Durn, Durn and Double Durn!

Have you ever been down the road apiece and things just don’t go right?  That was us Thanksgiving weekend.  The trip to Texas and back was not particularly smooth.  After having minor surgery on my back and happy on drugs to kill the pain for a 5 hour car ride, we came upon an accident at the Windstar Casino just outside of Thackerville, OK.  Going at speeds of 75 to 80 mph, you know with the flow of the holiday traffic if you don’t want to be run over, all of a sudden we were doing NASCAR all over the road avoidance maneuvers. Dave did a great job of keeping us from getting hit or hitting someone else.  2 miles and 35 minutes later we passed three very totaled semis, 2 on their sides and 1 upright but horribly crushed.  Across the highway was the huge flashing casino signs.  I thought to myself, yep look over to see what is going on with the sign and you pay the price. Traffic moved fairly rapidly once we cleared the wreck.
Surprisingly traffic through Dallas was not bad at all for a Wednesday evening.  The rest of the drive was uneventful. We made good time and hit the kid’s front door at 10:30p.m. 
The visit with the kids was wonderful, great company and great food.  The boys are growing so fast.  Little Andy is now rolling over and Noah is demonstrating his command of NO, not that it gets him anywhere.   

J’s mom Irene made a wonderful Thanksgiving Day meal complete with a desert bar filled with goodies.  There must have been at least 14 deserts.  I made a minced meat pie complete with a 1/4th cup of rum and a rum based hard sauce. That’s Dave’s favorite pie and since his birthday was the 27th that was my gift to him as I never make pies.  After dinner Noah spent his time running up and down the front porch of his grandparent’s house kicking the soccer ball.  He is so full of energy and going constantly.  We had a ball watching him play and playing with him.  Andy got passed around amongst the Aunts and Uncles and cousins. He is such a good little guy.  We started him on cereal and he picked it right up and glommed it down.
After 4 fun filled days we packed up to go home along with 100,000 other people out on the road when the light on the dash came on and said our battery was not charging.  Oops, let’s turn around and head back to the kids house.  Fate had been on our side when the alternator failed as we were heading into another traffic stoppage at Exit 571 on I-20 westbound and would have been really stranded had we not been able to do a quick roundabout and head back when at mile marker 579 we were finally dead in the water, 17 miles from Longview.  We managed to get off the highway, but it is super scary to have big semi’s passing us at 80 mph. We hoped our emergency flashers would hold out.  An hour after calling FarmTow services our tow truck showed up, after being lost for about 30 minutes of that time, and got us back to the house.  J had to retrieve us as 4 people would not fit into the truck cab.  The dogs were able to ride in the car on the flatbed. Poor babies…they were confused as to why we were not in the car, but could see us out the back window. 

Thanks to a neighbor’s suggestion of a good mechanic, a new alternator, serpentine belt and $335.00 lighter in the wallet we were once again on our way home.  It was Groundhog Day all over again or so it seemed.  Hadn’t we done this earlier…leave? But getting to spend another day with the boys and family was wonderful.  We hit Dallas at 6:00p.m. HUGE MISTAKE!  It took us a good 40 minutes to get from Mesquite, TX to the Farmers Branch exit. Traffic was a nightmare due to a stalled semi on I-635E.  Once past Dallas we were able to make up some time.  We got home at 10:30 p.m. none worse for the wear.  We even stopped for some good ole Starbucks coffee in Denton, TX.  What would we do without Starbucks? 

Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Whoa Nellie...Christmas is just around the corner! I must have lost track of the time.  Eh?  Is that Santa I hear loading up his sleigh?

Happy trails, stay safe if you are traveling over the holidays…


Lots Going On...Friends and a Move...

Wow, where does the time go?  The three weeks have been a blur around here. 

Our friends Bobbie and Jim made a layover stop in Midwest City at the Elks Club where they have hook-ups for RV'ers, so Jim could rest up a few days before they moved on to Lake Texoma in southern Oklahoma (They are now down in deep south Texas on their gate guarding job).  The Elks club is located right in the flight path of Tinker Air Force Base so we were entertained with the AWACS flying overhead all evening. We drove up on a Tuesday evening, October 16th to see them and have dinner. 

Charlie, Dawna, Susie, Dave, Jim and Bobbie
Charlie and Dawna, friends of Bobbie and Jim's came to visit and we all had a grand time reminiscing.  We met Charlie and Dawna up at Big Meadow campground near Southfork, CO the same time we met Bobbie and Jim.  It was so nice to see them again.  As I always say...the more the merrier!

The dinner of Kings!
Jim out did himself on his ribs. The angels really did weep with joy when he lit the grill.  The meat literally fell off the bone and melted in your mouth.  You didn't have to chew it at all.  I fixed a tabbouleh salad but with Quinoa instead of Bulgar wheat. It was really good but needed more Quinoa.  I had never made it that way before so it was on the tad soupy side.  We also had baked beans and coleslaw. It was a great meal.  We also got to see the inside of Bobbie and Jim's Heartland Landmark Rushmore 5th wheel trailer.  It was very roomy with lots of storage. I really liked the lay-out of it.

Pretty Fall Colors in Kansas
On Thursday the 18th of October, I got up a 4 a.m. and readied myself to leave at 5 a.m. or thereabouts to head to Kansas City, MO to help our daughter Christie with her move.  It took me about 6 hours to get there bucking winds all the way.  I managed to miss a dust storm that closed the interstate down due to no visibility. Boy I was lucky on that one.

The week of October 5th she and her dad spent about 3 days trying to find her a place to live.  The movers came on Monday the 15th of October and got her all packed up, she drove up on Tuesday and the movers delivered her belongings on Thursday at noon. It took them about 2 hours the get her things unloaded.  We unwrapped, unloaded, unpacked, put up, washed dishes, cups, pots and pans, did shopping, walked a couple of miles, put together a TV stand, set up her TV and finally collapsed into bed after a yummy dinner of gourmet burgers at Stone Mountain Pizza in the Zona Rosa Shopping Mecca.

A Gouda Burger

Tillimouk Cheese Burger

New TV Stand...Assembly was fun

On Friday I woke up so so sore I could hardly move.  I took some meds and willed myself to press on with the unpacking.  We went to Panera Bread and got a couple of cups of their steel cut oats topped with dried apples, cherries and slivered almonds.  It was delish! I also purchased a small loaf of whole wheat bread for her. It was yummy too.  After breakfast we made out a plan, worked some more on unpacking all of her stuff and went shopping in the afternoon.  We discovered that she didn't have any hot water, but we found out the heater in her apartment worked as it had turn cold and was blowing spats of rain. After the maintenance man got her hot water tank turned on we once again had water after a couple of hours and we could wash our faces and not feel the shock of ice or so it felt.

She is fortunate that she lives very close to a wonderful shopping district.  Zona Rosa is a large shopping mecca that has everything you could possibly want. We went to Noodles and Co. for lunch. 
Chicken Penne Pasta with Feta Cheese and Spinich
Tomato Bisque Soup and a Mediterranean Sandwich

         It offers American, Asian and Italian dishes.  It was so yummy.  We found the people in North KC to be very friendly and helpful.

I took her to Big Lots to stock up on canned goods as Progresso Soups were at least .20 to .30 cents cheaper than at Walmart.  The local HyVee Grocery store is totally awesome. I have never seen a meat market that complete and once again the customer service was outstanding. We did more walking, shopping, unpacking, washing of kitchenware, putting up and stowing her stuff.  She decided that she wanted to fix dinner so she made a white chicken chili that was really good with the Jalapeno cornbread we purchased at the HyVee store. 

Me...I collapsed on her bed and took a nap while she decorated her balcony with a pumpkin, orange and purple rope lights and spider webbing. She also decorated her front door.  We had to get her some batteries so she could turn on the purple lights. We watched TV and then called it a night. 

Saturday morning I fixed eggs, sausage and some of her whole wheat toast for breakfast.  It was really good and hit the spot. I remember when I was a little girl my grandmother would fry up sausage or ham and pour some coffee in it and pour it over my biscuits, we called it coffee gravy another name is red eye gravy.  I was so tempted to do that.  I ran another load of dishes through the dishwasher, lined some more of her drawers and found a place for most of her kitchen stuff.  I know the locations of goods will change as to how she wants it but at least it was up and out of the way. 

We made another quick trip to the HyVee store as they had ground beef on sale for $1.99 a pound. I bought four pounds of it plus I found a coupon for chicken noodle soup and tomato soup, you buy 4 for $2.00 and get the 5th can free.  We picked up some other items for her which came to $50.75 and that allowed me to get gas for $3.21 a gallon, .10 off per gallon, can't beat a deal like that. You guessed it...I topped off the tank before leaving Kansas City.  We left around noon, me to come home, her to St. Louis, MO for a national college recruitment gig on Sunday that was host to over 4500 high schoolers searching out colleges.

I had an uneventful drive except for when the check engine oil light came on.  Had to pull over and put a can of oil in to continue the trip.  I arrived back in Norman close to 6 p.m. after topping my gas tank for $3.15.  Traffic was insane at the Dallas junction so I bypassed it by getting off at Robinson and hooking back over to Shields Blvd and heading south. That is when I found the cheap gas at a 7-11 in south Oklahoma City.  So glad I went that way.  I arrived home safe and sound none worse for the wear and tear and settled in to watch the Sooners beat Kansas State for Homecoming. I passed out around 11p.m. and slept soundly. 

I can see more trips in my future to Kansas City as I fell in love with it and look forward to exploring the area further.

Happy trails...


A 5K Race and Walk...

Back in August when school started, the Huston Huffman Exercise Center sent out a flier stating they would be holding a 5K Fun Run and a 1 mile walk.  I asked Christie if she would like to participate as I wanted to do the mile walk.  She said yes so I signed us up.  Over the past few weeks Christie and I have been walking and then she would do a run to get ready for the race.

Three weeks ago on a Tuesday she went to the Huff as we call it and got our race packets. Each of us got a T-shirt and a timing chip for our shoes.  I did not have to wear mine as the mile walkers were not part of the sanctioned race.

That next Saturday morning the alarm went off at 6 a.m. to which I got up and started getting ready.  You have to understand that I just never get up immediately but will laze in bed for at least a good 15 minutes before arising.  Not yesterday.  I got up, took care of business, ran my blood test, went to the kitchen and fixed a fried egg sandwich on Hungry Girl fold-it flat bread

Christie got up about 6:45 a.m. and did her thing and then we stretched and headed off for area where the race was being staged.  We along with 500 other people, dogs, strollers and wheelchairs bound participants lined up at the starting line to await the sound of the starter pistol.  The 5K runners were in front of the walkers.  The pistol went of and so were the runners. 

We walkers lined up and off we went to the sound of the pistol.  I started the race in good fashion but quickly discovered that my left shoe was too tight and had to stop to make an adjustment.  A third of the way through the race my right foot started bothering me so I had to stop again and re-adjust the right shoe.  Ever since my knee surgery and due to the fact that the Doctor changed the angle of my legs, my feet have bothered me if I try to walk for any distance.  I have been doing better and am starting to make progress in the length of my walks. 

With my water bottle in hand and my feet feeling fairly good I struck out again at a decent pace for me.  One foot in front of the other, keep it up, you can do it.  I rounded the corner and saw the finish line in sight at the end of the block and kept plodding along.  I moved to the street as there were some other walkers in front of me that took up the whole sidewalk.  I saw the finish line clock in front of me and by the time I crossed it 23:40 minutes had gone by.  I felt good and felt like I could have walked for at least another half mile or so.  Instead I waited to see Christie finish at a personal best time of 28:50 according to their timer.  Her Nike timer had her under that by 30 seconds or so.  All I know is she was real pleased. 

We rested for a few minutes then went to the car to do cool down exercises and to stretch.  If felt good.  I have never participated in a race before, even though I did not race for racing itself, but rather to get up, get out of the house and feel good about moving. does a body good!

Happy trails...


Company's a comin'...

Bobbie and Jim
Got an email the other day from Bobbie and Jim Chapman, full-time RV'rs, saying they were on their way to Oklahoma  and would be staying in the area for a few days to see old friends and to give Jim some rest before heading on south to meet up with the Mossman's who are fellow RV'rs and friends of the Chapman's.

We met Bobbie and Jim while camping at Big Meadow Campground in Southfork, Colorado during the summer of 2009.  They were the camp-hosts for the campground. They are responsible for biting us with the full-time RV bug. 

It's been since the fall of 2009 that we've seen Bobbie and Jim. They passed through once while on their way to south Kansas to work at in one of their processing centers during the Christmas shopping season. We had a lovely dinner of Pizza, beer and a decadent desert from BJ's Pizza and Brew-house and enjoyed the company of Bill and Leslie aka The Bear and Butterfly, fellow RV'rs who have since gone off the road to tend to aging parents, who were traveling with Bobbie and Jim. They too worked at that season. 

Bobbie has an infectious bubbly personality and a laugh that will stay with you forever.  We are looking forward to seeing her and Jim again this week.  Jim reminds us of Dave's Uncle Cyril, a fun loving guy with a great smile and so willing to help when one is in trouble. I can't wait to try out some of Jim's famous Bar-B-Que.  I hear the angels weep with joy when he stokes up the grill.  Until then...

Happy trails...

Celebratory Dinners...

After our Daughter was informed that she had a real job I said I would take us all to dinner and asked where she would like to go.  She decided that she wanted to go to the T.E.A. Cafe on Campus Corner which is located just across from the University on Asp Ave.  We said fine and proceed to go about putting up the gates to keep the dogs out of the kitchen while we are gone.  Big boy likes to get up on the counter and nose around. 

We headed off to Campus corner, Dave dropped us off at the cafe so we could get a table and he went to find a parking spot.  We had never been to this particular place and were in for a treat.   This place specializes in Asian food and teas of all types.  After getting a menu, Christie got the Sweet and Sour Chicken, Dave and I tried their rice box meal which is quite clever, you get to choose your meal and what you would like to have.  You get soup, spring roll, rice, choice of steamed egg or fried cream cheese wanton. Dave got the wanton I got the steamed egg which was delicious .  He got beef, I got chicken with all the vegetables offered.  We both got the brown rice. Christie ordered a Boba tea, which is an iced, milked, black tea with boba or more commonly known as large tapioca balls  (that taste like chocolate gummy bears) layering the bottom of the glass, Yum!  So I got one as well.  Dave never gets hot tea but decided that he wanted some Earl Grey.  The price was not too bad. It came to about $10.00 a person and we ended up taking food home. We will go back. 

The next day I read about a new little Mexican restaurant in Norman in our student run campus newspaper. Los Vaqueros located in Robinson Crossing at Robinson and I-35.  It was a basic little hole in the wall with no frills decor, but the service was great, food was good, muy bueno, less denaro than the night before, we will return. 

We started off with very fresh chips, salsa, cheese queso and a very spicy salsa, not for the faint of heart. Warm flour and corn tortillas. Our dinner was out on our table in less than 10 minutes.

El Burro Dinner
Dave never varies from a shredded beef burrito.  On the other hand, I always try to have something new so I can broaden my food tastes.  I'd like to introduce the Bottana Loca, which  is grilled jalapeno peppers ( which I tried the tip of one), onions, beef and chicken fajita meat, sliced potatoes with avocados and tomatoes on a bed of lettuce accompanied with a half of a lime. Yum!      
Guisos Special

Bottana Loca
Christie had the Guisos Special with her choice of beef or pork chunks cooked in red or green spicy sauce served with rice and beans with avocado slices on top.  We enjoyed the food at both of these restaurants. If you like simple but good, like us, you will enjoy them as well.

Happy trails...


Yippeeeeeee....A Real Job...

As a rule of thumb the wheels of bureaucracy moves oh so ever slow when it comes to public institutions of higher learning. But in the case of our daughter Christie it was faster than the speed of light.  I posted she was home after striking out at finding a job up in the Northern states in her field. 

She applied for a job on Thursday the 30th of August with her old Alma mater, on the following Monday September the 3rd she got an email from a recruiter out of Dallas wanting to set up a call for the next day.  Tuesday came and by the end of the conversation the recruiter wanted to do a more formal telephone interview with her on Monday the 10th of September at 2pm.  Her daddy and I waited to hear the news.  At 3:15pm I texted her and asked how it went to which she replied "It went very well. She told me she wants to hire me and just wants to get the okay from her boss."So a luncheon interview is set up for the next day September 11th.

The luncheon goes well and they spend an hour and a half talking, another interview this time with the Interim Executive Director for Prospective Students. At 2:00pm I text her and ask "Well???" she texts me back with " I don't know. Kimberly will get a hold of me soon to let me know." At 3:10pm she texts "GOT IT!!!!!"    The job...a National Recruiter for Prospective Students for the University of Oklahoma. Apparently they had lots of applicants but Recruiting Services was interested in the fact that she was from Norman, knew the University since both her parent worked here, knew the culture and was willing to relocated to Kansas City, Missouri.  Apparently the other applicants didn't want to relocated to Kansas City. 

She starts training Friday September 14th. For the next two weeks she is here training and then we will move her sometime mid October.  Her first real professional paying job!  Yea!

Prayers were answered...many thanks to all of you.

Happy trails...


Good News Charlie....

I got good news Wednesday and my Doctor was ecstatic. Last week I had my quarterly blood draw for my hA1c diabetes check.
The results are as follows:
                     May                 August
hA1c              6.9                  6.3    need to get it under 5.7
Cholesterol    186                 181      
Triglycerides  180                 170
Blood sugar   130                  118   
I'm still working to get my blood sugar under 100 but doing much better.  One year ago my hA1c was 8.3 and my blood sugar was 192. 

To celebrate I made a knock out dinner of roasted chicken, a Quinoa (pronounced keenwa) pilaf with, onions, red, orange, yellow peppers, garlic, baby Portabello mushrooms, cherub tomatoes, almonds and chicken stock. A tomato salad that had diced cherub tomatoes, fresh basil, diced avocado, chopped green onions, roasted on the charcoal corn cut off the cob, salt, pepper, lime juice, olive oil and feta cheese. I was really surprised as to how good everything was as there were no recipes involved.

I'm in training to walk a mile course next weekend.  My daughter is running a 5K. A year ago I could not have done that.  Today I walked a 1.5 mile in 30 minutes.  It's been awhile since I've done that and it felt good.

Happy trails...

The Kid is Home...For Now

Christie our daughter loved her year in Cleveland, but her internship was up as was her apartment lease. She extended her stay for a month by staying with her boss while she continued to hunt for a job in the area. She thought she had a good bite on one job as she had a face to face interview with a school in Michigan. She wants to work in Athletic Compliance.  The job market for Compliance Officers has pretty much dried up for this year.  So she headed home. 

She had never driven a box truck and towed a car hauler before. With the help of the husband of her boss she was able to get her truck loaded and her car on the on the car hauler and be on her way  two weeks ago today. She left Cleveland, OH around 1:00p.m. and drove until 2:00a.m. the next morning stopping in Fort Leonard Wood, MO.  Was up by 7:30a.m. and on the road again and arrived here in Norman around 2:30p.m.

Her daddy went with her to U-Haul to get the car off the trailer and drop the trailer returning home with the truck.  They checked into getting a storage locker for her.  With her truck rental and such she was eligible for a month of free storage.  Sweet! 

Last Thursday she had to turn the truck back in a get her stuff put into storage.  She kept her couch, computer table and TV and put those items in her room along with the 3 dog beds. They love to sleep with her. 

She is still searching for a job.  We will see what happens. Keep her in your prayers that she is able to find employment as she has another nibble.

Happy trails...


Potato Chips...Million Dollar Prize...

I'm always in the kitchen piddling with recipes. There have been times when I thought of having a recipe blog.  I sorta have that on a back burner. Still thinking about it. Changing the subject, I am so excited! Here is a big shout out to my new follower, a BIG OKIE WELCOME to SM KLINGER who is on a long vacation touring the National Parks this summer.

Anyways, this past Sunday I was going through some emails when one of my cooking emails brought forth a recipe that sounded like fun. Homemade Potato Chips.  Hmmmm...just a few days before I saw a commercial for Lay's Potato Chips and how they were looking for the next big flavor where there would be a million dollar prize award for the best original flavor.  Who am I to not go for a million dollar prize...I'm in!

One of the items that the recipe called for was a mandoline slicer.  "Well that lets me out...hold on there Nellie" I thought to myself.  "You have been cooking for a long time now and you have practically every piece of equipment you might need.  Hand slice those suckers, you have the knife!" 

When I had my little food trailer, The Food Basket, that I hauled around central Oklahoma to provide food to auction crowds, I had a machine that was a converted drill and would make a continuous string of very thinly sliced potatoes like potato chips.  We called them Butterfly Fries.  Boy were they ever good. I had a special ingredient that I sprinkled on them and the crowd loved them along with my Cajun Onion Burger. I knew I could hand cut them that thin.

I digress, into the kitchen I went looking to see what I had available.  The only potatoes in the house were little red new potatoes. I thought about what else I needed and pulled all the equipment and ingredients together.  Slice, slice, slice, soak, soak, soak, dry, brush, dab,spray, salt and cook in the Microwave for 2 minutes.  Ha...Ha! You thought I was going to give away my secret didn't you! No, No, No! As I wag my finger in playfulness.

The first batch I brought out to Dave were great.  He fell in love with them right away.  I fixed 5 more different flavors and he voted the first flavor as the best of the lot.  

I was amazed as to how easy it was to fix the chips and how low cal. they were as there was practically no grease involved. Why would I do them in the microwave?  Being a diabetic, grease is not a good companion.  By microwaving them, it cooks them to a great crunch and your hands don't get greasy and your less likely to eat a whole bag, if you fix just one #10 russet potato.  I can live with that.  

So if you have time on your hands and a do nothing Sunday afternoon, try making up a batch of homemade potato chips. You never know, a million dollars may be waiting around the corner. 

Happy trails...

We would love to hear from you, so please write a line or two to let us know you were here.

Cometh the Students, Rain, Marching Band, Dogs and More Rain...

For the past several days the campus has been abuzz with the new students moving into the residential dorms. It's the largest Freshman class in the history of the school.  Thursday was like a ground swell of ants. Observing the move from the 4th floor of my office building, I could see multitudes of moms, dads, and students with their push carts full of suitcases, pillows, refrigerators, roll-able carts with drawers full of necessities of dorm living, busy going from cars to dorms back to cars and so forth until the rains came...Oh my gosh, wet stuff falling from the sky!  It rained for at least 30 minutes. Just enough to make it very humid outside, but at least it wasn't 100 degrees.  Some of the parents and students ignored the rain and move their stuff anyways.  

Friday morning found the "The Pride" OU Marching Band conducting an early morning practice.  There is nothing like listening to a first class marching band practicing, which means that Sooner football is around the corner and hoards of Sooner fans will ascend on the city. I detected a touch of cooler air and witnessed a woman taking her morning walk in shorts and a jacket with a hood.  Dave and I looked at each other and mouthed the word "jacket!"  Really?

It was nice enough Friday afternoon that I decided to walk home from work.  It takes about 20 minutes for me to walk from my office to the house.  I have been riding the bus so as to save money.  Dave takes me to work and picks me up for lunch. By riding the bus or walking we save about $340.00 a year.  I could ride the bus in the mornings and then that would save us $680.00 a year.  But Dave and I have a ritual each morning that we are not willing to give up.  It's something that has made our marriage strong for 40 years. 

The "CREW" before the bath
Saturday morning brought forth the sun peeking from behind the heavy clouds. It was nice outside so we decided that the dogs needed a bath.  Dave got the little wading pool out that he bought for the dogs to splash in, I gathered the soap and wash mitt along with my coffee.  We put them in the garden area as the whole area is filled with grass. First we washed Fitz, then Lizzy then Bear.  Fitz loves the water so he decided that he had to chase the water coming out of the hose.  It became a game between he and Dave.  Lizzy is leary of the water but let me scrub her down. I even managed to get her down into the water by flipping her on her side and rolling her in the wet stuff.  She was a good girl and just laid there.  Bear on the other hand had to be retrieved from the farthest corner of the yard and put in the pool and washed.  He is one animal that does not care for the water unless it's to go outside and take care of business and chase frogs, except he is terrified of thunder, go figure. 

Once done I brought them into the other back yard, we have three back yards, to let them start drying off.  I set up my chair and had my cup of "Joe"and was enjoying the morning when I noticed the sky getting a dark, dark grey to the north of us.  I shouted to Dave to check the Weather Underground site and he came back with "Get the dogs in the house now and put up the chair, we have a storm moving in."

I no more got the dogs into the kitchen, in which Dave had the area blocked off with the gate, we wanted the dogs to finish drying, when the heavens opened up and let er rip! The atmosphere was so heavy laden with moisture that  we lost the satellite signal from DirecTV.  It slowed to a drizzle then poured again about an hour later for a good 45 minutes at least.  The system moved out of the area around 3p.m.  It's the most rain we've had since last spring.  We have desperately needed the moisture.  By 8p.m. this evening the ground was dry again and the only way you could tell it had rained was the grass was holding onto the water and the dogs paws got wet when let outside.

Dave got a movie while he was at the store this afternoon. So we had a date night in the living room and watched "The Hunger Games"  It was different but good.  I will have to see it again to really get the gist of it.  By the time it was over the dogs needed out and we were tired.  Although I managed a rally to type this blog. 

Happy trails...



A Pyro Cumulus cloud breaking through the heat dome trying to create a thunderstorm
Last weekend was devastating for the state of Oklahoma as we had over 18 fires going in the state at once.  One fire  was about 12 miles east of us out at Thunderbird Lake, on Highway 9; it was known as the Slaughterville Fire.  It was a huge fire and many folks lost their homes.  Another fire was near the town of Luther.  That fire was intentionally set.  Why people feel they need to get their jollies by hurting other people who have not done one thing to hurt them, I will never understand.

We found out on Monday that one person had lost their life in the fire out at Lake Thunderbird.  How sad that they were not able to make it out. Another person in our OU Family lost her home as well.  She happened to be house setting her son's house in town while he was away. 

We're now finding out the Slaughterville fire may have been intentionally set. Again I don't understand people and their mindset.  Whoever did this now faces a murder charge. 

The last remnants of the Slaughterville fire were put out this past Thursday and firefighters returned to their stations.

So sad...



Did I say it was hot?  113 degrees at the moment, with 24% humidity and a chance of it getting to 115 degrees before the day is over, with no immediate relief in sight.  According to it's rare that we have this kind of heat.  The dogs go out long enough to relieve themselves and hustle right back in to the cool tile in the foyer.  I can't blame them.  We fill their water dish at least 10 times or more a day.  I guess that is why the days are called dog day afternoons.  So hot you just want to sleep the day away. 

Next Thursday is our first chance for rain.  There is a 60% chance for the wet stuff, at this point in time anything will be a welcomed relief.  Even some cloud cover would be welcomed. We aren't too picky.   

Actually I would really like to have some cool weather come through. Guess I would have to be a little closer to Canada for that. We are looking at about another 60 days or so of hot weather.  On the Norman City website they have now started asking people to restrict the watering of their lawn on a voluntary basis. 

I sometimes wonder how our grandparents and great grandparents kept cool.  I can remember my mom telling me about how grandma would put a block of ice in the old washtub and set it on a chair, then set an electric fan on a small table and have it blow across the ice.  Mom said that when she was little, grandma would strip her down to her panties for her nap, take a wash cloth, dip it in water then wring it out and twirl it in the air to make it cold then rub her body with it. She would then put talc on my mom and start up the fan blowing across the ice. Sometimes she would rub my mom down with rubbing alcohol.   

We had a water cooler window unit in our house where I lived when I was 5.  Mom would turn that on during the day as I was not allowed to go outside to play due to the heat.  My dad saw that I needed to be outdoors so he rigged up a string of lights from our back poach out to my big swing set out at the back of the lot. Our lot was about 60 feet wide and 150 feet long with the house being up close to the road. As far as the swing set was concerned,  this was not your normal sized swing set, but one made out of oil field pipe welded together to make a huge swing set.  The string of lights lit up the whole back yard as each one was a 100W bulb, there were at least ten sockets for lights. Dad wanted to make sure I could see so I could play outside in the evening when it was cooler.  I had a ball playing outside at night and riding my bike around the yard and exploring the depth of the brush at the back of the property.  Does that make me a Vampire?  

Now I understand why farmers get up before the crack of dawn when it is cooler to do their chores. I could never understand the concept of wearing long sleeved shirts when it was so hot, but as they get wet with sweat they become mini air-conditioners as the wind blows through them. 

The main thing to keeping cool is lots of water for hydration.  We have to keep the wet stuff inside us as well.

How are some of the ways you kept cool as a kid?  What did your parents or grandparents do?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Happy trails...with love


Has It Really Been That Long...

What's the old saying?  Time flies when your having fun.  Well 40 years have flown by in the blink of an eye...I wonder where that time went?  It seems as if it was only yesterday I was making my wedding dress on my great grandmothers treddle sewing maching and then Dave and I got married at St. Mathews by the Lake Episcopal Church in Sand Springs, OK on a very hot summers evening surrounded by friends and family.

Our priest was Father Ernest Anderson from Scotland.  He came to this country as a woodcarver and carved the pews at Trinity Church in downtown Tulsa.  He fell in love with the church and became a priest.  Fr. Ernie was my catechism teacher.  To this day I still say Rite 1 of the 1940 Prayer Book.  I'm old fashion in that I don't like the updated modern version and under my breath say the old one. It just makes me feel better. 

I couldn't have found a better husband than Dave and I would not trade him for all the tea in China. He's a jewel that shines in my heart.  He has taken care of me through thick and thin. When we said our vows we meant, honor, cherish until death do us part.

What price do you put on love? There is none, it is priceless.  We have watched sunrises and sunsets. We have seen majestic mountains and valleys. We have seen our children grow and become responsible adults having their own children, passing on lessons learned. 

We are blessed beyond measure and for that we are thankful.

Happy 40th my's to 40 more!

Happy trails...With love...


A New Member of the Clan...

Friday the 13th was a big milestone in our family. Our daughter Heather gave birth to our second grandson Andrew Thomas...8lbs. 8oz.  Little Andrew made his appearance around 12:45p.m.  J's mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law and niece was there. Dave, Christie and I along with "I'm the Big Brother" Noah
Big brother Noah looking at his new brother

were in attendance as well.  So the waiting room was quite full.  Our daughter had to have a Cesarean due to fibroid surgery 3 years ago. 
Daddy and son!

If it had not been for Dr. John Putman in Dallas and the surgery he pioneered for uterine fibroids, they would have never been able to have their own children.
Heather and Andrew waiting for a room
Heather did not get into a room until about 8:45 p.m. The hospital was so busy delivering babies that mommies had to wait on rooms. But she was well taken care of by the nurses and staff.  I was quite impressed.  They have a new policy at Good Shepard Hospital.  The babies stay with you the whole time.  The only time the nurse takes the baby is to bathe it and weigh it.  The truest sense of rooming in. 
Andrew meeting his Auntie Christie
35 years ago Heather was one of first babies to room-in at University Hospital in Oklahoma City.  A news article was written about her.  The concept was new then, a mother and baby stayed in the same room and the mother took care of the baby.  The idea was to make the bond solid.  In the case of both of my girls, it did.  It was a wonderful experience.

Ah...there you are peeking out at us.
Here comes a yawn...

Oh such a big yawn!
Ah... back to sleep much for play time!

So our family grows and we could not be happier!  Welcome to the world Andrew!

Happy trails...


A Jar of Sweet Pickle Relish...

What better food to have on the 4th of July than hot dogs.    I started the dogs, Dave got the fixin's out.  He likes dill relish on his hot dogs, I, however like sweet pickle relish on mine.  While I'm chopping an onion and fixing some chili, Dave mentions that I'm just about out of my relish.  I looked at the jar and a flood of memories came rushing back of one year previous today. 

I was at my daughters house in Texas when I received a phone call from the wife of the former Director of our division informing me that my former boss and friend had drowned the day before in a rafting accident.  Needless to say I was shocked and numb at the same time. 

Joan is the the lady in Pink
Joan had been a lifesaver in so many ways for me when I started back to work full-time 12 years ago.  She and I were very much alike.  We both had children who were athletes and knew the rigors of traveling all over the country for tournaments.  She would let me work four 10 hour days so I could have the 5th day off for tournament travel.

Every Christmas gift that she would give to each of the people in her division was always related to full time travel.  I was the only person who recognized it.  I still have each and every one of the gifts she gave me and I intend to take them on the road with us when we start our full timing adventure. 

She saw to it that my kids had jobs to earn extra money.  When she and Alan sold their home she invited me and my daughter to come and look at some very nice blouses and coats she was going to give the the women's shelter, as she and I were the same size.  I found some terrific work blouses and a nice coat. She also had canned food in her pantry and asked us to see if there was anything we wanted before she carted it off to the food bank.  We found a lot of great canned items to stock our pantry with, one of them being three or four jars of Sweet Pickle Relish.  Keep in mind this was in 2005, the expiration date on the jar was 2009, I just finished using the last one in 2012! 
  Apparently Sweet Pickle Relish lasts forever!!!

Joan was a very giving person, in so many but quiet ways, always thinking of others.  I only saw her a few more times after she and Alan hit the road.  It always happened at the Sam's Club in Norman when she and Alan would be in town visiting friends, either she was leaving the store or we were heading into the store, always in the parking lot.  She always had that wonderful smile on her face and a I'm retired, when are you going to, twinkle in her eyes.

I will always remember that very kind and dear lady and all the small but great things she did for me and my family. 

I lift a jar to you, Joan!

Happy trails...  


He's TWO!!!...

We went to Texas last weekend to celebrate Noah's second birthday.  My daughter planed for weeks different activities for the kids, all based on Sesame Street. 

There was an Oscar the Grouch Trash Toss. 

 A Big Bird Bubble Station.

                                A Grover Color Station. 

Lots of food, cake and cookies!

A singing Elmo Happy Birthday Balloon!
A swim station with three different size pools and slip-n-slide. Dad even flopped on the slip-n-slide giving a thumbs up!

A swing set and a photo station for pictures with the Sesame Street Gang.
There were 35 to 40 people in the back yard. Everyone had a great time with so much to participate in.  Yes, it was hot but not as hot as last year.  Cake eating and present opening was in the backyard under the shade tree this year.

Boy that icing is G O O D!!!!!
Noah even blew out his candles on his special little cake, then proceeded to dive in.

Pals for life!
Everyone else had their choice of a piece of Bert and Ernie cake, special handmade Sesame cookies or special Sesame Character cupcakes.

Elmo, Oscar and Cookie Monster cupcakes all in a tray.

The only mishap that occurred happened the next day with me stepping in a fire ant hill.  I got 9 bites...OUCH!!! How the kids did not get bit I have no idea as they were running all around the yard without shoes.

Noah enjoying the water on a hot day!
Noah's birthday actual birthday was yesterday, June 30th where he spent part of the day at the new Splash Pad. What made it even more special was his picture at the Splash Pad dedication was on the front page of the local paper.
Picture that was on the front page of the local paper

The Photograhper was so taken with Noah that he included 2 shots of him for the web version of the paper. How neat is that!

He's such a fun little guy to be around. A little Dinamo on the go.

Can't wait to meet his little brother Andrew in 9 days.
Andrew giving his opinion of the party!

Happy trails...



Remember when I mentioning that we took a young Army Officer to our 3 movie marathon on New Years Day?  Well a relationship developed between our daughter and Harrison.  She has been down to El Paso three times to visit with him. Once to watch the football playoffs with him and his friends.  Once to attend the Military Ball and this last time was suppose to have been 7 days in Hawaii but the Army fouled that up so she got to spend 2 1/2 days with him instead, which is better than not getting to spend anytime with him. 

Harry deploys Saturday to Afghanistan.  Please keep this young man and his unit and all members of the Armed Forces and their families in your prayers as they go into harms way. 



Of Splash Parks and Dinosaurs

In the middle of the week before last, our very pregnant daughter Heather called, to let us know they were going to come up for the Memorial Day weekend.  Wow...two and a half days with our little Noah.  We were very happy except for suddenly realizing we had not baby proofed the house since last December.  So off we went sweeping, dusting, washing linens and towels, stashing the clutter and removing the knickknacks to the spare bedroom behind closed doors.  

I decided to open up and dust off the piano to see what Noah would do with it.  He loved it!  Early Saturday morning he discovered it.  One note, then two, then whole fists and 10 fingers.  Up and down the keyboard he went.   Well needless to say, that got this Grandmother out of bed and up to see the tiny virtuoso pounding away. Skilled....not so much, but playing his heart out nevertheless with a huge smile on his face.  I pulled the bench out and sat down with him and played along which he just loved.  This went on all weekend.  At times we would have to pull the lid down over the keyboard if we wanted to watch a movie or hold a conversation.  

Their dog Sam and our fearsome three had a grand time and they all loved chasing Noah around the furniture.  He in turned chased them and then they would all collapse and Noah would lay on top of them pealing with laughter.  Fitz has this low rumble in his throat and the kids thought he was going to bite Noah, but Fitz would make the noise then open his jaws and gently gum Noah's arm all in play.  Lizzy however, would chase him and nip his butt.  She is a herding dog so we had to really keep an eye on her and remind her...GENTLE! She was a good girl and we made sure we let her know that.  Bear on the other hand was just the right size for Noah to terrorize.  Since he is a small dog, Noah would chase him down and try to pick him up and carry him around the living room.  But Bear was good and would play with him for awhile before finding a hiding spot. 

Noah enjoying his "Greek" lunch
Saturday was a day to rest up for the kids after the 7 hour drive up from East Texas.  The reason it takes so long is Heather is 7 1/2 months pregnant and had to stop ever so often, walk around the car then stop to eat...let the dog out to go to the bathroom etc. You know the drill.  The kids always have to make a lunch date for the "Greek House" every time they come up.  We love their food and gladly look forward to going there. They have the best Greek Gyros in Norman.   Later in the day Heather and I went shopping to pick up food for the next couple of days and in the process fixed some fantastic crock pot ribs. I entered the recipe into a program that lets you enter the recipe and then it figures the nutrition information for you. Go here to see the the recipe for Sweet and Saucy Ribs
Saturday night we watched the remake of Footloose.  They did a good job of bringing it up to date and the young man, Kenny Wormald, playing Ren is an exceptional dancer.  However the young man playing Willard, Miles Teller, did a great job. We had a fun time watching it and remembering all the songs from it.
My daughter has been going through courses to learn how to better prioritize and live frugally.  There are some great sites out there. and She brought up all of her information on couponing and shopping.  They are already noticing a difference in their grocery bill by meal planning from the circulars and couponing. She even gave me a recipe for making dry powdered soap and liquid soap for the laundry.  And for fabric softener...distilled white vinegar. It really works and does not leave your clothes smelling like vinegar.  She is now making her own dry soup mixes and baking  mixes and saving while she does it.  They have also been taking the Dave Ramsey "The Total Money Makeover" course and doing very well with it.

Told you I could squeeze through.

Ha, Ha! Gotcha!

So what do you call this thing?
Man the cannons maties!

It's a water bubble
I'm having too much fun!

Sunday afternoon after a lunch of homemade Hoagies, we headed to Andrew's Park which has an old kiddie swimming pool converted to a splash park with water cannons and fill and pouring buckets.  The buckets are up on a poll and are filled with water from up above then when they reach a certain point they tip and dump the water out  all over the kids below.  The kids just love it! There are misters in rainbow shapes, water jets shooting water out out the ground, just lots of fun things for the kids to do while running around the area.  Noah loved it.  His daddy said the water was cold, but did Noah mind?  Not at all, didn't complain once that the water was cold.  He was just a little water bug with a big smile on his face.  Matter of fact he got upset when we took him back to the car to put a dry diaper on him and get him dress, however that ceased when he learned that he was going to get to go to the "Big Toy" located in the park. 
Heading off to the "Big Toy" with Daddy

Look how strong I am!
Exploring the climbing rock
He loved climbing all over that and going down the slide and having his daddy chase him around the toy.  He sure is one active toddler.

Afterwards we we went to Five Guys Burgers.  The kids really enjoyed the  meal as they don't have a Five Guys place in Longview.

On Monday we were up and out the door at 1:00 p.m. as the  Sam Nobel Oklahoma Museum of Natural History opened for the day and the kids wanted to take Noah to see the Dinosaurs.  The  University based Natural History Museum is one of the world's largest.
Heading off to the museum
Noah checks out the exhibit
Look Up Noah, did you ever see so many bones?

The recently discovered Chinasaurus is on exhibition at the moment.  Noah had a grand time.  He loved looking at all the varied exhibits. 
Boy that is a big Mammoth
More dinosaurs...must be a gazillion of them!!!

I think his favorite place was the Discovery Room where children can dig for fossils and become explorers. There are all kinds of things to touch,see and feed.  Afterwards we had a bite to eat,  the kids then packed up their car, we took some quick family pictures and then they left to make the long drive back home.
Noah checking out Gma's daisies.
Dave, Susie, J, Noah & Heather

Once again the house was empty and quiet as the dust began to settle.  Boy we sure do miss that little whirlwind and his parents.  Until next time...

Happy trails...