Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Let's get this party started!

Wait—don’t send that expensive gift!

Yes, my birthday arrives soon, but I want you resist purchasing me yet another pair of Converse high tops sneakers (unless, of course, they are SUPER cool) and consider something a little different this year. I am asking for a minor donation to support The Brooke’s veterinary care of thousands of horses and donkeys in Egypt—animals you have never met. I cannot think of a better way to put my 42nd birthday to good use.

The goal I have chosen is £1000 (about $2000). I believe I can make this if those of you who can—and I stress, if you can—contribute £5 (about $10). You can contribute less or more, as you choose. This money does not go to me—it goes directly to The Brooke, which is based in London, England.

When I reach this goal, I pledge to take in my VW Beetle and have it wrapped bumper to bumper with The Brooke logo and contact information. The Brooke has approved this and I am just waiting for the finalization of the new US-based logo. None of the money you send will pay for that—that's on me (and my beetle). If I do not reach the goal by the fundraising deadline of September 26, I will forego the car wrap and provide the remaining funds myself. I am that serious about this foundation.

Thank you for even considering a donation. Just spreading the word of this organization makes this worthwhile for me. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you wish.


Nancy Dietrich

To donate please click on the link below:


Julian, Nancy, and Galaxy

Thank you very much.

Go-Boy and I circa 1978. Photo by mom.

A friend and I in 1994. Photo by Egyptian friend and tour guide extraordinaire, Shauqi.

My Egyptian muse, Miss Cocoa, in the summer of 1994. 108 degrees in the shade that day, and my roommate didn't believe in air-conditioning.

Adilha and I on Christmas Day, 1993. Photo by KC Dewing.
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Eat THIS, mosquitoes!

I don't know about you, but I can no longer go outside for more than a minute without being swarmed and bitten all over my face and through T-shirts, regardless of the amount of Cutter Mosquite Repellent I spray in my eyes. The swarms find me when I am walking the dogs, mowing, harvesting dandelion leaves for my guinea pigs, taking out the trash, getting the mail, picking strawberries, or doing anything near my horses (unless we hide in the stuffy arena).

I am finished with it. We have a long way to go until the first solid freeze (at least three more weeks) and I can't wait that long to go outside. And by the time the temps are that low, nor will I want to!

Since I have resorted to wearing my raincoat for protection anytime I have to go out--which gets a little warm while mowing or horse training--I decided to invest in something that would protect me and not cause heat exhaustion.

So I found this. Looks like the mosquite netting that kept Cocoa and me safe in Cairo as I slept. Only wearable.

And let's not forget my horse (the one that can be ridden, anyway). They even had these in draft sizes!

Mine should arrive (via Mosquito Express) in 2-3 days. I'll let you know how it works. If not, I've always got my raincoat.

Thumbs up from Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder!
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Whistle-Pig Night at the Dietrich Buffet

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if he actually spent his time chucking wood instead of eating all my fucking strawberries??? I guess I'll never know.

I first saw Chuckie two nights ago as I left for the barn. I was watching Brownie, the equally-cleverly-named squirrel that loves to empty my bird feeder while hanging upside down from the branches of my Redbud tree, when movement on the floor-level of my jungle yard caught my attention. Brownie and I watched as a woodchuck as big as a, well, big woodchuck, waddled down the driveway past the both of us, still dripping strawberry juice from his mouth.

I considered taking chase, but wasn't quite sure what I'd do with him when I caught him. It was too late for the strawberries, after all. Anyone for strawberry-flavored woodchuck pie?

With Chuckie gone under the neighbor's porch, I went over to the strawberries (while Brownie resumed emptying the feeder) and saw a single bite taken out of each berry. If he'd eaten a whole berry at a time, there might have been some left for me, but this guy was the ultimate buffet hog. Perhaps he didn't mind sharing with me and thought his actions rather generous, but I must admit the feeling was not mutual.

The only thing that kept me from setting some elaborate Caddy Shack trap for this uninvited whistle-pig was the fact that I have been eating nothing but strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week now. (If floods are good for anything, they are most certainly good for strawberries.)

That, and the article that surfaced today in the Wisconsin State Journal:

WED., JUN 18, 2008 - 10:30 PM

Woodchuck stalker shoots her own foot

A woodchuck stalker shot herself in the foot Tuesday afternoon as she waited in her rural Ferryville vegetable garden to dispatch a marauding woodchuck.

Penny Gilman, 45, was treated and released from Vernon Memorial Hospital for a gunshot wound to her left foot, according to Crawford County Sheriff Jerry Moran.

Gilman was waiting in her garden on Severson Road, about 105 miles west of Madison, at about 4:25 p.m. for woodchucks when she accidentally shot herself with a .22-caliber rifle, Moran said. The rifle was a bolt-action repeater, he said. An initial investigation revealed there was a problem with the rifle, said Moran, and the rifle was confiscated by deputies for further study.

The model of the rifle in this accident, and the fate of the offending woodchuck, were not immediately available.

— George Hesselberg

Photo courtesy of Anne Robertson

Besides, who knows what Chuckie has stashed under the neighbor's porch?!
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Monday, June 16, 2008

Weather wreaks havoc on minds

My storm-weary pit bull, Ginger Ale, finds high ground last Thursday.

Portage Daily Register
Columbia County's Daily Newspaper
Monday, June 16, 2008
[This came from the AP but no author was given. I did not write this--just the captions under my photos.]

Weather wreaks havoc on minds

MADISON (AP) — Catastrophic floods. Record snowfall. Violent tornadoes.

Mother Nature has beaten Wisconsin down over the last year, pounding it with floods in August, burying it with snow over the winter and sending monsoon-like rain to flood it again this spring. The brutal weather cost millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses.

My sump pump and furnace try their damndest to surpass David Blaine's record for holding their breath as waters rise last Sunday, June 8. They fail.

Besides the sore backs from shoveling, the moldy basements and the piles of waterlogged carpet on the curb, months of unrelenting weather inflicted a more insidious pain, leaving nerves on edge, stealing sleep and upping overall irritability, psychologists say.

Renee Klotz, 46, of Wheatland, used to love watching storm clouds gather. But that was before a freak tornado in January destroyed her home and she watched floodwaters this week cover the street outside her Burlington apartment. Now whenever she hears a storm warning she gets nervous.

"It's insane. I've never experienced such extremes. I've lived in Wisconsin all my life and this is just crazy," Klotz said. "You just think, 'Oh no.' You think it isn't going to strike twice. But then I never thought it could the first time. You're a little bit on edge now."

Note the bass drum high up on a shelf. The bike died in last year's flood but waas helpful in protecting my horse feed this year. The new freezer was up 8 inches and still flooded. Now I have it up at 12 inches. It did make it.
Wisconsin has seen punishing weather patterns in the last 10 months. In August heavy rains pounded southwestern Wisconsin — Viroqua got 9.73 inches on Aug. 18-20 — and left the region's small towns underwater.

This is what is looks like when the water is going the wrong way through your basement drain. It took less than an hour for my basement to accumulate 9 inches of water.

Winter struck with a vengeance, dumping dozens of inches of snow. Gays Mills, which ended up completely under water in August, got nearly 80 inches of snow between November and March. Madison got 101.4 inches, a new record. Milwaukee got 99.1 inches. A freak tornado struck Kenosha County on Jan. 7, causing $21.6 million in damage.

Last week's storms flooded parts of nearly the entire southern half of the state. Madison and Milwaukee both set new rainfall records for June by Thursday. Thursday alone saw reports of nine tornadoes in the state, according to the National Weather Service.

Tornadoes are scary, but the thought of showering without hot water is downright terrifying. Plastic and duct tape saved my hot water heater this time.

Hundreds of people had to be evacuated and scores of roads closed due to washouts. Towns such as Gays Mills that were just starting to get back to normal found themselves up to their doorsteps in water and muck again.

Meteorologists say there's no physical connection between the weather events. But there's no denying an emotional one, even among weather-hardened Wisconsinites who pride themselves on taking whatever Mother Nature dishes out.

The Foo Fighters ride out the storm in a tub built for four. My friend Kurt's trusty stool was in a central location to help me gauge flood levels whenever I checked during the night from the basement steps.

"I'm about as depressed as I've ever been in my life," said Bob Pettit, owner of Apple Land Sports Supply, a wholesale sporting goods distributor in Gays Mills. He had to lay off about 10 employees last week because floodwaters prevented trucks from getting to his business. "Ten months apart, I don't care what you do. Realistically, what's a man supposed to do?"

Well, when you get really desperate and stressed, you might stack bricks and paint cans on top of plastic over your basement drains, thinking you can keep the water out that way. You'd be wrong, of course.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, a La Crosse Democrat, spent last week touring the flooding. He said people seem more down this time than in August.

"The mood is definitely different. Certainly more depressing," Kind said. "Just as people were on their feet again and getting their homes and businesses back to normal, they got hit again. It's heartbreaking."

Stephen Saunders, an associate psychology professor at Marquette University, said many people could go through acute stress disorder, a version of post traumatic stress disorder.

Storm windows under storm floods--again. Ya'll know I love irony...

Storm warnings or even dark clouds can trigger anxiety for people who had intense experiences in previous storms or floods, Saunders said. Road closures that make travel difficult and fear of losing a job because of the weather can add to that — causing anger, depression and driving people to drink or do drugs.

"You begin questioning your own safety," said Bill Henricks, a psychologist at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee.

Randy Schiesser, a counselor and social worker at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, works with businesses' employees who need help with mental issues. He said he saw about a dozen people last fall who suffered from sleep loss related to the August floods. This past week's storms triggered flashbacks to August in several patients, he said.

"That's pretty normal," he said. "Certainly, the devastation this area has seen is quite rare. We had two 100-year floods in less than a year. We're a pretty hardy bunch. We're used to weather, but boy, what we've had has been a lot."

Some people float little homemade boats to pass the time during violent weather. This one was originally build to prop up the (new) dehumidifier, but I decided that was safer one floor up in the kitchen. It was a good call.

Darrell Augustine, 46, owns ABC Lettering, an embroidery shop on the banks of the Crawfish River in Columbus. On Thursday he said he'd slept about 10 hours in the previous five days. He had to stay awake to keep eight sump pumps in his shop fueled to keep out the rising river. His wife, Jenny Augustine, 43, said she cried for days during the storms.

"It's really depressing," Darrell Augustine said. "Stop raining."

Henricks said depression could deepen if the summer brings more severe weather.

Richard Bush, the 49-year-old president of Royal Bank in Gays Mills, said he's trying to stay positive, but it's difficult. He's heard from several people that they won't return post-flood this time.

"Whoever you can tell," he said as he watched the Kickapoo River creep up to his bank's foundation this week, "tell 'em to give us a break."

An exhausted and traumatized SodaPop tries to recover from a week's worth of terrifying thunder. She's so ready to move I found a small suitcase packed with bandanas, Iams treats and a dog-eared map under my bed yesterday.
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Can't they pull boats?

Carriage Classic rescheduled

COLUMBUS — The Columbus Carriage Classic scheduled for this weekend has been rescheduled for Aug. 22 to 24, according to Todd Frey at Colonial Carriage.

The event annually attracts about 90 competitors who drive horse carriages. Frey said many of the participants come from the Midwest and have been affected by the flooding.

Rescheduling the event for this weekend involves contacting all of the drivers, 75 to 100 volunteers and more than 50 sponsors, according to Frey.
The event is organized by Columbus Main Street. They can be reached at 623-5325. Details will be posted at www.columbusvisitorcenter.com and www.columbuscarriageclassic.com

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Birthday Wish

By Paul Keleher on Flickr

I'm just sayin'...

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Monday, June 9, 2008


Excerpt from "Midwest copes with floods, East warned of heat" By JIM IRWIN, Associated Press Writer June 9, 2008

The Midwest storms triggered horrible memories for residents of western Wisconsin still recovering from flash flooding last August that carried entire houses onto highways, washed out roads and forced many to flee in the middle of the night.

(AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg)

[The above picture, taken in Racine, WI, is a good representation of what the drains in my basement looked like yesterday afternoon. Only imagine the water mixed with city sewage. Makes it all the sweeter!]

(AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg)

My horses are high on a hill (with a good barn) in Sun Prairie, unlike these unlucky equines in Racine, WI.

I'm busy. Go entertain yourselves for a while.
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

When it rains, it floods

Where's Noah when you need him? We've flooded in Columbus again. Don't worry, I got home in time to get the drum set to safety--though it looks like I'll be getting another new motor for the furnace...

I have been thinking about changing the look of my beetle, and my friend in California just gave me a great idea, one perfectly suited for the current state of weather.

Hey--it's either that or I build myself an ark. Thank God horses know how to swim.
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You win some, you lose some.

Big Brown, ridden by jockey Kent Desormeaux, falls to the last place on the home stretch in the 140th Belmont Stakes horse race at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on Saturday, June 7, 2008.(AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

Big Brown's owner Michael Iavarone hugs Big Brown after the 140th Belmont Stakes horse race at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on Saturday, June 7, 2008. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It just wasn't his day. We still love ya, Big Brown.

Jockey Kent J. Desormeaux reins in Big Brown before the finish line during the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, June 7, 2008. Big Brown failed in his bid to become horse racing's 12th Triple Crown winner when he finished in last place to the winner Da' Tara.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES)

Big Brown is walked back to his barn by groom Herasmo Gonzalez, right, and exercise rider Michelle Nevin after he pulled out of the 140th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. on Saturday, June 7, 2008.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Big Brown's trainer Richard E. Dutrow Jr. leans on a rail at the stables after his horse failed to win the 140th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. on Saturday, June 7, 2008.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Work is sucking the soul from my body and I just ate my LAST Junior Mint!

Thank God I still have some Ho-Ho's....
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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cover Your Ass

[I have always believed it pays to cover one's ass. All I lacked was proof.]

Dutch man injures posterior in mooning accident AP News

Utrecht police say a 21-year-old Dutch man is recovering after a "mooning" that went horribly wrong.

A police statement says the man and two others had run down a street in Utrecht with their pants pulled down in the back "for a joke."

It says that at one point the 21-year-old "pushed his behind against the window of a restaurant" that broke and resulted in "deep wounds to his derriere."

The statement released Tuesday says police detained the three men after the incident Sunday morning. But the cafe owner decided not to press charges after the men agreed to pay for the broken window.

The injured man was treated for his injuries at a nearby hospital.

Even Dave Grohl knows when to cover his ass--especially near glass objects.

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thought for the Day

Unironed cotton is the lazy man's linen.

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