Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DFW National Cemetery

Yesterday, I drove my friend over to the DFW National Cemetery. She had never seen it. It was super windy and warm, but I finally got to examine the crests on the granite tables along the walkway by the lake. My friend pointed out that there is not a RANGER one. There is space for more, so maybe we need to push and support one.

If your husband is a vet, retired or active duty---one of your benefits is the right to be buried at a National Cemetery. The DFW one opened in 2000. And it is beautiful with rolling hills of mesquite trees. The above ground stones have a cross or not, name, rank, where they served, and a space at the bottom for one short line. If the wife is buried there, too, then her info in engraved on the back. So, from certain angles---it looks like a field of women.

How to fit: killed by an arrogant cell phone driver ? or text-er ?

Every where we drive now, on every road, these idiot drivers think they can drive and talk on the phone at the same time. Murderers. Arrogant murderers. Some can barely drive---and my husband pointed out that they probably learned how to drive playing video games.

Hang up and drive!


Every time we have purchased a car, I have pushed for the full maintenance package. With rent car. My dear husband saith that we could save money by renting the rent car ourselves when we need it. Well, Toyota was not up front about how expensive maintenance costs. Every five thousand miles when you bring it in for an oil change---they push and threaten and cajole for petty yet expensive crap to be done like change out the brake fluid, change the AIR filters, etc. But, they send you nifty coupons in fliers saying---oil change---just $26.

Well, I insisted on the "just the oil change" for $26 and found out that does not include checking ANY of the fluids. Toyota you are losing me.

And when a ford 150 backed into our bumper in Lawton and tore a hole in the bumper skin, the insurance companies went round and round about us needing to pay our deductible, and half, and half of the rental for two days, even though the gal admitted today, it will take four---again. Damn them. Should have gotten the silly rent car. Subrogation? Really? It will be up to us to go after the other insurance company for reimbursement? (save that word for Scrabble: subrogation)

Next time we buy a car---the maintenance is more important than the damn car. Go for the full package, and the rent car no matter what----because it only runs $750 and we have paid that out in the first three oil changes!!! And make the insurance company pony up on the rent car---and pick you up and deliver you. There are so many idiots talking on their cell phones, and texting while driving, that it is just a matter of time....

Just sayin'

later---Bob pointed out something I want to remember: the current debate about healthcare is often carjacked by the argument that by law we have to buy car insurance. Yes, but we don't use our car insurance for an oil change or tune up. Car insurance is for emergencies, wrecks, and when your car is damaged in a hail storm. And with car insurance, you get to choose your deductible. Our current deductible is $500. Health insurance should be for calamities, but some people want health insurance to cover routine office visits. And a "co-pay" is usually no where near $500.00

Monday, March 29, 2010

Our 32nd anniversary is coming up !

We were married on April Fools Day. 1978. It was a fun wedding. We look back with fond memories. From this distance, we even look back and ponder: who were those people? All of my belongings fit in a small U-haul trailer pulled by a gray Dodge bearing bald tires.

We married in Houston as the azalias were blooming, and drove slowly back to Savannah where Bob was stationed. The azalias continued to bloom along the gulf highway, through Tallahassee, where we stopped to see friends we knew from church and buy a set of tires.

Now, 32 years later, our anniversary falls upon a Thursday---right before Good Friday, so Bob is taking off and we will have a five day weekend! Bob will be teaching Sunday School, and I have a list of things to bring for the Jews for Jesus presentation Easter Sunday as our speaker will give the Jewish Passover clues.

The oak trees are blooming pollen strands and leaves---a yellowish green color appears on the trees even blocks south out my window. A white cat patrols the back yard--stark white against the green grass in the yard of cut lawn. Soon the leaves on the trees will shrowd the houses and shade the yards on our street. For six months of winter we can see two blocks away at roofs and windows through stark spikes of bare branches. For the other six months, hail storm preventing, we have the lush leaf cover like a covered bridge down our street of old trees...many over fifty years old.

Last night was our church's small Lord's Supper celebration. The church secretary made chicken, potatoes, and green beans for the supper part, and set pitchers of grape juice and chopped flat bread at tables that sat eight. It was let every preacher preach something night, and the sad story read by a friend whose daughter was the most reluctant helper this year. Much eye-rolling, and sighing, and body language bespeaking her teenage years. In contrast with the recently adopted baby boy sucking on his toes being literally bounced by his momma at our table....too much drama for my old bones. I sure wish Bob would DO a Lord's Supper celebration for a Sunday School lesson. Walk us through one without the loud music, without the actual food, but with just the tiny cup of grape juice, and unleaven bread...just the teaching visuals Jesus talked about.

As a little girl, our church did the Lord's Supper as a salute, with a sermon and time of prayer for silent confession. Jesus said to do this until He comes back proclaiming His death and resurrection. Paul spends a lot of time discussing the groups doing it wrong.

Jesus chose the Passover for that first Lord's Supper, and repeated the breaking of bread and sharing the cup in their presence after His resurreciton. So, in our Christian tradition, we believe Jesus changed Passover into something more often. Something simple. Understanding Passover is important to see where He came from, and how He became our Passover. Weekly, monthly, yearly---a time to remember, and renew, and regroup. Kinda like an anniversary? Married 32 years, a Christian some 44 years.

later---noon I checked out an ALDI--a new grocery store. strange place of boxes where you have to pay for a cart?? yikes. no thank you. across the street is the nicest Tom Thumb---better variety, better meat, produce, and no charge for either size cart.

2pm---listen' to Mark Steyn on Rush today. snacking on guacamole for lunch, with raspberries, carrot juice and two fortune cookies left over from yesterday. I live like a queen ! these raspberries are as big as the thimble berries of the Upper Penninsula.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


March 25th. wow.

There is snow on the ground in Dalhart, Texas. Clouds that do not move in the water vapor loop weathermap online.

Our oak trees are wearing earrings. Long strands of pollen.

Our disgusting cat is licking old throwup off the outside window sill. Said cat has a bowl of food and a bowl of fresh water, but she would prefer to be pitiful. Our birds can't get to the bird feeder because of where said cat is perched.

One cat. Cat for sale. Its going cheap.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another funeral yesterday

We attended another funeral yesterday. Our third one for this year. Bob's boss's boss's wife. The preacher kept talking about himself..."the last time I..." or "when I talked to her on the phone..." and the wonderful things she did --made her sound like wonderwoman. I am sure she was, but get to the Gospel. He should have read John 3:16 first. And when a preacher says he has never had this request in all the funerals and services like this (celebration of life) I was mighty suspect---the sinner's prayer? Seriously? Well, buddy, I prayed it. That God would keep me from killing you for such a poor sermon. Without the Gospel first, and Jesus as the Reason and the Power, it is all for naught.

A picture of her would have been nice. It has been twenty years since I had seen her face to face. Thankfully, no body. No empty shell. No cadaver. Thank You!

At our first funeral this year, there was a box, a small wooden box of ashes, made to look even smaller by the casket size flag. At our second funeral, the embalmed body and the family touching it, and adding things to it, was such a contrast. Yesterday, no body, no casket, no picture, no urn. Just words. Pretty flowers, and directions where to send donations in her name. The dear lady organized it all herself. Each one that got up to speak said they had been so tasked. She was organized. I liked the not-sung-very-often verses from Amazing Grace. I appreciated her courage for bringing them out into the open, and into the light of day.

So, when you plant my body in the ground, or scatter my ashes upon the wind, speak the Gospel FIRST. The rest is wood, hay and stubble.

Second Day of Spring

violets are blooming and we have an inch of snow!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Attic "blown in" insulation job

Ben volunteered to help with this job---as he has one scheduled for Monday, and he wanted to practice. There is this cool video on the corning insulation site where they make it look easy. If you purchase 10 bags of insulation, then you rent the machine for "free" (deposit/refund) and the machine fits in the back of our minivan even with its 30 feet of hose, cords, and two pieces. Ben and I had picked up 20 bags of insulation, and the plywood for the catwalk, and the respirator a few weeks ago when he had time on a rainy day. Ben had his first day off in about three weeks today, as his work had picked up. Bob had the boards all cut and ready to lay down. It was a beautiful day. The insulation gets a little messy, and the machine fluffs it with air, and pieces blow about, but Bob has a shop vac, so he got most of it all picked up. (I do laundry in that same garage---so I am a bit picky about clean floors). Hauling the wood up to the attic was the hard part, and then once they got the hang of it, Ben ran the hose in the attic, while Bob fed the machine with 12 bags and our attic looks like it snowed pink up there. Ought to be quieter. And we should see a savings on our heating and AC bills. And Bob says we can deduct the cost of materials from next years income taxes. We have been needing to do this for years, as our house was built in the sixties, and the insulation had been pushed down.

Such a relief to get it done, and the machine back to Home Depo, and the space to put the car in the garage if we have another hail storm. We had one last week, and the hail stones were marble size---bigger than peas, and they came down hard and fast. They bounced in the backyard about a foot high.

And tonight is the time change "spring forward" already. Yikes.

Smiling Bear Broken Bumper

Last Sunday after lunch, as Bob was pulling out of the parking space at the mall in Lawton, a huge ford 150 hooked on our bumper, and tore a hole. Bob says it looks like a smiling bear. I am amazed at the exact hit---any more in the back would have messed up the back door, and any more to the front would have hit the tire and/or made it undriveable.

It was rainy, and the car and truck collided at their blind spots. Since Bob had pulled out further, technically, the other guy hit us. But, in Oklahoma they have this moving-no fault thingy. His insurance has agreed to pay half... and the estimate is $500 but four days--- Bob pulled the piece out of his bumper---and it fits back in the spot. So tempting just to put it there with some bandaides. I was also amazed to see that our toyota has styrofoam in the bumper. no kidding. styrofoam.

The bumper is just a skin over the ugly "I" beam parts. amazing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lots going on...and I don't want to complain...

The plymouth was fixed and no charge as the problem was related to whatall they had done earlier in the week. Whew.

The insulation in attic project got postponed because our son, Ben's work picked up. We are so happy for him. It was so fun to hear Ben talk Friday night at Cracker Barrel---he was so excited to have a worker as diligent and ready to learn as he had been. Ben would rather just do the jobs, as stopping and teaching takes time. The new, good worker, literally took tools out of Ben's hands and wanted to learn. That is great. Ben said they got a whole system fininshed, and had more lined up, so no days off until another rainy day. Our attic can wait. There may come a time when it is too hot to get up in the attic, but we can store the bales of insulation in the little house for the summer if we had to.

James and Amber called inviting us up there we did! We drove up Saturday morning, and stayed overnight for the first time on Fort Sill proper. What fun! Amber showed me how to make chicken enchalladas. They were delicious. And we checked out Geronimo's grave, and Mount Scott. We slept in their guest room in a bed we had helped haul months ago. It was very comfortable. I loved hearing the bugle calls---at night, at 11pm, and again at 7:30am and 8am... so cool.

After church with them, we ate at an El Chico in the mall, and while backing out of our parking spot, Bob and a huge ford 150 truck collided. His bumper grabbed ours and tore off the skin of the van's passenger side bumper. We exchanged numbers, and went on, as it was driveable. I hardly saw any damage at all on the truck.

I think Amber found Geronimo's gravesite creepy. But, the same river rocks that look like cannon balls are piled up in a pyramid to mark his grave---same river rocks that they use for building materials at Medicine Park near by. The cemetary is off by the river with a plack which describes how these were prisoners of war---Apaches captured in Arizona, hauled to Florida and Alabama and then brought to Fort Sill, Oklahoma where they worked on farms, and some of their descendents became scouts for the Army and are buried closer to the main post. Some of the stones in the prisoner of war cemetary had children--seven, eight years old, one 15 year old girl--how in the world was she a prisoner of war?? What a hard scrabble life they lead. Lots of women--wives of Chief _____ or daughter or sister. Looks like the cemetary was remodeled in the sixties---using the same granite headstones we reserve for our active duty, retired, and veteran soldiers.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Plymouth Towed

I got a scary call from my husband last night. He was calling from the side of the road...from the side of the freeway. The just-repaired plymouth quit and he had had to work his way over three lanes. Probably a fuel line or a problem with the supposidly fixed fuel filter, but he called asking for the towing number on our insurance policty. Alarming because being stranded by the side of the road is dangerous and why wasn't the number on his card in his wallet? Come to find out, he had hid it from himself. But, our insurance company dispatched a towing company quickly--Abbey Towing from downtown Dallas. And they hauled him back to where we just had the plymouth repaired, thankfully. And we still made it to church for Wednesday night Bible study!

There was a fantastic ISS pass last night at 6:59pm. It started in the SW and went right overhead ---hanging in the sky for five minutes before it soared into the NE sky, looking like a bright star. I had written it down and clipped the note to our Bibles, as it would be a pass to observe right before stepping inside. And the sky was clear enough and unobstructed enough to the west, that we saw Venus pop out of the sunset, too.

Our granddaughter is also named, Abby---so, Abbey towing, and Abby, our granddaughter called last night. She liked my new phone message, and our son said it was so cute to hear her respond to the answering machine message: "Is grannie at the store?? Is grannie taking a bath??? Leave a message after the beep, bye!"

As a three year old, she says, "yes" very clearly, and answers with "yes" to almost every yes/no question. Too cute. My friends and relatives have enjoyed trying to guess where grannie is, too, when they leave a message.

Our pastor went over the last verses of Luke last night. So many treasures there. The first look, touch, and history... of Jesus's resurrection body...with bone and flesh and the ability to eat and drink, yet the ability to come and go through solid doors, and not restricted to space nor time. A body that we are promised to have someday, too...and many noted that they just know their's will be much thinner. Amen to that.

On the one hand, I am thankful my husband is safe and sound after having the car quit as if out of gas. (but still showed half a tank on the gas gauge) On the other hand, what if it had been me? We often trade cars, and I prefer the plymouth sometimes, as the seatbelt does not bite me or pinch like the toyota seatbelt. What if I had been stuck at the store with melting ice cream? Thankfully, the cell phones were charged up, and paid up, and the towing went very smoothly. The towing pennies we pay each month on our insurance policy have more than paid for themselves as I think this is the fourth time we have had to have the plymouth towed. It was the first week we had the plymouth---the gas gauge was not accurate, and it died, and we had it towed. Then the belt broke another time...and once, when I just dropped off Bob at the train station, it would not restart...and the towing company came and gave me a jump, and I made it to the repair shop. The plymouth is a 97. So, we have gotten good use out of it for 14 years...but the maintenance has been an issue I wish we had known about before we bought the car. Oh, well. At this point, even the yearly "big" repair of different systems still makes it a cheap second car. I think it will need shocks next...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I found my husband's map !

We got a brand new fancy digital electric meter !!! Even though it was raining, the guy rang the doorbell, and instructed me to turn off the computer. He installed the new digital meter in seconds! I was so excited, and knew Bob would be, too. This new meter talks to the company every 15 minutes. amazing. And Bob designed the map on the website.

When your husband works for the power company, you learn all about power lines, poles, transformers, etc. And these new meters are getting a lot of bad, bad press. I did not think we'd be getting ours so soon! The best feature is that if you lose power, the meter sends out one last dying gasp---so they know to come fix your loss before you can even get to a working phone and report it. (say, the middle of the night, and you are sleeping)

awesome mom video