I have visited Vietnam, Darlin.

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Hi there. Remember me? Sorry I haven’t posted in forever and a day – life happens, and I get a D minus (see previous post re: D minus).

So – I had an incredibly exciting work opportunity to visit Vietnam. The people in this developing country are hungry. I mean really hungry, and they need protein. Protein is well conveyed in fish, and the folks there can grow fish (pangaseous catfish, tilapia, shrimp) in ponds. Fish eat… anyone? anyone? Ding ding ding! Soybean meal as a high-protein part of their rations. US soy has  high protein content and 8 essential amino acids, so there’s the connection.

These next few posts will be kind of in journal form, so bear with me.

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Big ole airplane for a mighty long flight.

Day One: flight from Nashville to Chicago is delayed 45 minutes. This is worrisome, because I booked Chicago to Hanoi (by way of Tokyo) separately from Nashville to Chicago. Sadly, American Airlines has a new rule and even though it is all on American, they couldn’t/wouldn’t combine my ticket nor check my bag from Nashville through to Hanoi.

Crisis averted, as I was able to arrive Chicago, claim my bag and re-check it through security and still meet my party in the Admiral’s Lounge.

Have boarded the plane, and – to my dismay – there are about ten children under 10 on my flight. My 13 hour flight. Ugh.

Fast forward 12 hours – I have surprised myself by sleeping. A lot. Time back home is 12:30 am and we have about an hour left in our flight. I politely declined a meal of eggs, gravy and potatoes (yuck!) and had lo mein noodles instead. I owe the rugrats an apology, as I’ve not heard a peep since boarding.

Our flight has been the longest I’ve been on to date – 13 hours. We crossed the Bering Sea and of course the International Date Line. The combined shading of the window and dimming of the cabin lights made for a lovely faux-night, and it’s hard to believe it’s 2:36 pm in Tokyo right now.

We have a few hours’ layover in Tokyo, then another 6-hour flight to reach Hanoi in northern Vietnam. We’ve been cruising between 36,000 and 40,000 feet at a speed of about 562 mph. Haven’t had to stop for fuel. Amazing.

 

This drives me NUTS, darlin!

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So. It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I am grocery shopping. DON’T YOU JUDGE ME! lol. I used to be such a planner, and now I am flying through life by the seat of my pants. I was cruising down the baking aisle and what to my wondering eyes should appear but this:

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Now, I realize that ‘Tis the Season for pecan pies, and yes, I live in Kentucky. I have it on very good authority that this is a bag of “puh-cahns” because a “pee-can” is what used to be under Granny’s bed at night so she didn’t have to go to the outhouse. See that little label up there in the top right corner? It says Non-GMO project Verified, and that chaps my bee-hind. (Not to be confused with “behind.”)

Why? Well, first off, food from biotech/genetically modified/GMO plants has been proven nutritionally equivalent to food from conventional plants, and second, THERE ARE NO GMO PUH-CAHNS. Not on the market. They don’t exist in your neighborhood Kroger,Walmart, or corner grocer. So why in the world would Fisher and many other companies that have products not even available as a biotech crop pay the money to have their stuff “Verified” as non-GMO?

Fear factor, my friends. It makes me so sad that people are afraid of their food, here in the US where we have the safest and most affordable food supply in the world. Don’t fear your food! There are no antibiotics in your ham/turkey/standing rib roast. There are no added hormones in the cheese you’ll use in your holiday meals, and there is no scientific evidence to support the outlandish claims that enjoying food with biotech ingredients is any more dangerous than enjoying those same dishes containing their non-biotech equivalents.

So as the holidays are upon us (and I don’t even have my naughty/nice list made yet!) please eat, drink and be merry. Don’t fear your food. And, IMHO, tofurky is for the birds. Remember, your Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts are brought to you by Granny’s recipes and America’s farmers.

Be Grateful, Not Hateful, Darlin’

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I swore to myself this was not going to be a political post, but I get a D minus on that effort. I think that anyone who doesn’t know there’s been great unrest and unkindness in our nation before, during and now after the 2016 Presidential Election, has to be living under a rock.

The good news is that Election Day is behind us, and Thanksgiving is upon us. I choose to be grateful instead of hateful. There are so many who are grieving about the election – what about those who are grieving the loss of a loved one? There are those who are clinging to the political power struggle – what about the folks who can’t pay their power bill? Some are screeching “not my president,” while those on the other side of the world can’t really grasp the concept that people in America have a say in who is the highest official in our government.

So I say be grateful, not hateful. I’m thinking bumper stickers, folks. It’s a great message. There are people in many parts of the world who have no food, no shelter, no clothing and no hope. If you woke up today, be grateful. If you took a shower with running water (hot is a bonus!), be grateful. If you stood in front of your closet deciding which clothes to wear, be grateful.

If you have food to eat, rest assured that the “white, uneducated, rural people” who got so much news coverage over the past few days will continue to produce food, feed, fuel and fiber for the world. I am grateful to be a part of such an intensely personal and noble endeavor.

As many of you know, I enjoy the work that is done by volunteer farm women under the umbrella of CommonGround. This program was originally developed so that farm women could start conversations with non-farm women and help consumers to better understand farming practices, answer questions, and share the things that we have in common.

I think it’s time that we all focus on finding common ground – places that we agree, places to start conversations – and go from there. And don’t forget to “be grateful, not hateful.” (I’m thinking that would make a really nice cross-stitched sampler…)

As the holidays are upon us, I encourage us all to embrace our traditions. Listen to Uncle Bob’s stories one more time – you never know when it’ll be the last time you hear them. If Granny’s turkey is dry, thank her effusively for going to so much trouble for the big family dinner. If your cousin comes in with brand-new vegan, anti-GMO, antibiotic-free ideas, be kind. And God bless us, every one.

 

She’s my Person, Darlin’

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So Monday was my birthday, and my age now ends with a 9 and I don’t want to talk about the next 362 days. I took the day off work (thankful for Personal Holidays!) and spent the day with my Person.  For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of having a Person, it’s different than having a friend. Friends are GREAT – I LOVE my friends, and they’re great. But, really, you can only have one Person at a time.

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The phrase was coined from Grey’s Anatomy (YAYNESS!) and it’s a good one. I am not that woman who says “My husband is my verrrrry best friend!” because he’s not. He’s wonderful, and I love him, but trust me that we are NOT going for mani/pedis and shoe shopping. Ever. He is my hubby, not my bestie and not my Person. I  mean really – if your hubby is your best friend, who do you talk to ABOUT HIM when you want to roundhouse kick him to the face?

So, my Person is Lisa Galusha. She’s pretty awesome, and she knew I had been very down recently with some personal crap (daddy is still in the hospital, other family icky stuff  – rest assured that Darlin Hubby and I are fine). My Person sent me a funny, encouraging, prayerful, OR totally inappropriate meme every hour of my birthday from 7 am to 9 or 10 pm. We were together from 10:30 to about 3, and she sent them anyway.

In addition to dragging a body or digging a hole, everyone needs a Person with whom we can let it ALL hang out. My Person came to the hospital when Daddy had surgery, my Person took me for a pedi and pasta for my birthday, my Person PRAYS FOR ME, and she knows everything about me and she loves me anyway.

So today’s post is a salute to my Person. If you don’t have a Person, get one. Having Lisa as my Person has proven to be vital to my sanity, and she makes my life better in innumerable ways.

Sometimes life is just hard, Darlin’

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So. I’ve been AWOL and my people deserve to know why. The first part was a JOYOUS and wonderful thing, as my coworker and dear friend Becky had a BABY! Five was born May 11, and he’s just cute as a speckled pup. She is (as we knew she would be) an AWESOME mommy, and they’re adjusting just fine.  Being one of three people in our office, which serves all of our state’s soybean farmers means that when one of us is out, the “stuff” still has to get done. It was my pleasure to help cover for Becky while she was on maternity leave – I am sure she would return the favor, but let me be perfectly clear: AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.

 

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On July 27, something truly awful happened. My friend and boss’ husband passed away unexpectedly. Tony was a truly wonderful man, and living two doors down, we are all pretty close. That loss rocked our world and continues to do so. In addition to his beloved wife, he leaves three truly awesome kids, ages 22 and 17. Life will not be the same without Tone in it.

Most recently, my dad has had some health issues. Tomorrow will mark three weeks he’s been in the hospital, and he just last night made it up to the Transitional Care Unit to start working hard (I hope) on physical and occupational therapy to get strong enough to come home.

SO – that’s my deal, and I am hoping that things will chillax around here so that I can get back to my weekly ramble/rant. Thanks to all who know me personally and have checked in on any or all of these situations.

I’m pumped to be working on a co-presentation with a GREAT Agvocate, Jennifer Elwell, for our Kentucky Women in Ag Annual Conference. It’s called “Agvocating Tips for Introverts and Extroverts.” If you can’t guess which one I am, you’re reading the wrong blog, Darlin!

D is for more than Darlin’, Darlin’. 

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D is for more than Darlin’, Darlin’. 

  • Sometimes we have to pause for introspection, and this is one of those times for me. I am sorry, but my current status is reflected above. D minus. Not quite an F… But certainly not honor roll material in the wide world of blogging, either. I try, y’all! I really do!  Have a calendar alert set for 9 bells every Wednesday morning and  and everything – I fully committed to blogging once a week in 2016. 

But… D minus. Life gets in the way, AGvocating makes me tired and grumpy some times, we’ve had death and sickness and all those other t=”life things,” and I have failed. 

Enter My Tribe. Sweet Krista Stauffer, who you should TOTALLY be following at TheFarmersWifee, asked me to write a blog post about AGvocacy for the @agchatfound (I heart AgChat), so I did, and it was quick and easy and just flew from my fingertips… And to channel my inner Sally Field, “they LIKE me! They really LIKE me!” This came at a time that I needed a pick me up, and it picked me up, and the kind comments have me re-ignited. 

I’ve done something wild and crazy and put WordPress on my iPad so that it is with me always. (Yes, @JPlovescotton, we talked about this moons ago.) SO. Refreshed, reignited, ready to go. For those of you who follow me, I thank you, and I promise to do better. 

Xoxox Rae

Take me out to the ballgame, darlin!

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So in addition to the fun and glamour (and hog poo and chicken litter) that is the RGDJ, we have meetings. A lot of meetings. I have not yet achieved professional meeting-goer status, and for the most part our meetings are informative and I always learn SOMETHING that I can use.

One of our national organization’s contractors is based in St.Louis, so once a year or so, I attend a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game as evening entertainment after our meeting. Last night was just such a night, and the cards SPANKED the Colorado Rockies, 13-7. (Yay, team!)

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So, it must be said that my favorite part of this ballgame (aside from the company, the win, and the food/bev) is the opportunity to share this app with my followers. I love WordSwag! This app, on my iPhone, allows me to overlay text onto photos in a variety of fonts, to add value and/or meaning to the photo. Possibly more importantly, it lets me watermark a photo with my logo! (YAYNESS!)

As an individual, that’s fun and fine and great, and if my blog ever becomes more than an online diary, it will be necessary. In my job as the communicator for the Kentucky Soybean Board, it’s vital to watermark photos that I post on social media. It amazes me how people who may not have the access to, say, the inside of a hog house, (as I do) will take a photo out of context and use it for nefarious purposes.

There are several other applications that perform this same function, but Word Swag is my personal preference. It’s available from the App Store, and it enables me to build complete posts including messaging from the field – and in my case, it’s LITERALLY the field…. or the barn… or the tractor. 🙂