Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflecting on 2010

It's funny how a year can fly by.

Looking forward, it seems like 365 days is a lifetime; but looking back, its really just a blur.

It's the last day of 2010 and I am bound and determined to make it a good one.  I have a great boss who gave me the day off, I have my family at home, I made what is going to be a to-die-for pot of chili and I have carefree night to spend with people I love.  I don't really see how it could go wrong.

Tomorrow, I plan on blogging about my goals for 2011, but today I think it is important to look back and say an extra prayer to the man upstairs for blessing me like he has. 

In the last 365 days, I have traveled the country looking at good livestock, met some of the most highly respected producers in the country, made some great memories with even better friends, spent a month in France, got to go to every cattle show imaginable, impressed myself in the reasons room, spent a week in Puerto Rico with one of the most prestigious food marketing companies in the world, said goodbye to Fargo, graduated, got engaged, moved home and started a full-time job at BEEF magazine. 

No wonder it's been a whirlwind?  Part of me, expects 2011 to be a little bit slow after this year...but I doubt it.  I have a wedding to plan, a career to establish and a life to create back home.  I am excited, I am ready and I can't wait for all the new adventures in 2011.

Enjoy your celebration tonight, I hope you spend it with all of your favorite people...but before you start planning the year to ahead, stop and remember how far you have come.  Whether it was a good year or a bad, it is now a part of you and it has changed who you now are.  Enjoy your last day of 2010.  :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas. Chirstmas. Christmas. Christmas.

I love Christmas.

I love getting everyone the perfect gift, wrapping it beautifully and setting them under the tree.  I look forward to the food, fudge and family all year.  I love playing the piano (which I am terrible at) while my family sings at Grandma's and I practice all year for the annual euchre tournament. It's my favorite time of the year.

So it's hard to admit that I am officially "Christmased" out.

Holidays + relationships=twice the parties, twice the fun, twice the food, twice the gifts and twice the running.

Christmas for Mark and I started December 10th and officially ended today.  During the 16 day stretch, we managed to celebrate with Fargo friends,  Purfeerst family, May family, my immediate family, his immediate family, my Niebur family and finally his Tatge family.   It was exhausting and I could do without fudge, oyster stew and white elephants for a least a month or two.

Now, I am not complaining, I still love Christmas and I got to spend a lot of time with this cute little girl and my family.  I am simply tired and since I am seem to be the only person in the world that has to work in the morning...I am going to bed. 

But before I climb into my comfy bed, I just want to wish you one last Merry Christmas!  I hope you all got to spend as much time with family and friends that you too are "christmased" out and that you ate so much food your pants are bulging and if not, only 364 days to wait until it all begins again! :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mission Accomplished

Approximately two months ago I wrote The Final To Do List.  At that point, the list seemed daunting and slightly unrealistic but you know me, I dream big.

Today, I can proudly say I checked nearly everything off my list and I am still proud of the two that got left standing.  Check it out below:
  • Build a website because my diploma is depending on it.  
    • Purfeerst Farms is a proud new owner of a website designed by j.may designs.  Check it out--it is a pretty good start!  I want to keep improving so let me know if you want to be a practice site!
  • Complete a major research project on social media.
    • This was one was a bit tough, but I finished it on time and got a big old A on the paper.  Want to know what I found?  Twitter isn't as popular as all of us new media junkies think.  Weird huh?
  • Dominate the Royal & Louisville. Talk three 49's in one day.
    • This is my one of my unaccomplished goals. I admit, I am disappointed for a second and then I remember the scores I did talk and totally forget it.  49,48 and 47 in cattle is pretty good too.
  • Have way to much fun. Become a Chubs regular.
    • Check and check.  I think I am the only person that graduated Summa Cum Laude from a bar and a college.
  • Get wild and maybe end up at the Northern. 
    • It wasn't wild, but I did join a certain professor and friends there for lunch.
  • Officially end a job in order to start a new one.
    • I am almost through my first full week at BEEF and haven't been an employee of BWW for nearly two.  It could have a possibility of being sad if Mark hadn't made me eat there 3 times since.  It's kind of exciting to not have to ask if you want ranch or bleu cheese anymore. :)
  • Clean, pack and move...away from my Fargo.
    • It was long, dreary and dirty...but we did it.  After 4 great years, I am no longer a resident of 1502 Dakota Drive.  I am definitely going to miss it.  Especially my own heater, my own bathroom and everything not packed in boxes...but so far home has been good, plus my car is always warm in the morning and I never make supper!  
  • Make sure the tradition of the Christmas Dinner lives on.
    • I didn't think it was going to be possible and I did hit peak stress, but oh man, the tradition continued.  It was so great!  Everyone was back, the apartment was packed and the food was delicious.  I am not guaranteeing it is going to be the same next year, but we went out with a bang.
  • Have one last Bison day.
    • School is for fools, especially when you don't have it on MWF.  I had a fair share of Bison days! :)
  • Make this an agvocate blog. 
    • I am trying and I promise it will get better.
  • Become ALUMNI ready and buy new NDSU clothes.
    • YES!  I bought the treasured NDSU sweatshirt...you know the one that is the most expensive clothing item in the store and you know you are going to wear it for the rest of your life?  The NDSU sweatshirt?  Yup...it's mine. :)  Best Christmas present I bought myself and now the BISON are as evident in my closet as they are in my heart!
  • Figure out how I am going to live with my parents.
    • We are managing.  It has been so crazy so far, I haven't had time to go insane!
  • Convince my boyfriend to marry me so I don't have to live with my parents.
    • WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  I did it!  This is the only goal I was positive I couldn't check off my list and I did it.  Somehow I must have done something extra right that night, because finally he decided he wanted to make me his wife.  I promise you there will be more details to follow.
  • Tell everyone how important they are to me...twice.
    • If I somehow missed you, this is for you--I couldn't and wouldn't be the person I am today without everyone who helped me get through NDSU, life and every exciting thing I have ever done.  Thank you. 
  • Don't mess up the GPA you worked hard (????) for.
    • I didn't and it was worth it.  The president says extra nice things to you when he shakes your hand when you are one of few that managed to graduate Summa Cum Laude.  "Impressive, Outstanding Work, So proud of you!"
  • Give about 2 million sets of reasons.
    • You could ask B. Williams to verify this, but it might have been 2 million and 1.
  • Buy a really good heifer.
    • Maybe the owner of the heifer I fell in love with is reading this and wants to cut me a deal.  Otherwise, it is a complete fail.  O well, I needed a New Year's resolution!
I am pretty happy with how far I have came in two months--life has changed drastically and I am definitely excited to see where it is headed!  Watch for more posts soon! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photographs

These are the memories I couldn't live without. These are the people I will think about when I think college. These are the cheesy smiles, crazy nights and friendships we perfected. 
This is my college career...in photographs.


















random thoughts randomly put in a blog.

I told myself I would blog today and I am not going to let myself down.  After the terrible day I had, I can't afford to disappoint myself. :)

I am so carefree lately, it is scary.  Sure my LAST DAY EVER AT BWW was one of the worst in months and then I got stuck staying til 4 and I totally winged a website I am not completely proud of and I have a 8-10 page paper due by Sunday that I haven't started...but I don't really care. 

That's fun, huh?

I just have to get through the next 12 hours and then I have a date with my two best guy friends at the Turf for lunch, a quick trip to Walmart and the mall for necessities and ALL of my favorite people back in Fargo! 

I am almost positive this is going to be an EPIC weekend to end a pretty great run at NDSU. The end is only a week away!

I just can't quite decide if I am excited for this graduation thing.  Now, I know I am ready for it.  I have prepared myself.  I have worked extremely hard the past four years to get where I am and the real world can't be that different than the intense college career I put myself through...right? 

But still, some days I don't really want to graduate.  Some days, I want to move home so badly and others I want to live with Cait and Whit forever.  Usually, I am so excited to start a full-time job and every once in a while, I am scared crapless to start that job.


Do you want to know why I think I am little scared?  It is the dumbest reason in the world...and I am blaming it all on Mark...but I really really really am dreading going to work everyday for the rest of my life.  Ten days vacation?  That is not nearly enough for this girl--especially when her bf takes off for every cattle show or agriculture event ever invented. 

I just need to breathe and relax.  It won't be that bad.  Everyone else does it and I am going to work for a great company that is right up my alley...I am so excited to be involved in the industry in such a crucial way.  But I am still scared.  Please stop judging me...it's normal I think.

However, in the mean time, I am going to live it up.  I have 10 days (minus 2 days that I work at BEEF) to be absolutely crazy, go wild and check a few things off my to do list!  And....if that means slacking on some school work...so be it. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perfection

Yesterday, I was having a bad day.  I can't completely say why.  I had a cold, got in a fight with my mother, saw my dwindling bank account in my final month of college and got annoyed by nearly everything.  It just wasn't great.  We all have those days. 

Today, I found this post.  I need to share it.  Yes, it is long, but is completely worth it.  It was written a while ago by Single Dad Laughing.  I am glad he decided to get serious for this one.  Find it here if you want to read more of his stuff--I actually highly encourage you to visit his post because the comments are just as inspiring.  

"As a warning, the following post was written in complete desperation. I have recently learned some very sobering truths from people that I love dearly. These truths have set in motion a quest within me to do whatever I can to make a change. Today is not geared at funny. Today is geared at something greater. Read it to the very end. I promise you will be affected in a way you have always needed to be. I spent more than twelve hours writing this post because its message is that important to me.

I wonder. Am I the only one aware that there is an infectious mental disease laying siege on us right now? There is a serious pandemic of "Perfection" spreading, and it needs to stop. Hear me out because this is something for which I am passionately and constantly hurting. It's a sickness that I've been trying to put into words for years without much success. It's a sickness that I have personally struggled with. It's a sickness that at times has left me hiding in dark corners and hating myself.

And chances are it's hit you too.

What is the disease called "Perfection"? Perhaps a list of its real-life symptoms will help you better understand it. We live in communities where people feel unconquerable amounts of pressure to always appear perfectly happy, perfectly functional, and perfectly figured. "Perfection" is much different than perfectionism. The following examples of "Perfection" are all real examples that I have collected from experiences in my own life, from confidential sources, or from my circle of loved ones and friends. If you actually stop to think about some of these, you will cry as I did while writing it. If you don't, maybe you're infected with way too much of this "Perfection" infection.

"Perfection" is a wife who feels trapped in a marriage to a lazy, angry, small man, but at soccer practice tells the other wives how wonderful her husband always is. "Perfection" keeps people from telling the truth, even to themselves. My husband is adorable. He called me a whore this week because I smiled at a stranger. When I started crying, he said he had a game to go watch. I love him so much.

"Perfection" is a husband who is belittled, unappreciated, and abused by his wife, yet works endlessly to make his marriage appear incredible to those around him. "Perfection" really does keep people from being real about the truth. You would have laughed, guys. She said that I suck at my job and will never go anywhere in life. Then she insinuated that I was a fat, rotting pile of crap. Isn't she the best?

"Perfection" is a daughter with an eating disorder that keeps it hidden for years because she doesn't want to be the first among her family and friends to be imperfect. She would give anything to confront it, but she can't because then the "Perfect" people would hate her as much as she hates herself for it.

"Perfection" is when a son has a forbidden addiction, and despises himself for it. "Perfection" makes us believe that nobody else could understand what it is like to be weak and fall prey to the pressures of the world.

"Perfection" is a man who loathes himself for feeling unwanted attraction toward other men.

"Perfection" is a couple drowning in debt, but who still agree to that cruise with their friends because the words "we don't have the money" are impossible ones to push across their lips.

"Perfection" is a mom hating herself because she only sees that every other mom around her is the perfect mother, the perfect wife, and the perfect neighbor. I'd give anything to be Mrs. Jones. Today she ran 34 miles, cooked six complete meals, participated in a two-hour activity with each of her seven children, hosted a marriage class with her husband, and still had time to show up for Bunco. What this mom doesn't know is that Mrs. Jones is also at home crying right now because the pressure to be "Perfect" never lets up.

"Perfection" is a dad hating himself because he can't give the same thing to his kids that other dads do, and then hates himself further because he takes his self-loathing out on his kids behind closed doors. You know what would have been nice? If you were never born. Do you realize how much money I'd have right now? Now come give Daddy a hug because I can force you to give me validation.

"Perfection" is a child hating herself because the boys at school call her fat, and when she goes home she tells her mom that school was fine. Her mom never stops to question why her daughter doesn't have any friends, becaue her mom doesn't want to think that anything might be less than "Perfect".

"Perfection" is a man feeling like a smaller man because his neighbor just pulled in with a new boat.

"Perfection" is a woman who is so overwhelmed that she thinks about killing herself daily. "Perfection" makes it so that she never will because of the things people will think if she does. How could I make my suicide look like an accident? If I kill myself, I don't want anybody knowing that I ever had any problems. She never stops to look at why she wants to do it, because healing means admitting imperfection.

"Perfection" is a man who everybody heralds as perfect, and inside he is screaming to be seen as the faulty human being that he always has been. Because to no longer be "the perfect one", that would be freeing.

"Perfection" is a woman having an affair because she's too afraid to confront the imperfection in her marriage.

"Perfection" is a twelve-year-old boy killing himself because he is ashamed that he can't stop masturbating.

Stop, and read that one again.

There is a twelve-year-old boy buried 20 miles from where I sit because the "Perfection" that has infected the people around him infected him to the point that he deemed his own life worthless. "Perfection" pushed him to take his own life over something most of us would consider negligible in the life of any teenage boy.

"Perfection" is my friend's cousin swallowing hundreds of pills because she just got the news that she was pregnant, out of wedlock, and the shame was too much to bear. She was only attempting to cause a miscarriage. 24 hours later, she closed her eyes and never opened them again. She is dead because of the "Perfection" infecting those around her. We'd rather you die than shame this family. Thanks for taking care of that, honey. By the way, we'll do the right thing and make ourselves out to be the victims now. We have to. We're infected with "Perfection".

I could go on. This is all a small sampling of the disease called "Perfection". You have brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, extended family members, neighbors, friends, and children who are ALL these things, yet none of us will ever know. "Perfection" is a hideous monster with a really beautiful face. And chances are you're infected. The good news is, there is a cure.

Be real.

Embrace that you have weakness. Because everybody does. Embrace that your body is not perfect. Because nobody's is. Embrace that you have things you can't control. We all have a list of them.

Here's your wake-up call:

You aren't the only one who feels worthless sometimes.

You aren't the only one who took your frustrations out on your children today.

You aren't the only one who isn't making enough money to support your lifestyle.

You aren't the only one who has questions and doubts about your religion.

You aren't the only one who sometimes says things that really hurt other people.

You aren't the only one who feels trapped in your marriage.

You aren't the only one who gets down and hates yourself and you can't figure out why.

You aren't the only one that questions your sexual orientation.

You aren't the only one who hates your body.

You aren't the only one that can't control yourself around food.

Your husband is not the only husband who's addiction sends him online for his sexual fulfillment instead of to you.

Your wife is not the only wife that is mean and vindictive and makes you hate yourself.

Why didn't somebody, anybody, put their arm around that 12-year old boy and let him know that they loved him and would always love him? What was he being told and taught that he would end his own life over something that almost no teenager can control? Maybe that beautiful and wonderful boy would still be alive if even one person had broken down the "Perfection" that completely controlled all those in his life from whom he desperately craved validation.

Why didn't somebody, anybody, tell a beautiful pregnant girl that there was nothing so big in life that it couldn't be made right. Maybe that incredible young woman would still be alive. Maybe her now one-year-old child would be learning to walk or say "Mommy" right now. Maybe.

Maybe.

The cure is so simple.

Be real.

Be bold about your weaknesses and you will change people's lives. Be honest about who you actually are, and others will begin to be their actual selves around you. Once you cure yourself of the disease, others will come to you, asking if they can just "talk". People are desperate to talk. Some of the most "perfect" people around you will tell you of some of the greatest struggles going on. Some of the most "perfect" people around you will break down in tears as they tell you how difficult life is for them. Turns out some of the most "perfect" people around us are human beings after all, and are dying to talk to another human being about it.

You'll love them for it. And you'll love yourself even more.

Let's not forget this quote: "I went out to find a friend and could not find one there. I went out to be a friend, and friends were everywhere." Somebody who is being a friend doesn't spread "Perfection". Somebody who is being a friend spreads "Real". Then, and only then, can we all grow together.

I am not perfect, nor do I want anybody to think of me as such. Here's my dose of real:

I once stole a box of money that was meant for a child with cancer. There was more than $150 inside. That was 12 years ago, and I still hate the person in me that did that.

I believe in God, but not religion. It took me 30 years to find the courage to say that. It took me 30 years to believe that I could be a good man and still believe that.

I once got so angry at my wife that I hit the wall. The dent is still there, haunting me every time I see it because I never thought that was something I would do.

I once sat in my bedroom crying uncontrollably because I felt like everybody thought I was fat and ugly. I was a full grown man.

There are some people I avoid bumping into in public because I feel like I'm not as good as them.

I judge people harshly who share the same features that I hate about myself.

Sometimes I'm sad. Sometimes I'm not funny. Sometimes I just want to be alone. Sometimes I stay at home on a weekend because I just don't want to see the "Perfection" going on around me. Sometimes I want to drop-kick a perfect person's head across the room.

"Perfection" infects every corner of society. It infects our schools. It infects neighborhoods. It infects our workplaces. This is not to say that there aren't a lot of genuinely, happy people. I am one of those people. Most of the time. There is nothing more beautiful than a person finding true happiness in who they are and what they believe. No, this is not me trying to diminish the happiness in others. This is merely me pathetically attempting to put a face on a problem that I see everywhere but few people ever notice.

This is me, weeping as I write, asking the good people of the world to find somebody to put their arm around and be "real". This is me, wishing that people would realize how beautiful they are, even with all of their imperfections. This is me, sad and desperate for the girls in this world to love themselves. This is me, a very imperfect man, trying to help others feel a little more perfect by asking you to act a little less perfect.

Will you help me spread "Real"? Tell us below just how perfect you aren't. You never know who might be alive tomorrow because you were real today. You never know who needs to feel like they aren't alone in their inability to be perfect. Even if you comment as an anonymous guest, please comment. Tell us what you struggle with. Tell a sad or dark secret. Get vulnerable. Get real. Let's see if we can get 10,000 people showing the world that we're not defined by perfection.

And please, share this post on Facebook, twitter, and your blog. If you want the people around you to start being real, you have to be real first. I believe in the power of numbers and that enough people reading it might actually help shake down a few of the problems we cause for each other. If it's your first time here, we'd love to have you follow us. I promise it's not always this intense (or nearly this long). I'll post something really funny tomorrow."

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing Being Real

FOLLOW-UP NOTE: One week after I originally posted this article, I posted a response called The CURE for "Perfection". Click here to read it and be part of the cure.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

my.life.is.loopy.

The past 72 hours have been crazy.

I have successfully spent time with my family, Mark's family and the whole town of Randolph.  I have rushed down water slides and rode on a lazy river.  I have conquered the flu.  And by conquer I mean just barely survived...good luck if you catch that bug..it's nasty. I have driven to Fargo in white-out conditions going a mere 30-mph on Interstate 94.  I have built a website.  Yes, a real one.  I have worked one of my last shifts at BWW.

And I have basically gone loopy.  No joke.

So, can you blame me when today (at 3 in the afternoon) I decided to go to the liquor store and buy Bailey's to put in my coffee?  It seemed to make perfect sense; but it would because I seriously have the most illogical thoughts right now.

Plus, Teddy gave me 10% off at Chubs Pub.  Yes...that only equals tax but I was easily fooled.

I wish I could say that "I just need to graduate!" but if my brain's current state continues with me post-NDSU, I am going to be in trouble.

And this is the end because I was going to write more...but I lost my focus.  Go figure?

Hopefully tomorrow will be a more productive day where I clean my apartment, rebuild the website I built yesterday, do homework, etc.  I doubt it but one can always hope.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Headed East & Down

My bags are packed.

My jeans are starched.

My homework is done.

My wedding card is sent.

My boots are polished.

My prayers are said.

And half of my 2 million sets are given--the other half will be given this week.

I am off to Louisville...I am nervous...but I a mainly excited.  No matter what happens next Monday, I am so happy with the decision I made last fall.  Imagine where I would be if I hadn't decided to be on this team...?  Here goes everything...wish me luck! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

How much is a Stamp?

I found the most ridicoulous thing today.

There is a whole website dedicated to the current cost of a stamp--and that is it.

One page.  About 10 words.  3 advertised links.

REALLY?  Who pays the yearly fee to keep that site activated?

Check it out at http://howmuchisastamp.com.  Simple enough url, huh?  Or and if you want you can follow them on Twitter, they currently have one tweet. 

Just so you know, a stamp is currently 44 cents...which I momentarily forget...hence why I googled "how much is a stamp."  My dumbness is growing, but give me some credit, Forever Stamps don't say the cost.


So maybe you should all bookmark the site, I bet you could get a lot of use out of it.  :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Photographs

I have a friend that is an excellent photographer.

That's a lie...I have quite a few excellent friends that take excellent pictures...but this blog is dedicated to one friend in particular.  She is cute, little and pretty spunky...and she has got quite the eye.


I can't help but share her talent with you...she has done an AMAZING job of capturing Saddle and Sirloin's story.  I bet most of you don't even need captions...her pictures tell it all.  Watch out for Liz Seamand's in the future, this lady is going places.  :)


By the way...I will give a prize to the first person who can tell me what the song their singing in photo seven?  Every BISON better know it! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Life ain't always beautiful...

Sometimes it just lets you down.  

I am sure those lyrics aren't right.  But if you know anything about me, you know I don't know the words to any song and I don't really care to either.

Today, those words fit best so they get to stay.  It's their lucky day.

And it hasn't really been mine.  

But through good and bad, this blog and I have to stick together.  So here's your disclaimer--I have no crazy good news; I haven't won a thousand dollars because a cow pooped on my square, I haven't flown to Puerto Rico lately and my room is not clean.  But just the same, I have been making it and learning something new everyday.  Here it goes...

We returned home from out trip to the American Royal and took a lot from our day in Kansas City.  As a team, we had some highs and some lows.  As an individual, I had some highs and lows.  Which brings me to LESSON #1: Every moment is important.  Every class counts.  Every steer needs to be evaluated.  Every score adds up.  I had a decent day at the Royal, especially in the room.  I had dropped 24 points on 7 sets.  I reaped the benefits in the sheep division as 3rd High Individual.  My eighth score hurt me...a lot.  I was one of the last set's of the day...and I lied my butt off.  My reasons taker put up his feet, looked away and pretty much marked his card as soon as I said my placing.  I promise you--I will not be taking a single set, class or animal for granted at Louisville.  

After the Royal, I also got to experience LESSON #2.   People you love are going to hurt you.  It's up to you how you overcome it.  It isn't an option to push family, friends or boyfriends out of your life just because they make you mad and  I knew I had no choice but to forgive, move on and hope for better...but those things are easier said to done.  Sometimes only time can heal an open wound.

Back in Fargo this week, I learned one of the best lessons yet...LESSON #3: Your job is to make your boss's job easier.  A wise friend from Angus told me this before I left that summer, but I never really realized how true it is before this month.  BWW (Buffalo Wild Wings) has been crazy lately.  A new store opened, the old store was completely renovated, a million (maybe more) new cashiers have frantically become waitress in quest for a full staff and our manager has literally spent days on end at the store.  

Now I have worked hard for BWW the last 2 years, but in return I have took full advantage of all the flexibility they gave me in scheduling.  They have treated me well and I have got Christmas, Easter, summers and every cow show in between off--and I have never felt bad about it...until lately.  Literally, I can't convince myself to take an unneeded day off to prepare for Louisville, because I do NOT want to give my manager or my co-workers any more stress.  And regardless of how terrible the moral at BWWs might be right now,  I am proud that I work for a company and a manager I respect that much.


Finally, LESSON #4: Love can never work without work.  Time isn't a bond that guarantees forever.  Forever only happens if you work at forever...and if you don't it can slip away.  Life can change people and the only way that friends/relationships/couples don't have to change is to realize that people change. Accept it and make the best of it.  Make it work.   


Okay.  That's all I have friends.  Sorry it isn't uplifting, advocating or funny...but hopefully meaningful just the same. 


P.S.  Thanks for reading.  You don't know how much it means to get a comment or a reply.  :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Time

A goal is simply a dream with a deadline.

I leave for Kansas City tomorrow at 6 am.  Louisville is three short weeks away. Mr. Napoleon Hill hit it right on the head--it's time to make this dream a reality.  Wish me luck...talk to you soon. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Heart Herefords.

If you didn't know...I like cattle.

I like to show cattle.  I like to raise cattle.  I like to judge cattle.  I like to fit cattle.  I like to write about cattle.   I basically like anything to do with an animal that has four legs, moos and preferably has really good hair :)

So accordingly, I had a pretty fantastic weekend.  I not only was surrounded by really good cattle each day, but I got to spend that time with my family, teammate and boyfriend..and this cute little girl.  I couldn't ask for much more.

And like a cherry on top of an already great cake...I got to spend the majority of my time with Hereford cattle.  To me, that makes it perfect.

Now, admittedly I have spent a lot of my time with the American Angus Association, the Purfeerst family and CAB and sure, I do enjoy a really good black heifer; but there is something about Herefords that pull at my heart.  Especially good Herefords and trust me, I saw a lot of them Saturday & Sunday.

My team got to spend Saturday at Topp Herefords out of Grace City, ND judging some excellent Hereford bull calves.  These genetics will later go on to sell at one of the most profitable and productive Hereford bull sales in the nation.  I was in heaven (except I wanted to bring them home and make them steers).

On Sunday, I snuck home to see Jas and Matt show at the MN Beef Expo, which happened to be featuring the Hereford breed.  Kuddos to the MN Hereford Association for their awesome work and participation.  It was impressive to see the quantity and quality of Hereford cattle...and they did an excellent job of promoting their breed.  They even had a huge, blown-up Hereford bull behind the show ring to compliment the Certified Hereford Beef promotions everywhere.




Hopefully, I see lots of good Herefords in Kansas and down the road.  And who knows....my little brothers girlfriend may be the Hereford Queen soon too!?   Good Luck Mattie :)  I wanted to buy a heifer this year...and trust me after this weekend, it is definitely going to be red and white.  However, Marko says the only way he will raise Herefords is if they are REALLY good...I see no problem with that though, we might just have to be a little picky.  I can't wait to add a little color to his herd down the road... :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deals. New Clothes. Deals. New Clothes. Deals.

I was crabby today.

I don't really know why, but I was.  It probably had a lot to do with people annoying me and not doing things I wished they would, but that's not the point.  The point is that I was crabby.

And when I get crabby, I like to shop.

And seeing that I have finally completely paid off my France trip and textbooks, I figured I had no reason not to shop today.

And since I made money at work today and have no bills to pay and currently do not see the value of a savings account (no need to yell at me, I know it's stupid) it only seemed logical to go to Forever 21.

Forever 21 just opened in the Fargo Mall and it's been huge hit.  My roommate, Cait, who works there, said on the first day they had over a quarter million in sales.  Seriously, this is the best thing that has happened to shopping in the state of ND in years!  Sure, I am usually not that big of a fan of Forever 21.  We, in the civilized state of MN, have had it for years and the Mall of America store is usually just a cluttered mess.

However, post-visit, I can confidently say the Fargo Forever 21 is pretty impressive.

And I stopped being crabby because I found a sweet shirt.

Which, put me in the shopping mood.

So, I came home and checked on a vest I have been wanting.  IT WAS ON SALE!  I bought 4.

Before you get too wild, know 1 was for me and were 3  were for friends.  Our $34.50 + shipping vests came out to $23 a piece. SUPER SAVINGS.

So I figured I am on a shopping roll, so why not check on some jackets my team and I wanted to order and no joke, I got jackets that normally cost $46.00 + shipping for $37.  GREAT DEAL. 


So point of the post...I am no longer crabby, I have lots of clothes coming in the mail, I have happy friends and I am still a strong believer in retail therapy and the positive effects of a darn good deal.  :)

Cows + Airplanes = Kazakhstan

Sure, I understand some of you may be wondering what's the connection.

In fact, some of you may be wondering what's Kazakhstan...? 

And I wouldn't laugh at you if you didn't know it is the ninth largest country in the world and borders Russia....because I had to look it up on the map myself.  :)  So you are forgiven....

Back to the cows though, their unusual presence at the Hector International Airport has been making headlines.  But heck...I agree, it's not everyday a bred Hereford heifer gets to board a plane and go to Kazakhstan.

 Photo by Red River Farm Network

It's all because Global Beef Consultants, LLC and Missouri River Feedlots of Hensler, ND have expanded their market well beyond the traditional agriculture states and have sent the first of many bred females to Akmola Oblast, Kazakhstan.  In fact, this ambitious project will send over 2,000 head of North Dakota's genetics to Kazahkstan to jumpstart their beef industry within the next year.  Yes, that's a lot of airplanes...

Let's just say, it redefines progressive.  


Many of my friends and ND cattleman have helped load and secure the bred heifers for departure.  They ride across the pond in a 747 and are held in wooden crates with 3-6 females per pen.  160 heifers rode on the inaugural flight on October 12th and they have at least one flight scheduled per week for the next month. 

Photo by Red River Farm Network

Photo by Red River  Farm Network

Now, as a North Dakota State University communications student...I admit I haven't studied a lot about the economics of this state.  However, my experience with breeders and state communication specialists have taught me how important the climates and countries on the same latitude as us are on our economy.  A lot of farmers, engineers and marketers share ideas, genetics and equipment in order to successfully conquer the challenging and harsh conditions.  So, why not share cattle?  Not only will it be a huge and immediate jump start to Kazakhstan's cattle industry, but imagine the impact on ours.

I am proud of North Dakota agriculture for embracing a market opportunity and making it a profitable venture for their state.  I read an article that claimed the best part of this multi-million dollar deal was that it reminded North Dakotans that their economy isn't just about oil...it's about agriculture as well. North Dakota have always been a state based on livestock and that will always remain.

Now that's something to talk about.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Final To Do List

ATTENTION: In approximately one month, I will begin my career, my future and everything I have been waiting for.  It will kind of be a big day in my life.

Basically, I say a prayer everyday that it will be everything I dream about.   However, I am certain in will be.  Why?  Because we make our own destiny and I truly have nothing standing in my way.

Well...except a few goals I need to accomplish between now and then.  They include:

  • Build a website because my diploma is depending on it.
  • Complete a major research project on social media.
  • Dominate the Royal & Louisville. Talk three 49's in one day.
  • Have way to much fun. Become a Chubs regular.
  • Get wild and maybe end up at the Northern.
  • Officially end a job in order to start a new one.
  • Clean, pack and move...away from my Fargo.
  • Make sure the tradition of the Christmas Dinner lives on.
  • Have one last Bison day.
  • Make this an agvocate blog.
  • Become ALUMNI ready and buy new NDSU clothes.
  • Figure out how I am going to live with my parents.
  • Convince my boyfriend to marry me so I don't have to live with my parents.
  • Tell everyone how important they are to me...twice.
  • Don't mess up the GPA you worked hard (????) for.
  • Give about 2 million sets of reasons.
  • Buy a really good heifer.
    It's all totally doable.  I just need to get focused and do it.  It all starts now.

    So I cleaned my room, bought myself some coffee and delicious creamer and put on my productive clothes...and then I paid off my credit card!  One step closer to becoming an adult :)  A trip to France is expensive people!  And now...I need to go work on that GPA thing.  Next week is going to be crazy...Kansas City here we come!  I will be back soon--I have a feeling a lot of procrastinating will take place in the next two days!

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Crazy Beautiful Life

    My life has been a race lately.

    No actually, my life has been a marathon.

    You see a race has an end in sight...these past ten days have been nothing but a major test of my endurance.  A 26.3 mile run across the country which included two flights, four long drives, two twelve and eights, hundreds of new faces and a once brand new judging notebook filled with classes.

    And...it only took me twelve days to complete.  Do you think this means I can cross "run a marathon" off my bucket list?  Probably not.  :)

    However, this blog is not about how busy I have been (I complain about that much to much!) but instead about how truly blessed I am. 

    The last few days have been great reminders of what truly is important in life and how valuable each new moment is--and that every once in a while, I need to stop and take a water break and remember how great my life is.

    I may be busy...but here is the thing, I am busy looking at really good livestock, traveling with some amazing friends, getting to learn every last thing possible before I graduate, traveling to Puerto Rico, listening to truly motivating stories and giving my life a reason.  And my hectic life is filled with people I absolutely love.  If it wasn't great enough to spend a weekend in paradise with so many people passionate about the beef industry, but then I get to come home to my happy family and a beautiful roommate.  What more could a girl ask for??

    Yes, sleep would be nice.  But I did get some of that last night cuddled up to my favorite boy...so I should be set in that category for a week or so now too :)

    So how is that for a little perspective?  I may have not slept in the same bed for more than 2 nights in a row for the last 12 days but  I am blessed to be healthy, have a great family to come home to, a very good looking boyfriend that picks me up every time I fly home and a month just as full to look forward to!  Oh and another positive...I haven't got bed bugs, yet! They say with my lifestyle, this could be a problem...yuck.

    Here is the thing, tonight before I go to bed I am going to say my prayers for Kyle and everyone else out there who really needs a break and then I am going to thank god for each and every one of you that have made my crazy life...a crazy beautiful life

    So why don't you stop and think about life in a new perspective.  You could be 17 again facing all those new life challenges or sitting by a hospital bed praying for someone you love or feeling totally alone...but I bet your not.  I bet you are surrounded by a overwhelming support group that gets you through your day...so take a little time to appreciate them and enjoy each new moment you are given.

    "Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.”  --Storm Jameson

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Road Block

    Uurgh.

    I need to write a speech...and the words just won't come out right. 

    It's so frustrating. 

    Any words of wisdom to inspire me would be greatly appreciated....

    Until then I am going to open another work document and try again. 

    I Place This Class of Crossbred Market Hogs 3421.

    I actually placed that class of crossbred market hogs wrong.


    And it wasn't the only class that I placed wrong that day that I still had to march into the reasons room and tell the officials why I felt the need to disagree with them so strongly.  On that particular Crossbred Market Hogs class, I simple busted it (which in the judging world means you messed up only 3 of 4 of them and didn't kill yourself but basically took yourself out of the top ten) and managed not to sound like too much of a fool in the reasons room.  I unfortunately can't say for one of my sets.

    I was pretty disappointed in myself and I didn't really know what to think.

    It only took a day and I decided that I needed to sound like a fool this weekend at the National Barrow Show.  Why?  I needed a reminder on why I am doing this and how hard I still need to work.  I didn't stick around for another semester for nothing.  Not only do I want another piece of hardware, but I want to know I did the best I could and be proud of myself.  I was not too proud Monday afternoon when I walked out of my last set thinking I talked really well...only too find out I simple busted every single class I so confidently just got done explaining.

    Here is the thing...I have been so blessed in my past 22 years and have not experienced a devastating amount of hardships.  I haven't got declined from many jobs, have an amazing boyfriend, have won my fair share of awards and somehow I have consistently done well in school.  I think sometimes when life gets that good we just start to expect it to stay that good...without doing the work needed.

    Whether it is a steer, paper, judging class or job....you can't succeed without a little determination and a lot of hard work.  I learned it the hard way this weekend and I am hoping I can save you from the trouble as well.  I strongly encourage you to take a moment while your reading this and think about something you could work just a little bit harder at--and then do it.
     
    Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it.        -Unknown

    You can take my word I will be prepared when we hit the road to Kansas.  :)


    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    I'm Back...Again.

    Long time, no blog.

    Have you noticed the trend?

    You know, "the wait a really long time between each post so you can start each post with 'long time no see/talk/blog'" trend?  If not, you obviously aren't one of my loyal eight followers that read my random and sporadic thoughts on life.

    Sorry again!  I have a good excuse this time and it is that my roommates and I are way to cheap to get internet (yet) and I have no connection to the outside world except through my Blackberry.  It makes it pretty rough to blog, Facebook creep and stay on top of my two online classes and it makes me spend most of my nights in the IACC...which is where I currently am sitting.  Room 114 to be precise. 

    So while I am here I will give you a quick update on life and then, after this I promise weekly blogs will solve this problem of disconnect! :)


    1.  I moved back to Fargo on August 14th.  I started judging practice on August 15th and my life has been crazy every since.  If you think I am joking, ask my roommates.  I see them for maybe 20 minutes each day.  I run from work to judging to meetings to homework and then do it all again the next day.  It's really not too bad.  It's saving me from having to many late nights at Chubs mainly.

    2.  And just saying the word Chubs makes me miss last year and the girls and everything about my senior year.  I feel old.  I know I am not and I know in approximately 4 months I will feel extremely young and inexperienced, but for now, when I load in a car with a bunch of minors to go to a house party, I feel antique.  And then I feel even older than antique when those younguns (like Kelcey Holm) ask me if I feel old.  Here is my plea--to my old friends that always made me feel young--COME BACK.  I miss you terribly.  I miss Mary Berg, especially, after this crummy judging weekend.  I miss apartment 13.  I miss my crazy Montana friend.  NDSU misses you too.  



    3.  BWangs (Buffalo Wild Wings) is taking over my days.  I know this isn't a profitable job for me at this time, but it will make due until my real job begins.

    4.  Which brings me to my biggest news yet--I am a future full-time employee of BEEF Magazine. Seriously, it's amazing.  My goal was to have a job before I came back this semester and I do.  How is that possible in this economy with soooo many good applicants?  I don't know, but I am smiling ear to ear. :)  

    5.  My favorite time of the year came and went and it was just as good as always.  The MN State Fair is (by far hands down no use arguing with me) the best twelve days of summer.  And it didn't let me down in 2010. Jason and Matt both had an excellent year.  Matt was Reserve Supreme Breeding Heifer and Jason sold his steer on the Purple Ribbon Auction and was Reserve Senior Showman.  I was pretty proud of them both!  Check out the MN State Fair 4-H website for more pictures.




    Jason with his Middleweight Friction Steer at MN State Fair 4-H Show.



    Matt with his Saugahatchee x Lutton Angus Heifer at MN State Fair 4-H Show.  

    6.  I started my final judging season this weekend at the National Barrow Show and well, it can only go up from here!  :)

    Alright that's all I got for now folks.  Please look for motivating, exciting and sarcastic posts in the near future.  My mind is filled with things to say.  Enjoy your week!  Friday is closer than you think....


    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    Home Grown Goodness

    I have really big news to share... Mark and I planted a garden and finally have something to show for it!

    Yep...real vegatables.  We have cucumbers, acorn squash, lots of jalepenos, bell peppers, roma tomatos and cherry tomatos.  I guess you could say I am a proud mother.  I even took pictures :)


    Here is our solo squash and I really hoping we get more.  There are lots of flowers so I am hoping that means at least a few more squash for us!  It is by far the biggest plant in our little patch, but it probably should be because this is also one of the only original plants left after Mark's "accident". 

    Let me explain.  Mark and I planted the garden just one short week before I left for my France adventures. It was a really big step for us and a really big under taking for Marko, but he never has food at his house and I love fresh veggies from the garden.  Plus, I knew I was going to want something to do at his house all summer!  So, I left all those fragile plants in his care and made him promise he would water it every day, weed and most importantly not kill anything. 

    To make a long story short, he killed nearly everything in the month.  How?  Well, it's really so Mark.

    Mark grew up on a very large crop farm, his family raises over 2500 acres of corn and soybeans each year and every spring and summer his Dad heads out and does his spraying to either kill the weeds or fertilize the fields.  To them, and most farmers, this is the most economical way to produce their crops.  And truly their system works well.  Well, my boy Mark decided to apply that same system to our little 6 foot by 6 foot garden. 

    He started commenting that the garden wasn't growing very fast (he has no patience) and decided to take it into his own hands and help along Mother Nature.  I mean I understand his thought process "If that fertilizer worked on the field corn, why wouldn't it work on our squash and tomotoes?"  Well, it probably would have worked except he applied it a little too heavy.

    Needless to say, our fresh-grown veggies are not "organic" and got a little bit of a late start, but the garden looked as good as new (and 80 percent was) when I returned!   Despite the little setback, Mark did a great job keeping up the garden when I was gone and now we are about to have delicious food to enjoy!  Here is some more pictures...



    My favorite: cherry tomatoes.  It's so hard to wait for these little guys to turn red....are there any tricks to help them along?  I don't think we are going to have any even make it to the house!



    Now, you have to look closely to see the green peppers.  We only have a few of them coming in, but honestly, that's okay because I don't know what to do with them anyways.  Any advice?

    Now on the other hand, the jalepenos are growing like wild!  I am so excited to try the stuffed jalepenos my Texas friends suggested to me! I hope they are good because the only other thing I know what to do with jalepenos is make salsa.  Next year, we are going to have to be a little smarter with our plant choices.  :)

    And speaking of next year, we already have BIG things in mind.  For a boy who wanted me to plant my vegatables around the flag pole, he really has taken to the gardening.  However, next year is a long way away and until then we will patiently wait for our cucumbers to get fatter and our tomatoes to turn red!  Fresh veggies from the garden are the best...even if they aren't organic :)