Monday, October 3, 2011


This weekend, I developed a nasty sinus infection that made sleeping (and everything else) difficult.
Sunday night I went to bed and was drifting in and out of sleep when I heard a crunching noise. Now I have a cat door in my bedroom, and I have a cat food dispenser right inside that door, so I assumed it was a cat. But Bits was lying on my chest, ears erect, and Gwacie is a cat food gulper so I suspected another cat.

I pulled out my trusty iPhone, triggered the flashlight app and shone it at the cat food dispenser, only to discover that I had a skunk in my bedroom! yeah. So I did the only thing that made sense. I turned off the flashlight, settled into bed and waited for the crunching to stop. It did. And the dispenser was empty. And the door will be closed when I go to bed from now on.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A month later

Hmmmm, what to say ...

Many of you know how I have worried about the older son and how he hasn't found a real life. He has made so many strides toward adulthood, but at 37 it seems like time to settle. And perhaps he has.

When we first drove through Woodward Oklahoma after he moved here, he pointed out a shop that he said was famous, where they build custom motorcycles, like on "American Chopper". I suggested that he apply for a job there, but he kind of avoided the topic. During the following months, we repeated the conversation, both sides.

Then in December, we went to Woodward to a meeting of the Model Train Club and I suggested we stop in at Covington Custom Motorcycles just to look. Hooray! There was conversation, then interest, then the phone came out to show pictures and wa-la! Suddenly we were being shown around the shops (body, motorcycle, and hotrod). The owner got involved and when we walked into the hotrod shop, Ryan suddenly became authority and fan. He recognized treasure cars, asked the right questions and took pictures. When we left he had an application and a grin.

Monday morning, he left with his application in hand, and has been in Woodward, working, every week day since. At first, I think it was hard for him, as he was the only one working in the hot rod shop and he didn't mix with the guys in the other shops. Eventually though, he became socialized, and began to hang out with them.

For those of you who haven't heard way too much about Ryan, he is an incredibly talented mechanic and fabricator. We call him Gepetto, because he can make anything in his workshop. Give him a piece of scrap metal and it becomes a beautiful and useful object that you would never have dreamed was possible. I consider this job a dream job for him, I hope he still does.

Daytona Beach BikeWeek happens in March. It is one of the two big deal events in the motorcycle world, with Sturgis being the other big deal. On Saturday, February 26, six of the guys (family and workers) left for Florida on their bikes, along with a semi truck full of motorcycles for sale. On Monday the owner and Ryan left in a car. They arrived in Daytona on Wednesday and began to set up. Jerry, the owner, has a timeshare house in Daytona, big enough for 12 people. I am sure having a house with kitchen and laundry makes it a lot easier to live away from home.

Bike Week started on Friday. I don't know what all they are doing, but I get glimpses. Pictures of bikes, and more pictures of bikes. Pictures of them eating at restaurants on the beach (and Ryan eating way out of his comfort zone). Calls from fun places.

Apparently he is riding one of the show bikes and it makes him nervous to be riding such an expensive bike. And he has been in a photo shoot for a magazine with one of the bikes. They said it will be published and he will get copies. Because Covington is one of the vendors, they go to vendor parties, and have lots of special privileges. I follow him on google latitude and they leave the house early and come home late. It sounds like he is getting tired.

Now, a week later, he says he is ready to come home, but Bike Week lasts until Sunday. Then they start back on Monday.

I am looking forward to stories, but I have to find someone for him to talk to in front of me, as the stories are better if he's telling them to someone else.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


So the city of Gate (7 miles to the east, pop. 70) has a few businesses. There is a well known cafe that is open from 6 am to 2:30 pm 5 days a week. Good food cooked from scratch. There is an upscale western razzmatazz store (want a $5000 sculpture? find it there!) and if you walk into the back room, waalaa! a tiny grocery store! And there is a museum.

Gateway Museum is partially funded by state and federal groups. It is in the old depot and there is lots of train stuff (you know that makes me happy) and the baggage room is a library of new and OLD books. If there were more windows it would be a wonderful place, but that is just my problem. A back room has items from the farms around the town and is a wonderful collection of turn of the century stuff, plus mastodon bones, Indian arrowheads and meteorites.

Why, you say, am I telling you this? Well, the museum board has decided that they need me to work there. I warned them that I would leave to visit California on occasion, and that I would be leaving for good in July, and they still want me. It is a 20 hour a week job, and unfortunately, as the new kid, I get Monday, Friday and half of Saturday. But the best part (not really, but still nice) is the fact that they had talked about it for a while and no one had the nerve to ask me how old I am because you have to be over 55 and they weren't sure I would qualify. Mwhahahaha!

Anyway, I said yes and now the guy from the fed program has to come out from Enid (150 miles east) to talk to me but he is excited because this is supposed to be a job training job and when I leave to work it will make their stats look better.

I attended the board meeting last night to be inspected, and they were brainstorming ideas to advertise Gate. I had been thinking of a project that involved the museum and I guess I am forming a Stitch n Bitch group in Gate. I had already volunteered to work with a church group to teach knitting and crocheting so they could make prayer shawls, so now I have a classroom. It may just be me that shows up, but if I am going to be sitting there for hours at a time, I may as well be knitting. Of course, I can't call it Stitch n Bitch, because that isn't part of the language here in the church belt. Every time I say those words, people actually physically pull back. Kind of makes me want to call it that.

Anyway, looks like I am going to be making minimum wage for a while, but that is more than I am making now.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thanks John for inspiring me to write

Winter has set in. People are arguing about whether this storm is a blizzard. Apparently, according to, a snow storm is not a blizzard unless it is a storm with dry, driving snow, strong winds, and intense cold. I think we qualify this last week. Piffle on those naysayers.

Last week, we set a record for cold in Beaver County with a low wind chill of -36 caused by 0 degree temps and 50 mile an hour winds. That is cold. Walking to the car with one glove on, I realized the other hand was beginning to get numb. That was a walk of about 50 feet. Brrr. I worry about the homeless, what must their lives be like in this weather.

I have been learning about ways to combat freezing weather and pipes. I hear another storm is on the way but I have mastered the art of crawling into the well pit to heat the pipes so ...

Fortunately I have power, but that is another story. I sort of finagled a heating device. I was told that a simple light bulb in an enclosed space could prevent freezing. Since the house apparently has been converted to coil bulbs, I started with an old floor lamp from the basement with two old 100 watt bulbs and that warmed up the pit. When it warmed up enough to thaw the pipes one pipe had burst so the pit flooded and the floor lamp was standing in 8 inches of water.

Lamp in water didn't seem like a good idea so I went to town 65 miles away and bought a tiny ceramic heater and a shop drop light with a 200 watt bulb. I hauled the floor lamp out by lassoing it with rope, and I hung the heater and drop light from the edge of the pit.

Every time I check, the pit is warmish, but another storm is expected Tuesday night. We will see if my jury rig works.

They have electric heat tape to wrap pipes but I am limiting my trips into the 8 foot deep pit. Especially since the water is still standing in the pit and electric tape in the 8 inches of water doesn't seem any better than a floor lamp.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

First day

Sooo… my first day of subbing. I am at Meade, one period at the junior high and the other five at the high school. Algebra! Me! What are they thinking!?!

It is a very nice facility, all purple and everything. The library is as big as Mission’s and the common area is a big wide hallway sort of affair with a few 8-person round tables. They have two lunch periods, so only need to seat about a hundred at a time. During lunch, they put out 12 of the tables, plus one long one for the staff. Classrooms are huge, carpeted and equipped with smart boards. I GOT TO USE ONE! (Excited!)

Class size will make some people cry,

P1 18 (8th graders)

P3 10 (Algebra 2)

P4 9 (Algebra 1)

P5 19 (Algebra 1)

P6 8 (Algebra 1)

P7 17 (Algebra 2) and since it is basketball and wrestling season there were only 5

Since it is December, the parents take turns bringing food for staff. There was so much today that there wasn’t room on the table. They told me it was usually like that. Good thing I’m not working every day!

When I got up at 6 a.m. I was worried about making it on time. Because I am a timid night driver, I was afraid it would take me longer than an hour to get here. The sun rose about 7:15 and it was actually light by the time I pulled into the junior high.

The kids are great, everyone knows everyone’s family so they know they will get ratted out. Some of the kids are slackers (go figure!) but for the most part, they actually try to get the classwork/homework done in class. Everyone is white! Elizabeth, this is for you!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December is upon us

So ... I invited the usual crew of suspects to come to the farm for thanksgiving and started cleaning. When I talked to Kathy (she and Terry live in Houston 700 miles south) she told me that Terry would have to work Wednesday so they would start after he got home from work and should be here in the morning of TG day. Driving to church I began to feel a little guilty. I don't have to go to work, don't need to count my days off and don't need to haul 4 people up the freeway. So I called them and asked if the invitation to Houston was still open. They were very happy to be able to stay home. Of course that meant that Marian and Eileen wouldn't be coming, but they do have family locally, so I decided to be Texas bound.

Texas is kind of interesting. It is so self absorbed. Everything declares that you are in Texas. I could drive through any of the other states I regularly traverse and if I wasn't paying attention to progress, I probably wouldn't know what state I am in. In Texas, you need only to check the nearest billboard or storefront. You are in TEXAS! and you know it.

It was fun finally seeing the house that I had heard about since before it was built. And Terry and Kathy are excellent hosts. Their only flaw was a determination to participate in The Black Friday Madness. After much urging, I convinced them that I was going to stay in bed at three a.m. and they were welcome to do what ever they wanted. They went out at 3 to attempt to purchase the one TV that target had that they wanted. Other things were bought (that's for you Ebeth) but no tv. Then everybody came back and rested.

About 2 p.m. people began to get their second winds and so off we went to the malls. 2 p.m. was a good time to do that. While I didn't have much shopping to do, I managed to get a couple of things, but it was most entertaining. Later that evening, we made another foray and this time we went to the crack house where I only bought black and orange yarn (for Giants scarves) and some Lagoon Homespun so Marian could make my Christmas present. She told me to find what color I wanted, but it was sooo on sale that it only made sense to buy it there instead of her paying full price and shipping. Aren't I good. But even better was that I didn't buy any other yarn.

So Saturday morning I loaded up again and headed home. Made it to Norman and spent the night. Had dinner with cousin Chris and his son Chris. It was really nice to see them. Little Chris has turned into an entertaining young man. Would probably get along really well with Ryan.

Tried to make it home in time for church, but was about 30 minutes late in spite of an early start. Probably should have skipped the coffee, the soda and all the pauses on the way.

Monday, November 22, 2010