snag on the right side and was fixed in no time.

We finally, around midnight, get the building closed up, hitting two more snags on the left side thanks to the fact that the top track has a bent corner and is snagging on everything, and just as we are ready to fold the final walls up, we find we are about an inch too short.  The roof won’t move, and after inspection, find that the chain that holds the base to the cement slab has gotten caught in the track.  This is like getting your zipper stuck on your shirt, except with metal.  More banging and swearing, we get the chain loose, close everything up, lock the building, and crawl into bed around 12:45-1:00am.

At 1:15am, the first of 3 early morning emergency calls comes.

And that?  Is why I ate 3 donuts for breakfast.

The upside to this whole fiasco?  The two photos below, taken with my iPhone through the telescope.


Some things are just worth the hassle.

Ok, so this week has been busy.  Yesterday was an atypical Tuesday, as I was late getting out of the clinic both for lunch and after work.  I had very little time to rest and catch my breath!  I was very ready for yoga last night.  It always amazes me how much of a difference it can make.  Not only did I feel physically better, but my mood lifted significantly.  I can always tell when I miss a day.  Am so thankful for such a wonderful place to go!  I’m not sure about other places, but my yoga studio is perfect in so many ways.  Anyone in B’ville, check out Autumn Sun Yoga if you need a lift!

Ok, literally just lost half my post.  *angry fuming*

For the first time in 2 years since joining Premier Designs, I got to go to my first training on Monday.  It’s always so amazing to meet people in the company, because every single one of them that I have met has been wonderful.  I now have two adoptive “families,” and it’s just been a true blessing how much they have taken me under their wing.  Every time I question whether or not I want to stay in, something truly incredible happens and reminds me why I signed up in the first place.  I absolutely love being a part of Premier, and my presence in the company is truly “by design.”

Hubby and I had a little companion this weekend.  We watched a friend’s sick dog while she was out of town, and I have to admit, I am the grandparent of the animal world; give them to me for a day or two and I will send them home spoiled rotten.  The best part of the whole weekend was watching our blue heeler/cattle dog, who has no problems chasing 1500lb horses, cower in fear over the little 8lb fluffy dog!  I’m convinced that the elephant/mouse myth has some truth to it.  Animals have no problems with anything bigger than them, but the minute someone smaller comes along, suddenly they think it will eat them.  My cats are afraid of my guinea pigs and rats but torment the dog; my big dogs are afraid of the little dogs.  It’s hilarious to watch!  Good news is sick dog is doing better, and as much as we enjoyed having her hang out with us, it’s always good to send them home.

On a final note, I have a photo gallery of all my artwork that I will be continually adding to as I create more.  Here is the link.

Happy hump day everyone!  Have a great week!

I have always loved making art.  I’m not the world’s best by any means, but I love drawing and painting various things, whether from pictures or just whatever my imagination creates.  I really enjoy drawing with oil pastels for a variety of reasons.  For one, they can be very forgiving of mistakes, but what I really love is the ease of which I can create different textures.  A simple drawn line gives a crisp, refined finish, while blending and smudging produces almost a dreamy impressionistic feel.  Most of my pictures are smudged, simply because it makes everything more uniform, and on certain backgrounds it prevents the piece from looking like a bad color-by-numbers.  However, it’s always fun to experiment.

I’ve created both a Facebook page and an Etsy shop.  I’ve created lots of drawings within the past couple of weeks.  Obviously, I can’t keep them all, but I don’t want to stop drawing.  I want to continue to perfect my work.  Eventually (hopefully in the near future), I want to add painting to my collections.  I have worked with acrylics before and love them, but I want to experiment with oils as well.  Just thinking about starting back into art makes me happy, and even though I’m far from professional (and my artwork reflects it), hopefully someone out there will enjoy it enough to add it to their home.  🙂

My shop is  Feel free to visit anytime.  🙂  And keep checking back.  I will add new items as I finish them.  As for Facebook, my page is called AJ’s Artwork.


So this past week has been crazy. When I haven’t been running around at work, I’ve been at yoga or running around at home. Whew! It doesn’t get any crazier than that. :). Not to mention I feel like I haven’t been able to catch up on sleep all week, but 4 years of vet school got me used to that. ;).

Found out that both Borders bookstores are closing in Tulsa. Actually, apparently all but 1 in the state of Oklahoma is going to shut down, which aside from being totally depressing for me, seems like a bad business move. Seriously, how does Borders plan to compete with Amazon? Online orders are not going to cover the loss of the stores. But as long as they bring some stirred back after their reorganization, I’ll overlook this initial transgression.

I’ve started trying to get back into drawing. I love working with oil pastels, and I treated myself to a set of professional quality pastels and have been making a few mini art pieces. Definitely not high quality artwork, but a fees have turned out decent. I did draw a portrait of my bunny that turned out decent, which I’m very happy about, but I still have work to do. Yesterday we went to the art gallery and an artist was doing a live demonstration, which really made me want to branch out to oils and acrylics. Now if I could only draw a decent tree…..

Hoping the storms come in tonight, I need a soothing thunderstorm to help me sleep!

Yes I realize this is a bizarre title for a post, but in all honesty, how many things or people do we make fun of without ever giving them a chance?  For example, here is a short list:

McDonald’s Snack Wraps — at first glance, these seem like the perfect nutrition scam:  take something unhealthy and make it appear good for you.  When they came out with the Big Mac wrap, I nearly peed myself laughing so hard.  And then one day, literally nothing sounded better.  Guess what — I enjoyed it.  Most of all, I enjoyed the fact that I was eating essentially half a hamburger with a lot less bun than the original sandwich.  So yes, I have to give them props.  It’s still not as healthy as some options, but it was enough to fill me up with half the bad stuff.  So props Mickey D’s — now I can enjoy those french fries with slightly less shame.

Ugg boots — spend one Christmas vacation where temperatures threaten to be as cold as it can feel here and all of a sudden, those fuzzy lambskin snow boots look pretty nice.  Then I tried them on — and quickly became a fan.  Not only are they the most comfortable shoes on earth, they are nice and warm, perfect for hiking in single-digit temperatures.  Yes, I am in love.  (Ugg boots with miniskirts, however, will still earn a good mocking.  Because seriously, you look ridiculous.)

Pets with favorite toys — ok, honestly, this is something that I’ve never really mocked.  I’ve seen it first-hand.  My cat played fetch (yes, you read that right) with a yellow foam golf ball.  Emphasis on “yellow” because he had a wide selection of colors, all of which were only acceptable when “yellow” was MIA.  But for the most part, many pets don’t have a preference.  Take my rat terrier for example, who any toy is acceptable so long as it is in reach.  (Bonus points if it has a squeaker.  Bonus bonus points if toy is long enough to hit people in the face with.)  In fact, this dog has fallen asleep with toys in her mouth, and there really doesn’t seem to be a preference as to which one.  She has favorite types, but honestly, as long as she has a toy, she’s good.
I think the best example of the “favorite toy” phenomenon is actually found in the world of my rodents.  See, none of my rodents have really had a singular favorite toy.  Again, favorite types existed, but no real loyalty to a particular one.  Enter my guinea pigs.  My first pig lived by herself for the first year I had her.  To help with any loneliness, I gave her several stuffed toys, including a stuffed banana and stuffed apple.  Then Bath and Body Works did their winter promotion with the Lambies, and my mom lovingly gave Gipsy her own Lambie.  Needless to say, Gipsy pretty much ignored it, and except for randomly finding it in new places around the cage, there was no evidence that she ever interacted with it.  The following fall, I brought home a real companion for Gipsy — her half-sister Nugget.  Nugget never spent a day in her life away from another pig.  So when she wasn’t harassing and annoying her big sister, she was running and playing.  Despite the fact that Gipsy was perfectly fine being a solitary piggy, Nugget couldn’t handle it.  So Nugget adopted Lambie.

Camoflaged, but very much present

I realize it’s hard to see because it’s been rolled around in a cage with shavings for so long no amount of washing will get it clean again, but Nugget is in fact sleeping curled up with lambie.  Those black things poking out of a sea of tan paper shavings?  Yep, that’s Nugget’s favorite toy.  Heaven help you if you don’t put it back in the cage.  She will squeal for it, and if she sees you move it, she better be able to find where you put it or fire from the sky will rain down upon you and your descendents.  (Don’t believe me?  Try trimming her nails.  If you aren’t bleeding afterward, you get a cookie.)
So no, it isn’t something I’ve mocked, but I know people who do because honestly, to people without pets, it sounds silly.  But it exists.  When clients bring animals in with their “favorite toy,” I make sure to put that toy in the cage with them because who knows?  It might just make the difference in how that pet recovers.

Lesson?  Don’t mock it ’til you try it.  Or, if you’re like me, just keep something handy to repeatedly pry your foot out of your mouth.  And don’t take a Lambie away from a piglet if you want to keep your fingers.

P.S.  I know that most of you might have a hard time discerning head from tail, but Nugget is actually curled up with her head snuggling the lambie’s head.  In case anyone was thinking that it was just a coincidence and that particular stuffed toy was the most comfortable.  Also, one day when something set them into a temper tantrum, I noticed lambie was slowly making its way into their house.  Apple and banana?  Carelessly left in the open.

I took the day off from work yesterday.  We were supposed to go to a friend’s wedding this weekend, but unfortunately, things worked out to prevent us from making the trip.  All things considered, it was nice to have an extra morning to sleep in and enjoy a little extra time to myself.  I did manage to accomplish a few small things this weekend, such as getting my old external hard drive to cooperate so I could get some pictures uploaded to my computer.  The only downside was choosing a weekend to take a break when the weather is less than desirable.  I would have preferred to have a full free weekend when the weather is nice enough to open the windows up, but again, living in Oklahoma has taught me to trust the weatherman only when the forecast describes what is occurring at the present moment.  So despite having an extra 4 hours of sleep, I still feel exhausted, and I attribute that to the fact that I am stuck inside on a gloomy, cold, wet day with nothing on tv and a hubby with a research paper to write.  The upside is that today is the perfect day to try to finish my current knitting project, assuming I don’t fall asleep first!

Looking forward to getting spring back.  🙂

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, I go to yoga class with my mom.  It is a completely refreshing and uplifting experience, and the mental and physical health benefits are amazing.  During the last part of class, we have a relaxation phase, which includes a little bit of guided meditation.  This is probably my favorite time, not only because it involves lying on your back with your eyes closed completely still, but because it is during this time that I feel I can truly escape this world and transcend into the next.  My view of heaven has always been something familiar, something that I have experienced, and frequently changed depending on my mood, but I can say that I believe I have finally glimpsed my heaven, a place I have never physically experienced but yet seems so familiar that I can picture it anytime I need a bit of freedom.

I can’t take all the credit for this pristine picture.  Its inspiration is hanging on the wall in my office.  A little 2×3 original painting of an open field with hills and clouds in the background that I paid a small fortune for at NatureWorks that seems to have a life of its own.  What is truly amazing about this little painting is not the detail (though incredible), nor the simple picturesque beauty (which is indescribable), but the fact that when I look at it, I can see not only what lies in front of me, but what is behind me as well.  My view of heaven is not the picture exactly, but rather it is like the picture was created to help me realize what I have been searching for all along.  Even now, writing this, I can see everything, all around me, smell the fresh air and the rain in the background, feel the cool breeze on my arms, even see those that will lead me into eternity.  It almost moves me to tears, because it is so REAL.  Never has the intangible been so tangible, so here and now, so close.  When I am in this place, no troubles harass me, no hate, no fear, nothing but peace and love and warmth.  I can only hope that everyone is so fortunate to find their heaven during their earthly existence.  It is life-changing and eye-opening.  For me, it is a place that is always with me, even in the hectic business of the day, a place that I can quickly retreat to when I need a breath of everything good and pure, for that is all that exists here.

The artist who inspired all of this is Lindsey Foggett, but in truth, all artists inspire me.  They are able to see beyond what is in front of us and reach further than most, and more importantly, they can bring their visions to the rest of us in a tangible way.  So today, go be inspired.  Who knows, maybe you will find your own heaven.  🙂