"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cold Front

A cold front came through, yesterday, giving us about .15 inches of rain. The daily high plummeted to 96 and I had to bundle up this morning on the back patio because it was so chilly.

I like to watch the girls play when the sun rises because I can see the light catch their feathers and they look like they glow.

Long years ago I used to do a bit of bird watching and have a pretty decent collection of bird guides. I remembered to bring them, this trip, and have had fun identifying the birds from this part of town. When my kids were little, I would refer to lists of local birds and there were a few birds that I despaired of ever seeing. I guess I just needed to move about 5 miles to the west because here they are! I even saw a Belted Kingfisher, yesterday. Never saw one, before, but I recognized him, immediately. We have a ton of birds at the house that didn’t frequent my old Oklahoma home – Lark Sparrows, Brown Thrashers, blue birds, Brown Wrens, Meadowlarks, Catbirds, Brown Headed Cow Birds, etc. There are a lot of birds I see that are common to all my Oklahoma houses but it is fun to see new ones.

I didn’t bring my sewing stuff, this time, because I didn’t use any, last time. I kind of wish I had brought my stuff because the circumstances are different. For one, we have a table and lamps so I could actually sew. For another, we’ve had more down time, this trip, and it has been longer. Going to the Central Oklahoma Quilt Show also was inspiring. Here is one quilt that won recognition:

We’ve had such a wonderful trip. We’ll have to head back east on Friday and I am trying to avoid thinking about it. We still have a lot of people left to see and chores to do. I need to get back to the house so we can take the car up to look at grout samples. Very exciting, to be sure.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I have been having such a rejuvenating experience in Oklahoma that getting online has been low on my list of priorities. I’ve seen family; friends who are like family; taken a trip to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge; got a pedicure; done tons of yard work; shopped with a buddy; visited multiple quilt shops; celebrated Father’s Day and other family events; attended the local quilt show (such talent!); and bought dorky his and her coffee cups for the house (Buckaroo and Country Girl - husband picked the out).

Evelyn has found her inner Alpha, ending the debate husband and I have had on the subject. I’ve insisted that she is not cut out for Alpha – she doesn’t want the responsibility and is just waiting for Pearl to grow up. He has insisted that sweet, gentle Evelyn will step up to the plate.

He, as usual, was right. Evelyn is glorying in being in charge. She is a different Alpha that Jezebel (more no nonsense and protective but far more gentle if that makes any sense) and far kinder that Sapphire. I simply can't see Jezebel being aggressive even if the situation called for it. However, I can see Evelyn tearing someone up if she felt like it was necessary. Pearl troops along after her like the good puppy she is. Oh sure, she challenges her, but it is just puppy play.

For months, Evelyn has seemed to be bonding more strongly to me and now that we are here, she doesn’t want me far from her. She follows me from room to room, whimpers if I wander out in the pasture and leave her in the yard, and nearly broke husband’s leg while hiking in the Wichita Mountains because she wanted to catch up with me. She can leave me to go exploring and chasing butterflies but she wants to know exactly where I am while she is doing it. She jumps up and leaves the ground completely when I come to see her over the fence.

I think about a year ago when we were here and I was heartbroken about the likelihood of losing Jezebel. At that time, Evelyn barely gave me the time of day. I never dreamed that a year later I would still have a dog who adored me and who had wormed her way into my heart so completely – and that the dog would be Evelyn.

Pearl turns out to be quite the pansy about the heat. She darts from shade to shade once the heat of the day is on us. Seeing her find a place to "go" in the middle of the day is a trip. We have been under a delicious heat dome that kills clouds and bakes the grass hard and brown (I will never seriously complain about Oklahoma summers again – feels like home). Both girls have learned about dancing on hot pavement. You can just see their faces - WHAT IS GOING ON!!?? Evelyn will join us in the yard in the heat of the day - Pearl stays in the shade on the patio and thinks we are nuts. I always said that was the smartest puppy we've had.

Pearl is filling out and beginning to get an elegant look about her. She is SUCH a good puppy. We’ve had comment after comment about how well behaved both girls have been.

The girls have found turtles and toads and bugs and absolutely love the place –Evelyn has smiled nonstop. She loves the ceiling fans and flops down on her back to let them cool her belly. We bought a baby pool for Pearl but although she has been in it a little, she isn’t as crazy about it as we expected. She prefers the air-conditioning.

I brought in her crate over husband’s mild objections but that turned out to be a good decision. She sleeps in there and it has given her a place that feels normal to her. She puts herself to bed and has figured things out. She ate a sofa but other than that, has been pretty close to perfect.

We DON’T want to go back. We want to stay here, so bad. Last year, I was able to keep firmly in mind that it would be years before we returned. This time, I haven’t been able to do that.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ready for a Road Trip

So, in anticipation of our cross country trip that begins in the morning, I bathed the girls.

Evelyn, as always, was an angel. Pearl, not so much.

They certainly like being bathed in the tub with warm water better than out on the back deck with water from a hose.

Pearl acted like a fish on a line, then had the audacity to immediately roll on the dirty backdoor mat and had to be bathed, again.

But isn't she a sweetie? She is turning into a very pretty girl, I think.

Look at that curly coat!

Evelyn is doing so well. She is turning positively smoochy. And her appetite seems to be steadily coming back. As recently as the middle of May, husband pronounced her as emotionally damaged. I agreed. However, I haven't seen anything, recently, to suggest that she is anything but a happy, sweet dog.

She is going to LOVE the road trip. You know how dogs are. We plan to stop the first night just west of Nashville and get home to Oklahoma City by late Monday afternoon. Today, we'll finish mowing, packing, blah, blah, blah then go out to eat heavy Mexican food. Yup, that is part of the plan. We'll eat, go into a food coma that will knock us out for a three hour nap, and we'll be rested when it comes time to pull out at about 4:00 in the morning.

I'll post when I can but we don't have internet access at the Oklahoma house so no promises. Looking forward to the long hiatus to reset my defaults. Get out and enjoy summer!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Herding Goats

So, I'm on the final countdown to vacation but work keeps getting in the way. If I didn't have work, I would be sitting out in the car, right now, aggravating husband who can't leave for another few days and won't leave until he mows the grass. So maybe having work is good to keep me from being completely annoying. Today, I need to finish up a few work items, stop the mail, pack, make sure the neighbors know how to reach us, buy some road rations (including those individual bottles of wine!) and clean out the fridge.

I can't imagine taking off this long (more than three weeks). I've never done that and it feels lazy. Let's get real - it IS lazy!! My big fear is that I won't be able to bring myself to leave Oklahoma when it comes time to head back this direction. Or maybe my bigger fear is that I won't have the gumption to just dig in and stay.

I live in one of the most populated areas in the nation, the biggest drawback to the area, by far. Being a country girl at heart, I prefer all the backroads and will do just about anything to avoid traffic congestion. I've found a route to work that has a minimum of traffic because it goes down nine miles of hilly, windy road with no shoulder. It has a national forest on one side and a marine base on the other. It is a very dangerous road. It spits out into a semi rural area that has a goat farm on one side of the street and an old farmer on the other. The old farmer sits out in a lawn chair dressed in overalls and a weathered straw cowboy hat most afternoons gazing at his large vegetable garden. I don't know what that is about. The first time I saw him, I honestly thought it was a scarecrow until I looked closer. This is the same home that erected an inflatable nativity scene last Christmas.

So, I'm heading for work, yesterday, in my suit looking spiffy. As I leave the forest and enter the farm area, I glance to my right and see goats peering over the fence of the goat farm, their little devil hooves perched on the wire fence. I look to see what they are watching and there are kids (baby goats) EVERYWHERE along the side of the road and bouncing in and out of the forest. Oh holy Mary, Mother of God.

Honestly, the cutest things you can imagine.

Of course, I have to whip the car around as soon as I found a spot and head back to round them up. I pull into a locked, gated farm road and kids start scrambling like ants from an upturned anthill. A farm house is on the other side of the small pasture but I don't see anyone. I begin honking my horn to get their attention but all that does is agitate the kids and their mamas. The mamas are also loose and the kids are crawling through the fence and under the gate on their bellies. They wander up the farm driveway but are clearly unconfined.

Fortunately, I am wearing my favorite, non dressy cowboy boots, my Kangaroo skin shorties as I slosh through the mud. It just so happened that this is my last court day before vacation and I'd decided to hell with it. I'll wear my favorite, comfortable pair.

By this time, I'm running late to work but you can't just leave goats wandering loose. I back up and drive over to the farmhouse. Yikes, it's a wreck. It looks like they'd began remodeling it and abandoned the project. Tools are just laying around, which is a sure sign of depravity. Trade trucks and vans are parked everywhere. Two dogs (a pitt and a rott) are staked out in the yard and they are extremely enthusiastic that I am on the property. I tell myself that dogs love me and if they get loose, surely they will recognize a dog person if I can just avoid the temptation to give in to terror and run (of course, if they saw me run, they might collapse on the ground, laughing).

I call out a few times and walk back towards the barn near the back of the property.

That is when I see all the buzzards.

There are at LEAST twenty big black buzzards lurking all over the barn area. Six of them are on top of what looks like an abandoned car; a bunch come out of the lean-to area, looking mean and smug; several more are pestering a goat that has wandered by. Others are just lazily flying in and out. I begin making unnecessary moves like I have Tourettes so there's no mistaking that I'm dinner.

So, now I'm thinking maybe I don't need to be someplace that looks like something out of Children of the Corn, surrounded by escaped livestock and menaced by buzzards and angry guard dogs. I don't know what is dead back in the barn but I'm certain that by now, whatever is back there is beyond my help.

So I end up letting the police know and left for work. Presumably, no human was dead since I haven't seen anything in the news and haven't had the police come knock on my door.

When I got to court, I had a full docket. One case was a darling little seven year old rape victim, missing a front tooth, whose attacker was featured on America's Most Wanted, awhile back. The b*stard, the mother's illegal boyfriend, is still on the loose. May he rot in hell. I've had this happen, regularly, in sexual abuse cases. Many illegals are able to fade into the scenery because their cohorts won't turn them in since it would draw attention to their own illegal status. Illegals living outside the law make perfect victims and perfect criminals. An ugly side of illegal immigration is that many of the children are at such high risk with little protection from predators.

Since the animal (no offense to animals) wasn't there, the little girl didn't have to testify (we relied on the mother's observations and the physical exam). Because the mother didn't have anyone to watch the little girl, she had to stay in the courtroom with us. We all did what we could to make the situation easier for her. She looked so cute. The Judge shook her hand and oohed and ahhed over her pretty little pink bracelet (covered with pictures of the Madonna - not THAT one - Jesus and the Pope). The bailiff (who she remembered from the last time she came to court) showed her pictures of his dogs that he keeps on his phone. We teased her and she smiled and smiled the whole time. Everyone there was sensitive in what they said and how they said it. Lots of euphemisms that went over the child's head. I'd distract her at pertinent times in the testimony so she wasn't paying close attention. From time to time, the bailiff or the judge would wave to her from across the courtroom and she'd just beam, shyly, and wave back. While they were putting together the order, I was able to take her over to show the clerk her pretty little black shoes with rhinestone hearts. We fussed over her and told her she was just so pretty (she beamed) and that we were so happy she came to court to see us, again.

I have to say, the sweetest damned rape case I've ever been a part of. I wish every child that had to go through the court experience to convict their hell-bound attackers could be so surrounded by love and support. By not having the b*stard there, we were free to keep the courtroom full of smiles and positive energy.

It won't be an easy road for her but she has a terrific, loving mom who is handling everything right. So far, this little girl seems to have kept her innocence and capacity for joy. So often in these cases, by the time the abuse is discovered it has gone on for awhile, rotting out the child's soul. This was one of those rare cases where the mother walked in on what apparently was the first attack.

I can't help but wish the angels had been a little more timely in interrupting but you know what? I have to think this little girl really does have a guardian angel who protected her from worse. If mom had walked in five minutes earlier, the rape wouldn't have occurred and mom would have been none the wiser. But chances are the next time he tried, the SOB would have made sure he had enough time to avoid the interruption. So I will just be grateful that this little girl is okay, today.

Off to draft a letter to the court and then I'll make a few phone calls before shutting work down for vacation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

A sweet moment, earlier today.

I was looking at a smilebox with "Here Comes the Sun" music and Evelyn began singing. By the time I gathered my wits and the video camera, she was about sung out but I got a little of it.

We've had terrific thunderstorms, today, and the girls have primarily been in my lap. Here is Pearl in a second video - such a cuddler, she is. It doesn't have good lighting but you can see her sweetness.

One more work day and then vacation!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Exception to the Rule

Most of us are familiar with the old adage that after three days, fish and company begin to smell. We've had company for a week and they left, yesterday. I miss them! If there is such a thing as a perfect houseguest, brother-in-law, his wife and their two grown kids set the standard. In fact, I don't think it does them justice to call them houseguests - this group settled right in and in the best possible way, behaved like family.

Brother-in-Law caught Evelyn's fancy last summer when we went out to Oklahoma. We wondered if she would remember him when she saw him back east but weren't prepared for her delighted reaction. She doted on him all week.

Evelyn will frequently watch for husband when he is due to arrive home at the end of the day. When she spots him, she sometimes gives out a high pitched squeal and races for the garage door where he enters the house. She has never done anything like that for anyone else. Several days ago, a couple of hours before husband was due home, I heard her give an enthusiastic squeal and race to the back door. I wondered if Husband had come home, early, to spend time with his brother. But no, that wasn't it. Husband's brother had driven up after a day of sightseeing and Evelyn had spotted him in the driveway. She loves "her" Jerry.

So does Pearl.

I wondered if Husband would be jealous that his brother was stealing his dogs but, nope, he just beams. He says Brother Jerry has "a way" with dogs and that our girls know Jerry is family.

The kids (in their twenties) are both model-gorgeous.



But what is so impressive about these kids is that they are hardworking, sensible, respectful and have their heads firmly on straight.

They pitched in and wiped the dogs feet when they came in from the muddy back yard without being asked. Once, I came down the stairs and spotted Victoria on her hands and knees cleaning up a muddy paw print - "Pearl got by me!" she explained. They'd take their dishes and clean them in the sink, make the beds, keep the bathroom tidy, showed up with food for dinner, replaced what they'd taken from the refrigerator, in short, slipped in like members of the family and didn't make a speck of work for anyone. To top it off, they were good company.

Their parents did a fabulous job raising them. Even when Victoria and Matthew squabbled - as siblings do - there was no below the belt nonsense that some young people engage in.

We'll see them, again, in a week or so when we drive back home. Can't wait. Evelyn will be thrilled, too.