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Watch “The Kitty Cat 🐱 Dance” on YouTube

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An absolutely favorite video!

Alaska TF, my office puddy, likes to watch it with me:

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Happy 22nd Anniversary Vocational Resources Plus! Time to Stop and Smell The Roses!

Reading Time: 4 minutesOver the years, I’ve received many a rose and enjoy taking pictures of my favorites.  My original idea was to find exactly 22 single rose pictures to celebrate the beginning of 22 years in business, which officially is September 15 of each year. It became quite a project to go through so many photos I’ve taken and make decisions about my selection to post!

Instead, I changed my mind and decided to come close with my count and not worry about the math, especially when at this time it’s time to

Stop and Smell the Roses!

And be satisfied with my efforts because I gave it my all at this time, as I always do for my work! You too? I’ll bet you do (even though I’m not into betting)! Enjoy the photos that follow and read on!

Tiny Orange Rose

Orange Rose

Beautiful Rose yes

All beautiful, yes, I hope you agree! Go ahead and vote on your favorite. I wish you could scratch and sniff each to also let know your thoughts on which you believe smells the best! 

And to be totally honest, the next rose picture was not taken by me!  Incredible, isn’t it? Would’ve you guessed correctly that this was a find on an internet search or actually taken by me? I’ve received blue roses in the past, and my pictures are just too blurry…even when editing. My disclaimer explains

I’ve named this beauty Ghost Rose!

Just to summarize this “author special” post, what’s important to point out is my business has developed for over 22 years. Because my work is important it needs to be clear, simple and pass the “smell test”. 

At times, if an answer to a question or a report on a particular individual or issue is not “perfect”, a decision of what to do next can be unnecessarily stressful. My “best bet” is giving my cases my full attention, and be satisfied with the fact that I put forth my best effort. I’m okay with that with other professionals.

That’s worth, in my opinion, every dollar paid for all the roses Randy’s hand  delivered to me over the years! Hey you my attorney reader, wouldn’t it be nice to have some rose beauties of your own, or to hand deliver to a great friend? That would make a valuable  impression on both hands! Here’s one last link regarding my forensic services fyi and reading pleasure!

Contact me 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to discuss your case and how I help attorneys help clients. Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate the time and the attention!

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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.

 

 

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Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary Randy! August 4, 1990

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Randy and I were married by Father Dave Polich on Saturday, August 4, 1990 at 2:00 pm at Christ the King Catholic Church on the south side of Des Moines. It was a beautiful day and we had a fun ceremony with many friends and family attending and participating.

We had a fun ceremony!

Our son Nick was 16 months old and accompanied by Michele Ridout so he wouldn’t be interested in making any fuss! My father, Dick, and my sister, Julie did the readings; Tammy Butler Silvey and Stacey Quick Lovell served as my best gals; while Randy’s brother Kyl Botkin and Bryan Anderson his best boys.

Of course, my mother Ann, sister Janice and her daughter Taylor Prochnow, Randy’s parents Marylin and Jim Botkin, Grandpa Chuck Botkin; Randy’s and my co-workers and friends all joined us for the day!

My brother Mike Prochnow served as videographer, while my attendant Joyce Clark and guest book attendant Sharla Hickman helped. Hope I’m not forgetting anyone at this time! We’ll have to get the wedding book out before we go out to eat tonight Randy. Oh, the organist, Alma. Everyone helped us become married!

After the ceremony with Mass of course, our wedding party rode around town in a long black limo. The driver followed our directions to retrace the steps around Court Avenue and the downtown library where we met (on 8/8/99) while walking to the parking lot!

Someone from the party opened a bottle of champagne in the limo and it exploded, staining my wedding dress! 

Our reception was held at the apartment complex in West Des Moines where I used to live at the time we met. Garcia’s Restaurant (where Randy worked part-time at the time we got married, and for several years beyond during our marriage) catered the food. And my other brother, Steven Prochnow served as the DJ! We ate, danced and had a great time partying! Randy’s aunt even decided to jump into the pool, fully dressed?!?

We have lots of pictures, and when I look back at them now, I think, what a waste of film!  Many of the pictures were not shot in correct lighting and are blurry. Nowadays, you can do so much more with shooting photography and editing pictures…a favorite hobby! 

Afterwards, and into the evening, Randy and I drove North for our honeymoon…with a destination of Duluth Minnesota. Yo, huh!?  Actually, to tell the truth, I drove that night because someone was a little tipsy. But first, right after we left the the reception, I had to drive back home before taking off for our destination because someone forgot the luggage (I blamed him and he blamed me…great start!), plus the cans needed to be cut off the car! 

Split Rock Lighthouse

Remember the trip Randy! We had a blast, and have been having a wonderful marriage ever since! Well, mostly!  Marriage is not easy, that’s for sure!  I realize I am blessed to be married to my kinda of man.

Companionship in marriage is key. Between Randy and I, there’s always a celebration, a fight (or a debate) going on, a lot of work to accomplish, or simply taking the time to hang out with each other! Another key to marriage is to lose expectations and go with the flow (even though I often try to direct the flow…)

Randy, although in the past I’ve told you I hated your guts, have smacked you in the nose, flipped you off  and committed other stupid moves (or sins)  that affected our marriage negatively, always related to some sort of adverse stressor we were unable to address in the heat of the moment,  I do love you very, very, very, …… very much!

REB+AEB 4Ever

As an aside, my blog writing  on my website does contain a lot about Randy. He says they are love letters! Well, I saw he offers good writing material about his jobs, his ethic and well, just being a good man. He is the source of my capacity to be self-employed and work from home. Thank you for being my husband for 30 days as of today! & Yo, Read my blog!

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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.

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2019 ~ Year of the Pig, Bank on It!

Reading Time: < 1 minuteI look forward to creating more business, working with new and existing customers, and making more money in 2019, what about you?  In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth.  

piggybank money symbol

Like a piggy bank with a cute chubby face and big ears (and full of money!) I’ll bank my fortunes for the new year carefully!

The plan is to continue to operate my small business, learn creatively, and bank on the fact that my work is useful in many ways for many people (including the great attorneys I consult with)! Good luck with the growth of your practice into 2019, the Year of the Pig! 

Thank you for reading my blog post! To discuss a case, please contact me at 515-282-7753 or at my new email address  amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amybotkin

https://lcpresourcesplus.com/

Matching People With Their World of Work

1999 – Celebrating 20 Years – 2019

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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.

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Felix…One Cool Cat!

Reading Time: 4 minutesI miss my Felix. He had to be euthanized late afternoon on Friday, September 11, 2015. He was not eating and had lost way too much weight. It was so sad and I felt so bad that I couldn’t help him other than loving him and petting him.

Dr. Michael Forret, our outstanding vet since 1994, diagnosed Felix with a stomach tumor. Felix didn’t have a temperature and his vitals were okay, indicating thank goodness that he wasn’t in too much pain.

Feef

 A lasting memory of Felix & Me

Felix showed up in our neighbor’s garden in June 2002. Jacob heard meowing and checked it out, bringing a completely black fluff ball back with him. I remember the first night….just holding this black kitten out in the garage.

Most of his life he pretty much was a garage/outdoor cat, but certainly loved coming inside and hanging out in the mondo, sleeping on the futon, or just chillin’ wherever suited his liking!

2013-12-31 13.18.23Fluff Man. At his glory he weighed over 15 pounds, all claws and one incredible meow!

I heard once that good cats get petted as much as they want in heaven. They get whatever they loved here on earth at their pawtips! Felix had a great life and yes, he had his share of injuries (eg: broken paw, chipped ear, gouges from jumping a fence) and vet procedures (eg: front incisor had to be removed).

He always smelled like he was wearing leather and had recently been at a (smoke-free) bar. He had a beautiful wart under his left eye. He was downright cool.

God I miss him. Pets are so important to people’s lives. I keep on thinking I see him out in the backyard, or under the house where he had a special spot to sleep.

I will never forget the sound of his meow. Or how he would bump your arm just enough so more cat food would land in his bowl (he taught that to our white cat Alaska). Oh, and he taught our dog Bella how to jump the backyard chain link gate (booh).

Felix was also known by me as cafe’ kitty, as he would lay non-chalantly on the curb of our driveway with one paw either crossed or draped over the edge. And when one of us would make the drive up our driveway, we’d have to go very slow because Felix was leading us up (like a sheep dog) and at times he would just plop down in front of the car. You simply had to stop. Silly cat.

I also remember one time many, many moons ago…when Felix was missing for 10 days. I thought he was gone for good…and prayed he wasn’t. But returning from church one early, crispy cold winter morning (back over 10-11 years ago when we celebrated Mass at St. Ambrose), there he was down the street.

I yelled to Randy, stop the car! Then opened the door and ran through the snow to him, picked him up and hugged him sooo long, then carried him home.

For the next 10 days solid following the “rescue” he slept with me at night, snuggling right up. We figured he was stuck in someone’s garage as he had gotten really thin. Then Fluff Man returned to his normal acting feline nature and back to his hunting escapades (oh the critters he brought and left right outside the back door…)!

Image result for black cat with green eyes cartoon in heaven

I love you Felix, AKA Fluff Man and am heart broken.

One way to say I love you to a cat is to gaze into their eyes and slowly close your own! I love you!

Our neighbors liked Felix all and all, and people would comment how huge he was! I know Felix’s feline sisters Samantha Josephine (who also came into my life in March 2002 as an Aqualand store bought from the kitty window) and Alaska (who also showed up…followed Jacob and his friend down the street) back in 2012 misses you too.

Cats that are “a find” are the best!

Jacob got a tattoo of Felix based on his drawing. Maybe I should get a tattoo, too, someday? More likely a henna one!

“Righty-O” Felix the Cat, the Wonderful, Wonderful  Cat….Whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks!

Take time to love your pets, unconditional love is all they know! Prrrrrrr. Here’s a link to a post titled People and Their Pets…Got Cat? where I write about vocational assessment and psycho-social factors, such as pet ownership. Thank you for reading and stop and pet your pet!

 

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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.

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

Reading Time: 2 minutesI’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’s cool 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! 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 ways! Thank you Noreen Gosch for being my first excellent yoga instructor.  She teaches through the Des Moines Public Schools Community Education Program and I highly recommend any course, whether exercise related or not, that catches your interest!

Time to roll out my mat!

Keep in mind there are numerous variations of yoga! Most poses involved creative stretching, 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…you figured it out, I love Yoga!

As on update to this post (evergreen in my eyes), I obtained a dream goal (in July 2016), which was to lead a yoga class! Hum, a calling? No, I just want to share my gifts with others.  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 of mind!

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

lcpresourcesplus.com

VocResources@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.

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How My Past Brought Me to the Present!

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

Reading Time: 5 minutesMy 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, working with 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 (this worker looks a lot like my son Nick!)

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.

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How My Past Brought Me to the Present!

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

Reading Time: 6 minutes

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 at Cottonwood Recreational Area at 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

__________________

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

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How My Past Brought Me to the Present!

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

Reading Time: 6 minutesTo 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).

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 not mine at that tine!)

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, summers were busy.

When I got a little older, I started walking beans (definitely not good at this job…not enough physical strength) and detasseling corn (I was horrible at this job, clearly a height challenge (my “accommodations” included a walker who was just a lot better than my horrible hoeing and cutting with a knife; and a cute tall guy a row over who graciously pulled 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?

Image result for tall corn tassel cartoon

Iowa Corn Stalks 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, (our guest speaker at our 30th class reunion dinner in July 2011) hired many young people in town to work for at the joint…much history!  The skills to work as a food server are aplenty.  Click here for more information.

Rocky!

Often, the incredible images I find online (my disclaimer) are perfect for expressing my memory.  Not sure of which year, but Rocky’s moved 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 ~ $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.  Actually, it was 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.  I wore a black and white uniform and got to serve beer and wine!  At this restaurant, I learned the art of salad making, and eating left-over crab legs (I know, I know, right off a used plate – ugg again!).  

There’s a picture somewhere of me in my uniform, ready to go to work. Mary Dunlay, remember working together as food server extraordinaires?! The upstairs was for special dinner parties, which wasn’t too convenient…let alone accessible!

On the flip side of “fine dining” establishment and fast food (I worked at Hardees too for a time), with 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, Chris, the cute and old farmer who always wore overalls. He always tipped! Along with serving, food preparation,  clean up, replenishment of food products and dining items, my favorite job responsibility was operating the industrial dishwasher!

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One rockin’ dishwasher! 

Alice the Cook was Queen! She taught me a lot! Her bench, dedicated to her as she was quite a fisher person, is along the Iowa River in Foster Park, Iowa Falls, Iowa).

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Umm, making the incredibly yummy malts, the leftovers!

I loved working at The Junction truck stop!  So cool my brother worked next door at the stop’s fuel filling facility.  My brother Steven – I love you…RIP.  One hard worker…!

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Stop! Now Follow Me!

I also have work experience working 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!

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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.

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How My Past Brought Me to the Present!

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

Reading Time: 5 minutesTo 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  – I’m 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 1956, the year after my parents were married.

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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 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 went 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. I was then trasnported again by ambulance to Mason City where I was hospitalized  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. My left pinky finger was nearly severed as well. 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 rehabilitation counselor to work with me!)  I dropped out of high school ½ way through 11th grade (there’s a story to that, but anyway….)  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!

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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

 

___________________

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