Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blogged Out

It's time to go ahead and say:

Au Revoir!

I could go on.  Google "how to say goodbye in languages" and see how many choices there are.

Between Facebook and Twitter and texting and emailing and all the other techno options out there, I've lost the blogging desire as a source for sharing.  Still love reading all of your blogs however!

(I reserve the right to change my mind.  I may need more room to brag about Emma than the other sources provide.)

Over and out!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Daddy is beginning chemo again today.  I think he started about 18 months ago, but I can't be certain.  I feel somewhat guilty that I don't remember these things more clearly, but I just don't.  I can't even say with certainty how long ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but I want to say it was 12 years ago.  Addison asked me this morning how many rounds of chemo he's had, and again I don't know.  I think yesterday he told me each full treatment of chemo for him is about 12 rounds, each three weeks apart.  But have I already forgotten exactly what he said less than 24 hours ago?

Here is something I do know.  My dad is a very positive man.  I know he has his moments when he gets down and feels depleted, but what people around him and who talk to him see and hear are upbeat, positive thoughts.  Over a decade of being poked and prodded, enduring intensely painful procedures, feeling blah and drained for months at a time, and dealing with the monthly question of "what will this test result reveal," he remains positive. 

I also know there are people who deal with illnesses and who vent and complain and who are COMPLETELY entitled to do so.  Reaching out for support and bending the ear of a friend or family member is okay, so I don't want to offend anyone by saying otherwise.  Let's be honest, we all know the difference between wanting attention and wanting support and who fits into which category.  But my dad doesn't beg for either.  Sure, he'll ask for prayers and will post a Facebook status update about his treatment occasionally, but he almost always has a hint of humor or playful sarcasm attached, even when he's anxious and worried.

So Daddy is on my mind today as he once again begins chemo and is faced with another several months of not feeling himself.  From my earliest memories, I've considered my dad to be a big, strong man.  It is still a simple yet perfect description, because it describes his mental outlook as well.  Sure, I can outrun my dad now, but I'm miles behind him in practicing a positive attitude each day. 

Good luck, Daddy.  Love you.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


So yesterday I got a speeding ticket doing 41 in a 40.  Except technically it wasn't a 40 mph zone at the moment.  It was a construction zone, and I failed to see the 30 mph signs that were apparently posted everywhere, says the officer.  He's right; they were there.

Still, I was annoyed.  I didn't like the way he approached my window and announced "41 in a 30" with such a "gotcha" tone.  I didn't like how he claimed to do me a favor by reducing my speed while still charging me $150.  I don't get intimidated too easily by encounters with the police, yet I'm not saying this is a good character trait of mine.  A little humility is probably best in these situations.  I was maybe a tiny bit snippy, might have voiced annoyance at the amount of the fine, and might have been smacking my gum.  He picked up on it, I could tell.  He walked away telling me to "try to have a better day."  Really?

So I continue to be pissy and annoyed and complain about the whole thing to everyone (even the people at Fleet Feet for goodness sake), like most of us do I'm guessing.  And I'm voicing my opinion about his so-called "favor." 

And then today I call the court to find out about getting a ticket dismissed by taking Defensive Driving, and if I would still have to appear in court, etc.  I was told that my ticket would NOT be reported on my record, because it was less than 10 miles over the limit.  Because the officer reduced my speed, I no longer have to go to court and my insurance company will never be the wiser.

I took a perfect opportunity to be a kind, decent human being and instead treated an officer like poop.  Am I still irritated that the City of Tulsa gets $150 instead of giving me a warning?  Absolutely.  But I still wish I could have that moment back.

Officer: 1, Me: 0

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another trip home

I've made so many trips to Midland over the past 11 months that I sometimes feel like I'm still hanging on to that dusty town.  But I am thankful that it's close enough to drive down for a weekend and still feel connected to Bailey and the rest of my family and friends.  With Bailey nearing her seventh month, I want to see her as much as I can.  I've never regretted our move away from Midland, but it's sometimes hard to not be there for your daughter during her first pregnancy.

Her shower was beautiful, and Michael's family couldn't have been more welcoming.  It was odd yet comforting to be around so many people that know and love Bailey that I've never met.  As much as I would love for her to be up here or closer, she and Emma are in very good hands and probably where they need to be.  Of course, that doesn't stop me from campaigning for Tulsa every chance I get.  :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You talkin' to me?

It has been suggested to me from my sometimes wise oldest daughter, that based on an accumulation of events, I might be being challenged in a supernatural way.  I had actually thought this as well, but shrugged it off.  The challenge I might have been given is how am I going to start handling people who are extremely rude, way off base, you name it.  What I usually do is stand up for myself and give it right back.  It feels pretty good, even RIGHT, at least temporarily.  What I don't want to become is a pushover.  So how do you balance the two?  How do you confront someone who's being a jerk without compromising your integrity?  How do you let someone have it in a dignified manner?

I had another encounter with an asshole recently, this time at a grocery store.  I'll skip the details but will just say that I was shocked and confused.

I'm a little on edge around strangers right now, at least until I get this figured out.

The obvious does not escape me.  I realize that by sharing my stories of encounters with rude people, it starts to look like I'm the one causing these things to happen.  But I have Alan as my witness who says I'm not doing anything to instigate matters.  And Alan is as good a personal reference as any.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The latest in the "I hate my neighbors" saga

So...things have been quiet in the neighborhood for a while.  The lady diagonally to us who called the cops on our dog and then proceeded to brag about it to others doesn't come out much anymore.  I'd like to take credit for this, since I made quite an effort to make her feel uncomfortable when she did venture out, but the truth is the weather is probably what keeps her fat ass inside.

Oh wow, was that out loud?  I'm in an ugly mood.

We did not have a good Saturday morning.

In order to accommodate "those people," Duke doesn't go outside as much anymore.  He doesn't chase freely after squirrels and airplanes like the good ole' days.  But being a dog, he really needs to be out there to take care of business and bark at the occasional dog and owner walking by, carrying out his God-given dog duty of protecting his owners and their property.  It usually lasts for less than a minute.  I know this, because we kept a log for about a month and timed his barking.  That's right.  We timed our dog's barking.  We want to be courteous and accommodating to others, and we've made changes even though we hated how the neighbor handled things. 

Duke wakes up around 6:00 a.m. most mornings and is ready to go outside to water the trees.  This past Saturday morning, I let him out around 6:52 a.m.  At around 6:55, we heard him barking and IMMEDIATELY went to the back door to make him come in.  It doesn't take long to hear his bark - it's loud and you can't miss it.  Of course we wouldn't want him barking early in the morning.  So I opened the door, walked out to get him, and the neighbor directly behind us screams at me.  "SHUT YOUR G-- D--- DOG UP!"

I've never met this neighbor in the ten months we've lived here.  There's no alley separating our fences which makes things sort of intimate, yet they've never said hello.  This was my introduction.  And what a lovely man he turned out to be.

Don't expect to hear that I handled this with maturity and decorum like my husband would have.  A man whom I've never met yelled and cursed at me, and that ugly don't-you-dare-talk-crap-about-my-kids-or-my-dog side came out.  I will just say that all the yelling ended with me requesting he go directly to Hell.

Alan chose a different route and called the cops.  A very nice, very professional police officer spoke with us for a while about ways we might handle this, what our rights are, what their rights are (which it turns out are WAY better than our rights), and suggested Alan not go try to speak to this neighbor for a couple days.  Let things cool down.

It's been a couple days, and I don't feel things have cooled down.  I'm still furious.  I'm still ready for a fight.  I'm all kinds of pissed off about not being welcome in my neighborhood where we pay our mortgage, taxes, and annual HOA fees like everyone else.  And I'm really confused about feeling like a target.  Addison lives with us with her two dogs, and now she's nervous about going outside.  Is this going to blow over, or is this just the beginning of the next several years?

I know what it takes to be the bigger person and handle this with integrity, but I won't be doing that.  I know deep down it would probably make me feel all warm and fuzzy knowing I turned the other cheek.  It's not going to happen.  All I can say is...stay tuned.  I'm pretty sure this isn't over.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Help an amateur out

I'm gearing up to get in a photography mood.  Bailey has asked that I take her maternity pictures, including ones with her and Michael.  That's a lot of pressure.  I've seen some really cute maternity pics out there, so I know I'll be stealing shamelessly.  However, I don't want to get too cliche - you know how one shot gets a LOT of use, like the way you make a heart shape with your thumbs and forefingers on the pregnant belly?  Super cute but hasn't it been done a lot?  I'm probably offending someone, I'm sure.

So I'm up for any and all suggestions.  I know you have Facebook friends that have posted maternity shots, so think back and revisit their pages for me.

In the meantime, I really must get a new lens.  I'm either going ebay or brand new, but I have to get one soon.  I recently took some rather spur-of-the-moment pictures of Addison with my 55m lens, and although they turned out great, I know a new lens is a must for future portraits.  You wouldn't believe how hot and humid it was on this day...amazing that it's not noticeable.

My camera has a stabilizer and I used a tripod, but still got some pictures that weren't as clear as I wanted, like this one.  Not sure what else I should be doing:

I love this one.  I think this is the one her dad requested to have an 8 x 10 of for his home:

I like hands in pictures, in case you hadn't noticed.  It's how most of us often sit or relax, with our heads or chins resting in our hands.  I like when hair blows in the face or eyes squint when you laugh - natural stuff.  But maternity pics?  That's a new one for me.  Help!

Friday, June 15, 2012

12 legs of fun

So what have I been so busy doing you ask, that I must ignore my blog for weeks on end?  I don't have a good answer other than, a little of this and a little of that.  I figured after nine months of living here it was time to start making minor improvements around the house.  So I repainted the cabinets in the master bath, touched up some trim moulding, painted one of the guest rooms a new color, and hung all new blinds upstairs.  Except for the corner bathroom that I forget about.  The next thing I really want to tackle but am not sure where to begin is touching up some cabinets in the kitchen.  The previous owners had the once-white cabinets painted and glazed or stained to give them an antique, rustic sort of look.  But I guess when touchups were needed, someone did a crappy job.  When you first buy a home and are enamored with it, certain things don't bother you until you lived there a while and have looked at the mistakes every day.  And although I really like this home and am in no way taking things for granted, the honeymoon phase has passed.  Time to get crackin'.

But MOST of my time has been spent with the critters.  Now that Addison is busy with work, I have a LOT of time with just me and the pups.  I can't claim Junior because no one really spends time with Junior, and besides I'm mad at him after biting my face off.

So enjoy these little videos.  Nothing earth shattering or exciting, just examples of typical days around here.  What I didn't video is how many times a day I pick up poop inside the house, break up little arguments, and yell at them to SHUT UP BARKING AT EVERY DOG, SQUIRREL AND RABBIT that goes by.  But I get lots of dog breath kisses and snuggle time that makes up for it all.

This was after Alan came home from the hospital donning a lovely new boot and crutches.  Betsey didn't like it:

I took this one to show Addison that Betsey was going to be okay.  She had a bad allergic reaction from biting a bug or something while Addison was out of town and had to go get some shots:

By the way, here's a pic of how Betsey looked before getting to the vet.  She was a wee bit swollen:

This is some discipline and manners we are working on:

Playing ball.  Every day.  Many, many times:

Dogs at the pool.  Sadly that is not my pool.  But that is my pool boy, oooohhhh yeah!

And lastly, this is a video I posted on Facebook the other day and what prompted the need to learn manners while going outside:

So that's my life as of late.  And people ask if I'm going to go back to work.  As if I could leave my obligations around here.  ;-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Changes of Late

Having some trouble blogging lately.  But I feel if I'm forcing myself to post when I have nothing to share or just ain't feelin' it, then I shouldn't bother.

Random happenings:

We have a fuller household right now, and it's great!  Addison moved in the first week of May, along with Sadie and Betsey.  Duke has playmates, and her pups have a backyard for the first time in their lives (and a dog park with actual grass).  It's been great helping Addison get away from Midland and making a fresh start somewhere better.  She's had several interviews and is waiting to hear on one that was very promising.  She's had more interviews by age 21 than I've had my entire life.  Impressive.

My granddaughter has a name, Emma Elaine.  She weighs about 1/2 pound and is the size of a mango.  I can't wait to see her when she's a little watermelon.  She is letting her momma know she's alive and kicking, literally.  How am I not going to spoil her rotten? 

This spring and summer is getting busy, in a good way.  We've been to St. Louis, Alan has two business trips in May, we go to Houston next month and perhaps back to St. Louis, and have possibly three different rounds of visitors in June alone.  Love having company.  Bailey and Michael will likely be visiting for a few days around July 4th, partly to check out Tulsa.  They are tentatively planning to move here in December or January after that little watermelon gets here.

St. Louis was great.  It was big, urban, green, and friendly.  We went to two Braves vs. Cardinals games, and the Braves won both.  I'll always remember getting to see Chipper Jones in his very last season and the standing ovation a stadium full of opposing fans game him at his first up at bat.  Awesomeness.  Stay classy, St. Louis.

Look at the lady in the background, above.  Haha!  This is a great picture of Alan.  Look how pretty his eyes are. :-)

This was the "Girls on the Run" 5K we ran Saturday morning, which benefited St. Louis public schools running and sports programs for girls.
Not running much, but not giving it up either.  Still have miscellaneous issues to deal with, but some areas have healed up.  A few weeks ago we did a run organized by the OSU Osteopathic program.  While waiting for Alan to finish his run, I got an evaluation and "adjustment" from one of the students and supervising doctor in the program.  We focused mostly on my hip, and I'm happy to say I've been feeling very little to no hip discomfort since then.  But as is the norm, once one area heals, another flare up happens elsewhere.  Now it's my knee.  In the meantime, Addison and I are frequent visitors to the Y and have started joining in some classes.

I'll try to get back into the blogging thing, but my pissy neighbor hasn't given me much to write about lately.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Some Junior love

Sweet fat kitty has taken over the dog's bed.  I shouldn't call him fat.  Taking inspiration from The Help, I like to give him words of encouragement. "You is kind, you is smart, you is important."  I like to stress the kind part, hoping he'll start believing it himself and ACT LIKE IT.

More Junior goodness:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Faced one fear

So here's how the whole day at the shooting range came about.  Alan's dad brought down a .357 Magnum that was either his dad's (Leigh's dad) or his brother Pete's, we're not sure.  I don't know why we're not sure.  (I could write an entire post on the way Alan communicates with his family.  If you know Alan, you know that he gives every minute detail in any given story or account of his day, so why he doesn't ask for details in return, such as WHO gave us said gun, is beyond me.)  Oy.  Regardless, it was a very nice gift and we were told by the gun range folks that it's an awesome gun.

I am not and have never been a fan of guns.  Don't like being in the same room with one, and especially don't like being in a room with someone touching one.  Even if it's not loaded, I assume a bullet got left in the chamber by mistake and am therefore very uncomfortable.  Really, really bad things have happened with guns around.  Let's say you have a knife that you're holding and it accidentally falls and stabs me in the foot.  I'm going to cry, but I'm going to live.  But if you accidentally fire off a gun around people, someone could DIE.

Back to the Dirty Harry gun.  We took it to a shooting range to see if Alan could practice with it.  Since he had never shot a pistol, they suggested he not go straight to a .357 and instead that we get a little training and practice with a .22.  We scheduled a day to go through the training a week later.  I'll be honest.  I was not loving life.  I also wasn't being forced to do this, but figured it gave me a little leverage for one of Alan's future Fridays off.  Oh, you have the day off?  Let's go get facials or massages.  You'll love it!!

So I didn't go to the training (a private lesson with just us and the instructor) kicking and screaming, but I was quite nervous.  The instructor was awesome and made sure we understood all of the "classroom" info before entering the range.  Oh, the range.  The ultimate in scary.  A dozen people with guns of all shapes and sizes, being allowed to shoot at will.

Alan was up first, and he basically nailed it.  Here's his whatever-you-call-it-sheet.  I wasn't too thrilled that I had to follow that.

I did okay.  Here's mine.

I will say however, that it's kind of hard to focus on the sight and aim when you CAN'T SQUINT. I don't know why my face won't contort the way the rest of yours does, enabling you to shut one eye and really concentrate with your dominant one.  But since I was in my 30s before I learned to whistle, I'm not too surprised.  Where was my dad when I was little?  Wasn't he responsible for teaching me these skills?  

Anyway, I actually enjoyed myself.  We'll go back, soon probably, to practice some more.  Until then, I need squinting lessons.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It has definitely sprung.

So this is Spring.  Spring in Tulsa is an in-your-face kind of season - you can't miss it.  I don't know what all is coming up in our beds, but I know I have a lot of new plants and shrubs and trees to learn about.  I'm afraid I'm going to pull something up thinking it's a weed and not get rid of weeds that I mistake for a pretty ground cover.  But then again, I have neighbors who will point that out.

Stuff I've never had before (sorry for the fuzzy photos):

Japanese Maple.  I once asked for one at a nursery in Midland, and the worker all but laughed in my face.

A Dogwood tree.  Thought it was something you'd only see in the southeast.

No idea what this is, but it's kind of pretty.  I do know that I don't like the big spiky leaf things growing all around and through it.  Some sort of flowering bulb I'm sure, but the leaves are not doing it for me and why would you plant a shrub on top of bulbs?

There are other plants - crepe myrtles, hydrangea, and phlox that I'm excited about but aren't blooming yet.  Yet another reason why leaving the desert has been a good thing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Adventure

Obviously I survived and finished the half marathon on Sunday.  I don't think anyone ever knew that when I joked about hoping medics would be on-hand, I was actually serious.  I was nervous about what might happen.  We all know our bodies better than anyone, and I knew I'd had some scary moments.  I have what I call my "episodes" where my heart palpitates too quickly, I get cold and clammy, and things start appearing fuzzy.  This has happened for years, but not frequently.  And recently I've been experiencing what I'm pretty sure is exercise induced asthma, which is a bit disconcerting when you don't know what to do during an attack.  It's new to me and kinda freaky.  So although I try to be a good sport when people don't believe I'm as slow as I am, or argue that "oh no, you won't take that long," or look embarrassed for me when I admit I usually stop to walk a bit after just two miles, their disbelief gets OLD.

My time was 2:49.  That's epically slow, I know.  But I'm still pretty happy with it.  It's only a few minutes longer than I was shooting for - 2:40.  Combining a mixture of running and walking, I wanted to run about 9 and walk 4.  I'm pretty sure that's what I did.  The first seven miles were great!  I was loving life!  I ran my fastest 5 miles, my fastest 10K, and at the halfway point I was at 1:16.  If I had been able to keep up that pace, I would have finished in 2:32.  But then came mile 7.  Good ole' mile 7.  Everything went downhill from there.  As I took a step past the 7 mile marker, I felt a shot of pain.  It felt like someone jabbed a large needle into my hip.  I actually gasped.  Perhaps some profanity followed.  I thought the run was going to be over.  But I walked a bit and soon figured out I could run a short distance without it hurting too bad.  Sadly at around mile 11, one of the runners was taken away in an ambulance.  It was about this time that I felt another shot of pain, but I was so close at that point it didn't matter.  My time had suffered tremendously, but I was happy knowing I was going to finish.  I was seriously fatigued and dealing with the asthma the last couple of miles, but Alan met me at about 12.5 miles and ran with me cheering and encouraging me on.  I don't think I ever thanked him for that. 

It was a great day, perfect weather, awesome company, and I did something I never thought I could do.  I wouldn't want to do another one unless I'm feeling 90-100% healed with absolutely no hip pain.  What I'm more interested in now is running faster 5 and 10Ks.  Just for funsies.

The "Team":  David, Alan, Karl, me, Ashley, and Heather - they were so great and so much fun.  And they kicked butt.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

My dream world

My dreams lately are exhausting.  I wake up frustrated or annoyed and don't really need another factor that keeps me from sleeping well.  They're also recurring, the same theme almost every night.  Alan's become accustomed to me describing my dreams each morning.  This has been going on for two to three weeks.

So the basic theme is that I can't get where I'm supposed to be going.  I've had a few where I'm starting a new job and am having trouble getting around the building.  I'm trying to take the elevator to my floor, but I can't find the right elevator or corridor, or someone sends me in the wrong direction.  Last night some aliens, like those from Halo, were invading the building and blocking the elevators! 

Or I'm traveling and trying to catch a flight or a connecting flight.  Can't get to the gate or figure out where I'm supposed to sit.  Twice now I've dreamed that someone points me in a direction that ends up being a major construction area outside of the airport, with rubble and barriers, and it's completely deserted.

Or I'm teaching a class and can't find the class, or with a slightly different angle, can't find the supplies, lesson plans, etc. to teach the class. Or the classroom is dark, and I can't get the lights to work, geez.  It's a little different but kind of similar to the test dreams I used to have, where I have an important exam but am running late or forgot to study or can't find the room and ultimately blow the test.

I've often heard that what seems like the literal translation of a dream is not always the case.  But this does appear fairly straightfoward.  I'm not sure where I'm going.  And even if I sort of think I know where I'm supposed to be, I'm not prepared when I get there.

I definitely don't have a true sense of purpose right now.  I'm not working, and sometimes I feel a little self-conscious about that.  Alan and I are content with how things are, but I wrestle with it daily.   

And then again all these dreams could have to do with one specific thing.  It was three weeks ago that I found out Bailey is expecting.  I can say with certainty that I wasn't and still am not fully prepared for that and have no idea what the future holds.  And strangely, in at least two of these dreams, I've been holding someone's baby.  So weird!  Maybe after a while when Bailey has some plans in place, and I'm not worrying as much (although I think we're doing a good job handling this!), these dreams will subside...

Okay this song has nothing to do with dreams, but often when I can't sleep I think of an old James Taylor song "Sleep Come Free Me."  I don't know how to embed it correctly into Blogger, so go YouTube it.  Kind of dreary, but good.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My hair is no virgin

I almost treated my hair with an at-home keratin smoothing kit designed for people like me who long for naturally straight and smooth hair, until I read the warnings inside the package.  It stated not to use if you have EVER highlighted, bleached, permed, chemically straightened, etc., etc. your hair.  EVER!  So I called the company to confirm that since I permed my hair in the 80s (along with all the other girls wanting those big curly locks), and straightened my hair maybe 12-15 years ago, should I not use their product?  Were they really serious about the "EVER" part?

Yes, they were serious and said not to use their product.  I'm wondering how successful their product is going to be, when almost every female I know has treated their hair with at least one of the above methods.  Just thought it was weird.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wee bit of news

In my last post I made reference to being a grandmother someday, having no idea that someday is only months away.  A few hours after posting, I got a call from Bailey with the news. 

Things haven't often turned out the way I had wished for the girls.  But that was my agenda.  I think most parents dream of an order to things, of happy events and thoroughly planned milestones in their kids' lives, so I don't think it makes me too judgmental or snobbish to have hoped for life to turn out differently so far.  But babies become kids and kids become young adults with their own agenda and own lives, and you just have to trust that everything works out.  Not the way you want, but in a way that ultimately makes them happy, healthy, independent, and wiser from their own experiences.  I'm well aware that my own choices and decisions are a big factor in how their lives have played out, and that doesn't lend itself to peaceful nights of sleep.  Again, there goes my agenda creeping in.

So I guess it would be wise to ask for prayers or positive thoughts for Bailey and the challenges she may encounter as she figures things out.  But she seems pretty happy about this, and we'll all be super happy come October when we have a new family member.  A very tiny, peach fuzzy, baby lotion scented, cuddly wuddly new member.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not your average grandma

Cutting up celery and carrot sticks and putting them in glass jars of cold water will forever remind me of my grandma.  She always had healthy snacks like this at her house, although we got to have cookies, too.  Two of them, usually Chips Ahoy.  We'd come in after school (she lived across the street from the school) and there would be two cookies on a napkin at the table for each child.  And a Dixie cup with the child's initials on it, maybe filled with Koolaid?  I don't remember.  I do remember that we were given one Dixie cup that was to last us for the entire week.  Think of how small and flimsy Dixie cups are, and imagine what they're like after a week's worth of use.

She might have been a tad thrifty, and I'm guessing that was the reason for the celery and carrots in the jars.  They last longer that way, and I bet she was going to get every penny out of her groceries.  Which is exactly what I'm doing, so I can't really poke fun.

But back to Grandma.  I don't have fond memories of her when I was a child.  She wasn't much fun to be around and didn't make us feel very welcome, but rather more of a nuisance.  I don't understand how someone who had 14 children of her own could have such poor nurturing skills.  There were some small gestures, however.  I do think she enjoyed braiding mine and my sister's hair, and making us banana bread, and crocheting things for us.  But hugs and kisses and thoughtful comments were rare if ever.  It makes you feel weird as a child when a family member, especially a parent or grandparent, seems annoyed or burdened by your presence.

Once I was grown, I got over the bad feelings and was able to enjoy being around Grandma.  I think it was because I knew she didn't have authority over me any more.  I was able to shrug off the childhood memories and even share quite a few laughs with family members who also knew her as their "babysitter."  I also learned of the hardships she experienced throughout her life and came to see her meanness in a different light.  Still, I want my own grandchildren to know a loving, nurturing grandmother.  Because regardless of life experiences, it's never the child's fault.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Tortoise and Hare, update

This is my husband, in 35 degree weather, running 15 miles, at a 7:26 pace, winning third in his age group.  He's pretty awesome.  And it's a good thing he's fast, because we have a 9-mile "Sweetheart Run" on Saturday in which we'll be timed as a couple.  So for every minute that he's helping our "team," I'll be bringing us down and then some.  It'll be the first time I've run in two weeks, and so far this week I've been on the couch for two days with a pretty bad sinus infection. 

Oh, and the temps should be in the upper 20s by Saturday's race time of 7:45 a.m.  Sounds like a good beginning to Valentine's weekend!

Results:   Alan placed 2nd in his age group in both the 5K and the 10K, 5th overall in the men's 10K, and 3rd overall in the men's double (5K plus the 10K).  There were 118 men who ran the 10K.  So like I said, he's pretty awesome.  And kind of annoying.

I crossed the finish the line in both races, so yeah.  I'm a "finisher."  After the 9 miles of death was over, I immediately bent over the railing and someone came up and asked if I was okay.  Um yeah, I'm just LOUSY at this.  Then I went to sit down and started having an asthma attack, but I don't have asthma.  I couldn't breathe, couldn't get air into my lungs, and was starting to panic.  It was fantastic fun.  So although I've said that the experience is fun, this race SUCKED BALLS.

But go Alan!  Heehee...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Preparing for Memphis

The half marathon training is not going particularly well, although there are ups as well as downs.  The 8-mile workout was definitely an "up" followed by a 5K on Saturday that shouldn't have been a "down."  Should have been easy, but the shin splints are worse than I thought.  I knew I would battle aches and/or injuries, and it's sort of stupid to do something you KNOW will bring you pain.  But although the running is not fun, the experience is.

I had a really good time by myself doing the 8-mile, the furthest I've ever gone.  I hate the hills, yet I love the hills because they're more interesting.  I don't like being cold, yet I love the 40 degree temps during a run.  I hate the pain, yet it feels great when everything just goes numb!  And the calories you burn - oh my gosh, that's the best part.

I'll have to come up with a new battle plan I guess, since running 4-5 times a week is not going to be physically possible anymore.  I think I do better running "cold" anyway.

So that's my training update.  I don't plan on talking about running constantly - that's what runners do.  And I'm not a runner.  ;-)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Did you know that when you lose hearing (temporarily) in one of your ears that the other ear becomes the Arnold Schwarzenegger of ears?

I'll be headed to the doctor in a little while to hopefully get my hearing back, and we won't discuss the reason for the hearing loss because ear stuff is just gross to talk about.

But seriously, I am hearing ambient noises I never noticed before.  I can hear the rythym of the clothes dryer on the other side of the house.  And these phantom dings or beeps that make me think I'm getting texts.  And the TV seems louder than normal, although harder to understand.

It seems a little coincidental to me that the first week I start working with my ESL student, a young woman from Venezuela who has a hearing impairment in one ear, that I would experience nearly total hearing loss on one side.  Hmmmm...

But tomorrow I'll be on a plane to Houston (Naomi's baby shower!) and really need everything with my defective ear to be resolved before reaching 30,000 feet.  Ouch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I love my buddy, Duke.  I love him despite the muddy paw prints every day, the dog hair, the constant need for exercise and dog park trips, and the occasional misbehaving.  I just read on Facebook that someone is having to put their Lab down in the morning due to a brain tumor.  It gave me pause to appreciate that Duke is healthy and silly, but has a limited time with us.  I think everyone needs a four-legged friend in their lives.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sausage, Beans and Rice

I thought I'd share an easy one-pot recipe that I got from my mom years ago.  This is one of those meals where very little prep is required, and you just wait for everything to heat through.  It's also pretty inexpensive.

Sausage, Beans, and Rice

1 lb smoked sausage, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
2 27-oz cans Pinto Beans (NOT pork-n-beans)
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 bell pepper chopped
1/2 large onion chopped or 1 whole medium onion
2 cups rice (I use Minute Rice) cooked
worcestershire sauce
liquid smoke
salt and pepper

Throw everything except the rice in a large pot to heat for 20-30 minutes or until the veggies have softened some, and serve over a bowl of rice. (If I'm especially lazy, I'll skip the rice.)  Although it can be ready quickly, I like to cook it for a while to make sure the flavors have time to meld together.  For the worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke, just toss in several shakes each.  I'm convinced liquid smoke is an underused flavoring in the kitchen.  Speaking of flavor, you could also add Tobasco or Louisiana hot sauce, cilantro, jalapenos, etc.

You don't have to use two big cans of beans like I do, but at least use 2 15-oz cans.  I used to make this by first spending several hours cooking a pot of red beans from scratch, until DeeBee convinced me that canned beans worked just as well.  She was right, and I can now throw this together much faster. 

Still, every Southern girl should learn how to cook red beans from scratch.  I've said that before, but it stands repeating.


Monday, January 09, 2012

Thoughts that count

I know I should have Christmas behind me by now, and I do have most everything put away except for some greenery.  But I wanted to share a couple of my favorite gifts.  I'm always impressed when people come up with creative and MADE-FOR-ME kind of gifts.  I wish I could be as thoughtful.

First, these measuring cups from DeeBee.  They combine two things I enjoy - cooking and collecting owls.  Cute, huh?

When Karl and Ashley and the kids were visiting in November, I mentioned not being able to find good salsa here and how much I missed Julio's salsa from Texas.  A couple weeks later, a big box of jars and jars of salsa arrives, ordered directly from Julio's in San Angelo.  These are (sadly) the only two jars we have left!

Then there's this personalized address stamp from Jo and Doug.  I can honestly say I've never had an address stamp but always thought they were cool.  Such a creative gift!

And lastly, my favorite.  When the girls were much younger, part of the bedtime ritual of goodnight hugs and tucking in was to say "I love you all the way to..." and they'd fill in whatever was the farthest or silliest.  Often it would start with the moon and end up with Pluto.  So when I opened this from Addison, well, it was all I could do to not have one of those cheesy crying mom moments.  I love it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


These trees are beautiful.  But boy do they provide a lot of labor in the fall and winter.  I took this picture back in early November, and I'm still raking bags and bags of leaves that are still dropping.  But I do love them.

Besides raking leaves, I've been getting through Christmas, having wonderful visits with family, have taken two day trips to Kansas, have gone to the doctor a couple times, and have been helping Addison pick up the pieces after a difficult and unexpected break-up.

Oh life.

I've also received a really good job lead, but was expecting a call by now.  Kind of a dream job without dream pay.  But we'll see.

And tonight I'm going out to dinner with my neighbor.  She's probably 15-20 years my senior, and I love that.  I like having "mother figures" in my life.  I have a friend like that in Midland that I really miss.  How dumb that I haven't picked up the phone and called her.  I think I'll add that to my week.

So I don't make resolutions or expect big changes for the new year.  I find that life tends to  slap me around a little when I do that, so when changes come I just try to be ready.  I am (sort of, half-heartedly) training for a half marathon.  Three couples in Alan's family have COMMITTED to meeting up March 18th in Memphis for a race.  I will absolutely not be capable of running the whole thing, but am determined to finish it regardless of whether or not my hips are still attached at the end.  Send some good vibes my way.

I am happy to be starting my year in Tulsa.  There are still times when it's hard to be away from the girls.  I stepped out of the room a couple times at Christmas when I felt tears in my eyes because Bailey wasn't here.  Or wished I could have taken her chicken soup and meds and gotten her a cold damp wash cloth when she was sick over the weekend.  And I've wanted so badly to run over to Addison's and give her a big hug and hang out for a while to fill some empty moments.

But I can only do what I can from a distance, and in a way I think that's good for them.

And now I'm off to my shopping and dinner with my neighbor, which is good for me.  Hope you do things that are good for you, too, in the coming year.  Cheers!