Sunday, March 30, 2008

Overheard: On the Phone

Me: How's your sick day going?

Him: Good- I'm on the internet.

Me: Yeah?

Him: Is this what you do all day?? I was just looking something up about my nursing license, and I clicked on a blog... that was like 3 hours ago. I just keep reading all this funny stuff, and there are more links on the side that I haven't even clicked yet. It's all about ER nursing.

Me: You just surfed the web for 3 hours?

Him: Yeah. Woh.

Me: I'm so proud.

In honor of Stephan discovering the internet, here's a video!

"Stephan Weighs Over 800lbs!"

Mom and Stephan hung out over spring break, and when she called me to tell me about it, that was the first thing she said. I was a little shocked to hear her say that, but then she emailed me a photo (which you can seehere) and everything made more sense.

Stephan promises me that we'll go on a cruise, or all-inclusive vacation after the 100 mile hike to make up for ALL of our previous vacations being to the poorest parts of the world (Ecuador, Bolivia, now Honduras, and a 100 mile hike is pretty exhausting). We'll see if he follows through.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Memory Lane

One year ago today... ish.

Alright Alright Already

As part of the experience of living in a small town, in Montana, in the middle of nowhere, Stephan has insisted I tell this story. He's retold it locally dozens of times and it's created quite a reputation in town. Here goes:

About 2 months ago we were at the Plevna Bar relaxing. We ended up sitting with the mayor of Plevna, and the son of the fire chief (this is one reason why the story got around so quickly). It was one of those nights when a friend comes up and buys you a drink, so you buy them one in return, and then someone else buys you a round, and then you get the next round, etc. etc. BUT, when Stephan and I go out, we drink doubles- that's essentially two drinks in one tall glass.

It's 11:30 and Stephan thinks that he's a little buzzed, and since I've been going drink for drink with him, I'm probably not in a good way...

Him: Hey wife, what do you think we get out of here soon?

Me: (famous last words) Are we here to drink or what you p***y?

Mayor: (sitting in stunned silence for a moment) She just called you out.

Fire Chief's Son: Another round over here!

At 2am we walked home.

At 3am I was done throwing up.

Stephan was at a fire department training the next morning and people kept asking him "how's Anna?". Apparently the story had already circulated. The answer, of course, was that I was sitting on the couch squinting at the tv, watching Lord of the Rings, with all the special features so I wouldn't have to get up to change the DVD. Once in a while, at the bar, someone will walk up to me and ask, "You drinking or what?" Yeah. Thanks.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Newest Crazy Plan

I don't remember (and am too lazy to look it up) if I told you guys about the Theodore Roosevelt National Grasslands. Well, right over the border in North Dakota is a beautiful state park separated into two parts, a North part and a South part. On our way back from Williston, ND and the Amtrak train, we stopped by at the office of the North Unit.

A nice ranger told us about the buffalo (pictured above) and various trails available for hiking. Stephan looked at the map... this is sounding really familiar. Maybe I did type this before.

(10 minute intermission)

Nope. So there's this one trail that leads off of the big map to the South. Stephan, ever-observant, asks, What's THIS trail?? It's the Maah Daah Hey Trail, a 96 mile hike that connects the North and South ends of the park."The trail name, 'Maah Daah Hey', comes from the Mandan Indians. In the Mandan language, one word or phrase can describe a picture, feeling, or situation. In this case, the phrase means 'an area that has been or will be around for a long time.' The trail uses a turtle as the trail marker. The turtle was honored because of its firm determination, steadfastness, patience, long life, and fortitude."

100 miles, as my dad says, "is not a day hike." More like 5 days, at 20 miles of walking per day. It's a good goal to work toward this summer, adding miles and weight every week. The long walks (we've started at 6 miles/2 hours at a time) give us time to talk about our week, our ideas for the future, philosophy, and whatever. The dogs LOVE the walks/runs, and we've started seeing just how amazing the landscape is around here.

Check out the Google Map of Plevna, and follow Rt 631 North and West to see where we've started our training. It appears that each 90 degree turn is a one-mile-marker. The topographical map can show you a little bit that the walk is anything but flat.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Post on a Friday night... er, Saturday morning

I really have no excuse for the lack of posting. And, thank you, Anonymous, for the comment about the peanut butter orifice. It was funny, and if you post it again with your name on it, I'll publish it!!

The only real thing new is in doggie-world... The dogs have been chewing various household items while we were at work for the last month. The list of 'retired' appliances includes: one vacuum cleaner hose, the wires to Stephan's Avitar video game, the plug on our house-saving space heater, the cord to the standup air purifier, a few CD's, a DVD case, some paperwork, two blankets, and part of the rug.

So this week we've constructed a dog-condo consisting of two big crates zip-tied together, one also has a door on the side. One crate has pillows and blankets and toys, and the other has their food and water dishes. The whole hamster setup takes up about 1/2 of the kitchen now, and there's one door that sticks out into the walk way that Stephan discovered is a pain in the knees in the middle of the night.

Him: Tell them that we met another lost soul; a Cub fan living in Baker.

Yes, we did. The morning fm DJ is originally from the Chicago land area. We met him last night and had a fun time bowling. We've promised him a cold Old Style next time we travel back home.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Overheard: 4:59am Kitchen

Him: (Gasp!) You did it! Lucky.

Me: What are you talking about?

Him: You put the knife in a new jar of peanut butter.

Me: So?

Him: You made the first mark.

Me: So?

Him: You took the peanut butter's virginity.

Me: I don't want to think about my condiments as having orifices.

Him: Well, you just gave the peanut butter one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

FAQ: What's with the Google Ads?

I figured I'd try it for a while and see if anything comes of it. If you click on it, they record that you clicked from my website. Don't do it if it's not something you're interested in- just trying this out... please bare with me.

AND- amazing. You are all amazing. So many people have called/written/just gone and pressed the Donate button to the left that we're really thinking our trip can become reality. We sent our applications and deposits in this weekend, and should hear back with more information soon.

Total side note: I just saw an ad for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Where did I see this ad? On the Yahoo site where I check email. I didn't know churches placed banner ads. Huh.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Not by Jack Handey...

but close enough.

I know you all can tell by how painful my blogging has been that I'm not really comfortable with the whole "asking for money" thing. As if adding groveling to my resume wasn't enough, now I'm becoming an expert at gratefulness. The amount of encouragement (not to mention donations [we're over 50% paid for!!]) we've received in the last two weeks has blown me away. If I had any doubt that what we were doing wasn't the right thing, they've all been quieted by the floods of positive messages coming in. Here are a few, without names to protect the flattering:

Friend 1: Anna, you never ask for money. This isn't a big deal to help you out. Besides, it's something I wish I could do, so giving you the money makes me feel less guilty...

Family Member 1: We are so proud of you both for the work you have done in the past and we know you will continue - just because you both have big hearts & empathy for the unfortunate...

Friends 2-10: STAY SAFE!!!

Family Member 2: We will pray for you on your trip. I hope you'll keep us posted.

Friend 11: That is one heck of a way to give back!

Round about "Family Member 1" is where I started crying, and truly believing that we're doing the right thing. To answer a few common questions: No, we're not scared. Yes, we're very excited. We've already raised enough money for one of us to go without a problem, so we're 100% sure we're going. The pharmacies and hospital here have donated and pledged help, and I've never seen Stephan pound so much pavement and pass out so many letters.

Read this post because it really echoes a lot of what's going on inside me right now.

And read this post because it was one year ago today that I visited my first ranch, the photo of me is really cute, and WOW have I learned a LOT since then!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Falling Forward

It's spring on ranches all over the Northern Hemisphere. The snow is melting, the water is finally flowing, the ranchers are running for their lives while trying to put ear-tags on newly born calves which makes them beller and sends their moms into a panic.

Yes? What's that? Oh, "Beller"? It's the sound a cow/calf/steer/bull makes.

Not "Moo". Beller.

BELL - er

The calves are SO cute and tiny and fun to watch playing in the fields. I totally forgot how fun spring is around here. Of course, there are the sad stories of calves or cows who've died already. That's so sad to hear about. One cow laid down with her head on a downhill, and gravity worked against her and the calf and they both died. So sad.

I guess that's life on the ranch, though.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Sorry about dropping off the planet for a few days. With everything that was in the air I forgot to mention our short trip to the Twin Cities (via Amtrak- wonderful!!) to visit Stephan's family. More about that later.

When we got home we had lots of return envelopes waiting for us. Yippie!! You'll all be getting Thank-you postcards (postcards to save $$ on postage) in the mail soon!

Ok- here's the deal... we've been feeling pretty darn guilty about having to ask for the money for the trip. SO- while we were on the train, and during down-time with the family, Stephan and I read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. We put all our finances on one piece of paper, got real about our budget, and about what our potential income could be. The result? We're on board. Totally, as Dave says, with Gazelle Intensity. Stephan's taking another job, and I'm expanding my hours. I'm not getting an endorsement for this (but if you're interested in it- I'll totally pimp this program) but the plan seems so simple. Not easy. NOT EASY. Adding hours to our work-week and taking away time from being together is NOT EASY. But, hey, if we're ballsey enough to beg to our friends, we're ballsey enough to work our balls off.

Enough ball-talk (Sorry Mom). I'll be posting photos of our short trip soon, and telling you all about the 100-mile trail we found laden with bison. Do you have any idea how large bison scat is?? Big. Trust me.

Monday, March 3, 2008

One Year Ago Today

This made me smile and cry just a little bit.

Overheard: Hospital Nurse's Station

CNA: Anna, someone called and said your dogs are ok.

Me: Um. What?

CNA: Yeah, your dogs were out, they said they must have gotten away from Stephan, and they have them.

Me: Stephan's at work today, the girls were in the garage.

CNA: Oh. They didn't leave their name.

Me: Huh.

So the girls had a little adventure today. When I came home at 7pm the door to the garage had been pushed open- the stick that keeps it closed was broken. Two blocks away some very nice friends had put the girls in their fenced-in yard and gave them some water. They jumped right into the back seat of the car, and then came home to snuggle.

Fact: Besa doesn't wear a collar at all, and Red's collar just has her rabies tag on it. No identifying marks on either of them. I love living in a small town.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

FAQ: How's the begging going?

Answer: Great!!

So far we've had some really inspiring help. We wrote/printed/mailed letters to everyone we have postal addresses for this week already, with return envelopes (not stamped, sorry!) inside. A friend read it and said, "Wow, that's a $20 letter... and you're only asking for $10!!"

You'll also notice a new addition to the information bar on the left. See it? The big "DONATE" button? If you click it you'll go to a PayPal site that allows you to make a secure online donation using a credit card or bank account. I've had good luck with PayPal over the years, and I really trust the company.

What are we doing with the money? Travel and room and board is going to run us about $1,500 each (I think I just choked on my gum). We figured last week that we could manage to almost send one of us on our own, but definitely not the two of us. But- we're both going. No matter what.

Any money we collect above our own travel needs will be used to buy more supplies/medicines or will be donated directly to Global Medical Brigades or Sociedad Amigos de los NiƱos. There's a link on the GMB website for you to donate directly to the organization itself.

I'll keep updating everyone on how we're doing, while NOT taking away from the wonderment that is Montana Calving Season.

Overheard: Standing in Front of an Open Dresser Drawer

Him: Hey, Hon?

Me: You never call me that. What's wrong?

Him: How many of my white t-shirts did you turn pink?

Me: None.

Him: What about this one? And this one? And this one?

Me: That's not pink.

Him: Ok. "How many of my t-shirts did you kinda turn a little less into white than pink, but not really?"

Me: Three.

Him: What was red in the laundry??

Me: What do you mean?

Him: .... (skeptical look)

Me: (laughing uncontrollably)

--- 5 minutes later ---

Me: Whew! I haven't laughed like that-

Him: What was red?

Me: (laughing) OK OK! I don't know what was red. There were a few things, some shorts and some socks.

Him: Are you kidding me?

Me: It was a "socks and underwear" load.

Him: WE WENT OVER THIS ALREADY!!!!! Sort by color, wife, not by purpose.

Me: (uncontrollable laughter again, continues, perhaps 10 minutes)