Sunday, May 30, 2010

"And I'm proud to be an American..."

"...where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died,
Who gave that right to me..."

It is the
not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote..

It is the
who salutes the Flag,

It is the
who serves under the Flag,


To all who served, and all who gave their lives, and all who carry on,
protecting my life, my family, and my freedom,
a mere "Thank You" will never be enough.

Better said, "May God bless you forever".

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"May angels lead you home..."

Captain Phil Harris
April 28, 1956 – February 9, 2010

May you find calm seas and smooth sailing, Captain. You will be greatly missed.

F/V Cornelia Marie
F/V Northwestern

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"When witches were waltzing...."

Actually they would have been doing a jig or an Irish reel! *LOL* Happy Halloween everyone!! We spent tonight enjoying the Enid Symphony Orchestra. Sound odd, perhaps? Not really, since the program was "A Celtic Halloween" featuring Mithril! Yep, my favorite Celtic group arranged a Halloween program and our 'on-the-spot' maestro, Mr. Doug Newell, snapped up the chance for their first ever performance of the program!

The evening began with our own ESO performing Mussorgsky's "A Night On Bald Mountain" - they did a fantastic job with this piece. In my mind I coul see the animations from Disney's "Fantasia" as the music played! Next was the ESO performing Saint-Saens' "Danse Macabre, Poeme Symphonique, op. 40". A young local violinist, Sarah Youn, was the soloist for this piece. This young lady is amazing! She is a freshman at Enid High and, at her young age, has aleady been the Concert Master (the leader of the first violins of an orchestra and by custom usually the assistant to the conductor) for the Honor Orchestra at the Tri-State Music Festival for the past two years AND has been the Concert Master for the All Oklahoma Youth Orchestra. The math is right there - she was a lead violinist while attending the 7th grade! I can't wait to hear this young lady in a few years - I'll be very surprised if she hasn't garnered national attention by then.

And then Mithril began their program. Oh - I just can't say enough about this group, and I'm so very glad that Doug has had them back two years in a row. They began their program with the rollicking "Halloween Jig" and "Lilting Banshee". Next came a set of "The Ghost", "The Banshee's Wail Over the Mangle Pit", and "Banshee Reel". Next was "The Women's Lament for the Dead (Inishere)" - a beautiful, flowing song that made me see pictures of the hills and coasts of Ireland. Next was "Merrily Kiss the Quaker's Wife", "A Fig for a Kiss", and "The Choice Wife" - the guitar player was so intense on these that he broke a string clean off his guitar. *LOL* Then they took us to the Shire with songs from "The Lord of the Rings": "Concerning Hobbits", "In Dreams", and "Bilbo's Birthday". Then came their 'international' portion, as they called it: "The Celtic Silk Road", "The Camels' Hump", and "Purgatory Chasm" - these songs had a very Middle Eastern sound to them. And they closed with a set they called "The Devil's Box". Apparently, and I did not know this, the fiddle was known as the Devil's Box - way back when, everyone was expected to be sober and pious but whenever there was a fiddle playing, people danced and sang and were said to be ensnared by the "Devil's Box". This set was a jumble of pieces of tunes including "The Devil Went Down To Georgia", "The Devil in the Kitchen", "The Devil's Dream", and "Howling Wind". It was a rousing end to a wonderful concert.

Honestly, if you ever get a chance to see Mithril, or even just to listen to them - take it! They are four wonderfully talented musicians who LOVE Celtic music and it shows! Oh, and all of the pieces they performed tonight - every one of them was orchestrated by their flute player, Andra Bohnet. She has a way of making the accompanying orchestra a big part of the music, yet they never overshadow the performers of Mithril - the orchestrations are seamless!

It was a fabulous evening all the way 'round. Now don't be too scared of the ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night! *G* I just love Halloween!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


"...Oklahoooooooooooooooma......STATE!!!" *LOL*

I know, two posts in one day - wow. *L* But we went to see the OSU Cowboys whup up on the Grambling State Tigers yesterday! Supposedly Grambling has one of the premiere marching bands in the country so everyone suggested that this was the game to attend. We were trying to choose a game since Eric started at OSU this semester and plays trumpet in the Cowboy Marching Band. As it happens, Laura got offered free tickets by a policy holder so we got to go to this one. We went over in the morning and spent the day at OSU. I absolutely LOVE that campus - it's everything a traditional college campus should be. It always makes me wish I had gone there. I would still love to attend some classes there some day and be a Cowboy Alumni. *G*

The day started with a walk around the campus. I put some pictures in the albums here if you'd like to see them. We met up with Eric briefly at the Student Union, then he was off to play with the Pep Band at the stadium while we stayed at the SU to watch the Spirit Walk. Half of the band stays at the SU and plays for the crowd, then the drum line marches the football team and the Coaches to the stadium. Both Coach Gundy and T. Boone Pickens walked by as they made their way down to get ready for the game.

Then the band got back together and did their practice on the lawn outside the Student Union. They're really quite good. As for the opening of this post...well....usually when you hear the song "Oklahoma", they spell it out at the end....sing "Oklahoooooma!" and end it with a whoop. At OSU though, it ends as I wrote..."Oklahooooooma! STATE!" It's really pretty cool. And if orange bothers you...never go to Stillwater. *LOL* The town is very proud of its association with OSU and orange and black are everywhere!

The game was great - we smashed 'em but good! Every time there is a Cowboy first down the announcer says, "And that's enough for a COWBOY first and ten!" and everybody does the forward chop motion. Every time there is a Cowboy touch down: the ROTC fire a cannon then one does push-ups on top of a board held by the other ROTC members to equal the score, then the announcer yells, "And here cooooomes Bullet!!!", and Bullet the horse rides out to about the 40 yard line and circles back to the goal. He also has three guys running after him holding flags that spell out O S U. I think I included a picture of this.

During this time the dance squad is performing just beyond the far goal, the cheerleaders are cheering at the near goal, Pistol Pete is running around and firing his guns and the crowd is going wild. They play the school fight song and everybody does the OSU motions and cheers in the appropriate places. There was a little girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old, down the row from us and she knew every single motion and every single cheer - she never missed a step. And of course, she had her orange jersey and her orange hair ribbon, and OSU painted on her cheek. Very snazzy! *L* But the cutest all day were the three little stair steps - he was about 3 wearing an OSU football jersey, she was about 2 wearing an OSU cheerleader outfit, and the baby in the stroller was about 1 wearing a bright orange tutu that had an orange ribbon with black polka dots around the waist. *ROTFL* And of course, Mom and Dad had OSU t-shirts and Mom had orange and black beads around her neck. I'd say those kids don't stand a chance - there's three future Pokes there!

It's quite a spectacle and loads of fun! The new T. Boone Pickens Stadium is really nice and a great venue for a college game. We had beautiful weather all day and evening...oh...and did I mention that we KICKED THEIR BUTTS??????? *G* GO POKES!!!!!!!! I swear....I gotta go to that school before I kick the proverbial bucket! *L* Cowboys 4-Ever!!!!

"You can sell your paintings on the sidewalk..."

It's been a rough year, a tiring past six months, and a b*tch of a few weeks. It was decided that getting away was necessary, if not imperative! So we chose Eureka Springs and a three day weekend to accomplish this goal. I'm pleased to say the trip was a success. We came back less tired, more refreshed, and no longer snapping at innocent people who had the gall to speak to any of us. *L* Seriously, it was that bad - but it's better now.

Eureka Springs was somewhat different than I had imagined and it's a very unique place. Kind of like O.C. in that, once it was a grand and elegant place to go - now it's fun and kitschy, a little faded around the edges but still worthwhile as a destination. I've put some pictures in the album - go here if you'd like to see them.

Eureka Springs has become a community of artisans. You can find craftsmen (and craftswomen) working in just about any medium you could name - paint, beads, needlecraft, glass, metals, and others. There were wonderful little boutiques and a crazy touristy t-shirt shop. There were antiques and fine jewelry and handsewn clothes and, yes, an artist selling his paintings on the sidewalk in the park.

The restaurants in the historic area are also interesting - ranging from fine food to pub grub. Outside the historic area was your basic motel restaurants, BBQ places, and one McDonald's. *L*

The hotels go from your typical chains like Days Inn and Best Western to cabins in the woods that you can rent to little B&Bs. In the historic area downtown the hotels are also historic and tend towards the Victorian era in decoration. Yes Victoria, that means tiny beds and small rooms and LOTS of stairs. We stayed at a place that had slightly hard beds, an okay jacuzzi in each room (not as big as was advertised), and a really nasty pool - so we didn't get to swim. If we ever go again I think we'll opt for one of the chains - at least with them you have some idea of the quality you're getting and you have an option to complain if the pool isn't as advertised. *L*

The people of Eureka Springs are very friendly and they really don't make you feel like a tourist. You know how some artists get a major chip about staying true to their art even when they have to be a bit commercial to survive. These people have come to very graceful terms with it - they KNOW they are artists and in order to do the art their soul inspires them to, they have to make a living. They're very comfortable with this and I didn't see a one of them look down their noses on the creations they made to sell or on the people who bought them. Mind you though, some of the artists are...ahem...
extremely proud of their art. *L* Several things were way beyond my bank account.

Another tidbit that I did not know about the place - it is very "alternative lifestyle" friendly. There is a thriving gay community in Eureka Springs and, while they don't advertise this fact, they also don't hide it. I admit that I didn't pay much attention to the propensity of rainbow flags and such around but it made sense after I spent some time there. After we had come back I was talking about the trip at work and one of my friends mentioned it. She had gone with her partner and they met several other couples from the town. She said they both felt very comfortable there - more so than almost any place else they had gone together. I was glad to hear that - both she and her partner are very nice and I'm glad they found a place where they can relax and be themselves.

Some of the pictures you'll see are a recreation of the "Great Eureka Springs Bank Robbery". Apparently some desperados from Oklahoma (doesn't it figure) thought they'd grab some quick cash by driving over to a small town, robbing the bank, and heading back over the OK line to get lost. Well, apparently the bank had a silent alarm that sounded in the other businesses along Spring Street. They hit the alarm and the other business owners responded with guns ablazing! The outlaws were killed and the money was saved. They recreate this each year during the Classic Car celebration. We had no idea those would be going on the weekend we chose but they were pretty cool! *G*

We also made a visit to the Cosmic Cavern before heading for home. I haven't been to a cavern like this since many years ago at Luray. It was pretty cool - the cavern is still growing and they still haven't found the end of it. We took the regular tour but there is also a "Wild" tour that takes you into the undeveloped parts. You have to sign a waiver of course - and you have to wear a hard hat and be prepared to rappel and climb in and out of small spaces and be dressed a certain way to do that tour. Our guide said that at one point in the wild tour you have to climb straight up about two stories or so. Maybe not much for a climber but Toto-ly impossible for ME. *L* As it was I enjoyed the formations and the small lake with the blind cave trout. Oh, and when they discovered the last room on the developed tour it made the news and one of the cable channels, maybe National Geographic, did a special on it and the room they call the Crystal Cathedral. The last room they call the "Oh My God" room - since that's usually what people say when they see it. We had a little girl named Rachel on our tour and she did very well. We all got a bit of cave mud/slime on our hands and she got some on her legs. When we got back to the surface she and I shared some wet paper towels to get cleaned up. *L* Then her mom gave her a baby wipe and got the rest of the mud off. I have some pictures but haven't added them to the albums yet.

When we left to come home we drove down by Beaver Lake. Absolutely beautiful! Also have pictures of these but not posted yet.

And before leaving Ark. we stopped at Pea Ridge Military Park. Lots of history, every bit as moving as any of the battlefields I've visited on the East coast. Again, pics, but not yet posted. *L* I'm such a slacker. Probably the most moving thing there - they have an actual part of the Trail of Tears running through the park. It's amazing to look down at a worn down path and realize whose feet wore those grooves into the earth - and why. It gave me a very eerie feeling to stand in that path and wonder what they saw and what they felt - and to know that I'll never know. I can read about it. And I can take what other's have surmised and draw my own conclusions, but it'll never be exact. That should never stop us from learning from the past.

All in all it was a very nice, bohemian sort of vacation and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"That old wind had finally found it's way home..."

Patrick Swayze
1952 - 2009

May you rest in Peace.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"He isn't much in the eyes of the world..."

"He'll never make history
No, he isn't much in the eyes of the world
But he is the world to me."

Happy Father's Day Poppy!!!

I love you and I miss you - always!