Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Last week as I was driving from my office to the gym, I was stopped at a red light downtown. While I was waiting, I noticed two women standing on the sidewalk, waiting to cross the street.
The first was obviously some sort of successful professional woman. She was wearing an expensive suit (I know because you can't buy suits like that for $60 at Kohls...I've looked!) what looked like Jimmy Choo or Manolo shoes (based on my having seen them on tv), and carrying one of those purses that people spend my monthly mortgage payment on. Her hair was pinned up, her make up was perfect, and she was chatting away on her iPhone.
The second looked to be a homeless woman. Her hair was ratty and her face was dirty. She was wearing what looked to be several layers of clothing and towing along some sort of rolling cart. She looked cold and tired.
The two women were from different worlds. I began to wonder why. Theoretically, both women could have ended up in suits, or both women could have ended up in the flannel jacket. Clearly at some point, maybe early on or maybe later, maybe by choice or maybe by chance, one of the women was given an opportunity that the other was not. One of the women got a chance to take a different path, that led to a different life. Who knows why her path was different, but it clearly was.
We need to be thankful for the opporutnities we have been given in our lives. It's easy to forget the opportunities that have come our way. Many of them we worked for, but a lot of them were probably luck of the draw. For example, many of my opportunities were based on the family that I was born into. I hit the lottery on that one. Some people don't.
The lives of the two women on the street are so completely different, but in that moment, they were in the same place. Life is funny that way. We can find ourselves having connections to people who are our complete opposites. The thing is, most of the time, we never go beyond standing on the sidewalk. We don't speak to people who have different lives. We don't get to know them, so we never figure out what it is we have in common. Odds are, we have more in common than we think. It might be the same faith, the same dreams, feeling a similar pain, living on the same street, watching the same tv shows.
I guess I have two points. First, be grateful for the opportunites that you have been given. Realize that some people who could have been in your world, just didn't get the same chances as you. Second, the two women on the street will always be different. But that doesn't mean that they have to live in different worlds. Remember that the next time you are walking down the street, standing in an elevator, or even walking around your office.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I, of course, went first to the Oklahoma State restaurant to see if these guys knew what they were talking about. Their pick for best eats in Stillwater, Oklahoma.....Bad Brad's BBQ! I couldn't agree more! Brad's is seriously the one place that I always try to hit up when I go back to visit Stillwater. So apparently these guys know their stuff.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
It's going to be up to the next generation of agriculturists (i.e. us!) to figure out a way to turn this trend around. We can't keep letting the number of farmers and ranchers in America decrease. I recently read a study that talked about the most comon reasons that "farm kids" decided not to return to the farm. What do you think? The top three reasons were: (1) Other jobs offered more income; (2) the high start-up costs required in order to begin farming; and (3) the high cost of renting land.
Farm kids don't leave the farm because they don't want to farm. They don't leave because they are lazy or uninterested in the operation. They leave because they have to. That's something that is simply unacceptable and we have to figure out a way to curb this problem!
We cannot afford to be dependant on foreign countries for our food supply. Right now, one American farmer can feed 129 people. This is up from 25 people in 1960. Without a doubt, the American farmer and rancher continues to become more productive and more efficient. American agriculture can feed the world, but we have to continue to HAVE farmers and ranchers. If young people are unable to afford to get started farming, we'll be out of farms in no time. We have to find a way to invest in American agriculture in order to allow new farmers and ranchers to realize their dream of farming and to protect our nation.
There are some programs out there to help young farmers and ranchers financially, but not enough. We, as a society, are going to have to figure out a way to support the next generation of agriculture. This industry is so important, not only to our national economy, but for national security as well. Thi sis an investment in our future that this country is going to have to make.
Hopefully in the future, we can become a nation of farmers again.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
So my very first weekend in living in San Francisco for the summer of 2008 happened to be Bay to Breakers. Of course, I had never heard of this event, but everyone at the office was talking about how it was a must-see San Francisco experience! So, four of us summer associates decided to meet up and head out to Golden Gate Park to take part of the festivities.
Bay to Breakers is a race that's been held since 1912. It is a run from the west side of the city (the bay) to the east side of the city, finishing up at the Pacific Ocean (the breakers). I figured we'd see some people running and call it a day. Apparently there is some running....the actual runners get at the front of the line. Everyone else, well, let's just say little did I know what I was in for.
There were people EVERYWHERE in the streets--they closed down Hayes street through the city for the race. I'm talking tens of thousands of folks.
There were people dressed in costumes. (the top one was oil executives wearing undewear with money all over them carryin their briefcases)There were some people wearing nothing at all. (notice dirty man in botton right corner with the censoring box). There were crazy floats being pushed all the way across the city. (we had the love boat, dudes in a shopping cart, and a tent on roller skates)
This year will be the 99th Bay to Breakers. To commemorate and remember the fun of my first experience---I'm going back! This year, I won't just be spectating, I'll be running the 7.5 mile race and plan to come home sporting my "I survived Bay to Breakers!" t-shirt. And, no, I will not be wearing a costume. And yes, I will be wearing something. :)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I am not a morning person. Like at all. Seriously, I hate getting out of my warm, cozy bed. So, naturally I really dislike having to spring forward. That alarm clock goes off and I cringe and pull the covers up over my head. Losing that hour of sleep just puts me off kilter for like a week.
But after today, I am changing my tune. I left work at my normal time today...which isn't super late, but isn't 5:00 either. Prior to daylight savings, it was always dark when I left. Today, however, the sun was shining. It made me feel sort of energized, instead of like it was time to come home, cook dinner, watch some tv and go to bed to do it all over again.
I drove home, put on my running shoes, and hit the pavement. It was finally warm enough to run outside---yay!! I went on a nice little run around my neighborhood, which has tons of different streets and culdesacs, so you sort of get a different view all the time so you don't have to think about how much farther you have to go. Today, I even found a new little park about a mile and half from my house that I didn't even know was there!
My whole neighborhood apparently had the same idea. There were people everywhere--runners, people walking their dogs, couples pushing their strollers--it was great! It finally felt like the first day of Spring and everyone must have been on the same page.
So, I am no longer going to complain about daylight savings time. Instead, I'm going to just enjoy getting out of work in the daylight. At least until I lose my hour again next year....
Monday, March 22, 2010
Okay, well maybe my blog has magic powers. Last week I wrote about how I loved Cinderella stories in the NCAA Tournament. This week, there were more Cinderella stories and upsets than I can ever remember. Maybe I should blog about winning millions of dollars and retiring rich.....just in case.
Anyway, here are a few of the best tournament moments so far.
Cinderellas: St. Mary's, Cornell, and Washington. All three of these teams are double digit seeds. But all three are going to the Sweet 16. my favorite story is about St. Mary's center, Omar Samhan. On Selection Sunday, Omar's mother bought her ticket to the tournament in Houston. What makes this great---Omar's team wouldn't play in Houston unless they made the Sweet 16. He warned his mom that she should probably come out to the first round games, just in case. She refused. Her ticket was booked to Houston. Luckily, now so is St. Mary's.
The last 40 seconds of the Maryland/Michigan State game. You have to watch here. MSU is without their leader and star, Kalin Lucas who was injured earlier in the game. Maryland goes down and scores what you anticipate will be the game winning shot. But no....with 5 seconds left, MSU heads down the floor. Hughes passes to Lucious (almost hitting some other guy from their team in the head) and he hits the game winning three.
David slayed Goliath (although I was sad to see my bracket implode and a Big 12 team go down). Kansas should have been unstoppable. They won the Big 12 regular season and Big 12 tournament. These kids had experience. But somehow, Northern Iowa had their number. Brackets across America busted. In the words of my friend, Sara, "If Kansas doesn't pull their heads out, this country will be in crisis!" Crisis it was.
Buzzer-beaters. The first round there were three buzzer beater shots. First, Northern Iowa scores a three with only 4 seconds left to beat UNLV. Don't you know Kansas wishes that shot didn't fall! Next, Texas gets beat with 1.4 seconds left on the clock when Wake Forest hits the game winner. Finally, Murry State pulled the upset to beat Vanderbilt by one point who hit a jumper at the buzzer.
I can't wait for next weekend! Now that my bracket is shot....come on underdogs (and Baylor for Cousin Swiss Mister!)
Friday, March 19, 2010
This technology is a great thing for agriculture in general, but I think it's really great for small ranchers. AI makes it possible for the small, family rancher in the middle of nowhere to get genetics from the best, most expensive bull in the world. These small ranchers would never be able to afford to own a bull like this. But because of AI, they can buy the semen from the bull, breed their own cow, and raise calves that have the great genetics. If they are lucky, they can raise a great bull for themselves out of their own cow. This is how we are going to keep improving the quality of beef in America.
One of my favorite parts of AI is trying to pick out which bull's semen you want to buy. There are so many considerations that you have to consider---genotypically (meaning their genetics, their epds--which are sort of like their stats) and phenotypically (meaning what they look like themselves). You have to consider birthweight to decide which cows you want to breed them to. You need to think about what the weaknesses might be with your own cow herd that you need to try to correct. You need to think about structure and muscle and weaning weight. There really is an art to it.
Last weekend, my brother and I were both home at my parents' house. My mom caught a moment of this analysis on the camera. Here we are, all gathered around the computer analyzing what bulls we might want to buy semen from this year. You want to take a look? Click here for one of the most popular websites. See what you think. Which one is your favorite? Now imagine that you had your own cows and got to actually breed them to your favorite one.....it's a pretty cool thing! FYI--I'm intrigued by Dirty Hairy 2. Little brother likes True Blood. Dad likes Missisippi Stud.
There's nothing like a little family bonding over bull semen. I love being an ag girl!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Well, first it's Cousin Kevin complaining when I write anything he considers "girly." Now it's my Little Brother complaining about Throwback Thursdays. He informed me he's sick of hearing stories and seeing pictures that he's already seen. It's hard to please everyone!
But, since this is my blog, I'm going to continue Throwback Thursdays. :) The next chapter will be......Summer 2008 in San Francisco. I've blogged previously about how this summer changed my life, and have already told one of the crazier stories of the summer.
I won't be giving you a day by day account of the summer....becuase it was a long time ago and I can't remember everything, and because everyone would get bored and complain like Little Brother.
Instead, I'm going to blog about some of the highlights---my favorite people, places and experiences from the summer that changed my life! Hope you enjoy....
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
A while back I did a week worth of blogs about what I was reading, listening to and watching. Here's a little update. If you have suggestions of good music, books, shows or movies, let me know! What I'm Reading:
I'm currently in the middle of The Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi. So far it's been a great book.
Because I read SOOO much at work, my habit of reading three books at a time has gone dormant. I have two on deck though... The Luckiest Man by Jonathan Eig which is a biography of Lou Gehrig. The title is taken from his famous retirement speech, made after he was diagnosed with ALS. The other....Come Be My Light was compiled by Brian Kolodiejchuk and is a collection of the private writings of Mother Theresa.
What I'm Listening To:
I've said before that I listen to a little bit of everything. Here are the last 6 songs I have purchased on iTunes.
Built to Last - Heartland (I found this because of a great blog I follow...check out Stacy's blog!)
According to You - Orianthi (sometimes a girl needs an angry chick song!)
Crazy - Pat Green (thank you Pandora!)
Where Have I Been All My Life - George (he played in concert.....I loved it!)
I Want a Cowboy - Reba (also played in concert and great for running)
Hope Now - Addison Road (great song about hope and faith)
What I'm Watching:
I try not to watch too much tv---basically limit myself to one show a night, although some nights I have none, some nights I have two. Here are the newer additions to my list.
Modern Family - ABC Wednesday (I find it hilarious...follows three families who are all related)
The Buried Life - MTV Sunday (read my blog on this if you missed it)
One Tree Hill - CW Monday (I was afraid it would not be any good without Lucas and Peyton, but it's still a great show!)
The Amazing Race - CBS Sunday (it's not a new show for me, but it's a new season and so far it's been great!)
I'm not much of a movie person. I went once in my three years of law school. I went a little more in high school, but only because that was the place to go for a date. :) However, this year I've seen two movies....coincidentally, I saw the Best Actress winner and Best Actor winner.
The Blindside (has made my list of top 5 movies....blogged about it before too!)
Crazy Heart (wouldn't spend my money going to the theatre. Had good music and pretty scenery--filmed in NM--even had a scene in my office building--but not much of a storyline).
So...fill me in on yours....I am always looking for suggestions!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Somewhere in south Texas, Cousin Kevin is freaking out because he thinks this is one of those "girly" blogs I write that he complains about. It's not......it's about basketball.
I love March Madness. Watching college basketball on tv all day for days in a row.....it's great. This is one of those times of the year I'm going to miss being in college. You could watch a lot of basketball when you only had to be in class a few hours a day. I fear work may not be quite as flexible about that... Anyway, my favorite part of the whole thing is the Cinderella stories. The way the bracket is set up, there are 31 automatic bids to the tournament for teams that win their conference tournaments. That means that even if a team from a nobody-conference that is 0-28 on the year still has a chance once that conference tournament starts. Once they make it into the field of 64 for the NCAA tournament, it's the same story.
Sure, no 16 seed has beaten a 1 in the first round. But there have been other shockers---teams who no one has ever heard of coming in and beating a powerhouse.
Bucknell knocked off Kansas in 2005. The 14 seed Bison knocked off the No. 3 seed Jayhawks. Bucknell had never won an NCAA tournament. Had only 5 scholarship players. And they borrowed a band. They never should have won. But no one told that to Bucknell.
George Mason, a #12 seed, made the Final Four. We're not talking one game here---we're talking the Final Four. They had to slay several Goliath's to make it there.
Gonzaga was everyone's favorite Cinderella in 1999. Their last second runner gave rise to one of the most popular lines from a college basketball announcer, "Gonzaga, the slipper still fits!"
Shoot, the first year that the 64 team bracket was unveiled....No. 8 Villanova shocked everyone, wining the National Championship. They weren't supposed to be there. They weren't supposed to win. But they beat Georgetown and cut down the nets.
This is what March Madness is all about! So get ready----the show gets started on Thursday. I hope we have a year full of great games and Cinderella stories! I've got my fingers crossed that this year's Cinderella is a number 7 seed, wearing orange! :)
Friday, March 12, 2010
Less than one half of one percent of the HSUS budget was related in any way to local humane society shelters. HSUS is not a parent or umbrella organization for these local shelters. This is really too bad---the money taken in by HSUS each year would allow the organization to fund animal shelters in every single state. Unfortunately, they operate none.
Instead, HSUS is a super-rich lobbying group. They are not lobbying for puppies or kittens either. They are lobbying against agriculture, specifically against animal agriculture. According to a website that tracks lobbying expenditures, "HSUS spends millions on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as crazed lunatics." HSUS opposes all kinds of activities including dog breeding, conventional livestock and poultry farming, rodeos, circuses, horse racing, marine aquariums, and fur trapping.
Additionally, HSUS promotes vegitarian lifestyles and drums up false reports about the nutritional and health benefits and safety of beef. One of their primary goals is to decrease the consumption of meat in America. They have specifically declared warfare on farm animal production and even have an entire division dedicated to this issue.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Well, you have now been blogged through my entire European adventure. Before we left, my cousin Whitney kept referring to our vacation as the trip of a lifetime---she was right! I feel so blessed to have been at a place in my life where I had the time, money (and a free couch in Switzerland) and ability to spend 10 days in Europe. I feel more blessed to have been able to do this with my two cousins!
I've always thought I had the travel bug, but this trip confirmed that for me. Now that I was able to travel to Europe and see the different cities and cultures and people and scenery....I cannot wait to go back! There are so many other countries that I want to see, but to be honest, I think I would like to go right back to spend another week in a tiny village on the north shore of Lake Geneva. I have never been somewhere that seemed so perfect in my life.
So I leave you with some of my favorite pictures from the trip. I call them "Jumping my way across Europe." There would be more, but it took us a long time to get the timing right. :) That, and Cousin Swiss Mister and Cousin Whitney were horribly embarassed by my insistance that they snap these shots.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Okay, it's totally possible that I've been living under a rock and that everyone else in America already knows about this....but I was excited! There is the best website, Pandora, that lets you put in an artist or a song you like....then it creates your own radio station! Just go to: http://www.pandora.com/.
So my first try, I enter Stoney LaRue. It creates for me my little "Stoney LaRue Radio" station. It starts off with him singing Oklahoma Breakdown, then I get tons of great songs after that by Cross Canadian, Randy Rogers Band, Casey Donahue, Cory Morrow, Roger Creger.....it was awesome! Day two has brought two additional stations....Old Crow Medicine Show and Ryan Bingham. So the day after discovering this genius invention, I had red dirt music playing (quietly, mind you) in my office all day, and I seriously had a great day! It's like automatic happy music! So, until I end up with my dream job at OSU and move back to Stillwater, the mecca of all good music, Pandora may be what keeps me sane!
Monday, March 8, 2010
ESPN sideline reporter (current girl living my dream....Erin Andrews)
Friday, March 5, 2010
I never buy name brand food. I realize this is an interesting introduction sentence for a blog about family farms, but stick with me here. It comes from my college days of penny pinching and I just haven't grown out of it, save a couple of exceptions (i.e. cereal and spaghetti sauce). However, after today's blog, I've added soup to my list!
Campbells has a program I just learned about from my childhood friend, Teacher Friend, called "Growing Your Soup." They partnered with the National FFA organization (which we already know I love!) to help promote agricultural education and to preserve America's farms. Campbells has committed a quarter of a million dollars to help support agriculture.
The program took nominations of barns that needed restoration. For each vote received, up to 25,000, Campbells donated $1 to the FFA. These funds go to recruiting and training agricultural education teachers. Having had hands down the best ag teacher in America myself, I know how important these men and women can be to high school students.
In addition to supporting the FFA, Campbells restores barns, builds greenhouses and gardens. This year, they will be restoring 5 barns. This is the second year for the program, and the restoration of barns compelted last year was amazing.
Every barn selected was located on a family farm. All of the families were FFA alums. One of these barns was built by the great grandfather of a 17 year old FFA member. She is a third generation FFA member. Another was owed by a third generation FFA alum who plans to pass the farm on to the next generation. We talk all the time about how we need more support for agriculture. Campbells listened....and now it's our turn to support them! If we expect them to support our products and way of life, we better be ready to support theirs.