Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Forgive Me

While Tuesday nights are usually designated for writing, I find myself enjoying the company of family and I can't pull myself away! Forgive me, but I have to skip blogging this week and go about enjoying my Christmas night back home in Greens Fork. I hope you each had a wonderful, memorable Christmas - may it be the kind you recall while laughing out loud!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Second Annual Jean's Boots Holiday Letter

Dear friends I talk to/text once a year and family I only see at the county fair - 

The end of 2012 is approaching more quickly than my milk expired last week. I just....thought I had more time. 

Again this year my Christmas cards only come in the form of good intentions (I never sent any, so don't be offended that you didn't receive one) and I have yet to go to the grocery for the foods I've been assigned to prepare. I say with confidence - paying no mind to the Mayan calendar - there is always tomorrow. 

The only way to describe 2012 in my book: WINNING!!

In January I made the annual vacation to Denver to attend the National Western Stock Show. Always a great adventure, this time I got a little more out of the trip than a few good photos and a head cold. 

I met someone. 
And in February Cody and I went on our first date. 

According to my iCalendar, Patrick Wall, Director of Genetic Improvement for the American Shorthorn Association came to Bowman Superior Genetics in March. Apparently, that was the highlight of that month as it is in caps lock on my calendar and highlighted. I sure hope we made his trip to Greens Fork worth while!

In 2012 I photographed three weddings, two in Indiana and one in Alberta, Canada. All three were beautiful and true - the kind of wedding I was simply glad to be a part of because it reminded me how powerful love is. 

I parted with my dearly beloved, Fannie the Focus, in August. Not because I wanted to, but because some wild man   (who was better at texting than he was at observing stop signs) plowed into me. He was the kind of gem that changed his license plates on his Jeep before the police  showed up. True story. Rest In Piece, Fannie, who traveled from Nebraska to Washington, DC and a million little roads in between. You went out in a blaze of glory and will be missed, even if we  affectionately called you the "death rocket clown car" for the last three years of your life. 

I traveled a lot in 2012, mostly with Cody. From Reno to Kansas and Mackinac Island to Las Vegas. But the trip of a lifetime was to Alaska where Cody judged the "stock" at the Kenai Peninsula State Fair.  While in Alaska we saw many different creatures such as bears, whales, snow hippies, reindeer and other things that don't rome in Indiana. We also saw mass amounts of seafood on our plates. We lasted 4 days before we found a steak house. 

Cody judging the reindeer. And probably his life decisions that lead him to that point. 
You can see many more Alaska Adventure photos from my August blogs!

In September I celebrated 1 year with Wilt PR. I couldn't be happier in the decision to join this team and work with Harvest Land Co-op every single day. Both companies challenge me, encourage me and support my passions. And, my coworkers are creative, funny and unique. I'm lucky. 

On November 6th I woke and took out my trash, per my (kind of) usual Tuesday morning routine. 
Over my lunch break I tried like hell to do the same thing at the polls. 
Mitt didn't win. 
But, I did. 
Cody asked me to marry him the evening of November 6th, 2012 at sunset in the pasture - under this tree. 
I said yes :)

I don't remember much of December. It has honestly been the busiest month of my entire life. Between work projects, year-end events, training, community obligations, family promises, travel and life in general, I feel like I've missed a lot of the holidays this year. That is a sad feeling. 

So, I'm going to sleep on the couch from here until Dec. 25th and stare at the Christmas tree until I fall asleep. I'm also going to start my Christmas shopping. Tomorrow. 

I hope that each of you have a wonderful Christmas with family, friends and maybe even the occasional angel. May you take the time to hold your babies, pet your pups, count your blessings and call that friend you may have neglected. 

May you also have the complete self-control to avoid overindulging in buckeyes, eggnog/rum and pecan pie. 

And if you do, you're a way - waaaaayyyy - better person than I. 

Merry Christmas, 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Every Once In A While, I Promise

To my readers, family and friends:  

I promise to not blog consistently about Cody and I's wedding planning. I was the single gal for a looooong time before Cody. I know what it's like to have drinks with the happily-in-love and want to slyly ask the waitress if she can toss a double shot of bleach into your next gin and tonic just to ease the pain.

That being said, you all know I enjoy a good story worth passing on, and every once in a while you'll read those wedding planning experiences here. Every once in a while, I promise. 

The (incredible) ring wasn't on my hand for three days before I had my first laugh-out-loud encounter. A dear family friend and I were discussing dress shopping. I relayed that I never was one that enjoyed shopping. Shopping for me usually consists of three bad dressing room experiences before I'm so depressed that  I want to eat. After a trip to the food court I'm just tired enough to take a nap rather than battle the bulge. 

The dear friend assured me that wedding dress shopping is fun...for everyone. "You'll find something you love, I just know it. I've seen several pretty dresses for older brides like you."

World. Stopped. Turning. 
Room. Began. Spinning. 

Older bride? 
I may be on the back side of thirty, but I had a lot of living to do before I let some Kansan sweep me off my boots. 

A plus of being an "older bride"? 
My Ultimate Fear, discussed relentlessly with college best friends, has dissolved. 
No longer am I afraid of marrying the wrong person. 

My sweet niece Marlee may be the most fun out of this planning thus far. And when I mean planning, I mean securing a date, a church and a leafing through bridal magazines. Cody and I are both scared to go "ROUND II" on the invite list. 

Cody asked me to be his wife on November 6th. 
On November 7th my beautiful (see below) niece had her orange party dress and three headbands laid out for the wedding. She needed three to transition through the evening. 

On December 1st Marlee had her Momma's (Matron-of-Honor) and my dress picked out. 
I was relieved - 
No trying on!
No zipping up!
No taking off my boots 45 times!

Until I saw what Marlee chose for the Bride and Matron-of-Honor...



I asked Marlee why Aunt Lindsay doesn't get to wear the gown on her wedding day. Marlee replied, quite confused, "Because Mommy is the princess?"

Marlee's wedding planning privileges have since been revoked. 

The rest of the details are slowly falling in to place. We have the date, the church, the reception site, the photographer and of course, the Groom. He only took me 28 years to find. Let's hope it's all down hill from there. 

I called the tent rental place last week and have been in conversations with them. It is the same group that sets up for our production sale annually. They have a hard time wrapping their mind around an event like this south of Greens Fork. It isn't the location or even the estimated size that has these guys thrown off. 

With strong and convincing words, I had to thoroughly explain to them that a group this size is coming to Bowman Superior Genetics for an event that has absolutely nothing to do with cattle. 

Ah, who am I kidding...we met at a stock show

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Days of Thanks IV

November is winding down. 
It snowed last weekend. 
My Christmas tree is up - right beside my Thanksgiving centerpiece. 
Transitions take time. 

The final installment of Days of Thanks:

November 22: I am thankful for the opportunity to eat entirely too much food with a family I adore. There is always enough for everyone, complete with leftovers to share. From two to eighty-two years, we don't go hungry. My heart breaks thinking about the folks that do. 

November 23: I am thankful for white Christmas lights. It seems silly, but there is a certain tranquility that comes with sitting in a room lit by the Christmas tree lights. And, to quote my friend Brady, "Is there a better feeling than untangling a ball of Christmas lights and all of them coming on? Doubtful."

November 24: I am thankful for Pricilla the Greens Fork postmaster. She is pleasant, happy and helpful. Without fail, she sincerely thanks me for the business. She also asks if Dixie has settled down at all. Now, if we could clone Pricilla and send her to the BMV, I wouldn't walk the line of expired plates. 

November 25: I am thankful that this blog gives me the opportunity to connect with folks I've never met. Thank you for reading. 

November 26: I am thankful for the people I found in Washington, DC. They are coworkers and strangers that turned into family. We explored, we worked late nights, we discussed, we worried, we celebrated, we camped, we cried and we kept a few social establishments in business. Most of all, we lived

November 27: I am thankful for the patient crew who collects the garbage on Maple Street. These men have seen me at my worst - like, really bad. And they never take the time to say things like, "Forget again?" or "You would have thought you'd have a schedule down by now" or "Rough night?". They both just stand there, watching me run down the frosted, broken steps, trying to corral Dixie in my bathrobe. I am thankful for these good, unassuming men. 

November 28: I am thankful for Chrissie Cartmell. In a world of crazy schedules, transitions and change, Chrissie is - without fail - the first Christmas I card I receive annually. It just isn't the holidays until I get that envelope with the sloppy (sorry, Cartmell) handwriting scribbled across the front. She kicks off my holidays - starting in November! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Days of Thanks III

Can you believe it is the week of Thanksgiving? 

Days of Thanks continues....

November 15: I'm thankful for the dreadful deer heads a co-worker hung in my office. They're terrible to look at daily (prior experience with deer has scarred me for life - future blog), but I have never seen Ronny, the disgusting, annoying, rude phonebook salesman move out of my office so quickly as he did upon seeing these three. 

Thanks, Donner, Dasher and Creepy!

November 16: Today I'm thankful for Pinterest. If not for Pinterest, I never would have thought to turn a raggedy t-shirt into a 3,000 sq. ft. tent. I never would have known that there are 627 ways to use an old Q-tip. I sincerely did not realize there were over 7,000 two-ingredient meals, 14 calories or less!! ..... Spare me. 

November 17: Today I'm thankful for a wonderful dinner at Dusty's Cellar in Michigan. Not a main-stream dining experience, Cody and I both searched the menu for a while before finding something that didn't include duck pâté, or other French words, for that matter. After a long day of college football we both chose something more...American:  


November 18: Today I'm thankful for Rachel Walter Online Wedding Boutique. I don't know Rachel, but today in the mail a beautiful, "Just Engaged" ornament arrived on my doorstep. It has Cody and I's names and our engagement date on the back. Her business card was included, and nothing else. Thank you, Rachel, for your artistic hand. And to whoever sent this to Greens Fork, thank you from the bottom of our happy hearts. We are grateful for this keepsake!

November 19: Today I'm thankful for the most amazing sunrise I've ever seen in my life. This view only lasted about two minutes; I have never seen anything like. I'm still sick that I didn't have a real camera in hand. 

November 20: Today I'm thankful that I survived a trip to Meijer just two days before Thanksgiving. I'm serious. I've seen people lose mental stability and all ambition after experiencing what I just did. One minute you're doing fine in the egg nog section, next thing you know you're on your knees begging the bag boy to tell you where the maraschino cherries live. I'm lucky, really. 

November 21: Today I'm thankful that today is more like Friday! 

I hope each of you can spend Thanksgiving with the ones you love. I also hope that when the meal is over, the Tupperware fairies are in your favor and every lid matches.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Days of Thanks II

Days of Thanks continues this week, as Thanksgiving nears and November days grow shorter! 

November 8th: I am thankful for good neighbors. Whether they save me from their crazy old goat (true story), lend me two eggs after I just returned from the grocery (true story) or call me to report that Dixie is running rampant through town dragging her chain and metal stake (true story), they're all pretty great.  

November 9th: I am thankful for a niece and nephew who are excited to be a part of Cody and I's wedding day. Well, Harrison (19 mos.) has no idea what all the hype is about, but Marlee (3) already has an orange dress laid out and three headbands that she'd like to rotate though out the day. In the words of my sister, "Marlee may be the bridezilla out of this whole deal...."

November 10th: I am thankful for the ability to watch episodes of Seinfeld decades later and find the show 15 times more entertaining than I did in '92. 

November 11th: I am thankful for the strange familiarity I find in green wood shavings and organ music. The North American International Livestock Exposition will forever bring roan memories, long laughs and headaches to mind. 

November 12th:  I am thankful for safe travels. My commute to work only last 12 minutes, but 2 times a day I pass 5 make-shift memorials for folks who didn't make it home. On August 8th I was broadsided, spun twice in to oncoming traffic and planted in a ditch. My car was totaled but the only bruise I had was from the paramedics' IV needle. I am thankful that I still have the opportunity to pass that intersection twice daily and arrive safely at home or work. 

November 13th: I am thankful for the lady at the Ivy Tech committee breakfast this morning who, after looking at my breakfast plate, told me, "Don't worry honey, donut holes have 0 calories. They are, after all, just a hole." I don't know her, but I like her. 

November 14th: I am thankful for SIRIUS channel 4, which plays traditional Christmas music nonstop from now until December 31. I won't listen to this every day (until after Thanksgiving), but there is a certain peace that comes to my heart when I hear Silent Night. Even if my silent nights are often interrupted by midnight trains. Or the neighbor kid's thumping bass. Or the occasional rooster. Sigh. 

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Days of Thanks

On Facebook I've seen several people post things they're thankful for daily. 

This is awesome. 

I've enjoyed reading the notes and learning more about each friend. I wish more people, self included, could step back and give thanks during busy days rather than only in November. 

I'm not good about keeping daily routines (have you read my diet blog?), but I'm pretty consistent on Wednesday mornings. This Wednesday I'd like to catch up on a few things I've found myself giving thanks for in the last week - 

November 1: I'm thankful that Halloween is over and the children of Greens Fork spared me some Laffy Taffy for my 2:00 PM snack break. 
And my 10:00 AM break. 
And the 5:30 PM drive home. 
I am also thankful for a great dentist. 

November 2: I'm thankful for coworkers who are always willing to help, without even  without being asked. Out of the office until 3:00 this afternoon, I returned to find a team of helpers sorting 400 jackets to be distributed in Indiana and Ohio.  Now, if you all are that good at sorting clothes, I invite you to Jean's Boots Headquarters where you can test your skill on the mountain on laundry I've built at the bottom of my basement steps. Snacks provided. Thank you. 

November 3: I'm thankful for a family who recognizes and supports my passions. My Aunt Cheryl encouraged me to enter a photography contest in Ohio where I won second place with "Wired in Wyoming". I would not have had the opportunity to showcase my art in Momma's old hometown if Aunt Cheryl hadn't thought of me and my Nikon. I might mention here that I got beat by a portrait of a dog sitting on a couch. I'm not bitter, I just wanted you all to know....a dog, on a couch. 

November 4: I'm thankful for the stranger whom I have flown past on Bond Rd. at approximately 7:25 AM every other day. He drives about 22 mph, I do not. He always recognizes my Ford grill in his rearview and pulls over to the ditch and waves me around. Frustrated at his speed, I have always  wondered why he drives so slow. Today I actually met Mr. D.; he came to help Momma and I feed 14 round bales of hay. I'll admit, I was a bit embarrassed to shake his hand. He didn't have much to say, Momma said he never does, but he was great help. And as I was boot-scootin' around the farm trying to get my work done, he waved me down and told me I had a flat tire on the Mule. A really flat tire. Then he helped me fire up the bigger-than-my-car air compressor and fill the tire so I could go about my chores. Today I am thankful for Mr. D and his willingness to help two gals, and for teaching one to simply take time. 

November 5: I'm thankful for healthy, active parents. Dad was on a cow-cation with Luke for a full week while Momma and I played "Real Ranch Women of America" for 7 days. Can I just say, if I am in as good as shape as Linda Bowman is when I'm 59, I will be one happy woman, celebrating with wine. Right after I catch my breath. And then mingle with 2-year-old bulls. 

November 6: I am thankful for the right to vote for our country's next leader. 

November 7: I am thankful for Cody and the future we have together! I could say something cliche like, "God blessed the broken road" - but our roads haven't been broken. They've been exciting, and winding, with hills that cross state lines and borders. I'm thankful that we'll be planning the rest of the "trip" together - and what a ride that will be!

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It Matters.

Have you ever felt like a situation or place was so vast, that your presence was insignificant or meaningless?

It is easy to feel that way. 
Not noticed. 
Not counted. 
Not needed. 

But you're wrong. 
You're so wrong. 

A single drop of rain combines with others to produce a storm. 
And a storm can change lives. 

Hurricane Sandy, 2012

A single stone combines with others to pave an interstate. 
And I-80 connects San Francisco to New York City. 

A single kernel of corn combines with others to make bushels. 
And bushels feed the world. 

A single vote is counted with others to determine the future of an entire nation. 
And that nation is the most powerful on the planet. 

Voting in the presidential election next week is one of the 
last true freedoms we have have as Americans. 
Even more than sad, that fact is scary. 

Do your homework.
It matters. 
Oh, and happy halloween

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life Lessons Learned From The Remodeled Home

You can learn a lot in life. 
  • Do not wash reds with whites. 
  • If you don't want anyone to read it, you better not write it down. 
  • If you step on a nail, go tell Momma. Fast. 
Two weeks ago I began telling the story of The House That Built Me. Today, I continue with a set of tried and true lessons learned from that home. 

Life Lessons Learned From The Remodeled Home
  1. Goats don't like stair steps. 
  2. Even if you clean the carpet well, Momma always knows when you were too lazy to take off your work boots before running upstairs to get a hair tie. 
  3. Anything rolled under the stove or behind the washer has been sacrificed in the name of fun and will never been seen again. 
  4. I have known no greater pain than when stepping on a Lego. 
  5. Saw horses have deceiving names are not nearly as fun as real horses. 
  6. Ask permission before laying duct tape across the carpet to simulate a balance beam for routine practices in your bedroom.
    1. When laying duct tape on aged carpet, the carpet snags/tears quite easily when trying to remove said duct tape. 
  7. Dust bunnies are not the most ideal kindergarten show-and-tell animals. 
  8. During the remodeling process, when Dad instructs you to only step on the beams, do not step on the pretty, pink insulation "just once, to see how it feels on your feet".
  9. Pretty, pink insulation does not taste anything like pretty, pink cotton candy. 
  10. Whoever restores our home next will find approximately $17 in silver dollars that have fallen between the wall and the woodwork of the stairwell. Lucky ducks. 
  11. When in doubt, check the junk drawer.
  12. Playing 52 pick up with asbestus shingles will not kill you. 
  13. I'm thankful porch swings can't talk. 
  14. Just because your older siblings tell you to, does not mean you should.
  15. Those who grew up with a Tupperware cupboard are identified early in school; they're always the winners of the match game. 
  16. It is pertinent that you take the time to ensure the pillows have been properly placed on the landing before sliding head-first down the stairway in a nylon sleeping bag.
  17. Registers are excellent conductors of sound. 
  18. "A guy called for Dad" is not an acceptable phone message. 
  19. The medicine cabinet has all you'll ever need for the basis of a successful science fair project. 
  20. There is no place like home. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Then, Daddy Gave Life To Momma's Dream

No introduction needed this week - 
just a very special thanks to Nate at His creative abilities far exceed the plans I had for this video, which was given to Momma and Dad last week for their 34th wedding anniversary. 

"Linda wants me to get some pictures of 'This Old House'" - Dad

View larger on Youtube

Tune in next week - this story isn't over, yet. 

Song property of Miranda Lambert. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Please Excuse The Dust IV: Destruction and Dreams

Where were we in this story I began last week?
Ah, yes - that young couple who bought Don C. Merchanthouse's home...

When first married, my parents rented a house in Hagerstown, Indiana. Conveniently for Dad, but not for Momma, the house was located exactly two blocks south of the Ron-de-Voo, the local bar. 

It didn't take either of them long to realize that the current location was less than ideal. Momma and Dad found a house for sale in the country two miles south of Greens Fork, and one Sunday they attended the open house. 

To Momma, it was perfect. Everything about it. 
The location. 
The land. 
The big old farmhouse: a perfect place to raise a family. 

It's been said (by Dad) that they didn't live there two years before there was nothing right about the house. What Momma had fallen in love with (shag carpet, drafty windows and asbestus shingles) she now wanted gone. 

So they started small. 
Wall-by-wall, tearing them down and getting rid of the horse hair plaster. 

But wall-by-wall only revealed more problems in the “perfect” home. 
And, more artifacts from generations of homesteaders before. 
They found a leather lace up baby boot. 
A calendar from 1918. 
A bottle of wine (yes, they opened it and it nearly killed them). 

The good news is that the frame of the home was steady and stable. The timbers crafted by the “local men of toil” in 1843 were still solid and fit together perfectly. But the walls and windows (and roof) we’re in great need of replacement. 

My parents soon realized that that in order to get the home they dreamt of, it was going to take a lot (like - a lot, a lot) more work. 
And money. 
And time. 
But they're a determined pair (and hard headed) and moved forward anyway. 

Along the way, Momma put her own artifacts within the new walls of the home. She left notes that told the story of our family, current events in the news and also the price of gas and groceries. I wish I could be around in 100 years when another family finds those treasures. 

Over time, they found more helpers. 
We always showed up on time and we didn't drink on the job. 

There is not a single wall in the home today that is the original. 
The chimneys and fireplaces are all there. 

The beams and frame remain the same. I like to think of it as a new home with an old heart. 

The left, vertical beam was actually brought in from a barn where Momma grew up. 

My parents sure made it their own. The details speak volumes of their love for this place. 
Dad cut down an oak tree along Washington Road when we were very little.

From that tree our bookcase, entertainment center and woodwork were made. 

The house is done now, by most standards.


There are still repairs to be made. Like in Luke's room. Where he hung his glory days football helmet stickers and Momma has tried (for years) to find a non-destructive way to peel them off. 

The house isn't perfect - it never will be. 
But it is like this old friend that doesn't judge; 
it quietly sits back, painfully waiting for us to come visit. 

Home always does.