Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Overheard: 10:29pm

Me: Don't turn off that light!!

Him: Why not?

Me: Because I'm not tired yet.

Him: Why does that mean I have to be awake?

Monday, December 22, 2008

It took me 24 hours to realize why this was funny....

Rancher (winking): Yeah, and Stephan heard that (so and so) has an old cattle ultrasound for sale!

Me (clueless): Uhhh, yeah, the vet already preg. tested our cows.

Rancher's Wife: But you know.... (wink).

Me (still clueless): Ummm....

Rancher's Wife: For when it's time....?

Me: OOh, yeah but the doctor's office has an ultrasound also.

[awkward pause]

[subject change]

So, seriously, I didn't think anything was funny. This morning I googled "Cow ultrasound" and this is what came up. If you can watch more than 2 minutes of this bravo- you should be a vet or/and rancher.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Minute

So it's December 21st- you have only 4 more days until Christmas. If you live in Baker or Plevna, and can't get to Billings, Miles City, or Dickinson (where the Wal-Marts and malls are) your options are limited. If you live in Chicago, you're probably snowed in. Here are a few really good ideas for gifts if you need them- all of them are way cool ways to donate to charities in the name of people you love.

Animal Lovers: The Illinois Doberman Rescue takes donations all year long, and even has a calendar to purchase! Want to buy someone a puppy? DON'T!! Instead, donate all the supplies to IDR+ and let the family/friend decide for themselves if they are ready for the responsibility of a pet.

People Lovers: Heifer International is a wonderful project that doesn't "give a man a fish" it "teaches a man how to fish" by bringing in the livestock native to poor populations and teaching the community how to use its new resources. You can make an online donation to purchase bees, ducks, goats, or cows, and then email or print up a certificate suitable for gift-giving.

Food Lovers: Feeding America helps put food on the table of in-need Americans. Especially with the rising cost of food, and the economic suck that's going on- instead of buying that Apple-bee's gift certificate, give food to people who need it.

Lost Lovers: The American Cancer Society... gosh, I don't know what else to say about them. They help educate people with cancer, help research cures for cancer, and are really the go-to people when the doctor is looking at you and using the C-word.

Child Lovers: Save the Children is that one you see on TV where you can sponsor a child, get their photo, get letters from them, etc. Sure, you often donate once and then ignore all their subsequent spamming, but even that first donation really helps kids across the world (this can also be an excellent teaching-tool for younger kids, having them learn about the country and culture of their "adopted" friend).

So take a look at those last few people on your list, go get your credit card and/or your telephone and do some online shopping on this cold cold day. You won't even have to pay for rush delivery!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Go White!! (not as racist as it sounds)

- or -

The Plevna Cougars vs the Terry Terriers

Last night we went to our first Plevna Cougars basketball game. We missed the girls game at 6:30 but were just in time for the boys at 7:30. It was really neat to see all of our neighbors and their kids. As we looked over the program Stephan's comment was, "at least we've got them outnumbered." Our 11 boys (Reid, Taylor, Levi, Blayne, Kendall, Will, Cody, Matt, Joe, Jacob and Chad) were playing against their 6 (Trevor, Weston, Jerett, Tanner, Kyle and Mike).

What I couldn't figure out was why the woman behind me kept yelling, "Go Wyatt!" and "Way to go Wyatt!" I kept looking over the program to try to figure out which kid was named Wyatt... but there weren't any.

It took me more than 1/2 the game to realize that, since it was a home game, the Plevna Cougars were wearing mostly wahyt uniforms.

Yeah, and I've also been told to "Girl-bull up."

Bragging Rights

Seriously, I just kicked ass.

Begin applauding.... NOW!

P.S. 6.21 miles = 10 kilometers

Thursday, December 18, 2008


The dogs have been sick again lately. There's been lots of poop. We've become and expert poop-cleaning team. Stephan got sick of bringing work home with him so he took the dogs to the vet today. Immediately they told him that Besa is overweight. No problem, but then here's the other thing:

The vet thinks that the dogs have pancreatitis. Her solution is a form of a cleanse. They get nothing by mouth for 24 hours, then only water for the following 24 hours, 1/2 their normal food the 3rd day, and regular food on the 4th day.

It hasn't even been one day and already Besa is laying on the floor with her paws around the food bowl. They are so sad.

As any of us would be.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not About Montana

- or -

All about the 7-411 (for those who get it)

So, internet, I've been keeping something from you. I know it's hard to believe that things go on that I don't write about. We've done homesickness, family deaths and illnesses, cancer, vacuum cleaners, dog poop, and meat-air. This is actually a little more personal, so bare with me if you want to, skip this post if you don't. Let me answer some questions first...

Question: Are you pregnant?
Answer: No.

Question: Do you like kids?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Do you want kids?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Do you promise to tell me right away if you are pregnant?
Answer: No.

Question: Are you planning on having kids soon?
Answer: Yeah, here's the deal with that...

(And first you have to know that Stephan is allowing this post only if I include the fact that I know this isn't as big of a deal to the universe as it is to me)

More than a year and a half ago Stephan and I decided we really would like to start a family. So we did all the things that married people do to try to start a family. After about 6 months of no luck we went to the doctor, who suggested a few things, which we tried. We hit the one-year mark with no luck yet, and that's when I started to get very sad (this is putting it mildly). I went back to the doctor, who had more suggestions, which we've tried. Stephan even got to go to his own doctor, who had no suggestions for us at all.

If you've ever met me you can imagine how frustrating this is for me. Usually when I want something, I get it/do it/make it happen. I'm also very good at following instructions. When they told me to "just relax" I focused on meditation, eating right, losing weight, taking vitamins (expensive buggers), and drinking water. So far we've done everything that isn't technically a fertility treatment (since those aren't covered by insurance), including some very interesting traditional tribal remedies.

I understand that we haven't exhausted all of our options yet, and that if it wasn't meant to be there's nothing I can do about it. I look forward to being in a financial & emotional place to adopt if that's where this is heading. I look forward to the day when I can post stories here about more than just how much I love my husband and dogs. I look forward to learning new things, facing new challenges, and watching my life completely taken out of my own control...

But I guess that's where I am now- not getting what I want, and being whiny about it. If you have some cheese, I'll take two slices please.

Monday, December 15, 2008

FAQ: Is it as Cold there as they say it is?

Answer: OMG, YES!!!

The air temp was -20F today. And that was the high. The high people. Last night I had on long underwear, sweatpants and jeans and was still cold... inside. We're way past frozen toothpaste. It did snow this weekend but only 6"-8". Just like last year it's blowing around everywhere. In the morning it might be piled against the garage, at night it's all up against the back door. Whenever they say we'll have snow the truth is that the whole town shares the same 12" of it. It just takes turns blowing to everyone's house. No need to shovel.

Also, Stephan wants me to write about the dog baths he gave tonight. It was a two-step process. First he whitewashed them both in the snow drift outside our house (which they appreciated), then he showered them inside in the shower. It looks like big foot scrubbed up in there. Icky.

But it's not as bad as it would have been if the dogs had been allowed to lay their poop-covered butts on the bed tonight.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

For Those Who Get It pt.2

You know you're a rancher if you laugh at (or even understand) the following...

Him: At least I tried.

Co-worker: It's all a steer can do.

Friday, December 12, 2008

For Those Who Get It

This fact means that the water-benders rock the world tonight.

Urgent Winter Weather Message

"A powerful arctic front will move across the forecast area Saturday bringing dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills during the afternoon. The bitterly cold conditions will continue through Saturday night. Snow will develop along and behind the front Saturday and Saturday night with accumulations of 4 to 7 inches possible across most of the area.

"The front will usher in strong Northwest winds of 15 to 30 MPH with gusts to 40 MPH. These strong winds will cause significant blowing and drifting show along with areas of near blizzard conditions. In addition... dangerous wind chills of 20 below to 40 below zero will be likely across the plains by Saturday night. Anyone planning travel this weekend should be prepared for bitterly cold temperatures and very hazardous travel conditions. Ranchers should take actions to protect vulnerable livestock."

So... keep your cat in, and don't try to test your winter sleeping bags and tents this weekend.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sunshine Award

Stephan was awarded the "Sunshine Award" this month from the hospital!

"This award is presented to Stephan Koruba on December 8th, 2008 for Spreading Sunshine Throughout Fallon Medical Complex."

Awwww. I'm so proud.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tourism Brochure

Come to Montana! Visit the historic West! Included in your visit will be:

Dinner at the infamous Plevna Bar!

Drunk Wii bowling!

Stay at the Plevna bed and breakfast (animal allergies not recommended)!!

Enjoy cowboy coffee while wading ankle deep in cow-poop to watch a cattle branding.

Tour of the 100-year-old downtown Baker, Montana.

Enjoy a night out at one of various Fallon County events including (but not limited to) hospital fundraisers, bowling, live music in a smoky bar, staying warm huddling together during a power outage.

Driving tour and hike through Medicine Rocks State Park.

Visit historic Ekalaka including the Long Pines, Carter County museum, the double-yellow-line through town.

Taste local cuisine like bison meat, homemade sausage, various baked goods.

Watch movies in the state-of-the-art living room on the $99 IKEA futon.

Pet the world's friendliest dogs and cats.

Listen to a typical couple quibble about fun things like ex's, money, housework and clothing.

Call now to reserve your fun-filled weekend!!!

New favorite quote: Broke, maybe. Poor... never.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

'Nother Thursday Night

Stephan's gone for the night working in Billings, so to keep myself occupied I turned on The Return of the King. I think I've seen this move at least 4 times, and each time I start crying right at the part when the two little Hobbits run forward to try to distract all the Orcs so their friends can destroy the ring.

Whoever planned and executed that shot was brilliant. There's 10,000 bad guys, 5,000 good guys and the background of the dark city of Mordor and two tiny people running forward to save their friends.

I also love when Eowyn says, "I am no man."

I think that's the one line I remember from the Disney read-along tapes of LOTR that's stuck with me all these years. "Gonna kill the king? Think you're invincible? Well BOO-YA! How does my sword taste now Bee-otch?"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Overheard: In Front of the Fridge

Him: A guy could get used to this boxed wine.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The 100th Mile

While we were in Lewistown I went for a short run along a great path the city had made out of the old railroad track. It was a nice morning, not too cold, and not very crowded. When I got back I looked at the Nike+ data on my iPod and realized that I was exactly 0.97 miles away from hitting the 100 mark! I told Stephan and he asked me to wait to run the last mile so he could come with me.

We got home so late last night that we HAD to eat dinner and bake Amish Friendship Bread. After all that it was close to 9:30pm. But it was just a mile, so we piled on warm clothes and walked out to the Community Center gym. Stephan watched Good Morning Vietnam for the 11 minutes it took me to finish the mile. With no warm up or cool down I'm a little sore today, but glowing nonetheless.

I hit my goal 1 month early!! Anyone got any ideas for the next one?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catching Up

So much to type! So little time...

That's a lie, I just really want to get back to playing Wii Zelda. But I've been taking tons of photos and I've finally gotten the chance to upload them. Check them out, in no particular order here. The highlights of the last few weeks include: Stephan's friend Clint getting an antelope; Stephan being very good at hunting, and not so good at shooting; my fun Thanksgiving at a neighbor's house; our trip to Livingston, MT for post-Thanksgiving hunting, eating, visiting and shopping.

Oh yeah, and the boots I got for my birthday! After I bought them I called my mom and dad and told them that they could get mw boots for my birthday, and guess what? I already did all the work for them! And they were on sale. I love Murdocks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Posting

If you follow us on Facebook you know that Stephan was on a cattle drive yesterday morning and hunting early today. He tells me he's getting good at the hunting, but doesn't have the killing part down yet. That translates into "I didn't hit what I was aiming at today."

Me: I'm going to wash this bed cover tomorrow.

Him: The bidet cover?

Me: Where's my computer...

Him: I mean the duvet! DUVET!

**Note: Stephan would like to add "bidet cover" to his mother-in-law's list of phrases that mean butt.

We also spent some time tonight speaking to the kids at the Plevna Lutheran Youth Group. We were asked to say a few words about "service". It took us a few hours to put our thoughts together in a way that made sense. Since it took us so long, here's what we came up with:

"Service" can be lived in one of three ways:
1. Missionary Style... uh, wait... Missionary Lifestyle where you purposely move away from where you grew up and outside of your comfort zone for the betterment of a group of people for an extended period of time, i.e. Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, etc.
2. Volunteer Time... Setting aside time out of your daily life to help people, i.e. working at a soup kitchen, visiting nursing home patients, going on a 1-2 week mission trip, etc.
3. Life of Service... living every moment trying to make the world a better place than you found it, i.e. being cheerful at work, sharing a friendly smile, opening a door, "What would Jesus do" stuff.

We also stressed that in order to be of any use to anyone, you have to take care of your own physical, mental and emotional needs first. And, not that you could tell it from this post today, but it's much more about what you do than what you say.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Frostbit Ears, #405, #417

Those are the temporary names for our three cows. "Frostbit Ears" has a black body and a white face, the others are entirely black. They are all "with calf."

Should we name them?

Any suggestions??

Photos to follow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Recap: Halloween

Stephan had Halloween off of work, but I took a few clients that morning to fill in the savings account. Stephan finished Red's costume off by attaching horns to the soft headband I'd already made her. When I got home to pick them all up Stephan had created a costume for himself as well. It was... uh... creative... in a Stephan sort of way.

Unfortunately, few people thought he was in costume. Honestly, only a few people realized it was Stephan at all- he did "blend" very well.

Check out more Halloween photos here if you'd like. I have a few more posts in the works about our trip home and our cows.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Error: Brain Overload

We were in Chicago. We got back last night. We both worked today.

I learned that horses can only see out of one eye at a time. If you teach it something while standing on its right you then need to re-teach it the same thing while standing on its left.

That pretty much sums up my day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's Going on?

More of a rhetorical question really. Stephan's done with work for two days- he's going to work cows Thursday and Friday. I spent the day making Halloween costumes for Red and Besa. Besa is going to be a bumblebee- using mainly a nylon trick-or-treating bag we found in Missoula. Red's costume is more complicated- she's a cow with our brand on her left hip. So far they aren't too happy about wearing clothes, but not too upset either. Red fell asleep in hers this afternoon, so it must be comfy!

I don't think I'll be dressing up this year since I have to see clients and the Strawberry Shortcake costume I own just doesn't seem professional.

Stephan.... well, he's full of surprises.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Fun

I tried this once before but it didn't work so well. But now you can scroll to the bottom of the blog and check out my Nike+ data (that is, how often, how far, how fast I've been running). I figure it's good motivation to tell the world. My goal is to run 100 miles before the end of the year. So far I've got 64.4 under my shoes.

Anyone want to share their goals with the world? Just post what you're planning on doing BEFORE the end of the year (I'm not all about New Year's Resolutions) and feel inspired! This is the one time I'll allow anonymous commenting - as long as you're on the topic - so go for it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Glacier Trip

I finally got around to uploading all the photos from our short trip to Glacier National Park. Like I said, we arrived at 7am and drove around until about 11am. It was really cold and I was scared to death of bears, so I stayed in the car most of the time.

We didn't see any bears. But check out some of my favorites: this one with Stephan and the girls, this one of one of the actual glaciers (before they're all melted), and this one that has my favorite fall colors in it.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Problems with Authority

We left Baker at 8pm, arrived in Browing, MT (about 1 hour East of Glacier National Park) at 5am. We slept in the car (in the hospital parking lot) from 5am-7:30am, then took off for the park. We tooled around the park for a few hours, Stephan took this photo, then we went up to the border.

When I got home and saw the photos from the trip I realized why the Canadians didn't want us in their country. They asked us if we had "access to any funds" beyond the $200 we brought with us. They asked us if we had any weapons, firearms, alcohol, anything we were planning on selling, drugs, or cigarettes. Then they asked us when the last time was that we were in court. And the time before that? Any drunk-driving charges? What was our purpose for visiting Canada? How long would we be staying? Where would we be staying?

After about 45 minutes they let us pass. Looking at this photo, I'm surprised they let us in at all.

And, since Stephan told me specifically not to post this photo, I'm doing it anyway. Good luck buddy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Overheard: On the Phone

Me: Hi Dad, we're back in Montana!

Dad: Are you back from the nether-world?

Me: Well, we're back from Canada, we may still be in the nether-world.

And it's true. More to come.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Off Again

Because we can't seem to sit still lately (and it just gets worse and worse) we're on our way to Calgary Canada this weekend. Where will we be?


I know, I know, it's a little crazy.

I'm sure we'll have lots of stories when we get back.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Two More Reasons...

As if I needed any more.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Overheard: In Bed (not icky)

Him: What is that smell?

Me: What? Did you fart?

Him: No. Your face stuff.

Me: It's the same stuff I put on every night. German Chamomile.

Him: Well it's very strong right now- move out of my face.

Me: What's wrong?

Him: It's effervescing in my eye.

Me: Remind me tomorrow of that phrase tomorrow: effervescing in my eye.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It did WHAT?!

Dear Don & Melissa,
I'm really sorry I didn't take any photos of the Sausage Supper last night. I had a really bad headache and by the time I got there it was almost over. Besides, the more interesting news this weekend is the over 1 foot of snow that fell last night. The blizzard started just as the supper was over (about 8pm) and continued until just before 9am (I think, I was sleeping). Anyway, it's amazing. I've never seen snow so early in the year before. Stephan left for work an hour early- which was good because he'd be stuck here now!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Should Get Paid for This pt. 2

In an effort to take the pressure off of Stephan to get all the house winterizing done, I just finished putting up that plastic stuff on the 3 windows in the front room. And, since it was 3:30 am when I started- and, trust me, I firmly believe that NOTHING should start at 3am, just ask these people- I was thinking...

Who invented this stuff? What were the first trial products like? Was it the same people who brought us the Shrinky Dinks? (seriously, that video cracked me up, I love how shrinkable plastic is actually the answer to the anti-family culture perpetuated in the later 2000's). Is this the adult version? Is this what I get for growing up? I've replaced Shrinky Dinks with Energy Efficient Shrink Film, Strawberry Shortcake for the Zone Diet, Spider-man roller-skates for Nike+ cross-trainers, and My Little Pony for roping and riding.

Ok- that last one has not entirely happened yet, but would be TONS of fun if it did!

**Edit- when I posted this an ad popped up asking "Do you have ADHD?" Alright... who told on me??

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Actually, Pretty Good Weather!

I often write about how crappy the weather in SE Montana is- either too hot or freezing, always with ridiculous wind. This week, though, has been gorgeous. it's been in the mid-60's, sunny, breezy (ok, sometimes downright blustery), but wow, beautiful. It's fall here, despite the lack of trees. There are a few places, mostly near streams, where trees grow and the leaves there are all gold and falling. It smells great- just under the trees. Like pockets of fall.

The annual Plevna Volunteer Fire Department Sausage Supper is this weekend, so posting may be spotty depending on how the grinding, stuffing and cutting goes.

I've maxed out my photo limit on Flickr (mostly because I'm cheap and won't pay for a pro account), so I'll try posting photos from last year on the blog. Meanwhile, check out last year's post for tedious photo links.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Follow Up

No, I certainly didn't take that photo. The snakes we saw were all very small (except the green one, which was medium sized), and I couldn't find a photo of a small enough one that represented what we saw. So, imagine that but smaller. Here's what happened:

A beautiful fall morning, we go for a jog out toward the cemetery. I'm focusing on not dying, so I'm not paying much attention to what's around me. As I glance down I see that I'm about to step on a little snake. So I scream, jump in the air, flail my arms and legs around (to.... what? Distract it? I don't know), and keep walking. Luckily that snake was dead. It was a rattle snake.

A few yards up was a larger green snake splayed across the road, obviously dead. I did make Stephan stand between me and it so I couldn't see it.

Later, while running up a hill I saw another baby snake, this one coiled on the far side of Stephan. I scream again, and run very fast down the road. At this point I want to go home- but that means passing the three snakes again. So we keep running away. Stephan tells me that it's so cold that the snakes are probably frozen (some hooodee ha biology geek speak) and may warm up and move off the road.

So we turn around- he throws rocks at the snakes, which are all dead. Yippie. As we're almost back home (less than 1/4 mile away from the house) again I see a snake just before I'm about to step on it. More screaming. More flailing. Another baby rattler, dead- thank GOD. Stephan pokes at it, fascinated. I'm glad I didn't eat breakfast.

Again, I'm not running outside again until the ground has frozen and those suckers are tucked away for good.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Snake. Time. People.

- or -

The 4-snake run.

Long story short (I'll fill in later)- we went for a run this morning and saw 2 [dead] baby rattle snakes and 2 other green colored snakes, also dead. I only screamed for 2 of them, both I jumped over as I ran.

And, people, sorry to say I'll not be running THAT particular path again until the ground is good and frozen.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

In Case You were Wondering...

1. Yes, we did listen to the VP debate Wednesday night. We heard it in the car on public radio. I had to throw chew-toys at Stephan to keep him from barking while driving. We were both screaming at different times. Stephan was most upset by her use of the word "Maverick" and I just kept wondering how "Drill Baby Drill" was supposed to make anyone comfortable.

2. The white cat has feline Herpes. It's a disease that's not transmittable to humans or dogs, and has infected his right eye so he cries all day. Stephan thinks it's grosser than when the dogs had tapeworms... hmmm... licking your sister's butt or licking strange cats' privates... I think the dogs are the deviants here.

3. Mrs. K. is still doing well, if you see her please feed her.

4. Seriously, if you saw something positive Thursday night that I'm missing, email me, call me, post here, tell me why she shouldn't be seen and not heard.

5. It all just goes to show you that there must be balance in life. I love Montana, but it's filled with gross things (like the huge spider I just killed IN OUR BEDROOM), and I love Chicago, but I hate the traffic, the noise, the crowdedness, the commercialism, the air pollution... I guess that isn't really balanced though.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Seriously in Need of Sleep

It took 19 hours for us to drive home yesterday. We left at 4am, arrived home at 11pm. Stephan drove 18 of those hours, but he didn't have to go to work today. Instead he stayed home and helped fix a roof on a milk barn, put the bucket on a tractor, push-started an old tractor, put chains on tractor wheels, and towed a truck with a tractor.

He really knows how to wind down!!

Him: How to wind down?

Me: Wind.

Him: I know. I hate the English language.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Where We've Been

Me: What should I write about? What should I say?

Mom G.: Well, Lorelei is doing better...

Him: No, just start with something about us watching the Cubs from not too far away from the friendly confines.

Me: Uh, how should I tell them why?

Him: Just tell them we were here checking on Mom.

Mom G.: Mom K.

Him: Mrs. Koruba, people know her by that.

Me: What should I tell them?

Him: That she was dehydrated, she went to the hospital, and now she's back home.

Mom G.: Yeah. What else? Don't say the thing about eating too much.

Me: That's the thing about blogging- I'm the one who's doing the typing, so I can type anything I want.

Mom G.: Did she spell all the words correctly? (watching TV) Giovanni? That's not how you spell Giovanni... Like Antoinne, people are spelling it Antwan... silly.

Him: It's phonetic.

Mom G.: Yeah.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Working" Cows

Often you will hear people use the phrase, "working cows" or "working cattle." As in: What did you do today? We worked cows. What will you do tomorrow? Work cows. I kept asking, HOW??? HOW do you "work" cows? What are you actually doing? So, I was invited one afternoon to the end of a day of "working" cows. Here's what we did:

1. (done before I got there) Get all the cows & calves into a pen
2. Move them from a big pen into a smaller pen (see photo above)
3. Separate the cows from the calves (no photos, I was working)
a. Smack the cows on the butt and get them to walk away from you
b. Smack the calves to get them to start walking
c. Lead the calves into one pen, the cows into another
d. Yell at them to make them go the right way
e. Lead them all back to the start when cows went to the calf pen
f. Lead them all back to the start when calves went with the cows
4. Lead 5-10 calves into a tiny pen
a. See above a-f when trying to move calves
b. Get the calf who jumped in out of the watering hole
5. Lead the calves one by one into a shoot (use "hot shot" cattle prod when needed)
6. Vaccinate calves one by one
7. Let them back into the pen with their moms
8. Lead all the cows & calves out of the pen to the road
9. Get on a 4-wheeler and drive behind them down the road
10. Get all 140 cows & calves into the field across the street.

FAQ 1: What do you "smack" them with?
A cattle prod. It looks like a blind-person's stick- rubber, thin, with an orange tip.

FAQ 2: Does it hurt the calves?
NO WAY!! Most of the time they didn't respond at all to it.

FAQ 3: What's the "hot shot"?
It's the electric version of the cattle prod. It didn't hurt either.

FAQ 4: Was it dangerous?
Kinda. I did get stepped on. These things outweighed me by hundreds of pounds, so when they wanted to go somewhere, I just got out of the way.

For more photos go here and click to the right.

For some new photos of the Grizzly's game we went to in Missoula go here and click to the left.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Overheard: Just now

Me: No one commented on our blog.

Him: That's because no one loves us.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


We've lived in Montana for 18 months. It took me this long to realize something big. Something important. Something so important that I took the "internet" away from Stephan (who was doing his best to use the laptop like a violin- with it resting between his left shoulder and chin, supported by his left hand, typing only with his right) to write you this blog.

After moving here with nowhere to live, bleeding ceilings, brandings, spiders the size of shitzu's, medical procedures, killer deer, killer rabbits, killer mice, killer pheasants, killer sage grouse, sausage suppers, hay bale fires, county fairs, quilts, antelopes on the roof of the car, rodeos, bucking horses, bull riding, well-drilling, bar "hopping", and dog pooping I finally realized WHY Stephan wanted to live here.

Because I think his 34 years on this planet have been leading him to this very moment in time, a moment when he could honestly ask someone... in all seriousness....

"Do you want some of my beef?"

.... and mean it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

To Do:

- Put clothes away

- Take out garbage (it is dump day!)

- Thaw Buffalo meat

- Make Christmas list

- Get yard ready to move dirt

- Call friends/family so they know we're not dead

- Seal foundation of the house

- Insulate closet

Like everyone else, we're getting ready for winter, and in case you didn't get our phone call letting you know we're not dead.... we're not dead.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Boola Boola, We're in Missoula

Missoula, where we keep saying the hippies live, but really it's just full of "tree huggers."

So far we've taken a few good hikes, shopped a lot (a mall, a bead/gem store, a quilt shop), visited the University of Montana, and did some other stuff. There are photos.

Photos of the branding office.

Photo of the winery we visited.

Photos of me being a cool wife.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who's Lazy Now??

We did it.

We really did it. Seriously. We travelled to Helena (photos to come) and registered a brand.

Uh huh. We registered a brand.

This is our brand....

It's not the same one we had on all our wedding stuff because that one wasn't available. There are over 60,000 registered brands in Montana. The lady (photo to come) had to look through a LOT of brands (there isn't a computerized program, it's an actual book). And there are LOTS of rules. Here is a list of them!!

(this list took forever to put into the computer, I don't have a scanner out here, so I copied the page into Vectorworks and, although I'm the fastest draftsperson in the land, this still took over an hour)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dear State Trooper,

I know that it's the law and everything to carry your drivers' license when you're, oh, say, driving a vehicle. However, my husband forgot his wallet at home before we headed out on this 500+ mile road trip to Missoula, and along with his credit cards and cash, he forgot his license.

So please do not pull us over on the way home.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

What We Did Tonight

Bear Down, Chicago Bears
Make every play clear the way to victory
Bear Down, Chicago Bears
Put up a fight with your might so fearlessly.
We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation
With your T-formation

Bear Down, Chicago Bears
And let them know why you're wearing the crown
You're the pride and joy of Illinois

Chicago Bears, Bear Down!*

*does not reflect upon the journalistic talents of the blog-author, only the html talents she is willing to exploit for love.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Swirling Vortex

Sorry it's been a few days- I was waiting for yet another biopsy result (I didn't post about it because- I just didn't want to) which came out negative yesterday so YEAH! This one was much closer to vital organs, and if it had come out positive would have netted me a nice tummy tuck. I figure if I have to have cancer, I might as well reap the benefits! But I don't- so anyway...

What you missed:

*Stephan looking HOTT getting ready to fight that BIG fire.

*The start of football season, and the Fantasy Football Draft.

*My booth at the Fallon County Fair.

*Return of the MOUSE!

Needless to say I did not run the 10k I was trying to run... It's still on the list and if I manage to do it before Christmas I'll think of that as a major accomplishment. Mostly I've just been fixating on the whole cancer thing, and amazed and happy that it's gone for real.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

On a Personal Note

A lot of music touches me, especially lately. We just watched the movie Once and I bought the soundtrack and LOVE it (which is good since the CD player in our car just broke and we can't eject it).

But just now I was digging around in my computer and found a Melissa Etheridge Cd that I downloaded from iTunes Originals and I'm bawling.

The world recently lost a wonderful woman to cancer. She used to read this blog all the time, sometimes she'd comment, but more often she would just email me cute thoughts, encouragement, love. When I started listening to this CD I really started missing her again.

It's weird that there are so many different things that are called "cancer". Some of them kill you, some of them let you live. Sometimes you "catch it" soon enough, and sometimes you don't get there in time. It sure isn't fair. That's about all I've learned in the few months I've been thinking about all this.

This CD is a set of songs that Melissa E. chose to sing live and talk about that outline her life, not only as a singer, but as a gay person and as a cancer survivor. Don't get me wrong, I'm not waving huge flags of survivorship, since my cancer was pretty little. But the last track is really good. And wow. Here are some of the words:

It's been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed
And the scars are still there in the mirror
Every day that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her
And the fear is now a docile beast,
If you ask her why she is still running,
She'll tell you it makes her complete

I run for hope, I run to feel
I run for the truth for all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run life

It's a blur since they told me about it
How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin
And they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul

And now I'm still learning a lesson
To awake when I hear the call
And if you ask me why I am still running
I'll tell you I run for her soul

And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her, remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers, running for more

*emphasis added by me, because that's what made me cry

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dear Dyson,

(an open letter to the Dyson Company)

Hello. I am a new customer of yours who just purchased a DC24 dyson ball vacuum cleaner. I just wanted to offer my services to you in case you needed a spokeswoman. I have editorial experience (see: Fallon County Times, August 29th, 2008), advertising experience (see: my office), and most recently I have pimping experience (see: 40milesSouth.blogspot.com August 28, 2008). I would love to pimp your product. Advertising tag lines could go something like this...

*Woman cleans house, discovers furniture is actually blue

*Woman vacuums rug, then floor, then bathroom, then chairs, couch, bed, pillows, dog crates

*Man vacuums house

*House clean for the first time in over 1 year

*Cats welcome on furniture!

*Man comes home to find wife vacuumed three times in one morning

The possibilities are endless! I would, like any good pimp, appreciate remuneration for all my hard work and yapping to friends and family. Also, I'd like to rent out my vacuum cleaner to people who are considering purchasing one of your products so they could see the wonders for themselves. Think about it, get back to me. Checks can be mailed to the address at the bottom of the blog.

Anna Koruba
Wife, Satisfied Customer

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Picture 188"

Erin, you have to tell me soon if it bothers you that I keep posting photos of your baby. I hope it doesn't because...

So I pull this photo up on my laptop and the following conversation happens:

Me: She is SO CUTE!!

Him: She's looking more Polish.

Me: We're not Polish, we're Ukrainian.

Him: Same thing.

Me: No, it's not.

Him: If two countries use the same word for a toast, they count as one country.

Me: ...?

Him: Nostrovia! [glasses clink]

[loud noise as I drop the cooking spray into the pan of chili]

Him: Polack.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Should Get Paid for This

Do you remember this? Well it's been one year and two days (really three since it was a leap-year) and we've finally solved the vacuum dilemma. I can't believe how excited I am to get a new vacuum.

Remember this?? Yeah, we didn't buy that vacuum. Not even close. I went out to Baker Furniture (do you guys have a website? I'll pimp for you if you do) and totally splurged on THIS!!! Yeah. Sweet. We vacuumed the carpet tonight for the first time in a year and wow. Seriously, we totally forgot it was an orange and yellow rug.

And, seriously... ??

Am I old or what? Getting this excited about a vacuum... tsk tsk tsk.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


A statement released yesterday by the United StatesDepartment of Justice details the conviction of Andrew Siemaszko, a former reactor coolant system engineer at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. If you go on to read the entire release you will find one sentence at the bottom of the page:

"Special agents of the NRC's Office of Investigations and a senior reactor inspector from NRC's Region III developed the case and referred it to the Department of Justice."

The "Senior Reactor Inspector"? Yeah, that's my dad. As he said on the phone this morning, "that was 6 and 3/4 years of my life! That's like going to college and grad school!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gonna be Published!

I'm not sure when, but the Fallon County Times (who's website is totally not working right now or I'd link to it) is going to publish two articles I wrote about our trip to Honduras! If you read the newspaper, don't read the rest of this blog- I'm totally gonna spoil it for you. If anyone has any editorial suggestions let me know since I'll also be submitting these to the monthly Healing Touch publication, Energy Magazine, later this month.

Here's the first article:

Help in Honduras
Part 1
Global Medical Brigades

Day 1: Arrive after traveling for 21 hours. Sleep. Eat dinner. Pack Meds.

Stephan Koruba has a niece named Sahra who is a student at DePaul University in Chicago. In February she called him to share the exciting news that she was going to travel to Honduras to help support rural medical clinics. She also asked if he and his wife Anna would be willing to travel with her. Without much hesitation they both agreed.

They began collecting money, medicine, office supplies, vaccines (for themselves!) and medical supplies to bring along. On June 24th they boarded a flight at O’Hare Airport in Chicago at 2am. By 1pm that same day they were in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. From there, the group of 17 students, one doctor, one nurse and one massage therapist were taken by van to an orphanage about 3 hours Southeast of the capitol.

The first day was full of relaxing and touring the various facilities run by Global Medical Brigades. The hard work started early on the second day. The bus left at 6:30am and drove another 2 hours West. A makeshift clinic was set up in a three-room school: a triage center, treatment center, and pharmacy. In the next 5 hours 750 native Hondurans received basic medical care.

In the next two days the same team of people saw another 800 Hondurans from two different villages, bringing the total up to 1500. Most people came with their entire family. There were mothers with 5-8 children who all had intestinal parasites. Old men brought their grandchildren who had skin fungus. Old women leaned on each other to walk all morning to ask for aspirin to alleviate their arthritis and headaches. There were teething babies with fevers, pregnant women who needed vitamins, men with heartburn, diabetics needing insulin, and heart patients needing blood thinners.

This was the first time in 9 months that any of them had a chance to see a doctor.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

There is a Swear Word in this Blog

This story happened on Friday night. It happened after I saw 7 clients (2 more than I'm supposed to), and Stephan sent me home after he realized that he would be very very late coming home (after two ambulances delivered his patients to him personally, and he was short staffed in the ER).

Here, I'll make it interactive... Go get two of the biggest rolls of generic paper towels you have in your house. Do it. I'll wait here.


Ok. Now unroll the paper towel rolls. Yeah, that's a lot of paper towels. Now, soak the paper towels in dog poo. Uh huh. Soak. Them. Yeah, that's a lot of poo. Squeeze the poo onto two small labradors and coop them up in their dog-crate for an afternoon. Make sure you close all the windows in your house, and leave to go to work.

When you get home the house will stink, and there will be poo everywhere. There will be poo in the water dish, food dish, poo in the dog blanket, and it will have spilled out of the crate, mushed into the surrounding dog hair, and made poo paste.

This was exactly the scene when I got home. Two labradors soaked in poo. The smell was... just ick. So I opened the door to the crate to get them out of the house. They were scared I was going to yell at them, and one of them really had to poo again, so they were a bit disorganized in their exodus. By disorganized I mean that they made the kitchen floor into a poo Slip & Slide brushing their poo-covered bodies against every cabinet, the refrigerator, the stove, and the door.

It took two hours to clean our tiny kitchen. Murphy's Oil Soap is my new best friend (sorry Melanie and Erin).

This story is a LOT funnier if you go back and reread it, substituting the word shit for poo, the way I originally wrote the blog in my head.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Small Towns are Great...

...most of the time.

But sometimes you just want to be mad at the person you're married to and tell him why using a voice that isn't quiet. Heck, we used to let it all out in the parking lot in front of our apartment building and no one would notice. Now, though, a "serious" conversation in a public place may elicit some advice.

Not that the advice is bad, don't-get-me-wrong. It was actually kinda nice to have people make suggestions. I'd like to post some, if you don't mind.

* Don't worry, men always come home when they're hungry or need money.

* Just buy yourself something expensive. That'll show him.

* When you've been married a long time like me you don't even notice these little things.

* Actually, I like it when mine isn't home; I don't care where he is.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Fair is a Veritable Smorgasbord

(Stephan's been singing this song for three days straight. I thought I'd make you all listen to it too.)

8 pieces of pie later we're finished with the 2008 Fallon County Fair. Whew! I saw 40 clients for chair massages and booked 14 hours of massage in the next few weeks! I was really busy, Stephan loved the pie, now I'm ready to sleep. For a week. But work calls, and I don't think I'm gonna get away with not exercising this morning. I FEEL like Templeton right now after all the fair food.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bad pun at the end of this story.

My first day at the fair went pretty well (the cats are fired, by the way, for letting the spider problem get so out of control). I have really been focusing on trying to make more money than I spend, which is hard when you're sitting across from a large booth selling purses and jewelry.

The owner of the purse booth is a woman from South Dakota. When I first got there she had left her husband in charge while she ran out to get something. It was pretty fun to watch this guy try to assist women in their purse, belt and jewelry purchases.

Well, I was laughing. It did give a new meaning to "honey will you hold my purse... booth."


Remember the part where I was suspicious that the really big spiders were hiding from me?

I was right.

Where were they hiding?


I'm supposed to load it into the car and bring it out to the fair grounds this morning to set up my booth at the fair. But I just unloaded 1/2 a can of Raid onto a spider the size of a mouse and it DIDN'T DIE. I don't remember if I was a thumb-sucker as a kid, but I'm happy to say I'm doin' it now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Super Looper

Have you ever been in a situation where everyone in the room knows something you don't know? Or have you ever, as an adult, tried to learn a whole new physical skill that most people know as kids (I'm thinking hula-hooping or playing limbo...)?

Most people who live out here, at least the ranch-people, all know how to rope. It's something Stephan and I have watched and wanted to learn for some time now, but the opportunity hasn't been around yet. Last night was our first shot at it. We went over to a friends' house where they had the little hay bale sitting in their side-lawn with a calf head stuck to it (see photo above).

You may think we were lasso-ing the hay bale, or using a "lasso". That's city-talk. The noun is "rope" and the verb is "to rope" or "roping".

And we kinda suck.

Me: Stephan, what did you think about roping last night?

Him: I sucked worse than you did, but by the end we were both better then when we started.

Me: You have no sense of drama, theater, action... People want to hear the gossip.

Him: Ok, then tomorrow we'll try it from horseback on a live calf and see how that goes. That dramatic enough for you baby?

I'm SO glad Stephan has to work this weekend or that may actually have happened. As it is we're excited for Uncle Joe & Aunt Jamie's visit and don't forget, drinks on them!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Keeping in Touch

For information about what's going on with my dad check out this article and this other article from Friday. There's also this one from Saturday.

For the whole story you can read the the Wikipedia article... but scroll down to the section about the "reactor head hole."

Paparazzi Not Invited


FAQ: How's Fire Season going?

Answer: We've been gone so much this summer that Stephan's managed to miss every single fire they've had. That is, until this very afternoon. We'd just woken up from a Sunday afternoon nap and turned on Southpark when a storm hit, lightening flared, and the radio began squawking. It's about 4pm so at least I'm already wide awake and have plenty of things to do to keep my mind off of the fire. The rain has stopped which means they won't get that assistance any more.

I took a few photos of him in uniform, putting his shoes on, pacing around the house before the call came in, but he told me I'm not allowed to post them. However, I'm sneaky like this and I'd just like to remind you of this post from last year when there was a fire. It's a bad angle, he really doesn't have a beer belly at all, just the pooch of the shirt. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

D-D-D Denver!

Our trip to Denver was SO cool. We left Sunday night, arrived in Sturgis at about 11pm, and Denver at about 8am. We hung out with Peg from Chicago, Mary Anne from Tennessee, Mark & Stephanie from Texas, Beth & Arnie & Jack from London, Wendi & Chad & Sydney from Denver, and Arnie's mom, Leiba from Denver. It was the center of the universe!

We stayed in Chad & Wendi's backyard in a tent one night (the second day it rained, and the tent got wet, so we slept inside), took public transportation to a Rockie's game, drove up to Evan's Mountain (the highest paved road in the US) and took more photos there.

There was lots of snuggling. We left Denver Wednesday night to drive up to Fort Collins and eat pizza in a hot tub. The next morning we said goodbye to our biker friends and drove the rest of the way home to Montana, stopping once at Devil's Towerand once because there were cows in the road.

Oh, we also ate Taco Bell and the dogs came with and helped navigate.

I'm Running Away

Literally, running away and away and away! Check out my first run!! Once the incision(s) in my foot healed I splurged on the Nike+ iPod gadgetry. I sewed a pocket on my running shoe (the right one, I figured it'd be symbolic) to fit the sensor, and plugged the receiver into my iPod nano. I signed up for the 10k run on August 31st, and downloaded a 12-week training program.

If you're part of this whole Nike+ thing drop me a line and perhaps we can keep each other motivated. I'll also be updating the internet to help keep me focused.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Back from Denver

Too many photos to upload them this morning. We arrived safely home last night at 9pm and Stephan left for work this morning at 5am. Ugh. I'm off to work myself, and I promise promise promise to post photos and stories of the crazy 4-day trip.

In the meantime, remember this funny story? It still cracks me up.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


There hasn't been enough traffic on my Flickr site lately, and not enough people have seen the great photos that Lauren took at Luci's baptism. So I'm gonna post 'em here. That's right, I'm forcing cute photos upon you all.

That's my mom posing for a pre-photo photo. I LOVE the expression on Erin's face as she watches this. We hadn't even had dessert yet!

This one I mostly like because of how thin I look, although I think it also shows just how thrilled I am to be holding that tiny little blessing in a long dress.

In this one we're listening to the priest tell us why choosing Baptism is such a wonderful gift for parents to give their children. I expect that the look you can see here on my face, the "listening" look, was seen every day of the 8 years of Catholic school I went to.

This one I like to call, "Everyone needs a short friend." It's the moment of Baptism, which, by the way, is one of my mom's seven favorite sacraments.

This one was taken by Erin & Pete of Luci's first bath. I'm including it because it's so cute it causes me physical pain and I wanted to share it. You're welcome.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Remember This?

This, right here?? That was July last year. Now it's August. You may have thought, from my calm posting, the way I just casually chat about this and that, that I'm not still terrified of my house. That the fact that the basement was a cool 36F all winter didn't sooth my mind because it meant that nothing without warm-blood could survive down there.

It's spider time people. Spider. Freaking. Time. People.

Two things are preventing me from showing any photos of what's currently living in my basement:

1. I sprayed enough Raid down there to keep all but the most hearty cats alive.

2. I suspect they're hiding from me.

Every time I go into the basement I have a laundry basket in one hand and the can of Raid in another. Sometimes this makes laundry harder, but it's me vs the arachnids, and I'm not backing down. I just sprayed a small one that was only about as big as a quarter, legs included. But I'm suspicious. And cautious. And I'm not signing for any packages sent to "Peter Parker."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Farmer Dan

We have a friend named Dan, and he is, surprisingly, a farmer. He grows things like peas and wheat. Thursday morning he was harvesting Winter Wheat, which is a grain that's planted in the fall and harvested... right now! He was driving a really large John Deere Combine and invited us to take a ride on it. It looked just like this! It had a little GPS-looking thing with an automatic steering thingie that, once Farmer Dan drove around the perimeter of the field, automatically drove up and down in perfect rows.

I learned a lot that day, none of which I wrote down, or took photos of. The most interesting part to me was that if a farmer puts $100 into an acre of wheat he may, after rent or land ownership, is $106. Geeze. With 200-1000 acres per farmer that's not a lot of income. You can see, then, why American farming is NOT growing quickly.

I also learned a lot about the difference between organic and non-organic farming, but I forgot most of it. Sorry.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Odds and... well just odds

I'm ushering in a new world on our couch right now. It's a world where Stephan is acquainted with social websites. We've established some of his statistics on Facebook, and have started reviewing the lists and lists and lists of available friends for us to make. He's thrilled, and by thrilled I mean sitting there with his head in his hands begging me to go with him to the bar.

Join us! I'm under Anna Koruba on Facebook, and I'd love to be your friend. Stephan uses my account (are you surprised?), so all photos/ information/ communication for both of us go there.

Yes, we can go to the bar now.

After I tell them one more thing. Today we tried to jump right back into triathlon training by swimming/biking/running a half sprint triathlon. 1/4 mile swim, 7.5 mile bike, 1.6 mile run. We didn't make it, and I was not happy by the end. So we went to the grocery store to look for Midol (sorry Mom & Dad). I ran to the pharmaceutical aisle, Stephan to the feminine products aisle which was located between cat food and paper towels. Well, world, I was in the wrong aisle. As Stephan walked toward me I, in my delusional state, said, "you were right."

You'd have thought he won the lottery. He found the first store clerk he could find to announce proudly that, "Larry, you wouldn't believe the words that just came out of my wife's mouth. Are you ready? You're standing up. Get a chair, you might faint. Are you ready? She said, I was right." My girlfriend happened to be standing there and heard this. She turned to me and said, "Wow, you're getting weak huh?".

I guess it's time to Cowgirl up. To the barMr. Slave.

Monday, July 28, 2008

From His Side

Me: Stephan, what do you want to say to our adoring fans?

Him: I hate your cat.

Me: [can't type, laughing too hard] Come on, something better.

Him: The thing you forgot to tell them about the trip to Ingomar was that it lowered my blood pressure. For the first time since puberty my blood pressure was below the normal 120/80. This basically means that keeping me from camping is actually a death sentence. What do you say to that?

Me: [insert dramatic eye roll]

Him: Wanna ask me if my life insurance is paid up?

Me: You really think it was the camping, and not just the distance in miles away from anything resembling work?

Him: Nope. It was the camping. A scientific certainty. Apart from the blood pressure thing, did you tell everybody that we're going to start a ranch this fall? Or, as I like to call it, the geriatric 4-H program.

Me: I keep forgetting about that on purpose. What about it?

Him: After we register our brand we'll buy three impregnated cows, care for them through the winter, help them calve, fatten up their offspring, and hopefully sell them off in the fall for a little money.

Me: Our backyard isn't big enough, and I don't think the dogs want to share our bed.

Him: They're not pets. They'll stay at Fuzz's, he's a bachelor, there's room in his bed.

Me: Ok, I'm tired. Bedtime.

Him: I still hate your cat.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Plans

We spent the weekend at a rodeo and camping in the tiny town of Ingomar, Montana. It's actually smaller than Plevna, which amazed us. The town has no running water, and only one outhouse per gender. Seriously. No bathrooms. No hotels. No school. One bar, a small shop (don't ask me about the $150 sweater), and a rodeo arena.

My overall impression of the experience was that it was dusty. Very dusty. The first time I got to look in a mirror I noticed there was dirt in all the creases of my body, neck, elbows, eyes. My eyes watered mostly the whole time, tracing clear paths of skin down my dust-covered cheeks. What I saw of the rodeo was really neat. The street-fest afterwards was cool, since we'd camped in the center of town and the live music was fantastic.

The only thing this town is known for is the bar, the Jersey Lilly. It's historic, literally, on the list of Historic Locations in Montana. The food was pretty good, the drinks were cheap, the fights were broken up quickly, and the peanuts were free. The baked beans have been written about in various food journals, and a Google search will give you plenty of information.

I'm hitting a wall trying to write more about it, so you'll just have to check out the photos on Flickr. Me, out.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Overheard: At the Computer

Him: Uh, there's something wrong with the quilting story.

Me: What?

Him: There's no mention of the super hero.

Me: Super hero?

Him: The husband who selflessly gave up sleep and a happy wife for a whole weekend. The man who, despite his rough and ready tendencies, took up needle and thread, and quilting pins, and batting and binding to save the day.

Me: Uh huh. Do you want me to blog about this right now?

Him: Oh, no no no. Don't tell the world how wonderful I am. Let me suffer in silence.

Me: Uh huh.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I love my friends!! Here are some photos of the finished quilt!!

I'm gonna be busy this weekend putting together an article (or maybe two!) about the Honduras trip! If anyone has any suggestions for what I should include, let me know.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Making a Bee-Line

Sorry, cheesy title. Yes, I made a quilt. I started Thursday night when I made Stephan cut all the pieces I needed. Friday night I started making squares, Saturday was filled with quilting from start to finish. Sunday I drove a beer cart for a few hours and came home and crashed. Monday morning I worked from 6 am - 11am, then again until 11pm that night. Tuesday was D-day, so I quickly decided on a pattern for the squares, sewed them together, and dragged the quilt top into work to beg for advice. Tuesday night was intense. We squared up the top, measured the back and the batting, then pinned it. Stephan was a great help through all of this, and he didn't even yell once.

I sewed some quilting lines in to keep the three layers together for the plane rides, then we left the house at 12:30am. The rest of the quilting was done in spurts at Aunt Chris's house, as was ironing and sewing on the border. I wish I had a photo of the finished product. It looks really great with the purple border on it- less like an ice-cream. It matches Luci's room perfectly. And the best part about it is that I have enough fabric left over to make one more square for myself to remember it by!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"... and grapes since these are gross."

So... 12 days may be a new record for my avoidance of anything internet-related. Of course you had plenty to read over and over about Honduras. There were a few more stories in there about my first ride on a 4-wheeler, Stephan's cow-watering duties for three mornings in a row, and how his underwear ended up in the neighbors' front lawn as I tried diligently to put the laundry on the line in 60-mile-per-hour gusting wind.

But, I was quilting. Yes! Me! Quilting! Photos will follow. the quilt was gifted to my new Goddaughter, Lucienne Rose who was born on the Fourth of July (cue Oliver Stone). She's beautiful. Perfect? As Pete, the dad, said, "better than most," and I have to agree.

We safely got to and from Ohio this weekend, photos to follow. We're home now, safely (did I say that already, Mom?). Stephan works the next three days in a row so we can go to a rodeo and watch our friend fight bulls. I've got tons to talk about, but even more laundry than I could imagine.

And if you do stop at the grocery store, you should get grapes, since these are gross.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Weather and Stuff

So, yeah, the weather in Southeast Montana continues to baffle me. It's hot. Really hot. Stephan's folks bought us a kick butt air conditioner to help cool the house and it's working wonderfully (though I'm scared for the electric bill next month). I take the dogs to the lake as often as possible to try to convince Besa that the water will help her not want to die. But, alas, I do not have Stephan's strength to shove her off the end of a pier.

And, since you asked, my soon-to-be Goddaughter was born on the 4th of July (isn't there a song like that?)! She weighed 8lbs... something and was a few inches long, or so, I wasn't paying attention. I was just SO happy that everyone was healthy, kicking, yelling, eating, and very happy. We're off to Ohio next week (can you believe it?) for the baptism.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Honduras: Stephan's Story

I asked Stephan recently what he thought of the trip, of Global Medical Brigades, and the whole situation in Honduras in general. We had a pretty long discussion and what follows is a summary (since he won't type, and refuses to tell me about it all again).

Overall he thought the program we were a part of was pretty solid. Since it was run by Hondurans who know what the communities need it was straight-up helpful. They seemed to have the system worked out very well. They get energetic college students to do a lot of the fundraising and volunteer-gathering. The program appeals to students studying pre-med, public health, Spanish, and international development. It's a great resume builder, and a short enough time commitment to be accessible to many students.

Once in-country they have American Students pretty well figured out. Transportation was foolproof, we were never allowed out on our own. The dorms we were staying in were very clean with running water, and protected by gates. We were fed often with food that was just local enough to know we weren't in Kansas anymore, without being so foreign as to cause complaints. They provided access to beer, wine, souvenirs, cute orphans, fresh towels and laundry, and a chance to hang out at the end of the day.

Obviously, the entire program could be run a lot cheaper if the help didn't come from so far away, with such elaborate living arrangements. Granted, if the locals Hondurans were helping out the American donations wouldn't be nearly enough to cover the operating costs. It's a trade off. But when you think about it, the medical program is simply plugging a hole that the government can't fill. It's stopping the bleeding without addressing the cause of the injury in the first place.

Recently, Global Medical Brigades and the Sociadad Amigos de los Ninoa have started to expand into true development work- affecting the long-term sustainability of the communities they're working in- with projects like building stoves in smaller villages and educating children at Flor Azul (a working farm that teaches boys 12-19 business skills, English, and gets them through high school).

Both Stephan and I are very impressed with the amazing amount of wonderful work they're doing down there. We would recommend the GMB program to anyone who asks about it, and feel that the time and money we put together was very well needed, and put to very good use.

Stephan also tells me that I've written everything there is to write about our trip, and that I should go back to talking about steer-riding and rodeos. If you have any more questions please feel free to comment on the blog or email me. Again, the photos can be found here and the GMB website is here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Honduras: What We Did There Story

Day 1: Arrive after traveling for 21 hours. Sleep. Eat dinner. Pack Meds.

Packing Meds: There were dozens of suitcases filled with all different types of medicines and creams and vitamins. We spread out signs on tables around the room for Antibiotics, Antiparasitics, GI, Heart, Asthma/Allergies, Pain Relief, Vitamins, Topicals, and Donations. All the medicine bottles were stacked on tables, under tables, near tables, etc.

Yeah! Done! No? Oh.

Medicines then had to be grouped in grocery store bags by generic name and amount. The 400mg Albendazole had to be separated from the 200mg Albendazole from the 200mg Metformin. 2-4 people each took charge of one type of medicine. The sorting seemed to go quickly.

Yeah! Done! No? Oh.

Next we had to sort medicines by dose. Cue the little sandwich baggies. My first experience with this was working in the vitamin area. For vitamins we poured 30 vitamins into a little baggie, sealed it, then wrote the name (adult vitamins, children's vitamins, prenatal vitamins) in Spanish the expiration date, and the directions (take one pill every day for 30 days) in Spanish ("Tome una pastilla cada dia para 30 dias"). Rinse. Repeat. For the first Brigade we needed 400 baggies of children's vitamins and 300 adult vitamins.

Some of the instructions were more complicated, "chew two pills after eating when you have stomach pain," "take 2 pills every 4-6 hours as needed for pain." After all this was done the little baggies got put back into the grocery store bags, labeled, and shoved back into the suitcases. The suitcases were labeled with what type of drug they held, and then loaded up onto the back of a truck.

Yeah! Done! Yes! Bedtime = 12:30am

6:30am the next day was breakfast. We left on the bus at 7am, arrived at the site at 9am.

I already explained triage - the job I did where we asked what their symptoms were and if they had any allergies. We sent the kids under 12 to be weighed (many medicine doses depend on your weight), and those over 35 to get their blood pressure taken.

They left triage and waited in the line to be seen by the doctors. We had two doctors and Stephan doing physical exams. I was too busy to see much of that process, but it involved very few actual procedures. Sometimes Doc Mike would take ear wax out of ears, or redress a wound, or clean out a sore. Mostly, though, they just looked the person over, and the docs would write on their papers what the diagnosis was, and which medicines they needed. The first day the docs spent about 2-3 minutes with each patient. And you thought American healthcare was fast!!

They left the doctors to wait in line at the pharmacy. This is where most of the kids who didn't speak Spanish were hanging out. They'd get all the papers from one family and start filling the prescriptions. Each patient had their own grocery store bag with their diagnosis/prescription paper in it. The bag would get filled with vitamins, tylenol, antiparasitics, whatever the docs had written down... as far as it could be read. There was lots of running around, running into things and people, and asking the pharmacist just what was needed in particular situations.

That first day I know we ran out of adult vitamins. I'm sure we ran out of other stuff too. That was hard. How do you tell a mom that we're out of children's tylenol and have nothing else to treat her baby's fever? It would be another month before another brigade came through if they were lucky. Sometimes the pharmacy was a sad place to be. We would throw in some donated items when they were appropriate (toothbrushes to people with toothaches, sweaters to babies who were sick, combs to people with lice).

Once the whole family's bags were ready to go the pharmacist or another person who spoke Spanish (one other student that I know of) would go out, find the family, and explain each and every medicine to whoever it was for, or whoever in the family would understand.

Yeah! Done! Yes! We left that site about 4pm and packed more meds that night. Rinse repeat, two more times, as needed.