Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oooooh! Scary!

You want proof there are ghosts? Watch this video then, and tell me you don't believe! It's terrifying!
Ghost caught on video

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Some People Don't Know When They Are Winning!

Tonight I attended the Park and Recreation Board meeting. The board is an advisory panel to the town's City Commission.
It was a HOT meeting tonight because the big issue on the agenda was consideration of a plan to build a BMX track and skate park. There were 16 teen-age boys there with their skateboards in hand. They were doing fine, listening to the discussion, until they got bored. Actually, they didn't get bored until two idiot mothers who hadn't been paying attention to the fact that their kids were winning what they wanted started mouthing off about "why can't we use so-and-so's big parking lot they never use it the kids have no place to play life is unfair."

Um. Duh. Check the minutes, please. A panel of adults had JUST finished presenting a proposal for the perfect location for both interests, in a city park near the edge of town where visitors to the city could easily congregate for BMX events -- city, regional and national events. The city is even agreeing to provide aerial photos and help the sponsors lay out the track. The City Manager promised it! There's already a junior baseball league that meets and plays in this park which has been interested in expanding a baseball field on the far side of the park, away from this proposed track and skate park. Every possible thing sponsors presented was agreed to. The park panel just asked the apparent leaders of this to come to the next meeting with enough of a plan that the panel could vote for a motion to present it to the City Commission with enough information and enough of a plan to get it passed.

Yeah. OK ladies, repeat after me. When you are ahead, shut up. Stop talking about how you just moved here from Perry where they couldn't get anything going for the kids there EITHER and they let an application for a grant expire. Hello! Listen the the old bald man who JUST said "This is a great idea and the best plan that has been presented. The location is well suited for this and the outlay would be minimal for the city. If we had to buy land, we probably would not be able to do what we can do in this park for you. It's a win-win situation."

Mom the Second, who also apparently has hearing problems, pipes up to say "So who is in charge of making this decision? I mean, who is the man who says yes or no?"

I refer you back to the old bald man you just interrupted. Just hush, OK? Don't start moaning about how you give your kid $20 in the morning, tell him to get something to eat and drink, and then don't see him until it's supper time. I'll call DHS on you if you don't just hush, OK? You're WINNING. Bald man is THE MAN to get you what you want if you're smart enough to listen. So LISTEN!

Despite these two intrusions, the plan will go forward to get the kids and the adults who are behind them everything they want. Several members of the panel are actually going to take their weekend and drive 250+ miles round trip to go to Yukon to see a BMX competition and get a better idea what a track takes and how the operation can be successful. In late August we're going to see a skate park company bring a sample park to town and set it up on the parking lot behind the library so the kids can try it out and decide what kind of materials they like the best and the advantages of concrete and modular systems, so they get what they want most!

OK ladies, quit asking about the abandoned school tennis courts. They've been turned into teachers' parking lots. They aren't what your kids want and need for skateboarding. Let us build them their dream track, OK? We want them to have a place to play, too. Ask the old bald man. He still has the scar from the time when he nailed his skates to a board and rode it down the spillway at the lake. Was doing well, he said, until he hit the sand at the bottom of the ramp.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

God does provide, don't doubt!

OK, this is nowhere near on par with the tragedies in Darfur or any other atrocities.

It's just a simple lesson in trusting God in our daily lives to meet our needs. He gives us all we need and most of what we want, I've discovered.

Every single time in my life when I've been down to my last dime, so to speak, I've trusted God's providence to keep me going. He has never let me down. Whether it's remembering I have a piggy bank seeded with $1 bills and filled with quarters, or finding a stash of canned soup I had forgotten, He has gotten me through those lean days until payday.

It happened again this week. I had gotten the news that I have to replace the starter switch on my car, which will take at least one paycheck in the very near future. My new bank account is running on vapors until my check comes on Thursday.

I visited my original home church, the sanctuary where I was baptized, on Sunday. The good folks there invited me to join them for an indoor picnic after the service. I ran into people I knew 35+ years ago AND got to eat a real live, old-fashioned church dinner, with all the salads ever known to church cooks and plenty of fried chicken.

When I got home, I found enough quarters on my dresser to do two loads of laundry, enough to last a couple of weeks, hopefully until I get moved to my new house. At any rate, I felt like I could conquer the world if I have clothes to wear to work.

When the last drawer was closed after putting the clothes away, I remembered that a dear friend had given me a $20 gift card from Wal-Mart when I moved. Blessed holy day! Groceries for the week!

I had no doubt the week would go well once I had groceries in the fridge and cupboard. I am set.

Then Monday night I came home and found a $50 check from my insurance company -- a dividend!

God IS good! All the time!

And thanks, God, for public libraries, public sidewalks, churches, free cell phone calls and the U.S. mail. I'm so grateful to be in a place where I can walk just about anywhere I need to go, and to most places where I want to go. Life is good!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

This will make moving easier!

The woman who is buying my house is interested in some of my furniture. I asked her to make a list. She says she is interested in all of the living room furniture, all of the dining room furniture and all of the master bedroom furniture! Yahoo!! There may be a piece or two in that mix that I want to keep, but Yahoo!!! I'm trying to talk her into wanting the large armoire in my office, too. Hee hee -- that one piece (which is two pieces) will be a bear to move, I'm afraid.
This sure cuts down drastically what I'll have to load up and move!
Now, is anyone interested in buying a bunch of boxes that have been packed up? They are ready to go to the highest bidder!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Guess what I did after work yesterday?

Well, first, I picked up my sick car. I can't afford to get it fixed right now.

Now, yes, I know this statement will make the next statement sound ridiculous, but really, honestly, it's not.

I made an offer on a house. Yes I did. The house went on the market yesterday. I may be the only person who has seen it.

Why? you may ask. Well, because I need someplace to move my stuff to when I close on the sale of my house. And I need desperately to get out of the temporary apartment. Especially after having my sleep interrupted again at 2 a.m., and 3 a.m., and 3:30 a.m. today. I grow weary of neighbors stomping over my head and their children crying and them playing loud music in the middle of the night. And I weary of trash raining down on me from the balcony.

Plus the house is well suited for my needs. Nice house, nice neighborhood, convenient location, inexpensive. It's a two-bed, one-bath mid-century special. It has a tandem garage and carport. The wood floors have been refinished; the interior repainted (I still may have to choose my own colors and do that over in the not-distant future.). Good storage. Kitchen and dining room. And a nice screened porch on the back which is well shaded in the evenings. The front lawn features two glorious huge trees which provide nearly constant shade.

I wrote my offer last night and am waiting for a reply from the sellers. It is a block from the main north-south street and three blocks from the main east-west street. Ten blocks due east of my office. Walk, bike or drive, it's all good. It's about the same distance from the library and city hall as I am currently. Just on the opposite side.

So I did this now so I'd have a place to move to. My hope is to take off Aug. 2 and pack a moving truck, then close on the old house in the morning of Aug. 3, have the money wired to my bank account in Ponca City and close on the new house at the last appointment on Aug. 3. Then the unloading of the truck can commence.

I also need to talk to the buyer of my house to see what furniture she may want to buy from my house. She's indicated at least a couple of things, but right now I'd happily sell her everything that is not a family heirloom. More sold, less to move!

Keep your fingers crossed that the right thing happen!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Enough of the bad stuff, please!

OK, so now I have neighbors in the two upstairs apartments of my building. Perhaps I should say pigs have moved in. This people on both sides are the epitome of white trash! I hate saying terrible things, but that's the only way I have of describing them. The people in both apartments seem bent on making life miserable for everyone else -- throwing trash off their balconies and never picking it up, carrying on loud cell phone calls on their balconies, as they tell whoever is on the other end just how miserable they are living here because of "those people," and worst of all, neglecting their children.

Seriously, I don't know how people can live this way and expect life to be good. I'll spare you the details. Just suffice it to say I'll be glad when I can move to a house of my own again.

Speaking of which, after being ripped to shreds by one of the monster neighbors yesterday while my lunch grew cold, I went out to look at houses -- again. I saw one that was good and drove by several that I'm interested in seeing in more detail.

However, while I was out my car developed problems. A major headache, actually. It kept dying on me and wouldn't start without this weird contortion of holding the key in the "start" position and popping the car into gear. Then it would just randomly die on me. First the radio would nod off, then the air conditioner would take a nap, and finally the WHOLE car just fell asleep. Nothing worse than a narcoleptic car!

Well, I took it to the local Honda dealer. He called me just a bit ago to tell me I need a new ignition switch, which is about what I figured. Then he asked if I was sitting down.

It's going to cost $630 to put in a new switch. That knocked the breath out of me! I've got about a week and a half before my next payday and not much left until then. Somehow I have to come up with the money before Aug. 3, which is the day I close on my house!

I suppose I can try getting a short loan from the bank. I don't like that, but what are you going to do? Well, I guess I could just hang tight and rent a car to get to Oklahoma City . This is all confusing me because I haven't had time to sort out all that I am thinking about.

I also need to figure out moving. Where? When? How? GAH!!!! Maybe I'll just sell my furniture and put the money in my pocket (and then in the pocket of the car guy.)

Someone throw me a lifeline, please!!! I can 't even think straight.

Since I had to work Saturday, I wound up writing 17 stories as well as police and sheriff's notes. Today I've written 3 stories and 90 inches of police notes. I thought that was pretty good until the publisher came out to gripe at the editor in charge that that was a LOT of police notes. He was not pleased. I don't know what would have been the right thing to do. I didn't even get to the sheriff's notes.

Tonight I have a Board of City Commissioners meeting and the Board of Education. Commissioners start at 5:30 and Education at 6. I've never yet made it to the Board of Education meeting. Why did they assign me to cover both of these beats when they know they meet at the same time every time!?!?!?!

Like said before ... someone throw me a lifeline! I need chocolate.

Oh. Now it's pouring rain. My car is a couple of miles away. I'll have to take a company car to the meeting(s) tonight. I hope it stops raining before I have to walk home this evening, even if it is just a block.

I think I need a nap. And chocolate.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I sold my house!

I had the offer in my e-mail this morning! The buyer wants to close by Aug. 3. So I have just under a month to find my own new place!

The buyer is my Realtor's assistant, so basically she was making an offer before the sign ever went in the yard. Before I knew about it, she already had been pre-approved and had a written good-faith estimate of her costs. She made a good, fair offer and she may be interested in buying some of my furniture to boot, like the corner units in the dining room. I would like to sell some of those things so I don't have to move them or figure out just how I'll use them in a new house.

This is a positive turn of events after discovering my lawnmower was stolen. Two neighbors saw the same two men in my back yard and I confronted one, a neighbor a couple of houses down. Anyway, his lies kept getting more and more fantastical the more he tried to cover his backside.

Well, off to the library to print out the contract and put my signatures on it, so I can keep this ball going. I'll also be checking out the newest house listings so I can start my renewed search.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A funeral under guard

Never in my life have I attended a funeral that was heavily guarded -- by city police, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Patriot Guard.
My young friend Derek, killed in Iraq on June 23, was buried today. As promised, members of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS, were present. They were kept out of the boundaries around the church to protect mourners from their vile spewing of hatred.

On each corner of each of the church's parking lots, Oklahoma City police cars were positioned to enforce the boundaries and as a sign of respect.

Motorcycle squads from the Oklahoma City Police, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Patriot Guard passed by the front of the church in progression before the beginning of the service. Huge American flags streamed from the rear cycle of the Patriot Guard's squad and yellow ribbons were tied on all of the motorcycles. The reverberations from their engines was palpable, resonating in the chests of all within the immediate vicinity.

Derek, who was like a nephew to me and the closest I will ever have to a son of my own, was well loved by all who knew him. That was apparent from the packed congregation at South Lindsay Baptist Church this morning.

Before the family was seated, members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard filled the left front section of the sanctuary. Other sections were filled by church members, Derek's pals and school mates, friends and other loved ones of the family.

Here's the newspaper story on the metropolitan newspaper's web site this evening:

By Jay F. Marks
Staff Writer
A hero was laid to rest this morning as hundreds of people at South Lindsay Baptist Church mourned the loss of Army Spc. Derek Alan Calhoun.
Calhoun, 23, was the last of four Oklahoma soldiers killed in Iraq in a three-day span last month.
Pastor C. Wayne Childers said Calhoun's family joined the church at 3300 S Lindsay in Oklahoma City 6 months before he was born.
"Derek was not just another soldier,” Childers said. "He was one of ours.
"He was a Southside boy.”
Childers said the church's congregation gave Calhoun a standing ovation after he got his orders for Iraq.
"That's how much we respected and loved this young man,” he said.
Calhoun, an armored tank driver, died in Baghdad on June 23 after a Humvee he was riding in struck a bomb.
He is the 62nd service member from Oklahoma to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since the ongoing war on terror began in October 2001. Nearly 4,000 Americans service members have died in that time.


Several times during the funeral, the congregation rose in one motion, spontaneously, out of respect for Derek and his service. In all honesty, there was little that was serene or peaceful about this service; how could there be? But there was respect and love overflowing; memories happy and sad and proud and painful. His uncle, my partner for more than six years, put together a slide show of photos chronicling Derek's life. Many of them were photos I took early in Derek's life; others were at family gatherings I attended. I could relive those days all over.

Despite three songs by a soloist, two preachers giving homilies and eulogies, a message from an Army representative, the photo presentations and the painful wailing of those assembled, the service seemed to end in relatively short order.

The trip to the cemetery, however, seemed endless. Before the hearse and family car were prepared to depart, two motorcycle officers cleared a path for a federal van which tore down the street at a high speed. That was alarming to witness; I couldn't tell if it was the Guard leaving ahead of the family to prepare their positions at the cemetery or if there had been an arrest of the Phelps gang. I want to think it was the Guard.

I was in about the middle of the procession. From that vantage point I could see that the line of cars covered nearly three miles. At every single intersection along the route, a patrol officer or trooper blocked traffic, giving this hero clear way to his final mission.

People from the neighborhood around the church lined the streets for several blocks, holding large American flags, standing with hands over their hearts, for the full length of the procession. Even miles down the road people who had been working in their yards stopped, stood at attention and knew a hero was in their midst.

At the cemetery, mourners were greeted with the Patriot Guard which circled the grave site with huge American flags. Veterans stood in formation to honor their fallen brother and the Army National Guard were in place for their role.

There was the playing of Taps, a 21-gun salute, the presentation of the flag to his mother and father, and the presentation of many medals, a posthumus promotion from Specialist to Corporal, and his dog tags. A bagpipe player ended the ritual by walking off away from the assembled while playing Amazing Grace.

Family and friends held on to each other and sobbed uncontrollably. Derek's uncle asked for me and we spent many minutes folded into each other, crying to the point of not being able to breathe as others passed through the line before the casket to pay their respects to the family.

Finally, with grief exhausted for a time, the family gathered to watch the lowering of the casket. They graciously included me in this final goodbye, and invited me to join them back at the church for lunch.

The memorial which started at 11 a.m. ended about 3:30 p.m. I'm grateful to say there was a limousine at the door to take the exhausted family home. They would not have been able to drive themselves.

Derek, my dear boy, you are loved beyond measure here where we are missing you, but what greater measure of love you are receiving in heaven today. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.