Thursday, March 31, 2011

Job Interview, Party Of One.

Yesterday (Wednesday), K and I went out to fix some fence. We spent pretty much the whole day pulling some older, weak posts out and replacing them with newer heavier duty posts. K had also called the vet to come check out the newest calf, as she wasn't sure if it just had the world's weirdest umbilical cord, or if it's intestines were slipping through it's navel. We left Papa D at the house in case the vet called, so that he could call us and we'd buzz up on the ATV to meet the vet at the barn.

Portion of the fence we worked on.

We hadn't been out in the field very long when Papa D called us up. K and I raced up to the barn to see the vet climbing over fences to get to the barn. I followed everyone in, and K proceeded to tell the vet about this calf. The vet looked at the calf and said it's umbilical cord, but not like one he's ever seen. He went to his truck to get some suture material. I helped K hold the calf, who decided my right thigh was the perfect place to pee. *sigh* At least she didn't poop on me.

This little girl had to be brought into the house to get warm. Still doing good!

While the vet was suturing up the navel on the calf so he could cut the umbilical cord off, my grandparents are introducing me to him (I shall refer to him as Dr. J), and telling him how I was an animal science major and that I've worked in clinics and how I might be looking for a part-time job. He was very nice and asked me a few questions, which I answered. I told him I'd worked for Cottonwood Vet in college (which is a very well known clinic in Nor Cal), and that I had worked for a Vet Lab until recently. A lab which did their testing. He was impressed by all that, and said, "Well, I'd put in an application. I think we're pretty well staffed, but that could change by the time I get back there!" Before he left he mentioned that they may be looking for a Saturday person, and that I should pop over the hill (meaning a 6,500ft. pass), and grab an application. We shook hands, and I said that I would.

Fast forward to today (Thursday). K and I are back to work on the fence. The day before after replacing posts, we had fixed the barbed wire that was broken in places, and fixed wires to the new posts with nice new clips. Today, we were going to put on insulators so we could string hot-wire along the fence to prevent the cows from rubbing and scratching all over it, which is one reason why the fence was in need of repair. That and the deer jump over it, but don't always clear it.

So, K and I are almost done with the fence, and Papa D calls up and says that Dr. J had called him up and said that the office manager wanted to interview me that afternoon. I could just drop by anytime. My jaw hit the cow shit. (No . . . not literally). Dr. J had evidently gone back to the clinic either yesterday or this morning and talked the OM regarding me as their possible Saturday person. I was shocked and impressed. And completely flattered.

We finished up the fence, and I went home to shower and become presentable. I printed up my resume (after I quickly edited it), and scarf down a sandwich. I drove to town and went in to ask for the OM by name. She gave me a tour of the clinic, and introduced me to the techs that were there. She asked if I had time to sit down with the receptionist to learn from her and see what she does. Of course I said yes. So, for the whole of the afternoon, I sat with the receptionist and she explained their computer program and I watched how she did stuff. I haven't worked in a vet clinic since 2001. I have a lot to re-learn! Plus to learn where everything is located and how to handle the front desk. I had a receptionist position for a few months at the Chamber of Commerce in Redding, just after high school. I didn't have a lot to do, as the phone system was automated. I've never worked up in front in a busy clinic, not for more than a few minutes to help file or something.

And Jewel's, before you start running off about the hunky vet theory (wink), just know that one of the vet's is retiring soon, so there may be an opening for the hunky vet of which you think. Otherwise, I've only met two doctors - Dr. J and the guy who will be retiring.

I left with an application, which I will try to turn in tomorrow, and talk to the OM again. I'm sorta thinking that the job is mine, but I don't want to assume anything. It's one day a week, with potential for filling in during the week if need be. I would like to work in a clinic again, I've kind of missed that over the years. Plus, like my grandparents have told me, it would be good to have a small part-time job to meet people in the community. I have been slightly sequestered at my grandparents house, which, of course, is not terrible. I mean, they feed me and give me shelter.

I'm thinking I need to pull out the notes and text books I saved from my college days. I quite possibly have lots of studying to do!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When Life Gets Rough . . . Have A Cookie.

Or a dozen cookies. Whatever you prefer, really. As long as it's not liquor. In the last two days, liquor has never looked so disgusting to me. That coming from a girl who still has Smirnoff Ice in her fridge from probably a freaking year ago. Also coming from a girl who attended one of the nation's big party schools (well, it was number one ages ago), Chico State. I'll go into more another time, but suffice it to say I've had a drunk helper two mornings in a row while feeding cows. And no, it wasn't my grandparents.

But now, my peeps, I need your help. If you've visited my blog recently, you may have seen the little button to the left for the "Blogging from A-Z Challenge". If  you'd like more info on it, just click on the button - but there's like over 500 blogs participating. Anyway, it's a challenge to blog every day but Sundays in April, one day for each letter of the alphabet. I have ideas for most of the letters, but there are letters that I'm having a tougher time coming up with ideas. So, your ideas and input would be greatly appreciated.

I'm having issues with: E, J, U, Y, Z.

But I'll take ideas for all the other letters, too. But if you have ideas for those listed, that would be freaking awesome.

So, now I'm going to "eat" my aggravation away in the form of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Because there's not much better than a chocolate chip cookie.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This has been sitting in my drafts for quite some time; I had basically forgotten all about it! So, here's my "easy" post . . .

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals or are the members of your family?
I have pets. I own a horse and a cat. I've had dogs, goats, guinea pigs, rabbits, mice and hamsters. I was probably less attached to the rodent species, but the others, they do seem to become part of the family. Especially dogs and cats. And for me horses. Animals have been close to humans for so long and anymore they are more companion animals than work animals, so their meaning to people has altered a lot in the last hundred years.

2. If you can have a dream come true, what would it be?
To wind up with a family of my own, happy and comfortable in my life. (To the fates, if my husband looks a lot like Gerard Butler or Hugh Jackman, I won't be upset).

3. What is the one thing most hated by you?
I don't "hate" anything-or at least I try not to. I have to agree with the answer a lot of other bloggers put...I "hate" hate. I despise people who judge, protest, and put down others for their beliefs, love, lifestyle, religion, race, etc. For me there is just no place in the world for senseless idiocy. (I'm going to stick with Jewel's answer)

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?
Pay off any debt that I have. Buy myself a house. Travel to the places I most want to see. Make sure my family is taken care of. Get a dog. And a flat screen TV.

5. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?
Talking to my BFF or my parents. Listening to some good music. Watching a good comedy. Good ol' venting or manual labor.

6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
What a trick question!? I think loving somebody is a blessing unlike any other but being truly and completely loved for just who you are is a blessing unto itself as well. (I believe Jewel's said it very well.)

7. What is your bedtime routine?
Turn on electric blanket at least an hour before (hey, it's winter and it's COLD), get into PJ's, wash face, brush teeth, set alarm, harass cat, make sure doors are locked, turn lights off, crawl into bed, read for a bit, turn off light, and dream of any one of my celebrity husbands.

8. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?
I agree with Jewels - ugh, why does this question always pop up? I'm single, thanks so much for the reminder. 

9. If you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be?
Good question . . . but I have no idea!

10. What kinds of books do you read?
I love Dean Koontz's novels and Jane Austen's. I've recently started reading Kathy Reichs. Then there are the Pride & Prejudice continuation novels that I was obsessed with for a bit.

11. How would you see yourself in ten years time?
As long as I'm happy and healthy, that's all that really matters. Hopefully my Mr. Right has shown up on his trusty steed and swept me off my feet.

12. What's your fear?
Losing my loved ones and not being able to say good-bye or tell them how much I love and admire them.

13. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to visit outer space?
Why can't it be giving up vegetables or something gross like organs? While I would love to see the Earth from space and be weightless, it may give me a greater fear of heights. . .

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married, but poor?
Married but poor. I don't need tons of material things. Being loved and happy is really what matters. As long as there is enough money for bills and food, I'm good.

15. What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
I turn off the alarm, crawl out of bed, put on some slippers, and head to the bathroom to relieve the full bladder.

16. If you could change one thing about your spouse/partner what would it be?
That it be Hugh Jackman. Oh . . . if I had a partner . . . sorry. I thought it was who can I have appear in front of me *poof*.

17. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?
I shall not answer this question; I've been in trouble with this one before. I'll stick with my name, thank you.

18. Would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing that special someone has done?
I can't say "no matter", because some acts are truly unforgivable.

19. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?
I guess hamburgers. I freaking love those things.

I'm going to pass this along to: EVERYONE! I honestly don't know who has and hasn't already participated but I love, love, love reading everyone's if you haven't done this yet then please take it and fill it out. :-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Weekend Off

I sort of disappeared over the weekend, didn't I? My bad. I was too busy on my weekend off. Yeah, we can go with that excuse.

The weather up here in Sticksville was rather iffy most of last week, and by the time Thursday had rolled around, no one was sure if I would be able to drive the four mountain passes to visit my family. Needless to say, I was a wee bit irritated with Mother Nature. I awoke Friday morning to go feed and there was a bit of sunshine peeking through, and I just knew I could make it. Every time I made it over a pass, I texted my grandmother and my mom. I hit snow over the last pass, which for some reason is the worst pass to go over (and it's 2000 feet lower than where I currently live). As soon as I passed the summit I hit snow. Heavy snow, but luckily the roads were too wet so it wasn't sticking. By the time I reached the bottom of the mountain, it was pouring down rain. Actually pouring doesn't quite cover it. It was raining hippos and elephants. Seriously. It was a deluge.

I floated rolled into town to have lunch with Miss Jo, whom I haven't seen since she graduated from vet school about two or three years ago. She was nice enough to drive to Redding to meet me, and we visited for a couple of hours. It was so nice to get to see her again, and I hope we don't go another two years!

After lunch I ran to my old bank to close out my accounts officially. Then went to pay my car payment early - because I'm a good girl like that. Then it was finally off to my parent's house. I officially got to meet mom's new little Yorkie, Libby. Llibby is freaking adorable and I'm not much of a tiny dog person. As she runs around the house like she's on crack, we call it "herd of puppy". She's every where at once and drags toys out all over the place. The downside to Libby is that apparently Yorkies are extremely tough to potty train. My parents have never had a dog that is so hard to train. While all previous puppies we've had had one or two accidents in the house (because you just can't avoid them), they've all been easy to train. Libby isn't. My parents will sit outside with her for half an hour and she won't do a thing. Two minutes inside the house and she's left little Libby Presents. Strange dog.

On Saturday, my parents took me to Costco so I could spend some money there. It's not economical for me to belong to Costco's membership, but my parents use theirs a lot, so I mooch off them. Plus I've never really needed to shop at Costco before, as I never needed to really buy much in bulk. However, now that I live in the middle of nowhere, it's much more economical to buy a ton of toilet paper than to buy it every week at the local store. I also priced laptops there and at Best Buy (and I had done so with Dell online), as in a previous post I had written about my old laptop dying a slow death. Or at least the battery.

After running some errands, my parents dropped me off at Granny & Granddad's while they went to Raley's to get some groceries for them. I had a good visit with them, and regaled them with my story of faceplanting in the moop (a much nicer term for mudshit . . . mud + poop =  moop). My grandparents were both raised on ranches/farms as kids, so they could sort of relate to my plight. I'm happy to report that my Granddad is doing better. He took a spill with his walker a few weeks ago in his house, and has been laid up in the living room since. My dad got him up for a bit of walking, and my mom says that he's improved a lot just since last week. My dad was surprised that my Granddad had the initiative to walk the length of the house and back to his chair with his walker, and he did so without any issues. Sometimes it's really the little improvements that make all the difference. My grandparents are a bit miffed that their home sale dropped out of escrow after a week. If that. No one can really move on the granny unit being put in on my parents property until the house sells. I guess they're just lucky that the buyers didn't back out several weeks into the deal.

After that it was dinner with Nana & Sonny. It was Sonny's birthday, plus we were celebrating my parents birthdays (both are this week). We had a wonderful visit, and had good food and excellent desserts. I was a bottomless pit: I ate all my food, part of Sonny's free dessert (it was a fudge sundae and he doesn't like chocolate), and part of his paid for dessert (it was strawberry cheesecake shooter, but he apparently doesn't like the cheesecake portion). Hey, don't tease Sonny for dessert persnicketiness, I'm much pickier at foods than he is. Trust me on this. Besides I got to eat the good parts. ;o)  Overall, we had a wonderful visit, and it was nice to see both of them improved in health, too. Next time I'm home and visit them, Nana will probably fill me up with dessert at her place because she loves to bake and feed her kids and grandkids. And none of us complain about it, either.

On Sunday, mom took me back to Costco where I spent more money, this time on a new laptop. This sucker's batter lasts like 4 hours and mine never lasted more than maybe 2 hours. Anyway, I got quite a bit of feedback through your comments, and then some comments on Facebook regarding Windows 7, and so far, it's not as annoying as Vista was. Vista was just crap. My batter cord is longer, but I now have a new problem. This cord has three prongs and all of my grandparents outlets are two prongs. Oh well. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, right? I finally decided on just purchasing a new one, as I practically live on the computer. Whether it's Facebook and chatting with friends or family, or blogging or now writing up articles for my grandparents publication, I'm on the computer quite a bit. I know that laptops aren't built to last more than two or three years anyway, so I got good use out of my old one. I still have it, I need to transfer the data to my new one, which will take some time. I need to back up my pictures and whatnot onto a disc anyway, which reminds me, I think I need to buy some more CD-RW's. But so far, I'm liking my new computer, and I hope we have will have a few good years together.

My drive back to Sticksville was as uneventful as my drive out of it. All my passes were clear and I didn't hit much traffic. It took me awhile to unload my car, and then to put everything away. Shopping at Costco is rather fun, but when you have to find room for all that shit, it ceases being fun real quick. I managed to buy a bunch of baking supplies so I get to bake myself some more cookies. Yummy yummy in my tummy!! I'm thinking chocolate chip . . . since Average Girl's recent post regarding food and sweets got me thinking.

Now it's back to the real world of feeding cows at 7:30 in the morning. There was one good thing about waking up early this morning: THE SUN. Seriously, that little shit has been hiding for awhile and I hate a constant game of hide and seek. Or Peek-a-boo.

An update on the calves in the barn. When I left on Friday, there was a total of three calves in the barn, with their mothers. The twin that we grafted onto Miss Surrogate awhile back, is doing excellent - both mother and calf have bonded well. Another two calves were put in the barn as they had been born in the mud. One of them didn't make it after a week of my grandmother tubing it order to feed it a bottle. But the other calf was doing well. This morning we put those cows and calves back into the herd. I know I promised a video of that twin that I took pictures of in the Miss Surrogate post, but my mom didn't have the right USB cord, either. So . . . for now it's stuck on my phone and the only way to get it off is to send it in 9 second increments and I'm too technostupid to know how to piece it all back together. Whenever I can get it off, I will and post it. Until then, I guess I need to take my actual camera with me each morning in case I want a video. That I can upload properly to my computer without much hassle. My apologies . . . please don't hate me too much.

And here's the latest tidbit: last week, Papa D and I went to a bull sale - my first one. He was doing a membership drive there, as well as making sure those that were members of the Cattlemen's Association were identified because if they bought a bull, they would 5% off their purchase for being a member. Not a bad deal. Anyway, Papa D, two other men, and myself made $1 bets on the average sale of the bulls. I had been hearing that the price of cattle had gone up, but I was seriously impressed when I saw bulls going for $4000. We wagered before the start of the sale, the wagers between $3600 (which was Papa D's) up to $4100 (mine). And today Papa D got the results for the average price of the bulls: $4177. I totally won $4. I never win much of anything.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go swim in my $4.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MLW: Lunches & Dinners With My Daddy

Today I was pleasantly surprised by my dad stopping by in Sticksville today. It's about three hours from Redding, so it's not like he felt like driving over icy and snowy mountain passes just to see me. He's up in this part of the country checking on his accounts up the area, and wound up with an appointment in Sticksville, and so surprised me! We had a nice lunch in one of the two restaurants in town, and drove over to my grandparents house to have a visit with them. We'll be meeting in town later for dinner. I knew I was having dinner with my dad tonight in town. By "in town" I mean the metropolis of about 2500 people thirty minutes away over a snowy mountain pass. Yeah.

Anyway, onto the memory of this post. Lunches with my daddy. While I was at Chico State, my dad and I would have lunch and/or dinner at least once a week. When my dad transferred to the Safety unit at his job, he purposefully took the area that included Chico because we knew I'd be attending college there.

For four years, my dad and I did this. Every week, he'd let me know what days he'd be in town, and roughly what times he'd be available. Sometimes we couldn't get together easily, as I'd be working or have class. Typically it would be because of work.

We would visit; talk about my school work, my jobs, and what he and mom were up to. I've always been close with my parents, but my dad and I got close during my time at Chico.

One evening I was very thankful that he was in town. I had had a very rough day at my job, a vet clinic in Chico. My boss had been ragging on me for a month about my lack of animal care and piss-poor cleaning abilities. I had never had these complaints before, and I couldn't understand where the problem lay. After an entire month of being called a liar (but not in those words), I finally asked my boss this: "How can I prove to you I am in fact doing my job? Do you need to follow me around with a video camera or something?" To which my boss replied, "Oh, no, that's not necessary. Just do your job." Yeah. I knew I was beat. The minute she left the room I was in tears. I was so insulted, so hurt, so angry. My dad had called earlier in the day to see if we could have dinner. I told him I would be at work, so I couldn't. By the time I was in tears, it was about 6pm or so, and was starving. I asked my boss if I could have my dad bring something to eat and if I could take 20 minutes to visit with him. She okay'd it, so I called him - locking myself in the linen closet in the groomer's room to do so.

My dad brought me Taco Bell, and I ate in the parking lot, crying on my dad's shoulder. He was there for me, understood my issue and how upset I was. But he talked me down from walking out of my job. He gave me hugs and assurances that it was okay to leave, but I shouldn't under such circumstances.

When I eventually graduated from Chico State, I figured these lunches and dinners wouldn't last forever. And when I moved from Chico to Sacramento, we both had withdrawals. We both missed each others company over lunch or dinner and of course the visitor.

His surprise visit to Sticksville reminded me of those days. And hopefully the weather will cooperate and stop snowing so I can make it over all the passes to get to Redding for my visits with my parents this weekend. Not to mention my friend J who I haven't seen in ages . . . 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Introducing the Office Cats

I would like to take the opportunity today to introduce the "office cats" at my grandparents place.

All pretty self explanatory, I say. Fritzilla is the biggest nuisance assistant, loves to help you type by walking over the keyboards.

Kind of a lazy post today . . . . I spent more time working on the pictures than actually typing anything. Oh well. That cats are cute, right?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Drinks & Dilemmas

I'm sitting here drinking a margarita thanks to K. It's pretty darn good. 

I also have a dilemma.

I have a margarita and a dilemma. And no the margarita won't help the dilemma. And no, it's not the dilemma, either.

My dilemma is my computer. I've had my laptop for about 3.5 years. It's outlasted it's previous version by about 8 months. With that one, the hard drive took a nose dive out of nowhere. With this one, it's the battery. Every time I turn it on, or take it out of standby, I get a nice little notice from Dell in the corner that says, "Your battery is able to charge normally, but it's nearing the end of it's useful life." I wish it would give me a date of it's demise. That would be helpful.

So, I went to Dell's website to price a battery. Holy Shit! They're expensive. I was really naive apparently in thinking how cheap they might be. Nope, that little sonofabitch is $150.

See my reactions below.

So, while I was recovering from the battery sticker shock, I checked out laptops. For another $150, I can get a new computer. Sad.
I could spend the $150 on the new battery, and a week later, my hard drive could go up in smoke, and I'm out the the money for a new computer and the new battery. Or it could last another year. Or can I spend the extra $150 to get a new, faster computer. As much as I love my computer and as much as I hate spending that kind of money (which is getting a bit scarce, although I still have money in savings), at least the new one would have a warranty. I've been noticing a severe slow-up on my poor computer, I'm thinking the processor isn't able to keep up with the demands of the internet and keeping several operations running. Also, certain keys are starting to stick and I practically have to break out the sledge hammer to get them to work. And no, it's not "backspace" or "delete", which I would have figured would have been the first to go.

I had wanted to wait and save for a Mac, as I hear nothing but good things about the machine. However, I do understand that some of the software can get quite pricey. As if the damn computer by itself wasn't so pricey. Sheesh.

I'm happy with a PC, it's all I've really ever known. However, Vista came on my current laptop and after a month I begged someone to wipe that shit off my computer and put XP back on. Vista was the most annoying program. EVER. So, if anyone has a newer computer that has Windows 7 on it, I'm curious what you think of it. I'm just curious.

Otherwise, my dilemma (that is not being hindered or helped by the margarita I'm sipping) is what am I to do about my computer. I don't necessarily like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Holy Flying Cow Shit Batman!

Thursday was an exciting day on the ranch. After our usual morning feeding, Papa D and  I worked on some stories for the publication. We made some phone calls to get some information, and then were to set to work writing up some stories.

I had just gotten set up in the dining room with my laptop and a cup of hot chocolate when K came out of the mud room with binoculars saying that it looks like one of the heifers had a calf. She was also thinking that same heifer had something else hanging out her back end, and was wondering if it might just be another calf. Not very long after that, she ran into her bedroom saying that heifer she'd been watching looks to have had a second calf, as she was changing back into her dirty clothes. Prior to all of this happening, when she was only supposing that heifer might have twins, we discussed this. Since the calving season started, they've lost two calves (my grandparents suppose the severe weather we're having to be at least part of the problem), and one of those calves was just yesterday. If this one heifer was having twins, they would try to take one of the calves and put it with the heifer that had lost her calf the day before, and hopefully the heifer would accept this second calf.

Well, when she realized that the heifer was indeed having twins, I asked if she needed help, and she said "yeah!". I had to borrow a pair of rubber boots that were at least half a size too small as my nice insulated muck boots were at my place. We took an ATV and headed out. A good rule of thumb while riding an ATV on a ranch - keep your mouth shut. Seriously. Flying mud and cow shit galore.

We get out there and sure enough, there are two calves with this particular heifer. One was attempting to nurse and the other was still sopping wet on the ground trying to stand. K turned over the ATV to me and she picked up the calf and held it to the "back seat" of the ATV and walked next to me, keeping the calf behind me. We did this all the way back up to the big barn. K carried the newborn into the big barn, which has a huge step up into it. As she put one foot up on the step, she hollers to me "On three push up on my butt!" Well, it is a big step, and she was carrying a 60-something lb calf.

The barn is set up for issues such as this. Either bottle feeding calves or to try to put a calf on a cow that has recently lost a calf - which the latter is what we were trying to do. We put the calf (a little girl) in a small pen, where it tried to stand up. If you've never witnessed a newborn four-legged critter try to stand, it's adorable and heart-wrenching. Luckily, this little calf had a lot of spunk and was trying very hard - sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. 

I actually recorded a 2 minute video on my cell phone, but I can't locate my USB cord for my phone, and it's too large a file to send to myself. So, if you hold tight, there will be a video uploaded of this little girl learning how to stand and walk and being only about an hour old. But this video will have to wait until next weekend when I can borrow my mom's USB cord.

Anyway, we went back to the house for lunch and waited for K's brother to arrive to help us out with the other project: getting the heifer separated that we needed (the one that had lost her calf and is now wanted to be this girl's surrogate).

We took the ATV's out and put a bale of hay on the flatbed truck and went out to attempt to get Miss Surrogate up to the barn. Mind you, the mud is still a minimum of a foot deep. Probably closer to two feet. At least in some places. We basically played "Catch the cow" on ATV's. The cows would start to follow the hay truck back towards the main gate, and then Miss Surrogate would freak out and start running somewhere else, and because cows are herd animals, the others would follow. K and I kept running circles and serpentines around cows trying to get Miss Surrogate to go where we wanted her to go.

My arms are quite sore from this little escapade.

We had mud and cow shit flying everywhere from the wheels of the ATV's. Luckily none of it decided to smack me in the face, but it did get all over my boots, in my hair, on the hood of my sweater, and of course, all over my jacket and gloves.

We finally got a small group of cows to head to the main gate, Miss Surrogate with them. We managed to get them gated in an area near where we keep the feed trucks. We then needed to separate Miss Surrogate from the others into a set of pens that would eventually lead to the big barn. We managed to do that, while keeping the other cows penned.  K and her brother went on to get Miss Surrogate into the barn and into a head catch to try to get the calf to nurse.

All that remained was putting Miss Surrogate's friends back in their pasture, which was actually done with ease. I'm just glad K and I didn't have to chase them in two foot deep mud. Because I'm pretty sure that would have ended badly.

By the time Friday morning rolled around, the calf was nursing on Miss Surrogate. They'll be left in the barn for a few days to continue bonding before being taken back to the rest of the Spring herd.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MLW: Stagecoach Festival

A few years back I went with two good friends to the very first Stagecoach Festival - for those that aren't into country music (which is probably most of my followers!), it's a two day country music festival in Indio, California. I had gotten wind of this concert by listening to the radio on my way to work during my short stint at UC Davis. I was ecstatic because George Strait would be there, and I love me some George Strait. Also, one of my good friends loves him, too, and we'd sworn to each other that we would one day see him live.

When we broke down the ticket prices along with the camping prices, it averaged to be something like $25 or less to see each act. Not a bad deal.

The trip didn't start that great. We stopped at a grocery store on our way out of town to get snack items for the cooler. Being the dingbat that I am, I left the car running . . . with the doors locked. So we had to wait in the rain for the AAA to come out and unlock my doors. It was all downhill from there.

When we arrived at the polo grounds in Indio, we hauled everything in and claimed a campsite. Once all set up, we walked into the grounds and bought a couple drinks. The next day the festival started.

There was music going from like 11am to when the headliners finally finished. There were a total of four stages, music playing all day long on each stage. The year we went, were able to see Marty Stuart, Willy Nelson, Sugarland, Gary Allen, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, and Kenny Chesney.

Most people were actually pretty pleasant to deal with while standing around waiting for shows to start or during the shows. We didn't pay for the actual seats, that was like an additional $200. I don't think so, Tim. The three of us has a good time, and enjoyed wandering around aimlessly from stage to stage and stopping randomly to see who wanted to attempt the mechanical bull. We each bought a our little group a round of margaritas, which was a small fortune indeed.

They had showers available, which was awesome. And naturally, there was a line at the woman's shower and never one at the guys' shower. That shit is seriously not fair. On the second morning, our line wasn't moving at all for the longest time, and a couple guys came out of their shower, saw our line, and offered the men's side as no one was in there. All the women were like, "yeah buddy, sure". They insisted, having noted that all of us had been there when they had gone in and were leaving. Finally a handful of women (not including myself or my friend) took the guys up on their offer. These two guys stood sentinel outside, so the girls could have some time in the shower. Slowly a line built up outside the men's shower, and no one really complained until the guy responsible for the showers themselves walked around the corner and noted a line at the men's side, which is far from normal. He promptly pushed passed the sentinels, walked into the men's shower and hollered at the women to the get the hell out of there before he shuts down all the showers. The women barely had time to get a towel wrapped around themselves and grab their items, as the guy was practically shoving them out the door. Even the men in line thought the guy was a prick. Sadly, no other men offered to let the women shower on their side. And we were forced to continue waiting our turn.

Once the festival was done, we headed back. My girlfriend wanted to stop by the beach on the trip back home, so we started out that way. We decided before we left the area to visit Joshua Tree National Park. I've never felt so windblown in my life. Once done wandering around there, we decided to officially head out.

FYI, never let your navigator sit in the back seat. Also, never let said navigator unknowingly take a long nap in the back seat. Never trust said navigator when they say, "Just stay on this forever, and it'll take us right to the beach". Seriously, just don't.

We followed this road, and after a few hours, thought, "hmmm, we should have reached the ocean by now". We had no idea where we were. Except that we were lost in the Mojave. In case you were curious, not the best place to get lost. Navigator told us we should have gotten on the freeway. Now, he had never mentioned a freeway. And when we looked at the map, we couldn't find what road we were on. About that time, we finally figured it out. Someone's random driveway had this at the top so we could see it: Route 66.

Needless to say, we never saw the damn beach. We did however, get the great fortune of driving through Hinkley. If you've ever seen Erin Brockovich, then you know the town of which I speak. Don't drink the water. And don't stop to go pee - they charge you. Seriously. Well, they force you to buy something, so basically, they're charging you to pee. How rude.

I wanted to go the next year as Rascal Flatts was going to be there, but no one had the money to go. We haven't been back since. However, we attended the very first Stagecoach Festival, and that was fairly special. I heard the crowds were nearly doubled the second year, which wouldn't have been as nice to contend with. But we had a good weekend. Even if we did get lost.

I leave you with this picture - Who knew that changing a blinker could be so damn difficult?!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cup of Random

I figured since this was going to be kind of a random post, that I might just use the logo that Jess over at Ramblings of an Emotional Idiot uses.

I apparently sold my first ad today for the publication that my grandparents put out. It was kind of by default; we walked into the business and my grandfather starts in on his speel that he has, and mentions that he made up an ad idea for them to take a look at. We had gone into this business a week or so ago, and the gal we spoke to was a little on the cold side with us. The people we spoke to today were much nicer. A few minutes into the conversation, my grandfather starts chatting with the husband, and the wife comes to me with their business card and tells me that the logo on the card is what they'd like to use in the ad. Guess that was a "yes".

I was giving her contact info to email or fax over a bigger logo, and pulled out a contract form, and mentioned that I was still new and was learning the ropes of the publication. My grandfather turned around on his stool to see that a contract form was ready for him to fill out.

And there I "sold" an ad.

I mentioned in a post a few days back about possibly re-starting the "psycho" posts at some point. Many of you were fans of my Psycho Suzi posts, so I thought maybe I might entertain you with stories of the crazy co-worker I had to deal with for six years. I just need to figure out what day to write the posts. Suggestions?

I get a couple days off in a couple weeks, to run off to Redding to visit friends and family. It'll be nice to see them again. And hopefully the weather will cooperate so that I don't have bad weather over all the passes I have to climb to get there.

My cat has been acting completely normal since her odd two days at the end of the week. It's possible I have a Jedi cat that felt the disturbance in the force from the Japan earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that hit the CA coastline. It's also possible she just had an off day. I'm just glad I've been awakening in the mornings to find her still sleeping next to me and not hiding between the dryer and the wall or in a bathroom behind a toilet.

My parents have asked me to put my grandparents that live in Redding (both sets)  on the mailing list for the publication that my other grandparents put out. (I can see where this could get very confusing . . . ) as my grandparents have asked me to write a column each month. My mom refuses to part with the future issues, and all my grandparents will want to laugh at my expense. I'm not sure if I had mentioned the column thing on my blog . . . well, I have now. Basically it's titled "City Girl Gone Country", and it will be my musings and tales about my new life as a "rancheress". My first column will, of course, include my little shitscapade - without the cussing. I will probably post my column on here, once the publication has been distributed every month. Although, I blog enough about my new life here in Sticksville to you guys!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bulls and Dating

At dinner this evening, my grandfather mentioned to me that his wife's parents would like me and him to attend church with them. He saw the look I gave him, as we've previously discussed the option of attending church. "Well, there's a guy . . . "

All I could do was laugh.

Two nights previous, my grandparents had attempted to make a list of eligible bachelors that they would give their stamp of approval to. Long story short, it's a short list. I'm not even sure there are five names on it.

Now, I moved here knowing that Sticksville is not the hopping dating scene. It wasn't like I was having much better luck in a city of over 400,000 people. But then, I don't really care for bar scenes. Considering I'm not much of a drinker, bars just don't appeal to me. I'm not very forward when it comes to dating, either. I'm quite shy. Plus, if a guy comes up to me, I assume he's drunk. Here's why:

Only one guy that has ever asked for my number or hit on me was stone cold sober. That I know of. I have been known to be a wee bit dense sometimes and totally miss that some random guy is making eyes at me, or even attempting to flirt with me. While I don't consider myself a dog, I know I'm not gorgeous. I consider myself somewhere in the pretty category. I'm not including what I look like when I first wake up, because well . . . that would not help my cause at all.

Pretty much every guy who has come up to me on their own volition (minus Subway Guy), was drunk. Or some variation of drunk. The first time was in college, at the Brickworks. A couple guys asked me to dance, but I was loyal to my long distance boyfriend at the time, and didn't dance with any guys. One of these guys was quite drunk, and I finally had to send him on his way because he was starting to freak me the fuck out. More recently, I was hanging out with some friends in a bar in Cottonwood (I have a friend who is a bartender there), and one of my good friends basically threw my ass under the bus and I had no idea. Needless to say, two guys who had had several beers hit on me in a matter of minutes. I knew it was going to happen the second I walked in the door, by the way they looked at me. You know that sinking feeling in your gut? Yeah, I had that.

One guy used some lame ass line about his lonely dog. And was old enough to be my dad. I do have an age limit guys. The second guy kept telling my friend how beautiful I was . . . I was sitting right next to him. Then he finally turned to me and told me how was he was Army and I'm sure felt that I was supposed to be impressed. I thanked him for serving our country, but I had just gotten out of a relationship with a Marine, and I really didn't want to get into another relationship with a (drunk) military guy. I even put my giant ring on my left hand to maybe hint to him that I wasn't available. Nope. Didn't help. Plus my friend wasn't fully helping my cause either. In the end, it wasn't me that got rid of him, it was another gal we were hanging out with, who by chance is ex-Marine. Apparently all she had to do was call him a "ditch digger" and after exchanging a few words, he finally left. When he was leaving the bar, he "offered" me another chance . . . which I politely declined. And drowned myself in Diet Coke.

The sober guys that I dated were set-ups. Either blind dates or via my attempt at Internet dating. And in some cases, them being sober might be one of the few nice things I could say.

So, when I moved to Sticksville, I knew that my meeting someone would probably have to be through my grandparents and their connections. When I went on the paper delivery routes with my grandfather, he (a few times) would mention (not so slyly) that I was single and for whomever he was talking to to keep their eyes open for a nice eligible bachelor. Only slightly embarrassed was I. But I took it all in stride.

My grandparents have mentioned the church thing a couple times in my presence. Neither of them attend church, but they do know the pastor. They've told me that it's mostly an older congregation, but I could meet someone that knows someone who might be single and you know, set me up. I've been joking with them that they are now trying to pimp me out.

I'm not fully against attending church. I've actually never attended church. I really don't want to start a religion issue on my blog, but I am allowed to post my feelings. I'm not necessarily a religious person. I don't like the guilt that most religions put on their congregations. In my mind, you simply cannot live without sinning. And the fact that I have to confess my sins to a priest, or pray to God for forgiveness is slightly disturbing to me. I try to be a good person - I respect my elders and my peers; I give to charities however I can, when I can; I don't break laws (okay, I do go over the speed limit . . .); and I believe in the Golden Rule. I cuss, I occasionally take the Lord's name in vain, I do drink alcohol sometimes, and I have spoken ill of others.

I do not appreciate having religion sold or forced onto me, however. I don't believe I will go to Hell for not attending church. If there is a God, I cannot accept that He is that fucking picky.

So the idea of me attending church, even once or twice, actually scares me. I'm afraid of religion being pushed onto me, even when assured no one will do so. And it's slightly weird, knowing that you're invited partly to introduce you to folks who might be able to set you up with some guy they know.

And here's something else my grandfather said to me today, while I was in the round-feeder (which I gracefully fell into on my ass this morning because I lost my footing with muddy boots. Thank God there was hay to break my fall) cutting twine off bales of hay for the small herd of young bulls: "These bulls sure are fascinated by you! Have you ever received so much male attention?"

Sadly, my answer was to laugh and reply "No, I haven't!"

So, right now, the only males that I'm aware of that are, in fact, "fascinated" by me, are cows.

At least they're cute. Right?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Half-Assed Weekend

I awoke on Friday morning to go feed cows, to find that my cat, Miss Harriet, was acting strangely. She got off the couch to go hide behind a chair. After a little bit, she skulked off to the bedroom to hide under my bed. My grandparents offered to let me work from home today after feeding, to keep an eye on her. I came home and couldn't find her. I searched until I found her in the spare bathroom, between the toilet and the wall and behind the door from the spare room. I had to sit on the toilet for 15 minutes to get her to come out. She continued to play hide and seek all morning until she finally took my lap hostage. Odd. I checked her out, and found no sore spots, she wasn't off her feed. I came up with two options: a) She was somehow freaked out about the tsunami hitting the coast of CA . . . on the opposite side of the state, or b) She was totally faking it in order to get my lap for more than an hour out of the day.

I've been contemplating (which is scary by itself) that it's time for a new "psycho" post. Many of you may remember my Psycho Suzi posts, and I know that you enjoyed them. For some of my newer followers, she was a roommate of mine in college. If you haven't perused those posts yet, I suggest you do, you'll be entertained. So, if y'all think you're up for it, I just might oblige you and entertain you once more.

While I was home cat-sitting my freaky kitty, I decided to make some more homemade chocolate chip cookies. Let me just say that spending a part of the afternoon making yummy cookies while blasting Rascal Flatts and shakin' my ghetto booty makes for a great afternoon.

So, that's it for my half-ass post (which of course was started by the great and powerful Simple Dude).  I think I will leave you with a picture of the pass near Sticksville. It's quite a pretty drive, although not too fun to drive in bad weather.

Just so you know, I was not driving . . . I was the passenger when I took this.   :o)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thank YOU, Mother Nature.


For drying out some of the mud on the ranch.

For blowing so hard that you made my walk to work that much easier.

For blowing so hard that in order to feed the spring cows, we had to haul whole bales of hay off the truck and remove twine before the cows ate it.

For blowing so hard that I ate half the hay I fed to the damn cows.

For making my eyes water so much that I felt like I was crying over P.S. I  Love You all over again.

For blowing the remaining hay into my eyes, making them hurt as well as water.

For blowing so hard that you blew my hair over my head band to whip the shit out of my eye balls.

For making gate opening/closing that much more fun. I love chasing gates.

For making me have to wash the hay out of my hair, pluck the hay from my eye balls, and floss the hay out of my teeth.

I honestly had no idea what I would do with my time, Mother Nature, had you not bestowed upon us the 60mph winds. I am forever in your debt, you bitch.

Hugs and Kisses (and a bitch slap . . . except the wind is preventing me from being able to use enough force).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Proust Questionnaire

I've completely stolen this Proust Questionnaire from Deviled Megs, who had promptly stolen it from another blogger. This is just an excuse for me to post something. We all have days when we just can't come up with something to blog about all on our own, so we beg, borrow, and steal. I am no different.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I'm with DM, that the idea of perfect happiness changes with age. I also think it changes with your place in life. I have moments of perfect happiness, I'm sure. I know that I've been much happier since quitting my job and moving to Sticksville - the knot in my shoulder is gone, and the stress level is almost nil. Perfect happiness for me can be attained by finding time to curl up somewhere with a good book. It can be riding a horse. It can curled up watching Pride & Prejudice with a cup of hot cocoa while it's snowing outside, and a cat on my lap. It can be laughing until I cry with my best friend. It can be hanging out with my mom at Great America or Six Flags. It can be getting a daddy hug.

What is your greatest fear?
Being a complete and utter failure.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I honestly have no idea.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Procrastination. Not to mention I am my own worst critic.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Arrogance and selfishness.  I'm going to stick with DM's answer here. Although I'd like to add hatred or intolerance.

What do you most value in your friends?
Their honesty. The fact that they are there for me when I need them. They let me be there for them. They can make me laugh until my stomach hurts and I have tears streaming down my cheeks.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Dude. OMG. Really. Seriously. And a modest amount of curse words - the Empress would be proud. ;o)

What is your favorite journey?
Probably the one I am on. Even though it gets frustrating, I really know it will have an amazing ending. I am going to stick with DM's answer. I don't for sure what's in store for me on my new journey, but I'm excited to give it a whirl. It's all new to me; I've become the student once again. I'm sure there will be bits and pieces of cattle ranching and publishing that I won't be fond of, but so far, it's an interesting journey.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Politically correct. Wait, is that a virtue? It is now.

What is your favorite occupation?
I'm happiest when working around animals.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Well, instead of writing a novel, I will say my knees.

What is your greatest regret?
Believing I'm not smart enough to handle the chemistry and math required to apply to vet school.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
The who would be my family. Without them and their support, I'd be nothing. The what would be books. And horses.

When and where were you happiest?
I will have to refer you to the first question.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be a bit more bold. I can be quite shy, the severity of it depends on the situation I find myself in. And the company.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Falling face first into cow shit-mud and not eating said cow shit-mud.

What is your most treasured possession?
My genealogy paperwork. Then pictures.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Loneliness (again, have to agree with MCW) I'm going to stick with this answer, too.

Where would you like to live?
I'm liking Sticksville. I enjoy small towns, it's such a different atmosphere. I hate the city.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My thumbs! lol

What is your greatest extravagance?
Books, typically. Or movies. I'm seriously going to have to cut back now. Although, I was cutting back prior to this, so it can't be too hard now!

What are the qualities you most like in a man?
A sense of humor – and not just because ALL girls say that, but if someone can’t genuinely make me laugh and doesn’t get my sense of humor, then we have no shot. I'm going to agree with DM, here. Although I'm going to add integrity, passion, and kindness. And a really nice Wrangler butt.

Who are your favorite writers?
Jane Austen, Dean Koontz, Jen Lancaster, Sharon Lathan, Kathy Reichs.

How would you like to die?
In my sleep.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Elizabeth Bennett and Odd Thomas. Yeah. I'm weird like that.

Who are your heroes in real life?
All of my grandparents, my immediate family, my friends, and of course, the wonderful men and women who serve our country.

What is your motto?
Is it bad I that I don't think I have a motto?

And I think I am supposed to "tag" some people, but I'm feeling lazy or generous, so if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged for a questionnaire.