Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dillon, CO

 Town of Dillon web page

We are sneaking a couple days off to visit with our family here in beautiful Dillon, CO.  Tom was able to join us for the weekend and then we all ran home to get a bit of work done for the beginning of the week; and now the three boys and I came back up to pick up our girly and enjoy the end of the week in the wonderful condo my parents got us! 

We sold our wonderful Executive a few months back (for quite a profit I might add), so we are unable to camp with the rest of the family, but the view from the edges of the Dillon Reservoir when I get up early in the morning and go for a walk before the kids get up is spectacular...  This area was hit by Pine Beetle kill pretty badly a few years ago, and now in the early morning hours the dead trees look purple in the distance.

Thanks Mom and Dad for the great vacation!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bailey Day 2011

 Entrikin Cabin located in McGraw Park
Photo courtesy of Gary Nichols

Well, here it is Bailey Day 2011; and boy did this one sneak up on me!  I had to look up in the newspaper when we were expected to be there, now that is pretty bad....but you know what I told myself?  I decided that that meant that I am getting so good at my job that I don't need much time to prepare for gigs like this anymore and no big deal; I can do them in my sleep practically.  And it is true.

But that doesn't make Bailey Day any less fun.  Or important.  This is our towns big event; and it is important; it is important to our town and it is very meaningful to us as a Ranch as well.  See, this will be our 9th year at old McGraw Park with the llamas; our historical park in downtown Bailey, CO.  And it is a beauty.  With cabins that have been carefully moved there from their original homesteads and then meticulously refurbished; a schoolhouse that received the same loving treatment all from our very own county.

Our town really does this celebration up right too.  Lots of great vendors and food too.  And it is so fun to teach people about the love of llamas...  So, if you live in the area and feel like a drive today; head west towards the cool air of Bailey, Rebels.  Consider this your personal invitation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jakoti has got it going on!

I can not begin to tell you how much I LOVE these new shears.  As a matter of fact, what got me to thinking about writing this post was the shears laying next to my computer.  That's right Rebels, these shears have become my right hand tool.

I purchased them as llama shears.  You know, to remove the wool from those fidgety creatures that inhabit my ranch...Well, let me tell you a little about shearing a llama at The Royal Ranch.  I don't think it's like shearing at typical wool producers.  We have to cut through hay and pine needles and whatever else is hidden inside that wondrous coat.  So over the years, I have learned A LOT about shears; and that is that they are truly lacking.

A good pair of Fiskars, which is our next choice since we hand shear will run us around $13-$15 with a coupon, etc.  If I sharpen it I may be able to get that one pair through one season of shearing, but sometimes they only last one llama!  If you get cheaper scissors, they will wear out your hands (not spring loaded), and big electric shears usually scare the you know what out of rescues so that is out for us.

I do want to give you a bit of background here, just so you know that I am sticking to my Rebel roots.  When I first heard of these shears, I was told that you could only get them in one place in the US; and that place is by a llama trainer that I don't particularly like.  This woman had rubbed my "animal sense" the wrong way over the years, but when it came down to saving hundreds of dying llamas in MT and all she did was offer reduced price behavior clinics for new owners while the rest of us small farms struggled with the starving...

Well, it made me decide to look a bit further for those shears.  And lo and behold I found them on the World Wide Web, funny thing about covers the whole world.  Better yet, I got two pairs, direct from the UK (yeah, I know, I'm normally a buy US only, but they just don't have this sort of shear...sigh), for a little more than I would have spent on one pair plus shipping on Ms. Behavior  Man, I hate it when people are buttheads.

But, anyway, these shears came and we have just been shearing our butts off.  Well, our butts are fine, and it is Tom doing most of the shearing anyway.  But dang do the llamas look nice.  And when I got on the link to send it to a friend, because believe you me, I'm telling everyone I can not to shop at so and so's-ha!, I read that they are great in the garden.

So, I took them outside and can you imagine the cutting power of these babies on grass?  Geez, if they can cut through that crap in the wool, grass and dandelions along the fence line is like butta, baby, butta!  And the best part about it was that I wasn't polluting the air with a weed whacker either.  I did go a little crazy and now the grass along the dog yard looks like it got a bad hair cut from Mom back in the sixties....

Well, I guess you get the point, if you're looking for either garden or llama, sheep or goat shears these are the ones.  Spring action, self sharpening, yes you read that right engineers, I don't really get it, but it says it does it...They are the best.  Oh, I do have one critique...they could use a "petite" size.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

All is well on the shirtfront, er I mean the homefront.

My biopsy results are back and they are negative!  Whew! What a relief.  Although I have been added to some sort of high risk group and will be welcomed back with open arms in 6 months for another mammogram (believe me, I will be getting more details on why later) I will just take the good news and run with it for now.  But I do think it is a tad bit of karma for bucking the system (and my Dad) in this post that I have to have more frequent mammograms.

As a matter of fact, it got me to thinking....thinking about a show I used to watch as a kid.  So, I did what any red-blooded American would do and I searched You Tube for it; I found it right away of course, but I decided that the show would have been much better off with three girls anyway (the make-up of my family) ha!  But another video did catch my eye....(and of course the Guanacos had nothing to do with it-ha!), so I thought I'd share:

So, folks, I don't think I need to tell you what the lesson of the day is...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Girl Power

It was quite ironic this morning when I got an e-mail from my husband that had this quote in it because  I woke up feeling all full of "Girl Power" anyway;

'Whatever  you give a woman, she will make greater. If you  give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you  give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you  give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If  you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what  is given to her. So, if you give her any crap,  be ready to receive a ton of  shit.'

Which is really funny, because just Tuesday I really felt like the world might be caving in around me.  So, I called on my "Girls".  And guess what happened?  Miracles, baby, miracles!

Tuesday was my "new" sons first dental appointment; and this is a rather big deal as he has a cleft pallet that has not been properly cared for.  I have joked my whole maternal life that the doctor forgot to cut the umbilical cord of my children because I can still "feel" them; well I must have grown a new cord with Austin because that day when he was in the dentist I KNEW he was having a rough time of it.  So I went for a walk....And realized my Sister worked on that campus and gave her a call.
My Sister is a Registered Dietitian at University Hospital...and she has a few connections.  But even more importantly she met me in between meetings and pagings and consults to give me a HUG!  We were laughing at ourselves because this campus is huge and she was talking to me on the phone trying to find me and looking lost (at her place of work no less), and I was having to look at what I was wearing to describe it to was all too funny.   But she spared me  those few minutes that led to amazing things for my son....

Yesterday was my biopsy.  And well, I owe you Rebels an apology.  I lied.  I was scared Sh#*L##s.  See, my BIL has Lip cancer; and when I went to look it up online for my SIL, I found out that breast cancer normally spreads to the bone....Which got me to thinking that I have breast cancer and that it had spread to my spine and that is why it won't get better.   I also found out that I have all the symptoms of this type of spinal pain, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, etc.  But guess what, another one of my "Girls" came through for me, my Mom.

My parents had practically insisted on driving me, and to be honest it was a huge relief to have Mommy and Daddy there to take care of things.  They took me to a great lunch and I didn't have to worry about telling them directions like I would with my new drivers...Whew! What a relief!
Mom was even able to come in with me for the biopsy itself and even at the age of 40 to be able to have your Mother there to hold your hand or to be in the room when your in pain is a salve in itself.  To have the second set of ears was even better.  We learned that even if these are cancerous cells, they are contained and would be considered pre-cancerous, which is fabulous news.  They did have to do WAY (14 holes total) more than I thought they were going to do, but hey, at least it is over!

So anyway, back to more "Girl Power".  My parents had taken me to Tom so he could bring me the rest of the way home; just a short time later I get a call from my Mom.  Guess what?  My Sister has already found a dentist that will help us with my son...Pro Bono.  I mean it took some time for all of this to sink in.  Just the day before I had been walking aimlessly around this medical campus worrying that my children could be losing their Mom, one of whom I had just adopted and may be losing a second mother, (and at the very least how in the hell were we going to take care of his mouth?)....OMG!!!!!!  I mean REALLY my thoughts started to go crazy

And just one day later...with the help of all my girls, we had solved all the problems of the world!  Oh, and Dad did the driving-ha!!!!!!  I think he's used to that role, he has done it his whole life...and I can't tell him what a wonderful job he has done "driving" us Girls...Driving us to do our best, and driving us to be our best and then driving us to our appointments when we REALLY need him.

So, if the world gives you a little crap ladies, be prepared to give it a Ton of Shit.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Summer means different things to different people; but to me it brings a sense of freedom and family.  No more schedules to maintain, and lots of time with my kids.  So the other day when I was driving down the road in my favorite black Ford, with my two favorite eleven year old girls in the whole world strapped in the seat next to me...and this song came on and all three of us were just belting it out; I knew it was summertime!

The really ironic thing is that it also happened to be my nephew's birthday that day and when we came home we looked that song up on You Tube before we headed to his birthday party that was after his Lacrosse game (man, do they really kick some you know what in Lacrosse!!!).  Well, anyway, my nephew has had a really rough couple of years due to bullying at his school and just recently got accepted into a very science and math oriented school; which will put him on the path to "the Big City"!!!

To say the least, this song and this video have been stuck in my head since that really hits home for a lot of people in a lot of different ways...So as I usually say, Rebels...make yourself some dancing room and crank up your computer speakers!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Breast Cancer; a family affair

You know it's really funny that I chose today to write about the breast cancer story.  See, my sister, Kelly, is recovering from a double mastectomy; and she has been so amazing during the entire process she deserves a book all her own.  So when I wrote about her "journey", I really wanted the post to be all about her and what she has gone through; her family and what they have been through....and really to teach people a few things in the process would be wonderful.

But, what I hadn't realized is how her cancer would affect our ENTIRE family so deeply.  My parents have never had to deal with a life threatening illness in one of their children know the regular stuff growing up and even what some would consider pretty scary stuff as a parent, but nothing like the big "C" word.  And they too, have handled things with grace and dignity.  As a matter of fact my Dad has a blog also and has chronicled Kelly's "Journey" on his blog...well worth the read.

If I am totally honest, one of the reasons that had been holding me back from writing this article is my different opinion than my Dad's....Gee what a surprise, eh Dad????  As you will read in his blog, Kelly found her cancer with an annual mammogram and they are strongly encouraging folks to get their annual mammos.  Well, sorry, but I felt that that might be a bit much radiation exposure for my liking.  What about every couple years...that would cut a persons exposure to radiation in half in their lifetime and not make it too long in between screenings, right?
I also have another sister, Lisa.  Between us three girls we have four daughters (Kelly has 2 and Lisa and I each have 1), so breast cancer in the family scared the s**t out of us.  Lisa, ironically had had to have a second mammogram done the same day as Kelly's (second mammogram); and they had her scheduled for the ultrasound in case they needed more pics.  Thankfully they didn't.  So, I scheduled my damn mammogram.

Now, this is where the story gets a bit interesting.  I would like to point out a difference between organized healthcare and private insurance.  I am a Kaiser patient (organized).  My first mammogram was 5 weeks ago, I just had my second mammogram and ultrasound yesterday and found out I need a biopsy.  In the 5 weeks following Kelly's (private insurance) first mammogram she was already preparing for surgery.  Just sayin'.

Thankfully due to some testing that Kelly had done, we know that our family (or at least Kelly) is not genetically predisposed to breast cancer.  This to me, is a big relief...for ourselves, our Mother and our daughters.  But why then, are 3 out of 3 girls suddenly needing second mammograms?  And what about the biopsies?  Is the medical field getting so far advanced that almost everyone is getting called back?  And what does that say about our radiation exposure?

Even the gal who was taking the second pics yesterday kept apologizing to me if she had to retake the image.  I finally asked her if it was due to the radiation and she said yes.  Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that we need testing like this to save lives, I am just wondering if there might be a happy medium.  But, on the other hand, I have not had any imaging done in about ten years; the stuff that they will biopsy on me is a mass, while my sister who was good about getting hers done, caught hers at the calcification stage.

Okay, so what the hell is your point Judy?  Check your breasts.  Do your self exams and get the mammograms done as frequently as you are comfortable with (you know, probably more frequently than every decade!).  Bottom line...they are there to save lives; that is what they are doing all over the country and they have just done so in my own family.  As melodramatic as it sounds, it is true.  We are all so appreciative of the fact that Kelly's cancer was caught early....

Cancer is a family affair, whether it is genetic or not.  To watch my sister's family go through what they have been through is amazing (and heart wrenching); because I know that they will only be a stronger unit after this is over.  It has brought us all closer in a I'm sure it would in most families.

And No, I'm not too worked up over the biopsy thing (75% of all biopsies are benign).  Not that I'm really looking forward to having a needle in my boob, but I do feel confident that the news will be fine.  At least it got me writing about it....And I am very interested in your opinion on this matter.  What do you think of annual testing and its risks/benefits?