Sunday, May 18, 2008

A new month - Lots of life changes!!

Well, once again a couple months have passed and lots of change has accompanied!

First I wanted to mention the death of Mike's Aunt June. She died while I was out in Illinois where I last blogged. Mike's Mother had 7 sisters (and a brother that passed away about 12 years ago) an d they are very close, in fact the ones still living in Ogden have had lunch every Friday for years. June died of pancreatic cancer and so had been very sick for about six months. She will be missed. Mike drove out to Ogden, leaving the day I came home from our long trip east. He was glad to be with his mother at this difficult time, and had the chance to spend an evening with his kids too.

Mike's Mom is back row Right (in Black). Aunt June is middle back.
Sharon in the center front died 6 years ago, Jeanette (front left) died about a year ago.

When he returned he went straight to Monica's house and is back there this week, hoping to finish that job up very soon. You can see the latest photos and progress on that on Monica's Blog (

While he was at Monica's, Mike and I took a day and finally got to take advantage of an offer one of the Doctors at CSU's vet hospital gave us and we spent a day there learning to use our microscope. Now we can do our own fecal exams and avoid some of the dependency we have on the lab.

Next we went to the alpaca show in Denver, our local organization's show and our last one to show animals this spring. I was ribbons chairman, and Mike ended up volunteering twice for ring steward, and once for score keeper, so we were both very busy the whole show.

Kelsey flew in to help out Saturday and Sunday and then she and I drove back for my monthly week in Albuquerque. That week ended with Dad's Birthday, Mother's Day, and Kelsey's graduation from High School. Yep, she's now all grown up! She is planning to stay at her Dad's for another year and go to UNM, before heading out to California for school.

That same weekend Mike was home shearing at two out of four ranches that we had collaborated with for 2008 shearing. He was at one ranch Saturday and sheared 42 (or so) animals, another ranch the next day with 50 or so, then I got back for Monday at a third ranch where we sheared 55 animals, and finally our house was on Tuesday with 33 animals. Each house was responsible for coffee, snacks and lunch and then we all helped out at each ranch where we each had a job. Along with the shearer and his helper (from new Zealand), we hired a Certified Fiber Sorter, who sorted the fleece as it came off the animal, so that you get an evaluation with feedback on your fleece before the end of the day, and your fleece is graded so it is ready to send to the mill and assure the best quality products. This was a very successful way to do shearing for the year and we will probably do it again.

And FINALLY : I also started full time employment with a company called CFI (Computerized Facilities Integration). They are headquartered in Southfield MI, but I will be supporting the west coast office, in Los Angeles. It is a relatively small company (than I have been used to lately) but they have more Tririga contracts than any other partner, and I am excited that I will be doing the same work, but will be able to support ALL aspects of integration of the product. They will also support me to get certified in Tririga, something that would have been useful while trying to get contract work. I am a bit nervous about working 40 hours a week on a regular basis and keeping up with the ranch, but Mike is going to be supporting the ranch end of our partnership and I'll be focusing on making a living. My contract work had been dwindling and made this step necessary to keep up with our debts. Last week (after Shearing) I went out to Los Angeles for three days to meet the rest of the team and "be oriented". It was a great trip and I am pleased that it seems a good fit. I will be able to work remotely from home and set my own hours, and have very limited travel, so from that perspective it will feel just like consulting, except I get medical benefits ;-).

While in Los Angeles Jackie Zev came downtown and joined me for dinner one evening.. So that was a good opportunity as well. Unfortunately, her Dad has been in the hospital for the past month and a half and is not doing well. I hope this job will allow me to get to California more often and visit friends a bit more.

Oh no, one more finally! This weekend I am going to Salt Lake City for the Alpaca National Convention. I'll be staying with Mike's sister and not attending any seminars, but going for a quick trip to network and see those people form the rest of the country that we don't see often. (And go to the new IKEA). I had hoped Mike and I could both go, but it turns out we have three babies due in the later half of May. So only one of us could go, and I got the short straw. Both of us are pretty tired of being away from home. Perhaps that will all slow down again after the Salt Lake trip. (HA!)