Friday, November 28, 2008

This lady appears on The Tonite Show. Please be aware that the content and language of this video is not appropriate for children. Play it at your own risk.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pioneer Woman Contest!

Go here to leave a comment and get registered to win a $250 gift cert. over at Pioneer Woman.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today I got some new toys to use in PhotoShop. Below are some before and after shots of Tielyr.

Can you see the difference?

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Husband is a lucky man!

He's married to me! Ha, Ha, Ha.

Seriously, Bruce went trucking this evening (he drives an eighteen wheeler) and he took H2 along. (H1 is at a friends house overnight.) I used my time alone productively, I cranked my I-tunes loud and started cleaning the house. A half hour later Bruce called and said, "I've got a real problem here, you need to come right away. We are fine, just bring the pickup and a log chain, we are 5 miles east of town."

I could see red and blue flashing lights about 2 miles before I reached them. There were other vehicles stopped along the highway with their hazard lights flashing. It seems his trailer had come unhitched from the tractor while they were traveling at full speed down the road! The trailer brakes automatically locked up so it didn't travel too far. It had veered into the oncoming lane and came to rest on the opposite shoulder with the front part of the trailer leaning into the ditch. Thankfully no one had been driving in the oncoming lane. Gives me chills, thinking about the damage that trailer could have done to another vehicle. This incident could have ended so horribly.

The trailer was still upright, it took a little maneuvering to get it fully back onto the shoulder where Bruce was able to hook it onto the tractor. The only damage was a small air leak where an air hose coupler was loose! I taped it up, and he drove away! No damage! No citation from the nice police officers. Is that lucky or what? I'm really surprised he wasn't given some kind of ticket, I would have given him one if I were an officer.

Now I am the proud owner of the perfect burn if Bruce should ever talk about how awful women drivers are. "At least we don't lose our trailers while speeding down the highway!" I can't wait to use that one. He he he. Bring it on bad boy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Erica's Card

Made a card for my niece Erica. Hope she likes it.





If you send out photo cards, do you make them yourself? Where do you get them printed?

Jobs I've held.

In high school a teacher told us that we would have an average of 8 career changes. I thought he was crazy. I thought I would do one thing and do it to the best of my abilities until I retired. I was the crazy one. Read on about the many diverse jobs I have held so far.

Baby sitter to many nieces and nephews.

Right out of high school I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. So, I got a job at a candy import company. I was the switchboard operator. I directed eleven incoming telephone lines. I try to keep things positive around here, but to be honest I must tell you my boss was a total jerk parading as an upright 'christian'. He would send girls aged 18 to 22 to do candy shows, getting them the cheapest rooms available in the seediest most dangerous parts of the city. He was not a nice man, he actually hit one lady. I left after nine months, I had a lot of fun with the other employees at that company though, nothing like a jerky boss to unite workers. Another good thing about that nasty first job was that it made every one after it seem lovely in comparison.

My next job was at a baseball cap factory. I applied the little button to the top of baseball caps, but that's not all I did, no siree. I also put those little round eyelets in the cap panels. We all know how important those eyelets are! That factory closed after I was there a little over a year and I decided it was time to get back to school.

I still was not 100% clear on what career I wanted to pursue. I had always been a timid sort and had little confidence in myself. I made a conscious decision to try the thing that frightened me most. (Face your fears head-on to eliminate them and become a stronger person is what I was thinking here.) I took a weekend class on computer programming. I had never touched a computer before so this was a huge scary step for me. Guess what, I liked it. I enrolled full time and got a degree in computer programming.

While attending college I worked at a bank and did their nightly processing work. A fun aspect of this job was watching the ATM monitor. I would see people doing the oddest things when they thought no one was watching. ATM users made rude gestures, mooned the camera, kissed the camera and kissed each other. Fun times.

After graduating I went to work for a company that developed, sold and maintained software for about 90 banks throughout the Midwest. My job was to customize programs when a bank wanted to do things a little differently than the norm. I also helped people when they ran into problems and needed help working their way out. It was fun to guide them through their rough spots. They were always very thankful and thought I was the bomb! This company was eventually bought by a larger company and they closed our office. I was offered a job by the new company but I couldn't leave my family and move to their office in Missouri. I can't be without my family!

Payroll specialist was my next title. I did the payrolls for many of the businesses in my small town. The bakery, factory, restaurant, veterinary office and many others. I also did bookkeeping work for a few businesses. Have I mentioned that I prefer to be creative and don't enjoy numbers much? I stuck it out for a couple of years before training a niece to take over.

I went back to school to become a massage therapist just like my older sister. It was a good fit. I had had my first child by then and could set my own hours, staying home with him most of the day. A bad car accident that did some damage to my neck and jaw made giving massages too painful for me to continue.

I helped my carpenter brother Rick part-time building spec houses.

My nephew Justin is profoundly mentally and physically handicapped. I was a licenced respite care provider for him until he turned 18.

My husband Bruce and I started a trucking company. We haul a liquid by-product from ethanol production plants. We deliver the liquid to cattle feeders. Cattle love to eat the stuff, its very nutritious and it's cheaper to feed than corn. I am the one who contacts the plants to procure the syrup we haul in our tanker trucks.

We quickly became too busy for my husband to continue feeding the cattle we had on our farm. I took over the cattle chores, while he drove one of our trucks 16 to 18 hours a day. I drove tractors, mixed and fed cattle feed, worked cattle(sorting, treating, loading, unloading), hauled manure, fixed machinery, basically did everything required to take care of cattle. I think this was my favorite job.

I have always done the bookkeeping for our farm and trucking business.

I was geared up (Get it? Trucks have lots of gears? Just ignore me and read on.) to start driving one of our 18 wheelers full time when I was diagnosed with cancer. I was driving the trucks with my husband in the passenger seat. Fun fact: People who want to practice driving a semi tractor trailer before taking their driving test need to have a learners permit. I had already taken and passed all the written tests required. However, the cancer treatments left me too tired to do much of anything, hence the name Slug-A-Bed. We sold the farm, I continue to do the bookwork for our growing trucking company and I stay at home with our two boys.

Last year I was a substitute teachers helper at my boys' elementary school. I worked in the special education room with mostly downs syndrome boys. I loved it but I became too fatigued and I ended up contracting every virus that thrives in the perfect conditions an elementary school provides, a side effect of my leukemia. Only when I get a normal childhood illness it sometimes morphs into a nastier version and I can suffer for months. Had to give up being a teachers helper.

So these are the jobs I have held. Wow, that is a long and diverse list.
  1. Baby Sitter
  2. Switchboard Operator
  3. Factory Worker
  4. Bank Employee
  5. Computer Programmer
  6. Payroll Processor
  7. Bookkeeper
  8. Massage Therapist
  9. Respite Care Provider
  10. Carpenters Helper
  11. Cattle Feeder
  12. Entrepreneur
  13. Teachers Helper
  14. Most importantly, I am a Circus Trainer/Mom to two wild boys!

What jobs have you had, what jobs are you training for?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Career Choices.

If you were guaranteed to be successful, what would be your dream job?

I would choose to be a successful writer. Wait, I am a writer of this blog! Oh right, successful is the key word here. OK then, I'd like to be a landscape designer or a home stager, or a stained glass artist, or a...... I could go on forever with this.

What would you choose to be? A gondolier? A UPS truck driver? Marine biologist? Stay at home mom/dad? Circus trainer? In my opinion a circus trainer's about the same as SAHM/D - you train, feed and clean up after the little animals, then hope they perform well in public.

Or maybe you would like to be the person who puts the little button on the top of baseball caps? (Don't laugh, I did that for over a year and I was dang good at it too!)

Yes, Colby, dare to set your goals that high! You too could be a baseball cap button application specialist!

Or just maybe you would like to travel through time, back to the mid 1970 to join a Swedish dance band? (Thanks for the pictures John.)

Put a nice black skirt with these tops and they would make lovely bridal attendants! Baracudaz? Can you say misnomer?

Oh my sweet satin, what were they thinking? I don't even want to know the meaning behind their name. You just know the photographer told the guy in black to give his best 'sexy' pose. I tried that once in high school, it didn't work for me either!

If I had to pick one, I think I might feel most comfortable joining the Gert Jonnys.

Please share with me. Money, location, talent or circumstances that would otherwise hold you back don't matter here. What's your dream career?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm a winner! Not whiner, winner! Really!

My youngest brother John works in marketing/design for a large company that produces dairy products. He needs to know who's who on the net as his job involves developing and maintaining his companies web presence.

A few months ago John told me about some popular bloggers including Ree Drummond and her very popular blog thepioneerwoman.com. You may have noticed her blog listed on the sidebar of this site. She is so popular she sometimes gets over 10,000 comments in a day! I have to use guilt, bribery and threats to get a measly 10 comments out of the people who read this blog.
** whispers - "Jerks" - under her breath. Then thinks to herself, "Maybe if I didn't call them names they would comment more often. Nah, that's not true 'cause I never call them names out loud." **

Anyway, I read her blog and I did what I normally do when I like something a lot, I immediately became addicted and got my sisters addicted as well.

Ree's keen sense of humor is evident throughout her entertaining and informative blog. She is a photographer and explains how to take professional shots, then gives tips on how to use Photo Shop to make your shots look their best. Some of you may know that I have been into photography since I was a kid, when I took pictures of my family members in all kinds of embarrassing costumes and poses. Previous to her instructions, I mainly used Photo Shop to add boogers and mono brows to my kids pictures and posted those pictures on the web as a punishment when they misbehaved. Ree posts pictures of the men on their ranch (who usually wear chaps). I love looking at pictures of men in chaps! You can't beat that. I guess you could beat that.....with a firm hand. *eyebrows wiggle up and down suggestively* I've pictured it in my mind many times as I looked at those cowboys' backsides! Te he he.

Ree is also an excellent cook and shares her butter-licious recipes with her readers. Many of you may remember that I have eaten food since I was a toddler. Small world right?

This is an interview Ree gave on CNN last year.



It must be a little surreal to see your boy picking his nose on CNN. I want to know what he says about it when he's 17 yrs old! He is too cute strutting his stuff in his briefs with one arm swinging like a pendulum! (Side note: Did you notice the Dow was at 13,450 on the ticker back then.)

I love her blog because it is fun and entertaining. Recently however, the posts on her blog were not fun at all. They were difficult to read, but I couldn't get enough of them. Ree's husband and daughters traveled to the Dominican Republic with a group of bloggers. They were taken there to see the work done by Compassion International, a non-profit group that assists children who are living in extreme poverty. This is the same type of group that you see in commercials asking for monthly donations. I am ashamed to admit that I usually shrug off those commercials and don't give them much thought. I have my own problems you know.

Below is an excerpt of a post by Brian Seay, a leader of the blogger group.


__________

The Girl Without a Smile
Today several of our bloggers met their sponsored children. This is easily one of my favorite days of any trip. There are always hugs, tears, presents, and lots and lots of love being passed around. Every time I have met one of our sponsor children I really pray that I will bond quickly with the child and deep down I just want them to be fun. I always want to play a little soccer, blow bubbles, hear them cackle when I tickle them, and see the same little child that is within my own children. And usually that’s exactly how it goes - and it’s just flat out fun.

Big Mama met her sponsored child, Anna, today and there were no smiles or laughs coming from this 6 year old girl. We first noticed it when Melanie was giving her a backpack full of goodies- no expression, none at all.

I led the group to visit Anna’s home to meet her mother and grandmother. It became evident very quickly why there was no smile - it’s because there was no hope. Poverty will do that to a Mom. Not knowing if you can feed your family will do that to a Dad.

We asked the mother how we could pray for her family and the Mom stoically answered that she would tell us but we need to know that she doesn’t believe that God will answer any of her prayers or dreams for her children. The silence from our team was overwhelming and the cruel reality of poverty was now firmly in our face. Wess Stafford, Compassion’s President, has often said that poverty is more than the lack of money - it’s the lack of hope.

This story does not have a great ending where we fixed all their problems before we walked out the door. We prayed and we believe that the church will continue to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of this family.

I stood with Melanie outside Anna’s home and watched as the pain of her sweet girl’s situation manifested itself in those big tears you cry when it really hurts. But the reality is that Compassion does a sponsorship program for this very reason. I know it is $32 a month to sponsor a child but you need to know that Melanie’s ministry to this family extends light years beyond the money she sends each month. Melanie is now one of the only people in Anna’s life that will consistently tell her she is loved and it’s ok to dream big dreams because God will hear her prayers. Melanie, and her family, now have the massive responsibility to write Anna and make sure she remembers someone is praying for her EVERY DAY. This sponsorship is not some marketing angle - it’s a real one to one relationship that can make a monumental difference in the life of a child AND a sponsor.

If you don’t currently sponsor a child (or don’t sponsor enough), go to Compassion’s site and do it now.

If you sponsor a child already, sit down and write your child today.


________________


Go here to see a picture of Anna - no child should ever be this sad or look this forlorn.

Ree's husband(Marlboro Man) wrote about meeting Anna's family too, he just about broke my heart. Please read his post here if you haven't already read it.

The posts from all the bloggers on the Compassion trip were touching. You can read them here.

After reading about the poverty and seeing pictures of the children and the conditions in which they live, Hooligan 1 (my eleven year old) asked if he could sponsor a child instead of receiving Christmas gifts from us this year. Proud moment for this mom!

During the time of the Compassion bloggers trip, Ree and Marlboro Man offered to cover the costs for one of their readers to become a sponsor to a young person in the DR who had graduated from the normal program and showed so much potential that Compassion was sending them to the local university to continue their education! I sent in my email, as I'm sure thousands of others did, expressing my desire to be the chosen sponsor. Alas, I was not the lucky reader chosen.

However, I received an email from Ree today! She said she loved my note and they would like to pay for me to be a sponsor to one of the children in the normal Compassion program! How awesome is that, H1 and I can write to our kids together! I am so excited and can't wait to get to know my Compassion child. This is perfect for me, I get to provide support and encouragement to a child, but I don't have to worry about that nasty discipline stuff. Merry Christmas to me! So I'm feeling like a winner for once in my life. ** jumps up and down on couch singing in a sing-song voice ** "I get to sponsor a child, I get to sponsor a child! I am a so-o-o cool!" OK, the boys are giving me the raised eyebrows/curled upper lip look that says "You are so NOT cool." I'll just climb down now.

Bison has Animal Magnetism!

This was sent in an e-mail from my uncle in California.

Legal question:






Is this statutory rape???
Or is It just a moosedemeanor.....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Misc.

My family and I have been dealing with the flu bug for the past week. I know many of you have desperately missed my beloved blog posts during my absence...NOT. I dare to dream.

Speaking of dreams, have you checked out despair.com yet? They are over on the side-bar there. In case you can't make out the words the first one says, "Destiny - You were meant for me. Perhaps as a punishment." The one with the sinking ship is, "Mistakes - It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others." They make me laugh, go over there and check out the one on Challenges. I think I am going to have a calender made there.

Last night Maidzilla shared the following recipe with the family. I doubt it's good, but I'll post it to make her happy. Hehehe.

3 or 4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup water
Zesty Italian Seasoning Packet

Cook the above in a crockpot on low for 3 hours.

Mix:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 can cream chicken soup

Pour over the chicken and cook for 1 more hour.

Maidzilla served this over rice. She claims her entire family enjoyed it. They may have been intimidated into telling her that by the rolling pin she waves around constantly! I love to jab at her, she gives it back to me in spades!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The bridge.

These pictures were taken near an old railroad bridge that is about a half mile from my house. Trains don't run through here anymore. Our small town developed the bridge and the area around it into some awesome bike paths and a campground along the river.

The two kids pictured above have been the focus of my last three posts. This little boy is not yet two years old and the little girl just turned two in Sept.! They were so well behaved and did everything we asked of them and more!




This is a beautiful walk or bike ride.






It's a great place to take pictures.


When I was in high school the trains no longer ran, but the tracks were still intact. A group of us would pack into a buddy's station wagon, get the tires aligned just right on the rails and cruise the railroad tracks. We would climb onto the roof of the car, no need to steer, we just let the car go and watched the trees and rivers go by. Others remember consuming pop and other beverages when cruising the rails. (There were no pesky police officers patroling the rails.) Good times, good times.


A few nights ago I got these shots of the setting sun from the bike path.


The following pictures were taken in a town about 24 miles from us. They did a similar thing with their old railroad bridge and surrounding area.



I love the architecture of their bridge piers. What a great way to recycle these old bridges.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tielyr

The camera loves this girl.

I think it is a mutual affection.








This little turkey just turned 2 last month!




I think she could be a professional model.








I asked her to raise her arms up high. This is what she did!

















Is she too precious or what?!