Friday, February 27, 2009

Awesome Story

Go read this soldier's story. Awesome. It is my favorite thing, too, to float and look at the sky.

Our freedom is not free. Found over at Blue Star Chronicles.

Cold Fronts

Let's talk about our wacky weather. Yesterday, I turned on the AC when the temps climbed above 81 degrees inside. And we kept the windows closed all night because the cold front sorta stalled in our area, and with high humidity, it still felt warm at bedtime. It was suppose to drop into the fifties last night, but it did not get below seventy degrees. The radio news folks kept quoting the stats that our high for today would be 63 degrees---even while it was seventy since midnight until 8am. Now the temps have slipped into the sixties. And with windows open, it has dipped to seventy-four in here at 9am. I feel a coolness, and the north side windchime is telling me the wind is turning around.

This is suppose to be a double cold front. cold now, and colder coming. Poor Minnesota is seeing minus temps. And even in Lawton, our son saw 36 degrees this morning when we were seventy. Feels good. But, I may need to start closing windows...again...but for different reason than yesterday. Ha. Fun. Fun. Weather is so fun. We rarely see freezing temps this time of year. March can be cool, and furnace in the morning, AC in the evening... And this is why we dress in layers.

No comet viewing. But, the pictures online are gorgeous.

We need rain.

Good essay

"Lastly, here's a little 411 for all you ladies out there: If your prophet or god is cool with your husband beating the crap out of you or hacking your head off for thinking Brad Pitt is cute or because you want to wear a Miracle Bra, eat a BLT, or dance to a Shakira song, take that as a cue for you to find a new god, prophet and husband."

Here is where you can read the whole thing:

That Doug Giles is great !

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Remembering Nannie

February 27th is my Nannie's birthday.

Nannie is my Dad's Mother. I called her Nannie because I was told later she did not want to be called Grannie. I was the firstborn on both sides. And my folks married very young. If my math is correct, Nannie was 43 years old when I was born. I am now Nannie's age when I remember her a lot. In other words, when Nannie was my age that I am now, I would have been about ten years old---young and impressionable, and fully aware that she loved me.

Born Atha Swartz in 1913, she was the only child to Pearl Pike Swartz and Ross C. Swartz. I remember my great-grandparents and their house in Farmer City, Illinois. It was a huge house with a wrap around porch, and fourteen foot ceilings---at least. I watched my Nannie care for her mother after her father died. They lived within a few blocks of each other in Farmer City for years, and yet Nannie always drove over to check on her. She had a thunderbird and I remember riding with her to pick up cream from area farmers, or fresh sweet corn. Or she would pick us up or drop us off at the other grandparents on their farm in Mansfield, not too many miles away.

Nannie had only had two sons, so she delighted in dressing my sister and I and our younger cousin. And I remember how she would take us shopping to buy a new dress. And she encouraged us to be ladies---a struggle since I enjoyed pal-ling with my grandpas in the barn and in the Culligan plant.

Nannie died when my son was only four years old. Nannie so enjoyed her great-grandson, and blessed us with Christmas ornaments for him. Christmas was her favorite holiday. She had the most modern tree and lights and loved all the presents and food. When she lay dying, she asked me to play Christmas carols on her organ.

My Mother's Mom was a farmer's wife---a great cook, and she kept the cleanest house, and always made us feel loved, and warm and welcome. She was a church going lady, who studied her Bible, and desired us to be good and kind to each other. Nannie, also desired us to be good and kind, and would take us to church---but hers was a wilder past. And she was an alcoholic. And she loved to dance.

I watched my Dad battle with his Mother, and I watched my Uncle take her into his home and care for her while she was dying. At age 72, the drinking had caught up with her. Or was it the Camel cigarrettes? Was it a race between lung cancer and cirrossis of the liver?

For twenty-nine years she was a part of my life. Growing up, my sister and I spent many an over night at her house. When I got married, she was there. And when my son was born, she was excited for us. And when my son was three---the little ski boots she bought and sent are still a precious memory.

I watched Nannie and Poppy build their dream house in Farmer City. And I remember her rose bushes, and patch of rubarb for rubarb pie or rubarb relish (applesauce in consistency) and I remember how she peeled potatoes, and how she loved the new invention of an in sink disposal.

When I was thirteen years old, and away at Summer Bible Church Camp, my Poppy was working on the second story shutters and slipped and fell backwards off the roof and fell head down onto the top step on the front of their house. I watched Nannie become a widow. And oh, how she grieved, for years and years. Poppy had been her best friend, and husband, and partner in crime---that wild living and dancing that scandalized their parents. My Dad tried shocking us with the stories and my Dad even hinted that he is not convinced Poppy is his father, but anyone who looks at my brother, Jay, will see images of Poppy. And my Dad had the same shoulder ticks that his Dad, and my sister's sons have inherited.

Happy Birthday Nannie. Thank you for being a great Nannie to me and my sister and brothers and cousins, Tera and Todd. Tera looks just like Nannie did when she was younger. (I have been told I look like the other Howe grandmother---my Dad's grandmother. Can you imagine your little girl growing up to look like your grandmother? At a Grandpa James' funeral a few years ago, one of Dad's cousins looked at me in shock---and thought he was seeing his and my Dad's grandmother Howe.)

Nannie loved getting dressed up, and she loved having parties, and watching TV. Nannie loved her sons, and her daughters-in-law, and her grandchildren, and her cousin. Romona. And I remember Nannie's good friend, who used to be my great-grandpa's secretary. Lilia? Nannie showed me how to be a good grannie, and a good friend, and a good hostess, and a longsuffering mom.

I don't think my Dad has ever forgiven her for questionable doctors or cures but there were the voice lessons. And I saw Nannie and Poppy help my folks with meals, and babysitting, and money, and gifts and time. And she was not my Mother. She was my grannie, always called, Nannie.

In the British culture, a nannie means something completely different. A nannie is the hired help that cares for and raises the baby through toddlerhood.

I am embarrassed to admit that I don't know her favorite color or favorite perfume. And I have probably asked Uncle Jim or Tera and I have forgotten what they told me.

I can remember my other Grandma's powder, and certain colors remind me of her, and I have a candle holder that I bought because it reminded me of her crystal. But, Nannie's tastes were so rich, so over-the-top, so austentacious, that I have nothing of hers. I did not want to be responsible. So much of it is garish, and needing of a china cabinet. I remember how she loved the newest, fanciest of plumbing fixtures. I lean more toward the practical and easiest to clean because I am lazy and lean much more toward the comfortable even in dress and housekeeping. In her later years, Nannie had a cleaning lady, and when we were young, she kept a closet of dress up clothes and shoes so that we would leave her stuff alone.

Thank you, Nannie for the great memories. And while it grieves me how my Dad treated you---all will be reconciled in heaven, where we will all treat each other with love and respect. You were always civil and friendly with my Mother's folks, and while I often saw Christmas celebrated in such stark contrast, you taught me that differences were okay. Thank you for flying down from Illinois to Houston to my wedding. My only wedding announcement in newsprint is a hoot because it chronicles your trip from Illinois to Houston for the event in the Farmer City Journal.

I would like to ask my Dad, tell me ten good things about your Mom. Or, Uncle Jim. or Tera. We moved away from Illinois when I was a sophomore in high school, so Uncle Jim and his daughter, Tera remember she so much better.

I wonder if my grandchild will only know me for twenty-nine years? And will they be good memories? My Mother's father lived to be almost 100, so I knew him for fifty of my years. And Grandma James almost forty. I think all four of them---my Mother's folks and my Dad's grew up in the same community, attended the same school in their small town, and both of my grandfathers even served for a time on the school board. I have seen the picture. Marshall Howe and Wilbur James. Did they know they would share grandchildren?

Happy Birthday, Nannie.

Wondering if my Mother is getting my emails...

Hey Mother, did you get this email? I sent it twice. And what was the menopause oil or vitamin you took to combat menopause symptoms? primrose oil?

Dad asked me to resend this, as he emailed that he lost it. So, here 'tis

-----Original Message-----
From: Joyce
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 1:10 PM
Subject: thank you !!!

Dear Mother,

Thank YOU !!! I remember asking you a few years ago, and I thought you said you did not remember. I have read that experience, too---about super heavy periods, then stoppage. That is all I wanted to doctor to say, let's wait six months. I can stand it. Now that I know it is from a thick lining. But, no, doctors have to cover themselves with every known test known to man. I just cannot see submitting to a D&C at my age and weight. It sounds dangerous and invasive. But, the doctor won't rule out uterus cancer until they take a snip of the lining, and that doctor wanted to do a D&C. No way.

I will get another opinion. Most uterine cancer appears after menopause, too, from what I have read.

I am glad you remembered. I remember you use to have night sweats, and what vitamin did you take for that?? Primrose oil?? I have not had but a couple of night sweats but then I take the Alive multivitamin from the health food store, and B-50 from the chiropractor...

Thanks again. Warn Tina what is ahead, too. Love, Joyce

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 10:34 AM
To: Joyce
Subject: advice

I have hesitated to say anything because you haven't asked but after
reading your blog this morning here is my experience.

Before menopause i had fibroids and one surgeon wanted to operate,
I never went back to him. I read in a health article at the time that
usually got smaller after menopause so I decided to wait them out.

I did have several very heavy periods but after menopause that was
over also.
As the menopause stretched out over a period of a year (I was 56-57
then) the periods
got lighter and more irregular before finally stopping altogether.

You can digest this for what its worth and get good counsel from
several different
sources, then decide for yourself what is best for you.

Love, Mother

P. S. the fibroids did go away completely over time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yards full of Robins

Today was the day! When I went outside to water the front yard---violets and green grass, I looked up and saw neighbors yards full of robins... orange breasted robins. At sunset they perched in the bare oak trees for a while and sang. I hope they come back tomorrow---but they are migrating north now. I hope that gives our neighbors in the cold frozen north comfort to know that spring is on the way. It is rare to see a robin family stick around here all summer. It is just too hot. They prefer the northern states.

Eighty-five degrees predicted for tomorrow. Time to give the AC a workout. Temps will hit thirty-four Saturday night yet, so we will use the furnace yet.

Blooming Violets

Hardy blooming violets dot the yard. Violets that took hold in the crack of a rock wall, and bunches with new leaves by the patio are blooming to beat the band. White with a tinge of purple. Enough for a counter top vase. Edible and lightly scented. I tried taking a picture with the digital camera, but they look washed out. The green rye grass is that shade of kelly-spring green as a back drop. White blossoms with little purple veins. They look like miniature orchids.

Wood violets, is what we had to declare in the 7th grade flower collection. But, they remind me of the Illinois State flower---which is the purple variety. We had a flower bed of purple, some what, eight or ten years ago? These are the great-great-great grandchildren of that original bed transplanted from Sue Rhode's yard. Sue died a month ago, but the violets always remind me of her and her generousity. May her children, grand children and great grand children retain the gifts she gave them as they continue to bloom and grow. I just know she is having a wonderful time in heaven getting caught up on the news with her husband, John and sister, June. What a wonderful gift of encouragement God gave Sue. Always looking for the positve with a true smile in her voice.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


All this talk today about pancakes---everywhere you turn, on the radio, online, has made me hungry all day for pancakes. I even started calculating whether I could get to McDonalds by 10am to get some. Ha. Out of eggs---next I started thinking about getting to Braum's to get eggs, and then make some. But, my pancakes are way, too healthy. I can't just make pancakes. I have to add healthy stuff---like oatmeal, olive oil, molasses---and more eggs than is called for. And I am not even Catholic.

My James loves pancakes, and I have been too lazy to get 'er done. So, whilst in the mood this afternoon, I am making pancakes. And next time James visits---we will be ready.

My favorite spatula broke. The thinnest--actually a cookie spatula, but alas, there was a weakness in the bend. Oh, well. I have been keeping my beady eyes out for another for a while, because for pancakes, I need one just a bit bigger.

Today's batch is not holding together very well. Maybe not enough eggs. If I eat any more ugly ones, I won't want any supper. Ha.

We ran the furnace last night and I heard it again this morning, but it is eighty degrees inside now...not exactly pancake making weather. but, best to get 'er done when in the mood.

Pancakes used to be Bob's Dad's favorite fast meal. And with diabetic syrup---he got really good at it. An egg, some flour and milk, a spot of oil---or butter. He would frown upon all my additions.

What is your favorite thing in or on a pancake? Blueberries? pecans? whipped cream?

Cardinal Couple in the Backyard

Even though the sparrows are emptying the birdfeeder in just two days, I need to get more because we have attracted a male and female couple of cardinals. Not only do they like our birdseed offerings, but something in the yard is good hunting by the nandina bushes. And ours is a dangerous yard for digging in the grass especially if you are a bright red bird because the neighbor's cats love to patrol the yard, too.

What was God thinking when He thusly adorned the cardinal? Where exactly can a cardinal hide? Maybe there is that one day in the fall when the leaves are turning when he can "blend" with the russet colored leaves. The sparrow's dowdy brown coat helps him year-round. The titmouse in gray and black does not have the bright orange beak of the cardinal. The chickadee in black and white flits in and out quickly for his seed. But, even the duller colored female cardinal has a bright orange beak. I wonder where their nest is. And I hope the weed killer Bob spread on the yard does not harm them.

Keeping Up With Technology

Last night, Bob and I trotted over to Best Buy and purchased a camera with a microphone for our computer. Our sons assured us this would be a cheap, easy purchase. Ha. Fifty-three dollars later and two hours of downloading and tweaking---we are ready to skype from our end now, too. We practiced on James. We could SEE James in his plaid green shirt. It took talking on the phone with him to get the sound right after a while. And there are still strange frog farting sounds, and at one point, what sounded like someone's heartbeat...but we bent his ear for thirty minutes.

Now we are ready. Now we are ready for the grandchild to SEE her old grandparents.

Bob was so funny. This camera/microphone comes with all these options for getting creative with the screen. Bob could not control himself. He could make our heads look like pears or mushrooms, add a dog, and even make us all swirly. Now we know where certain sons get their "ADD".

Bob asked James if he wanted to observe us play Scrabble. But, James said, no. That James, he is learning to stand up for himself. He never knows when we are going to throw test questions at him. Good to see him assert himself. While some may find watching us play Scrabble to be entertaining, I guess he just did not want to reforee. He would have wanted to be ready to receive Amber's call at the drop of a hat, anyway.

What will they think of next? Now you have to take a shower, and get all fancied up for talking on the phone via the computer. I wonder aloud if folks set up old laptops for the skype-ing and then they can still work or check stuff out on the other laptop or desktop computer? I like to be able to google things. For example, I have never been to a hockey game in my life. But, for some reason, if I set the hockey game going on the radio real quiet, it is enough white noise to put me back to sleep. Our WBAP radio station is usually talk radio---from the funny Hal Jay in the morning, to the conservative, hard headed Mark Davis followed by Rush Limbaugh. In the evening, while Bob is driving home, he will turn on Mark Levine--but I am usually making supper, so I don't catch much of his ascerbic wit. But, in the evenings, they bounce Laura Ingraham for a hockey game. And I have been wondering what "icing" in hockey means. I think to check while driving to Walmart, but not until this very moment have I remembered whilst I can actually check. But, if I navagate away from this page whilst composing a blog---there is the danger of losing all this pithy instropection.

But, let's risk it. What is "icing" in hockey? When I google it, Wickipedia is first on the list of references. Wikipedia has illustrations. But, the explanation is still pretty complicated, and I will need to check further references to find out where they got the name, and how exactly the stop play or waive. Strange. But, thanks to the technology online---we no longer have to get up off our behinds and drag out the heavy encyclopedia volumes. I know we are not suppose to believe everything we read on Wikipedia. I know.

What will they think of next? Such wonderful modern conveniences.

But, there is that "big brother" watching feeling to having a camera on top of the computer. Creepy. Our son and his wife gave us this fantastic Christmas present of a digital frame of hundred of pictures of the grandchild. Every once in a cycle, we will see a picture we have never noticed before. Was it a picture stuck in the loop? Were our son and his wife able to somehow load more pictures through the electrical wires?? The mystery remains. When Bob first openeded his present at Christmas, he did not know our son and his wife had pre-loaded it. We were wondering how to work it, and asking our other son about the chips and connectors when the son that sent it asked about it, and suggested we just plug it in---and to our amazement---hundreds of pictures! From their phone cameras, from their digital cameras, and we were in picture heaven.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Night Funnies

It is only fair---since I have been having too much fun with Bob's blog, and his list of things he will never say--- (go check them out. I'll wait.)

Here are ten things you will never hear me say: (I am sure Bob can come up with even better ones)

You will never hear me say:

1. I just love the seven-eleven praise songs at church. (eleven words sung seven times)

2. Can we leave with only minutes to spare because I just know I won't have to go to the bathroom.

3. I need to wake up---please turn on the hockey game on the radio.

4. Let's go play golf !

5. I love to drive on icy roads.

6. I love cooking liver and fish---they make the house smell so nice.

7. Please buy me liver and fish scented candles.

8. I just love cleaning cat throw up off the carpet.

9. The cute way the neighbor's dogs poop on our sidewalk and driveway make me want to get a dog.

10. Cleaning toilets is my favorite thing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Awesome Quote stolen from Airman Mom

God has not called us
to see through each other,
but to see each other through.
---unknown author

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What is Going On?? The Border Agents Story Has the two videos of Glen Beck interviewing the wife of one of the recently released border agents. "Free" but with an ankle bracelet?? This story gets more and more bizarre. Unbelievable.

Why didn't President Bush give them a full pardon??

Why can't they talk to the press until March 20th??

Why do they have to wear ankle bracelets?

I hope they both write books and make MILLIONS to help pay for all the lawyers, and grief their families have endured. Thank you, Glen Beck for keeping this story in our faces.

And the men want to go back to law enforcement?? Yikes. In a system where they have to second guess every decision? Surely, there is a better job out there for them---some safe consultant work behind a desk somewhere. Grow old. Enjoy your new baby. Watch that baby grow up.

What is this world coming to?

If We Have a Clear Sky Tuesday Feb. 24th...

It will be a busy astronomy event at 4am what with the Comet Lulin making its closest approach, and all the planets lined up by a crescent moon. But, only if there are no clouds to block the view.

Spaceweatherdotcom has all the sky maps so that you know which direction to look.

Our church parking lot has a pretty good view west---so if we get an alarm call anyway...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday in Texas

In new cars today, that maintenance required light comes on close to oil change time. I don't know why the light just doesn't say, "time to change oil." So, I drove down to the repair shop we use, thinking I would save money instead of driving to the dealership where they charge over fifty bucks for an oil change and tire rotation, and come up with all sorts of other items that it is somehow time to change. We have spent over $500 in the year we have had this toyota minivan in oil changes, tire rotations, and a long list of torque this and check that. Yikes. I wish we had purchased the full service plan when we bought it. It would have about paid for itself now. Next time...

It was not a savings to go to the closer place. They are friendly, and honest, but the oil filter and gasket is expensive for them. I had over an hour to read through my manual and learn things about the car. The headlights were a mystery to me on the trip to Lawton. Apparently, they shut themselves off under certain conditions. I have yet to re-create those conditions in my own driveway. Ha. I am used to the plymouth beeping at me that I have left lights on. The toyota does not beep. It figures you wanted the lights left on so you could see to get inside the house.

And the Kennedale Walmart is worth the trip because they have stools to sit upon when choosing which pictures to print out from the digital camera. I went back through both little fingernail sized memory chips and printed out a few more to finish filling up the album, and get a few extras to send in letters for relatives and friends who do not email nor have computers.

And I have been doing laundry. I found out the front loader does not like to do just one big towel. Oh, well. It was stained, and now the stain is out, so I just added more to make a bigger load. No biggie. Oh how I wish someone would invent carpet in machine washable squares...

Bob beat me at Scrabble. Bingo-ed during the first round with LOOPERS.

Each one of James' places he has trained or been stationed so far have been different. This current one required him to find his own apartment, which involves getting his own utilities hooked up. He thought he had done the electrical hook up correctly, but had not received a bill, and was amazed that they cut him off with no warning. Having to learn the hard way about deposits, and local electric companies. It is a lot to learn when signing leases, contracts, and listening to instructions. I am sure they threw a lot at him. He found the line and should be back up tomorrow. I hate to tell him, but if/when he finds a bigger place, or moves to a house---all these deposits and hook ups have to be done over again. I don't think his apartment has anything gas in it, but I tried to explain that every month, we send a check to the power company, a check to the natural gas company (now in Arizona---with a nineteen digit account number...don't get me started...) and a check to the local City of Arlington for water/sewer/garbage services. Every month. And never at a convenient time of month. These utility bills always arrive just after I have paid the other bills, yet these are somehow due before the next paycheck, so I have to remember that. Every month. And the natural gas folks want it SEVEN days before it is due. The postal service must be still using pony express between Texas and Arizona. I kid you not.

I also got two packages mailed using the nifty automated machines before the post office opened this morning. But, do not turn your head and help someone while using them, as they time out. Yikes. When it says stick the card in and chose a method of payment, hesitate not, or you get to start over.

I feel like I got a lot done. But, regrets, I have a few...and dealing with cars, car maintenance, and car repairs---I know it could be worse. At least I don't have to deal with horses and manure. We are pretty spoiled with our modern day mode of transportation. We have it so easy with washers and dryers, and dishwashers, and refrigeration. Sometimes it does not feel like work. I tell myself that when throwing a load in on a Sunday.

Scott on the B-Cast will be glad to know I got clothes folded while watching today. Thanks to Scott and Liz on the B-Cast, the stories that the MSM is ignoring are getting more play. I saw them in blogs today, and heard some on the radio, too. Rush mentioned the story about the Muslim TV broadcaster that beheaded his wife. The irony in that story is that the Muslim started his station to be a bridge of understanding between the west and Muslim world, and then he murders his wife when she wants a divorce. This was more than domestic violence. But, the MSM won't touch the story. Cowards. Oh, but they will play the chimp on a rampage a hundred times.

Time for bed...


Wow. We got to see and hear our grandchild tonight for eighteen glorious minutes!!!

It was wonderful.

My niece and nephew on the mission field have been asking us to skype for months, but we do not have a camera on our computer. But, our son James was skype-ing with his fiancee the other night, and it looked like fun, and our son in Ohio called tonight and using the phone they could hear us, and using our computer, we could SEE them and hear them. Wow. The future is here. I remember as a kid being told how in the future we would be able to see each other on the phone. This is amazing. What will they think of next (in the technology department).

Thank you, James for showing your older brother how. And now James's fiancee can get to know James' older brother and his family before the wedding!!! Yippeee!!!

What fun.

Maybe now we can see our neice and nephew on the mission field...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another trip to Lawton

James needed to be back today for a welcoming home party for a group of 26 from his unit cycling back from Iraq where they have been deployed for a year. I drove him up there, as our old car we planned on letting him borrow acted up last night with shuddering. So we will get the old van looked at one more time. (new tires!) (and just had $3,000 in work on brakes, transmission, leaks, oil change, master cylinder, etc.)

The weather was cold, but fine in Lawton. We left the Dallas-Fort Worth area at 6am, and arrived Lawton at 9am. Good time. light traffic. And I got in some cruise-control practice. Bob usually does ALL the driving, and so I had not gotten used to using the cruise control. And on turns and overpasses, or an overpass with a turn in the middle, the cruise makes you feel like you are losing control. But, I knew how to tap it off with the button or the brakes. And that stretch in Oklahoma where the sign says you can go 75mph just does NOT feel like a safe speed to me. Especially early in the morning when the pavement looked wet in places from dew or frost.

We made it back in plenty of time for James to get his uniform on, and we made a run by Walmart as he needed some shaving kit items (having left his shaving kit at home) and I needed more purse pack wet wipes. I love those things. I stash one in my purse, one in the glove box, and one on James' potty. Then we drove on post---always an exciting adventure for this old mom. You show your ID, and car registration, and sometimes they even do a random search. And these folks are NO nonsense. Lots of cars were streaming onto the post/fort for this welcoming home ceremony. I felt for the families, as this event had been jerked around for days, and postponed a few times as they waited for connecting flights from Kuwait to who-knows-where. The travelers had to be worn out, and needing a shower. And the gym was full of families in their finest---women/wives with their hair just so, and outfit just so, and little girls decked out in dresses you'd wear to a wedding. So, cute. Music was playing as we waited a few hours, and watched the little kids dance to the music, and run around the gym padded floor. These toddlers were precious. And the two sets of twin girls in their matching outfits loved getting just out of mom's reach. One little cutie was in a colorful dress with black lace at the bottom, and she had obviously had some dance classes---for she demonstrated her routine with flair---lots of arm movements and graceful steps. Another cutie patootie, was grinning at us on the bleacher seats as she slowly backed away from her mom, picked her nose and ate it before mom could intercept. Too funny. And two little blonde headed boys were running to the end of the gym and back, and collided in mid-floor with a whack. One mom was close at hand, but she comforted both as they rubbed their little heads. It was not long before their little cowboy boots were flying across the floor again.

It seemed cruel to make little toddlers wait for two and three hours---and it was getting on to lunch time, and nap time. The speaker promised a ten minute short speech, but damnation---he should have hired a auctioneer to give it. All we heard were the random words of "welcome...heroes....just back....supporting....give a round of applause"...and finally, he let the families at their loved ones. Women were leaping like gazelles and screaming, and crying---and I was crying by that point. And we got out of their way. Let the families have some privacy for goodness sake. Let moms and dads touch their sons, and then let them babysit for a week for crying out loud. It was wonderful to watch. We were given updates at to when they touched down, and when they were turning in weapons, etc. And finally the busses pulled up, and they entered the side doors of the gym as a unit. Caps. not the silly berets. Functional. Seasoned.

We sang along with the National Anthem, and the Army song, and cheered and HOOHAHed. It was great. I kept trying to get James to picture that this is what it will be like for his future wife when he comes home from a deployment. She will have waited for days and days, and kept that cell phone hot and ready, and gotten her nails done, and her hair cut just so, and then she will have been cooped up in a gym with hundreds of others and watched moms chase toddlers. And watched toddlers run until their little legs give out. And wind down like tops. And have to listen to tooo, tooo long speeches. And have to wait and wait for a chance to get her hands on her husband. Now he can warn her whatall to expect.

Thankfully, we were inside out of the elements and close to good bathrooms. But, bring snacks and water, and share updates with other wives and families. And don't be surprised if things get delayed days...then hours.

Now back home. Home before it got dark. Crazy drivers here in the metroplex. Crazy. I am glad we stopped in Decatur for a few shots of esspresso.

Glad to help James. Fun to make memories. No telling when he will let us do this again. Or even need our help. I am learning to grab the opportunities when laid in my lap. Seize the day. It did feel funny skipping church. I probably had perfect attendance for years...and don't want to make a habit of it. But, every once in a while---drive west in the early morning and east in the evening with the sun at your back both ways.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day 2009

Happy Valentine's Day! And thanks again to all the wonderful comments and encouragement on my blog! I appreciate all the help and suggestions. I think that is why we are here---to help each other! That is what being a MOM means, doesn't it!

Valentine's Day is such a mine field for the guys. How much, how many, what kind...and the advertizing bliz designed to make them feel guilty since January...I know our Walmarts have had Valentine's Day chocolate in the stores since Christmas. They literally took the Christmas chocolate down and put up, stocked the shelves with Valentine's Day chocolate.

And since some Arab countries condemn Valentine's Day as evil, that oughta be a sign that it is good to us as Christians, in my opinion. Yes, there is a lot of red and pink everywhere you go these days, and I am sure the teachers are relieved that this year, it fell close to a weekend, to get the sugar high children a weekend to recover.

My dear husband knows my love language is quality time---if you are familiar with the Five Love Languages, quality time means he knows I love it when he takes the day off and hangs around with me at home on Valentine's Day and my birthday, and on our anniversary. Instead of expensive gifts that just need insured, and instead of chocolate and sweets that make me even fatter, and instead of silly cards...well, I kinda killed that one in him. I think Bob's love language is "words" as in written words of affection. And he used to write to me (that is one of the reasons I married him), and he used to give me funny cards, but I squashed that in him early in our marriage before I knew about the five love languages. Just like I squashed his efforts at gifts of clothing by being way, way too practical and taking them back when I did not think they fit. I should have noted what clothing he liked and kept them. And worn them.

If you don't know the five love languages, here they are in a nice, neat acrostic that I made up to help me remember. Sometimes high maintenance women have more than one, or a combination. And since Jesus is perfect, He is perfect at all five, and probably has a thousand more ways He shows us His Love. There is a Christian author that came up with these five:

H is for HEART, and H stands for Hugs---physical touching, holding hands, kisses, and knowing that my lover enjoys his back scratched, his scalp massaged, and (well--we better keep this PG)

E is for extra special, or extravagant gifts. I suspect my firstborn's main love language is this one as he loves shopping and picking out just the right thing, and he loves receiving gifts.

A is for acts of service. For example, one of my neices just loved for you to get down on the floor with her when she was little and "play Barbies" with her. I appreciate it so much when Bob mows, and does the heavy hefting jobs like plumbing. Recently, he reset both potties on new wax rings. And our house is old, and the plumbing is old, and the bolts are rusted in the front bathroom, so it was a major struggle to try to get them aligned. I am thankful for the miracle invention of indoor plumbing, but why don't they design a potty that is not so back wrenching to install, service, and clean?? But, I digress...

R is for woRds. wRitten woRds, caRds, letteRs, emails, epistles, notes on sticky papeR, SCRABBLE, any game dealing with wRitten woRds, books, prose, poems, and all things vocabulaRy. My dear husband loves to play SCRABBLE, and spends time caRefully cRafting beautiful stoRies on his blog, and while I can cRank out a letteR and beat him in volume, his wRiting reflects insight, objectivity, saRcasm, and the heights of humoR I could neveR see on my own. I think I missed capitalizing a few Rs, deaR, can you spot them? You see, Bob is also a patient, gentle, and thoRough editoR, too. I think our James, our middle son also has this pRopensity for woRds in that he, too, likes to play SCRABBLE and at the end of the game yesteRday, he was compelled to fit the lost, left over tiles into woRds before we coveRed the finished masteRpiece that was our game. Just like his Dad does. It was so cute. This acoRn did not fall faR fRom the tRee at all, in my opinion. And I know they get tiRed of heaRing me say it, but Bob and James and veRy much alike in some wondeRful ways.

T (did you think we would never get here?) T is for TIME, quality time. Time spend talking, and sharing, and eating out, and walking, and talking, and being together.

There you go. H-E-A-R-T. It is interesting to see how your children fit into one or more catagories, and then get off their backs when they don't show appreciation for some lame gift you give them when it is not their love language. Our youngest, Ben-Ben, enjoys fish. So, when we let him chose the place to eat, it is a fish place. Ben-Ben enjoys making stuff and figuring out how things are made, and he is always thinking, and will turn your house upside down if you want him to. It was fun staying a step ahead of him as a little kid. He would have meltdowns at the store, as a toddler, and he was the clingiest of the babies. He felt secure in our arms, and when holding a silkie---so all three of our boys had blankies and silkies. Firstborn Andy, to this day will "silkie" the satin behind his neck ties or on a blanket edge. So, as a baby, I would guess Ben's love language to be touch. But, since reading was a challenge, and sometimes just too hard, he overcompensated in elementary school with hearing, and fooled many a teacher by understanding audibly, but was unable to express it verbally or through written form. Ben has given some big, expensive gifts to his Dad in the tool department, and is generous and helpful in fixing stuff. So, I have to conclude that our youngest has a good mix of many of the five love languages.

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hills Church in Seattle pointed out on one of his online sermons that sometimes a woman's love language will change with the coming of children, and her need of help around the house. A mom needs a break sometimes, and helping her with the kids is a fantastic gift. I remember being so worn out at the end of the day that I had not the strength nor good attitude to do the nighttime story. And I so appreciate Uncle Roy demonstrating how it can be a fantastic teaching tool, and Bob then picked up that gauntlet and told the boys great and mighty bedtime stories.

Happy Valentine's Day, and I hope you receive what you do not deserve, and remember how God is Love, and how Jesus demonstrated as God the Son the greatest Love by taking our place and dying on the cross so that He can Love us forever in heaven if we accept His Gift of salvation. He gave us His Word and the gift of family and friends for all those hugs, and words of encouragement, and help. Jesus is our example, and it never ceases to amaze me how His Word, the Bible, is a Love Letter to us that is alive and powerful. And He even gave us God the Holy Spirit who convicts us and guides us and gives us His Love so that we can love our family and friends unconditionally, and thoroughly, and when He empowers us with His love, we amaze the world and get their attention because it is not something that comes naturally, nor can the enemy duplicate it except in perverse ways.

Thank You God, for the gift of Love, and that one of Your many attributes is Love. Please give us Your perfect Love and the wisdom to not enable, but to truly bless others. In Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Yes, they fired the sonogram technician, and then they fussed at me for not saying something!

Too funny. First thing in the door, while I was checking in for today's follow up appointment, the receptionist and nurse started apologizing about the rude sonogram tech. And they wondered aloud why I did not say anything. I had no idea she was from a medical agency they use. Lots of women complained on Wednesday, and so they fired the tech and rescheduled all the Thursday appointments, too. Wow. Glad to hear it was not just me.

The doctor said my blood tests were fine, thyroid fine, hormones fine. And she said I have one small marble sized fibroid. She was not worried about that. She said the uterus lining was very thick. And she recommended a D&C to "start over" and then if there is no cancer, start on a hormone therapy. Strange. If my hormone levels are fine, why hormone therapy??

Okay, any D&C horror stories anyone out there want to share?? The doctor said it is an outpatient procedure, they put you out for ten minutes, she scrapes the inside of the uterus, and then they wake you up and you go home. You can't drive yourself. But... piece of cake.

I think I will get a second opinion. What is the hurry? She said not to go another month, but, hey... And she said I am not menopausal. Just premenopausal. Okay. So, I will have super heavy periods because I have a super thick lining. I hesitate to take hormones unless absolutely necessary because of breast cancer concern, and because I don't do well with drugs.

The blood clots are from the lining. She said the the blood comes out and sits and forms clots and starts stinking. Glad to get that question answered.

I don't know that I got all my questions answered, and yet I felt pressured that the D&C was what this doctor just wanted to do and yet, she admitted that if the hormone therapy did not work, then there may be a need for a hysterectomy in my future. And the hysteroscopy might have shown her things, but the D&C is like a really, really big hysteroscopy. Great. My words, not hers. She won't rule out cancer until after the D&C. The pap smear only checks for cervical cancer? Is there such as thing as uterine cancer?? And wouldn't the blood work have shown a need for further tests?? But, my blood work was "fine", so why are we needing to do a D&C??

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Today, Thursday, we took the 1997 plymouth minivan to Walmart and got four new tires. Then Bob did some yard work, and I picked up some pine cones down the street for an elderly man who is not doing very well. He ususally keeps his yard trim and clean, so I knew something was up when his street became littered with pinecones after the storm.

At noon, Bob and I met with old friends from church who live near Decatur, Texas. I write to them, and keep in touch, and since they live on the way to Lawton, this looked like a good day to meet up. James has a four day weekend, but needed to turn in his rental today. So, we drove up to Lawton to pick him up. We actually met him at the car rental place, then helped him finish putting together his vacuum and headed back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

It was a beautiful day. Horse tail clouds. Pretty sunrise and sunset.

But, I am bleary-eyed, and I did not do any of the driving. Tomorrow is Friday, and I get test results face to face with the gynochologist. Time for bed. I ought to sleep good tonight, all that good exercise and fresh air. Bob put pre-emergent in both the front and back yard, so no pesky weeds this year. Ha. Henbit is thick in some yards already. It has a pretty purple bloom, and our bright yellow dandelion population has exploded. I saw my first blooming violet today---white tinged with a hint of purple.

Lawton is only three hours northwest. Rolling hills, with a few under cultivation for cotton and hay around the Red River. But, mostly just grazing land dotted with water ponds for the cattle. Saw a few calves. But, Lawton is a busy, busy, crowded place. I lost count of the little shops and businesses. When you get back out on I-44, it is almost barren compared to the streets of Lawton.

James said he felt useful today. His boss told him something chemical corps-wise that he was trained to do, and he said he felt confident to do it. That is good.

And the grandbaby who has pneumonia is on the mend, hopefully. Appetite back, and firstborn said the grandbaby was the happiest sick child at the doctor's office today. Drumming with tongue suppressors. Nighty-night.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ranting and Raving

Okay. Bottom line: won't know anything until follow-up with gyno on Friday.

But, I need to dump my concerns. I don't want to take it out on my loved ones. Dumping here.

Poop alert. Grossness. Avert your eyes. Gross female things discussed here.

You have been warned.

I realize doctors have to order tests to help them diagnose stuff. I realize they need to rule things out. Like cancer. I should be grateful. But, it oughta be a sign when the waiting room furniture is shabby, stuffing poking out the arms of the couch. And when I show up on time for an appointment and get to cool my heels for 30 minutes because they are running behind---and sonograms is all they do this day---that was my second sign.

So when the tech lady greeted me with: "you know, I might not be able to see anything on the sonogram because your are fat..." I should have turned around and left right then. But, it took me a few moments to process what she was saying. Was this a warning? Did she think I WANTED this procedure? Who was she kidding? The doctor ordered this test. Do people walkin in off the street and want one? When I asked if she wanted me to go elsewhere or reschedule, she said no, but she needed to give me a warning, that whatever it was they were looking for, obese people don't sonogram well. Okay. I'll come back when I am thin---but wait, isn't this a gynocologists office?? with a waiting room full of fat pregnant ladies??? I did not see a thin butt in the waiting room. Sonograms are usually done on the belly for happy, curious women wanting to know if they baby is okay. Maybe the tech was having a bad day. Maybe she prefers happy pregnant ladies to sullen, old, fat, gray haired ladies.

Then she greases up this two foot long probe with KY jelly, and puts a CONDOM on it. Lovely. I asked, "you put a condom on the wand?" And she snorted, "have to cover it with SOMETHING." "Duh". Oh, good. I listen to Dr. Laura---I did not think condoms protected you one hundred percent. And are condoms sterile?? Then she shoves this thing way up---and she must think fat people are also hollow. And with one hand on her wand, and the other hand clicking away on her machine recording images on the screen, she proceeds to see if the wand can see my ear canals. She asked what my "problem" was as she had not a clue what she was suppose to be looking for. Surely, on my chart somewhere---but, I replied that I had this period that lasted two months and Dr. B was ruling out stuff. Fibroids? I asked, maybe?

"That wasn't that bad, was it?" she asked. I decided to think about this for a while.

Now get this, naked from the waist down, smeared with jelly, she suggests I walk across the hall to clean up. I paid and left. She said was able to see what she needed to in the uterus after all. So, the gamble paid off. Hopefully. We will find out on Friday, won't we. All the blood tests, and results from this sonogram. Can't wait.

Damn. I had quit spotting for about a week, but thanks to techie and her magic wand, I am seeing blood clots again. I feel dirty. Raped. Violated. And I paid for this. Does that make me a hooker? The doctor said I need a vaginal sonogram, so I thought I was just obeying instructions. I feel stupid. And I wonder who she used the wand on last? Someone with aids? Maybe an STD? I did not see her wash it. She thinks condoms are enough.

When I put my pants back on, I noticed I had been sporting a beautiful grease smear in black on the front of my beige pants! I had picked up the van my husband usually drives from the repair shop, and I guess the steering wheel was dirty from the oil change and brake job and transmission leak fix, and I marked my pants. A marked woman. Lovely. All I need is a clown nose... I had to smile. That techie is not worth being angry about. What a bitch. I feel sorry for her children, if she has any. Still wish I had walked out, because it is getting to be a habit with me---refusing to take abuse from nurses and techies and rude people. But, I just want to get this all over with. Once we rule out cancer, we can get on with menopause.

I consider myself a private person. Only my husband is allowed in certain parts of my body. I did not even get the techie lady's name.

I took a shower, but...

Time for another bath. With clorox.

Two Storms

Yesterday, at 2:30 and 3pm, a tornado hit near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma damaging a few businesses.

Then, last night about sunset, the little town of Lone Grove was hit. Located just outside Ardmore, Oklahoma, north of the Red River with at least eight deaths in a trailer park. That same storm hit us about 9pm, and our bare trees were really waving and rocking in the wind. Straight line winds ripped off a porch in Garland and pulled it over the roof and onto the yards and garage of neighbors.

We got to hear WBAP's traffic pilot Monty's twin brother, Mitch who lives near the town hit in Oklahoma at 2:30pm. He watched the wall cloud approach from the Super Target he manages.

Lots of people huddled in windowless bathrooms and under blankets and mattresses in tubs as this line of storms raked the Metroplex last night. Party-goers in the newly renovated Reunion Tower (looks like a ten story microphone) celebrating the opening of the new restaurant that revolves) were evacuated about 10pm and describes the rain and storm as feeling like they were in a washing machine.

Needless to say, the local radio station, WBAP was full of alerts and warnings last night and full of damage reports this morning.

The sky is clear this Wednesday morning. So pretty. You'd never know we had such excitement last night. Bob put the van in the garage in the middle of our Scrabble game. So, he pulled it out this morning, and I took him to the train station as I have the sonogram appointment scheduled for 11am this morning. It is suppose to get up to 70 degrees today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lightening In February

Tornado in Oklahoma City today. Now the front is here. We put the van in the garage. The Plymouth is still in the shop for a brake job and trying to fix a leak near the transmission. I still need to get new tires up front.

Tornado warnings here. Seems so odd to see lightening in February---seems a thing we don't see in winter. This is so spring like. pre-spring.



Anyone remember the children's illustrated book, "Tuesday"?? No words. The kind of book where you make up what is going on in the pictures. A book to let your imagination soar. I think of that when I title a post: Tuesday.

It is still dark. I have some plans. I have a few errands to run---the cleaners and get the oil changed on the Plymouth. But, the day is a blank slate. I have such freedom. Lots and lots of free time. Something I longed for as a mom of three boys. When they were all small, it just was not worth it to drag them all to the store. Ben would have a meltdown, and I would have to say no a hundred times to every enticingly packaged item. And as a mom, I was too tired, or too lazy to turn it into an adventure or even a teachable moment.

My mom was mostly a stay-at-home mom. She gave us her all when we were little. As we got older, and were at school most of the day, she started doing the books for my Dad's father's Culligan business. I can remember Poppy coming by with receipts and her huge bookkeeping books. I loved getting to see my Poppy. I was very blessed with wonderful grandparents on both sides. Grandmothers that stayed home and made their families their work. Full gardens, canning, laundry on the line---their work was back breaking. And never ending. There was always something to do. And generations to care for. Both my grandmothers' own mothers were still alive until I was in high school. So, they cared for their own moms, their husbands, their children, and were ready at a moments notice to even feed grandchildren that dropped in. Food was central. I remember shopping with my grandmothers. I can still hear my Mom's Mom, the farmer's wife, clucking over the high price of store bought chickens. She raised her own most of her life. Staying at her house meant always having a bath before bed, and slipping between clean, smooth sheets, and being loved and cared for. Staying with my Dad's Mother meant lots of modern conveniences, and staying up late to watch TV and eat snacks. But, her house, too, was clean and orderly. She enjoyed shopping at farms for the rich cream that came in quart jars to make ice cream, or fix dried corn. And I have stood in her kitchen when that dried corn was being prepared---corn off the cob, blanched, and carefully dried in the oven, and stored away in huge gallon jars. I am sure the recipe called for lots of butter, and fresh cream.

It became fashionable in the sixties and seventies for women to go back to work, and keeping house, being a housewife---I hate that term, as if you are married to the house---fell out of fashion. The women's lib revolution thought they knew better, and pushed their propaganda that daycare could raise the next generation better, that a woman needed fulfillment outside the home. Thankfully, I got to stay home with my boys. And I loved it. Nothing sweeter than a baby, and how they slow down time itself. Their pace taught me to stop and smell the roses and be in the moment. And yet they grew up so fast. And so many teens when my boys were teens were addicted to drugs, and being home, being always aware of what they were doing, and being there was the best drug prevention. And while I worked in the school lunchroom, and volunteered with the PTA for years and years, raising our boys was something Bob encouraged and praised even as I watched as I became the ONLY one at home on my block. Yes, there were lonely moments. I remember looking out the kitchen window longing for a friend. Someone to share the joys and frustrations. That was way before the internet, and cell phone. I used to write lots and lots of long letters to say in contact with friends and relatives, but it make others feel guilty in that they felt they "owed" me a letter.

I journaled. And marveled at each age and its challenges. And now they are all launched. Firstborn has a family all his own. And James plans to marry in September. And Ben moved out when he was eighteen---the clingiest baby, the most independent. Ben likes to figure things out for himself. I miss him more than he will ever miss me. And that is how it should be.

I realize some women have to work. I realize some bought the lie that staying home is a waste of your life. And sadly, because of the high rate of divorce and single motherhood---women who don't even bother to marry, so many women have to work to survive.

Staying home with your children is still in vogue with Christian moms. And moms good at math. As Barbara Bush said, no one looks back at their life and wishes they spent more time at the office. It is the investment of time and love and energy put into the next generation that lasts.

My heart goes out to the moms this week who got word that their sons died in Iraq. A car bomb took four soldiers, and a helicopter crash took a husband and dad---a mother's son. Did those women waste their time raising heros?? No. Never.

Yes, I had it easy. And now my days are wide open for study, for blogging, for reading. And it is time to turn and encourage the next generation of women to examine their priorities, do their jobs as Mom as unto the Lord. Look to Him for your direction, purpose, and help to be the teacher and nurse and example to the generation they bear. Life is so precious, and if moms do not stay home and highlight that gift, more and more will be discarded. Ann Coulter points out in her book that the 99 percent filling our prisons were from single moms. We have been given these stats, these warnings, and we need to wake up as a nation and value marriage, a mom and a dad raising the next generation in an intact home.

Our granchild drives the parents crazy constantly asking about the other. When my son calls after picking the grandchild up from daycare, the grandchild keeps chirping, "mom" "mom" "mom" wanting to know where is mom, are we going home to mom, and wanting that completeness. And when the grandchild is with mom, and my son is out of town, I have been told that the grandchild drives mom crazy asking where is dad. A child needs a mom AND a dad.

I am so sorry we don't live closer so that our grandchild goes to daycare. My friend, Mary, gets to keep her grandchildren so that her daughter can teach school, and her daughter-in-law can get a break. Her grandchildren always know they are loved by relatives. Family. As God intended. I cringe every time I hear stories of daycare children abandoned in hot vans, or even abandoned and forgotten in cribs at the daycare. There was a story in the news recently of a mom who showed up at a closed daycare, and she could hear her baby crying inside.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of getting to stay home with my sons. I pray that You guide and direct women today to look to You for what is best for their families. Your will be done. I pray that You help me to be encouraging, not critical. A help, not hurtful. Life is so short. But, when I was a mom with children sick, hurt, or needing watched 24/7, there were times I was lonely. And there were times I felt unappreciated. Poor. Restricted. Tired. But, there were also wonderful times of peace, adventures, fun, marvel, and looking back, it all went by so quickly. No one wants to listen to an old, gray haired, fat lady. And our rooms stand empty. Dust collects on the toys. Please comfort the moms who lost their sons to a car bomb in Iraq, and a helicotper crash and please help the moms who are still busy helping disabled sons. Sons scarred by war. Your will be done. Only You, Lord, can turn our country around and protect the institutions You invented to protect and preserve the human race---especially family, and marriage. In Jesus name. Amen.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Rain

Last night the wind blew, and sprinkles and mist appeared on our windows. Then, early this morning, heavy rain and 70 mph winds drove water into the garage west door. I wish there was a way to seal that door, but it opens to the inside, so I just put towels down, and keep the fan going in the garage to dry stuff out. Little inch worms must be falling off the oak trees and are trying to burrow into the dirt, but a few are confused, and are taking a detour through the garage.

The sky is a combination of gray and blue gray as heavy clouds lumber by from the southwest. Eventually, it will clear, but more predicted for tomorrow. We needed the rain. We have been under fire danger for weeks. I see blue sky peeking through. And some sunlight.

The computer keeps beeping, so I will quit for now. I don't want to lose this riveting prose. Ha

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday afternoon

It is a nice, lazy Sunday afternoon. Bob just got back from a budget meeting at church. I ate lunch with James and Amber and finished making up the cookie dough so that James could take it to work tomorrow for Sgt. Mackey. I am just applying that sweet speech James gave at his Chemical Corps graduation.

I was making the cookies when James and Amber came by for lunch, and James grabbed a hot one and started eating it. I thought he did not like the cookies, hence I had advised them to take them to work, as I am sure others might. Come to find out it is hard cookies he does not like. He likes soft ones. Oh. I enjoy making up cookies for folks that like them, and he said that last week's cookies were a hit.

When I asked James to call Ben and invite him, I heard James say to his brudder: "I have a cookie and you don't". Good grief. They sure fall back into that competitive thing easily. Too funny. Ben was not in the mood to socialize, James reported.

Amber said our house feels relaxed and comfortable to her. Yeah! That is good to hear. I was afraid we were boring. And maybe, way, too relaxed. Ha. We have all this space. Space to walk around. Space to dream. I sent my clutter to Lawton, Oklahoma... James told us about his new floor lamp that turns on by just touching it. What will they think of next. I admitted that we never dared have a floor lamp with three active boys. I am surprised our glass lamps made it. But, we did have a rule about no throwing balls in the house. I am the one that broke the front kitchen window one day with a bad throw of tupperware into the kitchen sink. Many, many moons ago.

Bob gave an excellent Sunday School lesson, and the sermon from Pastor Mark seemed an extension in Acts. I couldn't help grin at the funny I read on the web this morning about the guy who spoke in tongues---talking like a pirate. That would be a tongue most folks could understand as opposed to the gibberish most charismatics pass off as tongues.

Well, if this exciting rendition of our afternoon has not put you to sleep, you better lay off taking your vitamins so late in the day...

James did wake us up this morning at 7:30am asking for a haircut. That was funny. I knew he wanted a haircut before heading back to Fort Sill, so I had laid out the clippers pouch so we did not forget, figuring we'd get to it this afternoon. We gotta teach Amber how to do this. Time to pass the clippers. I don't mind doing the sides, but Bob is the finisher. He blends it so he does not look like he is wearing walls or a pointy head. Thankfully, we slept with the windows open, as it is a mild day with heavy cloud cover. So we stood around in our pjs in the side yard giving James a haircut at 7:30am this morning before church. James did not know I had been wide away since 3am...I saw the clock turn to 3:30am and 4am...finally got up and read stuff online for a while before climbing back into bed to snuggle with Bob at 5am.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Normal

James got to come home this weekend. We got to hear all about his first week of in-processing and starting to learn a new job. A lot will have to wait until he is has security clearance---no telling how long that takes. But, he received pep talks, wise counsel and learned a little about his unit. Some are cycling home. A group of twenty-six get to come home next weekend, and I sure hope these guys get home in time for Valentine's Day, don't you? I don't know how long their deployment was to Iraq, but I am sure they can't wait to get home.

And I gotta plan meals better. Be flexible. Be ready. Bob was working on his lesson most of the day, and then helped James with car stuff this afternoon.

And I took a nap on a Saturday. How decadent is that? I needed it. As I have not been sleeping very well. I almost have all the laundry done up. And we listened to another Mars Hill Church sermon. Helps put things in perspective. I had not considered the repentance is a gift from God. God had to have invented it. It sure isn't from Satan.

It got so warm here today. Almost eighty. And that is inside! I was ready to turn on the AC. I got so sweaty doing dishes, or folding clothes. What a contrast to a Valentine's Day six or so years ago when it snowed! I remember it was a Saturday because Bob was home from work, and made a snowman soldier out front, and our friend was so impressed he called the Star Telegram photographer. We still have pictures of some not-so-patriotic snowmen Bob formed as a teenager in El Paso. Talk about a traffic stopper.

A new normal--quiet week days in the routine of Bob going to work, and coming home, and Scrabble and laundry and grocery shopping. And weekends of James and Amber getting excited about planning their wedding. How can we help? And how can we encourage? I am so afraid of messing this up.

James' rental has to be turned in the 12th, and he gets to come home that weekend, but be ready to help welcome the returning heroes, so there is the potential of quite a few trips back and forth to Lawton next week. If we can help James by picking him up Thursday night, the 12th, and if he is ready, willing, and able to get another car, and if the returning soldiers come in Saturday or Sunday or Monday... there should not be a boring moment.

And next weekend is Valentine's Day --- and falling on a Saturday, we can stretch it out and celebrate Friday and Sunday, too, eh? For lovers, every day is Valentine's Day. The Valentine's Day chocolate has been in the stores since Christmas. All that red and pink---whew.

And how to transport these knives safely to Lawton? Steak knives, paring knives, and one for chopping big stuff, and the apple corer. I am stumped. And he needs some spoons. For cereal. I am sending all the plastic I have just in case we don't get to the spoons this weekend. And a haircut. James said he needed a haircut... (later---a box within a box for the knives, and labeled, should do the trick.)

New Normal, here we come.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Looking Back at our Honeymoon

Bob and I were married in Houston, Texas over thirty years ago on April Fools 1978. It was a fun wedding. Just a small, family affair at my folks rental house. It was convenient, practical. But, not somewhere we can ever visit again, except to drive by.

I was the oldest. The first to flee. Bob flew into town earlier that week, from Savannah, and we proceeded to the doctor's office for the required blood test. Bob and his Dad shared a room at the Holiday Inn a few blocks away. My Dad's Mother, known as "Nannie" also shared that hotel. And I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when Nannie met Bob's Dad there. I wonder now if the triplets stayed Bonnie?

I should have told my folks, just IMMEDIATE family, because they dug up some relatives I had not seen in years and years. And that idiot woman that just thought it was the cutest thing to give me a silver plate or something and smear her fingerprints all over it with the exclamation that now I would need to polish it in my spare time. I dumped all the silver crap onto my sister-in-law as she liked the stuff. Life is way too short to polish silver, in my opinion.

Ours was a 10am wedding. Military time: 1000 hours. Bob in his dress blues, Best Man in his Air Force uniform. And my favorite part of our wedding pictures---Bob's hand on my waist, as if he was getting a good deal, and was not letting go.

After a back yard early brunch of fruit salad, boiled shrimp and cake, we changed duds and piled into my plymouth already hooked to the U-haul trailer holding my antique dresser, hope chest, and twin bed. And we slowly wound our way east. We wanted to spend our first night in Texas, so we stopped in Beaumont, or was it Orange, Texas. Supped at a Luby's, and got that car washed of its shoe polish slogans. Next morning, we discovered Bob had left his brief case back at my folk's house. So, Sunday morning, we drove back to Houston, picked up the briefcase finding my sister in bed sick (maid of honor partied too hard?) So, our second night found us driving to Gulfport, Mississippi to a Ramada Inn. Or, was it a Hilton. Safely enscounced in our room, planes started landing. For hours, jets screeched overhead. It was a hoot.

I think we made it almost to Tallahassee when we had the blowout. And Bob about had a heart attack when he gazed upon the tires from the vantage point of underneath, and noticed how bald they were on the inside. So, our first purchase as a couple, our first big purchase, was four tires for my car in Tallahassee, Florida. We called some friends who lived there, and they wanted us to stay with them, but we enjoyed the privacy of the hotel. I started a bout of my first ever bladder infection--also called Honeymoon Cystitus. That is what the doctor at the emergency room in Jessup, Georgia called it late the next night. And looking back, neither Bob nor I remember ever getting a bill. We pulled into Fort Stewart, Georgia late, late so Bob could sign in, and I headed straight for the rest room. The horse pills they gave me at the emergency room gave me relief, and put me out like a light. So, I was sleeping in Bob's lap as we pulled into our brand new apartment complex. Bob had procurred a one bedroom on the second story, and had a big queen sized bed and phone waiting. And a surprise: a beautiful green and white dress hanging on my side of the closet. Bob had decided that the closet looked just too bare. So, he bought me a dress. (see above picture) We hauled up my furniture, and returned the U-haul trailor the next day, and then drove back to Fort Stewart (40 miles) to get my military ID---the most important thing.

We started with plenty of kitchen stuff, and we had a small library antique table, and dresser and bed. But, sat on boxes for a while as chairs until we could go shopping and find a dining table and chairs. I had never really been shopping with Bob before while we were dating, and I found it embarrassing to see him get down and examine how the tables were constructed. I learned that he had been taught to appreciate good furniture, and dove-tailing.

It was a fun, practical honeymoon. It fit who we were. It served the purpose of getting me and my stuff from Houston to Savannah. And the azalias were gorgeous. We laughed a lot. Bob would leave early for that forty mile commute and I explored Savannah. Savannah had the best old library. I used to send this huge lunch with Bob of two sandwiches, and all sorts of goodies. Bob said that his fellow soldiers would gather round his desk to see him unpack it all. And he would finish it on the drive home---and not always be real hungry for the huge meal I would have waiting.

But, it was fun. And we bought our first Scrabble game. And we took lots of jogs through the countryside. And Oglethorpe mall was not too far away for a haircut and shopping. Bob knew the Army was cutting officers, so he knew he only had nine months to go. During one training exercise down to Florida, I got to pick Bob up in the fog at Hunter Army Airfield. I knew how to wind my way through the back gate and across a runway to pick him up. He had grown a mustache while out in the field for a week, and I felt like I was picking up Omar Shariff in the fog! The Ranger Battalion was moving to Hunter, and we met and entertained a soldier from there, as well as a Marine friend from Paris Island, and a West Pointer grad also stationed at Fort Stewart that my family had known in Houston. I also met Bob's cousin and his wife, a Marine who would spend 20 years in the service before retiring. I was so afraid of this gruff little, intense guy at first. I kept thinking he was going to make me drop and give him twenty.

Fort Stewart had a lot of old World War II buildings. The hospital was a hodge-podge of one story buildings thrown together with ramps and odd angle hallways. We spent many a holiday hanging out there as my bouts with urinary tract infections continued until I learned to take alfalfa tablets preventitively (years later). And I attended a few officers' wives "coffees".

And as newlyweds, we managed a few long trips to Illinois to show Bob THE FARM where my grandparents lived their whole lives, and meet aunts and uncles from the area. We even rode with my grandparents on up to Wisconsin to see my aunt and her twins--I think they were just toddlers at the time. And we traveled back to Houston for Thanksgiving, and El Paso---and Bob's Dad invited us to live with him in his huge house on the west side when Bob got out of the Army. So, in January, we moved to El Paso where Bob tacked the engineering degree on top of his math degree. We lived with Bob's Dad for a year, and then got our own apartment after a summer in Dallas for that final semester. It was great to be emersed in Bob's huge family as his Dad was a widower, and his siblings that still lived at home were cycling in and out of that house going to college in New Mexico, Houston, and there in El Paso, at UTEP. I worked for a plumber, and cooked and kept house. It was fun. And we learned a lot.

And Bob studied, and worked parttime for his Dad doing construction. And Bob's Dad had an elderly gentleman that lived with them who had suffered a brain injury in a car wreck years before. I never knew if I was serving five for supper or ten. It was fun. And the married siblings would come home for the holidays, and I got to know them, too.

We moved to Arlington to an apartment on the east edge of Fort Worth, and Bob went to work for TP&L downtown Dallas. Then, when our firstborn was six months old, we found this house in Arlington because that baby needed a yard. a fenced in yard. And we have lived here ever since as Bob worked in Dallas for eleven years, then Fort Worth eleven years and weathered ten name changes--and consolidations. When Andy was almost five years old, James and Ben were born here, and this is where they went to school, and this is where James attended college. We have seen Arlington grow---we remember when that McDonalds on I-20 and Collins was way out there by itself.

And the honeymoon has not ended. Now, as the boys have flown the nest, we still play Scrabble, and act goofy, and mow that yard. We invited Ben out to supper last night to hear all about his photovotaic school in Waco, and getting in the news in Abilene when they installed solar panels atop ACU. James should be home tonight from Fort Sill, and we have his guest room all prettied up. And if/when Andy brings his family to visit, we have the guest room, and room for the grandchild to run.

We have such fond memories of Savannah, Georgia. We explored the forts, and historical places. We checked out the beaches, and drove through the fancier suburbs we heard about on the radio. Someday we will have to go back to visit, but I doubt we recognize the place.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I watered the front yard for an hour. The wind had dried it out.

Beautiful day. Clouds burned off my noon.

I spent on hour or two messing with Bob's mobile phone, trying to get it to work. It would turn on, but the keyboard would not respond. I finally called Virgin Mobile, and lo and behold, I got to talk to a person. Her advice was to take the battery out, wait fifteen seconds, and plug it back in. And it worked! It is just the cheapy little Walmart phone, but because Bob had more minutes on his than I had on mine, we traded so I could work his minutes down. We do that every once in a while because with Virgin, you use them or lose them...minutes...I mean.

Ben-Ben made the paper in Abilene in a good way. They were installing solar panels on top of the girls' gym and the local paper and channel 12 did a story on how Abilene Christian was becoming "green". You can see him working away if you go to the Abilene channel 12 site and click on the solar panel story.

We took Ben to supper. Now I ate too much. Then after we showed Ben our new guest room (Ben thinks the lamp needs a shade---maybe I will get a new one for this lamp, and move this shade back there.) Then we got gas in Bob's car. And Bob whuped me at Scrabble. I could not play "QUIXOTIC" until the end, and he had gone out first, but he left me a nice place to play it at last. I held on to it too long, but I was determined to play it.

If we all wrote in Scrabble letters, people would think we were yelling. (all caps)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Temps in the fifties today. A little too chilly to open the windows, but it is a bright, clear day here in Texas.

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex---peek into the sky at 6:54 pm tonight and watch the International Space Station, ISS, float overhead from the NNW. It should be VERY bright. In fact, you will think it is an airplane, but it does not blink or wink at your like an airplane. It should be brighter than Venus. Right as we are going into Bible Class at church---we should be able to pause and watch, as we never get started right at 7pm.

Vacuuming this morning---amazing how much just two or three people and one cat can generate.

Clean sheets alert. A little laundry, a little clothes folding, a load of dishes...and lunch with my friend, Mary who has a birthday tomorrow. Mary is very flexible. We both have sons that live in the area and have odd days off. So, we understand if the adult son shows up at our door for a visit. Mary's son showed up yesterday, so we cancelled lunch, and I went on to Walmart and got some shopping done. And a few weeks ago, we had to cancel when my Ben showed up on a rainy day when he could not get on roofs. But, today, we were back on, and drove up to the nicer, Northeast mall Chick-fill-you up. It was crying day there, as the toddlers were getting a little aggressive in the play area. Lots of cute little kids with curls. One mom was holding a baby with more hair than any of my babies ever had. Too cute. Sometimes we hit the nearby Michaels or Joanne's when the yarn is on sale. But, today, she came back to my house to see my progress on re-arranging rooms and pictures since James moved to Lawton. Mary and I only live a block from each other, in fact, our houses are part of the 100 little houses that all have the same floor plan, except her entrance is on the south and mine is on the north. So, when I asked her advice about closet door cloth coverings, she knew exactly the opening I was talking about. These houses were all built back in the early sixties. Some have cannabalized the garages, and a few have added second stories. I just don't want to put the big, eight foot tin doors back, as they come off the track easily, and the one in the attic is probably beyond gross. One old door is in the little house. We still have both of them, but I don't know...

Watching Brietbart TV online. Mark Steyne was funny subbing again for Rush Limbaugh today.

9:52 pm Bob just beat me at Scrabble after church. 372 to 236 Bob bingo-ed three times in a row for his second, third and fourth round. That is a first. Wow.

At church tonight, we let people know about the pass, and had folks standing outside watching at 6:54pm. It was the best pass. Bright, and right overhead, and right by the moon, and it hung in the sky for a long time. I think, even the little kids from Awanas saw it. Our church parking lot has a great view of sunsets and the full sky. It was fun. Then we went inside and Pastor Mark taught from Luke 13.

We talked to James after church, and walked him through using the new skillet. It is a Pampered Chef skillet, and non-stick. I sent the instruction book, but it is more fun for James to scare his mom when it comes to asking questions about running it through the dishwasher, and whatall utensils. Yikes. He has confused my iron skillet with his teflon. Not all skillets are equal. nor are they cleaned nor treated the same.

What must James' Sergeant think of getting a brand new Second Lieutenant to train? A guy with twenty years under his belt, numerous deployments and life experiences versus a guy out of college and fresh from Chemical Corps School. Let us all bow our heads and say a little prayer for Sergeant Mackey.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Upon the backs and brains of these sergeants, our Army thrives or dies. Please give Sergeant M. the patience and alertness to turn our James into the officer our Army needs. Please give him wisdom, and courage to speak up, and please give James the ears to hear, and the humility and courage to admit when he does not know, and lean on this man who I believe, You, Lord, hand picked for this job. There are no accidents with You. Bless them both, O Lord. It has got to be hard for the sergeants in our military to help mold second lieutenants the age of their own sons and daughters. Help them respect each other, work as a team, and do all to Your glory. And please protect them from the dangerous decisions of this current administration. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Re-arranging Chairs on the Titanic

Cleaning out closets.
Re-arranging pictures on the walls.
Consolidating, sorting, dusting.

The guest room is now ready for a guest. Ha. I tried to pick restful pictures from our old stash of framed art and photographs which used to be stored in the little house. And in the other empty room, but for a desk, I have the Andy and all things A&M corner. And in the hall--the acting goofy pictures. No longer does the picture of the three young boys greet you as you come out of the bathroom as if to "give" you "privacy" as if it is a gift. I used to ask them to give me some privacy, and they would hold out their open arms.

James left a message on the phone last night after we had gone to bed (I don't even remember hearing the phone) saying his frig is holding a temp at 40 degrees. That should keep his milk cold. The frig just did not feel like it was working on Saturday, so I sent the food thermometer with him Monday. I wonder how his first day of in-processing went.

And I wonder how Ben's week at photovotaic school went.

Andy said they were expecting more snow tonight in Dayton. And the grandchild was asking, "guess where Abby is" from inside a cupboard" and she was dancing and babbling. Lauren can understand her. I'm glad. I'm glad someone has the gift of interpretation.

Sounds like Bob is home. I wonder if the baked potatoes are done....

Later---after a trip to Home Depot. 9pm. I don't know why Ben-Ben took three of the fan blades off his ceiling fan years and years ago. I found them again in the closet today. Dusted them off. Screws are long, long gone. I went through every bin in the luck. So, off to Home Depot where they were eager but not at all helpful. Bob found some bolts that work, and we came home and screwed them in, and now the fan is complete. Restored. beautiful. Quiet even. Wow. At last. I just hate pieces of a project that get set aside and forgotten, only to gather dust. And scrapes. Just a few holes to patch with spaklin' and we are set.

As Christians, we have to find the balance between a clean, well-ordered house and turning our nest into an idol. Clean and functional will do just fine. For this place is temporary in the grand scheme of things. We do not have to live fancy, just within our means. We enjoy things of beauty in nature and in pictures, in art and things around us, but we do not worship them. Does the room seem welcoming? Comfortable? A place of hospitality and rest? Not for the dear husband---Home Depot at 9pm at night. Dr. Laura would NOT approve. SSSSh...

James did fine in orientation day one. He can't find his utensils, and I don't remember which box they are in. He used them at Fort Knox, but then they got packed away during BOLC2 and Fort Leonard Wood. Or, maybe he donated them all to the folks at For Leonard Wood? By mistake? By not checking the drawers?? James? Anyone? Beuller? Anyone? When was the last time you cut an apple with a knife? When was the last time you ate cereal with your spoons? Yeah, I bet you left them at Fort Leonard Wood.

I am fading. Time for bed. More tomorrow...

Found. He only has his cell phone, so we are texting---and I have not been doing that right. His cell phone does not like all the message in the subject line. He found the utensils in the blue bin. Good deal. Now he can eat cereal and oatmeal and cut stuff. James won't have internet until Tuesday or Wednesday. And he sees no need for land line. Cell phone is all he needs.

What I have learned---moving the clock to another wall where it looks better won't prevent you from looking at the old spot...ten times a day.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What A Weekend!!!

Friday night: Bob packed up James' bookshelf of books and dvds. I fetched empty boxes from the little house. I thought I'd saved enough, but we could have used a few more. And all the saved packing styrofoam came in handy.

Saturday 8am. Bob and I picked up the U-haul reserved. Fourteen footer. With a ramp.

James and Bob start loading the heavy, bulky, super long stuff---James' six foot desk, six foot twin bed, dresser, chair and love seat, bookcase. I went by Tom Thumb to get snacks, apples, and more Gatorade.

James picked up Amber while Bob finished loading the last of the boxes. The ramp did come in handy. I baked a batch of cookies to take along. Put James' uniforms in the van so they did not get mixed up with the boxes. I remembered to grab a roll of toilet paper...

And we pretty well emptied the little house of stored items---like a skillet for James with a glass see-through lid I bought from a niece when she sold Pampered Chef, figuring James might need it someday. There are still some loose items of James' in the closet---tennis rackets, old keepsake items, etc., but most of it was hauled to Fort Sill to his Lawton, Oklahoma one bedroom apartment.

We caravaned through Fort Worth and headed north without stopping until we got to Lawton and the strange Chick-fill You Up off Cache Road. I have never seen such a poorly designed Chick-fil-eh in my life. Our wait was long, as I am suspicious that the whole town was just getting out for the first time since their snow and ice storm. Piles of snow were shoved to the sides of parking lots like dirty snow mountains. Ice was still evident on north slopes. In fact, in the housing complex next to James' apartment complex, the north facing houses had an inch of glazed ice on their drives and walks and residents where chipping away at the artic. Temps still dip into the twenties each night in Lawton, and I guess they ran out of rock salt. We saw fields of cotton on one side of the road driving near Lawton and fields of white ice, frozen ponds, and snow and ice on north slopes of the overpasses. James showed us the spot he slipped on the ice on Monday a week ago when he was trying to look for an apartment. It is a tricky spot in the road, on a bridge, and if he had slipped at any other spot before or after the bridge, he might have rolled the truck as the sides are much, much steeper. And this was about the only spot in the road with a median wall. The rest of the road has grass mounded medians---another roll potential or meeting the oncoming traffic head-on which would have been much worse.

Poor Lawton had a dirt mixture just like our streets and bridges making a dust cloud everywhere we went, and their streets were crowded, and the side walks littered with car bumpers! Like a bad movie set. But, James' apartment complex looks nice, and the trees are budding, and the birdies tweet.

By 3pm, we had the boxes and furniture in James' new place. James had time to set up important stuff---but like in all moves, the trash can got trapped back in the corner behind the boxes.. He will get to it eventually. We made a list of things he needs, like a shower curtain, and vacuum. And he has a nice, big storage room just outside his front door---so he can save some of the boxes (or all of them broken down) for the next move in September---after the wedding.

Back on the road south, after turning in the U-haul, Bob was able to visit with us, and we tried a new route outa town. Lawton lists almost 100,000 people. Looks like it grew up beside a railroad. The Army nestles north of town next to the mountains/hills. We did not go on post this trip.

So, now James will be just three hours away. When he was stationed there for BOLC 2, he used to come home every weekend. So, hopefully, if he is off duty, he can come home many weekends to see Amber.

We stopped at Angello's for some ribs for a late supper when we got back to Fort Worth. It was not too much out of the way. We buy ribs from there all the time and bring them home for family gatherings---but we rarely eat there at night. Whoa---loud. Why do Stock Show goers drink beer and exibit deafness?? Yikes. Now we know why we ususally get our ribs to go.

We were home by 10pm, and I unkinked my muscles by vacuuming James' old bedroom, and James helped me move the guest bed back there so that James' old room is now the guest room. There is much more privacy back there, as the middle room, which used to be the guest room has a folding door on one side, so little privacy. We will use the middle room for a sitting room or something. It has a desk with a file drawer where we store receipts for taxes, and a bookshelf Bob made from floor to ceiling of old picture albums, and kids books.

Bob's Sunday School lesson was excellent. And James picked up Amber and brought her to our church for the first time and introduced her all around. That was fun. Usually, Amber is busy at her own church teaching Sunday School or helping with the Praise choir, or with leader meetings. I am so relieved that our song service was a good mix and the message from Pastor Mark. And Amber got to show off her ring. We celebrated with a special lunch at Carrabas. It was fun to see James eat some other animal other than steak. I should have split my entree with Bob, as we never have room for dessert. And Bob and I were not even hungry for supper.

I pulled some old paintings out of the little house after church Sunday while Bob snoozed in the chair. Sallycat sat on his chest during his nap. I took a picture with the digital camera, so I may post it later. Sallycat is all confused by all this moving, and boxes, and even though it was seventy-five degrees yesterday afternoon, Sallycat felt more secure on Bob's chest. I will try to match old paintings to the rooms, and decorate a little. Eventually, we will move this computer desk where I am pecking to the middle room and be able to repaint the living room and kitchen.

Sunday afternoon, after Bob's nap, we played Scrabble. And I beat Bob by one hundred and one points. And I tried to keep the laundry done up and folded hunting for any of James' items.

Today, Monday, James will pack up the loose items, and his suitcase, and head back to Lawton and get organized before reporting in tomorrow for a couple of days of in-processing. He has heard that most new postings sometimes last three he might get to know Lawton. And Lawton is where he will bring his bride...

I bet Lawton is a blast furnace in the summer. So, a September wedding will be best to get settled when the weather breaks a little and the leaves start to turn.

Lawton is 180 some odd miles northwest of us. Mostly, north. Arlington is 32.6 N and 97.2 W and Lawton is 34.7 N and 98.4 W. They see below freezing temps at night, where we have not.

The sunset was pretty on the rolling plain and the cows and trees silhouetted on the horizon. I am so thankful for the clear skies and mild temps. The Oklahoma I-44 toll road is $1.25 one way but the roads in Texas on 287 are much smoother having been more recently been repaved.

My Favorite Super Bowl Ad: The Picnic

The Coke picnic ad is so cute. Whimsical. Like a Bug's Life movie in miniature.

How, praytell, do we watch superbowl ads without a TV? Easy. Online.

Pepsi tried hard, and had more, but...

And some where just stupid. Tackling girls? Killing off people? Not a sales help in my mind.

Some commercials made us play the game: what are they selling???

Which one was your fav??