Saturday, September 30, 2006

Friends That Are Family

Van and Irene's friendship went a long way toward easing the loneliness Mom felt at being so far away from her family. When they came to visit, they got to see all the people and places Mom loved to talk about in Michigan, and that made Mom so happy. I know they will miss Mom as much as we will, but I hope they take comfort in knowing how much their kindness and friendship meant to Mom, and how much they made her last years in Tulsa happier ones. They said they will come back to visit and when they do, I know Mom will be here in spirit joining in with us. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 29, 2006

Porch Pictures

We had hoped our time in Tulsa would be spent with a mother who was going to recover. When that turned out not to be the case, our days were much more emotionally harrowing. But going home to Mom's house was a comfort. Her spirit of hospitality still reigned supreme. You could almost hear her offering coffee, the best seat, a sandwich, or a lap robe to take the chill off the knees! Mom sure knew how to make you comfortable. These pictures of porch-sittin' show how we would all get-together to visit. The beautiful yellow Mum plant was a gift from Art and Judy Casy, neighbors to Van and Irene, who fondly remembered Mom. Also, Irene brought over a very nice Callalily that we put next to the front door. Margaret sent a colorful bouquet of flowers to Mom in the hospital, too, which we put in the house. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Silver Dollar

Mom always wanted us to go to the Silver Dollar in Collinsville when we visited Tulsa. So, we all went in order to honor her wishes that we enjoy this great place she wanted to share with us. It's in one of those old-fashioned downtown buildings you still see in small towns: narrow and deep, with buildings on either side. It is made of red brick aged almost brown, and has one of those decorative embossed metal ceilings. The restaurant isn't fancy, but is sure has atmosphere! The dining area has heavy wooden benches and tables. There is a very large gift-shop area that sports everything from collectibles to whimsicals. Magnets, posters, dishes, lights, knick-knacks, display cases of Indian jewelry and ornate knives, leather items, pottery, paintings, toys, wall-hangings, and here and there, all kinds of fortune-telling arcade machines to let you know if your love life is steamy or sour, or your luck is one star strong or several. I purchased a small, carved, jade elephant as a momento of a place Mom went and enjoyed.
The food was great. Some of us ordered the Patty Melt, which was Mom's favorite, and I could sure see why. The beef was a cut above any burger joint I've been to, and the onion was grilled so flavorfully that I can see how you would get hooked! We also had some Bloomin' Onion, which was also a great favorite of hers, along with the Fried Mushrooms. Those dudes were as big as a child's fist, the biggest I've ever seen. We missed Mom being there, but it was a good feeling to think that she was there in spirit, seeing us at her favorite restaurant, happy we went there in memory of her. And it made me glad to know how much she enjoyed herself when she went there. There were some 17 of us. The ones you don't see in the picture are Brian Gaskill, Michelle, Michael, Irene, Herb and Ada, their daughter, and her two children. Herb and Ada are former neighbors who informally adopted Michelle into their family. You can also see Margaret and her son Alex.
On the way there and on the way back there was a terrific storm on almost all sides of us. Instead of going home, some of us stopped on a hill where you could see Tulsa spread out all around us, and watched the lightning. Posted by Picasa

Joanne's Porch Sittin'

One of the things we always loved about going to Tulsa was porch-sittin'. Mom with her coffee, maybe crocheting, I would have McDonald's coffee, and there would always be a neighbor or visitor there. Jim installed a big fan overhead so we could stay refreshed when there was no breeze to catch. There were always plants, candles, and comfortable chairs, with tables to set your drink on. We talked about loved ones, tv shows, ads, traffice, memories, whatever came into our heads. Often a neighbor or passerby would see us sitting and stop by. One of the things I always loved about going to Mom's was just sittin' on that porch, talking it up, enjoying the outdoors, and listening to all the things Mom had to say because usually, we were trying to get caught up on not seeing each other for a long time. Just before I left Tulsa this last time, I took a souvenir from the porch to remind me of Mom. In a bird bath converted to a planter was a little painted glass bird peeping out. When I picked it up to look at it, I saw that it had been broken almost in two, and someone had glued it back together. It made me smile to think of Mom asking Jim to glue it so she could still see it and enjoy it when she sat on the porch. Mom always wanted to share anything she enjoyed, so I know she would like me to have it to put on my porch. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Latest

Thanks to everyone who is saying a prayer for Mom and the family. The latest news we had is that she has probably had a mild stroke brought on by low potassium. She is responsive to pain and will squeeze Jim's hand when asked. But she is still unconcious and in critical condition, on a ventilator. The good news is that her heart is beating on its own and her color is good. So we are very hopeful that she may improve. Praise God, because she has been through so much already, and Jim was where he needed to be at just the right time. This will be my last post for a little while so I am sending out my love to the family, the best thing you can do is take care of yourselves and your family right now. I love you all and will miss you! Your support is helping me through this, and I will sure let Mom know how much you have been supportive and that you send your love. You might want to give Fritz a call and leave him an encouraging message. Thanks! I will call with updates as warranted.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

New on Mom

The most recent news isn't all bad, but since this is mostly a family blog, I just want to put a few words down about the great sadness and worry that our family is feeling today over some news we got from Tulsa. My mother was found not breathing and had to be resuscitated, her heart stopped several times and had to be re-started, and she was put into intensive care at Tulsa Regional Hospital on life support. When we heard this news our family quickly gathered and made plans to leave as soon as possible to go to Tulsa. At first we were devastated because the news sounded very bleak. But later on, we were told she responded to a question by squeezing her husband's hand, which he asked her to do. So one question was answered: she apparently has some level of consciousness. Then, my brother talked to a person with a medical background. She said patients my mother's age sometimes get so low on potassium their hearts can just stop beating. They find them unresponsive and not breathing, and often a heart attack is assumed. Yet these people can recover when their potassium levels are increased. One of the things they did find out about my mother is that her potassium levels were dangerously low when she was brought in. She had been camping for several days with friends so we are wondering and hoping if maybe she didn't have a heart attack after all, maybe it was her dangerously low potassium level that caused her collapse? Maybe we are grasping at straws here, but Mom is well-known for abandoning her health regimen when her schedules changes, such as when she is camping, and she often forgets or just doesn't take the pills she is supposed to. Because we have all been so upset and distraught over what looked at first like a hopeless crisis, we now have some reason to hope. So I just wanted to pass that on. I will of course update when possible. And thank you for your prayers.

Val and Chris, Guests of Honor...

What a great party! Val and Chris celebrated birthdays, but it turned out to be a celebration of family when Aunt Marie, Jack, Aunt Mabel and Mark came over and spent a good part of the evening with us. The music was a big hit, it went on for many hours. Mike and Val did some of their famous duets, and Val sang like she hasn't sang in ages. The kids got to sing, but not as much as they would have liked since some of the friends needed to get home early. We had walking tacos, which was kind of an experiment to see how they would work with 30 some people, and it worked out well. Paige hit the sack early, all partied out, and all too soon Ray and Cindy had to leave and take the tired kids home. Val and Aunt Mabel and Mike stayed until the last dog was hung. All in all, one for the books. And I would like to thank all who came and reminded Val how much we care and how valuable she is to this family. A special thanks to Jamie without whose Mexican casserole we wouldn't have had as good or as much food! The phone she gave Val for her birthday will insure that Val will be in the same boat as the rest of us....never out of touch! Wish I could write more but I have people waiting on me at the moment. Posted by Picasa
The kids really enjoyed being together. One of their favorite things to do? Raid the Halloween costume gallery in the basement! Chantze is wearing a clown costume stuffed with...stuffed fish! The gal in the white-broad-brimmed hat is Stephanie, Grace's new best friend from her new school! She was quite the joiner-in, as you can see. The little girl you can hardly see in the couch picture is Kylie, a friend of Emily's from her former school. It's wonderful to see all these bright and active kids having fun together. Sure makes me feel lucky to have the family we do! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Remembering Our Friend

September 11 was the birthday of a very dear friend who is gone now. All day there have been many tributes and memorial services for those who died on September 11 from the terrorist attacks. While remembering what our nation went through is very important, I didn't want Ben's birthday to pass unnoticed. Although for many of those who loved him, I'm sure it didn't. I'm sure very few days go by without someone remembering him and missing him. We remember him in our own little ways, by raising a glass when we hear one of his favorite songs, or sending thoughts and words his way when we pass by his resting place off the freeway. Writing this doesn't make me feel any better about him being gone. And this isn't going to be an eulogy to say what a great guy he was. He was a friend to many of us and it is just nice to think of him at times, having fun like the picture where he is wearing a Blues Brothers hat. I am sure he sang "Sweet Home Chicago" that night, I may even have it on tape was fun knowing him and I still miss him being at our get-togethers. I am not even sure how old he would have been, but he probably wouldn't have been any wiser, ha ha! Anyway, I don't have any magic words, just Happy Birthday ya brat, wherever you are.
 Posted by Picasa

Mouse in the House Without My Spouse

People, I knew that mouse was just waiting for me to be ALONE in the house. It has been sneaking and creeping around. I have been jumping at shadows, and things I think I see in the corner of my eye. But guess what!? TONIGHT I GOT RID OF ONE MOUSE ALL BY MYSELF. It is in the outdoor garbage can inside of three plastic grocery bags, folded inside some of my art cardboard. Long story.

See, I was elbow-deep in proofreading Ray's manuscript so we can get it ready to send to an agent. And Smoochy came trotting proudly into my "office" with something dangling from her jaws. To my utter horror, I saw that it was a mouse! A beady-eyed, pink-tailed, fat-bellied, good-for-nothin, trap savvy little ball of gray fur thats been trying to move me out of my house and home by terrorizing me. Well, the cat dropped the mouse when I screamed (Sorry, Smooch), but this time she let me know where it ran so that I could go get the pinchers. You know, those long things you use when you're in a wheelchair and have to get something down from the cupboard? I used the pinchers to fold the cardboard around the nasty little thing, dropped it into a wastebasket, tied the bag shut with more bags around it, and put it in the dumpster. I figure it can probably get out sooner or later, somehow. Maybe. What else could I do? Shoot it? Cut it with a knife? Drown it in the toilet? Or perform a "Fritz" style execution and drop it down the garbage disposal? NO WAY. But I am proud of Smoochy, she caught the mouse in her jaws and brought it to me so I could do what needed to be done. I gave her three treats and praised her.
Now, I am on the warpath. Not gonna do mouse anymore. The little sons of beeches always seem to end up in my room!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Well, okay, so it isn't exactly clean clean. You could park a car in there! The worst part is done, now it's just a matter of finding out where to get rid of an old bike and tire and propane tank, more hooks for the extension cords, getting behind the edges where Smoochie attacked some squealing flapping thing yesterday....meanwhile, I have a new project...the basement.... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

News From Brian G.

I am very sorry to tell you that Brian G.'s father passed away 3:00 A.M. Labor Day. I have no other details, and even though Mr. G had dementia and was spared the more difficult end stages, this is still a sad time for Brian and his mother. So please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and if you need his address, or e-mail address, just contact me, we have both. I know he could really use our family support at this time.

More Favorite Pictures

Each and every one of these pictures has its own special cuteness about it, but my absolute favorite is the bottom right, where Paige looks worried and Brooke looks really irritated. I also think it's so cute the way their expressions change from frame to frame! This was one of those photo shoots where I was going for adorable baby pictures and got so much personality to go with them. I remember it was Easter and they had frilly dresses on, which were taken off so they could crawl, eat chocolate, and not be too hot. Posted by Picasa


Before I started cleaning the garage. You can't see the floor, with leaves and dirt on it which gets blown in under the garage door. Or the piles of cord, old boxes, stray pop cans and newspapers. But take my word for it, there wasn't much room to walk around in. The picture doesn't do it justice. Not that I am going to micro-clean, but the next picture you see on my blog will be the garage floor. Ha! If the creek don't rise. Why blog my cleaning project? Inspiration, for one. Before and after pictures are fun, too, don't you think? It's also like making a promise. If I don't post a picture of the cleaned garage, I will get teased and probably not in a very nice way. So it sorta forces me to finish what I started. So what are your projects? Where are your before and after pictures? I challenge you. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 04, 2006

New Baby Naming Contest

This baby kitty was born in a barn. Ken and Luwanna found saw a "Free Kittens" sign while driving through the country, and they remembered Shorten'sweet was looking for one. So they brought her over last night. The baby is playful, cuddly, sweet, smart, and seems to be enjoying her new home. The top picture is her cuddled up with her new Mom. But she has to find her name! Can you help? Posted by Picasa

Steve Irwin Finally Bit The Big One

If you have ever watched the Crocodile Hunter on tv, you would know that Steve Irwin was one of the craziest guys ever to fill the small screen. And that is precisely what made him so exciting to watch. He'd chase down a deadly poisonous snake, snatch it by the tail, and dangle it in his own face with a glowing description of why the snake was so beautiful and wonderful. I don't think he ever faked it. He did love wild animals and the deadlier and uglier they were, the more he loved them. Why else would he rappel several hundred feet to the bottom of an isolated, arid canyon and stick his bare hands in the cracks and undersides of rocks to find creatures whose sting or strike could kill? I think everyone knew his days were numbered.
He finally met his match in the sea, of all places. He was stung to death by a sea ray. When I read this on the internet news I was stunned. He leaves behind a wife who obviously was fascinated by his livelihood, and yet who had more reserve than her husband when it came to handling dangerous wild animals. And two children. I know they must be devastated. I will really, really miss him. And even though I am sure his re-runs will continue to be avidly watched, it won't be the same. He won't be strutting around in the world with his idotic grin and wonderful Aussie accent, enthusiastically championing the poisonous ugly critters we all love to hate, and that makes the world a less happy place.
I am sure there will be those who say he got what he deserved. He shouldn't have been messing with dangerous animals. If you watch the animal channel on cable, you know there have been quite a few animal lovers killed by the animals they handled. Circus trainers attacked by everything from elephants to tigers. Snake handlers bitten once too many times. Naturalists studying bears. There are even documented attacks on humans by dolphins in pools. But I am sure each and every one of these people realized there was danger, and death was always a possibility. I think they hope they will be lucky at the same time they understand they are putting themselves in harm's way. But they do it anyway, and I don't think they can help themselves. They love animals and injury and death are the risks they consider worth taking. Even though I am sorry he won't be around, I can't feel sorry for a man who died doing what he loved. I do feel sorry for his kids who don't get to grow up with their famous dad. Dang! I wish he would have been just a LITTLE more careful this time!

One of My Heroes Is Gone

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Better Shot

The grid option in Picasa made the picture of the ship too small so here is a better shot. Posted by Picasa

Our Annual Good Time

Towards the end of August, Uncle Dean and Aunt Eileen came to visit and I took this picture at the get-together we had in honor of their visit (and Fritz's birthday.) I should call this the Portrait of Dorian Grey, because as this picture shows, they never seem to get any older. As a matter of fact, it really seems to me that this year they actually looked a little younger. When they come we always have such a good time and I wanted to post this because I love the way everyone is smiling. Posted by Picasa

Good Timing!

Last night after Fritz got home from doing 6 hours overtime, we decided to take a ride around the lake a little after two in the morning. Good timing! We not only saw the McKee Sons (big ship) come into port, but several deer near the golf course. There is something about a big ship at night. The lights are just so romantic. This one was all lit up, but came through so quietly you could hardly hear any engine noise, and it barely made a ripple in the channel. I told Fritz it made me think of a ghost ship. As for the deer, two of them were youngsters who were very curious about our headlights.
The ship in the picture is the Integrity. This one we saw come into port today during the Shoreline Celebration. Behind it was a flotilla of small sailboats. There were many dozens more on the lake enjoying a fine day, one of the last official days of summer. Again, good timing! Posted by Picasa