Saturday, January 7, 2012

In Defense of the Librarian.

Growing up, I understood some very important aspects of my life: what team I was picked for kick-ball, what episode of Blossom we watched at the babysitter’s, and which book I read before I went to bed. I feel very blessed to have lived such a privileged childhood in which these were my biggest worries. I had two siblings (an antsy sister and an athletic brother)—who followed me in school. While we are completely different, we all understand the importance of the written word. That is, we all love to explore the unseen. We love the development of the mind. We love our imaginations. We love losing ourselves in another’s thoughts. Erin, Patrick and I love to read.  

How amazing is that!? We grew up in a household where there wasn’t a Nintendo or Playstation, or Xbox. We grew up where books were the ordinary and DVDs were the extraordinary. We preferred our imagination to someone else’s. And why did we grow up in a place where reading was an accepted part of life? Because our mother, Mary Linda Burmester believed it so, that’s why.

See, I credit my mom with nearly everything I’ve learned in life. Not because she was there every single step of the way—throughout  shitty algebra and the complicated chemistry and  the awful fifth-grade long division, but because she stressed the importance of learning to read.  I remember sitting on her lap, leaning on her chest, and listening to her heart beat as she read my Junie B. Jones books. At the time I didn’t understand the hilarity of Barbara Park, but I remember how my mom cracked up reading her stories, and how because of my mother’s laughter, I too wanted to hear more. Because of my mom, I’ve developed a love for reading that I otherwise would not have. And I know she has affected other people in the same way.

You may be wondering why I’m saying all this, but the truth is I feel I need to get something off my chest. My mom is an amazing woman who has blessed more than just me with a love for reading. Since I was in grade school, Mom has been a media specialist in the Davenport School District. She has helped innumerable children discover the power of reading. She has taught inner-city students how they can rise above what they have been given just by picking up a book and teaching themselves something they would not learn in the classroom. She has been an ambassador for books. And unfortunately, her position as guardian of the knowledge may be compromised this spring. Mary Linda, along with all other media specialists (aka librarians) in the Davenport School District may be losing their jobs this spring due to budget cuts.

I understand that tough economic times force tough decisions. However, I do not believe that cutting the position of media specialist in every school in the Davenport School District will have a good impact on the students of the Quad Cities. Who will teach people how to find a research book using the Dewey Decimal System? Who will teach students the importance of citing their sources when they write a paper? And most importantly, who will echo a parent’s effort to teach a child to learn to read at an early age if there is no one to read Skippy John Jones to them in the school’s library every Thursday?

I may be going off on a tangent, but I believe the position of librarian and media specialist should not be cut. I believe if it weren’t for the efforts of men and women like my mother, M.Linda Burmester, we would be in a much worse situation than we are today. So please, if you read this, pass this on to someone who you think could benefit from what I have to say. We cannot lose our librarians. They are ambassadors for the leather bound cover, the smell of ink, and importance of the written word.  Thank you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

DIY Christmas Tree Extravaganza!

Hi Everyone!

I'm writing to you from my hotel room in Colorado Springs, Colo. I'm about to head to the Garden of the Gods with our women's basketball team, but before I do, I want to share a little competition I'm taking part in.

So my good friend Lisa is amazing. She's the most handy person (man or woman) I know. She has completely re-done her kitchen mostly by her self, has refinished hard wood floors, can sew, paint, decorate--you name it, Lisa can, or will figure out how to do it. Anyway, she and I e-mail pretty much everyday about what's going on in our lives and our latest projects.

Earlier this week, Lisa proposed we do a DIY Christmas Tree Decoration competition, and I totally jumped on board! Every decoration that goes on the Christmas tree has to be hand-made, homemade, or completely altered before it can go on the tree.

I'd like to invite you all to join in on our competition! It's a great way to save money during the holidays and get those creative juices flowing!

Lisa has created a facebook group for the competition with all the rules that you can access here! I hope y'all are feeling as crafty as I am! I'll keep you posted on all the things I create for my tree :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Birthday Wisdom

24 years ago today, I graced this world with my presence. Let's just say, people were impressed. Well, at least Mary Linda and Karl and the grandparents were.

Since then, a lot has changed (obviously, did I even need to say that?). I've learned a lot in my nearly two and a half decades of life. Let me share.

1. Family is important.
I've seen families fight, fued, and break apart. It's not cool. It's hard to watch, because most times, it's over trivial things.My hope is that the four people I'm closest with (five if you count our family dog), will never let stupid little things get in the way of the love and support we have for one another.

2. Don't sit on the toilet before checking for toilet paper.
Unless you don't mind either a) shouting loudly for someone else to bring you some, b)  running around with your pants down while you find toilet paper, or 7) drip drying.

3. Aging is required, growing up is not.
 My favorite example of this is my Great Aunt Fay. I think she's almost 80 now, and they just hired her at Trader Joes down in the Phoenix area. Why? Because she's full of life! I stayed with her and her husband my sophomore year of college over spring break and I learned so much from her just from her attitude: she ate well, she exercised daily, she loved her family, and she wasn't afraid to talk to total strangers and brighten their days. I loved that!  I hope that when I get to 80 I've got the same crazy personality I have today.

4. When in need of a major pick-me-up, turn to an elderly man (or woman if you're a boy).
I am seriously not kidding on this one. Old guys are so cute in their old sweaters and khaki pants above their belly buttons and their white socks, that it's hard not to love them. Then they open their mouths and have some ridiculous joke that you can't help but laugh. I feel God really knows when I'm struggling when an old man crosses my path. and makes me smile.

5. Don't over correct, don't swerve to miss a deer, and ALWAYS wear your seatbelt.

6. Liquor before beer, in the clear. Beer before liquor, never been sicker.
Myth. Trust me.

7. Life gets hard.
This is something I realllllllyyyy learned this year when I started my first big girl job nine hours away from my family. My poor mother and father get a phone call nearly every week (sometimes more than once a week) from me where I'm  either crying or cussing or frustrated or just plain mad. Thanks for always listening Ma and Pa. And thanks for all the advice, support and cheerings. They've really helped me get through some really rough days. You've taught me no matter where I go, there will always be that someone who will knock me down, and make me feel like my work is not good enough, or not up to par. I've learned things like that need to go in one ear and out the other. Otherwise, I'll drive myself to drinking a full bottle of wine every night.

Ok those are the lessons for now. Probably won't change much next year because these are things I've constantly had to remind myself over the years, but each time feels like I've learned them again.  Everyone go out, hug your family, have a drink, and cheers to everything you've learned in your lives!

Shout outs:
Patty Cakes!: Yeah Pat! Started your first game of your college career Wednesday night! So proud of you, looked awesome on tv (ok on my computer). Go Bulldogs!
Dori: Congrats on an awesome four years of volleyball. Now get after it, and get your "post-volleyball" legs back!
Jada: Happy 21st, Birthday Twin! Don't die at Hobo days!
Michael: Thank you for the awesome cowboy boots. I love them. I know you've got something else up your sleeve and I can't wait to see what it is. Thanks for being the best.  I love you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pheasants and Tomaters

Hi Y'all.

So I wrote a post on Saturday on my computer. Then I realized I didn't put it up and now it's all sorts of untimely.

See a few bigs things have happened in my life since last Saturday. Let me tell you in list form.

1) Pheasant Hunting. Yessir, the season opened up, and I, Aimee B., great hunter extraordinaire, shot a big fat whopping ZERO birds. That's right, great day to shoot holes in the sky for me. However, the group I was with did an awesome job, and they let me keep a bunch of the amazing feathers for awesome projects I will be doing for my apartment and Grandma's house. And don't worry, I'm going out again this weekend. I'll get some cock sometime.
Ok, side note about cock hunting, I wasn't prepared for the cleaning part.
It wasn't really that bad though. Maybe next time I'll actually touch one.
Also, fried pheasant tastes super good. Sandra Hagny has an awesome breading recipe.
I'm sure if you asked for it, she'd give it to you...for fifty bucks. You can give it to me and I'll make sure to pass it on :) 

2) 50 pounds of tomatoes. Yes, 50 pounds. That's how many tomatoes I got from my good friend from work, Virginia. I'm sure most of you know the sad story about my garden. Ok, so I had no tomatoes, but I've wanted to try my hand at canning stuff for awhile. So when Virg said she had an extra crate, I jumped at the opportunity to get going! Turns out, 50 pounds of tomatoes is a lot. Wayyyy a lot. Last night, I did 11 jars of tomato/spaghetti sauce. And it was easy.

This is how I did it: I grabbed a bunch of the tomaters, washed them, quarterd them and threw them in a blender (skins, seeds, everything). After I blended the crap out of them, I put them in a pot and boiled them for about 45 minutes (maybe an hour, I wasn't keeping track). You have to boil out the water. I added a bunch of minced garlic and basil and oregano. And instead of doing the water bath canning, I heated my jars in the oven. Sandy told me she had done it before and it worked like a charm. If Sandy does it, so am I. So in the oven for 10 minutes at 250 degrees, take 'em out, fill the jars, put the lids on them and listen to them pop on the counter :).

Tonight, I did salsa; a wee bit more complicated than my awesome sketti sauce, but the result tastes amazing! I did the whole boil water, put the tomatoes in for three minutes take them out and put them in ice water then pull the skin off. Well let me give you a little trick I taught myself tonight: make two "X's" on each side of the tomato. Then the skin will magically start pulling off. Ok another short cut, my roommate Megan got one of those awesome pounder chopper things where you slam the top down, take out your frustration of the day, and wham! chopped tomatoes! So I used that and also chopped up a jalapeno, red onion and a wee bit of habanero. Dumped it in a pot, and added this amazing concoction from a woman named Mrs. Wages. I imagine Mrs. Wages is pretty old now, but based on the seasoning she made, she was a pretty good cook. And because of that I'm sure she had her fair share of tail in the day. Hats off to you, Mrs. Wages. So anyway, I added her seasoning, boiled my tomato mixture for half an hour, cooked my jars in the oven, put the salsa in the jars, and WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU MA'AM, I've got a tasty town salsa.
So two nights of canning down and I think I still have thirty pounds of tomatoes. Yeesh.

3) I had a dog for two days. Her name is Tana, and she's a four-year old german short hair. Just gorgeous. The minute I met her, she climbed up in my lap and fell asleep. The past two nights she slept in my bed with me. When I woke up yesterday morning, she had my paw on my leg (melt my heart a little bit why don't ya!?) When I came home from work today, she was gone. She left me. I thought we had bonded and she would stay with me forever, but no, she left. Ok, really she couldn't do anything about it. Her owner, my roommate's friend from Montana, was in town to hunt for a few days and he left this morning. But I seriously bonded with that dog. And now, I want one even more. My birthday is in just a few short weeks. A certain someone could find a puppy and have it pottied trained in that time. Jus' saying.

One more thing before I go. I'm thinking about taking this blogging stuff to the next level. Like write more often, about more interesting stuff. More food stuffs, more crafty stuffs, more stories of my lack of intelligence stuffs. I hope none of you mind.

Scoby: Monday night bowling is now a must. Please enjoy your weekend "off."
Sandy: I cannot wait for our lunch date tomorrow. I hope we can find you some sweet boots!
Mary Wolfgram: Thinking about you woman, hope that ol' baby pouch of yours is doing ok! We need baby Ranchers!
Mom: Don't worry, I will not forget to give Sandy the homemade jelly your made her.
Awesome student assistant football coach that also works at Wal-Mart: Thank you so much for stealing those grapes, washing them, and searching the whole store to find me and give them to me. How did you know I was dying a slow death of starvation? You're my new favorite coach.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mountain Lions are Taking Over the World!

Editor's Note: Soooo this post is a week old, it's been sitting on my desktop in Microsoft Word format, just waiting to be read by y'all. Apologies for the delay. Enjoy!

So I’m currently riding on the Presentation College People Mover with the volleyball team down to Madison, S.D; the girls are taking on Dakota State tonight and I wanted to get out of the office need more photos of the team in action, so I said I’d travel along. I’ve got some very important information to share with my audience that has been on my mind for the last few weeks. I don’t know if anyone has heard on the news at all, but mountain lions are everywhere. Seriously. They’ve been spotted around Aberdeen, near my hometown of DeWitt, Iowa, east of Gettysburg, and even a very reliable source has photos of these kitties on their trailcams!

While majestic beautiful creatures, the mountain lion (puma concolor) is still scary as crap. If one was hungry enough, it could probably eat a human alive, or at least your favorite cat, dog, or angus beef steer.  And what’s even scarier is that the Black Hills mountain lion population is growing and migrating farther and farther east.

Oh hey pretty kitty.

This morning my boss and I were discussing these big cats (real important Presentation College work, I know). She gave me a little more MML (Mighty Mountain Lion) info. See, MML’s were introduced into the Black Hills region by homo sapien sapiens (humans for those who don’t remember shit from high school biology).  Well the thing about humans and animals alike is they like to reproduce (some humans shouldn’t. For examples of those who shouldn’t, visit Wal-Mart later today). And the mountain lion population in the Black Hills has steadily been increasing. What’s happening now is that they are struggling to find food. Since they can’t just run into their neighborhood Hy-Vee for some pork loin or prime rib, they’ve begun to search a little harder for food. For instance, digging through garbage cans in back yards, eating farmers’ cattle, and, like I said earlier, migrating east. A very credible source (my wonderful boyfriend after a few BV Diets) told me they once tracked a MML from the Black Hills to western Colorado. I believe him.

Look at me, I lean like a cholo.

These animals are everywhere. And we should know a little more about them. So let me give you some facts about the MML:

·         Mountain Lions are the largest cat in North America, and in South Dakota have no other predators—except for the MMH (mighty majestic hunter) such as myself.

·         MML’s are usually a tawny or light cinnamon color with black tipped ears and tails. Adult male mountain lions can be huge as crap at nearly eight feet and up to 150 pounds (to compare, bobcats get to be around two feet and 30 pounds, like an obese house cat only way more agile).

·         Similar to the Swamp People of Louisiana, they eat a lot of animals, such as deer, mice, squirrels, porcupines, raccoons, rabbits, and beavers (no honey badgers though).

·         It’s estimated that there are over 30,000 MMLs in the western United States. That’s just an estimate. I bet there’s a bunch more.

·         MMLs keep to themselves unless they’re looking to get some booty. Then they look for an easy woman to take home and knock up. Also MMLs have been known to travel anywhere from 10 miles to 370 miles (hmmm Drunk Michael was right).

·         Ok, here’s the kicker: Mountain lions are active hunters who take the kill shot from behind. They’re smart too, going for the base of the skull, bury their kill them come back and eat it later when they’re hungry. I’m sure it’s some sort of pickling process or something.

I have better cheekbones than Zoolander

So basically, these suckers are intense, and can kill you if you’re not ready. My only suggestion—and I honestly think it’s the best—start wearing a pistol belt. Mick Mick the Bullrider has one that I wear around the house sometimes, but I think I’m going to have to convince him to let me wear it all the time. Only safe option I see. And everyone, may I suggest you go to your nearest gun shop and purchase a gun and pistol belt for yourself.

While Boss Lady and I were talking this morning we also discovered on the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks website, that there is a MML hunting season. That got me real excited. Ever since the day GFP e-mailed me with the sad news that they won’t give me a buck tag this year and I started crying at my desk, I’ve been looking at some sort or redemption. Yeah, yeah I applied for a doe tag, and I know that’s probably the best thing for me this year because let’s face it, I’ve never had deer fever so I’ll probably still crap my pants when I go to shoot my first doe. BUT! Now that I’ve discovered this mountain lion season, I’ve gotten way pumped. I even told Michael I think it would make a great romantic date for us. Can’t you see it now? Both of us decked out in our camo from head to toe (my sweet goret-tex hunting overalls came in last week, and excuse my friench, but they’re tits.), binoculars hanging around our necks and rifles across our backs as trek across Potter County in the middle of winter in search of the Majestic Mountain Lion to mount on Grandma’s living room wall.  If that doesn’t say two people crazy in love I don’t know what does.

So anyway, you can see I’m really interested in these MMLs. I want everyone to stay safe and buy a pistol and pistol belt, but in the meantime, Michael and I (he doesn’t know it yet, unless he’s read this post) will be applying for MML tags and getting a new mount.

In non-related news the Presentation Football team has started its inaugural season. Let’s hope they get a win this weekend. (Editor's update: they did. Yipee.)


Bus driver:  I appreciate you safely transporting us to Madison, but can you please try and avoid the potholes?

Erin Anderson: Whoa, that’s weird, I’ve never typed your new name. Congratulations on tying the knot. You looked absolutely stunning Saturday. And your reception was a blast and a half. I have bruises on my legs from doing the worm on the dance floor.

Patrick: I don’t know what happened, but you turned into a cool brother. I know Mom and Dad were so happy you surprised them and came home. High fives for you.

Erin Jo: I hope coaching the freshman North Scott volleyball team is going well. I’m sure you’re teaching those youngsters plenty of good volleyball moves. PS. So glad kindergartners are learning to let music take over their souls, just like Happiness.

Abby O: Boeyinker. Haha. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Green Thumbin'

I need to update you all on something in my life that is half tragic and half a blessing. I'll call it, The Death of My Garden.

Some of you may know I worked for an elderly couple, George and Jane Korver,  while I lived in Marshall. I mowed six acres of lawn, scooped algae off the pond with rake, became pretty swift with a weed whacker and tended the biggest most beautiful garden in the world. All those tasks were grand, however the best thing about the job was hands down that garden. George grew everything: corn, snow peas, yellow potatoes, red potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce, red onions, yellow onions, summer squash, pumpkins, watermelon, cantelope, garlic, name it he grew it. It was awesome. I always had fresh vegetables, canned pickles, homemade sauces, salsas...the list goes on and on.

Anyway, the Korver's lit a fuse in me and ignited my love for gardening. So when Michael T. started living at Grandma's with all that potential growing space I got realllll pumped. I asked Grandma Agnes if I could have a garden and she got real excited too I think.

So, I began planning, and planting. I bought these little seed tray greenhouse thingers that you put a seed in then put the plastic cover on and then they grow before you put them in the ground. They are honestly necessary if you try and plant a garden up in these parts. We had snow til April this year so you can imagine the soil temp. Poor little seedlings can't wear gloves or coats so they freeze to death. At first I kept the seed trays at home and would come home at lunch and stare at them hoping they'd gotten bigger. The lighting in my apartment blows a little bit, so I made an executive decision and brought them to my office where they grew and grew and grew. I had tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans and morning glories all greenifying my office.

One day Michael and Mick and Sandy went to town doing some yardwork and Michael plowed up a small space for me to have a garden. It looked great! My garden was taking shape, hot dog! The next day I transplanted my office buddy seedlings along with potatoes  and onions, into my garden. At first nothing grew but weeds, but when I came back a few weeks later, BAM! We were in growing business!! I had a few challenges dealing with Michael's pets (those darn deer) so we (Mick and I) put up a redneck fence that only covered 5/8s of the garden. We used some corral gates on the other 3/8, that's why it was redneck. I also told Mick he could pee on the garden whenever he liked (Michael's pets don't like human peepee).

So yeah, the garden was awesome. Completely full of weeds, but still awesome.  That was...until one fateful day, something very tragic happened. A man came to beautify Grandma's yard by chopping down all the trees around the quanset and the garage. It was close quarters and my garden is right behind the garage, and would really benefit from less keeping the warm sun out. So Mr. Man is back there doing "get-trees-out-of the ground" things when suddenly, he gets his Bobcat stuck in mud big time. He was surrounded on all sides by quanset, garage, and more trees. He had no where to turn. Exceppptttt......

(you guessed it, right through the garden).

Can you please take a moment of silence for my cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, red and yellow potatoes, peppers and onions.

Luckily, I had planted some seeds in buckets on the deck. When I planted the seeds I thought they were tomatoes and peppers. Only peppers. At least I have something growing. Anyone wanna make pepper-flavored vodka with me?

And all is not lost. Next year, I'll have much more sunlight for my little plantings, and this time next year I'll have an abundance of veggies. I'll probably share with people who are really nice to me and give me nice things like a new rifle or cowboy boots or hunting gear (that's you, Michael). I also take cash, check or visa.

EJo: Good luck at school, I'm glad you got to go back to school shopping.
Megan B.: Hurry up and move here already. I'm DVRing Kim Kardashian's wedding for you tonight so we can watch it sunday.
Tibs: I've really gotten a crap ton of compliments on my haircut. I think you're hired for life.
Anyone who wants to become a Saints Booster Club member: Call me. 605-229-8378.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

225 Million Big Ones

225 Million. Dollars. Big Ones. Buckaroos.

That's the lottery tonight. Holy Cow. Do you know what I could do with 225 million dollars!? Well funny that you asked because I think about winning the lottery EVERY STINKIN DAY!

So, let me tell you what I would spend my winnings on :)

1. Student Loans. Did any of you think I would pay for anything else first? I complain about them more than I complain about the price of gas, the idiots I work with, and the price of tea in China. So right away, I'll knock out that 40k. Take that Federal Government! I'll probably pay for my sister's loans too. Maybe my brother's also, but he really has to suck up to me.  Lately Patty Cakes has been a disgusting puke to me (and I even gave him my sweet blue chair for his dorm, rude!)

2. My parent's house and any debt they have. My parents are amazing. All throughout my childhood both my mom and dad worked at least two jobs to take care of Erin, Pat and myself. Seriously, they gave us anything. We all participated in club sports, spent entire weekends in hotels and gyms, and they did it all knowing they would do even more for us if we asked. I seriously feel so blessed to have Karl with a K and Mary Linda for parents. And now, I think they're even cooler. I mean my mom loves drinking bloody mary's with me now and my dad loves gardening. They're awesome! And they don't need to worry about money anymore. They've worried long enough. Side note: my dad wants to go back to school to be a physical therapy assistant. If he does, I'd pay for that too. But only if he still wanted to. I mean naturally I'm going to give my parents an allowance so they won't ever have to work again unless they choose too. They could just retire and do retirement things. Like golf and read Martha Stewart magazine (that's a joke, Mary Linda hates Martha).

3. Pay for a better library at SMSU, and a new curtain in the gym. Ok spending 4.5 years at a school I realized some improvements could be made. Such as a waaaaayyyyy bigger library (reading books makes you smarter people). I'd also put a curtain in the RA facility. See it's hard to focus at basketball practice when softball is screwing around on the south end of the gym, baseball is fondling one another at the other end and wrestling is giving piggy back rides to one another around the track (i mean that in itself is distracting!). I'd probably also give a huge chunk of change to Kelly Loft, the best Sports Information Director in the world who taught me everything I know, and an even bigger chunk to all the women's athletic teams. Let's face it girls, we still get the shaft (that's what she said).

4. Play Monopoly. Buy up a bunch a land baby!!! Then put houses and hotels on it and charge people a $100 rent like on Park Place. That's a joke there, I'd charge $200. Ok seriously thought, I'd buy land everywhere I could. Specifically Sodak, Montana, Iowa and Scotland. Yes, Scotland. I want to have my own home overseas where I can just hop on a jumbo jet and get away from everything. The other three are just so farmers can rent the land from me. Ok secretly I want my old roommate to farm the land for me, and then I'd be the boss and he'd have to listen to me. Muahhahaha. :)

5. Donate to lots of charities. These days, everyone needs money. And I truthfully don't think I should be the only one to benefit from my hypothetical winnings. So I'll give a bunch to Susan G. Komen in honor of one of the most amazing women I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, Margie Thiel McDermott, some to Livestrong, some to SmileTrain, and probably some to whomever asks. Remember this people, YOU ONLY GET WHAT YOU GIVE. Sharing means caring.

Ok that's about all I have to say about winning the lottery. Fingers crossed it happens.

Oh p.s. it's my old roommates birthday on Friday. Happy Birthday ya big hairy sexy beast. May all your dreams come true or something.


Grandma Milly: I'm sorry you've had eye problems lately. I hope you feel better soon!

Megan Betz: Hurry up and move here already.

Woman Security Guard at PC: I love how tough and manly you look, but I love it even more when I catch you smoking a cig in your convertible and reading Cosmo.