Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!

In just a little over an hour, it will be 2012.  It will be a new beginning--a do-over of sorts.  It's a chance to wipe the slate clean of past sins and start over with renewed hope.

For example, in 2012, I resolve to rid the world of evil and tyranny, find the cure for cancer, end war and famine, and create world peace.

Okay, maybe not.

Perhaps I should take a look back to see how I did on last year's resolutions before I start a new list.  The problem is, I don't think I really made a list.  I did in 2010, and I reviewed my 2010 list, but a 2011 list is not to be had.  Me thinks my new resolution should include trying to become more organized.

So, here's my 2012 Resolutions:

1.  Get a job loser
I was laid off in February and while I've been working part time, I do sincerely hope I can get back to full-time employment this year. 

2.  Lose 20 more pounds.
I lost 20 the last half of this year and honestly I can't remember when I've felt better.  

3.  Work out more consistently.  
I have a lot of incentive to do this one, so you'd think it would be easy for me, but nope....  When I do my pilates or yoga at least four times a week my back feels so much better.  In fact, for the past week I've done these exercises every day and I honestly haven't been this pain-free since I herniated two disks in my lower back three years ago.  I feel GREAT!  So, I just need to keep at it.

4.  Compete in a 5K.  
I've been wanting to do this one for such a long time.  I feel it...this is the year!

5.  Ride Paula in some event.  
It can be just a group trail ride with friends or one of our local fun shows, I don't care.  I want to ride her somewhere and have some fun with her.

6.  Finish breaking Fabian.
What can I say, the poor kid is bored out of his gourd.

7.  Finish the shop/garage.
This one is sort of cheat as it's already started, but I pray by next year the roof will be done, my great brother will have installed the lights in it, and I will have successfully put a door on the outside of the shop.

8.  Be a better friend.
I hope that in 2012 I can be a better person for all those people who are so good to me, even when I feel like I don't deserve it.

That's pretty much it, for now.  I think it's a good list.  I have a lot to work on, but I think that it's all achievable if I work hard enough.  Even though I lost both my grandma and my job this year, I feel like it's been a good year for me personally. I've grown quite a bit in the self-awareness department and I'm trying hard to acknowledge and fix the areas of my life where I'm not doing my best.  

And that's all we can do, isn't it--assess our lives and make sure that we're always trying our best?  I can honestly say that right now I am happier than I've been in a very long time, and it's helping me be open to trying to make those around me happier as well.  I  hope that this next year brings much happiness to every person reading this.  May next year be your best year.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

This year was a very special Christmas.

For the first time in a very, very long time, my sister, brother and his wife, my dad and I were all together for a holiday.  It was a blast!  We had so much fun, and a lot of it can be attributed to the fact that my brother is quite possibly the dorkiest man in the world.

It's a fact.  He's in the Guiness Book of World Records.  Look it up.

OK, he's not, but he should be.   Exhibit #2:

They're from Colorado, if you can't tell.

His wife is a saint.

Here's my sister, brother, and sister-in-law intrigued by something my dad is saying.  I can't remember what. I must have not been that intrigued.

My sister gave my dad some "hand soap" for Christmas.

He was trying to avoid getting his picture taken, but I got him anyway.  I'm sneaky like that.

One of the funniest parts of the evening was due to my sister's smart ass retort when my dad asked her what she wanted for Christmas.  She said, "A PONY!"

So that's what she got!

Hope you all got what you wanted for Christmas, too!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Pun

They said to expect a blizzard and up to a foot and a half of snow.

Thankfully, it wasn't quite that bad.

Although we did get a nice sheet of ice on everything before the snow arrived, making travel nearly impossible, so we all have a bit of cabin fever here on the farm...

...except the girls.  They thought the snow was cool!


Charlie, being his ever-chilled-out self wondered what the big deal was.

Although the girls might have been getting on his nerves.  To him, they were skating on thin ice.

Of course after this post you can call me flaky.  I promise I won't have a meltdown,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Missing Kansas City Woman

This story has really gotten to me because this young woman attends the same school my sister is currently attending.  If this were my sister, I know I would want people to help spread the word far and wide, so here is the information.  If you know anything, please come forward!

Click on picture to enlarge

Aisha Khan was last seen in Overland Park, KS (a suburb of Kansas City) at the KU Edwards Campus.  According to her sister Aisha left her a disturbing message about having been assaulted on campus on Friday and that was the last anyone heard from her.  She was wearing the coat above when she went missing.  She was also most likely wearing a black head scarf and a yellow and black shirt.  Her books and cell phone have been found, but she is missing!  

Obviously, this is a terrifying situation.  I hope she can be brought home safely, and you can do your part by helping spread the word.  Get continued updates on their Facebook page here: Help Find Aisha Khan.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Paula's Got Back

Paula can be a bit of a brat.  The good news is that the minute she sees me, she comes trotting up, wanting attention.

The bad news is that it's not exactly the type of attention that is mutually enjoyable.

Not unless you enjoy having a large, dusty, gray butt backed up into your face, wanting a scratch.

You scratch my back and I'll...smash into you when you're not looking,

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Cows Came Home...

...and Evie didn't like it much.

Every winter the farmer that leases the land I live on turns his cows out on what is left of the corn field after it is harvested.  

In other words, the cows come home.

I know, I know...sorry, Charlie.

Since I got Evie in March, she's never seen the cows come home.

I'm not sure she's ever seen a cow at all.  She was a little taken-back by the big black beasties.

They didn't really seem to know what to make of her, either.

The cows seemed to stand guard by their calves....

...and I stood guard over little Evie.

And no one knew what to think of Sophie being completely oblivious to this showdown.

Despite Sophie's lack of attention, the showdown did go on for some time.  Afterall, the steaks were high.


Finally, the tension broke.  I was listening to Pandora on my phone and this old song came on, spurring Evie into a fit of misplaced hysteria.  

I tried to get her under control, but my pleas just went in one ear and out da udder.

For butter or for worse, I cud go on all day,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to Buy A Used Car

If you recall from my earlier posts, my beloved Toyota Camry met an untimely end due to a deranged deer rearranging the contents of the engine compartment.

Because the damage included so many parts (not only the hood, light, and radiator, but also the side of the car because the deer pushed the side fender into the door) and because the car had 180K miles on it, the insurance company declared it a total loss.  I do want to brag a little on State Farm for a second: they consistently contacted me before I had a chance to contact them and before I even realized it they had a check in my hand for the fair value of the car--no going back and forth with low-ball offers or any other kind of trouble that most people now come to expect from insurance companies.  They were fast, fair and thorough.  Every person I dealt with was very professional and friendly.  Although I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to make a claim in my entire life, I honestly expected the process to be much more painful.

(By the way, State Farm did not pay me for that endorsement.  State Farm has no idea who I am, other than your average, everyday customer. I could die tomorrow and State Farm wouldn't know it, especially since I have no life insurance policy with them.  Over and out.)

While the claims process wasn't the least bit painful, the thought of having my lovely, dependable Camry totaled was so very sad for me.  I know it wasn't very new and I know it had a lot of miles, but this car was paid off, it was well-kept, and it was dependable as all get out.  The only thing I've ever spent on it was maintenance, tires, and gas.

Now that the Camry has gone on to that big highway in the sky, I was faced with the daunting and loathsome task of perusing used car lots for a replacement.  I did look at several newer Camrys (or is it "Camries?"--what is the plural of "Camry" anyway?), but each time I hesitated because (1) it just didn't have the time-tested dependability that my old Camry had and (2) I kept thinking about how close I came to that deer ending up in my grill rather than my car's.

Dad and I looked for a car for me today and what we finally both realized was that "my car" was right in front of me the entire time:

By midday, it was decided that my "new" 2002 Toyota Sequoia will soon be purchased from Dad's Used Car Dealership (his motto: "selling cars to my eldest daughter one at a time").  I decided to be a repeat customer, having bought the Camry from Dad a few years ago.  

Another advantage is that Dad has these vehicles for a while and tests them out for me, so I know when I buy them, they've got all the bugs worked out.  (Note: now watch as soon as I take it over it will break down, just because I said that.  I'm not pessimistic, I just know that Fate hates me).

Anywho...other that the comparatively poor gas mileage, this will be a great vehicle for me.  It is four-wheel drive, so I can get around in the snow well.  I will be installing a grill guard on it this week so those pesky deer can't leave anymore butt imprints in my radiator.  Everything is in great shape and the dogs will have plenty of room now to travel in style.

Officially I won't be able to take over the Toyotasaurus Rex for while, since Dad sort of needs a way to get back and forth from work.  We decided since he wanted--has ALWAYS wanted--a brand new Toyota Tundra, that he might as well get what he really wants and that way everyone wins.  I get a nice vehicle that I know and won't stress over, and he'll get a nice vehicle and something he really, truly wants.  In the meantime, until Dad gets the truck of his dreams, I've got my trusty Dodge truck that gets 10 gallons to the mile.

Keep on Truck'n,

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Work

I've been spending my post-finals days organizing, planning, and preparing (okay, okay...and sleeping).  I've gathered up as much of my previous written work as possible, and I've spoken to my awesome brother about helping me with an online portfolio.  

For the past few hours I've also been wading through the quagmire that is my external hard-drive, attempting to find the photos that best showcase my work over the past couple of years.  While I'm in no way claiming to possess the skills of a professional photographer, I do want to show that my pictures can be palatable enough for dual writing/photography assignments.  So, I plan to include a section on photography in my online portfolio. 

I took a picture of my gloves one day when I was stacking hay.  I have no idea why.  I'm sort of random like that.  I do think that it turned out to be kind of a nice picture, though, in a rustic, old field-hand sort of way.

I published this photo back when I wrote about the old cemetery in Colorado.  I decided to try a different treatment on it, though, which I think added a bit more interest to the composition (I have no idea if I'm using any of those words in the right context, but for a second it sounded like I might know what I was talking about, right?).  

I took this photo when I lived out in Missouri.  It only took me three years to figure out how to get a proper crop proportion on it (proving, once again, that I am no pro, Moe).

I have some old-timey photos on my hard-drive as well.  I captured this one back in 2004 at the Boothill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona.  Be sure to click on the picture for a larger version so you can read the tombstone. You'll just die laughing....

This photo is even older--from way back in 2003.  This is of a pagoda in the center of Seoul, South Korea.  South Korea is a very beautiful and very cold country.  Fortunately it is filled with very warm people! We were treated so well there. I would love to go back one day.  It doesn't hurt at all that I got two authentic Coach purses there for $60.  Annyeonghaseyo!!

Even older still is this scanned image (because it was taken before the advent of digital cameras--and I feel really old and now very depressed) of the Ring of Kerry, on the west coast of Ireland.  It was truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  

This ends our slide show for this evening, but never fear--there is plenty more where this came from.

More or less,
~Les Moore

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I sincerely apologize for being MIA for, well, much longer than I should have been.  Finals are this coming week and last week I had countless tests, which did pretty much nothing but test the limits of my capacity for stress.  I am pleased to report I got through all of it without being committed or arrested.  Yay me!

On top of school and work, I got the word back on my car and in all likelihood it is totaled.  This wasn't a complete surprise to me, but I was disappointed.  I love this car.

I mean, I "loved" it, before the deer rearranged the engine compartment.  Now I have to search for and buy another car, which is great fun for my dad, who loves to look at new cars, but not so much fun for me, being significantly underemployed and with my future so uncertain.  Getting a new car is supposed to be fun, not give you ulcers.

In fact, I was voicing my concerns to my dad earlier today about my (under)employment situation. Waiting tables is fine for a back-up, second job, and if I didn't have to drive 100 miles round-trip to do it, but I really need something a little more reliable and economical--ironically, much the same qualities I appreciated in my late car.  I have been applying for positions for a while now and unfortunately I have gotten no response, which is incredibly frustrating.  I know I can add value through my experience and my strong work ethic, and yet I am continuously denied the opportunity to prove myself.  

I don't drink except for maybe a light beer or glass of wine once every month or two.  I don't smoke and I've never touched an illegal drug in my life.  I've never had anything more than a speeding ticket--the last of which I had in 2008 (in Drexel, Missouri--the day I moved to the town, which was a lovely "welcome home").  I graduated with honors, had a 3.75 GPA in college and now, even with a degree in English, I have a 92% in Chemistry and a 93% in Biology.  I've tried my best to work hard and be a good person.  I haven't been perfect, by any means, but I've done everything I could to learn from my mistakes.  

Long story short, it is incredibly frustrating to have done everything by the book and not have any of it mean anything.

I didn't intend this post to be a rant.  Actually, it's intended to be the explanation of an epiphany I had today. I realized, if I thought I was so great that someone should hire me, perhaps...I should just hire myself.  

Okay, I know this doesn't make much sense, but bear with me for one second.

I've been told several times that I should "write for a living."  Whether it was suggested via book, website, etc., I've often been complimented (and thankfully so) on my writing.  However, I know it is nearly impossible to make a living as a writer. To me, it is at the same level as becoming a professional singer, or an actor--the probability that someone, in the right place and the right time, would recognize my talent as significant enough to invest in, and then for that investment to turn into success, has about the same chance as me picking up a winning lottery ticket off the sidewalk tomorrow...especially when I carry on writing run-on sentences like this one.

I do enjoy writing, though.  Even more, I enjoy the reactions that people have when they read my writing.  There is something special about being able to type out symbolic characters in a way as to not only convey meaning through language, but emotion.

My dad told me a story today--a story meant to relate to me, even though it was about a basketball coach at  an until-recently-unknown university.  I won't bore you with the details, but the point of the story was that this coach was an intelligent young man who was successful on paper, but gave it all up to follow an unlikely dream.  Starting out with nothing, he dug in his heels and worked hard, earning nothing, just to do what he loved.  Eventually it paid off--it paid off because he did what he loved.

So I thought...perhaps I should start doing what I love.  Even if I don't become a "success," I will at least be doing something I enjoy, and in the meantime, continue grow and learn along the way.  Here is a preview, the first paragraph of a work in progress:

There are dark recesses that exist in history, where injustices were kept hidden away from the masses and have since long been forgotten.   This history is not found in school textbooks and were it not for the writings of a few to preserve the memory of the victims and their saviors, would have been erased from time altogether.  So many short lives were made meaningless only by circumstance—people who did nothing wrong, but were forced to live and die in unimaginable horror.  There were only a handful of brave people who recognized these crimes being committed as those against fellow human beings.  These heros remain largely unrecognized as we now take for granted the right that each of us has to be free.

I've thought of doing this book for a long time.  I've already done a lot of research, but there is much more to be done.  Chances are, since no one knows me and I have a long way to go to proving myself in this area, I will not have a publisher lined up anytime soon.  Therefore, unless something comes up in the near future, I will publish this book online myself in a blog yet to be named.  I do not want to disclose the subject (based on true stories) yet, but I do believe it will hold at least some interest for many, whether you enjoy reading my writing or not.

In the meantime, I will try to be more faithful to this blog and my readers--all three of you....


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Deer Season

Deer hunting...

 I think I'm doing it wrong.

Not to worry, dear friends...I didn't get a single scratch on me.  Thankfully the airbag didn't deploy and thankfully the headlight, which flew off and hit my door a mere two inches from the window, didn't end up in my lap (and neither did the deer, for that matter).  Just a sudden jolt and then a lot of smoke, since the crazy creature made sure to completely take out my radiator.

Toyotas are awesome, though--there was just enough time for me to get it pulled over off the highway without risking the engine overheating.  The car did exactly what it was supposed to--it took the impact and protected me.

I love this car, too.  It is (was) a Camry.  I highly recommend them.

As for the deer?  Well, I can't imagine that it's feeling much better than my car.  While (unbelievably) the impact didn't kill it, at least immediately, it either crawled off into the woods and died or it's nursing some pretty bad wounds, judging by the amount of fur left on my car.  It jumped straight up out of the ditch in front of me and two other cars.  Of course I was the one that was closest to it, and therefore hit it, but a nice person stopped to make sure I was okay before going on.

I am okay.  Bummed, but okay.  I guess after this the lure of deer hunting, sitting in the cold for hours waiting to hit one with a bullet or arrow, escapes me.  I mean, I was going 65 mph and trying to avoid them and managed to bag one.

Elusive creatures they are not.

The buck stops here,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Although this has been a pretty tough year with a lot of changes and a lot of stress, I feel like in a lot of ways, going without makes me even more thankful for the things that I have.  I am so thankful for my beautiful turkeys (who are, in turn, thankful that they aren't dinner this year).  I am so thankful that my 13 year old cat, Harley, and my 13 year old Aussie, Charlie, are both very healthy and going strong.

I am thankful to have added my little mini-Aussie puppy Evie to my family this year.

Of course, I am so thankful to still have my Sophie by my side.

I am also thankful for my three beautiful horses, all sired by the most wonderful horse I've ever known.

I am also thankful for this wonderful old farm that I live on, with this big old house with so much potential.  I am really looking forward to my future here.  Simply put, I love my home, and I love how it's coming along (see the front overhang finished?!  YAY!)

 I am so very thankful for all of my friends and family.  Without your support I don't think I would have survived this last year, let alone all the difficult times before.  You're always there, giving me the strength I need and helping me to live a great life, no matter what gets thrown at me.  I can't thank you enough, and I love you all.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!