Saturday, October 31, 2009

Front Page of Sheridan Press!

sheridan press

The Sheridan Press is a tiny little newspaper (by Seattle Times, LA Times and NY Times standards), but by far the dominant paper here in Sheridan and where most residents still get their local news.

There is no local TV news station, we get Billings, MT, Rapid City, SD and Casper, WY each about two hours from Sheridan.

Only a small minority of people go to the internet for news, many still prefer calling places in order to get information, which is actually possible in this place where you can meet someone and then easily find their number in the phone book.

So it is wonderful to get an article on the front page and reach a large proportion of the local community!

And by the way, if you click on the picture to read the first part of the article and see the quote I gave, that's grad school application talk!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hanging the Hunted Elk

Hanging Elk

Dave came home last night with his elk. If you mind looking at dead animals you shouldn't look at the rest of the post... or eat meat.

Hanging Elk

After choosing and killing the animal (an approximately four year old cow), Dave gutted it on site, cut it in half and dragged out the head half on a sled. His son carried out the butt half. Given my complete ignorance of hunting, I always prefer to use these technical terms.

Hanging Elk

The elk has to be hung from what I would have previously called a garden bower for a week. It still needs to be skinned before that time is up, so Dave will take it down and re-hang when he does that tomorrow, it was just too late when he got home last night.

Hanging Elk

Given my lack of experience with this, coupled with the romanticism sometimes associated with hunting, I felt a little like I was visiting the 'real Wyoming Disneyland'. Since I've had more experience with the artificial, sometimes the real seems like the replica. Ahhh commercialism.

One thing that made it seem real... the smell. It wasn't strong, but it was there.

Hanging Elk

Hanging Elk

Hanging Elk

We had a little difficulty with hanging the butt end because the wood pile was in the way of truck pulling perpendicular. So in the end, we just had to move the wood pile. Both ends are between 100 and 200 hundred pounds, so there wouldn't be any shimmying into place.

Hanging Elk

Both ends have to be completely wrapped to guard from dogs, coyotes (although there is little chance they would come this close to the house) and flies.

Hunting Season Ornaments

It was 24 degrees last night while we worked (and I took photos), so as soon as we were done I ran inside and snuggled under my rustic, back-to-the-land electric blanket!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

First Youth Competition!

Campeonato Infanto Juvenil C 002

Last Friday, October 23rd the Academia de Atletismo left at 9 in the morning and headed to the Olympic track in Managua to participate in the Youth Championship with a delegation of 13 athletes.

The kids had a blast and the time sped by as they had so many new experiences. For many of them this was one of the first times they had ventured to the the capital of Nicaragua. They asked about everything they saw - What building is that? Where are we now?Are we there yet? For two hours Roberto tried to answer all of their questions.

Campeonato Infanto Juvenil C 137

As soon as they arrived at the track two and a half hours later, the nerves and tension began. Giovanni Dian, who runs the 300 meters was so nervous that he accidentally (an unknowingly at first) scratched his legs up with the spiked track shoes he held in his hands while warming up.

Campeonato Infanto Juvenil C 018

The first day ended at 6:30 in the evening, after dark had settled over the stadium. Because the government had taken the lights previously installed at the track and re-installed them at the national baseball stadium, it made for difficult races. The children ran on instinct with only a bare vision of the white line of their lane to guide them. Unfortunately this situation will most likely continue since the stadium is shared with soccer teams until noon and so the races cannot begin earlier.

Campeonato Infanto Juvenil C 041

The second day of competitions began at 5:20 in the morning and so they rose from their dormitories at 3 as they slept once again at a religious center about an hour away from the stadium.

Campeonato Infanto Juvenil C 053

For his part, Roberto was very happy with the kids' performance. They earned 5 medals: one gold, three silver and one bronze. The competitions won were the 300 meter sprint, javelin, shot put, discus and hammer throw. Three of the medals were won by Raylinds Luquez and his gold earned him a spot in the central American championships in Costa Rica at the end of November.

Campeonato Infanto Juvenil C 134

The National Athletic Federation will pay for Raylinds to go to Costa Rica and represent Nicaragua, their support includes his travel visa, transportation, lodging, food and athletic uniform.

However, since the Academia de Atletismo is one of the few clubs that takes all children, no matter how poor, it is more difficult for Raylinds' family to pay for his part, a passport, than most other athletes. We are hoping that either we or his family are able to find the money quickly so that our first champion can begin to reap the rewards of his hard work!

Campeonato Infanto Juvenil C 143

Thursday, October 22, 2009

First day as a volunteer

Mexico 1998
Mexican volunteers (and me!), Santa Rosalia, 1998

My first memory of really choosing to volunteer on my own was in middle school. For some reason I can't remember anymore, I decided I wanted to volunteer at the local women's shelter, Anna Ogden Hall.

They had no idea what to do with me, however, since I was 12 and apparently there aren't a lot of 12 year olds that show up to help. So I was put in charge of babysitting some of the women's children.

I really hate babysitting. The whole thing in general was a pretty unpleasant experience.

And that is what I remember about the first time I volunteered.

Fortunately, it was not my last.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Remembering Drywall

North Idaho Habitat Spring Break 2003

Next Sunday I'm leading a small group from Sheridan Wesleyan drywalling one of the home. It seems like a neat idea, once a year the congregation goes out and volunteers with various nonprofits instead of having a normal church service.

Now I just have to remember how to drywall...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

Utah 1997
Wasatch Mountains, Utah, 1997

All done with grad school applications!!! Now I can knit!

Monday, October 19, 2009

First Competition for the Academia de Atlestismo!

Copy of Campeonato Interclub-10 y 11 de octubre 013

On October 10th and 11th, the Academia de Atletismo competed for the first time, not to win medals but to gain experience.

They went to the Olympic athletic track at the Nicaraguan Sports Institute (IND) in order to participate in the InterClub Championship in Managua, Nicaragua. This is the second highest competition in the country and has no age limit so the competition was tough. Two national records fell, one in the men's steeplechase and one in the women's 400 meter dash.

Our club brought nine athletes and they each had the chance to push themselves in their events. They competed in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meter races, the 4x100 relay, and javelin. Each managed to achieve their real goals: get over their nerves and beat their personal best.

Copy of Campeonato Interclub-10 y 11 de octubre 037

Having hardly slept due to excitment the night before, the kids and Roberto boarded the public bus for the 2 1/2 hour trip to Managua on Saturday morning. Once the bus dropped them off at the market in Managua, they took taxis to the stadium.

People are frequently robbed at gunpoint in this market and by taxi drivers (yes, it's the taxi drivers that have guns) and so once we're able to raise enough money, they will rent a minivan and driver at $100 per round trip to take them directly from Rivas to the stadium.

Once at the stadium, Roberto worked on the stacks of paperwork to be completed. In the flurry, newness and nerves of it all the kids forgot what to do, where to be and how to warm up; some of them nearly missed the last call for the 400 meter dash. Roberto argued with the judge on their behalf and they were allowed to compete (arguing can accomplish a lot in Nicaragua).

After the competition ended for that afternoon, all the stadium dormitories were full, so the Academia and a few other teams were sent to 'El Centro de Martin Lutero', and evangelical center an hour away. Roberto, trying to look on the bright side mentioned that the bathrooms were cleaner there than at the stadium and that within a few hours of their arrival both the electricity and water came on.

The next morning, everyone got up at 4 AM to return by shuttle bus to the stadium. Because their excitement at staying in Managua had gotten the better of them once again, the kids were exhausted from barely sleeping and napped on the floor at the stadium while waiting for their events.

While, as expected, none of them won medals, they returned exactly as Roberto had hoped: more experienced, less rattled by nerves, bragging about their time to everyone and exhorting the need for harder training to beat the competition!

Campeonato Interclub-10 y 11 de octubre

The 23rd and 24th of October the club will be participating in the junior and youth championships (and competing against those their own age). This event qualifies the best youth athletes of Nicaragua to represent the nation in the Central American Games in Guatemala the 25th of November. In this competition we will be represented by 15 athletes.

In the meantime, the kids are training hard knowing that those who look beyond their own horizons will eventually reach their dreams.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Managing Stress

Devil's Tower

With two of three grad school applications submitted, the GMAT done and rough drafts essays for the last application written, I would have thought I'd be a little less stressed than I am.

Long ago and far away I wished for a job that meant something to me. Work that made a difference to people. Accomplishments that would happen only because I was there to do them, thereby using my time and life in the most effective and efficient way possible.

And now I have that job.

Be careful what you wish for.

I mean, I love my job, but sometimes... I love it a little too much. Here's to a better balance!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Belle Fourche

This isn't the first time this thought has gone through my head, but there are times it runs through my mind with more persistence.

It would be nice to be home.

Not that I have any particular home to go to, but especially today it would be nice if I lived in the same town as the most trustworthy mechanic in the world. Sigh.

If you're looking for him, it's Dave (although you could trust Joe with your life too) at Stanley Service Center in Spokane, Washington - 509.327.1460.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Early Evenings

Dusk Moon

We've got less than 12 hours of daylight now. The sun rises after 7 AM and sets before 7 PM.

Between my first experiences less intense daylight and the freezing temperatures since I left for Nicaragua in early 2007, this is going to be a loooooong winter!

Monday, October 12, 2009


I believe winter is really here. But I can't tell you about it until we finish with fall!

Devil's Tower

Ok! There went fall!

On to winter!

Broken Down View

This was the view I had while waiting to get picked up by a friend from my broken down truck. Somehow it's still beautiful.

(Clutch went out. For some reason I got insurance that covered towing when I moved here! Thank goodness!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

How You Know You're In Wyoming Part III

Just Drivin'

It's either the open highway or the truck cargo, your choice.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seriously, This Is My Job

There are lot's of perks to working where I work.

For example, yesterday I was profusely thanked by a guy whose family will be moving into one of the homes we're building.

And sometimes, this is how I get to spend my Saturdays working (Ok, just one time, but it was still fun). It was the first annual Wolf Creek Wrangle to benefit Habitat for Humanity!

Start of Wolf Creek Wrangle
10 Mile run

House Decorations
Local decorations

Karen and Dave
10 Kilometer hike

Lost Shoe
Stray horseshoes

Wolf Creek Wrangle Hike
Good scenery

Fall Grain

And it raised around $4,000 for Habitat!

While it was only a week and a half ago, at temperatures in the mid 80's it feels like an eternity away! (Snow, mud and power outages this week and it's only Thursday!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Devil's Tower

Devil's Tower by Full Moon
Devil's Tower by full moon light, taken at 11 PM, 15 second exposure, ISO 400

So to celebrate being done?

I went camping at Devil's Tower! And froze!

Desert Ice

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Finally Done...

Study Mountain

For those of you who heard the big sigh of relief last Friday... that was me. I retook the GMAT for business school and scored pretty well, a 750, if that means anything to you. So no more GMAT for me!




I turned in one application yesterday and have two more to go in the next two weeks. Then all I have to do is wait! Not easy, but at least easier.

Monday, October 5, 2009

World Habitat Day

Last week I spoke with a weathered older woman who came into my office. She spoke English haltingly, so we conversed in Spanish. She has eight people in her family and her daughter was the only one who had full time work. They lived in a rented two bedroom, one bathroom house, but the owner has requested they move out so he can renovate.

Later that day I received a phone call from another mother. She has three kids and had just moved back to Sheridan from Montana because her husband, the kids' father had abandoned them. She had no job and no home.

Many need better housing, it is undeniable. I have no appeal to you aside from the simple facts. Find out about Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Bighorns here and Habitat for Humanity International here.