Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Animal advice from an, er, expert

Speaking of Rams!

I always have to laugh a little bit at some of these funny titles these days, many of them not requiring degrees or years of knowledge.  Animal behaviorist, animal psychologist, name it, there is an expert out there for it.  Now, don't get me wrong,  I am by no means dissing them, the title comes from me doubting myself, just a little.

I have been living with and loving animals most of my life.  Although Mom was raised on a farm in Iowa and was not fond of taking care of critters we did always have outdoor cats and dogs as kids.  Then within about a week of Tom and I cohabitating we realized that life with just two people was very boring after living in a house with all of his buddies; so we got our first orange tabby; Razz.  As you know, the story has grown and multiplied over the last twenty years...dramatically.

Even before I met Tom, I was an active volunteer with various rescue groups.  If I remember correctly, the first being the Inter-mountain Humane Society, or was it the Evergreen Animal Protective League?  I don't know which came first and it doesn't really matter, the point is, is that I have been doing this a long time, and I still doubt myself as an expert in the field of animals; crazy!

That is why you always have a good team to back you up.  Mentors are my first line of defense.  And I have different mentors for each group of animal; sometimes it is the person I got the animals from (like the sheep breeder or a llama breeder).  But most of the time, you need to search out your own mentors, maybe this can be your vet, or even someone you meet online; but make sure you have that person to call (or e-mail) for advice at a moments notice.  It goes without saying, that a person with animals needs a good, trustworthy vet.  Not a vet that you are intimidated by, or don't share beliefs with, but one that you know will come out for any reason what-so-ever!

But the most important thing a pet owner can have is common sense, no really.  Common sense enough to trust your own instinct when it comes to your critters.  Watching them and knowing them is the very best preventative medicine you can do for them.  Almost every training method (100% success rate) that I have come up with has come from simply watching the behavior of my animals and adjusting the routine.

Take for instance our dog Rosie.  She was depressed and getting aggressive.  How do you tell a dog is depressed?  Well, she attacked a cat, she was not hanging out with the family, when she did she had her head down, etc, she just seemed depressed.  She was also very aggressively going after Gigi, my little dog that we had recently inherited from my Grandma; so it didn't take a genius to figure out what was causing her depression.  She had been my Baby and now Gigi was going everywhere with me.  So, I started taking Rosie with me everywhere; she no longer had to be in the fence with the rest of the dogs she got treated exactly like I treated Gigi (the only reason Gigi wasn't in the fence was because she could squeeze out of the wire!)

Now, as for the aggressive behavior towards the cat and Gigi, I was not taking any chances there (not with kids and small animals in the house), and I got aggressive myself.  I attacked her back just like another dog would.  It scared the crap out of my kids, I must tell you, but it got the point across to Rosie as well.  I yelled, and growled and rolled her over in a submissive position and held her there until she knew who was boss.  Between doing these two very easy and minor things Rosie is a very happy and normal companion now.

Let's move on to my problematic Rooster while we are talking about dominance here, because this is a new battle for me.  As I mentioned dominance is something that I believe you should always show in your herd, so to speak.  But, this is just a chicken, a bird for goodness sake!  Really, what harm is he going to cause me, and why do I have to win that battle?  It really took some re-thinking on my part.  I realized that every time the roo would see me get worked up, so would he, and if I would just hold still...he would fluff his feathers and move on.

So I tried this new thinking with my teenage son yesterday when I made him go gather eggs for my friend Janet.  I told him exactly what to do, even though he insisted the rooster would not attack him.  Well, he said that bird followed him around trying to get him into battle.  He did exactly what I told him to do.  "No, chicken", and hold still.  The funniest thing was his response.  He said that it went against his grain.  He said "you know Mom, I'm a teenager, and I really wanted to teach that chicken who was boss, it felt like I was letting him win!"  It's very hard to turn the other cheek sometimes.

Speaking of battles you can't win, remember that it is time for the rut, people.  Elk are bugling, the deer have that wild look in their eye, and my ram Paco, well, he looks like he's gonna knock me flat on my ass.. So as soon as I can catch him, he will be locked up with his girlfriend Esther.  And let me tell you, I won't be catching him with my hands, that sheep has one crazed look about him, I will wait until he is in the right pen, and then I will simply close him into it.  Yeah right, and then watch him ram the hell out of the gate, but that is why they call them rams I guess!

While we are talking about advice, I thought I'd mention a trick I have been using lately on the dogs various leg injuries.  It is total and complete immobilization.  Iowa has hurt her leg twice since we have brought her home, and now Gigi has a hurt leg.  When a dog is limping there can be many causes; check the foot first looking for any burs or cuts on the pad.  If there are none, you may need to try this trick, and it has saved me big bucks, because all of the times I thought I was headed to the vet.  Although it seems a bit drastic, put the dog in her crate for a minimum of two days, only walking her on a leash for potty breaks.  The problem is that dogs don't know not to run on an injured leg, and will still run to the front door to bark or whatever.  This really is the only way to completely immobilize an animal, lock them up.  I always feel terrible doing it, but when the leg is better, I know I have done the right thing.

So how about you, do you have any great pet advice to share?  How about pet stories or pics?  I'd love to see them and share them here and on my Facebook page.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kindness Day

Today is one of the worst anniversaries a person can have.  It is the anniversary of the Platte Canyon High School shooting, and you can read all about my memories of that day here.  But, something wonderful has come from that shooting, actually a lot of something wonderful has come from that tragic day.  Kindness Day being top on the list.

I've got to say, I was really disappointed when I heard that the school was changing things up a bit and making Kindness Day voluntary for the teachers to participate in.  If they want their class to be involved in a community event then they could plan one, and if not today will be a normal learning day.  That was until I talked to my friend Tiffany who was there that day, and found out that she hates (Sorry T if that is too strong of a word, but you all know what I mean) Kindness Day, it brings back too many memories.  As a matter of fact, she doesn't even watch any news because she doesn't want to relive it again and again.  And I realized that we as parents may want to take this is a lesson to our children, but we didn't have to be there, and live the horrific experiences that these people have taken years to try to forget.

It also gave me a great idea as to what activity to do today for Kindness Day.  The educators at Platte Canyon High School and Fitzsimmons Middle School are some of the hardest working people I have ever come across in my life, and whether they like to admit it or not, it is because of that terrible day.  There is a bond that ties this community that I do not think is matched anywhere else in the world, except for maybe another small town community that has shared an experience like that.  Our children are kinder than others and our teachers, well they just seem to love their students a fraction more than most.

So, today I will take my Environmental Action class (like how I call it my class when I only co-teach one day a week?) and honor the staff at those two schools.  I am working on a poem (better get my poop in a group, it is today you know!) that the kids will use as a thank you card, we will attach them to the firestarters that we already made (my poem is about the fire within, get it?) and make sure that every staff member has one or two; so each time they light a fire, it will remind them of the acts of kindness they do each and every day.

The elementary school has really gotten into it as well, and this year they have come up with a winner.  They filled a school bus with all sorts of games and books that the children have been gathering from home for weeks.  Games that the kids don't use anymore, so to me, the "green" freak, this is a fantastic way of cleaning out PSwhatever cupboards all over the district!  We were also able to add in books and puzzles, board games and anything else game oriented we thought the children at Children's Hospital would think was fun.  Today the Student Council (blessedly my daughter is on the SC, so I will get to hear first hand about this experience) will ride the bus down to the Children's Hospital and deliver the "gifts" in person.

My challenge to you, can we make this a Nationwide day of kindness?  Let's hear about those random acts of kindness today folks!  What have you done lately to help someone in need?  Let's see, I know that lfhpueblo recently took in a sick pup, that is a wonderful act of kindness.  My dad is in Iowa trying to help out with harvest, if only the rain would hold off.  Mom, well you being there for Aunt Jaris' birthday I heard that made her day, so thank you for that random act of kindness.  Keep 'em coming folks!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Royal Ranch Royalty

My friend Vivian sent me this link.  You may recognize the name, she helped me put my book together, but what I haven't mentioned about Viv, is that she is also a very talented musician, especially guitar player and singer.  I am assuming that is why she gets so many cool music vids and clips sent to her, but this one is worthy of the title Royalty:

Maybe in my next life I will be graceful and able to dance like that-ha!  I thought this was such a great video because it brings to mind so many special memories in your past, all in one little precious package.  Hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chivalry is not dead

Today is Homecoming in our quaint little town and I have written and bragged about it before so I won't go into all of the little details.  Just know that our little town really gets into it!  What I wanted to talk about today is our youth, and how very proud I am of them.  Yes, you read that right.  This is not another post about how the youth today is going to hell in a hand's about how we as parents are doing a few things right for a change.

My oldest son has a date for the dance, and that in itself is wonderful.  You see, he has very high standards in girls.  This one is not smart enough, and that one can't hold a conversation.  But it was how he asked the girl that was so impressive.  He came home the other day, in a very thoughtful mood.  And after some careful prodding, I found out it was because he was trying to figure out the wording...he painted the question on her car while she played the winning Homecoming Softball game!  (Don't worry Dad, I too made sure he had appropriate paint-ha!)  And by the way, she is still driving around town with it on her car...too cute!

Another one of the boys left his hopeful date a bouquet of flowers in her assigned parking spot at school to ask her for her hand at the dance.  Romance has been in the air all week at the high school, and it has had me smiling just hearing about it.  No texting, or facebooking, well yes, there is a lot of that, but it is just to find out who is wearing what and going with whom.  Not the important face to face interactions that really matter.  These kids know how to treat one another as humans, with respect and kindness.

Just Thursday, both of my boys got Husky tickets (the "reward" system at the High School for positive behavior) for opening the door for an elderly lady at the local gas station.  When my younger son came home simply amazed that you could get a Husky ticket outside of school, I said to him "Son, that is when your chivalry was all that more impressive.  No one was around like me and Dad, or teachers or anyone to tell you and Bubby what to do, and you still did the right thing!"  

I can't tell you how happy I was that there actually had been an on top of it staff person around.  Now all I have to do is wait for those Husky tickets to appear (each staff person signs them, and they will get mailed home when the boys redeem them), and thank the heck out of them!

So parents, quit reading all of those articles that say we are ruining our kids.  We are doing the best we can, and that is all we can do (well, just make sure you are doing that of course-ha!).  Technology is not killing them.  Chivalry is not dead.  Teach your kids respect and it will show up, I guarantee it.  

By the way, go Huskies!!!!  My boy Austin #52 plays today, I will have to be careful not to hurt myself I cheer so hard at his games, they are so exciting.  If you're a local, I'll be in the Dawg House the first half, stop by and say hello!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Royal Rebel Friday

Good morning Rebels!  I hope you have been working towards your goals this week.  Let's see what have I been doing to work towards my goals?  Well, I am collecting and handling the mail each day.  I have worked with two of my lenders and gotten on programs to get us completely caught up.  Now this is a real pain in the rumpy, but very worth it, because of late fees and calls.  Now when I meet with my new bookkeeper, I will have some great progress to report.

The exciting news of the day though, is that I was working in my daughter's classroom yesterday and her teacher had me go to the office to make some copies.  Well, this never seems to go well for me.  I don't like asking the overly busy secretary for help anyway, and the damn original looked like an accordion when we were done with it, but we finally got my 125 copies done.  So off I went.  I was elsewhere in the building and came back to the classroom to hear that she had called me back to the office.  I got the "oooohhh, you're in big trouble" from the class, and dreadedly picked up the phone.

Guess what had happened in that few minutes?  One of the teachers from the pre-school had brought her one of my books, that a student had brought from home!  She was calling to tell me she didn't know she was "wrestling" the copy machine with a famous author!!!!  I just laughed and laughed.  She asked where she could get the book, and I of course told her I'd bring her one as soon as I could.

But the funny thing is, I couldn't track down the student that had the book.  So... this is one of the first books that has just appeared.  It is not one that I have sold to a friend or family member...See Rebels, our hard work is paying off!  Let's stick to it.

How about you, what have you been up to this week?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oddly silent...Didn't want to spread the bug!

Well hello again Rebels!  I heard there was a nasty Twitter Bug, no I didn't say Jitter Bug...a Twitter Bug.  Someone got a hold of Twitter yesterday and made quite a mess of it from what I can gather.  As a matter of fact, when I did my research this morning to make sure it was safe to blog and all, I'm not even comfortable linking to any of the articles that I checked because there were so many pop-ups to, well, pop-up.  And that was the problem I guess; third parties that took you places that had all sorts of pop-ups and malware and nasty stuff.

So here I am being all proud of myself for just having gotten everything all connected.  You know, my new Royal Ranch Facebook page, and my new Twitter account, and of course this blog, and Tuesday is the day that I post for Green Spot-On...Wow, I'm pretty hooked up.  Yeah, hooked up to spread a virus like that like wild fire!  Really I laugh as I write this, you all know that right?

So, to make up for my absence, and god forbid any trouble I may have caused by my huge, massive exposure and connection  I will finally be posting my pics from our overnighter up to one of my favorite areas in the state; Lost Park Wilderness.  You know, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I do have quite a few pics here.  Ha!

Lost Park at sunset

Our walk in the "Park"

Dog walk at sunrise, aaahhh!!

You do see the antelope, right?

One of my favorite old barns in South Park

The next day we went to Tarryall Reservoir, what a beautiful dam!  
Pretty cool husband too!

 If you look closely, you can see swallow nests up top, and huge piles of bat guano on the ledges, very intriguing for a manure connoisseur!

There is no rock that they will not climb!

A little grody, but look at the size of this Pike head!

The first picture is from Monday night here at the house, we had a beautiful storm pass through, too bad it didn't bring much rain.  Please excuse the power line, but the view was worth it I figured!

PS  Notice there are no links!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Metaphysical Monday

You know, some friendships are just hard to describe.  My friendship with Tiffany is one like that.  I think maybe it is because we started out with her as an authority figure, she was my son's seventh grade science teacher, so I first knew her as Mrs. N.

Then we had a terrible shooting at our school.  And something told her that she could talk to me about her fears of sending her son to school for the first time.  I was the parent at the door that day, it was a few days after she had toured schools for her son and found out that there are no other schools that keep an eye out for her son like we did after that shooting, and it really bothered her.  I mean really bothered her.

I have never even hugged her, but in a way would consider her one of the most important people in my life right now.  Pivotal.  That is the word I would use to describe our relationship.  Good thing I write this stuff down, so I have to come up with fancy words (ha!), because that is the perfect word for it.

When I picture our friendship, I sort of see sciencey Tiffany as a rock, and spiritual, not sciencey, Me as this floating bubble (isn't that funny, I always sort of see me as a bubble, what's up with that?), and I think that we came into each others lives to balance one another out, if you know what I mean.  Hopefully I am bringing something to the table, because I know that she has brought a lot.

So it shouldn't have surprised me when I got an e-mail from her with a link on it to something that I have been searching for, well for a very long time; but it did, because she doesn't really believe in that crap-ha!  Or maybe she didn't until she met me, hmmm...  Anyway, the link was to a gal who offers courses in Kundalini Reiki training.  Wow, not even spell check knows what that is!

And I'm not sure if I will be of much help, yet, but Kundalini is a type of energy that comes from the earth, and Reiki is a type of healing.  Each person carries energy from the earth with them, of course, that is a fact.  So this to me makes perfect sense, especially for a person like me (chronic pain, weird abilities, etc.), as I said, it is exactly what I was looking for.

I look back on all of the posts I have written, and all of the thoughts I have had in the past few weeks and months.  The collecting of the crystals and feathers, this problem with my back.  The fact that the word "chakra" keeps appearing in my thoughts, specifically the third chakra.  Which I finally did some research on, and lo and behold if that isn't the chakra that would be affected by this damned herniated disc.  It is also the chakra that is in charge of emotions.  Emotions that might make me angry and speak out of character, oh wait, I've been doing that

I believe I have even spoken of becoming a healer before, wishfully.  And the thought has often entered my head if this is all one big test.  I have mentioned the fact that a preacher once told me that I have a talent for helping people enter into the spirit world after watching the third family member die in just a few months; and at the time, it sure didn't feel like a compliment.  (Sorry, looked and looked, couldn't find the link to this one, hopefully you are a long time reader...)

So after hearing again last week that Western medicine is unable to do a damn thing (unless you consider being doped up all the time doing something) about my back, and realizing that this is the same issue that I have had for more years than I can count, I knew I was on my own; I had even said it here.  Well, take a hint Lady!  Call it whatever you want (divine intervention, destiny, fate, etc.) I call it time to go back to school, well sort of.

I start my lessons today, and I have no idea what to expect, so wish me luck!  By the way, when I am done, I will be a Kundalini Reiki Master, and will be able to do healings on people and animals.  Does that not sound like me or what?  Thank you, thank you Tiffany, er, I mean Mrs. N.!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Royal Rebels, cont.

Well, I knew this was going to be a great day, but I had no idea.  And I have to make this quick, as the family is loaded up in the RV ready to go!  As you know, sharing my love of animals and animal husbandry, let alone rescue is a huge reward to me.  Well, years ago we rented to some "kids" that have remained our friends since then.  I knew that one day I would help them become livestock owners, and today happened to be the day!

And even better yet, they rescued two female goats that needed a new home.  How I came into the picture was to put them in touch with my friend Mishaun over at Homestead Apprentice who had a male goat that was in need of a few girlfriends.  To top it all off, Mishaun is my contact for organic feed, so I knew that she would start them off on the right foot with feed.  So all I had to do, was be the middleman and sit back and watch the miracles happen!

Although I was not flooded with videos of you all starting your goals-ha!, I would consider the launch of Royal Ranch Rebels a huge success!  Have a wonderful fall weekend and get out there and get things done!

P.S.  What do you think of the new do?

The dawning of a new day, and a new program!

Good morning Rebels!  Were you afraid I had forgotten you?  Nah, I could never do that.  Actually, I have been very busy the past few days preparing for the launch of Royal Rebels.  I have to laugh a little bit when I say that because recently I read on one of the blogs I follow the author calling a political party Rebels, and well, I just want to say up front that I am not making a political statement here.

The Royal Rebels are more about getting out and rebelling against your normal everyday routine.  I want to push you past your comfort zone, just a tiny, to get you to accomplish your goal.  Any goal, for that matter.  Whether it be to lose ten pounds or one hundred, or maybe to get your office finally organized; we can do it together, in baby steps, and with positive support from one another.

So what have I been up to?  I have been taking a cold hard look at my weaknesses.  Yes, it was not a fun exercise, and I don't really want to do it all that often, but I do feel it is a necessary part of growth, so get ready people.  I remember when bosses used to ask that in an interview and I always used to think what a stupid question; but really it isn't.  You must know your kryptonite before you can be Superman (or woman).

Which leads me to what I was doing to get myself on the road to my goals.  I hired a bookkeeper.  Yes, you heard me right.  I have n money, and I hired a  bookkeeper.  But there is a method to my madness.  As I said, I took a look at my weaknesses, and that is time (mostly good strong brain time) and money.  So I took that one step further, to find out how I could help myself with those two issues so that I can make my goal of working more with you Rebels easier.

What I found is that I am simply chasing my tail when it comes to money.  Putting out fires, so to speak; and this is no excuse, but often times it is because I would get things organized and then something would happen with my health and I would have to completely re-familiarize myself with the system each and every time I went to go do the bills.  Now, if you have never had brain issues, you may not understand this, but to me, it really is a problem.

So instead of putting out fires I am going to avoid the stress in the first place.  The money that I will spend on her (my fantastic new bookkeeper), I will easily save in overdraft fees, late fees, etc., and I am helping another local small business out in the process.  This is also going to free up so much of my good brain time to work I can't even begin to tell you!  The fact that it is holding me accountable to get and handle the mail each day is just a bonus.
It sort of reminds me of when we used to have to clean the house before the cleaning lady came.  Looking back on it now, I totally understand, of course we had to pick up and tidy the house before the cleaning lady could come in and actually do the scrubbing.  But, as a teen, it really seemed redundant.  You get my point though, sometimes you need someone (especially someone you're spending money on) to hold you accountable, which again, is part of the whole premise of Royal Rebels.

Now, I'm not saying that everyone needs to go out and spend money to get going on their goals.  As a matter of fact, usually I'm the opposite.  It normally just takes the decision to get going to get going.  But for me, this was years in the making, so it was a big deal, so I thought I'd share it.  But this isn't all about me.  I got a ton of comments and e-mails and Facebook comments about my video, but no one was brave enough to send me one of themselves; BUMMER!  

I guess for now, you might be stuck with me, and my new haircut (I'll post a pic later after I shower)...that's one of my other tips.  Don't forget to take care of you when you're pushing the envelope and trying something new.  Becoming a Rebel can be a little intimidating, be nice to yourself.  Get a haircut, I hadn't had one in a year or so, or set aside time for a bath, or something else you really enjoy.  Maybe take $5 from the grocery budget for a bouquet of flowers, but do something nice for yourself today, you deserve it!

Okay, so this is supposed to be an interactive thing folks.  So let's hear it.  What are you doing to accomplish and or start your goals and become a Royal Rebel?  How about a pic or video?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall colors and Judy keepin' it real

You know, I was so excited today with the response to my new Facebook page for The Royal Ranch.  It was really quite surprising; not only in the number of people, but who it was.  So since things were already on a little bit of a mixed up trend, and I;m getting ready for my big launch of Royal Rebels on Friday, I decided to do my post a little differently today.  I did part of post via video, so please bear with me and all of my nervous umm's, but I am new to this... so here goes:

And by the way, I was so excited about my idea to record my post I forgot one of the main reasons I was videoing.  That is to ask all of you to do the same.  Get your cameras and video recorders ready to record your goals for the Rebels and send them to me.  You can either send me a link to a YouTube video or e-mail me a picture to judy at royalranch dot net; this way we can all share in one anothers goals and successes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Are you ready Rebels? The "Monsters" won big last night, let's learn from them!

What exactly is a Royal Ranch Rebel?  Is it similar to Lady Gagas Little Monsters?  Well, sort of.  I have found myself pulling my foot out of my mouth so many times in the past few weeks, it is unbelievable.  And a couple of the times, I almost offended people that I really would never want to offend in my life.  What is my problem?

I really am a kind, compassionate human being; sometimes to the detriment of myself even.  But, on the other hand, that rebellious part of me can really turn me into a bitch, which isn't at all cool.  I've been thinking a lot in the past few days, because I've had the time, and I don't really like me at this point in time.  I'm a little too quick to jump to conclusions, and way too suspicious, and I am being way too quick to speak, that is for sure.

And that is not what I think a Royal Ranch Rebel is all about.  The Royal Ranch "celebrates each and every individual spirit."  And I am all about loving thy neighbor, so I don't know where all of this suspicion and negativity is coming from.  Well, actually I do, it is chronic pain, and to me, that is no excuse.

It's been sort of an epiphany few days for me.  My back went bad again, but even worse, my worst personality traits came to light.  The same things that make me a  rebel are turning me into the sort of person I would rebel against, you know?

But I have also realized a couple of things.  I have been participating in much deeper conversations than I would normally be in.  Deep, emotional conversations, like about racism and disabilities and cancer and stuff, stuff that really touches peoples souls.  So maybe I am just not used to having such emotional conversations, and I am not even coming off as offensive as I fear.  Most of the folks have known that I was trying to learn or help, just saying it wrong or whatever.

So what am I going to do about it?  Well, admitting I have a problem is the first step.  No really, I think that is true, even if it sounds funny, just acknowledging the fact that I am carrying around too much negativity, will help me get rid of it.   And well, I guess maybe I will rebel against my current rebelliousness, is that even a word?  I guess so since spell check didn't kick me out-ha!

I am also going to learn to cut myself some slack.  A friend of mine said something funny to me the other day.  I told her I was feeling lame about not having accomplished something silly, can't even remember now, and she said, "well, I think you're Superwoman, so you call me next time you feel that way!", and she was totally dead serious.

You know, your husband and your family can tell you time and again your doing a good job, or that you need to give your self a break, but sometimes a "girlfriend" is exactly what you need.  It was a reminder that my Rebel group is going to work.  And it's not just for girls (or monsters), it's for support, and positive feedback. 

So although you may not like Twitter, or Facebook, I know you like this blog.  So hook up with me on one of them (or all of them for that matter) and let's get this thing started.  I plan on looking for and posting (and tweeting) tips and helpful hints on reaching goals, and other achievement based articles.   And like Lady Gaga, as crazy as she is, I got your back! 

I have been gathering my mail daily, and started a new PT routine for my back.  As for business goals, I think that is what I will work on with you Rebels; are you ready?  How 'bout Friday's? 

So what is it that you will be striving towards?  I know that Ifhpueblo is working towards a walking program with her new puppy, and I bet Tiffany has a running goal in mind, or is it a certain amount of product by such and such date?  How about you?  See you Rebels with goals in hand on Friday!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Beautiful America by Charlie Daniels

Since I was unable to post yesterday, I thought this was a fantastic tribute.

My Beautiful America by Charlie Daniels, posted with vodpod

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One of my new favorite vids

I downloaded this video earlier in the week, and I liked it so much I've played it multiple times since then.  James Taylor and Carly Simon just look like they are having such a good time, you can't help but get up and dance yourself!  So crank up the sound, push back your chair, and get ready to smile!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Speaking of my daughter...

We are a house divided.  Some of us love sweets and desserts and some of us don't, but all of us love chocolate.  The husband and my sons, well, they could take it or leave it, but my daughter (almost 11) and I, let's just say, there are times when we absolutely adore the stuff.

It's funny, there is all kinds of stuff going around the blogging world about whether we have raised a gender biased group of kids.  And I don't really know about that, I've already come out of the closet and told you all how badly I tried for my little girl, but that was only after I had two perfectly healthy and wonderfully red-headed boys.

A mother's relationship with her son is almost indescribable.  To know that you have a part in raising one of the future men in the world really hits home, at least it did with me.  But boys love their moms differently than girls do, in my opinion.  And girls on the other hand, we have a bond that I don't think I could ever share with my boys, well, just because we are both girls.

I really tried to let the kids be just kids.  Well, actually that is not totally true.  I must admit that when my daughter wanted nothing to do with all of the pink frilly dresses we continued to provide her with, I was a tad disappointed, but she is the most beautiful tomboy you'll ever see.  And not too many girls I know can balance her way across a beaver dam on high heeled flip flops!

So recently when I read on Piligrimsteps about her gender experiment, it got me to thinking.  And that very same night, I was digging through my purse, with Isabella right by my side, of course; when I found a Snickers bar.  A few days before, I thought I was going to get caught in blasting traffic and bought it to keep me, er, busy...Well, the look on my girls face when she said "Oh, it's like a gift from heaven!"

Now that is just plain girly coming through.  My husband was standing right there and we both just busted out laughing, only a woman would say something like that!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tweeting Twoubles

 My new twitter pic.  Actually I also used it on my book, Llucky Llama.

Okay, so I know I am about a decade or so behind a lot of bloggers and other regular folks, but I just don't really understand this whole tweeting thing.  But, I am bound and determined to get it.  I have been doing quite a bit of reading, and feel that it is the next step I should take to help the blog grow and to help spread the word about our Royal Rebels.

I got myself a Twitter account, and from there I was lost.  My e-mail is through my website, not through gmail or Yahoo, so no contacts there.  I followed a couple things, but Jonas Brothers kept showing up...No thanks.  But I did find this cute widget to make it nice and easy for all of you to find me!

So today's post is more of an open ended question to you, my dedicated readers at Royal Ranch, and to my weekly readers at Green Spot-On; how do you use Twitter?  Where do you go, who do you follow?  And most importantly, why?  What makes that person, attractive, so to speak?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Metaphysical Monday

You know how I usually start these metaphysical posts out with, "I have been thinking long and hard about posting this"?  Well, that's usually because of a privacy issue, or because I'm afraid you'll think I'm a nutcase, but who of us, to some degree isn't a nutcase?  But I digress.  Today's post is over a decade in the making, and I didn't even know it until yesterday, thanks to my Mom!

My daughter is somewhat of a miracle child, anyway.  I think I may have told you this story before, but I was not supposed to have an easy time having children.  I had a lot of female problems.  My boys proved that not to be true.  I went off birth control twice in my life, and got pregnant twice, pretty uneventful and very blessed!  I then tried to get pregnant with my daughter, and I do mean with my daughter.  

I don't know if you all know, but there are people out there that believe that you can affect the sex of your baby.  Well, I don't know if that is true or not, because I tried for months and never got pregnant.  We then found out that Tom's Dad was dying of lung cancer and no longer felt right about trying to get pregnant while his Dad was losing the battle of his life.

Just a few months after Wolf died, we found out that Anne, Tom's Mom had liver cancer.  It was the most nightmarish thing any of us could imagine.  She passed away just 43 short days later.  During this time, we had also lost Tom's Uncle Pete, so we had traveled to Santa Fe for a funeral as well.  So, we were left with two  grieving step parents, and holes in our hearts the size of Texas.

A couple of weeks after Annes funeral, I was still sick with grief when Tom insisted that bed spins were not part of grief and that I go to the doctor.  I had not been able to eat since before the funeral, and was losing weight and looked horrific.  Much to my surprise, my grief was actually morning sickness that was not to go away for the next nine months!  I have never been so happy/sad in my life!  Really, happy/sad was the only way to describe it for a few days.  The circle of life was very evident with this pregnancy and this baby was not letting me forget it!

Although it was my most difficult pregnancy, it was a constant reminder that things were okay.  Which is maybe what I needed.  With the boys, I was always wondering.  Is everything okay in there?  Why are they so quiet?  I knew right away it was a girl, since it was so different, and the ultrasound confirmed it.  The entire family was ecstatic, it was exactly what we all needed, especially her big brothers.

It was really a shame that her parents could not agree on a name though.  It wasn't that we were disagreeing, we just couldn't come up with a name we both really liked.  We knew the middle name was Anne; all of our kids had family names for middle names.  Again, this was much different than the boys, and it was getting close to my due date...

It was the night before they were to induce her (unbeknown to me) , and I was at aquacize class when her name, Isabella Anne came to me.  I was just lazily floating around in the pool when I heard it, for all of these years I have teased that she named herself because I had never even heard that name before.  As a matter of fact, I didn't even really like it, I just knew that that was her name.

My next tough job was to convince my husband, which was no easy task.  He thought I was out of my mind.  Luckily one of the cute delivery nurses liked it, and it sort of grew on him quickly, because as I said, I had a doctor's appointment the next day, and he had decided to induce her.  The rest is history.

That's right, the rest is history.  Because yesterday, my Mom was doing some genealogy work and found out that my Great Great Grandmothers name is Mary Isabella Anderson Kretzinger.  As you all know Isabella is not a common German name.  Spanish or even Italian, maybe.  To find out almost eleven years later almost blew my mind!
So, thank you Great Great Grandma Mary for help with naming our miracle girl, now I can give you your due credit.  Oh, yeah, a pretty important part of this story is that one year later, my uterus had to be removed because it was literally falling apart.  The doc said he's not sure how it could've held a baby just a short year ago.  We really do mean blessed.

Another thing I'm curious about, is that my Grandma, who is gone now, felt that she passed me my "gift".  Is it possible that this Grandma passed her, her "gift"?  Have I, er, my Mom, found the next generation of nutcases, so to speak-ha?!?  (If I can't make fun of myself and my Oddities, then there is no hope for me I figure, please no one take offense at this, it's just me havin' a little fun.)  Happy Labor Day!

Thank you so much Mom for finding this little treasure trove of information out.  The genealogy work that you are doing will answer many more questions than this one I'm sure!  Information on your distant relatives=priceless!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Royal Ranch Royalty

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend, it is proving to be a beautiful one here in Colorado, not that there are that many that aren't.  MGF Fortune Hunter is his name, but Hunter is his game.  No really, Hunter is what he goes by.  Sorry, sometimes I'm such a dork I kill myself.

I have to kind of chuckle when I see Hunter, because here this spectacular llama, dirty and packing, amongst all of these "rescue misfits".  When we first got him he knew it too.  He is one of the few llamas that I have that is papered, or at least that the papers made it as far as he did, and he is one of only two that I paid for.  

Actually, Hunter was my deciding llama.  I was debating whether to go with females or males, since you can't house both together successfully without a lot of fencing and brawling, but that's another story.  If I had gone with females for packing it would have gone entirely against industry standards, but I didn't care about that so much as I fell in love with MGF Fortune Hunter.
I would never have been able to afford him, but lucky for me, he was the product of a divorce liquidation.  The husband had told the wife to sell nothing below $1000, so she immediately offered him to me for $750!  And the funniest thing of all, was that Hunter was one of the ones that was supposed to go for much more than that even!

Well, as I have pointed out many times since then, it is such a good thing I ended up with males, because almost all rescues are males since they are worth less money and are harder to keep.  But, to a person like me, who only has males, and uses them for packing, it works out perfectly!

As for the fancy name, that comes from his paperwork.  It is very similar to a dogs pedigree, instead of the American Kennel Club (AKC), it comes from the International Llama Registry (ILR).  The first three initials are the code for the farm that Hunter was born at, so it is a very efficient way of keeping track of the llamas, it is just a shame that not more people register them or keep the paper work with the actual animal.

Okay, so a few things that make Hunter a higher quality llama than the next boy.  In terms of his conformation, Hunter is perfect.  He has the all sought after banana ears, well set eyes and just the right length of neck.  His back is long and straight, and his tail sits on his rump where it is supposed to.  This is one area other llamas tend to have problems with.  Hunter also has beautiful wool, which I am diligent about shearing and getting to someone who will do something with, but that is as far as it goes.

Hunter had only had the halter on twice when he arrived at The Royal Ranch, and was quite wild, and I was a newbie.  He took one look at the pack I tried to put on that beautiful wool and looked at me like I had lost my mind, like "Don't you know crazy woman, I'm supposed to be in the show ring!".  Within just two training sessions though this boy and I had it down pat.  He is one of the most willing llamas we have ever owned actually.  A little spoiled maybe, but I have no idea how that happened...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thoracic Spine Injuries

I would like to make it very clear that I am writing this from the view point of the patient, and that I am by no means an expert on this.  But on the other hand, I may be exactly the person you want to talk to if you think you might have a spinal injury, especially one located in your thoracic region, or middle back, which is quite uncommon.

To be honest, I'm not really sure how I injured mine, after doing some research the past few days, I am wondering if I have had this problem since a  serious car accident in my teens.  I'll get back to that in a few minutes, but I think I'll catch you up on the last few days first.

Last weekend I stood too long at a neighbors birthday party, which to any other person would be no big deal.  The next day I woke up with my bladder leaking, and yes I know that is TMI, but without that information you won't understand why I thought this was a big deal, so bear with me.  This is what happened when my disc had herniated and ruptured in January, so I knew I needed to get to the doc on Monday, which is what I did. 

She told me that I could avoid a trip to the ER (Tom and I laughed at that one, we wouldn't have gone anyway), but that my Neurosurgeon would be calling me the next day.  They did, and they said I needed to be seen (you know, a mere 1.5 hours one way, away) on Thursday.  Although I am barely able to drive at this point, I get down there, Tom takes time off work to go with me, and the guy acts as if I had popped by for tea!  He pats me on the back and thanked me for coming to see him.  That was after I waited for 45 minutes and paid $50!

So are thoracic problems an emergency?  Well, thank God, apparently mine isn't.  And if it isn't an emergency, then by God, you're on your own, Baby.  Which, this morning, I feel better about, yesterday, don't ask.

Now, back up a day or two to my research.  Yes, I know a person has to be careful when doing any sort of medical research on the web.  As a matter of fact, that is why I have avoided doing so until the last few days mostly.  I really have not even considered surgery until this week, but I am getting desperate, I must tell you.  So I started looking for symptoms of T11/T12 disc herniation, and I only read articles from universities or medical jargon that I could only understand every other word-ha!  And then I moved on to surgery, etc, but my point is, I did so rather tentatively.

Anyway, I found some very interesting things that led me to believe that I have had this problem even longer than I thought.  I have written before that this was hard to diagnose because it presented as hip pain, and now I have been reading that it often presents as abdominal and chest pain, gall bladder, etc.  The more I read, it was like a who's who list of the exploratory surgeries I've had over the years, all after a rollover accident on a curvy mountain road more than twenty years ago. 

Again, this is just a theory, and it doesn't really matter now how the spine got injured, because it happened.  But on the way home from the Dr. the other night, I was really frustrated that I have all this crazy shit (sorry Mom, there is just no other way to describe it!)  happen to me, (less than 2% of disc herniations are in the thoracic region, for example), and even if it sounds weird, it makes me feel better if only one thing is the cause of all that crazy shit.

It makes me feel like there is hope to attack this darn thing and take care of "business".  So that I won't have any more crazy "business" going on.  Now, what is my plan?  Walking, and abdominal muscles, for sure.  

It's funny, I wrote the bulk of this post yesterday.  But I don't want to come off sounding like a whiner, so I sat on it; the only reason I post about these things is in hopes it might help someone else in the same boat.  So, I considered talking about my symptoms, and maybe even sharing the letter I sent to the doc who was sort of a jerk, because that might help anyone who has dealt with a butthead doctor.  I suppose I could have a healing series...

Well, at least Google knows I'm out there, and the next time I go to search for Thoracic Spine Injuries, hopefully this post will show up, and it just might help another person who is going down the same road, and hopefully that person will see my e-mail and feel free to contact me with any questions, because believe me, I know how crazy you're feeling right now!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


As I have mentioned a few times, I am helping my friend Tiffany teach a class on Wednesdays at our local middle school.  Our class is called Environmental Action, perfect for her and I, huh?  Actually, she got to choose the class, one of the things that I am so proud of, in this day of budget cuts, our school found a way to add a slew of electives for our kids!  Not only are our teachers getting to teach things they have never taught, some of them for the first time in more than ten years, but our kids had a variety of electives that our district has never seen!

Okay, enough bragging, and on to the nitty gritty.  Last Wednesday, our goal was to use up the huge amount of eighteen packs of egg cartons that I get donated to me.  Although I love my egg carton donations, most families only use a dozen, especially once they learn of how rich farm fresh eggs are, so the eighteen packs were really stacking up.  I had a stack about two feet high, and that is with them all laid flat into one another!

So, brilliant Tiffany found a recipe for Firestarters.  We had the kids bring in old candles, shredded paper and cotton material.  We filled the egg cartons with the materials (I found that a mix of paper and cotton works best) and then filled with the melted candles.  Interestingly, you can just toss the whole candle in a double boiler, when you go to pour it into the cartons, any wicks or labels will separate.  We even used recycled double boilers, as we had coffee cans for the water and smaller steel cans for the wax.

Let them dry, and then tear them apart.  The extra egg carton that will be attached to each firestarter will be the "wick".  Now, I have not tried any, because the kids have decided to donate them, doesn't that make a person proud, but I'm sure they'd make your fire in the woods just dandy to start, let alone one at home!

Sorry about not having any pics, but with them not being my kids, I didn't think I could take any...what do you think Tiffany?  But you can check out a picture and another post, as a matter of fact it's what we based our idea on, here.