Auld Lang Syne...

Lizzie and Bear chasing each other in the snow

Fitz and Lizzie having a romp. This is Lizzie's first snow.

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup! and surely I’ll buy mine! And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes, and picked the daisies fine; But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine†; But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give us a hand o’ thine! And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.


Happy New Year Everyone! May you have a wonderful and prosperous 2010.

Amore and Arrivederci For Now


Ahhhhh Heat...

Woke up to 60 degrees this morning in the house. It makes it hard to crawl out from under the covers when it is that cold at 5 in the morning. I took some melatonin last night and was able to get a bit of rest. I have talked to several friends and as I understand it this goes on for awhile, the lack of sleep, Arghhh. I had a couple of space heaters and the oven going to get the temp up to 62 while I made coffee this morning.

The service technician came by the house around 9:30 and replaced a capacitor and got the heater going again. Ah blessed heat. It took about 2 hours to get the heat up to 70. It felt so good to have heat again.

I got my exercise regime done, had some lunch, took a 45 minute nap and then we decided to go out and walk. One of my friends that has had this surgery said for me to concentrate on heel to toe walking and not to flat foot it. I could definitely feel the difference. We toured Wal-Mart, then made a trip to Best Buy and then hopped over to Sam's Club so I could pick up a prescription.

After we got home I decided to fix tacos for dinner. Boy, were they good and we had enough left over for lunch tomorrow. While fixing dinner, my friend Janis from Tulsa called. She is another person that has had knee replacement surgery. So we spent some time comparing notes. I needed to be reassured that some of the stuff I am experiencing is normal. Apparently the lack of sleep thing is normal, much to my dismay. I will be happy to get my energy level back up as well. At this time everything is a chore to do. Just thinking is exhausting at times. I was reminded today that not only did I have major surgery but major trauma to my system so it will take longer to recover.

After dinner we watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood-Prince. We are defiantly Potter fans. Dave loves the Blue Ray DVDs as he says it is a film professors best friend, as in all the extras that comes with the DVD that can be used as a teaching tool. We finished out the evening with some football. The Vikings and Bears.

We are expecting snow again tomorrow evening, at least 2 inches. Ah, so much for global warming. Actually I think the snow is beautiful. Especially since we don't get to see it very often around here. Baby girl is driving home from Texas tomorrow. She is hoping to get here before the weather turns nasty. It will be fun to see how her dogs react to the snow as they have never seen snow before.

Just another day in the life of...

Amore and Arrivederci For Now



If it's not one thing it's another. The house seemed cold today and we couldn't seem to get it warm. After checking a few things out Dave discovered that the blower motor on the furnace had quit working. So we will have to wait until tomorrow to call a repairman to come out and fix it. Now I know that 68 inside is not bad at all except since the surgery I am perpetually cold, no matter how much clothing I put on and then when I go to bed I sweat to death. Normally I sleep with a fleece sheet, comforter, fleece blanket and a sleeping bag on top of all that. Since the surgery all I can stand is the comforter and fleece blanket, everything else is too heavy for me to turn over in. There seem to be no happy medium for me at the moment. And oooohhhhh what I would give if I could just sleep restfully. But I have to move my leg about every 30 minutes or so it seems to try and find a comfy spot before it start hurting again.

I managed to get my shower in today and wash my hair, what an ordeal. After I finish I have to put on a pair of embolism hose. I have to wear them for another 3 week. I think they are a part of my problem in sleeping as they stick to everything. I will be happy to be rid of them.

For breakfast I fixed hash browns, bacon and eggs with some left-over french toast casserole.
It was good but boy did it wear me out.

Well I guess I will try taking a nap and see if I can get some shut eye for a bit. Boy I will be happy when my body returns to normal

Just another day in the life of...

Amore and Arrivederci For Now


Christmas Day...

It's Christmas Day!

With all the flurry of presents, good food, laughter and merriment. We stirred around 9 this morning. I got up and made a french toast casserole with french bread, eggs, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, syrup and walnuts. Baked it at 350 for 30 minutes. I also fixed some bacon to go with it. Boy was it good. Have enough to last for the next 2 days.

We then watched some of the Disney Christmas parade, it was a lot of fun to see the the children's faces. I remember when we took the girls to Disney World one year for Christmas. What memories. Dave then decided to tackle the 14 inches of snow on the driveway. It took him about an hour to shovel it off. Yes, you read right we got 14 inches of snow.

We then open our presents. I gave Dave a shop/vac and a frame with the girls photos in it.
Christie gave him a framed picture of him and his professor buddy and some movie wall art. Dave gave me two new pair of pants big enough to let my swollen knee have room to move and a matching top. From Christie I got a Wii Gun and a video game called House of the Dead: Overkill, sounds like she will be playing it more than me. I also got a sleekstor measuring cup set that collapses down for storage and some measuring spoons. Cleaver idea. They will be handy when we get out on the road. Dave gave the family a copy of The Christmas Sweater by Glen Beck.

I then started the process of fixing dinner. I have been at it pretty much all day. Taking it in small snippets as being up wears me out. I am in the final stage and dinner should be on the table soon.
I hope all of you have had a most wonderful day with family and friends and you have taken a moment to reflect on what the season is about and what it means to each of you. Merry Christmas everyone, may your hearts be filled with love and joy and may you pass it along.
Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Christmas Eve...

It's time to hunker down in the house. Dave and I went shopping last night for our Christmas day breakfast and dinner before the weather moved in. Our daughter was able to get away from here around 2 to head to her sister's house in Texas. She said that she had rain most of the way but nothing nasty. She took her dogs with her and she said they passed out for the trip, so we have our little guy with us. At the moment he seems a little lost without his buddies to harass. When the kids got him for us he was presented to us with a jingle bell Christmas collar. So I have that on him and am able to hear him before I see him which helps since he is so little and black. He is easy to trip over and I don't need that. He has a tendency to get stepped on a lot.

Our winter weather moved in around 4 a.m. this morning with howling winds and rain, at present it is sleeting and freezing. We are expecting anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow. This is only the 10th time in the states history that we have had snow for Christmas. Dave has gone to put gas in the car and get gas for the generator. Yes we have a generator, during the storm of 2007 we lost our power for a week and Dave went a bought a generator so we could have heat and keep the refrigerators, freezers, some lights and TV going. I had to wear ear plugs just to be able to sleep. It is one noisy sucker but it handled the load with ease. I feel better having it. We were even able to have an elderly couple move in with us for the duration.

The temperature outside is 29 at the moment. Inside it is 68. We did not set up a tree this year as no one was going to be here. Please understand I am not a scrooge but I have to be realistic. It's just Dave and myself and with my surgery it is just one more thing I would have to contend with. Dave did get lights on the front of the house so we are lit. I do have a wreath up on the door but no decorations on the inside. It just wears me out to even think about it.

I had the gingerbread candle going this morning to make it smell like I have been baking. I love scented candles. I am ready for Christmas. Yes it is going to be quite, and low keyed but it will be filled with love. Just me and my honey.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope your day is filled with wonderment and love and much happiness.

Just another day in the life of...

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


100 Degrees...

I had another Physical Therapy visit today. It's my last PT visit until the 4th of January. So that means I have to work out on my own until then. Progress is going well and today I asked that Mark measure my bend and I am pleased to say that I have 100 degrees of bend in my knee after three weeks out from surgery. Phil my PA (Physicians Assistant) wanted me to have at least 90 degrees at six weeks so you can see I am way ahead of schedule. Yea Me!

I will be really pleased when I can get some rest. This two to three hours of sleep a night is for the birds. Just wish I could find that sweet spot.

I need just a few more things (little) to finish out the Christmas list and then I am done. I'm going to attempt to cook Christmas dinner for the two of us on Friday. I will see how long I can stand. I just have to build up my stamina so I can return to work in three weeks. I'm going to fix a roasting hen with dressing, Brussels sprouts, whipped yams, green bean casserole, cranberry relish and mince meat pie with rum for Dave and a pumpkin pie for me. Geesh it's already making me hungry just thinking about it.

Just another day in the life of...

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Christmas Luncheon & Shopping

Our college at the University had a December Event (Christmas Luncheon) today and I decided to go. Last night was the first night that I have slept more than 2-3 hours. I got 6 hours of much needed sleep. It took me 2 hours to wash and dry and curl my hair, get dressed, make-up put on and brush my teeth. What an ordeal. By the time I was ready to go I was worn out.

It was great to see the office staff and I got some great healing hugs that I needed. The luncheon was great and a good time was had by all. Sure am glad that I had taken my pain pill as it was needed.

After the luncheon my leg need some movement so we decided to go do some Christmas shopping. We first went to JC Penneys then Sears then off to Sam's Club. I got my walking in and was finally tuckered out. It's hard to think that as of Wednesday I will be three weeks out from my surgery. I am pretty amazed as to how I'm doing. Just wish my knee was not so stiff every time I sit down or get up. Dave says he got me an oil can for Christmas, HA HA!

Just another day in the life of...

Amore & Arrivederci For Now



Today was Physical Therapy day. Karen added 5 new exercises to the equation, two of them were the bicycle and low hurdles. Oh Joy! I also semi-graduated to the cane today. I can walk around the house with the cane now but still have to use the walker if I venture outside. Last night was one of the best nights that I have had for sleep. Somehow I managed to get comfortable and get some rest. Today however is a different story no matter how I place my leg or body I cannot get to that Ahhhh state.

We got the Harry Potter DVD set from for $15.00 and free shipping. It is a cool set at a cool price. Too bad it was shipped from AZ. Darn! Inside joke :)

Just another day in the life of...

Amore & Arrivederci For Now



Interesting how everything seems to break at this time of year. First was my tooth. Now my glasses. So off we go Thursday to get an eye exam and then to Eyemart Express for new glasses.
I will not make the mistake of getting wire hinges again. To fragile. This should be fun since I will have to sit in a chair and try to ignore my knee. Dave needs new glasses as well so we will be a matching pair. Oh the joys of December.

Just another day in the life of...

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Nine Days Out...

I am nine days out from surgery today but am going to go back a bit and recap some of this last weeks events.

I totally understand that you really don't get any rest while you are recovering from surgery. All night long the first night every two hours or sooner the techs and nurses are in checking your vitals, tubes, water, temp, getting you on and off the bedpan (guys have it so much easier)and anything else they can think of. It was and is very exhausting. I had one mishap that was sort of funny, still is, when you think of it. It was late and one of the techs came in to check my drain. Well, the little retractor pump was extremely full and so she emptied it. Then got me on and off the bedpan and made sure I was comfortable, when she went to pick up the cup of blood her glove was wet and...yes you guessed right, it went all over me the bed and anything else that was around. What a mess, she apologised profusely, I told her not to worry about it, that it happens. Well after getting myself cleaned up(sponge bath) new sheets, bedding and gown and the bed and equipment wiped down, she put me back on the CPM machine for two hours. So that was an exciting side bar to the evening.

The next morning after breakfast and being on the CPM machine for two hours the Physical Therapist came in and we did some exercises and then she got me up out of bed and we went for a walk down the hall and back. We also worked at getting up out of bed and to the bathroom. So that was an experience plus being HARD WORK. I will say this about the food instead of describing it. It was like eating at a very good restaurant and you could have all you wanted. Also the staff has access to some out of this world ice cream. Great late night fare. I even had company come and see me. David and Jo, very dear friends of ours dropped by and brought me a Grandma Picture Show-off book. We had recently told them we were going to be grandparents. It was fun seeing them again as it had been awhile since we last saw them and their visit was the highlight of my day.

Friday was a tough day for me, I got nauseated and have had a touch of it on and off these past 7 days. I did have one lovely surprise as my office cohorts called and expressed their best wishes for a speedy recovery. How very sweet and thoughtful. I work with a really great bunch of people at OU.

As I was getting ready to leave Saturday around 1p.m. I decided to take my temperature just for the kick of it and discovered that it was at 100.8, if my temp was over 100 I could not go home. I think the nurses were amazed that I discovered it and not them. Dave had already arrive to take me home and instead we had to work on the breathing machine to get my temp back down. I am not sure what the correlation is between temperature and deep breathing is but apparently there is one. I was able to leave around 3:30 once my temp was down to 98.6, we got home at 4:30 and into bed I went, and on the CPM machine for the prescribed two hours.

I will say one thing, I had wonderful techs and nurses. Every one, except for one, a real sourpuss, went beyond the call of duty. I have never had such wonderful care like I had at the McBride Clinic Orthopedic Hospital. One of my techs, Rhonda, was a real sweetheart. If everyone was like her no one would complain about anything. She was so upbeat and cheerful and helpful, it made you want to get well faster.

Saturday and Sunday were non-eventful days, days that mostly consisted of being on great drugs, the CPM machine, eating and being out of it most of the time. I did have to learn how to give myself a shot of Lovenox (blood thinner) I will have to do this until the 15 of the month.

Monday was my first Physical Therapy day. Karen at Goddard Health Clinic is my PT person. She is very considerate but works you. I was doing great, she was quite surprised that I had a 75 degree bend so soon after surgery. I was beaming from ear to ear.

Tuesday was an off day, the routine was the same except Dave gave me some popcorn as a late night snack. That was when all the trouble began. The popcorn was great and Dave made sure that any hard kernels had been removed. After I finished my popcorn I went to put in my mouth guard and something was not right. It was hurting while I was trying to insert it in my mouth. I reached back and found a little bit of popcorn stuck on my tooth. I removed it and tried again and still the mouth guard would not go in. So I felt around and the next thing I had part of my rear molar in my hand. I have discovered that I can cry faster than the speed of a falling pin. It does not take hardly anything for me to turn the faucets on. This became evident very early Wednesday morning while calling the emergency room at McBride Clinic. They calmed me down and later that morning I got in to see the Dentist after having Dave get me an antibiotic to take before the appointment. The Dentist informed me that I would need to see a Periodontist to have the gum around the affected tooth removed before the Dentist could put a crown on. This procedure will have to wait until I have the funds available. After the Dentist I had a PT appointment and then went to have my hair cut off after lunch. Needless to say my poor knee got a workout and a half and I was pooped.

Yes, you read right. Off came the hair which was past my shoulders. I got tired of trying to keep it up while in this condition for the next 5 weeks. I was waking up every morning with my head and body ringing wet. I sleep in a cold room so I know it was not good for me. And I don't need to catch a cold right now. My knee started cramping so the assistant at McBride Clinic told me to take it easy for the next few days and let my leg rest as I most likely had overused it and it decided to rebel.

Today, Friday, is PT day and staple removal day. PT went well. I just wish the pain was not so constant. Dave and I were thinking on the same wave length today, as he thought when he dropped me off for PT that a hamburger from Sooner Dairy would be great. I on the other hand had Karen my PT person call him to come pick my up after my session and she told him that I would love to have a Sooner Dairy Hamburger. We call them Dairy Delights. He told Karen that we were indeed on the same wave length after 37 years of marriage.

After our Dairy Delights we came home and I took a nap before heading out to the McBride Clinic in downtown OKC. I will say this for the group. You do not have to wait very long before being called back for your appointment. Phil, my PA came in and said that the incision was looking good and started removing the staples. I had two that were a little on the troublesome side, Dave had me do some labor breathing and everything went well after that. Phil put some Steri-strips on the incision and said that I could remove what would be left of them next week. I can now take a much sought after shower. After that I am to get some vitamin E oil and start massaging it into the incision so it will not build up scar tissue and to make the area pliable. We left there about 4:00 p.m. and went by the Wal-Mart on Sante Fe just off of I-240 and got gas for $2.26 picked up our favorite pizza, a Wal-Mart hand-made thin crust Canadian bacon and pepperoni pizza. We then put pineapple chunks and mushrooms on it and baked it. It is one of the best pizzas out there, and the price is right!

The weekend us upon us and I am ready to start working on the girls Christmas gifts. Nothing big this year mind you. Just simple. I need to start building up some stamina. It's amazing how fast you can loose your strength when you lie around.
A slug I am not!

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Surgery Day...

Got up and took my morning shower. We left the house at 8:45 and was there by 9:30. I did not have to wait very long before I was called back to admitting. After completing all the paperwork I was sent back out front to wait for the next portion, I did not have a long wait, about 5 minutes and my name was called again. Off I went to the prep room where they get you ready for surgery. I got dressed in a cute purple paper gown and purple non-slip socks called Bair Paws. After putting my street clothes into a plastic bag and getting my I-V in I was sent off to holding. They gave me something in my I-V to relax me. I never knew that they had set me on the edge of the bed and put a shot in my back called DepoDur, a block for 48 hours. Then off I went to surgery. I woke up in my room around 3:30 in the afternoon with my leg in the CPM machine set at a 45 degree angle. All I can say is that I had great drugs and I really don't remember much of anything.

Just another day in the life of....

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Count Down....

Apprehensive, nervous, excited, dreading and many more adjectives do I feel at this very moment. Tomorrow is the big day. It's not every day that one gets their knee replaced. This is going to be a tough surgery and tough recovery. Everyone that I've talked to says the first two to three weeks are the hardest but to follow what the Dr. says and what the Physical Therapist tells me to do and I should come through with flying colors.

Today is only Tuesday but it feels as if a week has already rushed by. I have to quit drinking or eating anything by midnight tonight. Take a shower and scrub the surgery knee with an antibacterial soap for 5 minutes tonight and then take another shower tomorrow morning. Guess I will be squeaky clean tomorrow. The only thing that I hate about surgery is every time I go under I come out with a little less memory. I hate loosing my memories.

I have to pack what I need to take tonight. Interestingly enough the hospital has requested that I bring all my meds and all my toiletries plus my exercise clothes with me to the hospital. They want me to also bring what I will be wearing for the next couple of days as I am supposed to be dressed by the second day. I have a feeling that they do this to save costs to not only them but to the patient as well. The only down side to all of this is that they want their money up front. I would much rather pay it out but that's the way it goes. When I have this done again next year in December I will have all the money in hand and not have to take a loan out for the procedure.

I hope the weather holds so we can get to the hospital. The weatherman is not sure but there is an outside chance that we could have snow. Me, I will take rain any day. It is suppose to be cold until next Monday then a warm-up. Just as long as we don't have the ice that we had back in 2007, that was horrible. I will keep you updated with all that goes on. I know that Dave will get some great pictures.

Just another day in the life of ....

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


A Birthday Celebration...

Today is Dave's birthday. We came down to Texas for the Thanksgiving weekend to spend time with family and to have a family celebration of a 67th birthday, a new house & good health. Little did we know of the surprise that awaited us. Heather and J decided to give Dave an early birthday present and took us into the bedroom where we would be sleeping. There was this huge birthday card but what got my attention was behind the card.

Guess, Ya gotta guess.........give up? Awwww ya gotta guess!

A blue baby's bib with a Binky that said I love Grandpa! Then there was a baby bottle with a pink baby bib that said I love Grandma! Yes we are going to be grandparents! The surgery that was preformed on Heather in August was a success. She had fibroid tumors and most Doctors would not try to operate on them but remove everything. But they were blessed to find the top surgeon in this field and it was a success. So this coming July we will hear the wonderful sounds of a little one in our midst. A true Thanksgiving indeed. God bless you all...

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Ned Hockman....


You have to say that word with attitude to get the gist of Ned Hockman. We have known Ned for over 36 years. Ned has enriched so many lives with his teachings on how to tell a story and letting others in on his own life story.

Ned was one of a kind, a person who loved life, his family and the students he taught over the years.

Sad to say we lost our beloved Ned this morning, December 20, 2010. He was 88 years young. You will be miss by many who you lent a guiding hand to. May your sleep be sweet.

Amore & Arrivederci


A Sunday Shoot...

The weather cleared up enough for Christie and I to get to the lake this afternoon and get some pictures taken for the Christmas gifts that I plan to give. I think I got some good shots. Christie is very photogenic, I wish I was. Both of my girls are photogenic. I took the pictures, handheld, with a Nikon D-80 on an automatic setting. The time was about 3:45 in the afternoon.

I plan to get Heather next weekend when they are here. I think their daddy will be pleased when I get it finished.

For the girls I am going to work on their T-shirt quilts. But for christmas I am going to make T-shirt pillows


Pre Admissions...

Had an appointment this morning with Physicians Assistant Phil today. Got to the clinic at 8:30 and got to sit down for about 45 seconds before they called me back to the exam room, wow, talk about not having to wait for an hour before seeing the P.A. Phil came in and gave me the run down of do's and don'ts. I must not shave my legs before the surgery, I must not have any scrapes or open cuts on my leg, I have the itchiest legs in the world from the skin being uber dry, so this will be interesting to see how I go about not scratching. I must wash my knee 6 inches above and 6 inches below and behind the knee for 5 minutes the day before the surgery with an antibacterial soap and have another shower the day of the surgery. I will have to give myself shots in the abdomen for 7 days (blood thinners, oh this should be fun), I'm to bring my medication to the hospital so they don't have to dispense it. I will wake up with my leg with drains in the knee circulating cold water to keep the swelling down. My leg will be in a contraption moving my knee so it does not freeze up. I will have to wear very fashionable stockings for about 3 weeks to help with blood clots (won't I be the toast of the town). I will be on high powered pain killers but will be up and walking on the second day. Phil said that I would have a block in the femoral artery in my groin (sure hope I am out when they give me that puppy) and near the spine but not in the spine the first day, a morphine pump the second day and painkillers the third day and will have my staples out the Friday, one week after being released from the hospital.

Phil showed me an exercise to help me bend my leg, I will need to be able to bend it at a 90 degree angle by 6 weeks. Here is the exercise. Sit in a chair. Place your good leg at 90 degrees, your surgery leg out with your heal on the floor. Grab it at your knee and pull it back as far as you can, foot on the ground. Then move forward sliding your butt in the chair stretching the surgery knee. This helps if you have a chair with arms and the seat is slick. Phil said that I could drive after three weeks as long as I am not on pain killers. Ha Ha Fat chance on me driving by then.

I was then told to go to the lab where I had an EKG, blood taken and had to give a urine sample. Then off to X-Ray for a chest X-Ray. Then out to the admissions nurse. There I answered more questions and she looked at my medication list and told me to stop taking my multi-vitamin and my Omega 3 pill as they are blood thinners. I then returned to the check in desk and paid my Dr's surgery bill. Everything has to be paid up front these days. Gone are the days of paying it out. 12 days till cutting day.

Just another day in the life of....

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Dying Days of Fall and Flowers

We have a cold front sitting to the Northwest of us and it should push into the area sometime this afternoon. So this is a fine gray dull day. This is a big weather maker as Colorado is due to get 8" of snow. I doubt that we will see any of the white stuff but it will be cooler here.

The trees are loosing their leaves in massive amounts. I went out this morning to rake the back yard and made 8 medium piles for the dogs to play in. Lizzy our daughters 10 month old puppy has been a delight to watch frolicking in the leaves. This is her first experience of fall weather and leaves. She dares the other two to attack her. She loves to put her snout down into the leaves and then tosses them into the air. What fun to be a dog and have that reckless abandon.

I noticed one last red rose on my rose bush so I decided that I needed to shoot some of the last flower pictures of the season before they fade and wither away.


First The Specialist....The Lung Doctor....Then OBI...

Was up early this morning to make a trip to north Oklahoma City to the Lung Doctor to see if my lungs were in good shape to have surgery. He basically said I sounded fine but... there is always that "But"...due to my history of 27 years exposure to second hand smoke and two bouts with pneumonia, one two years ago, he felt that it would benefit me to have a pulmonary breathing test before the surgery. So I will be going off next week to the hospital for a 30 minute test. He stated that everyone should have one of these tests at some point in their life to check the airflow in their lungs, especially as we get older.

I 'm off to the Oklahoma Blood Institute to give my precious blood for surgery. I found out that I can give again a few days before surgery without having to wait just as long my iron count is above 35. When I was in there the other day it was bloody cold in the facility. I brought a fleece cape to wear while I am there. It took more time to fill out the paperwork and pre-prepped than it did to actually draw the blood from my arm. The OBI facility is real nice on the inside. They have big plush recliners and four TV's hanging from the ceiling. They make you quite comfy and have blankets to keep you warm while you give the gift of life.

Just another day in the life of...

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Diners, Drive Ins' & Dives...Southside Chili

We had a local diner from Norman showcased last night on Diners, Drive Ins' & Dives with Guy Fieri. It's called The Diner and is located at 213 E. Main Street in Norman, OK. It's a little hole in the wall run by Mark Amspacher and when I say hole in the wall I mean that literally. On one side of the diner is the grill and such with a counter and stools, on the other side is either 6 or 7 booths that you sink into, and enough room for the waitress to walk sideways (if there is another person in the isle) and set down your order. Yet every weekend there is a crowd standing outside to get in. On the episode last night Mark's Southside Chili was featured. We have been eating Mark's chili for years. I use to buy it by the 2 lb. block and bring it home and warm it up. It is not for the faint of heart, yet it is so good. You can find Mark's Southside Chili at Mark and his family use to have a little corner grocery and when you went in you could tell that he was making chili due to the aroma of the garlic in the air. Mark would make about 50 lbs. or more of chili at a time and if you were not in there at the right time you didn't get any. I finally got smart and would place my order ahead of time and he would hold it for me. Mark's chicken salad is to die for. I don't think there was one thing that he made that I didn't like. They had a fabulous meat market and it was so convenient just to pop to the little corner store to pick up the few things that you needed. It was also one of those rare stores that would let you charge your purchase and they would deliver it to you. It was a great service for shut-ins. Here is the YouTube clip:
Norman has one little mom and pop corner store left at the corner of Chautauqua Ave. and W. Eufaula. They too have great cuts of meats. During lunch they run a little sandwich shop, since it's in close proximity to the university and downtown they get a lot of business. I like to go there to get soup bones. They are far meatier that what you get in the big supermarkets.

If you are ever here in Norman, drop by The Diner and partake in some good ole fashion greasy spoon dinning.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

Post Script...I'm sad to report that Mark passed away quiet suddenly last year, however his daughter is now running The Diner.  Customers are still lined up outside the door on the weekends and at lunchtime to get in for the great food.  We all miss Mark and his great sense of humor and all the wonderful food he made, however The Diner is in good hands due to the great people who work there and his legacy will carry on.  


Dull Day...

It's somewhat overcast and not a nice day for shooting pictures. I wish we had been able to get to the lake yesterday because it was absolutely beautiful here. Alas maybe another day. I was hoping to get these done as they are Christmas gifts for the family since I will not have time to do much before my surgery and nothing afterwards and pictures make such a nice gift. Since my family does not bother to read this blog I have no worries about them finding out about their gifts.

We went to breakfast at a local diner out at the airport called Ozzie's. It's very good. Every day they have an all you can eat breakfast for $5.95. I had coffee, 2 eggs, bacon, hash browns and a biscuit with some cream gravy. Dave had 2 eggs with pancakes, bacon, hash brown, oatmeal and coffee plus some more bacon and hash browns. Christie had an egg with sausage and home fries and a biscuit with cream gravy with coffee. It was good. Their evening meals are good too and reasonable, on Fridays they have an all you can eat catfish dinner. We like their open faced roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and brown gravy and Italian green beans. It's called a Blast from the Past. We got to see several planes come in and leave while we were eating. One was a 10 passenger jet that had a 2 man crew and several passengers.

We came home and I did my Wii workout and tracked my activity points for Weight Watchers. Since I ate too many points for breakfast I need those activity points so I can have dinner tonight. I think I will go watch the new GI Joe movie Dave got the other day and take a break.

Dave on the other hand is loading Windows 7 onto his computer. My HP computer crashed, the motherboard died, and I shipped it to a friend who is a computer tech in Pleasant Hill, Mo. and she is getting it fixed for me. It had to go back to the factory to be fixed. I hope to get it back sometime next week if not sooner. Hopefully it is still under warrenty.

Time to go start a load of laundry and get ready for work tomorrow. Uhhhh GI Joe first...

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


CST Sucks...

We are one week in on falling back to Central Standard Time and in my educated sucks! Almost every day this week I have been getting up at 4:00 a.m. My normal time is 6:40 a.m. Even today, a Saturday where your supposed to be able to sleep in...OHHH NOOO...not this kid. Got up at 4:00 a.m. and made the little girls room run and tried to go back to sleep but no could do. So on went the TV and I finished an old NCIS episode and watched 3 episodes of The Dead Zone. I never watched it while it was on, but enjoyed the storyline this morning. I even found time to read from cover to cover my new Escapees Magazine. I think as I get older the time change really plays havoc with my system. We have noticed that even the dogs are affected.

We celebrated one of Christie's friends birthday yesterday with homemade tacos, salsa and guacamole. Greg loves spicy foods especially Mexican. Being far from home and family, Indiana, and finishing up his studying for his comps today, I felt we needed to have a little celebration. He is getting the same degree that Christie got her Masters in, Adult and Higher Education: Intercollegiate Athletic Administration. Greg came to OU from the University of Michigan where he was a three time All-American Heavy Weight Wrestler. Like Christie, he is a Learning Specialist for the Athletic Department. He makes sure that the athletes that he works with is managing their time so they can make their grades and stay eligible for their sport.

If it is a nice day tomorrow I'm going to take Christie out to the lake and do a photo shoot with her. So I am hoping for some decent weather. We are due for some rain but that is not due to come in until Monday. But this is Oklahoma and if you wait a minute the weather will change, at least that is according to our favorite son, Will Rogers. Besides my knee is really hurting so I know that a weather system is close by.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


More Doctor Appointments...

I haven't even had the surgery yet, and already I am sick of scheduling Dr's. appointments. I have three so far this month to make sure that I am ready for surgery. First off is the Dentist to make sure that I do not have any infection as it can go to my knee and infect it and possibly cause me to have to have the component removed, boy wouldn't that be great, NOT! Found out that they could not do my cleaning until next week so that is four visits to the Dr. The next is a visit to a Pulmonary specialist to make sure that my lungs are OK for surgery as I have adult onset asthma and had pneumonia several years ago. It has been suggested (STRONGLY) that I get at least 2 units of blood drawn for my surgery, went this morning along with my daughter, she is so sweet to do this for me, to have it done but my paperwork had not got there so we have reschedule for Wednesday. Then I go to the clinic to get a history done and measured and so on and so on. I wonder what they will have me do next. I'm doing my leg exercises to strengthen my quadriceps.

A co-worker loaned me her beautiful cane for my recovery. She swore to me that she was not using it any longer. Next piece of equipment is a walker. I don't know if I have to purchase one or if I can lease one, maybe borrow it instead.

Ain't life a bowl full of cherries.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


This & That...

Wow, what an end to October....Halloween, homecoming, snow, thunderstorms and daylight savings comes to and end...back to coming home in the dark...UGH!. What does November have in store for us? Birthdays, Thanksgiving and lots of leg exercises. Need to loose twelve more pounds before surgery. Drink that water, lots and lots of water! Move that body, work it out!

Got Physical Therapy squared away. Would like to have gone to the McBride Physical Therapy Center but it is Out-of-Network and it would cost me more money. At least I do have insurance that will cover most of the procedure. The component (Striker Knee) is going to cost me $1600.00 up front. Insurance does not cover that. All totalled the surgery without insurance is around $40,000.00.

We dressed up in Halloween costumes today for work. I decided to come as a Contract Outlaw. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would dress up in OSU colors...Go Pokes beat Texas!

We had some really great costumes this year. It started out small several years ago and has grown each year. I find it fun to get in the spirit of the season! BOOOOOOOOOOO!


Knee Surgery...

It's countdown time until I have knee surgery. December 2 is the big day. I will be having a total knee replacement on my left leg. I went to the Dr. last week and and was told that my knees are abysmal. According to the Dr. I will be in the hospital the first three days maybe four days and then come home. Physical therapy three days a week. I have known since I was 25 that this day would come. I am so get ready to get this over with. What I was impressed with was the electronic tablet the Dr. was using. It had all my records on it as well as my x-rays and I got to hold it and see everything. Another thing that I was impressed with was how fast I was moved through the different areas. I will start documenting the experience as I go through this journey. Talking to the insurance company and the Dr's office has been a real treat. I just want to know what the bottom line will be so I can start the financing procedure. So stay tuned for more information

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Ah... The Mammogram...

It had been 3 years since I had a mammogram done. I know, I know, shame on me! A co-worker urged me to go get one as her Dr. found Stage 1 Breast Cancer in her mammogram several years ago, she is now fine after radiation and chemo. Plus my director had a conniption fit when she found out that I had not had one in that length of time. To be honest, I hated getting the things done as I just hate being hurt during the procedure by that darn machine. They love to smash you flat in both directions. Plus it made you feel like you had be violated.

Well this morning it was different. They have new technology at Norman Regional Hospital's Women's Breast Care Center. A digital X-ray machine, yes they still squeeze you but no longer smash you. Does it hurt? No! :) And now you get to breath while they take the picture. All in all it was a pleasant experience. I will not mind at all getting it done again next year and the year after that and so on and so on.
Since it's National Breast Cancer month, here is a link so you can click to give "Free Mammograms"
It is a worth while cause. Just be sure to go in each day and click to give someone a chance at living a long life.
Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Fall Has Arrived...

The trees are turning colors and what a display they are presenting us. Golds, reds, yellows, burgundies, lime greens and rusts. The wind is starting to change from the south to the north and the bite of winter is not far behind. Tis interesting how the seasons can creep upon you or just come in, in one felled swoop. The swoop happened this year, much cooler than usual. Will we get snow this year? Generally we don't get much snow but according to the Farmer's Almanac it's supposed to be a much wetter winter than normal. That's ok with me....means less watering we will have to do next spring.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


U2 & Black Eyed Peas...

Back in July I had a chance to purchase U2 360 World Tour Concert tickets. So I did, 4 of them.
We went to the concert last night at the stadium and all I have to say is...It Was Awsome!!!
The stage set is 164 ft high with a 360 screen so you can see the performers no matter where they are. by going to this site you can see the set up and listen to the music. Just way too cool.
Also performing with U2 was Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas. Even tho I am not a real fan of rap it was an interesting performance and I did enjoy it. Here is the Black Eyed Peas site
I am so glad we had the chance to go.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Weight Watchers....

Another lady in my office and I joined Weight Watchers at work back in September. To date she has lost 5% of her weight and I have lost 5 lbs. But I will say I feel better and according to my test results from the Dr., my blood sugar is down to 91 instead of the 126 it was 3 weeks ago. My blood pressure is good and everything else is in good order, Very Good News Indeed!!! I have been on a liver cleanse and I feel my energy returning and I seem to be more active. Hence the desire to tackle jobs I don't want to but know I must. I really like the new Weight Watcher site. It helps you to track your points and all the things you need to do for good health. When I hit my goal I will post a before picture and an after picture. Oh the Goddess I will be!

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Decluttering and OU-Texas

It's OU-Texas Saturday and OU is up by 6 and Sam Bradford is out again due to another shoulder injury, Landry Jones is now QB of the team. I have lots of projects on my plate but today I am going to tackle the kitchen. There is so much stuff to get rid of in this house. I know I have to tackle it one room, one cabinet, one closet, one part of the shed at a time. I have a goal and I am bound to do it. OU is moving the ball at the moment. Darn...missed again. Still 6-0 OU. Gooooo Sooners! Well the Sooners played their heart out but came up short 16-13. It was a great game.

I on the other hand have been busy clearing out the shelves in my kitchen. I have cleared out a lot of stuff that needed to be gotten rid of a long time ago. A cathartic feeling.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Bobbie and Jim, Leslie and Bill

Oh Happy Day!

Yesterday Bobbie and Jim arrived from Albuquerque and the Balloon Fiesta. They called Tuesday night to say that they will be staying at the Casino down the road from us. Bobbie also said they had traveling companions, Bill and Leslie who worked at a KOA in Colorado City, Co., and asked if it was ok if they joined us which I resounded with a big YES!!! I had been reading about the Bear and the Butterfly which is the name of their blog. I was anxious to meet some of the people that I had been reading about.

The crew left Amarillo at 9 yesterday morning and drove all day in fog. They pulled into the casino around 4 yesterday evening. All 4 of them were very tired but ready for dinner. We met them at the casino and then we took a quick tour of Bill and Leslie's 5th wheel. It was very nice with lots of storage space. After all, it is their home. We were impressed.

We piled into 2 cars and drove to BJ's Brewpub and had pizza and beer. It was good and the tripple chocolate pizookie was to die for. Yum! We had great conversation and knew we had made new friends.

Bill and Leslie went back to their trailer and Jim and Bobbie came over to our house so Bobbie could help me on the settings of my blog. We had a few adjustments to make but for the most part I had done a deacent job of getting it set up.

Bill and Leslie at the Tetons

Earlier in the month I helped Bobbie win a non-electric drip coffee pot on an E-Bay auction. She had it shipped to our house along with 2 prescriptions which we held until they could get here to pick it up.

The four of them are on their way to Coffeeville, KS to work as workampers at as pickers and packers. Bobbie and Leslie and Bill and Jim are hoping to get positions in receving. They will make enough money to pay their fuel bill for their truck next year. They will work until December 23rd then they are off to Quartside Arizona and the worlds largest RV show.

Quartside is a sleepy community of 1300 residents that swells to over 100,000+ people in the wintertime. It is one of the most sought after places in the winter for boondocking. My what a life of excitement.
Amore & Arrivederci For Now


The Oklahoma State Fair

One of the events that Dave and I look forward to each year is Senior Day at the Oklahoma State Fair. Now you would think that a couple of youngsters like us would scoff at Senior Day but for us it is a fun filled day. After Dave had his heart attack 3 years ago we started looking at each day as a blessing and try to live life to its fullest. I work full time and I decided that the office could do without me for a day. Thank goodness I have a boss who understands.

We started the day off with a free buffet breakfast at the casino then headed out to the fair which is also free that day for seniors. This year we made a point to see the Clydesdale's and visited with Doug Sauter the coach of the former Blazer's Ice Hockey team in Oklahoma City.

Doug said that he was excited about the Edmonton Oilers farm team coming to OKC, we are too. Since Dave is a Canadian, now Naturalized US Citizen we have a fondness for Hockey.

I just wish we could afford to go to to the games.

After finishing up in the horse barn we ventured over to the Cox Pavilion and spent some time going up and down the isles. I looked at some hair items for my long hair and then Dave and I watched a demo of some cleaning products for rugs. This stuff was something else, taking dirty motor oil out of carpet and leaving it white. I was impress, needless to say we departed with $30.00 of our money and got two canisters of cleaner and a scrub broom for our carpets. We will see if it lives up to its hype. Sure hope so.

From there we ventured over to the Centennial Building and went up and down the isles there. Dave kills me, I want to stop and look at things and listen to the demos and his idea of attending the fair is to race up and down the isles to say that he was there. How he ever sees everything is beyond me.

We then sauntered over to the Modern Living Building and one again raced though the building, I can say I was in the building. We did stop long enough to have our annual foot long corn dogs to the tune of $14.00 total and then was on our way. We could have had 4 regular size corn dogs for $12.00. They will soon price themselves out of the market if they are not careful. I thought $12.00 for 2 foot longs last year was outrageous. But the state fair does have to have its cut too.

After getting off our feet for awhile we decided to head out and call it a day at the fair. We went back to the Cox Pavilion to purchase the hair items that I had looked at earlier and to pick up our carpet cleaner as we had not wanted to carry them around all afternoon. This is something that we both enjoy in September. Next year I will make it a point to let Dave know that I want him to stop so I can see some of the demonstrations. Ha Ha!!

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

A Blast From The Past...

We saw the Wizard and he is a little man behind the curtain...

My Junior High Reunion this past weekend was a blast. Saw old friends and cemented new friendships. Dave and I made it to the Embassy Suites by 7:00 P.M. the start time for the Friday evening kick off. I called Peggy Reeves as we entered the Creek Nations Turnpike. Peggy met us at the hotel. I had not seen Peggy since high school. She was such a sweet girl back then and is still sweet now. She was quite nervous but I reassured her that she could do this. I also saw Steve Reeves, no relation, Jimmy Walker, Susie Monger, Gaye Rumbaugh, Mike David, Gaye's husband, Jean Barsh, Mike Soper, Dave Hefly, Stan Clark, Lollie Turnbull, Sadie Haddad, Steve Montgomery, Linda Roarke, Linda Butler and lots of other people I did not know in Jr. High or put simply, just plain forgotten them. A lot of these people I never had friendships with but knew them throughout Jr. High and High School. There were some people that were suppose to come but for one reason or another were not able to attend. I would have loved to been able to see them again, maybe next time. There are other people that are now gone but remembered by all. As long as you remember them, they live on in our hearts.

We took a bus to the Jr. High and took a school tour on Saturday morning and had a box lunch at the school provided by Jason's Deli. Our tour guide was the Assistant Principle, Mrs. Connie Hamilton. Wilson is now a magnet school, its particular specialty is Foreign Languages. My how education has changed since our time there. The school had set up a table and decorations, yearbooks, and old pictures of us way back when and had it there for the week prior to our arrival, it was a touching gesture. We even learned how we became known as the "Wilson Rebels". After lunch and a walk down memory lane, yes the girls locker room and gym were still the same, even found my old gym locker, we got back on the bus and went to each of the elementary schools that fed into Wilson and the people that went to that school had their pictures taken in front of the school. Steve Montgomery and I went to Sequoyah Elementary. I took a peek in the front doors and saw that someone had spent a lot of time painting a mural on the gym doors and entrance hall. It was quiet striking. I liked it. I wish I could have seen the rest of the about memories, Mr. Sinsentaffer, Miss Harper, Mr. Dodd...

After the bus tour was over Dave and I went back to my brothers house and picked up our niece Kelsey and took her to Woodward Park for her Senior picture shoot. After a couple of hours there we went back and changed and went back to the hotel for the dinner. We sat with Peggy, Gaye, Mike, Jean & Sadie. Dinner was excellent and the company great. We had our choice of Chicken Parmesan, Steak, Roasted New Potatoes, Savory Green Beans, Salad, Roll and to die for Chocolate cake. I do believe that I enjoyed this reunion much more that my high school reunion two years ago.

After the dinner we said our goodbyes, promised to keep in-touch and went our separate ways until the next reunion. Time has changed a lot of things, views and opinions. I think I prefer to remember this group when we were innocent and naive and not so jaded in our thinking. They say time heals a lot of wounds but for some, I fear time has deepened some of the wounds for some. My hope for those people is that they find peace and joy in their lives.

As they say " There's No Place Like Home"

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


Junior High Reunion???

We're off to see the wizard the wonderful wizard of Oz.....

Junior High!!! Ah, those were the days that we were totally oblivious of the world, the age of the innocents. I was in Jr. High when Kennedy was shot. There are 25 of our class members from Jr. High that are going to get together this weekend in Tulsa, OK, to meet up with old friends that went their different ways to different high schools. For some of us, we have not seen each other for 45 years. I will be meeting up with a friend that I have not seen since high school. It should be a fun trip down memory lane, and again maybe not. We will see.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now


The Kids, They is a Movin

Heather and J bought a house and Dave and I went down to Texas to help them move. 10 years of accumulation of stuff to move out of an 800 sq. ft apt. to a 1500 sq. ft. house. It was to be a surprise for Heather as it was her birthday and she had no idea that we were coming down, actually we were on the road when she called my cell phone to complain that I had not called her to sing her "Happy Birthday", she thought I was still at work. Her daddy started to say something and I had to do the hand wave thing of "hush up" so she would not know we were on the road. But as luck would have it she found out anyways, and we sang her happy birthday upon our arrival at their new house, they had just signed the papers that afternoon.

They have a lovely home, it is an adorable 3 BR 2 and a half bathroom with an open area kitchen and dinning combination that opens into a solarium off the back side of the house. Once everything is moved in, sorted out, put away and tossed out, they will be so happy to have more space. We spent two and a half days moving the kitchen, part of their living room and getting the shelf liners done in their new kitchen and putting away their canned goods,cereals and dry mixes in their pantry.

We went to a Japanese Steak House for dinner on Saturday night with J's parents, sister and brother-in-law, to celebrate Heather's birthday and their new house. The food was very, very good and the show equally as good. We then went back to their house for a small celebration with the family and one of J's co-worker, Ken and his wife Jennifer and their darling little girl Gracie. The air-conditioner was working great at that time. When we went in on Sunday it had quit working, the kids had to have it fixed. Thank goodness they took out a warranty on the house and appliances.

J's mom, Irene fixed some wonderful homemade sub-sandwiches for lunch on Sunday, I fixed two roasts and let them slow cook all day and we had French Dip sandwiches for a late dinner mmmmmm they were good. On Monday, Irene made some of her famous chicken salad and brought that and croissants and Sun Chips to the house for lunch. Jerry, J's dad came to the house as did Ken and Jennifer to join all of us for lunch, it was lovely, the only person missing was Heather as she was at work. Actually it was quite comfortable in the house, as there is an attic fan and the kids had opened the windows on the back side of the house and the fan was pulling in the cool morning air.

We worked until 1:30 and then locked up the house and left for home. Dave decided to go to the "Big Lots" store to look at some yard tools for the kids, I went to the fall decorations area of the store and purchased some decorations for the front of their house. We went back to the house to "plant" the decorations and take a picture. We then stopped by the local liquor store and Dave got a case of his favorite beer, "Fat Tire". It's too bad that they can't carry it here in Oklahoma.

We then got on the road and headed home. We decided to take a detour to Sardis Lake in SE Oklahoma. It is a State lake that I had heard of from friends for years and now was as good a time as any to go see it. We then stopped at a campground for a quick break, the sites were clean and beautiful. We then took the scenic route up to Wilburton over to Krebs and through McAllister and back to the turnpike to be greeted by a huge thunderstorm that had lots of heavy rain and lightning. We finally got out of the storm around Shawnee. All-in-all it was a good weekend. We are a little sore but better for the experience.

We made the decision to start unloading our house of all the clutter of 39 years. It will take some time but like the kids it will get done and we will feel better about it.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

Back to Work on the 23rd

Good Day Everyone,

Well today is the first day back to work since taking 13 glorious days of vacation. Actually I am ready to head back up to the mountains, even though it is a lot cooler here than when we left. I somehow miss the pastoral serenity of the mountains. There is something very peaceful about the order of things. Strange about order in the mountains, you never know what is around the next turn, whether you will see a wall of rock blocking your path or a beautiful valley that draws you into its heart.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

37 Years

Good Evening All,

Today Dave and I have been married for 37 years. Been together 39 years total. Go figure. In this day and age that is a rarity. Everything seems to be disposable these days.

No seriously, there is not a day that goes by that I don't count my lucky stars and thank God for giving me such a wonderful man. He is kind, gentle, considerate, warm, friendly, a great provider, a wonderful husband and a fabulous father. I could not have done better. I sometimes wonder how he has put up with me for all these years. But we both give and take, we both share the same interests. Although our signs say that he is fire and I am water we have mixed very well like paint and canvas creating a beautiful picture. I am honored to be his wife, helpmate and lover. He has given me more than I could have ever asked for, and for that I am thankful.

Amore and Arrivederci For Now

Day 10....Home At Last!

Good Morning All,

It was good to sleep in my own bed. Did not get up until about 10:30. Was able to get up and walk like a normal person. Thank goodness the temperature outside had cooled off some. Christie had made coffee so I went and got a cup. It was good. Now to unpack the car and put things away and start getting laundry done. All the fun stuff after a vacation. Dave asked if we wanted to go to the 3:55 P.M. showing of Harry Potter. I said "no" as I was too tired and would not enjoy it. Maybe tomorrow.

We took the car to a service shop and they plugged their little outboard computer into it and the "service engine light" was indicating that the car needed to have the catalytic converter looked at. If we had known that we would have continued on up to Leadville for that "mountain pleasure" "comme ci, comme ├ža" .

So tired but came in and read Bobbie and Jim's Blog and thought I can do this. So that is how this blog of Musings came about. I more than likely will not write in it much except for the special occasion here and there, until we get out on the road. But you never know I might surprise myself.

I hope you have enjoyed following along with our story of our first vacation in some time and the pictures we took. It has been fun! Until next time...

Amore and Arrivederci For Now


Day 9....Time To Move On

Good Morning All,
Big Meadow Lake
In the mountains you have a tendency to retire early around 10 P.M. and start to stir around 5 A.M. as the multitude of birds start their morning song. Even after all the commotion last night Dave and I had a very restful sleep, one of our best since we have been up here. It's just getting up and out of the tent that is the small setback. I have to rock myself up on one knee and curl my toes under then push myself up from a crouch position and then in a bent fashion open the tent door by unzipping two zippers and back out of the tent in tiny baby steps all the while trying to hold my 60 year old bladder. It's hilarious to watch. I made it up to the outhouse and back in fine fashion.

We planned to meet Jim and Bobbie and go to breakfast in town. Got dressed and went to knock on their door. Jim answered and said to give them 30 minutes or so as they were just stirring. Seems they had a bad situation in the campground last night and had to call out the sheriff and stayed up all night to make sure the person did not come back. This is what all the car lights and flashlights were about. I felt sorry for Bobbie as she looked whipped as did Jim, and they had a long busy day ahead of them.

We went over to the lake and watched an early morning fisherman float the lake in his tube. The lake was so still, it was like glass and the reflections beautiful. Dave took some more shots. Some of the animals we have encountered at Big Meadows have been deer, chipmunks, a weasel (I had never seen one before, they are quite small and very fast), hummingbirds and marmots, lots of marmots or as they are better known as whistling pigs. What we have not encountered is bear, moose and elk, thank goodness. If you ever get this way be sure to stop at Big Meadow and take time to take in the view and experience the solitude and wonder of this great country and what it has to offer you.
In one particular spot I spied a plastic bag and some trash in the brush. I couldn't stand it any longer as it had been there all week and so I had to go and pick it up and put it in the trash bin. Why do people feel it is necessary to just let their trash run a-muck. The rule is if you bring it in you take it out or dispose of it properly. Pick up your site and leave it better than the person before you and don't leave the dirty baby diapers in the fire pits! Not too many Boy Scouts out there I guess.

We finally got with Bobby and Jim and put them in our car and went into South Fork for breakfast at the Feelin' Good Coffee shop and Cafe. Breakfast was a little slow as it was Logger Days and there was a big crowd in to eat. But it was good. One of the waitresses was from Newalla, OK and I told her I would send her an Oklahoma Sooner Cup for the restaurants use. Will miss those buckwheat pancakes. Saw two very young bucks trotting down towards us on the road back to the campsite. They actually looked like they did not know what to do. Dave got a picture of them. We got back to camp and started process of breaking down the tent and such. 

I will miss this place and boondocking. It is so beautiful and peaceful and cool here. A great place to escape the heat of Oklahoma. We are finally packed. We went and said our goodbyes. Bobbie and Jim will be coming through to visit the Ramirez's around the 13th of October and promised to come by and see us.

We discovered that we had a lot in common. We both like to have the occasional glass of wine. We both love opera, are artistic, see objects and faces in everyday items. You 
Me and Bobbie, my new friend!
have to have an imagination to do it. Guess we are both lucky in that regard. Some people never see the objects or faces in the everyday items.
Christie's thinking rock which is taller than me!
We went up to site 23 where Christie's thinking rock was 21 years ago. It was still there for the kids to play and imagine on. All those years ago she begged us to bring it home for our front yard so she could climb on it and think. 

I remember when the girls were younger they loved camping here, they had so much fun and didn't want to leave. There is so much to see and do. No wonder children love it here.
Moss in bloom

As we were leaving the area I had been wanting to shoot pictures of the moss in bloom. Now I have my chance. I think I got some great shots.

Down out of the mountains we came. Dave asked where I wanted to go next and I said Leadville, it's a great place to go as well. Just thinking about those big cinnamon rolls generally called "Mountain Pleasure" at the Golden Burro Cafe makes my mouth water. Just about that time the service engine light came back on and we both looked at each other and made the decision to head on home instead. We got to Alamosa and filled up with gas, and looked for the little food co-op that Bobbie had recommended. I had tasted some great chicken sausage and raw milk cheese at the Farmer's market in South Fork that was terrific so we made the stop to get some. Dave also found some thick rolled oats and bought a dollars worth, me thinks he should have bought more as I know how much he loves them. I will have to see if I can get the items in Norman. The chicken sausage had chicken, green chilies and chives in it. The cheese was a Sharp Cheddar.

We pressed on through the rest of the day and into the night. Fixed Peanut Butter sandwiches and had chips while the car was in motion. We stopped and got gas in Clayton, NM. I did a little driving so Dave could take a break and get some rest I made it all the way to Dumas, Tx, I'm proud of myself as I am not a night time driver. We made the decision not to stop except for gas and to also take the longer route home down through the panhandle of Texas to Amarillo and across into Oklahoma, as there was cell service should we run into trouble. We did stop to take a break in Dumas, TX at a DQ around 10 P.M. We pressed on into Amarillo which was getting ready to get hit by a big thunderstorm. Somehow we managed to miss it.
                                                                               A Texas Panhandle sunset outside of Dalhart, TX
We're Oklahoma bound at last, made the turn onto I-40 East bound. Once you leave Amarillo there is nothing out there. Thank God for Hollis, OK, A Love's station, with bathrooms and a Subway store. Dave got a 6" cold cut trio and had them cut it in half. It was good. Every little town we came to had a travel plaza of some sort. It was a welcomed site. Got to Norman around 4:30 A.M. July 19th. Could not sleep so for the first time in 9 days watched some TV. Ah sleep, blessed sleep at last after a 16 hour drive and a 21 hour day.

Amore and Arrivederci For Now

Day 8....Car, Poor Car

Good Morning All,
Had to get up early this morning to go to the bathroom in the dark. The moon was up overhead and Venus shown like a single diamond in the sky. It was so bright because the sun was just starting to come up. All the other stars had disappeared.

Jim soon came to say the tow truck was on its way and was coming. Dave and Jim went down to get the food box, ice chests, books, my jeans and take the hitch rack off the back of the car. Boy what a mess.

Got coffee fixed, put fuel in stove and fixed myself some peanut butter honey toast for breakfast. The first piece I fixed I held the bread over the flame with the tongs, the second one I did, I put it on the griddle. It was great!. Yum! could have some more but won't. Am going to read now.

Dave came back to say they were getting ready to leave and he showed me how to change out the photo card on the camera. He is off now. Blew him a kiss and told him I loved him.

Bobbie and I are off to the Farmers market in South Fork this morning. Bought some blueberry, strawberry rhubarb and sweet jalapenos Jams made locally, and an Amish Cookbook, what else is new with me. Purchased some cute pot scrubbers and sun visors. Picked up a few things from the grocery store, one of them being bread.

Got back to the campsite and Jim helped me move from site 4(beautiful) to site 40 (not as beautiful) but nice. Had to move because another camper had site 4 reserved. We did not dismantle the tent but put it on top of his truck bed to move it. It was a sight. I got every thing put way. Bobbie brought my groceries over to the site as they are next store to us. I had to go to the necessary shack which was now back up at the top of the loop. Made the hike up and back and noticed that a chipmunk had gotten into my brand new loaf of bread. Had to take out the first 3 pieces and transfer the rest to the old bread bag. Bobbie was an angel. She made me a tuna fish sandwich with Cheetos and some chocolate pudding and some pink lemonade. How did she know I love all of that! And served on the cutest plastic tray. I will have to pick some up from Walgreen's next season. How can we ever repay their kindness? After getting everything put away and finishing lunch I started reading my next book that I had started back at Christmas and was a third of the way through. "Pillars of the Earth" I had read it 17 years earlier. It was one of those books that was hard to put down. All afternoon I chased the shade. The tops of my knees got burnt. I put on my Mary Kay gel for sunburns and they should feel better soon. Charlie Ramirez in site 3 came by and said there was a change in dinner plans and we were invited for home cooked ham and beans that had been cooked all day over a fire in a dutch oven and homemade cornbread. Dave was not back from Pagosa Springs when time came to go down for dinner. Neither was Jim, he was up at Tucker Ponds campground helping out the camp host there. After Charlie said the dinner prayer, dinner was served. Boy was it good. I ate 2 bowl fulls. Then I saw Dave come walking down the hill, he had made it back from Pagosa Springs. The car needed a new fuel pump. Jim was also able to join us for dinner. All of us shared great conversation. There was Stucky and Barbara, Charlie and Dawna and their son Kyle. Kyle had recently finished his stint in the Coast Guard up in Alaska, and was trying to become a firefighter like his dad in Oklahoma City, and Jim and Bobbie the campground managers and Dave and myself. Dave took a picture of the group, Kyle had already left, just wish he could have been in the picture The only other person missing out of the picture was Dave who was shooting the picture. It had been a long day and we made a date to have breakfast with Jim and Bobbie the next morning. The campsite we were moved to (thankfully there was a spot available) was situated where the tent caught all of the car lights as they came back into camp at night. As we were getting settled into our sleeping mat we noticed lots of lights more than normal. The group above us also decided to start setting up their screen tent at 11:30 at night using their outside voices and clanging metal pole together. I wanted to yell "Use your inside voices it's after 10 P.M." but that would have been counterproductive as I would have been just as guilty. Boy what a day! I finally got to sleep.

Amore and Arrivederci For Now