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:

Related image

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 an overnight murder mystery back in 2001, I had an incredible story to tell. But I didn’t do it! I swear. I was too busy. Not me! I did not do it. I’m the maid here, how could I find time? Maybe I’ll post it someday if I can find it!

[Another update as of 10/22/2015, I just found pictures from that evening  (going through pictures & stuff)! As sneaky killer suspects, we (each guest) were particularly odd looking.  I may scan 1 or 2 pictures in someday for this post.]

Have you ever participated in a murder mystery package? 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!]

Image result for wild beast cartoon red

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 about this subject, being in this same boat since 1999!)

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!

Making a smart move after the decision was made to retire, I requested a recommendation letter, which Kelcie Warren the publisher of the magazine kindly wrote. Thank you Kelcie! Of note, Women’s Edition left the Des Moines market, however, the magazine still has operations in Omaha, Lincoln and Colorado Springs. You can find the reference letter on my website over yonder under documents for download.

If I can help you tell your client’s story, do not hesitate to contact me. I love to write about others! 

___________________

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

 

 

Please share:

Happy Adoption Anniversary Nick and Randy!

Today (original posting date June 9, 2016) is the 22nd anniversary of Nickolas Andrews’ adoption day by Randy! I remember it well, June 9, 1993. One funny memory is when the judge asked the barely 4-year-old Nick if his “new” dad played with him. Nick paused quite awhile, thought, and then said no. Yes he did! Ever since Randy cut the cord of our 9 pound 4 ounce boy they have been great friends. Nick you are one lucky man to have Randy as your father. Happy Adoption Anniversary Day!

Nick Google PictureHere’s Nick today! (BTW, I found this picture on Google Images)

I am so proud of Nick, in many ways. He has progressed in his career at Wells Fargo and is currently a Collections Supervisor. Recently (in April), Nick won a trip to Miami through work.  It was all expenses paid! And he took his man Derek (pictured to the right of Taylor below). Talk about fun and inexpensive! I wanted to go….but I wasn’t invited. I do enjoy the Florida sunshine!

Right now my parents are in Ft. Lauderdale….I wanted to go again…but couldn’t! Mom and dad visit Florida once a year to see Janice and her younger children Jordan and Rustin. My maternal grandparents had a condo in Fort Walton Beach that was well loved, and I did get to visit and remember the fun times!

But Janice was here this year for a short Iowa trip…and I really have to let you know who I ran into at the Boat Club in Iowa Falls…  And if you’ve read my earlier blogs, my brother Steven was living in Kissimmee and working at Disney World when he died.

2014-12-27 14
12-27 14 Botanical Gardens

Nick’s really getting squished!

Just thinking about how it all came about (well, that is the adoption), I’ll tell you a bit more. Randy and I were at a Hal Ketchum concert at the Civic Center on New Year’s Eve bringing in the year 1993 and we met a very nice couple seated at our table. We partied with them and within our discussions and champagne and music they recommended an attorney for adoption. His name was Mike Manno. I wrote the name down.

When I returned to work at CorVel that Monday, I walked by the same attorney’s office I had for several months as I was working temporary in an office building in West Des Moines. I realized why the name Mike Manno was familiar, and sure enough it was the attorney whose office was right next door to CorVel’s. I stopped in and said hello. Mr. Manno helped right away and within 5 months, Nickolas Andrew Prochnow became Nickolas Andrew Botkin! ~ Thank you Mr. Manno!

I just realized who Mr. Manno is through recent research. I have heard Faith on Trial on Iowa Catholic Radio and likely seen you (or been with you without knowing, at Mass at St. Augustin…update: yes, on 6/12/16 I handed you an envelope with a contribution for a special collection) many times since those early 1993 winter months. In actuality, it was an easy adoption, me being the biological mother and all and the biological father not in the picture who signed off his rights without hesitation (we found out he – Jeff – died on a motorcycle last Labor Day…..); and Randy being there with me from ~ week 6 in baby’s fetal development!

Week 6

Baby has tripled in size and now has a regular heartbeat–and it’s about twice as fast as the average adult heart rate! His brainwaves can also be recorded at six weeks. 

What’s also interesting (to me at least!) is the fact that I bought Mr. Manno’s big wooden desk for my home office and I used it for about 20 years, until it was smashed apart in order to remove it from the basement during a renovation!Image result for wooden desk

One well used desk!

The purpose of sharing this story with you is I truly believe God works in mysterious, exciting and incredibly fun and funny ways!!  Another tidbit, one of Nick’s close friends Jeska Reese Dean (owner of my beloved Fat Amy the Bulldog!), knows Randy is an excellent father. She also believes he should teach a course on “how to be the best husband.” Kinda silly, I know, but true. Randy is the best at being my husband and Nick’s father. Jake’s and Arin’s too. We love you. And one more thing:

Champagne GlassesCongratulations AGAIN Mr. Botkin!

Randy interviewed last Monday for the  2015-2016 school leadership team at Scavo Alternative High School and received a call on Friday that he was chosen to be on it! I helped him with his interviewing skills (STAR Method), and low and behold it worked.

Have a grateful week! If I could help you or your clients with a family law case, or any other legal case involving work and life, please let me know!

___________________

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

Please share:

Empty Nest = Freedom! Good Job Parental Units!

Okay, my readers, curious why I didn’t post anything in awhile? Here’s why….the kids moved out last weekend! (So I’ve been busy, busy!)  Jake and Arin moved into a furnished house by Grand View University with their friend Bridget and her mother. Although I already miss them incredibly, the job we set out to do is complete – and we did it well!

Good Job Parental Units!

When kids are on their own they’ll learn to do a lot more for themselves, allowing them to be strong and experience life on their own terms. Plus, they will be better people and believe more in themselves.

Jake took his Hedgehog Sandslash, but the rabbit Mollie and the hamster (update: Aphrodite went to hamster heaven in August 2015) are still here (they will probably be moving out shortly!) And Alaska the white puddy tat stays stays put!

 Image result for marvin k mooney will you please go now

All  are all welcome to visit, but Marvin K. Mooney maybe not yet!

I’ve been going through, organizing and ditching stuff galore, of course! Not done yet, but wowsa! It is odd to have so much room, although my house didn’t grow from it’s 900 square foot of living space!

Found this behind Arin’s dresser: 2015-05-07 12.06.17

And no more of this (waahh) commonly found in the fridge:

JJ Bread
JJ Bread

My goal is to focus more on work with an organized mind! Ahh, I still need to organize my electronic files in a more [fun]ctional way! And my bike, my bike! More time to ride!!!!!! I am so excited about my future!

Empty Nest = Freedom!

The birds have flown and will be just fine, thank you! Please let me know how I can help with a case involving the vocational aspects of a litigated family law, personal injury or workers’ compensation case. I feel “a bit more” credible knowing that I (we, yes Randy!) reached this stage of maturity in life! It is truly a blessing to serve as a parent. I have learned so much from my children….stay safe my loved ones!

You Go Botkin!

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

Please share:

Happy Labor Day…Raise the Wage!

Today on The White House Blog there is a great post which is a copy of a message sent today by Labor Secretary Tom Perez and features his friend Ms.  Austraberta Rodriguez.

Mr. Perez writes “So today, if you’re ready for a country that does right by Austraberta and the nearly 28 million Americans who stand to benefit from a $10.10 minimum wage, then honor them by adding your name here

I sure did!

I just added my name to support raising the minimum wage. It was last raised to the existing $7.25 an hour on July 24, 2009 (our Iowa minimum wage rate that is, which is the same as the Federal minimum wage.) The time has come. Click here for more info about reasons to and reasons not to raise the wage.

I choked the other day seeing a loaf of bread for over $5! How much is that cheese? That much for butter!!  No way!!!!  Then all the other high food prices starting yelling at me. I had to run out of the grocery store!

Workers Need to Make More Bread!

How can people work and make ends meet at. It is hard to believe. My daughter questions why pay is low. She wants to move on in her life, but struggles with how she can do so. Plus recently her car died. Arin continues to work at Walgreen’s however she is in interviewing mode for another job that will pay more. (She may still continue to work at Walgreen’s.)

Click here Arin and and my readers for more information about Raising the National Minimum Wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

I’m into the Department of Labor lately! Here is another excellent link about

Books that Shaped Work in America

I read the summary of a book titled The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker written by Janet Groth and published in 2013. I am interested in reading this book as it brings back many, many memories of my days as a receptionist (teaching me incredibly valuable work skills.) I was paid temporary worker wage way back them, which commonly was more than the minimum. Which I would say 25-30 years ago I probably received like $5-6.

Receptionist

Hold Please!

I’m going to spend more time reviewing the content on this website! Very cool. The website also offers information on what each title in their growing collection of books has to do with the U.S. Department of labor.

“The Department of Labor touches almost every aspect of working in America”

Hope your Labor Day is happy and safe! Enjoy yourself!

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.

Please share:

Randy’s Jobs, Work Ethic, and How About a Nap?

Last week I started writing about work ethic and, about my husband too. There’s a reason or two for my post. But first, a little story about Randy.  As a teenager, one of Randy’s first jobs was as a newspaper boy, okay, newspaper carrier. He tells me his mother Marylin ousted him out of bed at 4:00 AM when she got home from her data processing job at a downtown Des Moines bank.

hit the hayMarylin Would Then Hit The Hay

Randy donned his bag, left home, and waited patiently at the corner for the newspapers to arrive. He then walked all round Saylorville (the little town not the lake!) to deliver the news for the Des Moines Register.

Big News

 

Here Comes Big News!

When Randy’s paper route was done and he got back home he would return the favor and try to get his father Jim up out of bed. Jim worked at AT&T in downtown Des Moines for 40 years. Then Randy got ready for school. He had a route for 3 years.  I don’t know how many times we’ve had to revisit his route by auto!

Maybe that’s why he still likes to read the hard copy of the paper, or at least the sports section? Could it also be another reason he and my dad have this special bond? Click here for a blog about my dad’s work, including his Sunday morning Des Moines Register newspaper motor route delivery days.

Bottom line here, I believe that you develop your work ethic through the example set by your parents. Ahh, observation of the parental units! I sure miss Marylin and Jim. Both were very hard workers. And very caring people!

Botkin FamilyThe Botkin Family ~ Randy, Kyl, Marylin & Jim

 I have plans to blog about my oldest sister, Julie. She has a very strong work ethic. And Kyl, Randy’s brother does as well. Employers rank a strong work ethic as one of the top qualities they seek in the employees they hire or move up in the organizations. Okay, what is work ethic? noun

  1. the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading. Now how about a lil nappie poo? especially after the Super Bowl last night?!

___________________

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

Please share:

People and Their Pets…Got Cat? Pet Ownership

When I meet with an individual to perform a vocational assessment, I ask many questions to gather information about their work and life background. One question I ask, underlying other questions regarding psychosocial factors, is about pet ownership. Asking about pet ownership during an evaluation can tell me a lot about a person!

Got Cat? Rabbit? Snake? Fish? Iguana? Bearded Dragon?

Of course pet ownership is not for everyone, but if the individual is a pet owner, and a discussion develops about the topic, it offers me insight about the person. Pet ownership allows for psycho-social benefits accruing within an individual from the one-to-one type interactions with their pets.

Pet ownership can also influence broader social interactions and perceptions, experiences of sense of community, and social capital at the neighborhood level. In addition, a pet owner’s sense of health and well-being often emerges as a valuable and positive feature of daily living.

SamiJo The Love of My Life!
SamiJo The Love of My Life!

This is SamiJo, the Love of My Life!

Okay: I have 3 cats (Felix, SamiJo and Alaska), a dog (Bella), a guinea pig (Peggy), and a fish (Bluebee). Oh, and a hedge hog (Sandslash). My beloved rabbit, (a mini rex named Patches) died last week.

It’s a big responsibility to own a pet. You must provide basic care which includes food, water, shelter, veterinary care and exercise for your pet. And you must abide by the City’s bylaws around pets and animals.  For Bella’s 5th birthday awhile back, she received a dog pass to the Riverwalk Dog Park!

Patches
Patches

Patches was a grateful rabbit

Patches had plush, velvet like fur and a happy personality. A mini rex is known as “The Velveteen Rabbit”. Patches was small, weighing 3-4 pounds. He liked to lunge out of his wooden hut when his cage door was opened. Some people (like my husband) got a little frightened of this burst out thinking they were in danger! But I saw his behavior as a great show of energy! I also loved his happy hops!

 Patches loved rose petals….He ate them! 

Patches always was thankful when he was fed (and especially when he received a treat!) with a little snorty sound. I had noticed he was getting very thin, however he still was eating. And then one morning, he was not lunging out of his hut, and he was very still, yet he was breathing. I checked on him several more times.

Later in the afternoon he did lunge out, although it was a very unusual lunge. He bonked off his litter box and landed on his side. I started to pet him……continuing to stroke his very soft fur….until he died.

Think about pets you’ve known and understand why I find it important to ask about pet ownership. Have you ever gone to a dog park and learned dogs’ names, but never asked the owners for theirs? And observed their behaviors (both dogs and owners) to compile evidence about your theory of dog parks!?!

In a previous post on April 2nd 2012, I blogged about another question I ask about the person’s nutritional intake and habits. Want to Heal that Injury? Focus on Your Nutrition!  Healthy nutritional intake is just as important for your body as it is for your pets. Please feed everyone well!

For You Patches. I Love You!

Let me know if you have questions about how I perform a vocational assessment. You can also click over to the right under documents for download to see a sample vocational assessment and evaluation report.

___________________

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

Please share:

Creatively Looking at Creativity! And Gaining Valuable Skills to Boot!

Let’s take a creative look at creativity. Have you ever created anything new that added value and a way to gain valuable skills?  Sure you have!

Drawing pictures, writing for a magazine (I’m a freelance writer for Women’s Edition), garden or silk flower arranging, painting an old milk can, sewing a bunch of buttons on your jeans, knitting a really long chain out of yard, crocheting a baby blanket, baking secret cupcakes, sculpting your hair, story-telling in the dark, cracking jokes before breakfast, rebuilding an old tractor engine, building a swing out of an old tire, designing a user friendly website, starting a small business in your basement, singing a self-written song, designing a voice activated door opener (I so want to do this!), creating a mural with sidewalk chalk in your driveway, mowing strange shapes into your lawn, and on and on and on……is, simply put, a fun way to learn and gain valuable skills.

 There is so much going on in your mind when you’re creating!

I always ask my clients about their hobbies and interests.  The wonderful attributes of a person’s inner workings help me to identify their transferable skills beyond the basic ones found from their work background.

My son Jake, who graduates on Sunday from high school, has always loved to draw. Yes, he’s gotten into a bit of trouble at school for choosing to draw rather than do his school work.  Oh well. His mind (and hands) simply love to draw. And he’s very talented. Here’s a sample:

Landshark!

 

From a vocational perspective, I’m fascinated by the work of a CAD Designer. CAD ~ Computer Aided Design has revolutionized how people draw and design things.  Speed, efficiency, communication, and revisions are performed very quickly. People are using CAD to draw virtually anything in 3D, and there are many software products available, and more to come I’m sure.

CAD is used to create machines, products, components, floor plans, animation, special effects, advertising, technical manuals, and on and on once again. And even mammography (but it still squeezes the heck out of you.) I think it’s cool that trucking companies are using CAD to load their trailers efficiently. I’d like to use it to organize my freezer.

I’ve told Jake I believe he would excel at work that uses Computer Aided Design. And I recommend he check out colleges that offer CAD (read DMACC!).  However, I think CAD projects still need to be in tune with the human emotional content seen in hand drawings.  Here’s another sample of Jake’s drawings:

Link from Legend of Zelda

Jacob will come home from school and show me his latest creations. He doesn’t leave home without a sketch pad! I wonder if he realizes how much he’s really using geometry, spatial relations, visual acuity, fine motor skills, eye-hand connection, attention to detail, and many a good pencil eraser (which crumbles all over the place!) to practice and refine his drawing methodology.  And he exhibits patience and stamina throughout the process!

Jacob can draw anything he’s observed. And he can draw from memory.  For Mother’s Day, he and Arin designed a card for me.  Jacob was in charge of the artwork, Arin the writing.  I loved it!  Using his skill set, Jacob drew each of our pets from memory.  He added each of their unique personalities with a twist of the pencil.  Jake sees contour, edges, sizes, angles, lines, proportions, shading, shades, gestures, color, patterns, textures……and is able to recreate images to a T. Or better yet, he creates his own images into whatever letter he chooses!

 

Ram Head (a re-creation from a framed print I’ve had since the 60s)

Jacob has a many transferable skills (as do most of my placement clients!)  Transferable skills are accomplishments and understandings an individual has developed in various situations that can be used in many other situations.  Very simply explained, transferable skills are those versatile skills that you can apply and make use of in many situations and roles.

In a future blog, I’ll write about transferable skills.  In the meantime, tell me how you were creative today.  What’d you do?  What are your interests and hobbies?

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce. 

 

 

 

 

Please share:

Vocational Research Assignments & Staffing Placements

Vocational Resources, Plus consults on workers’ compensation, personal injury and disability cases by providing qualitative research services and consultation as well as direct service provision. Due to the nature of return-to-work, each vocational assignment is situational and individualized. The goal is to provide a clear and concise picture of the employment options currently available to the evaluee or client.Related imageResearch is based on a wide range of criteria and utilizes solid methodology and fact gathering techniques. Accurate and objective reporting details up-to-date information to define and enhance the direction of the case.

Assignments vary greatly, and include differences in level of education, skills, abilities, aptitudes, socio-economic factors, physical limitations and an assortment of employability factors.

Image result for direction

Vocational Resources, Plus has performed indepth research on many vocations and identified various factors that have helped to prioritize issues for the case at hand.

For a listing of vocations, please click on the link on my website. Also, as a matter of fact, I’ve also placed hundreds of workers throughout Des Moines. Here’s my client roster list from my days as a marketing representative for a staffing company:

Client Reference List

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now old piece of paper, you’ve been recycled! Please let me know what I could do to help you help your clients!

___________________

 

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

Please share: