Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

I had the opportunity to work along side Dad one evening this week. 

We scooped, we laughed, we poured, we yelled. 
We lived. 

We were checking pairs at Luke and Betsy's farm when Dad stopped. 
It wasn't a great moment for a photo. Lighting wasn't right. I looked at him. 

He said, "Days like today it is easy to feel like you have nothing.
 But then I sit here, and look at this......
Jean, I feel like the richest man in the world." 


Dad instilled each of those in me again this week.

Below, enjoy 25-minutes of checking pairs at Bowman Superior Genetics  

Momma cow calling for her baby

Rye rises as a cover crop before corn is planted.

Budding clover within the rows

Behind this pair  you can see the Ted Davis bridge, 
which crosses the Greens Fork River
lit on fire from the Indiana sunset

Those Fly-Over states aren't so bad, are they?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Momma Picks Her Place

Momma and I we're riding to town not long ago when she said something completely out of left field. If you know my mother, you likely know that this isn't anything out of the ordinary. Her  spontaneity  keeps us on our toes, and laughs aplenty around Bowman Superior Genetics

We were driving,  listening to a cassette of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons when she dropped the bomb:

"I picked out my plot today."

"I'm sorry?" I asked, turning down the radio, heart in my feet.

"My grave. Final resting place."

"Mom, I thought you said your doctor appointment went really well last month? What do you need to tell me?" I asked, taking off my sunglasses, throat so tight.

Momma smiled a bit, "It did go well, but I'm at that age that I need to think about these things. Also, I heard last week that lot prices are going up soon so I wanted the lower rate."

"Alright, you know I hate these discussions, but lay it on me," I replied with great hesitation.

Momma didn't hesitate at all.

"Well that place is filling up! I had to go to the far south end to even get a parking spot," she said, as though we were talking about Target rather than a cemetery. "But I found one. And when I sit up in my casket I will be able to look across the cemetery and see Daddy and Mom," she said with a gentle smile, her mind drifting to a place other than Greens Fork, Indiana.

"Do you anticipate sitting up a lot in your casket?" I asked, half joking, half serious.

She ignored me. "They asked me if being next to a hydrant would bother me. I told them no, I've spent most of my adult life next to a hydrant watering cows and checking heat out in the pasture," Momma continued.

"Ahhh, good work Linda! A little piece of home for you!" I laughed.

"Besides," she continued, "I told them if they put me next to a hydrant you kids are more inclined to come water my flowers."

I responded to her quite suggestive comment, "Don't fool yourself; we're going for the silk option once they get marked down at K-Mart. You'll have tulips in August and greenery in March." 

"Yeah, you're probably right. But then I got to thinking the hydrant wasn't such a good idea."

"Why is that?"

"Well," she continued, "You know your brother. And the habit he's had since he was 7-years-old.....he'll forget to shut it off and leave the water running all night! Flood me right out of the hole."

How true that was. Linda had done her homework that afternoon at the cemetery.

"Ohhhh, good point. I hope you didn't pick the hydrant location?" I asked, impressed at Momma's odd assessment.

"Nope, moved west a bit. Never did learn how to swim."

" Dad close to you?"

She turned onto to College Corner Rd. then turned and looked at me, rolling her eyes.

"Seriously? Did you buy a plot and not get two?!" I asked, my jaw almost to hit the console.

"Oh, stop. I bought him one. We'll finally both get some rest without his snoring. No, seriously. I just need you kids to follow some instructions when that day comes," Momma said. 

"Oh boy......let's hear 'em," I leaned my head on the headrest. I knew this could be lengthy. Linda is a planner. 

"Well, I need you to lay me on my right side before they close the top. And take off my shoes. And my jewelry. And make it is tasteful. My jewelry, I mean."  

Don't worry Momma, you won't be going down in Mardi Gras beads that day, I thought to myself. 

"And, Jean, probably the biggest thing of all...."

I shut my eyes. Here it goes....

"Just make sure I have on coral lipstick."

In today's crazy world we can't accurately anticipate much. 
But on this Wednesday morning I lift a glass to predictable
ladies who are just head-strong enough to 
know exactly what they want - in this life and next. 

Betsy - Momma - Original Jean - Lindsay Jean - Laura 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jean vs. Dr. Oz

Have you ever heard of Dr. Oz?

No, I'm NOT talking about the man behind the curtain who lied to a naive girl and a scarecrow, tin man and lion with shoddy body composition: No brain, no heart and no courage. 
They had to have been made of hair and cartilage only. 

I'm talking about the Dr. Oz, a byproduct of Oprah, that I have to hear every day on the radio. He is just Hollywood-enough to use the California Fear Factor. The California Fear Factor is when media scares the heck out of consumers, making them believe that the flowers they plant are going to cause lead poisoning, learning to ride a bike in the yard will cause cancer and if you stare at the stars too long you're destined to become a unicorn. 

I'm not buying it. 
Any of it. 

Obviously the folks who shudder in the shadows of Dr. Oz's prognosis are scared-out-of-their-mind-consumers who didn't have parents like mine. I distinctly remember when the three of us Bowman kids jumped out of our beds to run down and tell Momma and Dad that we thought a tornado was going to pass through our farmhouse outside Greens Fork

"Don't you kids worry about it... just a high wind. Go on upstairs and get back to bed. Barn chores are going to come early in the morning," Dad's voice growled. 

Strange....we all survived. And we are better adults for it. 

Everyday on the radio, from Dr. Oz I hear something ridiculous  like, "Do you have really long eyelashes? That could mean something more. I'm Dr. Oz. Stay tuned to hear what those eyelashes could mean. And what they mean for your bank account." 

His segment ALWAYS covers to two things:  1) Something 95% of the American public can relate to and 2) how it will affect something that 100% of the American public cares about. 

You know, things like how tight jeans that can affect grandkids' college decisions, how muddy yards can affect job interviews and how ingrown toenails can affect how much money you will pay for toilet paper at Wal-Mart.

Today, welcome to Jean's Boots (the gal behind real life) 
Dr. Oz (the man behind the misery)......

Dr. Oz: "Do you get a headache every two weeks? I'm Dr. Oz. - stay tuned to hear what those normal headaches could mean. And what they mean for your car payment."

Jean: Do you get a headache every two weeks? That means you stayed up too late last night. I don't care if it was happy hour with your co-workers or karaoke night at the Broken Spoke in Kansas or even reading a book in your living room. You need to sleep. Also eat a greasy lunch and take some advil. 

Dr. Oz: Are you losing hearing in one or more of your ears? This could be serious trouble -making you walk in circles for the rest of your life. I'm Dr. Oz - Stay tuned to hear what this means for you and the price of gas. 

Jean: Are you losing hearing in one or more of your ears? Hearing loss has a lot to do with the Kid Rock concert you went to last Friday night. Plain and simple, this is what you get for wasting your money. If you didn't attend the Kid Rock concert, turn down your iPod. Or, simply swallow and let your ears pop after flying in an airplane. Your ears will thank you. 

Dr. Oz: Do you wake up tired? I know how to solve your problem. I'm Dr. Oz - Stay tuned to hear what your problem is, and believe me - it is right before your very eyes. 

Jean: Do you wake up tired?  It's probably because of  your life schedule. And your inability to say no to any commitment that comes your way. And your kids, if you have them. Slow down. Unwind. Take a deep breath. Shut down the computer, wash your face and go to bed.

Dr. Oz: Do your eyes water? I'm Dr. Oz - Stay tuned to hear why these tears could be a big problem - for you and everyone who has ever met you. 

Jean:  Do your eyes water? Step away from the onion, as soon as you're done chopping it for the dinner casserole. If you're not chopping an onion and your eyes are still watering, you need to shut off Lifetime television...five years ago. 

I'm quite sure that Dr. Oz is a smart man; he wouldn't be marketing his "can't miss" show as well if he wasn't. He gets a lot of airtime and provides very little substance. Wake up America! Do you really believe the whole milk you're drinking affects the color of your eyes?! His ability to make Americans question every aspect of their life makes my skin crawl, though I'd never tell him that. 

He would probably blame my crawling skin on the amount of time I spend outdoors, working in fresh air and under bright sunshine. And I'm not ready to hear him tell me that daily activity is going to negatively affect the mobility of my skin anytime soon. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Written Will from the BMV

Until a week ago, I always thought the best people-watching was done at airports. 
Last week I made a quick stop at the Bureau of Motors Vehicles. 
Let me correct that. 
Last week I wasted a portion of my life at the Bureau of Motors Vehicles. 

I knew it was going to be bad before I even made it through the door. I noticed a lady walking in behind me, so I stopped and held the door for her. Never one to pass up a moment to laugh, I said, "I just hate this place! I always leave in a bad mood!" 

She didn't agree. She just smiled and thanked me for holding the door. Then she walked past me and put her purse away, put her name tag on, and called the next number in line. Which, thank goodness, was not mine. 

Nope, she called 233 and I pulled 264. 

I took a seat next to a guy who reeked of booze and cigarettes. I seriously didn't know if I was at the BMV or or the Buggy Wheel Saloon in Coleman, Texas. Not a great idea on his part since he was there to get his license back - though I never told him that. I was too busy putting Visene in my eyes.

"What number you got?" the booze-cruiser asked me. 
"Ummm.....cell number?"  I asked, like an idiot.                                                                                                       
"Number to get called up to the counter," he responded with vocal cords marred with tar. 
"Oh, 264," I said trying to breath out of my mouth, rather than nose. 

While I waited for 264, more characters came into that place  than any given Disney movie. I sat there trying to figure out their story. If they'd get their license, if they'd get their license back, if they'd pass the eye test and get their license revoked. 

NOTE: If you live in east central Indiana, be leery of any old model white Buick with a "Kitty" front license plate. The lady couldn't see the sun rising but she kept her right to drive, anyhow. 

Number 244 was called and I didn't know if I was going to make it through this new-plates experience. My eyes hurt, my head hurt, my cell phone was running low on battery. I was at a really bad place in my life. 

So I did what any normal person, in a scary place with way too much time on their hands, would do. I texted my Momma my living will.....

"If I don't survive this visit to the BMV, please keep this for your records:

My Will:
Momma: To her I will all of my jewelry. Turquoise belts included. She did, after all, buy most of it for me as "Surprise!" gifts when I lived in Washington, DC. 
Dad: To him I will all of the Hampton Inn soaps, shampoos and conditioners at my house; there is a rubbermaid container half-full in my basement. Dad can also have anything else no one wants at Jean's Boots Headquarters - cheap pens, free yard sticks and that huge ball of twine I swore I was going to weave in to something spectacular in my spare time. Those things are free - so he sees value in them - and he'll ask if he can have two
Laura: To her I will all of my old prom and AXO formal dresses. I hope they bring as much misery to her already-full closet as they did mine. 
Scott: To him I will my entire CD collection. Enjoy the vintage Garth and Ricky Van Shelton albums ("HEADLINE: Ricky has retired from Touring" - really?? I thought that happened when Tim McGraw hit the scene 1993...). Only Scott can enjoy music from artists no one else can recognize. 
Luke: To him I will Dixie. She will teach him patience. And how to chew with his mouth closed. And to check under his bed for unidentified objects before bed. And to always, ALWAYS, put his boots in a closed closet. I also will to Luke my sense of humor. His is lacking....
Betsy: To her I will nothing. I'd give her something, but I'm legitimately afraid she would give it to the trash man the next time she cleans out the garage. 
Marlee and Harrison: To them I will all of my boots. Marlee gets the gal boots with a history and many miles, Harrison gets the male boots with a story to tell. These are a part of their past. 
Katie: To her I will my travel journal. Use it wisely. Meaning I wouldn't publish until you're long gone, too. 
Lindsey Stuffel (<- click on that link!): To her I will my favorite gel pen and that leather bound journal I have yet to begin writing in. It's on the book case in my office, second shelf. Only she can appreciate good ink and a book waiting to be written. I've only encouraged her to write a book for 3-ish years....Also, give her those fancy imported beers under my sink I never had an occasion to drink. 
Kathie Truitt: To her I will my quarter-written book. I think she is the only one who could finish with my writing style and understand the simplicity of my thoughts. For more stories, reference Katie who has my travel journal. But it will need much editing...
Audreyalice: To her I will my Spanx. Beacause....well, they're expensive, incredibly useful and you can never own enough. You're welcome. 
Em, Alli, Chey and Laramie: To them I will the Lil Louis gift certificate hanging on my fridge. Use it wisely..........."

"Ain't your number 264?" the booze-cruiser asked.
"Huh?" I woke up from my write-a-book-text to Momma. 
"They just hollered for 264," he told me. 

I tossed my phone into my purse and charged to the counter. There wasn't a geriatric in this place that was going to steal my spot in line. 

Honestly, it only took me 15 minutes at the counter-of-death to get my new plates ready to go. As I walked out to my car, I checked my phone. One new text from Momma, and it was only one word:

Momma: BLOG!!

Well done, Linda. Well done. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Harrison Turns One

Time flies when you're having fun. 

It seems like just yesterday I was taking newborn pictures of my dear nephew Harrison. 

Today, I have just a few of his one-year photos. 
Where did the last year go?!

"Lucky" will certainly be a toy that will teach patience and sharing...

I know I'm not supposed to climb the stairs, but it is so fun!

Good Momma. 

Big sister Marlee kept slapping her leg, trying to get Harrison excited about sitting still on the step. He wasn't buying it.