Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Last Show

I am coming to terms with the fact that my next two to three years are going to be fulls with "lasts".

My last show, last day of class, last night in my apartment, last Wednesday night with my S/S family, last drive home from Fargo, last night out with the girls, last judging contest...the list is going to be endless.  I have come to that time in my life when most things will be bittersweet. 

Two weekends ago I experienced a big last for me--my last show ever as a junior exhibitor.  Ever. 

Surprisingly, it was an AMAZING way to end what has become my life in the last 15 years.

The Minnesota Junior Spring Classic (MJSC) is one of the largest junior shows in Minnesota.  This year we had over 265 head of cattle and 190 youth participate.  I know all these stats because I was able to be a committee member for this year's MJSC and got to witness all the behind the scene action that goes into a cattle show.  Let me warn you, it is not as easy as it looks!  Especially, when your show is growing so rapidly each year.

  • In 2008, we had around 120 head of cattle and two rings and the show was over by noon.
  • In 2009, we had approximately 190 head of cattle and one rings and the ended by 3 pm.
  • In 2010, we had 265 head of cattle and one ring and the show ended at 7 pm.
 We are not complaining though--this is a GREAT problem to have!

Last night, we had a conference call to wrap-up the show and we had a ton to talk about and things will definitely have to change in the future to compensate for our growth, but I think everything will only help our show.  Luckily, I was able to be on the committee with some really great people (even Marko) and though it is a lot of work it was a lot of fun.

Seeing that I am going to be old (22) soon, this was also my last show as a junior.  I will admit that my family isn't very active in the junior program and instead we are very active in 4-H shows.  Hence, my emotional goodbye to 4-H after my last state fair three years ago!  :)  I did manage to convince Jason to let me pull some heifers through the ring since then and have continued to be his wing woman at the fitting chute.  We are getting to be a pretty good team and definitely enjoy working together!  Sure, I think this happiness has just came about in the last year or two...but I like the switch :)

MJSC has always been one of my favorite shows to attend--it is the perfect way to start our summer show season.  Plus, ever since I was little I have wanted to win the chute that the Champion Senior Showperson wins.  This is always one of the most competitive showmanship contests in the state because everyone is required to stay until the show ends and because of that everyone tries their luck at showmanship.  The winner wins a brand new chute donated by Sullivan's Supply, a embroidered chair by Sanctified Design and a traveling trophy.  This trophy has the name's of some of the best showman in the state--it's a pretty cool piece to have in your house!

After trying for who knows how many years, I finally won!  It was a perfect way to end my junior career!  I was super excited and I am so thankful that I had an opportunity to show one last year!  Jas was pretty pumped too because we needed a new chute! ;)

As I drove back up to school the next day, I couldn't help but to think about all the amazing people I have met because of showing cattle.  While not everybody loves Dakota County (the best in in Minnesota :) ) as much as me, I personally feel I was pretty blessed to be part of such a competitive county 4-H program.  I have this great "show family" that I have grown up with, some of who have become my very best friends.  I can't imagine spending my summers any other way.  Chicky and Blake and the boys, Fox's, the Hawkin's clan, Marthaler's, my best friend Miss Alyssa Bigelow, Mark & Matt, the Donnelly boys, Jason and Dad ...the list goes on and on.  I have taken more road trips with these people than I can count and I have loved every bit of it!  My family "vacations" have always been to a cattle show--Aksarben, Beef Expo, Sioux Falls, Brooking, North Star Classic, FFA Show, Open Class, 4-H, MJSC, Rochester--pretty much everywhere important! :)  Plus, I have met so many great people and honestly, nothing is better than spending an afternoon at a cattle show. 

Truly, this has been the best project I could have ever got involved in.  It has fostered my passion for agriculture and taught me so many valuable life skills.  Most of my successes have been because of this industry and the people that are part of it.  I owe so much to the people who have I spent the last 15 summers of my life with and the fun we have had in the cattle barn on the show box could never be replaced. 

MJSC might have been my last junior show, but Jason said he will still let me show in open class (what a generous brother) and I will still be there to "oversee" his projects.  And sooner or later (like 10 years at least) I will be getting my own kids up to rinse the cattle and put them in the cooler.  Actually, if Mark had his way we would adopt a kid who could start showing for us now but don't worry, I promise you he is not getting his way! :) 

Alright, I have my lovely roommate (Cait, there is your "shout out") waiting for me so I have to run! Remember tomorrow is Friday--the weekend is ALMOST here!  Talk to you soon...I promise to write again soon! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Long Time, No Talk

I am sorry for my absence. It's just that my life has been a little hectic lately.

Mainly it was just really hectic last week.

I had the Minnesota Junior Spring Classic  two weekends ago (which deserves it's own blog for sure).  So I drove home.  Then Mark got free tickets to a Wednesday night Twins game that I couldn't miss, so I drove home for that too.  Finally, Miss Avery May turned one last week and we had her big birthday party on I drove home for that.

Lots of road time.
Thus, I was missing in action.

But, I did get to see a lot of my family, the Purfeerst family, Mark, Avery, I94 and cows, which are worth the drive every time! I also have had a ton of school stuff to do lately and I know I won't be able to go home until after graduation and then I leave again for a month in France, so I didn't mind seeing my family as much as I could.

School stuff is getting a little out of control lately.  I am in the heat of my HUGE advertising project and I have group meetings every night for hours!  Next Wednesday at 7 pm will be the best moment of my life.  This campaign has been a major learning experience for me.  I haven't had to work in a group with a project of this magnitude in a while and I needed a reminder of how important patience is.  I am going to be so happy to be done with it (most likely because May 5th is also the last S/S meeting and dance that evening and I am going to live it up with my girls!)!!

Despite this overload of homework, I promise I will become a better blogger!    Later tonight, I will catch you up on the Minnesota Junior Spring Classic and what a MAJOR success it was!  So until then...have a glorious Wednesday!

Until then--enjoy this picture of Avery May enjoying her birthday cake!  She is such a doll and loved the chocolate cow she got to devour!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day American Farmers!

I have a million things to say today...but once again I have little time to write. However, even with everything filling my mind I do want to take a second to celebrate Earth Day with all of my fellow agriculturalists out there!

This is the first year I have seen all of us cling so closely to this important holiday and I am glad we are using it to tell our story, because really who are better environmentalists then the farmer!?   Who is more concerned about making the land better for the next generation than the dad who is planning on handing his family's farm down to his son?  Who cares more about keeping our land healthy and sustainable than all of us who depend on this year's crop to feed our families?

Farmers have cared about our environment long before the green fad hit with the energy efficient light bulbs or the decomposable Sun Chips bags.  Farmers have known the importance of maintaining the land that they raise crops on and graze their cattle on for years and to ensure that sustainability they plant wind breaks, unitize the best technologies to use the least amount of resources, and constantly think about our fuels and wastes.  Why? Because sustainable agriculture not only effects our profits, but it also guarantees that future generations will have a farm to come home--and trust me that is often a family's biggest priority.  I am learning more and more about what the Purfeerst's do to ensure that their farm will be there for another hundred years to come and I know they are not alone.

So today as you celebrate Earth Day, congratulate yourself on a job well done!  Take time to think about what you do or what you could do and appreciate the land we have preserved for future generations!  Earth Day is a day to celebrate sustainable living and I can't think of a better occupation that does this--Happy Earth Day American Farmers! 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bad Days Eventually Turn into Good Ones.

Alright, I will admit I have been pretty crabby lately.  I just couldn't catch a break.  My days were starting at 7 am and not a moment to breathe until I closed down BWW (Buffalo Wild Wings) at 1 am.  It was becoming a little too demanding and it was definitely getting to me.

I mean this is bound to happen right?  You can only run so long until you need a breathing break.  It was that time for me.  I was becoming a Negative Nancy and when I woke up this morning I was trying so hard to find a day to look forward to....and the first day that seemed like a break was at least 10 days away.  Urrgh!  I then subconsciously decided I was avoiding my friends to save them from my crabbiness because as most of you know it can get a little bad. :)

However, I have good news.  I am currently sitting on my couch with the Food Channel on, a Jimmy John's sub beside me and a Blue Moon to wash it all down.  I am vowing to sit here until 6 pm before I get up and go to the library.  I am in love with life right now. 

Isn't it amazing that is it all it takes?

One ray of sunshine and it can make a day better.

So what was my ray of sunshine?  Really?  I will warn you it's a little depressing.

My ray of sunshine was that the sun went away!  Yeah, I am not kidding.  I was supposed to work AGAIN today and I was not optimistic about because of my bad experiences from the past two day and I was not excited.  (One day I am going to write all about how you should act when your out to eat...but that is a another subject entirely.)  Plus, I have a ton of stuff to do tonight!

But then the clouds covered the sun and the wind came up and made my day!

I was the patio shift at work and no one likes to eat outside when it is cold out and so I get the day off!

And here is the point of this all...I needed that day off.

Life gets crazy.  Mine does at least.  I can run and run and run but I am starting to learn I can't run forever.  Sometimes we all need a break to clear our minds because eventually the stuff that is really important just becomes a blur.  For me, when I hit that point I find it impossible to smile.  I am just so stressed and I hate being like that. 

Today, I got a lucky break.  And then another lucky break when my quiz got canceled and then another lucky break when I might be able to a Twins game next week.  But, even if I hadn't got that's the truth...I was going to have to take it anyway.  You can only do so much until you need a breath of fresh air.  It can be simple...a really good lunch, a yummy cup of coffee or a text from a best friend you have missed.
So I encourage you next time you feel that stress mounting...take a break, relax, order Jimmy John's Turkey Tom...whatever it takes.  I can promise you it will be worth it.

However, my hour is almost up and I have to do advertising homework and pack my bags for another trip down south for the Minnesota Junior Spring Classic!  A weekend surrounded by 240 head of cattle...could a girl ask for more? 

Have a happy and relaxing weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Have Crazy Good News

So....I won a thousand dollars today.

I am not joking.  I really did. 

It was insane.  Insanely good.

Let me repeat.  It was insane.

Are you wondering why yet?

Here is the story.

Today was a big day for the Saddle and Sirloin Club because it was Paddy Drop, our annual fundraiser to raise money for an agriculture organization. This year we chose Farm Rescue, a group that helps farmer's after a disaster or accident to make sure their crops get harvested and they are financial okay.  It really is a great organization and I am glad we decided to donate to them this year.  To raise this money, we have a Paddy Drop.  We sell squares in Shepperd Arena and then we let a cow loose to do her "business" and whoever buys the square she poops in wins a $1,000. 

To make the story short and sweet--she pooped in my square!

However, I hate short stories so let me tell you more.  All day (actually ever since Ohio and I selected the lucky squares yesterday) I have been telling people I was going to win.  Today during class I made sure to have my phone so they could text me and tell me when I won.  When I got out of class, Echo (the dairy cow) hadn't dropped the lucky pie yet so I went to watch and as soon as I got there I declared myself an earlier winner :)  In fact, I already had the money all spent on my ticket to France.  I was sure I was the winner...I just had this feeling.

Now why I had this feeling I have no idea.  I ran this event two years ago and I know how random it is and how slim your chances are.  The winner is always someone who no one really knows and probably isn't as strapped for cash as us college students who sell the tickets.  The likeliness that I was going to win was so slim to none and we all knew that.

But today I defied all odds.  I won a $1,000.

When Echo lifted her tail near my area I freaked out.  Turns out she actually pooped right below my square making me a winner!  I couldn't stop jumping up and down.  I was SOOOOOOO excited.  Let's be honest...I still am.

I pretty much owe Echo (the cow) for my flight to France.  I am going to be thanking her all the way across the ocean and then all the way home.  

By the way...I don't know if you know....but I am going to France.   More about that later.

Right now I am celebrating a free flight there :)  In fact, I might celebrate all weekend long.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To Louisville and 72 hours.

For the first time ever....I didn't spend a holiday with my family.  I will be honest it was really hard for me, especially since there was almost 90 people at my Grandma's house on Sunday, but I guess it was time for me to be a grown up and I instead headed off to Louisville for my first ever Purfeerst family road trip.

Mark's sister, Misty, is in her last clinical rotation at an eye center in Louisville and has less than one month until she becomes Dr. Purfeerst and will be working as an eye doctor in Faribault.  Mark and I have been planning to visit her ever since she left for Memphis four years ago...and we figured time was running short.  Easter weekend was our only free weekend, plus Jim and Deb were planning to drive down anyways so we decided to join them.  Before we got in a vehicle, a 12-hour drive to spend a day and a half in Louisville seemed like an exciting adventure but by the time we got out of the car on Sunday evening we all had changed our minds.  I think after all that togetherness I must have passed some test that allows me to stick around for awhile! :)

We hit the road at 2 am Friday morning and returned home around midnight Sunday evening.  In 72 hours we traveled over 1460 miles--not counting our adventures within Lousiville.  It was fun!?!  Here are some things I learned while visiting the Blue Grass State.

1. Blue Grass does not mean the grass is blue.  Or even that there will be fields of waving grass.  It just the grass in the yards of the beautiful traditional brick houses that we saw alot of.  I will admit I was slightly disappointed.  However, the beautiful traditional brick houses were perfect for Jim and Deb who are hoping to build one for their very own soon!  We gave them ALOT of opinions on our scenic drive to Loretta, KY.

2. No matter how many times you have been there, Louisville just always gets better.  I have been to Lousville four times now and will most likely be there a 5th time this fall for livestock judging.  I actually spent a whole week there for the NAILE this past fall as a media intern--yet I still haven't really seen the city.  My 36 hour adventure this weekend was full of new things!

3. I think I one day need to go to a Kentucky Derby.  Those hats seem to be made for my head and there are no other legitimate excuses to wear one except at Churchill Downs.  I would look like a food if I wore that hat to Canterbury.  Misty could get tickets for this year from her company...but instead she has to go to Memphis to finish her boards.  Maybe next year?  I love this women's hat from last year!

4. The Purfeerst family's traveling style is WAAAY different than the May family's.  My mom packs coolers and tons of food.  I learned quickly on Friday morning that this trip was going to be much different.  The Purfeerst family really loves gas station food.  I have never ever considered buying $27 worth of gas station food but we did that every stop!  Eww...thinking about it makes me want to puke.  I don't really like gas station food and in the last two months I have gotten my fill of it.  I was starting to miss our cooler full of Mountain Dews and beef sticks--and I realized I am already like my mother because on judging trips I make cookies and pack a whole bag full of snack foods.  I never have to worry about breakfast because I always have poptarts-my teammates are always jealous!

5. I missed Jolene--my mom is crazy...but sometimes she is crazy fun and our endless singing was absent on this long trip.  I always just wanted to bust out in song and even though I am sure they would have let me, I don't know if anyone would have joined.

6. I can get road sick.  I had previously thought it was impossible...but road construction that only allowed us to move 5 miles in one hour proved otherwise.  I was going nuts and my stomach was not liking me.

7.  Hole in the wall restaurants and bars are my favorite.  We all were going to famish on our way home from Maker's Mark (I promise another post about this cool stop when I get more pictures) and decided to stop at the first place we see--lucky for us it was Bootleg Bar-B-Q.  I can promise you if we had not been feeling adventurous we would have not stopped at Bootleg--but man would have we missed out.  This place DEFINED hole-in-the-wall.  In was more like a shack with the only bathroom "out back" but it was good, cheap and fun!

Plus, right across the road there was an even better hole-in-the-wall bar that had pool tables for only $.50, so even a crappy player like me could play! :)  It was one of the highlights of my trip and if I am ever again near Loretta, KY I will be stopping at Bootleg Bar-B-Q.  If you ever make it try the bread won't regret it!

8. Ben Williams has trained me well.  Ben is my judging coach and we will not be in a moving vehicle for any more than an hour and he will require us to get out the cards...for the safety of us his state fleet license (which if removed would leave us with only Ohio to drive :s) I will not discuss our cards any further.  I begged and pleaded Jim and Deb to play on the way down to Louisville and they just wouldn't do it!   I was getting mad.  I even stooped as low to buy Iowa cards and they never got used!  Finally on the way home, I convinced them to play some spades and I am going to blame my two losses on Deb; she was a newbie right?

All in all the trip to Louisville was great.  I don't think I will be doing it anytime soon and I will be surprised if either of Misty's brothers makes the drive to Memphis in three weeks to witness her graduation but I know we were all happy we went!  For my first major holiday away from home, I am glad I was able to spend it with Jim, Deb, Misty, Mark and Matt and I am sure there will be lots of Purfeerst adventures in my future :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Last Girl Standing

I swear if there are engagement gods--they are taunting me.  They are doing everything they can to get me to get worked up....and I will admit...they have gotten me once or twice.  It all started last summer when I found out Megan was engaged and the rings haven't stopped coming since.

Megan, Ashley, Lindsay, Megan, Kelsey, Kelsey, Rachel, Amanda.  The list just keeps growing and those are just my close friends--if I start mentioning my friends or acquaintances I wouldn't even have enough room.  At first I got crazy excited.  I was so happy that I would scream and shout and jump up and down and a little tear of happiness would fall from my eye.  Now my heart drops.  To be clear...this heart dropping thing has only happened on the latest engagement but I am glad Megan completely understood.  I lost my co-singer to "Another One Bites the Dust"--what was I going to do!?! 

I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW.  You think I am crazy.  You think I am nuts and mainly you think I am a loser and probably that I am a terribly mean person.  I sometimes think I am too.

To be complete honest...I am completely happy how I am.  I would be completely happy if Mark Purfeerst never asked me to marry him and somehow it was socially acceptable to live together and raise cows together and maybe one day in the FAR FAR future have babies that can show those cows some day...but somehow I don't think my grandmother would approve.   Even more...I am only 21.  I have the rest of my life to be married-what's the rush?  AND EVEN MORE, the thought of planning a wedding scares me.  Where would we have it?  How could I decide on just one color?  Would it match? What if I make so many people mad that I can't come to theirs because of judging and France and NO ONE COMES TO MINE?  I am going to be like that sister on 27 Dresses who has her sister plan everything.  There is no way I can do it.

But despite the deep dark secret just revealed heart is breaking every time I open facebook and have 3 more friends engaged.  Really engagement couldn't be a little easy on me and only do one happy love story a day?!?!  So you are probably wondering why?  Here is the's all your fault, not to be blunt or anything.  For the past three years (or more) Mark and I have been fielding the "engagement" question.  We have been getting pretty good at giving some pretty catchy responses...and we even think we might have one persistent concerned cattle friend that might think we actually are and is wondering why he hasn't got an invite.  My newest response is to give you an exact date...

"When is Mark going to pop the question"--pause-"We have decided he will ask me on March 3, 2012"

For awhile there we would pretend that they screwed up big time and we actually broke up...and let's be honest it was true every once and awhile ;)

Sometimes on days like today...I just reply "never".  And the other day I made the big mistake of predicting an actual realistic date...let's be clear I was off on the prediction and I was a little too excited the whole day I thought it "could possibly be".

So here is my point...please help me out.   I want to stop feigning happiness for my best friend when she gives me that call...I want to be truly truly happy.  Please stop asking me when it is going to happen....because your votes of confidence for the past three years had led me to believe that I would not be the last girl standing and unless I shotgun my wedding (which my earlier planning remarks should  prove that impossible) I will indeed be the last non-single girl standing.  Please continue to invite us to your engagement parties...but stop predicting that an announcement from us will occur at that party.  I think your making the boy nervous.  And your making me way to antsy for something I don't even really need yet.  You know...I am starting to think it will be a good thing to date for 8 years before we get married...or maybe Grandma's morals will change and we can just date forever.  This dating life is pretty darn good too...I almost never buy dinner ;)

So here is to me losing the race between all of us happily dating friends.  In fact, I am choosing to stand out (this is my way to make me feel better about myself--you know you all do it too).  I am going to become the best darn wedding guest and bridesmaid ever.  I am going to take advantage of all those open bars.  I am going to drive across the whole darn country (and fly across the world in some cases) to get there and I am going to catch every bouquet possible ( I am on a current streak of 3) and I am going to be truly truly happy for all of my friends.   

And here is to my best friends---congratulations on winning the race because it means you have met your perfect other half and somehow convinced him it is time.  And a special congratulations to Molly and Randy that inspired this post--may you be happy for as long as you live!

And I think at every wedding I will do one more cheer to all my friends who are really single and still really happy.  If I have a great guy and rant...and you listen...I give you permission to rant to me as long as need be.  I will always be jealous of your independence and ability to roam no matter how happy I may be.

And you know the time its my turn I will be an event planner somewhere and know what to do and I will have saved enough money for those chair covers I always wanted :)  Make sure to notice how beautiful your seat is in a few years from now! ...and yes I know what you are thinking...they are a waste of money...but I still love them :)