Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bye bye kitty.

Our houseguest went home today.

Contrary to popular belief, I did not automatically scour "craigslist" for kitties.

I need a break. Don't get me wrong, I loved it.

My carpets needed a break. My countertops needed a break.

And a good wipe-down.

BUT - I'd do it again - in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

D.C. the 'house-guest'.

I've mentioned that a colleague of mine is in New Zealand visiting her twin sister.

I offered to 'sit' for her cat the past couple of weeks so she didn't have to shell out ~$250.

We got D.C. ------Dexter, or 'Devil Cat' as we like to call him. He's not the devil, but its funnier than his real name.

The first week he spent hiding under the bed, behind the couch and in the crawl-space between the laundry machine and the wall.

Maybe we shouldn't have tried so hard to get him to like us.

Because, now, his favorite spot is wherever we are. Making dinner - its on the counter. Using the commode - its at your feet. Brushing your teeth - its on the sink countertop. In the shower- its patiently waiting on the toilet seat.
When we settle in the for the evening, this is D.C.'s favorite spot. On the coffee table. And he's as long as the coffee table. He loves to stretch out, just like this.

But this is the view we get most of the time. He's enjoying the Olympics with us.
The funniest thing to happen, however, is his ability to drag out the toys I put away the night before. Oh so quietly, he is able to get UP on the bench (not surprising knowing the other furniture he can scale) and nose his way to the bottom to get his mice out to play. We've decided he just likes to snuggle.
We've enjoyed having him, but its just like a child. My exact words to Ben last night after having a nice supper out.
"Ben, when you get home - make sure you give Dexter his pill. Make sure his water machine isn't running hot and clean his litter box."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oh Kait......

I cannot stop laughing at these pictures.................hahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaha.

Here's the story:

My parents have been spending their free Sunday afternoon's with a trip to town to the local farm store. They browse around, thinking about the spring "to do" list and just 'get out of the house for awhile'.

Kait has been begging and pleading for this "treat" for some time.

Finally, over Valentine's Weekend - Mom and Dad gave in.

She wants to build a bird house with dad this spring. She needed tools - these tools.
I've heard that she's been wearing this around the house - searching for things that need to be fixed. Maybe we'll hire her to remodel our new house (once we find one).
Good thing she's Ben's sister and not mine. I'd be embarrassed.
Just kidding, Kait. We love it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

What a perfectly good waste of talent......

I usually don't get involved in conflictual (is that a word?) situations. When things are beyond my control (and I almost always find a way to get them 'in my control') but when I can't - I usually let it slide, roll with the punches. This time, it was hard and impossible to just stand by and say nothing.

The newspaper published by my alma mater "The K-State Collegian" recently published a newsarticle publically slandering the "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" breast cancer campaign developed and coordinated by the Collegiate Cattlewomen organization.

To review, the author felt the campaign was demeaning to women by promoting slogans such as "Treasure Your Chest", "Save the Ta-Ta's", "Help the Hooters", "Save the Jugs", etc. In my opinion, what genious marketing strategies are in place that allow us to use "pop" culture to bring awareness to breast cancer and support the fight for a cure?
Alot of other talented, well-intentioned young women have worked tirelessly to do their part in promoting breast cancer awareness. Like I stated in my response, "its a shame that this work is overshadowed by one person's search for a "story."
I felt it was my duty to respond..... I know I had much more "colorful" words to offer, but I refrained. What good would leading with your emotions do in this situation?
Here is my response. I think there are much positive ways to use your words.
This particular author has a reputation for denouncing agriculture, beef production and supports the efforts of the PETA and HSUS organizations. Her "anti-agriculture" tirades have been a constant struggle KState students, faculty, alumni and friends. She is a talented writer (there is no doubt about that) - but there are much more productive and socially responsible methods to showcase those.
I hope other CCW alumnu' do their part to stick up for the organization that helped shape us! And speak up for the enormous efforts of the "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" campaign.

Quick, but not so quick update.

Gosh - its hard to find time to get an update to everyone these days.

We've been run-over by work duties, but in my case especially - it keeps me from getting 'home sick'.

I wish I had pictures from the past weekend, because my words will do this story no justice. But here I go.

Much like other land-grant universities with Block&Bridle/Saddle&Sirloin organizations - NDSU held their annual "Little I" festivities this past weekend. We had a variety of committments throughout the course of the week including:

1. Ben participating in the ham curing contest as a judge (his pay was a 25# bone-in ham, YUM)

2. Ben overseeing the livestock judging contest (me there as moral-support and PR for the Cass Ext. office)

3. Me supplying the keep/cull paper class for our local FFA judging contest and attending for PR for the office (I actually had to talk this class during the critique and I can just see all our family and judging friends cringing at association to judging is by proxy only)

4. Us attending the "Hall of Fame" banquet to honor the S&S Agriculturalist of the year and the judging team (more on this later)

5. US attending the Little I to support the kids/department/agriculture in ND, etc. (seperate post also) - ending up with a silent auction gift......YEAH!

Needless to say the festivities were capped off by a "traditional" trip to CHUBS PUB during and after the Saturday program. We made our rounds, making sure the folks up here knew we came out and then headed home about 45 minutes before 'last call'. We didn't even try to keep up with the retired ASCI faculty who successfully 'shut the bar down' each year.

We recuperated just enough on Sunday to start another whirl-wind week. We seem to see each other coming-n-going these days. This week I had a couple of night meetings and long days and he's coaching the meat-animal evaluation team in addition to the livestock team, grading tests (that the average was a 64%, OUCH) and trying to keep up on all the basketball and olympics he can squeeze in .

Last night we looked at a few potential homes, but nothing 'tripped our trigger.' Plus we didn't want to have to both drive 100+ miles a day. Oh well, such is life. Another appointment next week - we'll see. No hurry.

He's off to Nebraska this weekend - I'm moping (not mopping). But I've got the cat to keep me company. I kindof like having him around.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mic check one, two.

I have spent the last two days attending a conference for "Women in Agriculture".

The keynote speaker was a gentlemen I wish I could have gotten to know while I was at UNL.

Ehmmm.......(imagine me speaking into a brightly painted Mega-phone).

"If you see this name listed as a facilitator, speaker or even in attendance at the meeting. Go.


His name was Dr. Ron Hanson. His specialty is counseling farm families through conflicts in a positive way and strengthening family relationships thru better communication. Mostly, he discussed (very candidly) the struggles families have encountered as they

a) transistion from the father running the operation to the son returning to take over,
b) the relationship between a close-knit family (and their private financial situations) and the new daughter/son-in-law,
c) the ramifications of not having a will and the father/mother dying unexpectedly,
d) remarriage and adjustments to her needs/farm needs/childrens needs, and
e) disagreements/fights that end family relationships.

This list goes on. I could have sat and listed to him for hours. I will tell you, there were tears (and a few contributed by me) and laughs, and lots of stories from experiences he's had counseling farm families from all-over the midwest.

The most insightful portion of the presentation (in my opinion) was the discussion about the dynamic between a farmer/rancher/agriculturalist and his wife.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day (and my hope to you that you will devote some time to your significant other) I listed the 3 most common complaints bewteen a farm husband/wife regarding communication (according to a study published by Cornell University) which Dr. Hanson presented.

1) He/she won't discuss his/her feelings with me.
2) He/she tunes me out most of the time.
3) He/she has time to talk to everyone but me.

Its sad/disheartening/unfortunate but true. I can think of an example of each situation that has occurred in my own relationship with Ben. Granted, they are isolated situations and we have what I consider "pretty good" communication - but not always.

I thought, "Wow. How lucky are we to receive this information just before Valentine's Day?"

So - I did the only thing I knew how to do about rectifying the situation.........after we got home last night I talked, talked, talked until Ben fell asleep.

And then I proceeded to talk some-more.

Happy Valentine's Day to all you Lover's out there! And if you're not attached - go buy yourself something nice deserve a treat also.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

While we've been out.

My absence hopefully stirs the though, "She must be busy with work."

The answer, "Yes, but that's not the entire reason for the 'no show' on the blog."

#1. Its tax season, we're debating doing our own or hiring someone because Ben got W-2's from 4, count it - FOUR states. We like getting paid in cash. Plus we'd like all the cash back we can get for reason #3 listed below.

#2. We're getting the apartment ready to "cat-sit" for a friend from work. She leaves for 2 weeks to visit her sister in New Zealand and we're getting Dexter her 3-yr old Persian kitty. YEAH YEAH YEAH - I'm excited. Ben's verdict is still out.

(This is not Dexter - but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this furry feline.)

#3. Here's the big one.........................We're house hunting. We got pre-approved to buy a home, so we've met with a realtor to start the process. It's kindof scary. But we're really excited. We just have to decide on the budget, the amount of land, and level of "fixer-ups" our marriage can handle.

It's also a super busy week up here - I am involved in Women in Agriculture and helping with 4-H judging contests and Ben had the "Little I" Showmanship/Judging Contest weekend. But, our friend Stephen Linnebur is in Fargo this week - so we are planning a little time to spend with him. We don't get a lot of visitors up here - so we're taking advantage of it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Things I didn't know about North Dakota!

We have learned a LOT since moving to North Dakota.

Some days I think I've moved to a different country. SERIOUSLY.

They even speak a different language. (I am getting better - I don't to shamefully ask people to repeat themselves quite as often as I used to....)


Let me tell you about the things I've learned up here (I promise its all in fun).

1) The accent is real. People really do say things like "Oh Ya?", "Ya, Really?"

2) Anything South of South Dakota is considered "The South."

3) We don't mix our carbs - no potatoes and noodles paired together.

4) You cannot buy alcohol anywhere except "Bottle Shops."

5) You cannot go shopping before noon on Sunday - everythings closed to allow people to go to Church.

6) When driving on a multi-lane road, everyone always drives on the left-hand side.

7) People classify themselves based on their degree of "Norweigan-ian" or "Scandanavian".

8) What we call lakes are merely "ponds" up here.

10) Even the women brag about the size of the buck they shot during deer season.

11) ND does have snow days.

12) Rabbit fur hats ARE IN STYLE.

13) People take off of work to go sit on a bucket in a small, un-heated, un-insulated hut in the middle of a ice-covered pond. AND THEY ENJOY IT!

14) There are snow-mobile trails. Complete with their own traffic signs.

15) People eat things like fish treated in lye and potato-pastry. AND THEY ENJOY IT!

16) Your SS card is not a valid for of identification when you get your driver's license.

17) But you don't have to register to vote or show proof of residency to get a ND driver's license.

18) Your doctor can prescribe the need for a pet. And there's nothing your landlord can do about it.

I'm sure there will be lots more that we learn - but these are just a few of our favorites!