Social Media Explained ..

“I’m just still not sure I understand.  When would you use Twitter?  How is it different than Facebook?” asks a friend the other night of me while the Cowboy and I are hanging at her house for the Super Bowl.

“Ahhh,”  she pseudo screams.  “I prefer to stay away from all of ’em.”

Sorry gf, your Pats lost.

The Cowboy was telling her I’m on Twitter all the time.  (@convowithcowboy not my only account)  I have another account for work that I not only enjoy using immensely, but its amazing being in the news business, to have the access to the real time goings on and sharing of information Twitter now provides.

My girlfriend still doesn’t really care.

But in light of the Cowboy trying to get the hang of this tweeting thing.. I grabbed this off my FB wall.  (Social Media Explained a la @ThreeShipsMedia

Maybe you’ve seen it.  It made the rounds today.

But I think its hysterical.

And, kind of informative.

I’m still not sure my girlfriend will understand.. or care.   I’ll have to decide if and where that’s a thought worth posting ..



First time for everything ..

I wake to find the Cowboy sitting at the keyboard, once again.

“I did my first tweet,” he laughs.  “I tweeted.”

We are both back at the computer, me to check on a few things, look for story ideas and share some thoughts here before I hopefully squeeze in a run before work today.

Him, to continue gathering information and thoughts before his trip back home and to Pierre this Thursday morning.

The Cowboy has been at the computer a lot lately.

In fact, he told me yesterday, he hasn’t worked this much on the computer since college.

If you haven’t read a couple of my earlier posts that would explain what any of this is about.. It’s all in preparation of testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

The Cowboy plans to testify along with some others, about why he feels the South Dakota state legislature should support a law allowing both parents in a divorce to have time and placement with their children.  There are two options.  One would be a step above current law.  The other (below) would be a tremendous step forward.

Current statute in South Dakota dictates it is in the best interest of a child to live almost exclusively with one parent.

And it has torn countless families apart, we’re learning.  The Cowboy has been taking an increasing number of calls from other parents who want to help raise their kids, but who, through divorce have been deliberately alienated from their children.

The Cowboy, by the way, has tried calling his kids everyday – once a day since seeing them last.  He gets a few hours after school with them each Wednesday.  Just one phone call has been allowed.  That was on Thursday this past week.  He hasn’t been allowed to speak to his children since.

We’re just never sure why that is.  Especially when the kids ask him to call more often.

It’s sad he is left in this scenario with two choices;  tell them he does call but for some reason their mother doesn’t answer .. or tell them they’re right, he should call more often leaving them to believe their dad doesn’t care or want to be more a part of their lives.  No one wins here.  Including the kids.

Which is why .. the Cowboy sits at the computer again today.  Making sure he’s maximizing awareness these two shared parenting bills are coming up for debate.

Given the lack of publicity, the Cowboy felt a bit defeated this weekend, that no one really cares.

I remind him, it’s enough that he does.  Because there are many, many others out there who like him, aren’t sure what to do about their own devastating situation.  Someone needs to be their voice.

Tweet, testimony, or otherwise.  I’m pretty sure he feels good to be doing ‘something’ to work toward positive change.  If not in his own situation, hopefully for others.

What I do know for certain, is that he’s looking forward to the day twitter is no longer in his vocabulary, he can get back shoeing horses (winter fortunately is a slow time of year for work) and the work he enjoys most.

That is being a dad.

Serving up breakfast

Cowboy Ethics ..

I think there is power in having what you stand for, in black and white..

Or whatever color ink you prefer, on paper.  Written down.  That you can look at each day and remember with conviction, how you want to live your life.

The Cowboy posted this the other day ..

I love it.

And there are few days that go by where I don’t look at the Cowboy with amazement at how much he lives by (not sure that he always has, but he certainly is now) the Code.

Good reminders for us all.

I have two signs of my own, hanging up in my home.  I’m not sure who glances at them besides me.  But I remind my daughter often if she wonders where I stand on things, to give them a glance.

While one reflects more of the same values the Cowboy Code does and has a lot more points to consider..

The other is pretty simple:

One of my 'codes'

It makes me laugh.  And reminds me to let those who prefer drama and the degradation of others in this life, to play it out on their own.

While ‘be nice or leave’ may not specifically fall as stated on the top ten list for the Cowboy Ethics..

The Cowboy likes it.  And I’m pretty sure it might fall under #10.

(late add)  The Cowboy says we should add a #11 – Remember your Gold Toe socks.

The title of my story, she says ..

How often do you have those moments of clarity?

Clarity where, as a parent, you don’t worry so much about if you’re setting a good example, you see something spark in your child and you just know, they’re going to be okay.  That you’re not a horrible parent and they’ve gotten more from you than you ever dreamed.

That the temper tantrum last night was for you – and the rest of the world may see a very different young lady.

I grabbed the Cowboy the other day and we quickly ran over the lunch hour to my daughters school.  Every child in the class had written a story about something that was important to them, where they had maybe learned something and would want to share.

They’ve done this once already this year and it was priceless.  The things kids come up with, put in writing and aren’t afraid to say, we might all not only get a good chuckle out of, but learn from.  Last time, my daughter wrote about her cats.  Well, our cats.  And what they meant to her.

I had no idea what her story was about this time around.

With her dad, myself and the Cowboy in the audience among many other parents.. the teacher called her name.  She went and sat in the reading chair.

“The title of my story is, Saving Lives.” she says.

She proceeds to read the story she wrote;  recollections and emotions surrounding the day she and I years ago had to stop for a kitten lumbering across the middle of a country road.  We stopped to move it out of the way so it wouldn’t get run over.  And realized quickly, no one was caring for this sweet little thing.  It was very, very sick and its eyes were so clouded over with puss it had no idea it was walking into the middle of not just a road, but its own demise.  Or, maybe it did.  The poor thing was miserable and alone.

We picked it up, wrapped it in a towel we had as we were heading to our friends cottage on a nearby lake.

And the following day, after giving it as much love and tlc as we could, took it to the Humane Society to see if anything could be done to save it.

Days later… we got the call.  It had passed.

My daughter cried.  She felt like she couldn’t go on.  (Not only was she feeling that way at the time, this was in her story..)  She has one of the biggest, kindest hearts, not just for animals but people as well.  And while I often don’t get or take the time to see it (due to tight schedules, homework, only having her part-time, arguments, her talking back, growing up and asserting independence and the everyday little things we do that frustrate each other) .. that afternoon at school, I was reminded acutely of what a kind soul my little 10 year old is.

She wrote about that day.  But she also wrote about what it taught her.  And as I sat and listened .. I glanced over at the Cowboy.  He smiled at me.  ‘Wow,’ he whispered.

I perhaps should have turned around and given her dad a glance and a smile.  But I am just never sure what he thinks of the influence I have on her.  Given this story was all about our day and what she learned from it, I didn’t know if turning around to catch his eye would make him smile or .. well, frustrate him further.  I hope for the former.

Regardless, she found a lesson in it all, about life.

“Love things while you have them.”

It is a lesson I perhaps learned as well when I was younger.  But it’s one I have been reminded of countless times, especially through loss over the years, in my life.

Not only was her story and what she pulled out of that day something to celebrate, but she read aloud, annunciated, gave the right inflection at the right time and looked up and smiled at all of us when she was done.


Clarity that this day is good, that she can be and is strong, that she is insightful.  That she is learning how to communicate well and write.  That she loves her mom and dad and it means the world to her that either of us/we’re both there to help her celebrate her accomplishments.  That the little things count.  And that she is listening.

With the teen years fast approaching, that alone is something I know I need to appreciate while I have it.

Drinks .. a good question .. and the gift of time.

We are enjoying a rare moment with some friends that I adore but rarely get a chance to see,  tonight..

As we’re gathering up our things and sorting out the bill, one of them asks the Cowboy, “How many horses do you have?”

“Oh, 8 head right now,” says the Cowboy.

“Why do they call it ‘head of horse’, versus just horse?” they ask .. “Do some have more than one head?”  We all laugh.

I don’t know that I had ever thought to ask that question.

“Because you count heads when you count livestock,” replies the cowboy, with a chuckle.  “That’s just the way they do it.”

We are all capping off our respective days of work, meetings, appointments and the days challenges .. with a cocktail.  Down time with friends and family is wonderful, isn’t it?  I don’t have, or I should say, I don’t make room for it often enough.  I really don’t.  I try on a daily basis to not feel like a horrible person for it and make room wherever I can.  But somehow, I can never seem to find the time to talk with everyone I want in my day-to-day.

The Cowboy reminds me daily not necessarily through words, but his actions, of how much better at it I could be.

Today, it was the phone call back home to South Dakota, first thing this morning.

“Happy Birthday, mom!” he says.  I can hear his mothers voice on the other end of the line,  sounding so happy to hear from him.  “You made it there okay last night?” she asks.  “I did.  It was pretty foggy, but I made pretty good time.”

“I saw that,” she says.

“What?” says the Cowboy.

“That it was foggy.. I read the blog.” she replies.

Both the Cowboy and I chuckle a bit .. to know his mom is reading any of this.  But at the same time, I’m flattered.  I adore her.  She is a good, hard working woman who loves all her boys and their families a ton from everything I have seen thus far.  She, like most moms, may not be perfect.  (I say that because the boys all fuss at her on occasion.)  But she tries to be there for any/all of them as best she can; the Cowboy’s dad, he and his two brothers and their families.

Right now I believe the Cowboys mom just wants to do anything she can to help the four of them.  The fallout from the divorce has been tough on their whole family.  It is for most.

I remind him to tell her he loves her.

I would give anything to hear my own mothers voice on the other end of the line.  She’s been gone now 10 years.  But this reminds me, and he reminds me, to try and be better about staying in touch with the family and friends still here.

Tonight was wonderful .. the time with friends .. (6 head if you count ’em like livestock), capped off a beautiful day.  A day where I spent some extra time with my daughter.  And, that started with a sweet phone call home to the Cowboys mom.

“I love you too,” she says and adds one more time, “I’m glad you made it there okay,” …

What kind of socks …

I get a private message tonight from an old friend who I’ve missed, it was great to hear from her.  She says she has been reading the blog and recently started her own.  But besides wanting to just say hello and reconnect, she asked ..

‘Two questions, first:  What are the best socks to wear in cowboy boots so they don’t slouch down?’..

The other question will be for a later post.  I need to think a lot harder about answering that question, than this one.  So this gets my attention tonight.  Plus, I think its hilarious.  In part, because I’ve never really thought about it.

The Cowboy laughs when I ask him.

What do you wear underneath those .. boots.

“Who stole my Gold Toes?” the Cowboy says, still laughing.  “My dad always is looking for his Gold Toes!   And if he sees you with them on, his or not, he’ll accuse you of stealing ’em.  That’s all my dad wears.”

A second later he adds, “Oh, and you can’t have tube socks, you gotta have crew socks.”

I ask why.

“Crew socks are made like an L,” he says.  “That’s why they don’t slip.  Tube socks are straight, you know what I mean?”

Now I’m laughing.  I’m thinking, whens the last time I heard someone even say ‘tube socks’?  Might have been, like 7th grade.  And boy did we used to wear tube socks.  We didn’t just wear them, we rocked ’em.  Remember tube socks with the old basketball uniforms where the shorts were short and made of real thick polyester?

Wow, got off track there for a moment.

Gold Toe is what his pop wears.  The Cowboy says his fav is Omni-Wool.

Omni Wool

I’ve worn boots myself since I was like, at the very least in college.  And I just get any old ‘tall socks’.  Most women’s tall socks have the thicker, tighter band around the top of the sock.. which, the tag should explain to you that’s why its there.  To prevent slippage.

At this moment, I’m now laughing at myself.  That I am thinking so much about an issue that might otherwise seem trivial and relatively funny.

Perhaps more important than the right pair of socks .. let’s just say we need to start with the right pair of boots.

We happened to be at one of my favorite stores in Bozeman, MT on a trip late last summer .. when I realized I might not be doing this whole cowgirl thing right.

“What do you think of these?” says the Cowboy.  I turn around and he’s holding up a pair of black boots.

“I’m not crazy about them.  I don’t think I like the square toe.”

Real cowgirls, the Cowboy informed me that day, don’t usually wear pointy toed boots.  He said it in the kindest, most loving, nonjudgmental way.  But it made me laugh.  And tonight as we’re talking, he adds to this conversation saying, you’re REALLY showing you’re a wanna-be if there are silver tips anywhere on them.  (Important to note, while I have lots of boots, pointy toed, round toed, square toed – and don’t confuse cowboy square toe with motorcycle square toe – I’ve never had boots with silver tips.)

Square toe where its at

Those black boots at Head West, they were in immaculate shape.  They were in the back of the store, 2nd hand.  And, they were just my size.  We left that day with me at least looking one step closer to a real cowgirl.  Not that I was trying.  But if I’m hanging with a real cowboy, perhaps its important to not look like a rookie.

My pointy toed boots (which I love, especially the handcrafted ones from Austin) still stand tall in my closet however, and it appears I may actually be changing the Cowboys opinion of them.  But I am amazed how often I get stopped wearing the square toed boots by people wanting to know where on earth I got them.

While we have you..

“Boots,” the Cowboy says, “should fit tight when you first get them.  Then (he says chuckling again) you get in the bathtub with them.  Warm water works best because it opens the leather up, you see… And then you just wear ’em the rest of the day.”

Wet boots.  Haven’t tried that yet.

So much to learn … good luck with the socks.

P.S.  My daughter and I after the blowout last eve, had a fantastic day.  We made it to school on time.  She helped with chores.  She did her homework when I asked.  She started a dance class she loves and is grateful I got her enrolled.  And we had a nice quiet night at home.  Calm has once again found our household.  For now….

For whatever comes next, even she is equipped with the right pair of very cute, tall orange square toed boots.

The dog …

Since this is technically ‘my journal’ and its something I want to leave to my daughter.. I should chronicle the past few hours.  The wonderful time we’ve had tonight making dinner at home, having a dear friend over for a bit, hanging out with homework done and the excitement of getting a few things tonight for a dance class she’s been wanting to take, which starts tomorrow.  But then I’d also have to jot down some thoughts on the huge blowout we just had as well.  It happens more frequently than I would like.  At ten I guess I might expect we’ll have more.  I know I did with my own mother.  But I’m hoping to minimize or eliminate or reduce there ever being a need.  Is that possible?  In the meantime, while she implodes, I’ve been working on remaining as calm and quiet as possible (which doesn’t always work), which upsets her all the more.

But, the Cowboy wanted me to write something more lighthearted tonight.

So, I’m going to talk about .. The dog.

Oe of them anyway.

The dog

I had to leave my little yellow lab with the Cowboy this past week as my return trip home didn’t go quite as planned.  I ended up flying instead of driving.  Which means, the dog is still at the ranch, for now.

And, she’s not really a great ranch dog.  Not yet anyway.  She likes to play .. and wants to play with just about anyone or anything, regardless of size.  The horses for the most part, would prefer she go play in another pasture.  I’m concerned it may take a good kick for her to get the picture.

Confused by the dog

When she’s not chasing friends ..

She’s sleeping on the Cowboys bed.  Which he’d prefer she doesn’t do.  Or, apparently, she’s eating leftovers the Cowboy and the kids thought would be good to just set out on the porch after leaving them  in the crockpot too long they burned.

I warned him.  “Don’t let the dog eat anything but her dog food.  It’s just not a good scene,” I’ve told him on several occasions as he’s used to giving his pup, any and all leftovers.

He’s quickly finding out why.  The lab doesn’t have a very resilient GI system.  And straying from one of the only dog foods I found that worked for her to ever have a solid .. well, let’s just say she needs a strict diet or things get a little ugly.  I do believe if she were a cartoon character, there would be one of those, you know.. army green clouds following her around.

And as we talked this morning, all I could do was laugh as the Cowboy repeatedly said her name.. groaned at the scene or rather, scent unfolding before him.. and went to let her out, again.

So that she could go play with the horses.