Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Donate A Garden Gnome

Readers of my blog who live in Oklahoma likely know of the humor blog, Irritated Tulsan. As the disclaimer on Irritated Tulsan's home page states, he uses humor, satire and parody to provide comic relief for his readers. Topics range from the ridiculous to the very serious.

The recent post, Why North Tulsans Won't Speak, got my attention. I was born in Tulsa and raised out north. I attended Alcott Elementary, Gilcrease Middle School and McLain High School. My parents lived in north Tulsa until nine years ago. 

The "no snitch" mentality of some people in the area is very disturbing. Also disturbing is the reality that there are people who would talk to the police but don't, because they are afraid of being "punished" later. 

We know many very fine people who live there because it has always been their home, and I wish their neighborhood was safer.

If it were as simple as providing garden gnomes for every home in North Tulsa, I'd purchase 100 and personally deliver them. How about you?

If not garden gnomes, what else might work? We're smart people, we ought to be able to figure this out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I've Lost My Writing Motivation

Sorry folks, I've not had any brilliant thoughts to translate into blog posts this week.

I think Buford's situation has had a negative effect on me.

I'll try to get myself together in a day or two!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Buford Has Been Injured!

I found out today that Buford, the mascot for Harvard Meats, has been injured.
Children decided to hang off his horns. You can guess what happened. Both horns broke off his head. The account we heard was that the parents were right there when their children injured Buford. I will say no more on this part of the story.

Horn reconstruction was being attempted on poor Buford when we were at the shop Saturday. Fingers crossed the surgery is successful.

Next time you see Buford, give him a pat or a hug. He needs one.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

by Stieg Larsson.

This is a great book. An exciting book. A book that a lot of people have discussed. This is not the reason I read this book. I read the book, based on a recommendation from a friend. What a GREAT recommendation!

Have you heard of this book? If yes, have you read it?

If yes, what is your opinion of this book?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chouteau, OK

The Husband and I took a drive today and ended up in Chouteau, OK. Have you ever been there?

For a long time, we have seen tv ads for the Amish Crafted Furniture store located in this town. We stopped and took a look at their goods. Oh. My. Goodness. I'm ready to refurnish our entire house! The craftmanship and quality of this furniture is quite high and, on the plus side, we didn't think their prices were unreasonable at all. These furniture pieces are future heirlooms. If you are in need of new furniture, I recommend that you look there first!

We ate lunch at the Dutch Pantry. They feature home cooked food, served buffet style and all you can eat. On the menu for today was fried chicken. Yum, yum. The place was packed when we arrived. There was a charter bus tour group there enjoying lunch, along with a variety of people I assumed to be local workers and folks like us who just happened to be driving through town. We'll return to this place, for sure. I'm interested in their breakfast buffet, since breakfast is my favorite meal. 

We stopped at one of the local antique stores. It was more a junk store than an antique store, but whatever. Prices were really reasonable. We saw a couple of interesting things, but ulimately left without making a purchase. 

All in all, it was a pleasant day with The Husband exploring small town Oklahoma. 

What did you do on Wednesday?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My BFF From Elementary School

My BFF for several years in elementary school was named Sue. She lived across the street from me for 2 or 3 years, I am not sure how long.

We rode bikes, we played Barbies, we went to the library, we went to the community swimming pool, we played "War" with the boys in the neighborhood, we spent the night at each other's house. In other words, we did everything together!

We had not seen each other in approximately 20 years. Things happened and we lost contact with each other. Thanks to Facebook, she found me a couple of months ago.

She and her husband live in Missouri and own a dairy farm. They came through Tulsa today and stoppped to have lunch with my Mom and me.

Mom, Sue and me!
Sue and her husband, Clay. (A very nice guy!)
We went to White River Fish Market and they loved it!

I am so happy that Sue found us through Facebook! We have reminisced about Sue and her family for a number of years. So happy we have been reconnected!

Are you in close contact with your oldest, closest school friends?

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Summer Weight, Hand Embroidered and Hand Stitched Quilt

If you know me in real life, or you've read this blog for a while, you know that I love to go to estate sales, flea markets and antique stores. On our recent roadtrip, we stopped in at a very nice antique mall in Russell, KS and we found a great item.

It is a summer weight, hand embroidered and hand stitched quilt.

It fits perfectly on our queen size, guest room bed.
One of the hand embroidered panels:
Another panel:
Can you tell how thin the quilt is? Also, if you enlarge the picture, can you make out the hand stitches that quilted the top to the bottom?
Another shot of the quilt on the guest bed, with some of my peacock embroidery pieces. Can you have too much embroidery in a guest room?
I fell in love with this quilt when I first laid eyes on it. And, best of all, it was only $49. That's right forty nine dollars! As in, 4 and 9.

I couldn't believe the price because the maker of this quilt invested hours of time in it's creation. I will treasure it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Pioneer Woman's 'Katie's Roasted Corn Salad'

The Sister and her family came over for dinner Saturday night. I made the PW's corn salad, found on pages 26-27 on her cookbook.

Pretty, isn't it?
The Husband, The Sister and The Brother-in-Law all liked this dish. Instead of a traditional lettuce based salad, this was a refreshing change of pace for our dinner.

The nieces did not like it, at all.

The 7 year old made a face after she tasted it.

The 4 year old told me "Do not make this again, Aunt Cindy."

Little squirt!

Edited to add:
I should have said I did not follow the recipe exactly. I used canned corn, instead of fresh off the cob. I also did not grill the vegetables, because it was too stinking hot to fire up the Hasty Bake Saturday afternoon! Even with these modifications to the recipe, all the adults scored the dish as an 8, on a 10 point scale. Pretty good!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"See The USA" Roadtrip Recap

I must confess, we were both very happy to see this sign on Wednesday:
We were gone for 21 days.

We went through parts of 9 states (Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas).

I had never been to 4 of the states (Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska).

We saw famous places (national parks and roadside attractions) we'd never seen before and we thoroughly enjoyed playing tourist.

We visited some nice antique shops, which always makes my day!

The Husband drove 3,400 miles. I drove 1 mile. Hey, that's the way we do things on vacation!

We took lots of pictures (some quite dorky) and I tried to write fun blog entries so my readers could enjoy the journey with us.

We had a great trip, but are glad to be home.

I've now got laundry to do, groceries to buy, and blogs to read!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

476 miles (plus or minus)

We drove from Wall, SD to Hays, KS today. Correction, The Husband drove all day.

We did stop for these photos:

We got started taking these silly pictures of of the "welcome to this state" signs and couldn't stop ourselves. We're dorks.

We have another long day of driving (360 miles) ahead of us tomorrow. The reward will be checking into HOME at the end of the drive!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Rock Head Presidents

The Husband and I finally went to Mount Rushmore on Monday. We got tired of waiting for the rain to stop and we were running out of  time as well.

We had a late breakfast in Rapid City, did a bit of shopping at an antique mall and then headed to Mount Rushmore National Park.
Can you see them? They are up there, above our heads in our fancy self-portrait.
Oh, you want to see a better picture? Okay, here you go...
When I told my sister we were coming here on this trip, she related the story of her oldest daughter (now 7) coming home from school last year talking about the "rock head presidents." It took my sister and her husband asking a few questions to understand she was talking about Mount Rushmore! Funny!

After leaving Rushmore, we drove through Custer State Park. Beautiful, beautiful country. We saw mule, pronghorn and white-tailed deer. Plus, wild burros and buffalo.

You are not supposed to feed the animals in the park, but of course some people do not believe those rules apply to them and do so anyway. We got stuck in a bit of a traffic jam, because the burros know cars = people = food. Here's a shot of one of them trying to get us to feed him:
On the scenic drive through Custer State Park the roads are narrow and extremely winding, with a few very narrow stone tunnels. Here's a shot of a commercial tour bus coming through one of the tunnels. It took him a while to get through and by the time he did, he had a large audience watching him.
Here's a shot of the tunnel as we drove into it:
After we left the park, we headed to Wall, South Dakota. Home of the famous Wall Drug Store.

It was overwhelming. Any type of junky souvenir you could possibly desire is available here. They also have places to order food and opportunites for weird pictures. To wit: 

Me and a large, white rabbit. Harvey, perhaps?
The Husband and the elusive Jackalope.
After walking through Wall Drug (and, I confess, purchasing a tee shirt) we checked into the local Best Western Hotel and got settled. We went out for a quick dinner and I was in my pj's and in bed by 8:30p.m.

I think this road trip is beginning to kick me in the butt!

I Have No Idea How Many Miles On Sunday!

The Husband and I slept late on Sunday morning. We checked out of the Deadwood motel by 11am and then had a great breakfast.

We drove to the historic Mount Moriah Cemetery for a walking tour.
This cemetery is famous for being the final resting place of Wild Bill Hickcock and Calamity Jane.
Wild Bill's bust:
Calamity Jane's marker, located next to Wild Bill.
We walked in this cemetery for quite a long time. It is very large and the inclines are very steep. It is situated above the town of Deadwood and it was quite surreal on this cool, rainy morning.
We left the cemetery and made our way to the Crazy Horse Memorial. Even though it is not finished (after 60 years of work), it is still very impressive. And the dedication of the sculptor's family to continue his work is impressive. I would recommend you visiting it if you ever have the opportunity.

The entire time we've been in SD, it's been rainy, foggy and cool. Temperatures ranging from 45-55 degrees. This was the best picture we could get of Crazy Horse as it is today:
This is the model of what he will look like eventually.
Hopefully, it won't take the family another 60 years to finish this sculpture!

After leaving Crazy Horse, we drove to Rapid City, SD and checked into the Hotel Alex Johnson. It was a pretty nice place. We ate dinner at Botticelli Ristorante that evening. The food was very good and our waiter was quite entertaining.

Another great day on our "See the USA" tour!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

130 Miles (plus or minus)

So, we took it easy Saturday in Deadwood, SD.
We didn't get up and around until 9:00 am or so. We then took our time getting ready for the day. We had a lovely breakfast at the hotel.

We took a scenic drive, beginning in Deadwood and winding through Spearfish Canyon on highway 14A. At the end of the scenic drive, we headed to Sturgis, SD.
We did not get out of the car in Sturgis. I think it was because:

1) We didn't bring our Harleys
2) We didn't wear our leathers
3) We didn't have any tattoos

Nah, those weren't the reasons! It's just that the town was really, really slow. Not many tourists in evidence.

We returned to the hotel in Deadwood and I took a nap while The Husband explored the town. Unfortunately, his report upon his return was not good.

Deadwood makes it's money on gambling. There you have it. Gambling.

Gambling is not so bad, but you would think they would mix it with high end shopping (art galleries, jewelry, etc.), like Las Vegas. That is not, however, the case in Deadwood. Tee shirt shops, TV show memorabilia and a few Indian pottery pieces are the extent of the shopping. I'm sure, however, they know their core audience better then we do.

From all appearances, the primary gambling crowd is "blue haired." Which sounds bad, but how else do you describe it? This primary crowd are at a point in their lives when they don't want or need to purchase many things. So, it makes sense there is no really high end shopping in town.

The Husband and I are not big gamblers. We are, however, people who are looking for a really nice dining experience. That's not so much what we found in Deadwood. However, I will say that we ate at Bully's in The Bullock Hotel on Saturday night and the meal was quite good. My filet was "melt in your mouth" good, which says a lot!

We walked to The Franklin Hotel after dinner to have a drink. We met a group of mid-20's kids out celebrating the birthday of one of their friends. Everyone in the group was very funny, nice & polite. The birthday boy was celebrating his 25th birthday (what a baby!) and was quite the talker. He was from Montana and had been raised on a 10,000 acre ranch that his great-grandfather homesteaded. He sells insurance during the day and works on the ranch the rest of the time. He said he's on "weed duty" at the ranch.

We had a good time in Deadwood. Yes, we did. And we only lost $21 on the slots!

Have you ever been there? If yes, what did you think? If no, do you have any desire to visit?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

335 Miles (plus or minus)

The Husband and I had a late, leisurely breakfast at the hotel in Sheridan, WY.

Afterwards, we drove out of town and headed toward the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument.

Witness my first arrival in Montana:
Shortly thereafter, we entered the National Park.
It is very difficult to describe the magnificence of the scenery. The land is large, wide open and awe inspiring. It is no wonder the Indians did not want to be restricted to living on reservations. They wanted to continue roaming this large, beautiful land as they had always done. Hence, their logical decision to fight back against the US government. The decision led to many battles, one of which was the Little Big Horn.

Actually being on site at the battlefield gave me a much richer understanding of the battle. It spread over a realatively narrow corrider of land, spanning approximately 3 miles in length. Tombstones are placed over that 3 mile stretch to indicate where US soliders and Indians fell during the battle.

It is very moving.

This picture of The Husband is at the location of "The Last Stand" where Custer died. If you enlarge the photo, the tombstone with the black highlighting is Custer's monument. (I really must invest in a more sophisticated camera!)
Here I am at the Indian Monument on the Battlefield.
Check out my new hat, purchased in the gift shop. Cute, don't you think? The Husband has one that is very similar. We also purchased the National Park Service Passport. Between stopping to take photos of every "Welcome to this state" sign and purchasing the NPS passport, The Husband has officially declared our "dork" quota is at an all time high. But you know what? We don't care!

We spent almost 3 hours at the Little Big Horn Battlefield. Easily, we could have spent another 2 or 3 hours to complete all the walking tours and to view the film at the park center. However, it's not like this battlefield is in the middle of a densely populated area, or even a commercial area, so you have to PLAN to go there. Next time we visit, we will plan a bit differently so we will be in the area for a couple of days.

After leaving the battlefield, we drove to Deadwood, SD.

The obligatory "Welcome to South Dakota" sign.
Deadwood has a long and sordid history. But what US town doesn't? Some towns may not, but this nation was scratched out by "hook or crook" frequently and Deadwood fits that description. The Husband and I were fans of the HBO series, Deadwood. Have you seen it? We are not thinking the actual town was like the HBO series, but who knows?

We walked around downtown tonight, stopped into one of the many casinos to have a cocktail and assess the situation. The Husband lost ONE DOLLAR in a penny slot machine! I cut him off, needless to say. We ate dinner at the Buffalo Saloon, which has a long history in Deadwood.

We have a big day planned for Saturday, visiting a number of local sites. Hopefully the rainy forecast, with highs around 48-50 degrees, won't put too big of a damper on our plans!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

325 Miles (plus or minus)

Before we hit the road this morning, The Husband and I took a quick tour of Cheyenne, WY. What a neat town! We plan to return in the future and spend a couple of days exploring. In the mean time, a few of our highlights:

The State Capital
 The State Capital Sign
The art project in Cheyenne is eight foot tall cowboy boots. How fun!
This is a portrait of the fish that got away from The Husband in New Mexico
We saw the Wrangler store
They also had a very cool, automated sign

I should have taken a video of the sign movement, but I didn't think of it. Duh. Don't judge, I'm on vacation! Isn't it a neat sign? We both loved it.

We left Cheyenne and drove north on I25 towards Sheridan, WY.

Oh. My. Goodness!

As I tweeted during the drive, do you have any idea how big & empty & beautiful the Wyoming landscape is? It is magnificent!

We have lovely, big open spaces in Oklahoma. But they are much different than Wyoming. And smaller. 

The Husband and I lived in Calgary, Alberta, Canada from 1998 to 1999. Today's scenery reminded us of our weekend drives through the remote areas of the Alberta province. Endless open vistas, bounded on the west by imposing mountains. Lovely and restful.

We ended our drive by arriving in the cute town of Sheridan, WY. We checked into our hotel, got settled, and took a drive. Everyone we spoke to around town was friendly and helpful. Again, this is another place we would love to return to and explore further in the future.

We are looking forward to exploring The Little Big Horn Battlefield tomorrow even though the forecast is for rain and cool temperatures. Mid fifties for a high, anyone?

Have any of you been to The Little Big Horn Battlefield? If yes, what did you think?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Wild, Wild West

Cheyenne, WY is proving to be exciting.

Typically when we travel, we seek out locally owned establishments in which to spend our money. However, we were both tired tonight after the day of driving and decided to go to the Outback Steakhouse across the street from our hotel.

We arrive and, lo and behold, there were five grown men in the parking lot circling each other, as two of them were swinging at each other. At least one of them had a bloody nose.

Now these weren't guys in the 20's or 30's. These were middle-aged, ought to know better, men. Probably on the high side of 40, if I were a betting woman.

We went to the side door where you pick up "to go" orders and entered the restaurant there. Of course, the staff was huddled at the front doors and the windows watching the action.

I told The Husband I thought Wyoming was going to be fun!

425 Miles (plus or minus)

The Husband and I drove from Las Vegas, NM to Cheyenne, WY on I25 today. We were on the road 8+ hours, due to various spots of highway construction and terrible traffic in Denver. It tooks us an hour to get through the city. Even after leaving Denver proper, the traffic on I25 through Ft Collins was very heavy. It was a good driving day, even though we only had two brief stops.

The scenery was so different from our daily dose of Oklahoma, that I couldn't even read a book. I was too busy gazing at the mountains. Okay, I confess, I was also too busy getting my fill of the internet, since we had connectivity on our I-phones (unlike most of our time in New Mexico).

The only jarring note to the day was when we were in the hotel lobby in Cheyenne. There was a line at the desk and the clerk looked up at us and asked if we had a reservation. We said "no" and she advised they only had a couple of rooms left and what the rate would be. As she was making this statement, a man walked up behind us. She then asked for assistance at the front desk. When the second clerk came out, she said "Who's next?" Neither The Husband or I spoke up, but we were moving toward the clerk, when the man behind us said "I guess I am."

ARRRRRGGGHHHH...I hate it when people do that.

I hate that we didn't step up and say "No, we are."

I hate that the first clerk didn't say to the second clerk "These people are next."

I hate that the second clerk didn't realize the man BEHIND us could not be next.

He told the clerk he was by himself and needed a room with one bed for one night.

The two clerks had a problem with the system assigning the same room to the individual reservations they were working on. There were jokes back and forth between them, the ladies the first clerk was helping and the man that the room had double beds and they would have to share. He said he didn't want to share, but would if they would pay half.

The clerks finally got it straightened out, but by this time I was getting really irritated because they were all joking and the line was growing behind us. The man kept asking questions about "where are the luggage carts", "what is the closest restuarant", "oh, I don't know my license plate number, I'll have to go get it" which meant his transaction could not be closed out until he returned, which meant everyone in line had to wait on him.

Anyway, we finally got a room assigned to us and went to the car to retrieve our things. He was in the parking lot, unloading luggage onto the cart with a woman helping him.

Huh? He said he was alone. Did he think he'd get a better room rate by saying he was by himself?

I'll never understand why some people act they way they do.

Anyway, I'm glad to be in Wyoming. I've never been to this state, so I'm anxious to see what it is like. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Land of Enchantment

We've been in New Mexico for a while, without consistent internet access.

Last Friday, we drove to Santa Fe and checked into a very nice B&B. We toured the Santa Fe Plaza immediately (not our first rodeo!)

I would rate the Bed & Breakfast as a 7 on a 10 point scale. The reason being they are undergoing a major remodel and things happen during remodels. Make no mistake, the breakfast was outstanding. Freshly brewed coffee, orange and cranberry juice, hot tea, fresh fruit, plus outstanding breakfast quesadillias (with salsa and sour cream). The downside was the Comcast connection was not working, hence no cable TV or internet connection.

Trust me, after spending a week (or more) in a remote cabin without internet, when you pay for a B&B that advertises both internet access and cable tv access, you are more than a little bit disappointed when that does not occur.

After our B&B breakfast, we drove to the Santa Fe Flea Market. Oh my!  Many, many interesting and pretty things to be purchased. I must confess, I purchased a lovely bracelet. I so love jewelry!

We left the flea market and drove straight to our friends house in Albuquerque. We had an easy lunch and drinks at home, then went to Sam's Club to shop. Proving, once again, these friends are friends to have fun with no matter what we do!

Our friends cooked a fabulous salmon, asparagus and potato dinner.

Everyone went to bed and I stayed up to write this post, because I didn't want you to think I forgot to update you on my life.

What has been going on in your life?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Theoretical Question

If you are at a cabin in the mountains of New Mexico where you have to drive 13 miles into town just to get cell phone reception or an internet connection, is it bad to stay in your pj's all day? 

There were many things to be done, in addition to hanging laundry on the line like in the olden days. For instance, reading a great book (The Girl With The Dragan Tattoo), watching a chipmunk dart here and there, watching a wren build a nest and watching numerous hummingbirds feed.

I mean, you don't have time to shower and get dressed, do you? 

Not that I've done that this week. I was just asking for a friend...yes, a friend.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day - 2010

We spent Memorial Day with family and friends at a cabin in the mountains of New Mexico. There were 13 adults and 8 children, plus 4 visitors over the course of the long weekend. 

The oldest child was just 2 months shy of his fifth birthday. The youngest child was a 7 week old girl. The remaining 6 children were all 3 years old!

There was lots of laughter, noise, food and fun every day. And, of course, some tears around nap times!

Here’s the best picture we could get of all the kids at the same time. It's not very good, but getting 7 little ones to sit still is virtually impossible!
Some of the kids decided attacking Dad was a fun activity:
There were water balloon fights:
There were smores:
Some smores didn’t even require cooking:
There was New Mexico food night, which was fabulous:
And nighttime conversation and fun by the fire:
All in all, it was a perfect holiday weekend. 

What did you do?