Mr Responsible 

Growing up is weird. You’ve spent your entire childhood being told to  go outside! Don’t sit in front of the TV!  Do something productive! Now you’re an adult, you’ve paid your bills, you’ve got your groceries, going OUTSIDE costs money…it flips. The responsible, Productive thing becomes staying inside and watching Netflix. Hey, you paid the bill. It’s ok. If you go outside it’s going to cost you three months of Netflix…

And face it, if you go outside and play with a stick and climb on swing sets you just end up in prison.

I struggle with this all of the time. I feel like I should be doing something… if I’m reading I feel like I should be writing, or cleaning, or going out and  doing the mysterious Productive…

My wife is always reminding me, it’s ok to sit down and relax. Cook inside, work-out inside and being Productive is taking on a whole new meaning as an adult. Just don’t be TOO productive…

Hey, it’s not my fault the price of college increased over 500 percent and text books shot up 1000 percent since the ’70s. How can you afford college for your kid? You can’t even afford it for yourself!

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just a really young old man. I’m not going to have any more apps on my phone. I’m not learning another techno gadget. I can’t- I’m out and not in a good way. I don’t have anymore energy to learn another word processor or app. 

Face it. The only reason FB is still here is because it’s integrated itself within our lives, like Kudzu. Or that third wheeling friend that shows up in all of your photos but you’re  not really sure when you became close. You use fb to sign in and out of everything. It forced you into a marriage you’re not that proud of. And it knows all of your dirt. 

I don’t even have Snapchat. I deleted it for storage space. Why do I need an app that allows me to send text and pictures? Don’t I do that with messenger and my phone already? 

Remember Skype? Whatever happened to that poor thing? Somewhere out there is a little green light saying you’re logged on. It’s just hoping you’ll come back. Also, it probably still has all of those messages you forgot to delete from drunken frat houses. 

Which is probably why someone created Snapchat. . . 

These days we have to constantly upgrade and relearn everything every other  year. I don’t ask for much… just a nice laptop, like a Dell. Remember those? One that will outlive the expiration date on the credit card I used to pay for it. 


A picture of my much older self…

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Talks with Women #6

Hey guys! I’m really excited about this new series of Talks with Women. I recently talked with a long time friend of mine. Cora, a CVT living and working in Utah. Discussing her career, and her passion, animals.

E: So it’s been a while since we talked last. 
What have you been up to?

C: It has been a while! Sorry for being a crappy long distance friend. Well, we moved last August to Utah from Minnesota. So it’s been almost a year but I still feel really unsettled here. Alex proposed in December, so I’ve been (kinda half-assing) planning a wedding for when we move back. 
And then of course, work. I’m a veterinary technician at a GP Clinic in my town. Utah doesn’t regulate techs here, so I’m maintaining my certification in Minnesota. I work full time, and then some. I’m on call a lot for emergencies since there isn’t a local ER.

E: What made you go into this field?

C: Well, I was pretty lost for a minute there. Remember my waitressing days? I had no idea what I wanted for so long. Looking back, it seems like it should have been so obvious

E: I remember those days !

C: I’ve always been passionate about animals. If you asked my mom, she might say obsessive. I spent hours agonizing over my hamsters cages and husbandry, wanting to give them the best care I ever could when I was a kid. I loved animals. I empathized with all of them. I stopped eating meat/started dealing with that moral struggle in the 6th grade.

Anyways, I was working a shift at my restaurant one night. Alex was gone on a trip to do some field study for school. We were long distance most of the year at that time, but this trip was hard on me because he had no cell service so we couldn’t talk. I decided I would work extra shifts while he was gone since I was bored anyways, but by the end of the first week I was exhausted. I distinctly remember looking down the salad bar line at one of the other women working- a “lifer” is what we called her. Has worked there for years, and will until retirement.


I got terrified. Is that going to be me? I hate this job. That can’t be me. 


I had a minor breakdown and a co-worker took pity on me. She knew me somewhat well, she knew I was passionate about animals. She was in school, studying vet med. She was going to be a veterinary technician. She asked me if I would come tour her school. I went the next day. 


I was in awe. It was as if every puzzle piece fell into place. THIS would be my career. I registered that day. When I called Alex to tell him, he was nervous about money and that I was making a rushed decision. He asked if I was sure, I said yes, and never looked back. 

I learn more every day. The field is changing now, too. It’s very exciting.

A lot of my experience after I graduated was in wildlife rehab which I would say is a true passion, but I’m also enjoying small animal medicine.

E: Is it difficult to see how disconnected people can be from wildlife? Even pets?

Why is spay neuter important. Why is back yard breeding bad?

My county last year alone killed 2000 dogs and is going to double it this year. The shelter is over full with 400 animals and only 40 kennels

C: Yeah, it’s very difficult. Even for the pets. I’ve seen so many animals suffer because of their owners.

I could go blue in the face talking about all of the reasons to spay and neuter pets. First off, health reasons. Females who are unaltered run the risk of getting an infection in the uterus called a pyometra. Without a uterus, this doesn’t happen! There is also the risk of mammary tumors. Certain breeds are more prone to getting them, but no matter the breed, the risk is GREATLY reduced in a spayed female. And then of course there is the chance of testicular cancer in un-altered males. It’s very common. There are countless other medical risks, but those are the most common. And then there is the risk of accidental litters, as well. And as with any pregnancy, medical complications can occur. Pets who have been spayed and neutered have also been proven to live longer, especially males.

And that’s not even touching on back yard breeding, which is a subject I can go on and on and on about…The thing is, breeding should be for the betterment of a breed. Not for fun, not for showing your children “the miracle of life” (if I had a nickle…), not because you want to make more “Fluffys”. No. If I could express to you the frustration of seeing people breed their pets for fun, and the medical and behavioral problems that are passed down to the next generation…It truly breaks my heart, Ethan.

Not every pet is a good candidate for breeding, either.

There are so many test that *should* be run first. Brucellosis testing, OFA hip/elbow certification, bloodwork, genetic testing…and then being set up to make sure that the puppies are adequately cared for medically and behaviorally. Puppies need to be well socialized to a lot at a young age. Most backyard breeders have very little understanding of all of this, and are ill prepared. Money should be available for emergency C-sections, mastitis in the breast, and other complications. All of this information is true for both canines and felines.

And on top of it all, backyard breeders add to the crisis you mentioned. Thousands and thousands of animals across the nation need homes. Why add to that number?

E: They look to us to take care of them and we’re not even responsible

C: I have rescued both of my pets. Harvey is the most amazing dog, not without his problems due to being dumped at the shelter multiple times, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He is such a love. He required an ophthalmic surgery he never would have gotten at the shelter if I hadn’t rescued him. And my cat Dale came from a less than ideal situation as well.

I am lucky to know so many people who care for animals, both pets and wildlife, but the constant education to others can be really exhausting. I wish people listened.

E: Rescue pets are the best. They love you more than your own spouse. (Laughs)

C: Haha, it’s funny you say that

E: It’s true!

C: It is! Alex frequently walks in on me and Harvey cuddling and giving kisses and says I love him more

E: Simon is a rescue and he’s great. He waits in the window for me every day. 

C: I am the “ultimate resource” to my dog, just like you are to Simon. Not only do they love us, they need us. He’s such a cute dog. I love seeing his pictures, and Beagle in the City

E: He’s my best friend for life.

C: Yeah, they steal our hearts. I was making my bed yesterday and had my comforter tossed on the floor, and for a second I almost expected my childhood dog who passed away years ago to jump on it, because she used to love doing that.

E: I can’t even think about losing Simon. I don’t know how you handled that. 

C: it was tough. Oscar was the hardest I think. I miss him all the time! 

Simon is totally your companion!

E: Thank you so much for talking with me,Cora. 

C: Thank you! Maybe I wasn’t too long winded! 



Cora is a CVT. Working with shelters and clinics in Minnesota and Utah. 

Learn more about spaying and neutering 

The Humane Society 
The AVMA
And as always 

You can adopt or donate or learn more about your local rescues and  shelters Here

The one about smoking guns  

My neighbor committed suicide the other night. I heard the gunshot. I personally have never shot a gun in the heat of the night. (I think that was a tv show once. . .) 

Here’s how it started.

My wife went to bed early so Simon and I stayed up and watched the X Files. Around 10 o’clock I started to get tired. So I got ready for bed.

Then I noticed there were wet clothes in the washer. I threw them in the dryer, got a book and started to read.

 Around 10:30

I heard a loud pop 

Like a gunshot.

I waited for a scream or a thud and thought to myself  “Man, this neighbourhood sure is changing. Maybe we ought to move?”

I imagined a wife finally putting an end to her husband and his annoying habits. Or maybe it was the younger couple who fought a lot. 

I never heard anything else. No ambulance or anything. I guess I would have to wait for the smell of rotting flesh.

The next morning I was going to ask my wife if she heard it also. (Simon and her slept through the excitement.)

But first I had to fold the laundry. 

That’s when I found it. 

Shards of plastic and the head of a cigarette lighter, right there in the clean clothes.

My wife had left a lighter in her pocket and it had exploded in the dryer. 

I stomped into the room to tell her just what I thought about this situation. “Babe! I’m not mad I’m just going to show this to you and it’s important! Really important! You left a lighter in your pocket and it exploded last night in the dryer.

 I thought our neighbour had shot himself or something. You have to check your pockets. It almost gave me a heart attack!”

I wanted to be satisfied blaming my wife but then I remembered. I had washed my shirts. She had some clothes in the dryer, already finished drying. And I tossed my couple of shirts in with them and re ran the dryer. 

The lighter had already made it through a full cycle. 

I was just lazy and didn’t want to put the laundry up.

Because that’s the kind of tasks you want to do at 10pm on a Friday. Fold laundry. 

If I hadn’t been lazy, it never would’ve happened. 

But it’s such a vague and gray area. 

Who’s to know who to blame?

The one about walks 

So today I took a four hour nap. Because I’m an adult and I can do that sort of thing now. I also didn’t do the dishes. I take that back. I did do them. But then I messed them up again, because I got hungry. Adult life is so overrated. 

My wife saw me pick the Swiffer off the floor. And thanked me for sweeping. Which sounds like the type of thing I would normally do. But not today. 

I thought about taking the credit. Because you know, everyone tells you, Like in that movie with Wolverine and Meg Ryan. You can’t just tell a woman you’ve done something. They won’t believe it. They have to see it. Because they’re all about actions. So she thought I cleaned the floor. Because I was putting the swiffer away. And if she saw me closing the dish washer. She would think I just finished the dishes. Which when I first saw the film..,led me to believe that if I did all of these things anyway but she never saw it.  She would eventually divorce me stating “you never do anything!!” 

Because I was young and gullible and I also thought I knew a lot back then 

Turns out I knew NOTHING.

I walked Simon twice today. 

He’s our dog.  Believe it or not. He doesn’t talk. I wrote about burning biscuits once. And there was a line where the smoke detector goes off… 

later I fixed our smoke detector (because it was actually broken) and someone said “you lied! You said in your blog that it went off!! I can’t believe it.”

I just stared at them. Like I was being forced to watch 60 minutes or The West Wing or Spoon fed Vegemite…

“Yeah.” I said. “That’s not all I lied about though. Believe it or not. My dog Simon doesn’t actually talk.”

Speaking of Simon. We take two walks a day now. 

A lot of people say things like…

“I see you walking your dog all the time!”

Or ” I saw you and a girl walking your dog.” 

Or 

“I saw some girl walking your dog the other day.” 

Sometimes I tell the truth. Sometimes I explain that I pay someone to walk him. Or that I had just had a date but she wanted to walk my dog instead so I let her.

It’s actually my wife…

But why bore people with small details. 

The One About Showers

I’m feeling very accomplished these days. I redid our bathroom. All of those years of watching HGTV really paid off. 

I didn’t break anything or flood anyone either. We have terrible water pressure. Which is astounding. Because every time Tim The Tool man upstairs touches anything he floods us. And I just stare at all the water pouring down the walls and ceiling, in Titanic proportions, and ask myself, how does this much water flood us and our pressure suck so bad? 

But alas! We spent vacation in a hotel once and I noticed their showers had huge heads and arched curtains so it felt larger. 

We had 

Which is ok if you’re an elf. But if you’re tall like me you take a shower like Will Ferrel in Elf. Which is not good. Especially if you want to shower with your wife. 

So I went and got an arched shower rod. Adding much space. And a shower head with an extension 

Like a glorious sunflower or rainfall. Sure the pressure is still rotten but at least it falls over me and not against my knees. 

And I didn’t break anything. Or flood anyone. Which is a win for everyone. 

The one about Stranger Things

I tried to write this as humorously as possible

It’s been a crazy week hasn’t it.

Kind of makes you wish you were still in 2016 just crying everyday over a new celebrity death. 

 I mean really. I know why they could only take aerial photos of the inauguration. All the cameras were at protest rallies. 

They’re so many. 

And if it were a Democrat in office. Everyone would be whispering “shhh calm down.” To their neighbours. Because this is the kind of behaviour that gets you martial law. 

But hell 

I bet the Republican does it first .

These are crazy times 

I’m not gonna lie 

Even comedians at this point are like “I got nothing man.” 

Everything is happening so fast 

And reality is stranger than fiction 

And then they told us that there is alternative fiction – which is actually – reality. 

I thought they meant Donald Trump had published his Twitter Feed and all of those executive orders were just book signings. I swear at one point I said…

“I’ve read that one. You remember it on his marketing campaign, the one with walls and hand gestures and then those  chapters with the pussy.”

I don’t even know where to begin 

I mean honestly 

This is really happening …

You can’t get upset about everything that’s what got us into this – crying and whining and trying to please everyone – apologising

Meanwhile a mad man closed the golden gates and replaced it with a golden Tower stamped with his name 

But hey, what did his voters say? What was that? 

“He doesn’t apologise. He says what he means”  I mean there weren’t that many of them. 

But don’t tell them that. 

They only watch “Faux” News 

So they genuinely believe they had a massive,historical,huge voter and inaugural turnout 

We could probably learn something from that. Kind of like when you were in high school, and the girl went for some other guy and you were like …”but why??”

And she said ” he doesn’t apologize” we all know she felt differently years later when he hit her but still…

Forget about it 

I was homeschooled 

I was outside holding up leaves saying 

“Look what Jesus did.” 

I don’t know anything about high school 

What I’m saying is we’ve got work to do. 

The south generally likes to think of our country as a “Christian nation.” 

We’ve made great leaps 

thank you Obama 

We don’t teach “abstinence only”

In schools anymore 

And generally we all are open minded – we changed our minds about things and we all are very much progressive.

Because since when is withholding 

Information a good idea or road to understanding …

Oh yeah. Sorry EPA and Science community. You guys can just buff out these scars on the earth in four years right? Just throw some Miracle Grow  on it or something??

Yeah

I am all for rebuilding our infrastructure- it’s not like it wasn’t on Obama’s list of things to do though.  And even tuning up healthcare but hey some of these methods are insane 

Just imagine if the numbers of people who will be without healthcare-and likely die- were going to be without guns instead …

Republicans would dig up Ronald Reagan (he would be surprised by their affinity for Russia) and use his bones for witch craft. The protest would be over night. 

But guns aren’t on the table 

Just human lives 

But they’ve already been “born” so fuck them.

We’re not pro life 

Just postponed abortion 

We’ll give you 18 years and then give you a gun and send you off to war. 

Which brings us to freedom of religion 

Which also, means

Freedom from your religion 

If you want to tell me how we are a Christian only nation 

And immigrants are taking our jobs 

And it’s unsafe 

I’ll tell you your church is a cult 

Your children believe in a flat earth 

And careful, or your kid might get sex – ed  from children’s church 

But they won’t know what’s happening because hey, you just taught abstinence 

You didn’t actually give them information about their body or the science of sex 

 We’re all about going out 

Into the world 

Out there 

It’s the great commission right?

You would think at some point we would stop at the airport 

And notice the refugees 

And say

“You know what? I think it might be easier if we just stay here instead. Maybe open these gates a little wider. Help them learn English and get a job.” 

But we don’t do that 

Instead we make fun of their struggling second third or fourth language to our barely Uno 

And we campaign for a sadistic 

Racist

Sexist 

Xenophobic 

White man 

And then go to mission training programs 

Because that’s what Jesus would do…

The fact is 

We only love you 

If you stay over there 

Go back to Syria 

We don’t want your war torn hands 

On our church basketball court

We’ll send you a shoe box and a bible 

And make sure to make you pray to Jesus because that’s the most important thing 

We have a lot of learning to do 

At the end of the day 

If anything 

For the white ones of us 

We will learn 

To wake up

we have a civil duty 

We have to defend these liberties 

We can lose these 

We are a free society 

And we want you to be able to read your Muslim books on our planes 

And have a job 

And pray to whatever god you want 

Why? 

Because you become better doctors 

Better citizens 

And better scientists 

You know things that will be written 

That I need to read 

Why?

Because you CHOSE to come here 

Me?

I was just born here.

We will make it through this 

But a lot of us might not live through this 

And regardless 

Even if this is a good administration 

It won’t erase what it was run under 

And we won’t ever forget how it was defended 

And it won’t erase 

The fact that we made excuses 

For Syria 

And Syria could be any of us 

Syria doesn’t exist 

It’s gone 

There’s nothing to go back to 

In today’s climate 

Any one man government 

Can end the world for a nation 

Or the world 

Syria can be any of us 

It’s a crazy year 

And it’s just begun 

But hey 

The majority of us 

Are open minded 

Critical thinking people

And we want the best 

For everyone 

And we want them to have 

Opportunity 

And equality 

And freedom 

Because 

We are a melting pot 

We’re still here

We are living among ghosts

Standing shoulder to shoulder 

Touched by their light 

At the far reaches of the universe 

There are stars sending us light 

By the time this light reaches us 

Their stars have long since, died

But their light goes before them

And there are galaxies 

That have lived for billions of years 

Watching as we evolve 

If you measure the expanse of their light…by 6500 years…it doesn’t add up…you would extinguish space…

You are light 

You are love 

Don’t let someone’s small mind 

Extinguish who-what-you are.

Don’t let them shut the windows and the light out of your house.

This weekend 

Seven continents marched 

Hold your head up high 

Hundreds of thousands of women and men 

Stand with you 

You are on the right side of history 

And laugh it off 

If you can 

A lot of these 

Who don’t understand 

Are all about going back to an original intent 

The 50s 

But hell 

They still believe the earth is flat so why stop there

Just go all the way to the 1650s 

And they might not be able to tell a lie

But they have blank binders full of alternative facts…

And they are here to protect you from hoaxes 

Such as the EPA and Climate Change and The Globe Earth

Cry it off if you can 

Why are we marching ? 

Because you’ve only been able to vote for half a century 

And you are not protected by our constitution 

One executive order 

One mandate 

And you would lose your right to vote 

You would become once again 

Property

Because ten white men shouldn’t be able to alter your health care 

Because women’s rights are human rights 

And they can believe whatever they want 

But to look at someone else 

And pass laws against them 

Because they don’t believe the same 

That’s why we march 

keep walking forward
You are not 

An item on an agenda 

A helpmate 

Or less

You are a woman 

You are your own 

Seven continents stand with you 

History stands with you 

I stand with you. 

And we’re still here.

-Regardingsamel.com