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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Don't Do My Hair... My Hair Does Me

I've long contended that I don't do my hair, but my hair does me.
I don't know what was going on today, but I had four--count them: 4!!--people tell me my hair looked really, really good today.
Check Spelling
What the heck was going on? I don't know!

All I did was (hold on to your seats, ladies, here comes The BigD Beauty Tip O' The Week):
Part it on the other side.
(I can hear the breath being sucked out of you in utter shock from here!)
I guess I haven't done that in a while, and it seems it was quite the hit. Go figure.

Honestly, if I had my way, I'd revert to an era when hats were socially acceptable on a day-to-day basis. And not baseball caps, either.
I would've made a darn-good royal. I don't know why we commoners can't wear hats, too. I think all of us women who have frizzy locks, cow licks and graying tresses need to band together to bring back The Hat as a common, everyday fashion accessory!

Is anyone with me on this one?

You can't have a Bad Hair Day, when you have a Great Hat Day!
I must admit, I did give this a try once. A few years ago, my church was having a ladies dinner/event one evening that had a hat theme. So, I say to myself, just giddy with excitement, "What better excuse to wear a hat all day?"
So, I put on the perfect chapeau to compliment my favorite suit, which--if I say so myself--resulted in a lovely spring ensemble ready to take on anything. And I went to work, beaming.
The second person I run into was my boss. He started to ask me something, then just stopped. I prompted him to continue. His reply?
"I had something to say, but the hat totally distracted me."
I need a new boss.
This Week's Working Mom Wednesday Question:
#1. Having a career/job makes me a better/ worse mother. (why/why not?)
A: I think it makes me better. I just don't have the temperament of those women who stay home with their kids all day. God has blessed me with a certain level of patience, to which He is adding to daily. However, I don't think He doled out that much to me.
My girls know a lot about what I do. They spend time (entire days, sometimes) with me at my work. I think I've helped them have some perspective on career options.
I will, however, instill in them that they have a choice about working--not the message I got from my working mom. I went into motherhood pretty-much thinking I had to work to be a productive member of the marriage/family. I never considered not working--until I had kids. I just didn't know any better, I guess.
Regardless, I really enjoy my work and I think I'd be a really anal, obsessive, helicopter mom if I didn't. And I think that makes my kids better, too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Meet Me On Monday 5 Questions

Not very inspired to blog on a topic this evening, so I thought I'd do the Meet Me On Monday Linky Questions:
1. How many TV’s do you have in your home?
A: Am I counting TVs that are HD-compatible and actually work? Then, 3. Five is I count the two that we never ditched.

2. What is on your bedside table (nightstand)?
A: A giant hogde-podge of stuff--much of it contributed by my two daughters, who seem to think they own the joint. Mostly: Bookends holding up about 20 workbooks (Beth Moore Bible studies) and quilting and tatting pattern books; a pencil cup with pens, markers, lip balm, nail files and safety pins; a glass of iced tea; bottle of allergy eye drops; a headband; Sunday crossword puzzle; pair of gold hoop earings; alarm clock; a lamp; and a beaded bracelet with a broken clasp. Oh yeah, and a healthy layer of dust (dusting is man's work, afterall).

3. How many pair of shoes do you own?
A: Too many to count. Seriously. I'm embarrassed to count.
You have to understand... I wear a size 11... it's a dainty size 11... and if I find a good deal on shoes that aren't made of purple phython skin, I just have to buy them... I might not get another chance. If I wore an 8, I'm sure I'd have a lot fewer shoes...

4. Can you change a flat tire?
A: Heck yes! Can and have... several times!

5. Do you prefer sweet treats or salty treats?
A: Usually salty over sweet--especially potato chips!
But, if I can get chocolate-covered pretzels that's the BEST of both worlds!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Livin' Out of Town: An Appreciation for the Farm Life

Today, I'm part of a group linkup "Real Farmwives of America." Our hostess is Heather at 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs as part of her regular "Farmer Friday" feature. The question posed to us all is:
"How did you get here?" My family's farm story.


As you know, I have two daughters. And they are becoming a statistic.
Like so many Americans, they are growing up further away from the farm than the generation before them.

I grew up on a small farm with lots going on in various phases and combinations--corn, tobacco, hogs, cattle, goats, chickens, pickling cucumbers. Not many like it anymore in today's world of specialization. But it was a great place to grow up.

I realized, even before they were born, my kids would not grow up with the experiences I had: hours mending fences with my dad, feeding goats, castrating pigs, rounding up loose cows, walking the field to pick up corn the combine missed (we were a thrifty bunch), gathering and cleaning eggs for the local grocery, stripping tobacco. Those were some of the sights, sounds and smells of my youth. (To this day, nothing smells as sweet as a tobacco barn in the fall... nothing like a burning cigarette!)

Those were the experiences, along with my years in FFA and 4H, that really shaped my education and career choices.

So, after a few years in the 'burbs, when The Husband and I had to uproot and move back to Indiana, I succeeded in convincing him to buy our 10-acre plot of land a few miles outside of our little town. Here, we rent out the "back 40", er, 7 (along with a couple adjoining neighbors) to a local farmer, who share-crops corn or soybeans with us every year.

Because of this little homestead, my girls have had the opportunity to sample some of the blessings and experiences that their suburban classmates are missing, like riding a combine in the fall and watching the soybeans sprout in the spring. They have the chance to work with the dairy cows on a generous neighbor's farm for their 4H projects, learning what's involved in caring for large animals (including the manure!). They have friends who raise pigs and friends who raise sheep. This life comes with an appreciation that our food doesn't just come from Kroger.
While it's not exactly the same as growing up on a real-live working farm, it's the best I can provide--and that is something very important to me.

So, I don't call myself a "Farmwife" my any measure. That would be an insult to all those hard-working gals married to real farmers.

If you ask The Husband, he's more likely tell you I'm the farmer around here.

Our little plot of land (which is just enough to require us to file an Agricultural Tax Form with the IRS each year) doesn't need the blood, sweat and tears that so many American families put forth every day to feed some 150 other people.

Instead, my day-to-day job is more of a support role, in which I get to educate and communicate with farmers, as well as veterinarians and consumers about issues related to animal health and care and food safety. While I play a very small part in a very big picture, I'm proud that I can be involved with the industry I love.
If you want to check out other stories of Real Farmwives of Indiana, visit my friends at:

Monday, September 20, 2010

To Glee Or Not To Glee? That Is The Question.

With apologies to William Shakespeare, that's the question that's floating around my house right now, because the new season is upon us.

My girls (and, yes, me, too) got hooked on the show mid-season last year at the urging of some friends--all of whom kept telling me how much we'd love it because we're all fans of old-fashioned musicals.

They were right. It's a fun show and the music gives me hope that muscials will eventually make a come back to the big screen. (Think: Oklahoma! and Gypsy.)

So what's the issue?

Have you ever watched that show with a couple of pre-teen girls sitting by you on the couch?!?

Some of the messages coming across in the show are not acceptable viewing for my girls.

For example: Did you see the Madonna episode last season? We're 42 minutes into a show that is just fine, then we get to the 3-way scene where everyone is grinding to "Like a Virgin"... including a couple high school girls who have boys in their bedrooms. Did we really need that visual?

I thought, based on the descriptions of this show by friends (who, by the way, are either kid-less or have tots) was this was a fun kid-friendly show. Well, let me tell you, if you haven't experienced it, internal alarm bells will go off in your head as you watch by simply adding the presence of a young, impressionable minor.

This isn't the first time I've experienced this...

Case in point: When was the last time you watched Grease? Have you watched it with a 9-year-old next to you? How do you respond when she asks you to clarify the words to "Greased Lightnin'"??? Have YOU heard the words? It was a real shocker to me! Of course, I remember seeing it (and checking out the--WARNING: About to show my age here--LP {that's a vinyl record for you whipper-snappers} out of the library a dozen times until I could sing the entire score) when I was only about 12 myself without any lasting mental damage. (Ok, that might be debatable.) Admittedly, much of the detail slipped through the cracks in my kid-brain.

But, things are different when YOU are the MOM!! Trust me!!

Oh for the days when I worried if the girls had normal diaper habits or would ever learn to count correctly...

Now, fast-forward to 2010 and I'm trying to figure out if I'm being hyper-sensitive, and if I don't make a big deal, the randy ways of the cast of Glee will pass right over the heads of my daughters. Or, if I'm passively endorsing early, risky sexual behaviors by allowing it to be watched at home, then I'll have no one to blame but myself if I end up a grandma before I'm 50!! We are a Christian home and I want to make sure my girls are getting the right perspective on high school life.

So, after much thought, here's The Compromise I came up with (don't laugh, because my kid did!): Since I need to be using teachable moments to impart our family's values on my children, (I should blog about the realization I had this summer of just what I haven't taught my daughters yet!) I announced that the girls may watch it with me, but only if we discuss any inappropriate behaviors and what the correct choices would be a the nearest commerical break.

Yeah, that went over like a lead balloon.

Little D actually gave me the Pre-Teen Sigh-Eye Roll (you know the one that makes you want to take her head off with one swift swipe of the hand). That's when she announced, "never mind, I don't like it that much anyway."

Baby D wasn't so easy. So, we may be trying out this interactive TV viewing for a week or two and see how it goes. My other option is: Record the shows until I can view it and decide if it's appropriate or not for kid TV. We've done this on one particular crime show Baby D likes, but is not always kid-friendly.

If the makers of Glee would be more consistent in their content--some of their episodes are just fine--it would make my life easier. I just don't understand why we need the extra crap-ola in a show that's marketed directly to teens and tweens!

Maybe we should stick to reruns of Mayberry...

Friday, September 10, 2010

How Visiting a Pig Farm Made Me Think About My Underwear

"What do pigs have to do with BigD's underpants?" you might be asking. (Actually, you probably aren't, because you've written me off as a little cracked to even be typing about this.)

Well, this week I had the pleasure of joining a tour of a modern hog operation in North Central Indiana. It was a chance to see the inside of those mysterious barns dotting the countryside that yield one of the most delectable things God has graced us humans with, you guessed it: Bacon.

To be part of this tour, you had to agree to take a shower before entering the buildings.

And, no, I don't mean that shower in the morning, just before breakfast. This was a shower on-the-spot. At the barn. Complete with shampooed hair. Yeah, soapy from head to toe.

Why??? Might you ask?

Well, that is the length that Farmer Randy would go to make sure we rubber-neckin' people didn't track in some errant germ or disease-containing filth that could sicken his pigs. After all, keeping them healthy is his job, and that of Michelle, his very young and highly motivated herd manager.

So, what, pray-tell, does that have to do with my undies?

Well, going in, I wasn't sure about the set up in these traditionally male facilities, and I totally expected a locker room set-up, where my fellow lady tourists and I would be shucking down to our skin and "showering in". (And, no, the farm staff didn't check to see if I washed my neck.)

Apparently, based on the morning chatter, I wasn't the only gal who did a quick assessment of her underwear options before the visit. I admit I did stand at the dresser drawer for more than a second, wondering when did I last invest in some decent under garments... hmmm... surely it's been since my 10-year-old started school... I was trying to remember which party held the White House...

Anyway, I was inspired to grab a new package of Fruit of the Looms when I ran through Meijer. (I'm really not the Victoria's Secret type... What a shock.)

Here was the routine for getting into the barns:

Enter a small dressing room and take off all your outer clothes (ie, all but underwear/bra). Put on a Tyvek jumpsuit (a plasticky one-piece thing that makes you look like the Stay Puff guy) along with plastic boot covers, then exit through the back door to the clean area--where no street clothes and shoes are allowed.
We proceeded to the back part of the farm (I was glad it wasn't cold!), where we entered another clean room and removed our shoes. We stepped into the shower room, where we changed into yet another set of clean Tyveks. The farmer provided us with rubber boots that do not leave the barn for biosecurity reasons.

I grew up on a small, part-time hog farm that was nothing like this operation. Unlike our pigs, which split their time between a dirt-floor barn and a mud-lot outside, these Farmer Randy's hogs live in climate-controlled buildings that are kept in the upper 70s, and checked on several times a day by his employees who are watching them for any signs of stress, illness or injury. (Ours got checked in the wee hours of the morning and not again until after we were home from school.) The herd veterinarian visits every Monday to pregnancy check the sows and tend to any health issues. Overall, the operation was impressive, and the farm staff seemed to really enjoy working with the animals, and took pride in the work they do.
On the way out, we were invited to shower again, before we repeated all the afore-mentioned steps in reverse order. That way we were smelling sweet for the ride home (in my shiny new underpants!).
Just realized I got tagged by Bloggy Pal Liz over at Two Maids a Milking for 8 questions:
1. Who is one person you admire and why?
A: My mom. She's had cancer twice (the second time caused by the radiation she had the first time 32 years ago!) that has really taken its toll on her physically, and yet she still has the most positive outlook on life.
2. What is your favorite quote?
A: "Perception is reality." I'm known for that one at the office, and I find myself repeating it at home.
3. What is your favorite song?
A: I can't really pick one. But lately I've been stuck on Johnny Cash's Boy Named Sue.
4. What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
A: I think I was starting to eek out some spare time after finishing my class in April... Then I took up this blogging-thing... now I'm not so sure. Actually, I really like watching old movies (musicals) with my daughters and sewing.
5. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: I really, really want to go back to Europe, after my visit in March. There's so much I haven't seen!
6. What is your favorite food?
A: I like so many! Probably has to be grilled cheese or BBQ potato chips. I could eat that everyday.
7. What is your favorite holiday?
A: Columbus Day. It's a state holiday and my kids are in school! hahaha!
8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?
A: This blog was launched as a joint effort by my daughter and me. (Although she can't seem to get to posting with her homework load.) Sometimes we get in debates that can really beg the question: Who is really the grown up here? Sometimes, I can't believe it's me!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Makin' My First Million: Cow Cuddling

For those of you who saw my post about my visit to the hog farm, you might be interested to know that the tour gave me things to think about (other than my skivvies). I've been thinking about how to make my first million.

The other day of the two-day tour included an inside look at some of the most modern milk production facilities in the state: Four Leaf Clover Dairy.

Hostess-with-the-Mostest Leontien VandeLaar (shout out to fellow blogger Leontien) did a great job of showing us around and answering all the questions about life on a really BIG dairy (2200 cows!).

Quote of the day (when explaining how the herd nutritionist monitors the cows' digestive health): "He looks for a good, round pie."

I've been on many dairies over the years and, I have to say, Four Leaf Clover tops the list for well-kept and clean. Granted, it's a fairly new operation, but it's obvious the family takes a lot of pride in maintaining a top-notch operation that contributes to the local community in a positive way. They also put a lot of effort into keeping the cows healthy and comfortable, so they produce a high-quality product. The cows even have their own motorized back brush/massager!

Anyway, on to my new entrepreneurial venture...
Leontien joined us for dinner and excessive chatting that evening. She proceeded to tell us all how a popular pass-time in her native Holland is the practice of Cow Cuddling.

Yes, people--usually city folk--will PAY MONEY to cuddle with cows. Who knew?

Leontien tells me Europeans will drop $150 to lie down and snuggle in a pasture next to Bossie!! (That price includes tea and cookies afterward.) She even pulled up a website on her phone to prove it, in response to my disbelief. (Granted, I had to rely on her translation into English, so I'm trusting she's not pulling my leg on this one! Or I really look like a Dufus here!)

I'm thinkin' I should get in on this one!

If I can get folks to ante-up to hug a cow, surely The Husband would let me get one! How could he not??!? It's not like I'm inexperienced in this area!

(You see, I love, love, love cows and, the city-boy I married doesn't see any reason to have any of our own, since we have easy access to all the cows we could want at Kroger.)

So, I'm doing the math...

If I start with 2 cows and sell three 2-hour cuddles per cow every Saturday for $25 a session (my get-'em-hooked teaser rate; I'll hike it later)... That's $600 a month! The girls and I could set up a booth at the county fair. with their 4H babies... "$10 for 10 minutes"... hand out coupons... sell gift certificates... yeah, I could probably retire in 60 years or so...

Does anyone else think I'm on to something? Wouldn't you want to cuddle up to a cow?

Apparently the Dutch do. If you want to check this out for yourself, just go to YouTube and search the Dutch word "koeknuffelen".

Look At Me: I'm a Hillbilly

So, I got to work yesterday and I discovered that my shoe, a flip-flop, is near death... I mean, literally, hanging on by a string.

So, being the Girl Scout that I am, I got out my trusty stapler and stapled the toe-thingy to the top so the little string holding it together would hang on just a few more hours. Why? Because I was packed for a short business trip--not going home I might add--and wouldn't be at until Thursday night. Now, I don't plan on being in these for two straight days. I brought my good ol' duck boots, since I'm the part of the Indiana Soybean Alliance's farm tour this week.That said, the staples lasted about 6 hours. That means a fix-it upgrade: electical tape!
(Duct tape was not easily found at the hotel.)
Won't I look classy at the wine tasting tonight??

I will note that I expected more from these shoes: I bought them 6 years ago in an after-season sale for $2.50. WHERE is the quality these days?? (haha)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer Holiday Fun: Kayaking the White River

The weather this Labor Day was too, too fabulous to stay in (or do much-needed yard work!). So, Little D and Baby D and I headed out for a kayak trip on the White River. I recently discovered this place and it's not too far from home for a good half-day trip.Here's Little D taking a break from paddling.

We had a great time paddling. This is the first time I let the girls do a single kayak. They did great!
Here's BabyD taking off without us!
Then, one Nameless Daughter got a little tired after more than 2 hours paddling. So, here's my hillbilly solution: Use the string-style backpack to tie the kayaks together, so I could tow her!!!
It did the trick, but boy are my arms tired!!!
The Husband opted out, because he was a bit stressed about getting some stuff done around the house before going back to work tomorrow.
He did have a fire in the backyard fire pit waiting for us when we got home, so we snarfed down hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner.
Now, everyone's out of the shower, and it's time for bed!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Labor Day Weekend Tradition: Goin' Junkin'

One of the favorite Family Pass Times at our house is goin' junkin'. Yeah, we can't resist a flea market or a yard sale... Who knows what treasures you'll find for just pennies on the dollar??

So Labor Day weekend is when we pick up my sister and visit one of our favorites.
Before I got some Christmas shopping done for Little D and Baby D (some lovely items they think they can't live without), I came across the MOST HIDEOUS necklace I've EVER seen!
Had to share a picture of it...

For a mere $38, you too could be a sporting your very own Chinese gong to protect your belly button.

I don't know. Maybe I'm not busty enough to pull off this look. Or maybe my boring old Tshirt just didn't highlight the exotic glamour of this piece. I took a pass on it... something I doubt I'll regret.

Otherwise, it was a fun day digging thru tables of total junk. I need to fire up the scanner and share some special selections from a 1965 edition of Teen magazine I picked up. Little D enjoyed reading it all the way home. The ads are the best! (I'm not a magazine collector, but the lady made a deal with my sister on the pile of antique publications she was buying and I threw it in the pile for laughs.)