Posted by: yogavet | January 15, 2013

Hurray for technology

So, I’ve been completely absent from this blog for nearly a year… Oh well! Not a whole lot has changed. My 30th birthday came and went. We’ve worked kind of nonstop on this practice… Finally found a place to call our own, and then found an office to call our own. Expanded technologies (digital imaging, FTW!)… and are very close to having 2 trucks on the road. I’ve found time to sing in a few choirs, and even visit my sister and nephew a few times. But nothing really has inspired me to blog about any of it.

So why am I blogging now? Say hello to my new iPad :) I got one for Christmas, and I am still figuring out how to put it to good use for my business… But in the meantime I figured I’d see how the WordPress app worked. Please forgive any typos. So, if this works out you may be hearing from me a bit more… perhaps.

Here’s a little (fuzzy) yoga love from Christmas… what do you do when you have a yogi over for Christmas, and no tree? Tree pose over the presents!

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And that concludes this iPad tour.

Posted by: yogavet | February 21, 2012

Pancake, anyone?

Today is Fat Tuesday (or “Shrove Tuesday”, which is less fun but I kind of like it better) … which means I’m one-for-two on remembering holidays this week.  Yesterday, I drove to the post office, parked in the completely empty parking lot, and walked up to the dark, locked doors in order to pull on them repeatedly in a confused fashion.  Oh, right.  President’s Day.  Is THAT why Charles Osgood was offering up all those presidential-themed stories on Sunday Morning this weekend?  Riiiight.

In keeping with our completely puritan lifestyle as of late (wait, did Puritans drink beer?  Okay, not entirely Puritan…) tonight’s festivities include: eating leftover spaghetti and meatballs, and watching TV.  (Puritans probably also did not watch TV, as it had not been invented yet.  Okay, scratch the whole Puritan thing.)  And I will probably try to think of something to give up for Lent, which I have not successfully done since college.  Last year, I resolved to meditate every day for Lent, which I did not do more than three times…  Hmm.  Decisions.  Anyway, it’s sizing up to be a pretty mundane Mardis Gras for this little household.  That’s alright.

I should have made pancakes for breakfast… perhaps there’s still time.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!  ;-)

 

 

Posted by: yogavet | February 15, 2012

Opening a practice 101

A little over six months ago (okay, exactly six and a half months ago, to the day, but who’s keeping track?) Matt and I opened this little operation that has been consuming our every thought for the better part of the past year.  Then we stared at the phone for a while…. “RING!”, which it eventually did.  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, and it’s not even close to being “settled” yet.  But still, it seems like we’ve come a long way in a short time… so I got to thinking about the things we’ve learned so far:

1.  The internet is kind of amazing.  In a crazy, sometimes scary sort of way.  We started right off the bat with a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.  Our first emergency call was from a woman who found us on Facebook.  We hadn’t even opened yet – unfortunately, we were still in NY.  (Thereafter, we made the disclaimer “OPENING AUGUST 1st” a bit larger…)  The other day, we got a call from a woman with a dog she wanted ultrasounded for pregnancy… we had a discounted rate for mare ultrasounds for the month of February, and she’d found us on Google.  (We didn’t think to make the ad specific for equine ultrasound… so we did it, and gave her the discount – creativity wins!)  Once, we wrote a blog on a new equine drug for Cushing’s Disease, and tweeted it to the universe… it ended up on Equus.  (You’re welcome to read it here, if you’re interested.)  Really, internets?  :-)  Awesome.

Do you know how Search Engine Optimization works?  I don’t really either, but Matt’s working on it.  Basically, there are all these programs that “crawl” over your website, and the rest of the internet, trying to find out what’s on your website, and how “informative” it is for people searching for that exact information.  The more times other people link to your website, the more “official” and “informative” the content is perceived to be by these programs, and the more likely someone will find it in a search.  And there are very specific things you can do to make the programs “like” your website, and promote it.  (Sincere apologies to any real SEO people out there reading this, including my sister…)  So, SEO is super important if you want to be “Google-able”.  Which we do.

Anyway, there are people out there you can hire to figure out all this internet stuff, but we’re do-it-yourselfers (read: we don’t have the money to hire someone to do this stuff for us…).  So we are learning all about the wild world of the internet.  And it’s a jungle out there, friends.

2.  I actually like accounting.  This is going to come as a huge shock to anyone I went to college with, since I spent all 4 years running away from any “social science” that had anything to do with money.  Econ?  Accounting?  No, no.  Give me archeology, social psych.  But when I actually had to do it, it’s not so bad.  We bought Quickbooks (on the advice of our CPA, who also graciously gave me a crash course in how to use it), and I promptly spent two days entering every single receipt we had collected over the start-up.  And it was fun.  I know, I know.  It’s the obsessive-compulsive in me.

3.  You need a red light in a dark room so you can see while developing film.  But not just any red light.  I’m a little ashamed to admit this one.  But, who thinks of these things?  In a world where most things are digital (and digital things are expensive, and you are poor…) we had to relearn some things in order to use our regular old “plain film” radiograph processor.  We understood the concept behind a darkroom, having worked in more than a few before.  So Matt built a beautiful dark room in the basement.  Not a crack of light comes into that baby.  (Anyone who knows Matt at all is not surprised by this.)  But, to see enough to develop film, you need some light.  Specifically, you need a red light.  The lights are red because that wavelength is not absorbed into the film, and doesn’t expose it before you can get it into the processor.  Great.  But in any darkroom we had ever worked in, the red light is just there.  Where do you buy one?  ::shrug::  So we went to Home Depot, and they had a red light.  It happened to say “Mood Lite” on it, but we figured, it’s RED, so it’s worth a shot.  We took a few test shots, and developed them in our new little darkroom.  They came out BLACK.  As in, completely overexposed.  Hmm.  Surely our technique wasn’t off by that much.  Ever the scientist, Matt took a few more test shots, then developed them in complete darkness.  They came out fine.  Woops!  Turns out, you can buy a special red light made just for darkrooms on the internet (see #1).  Unfortunately, it’s WAY more expensive than the one from Home Depot.  Oh well.

4.  GoogleVoice is the answer to all your answering-service woes.  (See #1).  I’m kind of afraid to share this one, too, but mostly because my deep-seated fear is that Google is going to figure out how amazing this service is, and start charging for it.  GoogleVoice lets you set up a phone number which exists only on the internet, which can be forwarded to any number(s) you want.  The number can have its own voicemail message.  When someone calls it, it will ring to the phone(s) it’s forwarded to, and you have the option of answering it, or sending it straight to voicemail.  Once someone leaves a message, you get a text message transcript, an emailed transcript, however you want to set it up.  Did I mention it’s free?  Yeah… Score 529 for the internet.

5.  Amazon.com can sell drugs almost cheaper than I can buy them from a distributer.  There is something wrong with this picture.  I didn’t actually learn this recently, but it was cemented the other day.  We don’t order a lot of small animal medications, but sometimes we do order Heartguard or Cosequin for people (okay, mostly family so far).  The other day I ordered Cosequin for my mom’s dog, and sold it to her for my cost.  She searched online and found it for $2 more than that.  So much for a good deal!  Obviously these companies are making a profit, so they must be getting the drug for much lower than I can.  What gives?  Pretty soon you’re going to have vets not carry any medications, script everything out to pharmacies, and charging more for services just to make ends meet.  It’s a whole ‘nother blog topic, probably.  But it gets me peeved.

Alright, I think that’s all the tidbits my tired brain can come up with.  Time for sleep, and cuddling with kittens, for tomorrow is another day (and rumor has it, we get to play with the new Powerfloat tomorrow morning!  Hurray for dentistry!)

Posted by: yogavet | February 9, 2012

Blessings

Life is kind of hard right now.  This whole start-a-business-from-scratch thing is not easy.  Money’s tight, and the stress level is high.  Our families have been amazing at helping us out, keeping a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.  Being a fairly independent (and, okay, I’ll admit it, *occasionally* stubborn) person by nature, relying on other people can sometimes make me… grumpy?  Anxious?  Claustrophobic?  So I’m trying my best to relax into it, accept the blessings and support I’m being given, and let each day come as it will.

So, I got to thinking about blessings.  “Count your blessings” is a old adage popular with motherly types everywhere, but I really think it’s a good thing to do.  Not just in an abstract way, off-handedly thinking “wow, I’m really blessed”, but actually number them.  Consider them individually.

Here are my blessings:

1.  My family.  I come from a group of absolutely crazy people, who love me without question.  My extended family is wild and wonderful.  My mother and sister are some of the most amazing (and funny) women I know.  My father works his butt off (to put said roof over heads and food in bellies).  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins too numerous to count… I’m blessed.

2.  My nephew.  I consider him separately from the rest of the family, because hey, he’s the newest and also the cutest.  This kid is so amazing.  I could stare at him all day.  Love.

3.  My boyfriend.  Life partner?  Hehe.  My rock in this crazy storm.  He can make me laugh, he lets me cry when I need to (hey, everybody needs to sometimes), he tells me what I need to hear even when I don’t want to hear it.  He’s awesome.

4.  My home.  Okay, even if it’s temporary… I’m currently living on the edge of a beautiful lake, surrounded by state forest.  Yes, the house is small for the 4 people (and 2 dogs and 2 cats!) who are currently smooshed in here.  But if it feels claustrophobic, I can always look at that huge sky, and it feels less so.

5.  My career.  I am literally doing exactly what I wanted to do when I was a little girl.  Sometimes, when I’m covered in blood and/or manure and/or lube, or mucking around in the cold mud, that little bit of knowledge still makes me smile.  I get to travel around, see the country-side, and meet horses and horse-people every day.  I help horses live a more comfortable and healthy life.  It’s pretty amazing, when I actually sit down and think about it.

6.  My cats.  These guys can always make me smile.  The other day, I found Fitz climbed up on a bookshelf, gnawing on a mounted fish on the wall.  Seriously, how can you not just laugh?

7.  My health.  I’m overall pretty healthy.  My body’s strong.  I might sometimes wish for a few less pounds, or a small jeans size, or whatever, but when it comes right down to it, I can’t complain.  This body serves me well, and it’s strong enough to stand up to the physical abuse my career and hobbies damand of it.  Which is saying something!

8.  My faith.  Like anything, my faith is a work in progress.  The more I study, the more I discover that my faith is a lot less about rigid rules, and more about just goodness and love.  In the words of Glennon from Momastery, “I only know two things to be true: (1) I am God’s beloved child. (2) So is everyone else.”

9. Yoga.  I’ve been “off the wagon” for a bit now, and not practicing routinely, mostly because I’ve been working out at a gym with a routine set out by a trainer (which I still manage to yoga-fy by busting out a Tree pose on a Bosu ball now and then…), but in general, yoga has taught me so many things… How to “stay” when the situation gets hard.  How to put aside discomfort.  How to clear my mind and disregard distractions.  All kind of helpful when, say, you’re practically standing on your head trying to sew up a laceration in freezing cold conditions!

10.  My friends.  I’m not the easiest person to be friends with.  I don’t call as often as I should, my career distracts me and I forget birthdays… But somehow, I’ve managed to keep some amazing people in my life.  Friends who don’t mind a late-night text message asking “omg what is going on with this DOG???”.  Friends who, at the drop of a hat, when my scatter-brain remembers to call them and tell them “Oh yeah, I’m going to be travelling across the country in like 3 days, do you have time to hang out?”, rearrange their schedule so we can visit.  I’m not sure why they put up with me  :-)  But I’m pretty glad they do.

Okay, that’s a good list.  10 big blessings to be thankful for.  I’m a lucky girl.  :-)

Posted by: yogavet | February 4, 2012

Long time no see…

Um, you may have noticed that I have been absent from this blog for a little while.  Alright, almost a year.  That’s kind of what happens when you throw all your energy at one thing – other things in your life take a backseat.

To quote my favorite fictional swordsman: “Let me explain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.”  (I’m pretty sure I’ve used that quote before.)

In May 2011, as fuel prices continued to climb, I sold my wonderful little VW GLI for a very handsome gas-guzzling Ford Explorer.  We bought all of the used veterinary equipment from the retiring vet in Maine, and started stockpiling it in Connecticut.  I finished out my contract with my old clinic, and in July we prepared to move yet again.  We sold almost everything at an epic yardsale, and packed up what was left into a little trailer.  August 1st (the birthday of both my sister and best friend), we officially opened for business at Twin Pines Equine.

Since August, we have been slowly but surely building up this practice.  In a business where word of mouth is everything, it can be a little slow to start from scratch.  But we’re getting there.  It’s taking great patience, determination and a good dose of humility.  We’re learning so much along the way… about business, about life, about ourselves.

So if you’re missing me on this here blog, I apologize.  Visit me at the other blog I co-write with Matt, which is a little more professional and a lot less sporadic.  ;-)

And in the meantime… namaste.

Posted by: yogavet | May 25, 2011

leaving on a jet plane

Whew!  Matt and I were up at the crack of dawn this morning to get him on a plane to Portland, Maine…  he’s off to check out a retiring vet’s entire inventory of equipement – SUV insert, ultrasounds, x-ray generator, dentistry equipement, all of it.  If it all checks out, he’s going to put a deposit on it and drive to CT with this vet, his truck and all the equipment (at which point this poor unsuspecting fellow will be subjected to my parents, and Maya, and Jack Attack.  oh dear… )  The next day this vet will drive his truck back to Maine, and Matt will head out to some CT banks to continue to beg, er, ask for a loan so that we can afford the equipment we just put a deposit on.  Weee!  Nothing like flying by the seat of your pants!

And, while all this fun is going on, I will be home in NY… because somebody has to pay the bills!  I have a to-do list a mile long, so it shouldn’t be hard to keep busy.  And I have really cute kittens to snuggle with, of course  :-)

That is, if I can keep them away from the windows…

Posted by: yogavet | May 11, 2011

Federal hopscotch

Oh, government agencies, how I love thee. 

Jumping through lots of hoops on our way to getting this business off the ground.  The first hurdle:  Getting our tax ID number.   We got the paperwork in for our LLP last week, and had been checking with our accountant’s office daily to find out this very vital number.  No tax ID number means no business bank account, no loan money, no financing of any kind.  Turns out, the website that provides these numbers has been down for the past 7 days or so.  There is apparently no other way to get these numbers (talk to a real person?  what??).  Fun times!  So, we finally got our number yesterday.  We cracked a bottle of “champagne” (sparkling white wine from Casa Larga, a local winery) to celebrate the officialness of our business.  :-)

Another fun little nuance of the government: DEA registration numbers (which allow us to prescribe controlled substances, a fairly important thing for an equine vet) are only good for one state at a time.  This means that our little idea of having a practice on the border of CT and RI, and serving both states, will not only require us to be licensed in both states, and pay the extra fee in each state to HOLD a DEA registration number, but we will also have to have a separate DEA number for each state.  If this doesn’t seem supremely silly to you, please keep in mind that the DEA is a federal organization.  It’s okay, we didn’t need that extra $1,100 anyway… 

In other news, we are planning on trading in my little VW tonight for a practice vehicle.  Gas prices as they are, we’re probably the only people on the planet who are trading in a nice little fuel-efficient car for a gas-guzzling SUV.  Oh well.  I’ll miss the VW, it’s been good to me, it’s super fun to drive and I’ve never owned a different brand of car.  But it’s time. 

Time to get moving on this beautiful morning, get to work and vaccinate some horses.  And send in the paperwork for my CT license, and….

Posted by: yogavet | May 8, 2011

An announcement

Well, I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for an extended period, yet again.  And yet again, I’m claiming to have a good excuse.   :-P  But this time, I mean it.  You see, every spare minute this winter and early spring has been dedicated to working on a business plan… for a new veterinary practice! 

Yes, that’s right.  Matt and I have taken the first big steps towards becoming small business owners.  The business plan is written, the partnership is being formed.  The logo and the website are in progress.  We are now (or will be, once the papers go through), “Twin Pines Equine Veterinary Services, LLP”.  Twin Pines Equine for short.  Or just TPE, which is how we’ve abbreviated it on every “To Do” list littering our house. 

Our (in progress) logo:

We plan to open for business August 1st, in SE Connecticut and Rhode Island.  It’s exciting, terrifying and completely overwhelming.  But it’s happening, and that’s more than I could say a few months ago. 

Why oh why would we do this to ourselves?  Ah, the funny little nuances of life.  Veterinarians are an odd bunch, and we tend to be drawn to our own kind.  Thus, veterinarians tend to date/fall in love with/marry other veterinarians.  It kind of makes sense; we work like crazy, so our social network is usually limited to people in the same field.  Also, who else but another veterinarian would want to talk about that cool abscess you ruptured today during dinner? 

Anyway, Matt and I found ourselves as two equine veterinarians in a relationship, looking for jobs in the same location.  Against all odds, we found them last year, in Western NY.  It turned out to be too good to be true, unfortunately.  Matt’s position at the racetrack was not to last, for many reasons.  So, the search continued.  Turns out, there really aren’t two good jobs for equine vets in the same area.  What to do?  Create them, that’s what. 

So, back home I go.  Back to the little state of Connecticut, where it all started.  Where I grew up as the daughter of another small business owner, who tried as he might to teach me something of the world of business, even though I continually resisted (But thanks, Dad, for trying – I think some of it may have stuck!).  Back to little towns, and Pony Clubs, and horses tucked into backyards all over the place.  To become settled, and established, like real adults.  And hopefully do something of value. 

And if I can spend a little time kayaking some flat water, that’ll be okay too. 

Posted by: yogavet | January 30, 2011

Baking bread= yoga for the kitchen

I got a new cookbook for Christmas.  I’ve been getting more into bread baking, and I was looking for a book that would teach me more of the ins-and-outs of the craft.  I wanted to make great bread, by hand, intuitively. 

My mother found this book:  “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”, by Peter Reinhart.  Oh. My. God.  First of all, he goes on for like 50 pages explaining the science of bread… perfect for a nerd like me.  He also is BIG into “pre-ferments”, or part of the dough which is fermented ahead of time with a small amount of yeast, and usually delayed in the refridgerator to get more of the flavor out of the starch.  I’ve already experimented some with sourdough, so I appreciate the effect of mixing in a tasty bit of older dough.  (He’s got a whole section on sourdough that I haven’t even gotten into yet…)

The first bread I made was the basic white sandwich bread.  No muss, no fuss.  It does involve a “sponge” (a liquidy pre-ferment that you make with a small amount of yeast, flour and water, and allow it to ferment at room temperature until it gets HUGE and foamy, then mix it in with the rest of the ingredients), and a bit of egg and honey, but all in all, pretty basic.  It was awesome.  I’ve made it again since then, and for sandwich bread, it can’t be beat. 

Then there were the cinnamin rolls… oh lord…

I did bring more than half of these to work with me (Matt and I don’t need all those!) and they quickly disappeared.  But man.  Cinnabun ain’t got nothin’ on these.

But this weekend I may have outdone myself.  I decided it was time to tackle bagels.  As my sister puts it, “I’ve never met anyone who makes their own bagels.”  Which is exactly why I wanted to.  Demystifying food is my favorite thing to do.  I’ve made my own pickles and butter… time to try my hand at bagels!

Turns out, it’s so worth it.  These were real “water” bagels, meaning they were made with a really stiff dough, they sat overnight in the fridge for a long, cold fermentation, and then they were boiled before they were baked.  Lord have mercy.  These bagels, just cooled from the oven, and slathered with just a little butter (don’t even try putting fake butter on these puppies… that would be sacrilege)… it really doesn’t get any better.

So why all the fuss?  Of course, the thrill of making something from scratch that seems like only “professionals” should be making is pretty cool.  But mostly I love the “zen” of making bread.  I’ve heard it described as “yoga for the kitchen”, which I think is perfect.  You can’t rush kneading the bread, and it’s a physical, repeatative act that’s almost medative.  The fact that it tastes flippin’ amazing ain’t bad either.  :-)

Now I’m off to knead a batch of french bread, while the boy pulverizes black peppercorns for Steak au Poivre.  We sound so civilized, huh?  Don’t be fooled…

Posted by: yogavet | January 18, 2011

Sunshine on my shoulders

Okay, I’ll go back to Florida now. 

Dropped off the face of the earth again, but this time it was for a good reason.  I took some time off and travelled around a bit, visiting with family.  One of the nice things about being in my crazy little family is that 89% of my extended family lives someplace warm.  Specifically, most live in about a 20 mile radius around Port St. Lucie, Florida.  This is not where we are “from”, mind you.  My grandparents (both sets) moved there ages ago, and most of my aunts and uncles followed them down gradually.  So now I have a good excuse to enjoy warm weather in the middle of January… and of course get a dose of my grandma’s famous spaghetti.  Mmmm. 

But, now back to reality.  Back to work in the cold, frozen tundra.  I had a nice welcome back present of the truck refusing to start on Monday morning.  Of course, I can’t blame it.  It’s an old diesel that has trouble starting on a good day, and it was… -1 degrees.  Farenheit.  Not a happy truck!  I loaded up Matt’s Jeep and took it to my appointments.  Fortunately it warmed up enough today (up to 44!  Heat wave!) that we were able to get it started, and I drove it back to the clinic where it will live for the rest of the winter.  Boo.  This makes being on call extra adventurous, since I’ll have to drive to the clinic to pick up the vehicle if I get an emergency call.   Ah, well. 

In other news, we are now in the possession of one lovely little space heater, which is currently warming my toes as I type.  Much love to the space heater, and the boy who picked it up today… I guess he was tired of watching me huddle under 3 blankets while wearing a scarf and mittens.  Okay, I’m kidding about the mittens…

Time to cook some dinner and hunker down for the next cold snap… it’s supposed to get down to the single digits again this week.  How many weeks until spring?  :-P

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