Saturday, May 31, 2008

Art Imitates Life

from South Park episode 605: Fun with Veal

Hear me out- this really works- South Park has LOTS of good messages for today's controversial issues.

Today's topic is the cattle industry. Seems that every time I post another group of branding photos the wackos come out of the woodwork to comment on them. Last year it was a group that promoted gruesome photos asking me to post to their group. This year it was a "peace-loving" hippie who hoped that one day, I would get branded with a hot branding iron just like a calf. Sound peace-loving to anyone else?

I have no problems with meat-eaters. I am one of them. I also have no problems with hippies, many friends of mine are hippies, and I, myself, have been referred to (by my own mother in fact) as a fat hippie. The issue of raising animals to kill and eat is a really complicated one, covered by ethics classes, protest marches, starvation campaigns, billboards, and naked women. Heck, the cover story on this month's WorldArk, the Heifer International magazine is about the Carbon Footprint of raising cattle. The article focuses mainly on the differences between the Industrial model of American feedlots versus the smaller scale farms around the world. The answer? They didn't really have one yet.

I've said before that I was simply amazed when I started learning what ranching was really all about. There are no feed lots (as far as I can tell) in Fallon County. Every rancher I've met so far takes better care of their cows & calves than I would have imagined. Not only does lots of hard work and long nights and thousands of dollars go into each calf produced, but there's love there. All that hard work produces a living thing that is SO cute. I watch them run around and play as I drive to work. They're like puppies.

I don't think branding is bad. Does it hurt the calves? It sure does. Does castrating them hurt? I think it does. Does spaying and neutering your dogs and cats hurt them? Yep. Does it hurt when you get a tetanus shot? Hell yeah. Does my foot still hurt where they cut the cancer out? YES. My point is, sometimes things in life hurt. They don't usually hurt forever, so just get on with it.

Do I think it's wrong to kill an animal to eat it? No.

What do I think about the feed lot conditions that are so widely photographed in the PETA campaigns? I don't know. I've never been there. I haven't experienced a feed lot yet. If I did, and I didn't like what went on there, I wouldn't buy the products that they sell. We're lucky enough out here to be able to get meat directly from the ranch where I know the buffalo and cows ate hay and lived outside their whole lives. We also hunt for food out here, keeping the antelope and deer from getting run over by trucks and cars.

What about the greenhouse gases and all the energy spent feeding, raising, haying, etc. etc? It sure takes a lot of hay to feed those cows, and that's planting space we could use to grow vegetables and grains for the many hungry people in the world. Is that true? I'm looking around out here, and I'm not seeing too much fertile land. Hay grows here, and not much else. I don't know though- the hippies might have a point on this one.

I think Stan said it best in Episode 605 when he said, "Well, I guess we learned something today: it's wrong to eat veal because the animals are so horribly mistreated, but if you don't eat meat at all you break out in vaginas."

Sorry Mom.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

As Promised - Gas Prices

Actual photographic proof (NOT photoshopped) that things have really gotten out of hand.

Monday, May 26, 2008

One-Liner of the Day

Me: Stephan, tell me about the calf poop today.

Him: I already told you about it.

Me: But I'm trying to blog about it.

Him: Mama Cow poops on Baby Cow. Dumb-city-kid flips Baby Cow over, gets cow poop on neck and chest.

Me: And face.

Him: Dumb-city-kid told by loving wife, "Don't drink too much beer, you'll get...




"... Sh*&T Faced!!!"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

One Sentence You Should NEVER Have to Say to Your Husband

"Get the cat out of the freezer RIGHT NOW."

Saturday, May 24, 2008


or... Anna rants about skin-care while bored on a Saturday night.

AAD is the American Academy of Dermatology which has TONS of good information about how to protect yourself this weekend/summer from the damaging effects of the sun.

Also, check out the new EPA link on the left-hand side under "Links". Clicking on it will take you to a site that shows the current UV Index for the US. Handy if you're planning outdoor work, and wonder which day of the week would be the safest.

I'm purchasing MASS quantities of all-natural sunscreen (without parabens, DEA, or other preservatives) from this website this weekend. I've read the ingredient list and highly approve of their natural sunscreen.

End of rant.

Memorial Day Weekend

I've heard that a lot of people are foregoing travel this weekend because of the high gas prices. The same seems to be true out here as well. Although we were about $0.20 cheaper than the national average last week (Cash price, not credit... have I ever written about the 5 cent difference between buying gas with cash versus a credit card?) I have no idea what gas costs this week.

Why? Because with all of the crayzee increases lately, the gas stations took down their price per gallon signs here. Well, the signs are up, but they haven't posted the prices all week.

I'm assuming this isn't a good thing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Top 5 Ways to Know You're Married to a Nurse

5. He sweats antibacterial gel.

4. He refuses to answer the home phone on nights he's not on call.

3. Sometimes his work clothes come home in plastic bags.

2. He hands you Tylenol in a tiny little plastic cup.

1. He grabs the back waistband of your pants to keep you from falling.

ps. join us in drinking heavily tonight... the nurse called and "the borders are clean" meaning that all the cancer is now gone from my foot. Yippie!!!

I Love Discovery

Stephan pointed out to me last night that I've gotten into a sort of funk lately, and haven't been laughing as much. So when I saw this clip, and literally shot soy-milk out my nose, I figured I'd share it with ya'll. (Especially the part with Mr. Hawking)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2 Truths

1. I am not invincible.

2. My husband loves me VERY much.

Regarding #1- I thought that merely 5 days after minor foot surgery I would be able to take on a full client load (5 clients for 4.5 hours of massage). I was going to do this by propping my right knee on a rolling stool and dragging it around the table, all while maintaining proper form. Proper form usually means bent knees, weight in the heels, arms being an extension of your legs and back. Like Tai Chi. I was wrong. I was very wrong.

At lunch I went upstairs to the ER with a little humility in my face (i.e. tears) and explained to Stephan that I couldn't work. This brings me to point #2.

Stephan knew that if he'd suggested or even mentioned that me trying to work was out of the question I would just get angry and try to prove him wrong. Instead of starting a fight he bit his tongue, and let me come to my own conclusions. When I was ready to listen to him, he gently explained that if I was his patient, I would have been told to stay in bed, gently work on stretching and adding pressure to the foot, and to take things easy for a few days.

He also asked me to imagine that one of my clients had tried to pull something like this. What would I say?? I'd say she had some issues.

So, Internet. Just to get it all out there- I'm laying in bed today. The dishes aren't done. The laundry isn't getting washed. The vacuum cleaner is just sitting there by itself. I can't say I'm happy about it, but I understand that this is what it means to actually take care of myself.

So there.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Overheard: At a Party**

Friend #1: So... what did you do to your foot?

Me: Uh...

Brother: Skin CANCER!

Party Guests: [laughing] That's funny!

Me: It's true.

Party Guests: [Stunned, awkward silence]

Brother: Yeah, she's being a total baby about it.

Party Guests: [nervous laughter]

{{{ Several minutes later }}}

Friend #2 (was in the bathroom): Hey, what did you do to your foot?

Party Guests in unison: Skin CANCER!

Friend #2: [laughing] No, really, what was it?

Party Guests: [shaking heads] That's it.

Friend #2: Oh. Sorry.

**My Dad heard this story and thought it was really funny. I tried to make this funny, but I think it's one of those where you had to be there. On a side note, hello Val! It was great to meet you!

FAQ: Are the Crutches Really Necessary?

At the risk of turning this into a "Med Blog"...


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What's going ON out there??

We don't watch TV, the news, we don't read state or national newspapers, and often, I don't really even check the news on the internet. But when I check my Yahoo email I do glance at the little news summary to the left.

Today, I saw this and it made me wonder just what's going on in the world right now...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Overheard: After Work

Me: They were having Sky Watcher Training today.

Him: With light-sabers and stuff?

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Happy Mother's Day.

One of the hardest parts about being Stephan & Anna and living in Montana is not procrastinating when holidays are coming up. We're the epitome of last minute shoppers. I remember our first Christmas together when we rushed around on Christmas Eve trying to find a Taco Bell that was open and selling gift certificates. Last Christmas it was the beginning of December when we started ordering things online, but we still didn't manage to get everything out by the Big Day.

On Tuesday night I thought we were totally good ordering Mother's Day gifts over the internet. Tuesday! That's like, 4 whole shipping days before Sunday. The excitement was in the air while I didn't have to click on "overnight delivery" for anything. Yippie!

Except when we called Stephan's mom this morning, she hadn't received her flowers yet. I tracked the shipment on to discover that, although I paid for 2-day delivery, the "delivery date" had been "modified" by UPS.


But Happy Mother's Day to our moms, our friends who are moms, our sisters(in-law) who are moms, people who are gonna be moms, people who HAVE moms, and people who like moms. I hope all your brunches/dinners/Chinese Food take-outs were fun this weekend.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why Monday Sucked

Remember when I said Monday sucked? Well, now I think I can tell the Internet more about that. Last week I had that tiny freckle taken off the bottom of my foot (I wrote about it here).

Monday the doctor called first thing in the morning to check up on me. I was so happy that he called, "how sweet!" I thought. As he started talking I started getting more and more nervous.

Doc: Anna, we got the pathology report back this morning.
Me: Oh, cool! (totally thinking things are fine)
Doc: The verdict is malignant melanoma, but it's just Clark's Level 2.
Me: Uhhhh, huh?
Doc: And I looked it up and the 15-year survival rate for that is 98%-100%
Me: ... Oh (seriously getting disappointed).
Doc: So we'll get you a referral over to Billings. They'll need to take more skin for testing.
Me: .... mmm.

The conversation with my mom went ok later that day.

Me: Mom, it's malignant melanoma.
Mom: Does that mean cancer?
No. Tell her no. Say NO.
Me: Yes.
Mom: Should I be worried.
Yes, because I'm freaking out.
Me: No. Let's agree not to worry. I won't worry; you won't worry.
Mom: Ok.

The flurry of internet research followed, including this site from the American Academy of Dermatology that says exactly what Melanoma is, what it looks like (mine looked the most like the example for unusual color), and what standard treatment options are. The American Cancer Society has a GREAT website with great stories about cancer survivors. Some made me cry, but most helped me feel a LOT better.

Also, Wikipedia has the best information about what the different stages are, and you can see there that the Clark Level 2 is actually nothing to worry about. All this information has really helped me. I have another operation scheduled for this coming Thursday where they'll take out 1cm of skin to make sure all the bad cells are gone.

What can you do? Three steps.

1. Check your freckles!! When in doubt, check it out. Call your doctor RIGHT AWAY for an appointment if anything looks different.

2. Say a quick prayer for me: I really believe in the power of positive thoughts/prayers.

3. Get on with your day: enjoy today. Don't let yourself worry about things too much. Find something you love to do, and do it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Poopy Pants

Since Stephan's working an extra 4-hours tonight (and the next 3 nights in a row) I had time to organize the branding photos from last weekend. You can see the entire set here. We were back at the MacKay Ranch, the site of my first ever branding last May. I wrote extensively about that experience here, and I can't think of much more to add. The smell definitely isn't duplicated anywhere in the world at any other time of year. And the noise is just incredible. At the end, when all the calves have been reunited with their moms, the silence is amazing. The space around you just grows with the quiet, and the wind blowing fresh air (without burning hair-smell) is SO sweet.

Then, of course, the food is just outstanding. The best food of the year is served at brandings.

Here's Your Sign

This is Stephan's favorite sign, found above one of the bars we like to spend time in. Did you know that people who own guns don't need gun licenses? The only gun license available in Montana is a "Concealed Weapon" something-or-other, that requires a background check and fingerprinting. That's the same process I went through to get an Illinois Massage License.

Next time you come to visit think about all those people with big purses, or sweatshirts on... they could be 'packing heat.'

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Throw Your Hands in the Air

Like you Just Don't Care....

(Sorry, something about codeine just makes everything sound like a 90's rap song)

We had a crazy weekend. Literally, crazy. Saturday involved some people taking off their underwear and dancing about, Sunday started WAY too early (8am) for me and continued with a branding (photos to come). Sunday night ended with a sobering but deeply moving tribute to people who've passed away, and Monday... Monday sucked. But it's Tuesday night now, and I've got so much to type that I couldn't do it all justice. I'll try posting photos, stories and information as the words congeal tomorrow.

Until then, get out your SPF50 because the sun, she's a shining out in Big Sky Country.

I just realized that the 10-day forecast calls for rain every single day and night for the next 10 days. So, perhaps just a wide-brimmed hat will do for now.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Overheard: On the Phone

Sometimes it's nice to not live so close to my parents. As I told my dad how Stephan just pours out catnip for the cats by the cup-full (on the kitchen table) for them to roll themselves in (usually at 10:00 at night) my dad responded:

Dad: Have you ever seen my Cat Spa?

Me: Um. No. I don't want to know what a cat spa is.

Dad: That's the name of the product. C-A-T-S-P-A.

Me: Why? And, but, no. I don't want to know. You people are crazy.

Catching up with Photos

Let's go backwards in time:

Last night, while trying to boil water for pasta, the stovetop caught fire. I put it out with flour. This is what's left.

Yesterday afternoon it snowed/slushed. There was about an inch and a half of snow/slush on the ground by the end of the day. Happy May.

Wednesday was the county Health Fair. Stephan was a great role-model as he purchased an entire lemon meringue pie.

There's only two decent photos from the high school rodeo on Saturday, and this is one of them.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Telling the Internet First


Finally a good use for all that yoga training.

For a few weeks I've been watching a freckle on the bottom of my foot grow in size, and change color. Stephan demanded that I make a doctor appointment as soon as possible, which turned out to be yesterday. Doc looked at it, and agreed with Stephan that the little black mark needed to come off. About 20 minutes and two small stitches later, it was in a little jar. They told me to stay off of it for a few hours, stay out of the pool, and baby it for about a week.

When I got home I did laundry, dishes, cooked dinner, took the dogs out, and cleaned the kitchen. No pain!

When I woke up this morning the pain was unbearable. It felt like I was walking with a large pointy spike lit on fire growing out of the bottom of my foot. After some tears and a little bit of pain killers Stephan put me back in bed and went to work. Getting about (to the bathroom, the kitchen, etc.) without letting my right foot hit the ground has proved a challenge. Just now I brushed my teeth for two full minutes while standing on one foot.

Some would think this was an inconvenience. I see it as a reason to buy another Gaiam DVD.