Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Changing of the Purse

There are very few things that woman, far and wide, take so seriously:
  1. Did I leave the oven on?
  2. Dieting
  3. Changing of the Purse
You show me a woman who enjoys changing purses and I’ll be looking at a real creep. I’m serious. I know two of these types of women; one has already cashed in her one-way ticket to Crazyville. The other has been labeled “Hi-Risk” for doing the same. 
Changing purses can cause a woman to re-evaluate her life....
  • Where is all of my money?
  • At what point did my social life take a turn that I decided I needed to carry around a cork screw?
  • Why do I still have this ticket stub from that terrible date in April? Following up, why did I go an 2 more dates with the same guy after that?
  • Coral lipstick: When did I turn into my mother?
  • Shabby kleenexes: When did I turn into my Grandmother?
  • The “lucky” quarter: Why do I still carry this in my secret compartment? The week I found it on Maple Street I got a flat tire, my camera stolen and the flu. 
  • A single birthday candle. Just, Why?
This “change” wouldn’t be as painful if I was good at it. I attempted to change purses on new years day: New Year, New Purse. Even today, I have regretted that decision it twice in the last thirty minutes. I can’t find my checkbook, Advil or spare house key. 
Some enjoy taking this time to change and reorganize. Personally, I would rather reorganize my life by cleaning out my entire attic. A painful task, but it won’t ruin your life like a shoddy purse change will. 
For those who do enjoy this event, have you ever messed it up? Have you ever gotten a state away before realizing you have nothing in your purse but hard-as-a-rock gum, a Keith Whitley CD and outdated business cards from your first job out of college? 
No? Well, then you probably don’t understand why I’m already on looking for one-way tickets for you, too. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pride in the Work

Since the first time I attended the National Western, I've been intrigued by the people, the place and the whole idea. The history and past of the Yards inspire me; the people that passionately bring cattle each year motivate me. 

It isn’t just a week; it’s a way of Life. 
For the last couple years I’ve been fortunate to work with Jungels Shorthorn Farm of Kathryn, ND. Not only are they outstanding folks to work with, they have a phenomenal understanding of the Shorthorn breed and a passion for the cattle like none I’ve seen. Working with this team is the only reason I can smile when I find peanut shells in my dryer vent two weeks after I’ve left the Stock Yards. 
Many times, it’s better to let a photo explain things, rather than searching for the words. I’ve decided to let the photos do the speaking on this Friday; my words couldn’t do justice to the pride that comes through my lens. 


NOTE: All photos property of Lindsay J. Bowman. 

Lot 1

The Future of JSF

Resting Place

A Shared Vision - Father and Son

Make Your Way

High Plains Forage

Common Ground


A Real Spectacle 

A Different Shade

Pride in the Work

Something to be Proud of


Well Traveled

Accepted Outsiders

Leader of the Pack

When Country Comes to Town

Know A Great Thing When You See It

Value Added

You're Known By The Company You Keep

The View from the Top

Final Glance

The Conversations

The Cornerstone
This Cowboy's Hat

Contending Bidders

Intensity of the Final Bid

The Chosen

 Live with Passion.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Building Character

In our home when we turned 6 years old, we were no longer allowed to watch cartoons. 

Instead, we were instructed to 
“put your coat on, go outside and build character.”

Build character???

A few questions:
Which character: Chip or Dale? Or Strawberry Shortcake? 
What do we make it out of? 
How big should it be? 
Do you want me to build it in the front yard or back yard? 
Can David come down and help? 
Can we use the staple gun if Dad holds it with us?
Have you seen the ladder since Christmas?
All these questions run through a six year old’s head when they’re thrown out to the back yard instructed to build something they can’t even spell - let alone define. 
Turns out, building that character deal took longer than anticipated.
It was a hot week in July when Mom and Dad tore the shingles off the old roof of our house. Our very beautiful, convincing mother told us that the child that picked up the most scrap was somehow ahead. Laura, Luke and I fought for every last shingle and square nail that composed that old place. When the scrap was turned in, we each received $.71 for our efforts. Kind of a big deal in 1988. 

Hard work pays off. 

I added a little piece of that character in Kindergarten when Mrs. Baker put my name on the board for talking during our alphabet lesson. Unfortunately, Kristen Sparks went down with me, and all she whispered were the kind words, “Thank You.” 

Always apologize, but make sure it happens during recess.

I have to look back on our childhood and raise an eyebrow; we’ve eaten a lot of friends. More than once I’ve seen Ricky the Rooster running headless around the back yard (1980’s, folks).

 I can remember about every time I gave a 4-H steer one last head pat. My first year of 4-H I showed a Holstein steer from Granddad’s back farm; he weighed in at 1549 lbs. at the county fair. Trying to stay unattached, I named him Big Mac the first day I saw him; the last day I saw him, I couldn’t talk through my tears. 

Dustin Thornburg sat me down on the showbox and taught me an important lesson: That steer is a production animal. He was created to feed and provide protein to the greatest species on Earth: humans. Big Mac is doing exactly what he was created to do. 

Realize purpose and reason...and move on. 

Lindsay and Big Mac - 60 lbs.vs.1549 lbs. 

In junior high our hay tedder broke the morning that rain to was arrive several hours later. By 10 a.m. dad had all of us, strategically placed around the hay field, manually flipping moist hay over with pitchforks so the warm sun would dry it in time. I’ve never been so mad and sore in my life. I’ve also never thanked God so much for modern technology and a capable family. 

Every able body should work. 

In 2000 I had to ride down to a rival high school, in my cheerleading uniform with the Athletic Director, to return a piece of the football field that I and a few others thought we needed in Tiger Territory. We were wrong. A handshake, eye contact and honest apology never meant as much to me as it did that day. I realized I had brought shame to my family's name. It’s strange, I’ve been to that tiny little town in Union County a hundred times since then, and only when I took that trip with Mr. Michael did it take 18 hours to get there. 

Set an example, folks will watch and maybe follow. 

I’ve realized sometimes it isn’t the final result, but rather the path getting there. 

I've realized as much as I sat around and protested about our lack of cartoons, it was the best thing Mom and Dad could have done for us. All three of us can change a tire, make a hearty breakfast and perhaps most importantly, write a Thank You note. 

As it turns out that character thing has been a pretty tough thing to build over the years, and I even consider myself handy. 
Funny, looking back between the Smurfs, Popples and Mighty Ducks, Mom and Dad never did tell me which character I was supposed to build.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Denver, Revisited

As I board the plane for Denver, I thought it might be fitting that I share an entry from my old journal depicting the first trip I took to the Mile High City to attend the National Western Stock Show......
I just got home. When I say home I mean the Alpha Chi house - not Garrett Rd. Denver was amazing, beautiful and unforgettable. Dad and I got the to airport early so we went to TGIFriday’s. Dad ordered a beer and I ordered a Crown and Coke. You should have seen the look on Dad’s face when I did! I was, of course, carded - -  so confidently I pulled my ID out of my wallet. Home clear. Dad was so confused...he made me show him my ID....which, of course, was actually Laura’s old one. He kind of laughed, kind of shook his head in disbelief/disappointment. More to come on that deal. 
On the plane I sat with Arin Cates. I can definitely see her being a mentor to me as I pursue writing and design. 
I can’t describe how incredible the Stock Show is. There is so much rich history in those Yards - - I truly want to know every single detail. The cattle looked great, ready and competitive. Shorthorns have certainly come a long way. As I walked the Yards, I couldn’t help but feel pride for the industry in which I’ve been raised. There I was, surrounded by some of the greatest cattlemen in the country, proudly displaying the best stock they could truck to the Mile High city. I yearn to know the stories those Yards tell - the winning, the fall outs, the bids, the genetics - - such a rich part of American Production Agriculture. 
Colorado kind of place. The view of the mountains remind me to breathe. The wide open sky makes me count my blessings. The people I was able to meet made me forget about Chemistry class! I love the West. I simply love how it brings this historic romance to everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, I love Indiana; but I feel like I there is some part of me that belongs West. It feels like home to me. 

The best part of the trip, between the new Tony Lamas, the Cowboy Bar, looking at cattle on the Hill, warm chocolate chip cookies at the Double Tree hotel, the Yards Bar, spending time with my Shorthorn friends, picking out turquoise for Mom and the wide open spaces....was spending time with Dad. I feel like since I moved to Purdue our relationship hasn’t been what it once was. I certainly know that I haven’t kept in touch like I thought I would, and he probably wanted me to. It’s funny, how fast life happens. All the sudden we’re 20 hours from the only home we know and we become as close as we’ve ever been. Relationships are a funny thing. So is time. And distance. 
It’s easy to innocently forget about the ones who love you the most. 
The trip home was fine. When grabbed my bag from the luggage trip Dad reached out his hand. He wanted to shake hands?!?! Nope.........he made me give him my fake/Laura’s ID. After a short pep talk about living with integrity and how he was going to call Laura, Dad kissed my head - and like that my first trip to Denver was over and I was on my way back to Purdue!!!!! SORRY LAURA. 
I love Colorado. I love Shorthorns. I love the fact that I have so much to learn about places outside the Midwest. I love my Dad!
Cartmell wants to go get ice cream and talk about the trip - roommate duty calls!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Black, White, Brown and Crazy

Have you ever lived with someone you didn’t trust?
You know, that feeling of sleeping with one eye open.....contemplating putting a lock on your bedroom door.....considering changing your security system pass code just in case they’ve seen you punch it in......that uneasy feeling of being completely unaware of what goes on in the house when you’re not there.....
Dixie was found in a snowy side ditch on a cold January day two years ago. I didn’t find her - I wasn’t even in the state that day; but somehow, this 6th generation feral dog from Randolph County now shares a house with me. 

I don’t even know what kind of dog I live with. The vet told me she looked part Terrier and part Beagle. She said Dixie wouldn’t be a big dog, and her tail wouldn’t grow to be very long. She also told me Dixie had perfect ears. This particular vet doesn’t practice anymore.

In two years, Dixie has come a long way from that bitter cold side ditch. I used to be able to carry her around in the front pocket of my hooded sweatshirts. I’d consider doing that now, but my hoodies have had their pockets chewed off. Rest assured, unlike Dixie, I don’t have an appetite for fabric. Or leather. Or couches. Or the neighbors’ trash. Or left over...”tissue”...from branding, dehorning and  castration day at the farm. 
Dixie has strange attributes that make many in the community think she is part fox. She has a fox-like tail, crouches slyly in the tall grass before pouncing, acts very sneaky and is quite keen. 

Well, everything but the last two. 

She’s actually been given a registered name, RFD Dixie - Retarded Fox-Dog. I think it flows well. She’s registered on the CTLATAOCACOIYSTOYP List - Clay Township List of Animals That Are Ok to Call Animal Control On If You See Them On Your Property. She ranks up there with raccoons, opossums and the crazy old goat that used to live next door. The town Marshall called last week; so far, she’s racked up the most calls in 2011; not something I’m proud of, but at this point I take credit anywhere I can get it. 
Dixie enjoys a variety of activities on a daily basis. She loves taking a stroll around Greens Fork when I let her out every morning at 3:18 a.m.; when she shows up on my doorstep 17 minutes later she enjoys bringing unidentified objects into my house. Of course, I never see these because I’m half asleep, in the dark and don’t have my glasses on. Don’t worry, I generally find them 1-8 days later...under my desk. 
She enjoys chasing cows completely away from the gate we’re trying to get them through and also chasing 43 Amish buggies that ride past the farm every Sunday. She enjoys shredding calving record books if she is left in the truck for more than six minutes and also removing every individual bullet out of a box ammunition, and placing them through out the interior of a farm vehicle. I got in the truck last month and thought I had just missed a reenactment of World War II. 
Over Christmas break I decided to go where no woman has gone before, or since the day I moved in: I cleaned out from under my bed. In the process, I learned that Dixie had completely shredded the poly-lining under my box springs, as well as the 2x4 that supports the center of my mattress. It was no wonder my back had been killing me for weeks and that, just recently, my mattress had taken on a droopy shape, suggesting a 500lb. man slept right in the middle of it for 20 hours a day. Under my bed, where a supportive box spring had once been, Dixie had made a fine bedding of wood chips and poly-lining. 
Dixie’s performance as a “guard dog” is outstanding, and year-round. In the spring she digs holes all over the front yard as though to trip anyone not welcome. In the summer she drinks all of the water out of my flower pots so she’s able to stay hydrated while keeping watch for predators. In the fall Dixie barks at any leaf that falls, awaking me in the night hours. And in the winter, Dix is great at marking her territory in the snow directly next to my steps so that any visitor knows she means business. 

She really is the gift that keeps on giving. All Year Long.  

Dixie has taught me a lot in the two years we haven’t actually killed each other. If it wasn’t for her I would probably still believe that Wrangler work boots really can withstand anything, that my yard doesn’t have a mole problem and under the spare bedroom bed, in vacuum sealed plastic, is a secure place to hide family quilts and handmade doilies. All lessons learned. 
Once, when I was away from home traveling, a man from Oklahoma brought a semi load of hay to BSG. Before he left, he offered the entire load to Dad if he could just have my parent’s well-behaved Jack Russell, Aggie.

 He didn’t skip a beat. “You can’t have that dog - she’s been through hell and high water; she’s a damn good dog, and off limits. However, I will pay you the entire amount of that load of hay and give you this crazy pup here,” said Dad, pointing to Dixie. The Okie took a long look at Dixie and bowed out. He claimed he’d had a lot of crazy women in his life that appeared to be cute and fun in the beginning, but eventually tried to kill him. And he didn’t need another. 

I will admit, it’s nice coming home to a pup. She’s always happy to see me and always wagging that muddy tail all over my just-dry-cleaned white slacks; a real joy. 
Truthfully, she went missing for hours during the freezing temperatures last week, and I was sick. I tried to remember if I rubbed her ears or patted her head before I left for work. Did I call her by her name or by some variation of “stupid black female dog?” - I couldn’t remember and I had a lump in my throat just thinking about it. 
Hours later, low and behold, through the snow covered bean stubble, across the side ditch and under the moonlight, Dixie came running enthusiastically to my car on Bond Road. I opened the door and let her right in, giving her the biggest hug that pup had ever received from me.
......She was completely covered in mud, snow, grass and was dripping wet. 
Absolutely the only dog I know who can find muddy water to play in 9 degree weather.