Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Build your Giraffee Knowledge!

Meme and I headed to the zoo in DSM on Saturday on a "free" pass from work!
So we toted our camera's along to give them a zoo workout!
The weather was perfect!!!

Now to test your Giraffe knowledge!

Did you know???

That both male and female giraffes have horns?
Male horns tend to be bald and the females tend to have little tuffs of hair on them.

This is obviously a female, with her little "tuffs".

Love her facial expression!

A giraffe can eat up to 140 pounds of leaves and twigs a day!!
No wonder all the bark was COVERED!!!
They have an 18 inch tongue (apparently rivaling most labs I know) and it's PURPLE!!

An unexpected danger to giraffes in captivity is that, as they are typically the tallest objects in a zoo, giraffes are at increased risk of being struck by lightening. In the wild, this hazard is reduced by the presence of trees; as well, the giraffe's natural habitat range has an extremely low occurrence of lightning.

So when lightening is present it's always good to be the "short" one on the block! G

My favorite picture of the day was when the 3 giraffes gathered around their flake of hay. Don't worry, they have scheduled feeding times where the public (for a fee of course) can feed them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Seeker first race = 8K

Saturday 6/21/08 was the 1st Annual 8K run/5K walk/run in Newhall.

My goal was not to walk and come in under 50 minutes. We did it!

With weather permitting my plan was to run with Seeker, as it there would probably be a small entry. I asked Seeker if he wanted to go? HAIL YEAH!!! (':

We entered the 8K for a couple reasons, it's a bit longer and I wanted to see if I could do it. As well as I might actually have a chance to PLACE in a bit longer race, as most people will choose the shorter 5K. It turned out to be a very good decision as placements were for (gender) 17 yrs and under (Which I just BARELY missed! VBG) and 18 yrs and over. Thus if you don't place in first/second/third overall then you're sunk. RATS! (':

It was a PERFECT day for running, it was sunny, low 70's although a little breezy out in the open, but that actually felt good at certain times. My friend Julie was entered in the 5K run, but rats, she wasn't able to run since she hurt her knee on that trail ride a couple weeks ago. Darn ponies anyway!! (': She was there however to lend support.

I was prepared with my zip lock baggie half filled with water. Okay, so Dawn makes fun of me for this, but it's cheaper than an aqua-belt and it's lighter too! I can carry it in my hand and just switch hands as need be. This turned out to be a very good idea as there wasn't a water station on this race. The organizer stated since it was a short race they wouldn't need a water station. I suppose he's right, but with it being this time of year (it's usually very hot) and being the race didn't start until 9 am (normally they are 8 or 730 even), it would have been nice to have one. Not to worry, my baggie got me by!!! and I'd be ready if Seeker had to "go". Yes, I'm adopted!!!! (inside joke)

Seeker did a great job of staying with me. I must say I didn't run all that fast and I could of/should of, probably picked it up a notch, but after the last 5K in Marion where I started out too fast and suffered the rest of the way I was a bit hesitant. Unfortunately I started off slow and easy and pretty much stayed that way for the entire run. G

This is us right after the race, Seeker could have at least "acted" tired!!!

Another thing that might have been helpful is people at mile markers telling you your time as you pass so you know whether to stay steady or pick it up a notch. I guess I could have worn a watch, but I don't like wearing one. This is a "nit-picky" request, so not a big deal. I would have picked it up if I knew how slow I was going, but then again, it was just a nice steady pace and very easy. I finished with a smile, wasn't sucking wind and knew I could have kept going for much further. That was a great feeling since in November I couldn't run 2 tenths of a mile without walking.

Another great thing is we actually PASSED people! That was fun too. We never got passed, but then we started toward the back with the walkers since I was running with Seeker. Check out the lady we're passing, she did NOT look happy!! G

Our route was around town in Newhall, out a black top road a mile, then turned around and ran back. At that point the 5K runners/walkers headed back to the park and the 8K runners took another tour around town. It was such a beautiful morning and I had a nice time looking at every one's flowers and gardens. Like I told you, I wasn't really pushing myself. G

On the home stretch turn as we pass some 5K walkers....

As we finished I forgot to look at my time, so I had to wait until they were posted to know my time. Sorry, it was slow at 49.20 with a 10.25 pace. YIKES!! G My pace in Marion was 8.43. Oh well, we finished 3rd, we didn't walk, and um...I'm blaming SEEKER for holding me back!!! LOL

I'm not sure when my/our next race will be? Probably not until Fall and the temps are lower again? My goal next spring is a 1/2 marathon, that's 13 miles. I have no doubt I can do it now. I'm might even look at doing the "Pigman" which is a .5K swim/25K bike/5K run . So I only have a single speed bike, maybe I can borrow one!! LOL The down side of this is it's the same weekend as Ames, but 'maybe'. Or the or Dam to Dam in DSM that same weekend?

Dawn gave me an AWESOME CD to put in my IPOD - it's a Rob Zombie mix.
It is SO AWESOME!!!! So I have new music to run too!!
Who doesn't feel like running when you hear "Living Dead Girl" or "Feel so Numb"? LOL

Friday, June 20, 2008

Flood 2008 - Clean Up

Do you like gross smells, getting dirty and wet? This job is for YOU!!! My sister and I spent Thursday at my grandmother's/mom's house today to try to get the 'wet' stuff out. Words can not describe the total devastation and destruction. We worked from 7 am - 6 30 pm and only got the first floor "almost" completed. That's just removing "stuff" and we haven't even started with the plaster that needs to come off.

This little guy pretty much sums it up for everyone, your tired, dirty, smelly and there doesn't seem to be an end to the cleaning.

I don't know who he belonged to, but he seemed so sad sitting on top of this dumpster.

Dawn and I tore into the main floor which took in 3.5' of flood water according to the building inspector team. They leave you a nice little tag that's different colors based on the safety level of the house. Their house was "yellow" which means you can start taking things out and cleaning, but it needs to be inspected before anyone can live in it.

Looking at this picture you would really have any idea of the mess inside. The addition was just put on last Fall. It may have been the only thing that saved the house as the foundation underneath provided support for the rest of the basement. If you're foundation is collapsed then your house is condemned. There are times you wonder if that might not be a better option. There is just so much work ahead and it's going to cost so much money to get it done.

We hauled countless numbers of load of furniture out to the curb. My grandma had a lot of antiques that were veneer. If you just touched it the piece would crumble. This piece had some of her china in it. We took all the glassware off the top part (Thank goodness for the ladies outside that washed and packed it away for us! What a job and they were AWESOME!) Anyway, we removed the top and it's screwed in at the back. As we started to move it forward to remove those screws one of the legs started to give. Thus I got to hold up the buffet while Dawn took it off as fast as possible. We saved the top at least, and sometimes that's how you had to look at things. Then we had to remove the china and table cloths from the back as you couldn't get the drawers open. You peeled layers to get to the items inside. It was very sad to see all those conformation candles, beautiful table clothes and napkins go into the dumpster.

We got all the furniture out, I telling you, total loss. We couldn't save anything cloth or wood. My mom said it was like someone had died, it was total destruction. At about 3 pm my uncle and 2nd cousin come over to help us remove carpet and the beautiful oak flooring underneath. Honestly, I would NOT have covered that floor, it was gorgeous! It's now ruined however, warped and full of sewer water! EEWWW!!! The carpet at the left is really very light in color, but very heavy and wet with sewage. NASTY!! You couldn't carry it out without getting it on you! Dawn and I had wet pants, wet arms, wet inside our rubber gloves, I can't even describe how gross we felt.

The pick up crews were awesome and I can not even imagine how they are going to get all that stuff picked up. Well, I can, but it's going to take a LONG time. They picked up our stack at mid-day and we had it full again before we left. I don't even know how many of these cleaning crews they had, but the machinery looked brand spanking new! Sure be PURDY - as we say back on the farm.

We found some interesting things and I must say we did have a few laughs. I found grandma's favorite ring by accident!! 10 points for me!! Dawn found a partial...we're not sure who's it was, but it was pretty funny. We wrote on our face masks for fun. We learned that we LOVE the red cross as they are very friendly, however, DON'T EAT THE FOOD!! I'll update more on that later.

Below - Tammy and Dawn.......

We off to work again!!! Who knows what today will bring.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Port-A-Potties in the WORK PLACE!!!

You would think the world has come to an end!!!

I work at a very responsible employer and with the water restrictions in Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, Robins and Marion and the business need to be operational, they decided that they would provide Port-a-potties in order for us to do our "duty".

As I pulled into the lot a line of 6 pristine Port-A-Potties awaited use. They were lined up so nicely. WOW!!! All I could think of was, "Where's the AGILITY equipment!!!".

As I went out to use one of the 'Potties' I realized that they were pretty darn clean and EMPTY!!! I'm one of those individuals that have a hard time "going" without background noise. If it's silent and others are in the area, I get "shy" bladder. You all know what I mean!! Luckily, no one was out there "by" they potties, but our smokers patio is about 40' away. Do you know what liquid hitting liquid at 10' sounds like!!! YIKES!!! Someone needs to "use" these potties before I can use them again. G

Now honestly, most people were totally fine with the arrangement. After all, it's temporary. We have bottled water to drink, although I'm not sure that should have been supplied!! Who's idea was that!! LOL

I'm pretty sure they will be totally cleaned tonight and empty and LOUD again in the morning.

These are quality potties, well built and well ventilated. They were obviously designed by men, as a women would NOT put the urinal at your face level when you're sitting.

I think we need to have boy and girl potties. Hum...maybe I'll put a MENS sign on two of the potties tomorrow to see what happens. G That would be awesome! Oh the POWER!!

I'll let you know how that turns out! (':

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Trail Ride In Iowa County - Saturday 6/7/08

Julie (from down the road) invited me on a trail ride with her in-laws on Saturday. It was to be about 15 miles along the Iowa river and then an evening pot luck at the in-laws house. Well, with as much rain as we've had the roads we were to ride on were under water. We were fortunate however as the ride was still on!!! An alternate route would be used.

We met at one of the "wagon team's" house and everyone got tacked up and ready to RIDE!

Here's Julie and Nellie sporting her new "chinks" - those leather chap thingies. Nellie wears those rubber boots on front vs shoes. Adam thinks he wants a pair.

Of course there's always ONE redneck in the bunch and thankfully it was NOT ME!!! G Apparently one of the axles of a wagon needed a bit of welding. Of course the mules were already hooked up and the people were already loaded, so what the heck, we'll just weld it right now and someone can hold the mules steady!

I didn't get my camera out in time to get the "real" action, but as you know welding makes lots of snap, crackle, pops and there were a few tense moments at first. The mules got use to the noise and the Axle was fixed. WE'RE OFF!

It was a small group, 4 teams and 4 individual riders. A total of 4 mules (one draft pair, one horse pair), a team of Spotted Drafts and a team of Perchons.

The scenery was very pretty. We took a few "B" access roads - aka dirt, but most of our travel was done on the gravel. The horses were all very well behaved and luckily for Adam, not a PIG in sight!! We crossed Highway 6 at one point on the way to the "turn around spot", but other than that we didn't see any blacktop or much traffic on the first leg of our journey. We went over several bridges of all kinds, from solid cement construction to wooden bridges with that pine oil smell to them. I just love the sound of the horses hoofs crossing those wooden bridges. There are some pretty steep hills in Iowa county back on those gravel roads! WOW! It was just beautiful.

The weather was a little "iffy" going into the ride. It was suppose to rain, but we were hopeful it would wait until evening. Luckily, we never did get rained on. It was freaking windy however! YIKES! Everyone knows how much I love the wind!! NOT!! I did not complain however and Julie was impressed. G One nice thing about the wind is that it kept the flies and gnats off the ponies. It was hot enough without being eaten alive by bugs! When we got into valley's were we lost the wind, it got very warm, so the wind helped with that as well.

A one point Julie needed a bottle of water, so I "ponied" Nellie from Adam and Julie made a run for the trolley. I of course had my camera at the ready!! As you can see there was PLENTY of room on the trolley, so let me know if you are interested in going this fall!!

After about 3.5 hours, we arrived at the "in-Laws", Jean and Don's house. It's just AWESOME!! It's an old barn style and the inside is wide open!! LOVE IT! Huge beams are exposed and Jean said they have a 12' Christmas tree every year. PRETTY!!

Everyone unhitched or unsaddled their ponies and we dug into our coolers for lunch.
Adam happily hung out with Nellie and shared her hay. Julie said she much like him because she doesn't just share with ANYONE!

A couple "pee" stories. Poor Adam, he really had to "go" on the way there and as we were stopping for something he decided to squat and GO!!! Never had a pony pee with me on them before, Julie said that he'd had it hanging for quite awhile. POOR GUY!!!

Then on the way back, one of the other gelding had to GO. You can just look at Adam and Nellie's tails above to see how windy it was. Well, this gelding "let loose" and a young girl was standing on the wrong side of the wind and her legs got totally sprayed! It was pretty funny! G

We spent an hour or so and then headed back. The weather looked a bit unstable and we wanted to get back before the storms. I left my camera behind in one of the trucks so it wouldn't get wet. Hind sight I wish I would have had it, it was just my little camera, so easy to carry, but oh well.

We took a shorter trip back which required us to get on the highway shoulder for about a mile. Everyone did really well and most of the cars were fine. You of course have some "IDIOTS" out there, UGH! The riders on horseback were in charge of watching the traffic from ahead and behind and "trying" to get people to slow down. Most of the time we were successful, but again, there's always those "few" that are in some huge rush. We ended up cutting through the town of LaDora and headed back to the trailers by about 5:30. We figured we'd gone about 12 miles. It really makes me wonder how people kept moving West. Honestly, that would be an amazingly LONG trip!!

We loaded up the ponies and headed back to Jean and Don's for a pot luck dinner. Bill of course showed up for the FOOD! G It was a long day riding out in the wind, but it was a lot of fun too.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A MUST READ - Dog Book - Driving in The Rain

The Art of Driving in The Rain - Garth Stein - 2008

It's a story told by a Dog, Enzo. He's a very funny dog. He's very educated and watches a LOT of TV. He tells about how he doesn't think his mother loved the puppies very much as they always just wanted to bleed her dry of milk. When you see those 4-5 week old puppies this sure makes sense!!

Here's a snip-it from when his family is expecting - "I admire the female sex. The life makers. It must be amazing to have a body that can carry an entire creature inside. (I mean, other than a tapeworm, which I've had.)

Or another part where he's bitter about not having thumbs, oh the things her could do!

"Monkeys have thumbs. Practically the dumbest species on the planet, next to the duck bill platypus, who make their dens underwater even though they breathe the air. The platypus is horribly stupid, but only slightly dumber than a monkey. Yet monkey's have thumbs. Those monkey-thumbs were meant for dogs. GIVE ME MY THUMBS, YOU F'ING MONKEYS!" He has a theory about the closest relative to man is the dog vs. the chimp. You'll need to read why for yourself!

Heads up, skip the first chapter!!! You don't really need it anyway. (I suppose you do?? Maybe read it last??) Enzo is dying of old age, so unless you like that kind of thing (I don't) SKIP IT!! Luckily it's only 8 pages.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Extremely Rare - Blue Pointed Cougar


You can't just find these just anywhere ya know!! I was stunned and amazed to actually catch this feline in the beginning of his "summer color". As he matures he will become more blue. It's how you tell the boys from the girls. The girls are PINK! G

Monday morning I hurried out to paint contact pieces (before the rain). It's my vacation ritual to refresh the paint on the contacts.

Cougar decided to help. It could have been worse and I finally had to shoo him away before he ran through the blue and into the yellow. Hindsight it would have been rather cute to have blue cat prints running through the yellow contact, but maybe Saturday when I put the second coat on?

Now off to ride the ponies!! Saphira is doing AWESOME on her riding! I'm very please. (':