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Archive for July, 2012


Yep. That was our mantra during the last unplanned time away.

Some of you might have known about our aunt, who, at 59 years old (she turned 60 a few months ago), was diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive uterine cancer last August. When she was diagnosed, she was stage IV. For those of you who have dealt with cancer, you might have an inkling of what this means. Stage IV means a spread to other organs, and is usually a terminal diagnosis.

In this case, there was zero survival at 2 years.

That being said, her course resulted in some amazing (and, as I understand it, documented by her doctors) developments, as her body worked to re-route functions.

We knew she had started getting hospice care at home a few weeks ago, and then we waited. Two weeks ago tomorrow, we learned of her passing. And so we got ready to head out.

Our oldest (16) decided he wanted to stay home, which is completely understandable. It also solved the dilemma of how to coordinate care for the chickens, some of which are still inside at night (yes, this includes the three boys. *sigh*) For a long time, I’ve been naysaying Hunny’s concept that at some point, he wasn’t going to want to go on vacation with us any more. I’m not saying this has actually happened yet, but I’m beginning to think that there may be some writing on a wall somewhere. 😀

That Monday we got details and sorted out the details of our trip. Tuesday we washed bedding; packed clothes, food, and did last-minute shopping. Wednesday morning, we headed out.

Normally, we stop along the way for lunch, pull (well, push the button) out the slide and make hot dogs for lunch. Come to find out, the battery was completely dead. It was so dead, that even though power from the truck should have been able to get the slide out, it couldn’t even switch. This also meant that there wasn’t enough power for the fridge to switch to propane. Fortunately, the fridge was full which means it will stay cold at temp for several hours.

The first day of travel was the longest day, but not terribly long. We have a campground that we really love (even though it’s in Oklahoma!) mostly because we really enjoy the owners. And we always get the same spot across from the pool, which makes it easy for the kids to go swimming while we stay inside and stay cool. 😆

Thursday morning, we decided we should probably get a battery. We were kind of kicking ourselves for not stopping along the way the day before, but we were sure we could find something along the way. Which is, of course, what we did. We found another Walmart , but never quite made it there. This was because there was a Tractor Supply literally across the street. And, you all know by now that my absolute *favorite* store is Tractor Supply- even if it’s not in the middle of Chick Days. 😀

30 minutes later, we were back on the road with a new, functioning battery. Yay! (It could have been worse- we could have had to make numerous stops to find the right battery, thereby causing us to pull into camp later)

We have never stayed in that part of Oklahoma. We thought about it once, only to find that the KOA was basically in the parking lot of a casino/race track combo, that at the time, was a huge mud pit. It was also loaded with traffic for the casino and race track, and we decided it was not someplace we want to stay. I guess if you want to go to the casino and racetrack, it would be ok, especially if you didn’t have kids. We LOVE KOAs overall, but this one is not our cup of tea.

Sunday and Monday I had spent scoping things out. We have our set places, and typically use KOAs for overnighting along the way; not usually as destination parks (unless it’s a good one that we know) for lengthy vacations. One of the reasons we hadn’t gone and spent time with them there once they moved was because of the lack of campgrounds in that area. This time, though, I was determined to find something.

My standard first place to check is Woodalls. I have used this site for years and years and I’m on the forums. Thankfully, I found a campground that had a pool. If you have never been to Oklahoma in the middle of summer during a heat wave, let me summarize it thusly: God made Oklahoma as a preview of what Hell is like. It’s His way of giving people a chance to get a taste; thereby giving them time to repent and be saved. The end.

😆

It was so hot, that if we had gotten there any later in the day (this was our short day, so we were there by around 2 pm) we wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night because the air conditioner wouldn’t have brought the inside down to decent sleeping temps (see the above “it could have been worse” point). It was so hot there, that when we went and got ice cream (which partially melted on the way home), even after 3 days in the freezer, the ice cream still hadn’t re-frozen solid.

When we got parked and got camp set up, Hunny noticed that one of the tires had gone completely bald on the inside of the tire.  (It could have been worse- it could have blown apart while we were in the midst of construction in the middle of nowhere)  We attribute this solely to the absolute terrible roads in the state. Parts of it were like going down a washboard- remember those gravel roads that make your teeth rattle? Ya, like that, except now add some pot-holes.

We would have to change it out. Fortunately, we found a mobile unit on Friday (after the service). And, it didn’t cost an arm, a leg, or first-born child. It could have been worse.

Because we stayed a day longer than we had anticipated, this meant we had to move to another site. Honestly, this begs the question: if you have to pack up and hitch to move, are you better off to not just go? At the actual moment I was walking back to the office to see if the only remaining site we could fit into was available, the cousins pulled in. That basically made the decision for us. So we packed up, hitched up, and moved a few sites down.

This got us into the shade, but gave no grass for little dog. The awning rolled up just fine, but in trying to extract it, one of the springs went out. It could have been worse. It could have been a deal where the whole awning and mechanics would have had to be replaced, or wouldn’t have functioned in any capacity at all.

After the tire debacle was resolved, we needed to do some food shopping. A few hours later, I went to call the teenager at home (you know, to make sure he was alive and hadn’t run out of food) only to discover my phone was gone. This could only mean one thing: it got left somewhere on the Walmart food trip. *sigh* (I had given it to my daughter to hold while I got my wallet out)

And, it was going right to voice mail. I was not optimistic. Back to the store we went, and by the grace of God, it was in the lost and found and no one had made any calls or done anything else with it. Wow. I was sure it was gone! It could have been worse.

Our way back home got us to the same campground we really like. Later in the evening, my daughter realized her IPod was missing. *sigh* (Remember- we’re up to 2, and this makes 1 for her, although at the time, we were thinking this completed the 3) The next morning, she went back to the office and indeed, it had been saved. Yay! (She was really sweating it, too, because she paid for the thing with her own money. She is the only one in the family who has an actual IPod, and she loves it.)

On the road we went the next morning, to make the long leg of our journey home. When we were around Amarillo, Hunny let me know one of the other tires was feeling hot. Ugh oh. We were hopeful it would make the 200 miles home.

You know what’s coming next, right? Ya. We didn’t make it. We got just outside of Hereford when the car on our right let us know something was amiss. Seriously? How did we miss it? It was really windy (as usual for this part of the country) and the roads weren’t great, but not as bad as they were in Oklahoma.

We pulled over to the side of the road and saw our poor, shredded tire. Well, not really. We saw the rim with some rubber pieces. The firewall was still intact. Hunny had seen a few tire pieces in his side mirror and was going to pull over once we totally cleared the city.

So here we were, on the side of the road, outside of a town, with a totally blown tire. We were outside a veterinary supply store, so I was planning on heading in to see if we could see their phone book. Lo and behold, a FedEx truck pulls up to turn back on the road, and comes to help- with his phone book. 😀  😆 We got the number of a tire place, and off he went.

Hunny called the tire place, which had tires, but no mobile unit- but, they had the number of a place that did. 30 minutes, y’all. They said they’d be there with 2 new tires in 30 minutes. And it was getting cloudy, which meant we weren’t baking in the Texas heat. The tires also cost about the same as we had priced earlier at Walmart, of all places.

It TOTALLY could have been worse!

We didn’t get gouged on either price; not the cost of the tires, nor the cost of the mobile service, which actually cost less for them to come to us on the side of the road than we were charged to change out a tire in a campground. And we thought the price in Ok was reasonable for mobile service!

No one was hurt behind us; we weren’t hurt;  the underside of our rig wasn’t shredded; it didn’t happen in a construction zone with heavy traffic; it didn’t happen in the middle of nowhere where we didn’t have a cell signal (that came about 40 miles later); the tire place HAD RV tires AND a mobile unit, AND the heat wasn’t oppressive.

That, my friends, is God in action. 😀

I say this in all sincerity. Hereford had a 2010 population of 15, 370 people. When we got home (to our town of about 50,000), we called around to several different places, and had to end up ORDERING tires that took 2 days to get here. While I admit that where we were just past Hereford is 50 miles from Amarillo, the odds that they actually had our tires when our own home town did not- well, that, imo, is more than dumb luck, especially considering that tire blowouts aren’t generally considered ‘lucky.’

And now that I’m counting, I can relax. That’s 6 for the trip (because everything goes in 3s):

  1. battery
  2. bald tire
  3. awning spring
  4. my phone
  5. Ipod
  6. blown tire

We knew that the trip wasn’t a vacation and certainly wasn’t a pleasure cruise by any means. But, it could have been worse, and this trip will forever remembered as such.

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Seriously. I have not laughed this hard in a really long time.

I’ll write about our recent journey later, but let me begin by saying that at some point, some stations really ought to think about playing more than just the same 10 songs over and over. Thank goodness for the weekend top whatever countdown, because it gave us more than those same 10.

One of the reasons we stayed with Sirius satellite radio in the truck is because when we travel, we hate hitting the dead zones where there is nothing to listen to, and/or you have two choices. We’ve also gotten lazy in our old age, because no longer is there a thrill in putting together a gazillion mp3 discs. And there really is no fun in plugging in the Ipod, either.

So Sirius (XM) it has been for the last several years. This trip, however, kind of burnt us out on new pop music channels because of the lack of variety. On the way home, we turned it to Hair Nation (channel 39, for those that don’t already know this), which for all practical purposes, is an awesome family channel for us. It’s the complete intergenerational sing-a-long station for our family!

One song we didn’t get tired of on the other channel though, is Somebody That I Used to Know (Goyte). Freaky video though, eh?

I love to see a variety of spins on a song. You’ve been warned, so now is the time to click away. Unless you are a Star Wars fan- and then you’ll want to see the first one at least. 😆

What Happened to the Star Wars That I Used to Know?

[youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qJlbPXZEpRE]

I confess to also having really liked the Glee version, too……….

[youtube.com/watch?v=0cay2dnuhcs]

Heh, of course, there’s nothing quite like the Gotye original………

[youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY]

And there you have it. A nice little education into one of my current favorite songs. 😀 If there are versions you think I should check out, leave me a comment with a link!

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Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock. I mean, I knew that Elvis probably had left the building, despite ‘sightings’ of him lo these many years past.

But Paul McCartney?  !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Say it isn’t so!

Obviously, my rock got marginally displaced, as I stumbled across this nugget of information this morning. And I am reeling.

It appears that there is a great body of evidence to sift through, so this is where I’m going to ask for your help.

My first inkling this morning came from a comment made about the movie massacre dude whose mug shot looks completely different from all other previous pictures of him. {gasp!} Someone made a comment about Sir Paul being dead, and gave a link.

And you all know what happens when I see a link………….  😆 Down the rabbit hole I went! (ok, to be honest, I’m still kinda in it- but I digress)

Then, I hopped over here. Hum. Some of the links there leave me scratching my head, because there is no text to explain anything. The “Undeniable Forensic Dissertation” was intriguing.

Back on the other site, there are numerous clips of the music played backwards, to reveal the messages in them. This reverse speech stuff is, um, quite interesting.

The things that make my brains rattle around intrigue me are the physical ones- the facial structure; the height difference (I’d be inclined to believe original measurements of Madame Tussaud’s, and I’m not sure how someone would grow a few inches at that age); the ears (which look different to me earlier than they do later with supposed early Faul; although not as much with later supposed Faul, I assume, due in large part to the advances in plastic surgery), and honestly, Paul looks to have aged considerably to me in a very short amount of time, in addition to seriously losing weight in the face, getting a newly shaped head and growing a few inches in those few months.

Plastic surgery can do a lot these days, but back in the mid 60’s? Hmmmmmm……….

Some have wanted to do vocal comparisons, and I’m here to say, I’m not sure there is a conclusive way to rule in or out, just because there are so many good copiers out there. (If you think I’m joking, take a listen to Arnel Pineda, the new lead singer for Journey– ya, *I* can tell the difference, because I’ve listened to both him and Steve Perry extensively, but if you listen to his old cover band, it’s pretty good- and even more so on some tracks with the actual band)

Now, one could perhaps do handwriting analysis, but I’ve heard that Paul stopped doing autographs years ago. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? 😀

Despite the “is he or isn’t he” bit, either way, one has to agree that the person the public knows at present as Paul McCartney, has had one heck of a career, all things being equal.

Here’s a quick picture trip: http://www.whale.to/b/mccartney_h.html– OOOO- and this one has a picture of lefty Paul playing right-handed. Fwtw. 😆

Ok- so here’s your mission for the week:  Someone with a lot of time (read= not me) download this from the Paul-is-Dead.com website and let me know what you think. It’s only 64 minutes, but could well change your life. Or not. 😆

Leave me a comment with your two cents after doing your research!  😀

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Smoke jumper Reyne Oldre has demons to battle. She’s still haunted by the Oxbow fire that turned deadly for her crew. HER crew. She was in charge, and she feels she failed them. As the crew boss of the Lolo Hotshots, it was her responsibility to keep her crew safe. But dragons have minds of their own, and sometimes they change them- with deadly consequences.

Since that fire two years ago, Rayne has been haunted by it. Two teams and four dead kids sent Rayne from groundpounding to fire science. She was hoping to make a difference- a real difference; but she needed the grant money.

If crew bosses could have hand-held computers, they could read real-time humidity, wind speed, temperature, and even fuel moisture levels. It would let crew bosses have the critical information in the field, instead of waiting for the information to be relayed to them. Rayne knew that those precious minutes and seconds would save lives.

Logan McCabe has other ideas for the coveted grant. He’s seen too many smoke jumpers get stranded in trees and battered as they tried to detangle their chutes. Not only did they get injured from getting caught, but that usually meant a medevac out and a lost team member fighting on the ground.

He’d seen too many good jumpers get tangled in trees, injured, and then sent to the sidelines to recover from their injuries, taking out needed presence and experience on the ground. There had to be a better way to extract them from these situations without injury. He was certain his portable zip line would do the trick.

As it turns out, it’s going to take both of them working together on the project that gets the grant.

Can they work together without killing each other? And, as their relationship develops, can Rayne slay the dragon in her dreams once and for all, that will allow her to take the chance on falling in love with another smoke jumper?

This is the final book (book 6) in the Full Circle Series. I haven’t read any of the other books, but you don’t need to in order to thoroughly enjoy this one. Some characters from the first book (Refuge) make a return appearance, and I would enjoy reading the earlier book although again, it’s not necessary. One thing I really did like, too, was the addition of the novella at the end of this book, Sandcastles, which wraps up the secondary story all up very nicely with a bow.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars, and Lisa Tawn Bergren goes on my absolute favorite author list. You can check out her website here: http://lisatawnbergren.com/books/. I know I’ll be going and digging around to find her other titles.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

On a related note: perhaps this one hit me closer to home, given our brutal fire season this year. If you’ve been reading along, you might remember that we’ve been on fire nearby this year, and there has been A LOT of devastation. The Little Bear fire was crippling for so many. You can see pictures of Bonita Park here.

When we moved to Colorado from Michigan, wild fires and smoke jumpers were not something I was really familiar with. We had only been there a short time when the South Canyon Fire took place. In the end, 13 lost their lives, including 3 smoke jumpers.

In addition to the cowboys we see in Wal-Mart (often with spurs), come spring and summer, it is not unusual to see a large number of fire crews from all over the country converging on town. If you don’t know anything about these folks, the acknowledgements in the beginning of Firestorm give some excellent resources. It’s definitely worth your time to check these out, too.

Please click and rank my review!

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Packing, packing, packing. I should be packing.

Stress. *sigh*

Crap.

I should be packing. I should be cleaning. I should be packing.

Why not? Because I’m too stressed out.

That’s why not.

There’s a finite amount of time, and a mountain load of stuff to deal with.

Crap.

I don’t even know where to start! Every time I think I’ve made a dent, it’s like it’s just found somewhere else.

I climb over once, just to slide down the other side. When I look up, there’s another mountain waiting for me.

I thought I had some inroads made; I really did.

The one main artery that bisected the space collapsed.

Now that part’s cut off completely.

Crap.

I hope there wasn’t anything there when it happend. I’ll probably never know.

I honestly didn’t think it would stick. They threatened me repeatedly, but I figured nothing would ever happen.

Until it finally did.

And now they tell me I have to move.

The world is ending in three days.

Crap.

I’m running in circles. If I had a tail, I’d be chasing it.

I can’t do it! I can’t!

I don’t know where to start. There’s no end in sight.

I wanted to ask for help, but I’m too proud. And now look where it’s gotten me.

Crap.

A lifetime to sift through. 3 days.

I can’t do it. I can’t.

Crap.

That’s all they see, I know.

That’s what they think, I know.

They try not to show their disgust, I know.

BUT. I. KNOW.

Crap.

My world is ending in 3 days. I have to move.

I am paralyzed; overwhelmed; defeated.

Because of it. That stuff.

Crap.

Maybe more will collapse and bury me beneath; cocooned in memories.

That’s it!

I can’t do it. I can’t leave. I won’t leave.

They won’t find me, and it won’t matter.

I see my goal. I hope it shifts. Here it comes; as if on cue.

Ahhhh. I’m safe.

But I can’t breathe-

CRAP!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The prompt for Trifextra’s week 23 is “the world will end in three days.”

Leave me a comment to let me know what you think I’m talking about! 😆

PS- edtited to share that this is fiction. I, personally, am not packing. 😀 But I am pretty sure that if I only had three days to pack and move, I might well be feeling all this. 😆

 

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There are few things in life that push my buttons and give me warm fuzzy sighs. Chickens, of course, are some of those things.

You may have noticed by now that we’re don’t think much of having unique pets. Lorenzo, our wild bird, is still hanging around outside, although we are doing our best to teach him to hunt for bugs and things.

Ok, I confess, we brought him into the gargage yesterday afternoon when we were barbequing because that’s where his food is, and we wanted to grill without cooking him and he wouldn’t stop landing on people and wouldn’t leave the grill alone.

So. It was for his own safety that we tucked him inside for a while. I’m pretty sure he slept the whole time.

I can’t remember if I referenced it last year or not, but The Bloggess got her husband Beyonce for their 15th anniversary. It, then, should also come as no surprise that I’ve spent the last year keeping my eye out for a local version of Beyonce that can join our girls in the backyard, because I’m nice to them like that. Alas, I haven’t found the right one yet.

I did, however, find a nice, large windmill that I’m still working on Hunny to let me bring home. I need his truck, though, because it won’t fit in mine. So far, he’s not sharing. I suppose I could steal borrow it when he’s sleeping sometime, but that might not work too well since he’s the early bird in our family. Humph.

But I digress.

I was wondering what kind of awesomeness The Bloggess was going to get her husband this year. I was pretty sure that nothing could top Beyonce. I may be wrong. You be the judge.

As you can imagine, I’ve been giggling about this all morning. When Hunny came home for lunch, I couldn’t help but share the news.

He chuckled and said, “I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to come home and find a sloth in the house.”  😆

He also thought the wallaby was cool, too, you know, since we’re enjoying our bantams so much. Miniature critters are awesome!

I’m pretty sure we’re not allowed to have them in the city, which just gives me yet another reason to really try to get my house sold so I can move out to the country. ♥♥♥

P.S. No, you can’t have Hunny, any of you. I know you’re dying to get your hands on a man who wouldn’t think twice about having creatures of all kinds as pets, but sorry girls, he’s taken.

I won’t leave you high and dry, though. To find your own creature-loving man, check out a newer dating site; Farmers Only.com

You’re welcome.   😆

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Book Description

Sophia has her life all planned out—but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory. 

Sophia Makinoff is certain that 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.

With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.

It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When U.S. policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.

My Review

I really liked this book. I confess I finished it at least a week ago, and am still thinking about it.

As you know, I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and this one is based loosely on the Ponca Indian tribe. Near the end of the book, there’s a speech by Standing Bear, which is one of the only sources of documentation of the tribe’s removal by a member of the Ponca tribe.  I also especially appreciate how the ‘substantial paper trail’ left by government employees was woven into the storyline.

The reality of the conditions these folks endured is humbling. It’s also a needed reminder of the treatment of the US government during this particularly dark time in our country’s history.

Character development was sound, and knowing the storyline was based on some factual evidence really makes this one that leaves you thinking long after you’ve put the book down. I am always so intrigued when the author gives background information. I love that this author gives additional sources to check out.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars, and will definitely make a point to seek out other titles by this author.

To see all of my BookSneeze reviews, click on the badge on the right hand side of the page.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com http://BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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