Random News

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

  • It snowed all night last night...it is BEAUTIFUL out today. And we're thankful we didn't get all the ice our friends to the south did.
  • In other news, word travels fast in small towns. Or my blog has far reaching powers ??? Probably not, just coincidence. My dad sold the Red Pete on Tuesday. There were tears of sorrow and joy all across Illinois.
  • I'm just finishing last minute edits for the Crop Management Conference today.
  • I'm heading to Jacksonville and the interstate in 75% snow and ice covered, so I better get off the blog and load the car up! This will just have to be short and sweet until later.

Another New Addition

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ha! Bet you didn't think this post was about trucks!

I got an email over the weekend from my mom. It seems that while she was doped up on painkillers for her back problems, dad went and bought himself another semi. Surprise! At least he didn't try to pass it off as an early Valentine's Day present for her.

Now this big teal beauty will join our fleet of trucks....all of which have their own special qualities and names.

First, the cab-overs. Meet the Red Pete:

Let me start by saying that everyone but my dad HATES this truck. He's a little older, quite cranky, but never fails to start - even in the dead of winter. Think of him like the red-headed stepchild. He just doesn't quite get the love he deserves.

Next up, the pink semi. That's right, PINK.

A little faded in its age, this pink truck happens to be a farm favorite, well at least when you have to decide between it and the Red Pete. A little bit easier to get into (I hate climbing into the cab-overs) and from what I've been told, a little bit easier to drive. It's all in the shifting - not nearly as temperamental as the red one. However, its not all that reliable and little things go wrong all the time.

After we'd had those two for awhile, dad bought the brown semi. Otherwise known as the Cadillac.

Let's be honest, compared to the other two this one is a real beauty. Better seats, more room, and I didn't have to worry about busting my a** trying to climb in and out.

Shortly after the Cadillac, came the white semi.

Another step in the right direction if you ask me. The cab-overs are great to haul from the field to home, but the Cadillac and white semi are much better if you're hauling long distances. In fact, you don't want to be late on the mornings we're headed to Bunge -- first come, first served.

I'm not sure where this new truck will fit into the family. And I suspect one of the others will have to go, but I think I better check with my dad and make sure we're not going into the trucking business...although it might be fun. I can only imagine the call names on the CB.

Guess who we saw Sunday on the interstate...Mary, Kayla and Leslie.

Sunday Stills

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I've been following what's been going on over at Sunday Stills for awhile now and finally decided to join the fun. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with all the great photographers who post there.

This week's challenge - Potluck - take photos of your choice. My choice, the Round Barns here in Champaign. I love old barns in general and these are some of my favorite. In fact, we had some of out wedding photos taken there. Here they are today, with a fresh coat of snow falling on them.

It's What We Do

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ron and I are both chained to our desks for the winter, working on reports, presentations, and such, but it won't be long before we're out in the fields (at least we hope). While I wouldn't mind some more snow, most people around this neck of the woods are praying for warm weather.

One thing I really love about my job is outreach -- meetings, expos, developing publications. We recently finished our Invasive Plants in Illinois poster series. Dawn and I (along with a very tech savvy graduate student) were able to develop a pretty great set of posters (if I do say so myself).

This month I'm also in the middle stages of releasing Illinois' Most "Unwanted" Invasive Pest list. This is the list of invasive pests we are most interested in. A few are already here in Illinois and we're wanting to find out where they are spreading and others we're trying our hardest to keep out.

Today I'll be finishing up my presentations for next week (hopefully). I'll be in Jacksonville and Rend Lake at the Illinois Crop Management Conferences discussing Insect Monitoring and Invasives. I love talking to farmers!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Because mom needs a good laugh today...

What exactly were you thinking? Not only did you dress the dog up, you made him pretend to drive the tractor too???

I love peanut butter

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Peanut butter cookies
Peanut butter crackers
Peanut butter and jelly
Peanut butter cups
Peanut butter frosting
Peanut butter milkshakes

The list could go on and on, but, my peanut butter consumption has been drastically limited since the recall I hope they get this straightened out soon...don't they know the best thing that goes with chocolate is peanut butter??

Meet Me in St. Louis

Monday, January 19, 2009

This weekend we met up with these yahoos in St. Louis. Corey and Eric are college buddies of Ron. While Eric only lives about two hours away, Corey & Ashley live in Kentucky, and unfortunately, we all don't get together very often.

It was a great weekend and we had a lot of fun. We heard countless Carbondale/Saluki stories. Let's just be glad I met Ron after his time at southern. I definitely wouldn't have been able to keep up with the three of them.

Between stories we spent time supporting the local economy -- if you know what I mean. But, we did check out a few things - we headed out to a boat show Saturday morning and did the Anheuser Busch tour (which was pretty cool) in the afternoon. We spent a little time at Union Station, but not nearly enough for me. I definitely want to go back and see more.

Saturday night met up with Ron's cousin Mandi (also a southern grad) and her husband Matt. Can you believe 7 grown adults spent 3 hours at Dave and Buster's? Better yet, can you believe I failed to get a group shot from the weekend? Pure failure on my part. My number one mission the next time we all get together.

What a great, great weekend! It's a good thing I had Sunday afternoon to catch up on some much needed rest like this guy.

Call me Audrey

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Audreys are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them.

How to Get Along with Me

* * If you want me to do something, how you ask is important. I especially don't like expectations or pressure
* * I like to listen and to be of service, but don't take advantage of this
* * Listen until I finish speaking, even though I meander a bit
* * Give me time to finish things and make decisions. It's OK to nudge me gently and nonjudgmentally
* * Ask me questions to help me get clear
* * Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery
* * Hug me, show physical affection. It opens me up to my feelings
* * I like a good discussion but not a confrontation
* * Let me know you like what I've done or said
* * Laugh with me and share in my enjoyment of life

What I Like About Being an Audrey

* * being nonjudgmental and accepting
* * caring for and being concerned about others
* * being able to relax and have a good time
* * knowing that most people enjoy my company; I'm easy to be around
* * my ability to see many different sides of an issue and to be a good mediator and facilitator
* * my heightened awareness of sensations, aesthetics, and the here and now
* * being able to go with the flow and feel one with the universe

What's Hard About Being an Audrey

* * being judged and misunderstood for being placid and/or indecisive
* * being critical of myself for lacking initiati * ve and discipline
* * being too sensitive to criticism; taking every raised eyebrow and twitch of the mouth personally
* * being confused about what I really want
* * caring too much about what others will think of me
* * not being listened to or taken seriously

Audreys as Children Often

* * feel ignored and that their wants, opinions, and feelings are unimportant
* * tune out a lot, especially when others argue
* * are "good" children: deny anger or keep it to themselves

Audreys as Parents

* * are supportive, kind, and warm
* * are sometimes overly permissive or nondirective

Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Take the Quiz...


Good news! It's actually 3 degrees warmer than when I woke up today!

Sounds like fun

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

While blog surfing last night I came across

While I was checking out "Blog Around the World" I came across several very interesting blogs. This site feature bloggers from around the world (obviously). Each day someone is chosen to highlight their respective state/province/country. Think of it like a daily travelogue. Its sounds like fun, so I signed up.

Today's featured blog...comes from a blogger in Arizona. While I'm am LOVING the snow here in Illinois (and wishing for several more inches of it), I have to admit those warm temps are sounding pretty good compared to our -30 windchill expected tomorrow.

Monday Morning

Monday, January 12, 2009

Like most Mondays, climbing out of bed to get ready for work is not at the top of my list. Our weekend was good - not the most productive, but that's okay. I got most of the church newsletter done on Saturday while watching our Illini pound on the Hoosiers. That alone makes for a pretty good day. The laundry pile gradually decreased over the weekend, but there is still a pile of quilting projects to finish. Snow on Sunday made lounging on the couch and reading a book way too easy and I'd much rather do that again than trying to whittle my "to-do" list down her in the office. On tap for this week: data entry, news article for Outdoor Illinois, regional teleconference addressing the Farm Bill, two outreach publications (Illinois Firewood Regulations and Illinois' Most Wanted Invasive Pests of 2009) and finally more meeting prep. Last week I headed to Montgomery County for a Master Gardener program. Great time and it was definitely a bonus that Stephanie is the Ag and Natural Resources educator there. I've got 4 regional crop management conference coming up to talk about insect monitoring and the threat of invasives, but making it all relevant to farmers. Quite a challenge.....I suppose I better get started.

A daily dose of cute....everyday

Saturday, January 10, 2009

You won't necessarily be finding that here, but at my sister's new blog. I've been trying to talk her into joining the blogging world for quite some time. Now that Jackson is here..and...well, you just can't stop taking pictures of cute babies. So, she's going to try to share with us a daily picture or news of life at the Tautkus house. So stop by and say hi!

Melissa shared this photo of Jackson and his quilt I made him...he's quite the snuggler!

A favorite photo for Friday

Friday, January 9, 2009

What to title this photo? Great Minds Think Alike? We're Number One? The possibilities are endless.

Most of our friends have probably seen this on Facebook, but I thought why not share it with the rest of the world too? Believe it or not, Ron is not the mastermind behind this nose-picking shot. He's just taking the lead from his niece. We really need to teach her something else...

It's What We Do

Monday, January 5, 2009

One thing I'm going to try to do this year on the blog is include a little more of what we do in our jobs, hence the title It's What We Do. Our jobs are not the easiest to explain. We're often asked in conversation and it's just plain hard to describe in a few short sentences. And there's a few misconceptions about what exactly what Ron and I do on a day to day basis.

Well, right now I'm spending my days entering data into the computer. Not the most exciting part of my job, but quite necessary. Each year around the state, surveys are conducted to determine the presence of invasive insects, plants, and plant diseases in areas like parks, farm fields, nurseries, tree farms, residential areas, and others. These surveys usually occur during the spring and summer and sometimes last into the fall. Then I spend time during the winter entering all sorts of information into a database so the public can access it. Wondering what Illinois or your state may have moving around in its borders? Check out the NAPIS Pest Tracker


Sunday, January 4, 2009

to our friends Doug and Angie who got engaged this weekend!

Birthday Cheer...

and well wishes for Stephanie today!

So Sweet

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cute kids at our Christmas gathering at Melissa and Erik's yesterday...

A New Year's Wish...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Perhaps a bit wiser,
a bit kinder, too,
a little bit braver,
a heart that's more true,
a touch of believing
I've not known before,
in joys I'm receiving
a little bit more.

A little more anxious
to reach out my hand,
despite hurt or problems
to still understand,
accepting the heartache
that life often brings,
a little more beauty
in life's simple things.

A prayer when I'm weary
as onward I trod,
a little more trusting,
believing in God,
'tis this I would wish for
within moments dear,
not a lot - just a little
this wondrous new year.

--Garnett Ann Schultz

As promised way back in December, a new look for the blog. I've had the new background up for a couple of days and finally got the new title/header up this afternoon. Thanks for stopping by and checking out what exciting (or boring) things have been going on in our lives. This started as just a fun way to document different things that went on in our first year of marriage and keep our family up to date. Now, as we move into 2009 and beyond, we invite you back to see what we have in store "Through the Years".