Browsing Archives for Pioneer Woman

Mike and Liz came out for Labor Day weekend.  It was really good to see them.  They have been our friends ever since the CD was in medical school and they have never been religious.  I used to worry about them when I was a Christian.  I would occasionally pray that God would get a hold of their lives, but it was usually a half hearted prayer.  I liked Mike and Liz they way they were and I didn’t think that religion would make them better. They are both curious as to why I changed my mind about religion and we have had some great conversations, but neither of them end up in tears, or angry or tell me that it is an inappropriate topic to discuss or that I am crazy or deeply unhappy or scarily mistaken.  They are simply curious.  And then we go back to talking about our kids or good food or the state of the world or how to lance the caldera at Yellowstone before it blows us all to smithereens.

Speaking of the caldera at Yellowstone – did you know that ‘caldera’ is just a fancy word for massive volcano?  A few weeks ago, when I was all hepped up about telling my extraordinarily fascinating Yellowstone vacation story, I started reading about the Yellowstone caldera so as to have a few pertinent factoids to accompany my post and that’s how I learned that the Yellowstone caldera could explode at any moment and if it does, the heartland of the US is doomed.  Here are your Yellowstone Caldera explosion survival options if you live in middle America…

1.  If you live within a 50 mile radius of the park you will instantly explode.

2.  If you don’t instantly explode, you will die by inhaling burning gas that will cook you quickly and very painfully from the inside out.

3.  If you don’t get cooked from the inside out, you will inhale glass particles that will cause you to hemorrhage internally and die.

4.  If you don’t die from tiny glass fragments cutting your insides to bits, you will die from starvation as the massive cloud of ash (comprised of tiny bits of glass) will cover most of the middle of the US, resulting in an ice age that will cause crops to fail on a catastrophic scale.

It was kind of hard to return to a lighthearted account of my vacation in Yellowstone once I realized that I might be doomed to die at best by exploding and at worst by slowly starving.  Then I started to read about global warming and how if we don’t die in an ice age caused by a volcano in Yellowstone,  we are going to die in a drought caused by global warming.  Then my bank sent me a letter explaining that I needed to give them permission to charge my ATM card when I no longer had funds available in my account.  Evidently the government created a new law that prohibits banks from allowing people to continue to use their ATM cards when they have no funds available unless the customer has specifically requested that the card continue to be charged. What this means is that banks can no longer collect overdraft fees on ATM cards because seriously WHO IS GOING TO CHOOSE TO BE CHARGED AN OVERDRAFT?

When I got that letter and discovered that my bank had knowingly charged my card when they could have just as easily declined my card, I stormed the bank and demanded to know why they would do this.  My bank insisted that it was a great service to me to charge my cards even though I had insufficient funds, saving me the uncomfortable embarrassment of having my card declined, but I heartily disagreed.  I would much rather have my card declined than pay an overdraft fee!  Then I learned that my bank CAREFULLY CHOSE AMONG THEIR CUSTOMERS WHOSE CARDS THEY WOULD ALLOW TO ACCUMULATE OVERDRAFTS AND WHOSE CARDS THEY WOULD NOT ALLOW TO ACCUMULATE OVERDRAFTS.  If you were poor or a student, they simply shut off your card when you had insufficient funds.  But if you were the town doctor – they charged you as much as they could as often as they could.  My bank had placed a $700.00 overdraft limit on my card meaning that each time I made a purchase with insufficient funds I was charged an overdraft fee until I was $700.00 in the red. I am not a habitual over-drafter, but it happens and when I think that the bank could have just declined my card instead of charging me hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees over the past seven years, it really hacked me off.

And yes, I realize that any overdraft fees I have been charged over the past seven years could have been prevented by my being more aware of the state of my bank account, but I would have much preferred that my bank simply decline my card than charge me a fee for overdrafting.  Banks make millions of dollars on overdraft fees.  Right now my bank is running a desperate campaign to keep it’s customers overdrafting their accounts.  They have placed frantic ads on their web site and around the bank with this wording…

DON’T WANT YOUR CARD DECLINED?

OPT IN!

They make it sound as if you are doomed if you don’t ‘opt in’.

But I was doomed already.

Because I knew about that Yellowstone caldera with a side of global warming.

So I think I am going to switch over to a credit union and cut the bank’s stockholders out of my checking account forever.

Here is an interesting article about some banks re-ordering checks and charges to maximize their overdraft fees .  There are lawsuits pending.  You might want to see if your bank was one of the perps.  _________________________________________________________________________________________________

IN OTHER NEWS!!!!!

If you are still reading this – here is my version of PW’s stellar list of blogging tips.  I was so inspired by her post that I had to come up with my own.  I hope it helps!!!

1.  Be Yourself

Marry a rich cowboy

2.  Blog Often

Photograph the following things in the following prescribed order on a daily basis…

Husband’s ass
Dog
Husband’s ass
Dog
Husband’s ass
Aryan looking child with alabaster skin and glowing blue eyes.
Husband’s ass
Dog
Expensive home items that no one can afford during a recession.
Husband’s ass
Dog
Aryan looking child with alabaster skin and glowing blue eyes
Husband’s ass
Dog
Daughter with messy hair
Husband’s ass
Dog
Dog
Horse’s ass
Horse’s ass
Husband’s ass
Dog
Dog
Expensive home item that no one can afford unless you are married to a billionaire cowboy.
Dog
Dog

3. Be Varied

Dog
Dog
Dog
Husband’s Ass
Aryan looking child with alabaster skin and glowing blue eyes
Daughter with messy hair
Faded pasture scene
Expensive home item
Dog
Expensive home item
Dog
Faded pasture scene
Dog
Dog
Cat
Dog
Aryan Child
Expensive home item
Flowy shirt
Dog
Flowy shirt
Dog
Flowy shirt
Dog
Aryan Child
Dog
Husband’s ass

4. Exercise More

Butter
Butter
Butter
Butter
Butter
Dog
Aryan Child
Flowy Top
Butter
Butter
Husband’s ass
Butter
Dog
Butter
Dog
Butter
Dog
Butter
Dog
Dog
Dog
Butter

5. Allow your boundaries to set themselves naturally.

Talk about God

I mean Dog
I mean God
I mean Dog
I mean God
I mean DOG!!!
GOD!!!
BUTTER!!!
DOG!!!!
GOD!!!
ARYAN CHILD!!!!!

6. Bring back retro phrases like “hanky panky.”

Holey yoga pants

7. Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself.

Write lame posts that allow you to feature really awesome photos of yourself in profile in signature flowy top.

8. Try your best to spell words correctly and use proper grammar.

Steal ideas from other bloggers and don’t ever give them credit for it.

9. If you have writer’s block, push through and blog anyway.

Steal ad revenue from entire BlogHer network to fund your own blog and pretend that you knew nothing about it.

10. Value every person who takes time out of their day to stop by your blog

Write your own fake comments telling yourself how awesome you are.

11. Keep it real!

Drench blog in money and materialism and empty American women will eat it up.
Was that eleven?!?!
Silly little ole me!
See number four.

Love Ya More ‘n my Luggage!

And I REALLY mean it!

Rechelle

I have been analyzing and assessing and using my critical thinking skills and walloping my victuals, and sawing the callouses off my big toes with my thumb nail, and ruminating, and obsessing and lying on my bed in a twisted heap of pain, and staring at the ceiling fan… and I have finally decided that my sinking blog stats having nothing to do with me.

Nothing…
Nothing at all!
As usual it is the fault of other people that are causing me to fail.
This is how it has always been.

Example Number One Of Other People Causing Me To Fail – Or Math Suicide
My poor math grades… throughout my entire life… including the remedial math class I was forced to take in college and also failed are actually not my fault… but the fault of other people…

Mostly my poor math grades are the fault of my math teachers who did not seem to understand that when they spoke in numerals… all I ever heard coming out of their mouths was “blah, blah, blah, number, number, protein, legume, nitrogen, blah”.
Why could they not speak my language instead? Why could they not read aloud long segments from Nancy Drew Books and later the startling literary revelations of V.C. Andrews and Jean M. Auel? I would have especially liked for my math teachers to explain in great detail the weird sex stuff in those books that completely riveted my fourteen year old brain and held it captive for entire semesters at a time.
Why could they not replace word problems with fashion shows…
And geometry with silent sustained reading of Seventeen magazine?
Why did they not consider letting me make up cheerleading routines instead of taking tests?
And how about writing our boyfriends names in our notebooks instead of homework?
If only they would have taught me math the correct way, I would have succeeded and I would now be a nuclear physicist with a second home in Shropshire, instead of a failing blogger and general lunatic.
Problem Number 2 – IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Did you know that I used to suffer quite dramatically from Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Did you?
Do you want me to tell you all about it?
Do you?
I started to suffer from IBS soon after my first son was born. The unusual thing about my particular case of IBS was that it only struck whenever my husband’s family was due to show up at our house en masse at any minute.
Suddenly and quite tragically, I would be overcome with such violent twisting stomach pain that the only cure was to lie motionless on my bed in a curled ball of agony until everyone had left our house.
Note to readers – The Country Doctor’s family is huge, vast, as numerous as the individual grains of sands on all the beaches in all the world.
My own family of origin is tiny.
I had a bit of trouble adapting.
But again this is not my fault.
Why could not The Country Doctor have noticed my pain for just a teensy second instead of merely stepping over my throbbing intestines on the way to open the door to the first wave of dinner guests?
Why could not The Country Doctor have insisted, just one tiny time, that perhaps I was too weak and shaky to host a massive flood of virtual strangers and force everyone out in a gallant and brave act of uncompromising love?
Why could not the Country Doctor have realized that although my tummy troubles only struck at the onset of a visit from his family, that did not mean I was in any way, shape, or form a faker. I was simply allergic to his family. An allergy I have overcome with the help of meditation, prayer, and the ability to escape into my own cloud of happy unicorns at will.
Problem Number Three – The Crimson Girls
Just this evening, I was pestered with yet another phone call from the University of Kansas asking for money. I had no intention of giving them a dime as well… you know… I already gave KU a lot of money.
A LOT OF MONEY.


That is where the Country Doctor went to Medical School and um yeah… so anyway – when they called they asked for $100.00 and I said no. Then they said what about $50.00? I said no… Then they said okay, you are really pathetic, but would you give $25.00 and I said no. You know why I said no?

I think if you look back at the Crimson Girl line-up between the years 1987 and 1991 you will notice a huge sucking hole where I SHOULD HAVE BEEN!!!
And yes – NOT MY FAULT
Which brings us to Problem Number Four That is Not My Fault – This Blog.
Why is this blog sucking wind?
Why is it turning into a vacuum of endless night?
Why is this blog becoming the black hole of burning gas from the nether regions of Planet Xerxes?
Clearly this is not my fault.
I show up everydaywell almost everyday… and blather on about the same inane, stupid, ridiculous, things… and put the same blurry, ill focused, vague
photos up of a bunch of people that no one knows and occasionally a long mindless video of my family watching TV… and EVEN with all that – the blog still declines!
After a lot of soul searching I have decided just whose fault it is and I hereby Pronounce PHOTOSHOP as the evil that so infests blogland that it is impossible to succeed without it.
Yes, Photoshop is the culprit.
Photoshop is The Enemy
The Devil
Satan’s Scourge
Yellow Puss Boil Weed
Rocky Mountain Hippie Stink

and Death in A Pasture.
It is Photoshop’s fault!
You see, I don’t do photoshop on this blog. Not even for a nanosecond. The idea of manipulating a photo is as foreign to me as the idea of eating live earthworms.
I mean here is the photo.
It is already done.
Why would you do more to it???
This is sheer madness.
If someone were to give you a piece of hot cherry pie with a scoop of vanilla bean speck ice-cream on top, would you feel the need to highlight the vanilla bean specks before you ate it?
If someone gave you a puppy that was the exact breed and personality and calm quiet potty trained cuteness that you had always dreamed of, would you send him back for a more misty background?
If suddenly you were handed a pair of keys… to a house… on the beach… in Italy… and told you that you would never have to work again, but to just go, live your life, take all your friends and family (or not) and just go and never worry again… would you insist that the sky in Italy be just a tiny bit more blue before you accepted the offer?
Photoshop is nuts.
Pure NUTS!!!
But then So Am I
So I went out and I bought PhotoShop.
And I quickly became a genius photo manipulator.
I now give you the Country Doctor’s Wife Capitulation into the Realm of PhotoShop Whosit Whatsit, Whatever…

Here is the Country Doctor before I photoshoppped him.
Here is the Country Doctor after I photoshopped him.

Here are my kids before I photoshopped them and used actions.

Here are my kids now…
Here is my sister before….
eating unphotoshopped pie and drinking unphotoshopped coffee.
EGADS!!!

Here is my sister now. Do you see how I highlighted her hair and sped up
the motion by applying an action which I invented myself which I hereby name the “Great Balls of Fire” action.
And finally…

Here is me before Photo Shop… before actions… before painkillers… but just after birth. Just after the birth of one of my boys… I don’t even know which one…
If ever there was a photo that could use a little help…
Add a little Photoshop
And here is me now…
I can’t wait to see what this does for my blog stats.
Tra La La,
Rechelle

My sister really nailed the descriptions of everyone we met, so I feel kind of repetitive saying anything else. But what the heck… I’ll give it a go.

Marlboro Man – Exudes a quiet confidence.  Laughs easily.  Makes bacon.  Does the dishes.  I was really amazed at the amount of time he spent with us. Why? Why? WHY?  I kept asking myself over and over. Why is he hanging out with us? Surely he has a cow to inviscerate or a horse to excavate or a pasture to fumigate.  I mean he was really there, you know what I mean?  He was in the moment.  He was friendly and open and not afraid to boss people around if we looked lost and helpless… which we did most of the time.

He answered all of April’s nine thousand questions without flinching.  He spoke of his kids with pride.  He told us about some of the projects they are working on.  He laughed at my ascerbic comments.  Yeah… I made Marlboro man laugh, but like I said… he laughs easily... not loudly like April and I do.  He doesn’t bray like a donkey like my sister and I.  It is more of a heh, heh, heh. In fact, it’s not really a very impressive laugh at all.  It doesn’t even make your ears ring. I bet he never even got a stomach ache from laughing… or cracked a rib… or gave the person sitting next to him a brain aneurysm. Still, it is a laugh and it came to him easily.  I really liked Ladd.  He was my favorite.

Pie Near Woman – Now Ree is harder to describe than MM is. She is more complicated. Typical of a woman to be more complicated isn’t it?  She is a writer and a photographer and a cook and a homeschooler.  These are her passions.  These are the things that make her tick.  If I had not been there, I am sure that my sister, Jenni, and Ree would have talked homeschooling the entire weekend.  Sadly, I was there and that made everyone a little nervous about exclaiming over the virtue of homeschooling your kids versus taking advantage of that little brick building in the center of town that educates your kids FOR YOU!  This resulted in me asking myself… why?  Why???  WHY am I here?  What am I doing here?  How did I get here?  What is going on?

It was kind of a surreal situation. In some ways, I was lucky, as I actually knew half of the party there (my sister and Clay). For Ree, Ladd, Jenni and Dan, everyone at the lodge was a complete stranger.  Of course, us girls had blogging in common. Lord knows, we could talk blogging. We all had children, so we could talk about our kids. The ranch is an interesting place, so Ladd patiently answered all of our questions about his job, but ultimately, Ree was our hostess and she had six people to take care of that she did not really know from Adam and Eve. PLUS – (with the exception of April) we are all kind of quiet people.

I have always been amazed at people who can swing their jaws open and closed, ninety miles an hour, talking about whatever pops into their heads. All of my closest friends tend to be ‘talkers’ and I tend to be the ‘non-talker’.  I can’t really call myself ‘the listener’ as I am usually flying off into the milky way on a unicorn, while they are blabbering on and on and on and on.  For the sake of friendship, I have learned to grunt and nod my head at the right time and to discern the exact right moment to exclaim,”Hey! Let’s go get a latte!”

What’s weird is that the Country Doctor is also a non-talker. He may talk slightly more than I do, but only because he asks so many questions!  In our house, our youngest son, Jack does all the talking.  The rest of us exist in a shroud of delicious silence.

So Ree’s job was kind of hard.  She had to draw out five non-talkers and try to distract April long enough to let someone else have a say.  I occasionally heard her saying, ”April… April… look… outside… about a half mile down the road… there is a chicken!  Why don’t you go catch it and bring it back and then you can tell us all about it!”

Or maybe that was me that was saying that…

 

Here is the run down on the talking versus non-talking of the other people that were there.

Jenni – non-talker and when she does talk, she whispers.

Dan – non-talker who occasionally tells a good story in hushed tones.

Clay – expresses himself primarily through the art of ball room dance.

April – TALKER!  Thank God!  Someone had to do the talking at this shindig.

The Country Doctor – non-talker except when asking questions of his wife.

Me – hostile non-talker… because of all those years of questions…

Ladd – non-talker that was forced to talk to answer all of April’s questions. He actually talked so much, his voice grew hoarse. 

Ree – Talker… but the question is… is she really a talker? Or was she forced to talk because of the circumstances? She didn’t talk the way a real talker talks. You know… the whole whatever pops into my head I say out loud to whoever is within hearing distance … and whatever I just said will lead me to say something else… and that will make me think of something else… which I will have to tell you… which will remind me of this one time…. and then we went to…. and that’s where I met… because she is related to…. who has a gimpy leg…. heart condition… psoriasis…. crick neck… rodeo clown… died in a bull fight… orphaned in Pakistan… leeches… tractor accident… knee replacement surgery… puppet show… head lice…

She wasn’t one of those kind of talkers, but she did talk.  She attempted to cook and talk at the same time which was difficult for her.  She kept losing count of how many cups of flour she had put into the cinnamon roll dough.  She couldn’t remember whether or not she had added the salt, the baking soda, the eggs.  April and Jenni began keeping track of what she had added to her recipes, so that when she got lost, they could tell her exactly where she was.  It made me wonder what would happen if she ever tried to do any cooking videos on her blog?  She might have to film herself cooking in silence and then have someone at Pixar animate her lips to move in sync with her overdubs.  Sounds like a lot of work to me!  I was completely unable to help Ree keep track of her cups of flour as I was too busy nodding towards the talkers, and grunting at appropriate intervals, while mentally practicing modern dance steps across the patterns of light on the floor of the lodge.

Sometimes being a non-talker is physically exhausting.

Especially if you are a non-talker that is forced to make other non-talkers talk.  

It is almost like performing a one-woman puppet show… except that there are eight puppets and you have to make them all talk at the same time.  Trust me, as the world’s most reluctant puppeteer, I can tell you that this is virtually impossible.  

Unless you know how to use photoshop.  

I really don’t know where Ree falls along the spectrum of talking and non-talking.  All I know is that she struggles with cooking and talking at the same time.  

And since she loves to cook… she must not talk that much.

Oh… and Ree was my favorite.

 

Cowboy Josh  - Tall, lanky, perpetual smile, his eyes sparkle with laughter, walks like someone who spends most of their time on a horse.  He glows… he radiates a sort of joie de vivre.  What can I say?  I only spent a few hours with him and I fell hopelessly in love.  Please don’t tell the Country Doctor!

Cowboy Josh was my favorite.