31 January 2005

Got our tickets to Vegas today. Sin City, here we come. Ryan and I will be in Vegas late on the 18th (friday), through the 20th (my 25th birthday) and then come back home the 25th. Woo hoo! Our plans so far: Ryan will be busy in a veterinary conference along with Mike (best man in the wedding). Marla (Mike's wife) and I will be hanging out enjoying some sun and sipping on drinks (alcohol free for me of course). We'll also see the play Chicago while there. I'm excited for the trip now that I finally feel half decent. I'm bummed though that the AZ B's won't be up after all. Yay for us. Cali friends, come on over to Vegas and visit.

28 January 2005

Winter Wonderland
We got our first measurable snow as we were driving home from Volga on January 4th. It ended up being about 12” the next morning. Everything was gorgeous; the trees were flocked with snow, it was picture perfect. Snow also means roads that need cleared. With a little bit of experience, I know that the county road I take to work isn’t cleared when I leave. In fact, I meet the snow plow half way between my house and home. I played it smart that morning and left an hour later for work. Unfortunately the state highway wasn’t even cleared that morning. And just 3 miles from the house, I hit a patch of ice/slush and was turned sideways, crossed all three lanes and was heading downhill into oncoming traffic. I hoped that I could correct it in time to stay on the road. Sure enough, by the grace of God, my car hit the edge of the road and turned the other way. Still sideways and heading downhill, I was now facing the other way and went back across all three lanes. Only this time, I wasn’t so fortunate when I got to the edge. I just kept going right into the ditch. It was like I was trying to jump the ditch in my car, only I didn’t make it. So the Deputy sheriff eventually came, I checked out the inside of a cop car while I kept warm, he filled out the accident report and we waited for the tow truck. After my car was pulled out (and still drivable), the deputy followed me home to make sure I got there safely. Of course, I was still sliding around a bit in the ice and slush as I slowly made it back to the house. Played hookie the rest of the day and that Friday too because the roads were still bad.

There's still more to come. I have a some more interesting tidbits to share: a mouse story, another driving drama and more. Keep posted. I'll try to get updates out in a more timely manner.
Holy cow! I so posted last Friday. Took the time to write out a little of the most recent drama and pressed the key to publish the post and got an error. I detest that! Here’s my 2nd effort at typing about this – if I can remember where I left off…

New Year’s Day - Ice Adventure
I shared earlier about hitting the deer just before we left for Arizona. Got a quote for that and have it scheduled to be worked on. Things have been great. New Years Day we had plans with the folks to watch the football games. I told mom that we’d be there about noon – enough time to sleep in, eat breakfast and get cleaned up without hurrying. Ryan had other plans. At 8am, Ryan had to go to the clinic to walk dogs so he just planned on staying in town instead of running back in forth. I told him to go ahead, I was comfortable in bed. A minute or two after he left, the rain hitting the window got my attention. So, I opened my eyes to see that it was ice/sleet and not rain. Knowing that my car won’t make it up the driveway when its iced over, I decide that maybe I should get up and take my stuff with me to clean up at moms. Just then the phone rings and it was Ryan with the same suggestion. I asked him to come back to the house and get me so I didn’t have to deal with the slick driveway. We went to Mom and Ralph’s house and had a fun time watching way too many football games, eating food and visiting. By nightfall we had lots of freezing rain and the roads were solid ice. We opted to sleep in the spare bedroom instead of venturing home. The next morning Sunday services were cancelled and I was in no hurry to get up. About mid morning, Ryan wanted to go home (enough of the in-laws I guess) and we packed up our clothes (and dog) and headed home. It was icy but the roads had been salted and sanded. Then we got to the driveway. At the crest of the hill on the driveway, Ryan was hardly going as he crossed the cattle guard. Soon enough we were headed downhill on the ice with zero control. The only thing that kept us on the driveway was the grace of God and the grass along the edge. We’d be sliding one way and catch the grass which gave us traction and would shoot us the other way. Here we are headed down the hill that takes a curve with a pond on the left and a steep embankment on the right. I was hoping for the pond it meant smoother sailing (or should I say ice skating) then rolling the truck the other way. But we made it and continued on down the driveway. As we got to where it breaks off and heads to the garage, Ryan could make the turn. He went completely sideways on the ice so we decided to go through our lawn and stop there. It was quite the experience. And it didn’t stop there, the walkway and steps were solid ice, you couldn’t walk up them. We made it in the house and stayed there through the next day. That Monday, after putting 6 tons of sand on the hill, our neighbor (who we share a driveway with) hired someone to come in and salt it. Fortunately we got out that night and safely ran an emergency vet call. Slippery and sliding but safe!
1. Budweiser beer conditions the hair
2. Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish
3. Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes
4. Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair
5. Elmer's Glue - paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off and see the dead skin and blackheads if any
6. Shiny Hair - use brewed Lipton Tea
7. Sunburn - empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water
8. Minor burn - Colgate or Crest toothpaste
9. Burn your tongue? Put sugar on it!
10. Arthritis? WD-40 S! pray and rub in, kill insect stings too
11. Bee stings - meat tenderizer
12. Chigger bite - Preparation H
13. Puffy eyes - Preparation H
14. Paper cut - crazy glue or chap stick (glue is used instead of sutures at most hospitals)
15. Stinky feet - Jell-O!
16. Athletes feet - cornstarch
17. Fungus on toenails or fingernails - Vicks vapor rub
18. Kool aid t o clean dishwasher pipes. Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet. (Wow, and we drink this stuff)
19. Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint also Kool Aid in Dannon plain yogurt as a finger paint, your kids will love it and it won't hurt them if they eat it!
20. Peanut butter - will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper
21. Sticking bicycle chain - Pam no-stick cooking spray
22. Pam will also remove paint, and grease from! your hands! Keep a can in your garage for your hubby
23. Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls
24. When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on
25. Heavy dandruff - pour on the vinegar!
26. Body paint - Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour in to an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!
27. Tie Dye T-shirt - mix a solution of Kool Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak
28. Preserving a newspaper clipping - large bottle of club soda and cup of milk of magnesia, soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years!
29. A Slinky will hold toast and CD's!
30. To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgate toothpaste.
31. Wine stains, pour on the Morton salt and watch it absor! b into the salt.
32. To remove wax - Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.
33. Remove labels off glassware etc. rub with Peanut butter!
34. Baked on food - fill container with water, get a Bounce paper softener and the static from the Bounce towel will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets, soak overnight!
35. Crayon on the wall - Colgate toothpaste and brush it!
36. Dirty grout - Listerine
37. Stains on clothes - Colgate
38. Grass stains - Karo Syrup
39. Grease Stains - Coca Cola, it will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries!
40. Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours. Maybe this will work if you get them back again.
41. To keep FRESH FLOWERS l! onger Add a little Clorox, or 2 Bayer aspiri n, or just use 7-up instead of water.
42. When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you "squeeze" for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie. They are: Monday = Blue, Tuesday = Green, Thursday = Red, Friday = White and Saturday = Yellow. The colors go alphabetically by color Blue - Green - Red - White - Yellow, Monday through Saturday.

18 January 2005

Cori (and other curious onlookers), here's the picture of William Edward Goat.

11 January 2005

Arizona with the B’s
We were gone to AZ for 8 days and what a relaxing trip it was. Eunice and I started another quilt project. We picked out a pattern and then went to the fabric store to find 27 different fabrics. After washing, drying and pressing them, Eunice cut the fabrics and even sewed a few strips together. I liked it so much that I bought enough fabric to make two. The first one I’m making for Ryan and Renessa Zurbriggen, our friends that are raising support to go into ministry with Athletes in Action. So, I’m excited to have time and take the time to sit down and work on that.
Ryan and I also got some dental work done while we were there. Ryan’s dad put a bridge in Ryan’s mouth where he was missing a tooth. Ryan spent some quality time in the dental chair and Mark spent lots of time prepping and creating the bridge (I don’t understand how it all worked but it takes lots of detailed attention and time). Ryan also had two little pits to be filled. They weren’t quite cavities but still needing to be filled so they don’t become cavities. Anyway, while working on it, Mark saw that it was a little more than a pit and Ryan felt it. My poor husband is afraid of the dentist (his own dad). And all the nervousness plus being able to feel the drilling caused him to pass out. It was quite the experience for Ryan, Mark and his mom. Needless to say when it was my turn to sit in the chair, I was a bit nervous too. I have no fear of the dentist at all but I also had a pit to be filled and was afraid of feeling it like Ryan. I was also concerned that I would get nauseaus having hands and a saliva sucker in my mouth. But, all went well. Mark’s assistant (Eunice) was not there and so he didn’t even use the sucker. He filled the pit and cleaned my teeth with no problem. Yea for Mark and me working so well together.
What else did we do… play with the puppy a lot, eat a ton and watch movies. It was fun times. I got some girly movies (Serendipity, Miss Congeniality and Princess Diaries 2) for Christmas so we made the boys sit through a few of them. We flew back home on Tuesday the 28th. We were late getting into Cedar Rapids from all the delays, fortunately we had our luggage and weren’t stranded in any airports. My folks dropped us off and picked us up so that we wouldn’t have to pay for parking. We had to stop at Applebee’s for supper AND mostly so that Ryan could watch his Cyclones in their bowl game. By the way, GO BULLDOGS! Anyway, on the way home, Mom and I gabbed while the guys listened to the football game on the radio. And finally, we were home. There truly is no place like home!

William Edward Goat - again
Ryan went back to work the next day while I stayed home the remainder of the week on vacation. Thursday morning though, I did venture off to Elkader to retrieve my lovely William Edward Goat. I was enjoying the high-class-white trash experience all over again. After picking him up, I met my folks on a nearby farm where an old barn had blown over in our lovely weather. The owners happened to be good friends of our goat sitters and they gave my parents permission to take as much of the barn wood as they wanted. So, we gathered there to pick up barn wood, pull nails out and stack it on the trailer. Meanwhile my goat was hanging out in the back of the truck. I was scolded on more than one occasion for lifting the boards. Apparently pregnant women aren’t supposed to lift weighty objects and they kept reminding me. It couldn’t be that big of a deal, I lift and move things a lot so a board was no big deal. It didn’t take too many hours of work before we were tired, the saw battery was dying and we were cold. So, I suggested a quick run into town for Subway. My parents were pulling a trailer and woldn’t exactly be able to park the thing on Main Street. So, we all squeezed in the old Ford. I offered for Ralph to drive so he could at least have leg room but he didn’t want to so I drove and had to move the seat up which moves the whole bench seat up together. So, the three of us cram into the truck with our bulky coats and I was in coveralls and head to Subway. Now, I’m parked on Main Street in Elkader (about four times the size of Elgin) with the goat tied in the back. As we were cramming back into the truck (remember we’re all dressed like snow bunnies) a little girl walking by with her mom says “mommy, look at the puppy”. It was quite the entertainment for me; here’s this goat with horns coming out of his head and the girl thinks it’s a puppy. I was just glad the Ford started without any problems and I didn’t have to have the hood up like a few weeks earlier.
Jimmy the Marine
We went to church with Ryan's folks that Sunday following Christmas. A few college "kids" were leading worship. At the end, the leader prayed and in his prayer said something about Jimmy. I thought it kinda odd that Jimmy was mentioned with no details and it was right before the start of the sermon. Then he proceeded to sing the song "letters from war" to his friend Jimmy. Have you heard that song? I pasted them below in case you haven't heard it played before. I could see Jimmy sitting near the front in his dress Marine uniform. Let’s just say that I'm thankful I had not put on mascara that morning. Then after the song, the pastor had Jimmy (who would soon be leaving for Iraq) and his family come up and they prayed for him and asked that it be a reminder to us to be praying for our servicemen. I was so choked up but it was so neat. I could just picture my buddy Ben Farmer standing up there and our church doing the same thing. Ben was scheduled to leave January 9th for his third trip to Iraq. So, be praying for him and others and take a peek at the lyrics below:

Artist: Mark Schultz
Song Title: Letters from war

She runs to the mailbox
On that bright summers day
Found a letter from her son
In a war far away

He spoke of the weather
And good friends that he'd made
Said I'd been thinking 'bout dad
And the life that he had
Thats why I'm here today
And that the end he said
You are what I'm fighting for
It was the first of the letters from war

She started writing
Your good and your brave
What a father that you'll be someday
Bring him home
Bring him safe

She wrote everynight as she prayed

Late in December
A day she'll not forget
Oh her tears stained the paper
With every word that she read

It said I was up on a hill
I was out there alone
When the shots all rang out
And bombs were exploding
And thats when I saw him
He came back to me
And though he was captured
A man set me free
And that man was your son

He asked me to write to you
I told him I would oh I swore
It was the last of the letters from war

And she prayed he was living
Kept on believing
and wrote every night just to say


Then two years later
Autumn leaves all around
A car pulled in the driveway
And she fell to the ground
And out stepped a captain
Where her boy used to stand

Said mom I'm following orders
From all of your letters
And I've come home again
He ran into hold her
And dropped all his bags on the floor
Holding all of her letters from war

Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home

10 January 2005

December 22nd, 23rd and Christmas Eve
So nice to be on vacation! These two days we lounged around for the most part. I took very seriously the need to rest and get extra sleep in the first trimester. Ryan and I also had some dental work done while we were there. We shopped for a few hours one day. I spent my time in the mall and Target wisely (or so I thought). We also visited a pet store to pick up a few items which brings up a sad story with a happy ending:

Sadie, the black lab
Mark and Eunice (Ryan’s folks) have had this golden retriever dog for a long time. Trapper was Mark’s buddy. Mark would sit in his chair partially leaning to one side so he could reach down and pet his dog. He even traveled with them when they’d drive back and forth to AZ. Trapper was up in age and had been having occasional seizures. He had one when they were at our house for Thanksgiving. When asked, Ryan informed them (as a veterinarian) that eventually they would have to put Trapper down. They asked when and Ryan said when his quality of life goes South. Well, the day before we left, they had Trapper put down. That Saturday night he had 2 seizures. And the same thing Sunday night. It was more than the occasional seizure and by now Trapper wasn’t getting around well and things like that. So, we got there Tuesday night and Mark seemed depressed but who wouldn’t be after having to do that with their pal?
Ryan and I went to bed that night and the wheels were spinning in my head. Just two weeks before in one of our weekly conversations, Kristine shared with me that she had a lab puppy that she hadn’t sold and I could have since I’ve been wanting a puppy. I ran the idea passed Ryan to see what he thought about giving his dad a puppy for Christmas. Lots of things to consider of course – is it too soon, does she still have the puppy, getting it to AZ, their upcoming vacation, dealing with a puppy and of course, what if he doesn’t want it. The next morning, we ran it passed Eunice. She thought it was too soon and of course wasn’t eager to deal with a puppy. I started making some phone calls and it all worked out perfectly. The puppy was the runt, she’d been a little sick, was pretty thin but was being spoiled. Kristine called her mom who was caring for the puppy. That day was the first day she didn’t have the sniffles. So the adventures of the puppy, now named Sadie, began.
Kristine’s mom, Theresa, made the hour drive down the mountain on Thursday to drop the puppy off with Kristine. Kristine purchased all kinds of stuff for the puppy – a blanket, toys, food, etc. My dad was driving passed Kristine’s on his way to AZ to celebrate Christmas with us in Prescott. Friday morning (Christmas Eve), on his way out of town, Dad picked up the puppy and she traveled with him on the 10 hour drive to Prescott. Once at Mark and Eunice’s, Ryan hid the puppy in the water heater closet until we opened Christmas gifts. Sadie made her grand appearance as the first gift. She stumbled her way through the living room, curious about everything and made her way to Mark where he picked her up and held her. Ryan then shared with his dad that we weren’t trying to replace Trapper, we just thought he would enjoy having a dog around. I think he fell in love with another woman that night (it’s okay Eunice, it’s a different kind of love). Everybody gave and received nice gifts but we were all focused on Markee and his new puppy the rest of the night.

Other tidbits from those few days: I think we brought with us to AZ, the cold weather from home. It froze two nights in a row and got down to about 16 degrees. Christmas Eve while we were running around the house getting the last minute gifts wrapped and Eunice and Ryan were baking, a pipe broke. A pipe for an outside faucet had froze and busted and as it thawed after noon the next day, we saw evidence of the water in the house. There was water sitting on the wood floors in front of the wood stove and had gone down the wall into the new room in the basement. They added on to the basement (it was all open underneath already) for Mark’s dental chair and wine stuff. The water was also puddled in there. So, we all rushed to get the water of the floors and dried up. It made for a busy afternoon that was already quite busy.
One of the other fun things was giving my dad his quilt for Christmas. Jen, my sister, had sent me some squares that she assembled with the directions to finish the quilt. Last February, while in AZ, Eunice helped me pick out the fabric to put the quilt top together. I was quite impressed with it. This summer I had it quilted by a friend here in Elkader and sent it back to AZ. Just before Christmas, Eunice taught me how to put the binding on. She actually did all the binding since she’s a quilting pro and I’m very limited in my quilting/sewing abilities. Dad, the quiet humble one, didn’t say much but you could see that he was grateful. Here’s this quilt that his kids made for him that he can put on his bed. I thought it was pretty special and he did too because a few days later he shared with my mom that he would be putting it away so that someone didn’t walk off with it. I sure hope that he uses it on his bed since that’s what we made it for. It was fun to give him a thoughtful and creative gift – something besides the normal clothes that he gets for Christmas.

More to come, keep checking back. Lots has happened since returning from AZ.

07 January 2005

It was the 14th of December when I shared with everyone that I went deer hunting. Man, those things are thick out here. So, we dealt with what little damage it caused by turning it in to insurance and getting a bid to get the dumb door fixed. That was the start of a real whirlwind few weeks.

Monday, December 20th

Mom and Ralph agreed to take my car to get an estimate on the damage. When I talked to the guy at the body shop, he insisted (not in a bad way) that I bring it right then. Small town business ya know – he’ll take the time right then and there to deal with it. Kinda nice usually but I had a laundry list of things to do before leaving for Arizona. That was the beginning of my crazy day. I was trying to get things packed for our trip, clean the house and do all the last minute odds and ends like watering plants and taking our sweet William to be “goat”sat. Of course when I was on my way home from the body shop, I realized that I had agreed to stop by the health clinic first thing in the morning for blood work. It was almost noon. So, I went home and ate (again), then showered and got ready to head to town. I also had a 5pm Christmas party with the ladies at work and needed to spend about 2 hours in the office tying up loose ends before leaving.

So, I head out of the house on time, all dressed up in khakis and sweater with eyeliner and mascara on (not an everyday occurance in my line of work). But before stepping outside I put on my coveralls knowing that my sweet little goat isn’t so little and would be difficult to get into the large kennel for the truck ride to Elkader. After about 20 minutes of fighting him in the windy and freezing temperatures, I gave up and tied him to either side in the bed of the truck (like you would a dog) and told him to freeze. I could care less at that point, I was cold and my hair was messed up and … (on and on).

I hop in Ryan’s lovely 85 Ford truck to head down the road. But let me preface this truck a little. First of all, its wonderful because it was free from Ryan’s folks. But, we don’t drive it much and have had several less than convenient experiences in the last year. Needless to say, the last time it was brought back from a friend who borrowed it, the brake light now stays on and the driver door doesn’t hang on the hinge right. That means that I have to roll down the window (remember its freezing outside), grab the outside handle and lift up on the door as I pull it closed from the outside. Did I mention that the smell of diesel exhaust has always made me sick but especially so now that I’m pregnant.

Okay, so on the road, finally. But, wait I have to make a quick stop to drop off some stuff at mom’s and can’t forget the blood tests at the health clinic. I get to the clinic, totally in high-class-white-trash mode and go inside to have them suck my blood. Everything goes peachy, my OB nurse is wonderful. I go back out to the truck to head to Elkader (now just a few minutes behind) and the truck won’t start. So, here I am, totally white trash, in this old beat up truck with construction supplies scattered in the bed and my goat tied in there and the hood up in the parking lot on the main road in Elgin. Plus, now its snowing pretty good and I’m ticked because I’m cold and feeling stupid and helpless. I try to call Ryan for help but he doesn’t answer his cell phone so I walk to the vet clinic (its actually next door by way of a grass lot). There I begin calling for help. Some short time later (felt like forever), my parents got back to town from Elkader to help me. So now, there’s 3 of us in front of the health clinic working on the Ford with the goat in the back. Thank goodness I live in rural Iowa where this isn’t all that big of an attraction to those driving by. Ralph tried to “jump” the truck but that wouldn’t work. So, then he went home, got some tools, cleaned the battery posts and banged on the alternator and it finally started working. Problem solved: the alternator wasn’t charging the battery and Ralph said the bristles inside might not have been connecting right until he banged on it. Ah, I remember this happening once before when DJ was out visiting. Silly me, it was the same thing and it results from us not driving the Ford often enough. So, here I am in Elgin, way late to work and still needing to drop off my tethered friend. Problem is that I need to take the truck to drop him off but I also have to stay in town and am afraid of this same problem occurring as I get down the road and shut off the truck. So, wonderful parents that I have, mom and Ralph take the Ford to Elkader and let me take the Tahoe. Nice exchange for me but poor Ralph had to sit with all kinds of crap piled in the floorboard where his feet should go. So, I meet them at the Marmann’s to take care of the goat so they don’t have to worry about it (all the while they could’ve driven their own vehicle and then only experienced the truck on the way back home). I got to work at 445pm, mind you I had 2 hours of work to do and 15 minutes to get it done. So, I pulled off my coveralls again (I had put them back on when I was standing outside in the snowy weather) and hurried into the office. Had just enough time to rush through my timesheet and leave a few notes before heading to the party.

By now, I’m exhausted and ready to go to bed! But, I went to the party, had a fun time, ate some good food and shared with the ladies that I was pregnant. Prior to that, only my boss knew that I was pregnant. So that was fun. While I was inside enjoying some food and fun, it was snowing pretty good outside. I go to leave and see the snowfall and become a bit nervous that I’m driving someone elses new Tahoe in not so nice of weather conditions. Got to mom’s safely, traded vehicles (they turned the truck off at my house, left it there and took my car to their place for me) and went home. Got to bed about 11pm, which is several hours passed my bedtime and went to sleep.

Tuesday, December 21st

Flying always makes me nervous even though I love flying. I think it’s the fear of traveling and missing flights, forgetting identification or something random like that. Mom and Ralph offered to take us to the airport so we wouldn’t have to leave our car there. While waiting for them to come, I had the nervous-upset-stomach feeling. But, it was early and I hadn’t had my first thing in the morning meal yet. We head down the road (remember we had our first good snow the night before). Not quite 45 minutes down the road, and after a lot of questions about feeling okay, we made a quick stop along side the road for me to puke into the wind. Yup, first time I puked since I’ve been pregnant. I think it was nerves more than my all day morning sickness though. The rest of the day went fine with flights and all that stuff. I didn’t each much though so by time we got to Prescott 14 hours later, I was beyond hungry and not feeling well. Instead of taking us to dinner as planned, Ryan’s parents took us home and I ate some crackers and buttered spaghetti noodles.

Okay, that’s all I can update today. Expect more from me early next week. I’ve got lots more excitement to share. I think it gets more exciting as the days pass!