Monday, February 28, 2011

From the kind heart of S.Rube... on her Special Day

We can all take a lesson from my daughter today. She has me in tears on the way home from school after telling me about her "Special Day".

In her Grade One class, the kids take turns at having a Special Day. On their Day, that child gets to read out the other kids' names, do the weather, point out their spelling words aloud from the white board, hold the door open for their classmates and choose a friend in the class to walk the attendance down to the office with.

Last month sometime, S.Rube got chosen to go to the office by a friend in the class and was telling me how excited and happy she was about it. It lead me to ask her if there was anyone in the class who had never been chosen before, and she answered that, "Yes, there is one person who has never been picked." I asked who it was and S.Rube told me. (Let's call her Loralee). She told me that Loralee has no friends in the class and that nobody really ever talks to her or plays with her. We spent a few minutes talking about how sad that must be for Loralee, in the hopes that empathy for the situation might arise.

Today, I asked S.Rube how her Special Day was while we drove home. She responded that it was really good. And then she said, "And you know what, mom? You know how we talked about Loralee before and you said that I should take the time to be nice to her? Well, I picked her. I picked her to go to the office with me."

Damn, I'm crying again as I write this, which was my reaction in the car too, as the magnitude of what S.Rube had just said settled in. She picked Loralee. Out of every friend she has in that class, she picked Loralee.
And, in making Loralee's little heart soar and adding a smile to her face today, S.Rube knows undoubtedly that her own heart, too, has grown much bigger.

Vulva Watch for Monday

I had people asking me how the Vulva was doing in the schoolyard this morning, so I know that you're all itching for an update.
(ewww, itching and Vulva in the same sentence.... not so good....)

As you more-informed readers now know after Saturday night's little farm lesson, we have nothing to worry about for another day.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Problem with Male Animals

The problem with male animals is, quite simply, that they're male animals. And the problem I see with this is two-fold. One is that they have a natural penchant for domination, particularly if you've left their 'manhood' intact. And the second is that they piss on everything.

I swore this year when Beeser died (our male American Bulldog) that I will never own a male dog again. I remember standing at the kitchen window washing eggs and watching him outside peeing on everything; from the playground to the lawn chairs to the garbage cans to the side of the house, barns and truck, the kids' toys, their bikes. Everything.

Even our human male species have this issue. Given the opportunity to pee outside or pee in the toilet, you know that most men will choose the great outdoors. I've known men to leave the confines of their home in order to pee outside. and I've certainly had guys around the farm working all day long on barn-building or clearing who have never come inside to ask to use the facilities.
A number of years ago, I had a friend visit from Toronto who stayed with us in the basement for a week. When I cleaned up the room after he left, I found his urine in a large clear blown glass vase that I had sitting on the fireplace mantle. I suspect that after a night of drinking, he saw this as a suitable receptacle to pee in. I disgustedly threw the vase in the garbage immediately, and must admit that I've never spoken to him again. I've talked about this with guys since then who admit to peeing in things, though. I have a friend who operates a big excavator who doesn't leave his vehicle for his entire 10 hour shift. It makes me wonder how many guys are peeing in an empty pop bottle as you pass them on the highway.
I guess they do it because they can.

Kinda like a male goat can pee on its own head. So it does.
Have you always wondered what that musky odour was? Well, wonder no more. A buck lowers his head and lets out his penis - which is like a long skinny curly coil - and shoots urine out all over the top of his head. At least I hope it's urine... because, now on second thought, I'm thinking it could be ejaculate. Which, even for me, is a bit too much to contemplate right now. Especially considering what I'm about to tell you. After covering his head with this stuff, he then butts up against and rubs all over the other animals.
And all over me. Which is the inspiration and reason for this post this afternoon.

One of our bucks has been a real pain-in-the-ass lately; exerting his dominance and butting his horny head all over me when I'm out there doing the chores (and trying to take vulva pictures.) Today, after fighting him for a half hour, he finally put his head down, and I thought he was going to leave me be. I realized though, as I looked down, that the bugger was peeing on his head. and on me! I jumped out of the way and packed in my photography quest for the day.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm on Vulva Watch

A warning to you all....
These are some of the explicit goat pictures that I told you about. The ones that'll make a few of you squirm. But, kinda similar to the car accident scene, you cautiously peek out from behind your fingers to take a look. Because most of you are fascinated by this kind of thing.

I want to share it with you because it is just part of my daily life right now. And I share such crazy and personal things like peeing my pants, puking at bikram and stepping in dog shit. So why not share this too?
And, okay.... I like to know you're shaking your head a bit at me; thinking I slightly crossed the line. I like to see you squirm.

This week, I'm on Vulva Watch.

This is Rosie, one of our two Boer does. We also have two Boer bucks. And, as a result, we're having goat babies!! (Surely, I don't have to explain the logistics and details of that phenomenon, right, city folk?)
This is Rosie's first pregnancy so we're not sure what to expect from her. Nor is she, for that matter....

Rosie's pregnancy began on October 3, we estimate. We noticed some 'action' in the field that day and made a point of documenting it. Smart thing to do, because it helps us pinpoint the due date better.
A goat's gestation period is 145-155 days, which means that Rosie could have her kids anytime.

There are a few things that I am on the watch for to indicate that Rosie could be getting close to labour. Aside from growing in size as the weeks go by, Rosie's udders also start to get big. We begin to notice the udders the month before, but in the day or two prior to the labour starting, the udders get HUGE. Like, bigger, really, than you could ever imagine them to be. HUGE.

There are certain behaviours and changes in behaviour that I want to watch out for this week, too. In the few days prior to the birth, Rosie will eat more than usual; as though stockpiling reservoirs of grain and hay. And then, the day of labour, will lose her appetite and avoid eating. She may separate herself from the others and go off on her own, as though searching for a place to have her babies.

And, then there is the Vulva.  (Which really does deserve a capital V. Ask any mother who has pushed a baby or two out of that thing).  Keeping my eye on the Vulva is crucial. It's going to tell me more than everything else combined. A few weeks prior to labour,  the doe's Vulva begins to swell and starts to distend, in preparation for pushing those babies out.  The Vulva may turn a darker red or purple colour, as the blood surges to the area. As the day gets near, the Vulva will be very distended and I will start to notice some discharge and, finally, I need to be watching for mucous and bloody show, which will indicate to me that the doe is ready to birth.
As I said, all eyes are on the Vulva.

You, knowing me, have already figured out that I couldn't let this photo opportunity pass us by.
In fact, I plan on sharing my Vulva Watch with you every day, leading up to the birth of these kids.
I gotta look at it. And I'm gonna make you look at it too and get a little taste of real farm life, you know?

As you can see in this picture, Rosie's udders are really starting to fill up. The goat on the left here is also pregnant but is about a month behind Rosie. There is a distinct difference in their Vulvas. Rosie's, although starting to distend, has not changed in colour nor is there any discharge yet. We can be fairly certain that Rosie will not be having babies on this day.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dance like Nobody's Watching, Sing like Nobody's Listening, and "Skate like your Shift is Over"

There's nothing quite like watching a girls tyke hockey game.
Where it's not unusual to see 10 girls on the ice laying flat out all at the same time and, quite likely, in the same heap.
Where the goalie may decide to take a nap mid-game or even abandon her net altogether.
Where the girls skate harder and faster back to the bench at the end of their shift than they ever do while playing the game.
Where the most common check occurs when they take the puck from their own teammate.
Where there is no ability to stifle the sound of the parents' laughter in the stands.
And where the score is oftentimes 42-2 or something equally lopsided, as the girls have a turn at goalie for the very first (and often only) time in their lives.

Last night was S.Rube's turn.

She'd been excited for weeks. The fact that it was an away game made it all that much more exciting too; an hour's drive to North Vancouver against a team we'd never played before. She spoke on the way there about how she wasn't even going to let one goal in. Fearing she was setting herself up for disappointment, I, forever the realist, explained that every good goalie lets in a goal once in a while and suggested that she just play her best out there.

In the Warm-Up

Pre-Game Huddle with Coach Steve

Game begins!

Waiting for some action

Still waiting...

This net's kinda cool.

Hey guys!! I'm down here! Bring it down here!
Just go for a little skate....or something!

You know... this makes snow if you scrape like this.

Get ready!!!! Here she comes!!!

Now, I don't know if you can all see this or not.... but look at the smile on her face!!!

When I saw that smile in behind that cage of hers, it made my heart so very happy. That right there is what this is all about! That friggin' smile.
She LOVES what she does, even if that is standing around in a net for an hour, and only managing to fight off 1 of the 5 shots she had on her. It made the hour-long drive to North Vancouver worth every drop of bloody expensive gas in the truck.
When asked on the way home if she would consider playing in goal again, she replied that she wasn't sure. When asked again today, she still isn't sure.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I just peed in my pants a bit

and it's all T.Rube's fault!

And I know it's way too much information to be publicly sharing here, but that's kinda what I do....demonstrate little shame or humility, find the ability to laugh at myself; just lay it all out there and make people a bit uncomfortable (or a lot uncomfortable depending on how damn uptight you might be). You're actually lucky that I don't share more, like I do with my close friends.  Be forewarned, however, that there are some explicit goat pictures coming to you that are definitely going to make a few of you cringe....

I was out doing the farm chores (where it is fucking cold! I know that some of you prairie and central-Canada folk might laugh when I say that. The Pacific Northwest....where it rarely dips below zero. But, seriously, it is COLD. Like, minus double-digits windchill factor cold.) But, rather than hurrying through my tasks, I brought the camera out with me and got some great pictures of some of the animals in the bright winter sunshine.
(with a face that only a baboon's ass would love...)

It was when I started to coil up the frozen hoses to haul inside that I started to have the urge to pee. I quickly finished what I was doing and hurried to the basement bathroom where, just as I was about to pull my pants down, I glanced into the toilet bowl and saw....... THIS.

A heavily saturated half of a cheese bun stick and a black plastic bar cup. Interesting.

It was during the run upstairs to the other bathroom that the 'accident' happened.
Although I'm still claiming it was no friggin' accident really. There is someone at fault, and it isn't me.
This has T.Rube written all over it.

You know what she's going to be doing in about 2 minutes, eh?
Goin' fishin'.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Most of the time, I dream happy

So, for the past couple of days, I've been curious and somewhat disturbed by a dream that I had the other night. I remember my dreams fairly often and am continuously amazed by the whole phenomenon. The ability of our subconscious sleeping mind to activate a dream with such vividness, clarity and, in most cases, absolute bizarre and unrealistic outcomes is boggling.

My dreams are usually fun and welcome escapes; something I look forward to when going to bed at night. I often spend those nights in Vegas, with lots of socializing, or exploring houses, bars and loft suites with endless numbers of hidden rooms and secret passageways. When I was pregnant, the rush of hormones provided me with crazy, lust-filled nights that were so realistic I felt guilty in the morning.
I've been angry in the morning too, after waking from dreams where I've been done wrong by; where lying and cheating occurs. Those dreams that take hours and hours to shake off; where, on occasion, you have trouble ever looking at someone the same again, learning what they were capable of that one night in your dream.
And, on the very rare occasion, I've woken up in tears, after dreaming of a loss. Usually the loss of one of my girls.

But, most of the time, I dream happy.

Even the other night. I was oddly okay with what was happening in my dream; despite the fact that all of my teeth fell out. Now, I've dreamt about tooth loss many times before. It is usually just one or two teeth and I find myself worried, shocked, confused and devastated by the loss.
This week, it was my entire upper set of teeth. And they all came out in one big section, exactly as though I had dentures. In the dream, I was out with friends when I realized I had a loose tooth, and as I touched it and wiggled it and eventually pulled it, the other teeth beside it also started to come out....until I was pulling out my entire upper set of teeth, much to my surprise.  Maybe in an attempt to cover up my shock and upset, I made a joke of the issue and turned it into a bit of a bar trick, drawing attention to myself rather than detracting it.  As the dream continued, I would demonstrate pulling my teeth out to anybody who would take the time to watch, and even entered a 'stupid human bar tricks' contest, with my teeth as the main attraction. (which reminds me.... I gotta show you my real stupid human bar trick!)

Apparently tooth loss dreams are really common, and represent a few different things going on for me in my subconscious mind.  Most obviously, it might suggest that I am having some actual teeth issues that I'm worried or thinking about. And this is, in fact, true. Not to mention the extreme avoidance I have when it comes to my dental work. So, yes, I am having teeth fears and not addressing them.
The other thing that dream analysis talks about with loss of teeth dreams is a fear or insecurity of aging and a decline in attractiveness. I think this also could be true. Interestingly, in my dream, I seem to overcome my insecurities and cover up with humour and witty presentation. Much like I do in real life.
Or it could be that I am feeling powerless in some situation in my life. I might be having trouble expressing myself or feeling as though I'm not being heard or that things are out of my control.

I'm going to take it as a sign that:
I need to get myself to my dentist, before I truly do start losing teeth and have to place my dentures in a glass of water beside the bed.
And find some peace in knowing that I always seem to turn my anxieties into a positive thing.
And hope that I'm back to dreaming about Vegas again tonight.

From my coccyx to my neck...

This bikram body is SCREAMING for relief; an advil, hot stones or a soft massage...something!
I'm not going to pretend that I'm not hurting after yesterday's first-class-in-a-long-while. Cuz I'm hurting. There are clearly a few muscles that running just doesn't touch upon, and I'm feeling every one of them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dear Little Dog,

I know it must be confusing; that the cat, bigger than you are, poops in the laundry room. And is allowed, in fact, set up with a litter box even.

This does not, however, give you permission to do so too. This activity must cease immediately.

In fact, if I step in your shit one more time, you will be taking up permanent headquarters out there in the barn with CC and the farm animals.
Where you can shit wherever you want.

Surrender to the Mat

Today, metaphorically speaking, I got back up on the horse again.

The last time I had gone to my Bikram studio, I had to quickly leave the room halfway into the 90-minute class to puke. There were many many classes before that one where I had felt like puking, but that was the one and only time that I actually did. It was months ago. Like, months and months ago. And I was scared to go back; scared to feel that bad in there again.  Bikram does that to you, though. It tests every physical limitation you might have and makes you realize that your mind really is a very powerful thing; that those physical limitations you think you have are often more mental and emotional than you give credit to. (Although trying to will yourself to stop obsessing about the fucking fan that isn't moving above your head, but that you wish the teacher would turn on for even just one tiny gust of air; believing that unless you get that momentary bit of satisfaction blowing against your boiling hot body, you very well could possibly die right there on your NOT easy. And sometimes not even possible.
After overcoming that, however, everything else in the room becomes less complicated.)

I discovered Bikram yoga in December of 2009 and very quickly became hooked on this 90-minute extreme heat (40+ degrees celcius with humidity!) yoga class that provides a total body workout by moving through the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises every class.
And by sweating your ass off.
I think it's safe to say that, until you've tried Bikram, you will have never experienced sweat like this before. I don't care what kind of athlete you are, whether you live right on the friggin' equator, or how bad your hot flashes hit you (which Bikram helps regulate, by the way....), there is nothing like sweating in that hot torture chamber. It pours (POURS!) off me, almost from the minute I walk in there. Oftentimes, I will start to sweat while sitting in the lobby waiting to go in. The body just knows what is about to happen and begins to prepare to work for me before I've even begun.

Clearly, bikram requires a good consistent daily water intake for the extreme amount of water loss that occurs
and, for me, a very empty stomach.

Today, I surrendered to my mat and had, quite possibly, my best class ever.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Fashion Police hit the Westminster Dog Show

I laid in bed last night before falling asleep watching the 2011 Westminster Dog Show and was struck with a thought that I have every time I come across one of these shows:
What the hell are these women wearing????

There is definitely a certain breed of person that is drawn into the Dog Show world, as was demonstrated in the hilarious Best in Show movie in 2000 and further evidenced every year as the Westminster Dog Show is publicly broadcast for the world to see. Let's face it, we have our preconceived stereotypical ideas about the dog lovers that do this sort of thing to begin with. And their choice of clothing only reinforces that further. It is seriously antiquated and seriously unflattering.

Maybe it's the fact that they appear to be dressed for church in 1981 that turns me off so much. I'm almost certain that their lovely polyester suits have not come off the store shelves anytime in the past 20 years. Because, quite frankly, nobody is designing clothes like this anymore. Right?

This is NYC in the year of 2011 and here is what the handlers are wearing:

I actually find myself having trouble focusing on the actual dogs while these women are running them around the ring, because their outfits are so damn ugly.  The intent of the handlers outfit is to showcase the dog and to provide a nice complement to their canine counterparts; not to detract attention.

Well, guess what, ladies? It ain't happening.  Because here's what we see...
Fat legs and fat feet squished into tiny shoes.

I would think that when this guy showed up, it was a friggin' welcome relief for the spectators. Pretty sad when he, almost completely naked, looks better than the women running around the ring.

And, at least this handler knew enough to cover herself in the appropriate places too....
(but, jesus, a slightly longer skirt is definitely called for here.)

I would like to make the recommendation that dress slacks and a nice blouse would help the Dog Show's profile considerably. (Or a lot of exercise and a good diet plan.)
Get with the program, ladies. Update your wardrobes. Look around you for a moment and see what the rest of the world is wearing - and not wearing. Learn what flatters you - and what does not.

And, in the meantime, until that happens,  here's my winner:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Girl and her Donkey

Always fold, bet or raise; never check

I'm happy to report this morning that nobody - mainly and including myself - required lifting the toilet seat during last night's poker party, other than the men using it for their regular business. A couple of the girls had to run a 10 km this morning, so they refrained from drinking. I, with an easy 20 minute jog on the schedule for today, figured I could indulge a bit. With only a couple of vodka/limeades in me, I managed to stay fairly clear, while still being occasionally loud and obnoxious, and made it to the 'heads up' round, by attempting to "always fold, bet or raise; never check".... where I eventually lost, but happily took my $60, wishing it was $100.

(Art, you may have beaten me in poker, but the challenge for our foot race remains intact: Golden Ears in July, my friend...)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Poker Party Prep

One of the things that I learned from previous poker night parties is that it's always important to make sure to clean under the toilet seats. Don't ask me how or why I know. I just do.

So, in preparation for hosting our poker party tonight, be assured that I'm totally ready for you.

Duck Catching

We have a customer coming over this morning to get some ducks. Now, before you make the assumption that we are sending them off to the butcher blocks and roasting pans, and start feeling sorry for them, know that these ones are simply being happily relocated to another farm.

It's always a bit of a challenge catching ducks and is not really something that I am skilled at or enjoy doing. I lose patience with the process far too easily. But, it is something that S.Rube likes participating in. It's the only time she's allowed to chase our animals, I guess; working them up into a crazy frenzy.

This morning, I caught her on video catching ducks.
And, speaking of crazy frenzy...what the hell is CC doing in the background here? You can certainly see the concern of the others - all the sheep and goats are watching, wondering what's going on. CC gets quite worried when we interfere with her animals like this, and begins to kinda playfully exert her power and need to control things. Either that, or she's just trying to help out by catching a duck or two of her own.

( By the way......not necessarily a highly dangerous activity, duck catching does not really require the use of a helmet. But it's a new helmet so she's been wearing it non-stop, and she actually was riding her bike before jumping in to help catch ducks.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Running Freak!!!

You gotta know I'm hooked on running when I'm at the gym running interval sprints on the treadmill at 8:30 pm on a Friday night. When the only other people at the gym are small clusters of 15 and 16-year-old boys pumping iron, drinking Rockstar, and text messaging (probably each other).

I know that many of you were following my 1/2 marathon training last year on facebook, leading up to my first race ever in Las Vegas in December!!, and you won't be disappointed to hear that the training continues with my next big race in Eugene, Oregon on May 1st.

The benefits of having a schedule for training is that I find myself accountable and committed to every single day. Even when it's Friday evening and I'd rather be curled up on the couch balancing a glass of wine in my fingers. I am about 11 weeks away from the run, and into my 2nd week of a 12-week intermediate training plan. I am running 5 days a week, and cross-training on a sixth day, where oftentimes Jillian Michaels kicks my ass...and my 'trouble zones'.

The other thing that keeps me accountable and committed to the training is being able to share my daily accomplishments and tribulations with others. So I plan on continuing to do so here. Thanks for supporting and inspiring me, and I hope I continue to inspire some of you!

and, oh goody, there's another one on Monday

Shortly after 2 pm, and the Pro-D Day has officially fallen apart here at the Farm, resulting in both Rube girls spending time alone in their rooms.  If I have to hear about who was playing with the stuffed monkey first one more time, I will most definitely freak out.
Oh yeah... I already did.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I friggin' LOVE these things

I am a total pepperoncini addict. I never eat more than 3 at one time, but I have to get my fix every day.

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