Big Miss Steak…..Cut Your Meat, Chew A Lot and Eat Slowly!

We humans make some big mistakes. It’s those misguided or wrong actions or judgments that range from simple to complex that can cause alarm and then when understood and corrected can turn into an unforgettable learning experience.

My family and a couple of the kid’s friends had Florida travel plans this month to visit my mom and her new husband; and my sister too. Disney was in the works and a lot of beach time was in mind.

We were ready to board the plane…in fact most passengers had already boarded, when I heard over the intercom something to the effect of “stop boarding.” I then witnessed passengers I watched moving into the plane’s bridge walk back out with their carry-ons in tow; and thought “oh no, no, no, this doesn’t seem right.”

After all passengers were back in the boarding area, the announcement came on that the plane had been hit by the baggage handling cart causing a hole in the fuselage and we would not be flying. I listened to several passengers give their theories…and some actually felt the impact from the baggage cart when it hit the plane on the side. Wow.

The flight was canceled….after being at the airport patiently waiting to board for 3 hours because no rescue plane could be found.  Many passengers were grumbly and we figured someone at the airport probably got fired. I watched with fascination through the terminal window as the plane was being inspected, even the pilots were taking pictures! 

Being a Saturday evening, this was the last flight of the week (until Thursday, can you read into what airline I’m referring to?). Although there were some options for our travel the next week, none would have worked out for each of our schedules. No vacation in Florida. No Disney for the kids, no beach for me…and I even packed four bikinis!, no seeing our friends and family, no nothing….and all the energy involved in the planning of the trip, down the tubes.

I really just wanted to get out of the airport and back home. looked at this experience with the family as practice however, because we’ll be doing it again! Plus I learned how to pack more efficiently and know I can take food on this airline! 

But, in this airport case, how the heck did a human driver hit a huge airplane with a small golf cart and seriously damage it?

This was A Big Mistake affecting a lot of people! Of course my mind went into litigation thinking as there will probably be some lawsuit for any reason. Good thing no one was injured; and hopefully those who really needed to get to Florida ASAP got there without too much anguish.

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You’re Fired!!

When my son Jacob, now 22, was young, he used to love to repeat You’re Fired! You’re Fired! You’re Fired! over and over.  I really never had any idea who he was firing, but he did a lot of it! Jacob was fond of Charizard, of the Fire/Flying Pokemon species, maybe that’s why he was fond of the phrase? Are you? Have you ever been fired? Have you had to fire someone? Did you learn from it?

Okay, here’s one (of my own mistakes) about me as I was getting ready for the Florida trip. As I considered what to take as a carry-on (free on this airline), I decided upon a smaller purple suitcase with wheels I’ve used before….and as I was packing it I felt something lodged at the bottom.  Upon retrieval, I found a maroon jewelry box and opened it.

Wrapped up nicely in tissue was my diamond tennis bracelet!  Being missing for over a year, I had seriously thought it was lost for good. Okay this Big Miss Steak wasn’t so bad, and I hope I learned my lesson.  There was another time time I was stopped at airport security because a pocket knife was found buried inside an unknown ripped seam inside my little purse. Swiss Army Knife Clip ArtOops. 

I strive to be extremely careful with my work, especially with my writing skills. However typos do arise and I’ve been known to unfortunately miss my own (but for some reason other’s typos glare at me.) But Big Miss Steaks…like negligence when it comes to a patient’s health care, is something I can help with. Keep in mind I am a vegetarian and have not eaten steak in well over 6 years (although I can’t deny the great smell!) 

I’ve recently worked on a medical malpractice case; and in this case the patient died, however my role/goal was to perform a vocational evaluation and assess his earning capacity had he not died in such a short period of time. For more information on my work in this case and how I followed basically the same methodology as other evalutions, please contact me. 

Image result for big miss steakYes everyone makes mistakes and everyone needs to be careful. I’m not saying eating steak is a mistake, but I agree becoming a vegetarian is a big missed steak! To each their own, just be sure you cut your meat carefully, chew a lot, and eat slowly!

 

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

My Shoulder is Nearly Healed…In Time for Helping Out with New Work Comp Laws!

At the beginning of the year 2017, I injured my left rotator cuff. I believe the tear was formed during a combination of activity, but I’m not entirely sure what happened.  It took the shoulder a long time to heal and it affected my physical capacity for more than five months.

The first six months are critical to any injured body part that wants to heal. Proper care, nutrition, stretching, exercise and relaxation are essential components of rehabilitation.  A “don’t give up attitude” is too. I can relate to the limited movement, the pain, and the frustration from the rotator cuff injury!

What’s good is that my shoulder (along with my arms and entire core) is much stronger than before because, well simply put, I care about my shoulders and exercise with purpose so they can work hard for me! 

I was offline for maintenance, but I’m back and stronger than ever!

They’re your only shoulders, all yours. If there’s injury, please do everything possible allowing it to heal on its’ own.  

I seriously believe practicing yoga/focused stretching is valuable during any healing process. But what happens when a shoulder injury becomes chronic after 6 months? If surgery is performed, it’s even more paramount to pay attention to rehabilitation efforts. 

Rehabilitation includes body and mind. Speaking of mind, I am grateful to hear of the new change in the Iowa workers’ compensation law to provide workers who have a serious shoulder injury and can no longer return to their existing job with vocational rehabilitation benefits. After July 1, 2017, if in the workers’ compensation system for a shoulder injury, the individual will receive assistance with gaining knowledge through training at a local community college…and we have good ones here in Iowa!

Also in January of this year 2017,  I worked with a vocational rehabilitation client through this same scenario.  The client had a serious rotator cuff injury with multiple surgeries to his shoulder and wasn’t expected to be able to return to his job as a roofer. He expressed interest in work as a heavy machine operator, so upon research and contact with local resources, I prepared an in-depth report to support my findings to help him move into a new career. Please let me know if (after July 1, 2017) you have a need on a case involving a shoulder injury as this information is fresh!

Gerald the Cat…Studious, Quick and Very Orange & Very Cool!

“Iowa’s workers’ compensation law will be changing significantly for injuries that occur after July 1, 2017. 

Shoulders (85.34)   Shoulder injuries are no longer considered industrial disabilities and are now categorized as scheduled member injury based off of 400 weeks.

Shoulder Rehabilitation (85.70)  An employee who has sustained an injury to the shoulder resulting in PPD who cannot return to gainful employment because of the disability, now has the right to be evaluated by the department of workforce development, and if deemed appropriate, referred to an area community college to receive new career vocational training. The employer or the employer’s insurer is required to pay financial support for participation in the program up to $15,000 for tuition, fees, and required supplies.”

Nice Biceps!

Please let me know if you have a need for a vocational expert like me to help. I have lots of experience helping Veterans with returning to school so they can then commence with a new career. Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon!

I enjoy using cool cats to support my work!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Time for Spring Break! Patience and Perseverance Continue to Dominate!

There’s not much growing in our back yard but crocus which tells me its Spring Break. Nothing’s growing because 1) the dog loves the backyard and has many a good day carrying on in her canine best; and 2) the very large shag bark tree.

  A very, very large shag bark…

I know someday the back yard will look much better and all I can do now is take care of it as best as  I can. Read: don’t complain about the never ending picking up mounds of dog poop and the millions of sticks, branches and pieces of bark. Okay millions could be an exaggeration, but not when you count how long that tree’s lived back there. And someday it won’t.

Crocus

CrocusI love crocus!

I believe patience and perseverance are the best qualities in a person and a beautiful flower! All will come when it is supposed to. Nothing can, could or will or would ever change this.

It’s impossible to embrace progress without patience and perseverance. In my work, I learn to keep keeping on until it all makes sense! I work until things click, click and then click until it sticks. I’m able to find comfort in what I’m doing now and can find that the powers-that-be will grace me with accomplishment then. What matters to me is finding happiness and success in your everyday life!CrocusImage result for crocusImage result for crocus

Crocus

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

 John Quincy Adams quotes (American 6th US President (1825-29), eldest son of John Adams, 2nd US president. 17671848)

successI hope you have a safe and enjoyable Spring Break! If you’re going on a road trip, feel free to take this map along!

Success is Found After Driving Safely through Patience, Dreamland, Hard Work & Perseverance (Hopefully you didn’t end up in Pain!

 

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

 

Yoga Yogi to the Rescue…What’s Your Favorite Pose? Helping Myself to Help Others!

I’m a strong proponent for practicing yoga as a form of complementary and alternative therapy.  Well, for me, I practice yoga to relax and rejuvenate thee ole’ muscles after strenuous physical activity.  Yoga is great to reduce stress, strengthen and tone your body, and increase your flexibility.  What I really love about yoga is you can do it right in your living room!

Yoga Yogi to the Rescue!

I practice many yoga moves and have been practicing since fall 2010.  My favorite yoga poses include those I can describe as fire hydrants, salute to the sun, shoulder stand, t balance, triangle, mermaid, spider, butterfly, fish, tortoise, camel,  gliding swan, kneeling dolphin, pigeon…….I could go on and on! But for my ultimate vote I’d recommend Sun Salutation!

The Sun Salutation (or salute to the sun) is an incredible move that stretches ligaments and muscles to increase the elasticity of the vertebral column and joints. It’s actually a series of 12 yoga moves performed in a single, graceful flow.

Sun Salutation

Yoga has helped my mind, body and soul in many, many ways! Thank you Noreen Gosch, for being my first excellent yoga instructor.  She teaches through the Des Moines Community Education Program and I highly recommend any course, whether exercise related or not, that catches your interest!

Yes, it’s time to roll out my mat!

Keep in mind there are many variations of yoga! Many poses provide a wonderful stretch for the entire length of the body. Like the crocodile pose! Be sure to try the horse posture, it works on the outer thigh/hip pocket area ~ yea the saddle bags; and the reclining warrior, excellent for stretching the thighs and strengthening back muscles….and…and…and….oh I love Yoga!

As on update to this blog posting, (which is an evergreen one in my eyes), I recently (July 2016) obtained a dream goal, which was to lead a yoga class! Hum, a calling? No, I just want to share my gifts with others. And I want to make myself as good as I can be do help others (BTW, I love healing touch too!)

If you’d like to discuss the benefits of yoga, or any therapy that catches your interest, let me know. I guarantee if you practice any form of yoga that works for your body, you will be in a better state.

Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP * Vocational Resources Plus, LLC 

lcpresourcesplus.com

VocResourcesPlus@gmail.com

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

How My Past has Brought Me to The Present – as a Rehab Counselor! Part 4

My story leading up to my career as a rehabilitation counselor who focuses on job placement continues!

Many of my first jobs in the big city of Des Moines, Iowa were secured through temporary staffing agencies.  I find the benefit of staffing agencies invaluable! From a personal perspective, working for a staffing agency really helped me to develop my career. Here’s a link to an article of the benefits of staffing agencies from a business point of view.

The View Wasn’t Quite Like This When I Started as  Kelly Girl!

Specifically, at this time in my life in 1984-85, I started employment through Kelly Services.  I worked at many businesses, mostly in downtown Des Moines, but also at businesses in other areas of the city for about a year. I worked around a variety of people, and in diverse environments. It was great!

The clerical skills I used (and greatly enhanced on the job) to help these companies included ~ 95 words per minute typing speed, (can’t quite reach that speed anymore!), reception responsibilities such as greeting clientele, answering phones, taking messages, filing, and other general secretarial office procedures. Again, it was great!

To name a few of my assignments from memory (come on little computer in thy brain):  American Can, The Embassy Club, Chamberlin Kirke-Van Orsdel, Sears Credit Card, Younkers Department Store (in the Marketing Department). Besides the tragedy, this is another reason why I shed a tear over the Younkers fire in March 2014…

Image result for many jobs I loved my temporary clerical jobs!

While working for Kelly Services as a temp during the day, I also worked part-time at the Target Café on the weekends (when the Target was on Fleur Drive).  I catered to all the hungry shopper’s food needs.  I made pizzas, pretzels, popcorn, nachos, sandwiches, chicken tenders, fries, and the rest of the snack bar options.  It was a nice job to have. And I never left hungry! At that time, I also lived right across Fleur in an apartment with my sister Janice, so I just walked to and from work!

Additionally during this time period in my life, in the evening I worked on the top floor of the Federal Building for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  (I remember watching the construction of The Plaza across 3rd Street…which was completed in November of 1985) After receiving on-the-job training, I called farmers and asked specific questions about crops and livestock, while entering codes and farmer responses into the computer. It was an interesting job to have! Data entry was valuable, as was good communication skills.

I’ll never forget one farmer, who upon listening to my introduction replied “I’m sleeping.”  I appreciated his ability to sleep and talk….and respected his underlying wishes (and politely wished him good night – it was like 8:00pm, and hung up…farmers=hard-workers.)  Because of my direct experience with telemarketing in a call center environment, I have insight into the nature of work as a telemarketer and its business value.  In other words, it’s a viable occupation and the person on the other end simply has job to do.  Please respect that.

Work as a telemarketer requires excellent communication skills

In 1986, I applied and was hired at Mercy Medical Center as a correspondence clerk.  The medical records clerk job description is very important to healthcare. Click here for a job description for medical records clerk.  Commonly a medical records clerk needs an associate level college degree.

I was hired at Mercy because of my nursing background, my knowledge of medical terminology and the courses I completed in anatomy and physiology, as well as my clerical abilities.  At this job, I worked days (the medical records department was a 24/7 operation). Each day, the phones were incessant with callers wanting medical records and the incoming mail filled with correspondence from patients, doctors and other medical facilities requesting records.  Oh, and the back log – stacked to the ceiling in my supervisor’s office…

My work as a correspondence clerk was a lot!  After opening the mail, I logged everything in.  Then, I had to locate the medical record file.  The storage area containing medical records was vast as was the sheer size of some of the files.  There was a lot of paperwork, nursing notes, testing results, surgical records…on and on and on.  At times the record was on microfiche, which required visiting the basement to locate boxes near the (aahhhh) morgue.

After locating and retrieving the file (which involved accuracy and a check and balance process), the contents of the file were reviewed, the information that was requested was clipped and copied.

Image result for copy machine cartoon To this day a bit of animosity to large copy machines remains within. 

Then the requested information was prepared, a cover letter attached, and mailed, faxed, or delivered via internal mail procedures.  Again, a lot of documentation of what was done and to who, oh and how much was charged.

One day, I learned about the availability of civil service tests to work for the government.  So, I took a test or two or three, did well, and applied with the State of Iowa.  I was hired as a Clerk Typist III-IV for the State of Iowa at the Bureau of Disability Determination Services (DDSB) in the Department of Education.

At that time DDSB was located in the Jessie Parker Building, 510 East 12th Street, Des Moines.  I have lots of good memories, met many friends  (I love you Chele Ridout!), and learned a lot about work and disability.

As I blog through time and space both forward and backward, I have no idea how many parts this story will go!  I hope you enjoy it.  Please provide me with feedback or comments.  I love to learn about what people do with their skills and abilities!

More to come, please stay tuned for Part 5.

Initial publication date: December 12, 2011

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Why I Got Into Rehab Counseling….I Love Placement and Life, Too! – Part 3

HERE IS MY STORY, continued oN – Part 3

To understand my passion for job placement (and caring for others!), I’ve blogged about my former jobs and learning experiences.  This helps me (but I do feel kinda old going waaaayy back in time) look at a variety of occupations from a unique advantage.  Thank you for reading….and continue on!

In June of 1983, I enrolled at North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City, Iowa  and took practical nursing coursework.   Here is a list of the coursework along with the everyday tasks in a Licensed Practical Nurse Career.

NIACC, known at times as Tinker Toy College!

While at NIACC, I lived in the dorms. Yes, many interesting stories in my memory bank! I recently visited campus and my room looks exactly the same (read outdated)!  It was cool to walk around the campus and relive some memories : ) .  The dorms are on one side with a path across a lake (read waaaayy  COLD in the winter) leading on to the classroom buildings.  When not taking campus courses, we were doing practicums at the hospital or at a nursing facility.

The hospital training was at Mercy Medical Center North Iowa.  Keep in mind it’s a bit of a driving trek from the NIACC side of Mason to the hospital. I remember one extra cold morning (aren’t they all!).  I went out to the parking lot carefully, it’s dark, windy, icey and cold. Brrr. There’s my little blue car (a Plymouth Champ – fondly called Chump). The Chump was frozen solid in the dorm parking lot. Originally Chump was my mom‘s car, and I eventually acquired her and drove many a trip back and forth from Iowa Falls to Mason City, mostly on Highway 65.

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The Chump, she had a 5 speed stick shift and a sun/moon roof!

I had to go back into the dorms and locate help! Hey, don’t forgot how butt cold I would’ve been, and am right now just thinking about the cold. BTW, I have Raynaud’s syndrome, probably related to this day!?! No, there have been many many times growing up in Northern Iowa for a young lady to freeze her arss off!

I found help from a maintenance worker to unfreeze the locks, and ultimately I ended up going through the hatchback of the care (not the first time this would happen in my lifetime!)  I was wearing my light weight nursing uniform (coat too of course) and it wouldn’t been either a dress or top with linen pants). BTW: The average temperature in Mason City (population 28,000) is like 15°F in January! I’m pretty sure I had a fellow nursing student with me and we made it to the hospital for our clinical practicum on time which was 6:30 AM, or close to it! Our class had two males in it; and I’m curious what they’re up to so many years later.

Another update from Amy and hey, this is a great result from my decision to revise/repost some older writing material!  FYI: Mason City, Iowa, boasts the largest collection of Prairie School architecture outside Chicago.  A local non-profit organization, Wright on the Park, Inc. has information for me to share with you! I love architecture. Her’s an idea leading me to plan another trip to Mason in the future!

As an LPN student I wore a little white hat!

Another portion of the LPN clinical practicum was work at a nursing home (yes in Mason City….can’t recall the name of it at this point in time).  I recall caring for a man deep in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease.  When his wife came to visit, their interactions were …. well it’s hard to find the right words.

But it’s something I will not forget, as were many other experiences in the hospital and in the nursing home during my nurse training days.

Image result for nurse training cartoonI’ve always had a strong desire to care for all life!

Back to my nurse training days. During my clinicals, I learned the importance of being aware of other’s reactions and understanding why they react the way the do (Social Perceptiveness).

Nursing requires talking to others to effectively convey information (Speaking Skills), actively looking for ways to help people (Service Orientation), knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services including needs assessment techniques, quality service standards, alternative delivery systems, and customer satisfaction evaluation techniques (Customer and Personal Service Skills).

Nursing definitely requires the ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem (Problem Sensitivity) and using logic and analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches (Critical Thinking).

Image result for valueI value my nurse training immensely!

And of course, I also value my nursing career that followed! : )

Please note that Our country has a critical nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows.  This four page document titled Nursing Faculty Shortage Fact  was last updated: March 16, 2015 reveals many facts.

The value of positive clinical learning experiences is invaluable if we as a society want to attract, and retain good nursing students.  Click here for a article to reinforce the statement I just made. And we need to support our students and existing nurses. Here’s a link for information on the importance of nurse mentoring.

Image result for nurse cartoonI admire and respect nurses considerably.  

When hospitalized myself a few years ago in the summer at Iowa Lutheran Hospital from a severe reaction to poison ivy I paid a lot of attention to the staff. I was sent by ambulance from my doctor’s office to the ER, where I was treated and watched for a few hours, to be released home.  …Only to have to return hours later to the ER after calling out in the middle of the night [to my husband] that I really needed help!

I was full of poison from inhalation of smoke from burning logs / sticks in a firepit out at Cottonwood (Saylorville Lake). The sticks (I collected the sticks from my own back yard……..and made the fire) had the nasty nasty resin that I’m highly allergic to. I was an inpatient for about a week recovering from severe allergic contact dermatitis. And I made sure to give thanks and praise for such good nursing care.

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Be sure you do the same when you encounter a nurse!

Again, back to my nurse training days. I remember my initial CPR training with the full size dummy’s (Annie)! And I’ve received training ever since (oops Amy, update 12/16/2015: I need to recertify in First Aid, CPR and AED and I know my instructor training certificate has expired.)

Some training for you:  : ) Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure which is performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person in cardiac arrest. The source for your training is through wikipedia : )

Anyway, I have been trained through the American Heart Association and through the American Red Cross.  In later days I would become more involved in both these agencies through the progression of my career. Ahh, time to link you to my resume….it’s in the download section of my website.

I’ve been wanting to design an interactive resume, as it will help me pronounce what’s most important in my background for a specific case where I may be called upon to serve as a vocational expert!

CPR is hands-only (no breaths) nowadays.

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On with my story… At some point, hard to pin that exact time in history at this moment, I traveled to and stayed in Irving, Texas for a month and a half or so, to help a friend with her growing family (play with babies and have fun). Right Tammy & Tony (RIP) Silvey!  I had one job interview, but never worked anywhere during my visit and returned to Iowa. Then I moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1984 and stayed with my sister Janice who had an apartment on the Southside near the airport! I eventually moved in after her roommate moved out!

More to write about next week! Stay tuned for Part 4

Original publication date: December 5, 2011

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

My Passion for Job Placement! Here is My Story – Part 2

To understand my passion for job placement, let me tell you a little about some of the jobs and experiences I’ve had growing up.  I mentioned in an earlier post the fact that childhood interests can help you find the right career.  This is so true!

To Thine Own Self Be True

My first job at age 13 was babysitting (okay, child care provider). Besides gaining transferable skills, Click here for transferable skills of a Childcare Provider, clearly “babysitting” sets the stage for good parental skills (I have 3 children).

However, even before this time in my life, I “held a job” as a swimmer.

Starting at age 6 through about age 17, I was a member of the Iowa Falls Scenic City Swim Club.  The coach, Bruce, was one hard arss.  Swim club is where I learned the art of practice, perseverance, perfecting a stroke, team work, and how to really hold your breath!

I recall the feeling of free style swimming the full length of the olympic-sized swimming pool (164 feet) without turning my head even once to take a breath.  I pretended I was a fish!My favorite trophy! (Body shape certainly wasn’t like mine!)

With babysitting, mowing neighbors’ lawns and swimming, along with cleaning my dad’s office space and the shop’s bathroom (ugg) at Culligan Soft Water, my summers were busy.

When I got a little older, I started walking beans (I was not very good) and detasseling corn (I was horrible.) Could be a height challenge (and my “accommodations” included a walker who was just a lot better than me with that horrible hoe and worse knife; and a tall guy who liked to help me by pulling the stalks way down to my level.) Because these were not reasonable accommodations and I knew that back then!, I voluntarily left….or I wasn’t called back to work a field, a mixture of both probably.

Randy, my beloved hubbie, on the other hand was retained by a farmer who “fired” the other boys because they ditched the hot fields in lieu of a cool dip in the nearby pond. Yes, he has a history of walking entire bean fields by himself……ahhh…..could you do that?

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Corn Stalks in Iowa Are Way Tall!

My first official job – with a real bonafide paycheck – was at Rocky’s Pizza as a food server (waitress is what we called it in the 70s, duh!) Rocco “Rocky” LaValle, (he was our guest speaker at our 30th class reunion dinner in July 2011) hired many young people in town to work for him for many years….there is much history.  As a food server skills in need are aplenty.  Click here for more information.

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Rocky’s Pizza Box Sign

I found both the above and below images online (click here for my disclaimer!!).  I’m not sure of the year, but Rocky’s moved into to a beautiful new location on Washington where you could really see the pizza making action in the front window!

I worked at the original location in about  1978 at about $1.85 hour,  plus tips of course! There’s a Facebook page about The History of Iowa Falls that gives great historical information about Rocky’s . What’s cool is how many past workers, including myself, post our memories!

Original Rocky’s Pizza

Along with the pizza joint, I also worked as a food server at an “upscale” fine dining restaurant – The Chateau.  It was actually a brick mansion on Rockyslvania “converted” into a restaurant. This food server work required a tweak on approaching customers and serving food, and I enjoyed it greatly.  Oh, I also wore a black and white uniform and got to serve beer and wine!  At the Chateau, I learned the art of salad making, and eating left-over crab legs (I know, I know, right off a used plate – ugg again!).  I have a picture somewhere of me in my uniform, ready to go to work. Mary Dunlay, remember working together as food server extraordinaires?! Remember the upstairs where we had to serve for special dinner parties, that wasn’t too convenient…let alone accessible!

On the flip side of “fine dining” establishment and fast food (I worked at Hardees too), I also have food serving experience working at a small truck stop in the country called The Junction north of Iowa Falls on the way to Hampton.  I remember some of my favorite customers, like the old farmer named Chris, of course in his overalls. He always tipped me! Along with serving, I did some food preparation and of course a lot of clean up and replenishment of food products and dining items. And I was responsible to operate the industrial dishwasher!

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The dishwasher was fun to run! (Most recently I am back into operating an industrial dishwasher, at our church when I volunteer for funeral meals!)

Alice the Cook was Queen! And she taught me a lot! There is a bench dedicated to her along the Iowa River in Foster Park, Iowa Falls, Iowa).

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I really loved making the incredibly yummy malts.  The leftovers!

I loved working at The Junction truck stop!  It was also really cool that my brother, Steven, worked next door at the truck stop’s fuel filling facility.  My brother Steven – I love you…RIP.  He was one hard worker…!

 

Image result for flagger cartoon    Image result for follow me truck

Stop! Now Follow Me!

I also worked as a  heavy road construction flagger, the person who moves the stop sign to control traffic.  I remember some interesting motorists who long ago passed through….! And I also drove the follow-me truck, But that got un-nerving to me as each time I made a back and forth pass through the zone, the [male] construction workers would stop and stare at me…how silly of them. ? Would’ve that been sexual harassment on the job? Nahh, these were just the big old road crew boys…! I just thought it was annoying, and just wanted to do my driving job!

Image result for ear of corn cartoon       Image result for forklift operator cartoon

Machine Operator and Forklift Operator! I loved it!

Additionally over the course of my early work history, I worked light industrial at the Alden Corn Processing plant in both the corn processing facility…standing at a de-shucking machine and shoving ears of corn through; and in the packing facility….working at the labeling conveyor as well as shrink wrapping pallets, and watching out for the fast moving forklifts. I was trained and did drive a forklift!

I held other good jobs at the Red Rooster Grill as a waitress, at Kmart as a cashier and at Hardees as a fast food service worker. All links provide further information on transferable skills!

In the summer of 1981 I took a nurse aide training course.  Following the training and upon receiving the certificate to be a Certified Nurse Aide, I was hired at Ellsworth Community Hospital.    I gained experience working on each shift over the course of my employment.  Each shift has its unique characteristics.  Talk about gaining incredibly valuable nursing skills.

On to nursing school……..stayed tuned….as I explore my past…..and realize it turned into a passion for job placement.

Stayed tuned for Part 3

Original publication date: November 28, 2011

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

How did I Get Into Rehab Counseling? Here’s a Little Story

To understand my passion for rehabilitation counseling (my beloved career), let me first tell you a little about myself.

HERE IS MY STORY – Part 1:

As a September baby  – a Virgo!

I was born in 1963 in Libertyville, Illinois, into a hard working family.  My parents are from Chicagoland.  During my infancy and toddlerhood, my family lived in a small house in Mundelein, Illinois.  My father Richard “Dick” Prochnow worked for Sears Roebuck and Co earlier, and then later hired on with Culligan Soft Water.  He would end up working for the company for many, many years.

My mother Ann Dodge Prochnow cared for their five children (we are each 13-15 months apart!) and I am the “baby” of the family. Siblings are Julia born January 1959, Michael March 1960, Janice April 1961, Steven July 1962 and me Amy in September 1963. Ann & Dick’s first child, Richard, died in infancy in 1955, the same year my parents were married.

Image result for chicago

Mom from Northbrook and dad from Buffalo Grove

Culligan promoted Dick to management and moved him (along with the crew later on) to Davenport, Iowa in 1966 and later we relocated to Battle Creek, Michigan when I was a preschool age, before moving to Iowa Falls, Iowa in 1968 and settling in. I started kindergarten at age 4.

The Scenic City

I’ll expand on my family and their work in another post.  Read all about it!  But on to me (well, I am the one posting this on my website!)

In a nutshell:   I was in a serious car/train accident in June 1979, the summer before my 11th grade.  I was 15 years old. I was a passenger in a car, sitting in the back seat. The car slammed into the train, and me, well, my body through the bucket seats and the nonexistent windshield with my head being smashed into a bolt on a box car. But the creepier thing is the train actually started to move, as the conductor was moving it into the yard. Of course, I had no idea what was going on at all. Thank God.

The car was totaled.  There were 3 other people in the car, all who sustained serious injuries, but we all lived. I used to have a disdain for the make and model of that green car, however in a sense it did save my life.

The train stopped moving, having only traveled a few years, stopping inches from a culvert. A passing car with a young couple came upon us. And for me, what I know now, is that a woman named Teri saved my life. Thank you Teri.

I was first transported by ambulance to Ellsworth Municipal Hospital to the ER and then moved by ambulance. I was hospitalized (in Mason City, Iowa) for a week with a broken right arm (ulna and radius), numerous lacerations, and a severe head wound requiring extensive plastic surgery.  We’re talking a lot of stitches, and bruises. I don’t remember any of this time in the hospital until I came out and was clearly doing better…

The accident kinda screwed up my life at that time (sure wish I had a rehab counselor to work with me!)  I dropped out of high school ½ way through 11th grade.  At the time, my mother  was working at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls in the placement office.  She “forced” me to enroll at the college, which I did reluctantly.  I was 17.  I first had to take the GED and pass!

State of Iowa High School Equivalency Diploma ~ Amy Elizabeth Prochnow November 10, 1981

After this positive life event, I moved on and audited courses at ECC ~ Ellsworth Community College (with much older classmates).  I then enrolled officially and took secretarial coursework….and in 1981 also graduated with a certificate in secretarial science.

To clarify these dates, 1981 was the year I should have graduated with my original high school classmates.  But instead, I went to college with “older” people, and my sister Janice Prochnow, two years older than me. I think we had one class together.

In the ECC Class of 1981 program below I’m listed under the first section, One Year Secretarial, the fifth student.  Janice, her name is the second to last column under the last section of the program titled Associate Degree Diploma, has 3 asterisks *** because she received honors and was a mid-term graduate.

Other people in the program are a couple friends who Janice graduated high school with in 1979, Patti Rieber, Janet Roozen and Melinda Rutzen. I remember being in class with some of the ECC male (read tall to me) basketball players!

panther

Here’s a picture of me and my older sister Julie Prochnow who is five years older than me, on the day we both graduated in October 1981.  (No picture of me and Janice for some reason, at least that I have!) I graduated from ECC with my secretarial science certification and Julie did from Iowa State University in recreational studies.

Notice Julie’s honor cords –  valedictorian!

After this robe wearing event, time to move on again!

Stayed tuned for Part 2

 

Nov 21, 2011 original publish date

 

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Prochnow Family Halloween Fun 1969!

I just scanned and cropped this picture in and wanted to share it!

Prochnow Halloween Fun!

Prochnow Halloween Fun 1969!

From right to left, Julie (not wanting to have too much fun); Michael (messed up on his paws….although he’s the only unique patterned cat); Janice; Steven; and Amy…me! Let’s hit Cottrell Avenue and beyond…

I’m thinking (but will verify) cuz I am missing a front tooth or two, that I’m 6 or so. [Yes, mother verified!] Mom said she had nothing to do but create these cat costumes…..right! With 5 kids ages 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10! They had semi-removable feet sewed in and nice thick tails, you can see Janices’ hanging between her legs! I actually wore my costume out over the years!

The picture was taken in our living room in Iowa Falls. The piano is still there (I took piano lessons from Ms. Schweiger!), and of course the fireplace to the right, but it’s been redone! The house on Cottrell is very nice.

This was 1969….do you remember trick or treating when you were young? I sure know my mom and dad didn’t come with us! Thank you mom! You are very skilled and talented!  Your sewing machine was sure busy during our growing up years!

Have a Safe and Scary Halloween!

I Retired from Writing for Women’s Edition…Skills Gain!

[Repost 10/22/2015] I retired from my stint as a freelance magazine story writer for Women’s Edition after enjoying monthly job assignments from January 2012 through September 2013. Shortly afterwards, the magazine’s owner and founder left our Des Moines, market. They continue to publish from Omaha, Lincoln, Denver and Colorado Springs.

I gained many skills, read on after reviewing this brief summary of the business owners and associates of companies throughout Des Moines, Iowa I interviewed about their business and wrote creative stories:

Summary of My Writing Stories for Women’s Edition

By Amy E. Botkin

  • LuGene Isleman & Heidi Wilson “Your Center for Wellness, Rejuvenation and Body Balancing”, for a Healthy Living Story
  • PrimeSource Mortgage “Meet the Ladies that Walk You Home” a Business Style Story
  • Attorney Diane Dornberg “Passionate About Helping Families”, for an Out & About Story
  • Burgin Drapery Workroom “We Do It All!”, a Business Style Story
  • Things On Douglas An eccletic blend of new and consigned furniture and home décor”, for an Out & About Story
  • Douglas Dental, “A Dental Clinic With Experienced Staff At Your Service”, for a Healthy Living Story
  • Dr. BJ Foust, Foust Family Dental Care, for an Out & About Story
  • Noelle Carroll at Simply Organized, “Organizing Clutter and Chaos”, for a Business Style story
  • Dale Carnegie, “Turning Potential Into Performance”, for a Business Style Story
  • The Funky Zebras an Out and About story
  • Anderson Animal Hospital, We Care for ALL Critters” a Business Style Story
  • Barb Diment Law Office for A Business Style story
  • Dan Bishop owner of A-1 Concrete Leveling for a Business Style Story
  • Ann Hartz, CPA for a View From The Top story
  • Applebee’s, a Healthy Living Story

After participating in a Murder Mystery back in 2001, with my good friend, I had an incredible story to tell. But I didn’t do it! I swear. I was too busy. Not me! I’m the maid here, how could I? Maybe I’ll post it someday! [Another update as of 10/22/2015, I actually just found pictures from that evening  (going through pictures & stuff)! As sneaky killer suspects, we were particularly odd looking….I may scan 1 or 2 pictures in.]

I will find that story I wrote and link it……have you ever participated in a Murder Mystery? It was fun to travel to Bellevue, Iowa for this work assignment, spend the night in a beautiful mansion, be involved in a murder, write and get paid! I remember meeting a white cat with secrets near the river…..

I love to read and I love to write!

I hope to write for publications in the future. At this time, with my business rocking (tons of reading, research and report writing); bloggin’; the need to study, research and write out responses to discussion questions, prepare term papers and projects for my current rehabilitation counseling forensic coursework through GWU….it would be way too beastly wild for me to do it all. [Update from original post Oct 7, 2013…Yep! Completed that goal!…no not becoming a wild beast, but receiving a post graduate degree!]

Wild Beast Amy

Seriously however, I benefited in numerous ways during this time of writing for publication. My interview, research, creativity and writing skills improved! I met many professionals in my community and made great business connections. Interviewing business owners provided me indepth insight into self employment and small business ownership. (I knew quite a bit however, being in this same boat since 1999!)

Plus, I requested a recommendation letter, which Kelcie Warren kindly wrote. Thank you Kelcie!

I personally give thumbs up recommendations for several of the  businesses from other than my angle of writing their story because I became a customer of their establishment/business (if you need your driveway raised, Dan Bishop owner of A-1 Concrete Leveling does an excellent job); became a business connection of their services…and yes even gathered new friendships! (Ann Hartz, CPA, she and I were in boot camp together!)

Thumbs Up:  Attorney Diane Dornberg, The Funky Zebras, Anderson Animal Hospital, Dan Bishop, Ann Hartz, CPA, Dale Carnegie and of course Applebee’s!

I’ll likely add to this blog in the near future, because of an important part of my retirement…….asking for a reference letter…..from the publisher of Women’s Edition…it’s in the mail to me! And you can find the reference letter on my website over yonder under documents for download.

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.