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Join me today (Sunday, Feb. 10) for a discussion of pet loss and how to cope with it on Animal Blessings radio online at 5:30 p.m.–6 p.m. Central time.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/animalblessingsradio

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Animal-loving writers are invited to submit their pet-related short stories with a connection to Halloween to the Petlitzer Prize Contest by October 15, 2012. Winners will be announced live on the air on the Dog Works Radio Show on Halloween Eve.

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PRLog (Press Release)Sep 26, 2012
Love animals? Love to write? Love Halloween? Animal-loving writers are invited to submit their pet-related, Halloween-themed short stories to the Petlitzer Prize Contest. “The name ‘Petlitzer Prize’ just came to me one day, as a kind of play on words, a sort of Pulitzer for animal-related works,” said multiple-award-

winning author/animal chaplain, Sid Korpi, (“Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” http://www.goodgriefpetloss.com, named “Best Book of the Year in the Self-Help Category” by Premier Book Awards) who came up with this contest to recognize quality efforts in writing regarding animals and celebrating the human-animal bond.

Winners will receive certificates of recognition and will have their stories read by Korpi on “Dog Works” Blog Talk Radio (http://dogworksradio.com) in early June. The first-place winner also will receive a handsome medallion.

This round of the Petlitzer Prize contest is devoted to pet-related short stories of a Halloween-themed nature. Stories may be fiction or creative nonfiction, 400–700 words in length. The deadline for submission is October 15, 2012 with winners announced live on the Dog Works Radio show on or around Halloween Eve. There is no fee for entering, but only one submission per category is allowed.

Here are some basic ground rules for Petlitzer Prize entries in any or all categories:

1. You must be the author of the piece. Plagiarism is an absolute no no!

2. Entries should not have been previously published in book form (on your own blog is fine) as of the date you submitted it. Meaning that if you get it snatched up by Random House the week after you send it to me, you’re still qualified for this prestigious contest—and congratulations! 🙂

3. Entries must be received by October 15, 2012. A winner will be chosen, aired and posted by no later than Oct. 30. (I and a panel of pet experts, including but not limited to Dr. Robert and Michelle Forto, dog trainers and co-hosts of popular “Dog Works” Blog Talk Radio show, will be judging the submissions.)

4. Please be sure to have a second pair of eyes proofread your entries well. Grievous typos/grammar gaffs will most likely disqualify you.

5. You may only enter one piece in any given round, but you may enter a different single piece in every subsequent category throughout the year. New categories will be posted shortly after the after the deadline is reached.

6. Winners (First, Second, Third  and/or Honorable Mention, depending on the number and quality of submissions) will receive a certificate of achievement for their efforts and have their work posted on my blog, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc. (As well as on the Dog Works sites.) First place winners also will receive a handsome medallion. If you have a website, please be sure to submit your URL to be directly linked from my blog in case you win.

7. Winners will also have their works (or excerpts from them) read live on Dr. Robert Forto’s very popular Blog Talk Radio show “Dog Works.” (Air dates will be announced in advance, and the show will be available thereafter in archived form.)

8. No pornography whatsoever will be allowed. Nor will pieces depicting gratuitous violence toward animals (except for the purpose of decrying such acts or as truly salient parts of a story’s plot). I have the final say as to whether entries will be accepted. People of all ages and walks of life may be seeing or hearing these, so the work must be acceptable for a general audience.

9. Send your submission in a Word doc or pasted directly into an email with “Petlitzer Prize Entry” in the subject line, along with your full name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and a short (sentence or two) bio about yourself if you wish, to me at goodgriefpetloss@gmail.com. I will forward only your actual submitted story with your name to my fellow judges. None of your contact information will be shared without your express permission. They’re only so I can notify you of who won the contest and/or to mail you your certificate.

Petlitzer Prize Writing Contest Seeks Halloween-themed Pet-related Short Story Submissions

Animal-loving writers are invited to submit their pet-related short stories with a connection to Halloween to the Petlitzer Prize Contest by October 15, 2012. Winners will be announced live on the air on the Dog Works Radio Show on Halloween Eve.
 
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Love animals? Love to write? Love Halloween? Animal-loving writers are invited to submit their pet-related, Halloween-themed short stories to the Petlitzer Prize Contest. “The name ‘Petlitzer Prize’ just came to me one day, as a kind of play on words, a sort of Pulitzer for animal-related works,” said multiple-award-winning author/animal chaplain, Sid Korpi, (“Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” http://www.goodgriefpetloss.com, named “Best Book of the Year in the Self-Help Category” by Premier Book Awards) who came up with this contest to recognize quality efforts in writing regarding animals and celebrating the human-animal bond.

Winners will receive certificates of recognition and will have their stories read by Korpi on “Dog Works” Blog Talk Radio (http://dogworksradio.com) in early June. The first-place winner also will receive a handsome medallion.

This round of the Petlitzer Prize contest is devoted to pet-related short stories of a Halloween-themed nature. Stories may be fiction or creative nonfiction, 400–700 words in length. The deadline for submission is October 15, 2012 with winners announced live on the Dog Works Radio show on or around Halloween Eve. There is no fee for entering, but only one submission per category is allowed.

Here are some basic ground rules for Petlitzer Prize entries in any or all categories:

1. You must be the author of the piece. Plagiarism is an absolute no no!

2. Entries should not have been previously published in book form (on your own blog is fine) as of the date you submitted it. Meaning that if you get it snatched up by Random House the week after you send it to me, you’re still qualified for this prestigious contest—and congratulations! 🙂

3. Entries must be received by October 15, 2012. A winner will be chosen, aired and posted by no later than Oct. 30. (I and a panel of pet experts, including but not limited to Dr. Robert and Michelle Forto, dog trainers and co-hosts of popular “Dog Works” Blog Talk Radio show, will be judging the submissions.)

4. Please be sure to have a second pair of eyes proofread your entries well. Grievous typos/grammar gaffs will most likely disqualify you.

5. You may only enter one piece in any given round, but you may enter a different single piece in every subsequent category throughout the year. New categories will be posted shortly after the after the deadline is reached.

6. Winners (First, Second, Third  and/or Honorable Mention, depending on the number and quality of submissions) will receive a certificate of achievement for their efforts and have their work posted on my blog, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc. (As well as on the Dog Works sites.) First place winners also will receive a handsome medallion. If you have a website, please be sure to submit your URL to be directly linked from my blog in case you win.

7. Winners will also have their works (or excerpts from them) read live on Dr. Robert Forto’s very popular Blog Talk Radio show “Dog Works.” (Air dates will be announced in advance, and the show will be available thereafter in archived form.)

8. No pornography whatsoever will be allowed. Nor will pieces depicting gratuitous violence toward animals (except for the purpose of decrying such acts or as truly salient parts of a story’s plot). I have the final say as to whether entries will be accepted. People of all ages and walks of life may be seeing or hearing these, so the work must be acceptable for a general audience.

9. Send your submission in a Word doc or pasted directly into an email with “Petlitzer Prize Entry” in the subject line, along with your full name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and a short (sentence or two) bio about yourself if you wish, to me at goodgriefpetloss@gmail.com. I will forward only your actual submitted story with your name to my fellow judges. None of your contact information will be shared without your express permission. They’re only so I can notify you of who won the contest and/or to mail you your certificate.

********************************
Sid Korpi is the award-winning author of “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss” as well as a motivational speaker, professional editor/writer, actress and animal chaplain.

Photo:

My hubby will be my stand-in for this event. (I’ll be at the Carver-Scott Humane Society’s Walk Fur Love event at the same time.) Come see one of us if you’re out and about with your pet.—Sid

Bring your dog, and come have FUN! Try out agility, tracking, or K9 Nose Work®, do some shopping, have someone else give your dog a bath at our Dog Wash, and much more.

If you have a dog, then you can bring it along and have a blast.

If you know someone that has a dog, then pass this along, so they can join in the fun.

If you wish you had a dog, then come out and get your fix.

For more information visit our we site http://activedogsportstraining.com/?page_id=355

Free goodie bag for the first 100 people to sign in.

Sunday May 20 from 1-4 at Carver Lake Vet Center 2201 Ventura Dr. Woodbury, MN 55125

I got to tell Garrison Keillor a story from my book, “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” last night at his bookstore, Common Good Books! And I personally invited him to come see Christopher R. Mihm’s “House of Ghosts” at the June 7 New Hope Cinema Grill screening.—Sid


 

I got to speak on “Pet Loss and the Pet Professional” to full houses of veterinary professionals this past February (only just downloaded the pics from my hubby’s phone now, though). Sorry for the distance, but he was stuck in the back of the rooms.—Sid

Interview with multi-talented baby boomer, Sid Korpi

Nadia Giordana's photo

Baby Boomer Examiner

Sid Korpi, film and stage actress, social dance instructor, and pet chaplain, is far too talented and accomplished for this author to take credit for anything more than being an inspiration and catalyst for her recent weight loss, something she’d wanted to do for a long time. That’s good enough for me. Already athletic, fit, and beautiful, Sid became inspired after reading Thinking Skinny and decided to get healthier still. Losing those extra pounds gave her the edge she needed to pursue a film career with creative Minneapolis filmmaker, Christopher R. Mihm. I might also add that the same is true of the content in this article. Other than my questions, the words are Sid’s, and I would be remiss if I didn’t credit her as being co-author of this article. She is, in addition to the talents listed above, a gifted author and editor. I recently had a private interview with Sid, and this is how it went:

Nadia: Sid, Your life, long before we met has been a personification of the principles that I share in my upcoming book, Reinventing New Chapters in Your Life at any Age—and that I live by. I’d like to talk with you about each of the seven steps and hear your unique take on them. We’ll start with #1) Reshaping a healthier body and attitude. Sid, what was it about Thinking Skinny that resonated with you as you embarked on this new chapter in your life?

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Sid: When I learned that I was up for a major role in my first feature film, Chris Mihm’s marvelous B&W 1950s-drive-in-style creature feature B-movie, Attack of the Moon Zombies, (www.sainteuphoria.com) I knew what wound up 30-feet tall on the silver screen was going to be forever-after how I’d be seen. I also knew cameras notoriously add 20 pounds to one’s appearance, and given that, though fairly fit, I was already on the high end of “normal” as far as weight charts went, I really wanted to drop those 20 just to come out even.

I’d lived the diet yo-yo my entire life and vowed this was to be the end of that self-destructive cycle. I had your book, Thinking Skinny, on my shelf and was drawn to it. I read it in one sitting, let its contents sink in overnight, and awoke the next day ready to lose weight in a sensible, permanent way. I went to a website that calculated how many calories I needed to attain my goal weight, designed and printed out a chart on which I’d henceforth record all I’d eaten each day—because writing it all down made eating a conscious rather than reflexive act.

This wasn’t a “diet.” I know better than to ever tell myself that I “can’t” have something; I’m so rebellious, that would simply ensure I ruminated on said high-calorie item until I broke down and had too much of it. I planned to lose between one and two pounds per week, and I did just that by still eating whatever I wanted to, just in more reasonable portions. I also eat many small meals a day, which keeps my metabolism stoked continuously and wards off my “gorging” out of starvation. In several months’ time, I’d lost roughly 25 pounds and am approaching two years at this new weight. I knew I could see myself onscreen and not cringe, except for my scary-looking 1950s bangs, and those were on purpose. (You can see what I’m talking about in the official trailer at www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkMF0oGubho.)

People have been raving over the positive change in me, which is very nice, but more importantly, I can rave over that change—because it’s my opinion of me that matters most. The best part now is that “moving” (my new, less-punitive term for exercise) is its own reward. For instance, I consider myself fortunate when the lot is mostly full and I can park on the sixth level of a parking ramp and use the stairs instead of the elevator to get where I’m going. I can confidently say I have the energy of someone nearly half my age.

To initially attain and now maintain my weight loss, I also record how much (and what kind of) exercise I get each day. The same website I mentioned earlier gives approximations of calories burned doing several dozen different activities, even housework, so I can monitor that, too. I’ve bought a quality pedometer and wear it religiously every day and record my mileage walked each week. It’s keeping both my four West Highland white terriers and me healthy and committed to getting in two-to-three-mile walks almost every day. You know you’ve made a permanent life change when, instead of say, reluctantly dragging yourself to a gym because you “have to,” you feel absolutely gypped when you don’t “get to” walk/dance/do Pilates, etc. for at least a few minutes every day.

Nadia: I can wholly relate to feeling gypped when I don’t “get to” ride my bicycle or take a long walk. Now let’s move on to #2) Realigning relationships and spiritual self: To use your own words from a previous interview we had on this subject, you’ve suffered a tsunami of loss with regard to your family, friends and relationships. How did you manage to get through it and go on?

Sid: In a few years’ time, I lost my mother, stepfather, uncle, three cats, three dogs, a cockatiel, two of my best women friends and my 15-year marriage. Talk about wiping out everyone you loved and who you thought loved you! I’ll be honest with you; I cried my heart out every single day for more than two years. That’s not hyperbole, just a cold fact. There were times I wondered why I was left here when so many of my loved ones were on the Other Side. I even had thoughts of suicide during these darkest of days.

As a matter of fact, these thoughts became so pervasive at one point, I went to the hospital emergency room one Sunday, hoping I could be kept under observation overnight until I could get started on an antidepressant prescription the next day, when I’d already had an appointment with a psychiatrist. (Clinical depression runs in my family and several of my relatives have attempted/succeeded at committing suicide, so I believed I had just cause to worry about being alone at that time.) What happened, however, still boggles my mind.

I spoke to the ER doctor about all this and, instead of receiving any validation or compassion for what I was going through, he said, “This isn’t a hotel. Go home and call us if you actually have a ‘plan’ to kill yourself.” I was summarily asked to leave the hospital.

I had hit my proverbial “rock bottom.”

If ever there were someone who was made to feel absolutely worthless, absolutely unworthy of the most basic human compassion, it was I right then. Yet, standing in the doorway of that hospital, more completely alone than I’d ever been in my life, something profound happened that changed me forever. I still remember vividly this sensation I had deep in my chest, at my physical core, of a tiny little flame like that of a candle. I was overwhelmed by a certainty that that core light represented the part of me that belonged to, indeed was one and the same as, the greater Universe and was necessarily just as valuable and worthy of love as all that is eternal.

It came to me in rush that I’d just been presented with an astounding opportunity to learn an invaluable life lesson. I learned that, despite being stripped of every external source of support and compassion, I was still worthwhile. I was still worthy of love. I was still valuable even if the only person who could or would consistently show me this was myself. I stood there and wept with gratitude for the lesson I’d been brought, despite how painful it had been in its presentation. I even forgave that heartless doctor and silently thanked him for his callous rejection.

I know now never to turn outward to find validation of my worth. I know, too, never to doubt that I deserve love as much as any other living being. I know, moreover, I need to get that love and acceptance from myself first and foremost, and usually, similar support from others follows.

I joined Emotions Anonymous soon after this event, to rebuild my lost community with people who would understand my struggles and not judge. Through this 12-step program, I learned to give up control over my emotions and give them over to my Higher Power. I never again considered suicide. As I became strong, I was able to help others as I helped myself. I stuck with EA for more than two years and to this day remain close friends with several of the people I met through this literally life-saving program.

Nadia: Let’s talk about #3) Redirecting thought patterns toward the possibilities: I’d love to hear how you do this Sid. You’ve had such an eclectic career, and several interesting businesses. Obviously, you are in tune with “possibilities” in a way not found in many other people.

Sid: On a lark, I once visited a psychic at the Renaissance Festival who told me, almost apologetically, as she read my tarot cards that she saw that I would always be changing from one thing to the next, usually with little to no financial reward, and never settle on one thing as my career. I expect she thought I’d be chagrined about that “news,” but instead I said, “Oh, sure, I know that. That’s what I love most about myself!”

I am very driven by the need to personally challenge myself. I’ll often start some new creative endeavor—like designing jewelry, writing a novel, or singing with an early-jazz band—and always see it through to some kind of completion. However, once I win some award or recognition for it (a blue ribbon at the Bemidji Art Fair, a first-place-for-extended-fiction award and publication in the Close to the Ground: Powderhorn Writers Anthology, and a gig at the Minnesota State Fair, respectively) I feel I can move on to the next thing.

“Been there, done that, moving on now” is a kind of creative mantra for me.

I can only stick with things that inherently provide variety, such as my 15 years running my Proof Positive writing/editing business, which never has me composing or reading the same thing twice. Put me in a cubicle, expect me to follow corporate edicts, and make me punch a time clock and you may as well pronounce me brain-dead on arrival. I’ve structure my life so it will always be interesting for me.

Nadia: Then there is#4) Rediscovering the magic in your life: How do you stay young at heart and maintain the fun and excitement in your life?

Sid: I am childfree by choice and have instead opted to retain much that is childlike in me. The world can sometimes be a downright frightening place, and I feel I’m on a mission to remind adults around me of the importance of playing; of having fun, being creative, joyful, and downright silly; and not giving a fig what others think of them for doing so. I’ve been known to wear a mini dress and go-go boots out dancing to a ’60s band, a poodle skirt and saddle shoes when it’s a ’50s band, and so on. I’m my own walking/dancing retro vignette. People around me either gravitate toward the energy and sense of fun or they back away slowly, shaking their heads; either is just fine by me. I don’t need everyone to like or even understand me.

Case in point, I just turned 50 in January, and I threw myself a birthday wake. I rented a coffin, in which I lay as my friends and family “eulogized” me. I’d frequently pop up to laugh at their jokes or throw marshmallows at anyone who got too into “roasting” me. We held this in a church basement and had a reception of Jell-O salads and tater tot hot dish among the delicious items in the Church Basement Ladies potluck buffet. Afterward, we played board games. Frankly, it was awesome!

I did this because I firmly feel we’ve got it wrong when we hold back on telling our family of choice what we think of them and what influence they’ve had on us and the world in general until their respective funerals. That’s just a bit too late. Sure, I think my mother’s spirit enjoyed the 21-squirt-gun salute we gave her at her memorial service (which devolved into a water fight, just as she would have wanted), but it’s important to share these things with our loved ones while they’re here, too.

I try to be a role model for authentic eccentricity. Thanks to this event, I got to learn that I have a sort of fan club of four 20-something young ladies who all say they want to be me when they grow up. I quickly correct them and say, “There’s no ‘growing up’ involved if you really want to be like me.”

Nadia: #5) Removing lingering regrets: Each of us must find ways to do this. How have you managed?

Sid: Most of us are more likely to be kinder to strangers than we are to ourselves. To correct that inequity, start by admitting your mistakes without blaming others in any way for your actions, even if they’re deeply involved. You’re no one’s victim as long as you learn and grow from any experience. Forgive yourself for things you were too afraid to do, for opportunities you missed, and take baby steps toward finding and freeing your inner courage—and reward those steps. Forgive yourself for wishing and hoping you could change someone else to attain the love and acceptance you could/should have been giving yourself all along. Forgive yourself for accepting responsibility for things that really were beyond your control. The fact is you’ve screwed up in the past; you’ll no doubt screw up again in the future. Just try not to keep screwing up in the exact same ways over and over. That’s nuts. Instead expect to screw up once in awhile in unique ways in your attempts to try out new ways of being. It keeps things interesting and proves you’re still growing, evolving, and becoming your finest you.

Nadia: #6) Rewrite a new life chapter: Sid, when I first heard you tell the story of how you set your sights on appearing in a Christopher Mihm film, and how you went about that, it was obvious to me that you set a goal and focused through to completion. Would you tell it to the readers here?

Sid: I had read about this local filmmaker who was dedicated to making black-and-white, 1950s-style horror movies in honor of his dead father, with whom he’d always watched these kinds of films as a kid. His stepdaughter had also been diagnosed with cancer and while she fought to recover (she’s since passed her five-year cancer-free marker—yeah!), he thought to himself something like, “What the heck am I waiting for? I’ve always said I wanted to make one of these movies. The time to do it is now.” That attitude and those circumstances really resonated with me.

My husband and I attended the world premiere of Chris’s third movie, Cave Women on Mars. I’d never been so grateful that I wasn’t lactose intolerant in my life (it was so terrifically cheesy, you see). I determined then and there that before I died I had to have something to do with one of this guy’s movies.

So I decided to stalk him.

Actually, all that entailed was one email, but “stalking” sounds more melodramatic. In my email, I mentioned that I was willing to be an extra, a prop mistress, a dead body, whatever he needed. I downloaded a photo of my high school theater trophy that named me Outstanding Dramatic Performer of 1980, with the caption “Proof I’m talented.”

I’d also read that he liked to write his movie scripts with places in mind where he knew he could shoot rather than have to build sets or scout locations. So, I offered him the use of our third floor dance studio, which is decorated like a ’50s malt shop, and invited him to visit it sometime. A month or so passed before he finally responded, but he took me up on my offer to check out the room.

Worried we might be serial killers or something, Chris brought along his star of Cave Women on Mars, Dan Sjerven, as his bodyguard. They wound up hanging out with us for three hours. We all knew an important, meant-to-be connection had been made.

Two movies later, my husband and I were given walk-on roles in Destination: Outer Space with one line apiece—actually the exact same line. We each got to say, “Greetings, Wise One.”

I helped out as “script Nazi” after our scene was shot (i.e., reading the robot’s part and making sure leading man Josh Craig remembered all his lines). Perhaps it was then that Chris noticed I could actually speak more than three words of his purposely clunky dialogue in succession and tucked away that knowledge for future reference because he gave me a leading role in his next movie, Attack of the Moon Zombies.

Initially, his lovely wife, Stephanie, was supposed to play Administrator Ripley and I was to be Dr. Rutherford, a much smaller part. But as Chris wrote the screenplay, Ripley’s role got a lot bigger, and Stephanie, who had just had a baby and was working full-time, said she didn’t want to have to memorize that much dialogue. She told Chris, “Give the role to Sid.” That’s the nice version of how it happened. If you ask me, I think it was really because Ripley needed to have a bit of “bitch” in her and Chris knew I could definitely bring that to the table more than the truly sweet-at-heart Steph.

Anyway, long story short, the movie rocked the world, I was nominated for a Best Actress in a Zombie Movie Dead Letter award from MailOrderZombie.com, and I was subsequently cast as Leigh, the eccentric dog lady/haunted-home owner, in Mihm’s current film, House of Ghosts. This movie—an homage to director William Castle of The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill and 13 Ghosts fame—was actually filmed in our house though, ironically, not in the third-floor malt shop. That’s going to be featured in this summer’s giant-spider movie.

Nadia: And now #7) Reveal and live your intentions: Sid, please bring me up to date on your activities, there must be some new things in your life now, and on the horizon.

Sid: A few years back, I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t audition for any plays anymore because of the time commitment and would only do them if they sort of fell into my lap—so I’d know they were meant to be. That philosophy got me the roles of Gertrude in Steve Martin’s comic play The Underpants, Mrs. Ellie Banks in Father of the Bride, and Jeri Neal in The Dixie Swim Club.

Since making these Mihm movies, I’ve been in two short independent films with burgeoning filmmakers Timothy Printup and Katie Cragoe, Treasure Box and Breaking for Home, each starring opposite the talented young actress Kira Pontiff. I’m thrilled to have been a part of their maiden voyages into moviemaking and really respect that they set a goal to do these two films in two months and made it happen. I always want to support and encourage those who actually follow through on their dreams.

My costar in House of Ghosts, Justen Overlander (Ray), a hilarious writer/actor/director himself, offered me the role of Goldie in his new movie, The Bequeather. It’s a comedy along the lines of Young Frankenstein set in the 1950s—my favorite era! We start filming in May, and I couldn’t be happier to be working with Justen and Mike Cook, another of my costars from Attack of the Moon Zombies and House of Ghosts (Dr. Edwards/Harlan, respectively) in this new movie.

And as I mentioned earlier, Chris Mihm is working on a giant spider movie, as part of a drive-in double feature. I know I’m to be in it in some capacity, but I don’t know exactly what my role will be yet. I’m game for anything. I’ve even offered to let his son’s tarantula climb on me.

We’re opening up our 1886 Victorian home to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Home Tour at the end of April, in time to promote the May 23, 2012, premiere of House of Ghosts at the Heights Theatre in Columbia Heights, Minn., the oldest continuously operating movie theater in the state. It has an awesome Wurlitzer pipe organ that comes out of the ground and is played before the movie. I’m busy promoting the heck out of this event and seeking the perfect vintage evening gown from a thrift store to wear on the red carpet that night. There’s a fashion war going on among the diehard Mihmiverse fans that are planning to dress up for the event, and I can’t be outdone. And yes, we take our premieres very pseudo-seriously. Who wouldn’t? There’s going to be free cake for heaven’s sake!

In between all of that stuff, I’m sure I’ll “work” now and then, too.

Nadia: I can appreciate your willingness to risk failure.You “get it,” and the potential rewards are unbelievable if you can let go of this fear. What advice do you have for others who seek to follow their passions as you have yours?

Sid: I’ve often joked that I’ve failed at more things in my lifetime than most people do in a dozen lifetimes. But the word in need of redefining there is “failed.” I’ve only failed at anything if its success is measured in dollar signs, brand-new sports cars and vacation homes in the Bahamas. For me, success is measured by how many of my various talents I’ve been able to explore in unique ways, regardless of the fiscal payoff, and how much my creativity has added to the value of my life and the lives of those around me.

For instance, the book I was spiritually guided to write after my tsunami of loss, Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss, has won four literary awards—including “Best Self-Help Book of the Year” from Premier Book Awards—and I continually hear from people about how much it has helped them navigate their grief after losing a beloved animal companion. Is it a New York Times Bestseller? Nope. But its topic has staying power; it continues to sell at a fairly steady pace and is even coming due for a second edition printing. I risked a lot of my own money to get it published and have earned back every penny and am now actually a little in the black. Writing it has led to my getting public speaking gigs, too, which represents another modest revenue stream.

Anyone can follow my circuitous path to creative fulfillment. The first thing you have to do is decide that personally providing your household with financial security is a low priority for you. (Inheriting a huge trust fund or marrying a zillionaire can help here.) That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t be responsible, respect money, and even aspire to be rich beyond all imagining—heck, it may even be in your cards to wind up this way, so you should be ready for that possibility, too. You just have to be OK with the uncertainty that risk-taking brings with it and value what the process itself will bring you more than you do a steady paycheck.

To ensure domestic harmony, make sure your life partner is on board with this plan, of course. My darling hubby has a quasi-reliable income (after a 20% pay cut across the board two years ago at the company where he works, that is) to ensure we’ll at least cover the mortgage payment. Though not getting me off the hook for pulling my own financial weight, this frees me up to do a bit more of my soul-feeding stuff without too much guilt that I’ll render us homeless.

Lest you think I lie around eating bonbons all day, however, I’ll have you know I also operate several other home-based businesses: Proof Positive Editing, my bread-and-butter proofreading/freelance writing/wordsmithing business for the past 15 years; Nonconformist Nuptials, wherein I write and officiate wedding ceremonies for those who balk at the traditional, cookie-cutter approach; and Two Right Feet Dance, through which my husband and I teach beginning social dances like swing, rumba, waltz, etc. Our motto is “Forget Fred and Ginger—we’ll have you dancing like Fred and Wilma in no time!” (This makes particular sense because we have a Flintstones shrine in our basement that has been on TV and in the newspaper.) Each of these brings in a little bit of money, costs me almost nothing to operate, and lets us write off sections of our home as tax deductions.

I’ve even finally found a way to make a little bit of money from my acting. (Alas, there’s been no money so far in the much-beloved B-movie or community theater worlds in which I dabble, but I do these for my soul anyway.) I am paid to act through the Standardized Patient Program at the University of Minnesota. I’ve gotten to portray various patients for med students, dental students, psychiatric nursing students, veterinary students and even law students to practice their communication and practical skills. Over the past couple of weeks alone, I’ve gotten to portray a woman who is “itchy,” receive 12 head-to-toe physicals (it’s been confirmed that I’m quite healthy, thank you), AND settle a fictitious lawsuit through mediation for $5 million! I get to exercise my improvisation muscle and get paid a bit for it. Happy times!

I’ve weathered this great recession better than most because, frankly, I’m used to being broke and subsequently had less to lose both financially and emotionally in the economic downturn. I believe I can adapt to change a bit more easily than most because I’ve always had to diversify or die. But above and beyond just being a means of survival, to me, each of these endeavors represents a different colorful thread in the gorgeous tapestry of my life. I don’t do beige. Instead, I say, “Bring on the rainbow hues!”

Sid Korpi is the human caregiver to seven rescued pets, a compulsively creative person, and is known to act in B-movies for food. She is grateful to be married to an understanding man who thinks life with her and all the critters is an adventure. Her websites are www.goodgriefpetloss.comand www.tworightfeetdance.comand www.nonconformistnuptials.com.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Interview with multi-talented baby boomer, Sid Korpi – National baby boomer | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/baby-boomer-in-national/interview-with-multi-talented-baby-boomer-sid-korpi#ixzz1pZHms3o8

For pets euthanized at home, a ‘last dose of love’

By Bob Shaw

bshaw@pioneerpress.com Updated: 11/07/2011 12:08:35 AM CST

Sid Korpi shows off clay paw prints of her pets, two of which were euthanized at her Minneapolis home. (Pioneer Press: Richard Marshall)

Undated photo of Sid Korpi’s cat Giles, who was euthanized at home by Minnesota Pets in August. (Courtesy to Pioneer Press: Sid Korpi)

Sid Korpi is glad that death makes house calls. When her cat, Giles, approached the end of his life in August, Korpi called on a unique in-home euthanasia service. Called Minnesota Pets, the St. Paul business does euthanasia—and only euthanasia. It has no clinic to treat animals, just four veterinarians who make about 20 house calls a week, each one ending an animal’s life. Customers say their pets die more peacefully at home. Korpi said that instead of dying in a clinic, her cat died in her lap, surrounded by love, peace and candlelight.

“There was no stress from cramming him into a carrier. I didn’t want to have to drive him somewhere with tears streaming down my face,” she said.

The idea for the business first dawned on Dr. Rebecca McComas four years ago, as her two beagles aged. Being a vet, she always planned to euthanize them at home. “I would never consider doing it in a clinical setting,” McComas said. “Then I started talking to other vets, and they said they wouldn’t do that in a clinic, either.” So, she asked, why would anyone? She knew that other clinics performed in-home euthanasias but wanted to have the first Minnesota business to specialize in them.

But the business does more than stick needles into dying animals. The vets are expert grief counselors. They dispose of the body afterward. And they offer mementos of the pet, such as a clay imprint of a paw. The basic visit costs $225, up to $375 for cremating the body and Advertisement returning the ashes. McComas helps customers deal with a form of grief that is misunderstood—and underestimated. When someone’s mother dies, friends and family share the grief. Everyone understands it. But when a pet dies, it’s not the same. “A lot of clients report that the loss of an animal, for people with a primary bond, is worse than that of a mother, father, sister or friend,” said Lisa Havelin, a grief support specialist with Minnesota Pets. “It’s incomparable. It’s much worse.”

That’s because pets spend an enormous amount of time with their owners. “We get used to them. They go in the car with us. We are with them all day,” said Havelin. “We do not spend that much quality time with other people.” That makes the loss of a pet hard to explain to others. “It’s disenfranchised grief,” Havelin said. But can’t a person who loses a pet just get a replacement? “For some people who do not have a connection with the animal, they can say, ‘Fine, I will replace a black lab with another black lab,’ ” Havelin said. In other cases, the animal-human bond is very strong.

“It’s just like with people. You may have a lot of people in the course of your life, but some stand out,” Havelin said. “I have had animals my whole life, but two or three of them have been especially difficult to lose.”

Sid Korpi holds a clay mold with paw prints of her 15-year-old cat Giles, who was euthanized at her home in August. (Pioneer Press: Richard Marshall)

Linda and Allen Anderson of St. Louis Park realized last summer that their 19-year-old cat, Speedy, was no longer living up to his name. “He was falling down,” Linda Anderson said. The cat stopped eating and drinking, and death seemed imminent. But McComas said cats are very hardy – and can sometimes live for weeks without food. That means that an owner determined to let nature take its course will watch the cat deteriorate—painfully.

For the Andersons, euthanasia in a clinic seemed too cold, too impersonal. “Speedy hated vets,” Anderson said. McComas showed up at the house, dressed in surgical scrubs and carrying a bag with the equipment. Together, they talked about Speedy’s life. “She was very kind,” Anderson said. The experience was perfect, she said. “To be able to do that, with him on my lap and my husband there, to give him that last dose of love—it was a remarkable experience.”

Korpi is a Minneapolis author of the book “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” and an expert on grieving over lost pets. So when her own cat, Giles, was near death in August, she liked the idea of a peaceful death at home. When the vet arrived, Korpi lit a candle and dimmed the lights in the room. “Giles came right up to her. He knew what was happening—and he was grateful,” Korpi said.

She has been through euthanasias of 16 of her other pets. “Every single time,” she said, “I say that when I go, I want to go like that.”

Bob Shaw can be reached at 651-228-5433. Follow him on twitter.com/BshawPP.

So sorry for the delay in my getting this review posted. Upon returning from Gunflint Lodge and the Wagalot Dog Lover’s Weekend, I was greeted by a week’s worth of work assignments and then had to head out to Fargo for the Fantastic Fargo Film Festival/ValleyCon event to promote “Attack of the Moon Zombies”—winner of the Roger and Julie Corman Award for Intrepid Filmmaking!

Now, much delayed, is my chance to say a big THANK YOU to organizer Lisa Sellman of Aloha Pet Care Service and the owners and staff of Gunflint Lodge. We had a marvelous time at this fabulous, pet-friendly lodge. First off, the food was incredible!! Their chef at Justine’s Restaurant on-site at the lodge easily equaled the culinary skills of any 5-star chefs in the Twin Cities. And all the food, three huge meals per day, were included in the cost of the weekend package. All we paid for was taxes and tips.

Anthony (L) and I (R) are joined by friends Keith Davis and Lori Soyring at Justine's Restaurant at Gunflint Lodge

Then there were the fun activities Lisa arranged, such as the baking of holiday dog treats in our cabin, where nearly a dozen people and their dogs joined us. Here are some shots of the cabin itself and our pooches checking it out.

Oliver peeks down through the oar-shaped railing surrounding the second-floor loft space in our cabin.

Oliver decides to come down from his "loft-y" perch.

Keely and Blanche keep a keen eye out for squirrels.

Ambrose snoozes on the bed while Oliver takes a nap nearby

Later on, I gave a talk about Pet Loss as Disenfranchised Grief to a receptive audience in the Conference Center.

Audience members take their seats before the talk gets underway.

Then we topped off the full day of events with a viewing of “Attack of the Moon Zombies.” As it turned out, Dan Moore, the man who is standing in the photo above, was one of the best friends of our director Christopher R. Mihm’s father, George Mihm! He was able to give us some terrific “dirt” on Chris’s 5th-grade exploits, which would have given us fodder for blackmail but Chris said all I could get from him was his “boatload of debt, a cat that pees on everything, and excess grumpiness” and besides, he’s proud of his shameful deeds involving drawing pictures of an illicit nature and photocopying them into little magazines for his friends to purchase. He dad apparently called this Chris’s “Larry Flynt Phase.”

"Whistleblower" Dan Moore and Kodi.

Lori Soyring (L) and Lisa Sellman with Jasmine and my Westie Blanche

Anthony with Keith, Lori and their fur-kid, Fletcher

Lisa's husband Rick sits next to Kodi and Dan. I'm in my '50s sweater and cat-eye glasses on the right.

Enjoying the B-movie

Blanche considers everyone part of the furniture.

Jasmine snoozes on Lisa's lap.

Anthony and Keith take Oliver's place upstairs

On the last day of the retreat, I performed an animal blessing ceremony. Participants tried to hide from the high winds off Gunflint Lake. (When you look across the lake, you see Canada!)

Some of the pet blessing participants.

Though we had a bit of rain the first couple of days, there was still some great hiking to be enjoyed in the Superior National Forest. Here, we wander along a Moose-siting trail.

Walking my pack.

We saw no moose, but Anthony found a 1955 Desoto carcass

In Grand Marais, we stopped by Gunflint Mercantile, owned by Chelsea Lueck (daughter of our friends Cal and Suzie Lueck, of Dad’s Belgian Waffles fame). Her fudge and candy shop was quaint, charming and demanded we buy a whole bunch of yummy stuff. Chelsea kindly offered to carry my book, “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss” for sale and is sewing me a fabulous Westie apron for my upcoming instructional video on preparing raw dog food diets. (More on this as the scheme develops.)

My hair was a permanent mess all windy weekend, but Chelsea looks lovely here!

Finally, on our way home, we take nourishment (and a potty break for the dogs) at famed Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors.

It was two years ago today I made my first public address to commemorate National Pet Memorial Day at the Honoring the Animals Candlelight Vigil hosted by Chance’s Spot Pet Loss Support and held in Louisville, Kentucky. Today, this event shares the spotlight with remembrances of 9/11. The two kinds of losses, though vastly different in scope and political repercussions nevertheless leave indelible marks in each of us affected by them.

As you meditate today about those lost in the Twin Towers or the other tragic plane crash, as I’m sure all Americans will, be sure to take a moment to remember our animal companions who have passed away and celebrate and express thanks for those who remain with us today. Give special thanks to those animals who serve in the Armed Forces, with the police, as service and therapy animals, etc. Vow to do some small thing today to show your thanks, such as visiting the Animal Rescue Site and clicking to help feed homeless animals. I do this daily, before I even check my emails. It’s a positive habit to develop.

If you know of someone who is facing pet loss or has recently lost an animal family member, please refer him or her to my site at <www.goodgriefpetloss.com>. I welcome everyone to send to me short tributes to their pets and a jpeg image for me to add to my blog’s Pet Passings section. Of course, everyone is free to contact me in my capacity as an animal chaplain if she or he feels the need to share thoughts or receive support as they process this loss. My book, “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” is always available for an ongoing source of that support, too. I will gladly inscribe books purchased through my site to personalize them for the person and pet; and $2 from each of those sales goes to support no-kill animal shelters. See my Affiliates link to read about those fine organizations.

There are some ideas for how to commemorate your pet’s passing  at <http://www.factmonster.com/petmemory.html>, but at barest minimum, take the time to give your pets an extra dose of love today and acknowledge their vital importance in your life.—Sid

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