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Friday, March 31, 2006

What would Willie Do?

That's the message on an ad that runs regularly in Texas Monthly. It makes me laugh every time.

We're taking the train to Fort Worth in a few hours, will get to there about noon, drop our bags off at the hotel and find a comfortable bar to settle into for the afternoon. We'll mosey on over to the Stockyards and Billy Bob's later to hear Willie sing.

The last Willie Nelson concert I attended was a little more than 21 years ago. He's one of kind and his voice always gives me a thrill. The voice is not as strong as it was back then, but I'm sure he'll be great. We're really looking forward to it.

My husband is a Willie fan by marriage. He never much liked country music, and really we still don't listen to it that often. OK, I listen to it on Saturday mornings when I get up early and I turn the television on to CMT and watch country videos until one of them makes me cry, then I turn it off. (How's that for a run-on sentence?)

There's just some musicians that Texas loves - Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, George Strait. I remember there was a station back in Amarillo that had a rule -- it had to play one George Strait song every hour. There's enough of 'em.

Strangely enough, Texans also seem to love ZZ Top. Really. Their concerts sell out fast. I never could figure that one out.

I'll post on Monday and tell ya'll about the trip. This one should be interesting. I'm going to Texas (home) with a whole bunch of non-Texans (foreigners, a couple of Oklahomans, a Kansan, a Michigander, etc.)

The big debate among all who are boarding the train is the appropriate time to start drinking. We board at 8:30 a.m.. Surprisingly, the train starts serving liquor at 10 a.m. I'm of the mind that we should be sober when we check into the hotel. (Keep in mind, we all talk a way better game, and one drink usually does most of us in.) The debate rages, and there's only one thing left to do...ask ourselves, "What would Willie do?"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The saga continues

It's only Tuesday and already it's been a long week. The spinning described earlier has been controlled by anti-motion meds. One side effect. I sleep. I call the pharmacist -- I thought you said these were non-drowsy?
"Never said that. Said they were 'LESS drowsy'."
Less drowsy. Considering that I've lost hours this week, fallen asleep in the middle of eating dinner and later brushing my teeth means had I taken the full strength stuff I'd be comatose this week.
So today, I took half the dose. Aah, insomnia. Back to my old self. Well, except for the spinning that doesn't go away. Water in the ear -- somewhere deep inside is turning my world upside down.
It's also made me think about all the things I have neglected and always say I want to do, and then don't. My writing. My painting. My sewing.
What would happen if I was never able to go back and do all those things again?
Maybe this week is a lesson learned.
Never take for granted having the ability to DO something.
I think I'm ready.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Spin City

So the doctor says I have yet another inner ear infection. First sign of the returning affliction was Saturday. I've had vertigo. That means the earth around me spins (yes, I know it does that anyway, but this time I actually feel it.) It stinks. I've never been one who actually liked being drunk because I don't like that wobbly feeling. This is for free, and it's not pleasant.

So for now I'm on antibiotics again, and motion sickness medicine. So I'm only feeling the spin effects every now and then. This so sucks. I hope it's all gone by the weekend since we're planning a big trip.

Though there's a nasty dark cloud over the planned weekend trip. And, I count my little spinning problem as merely a minor inconvenience.

A friend who was among those making the trek to Willie at Billy Bob's this coming weekend has had a tragedy in the family. His mom was seriously hurt in a car accident in Tulsa late last week. She's alive and they don't expect any brain injury, but the rest of her body is not so great. Broken just about everywhere. It's amazing how one thing can change the course of your life. Puts the really important things and events in our life into prespective. Our prayers are with the family.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Happiness is Lubbock, Texas

I love the days when the postman delivers my issue of Texas Monthly. I love love love that magazine. The top story is "75 things we love about Texas." My hometown --Lubbock, Texas -- is No. 21.

Anytime people talk about Texas, they always say bad things about Lubbock. But I love that town. I love the Texas Tech campus. I love the "Carol of Lights" every Christmas. I love sitting in the "Red Rocker" section at football games there. I love the Ranching Heritage Center.

I love the musical legacy of Buddy Holly, Joe Ely, Waylon Jennings, Lloyd Maines and Natalie Maines.

I love the honky tonks, going to concerts at the Coliseum, and I love the trendy rock bars. I love McKenzie park and spending Sunday afternoons at Joyland. I love Buffalo Lake, a man-made lake that's pretty, but you really don't want to swim in. I love the annual arts festival. I love the wide-open spaces that surround the town. I love the sky and the endless miles of cotton and soybean fields.

I love driving around and reliving memories of falling in love with my husband, whom I met in Lubbock. I love passing by Lubbock General and remembering that my daughter was born there.

I love Lubbock. Strangely enough, the mention in Texas Monthly, which focused on the musical soul that is Lubbock, didn't include native son Mac Davis.

Davis -- for you non-Lubbockites -- wrote songs like "In the Ghetto" and "Lord, it's hard to be humble" and many many more, and has most recently played the role of Will Rogers on broadway. He also wrote a little ditty called, "Happiness is Lubbock, Texas in my rearview mirror..." But in the end, Davis sums it up for the rest of us.
"Happiness is Lubbock, Texas growing nearer and nearer. When I die, you can bury me in Lubbock, my jeans."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another happy thing

Our little grandson (4) had his tonsils out this morning. The surgery went fine and he's already reaching for the x-box controls, so all is well.

Things to be happy about today

In truth, I'm one of those annoying glass half-full kind of folks. At least annoying to my children when they would be moaning about this or that, and I'd start counting their blessings for them.

Today, two easy things to be happy about:

1. Snow. Yes, I know it's spring and all that. But the moisture is a good thing.

2. The annoying Kevin kid on American Idol is gone. Now if we can just get rid of Paula.

Have a nice day ya'll.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Anyone else

When I'm not near a computer, and not "writing" I have so many ideas running through my mind. Blank screen -- nothing. Nada. Zip. The concepts and ideas about the next chapter in my book. The things I wanted to vent about on the blog. The great insights I've discovered during the course of my day. Gone.

Does that stop me from writing? Well, no. Sorry to torture ya'll.

Traveled to the big city of Lawton today for work. Inadvertently found an interesting cafe right off the Interstate. The sign said "Patio and Concrete Creations". Good prospect, we thought. So we went in. We found a cafe amid the old gasoline pumps,vending machines and neon signs of the past, made shiny and displayed as art objects. The haphazard layout of tables, some no more than white folding tables, like the one I use when I have a big art project, were scattered about. We approached the counter.

"We have steak sandwiches today." the waiter/cook says. He was a young 30-something. Not the owner he said, "brother-in-law."

It was noon, we were hungry and so we ordered. We had a choice of drinks, at least.

We found a perch at a "Coca-Cola" table and watched the range of people walking in. Construction workers, office workers. They all knew the drill.

"What's cooking today?"

The woman who was helping cook came out from behind the "Coca-Cola" counter, holding two styrofoam bowls and walked toward us. She planted the steaming bowls of beans, topped with grated cheese, in front of us and took our styrofoam cups for refills.

Beans. We were hungry, and by this time very curious. "Doesn't look like steak to me" my co-worker said.

We each took a bite, and I swear we didn't talk anymore until both our bowls were empty. I'll be dreaming about those beans. I can't even tell you what kind of beans they were. They looked like pork and beans - sort of. But they tasted better than anything I've ever tasted. Really. That good.

The steak sandwich took -- literally - almost 45 minutes to get to our table. But it too was superb.

We came in looking for a sponsor for the community project for one of our clients, and found instead a hidden gem.

Blake's. We'll be eating there every time we have to venture to Lawton this summer during the Clean Air campaign. Every time. This is now my favorite place for lunch. Ok, my real favorite spot to eat is in Rocheport, Missouri. A tiny restaurant that anywhere else would rate four-stars. In the little artsy town by the Missouri River, it's just known as the "Word of Mouth Cafe." Oh, and then there's the country store off the highway between Columbia and St. Louis...

So share. What out of the way place have you found to eat, that surprised you and made you want to share it with others?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Family and friends and rain

Isn't the rain great? I know some folks down south of us have had too much rain, and I hope that stops. But here, it sure is hard to complain about rain -- even if it is cold.

Had a nice St. Patty's Day. We ate corned beef, cabbage etc. I tried a new recipe this year and it was quite yummy. Daughter No. 2 came over later with her dogs, which kept us amused the rest of the evening.

We had the option of going to Bricktown and raising cain and a few glasses of beer with some friends, but we enjoyed the quieter option.

Friends are a complicated thing right now. Some friends we feel have "dumped" us, and it's hurt our feelings. Mostly I guess, because we haven't had very close friends for a long time. Not since hubby left the military. Those friends we're still very close too -- well, as close as you can be when you live hundreds of miles apart.

But we're expanding our horizons and trying to accept more invitations and make new friends. The only problem there is that we like doing things "together" and we find that some of the couples like doing things apart. Not that we don't ever do things apart, just most of the time we like to do things together. Is that weird?

Anyway, I'm rambling now. Daughter and I did go out (sans husbands) today and watch the Geisha movie. She had read the book and was disappointed -- that's the way it always is. Movies never live up to books. Or rarely.

The dogs came over again. It's getting to be a habit. The big dog was funny when our cat hissed at it, the poor dog started crying and looked pathetic. He's four times bigger than the cat, but he's a big baby. Little dog likes to bark at the cat, which really makes the cat even more annoyed that we've allowed dogs to invade its territory. I almost - almost - came home with a black lab of my own today. We were at Pet Smart, and they had some for adoption.

I talked to our granddaughters on Friday. Our son called and said they wanted to talk. Keep in mind they are three and two, so conversations aren't exactly coherent. But one thing was clear. Talking to me was just a pathway to their real goal..."Is Papa there?" Ah yes. Papa is clearly the favorite. Story of my life.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Puppies and dogs

We've had a cat for almost nine years now. I was never a cat person, but I got used to it, and now -- don't tell anyone -- sort of love the hairy thing.

But my daughter and her husband just got her husband's dog from his family in Texas. It's a blue heeler mix, ugly thing and huge. I love it. Then my daughter got a little puppy, tiny pomeranian. I love it, too.

The dogs have the run of the house when they come visit -- well, except the puppy --named Titus, and whom I call Master P -- who is limited to noncarpeted areas because he pees every five minutes. The cat has adjusted very well, doesn't like it, but she's adjusted.

So last night we volunteer to babysit while my daughter and her husband are at work. Big dog has been very good about not jumping over the fence. But last night while I was trying to rescue little puppy from the Rose bush that he insists on getting into every time we go out in the yard, big dog jumped over the fence and took off chasing a cat.

We looked for that dog for hours. I was blubbering by the time my daughter got home from work. We looked some more and finally gave up. Then we heard something at the door and we went outside. Silly dog was taking off again until he saw us, and then he ran back. It was nearly midnight, by that point. He was stinking to high heaven and his leg, which he just had surgery on two weeks ago, was hurting him and he was limping. But he looked like he had had a very fun time. Dang dog.

I don't think we'll be babysitting the dogs tonight. Too much stress. I love our cat a little more today. But the dogs can still come visit, as long as my daughter is there.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sleep, I need sleep

And yet, I'm awake. I don't know why lately. I just can't go to sleep without a million things running through my brain. Thank goodness for blogs. Or maybe I'll just play solataire. Now that my friends, is probably better than Ambien, which I don't take because I'm such a light weight when it comes to meds that I sleep for two days.

I just want eight hours.

Dealing with dad

The worst thing about being older is not the wrinkles or the gray hair that I see in my reflection in the mirror. The worst thing about being older is that my parents are older still.

They are at the age where I feel as if I'm their parent sometimes. "Have you been eating lately?" "Did you remember to turn off the stove?" "Drive carefully." are things I've said lately, not to our daughter in college, but to our parents.

This has been a good month for dad healthwise. He's able to travel a little, so he and my mother persuaded my brother to drive them from Texas to OKC for the weekend. Saturday evening, while the rest of the family was in the living room visiting, I found my dad standing in the hallway bathroom looking confused. "Dad, do you need something?"

"Light," he says. "I can't turn on the light."

I flip the switch, the light comes on.

"Oh, that's how you do it." he said, and shuts the door.

I stood in the hallway for a moment, realizing that my father had forgotten how to turn on the lights.

On the way home, my parents had to turn back to Shamrock, Texas when the high wind and fires caused I-40 to close down. Fortunately, my mother has a friend there so they went to her house. This is a woman they've known for years, so I was not too worried and quite happy that they were safe.

Yesterday, I talked to my mother. She was angry at dad.

"He stayed in the car," she said.

"What? What do you mean?" I asked.

"He wanted to go home, and so he refused to get out of the car the whole time we were stranded in Shamrock." she said. "I was so embarrassed. I'm never taking him anywhere again."

She's angry because she's scared. I'm still trying to sort out the emotions of how I feel. My father, a reasonable man, couldn't understand that he couldn't drive down an Interstate that was closed. So he sat in a car for five hours.

That's the worst part of being older. Learning to deal with things like that.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Decisions decisions decisions

Not really. I already know I don't want this job. But feel somehow obligated to talk to an editor tomorrow about a job. They've called a couple of times. Had a friend who works for them call me.

Tempting. Really tempting to be a reporter again. But I feel loyalty to a company and clients that I've made relationships with in the past four months.

Is more money in the paycheck really worth the headaches associated with long hours, more stress and deadlines. Not that I don't have deadlines now. But there's an inherent difference.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Five things

So Wordgirl has a great post and I'm sort of just stealing her idea and using here with some modifications. Five "very personal" things about me instead of 10 things because I've got a list of way more than 10 things that have to be done around my house today.

1. I've just signed up for singing lessons. Those of you who know me well know I'm insecure as hell, and a comment from someone recently and a visit to the Karoake bar really has bugged me. I know I can sing. When I was younger I sang in a band, was active in musical theater and actually auditioned and won lead roles. I know it's my insecurities that make me sound like an out-of-tune piano when a mic is in front of me lately, so I've decided you can't live life in fear. I'm gonna overcome this. Music has always been important to me, so I'm taking singing lessons to build my confidence back up.

2. I think maybe I pissed off a friend, or just annoyed them. If so, I'm sorry. I miss you.

3. I don't like to eat eggs. Sometimes I do eat them for breakfast (this is on my mind because this is one of those mornings when hubby wants the traditional breakfast fare.) A good breakfast to me is bread, cheese and some grapes. I've even been known to eat a turkey sandwich. Anything but eggs. I don't really like pizza either. Maybe the egg thing comes from my vegetarian days. I call them my "Mother Earth" days when I was in my teens and early 20s. I grew my own veggies, didn't eat meat and knew a lot of people who lived together on "hippie hill."

4. My home office currently looks like a bomb went off. Stacks of files everywhere. I need to organize, but that means that I'd actually have to throw stuff out and I know I'm going to need it soon.

5. I've been married twice. The first time I was 17. That's right 17. Right before my senior year. I ran off, got married, moved from Abernathy, Texas to Sidney, MT and finished high school as a married person. I got married because it was a way out of my parent's very strict house. And I got married because that's what Baptist kids do when they want to have sex. Regrets. Some, but I got three kids from my first marriage. The last one, I consider my own child. I found out I was pregnant two weeks after I filed for divorce. Ugly divorce. When I met my current husband, the very last thing I ever wanted was to be married again. I hated marriage, and I had three children. But he was persistent...and cute. He adopted the kids. He is the only dad they know. We're celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary April 2. I love marriage.

That's it. More than you ever wanted to know about me.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Just some gripes

Ok - by now we all know that I'm addicted to reality television. So no apologies. But I'm gonna gripe about those shows this week:

First, Survivor -- Is it just me or does it seem convenient the past few seasons that producers change the rules when it looks like one person's demise is imminent. Case in point -- Stacy this week.
Second, the guy Shane on Survivor -- I thought these people went through some background checks. Don't know if this guy is really psycho or just appears to be.
Third, American Idol -- What the h&(*&^? Why is the Chicken Little boy still on? He's just disturbing.
Fourth, shut up Paula and Randy -- Simon might give you guys a dirty look sometimes, but he lets you TALK. Let Simon start in and the two gushers say, "No, that's not right." Whatever. At least the man is listening.

And lastly, Simon doesn't get off scott free either. Comments about song selection, voice, even the overall look is ok. But mean things like, "You could single-handedly kill the music video industry," are just not needed.

And an observation -- is it just me or is there some firey chemistry between Mr. Seacreast(yes, I probably misspelled this) and Simon?

So, I had a hectic, not really bad, but just annoying week at work, and I'm taking it out on people who don't really matter in my life (nor I in theirs). But what about fellow reality I wrong here?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Academy

Jon Stewart did fairly well at the Academy Awards -- as a host. He's no Billy Crystal, but then again thank goodness he's no Whoopee either.

My favorite part of the evening was when "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" won best song. Bravo. Hustle and Flow is still one of my favorite movies of the year.

I was glad to see Clooney win one tonight too. Best actress should have gone to Felicity Huffman or Theron. I like Reese Witherspoon, but she plays basically the same character in every movie. I did like her speech though.

Ah well. Tomorrow we'll get to thinking about things that really matter.

What was your favorite Oscar moment?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A meme of four

Ok so wordgirl didn't tag me, but I'm in the middle of waiting for phone calls that are slow in coming and can't finish what I'm doing until these folks call, so I'm gonna meme (is that a verb?)

Four jobs I've had:

* Sign language interpreter for the Department of Defense in Japan
* artist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
* legal assistant
* political reporter

4 movies I can watch over and over:

* Evermore
* The Paper
* Casa Blanca
* Always

4 places I've vacationed:

* Hawaii
* The Phillipines
* New York
* Lake of the Ozarks

4 places I've lived:

* Yorktown, Virginia
* Columbia, Missouri
* Sidney, Montana
* Okinawa, Japan (the list is long)

4 websites I visit every day:

* Half of the Sky
* Analog to blog
* Me, on the Move
* Mommy Tracked (and many more)

4 favorite foods:

* Tex-Mex (The Tex being prevalent there)
* Sushi, sashimi, Japanese
* Ice Cream
* Rice (I love rice, even just plain steamed rice)

4 places I'd rather be:

* Anywhere where my grandkids are
* Hubby's arms -- a safe place
* a beach, warm sunny, content
* at the Academy Awards surrounded by the beautiful people

4 people I'm tagging:

Again, free will folks., but I'm adding something: hee hee

4 holidays I love:
* Fourth of July
* Texas Independence Day
* St. Patrick's Day
* Thanksgiving

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

March 2 - A Texas Holiday

Just realized it's past midnight. Happy Independence Day, Texas!

I watch too much television

Fat Tuesday, (yesterday) we got together with friends (I think I managed to not cough on anyone). It was hysterically fun listening to everyone's opinion on McDreamy (OK - you Grey's Anatomy fans know what I'm talking about). I think it was decided the plastic surgeon whom his wife had an affair with should be called McSteamy.

Hubby was for a bit the only male in the crowd and he was quite bored by the whole thing. But hey, he got to drink beer and have a designated driver so it wasn't so bad.

But I felt a little guilty today because my venture out into the real world caused me to relapse and I've been hacking and coughing all day, so we skipped Ash Wednesday service.

Does anyone really give stuff up for Lent anymore? I should give up television -- really I should. But dang it, they invented TiVo.

Anyway, in our Fat Tuesday haze, I think we've all committed to going down to Fort Worth on April 1 and listening to Willie sing at Billy Bob's. Sound like trouble brewing already, last time we were there we got to see an actual bar room brawl, which was pretty cool since we weren't involved in the fight.

Birthdays and other things we fear

We humans are tough individuals. Then there's the times we slip.

I just had my (gulp) 49th birthday Feb. 24. It's totally throwing me for a loop. Yes, it's the numbers. But it's also the realization that my youth is past. So I've been worrying. Have I done enough in my life? Should I work at accomplishing great career things at this point or should I make a difference in the world before it's too late. What is going to be my legacy?

I look at people who put their lives on the line. Who change the world, and the successes I've had pale in comparison. So it's time for reevaluation. Call it a midlife crisis, call it pure panic. I just think there's something more. I just don't know what it is quite yet.

At this moment, I'm also worried about three friends in particular. One wonderful woman who's lost some of what makes us women recently through surgery, lost her mother and changed jobs in the past year. She's drinking more than she should, and I know, we as friends, are going to need to step in and say something soon. We love her too much not too. She enriches the lives of her family, her friends and those she meets. Yet, she's hurting and somehow maybe we've all failed her in that she hasn't been able to turn to us for solace. We must have that talk soon.

Another friend battles daily with an explicable disease. She's young full of life and energy, yet there are days when her own body fails her. It's tough to see her going through this. I hope she knows that we're here for WHATEVER she needs.

And lastly, my friend, E, is going through the roughest time of her life. Rebuilding it after a long marriage, ended not by her choice but by the selfishness of two other people.

That combined has left me unable to get a good night's sleep, as I try to solve all the problems at hand when I should be sleeping.

Thanks for listening.