Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I know you know it's muddy here. It's really muddy, I mean REALLY muddy.

I grew up living in the country. We moved around the county a lot, but I always lived on dirt roads until I left home. We had muddy roads, often, but not like what I'm dealing with now--here. I've talked to my folks about it, and to a good friend of mine who lives here in the same town I do now. We think the mud here is different than the mud at home.

I grew up in an area with red hills, composed of iron oxide, so the dirt was red. We had sandy roads too and cleache (probably not spelled right, but it's pronounced clee-che). Cleache roads were the best. Water did not sit on them, they were not slick. Sandy roads were good too, you'd have muddy spots, but could get through and they dried out quickly. Red dirt roads were usually fine, you'd slip and slide, but you wouldn't sink very far.

The dirt here must have more clay, because the mud here is sticky, and you can sink in and it clings and you can't get out, and you leave big ruts if you do get out. I've been fighting mud for over a week now, with no end in sight. The snow keeps melting, but there's no where for the water to go. The ground is saturated, so nothing has even begun to dry out. We are parking two vehicles at the highway, but can't park all 3 there. So, I usually get to drive the diesel in and out. And I don't like it. Mornings are OK, because the mud is frozen. But, it's rough, you slide from the tops of the ridges down into the ruts, or bounce over the ruts until you are seated in the ruts. Then you bump and bounce through the mud down the drive. When you get home in the evening, it's thawed, so you slip and slide and slip and swerve and sway and pray. Then, you look for an area that is still firm, where you can park, but if you find such a spot, you've got to figure how to get to the house and not lose your shoes in the mud--or in the very slushy, crusty snow.

If you park at the highway, you've got to make sure you leave room for the other vehicle, and then you've got to pack all your baggage, school work, etc. in to the house, watching every step. Making decisions all the way in. Do you walk on the snow and risk falling through, or walk on the mud and hope it's firm enough that you don't bog down in the mud. Do you walk on the left side or right? Do you go around or cut through the snow closer to the house? And, when you get to the house, can you get in without tracking mud everywhere.

I have never liked driving in the mud. I have never very good at it. I know how to drive in the mud. I know to get in the tracks, to give the car or pickup gas, to not stop moving, to just keep the tires turning, etc. But I've never liked doing it. I don't like feeling my way down the muddy road. I don't like it when my back end swings around in front of my front end. It makes me nervous. (This probably is the fault of my drivers ed teacher, who grabbed the wheel on me once because, at that time, I had never driven in mud and wasn't doing well...)

But, now, I'm driving in mud again. But this mud is different. The ground is so saturated, that as this snow is melting, there's no where for the water to go, so it sits on top of the ground, or runs under the snow. I watched some of the ruts in the driveway act like a creek--the water was just running, downhill, in the ruts. And what doesn't run, pools.

So, on Friday, I had to load up the diesel pickup with all our Archery equipment for the kids I was instructing. I waded through water and mud to load all the equipment. Then, I started to back out of the driveway, uphill to the circle drive in front of the house. From there, I could then go forward, curve around the trees, and curve out and down the driveway to the highway.

Unfortunately, the ground was so saturated, I almost got stuck. I didn't, but I left nice 12" deep ruts in the yard. And these 12" deep ruts are wide, because my front tires slipped and were turned, so I was trying to back up in 4 wheel drive with tires that weren't square, so I didn't make any headway and tore up the ground. Oh, I figured it out, because I kept asking Andy if my tires were straight...he kept saying yes, but unfortunately, was looking at the REAR tires, not the front tires. (Can I blame him for the ruts?)

On Sunday morning, Kev and I tried to take Kev's Dad to see a place further out in the country that is on the market. Kev wants to buy this place. I'm not so eager.

We turned down the dirt road that led to this place, and wenta couple hundred yards down itand found 12" deep ruts, and snow drifts more than 3 feet tall. Seeing the condition of the roads, I told Kev we weren't moving. Besides fighting that mud, there are also steep hills on this road and deep canyons on either side of these hills. Too dangerous. And, besides, I hate mud. I will not fight 3 miles of this sticky icky mud.

I figure that the mud will be around for 2 or 3 more weeks. I pray that it will dry out soon. I like living in the country. I don't mind being snowed in, but trying to maneuver through this mud, it's almost more than I can bear. I can't believe that I'm griping about mud. I have lived my entire life in an area where moisture is a blessing, where mud is a sign of moisture, something to show that we got always needed moisture, and here I am, griping when I should be grateful.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Random thoughts...part 2 or is it 3?

Only in small town America can this happen--I pulled into the drive through this morning on my way to work with a deposit for our family account. The teller brought me some cash, and she brought me a blank check of my son's. Evidently it had stuck to the check he wrote to a local business. He didn't catch it, the business didn't catch it, but the bank did. So, they saved it for the family member who came in first. Now, would that happen in a big city? I just don't think so.

I think I know why my chickens are on strike. I think, by eliminating the roosters, the hens are concentrating on regrowing their feathers. Their little backs were bare--from all the amorous attention from those randy roosters. Now that the roosters are gone, they are going through a kind of molting, and instead of putting their energy into laying eggs, they are instead growing new feathers. I did give orders for 12 eggs today. So, we'll see if they really care what I want or if they'd rather stay warmer with feathered backs...

Today is Miss Kat's birthday. She's 11 today. Eleven years ago, at this minute, my contractions were getting pretty close together. I won't bore anyone with the horrors of childbirth, because, even though she was induced, my labor was relatively painless and quick. She was born at 10:00 a.m. Of course she was 2 weeks late and I'd swear she was grabbing onto my hipbones to keep from coming out in a timely fashion...but, I promised, no horror stories.

My baby, the final child of my loins is 11. She's not a baby. She's not a little girl. She's a girl on the verge of becoming a teenager. She's on the cusp of puberty. She's growing up.

I still think I prefer snow to mud. We've run out of anywhere dry to park. The ruts in the driveway are record breaking. And, I think God is tired of hearing us pray as we drive into the yard. I think he is because there's a blizzard forecast for tomorrow. Another blizzard bringing anywhere from 3-9 inches of snow. Wind speed is being projected to be anywhere from 20 to 40 mph. We'll be blown shut...again.

Maybe I need to rethink my preference of snow over mud. Nope, I'd much rather walk on top of hard packed snow drifts than to wade through mud and water to feed the animals. But, dang it, that darn snow will melt sometime too. I may have to think this over. Mud...Snow...Mud...Snow...Mud...Snow...hummm.

Yesterday I took treats to the school for Miss Kat's birthday celebration. My last time taking treats to the school. Next year, she'll be in Middle School. No parties for holidays or birthdays in Middle School. Since the kids are out of school today (again), we're taking friends bowling, having two friends spend the night, Grandma and Grandad Huelsman and cousin Sami are coming out from Colo Springs. We are having pizza and "dirt cake". Since one of her presents is a Dance Dance Revolution, it's going to be a wild and crazy night! Lord, help me. I'll have a new prayer tonight!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My lastest project

During these long winter days, or should I say nights, I cross stitch. I can not watch TV without either stitching on a project, or reading a book. And, yes, you can do both and know what's going on. I am W.O.M.A.N. and can multi-task. Just don't talk to me while I'm watchin' TV and cross stitchin', cause I probably will ask you to repeat yourself!

Anyway, right now, I'm working on this project as a Christmas present for my little brother. I started it last summer, but put it away for a while to read and then to work on two projects for the newest little girls in the family. I also was having trouble seeing the pattern and the squares. Realized that I needed bifocals. sigh. My poor eyes just couldn't take the strain. But, once I got those wonderful new glasses, I've been stitchin' like a fool.

This is a picture of the finished project. Steve, my little brother, is really "into" the Civil War. I think I'll make this into a pillow for him to throw on his bed. See, he's single, so he needs my guidance when it comes to "decorating." He's a typical "man" and will ask me just why I think he needs a pillow on the bed, but he'll do it anyway, cause I'm his big sister, and he's really scared of me. He is, he just hides it well.

Really, he's terrified of making his big sister angry.

This picture is done on 18 count Aida fabric. I'd prefer working on an evenweave, or on linen, but I didn't have any fabric at home large enough, so am using what was sent. The finished project will be 14 x 18 or so (I'm not sure of the exact dimensions, but it's pretty large and with 18 squares to the inch, those stitches are pretty small.

This is how far I've gotten. I've just about finished the Union Soldier. Last night, after taking this photo, I worked about an hour and got about half of his hat finished.

I took approximately 4 hours for me to stitch the blanket on his back. It might not look like much, but there's lots of little x's in that blanket and there's about 5 different colors of gray in that section.
The "star" you see is part of the confederate flag. The flags are done with 1/2 cross stitches, so will stitch really fast, and being just 1/2 of an "x", will have a little translucence, providing a little depth. When stitching, you start in the middle and work out, so the flag was the middle. I finished one section, then moved on and concentrated on the Union soldier. When he's done, I'll move on to the Confederate soldier from his hands and gun out to his body. Then, I'll do the flags and all the back stitching which will make the details pop.
By the time I finish this project, I'll have close to a hundred hours in it. That's a guess, but I'll have lots of time invested. It took most of one of my "snow days" to do his lower extremities, and that is only comprised of 4 colors. Black, Navy, Navy and Blue combined, and blue. (see the image below.)

This last shot simply shows a close-up of the stitches. Check out the subtlety of the shading in the blues. Fortunately, the shadings on this project are easy for me to see and distinguish. I've done some where the colors were so close that I easily got lost and confused. Of course I can now blame that on aging eyes...right? Anyway, this is what I'm working on right now.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Chickens on strike

My Chickens are on strike. But, I'm not sure why.

Over the past 3 days, we've gotten 1 egg. ONE. Uno. One solitary, lonely egg. I have approximately 20 hens and one Rooster. And, the hens are on strike.

I told Kev last night that they must be protesting the untimely death of 4 of their boyfriends.

He and Bob butchered 4 of my 5 Roosters last Sunday. We'd been planning to butcher the boys for quite a while, but never got around to it. Sunday was the day. Kev and Bob were "in the mood" and had it all taken care of before I got home from the grocery store. Of course, I told them to leave 2 Roosters, but they didn't listen to little ol' me. You see, one Rooster can "effectively service" 4-6 hens. So, I wanted two Roosters to satisfy my girls and to provide protection from hawks, AND I hoped that by having two Roosters, they would fight with each other and leave me alone. There's nothing more startling than to be attacked by a Rooster. But, those MEN didn't listen to me, and killed one too many. (Yes, I know that according to my ratio, I should have kept three Roosters, but I felt that someone would get some rest if there were just two Randy Roosters around.)

So, the girls haven't had to "service" any men lately. I thought they'd be relieved. The feathers on their backs might grow back in now. They might not have to succumb to the untimely attentions of two or three men at a time, or one after another. They might get some rest. And, that poor Rooster must be tired, and need his rest too, after all, he now has to "service" 18-20 ladies!

Evidently my girls liked all that attention. And now, to punish us, they are holdin' them eggs inside. That has to be it. Revenge. Can't be anything else. Revenge. Those ungrateful wenches. I guess that if this trend continues, I'll have to have a talk with these old biddys. I'll just have to remind them that what happened to the boys can happen to the girls too.

Yep, that's just what I'll do.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

When it melts

What happens to snow when it melts?

We've had snow on the ground since December 23 or 24th. And, we've had lots of snow on the ground since December 30. That's, what, 60 some days of seeing nothing but snow on the ground.

This is not typical for the High Plains. We have snow blow in, it blows around some, it then warms up, the snow melts, it drys out and life goes on. We get more snow, more blizzards, but it always melts quickly and goes away. We might even get 12 inches, but even it blows around, and melts, and goes away. What we are experiencing this winter is atypical.

Everyone is tired of the snow. I think, that concentrating on the dab-natted snow that folks have ignored the cold temperatures. Until now. It got up to 50 yesterday. It's going to be in the 50's all week. Which is wonderful. Except it isn't.

All that dab-natted snow is melting. And when snow melts, it turns into water. And there's still 2 feet of snow on top of the water. And where we've moved snow to be able to drive, there's now...


Lots of mud. Deep mud. Sticky mud. Slick-as-snot mud. Mud that makes your vehicle slide and swerve down a dirt road. Mud that makes you say lots of prayers as you drive down a dirt road. Your prayers sound like this...

" O lord, please don't let me get stuck. Please keep this dad-gummed car on the road, going forward. Please lord, don't let me turn sideways...oops, that was close. Keep the foot on the gas just enough to go, but not enough to turn around. Oops, woo wee! That was close! OK, now, Lord, we are almost there, just a little farther, O crap, there's the corner, OK, let's go, hang on. Kids, leave me alone. I'm concentrating. Oh lordy, lordy, lordy. Whew. We made it. Thanks Lord."

Now, I haven't lived down a dirt road--a real dirt road in years. But our drive is dirt and is long enough for the prayers. Yes, we slide down our drive, and I pray. I pray that I don't get stuck, that I don't bog down, and that I get to the house without 3 inches of mud on my shoes. Well, actually, I pray that I can get to the house with shoes still on my feet! They can get sucked down into the mud or into the snow. I pray that we don't slide into each other's cars, or get stuck in the middle of the one-lane drive and cause a certain-person-who-lives-with-us-and-has-a-short-temper-a-reason-to-become...well, upset.

And that melting snow makes more of a mess. You see, our chicken house is the lowest spot on the place. All that melting water, that isn't creating mud, is pooling in the chicken yard and is freezing around the door of the pen every night. So, every night, the door freezes, as does this pool of water. Walking to the chicken house is now a hazard. Opening the door is either an impossibility, or a hazard (just ask my tailbone). And when it thaws during the daylight hours, then it leaves a pond of water-covered mud. And we find ourselves wading through mud to feed the chickens, water the chickens and to gather eggs. (Why am I taking them water when the whole dang place is nothin but a big 'ole puddle?) Once the eggs are gathered, you have to wade back through the water and the mud until you hit more snow. (And, Lord help me if we get another cold snap now, that water will never thaw and we'll never get back into the chicken house to gather eggs.)

Once you are safely past the mud, to the remaining snow, you hope that the snow will still support your weight. If not, then you'll fall through the top crust and have to break a new path back to the house.

I've read about mud like this. I've heard of it from folks who get lots of snow every winter. You have months of snow, followed by months of mud. I'll take the snow.

But then again, as long as it's muddy, mopping the floor is a waste of time...

Friday, February 16, 2007


Love is in abundance at my house. Folks are twitter-pated all over the place. (remember Thumper in the movie Bambi? He called love the twitter-pates.)

Andy is on his third "girlfriend." If he were a girl, I could call him a hussy. But what do you call boys with numerous girlfriends? Now, three is not a large number, but he didn't have any girlfriends until this past July. That's what, 7 months ago. Three "women" in 7 months! He's a hussy! (Either that, or he's a really bad boyfriend! I'm going with the hussy aspect. I like it better!)

Now, his first girlfriend was nice, but she moved away. His second girlfriend was a friend and they decided they should be "girlfriendandboyfriend." She was our close neighbor and friends daughter. We spent a lot of time together. We adults teased each other about our children someday getting married, or dating, or fooling around. And then we learned that our children were already "dating." What!

To them, "dating" meant that they were "going together." Because, neither one could drive anywhere, they never went anywhere and, most importantly, they were never alone. In reality, I think their relationship simply was a way for them to define their friendship. I mean, after all, kids aren't allowed to have friends of the opposite sex, they have to be dating, or something.

Anyway, they decided mutually to break up. But, within a week, that Hussy, Andy, had a new girlfriend. They've been "dating" for 3 days now. But, I reminded my young hussy, (I mean son), that he can't really date until he has a real drivers license and not just his restricted.

And now, we are entering a new phase...Miss Kat has a boyfriend and therefore, is twitter-pated. A boy, THE boy, gave her a little stuffed teddy bear for Valentine's. She was pleased and mortified to show me her little bear. I know she likes this boy because she asked me if she could "go steady" with a boy. Of course, knowing how 5th grade romances go, I know that this means that it is OK for them to "like" each other. We ran into him at the bowling alley, and...and...he had to talk to ME...and she didn't want me to talk to HIM...and it was oh, so embarrassing.

I knew this was coming. Last week, during Parent-Teacher Conferences, her teacher told me that my daughter had discovered boys. Her teacher also told me that Miss Kat will walk up to this boy, gently poke him in the arm and then grin. I'm sure that being a 5th grade teacher for years, she's seen this over and over. Luckily, she recognizes the innocence in it and, as long as it isn't a problem, lets it go. Kat would be mortified if she knew that we adults recognized this, because, don't-cha-know, we adults are really stupid!

I find Kat's "mortification" entertaining. It shows both her growing maturity, and her immaturity. After all, she's 10-almost-11 years old and should still be somewhat immature. It shows that she's starting to try to figure out how these creatures we call men fit into our lives. I'm trying to not embarrass her, and to help her figure out how to act, and how to treat boys. Her excitement about getting a special valentine has fought with her embarrassment at getting a special valentine. It's a dilemma that she's going to have to work out for herself.

The "other" man in her life, her Daddy, isn't too impressed. He's not sure she should like boys. He's really not sure if he wants boys liking his daughter. I have a feeling that the next 10 years or so are going to be really interesting.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A day at home

I spent yesterday at home.


Because we were drifted in.


It snowed.


School was cancelled.


Kev spent hours on the tractor.


I felt guilty about being at home...on a work day...when no one was sick...


I felt guilty about really enjoying being at home...

Sorta. Kinda. Maybe. Not really.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Stories from my Grandpa

I wrote these stories down a couple of years ago. They are stories my Grandpa told me about when he was a boy. Grandpa was born in 1922 (or was it 1923?) at his parent's home in Rural Beaver County, Oklahoma.

When Kirby was 4 or 5, he severely hurt his right foot. His parents went to town to get groceries. Most of the older kids were at school, Kirby was left at home. He didn't want to be at home, it was boring. His parents told him to stay out of the field where his brother, Clarence, was disking, and to definitely stay out after his older brother, Joe, came home from school. Well, the boys didn’t listen and went to the field. Clarence let them sit on the disc as he drove the disc, which was hitched to horses. No tractor in the late 1920’s for the Berends. Kirby sat on the right side of the disc, Joe on the left. As they turned around to make another run, Kirby fell of. The disc ran over his foot, cutting it along the inside of his big toe. It was a bad cut. Clarence was scared, and there was blood everywhere. Clarence jumped off, and carried Kirby back to the house to call Grandpa Jacob Berends. He was the only one they could call, as the phone line only ran to Grandpa Jacob's house. Grandpa Jacob had a switch on his phone that allowed him to call others, even into town (Gate, Oklahoma.) After calling the Doctor, he drove up to the house and took Kirby to the Dr’s house, where he was treated. No stitches, but Kirby remembers having kerosene or turpentine poured on his wound. It was then wrapped tightly with cloth bandages. The lasting effect was a large knot on the side of his foot, basically it was slightly deformed. I’d like to say that this was the last time Kirby was hurt, or when he didn’t mind, but it wasn’t.

I need to ask how much trouble he was in for disobeying his parents in the first place...

Did you know that you could wipe paint off your hands by catching a chicken and using her as a rag? Did you know that your Mom might yell a little seeing her white chicken suddenly covered in barn red paint? It was Joe's idea!

Kirby remembers that one evening, he was doing chores in the barn after dark. To pass the time, he started singing. Meanwhile, two of his sisters, Vera and Ivy, went to put the chickens away. The girls ran back to the house, and told their mother that there must be a big bear in the barn making lots of noise. It wasn't a bear. Kirby said that put a big damper on his willingness to sing in public anymore.

When you have 11 children, finding room for them all isn’t always easy. When you are poor, and are trying to survive the “Dirty Thirties,” you make do. Adding a room, or rooms, onto to house was not an option. Just to expensive, so instead, a small one room building was built over the cellar. The boys all slept in this building (Clarence, Coy, Joe, Kirby and later Elmer.) This building was called the Boys house. The girls had a bedroom in the house. One bedroom. Their parents slept outside, in a screened-in back porch…that’s a story for another time.

Grandpa Ben DeSpain stayed for a while with the Joe Berends family. He slept in the boy’s house and the boys then slept in the cellar under the boys’ house. Grandpa Ben didn’t sleep all through the night and would often wake the boys up with the tap-tap-tapping of his pipe on the floor. He would empty out his pipe and then relight it, but the boys would wake up every time they heard that tapping.

Coming soon...stories about Carol and maybe Sandy too!

Asleep in the backseat

I found the following at home. I'd written it, oh, probably 3 years ago now and thought I'd post it.

My daughter fell asleep in the backseat today. Looking at her, in the rear view mirror, all bundled up in her blanket, mouth slightly open, head resting on her pillow, I remembered when I used to sleep on the backseat. Foremost in my mind was her faith that she was safe, secure and that I was nearby.

I have many memories of sleeping in the backseat. Sleeping in the front seat was a rare privilege, one that happened only when driving home from Grandma and Grandad Woodruff’s house, late at night. Steve, my brother and I would often argue over who’s turn it was to sleep in the front; head on Daddy’s lap, feet on Mom’s. The loser would inherit the back seat. Coat for a pillow and coat for a blanket, lulled to sleep by the murmur of our parent’s voices, the radio and the hum of the engine. there were times, when we'd argue just too much, and neither would get to sleep in the front seat. So, we'd lay down, heads at opposite ends, feet in each other's faces. Then, we'd argue about who was on the inside, where there was little danger of rolling off the seat onto the floor. Mom would tell us to "hush." And eventually, we'd fall asleep. Often, Mom and Daddy would just carry us to bed. What a sad day it was when they decided we were to big to be carried.

My Mother often worked at our Aunt Lela’s cafe during the breakfast shift. There were times when we didn’t have a babysitter, so Mom and Daddy would carry us to the car, we'd wake up enough to know that was where we were going. We’d go back to sleep and would waken later, sun shining in the car, which was parked behind the cafe. Still in our pj’s, I can remember running into the cafe to change and have breakfast. No worries, no fears, just that confident security that my Mom was near and all was right with the world.

My daughter fell asleep in the backseat today, and watching her, I smiled.

Friday, February 09, 2007


The kids have a day off from school...again. They are home alone, hopefully doing their chores and getting a.l.o.n.g.

I got a phone call at 9 a.m. from Miss Kat. I answered, and heard this little soft, pitiful voice say:

"Mommmmmy, I don't feel very well."

Now, I saw Miss Kat this morning before I left. She was awake, I gave her a good-bye kiss right before walking out the door. We discussed her bad dream last night and what she was going to have for breakfast and what chores she has for the day. She acted and sounded fine.

An hour and a half later, I get the phone call.

Now, being the sensitive, caring mother that I am. I replied to my oh, so pathetic sounding child, "Ok, well take some medicine and then clean your room."

To which she immediately replied sounding not quite as pathetic, "Uh, that was very insensitive of you Mom."

I then burst out laughing. Imagine, my almost 11 year old coming up with that! Too funny.

Imagine how she reacted to my laughter! Oh, the people she has to put up with. How sad, that the one person she needed sympathy from, her mother, simply told her to buck up and clean her room. Poor little girl.

I wonder what story/excuse the next phone call will bring. No matter, my child knows that what ever the crisis, I will be there with sympathy and sensitivity.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Woodward tornado

To my family--

Find and read the April 2007 issue of American History magazine. There's an article in there about the 1947 Woodward, OK tornado. While none of our family were in Woodward, it is in family memories. Imagine, an F5 tornado, hitting a town with no warning. The tornado was 2 miles wide. And, as a side note, Steve and I listened to many stories of the survivors that were broadcast on the radio in the early 1980's.

As an additional side note, Aunt Lela's ex-husband married a lady who survived that tornado. She shared memories on the radio that we listened to. Of course the radio memories were much more detailed than the article, but wow, what a scary time.

So, for a piece of local history (local to NW Oklahoma, and the Texas Panhandle), check out this article.

You may resume your regularly scheduled programming...

Monday, February 05, 2007

When is the first time you...

fell in love?
Does a first grader fall in love? I had a "boyfriend" in first grade. David D. But was I "in love"? No idea. It was very important to me that he was my "boyfriend," and we played a lot together. Maybe he was just my first "boy" friend. Have to say that I never really deeply loved anyone until Kev.

lost someone close to you?
My great grandad died when I was in 7th grade. His death was the first one I experienced and I remember so many firsts. His was the first viewing I went to. Our family went with Grandma and Grandpa. The room was dark, no one else was there. Not creepy, but not comforting. I think I was more curious about what all went on at the funeral home and I don't remember any real grief. His was the first funeral dinner. After the dinner, and before the services, we great-grandkids did a lot of running around. I remember several of us going into the sanctuary and looking at Grandad B. up close. I remember that his lips were blue. That freaked me out. I did not like that. And then Duane dared me to touch Grandad. I didn't do it, I was already freaked out. It was the first time I remember my Mother crying in church too. She cried, yet her own father, my Grandpa, didn't cry. (I didn't really know that Men just don't cry in public.)

I don't do viewings anymore. Primarily because I would rather remember a loved one as they were, not as they are in that casket, with blue lips.

drank alcohol?
Well, the first time I tasted alcohol I was 10 or 11. A friend, Beth, and I snuck a can of Lite beer from the refrigerator in the well house. That refrigerator was used to keep cattle medicine cool, and Dad kept a few beers out there. That beer tasted awful. I couldn't imagine why anyone would drink such swill. A few years later, when I was 14, another friend of mine, Wendy, drank, so I shared a beer with her. It wasn't as nasty, but not something I really liked. I learned quickly, while running around with Wendy, to fake drinking beer. I got quite good at it too!

got kissed?
I don't remember it, but everyone else in Sunday School remembered me and Davis D. kissing on the church steps. But first "real" kiss was probably Billy C in 6th grade. First French kiss would have probably been Jeff K. in Jr. High. I remember that he was a sloppy kisser and, well, kinda like the beer, I didn't really like it.

went to the hospital?
My first visit to someone in the hospital was my Dad when I was 10 or 11. Dad had pneumonia and was in the hospital in Laverne, OK. He was in again when I was in a sophomore in High School with a broken leg. My first time in the hospital was when I gave birth to Andy.

got your heart broken?
I'd have to say that my heart hasn't been broken. Kev tried to break it a lot when we were dating and our relationship was so iffy, but since we always worked things out, it wasn't broken, but it was severely wounded.

lost a pet?
I have a vivid memory of my Dad dumping one of our cocker spaniels near town. She was a pup still, but had bitten me on the face. Daddy has a strict policy, if a dog bites, the dog is gone. I remember standing in the pickup, facing backwards, watching that dog run after us down the river road, tears streaming down my face. What I don't remember is Mom's reaction when we got home (but I've been told about it). She was pretty hot. Evidently, Dad was supposed to take the dog to the vet. The dog was adopted by a family that lived on the river road, he was one of my teachers. This dog lived a good long, happy life. Our loss was their gain.

We lost several dogs growing up, I can't remember any being truly traumatic. The first real traumatic loss was when I lost my dog, Peaches. She was a teacup poodle, 15 years old. She broke her little leg, and at her age, the best thing to do for her was to put her to sleep. Christmas Eve day. I bawled all day long. I got Peach when I first moved here, before I had Kev, before I had Andy. She was my family. I still miss Peach.

smoked a cigarette?
I experimented with cigarettes when I was 14. Two of my close friends smoked, I though it was cool. I think I used a pack up. Never inhaled tho, I couldn't figure out exactly how to do that, I mean, you want me to breath in that smoke? Purposely suck it in? So, I actually usually pulled the smoke into my mouth and then blew it out. That was the cool part, right? Exhaling, with lips puckered just right, smoke billowing gracefully up into the air, holding that cig just so. I quickly decided that smoking wasn't for me. It was too much work, and I didn't like hiding them from my mom.

broke a bone?
I broke my foot in 1997. Tripped over a blanket while running for the phone. We waited until the next day, Saturday, before going to the emergency room. I got it casted on Monday. I had no idea that broken bones hurt so. And all I broke was the smallest bone in my foot. I can't imagine the pain of a broken larger bone.

got a job?
There aren't many opportunities for jobs in a town of 100. No cafes, no fast food, no grocery stores, nothing. I could:
  • work for a farmer--if I found someone who didn't have kids or have a hired man already or
  • work for my parents. Guess which one I did.

Mom started back to work full-time when I was 14. So, during the summer, when I was out of school, house work and cooking meals became my responsibility. When I was 16, I could finally work at the Bunge Grain Elevator during harvest. Excellent pay for 1980, I got $5.00 an hour. Minimum wage was around $3.00 an hour. And, because of the long hours you put in, I had 40 hours in 3 or 4 days, so we got lots of overtime. And those custom cutters...dreamy. Unfortunately, harvest jobs last 3-4 weeks at the most.

got cheated on?
Never that I know of.

rode the city bus?
Yeah, well, I've never lived anywhere where there were city buses. I have ridden one though, in Kansas City, when I was 14 or 15 and on a 4-H trip to the American Royal. I was part of a group of kids and thankfully someone knew when and where to get off that bus!

went to a concert?
1980. Ronnie Milsap in concert at Dodge City. I had permission to go, but only if we left after school. We left at noon. My little brother told on me and I was grounded like...forever. It was then that I learned you can't use the excuse "But you did it when you were in High School." with your parents.

Met someone famous?
I haven't met anyone famous.

dyed your hair?
Not until I was 40.

got your own cell phone?
We got one in 1997 when I became a Creative Memories Consultant. We had it disconnected as soon as we could, cause we just didn't use it. I didn't get one again until we moved to our country home and I shared it with Andy. Then, we got Andy his own and I didn't have to share anymore...until Kat starts needing one.

snuck out the house?
Now where was I going to sneak to??? I never snuck out of the house. No where to go and I never felt like I had to sneak out.

drove a car?
I was probably 4 or 5. Helping Daddy feed cattle in the winter. He'd put the pickup in low and then let Steve or I steer while he threw hay off the back. We couldn't even go 10 mph. We were supposed to either drive in a straight line, or a big circle. It was a very big responsibility to us and we felt oh-so-important and grown up.

got your own digital camera?
I still don't have a digital camera.

how old are you now?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Superbowl Sunday

The Superbowl is important to me. Not because I like football ,or like to watch the game, but because Kev kissed me for the first time during a Superbowl game.

Superbowl Sunday, 1989.

We'd been dating for two whole weeks and he hadn't kissed me yet. Heck, he hadn't even touched me. I was beginning to think that I just wasn't attractive to him, and that we'd probably end this relationship before it even got started. In fact, I remember telling Cindy, the gal who introduced us, that I didn't think he was interested because he hadn't kissed me yet.

And it's not as if there wasn't ample opportunity, we saw a great deal of each other, heck, we had been playing cards together with Lynn and Cindy for months. We'd just finally started "dating." So, I wasn't sure if we were doomed to be friends, or if we would evolve into a couple.

Anyway, Kev was hosting our Superbowl Party. Those attending: Lynn, Cindy, and me. That was it. Cindy and I made a ton of food simply because that's what you do on Superbowl Sunday. Eat. Eat lots of junk. Eat more junk. Maybe eat a little bit of veggies smothered in Ranch dressing, but eat. O yeah, and watch the game. (Who played again?)

I remember Kev and I sat beside each other on the couch and Lynn and Cindy sat somewhere else in the room. I guess they weren't real high on my remembrance scale, cause I really only remember sitting on the couch with Kev. Cause, he was (and still is) really cute. Then, at some point, he had me lean against his chest, sitting between his legs. I thought that was progress. But, knowing him, he probably just wanted to stretch out on the whole couch and had to put me somewhere!

Anyway, the game ended, Lynn and Cindy left pretty fast, and I stayed behind to help clean up. (Actually, I think the game was a blow-out and I think they left at half-time.) That's when it happened, he kissed me. Not once, but several times. I wasn't a goner for this guy yet, but it was a good start. At least he finally kissed me!

That's why Superbowl Sunday has a special place in my heart.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Here I am, sitting at my desk, acting and looking all professional, looking busy, when I happen to glance down at my shirt. Right in the center of my breasts is a big blob of toothpaste residue.

It's 11 a.m.

Why, oh why has no one mentioned the toothpaste blob right in the middle of my shirt?