Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Toys And A New Team Member

Getting new equipment (not new-to-us, which has been the standard) last week was like Christmas to me.  Corporate has been putting a lot of money into the Education Department recently and I have to say, I'm not at all upset about that, especially since in the past few weeks, we've received three new microscopes, a new autoclave (the one I've been drooling over for years) and a new EKG machine (which I haven't had a chance yet to play with, but will with my class next week).  Each new "present" from Corporate makes me happy, but the newest arrivals 'bout had me peeing my pants in joy.  The delivery guy laughed his ass off at me, because I was literally jumping up and down clapping my hands in delight.

This is what our old exam tables looked like:
They weren't horrible by any means.  They were "gently used" by a local family practice and were perfectly functional.  We have used them for the last three years and had nary a complaint.  I was happy to have them, as I think the students need to learn to use the equipment they're going to see in an office.

The new exam tables, however, are amazing!  They make my lab look so much more professional.  The lab now looks like how I'd envisioned it when I started piecing it together a few years ago.

We can do pretty much anything in this lab now.  Okay, we could before, I made sure of that, but it's like getting your first "grown up" furniture after living with your college cast-off furniture.  (You can see the new microscopes lined up proudly on the back counter.)

In addition to the new medical equiment, we have a new Education team member.  We've anxiously been awaiting his arrival.  His office has been arranged and waiting for him for two weeks. 

Finally, on Thursday afternoon, Prince Charming arrived at his new office in the Education Department.

On Friday, Prince Charming was a very naughty boy and got stuck in his resin tree stump.  Our IT God and I had to destroy his resin tree stump to get him out and he was *pissed*!  That's why I can't get a good picture of his cute little face.  Every time I tried to get into his office to take a picture, he'd turn his back on me.

When he's less pissed off at me, I'll see if I can't get a better picture.  He actually belongs to our Academic Advisor, Amanda, but we all love him to pieces.  He honestly has helped to bridge the distance between a few of the Education team members as we all pulled together to get his office built and ready for his arrival.  Who would have thought that a cute little tree frog could pull together a slightly fractured team?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Family Members

After a short delay (okay, so it's been a week), I can finally post about the new additions to our family.  Gizmo finally popped last Friday, the same day as my brother's 30th birthday.  D'ya think I can off-load one or two on him as custom birthday presents?

In the past, Gizmo's had some absolutely beautiful babies.  I mean b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l.  I was expecting more of the same.  What we got was this...

Yes, they're ugly.  I think the grey and white one will be cute as it gets older, but the two cream colored ones?

U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi, you ugly, yeah, yeah, you ugly.

I keep waiting for them to get cute, but I'm not going to hold my breath.  They looked like white lab rats when they were born and they still look like white lab rats.  There might be some hope, though, it looks like they're both going to have darker ears, which would be adorable.

Gizmo did the funniest thing Friday night after she'd finished giving birth.  She's always, and I mean always, has a litter of four.  Until this litter, which was only three.  Not a big deal to us two-leggeds, but apparently a very big deal to her.

She began meowing at Scamp and trying to bite at him.  At first I couldn't figure out what the heck she was trying to do.  She kept going in and out of the kennel, meowing at Scamp, trying to bite at him.  Over and over.  I really had no clue what the heck she was doing.

RockCrawlinChef figured it out after watching her for a few minutes.  She was trying to get ahold of the scruff of his neck to drag him into the kennel with the rest of the babies!  The three she birthed plus Scamp made four babies and she always had four babies.

After about an hour, her raging mommy hormones calmed down and so did she, but the image of her trying to drag Scamp, who is half her size, into the kennel still cracks me up.

The thing is, Scamp might have gone along with it if he wasn't already madly in love with Allie.

Allie is Scamp's dog and Scamp can't stand to be any place that Allie isn't.  Poor Allie doesn't get a break from Scamp, but tolerates him pretty well.

Friday, February 26, 2010

New Feature Over At "Tales from the Trail"

I follow a lot of equi-blogs in many different disciplines, and though I only have a handful of followers over at Tales from the Trail, I can tell by my site statistics that I've got a lot more lurkers (or my followers can't get enough of my writing and read each post a hundred times). I love reading different horse/ride stories and had a brilliant idea last night...what if I had a "Ride of the Week" featuring different bloggers?

So, in light of my brilliant, but not very original idea - after all, people have been doing guest blogs since blogging began - beginning in March I will host a different equi-blogger each week. We'll keep the Ride of the Week going as long as people have stories they want to share.

  • March 3: Shannon from Oh Horse Feathers and Related "Tails"

  • March 10: Juanita from It's A Horse Life

  • March 17: Rachel from Once Upon A Miracle

  • March 24: Bill from It's A Horse Life

  • March 31: TJ from The Ranch on Salmon Creek

  • Everyone who has ridden or spent any time around horses has a story to tell, so tell it. You don't have to be a horse owner or expert; I just love reading about other people's experiences and memories of my favorite critter on earth and I'm sure other people do too. If you are interested in guest blogging, please email me at and put "Ride of the Week" in the subject line.

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    Another Award! Boy, I Love Blog Bling!

    Funny story...

    Yesterday as I was "working from home", I was going through my blog list and saw that Aunt Crazy had won the Beautiful Blogger award.  Well, I was just so happy for her, I jumped ahead of my reading to click on her blog.  The best thing about reading about the winner's award is that usually one of the "rules" is to pass it on to the blogger's favorite blogs; I've found almost all of my blog list by clicking on the links in winner's blogs. 

    Never in a million years did I expect to see my name on the list.  I actually read the list twice and then clicked on the link, just in case there's another GunDiva out there.  Guess what?  It was me!  Aunt Crazy passed the award on to me!  And the funniest part? I read her post before she was able to notify me.

    Thank you, Aunt Crazy!

    I just love that she's not afraid to speak her mind and her blog header cracks me right the eff up...
    ***Warning*** ADULT words are used here...if you are offended by cussing, click the little X in the upper right hand corner ***warning***
    I wish I'd've thought of that myself, so you're my hero Darlin'.

    On to the rules:
    • Link to the person who awarded me the blog: Aunt Crazy's Here Y'all!
    • Offer up 7 things about yourself (that's gonna be tough) 
    • Pass it on to 15 bloggers you've recently found and followed

    7 Things About GunDiva
    1. An ex-boyfriend-turned-stalker is the one who taught me to shoot.  Funny thing, all I had to do was threaten to shoot him with the gun he bought me to get him to leave me alone.  I should have threatened him right off the bat instead of feeling hunted for two years.
    2. I once beat Bud Bond (world champion shooter) in a head-to-head competition.  I really should stop there, but out of fairness and honesty, I have to say that I was shooting a semi-automatic pistol and he was shooting his race revolver and had some ammo issues, which caused him to have to reload more than once.  Otherwise, he'd've kicked my sorry ass.
    3. I built a shotgun from the receiver up for my 34th birthday.  It was truly kick ass.  But then I had to sell it.
    4. RockCrawlinChef bought me a new shotgun for 38th birthday that I can build up to replace the one I had to sell.
    5. Estes is the equine love of my life; I truly believe that she is the equine GunDiva.
    6. I've got an almost completed book that I'm terrified to actually complete.  What if I don't have any more stories in me?
    7. RockCrawlinChef is the human love of my life; I never believed in soulmates before I met him.
    15 Blogs That Have Caught My Eye (In alphabetical order, don't want any hurt feelings.)
    1. Linda at Beautiful Mustang:  I've been in love with Mustangs ever since my parents adopted two and was thrilled to find a fellow equi-blogger.
    2. Another equi-blogger, Gtyyup at Life at the Rough String, has some beautiful pictures of their ranch and I love reading each post.
    3. The Boyles at Little Farm. Growing. are also from Colorado and I love hearing about how their little start-up farm is going.
    4. Menopausal New Mom is a fellow LIBer and her lastest post, "Naked or Not Naked", stirred up quite a debate.  (Me? Naked all the way!)
    5. Mustang U is another equi-blog dedicated to education about, and adoption of, Wild Horses.  The work they do is amazing, jump on over there, click follow, and then donate to keep these beautiful horses happy and healthy.
    6. Monda at No Telling runs a fun contest every month through another of her blogs, Easy Street Prompts.  She's honored me by including me in three of her Blog Carnivals and I just love hearing stories of her Perfect Grandson.
    7. Mrs. Mom at Oh Horse Feathers & Related Twisted "Tails".  Another equi-blogger whose writing I really enjoy, as well as her like-minded approach to horsemanship.
    8. Wanna feel better about your own family?  Then hop on over to Please Don't Eat Sushi!  Love, Mom.  This guy's letters from his mother will make you want to hug your own and thank her for being so normal.
    9. I've been following K over at Preachers and Horse Thieves for quite some time, and I know this award is supposed to go to "new blogs to me", but seriously this guy makes me think and I appreciate that on occasion.  Besides, he's madly in love with his wife.
    10. Sara Spelled Without An H is wicked funny and always makes me laugh.
    11. Stories From Apartment Managers will keep you scratching your head, wondering WTF?  People really do crap like that?
    12. The Accidental Advocate is about the strongest mom I've ever met.  I could have used her strength a few years ago when my son's disease was at its worst.
    13. TJ and Mark over to The Ranch on Salmon Creek are ranchers in the Pacific Northwest; their ranch is amazingly beautiful and I'd love to go ride there.
    14. Vinomom's Weblog.  I love Vinomom and the fact that she's yet another LIBer.  (By the way, both Vinomom and Menopausal New Mom are kicking my ass in the LIB challenge - for some reason my body thinks it's the Gain It Bitch challenge, not the Lose It Bitch challenge)
    15. Dual Mom at We're At Dad's That Week is one of the original LIBer and is also kicking my ass.  She's also wicked funny, though she's a bit obsessed with Robert Downey, Jr.  (I'll forgive her for that.)
    Seriously, check them all out (and click follow while you're at it), you won't regret it.  In fact, check out all of the blogs I follow in my sidebar, they're all worth it!

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    True Story Tuesday

    Thanks to Rachel and Mr. Daddy over at Once Upon A Miracle for giving me a platform to share this.  Be sure to hop on over to their blog and link up to play along.

    This is the sign that greeted us when I hauled RockCrawlinChef's banged up and bruised cookies into Urgent Care on Sunday...

    I've been in medicine a long time and I've never come across "Fly Symptoms", unless they look something like this...

    Nor do I know what "Sinus Symptons" are.  D'ya s'pose sinus symptons are 2,000 sinus symptoms?

    Nor have I ever come across "Upper Respitory Symptoms", and believe me, as a mom of boys, I'm pretty sure that if there was such a thing as a spit symptom (actually, spit would be a sign, but we've already been down that route) I'd've heard about it.

    We're not even going to talk about the exuberant use of exclamation points or the missing apostrophes (or the incomplete sentences).

    RockCrawlinChef took one look at the sign, looked at me and asked, "And I'm supposed to trust these people?"  I assured him that the physician probably didn't write it, 'cause if he/she did, it would be illegible.

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    The Rest Of The Story

    I made RockCrawlinChef go to Urgent Care, as I said in my earlier post, and he's fine (which I knew) and they gave him Flexeril (I didn't even have to threaten them for it).  No Vicodin, though, and I'm okay with that.  He seems to be managing his pain well with just 800mg ibuprofen.

    Turns out, the accident wasn't exactly a rollover (Thank God), but more of a tip-over.

    He and Partner were on the highway, which thanks to Mother Nature, was an ice skating rink.  They were only doing about 45mph and as they crested a hill, Partner saw brake lights, so he lightly tapped his brakes, hoping to slow down before they got to the cars at the bottom of the hill.  When he tapped his brakes, the backend of the truck started to slide out from behind them.  They ended up sliding sideways into the median, tearing it up pretty good.  The truck came to a stop sideways in the median, but the momentum carried the top of the truck right on over and they ended up on the driver's side.  They managed to miss everything: mile markers, guard rails, and median dividers.

    A state patrolman was northbound on the other side of the highway and saw the whole thing happen.  RCC says that the patrolman was standing in front of the truck looking through the windshield almost before they'd come to a complete stop.  Partner immediately got out of his seatbelt and stood up, but RCC's seatbelt was locked up with his weight, so he was stuck in his seat on his left side.  Partner was able to get his shoulder up under RCC's hip and lift him enough that they could release the seatbelt and RCC could scramble up to standing.

    Now, the thing is, armored trucks are made so that no one can get into them.  Which means that no one can get into them if there's an accident and they need help.  Luckily, RCC and Partner weren't that hurt.  But the doors on the trucks are heavy and they weren't really in a good position to get them open.  You know, one door was under them and the other was over their heads.  The driver has control over the doors, so it took RCC crawling up under the door, throwing the combat latch and heaving it open while Partner released the other lock.  Apparently, RCC had to stand on the side of the seat, put his back to the door and use his legs and back to lift it up and hold it open while Partner climbed up and out of the cab.  Partner then held the door so that RCC could get out.

    RockCrawlinChef escaped with nothing more than bumps and bruises and Partner ended up with a small (less than 1") laceration from falling items in the cab.  I can honestly say that all's well that ends well, for that seems to be true.

    Side note to Partner: the rubber side is supposed to be down!

    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    Oh. My. God.

    I had planned a cute litte post about the additions to our zoo, but before I could get there, I noticed that I'd missed a couple of phone calls from RockCrawlinChef, who had to work today.  My Chef doesn't currently work in a restaurant, though he's got the itch to go back.  No, he's an Armed Service Tech, aka Armed Courier, who works for a national armored car company, picking up and distributing money between banks and businesses. 

    The fact that I'd missed three phone calls didn't bode well and I called him back, expecting news like "It took us forever on the shuttle, so I won't be home until late" or possibly good news, "We're making good time, so I'll be home early."

    What I got instead, stopped my heart.

    "Hey Babe, just wanted to let you know I'm okay."

    "Uh..." I'm okay just means that something went wrong.  Of course, I know that his job comes with risks, but he's armed and good with his gun, but still...

    "We were in a..." Please God don't say robbery.  Don't say it, don't say it. "Rollover."

    Is it wrong to be relieved that it was *only* a rollover?  People are killed in rollovers, but I was immediately relieved.  If he was okay enough to call me three times, he was really okay.

    He and his partner are both okay, though Partner's got a laceraction from flying debris in the cab of the truck.  RockCrawlinChef's back is sore and he was checked out by the paramedics at the scene, but I'm making him go to Urgent Care as soon as he gets home.  If his back is sore already, he's going to need some Flexeril (and honestly, I hate to admit it, probably some Vicodin) to get throught the night, 'cause once those back spasms hit in full force when the adrenaline's gone from his body, he's going to be in agony.

    If thing's can go right in an accident, they did in this one.  They were on their way to pick up money, so the truck was empty.  Since the truck was empty, Chef was riding up front with Partner, rather than in the back in the messenger seat.  The messenger seat is the most dangerous seat in the vehicle because none of the "liability" is secured, so in an accident, the messenger is subjected to flying debris that basically becomes shrapnel.  Oh, sure, the messenger seat is surrounded by a "cage", but the cage doesn't stop all of the coin, it just scatters it like a shotgun into the messenger.

    Also, because they didn't have any liability aboard, they were able to take care of themselves after the accident, rather than having to guard the liability.

    To be continued...

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    Another MEGA Mommy Fail!

    This is her daughter, I'll go ahead and help myself to the first line. Mom: fail.
    The floor is all yours,

    Thanks Ashee-butt.  Now that she's posted that I've failed, let me explain.  She read my blog for the first time since I started in 2008 and didn't find enough posts about her.  A couple about her brothers, but only one that was directly related to her and it was only a paragraph.

    I'm to tell you how awesome my intelligent, beautiful, amazing daughter is. Don't make it sound forced woman!  And I'm not even lying. Swear.

    I'd say that she's my only hope for a bright future, but that's too much pressure. Why not? Everyone else has already put that voodoo on me.  Though, it's probably true.  Her brothers are trying every parenting skill I've got, while she just coasts along, not making any waves.  Except for being late constantly, and never having a ride home. 

    I should have known how awesome she would be when I didn't even have to potty-train her.  No, she's not still in diapers at 17, but she did potty-train herself.  I was concentrating so hard on getting Digger potty-trained that I completely ignored Ashee-butt and diapers (they're 15 months apart).  She asked for Pull-Ups and since I was getting some for Digger, I went ahead and got her some.  One day, I realized that I'd been so focused on Digger and the potty that I'd neglected to change her.  So, around bedtime, I went to change her and realized that her Pull-Up was dry.  She'd completely potty-trained herself and never had an accident from that day forward.

    She's maintained her grades, gotten a job and has been paying her own way this school year.  Money is wonderful, especially when I have no bills. Nanner-nanner-nanner.

    Not only is she wonderful, but she's psychic, too.  She told me, way back on March 22, 2008, that RockCrawlinChef and I were going to get married.  She told me that as soon as I returned home from our very first date.  I told her she was crazy.  I had to eat my words twelve weeks later when he proposed. Told ya so.

    And she's beautiful...

    And even if she drives me nuts by never having a ride home from places even after we'd discussed it, I love her tons and tons.  She's been my side-kick through thick and thin.  She and my mom were my "people" when we went to Horse Master and she's been in two of my stories in Tales from the Trail: Lightning in the Yard and Hoss Rustlin'.

    I've just been reminded that I haven't mentioned her boyfriend, CJ.  He rocks.  And he's in the picture with her.  I'm hoping that despite the matching shirts, you'll be able tell who is who. He's my bestieee!

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    This Is Our Idea Of A Good Time

    All it takes for entertainment in our household is a curious cat. 

    Dashurie got a new exercise ball so that she can join the family during our TV time.  She's a surprisingly social critter and pretty much goes everywhere with Ashee-butt.  When we put her in her ball the first time, Scamp couldn't hardly stand it...

    Of course, being the creative folk of the GunDiva/RockCrawlinChef household, we thought, "If Scamp's so interested, what would happen if we put him in the ball?"  So we did...

    If you watch closely, you can see Scamp just spinning madly in the ball.

    At least the two-legged critters got a kick out of it.  God, we're so evil.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Grrr...Sometimes Being A Good Mommy Feels A Whole Lot Like Being A Bad One

    There are times when I think to myself, "WTF GunDiva?  Can those children really be yours?"  I raised my children with manners and taught them to be respectful and work hard, so who are these ingrateful brats who have appeared?  If children learn by example, who the hell were they watching when I was busy working multiple jobs just to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table?  'Cause they - okay, well, really just the boys - seem to have a whole sense of entitlement that I don't understand.

    Digger is 18, quit school because of his gawdawful disease and rocked his GED.  I mean, he blew the GED out of the water during what would have been his junior year of high school.  While I would have preferred he graduate from high school, I have to say that the GED was probably the right choice for him.  We'd exhausted all of the resources the school district had to offer.

    I have always told my children that once they were 18 they could live at home, but they'd have to pay rent (all of $100 a month) or be in school.  He's doing neither.  He's been "supposed to" get a job for well over a year and still doesn't have one.  He's sick of me bringing it up and I'm sick of bringing it up.  Now, I know that the economy's in the tank and I know that jobs aren't too easy to find.  I also know that there are jobs to be had in the food service industry and WalMart always needs cart gatherers.

    He owes us from wrecking his girlfriend's car two years ago; he owes us for paying for his phone while he's been job hunting; and he owes us rent for November, December, January, and February.  Knowing that he owes us this money, he still was astounded when I told him that I would not pay to fix his car.  Fixing his car would just be the beginning, it also needs to be registered and insured.  I asked him who he expected to pay for that and he told me that he hoped I would.  His best friend's step-dad is "pretty sure" he can get Digger a job in Wheatland, Wyoming.  I told him that "pretty sure" and "guaranteed job" are two totally different things.  If he had a job, I'd be happy to help him out and fix his car, but he doesn't, so I'm not putting a dime into it.

    So, he told me that he's moving out.  "Great," I said, "Where are you going to live?"

    "Hawk's" he tells me, meaning Hawk's grandma's, since that's where Hawk lives.

    "And how long do you think that Hawk's grandma is going to allow you to live off of her for free?"

    "I won't be living there for free."

    "Really?  'Cause you just told me you don't have a job, therefore no income, so how are you going to pay to live there?"

    "I'm going to get a job."

    And this is the kind of circular arguement I get into with my teenaged son on an almost daily basis.  He believes that we "take advantage of him" by expecting him to clean up around the house, do dishes when it's his turn, and drive his siblings around.  He calls it "taking advantage of", I call it "pulling his weight".

    Sounds like a lot of reported ex-husbands I know.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    The Easiest, Most Versatile Recipe On The Planet

    Other than ordering in, that is.

    My parents own the Allenspark Lodge and are well known for their scrumptious breakfasts.  They have no formal cooking training, but always earn rave reviews about their food whether it's breakfast or dinner.  (They don't serve dinner to the public, but do offer it as a choice for groups who rent the entire lodge for events.)  I, on the other hand, am not known for my culinary skill.  I can cook well enough to keep my children and myself alive.  I can even cook well enough for casual enterainment, but let's just say that it's a very good thing that I married RockCrawlinChef.  So, imagine how thrilled I was when Mom said she was making my Chicken Green Chili Stew for dinner on Sunday night.  We got to talking about some of my other favorite recipes and I can't believe I had never told her about my very favoritest recipe of all time.

    Shredded Chicken
    • 4 frozen chicken breasts
    • 2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
    • 1 jar 505 Green Chili
    • water to cover
    Throw everything in a crockpot and let it simmer 4-6 hours.  Use two forks to shred the chicken.

    Great, now you've got shredded chicken, now what?

    Now you've got meals for the whole week, just by tweaking the chicken.  You can:
    • Serve the chicken over rice or egg noodles.
    • Take a portion, thicken it with sour cream and use it for burrito or enchilada filling.  For white enchiladas, fill the tortillas with chicken filling, roll and put in a baking pan.  Mix one can Cream of Chicken soup with one can Stokes Green Chili with pork; pour over the top, sprinkle with cheese and heat in the oven.
    • Mix with frozen vegetables, pour in a baking sheet.  Mix Bisquick crust according to package directions, cover the filling and bake for the best chicken pot-pie on the planet.
    Again, there's nothing in the recipe that's bad for you and if you want to use low-fat, low-sodium Cream of Chicken, you'll never notice the difference in the flavor.  The 505 Green Chili is certified organic with no preservatives, so once the jar's open, it needs to be refridgerated and used quickly.

    I've now shared pretty much my entire recipe collection, so if you want more recipes, visit my parents' blog It's A Horse Life, where my mom posts one of her favorite B&B recipes each month.  Please ignore Bill's recipes, they may be humorous, but don't taste a very good.  Don't worry, it will be easy to tell whose recipe is whose.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    The Best Temper Tantrum I've Ever Had

    Today marks the two year anniversary of the best temper tantrum I've ever had.

    The RockCrawlinChef and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day.  We have no desire to.  Now, let me explain.  We "met" because of a temper tantrum I had after Valentine's Day in 2008.  I'd been a divorced, single mom for going on eleven years at the time and I was not a pleasant person.  I was working way too much, worrying way too much, and tired as hell about doing it all on my own.  I was D-O-N-E.

    A friend of mine and I had signed up for mostly because we thought it would be fun to go speed dating and in order to register we had to be members of  Not a problem, we signed up for our free profiles and went speed dating.  Oh, God, that was a disaster for another time.  I'd even "met" a couple of guys and been out on *one* date with someone I met on-line.  Also disasters for another time.

    Valentine's Day 2008 did me in.  I was a royal damn bitch.  There was no one safe around me.  Like I said, I was D-O-N-E.  I was one of those bitter bitches that you'd see on the street and cross to the other side just to get out of my way. 

    I still had not completely recovered from my world-class hate-fest when I logged onto Cupid on February 16th, but I was slightly less bitter and in the frame of mind that if I couldn't find just one profile that I'd throw in the towel and become the crazy horse woman I was on the path of becoming anyway.

    I went throught page after page of profiles, getting more and more frustrated, when I came across this headline...

    "Maybe... just maybe she's out there." 

    It piqued my interest and I clicked on RCC's profile.  He was smart.  And articulate.  And liked to travel.  And liked to shoot.  Could it be?  Could I really have just found someone I could connect with?

    Before I could second guess myself, I sent him an eye contact, "We might make a good match."

    And so it began...weeks of daily emails.  In the beginning, just once a day, which quickly grew to multiple emails a day.  I began to feel something I thought had died long ago - HOPE.  Really, he might be a nice, genuine guy.  After six weeks, we decided to meet in person.  His choice.  He chose Barnes and Noble - no pressure of eating, a neutral spot that we could both make an escape from if we needed to.

    We met.  Five hours later, we left B&N fast friends. 

    Twelve weeks later, we got engaged. 

    Eleven months after that, we got married.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    Query Letter Contest

    Elana Johnson, a YA author and query letter guru, is having a great contest for writers.  As I'm finishing up my Tales from the Trail, I'm now looking for an agent and/or publisher.  In order to do so, the query letter has to be amazing.  In truth, the query is scaring me to death.  Elana is offering up query critiques from five literary agents.

    I know that some of my followers are not only readers, but writers, and could benefit from this contest as well.  (Are you listening TJ and Mark?  Your writer friend might be interested.)  If you're interested in throwing your name in the hat for a professional query critique, jump on over to Elana's blog and enter.

    While I'm On A Roll...

    I promised K. Erickson over at Preachers and Horse Thieves a profound post about healthcare.  I'm not sure how profound this will be, but I hope it give you food for thought. 

    I've been thinking a lot about President Obama's Proposed Healthcare Reform.  I've heard lots of opinions about it, both pro and con, but I hadn't really paid much attention.  So, since I promised K. I took a look at the President's plan and let me tell you's pretty much the same thing as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1986).  Go ahead, click the link that will take you to Obama's plan, read it, and then compare it to this:

    HIPAA, (Public Law 104-191) amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, has several aspects, but the one patients are most aware of is the aspect pertaining to patient privacy and protected health information (PHI). In addition to patient privacy, HIPAA also intends to:

    • Improve the portability and continuity of health insurance coverage in the group and individual markets by:

    o Limiting exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions;

    o Prohibiting discrimination in enrollment and premiums against employees and their dependents based on health status;

    o Guaranteeing availability of health insurance coverage for small employers and renewablity of health insurance coverage in both the small and large group markets;

    o Providing credit for prior health coverage and a process for transmitting certificates and other information concerning prior coverage to a new group health plan or issuer;

    o Providing new rights that allow individuals to enroll for health coverage when they lose other health coverage, change from group to individual coverage, or have a new dependent; and

    o Preserving, through narrow pre-emption provisions, the states’ traditional role in regulating health insurance, including state flexibility to provide greater protections.

    • Combat waste, fraud, and abuse in health insurance and health care delivery;
    • Promote the use of medical savings accounts (MSAs);
    • Improve access to long-term care services and coverage;
    • Simplify the administration of health insurance;
    • Create standards for electronic health information transactions;
    • Create privacy standards for health information; and
    • Create unique identifiers for providers, health plans, employers, and individuals.
    Seems to me that Obama's plan and the one already enacted as law are an awful lot alike.  Wouldn't it just be better to enforce what's already in place rather than re-inventing the wheel?  Again.

    Now, I know that there are things in Obama's plan that HIPPA doesn't address.  Like healthcare for uninsured Americans.  Hello, Medicaid.  Problem is, Medicaid is broken.  And I mean B-R-O-K-E-N, but that's a post for another day.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    An Accidental Recipe

    Last week, I hosted "Bring A Victim" day for my Phlebotomy classes, which always involves food to bribe them.  I've found that if you offer food in return for fresh veins, you can talk people into pretty much anything.

    Normally, I can come up with a potluck meal in no time, but for some reason I was stuck last week.  My fall-back recipe, chili, didn't sound appetizing since we'd just spent the entire week eating left-over chili.  As I lay in bed Monday night, I finally thought of something to make for the potluck, but was too tired to get my butt up out of bed and throw everything in the crockpot so it could be ready for my morning class.  I figured I'd just stop at the grocery store in the morning and figure something out.

    However...being married to a chef and learning to think outside the box when it comes to cooking saved the day. My mind must have been working while I was asleep, because I woke up the next morning with the perfect recipe for the potluck!  It turned out so well, I thought I'd share it with all of you.  It's embarrassingly simple and perfect for cold days.

    Chicken Green Chile Stew
    • 1 large can chicken breast (yes, I use canned, but if you have all day to simmer, you can throw in four chicken breasts instead)
    • 1 large jar 505 Green Chili
    • 1 small can diced green chiles 
    • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
    • 2 cans (or one "box") of Chicken Stock
    • 1 can white potatoes, diced (or two diced potatoes if you have all day to simmer)
    • 1 small bag frozen corn
    Throw them all together in a crockpot or stockpot to heat.  You can use all the low-sodium, low-fat ingredients you want and it will still taste amazing!  There's not a darned thing in the stew that's bad for you and if you balk at the Cream of Chicken soup, don't use it.

    Trust me, it's awesome and prep only takes as long as it takes to open a few cans and unscrew a jar lid.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Why I Love The Gun Shop

    Well, actually, sometimes I hate it.  But then there are days like today.  Here's a very small sampling of our phone conversations today.

    Ring, ring.
    "Good morning, Gun Shop.  This is GunDiva, how may I help you?" (I totally rock at answering the phone, unlike the guys, just so you know.)

    "Yes, I just talked to corporate and they told me to call you."  (Corporate?  We don't have a corporate, but being the bright one I am, I quickly deduce he's talking about a gun manufacturer who we do warranty repair work for.)

    "Great.  What can I do for you?"

    "The nickle plating is peeling off of my pistol and S. at corporate told me that you guys would fix it for free."

    "No problem," I begin to give him shipping directions.

    "Well and there's a problem with the ejector.  Sometimes it doesn't eject and sometimes it double feeds.  Can you fix that, too?  S. at corporate told me you'd fix it for free since it's got a lifetime warranty."

    My brain filter failed at that point, "So, your real problem is that the gun doesn't work."

    "But the nickle plating is peeling off and she promised that you'd re-plate it for free."

    "Yes, we will.  But, the gun doesn't actually work, right?"

    "Right, but you'll fix the nickle plating?"

    At that point, I handed him off to our tech, who will actually be doing the repair work.  But I couldn't get over the fact that he was more upset about the finish on his gun than the fact that his gun didn't freaking work! 

    Don't know about you, but I'd rather shoot an ugly gun that, you know, shoots than own a pretty one that doesn't.
    Ring, ring.
    "Gun Shop.  Help ya?"  (See?  I told you, I rock at answering the phone compared to the guys.)
    Pause, a head nod.
    "You do realize we're a gun shop?"
    Pause, deep breath.
    "Ma'am, we only advertise with companies that support our Right to Keep and Bear Arms."  (Ok, he gets the line of the day for that one!)

    Apparently, the advertising rep who wanted our advertising dollars did not work for a company who supported our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, for she reportedly said, "Oh.  Um.  Have a nice day," and hung up.
    And, finally, here's a sampling of an actual resume that the owner received...
    "I have spent a good part of my life in the woods and consider myself a very experienced hunter and fisherman.  I also lived in a cabin in the mountains, surviving by foraging off the land and hunting raccoons for furs to sell.  I trained my dog to tree the coons and because I couldn't afford a gun, I would knock them out of the tree with a rock and finish them off with a handmade club.  I'd then skin and freeze the pelts and once a month I would get a ride to the traders to sell my furs.  I learned several lessons that stay with me to this day. 1.  Only the strong survive.  2.  Hunting at night alone in the mountains with only a club and a pocket full of rocks can be very unnerving.  3.  I never want to eat another raccoon again as long as I live."
    I'm sorry, but you can't make this shit up.

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Random Thoughts In GunDiva's Head

    Things that keep me up at night...
    • Baltimore got 72" of snow. 
    • That's six feet.
    • I am 60" tall, so they got a whole foot more snow than I am tall.
    • Estes is 14.2 hands tall.  That's 50".
    • They got almost two feet more snow than my horse is tall.
    • Glad I don't live in Baltimore.
    • I'd never find my horse.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    A Personal Pet Peeve

    I've got lots and lots of pet peeves, but there's one commercial that is really pushing my "set the GunDiva off" button.  I don't even remember the name of the medication because I'm in such a blind fury by the time they get around to saying the name that it just doesn't register.  Don't judge - everyone has pet peeves that set them right the eff off.

    A little lesson in the difference between a sign and a symptom.  A sign is, essentially, anything quantifiable; anything that can be seen or measured.  A symptom, on the other hand, is anything that the patient feels or reports.  To clarify: if a patient complains of sinus pain and green boogers, the symptom (what the patient feels) is sinus pain, the sign (what can be seen or measured) is green boogers.  One more example: a patient complains of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  The patient has one symptom, nausea, and two signs, vomiting and diarrhea. 

    Pretty simple, right? 

    One would think that advertising agencies could figure that out and quit advertising that their cold medication alleviates the signs of a common cold such as headache, stuffiness, and sinus pressure.

    Those of us in the know - you now included - know that their cold medication alleviates the symptoms of a common cold.

    And that seemingly small thing drives me absolutely, completely batshit.  Just ask my students.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Weigh-in Wednesday

    Well, the day I've been dreading has arrived...I gained.  I suppose that I should be thankful that my body waited until the last week of my hell mod to gain instead of instantly packing on the pounds after I quit working out and began working non-stop.

    Do you suppose I can blame the eight ounce gain on the new pedicure?  That they layered on so much polish that it made a difference?  I don't know, but I'm liking the idea.  So, GunDiva is up to 185#, which gives me a BMI of 35.5, which we all know is still obese.  The good news is that tomorrow is the last day in my hell mod, so I can go back to working out!!!!

    RockCrawlinChef didn't take a picture this morning, but he reports that his weight is 201#, which gives him a BMI of 30.6, which is slightly obese.  He's pretty sure that our scale is screwed up because a couple of days ago he weighed in 5.5# lighter.  He may be right, but we can't change scales midway through the contest.  Guess we'll just keep cussing this one.

    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    Tired of Winter

    Since I'm tired of winter, I took a little pictoral travel back in time to one of my favorite summertime activities, horse camping.  My parents live across the street from Roosevelt National Forest, so when the mood strikes, we can just load up the horses and gear and we're off!  We typically leave after dinner so we don't have to worry about hauling food around that might tempt bears, but that means that we're often setting up camp in the dark.

    This is all the gear I need.  Tack, horn bag, tent and sleeping bag.  Horn bag has all the necessities: contact case, saline, book, light and camera.  Horse camping will definitely teach you to pack light.  It helps that for this trip, we were only planning one night.

    Meeker loaded up and ready to go.



    Riderless Washoe gets to haul the hay.  One of the rules of the forest is that livestock must haul in their own feed - no grazing.  Poor Washoe practically turned himself inside out trying to reach back to sneak bites from the saddlebags.

    All unpacked.  The tarp protects the tack from moisture from the ground, and we tent the tarp up over the tack to protect it from dew.

    The horses started out in a temporary pen we created by running hot wire (tape, actually) around a few trees.  It worked great until a gust of wind came and spooked Washoe, who bolted.  Luckily, he's unsure on his own and didn't go far.  Meeker, Jesse and Ranger stayed in the pen; Washoe got to spend the night tied to a tree.
    Finally!  We got camp set up, spent some time looking at the stars, then called it a night.  Or tried to, until Washoe pulled his great escape.  Once he was secured to the tree, we crawled back into bed.

    At one point, I had pictures of the next morning, which was beautiful, but I think those got lost when my computer contracted its ITD.

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    The Zoo That Is My Home

    Today, I finally did something I've been meaning to do since Dashurie and Scamp came to live with us...I introduced them to each other.  I was expecting fun fireworks.  You know, Dash hissing and balling up and Scamp jumping in the air.  I could almost feel the check from America's Funniest Videos.  Instead, I got this cute little awwww moment.

    They were so cute nose-to-nose.  Cute enough that I let go of my AFV dreams.  Allie-bird came over to see what that walking pincushion on the couch was and they gave me another awwww moment...

    And then they all got in on it and it was so sweet...

    They were good, heart warming moments to end the week from hell.  Well, the sweet animals and a good glass of wine were a good way to end this gawdawful week.

    P.S. My camera turned up.  Of course, it turned up after I ordered a new one from yesterday.  I knew it would happen, but I've decided that the "old" camera will go live in my horn bag and the new one will live with me.  Since I finally rescued my camera from Scamp, I had to get a picture of the "innocent" kitten who would never steal my camera.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Weigh-in Wednesday

    Today actually wasn't as painful as I had anticipated.  I haven't set foot in the gym since the beginning of the mod and I've been stress eating like nobody's business.  So, rather than being dejected when I stepped on the scale today and saw that it hadn't budged one way or the other, I was extremely relieved.

    The kitten has absconded with my camera, so there are no new pictures of the scale, but if you're dying to see my chipped toenail polish (well, actually, the few chips of polish left on my toes) and the depressing numbers, feel free to look at last week's post.
    • GunDiva  184.5#
    • RockCrawlinChef  199# (he's down from his original weight, but up from two weeks ago - I'm chortling in joy).

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    It's Hard To Believe...

    ...that this fuzzy beast...

    Cleans up well enough to be a TV star on Horse Master with Julie Goodnight.

    I also have a brand-new picture of my little girl, her daughter Meeker and her granddaughter Audubon.  Missy Meeker and Audubon are both preggers, so I guess that makes the picture a four-generation picture, right?  Three on the ground generations and one new in-the-womb generation.
    Left to right: Meeker, Estes, Audubon

    Thanks Mom and Bill for hunting down my girl and getting me new pictures!