Monday, May 30, 2005

Taking the tour to the east

Today we head east on Route 66, through Arcadia and rural areas towards Luther. We'll see how diverse Oklahoma's livestock economy is, all within a short drive of the state capital.

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We have more longhorns today. A bigger herd, on a smaller ranch. These are not your camera-shy variety. They know who they are -- eating machines.

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The youngster in the bunch is eager to see and be seen. He wanted to show off his horn buds so he came RIGHT up to the fence to talk to me and say "Hey! See? Horn buds!"
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Arcadia is best known, without a doubt, for the Round Barn. The barn was saved through community effort when the roof caved in several years ago and the structure started leaning perilously. Many thought it was a lost cause, but it has been restored and there's a fund-raising effort now under way to continue maintaining and improving the structure.

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There's a stretch of Route 66 which is now privately owned. The owner figured out he could make a buck selling square foot lots of the Mother Road as a novelty gift item. I'm not so sure the enterprise has been successful. It is possible to drive a short distance on this branch before being stopped by a gate topped with barbed wire.
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You'll find a marker commemorating Washington Irving's visit to the area. He was captivated by the cross timbers area and wrote at length about it. This marker happens to be across the road from my "dream house" which is way out of the realm of my budget.
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Further east is the eastern boundary of the 1889 Land Run.
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Out here we'll see a llama ranch, a very pleasant surprise for those traveling the road. Two llamas were out in the pasture -- all the space they could ever want.
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Yesterday we saw the giant Clydesdales. Today, on the other side of the metro, we see the other extreme -- a herd of Shetland ponies. Cute, aren't they? And just look how red that precious Oklahoma soil is!
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I hope you enjoyed today's trip too. And I wish you all a happy Memorial Day holiday.

Ghost drivers convene

Yesterday's outing took me to an interesting convention on the north side of El Reno. Gathered 'round a fireworks stand was a collection of old, rusted-out cars, parked as though the ghosts who once drove them had gotten together at a drive-in movie.
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The cars all looked familiar to me. I could name off the relatives who had driven cars just like these 40 years ago or more. The way they are parked reminded me of a family reunion in 1962 at my grandparents' farm at Porum, where we had gathered to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

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There's the red 1957 Chevy Bel Aire station wagon, which reminds me of my aunt Emma and uncle Dutch from Amarillo. They had a great collie that Emma adored, which was hit on the country road during that reunion. That's when I learned the depth of love that a human can have for an animal. Dutch and I found the dog. The longest walk of my life was back to the farm house to tell Emma and to take her back to see.

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There's the Chevy 1955 four-door Bel Air sedan that probably sported white-wall tires at some point in its life. This is the first car I remember in my family. This is the car I remember being parked in our driveway the night the neighborhood gathered to peer into the sky to watch a tiny moving dot. It was Sputnik. My dad stood me on the trunk of the car, pointed up and said "There's your future, Sissy!" I was 2 1/2 that night and remember it so clearly. I also remember countless road trips in that car between Ponca City and Norman. There was NO Interstate 35 at that time, so the trip was made on U.S. 77 through Perry and Guthrie. We always stopped at the Gibble Gas station in Guthrie -- a 1930s stone building with two pumps out front. We had potty break there and then Mama would let me go inside and put a nickle in the candy machine. It was mounted on a post and I loved that machine -- a vertical dispenser with a knob on the side to rotate the candy until your choice appeared in the lower window. That's when you put in your nickle and pulled a lever on the side by the knob. I always picked a Zero candy bar because they seemed so exotic to me in my pre-kindergarten days.
We made that trip to Norman because my brother spent a portion of his early childhood at the Cerebral Palsy center there. He could come home for weekends, so we made that drive on Fridays and Sundays. I can remember sitting in the back seat of that car with Bob while Mama sat in the front and read us stories about Mr. Owl from an old red book. Now I wonder what was going on that we were spending time in the car, but I couldn't begin to guess.
The car died one night in 1960 on a Sunday night return trip -- I remember it being in Perry, or near there. I rode in the back seat while a tow truck hauled us home. It certainly was a unique trip! The Chevy was soon replaced by a sky-blue Ford Fairlane.

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This pickup is newer than the one my Grandpa Smith drove. It's more like the one driven by the mother of my grade-school best friend. In Grandpa's truck, we'd ride "to town" on Sunday mornings to pick up the mail at the post office and get the Sunday paper. What a treasure that paper was for me! While the adults played pinocle until nearly dark, I would squirrel away on one of the big beds and spread out the paper, reading it from cover to cover, nearly every section. When I finished with it, I'd find Grandma's copy of "Grit" and devour it as well. Then it was National Geographics and some of Grandma's quaint books on "How to be a Woman" or "How to be a Housekeeper." Fascinating reading. I wish I still had those books. Some of the advice was "Always rise at least 30 minutes before your husband so you can make yourself neat and presentable. Dress modestly and give yourself a fresh appearance with light makeup and fresh lipstick." Clothing advice included having at least seven pairs of panties, five bras, five slips, a modest housecoat, pajamas or a gown. Blouses with Peter Pan collars and A-line skirts were recommended for a youthful attire.

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When I saw this old Cadillac, I immediately thought of my Aunt Geneva and cousin Darla, who traveled from Hobbs, N.M., to Porum for the anniversary. They were the last to arrive, not only because they had the farthest to drive, but because the car shut down due to vapor lock. I was fascinated learning about vapor lock and was in awe of Geneva. The very notion that a woman could get into a car and drive across the country alone amazed me. I knew I wanted to do that myself. I wanted to be just like her -- brave and capable.
I look at the size of that car and think it must have been like driving a house. There was no lack of leg room -- a fact that makes me laugh, knowing that Geneva was all of 4'10" fully stretched out on a good day. She had to sit on a thick phone book in order to drive. Leg room was the last thing she needed! But Darla had the whole back seat to herself. I think she could have had a pony riding with her back there.
Look at the trunk! I could probably fit my baby grand piano in that thing. But what a luxury it would be to drive down the Mother Road in such comfort, carrying everything you might ever need in the trunk. Sure, the car probably got 8 mpg, but gasoline was only 13 cents a gallon then. And you could always stop at Gibble Gas to fill up, potty and get a candy bar.
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Isn't it wonderful the memories that can come back when you see a collection of rusted-out old cars? It was hard to see what color some of the cars were when they were in their prime, but that's part of the appeal. They could be anyone's cars. Rust is the great equalizer.
I hope the ghosts enjoy the fireworks this summer. I know I'm glad I met them.

Let's have an adventure!

Hello everyone! I'm finally feeling better enough to get out and take some photos. Maybe someone will post if I throw some pictures on here again. It's getting DAMNED lonely around here, so post if you stop by just so I can see if you're breathing.

I started the journey on Saturday and my camera batteries died before I got to my destination. So this is a two-part adventure interrupted by a recharging.

Let's head west on Route 66:
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Just outside Bethany, on the way to Yukon, is this old bridge at Lake Overholser. I didn't linger here as a fisherman had his pit bull tied to the back of his pickup and said dog was not happy with me being close.
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So let's head across the bridge, shall we?
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Here's an original strip of Old Route 66, the Mother Road. Can you believe people used to drive from Chicago to California on this narrow two-lane road? And they were thrilled to have it!
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We get to Yukon. Home of Garth Brooks. See? They wanted you to know that so they put up a sign:
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(P.S., I think it is also home of "Darth Brooks" ... I saw him... )
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Let's stop for a drink. I expect we'll be riding for quite a while.

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Yukon is home to this (and other) grain elevators. This one is owned by "Yukon's Best" flour mill. I've never seen any of "Yukon's Best." But this is a neat looking elevator by elevator standards.
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Yukon also was one of the points on the Chisholm Trail, so there's a mural to commemorate that time in history, when cattle were driven to market in Kansas City.
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Let's keep going to El Reno, OK? It's a good evening for a drive. One of the interesting things in El Reno is the Elks Lodge. It was the building that housed pre-statehood Oklahoma's exhibit in the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. It was moved to El Reno after the Expo closed.
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And in St. Louis in 1904:
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OoopS! This is where the batteries ran out. Let's go home. We'll come back tomorrow.

OK, so we pick up Sunday on the north side of El Reno.
Wheat harvest is in full swing in the state, as combines chomp their way from south to north. Harvesters are about ready to get into this field. See how they're lined up, with the wheat truck on the right? On your mark, get set ... GO! (Make sure you go around that oil rig!)

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Two things you'll be sure to see in Oklahoma are oil rigs and big round bales of hay.
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We're very much an agricultural state, with farms and ranches. And we have barns. This farm had two red barns, but this was the older one and I liked it best.
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We have cattle -- small herds and large. This is a bull testing station at one of the state's largest ranches. Nothing between me and the boys but a cattle guard across the road. They didn't care if I was there or not.
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Lest you have any doubt that I mean "LARGE" ranch, this is the ranch headquarters, and I'm about half a mile back. This is a BIG place.
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Another part of the ranch is home to 14 Clydesdales. I love going out to see them but I missed visiting hours today. No problem. The girl tending the horses this evening invited me to hop the fence and come on in to take photos up close. I was over that rail fence in no time flat, I guarantee. I loved this photo of her leading one of the horses out to stretch his legs while she mucked out the stalls inside the barn. He looks like he's wearing a Little Richard wig.

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Oh he feels gooooood today.
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I took tons more photos of the ranch but I won't bore you with all of them. This dalmatian was right at home with her horses, though. That's a statue behind her, not a real horse about to stomp on her.
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One more critter we have to visit before we leave the ranch. Let's drive over to his house...
Here he is now. He has his own brick house out in front of the main ranch headquarters. It even has columns, but I didn't get them in the photo. He was hiding inside in the dark after he saw me peering through the fence. He was camera shy, but finally that itch got to be too much and this was the only way he could scratch it.
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While he was poking his head out, I asked him if he'd show me his pretty horns. He said "I guess."

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It's almost sunset. Let's head up to Lake Hefner and see if there any boats out.

Well, the sun just went behind the clouds on the horizon, so it'll be dark in a minute. This is all I had time to shoot at the lake, but I thought it was interesting anyway for a quick photo. Driftwood on the riprap.
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I hope you enjoyed today's journey, and yesterday's attempt. I am hoping to go a different direction on Monday, so stay tuned for another episode!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

One step short of a highway on-ramp

It's come to this... An old friend of mine, someone I've known since I started working for the newspaper in the mid-1970s, has stooped to this.

She started out as a copy messenger while still in high school. Always had a bright smile on her face; always maintained a positive attitude, even when wrestling alligators three times her size. Heck, the girl played football in high school! That should tell you something about her spirit.

But now. Well. *sigh* Just look, and take pity on my ol' pal. I imagine she'll still get a chuckle out of you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Oklahoma Girl Wins 'Idol!'

Congratulations to Carrie Underwood for winning this season's "American Idol" title!
Can't find a photo of her to post here, so go check her out on "American Idol's" site, American Idol

She's from Checotah, OK, a small town in eastern Oklahoma, not too far from the original stomping grounds of some fellow bloggers.

Glad to see a fellow Okie achieve this, although my heart belonged to Bo Bice.

The nice thing about this competition is that the final two contestants usually both wind up having great success. I have no doubt that we'll hear a lot more good music from both Carrie and Bo.

This is a major departure for "Idol" -- first time ever to have a country singer and a Southern rocker make it to the finals. Ahhh they are finally appealing to these southern country ears of mine!

You know.....

You Know You're From Oklahoma When...

You say y'all ... many times a day.

Bedlam is a BIG deal.

You can tell when it's tornado weather.

When you drive through a neighborhood anyone out walking will smile and wave at you.

You've worn flip flops in the winter.

You have stopped to let a family of deer cross the road.

You thought the twister ride at Universal Studios wasn't windy enough.

You know who your neighbors are, how many children they have, and when one of them gets married or graduates.

There are at least 2 to 3 Sonics, McDonalds, and Little Ceasars in your town

You've been off roading - many times

You or someone you know was born, raised and still lives in the same town.

You know that Miami, Oklahoma and Miami, Florida are pronounced two different ways.

You plan events around football games.

You are a Cowboy or Sooners fan.

You learned how to do country and western dances at school.

A tornado warning siren is your signal to go out in the yard and look for a funnel.

You can properly pronounce Eufaula, Gotebo, Okemah and Chickasha.

You can remember the name of the last state legislator to introduce a bill involving castration, and he didn't mean farm animals.

You know exactly what calf fries are, and eat them anyway.

You think that people who complain about the wind in other states are sissies.

It doesn't bother you that the state capital has two airports named for men who died in an airplane crash.

You have owned at least one belt buckle bigger than your fist.

A bad traffic jam involves two cars staring each other down at a four-way stop, each determined to be the most polite and let the other go first.

It doesn't seem odd to see the term "chicken fried chicken" on a menu.

You save all your life for your dream vacation, and use it to go to the OU/Texas game.

It doesn't seem peculiar if your sweetie says "I'm going in to town for something" even though you live in town.

You don't turn on the news until 20 minutes past the hour, because that's the only thing you care about anyway.

Your quarterback is hurt and it is the top story on the six o'clock news.

You keep track of the grain and hog futures on the radio.

You don't buy all your vegetables at the grocery store.

You go to the State Fair for your only vacation.

You get up at 5:30 A.M. and go to the coffee shop, where the waitress never asks what you would like. She already knows.

You are on a first name basis with the county sheriff.

You know what the "Sea of Red and White" is.

You think that using the elevator involves a corn truck.

You can drive 80 mph on a two-lane dirt road with one hand, but driving 45 mph on a four-lane expressway in a city scares you to death.

You use manure on your grass instead of Weed and Feed.

Your nearest neighbor is in the next zip code.

You know the difference between fee corn and sweet corn... while it's still on the stalk.

You wear cowboy boots to church.

You know that everything goes better with Ranch.

You learned how to shoot a gun before you learned how to multiply.

"You wanna Coke?"
"What kind?"
"Dr. Pepper."

You know what "Orange Power" and "Crimson & Cream" means.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Oklahoma.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Still sick

OK, I'm still sick. Ears stopped up, nose drippy, coughing and wheezy. Fever is gone, aching is over, so I must be getting better. Just going slow.

So, what happened to Frenzied Feline's blog???? It just vanished today. I'm sure hoping it is a Blogger glitch. Please check in FF if you see this, OK? I was just catching up with the Terror of the Tiles saga.

Glad to see Tech blogging some fun things and beautiful pictures of flowers. Funny posts indicate he must be feeling better.

Oh, that's about it. I thought I was going to be able to do a full report on everyone, but I can't. Sorry, I'll catch others another time. Sure wish I had a slug of cough syrup to swallow right now.

One good thing -- I've been able to absorb a lot of TV this week. Good timing with all the season finales wrapping up on my favorite shows. Can't wait until tomorrow to see who wins American Idol!

And just a piece of trivia I learned tonight -- I did not know that Mariska Hargitay on Law & Order: SVU was the daughter of Jayne Mansfield. I'm not sure how I missed out on that bit of trivia. Mariska and her brother were in the car when their parents and their lawyer were killed in a 1967 crash. It was a gruesome event that I recall from my childhood. You can look it up somewhere if you want to know more about it. Anyway, I saw a picture of Jayne that looks just like Mariska which is amazing. It's on the home page of the Official Jayne Mansfield Web Site so give it a click and see if you agree about the resemblance.

I'm going to bed now. Keep your fingers crossed that I shake this crud soon.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A fun test

This one is called The Idiot Test. I got 10 right. Let's see how you do! (I suspect y'all are going to be high testers.)

The Idiot Test

Friday, May 20, 2005

I'm STILL miserable

And now that it's close to 5 p.m. Friday, I'm going to bed. Maybe for an hour, maybe for the weekend. I don't know yet.

I am feeling worse than miserable from the allergies (I presume that's the root cause). I'm running a fever of 101-ish; have a sore throat; my ears and nose are plugged and nonfunctioning, and I can't taste anything thanks to the effects of the zinc lozenges.

This was all compounded by having to be out at a building site for a couple of hours in Oklahoma's horrible heat and humidity combo. I thought I was going to die and turn into a puddle. I was supposed to be taking notes at eight new homes that are going to be on a charity home tour. I did my best, considering that this was the first time I've gone to a home and just wanted to dive into one of the beds like Goldilocks and send everyone else away.

Oh, I guess I got my hopes up too much about the "silver lining" I referenced a couple of days ago. Again, it turned into another lightning strike.

It was especially hurtful this time, as it was for a job I had previously interviewed for several months back. They had kept my resume on file and invited me to come in again to talk to them (on 4 hours' notice, mind you.) We had a lengthy conversation which included discussion about pay and benefits -- all good signs that would generally get a person's hopes up, right? Well, a few minutes ago I got an e-mail saying they had chosen someone else, but hey, we have a part-time position that might open up in June if you want to come back and interview for a third time.

I declined this time. Twice was enough for this girl. So my hunt will continue elsewhere soon. I would cry, but I can't take any more swelling in my nose right now.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


I like springtime -- the renewal of life and all that junk. But all those green trees and beautiful flowers create an arch enemy: Pollen.

Pollen creates allergies, in me and thousands of other people. I never know when my allergies will hit, but some years, like this one, they hit with a vengeance out of the blue.

This round started sometime Tuesday evening, I believe it was. Today the attack is in full force. I've filled up to the max with Claritin and zinc lozenges. Nothing is stemming the sore throat and drippy nose, let alone the sinus pain. I feel feverish as well.

Well, I've complained sufficiently. I'm going to go back to bed for a spell to see if resting will help with any of my symptoms. And I may rummage in my OTC medicine stash to see if I have anything else that might help.

*SNIFF* *COUGH* *whimper*

Anyone have some chicken soup to spare?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Silver linings

Things can sure turn around quickly, can't they? Both from good to bad, and from bad to good.

I'm in the middle of a turn-around, it seems. I hope so.

I can't share the details yet until I know more for sure, but I have renewed hopes tonight. And it's heck keeping secrets. So, for now, I'll just ask for your support and prayers that the apparent good really is coming my way.

The good I can share is that my blood pressure is much closer to normal than it has been. Whoo hoo!

And now for something completely different...

I love the series "House M.D." on Fox. Tonight is a particularly good episode with a very nice story-telling technique. And I love Hugh Laurie who plays the lead character.

Gotta go catch the last 5 minutes.... see ya.

Monday, May 16, 2005

OK fine

E.R. gigged me about posting a link to the typology quiz below. So here you go:

Take the durn quiz yerself.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Typology survey

Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Liberal typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.

Liberals represent 17 percent of the American public, and 19 percent of registered voters.

Basic Description
This group has nearly doubled in proportion since 1999, Liberals now comprise the largest share of Democrats and is the single largest of the nine Typology groups. They are the most opposed to an assertive foreign policy, the most secular, and take the most liberal views on social issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and censorship. They differ from other Democratic groups in that they are strongly pro-environment and pro-immigration, issues which are more controversial among Conservative and Disadvantaged Democrats.

Defining Values
Strongest preference for diplomacy over use of military force. Pro-choice, supportive of gay marriage and strongly favor environmental protection. Low participation in religious activities. Most sympathetic of any group to immigrants as well as labor unions, and most opposed to the anti-terrorism Patriot Act.

Who They Are
Most (62%) identify themselves as liberal. Predominantly white (83%), most highly educated group (49% have a college degree or more), and youngest group after Bystanders. Least religious group in typology: 43% report they seldom or never attend religious services; nearly a quarter (22%) are seculars. More than one-third never married (36%). Largest group residing in urban areas (42%) and in the western half the country (34%). Wealthiest Democratic group (41% earn at least $75,000).

Lifestyle Notes
Largest group to have been born (or whose parents were born) outside of the U.S. or Canada (20%). Least likely to report having a gun at home (23%) or attending bible study or prayer group meetings (13%).

2004 Election
Bush 2%, Kerry 81%

Party ID
59% Democrat; 40% Independent/No Preference, 1% Republican (92% Dem/Lean Dem)

Media Use
Liberals are second only to Enterprisers in following news about government and public affairs most of the time (60%). Liberals’ use of the internet to get news is the highest among all groups (37%).

Note: All descriptions and percentages are based on the national sample of adults surveyed by telephone in December. Based on your answers to the survey questions, you most closely resemble survey respondents within this group, even though you may differ significantly on one or more issues or traits.

In the overall typology there is a ninth group called “Bystanders” who are defined as adults who are not registered, who do not follow news about government and public affairs, and who say they rarely or never vote.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

And men wonder why women get moody!

This horror story was shared by a woman friend. I think we can all identify. If not, check yourself because you're probably male.

I actually kept my mammogram appointment. I was met with, "Hi! I'm
Belinda!" This perky clipboard carrier smiled from ear to ear, tilted her head to one
side and crooned, "All I need you to do is step into this room right hereee, strip to the waist, thennnn slip on this gown.
Everything clearrrr?"

I'm thinking, "Belinda ... try decaf. This ain't rocket science."

Belinda skipped away to prepare the chamber of horrors.

Call me crazy, but I suspect a man invented this machine. It takes a perfectly healthy cup size of 36-B to a size 38-LONG in less than 60
seconds. Also, girls aren't made of sugar and spice and everything's Spandex. We can be stretched, pulled and twisted over a
cold 4-inch piece of square glass and still pop back into shape.

With the right side finished, Belinda flipped me (literally) to the left and said, "Hmmmm. Can you stand on your tippy toes and lean in a tad so we can get everything?"

Fine, I answered. I was freezing, bruised, and out of air, so why not use the remaining circulation in my legs and neck and finish me off?

My body was in a holding pattern that defied gravity (with my other boob wedged between those two 4" pieces of square glass) when we
heard, then felt a zap! Complete darkness and the power went off!
"What?" I yelled.

"Oh, maintenance is working. Bet they hit a snag." Belinda headed for the door.

"Excuse me! You're not leaving me in this vise alone, are you?" I shouted. Belinda kept going and said, "Oh, you fussy puppy .. the door's wide open so you'll have the emergency hall lights. I'll be
righttttt backkkk"

Before I could shout "NOOOO!" she disappeared. And that's exactly how
Bubba and Earl, maintenance men extraordinaire, found me, half-naked and part of me smashed between glass!

After exchanging polite "Hi, how's it going" type greetings, Bubba (or
possibly Earl) asked, to my utter disbelief, if I knew the power was off.

Trying to disguise my hysteria, I replied with as much calmness as
possible. "Uh, yes, yes I did thanks."

"You bet, take care" Bubba replied and waved good-bye as though I'd been standing in the line at the grocery store.

Two hours later, Belinda breezes in wearing a sheepish grin and making no attempt to suppress her amusement, she said. "Oh I am soooo sorry!

The power came back on and I totally forgot about you! And silly me, I went to lunch. Are we upset?"

And that, Your Honor, is exactly how her head ended up between the clamps.......

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Is this news?

This has been on my mind of late, and tonight one of my local news stations did it again.

I'm talking about this particular station's tendency to run long feature stories or profiles on religion or matters of the Christian faith. There is a definite bias to the Christian faith in these stories. Tonight there was a considerably lengthy piece on NBC's show, "The Revelations" based on the book of Revelation at the end of the Bible. Apparently this will be a series of reports. Tomorrow: Should Christians avoid this show?

I have not watched this program at all so have no comments on it other than to roll my eyes when I see the "s" at the end of "Revelations." Maybe they were concerned about copyright matters?

But it DOES bother me that our NEWS (KFOR-TV, channel 4 in Oklahoma City) station would spend a hefty amount of its NEWS period covering these issues in the manner in which they are being presented. Kevin Ogle is the "reporter" on these stories and there is no question in my mind that he is presenting these topics because they align with his own personal religious beliefs. I know Kevin is a man of faith.

Add to this periodic features about miracles (one happened to follow the "Revelations" report this evening, which punctuates this matter.) These have included stories on people who were saved from burning automobiles by "angels" who disappear after performing a rescue, among others. Tonight, it was about the "miracle" of an infant who was born weighing only 11 ounces who has managed to survive longer than expected.

Please don't get me wrong. I am a huge believer in miracles, and if you've read my blog in the past, you will know that. My beef is the inordinant amount of time given to these types of stories during an already tight newscast. There's an awful lot of news that we're not hearing about from this station because of the time devoted to these features.

Another feature Kevin has added to the KFOR roster is a "man on the street" thing called "The Rant." Apparently Kevin tosses out a topic and solicits comments from the public via e-mail or phone, and then these are presented as part of this same late-night newscast.

Come on, people. It is NEVER that slow a news day, anywhere. KFOR-TV used to be known for the quality of its newscasts. It's won a number of Emmy Awards in the past as well as other broadcasting awards.

This is particularly sticky because the local newspaper has also increased its reportage on matters of faith and religion. But this doesn't bother me nearly as much because I see it as an addition to, rather than a replacement for, news coverage. That 35 minutes KFOR devotes to the news broadcast is finite. A newspaper can add pages or a section if the owner and management chooses to.

The lack of diversity in this sort of coverage is also disturbing. I think it will be a long, long time before we see this or any other local station giving equivalent time to a Muslim story of faith, don't you?

Today's headlines!

(Tongue planted firmly in cheek.)

Startling new underground group spreads lack of panic!

Citizens declare themselves "relatively unafraid" of threats of undeclared rationality.

People can still go to France, terrorist leader says.

Michael row the boat ashore, and then get some of the local kids to pull the boat onto the dock.


The following is the first communiqué from a group calling itself Unitarian Jihad. It was sent to me through e-mail. I have no idea whether other news organizations have received this communiqué, and, if so, why they have not chosen to print it. Perhaps they fear starting a panic.

I feel strongly that the truth, no matter how alarming, trivial or disgusting, must always be told. I am pleased to report that the words below are at least not disgusting:

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor
have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called
commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging, but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.

Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again! There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dear Ann Coulter

Dear Ann,

Politics, smalitics. Let's talk about a few other things.

I saw you on Jay Leno's show tonight, and just a few words of advice.

1) Next time a liberal attacks you during a speech, grab that pie and eat it. At least a piece of it. You've missed too many meals, dear. They are simply trying to keep you from starving. They are compassionate like that.

2) Those legs. They be long. Next time you are on TV, get a skirt long enough to cover the reinforced part of your panty hose. It's distracting, that slit that shows everything that should be covered by such a decent conservative as yourself.

No, why do you ask? I am not a short, squatty liberal woman. How dare you suggest that my armpits start about the place where your knees bend!

3) One word: scarf. Scarfs are lovely accessories for covering your Adam's apple. Never noticed it before tonight, but it was bobbing up and down with every comment. Maybe it only shows because you have a neck as long as your legs, and you need to eat some pie.

See ya in the funny papers,


American Idol

It's down to the last four contestants, so the competition is really heated. I've caught most of the episodes this evening and my earliest predictions are still holding fast.

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Tonight was a definitive turning point, I think. The two leaders, in my mind, remain Bo Bice (yummy!!!) and Carrie Underwood (Go Okie girl!) In a flip of my opinion, I now rank Anthony third and Vonzell fourth. Vonzell had a very rough night tonight, especially in her first song. There must have been something going on today because even villianous Simon Cowell was kind in his evaluation, when normally he would have gone for blood. I wish her the best, but I am afraid tonight's performances sealed her fate.

This has been a vicious, competitive season -- competitive it should be, but I could do without all the back stories about arrests and abuses. Can't we just focus on their talent?

I will have to tape tomorrow's episode to see who stays and who goes -- I hate that they have the results shows on Wednesday nights. Most of the time I am satisfied just to read who has stayed and who went packing, but with the final four, it's like watching sports. You gotta see the action.

So to review, my predictions are:
1) BO (drool.... he is so good).
2) Carrie (she is a star and doesn't need to win to be a mega-hit. She'll be like Clay Akin. Who remembers that he came in second? And where's Ruben been? I never hear about him.)
3) Anthony
4) Vonzell, who I predict will go home Wednesday.

Anyone else want to forecast the outcome? Opinions?

Oh, one more thing... two contestants should not be allowed to sing the same song, especially if one gets a good arrangement and the other gets one that sucks mud. Carrie was robbed when she got the sucky arrangement tonight and Anthony sparkled.

Don't we love quizzes?

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

20% Dixie

5% Midwestern

5% Yankee

0% Upper Midwestern

Another fun quiz

You Are 45% Normal

(Somewhat Normal)

While some of your behavior is quite normal...

Other things you do are downright strange

You've got a little of your freak going on

But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

Monday, May 09, 2005

The right to free assembly?

Victory Christian Center here in Oklahoma City has found itself in a situation which, while still rare, is becoming more common.

At issue is a member who has become transgendered -- a member who has gone from being a married man with children to becoming a divorced woman. An uproar occurred when the member started using the women's restroom, making other members extremely uncomfortable. The church had asked this member to use a different rest room, located at the far end of the church.

At this request, the member balked and threatened a possible lawsuit on the basis of gender discrimination.

And this is the point where the situation exploded.

The church's response was to have its attorney send a letter to the member instructing her to stay off the church property. Period.

It's so easy to deal with this issue of a sex change by simply slamming the door shut, isn't it? A click of a key, and voila, no problem!

Even attorney Michael Salem, a noted advocate of civil rights in this area, said the church is guaranteed the right of free association, and so may be able to ban this member.

But what about the higher authority? What would Christ have us do? Should the church only allow members we feel comfortable peeing with? A lot of people are "uncomfortable" sharing a rest room with people who use wheelchairs. OK, let's lock them out too.

This particular issue IS a hot spot for me. And this revelation may make some very uncomfortable. But here it is.

My ex-husband was a transsexual, which is what led to our divorce. He started living as a woman in preparation for a sex change surgery. In July 1990, I went through the suicide of a co-worker, my divorce (the day before what would have been our third anniversary) and an emergency surgery. The day I was admitted to the hospital, I had seen the doctor, had scheduled a second opinion and went to the pharmacy, where I collapsed. The staff called my ex-husband to ask him to drive me to the hospital; he did -- when we pulled into the emergency drive, he reached across me to open my car door and pushed me out of the car, then drove away. A nun brought a wheelchair out to help me into the hospital.

The next night, after my surgery, while I was on a morphine drip and my friends had gathered, he showed up "to visit". In my haze, I remember seeing him -- his thinning hair pulled up over his bald spot a la Pebbles Flintstone, wearing a crop top and pedal pushers. I also remember him having a purse tucked under his arm and garish makeup on.

I had not told anyone at that point what caused our divorce. His appearance was shocking to everyone in the room, and there I was, drugged up and having had my insides removed. Fast forward to 2 a.m., when everyone was gone but one very good friend who was determined to spend the night with me since I had no one else there. (My mother had refused to come visit me through this, even when the nurse got on the phone and told her there was a good chance I wasn't going to survive. But I digress.)

Through my drugged state I did my best to explain the situation to my friend. There's no telling how it came out or if I could make her understand.

In any event, later that summer I attended church with my ex- at a small Methodist church he had started attending. The minister and other members were wonderful, though they couldn't figure out who I was or why I was visiting. I didn't attend again, since I had found my own new church by then (we both agreed not to attend our previous church.)

A couple of weeks later, he was excited to tell me he had "revealed his secret" to his church. During a visit from the District Superintendent, without speaking first to his minister, he rose during the time of joys and concerns and, basically, outted himself. He was so proud. Beginning the next Sunday, he started attending church dressed as a woman. And let me tell you what he was SO excited about: using the women's rest room.

There were women members who were very upset about sharing a rest room with this person they had known as a man. And the truth is, he was not completely through the transition. He had not had a surgery, though he was taking hormones and was going through pre-surgical counseling, which required him to present himself as a woman for at least two years before surgery.

Wiser minds prevailed. The handiman put a lock on the rest room door and the minister asked my ex to please lock the door while he was in there, to alleviate the discomfort of others.

That summer I cut the last of my ties with him, so I do not know if he completed the process and had his surgery. I do know he had a court hearing to change his name, but the records are sealed and I do not know his name. I do not know where he is, or anything else. The man I married, long ago, no longer exists.

It has been a strange and disturbing experience for me, as a spouse whose life was changed through no desire of my own. Even so, it raises so many issues about personal choice and societal acceptance or rejection.

And to tell the rest of the truth, there was a time when I felt like the one who had been cast out from the church. The associate minister at our previous church was a woman who later divorced her husband and left her children because she is a lesbian. Instead of counseling us as a couple, she loaded him up with books on lesbian theology. And guess who came to make a pastoral visit to me in the hospital? Bingo. All I could do was cry. I couldn't even ask her to leave. She now is a minister in another church, which she founded, having been asked to give up her credentials.

Even now, 15 years later, I don't know any more about how I stand on this issue. Is a locked church door appropriate? Or just a lock on the bathroom door?

Thanks Crystal!

Thanks to CrystalDiggory for this little quiz about what your birthdate means:

Your Birthdate: April 1

Your birthday suggests that are executive ability and leadership qualities in your makeup.

A birthday on day 1 of any month gives a measure of will power and self-confidence, and very often a rather original approach.

This 1 energy may diminish your ability and desire to handle details, preferring instead to paint with a broad brush.

You may be sensitive, but your feelings stay rather repressed.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

My political quiz results.

I am:
"You're a tax-and-spend liberal democrat. People like you are the reason everyone else votes for guys like Reagan or George W."

Are You A Republican?
Everyone who is surprised by this, stand on your head.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Coming out of my cave

Well, so that wasn't much of a sabbatical, was it? I'm coming out of my cave again and it hasn't even been a week.

First, let me just reiterate why I blog and what my blog is about. When you see my slogan at the top, you'll understand that in this phase of my life, I am much more concerned about human interactions on the micro level, not the macro. I'm concerned about the warm fuzzies between people, not great debates about politics and religion. If you want those, they exist in other blogs, some of which are listed to the left.

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I've withdrawn from some of those locations because of the increasing vitriol that is consuming them. Fight if you wish, guys, but count me out. That's not what I signed up for. And I didn't sign up for having my comments pulled out for blistering humiliation, either, especially when they have been posted in the spirit of fun.

This circle of bloggers that I'm in started out with a few people who kind of know a little about each other. Some know some of the others in real life, in various ways. None of us knows everyone in that way. Some of us know each other only through different cyber meetings. We know each other through shared interests. And I thought we were all having good fun reading each other's thoughts. For a while.

I've got more than enough serious concerns piling up on top of me in real life right now. My life, at the moment, is circling the drain big time with health issues as well as financial and life goal considerations. I'll be damned if I'm going to let anything else add to that in a negative way now.

So the door is open to anyone who wants to come here to share in the softer side of life. No politics, no religious fights. We can talk about dreams, hopes, joys, triumphs, personal worries, personal connections. This is, as I've indicated, a common supper table where we can sit and share our lives and stories.

It won't always be a place everyone wants to spend time, and I get that. Some folks have too much of that testosterone stuff coursing through their veins and they get testy and want to take a swing at something. That's fine. Just go outside to play. When you work it off, you're always welcome back here.

I'll keep a pitcher of tea in the fridge (sweet tea's in the jar). Watemelon's icing down on the back step, and that pie is ready to cut any time someone wants a slice.

I get dibs on the rocker on the porch!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

For Your Temporary Entertainment

You're The Poisonwood Bible!

by Barbara Kingsolver

Deeply rooted in a religious background, you have since become both
isolated and schizophrenic. You were naively sure that your actions would help people,
but of course they were resistant to your message and ultimately disaster ensued. Since
you can see so many sides of the same issue, you are both wise beyond your years and
tied to worthless perspectives. If you were a type of waffle, it would be

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Taking a blogging break

I'm probably not going to post for a while here. I may read some blogs, but not others, during that time.

Later, y'all.

Happy birthday E.R.!

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E.R., you're just a young thing yet, but here's wishing you many more happy birthdays!


Church picnic photos

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