Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stick it in your...ear?

Growing up I spent many an hour of imaginative play being old. I was enamored with the things that old people did. It must have been because I was surrounded by nothing but old people. One of the things that always captured my attention for hours on end was my Granny's skin. It was paper thin and adorned with liver spots and "calcium bumps". The coolest thing was that I could pinch her skin and it would stay up for what seemed to me to be a minute. My skin would not "hold a pinch" and I just thought that was so cool.

Granny's house was a wonderland for me, Hostess fruit pies in the fridge (old people think that a refrigerator is a cryogenic chamber where nothing spoils--EVER!) and some of the coldest cool aid known to man. It also meant I spent 90% of my time outside. My Granny's yard seemed like it was 100 acres when it was maybe 1/8 of an acre if that. She had a cactus bed, which I fell in once--don't fall into cactus beds, and a potting table which housed the Venus fly trap, and she also had a fabulous garden, which I was not allowed near--sacred ground. Her Honeysuckle bush was enormous and filled the whole yard with it's sweet, succulent fragrance which I cannot help but think of my Granny every time I smell honeysuckle. I used to pluck the flowers off the bush and pull out the stamen then suck the nectar out of them. So good.

On many occasions I would go to my wonderland of play and set off on a journey to a distant land no where close to my reality. I would become a major player in Star Trek or my favorite an old person. This one hot afternoon I was an old man with need of a hearing device. My Grandpa wore a hearing aid that the old fashioned kind, you know the ones with the cord leading from the aid to the ear piece. It whistled all the time! I had noticed the new fangled in the ear devices which made me think of O'hura from Star did that huge thing stay in her ear? Anyway... I wanted to role play that and needed something for my new in the ear hearing aid. What to use?.....Ah-ha this stick will do. It was about the size of two tic-tac's. we coming out....I'll push it in more. There. That will do it.

Note: When trying to retrieve a stick that you stuck in your ear hoping to enhance your imaginative play of being an old not poke your finger in your ear at first as this will drive the stick further into the ear canal making it impossible for one to retrieve.

"Sis!!...Sis!" "What do you want?" "I have stick stuck in my ear." "What? A idiot how did you get that stick in there...Dad is going to kill you." "I want it out get it out." "We need to go tell Granny." "No! don't tell Granny, please don't tell Granny... she'll do something really painful." "Ok, let's go inside and I'll try to get it out...what were you doing with a stick in your ear?" "Well I was pretending to be-" "Never mind...I don't want to know...idiot." "What are you kids up to?" "Nothing Granny"

We were in the bathroom looking for some device to retrieve the stick and decided that tweezers might work. They worked alright..LODGING IT FURTHER INTO MY EAR! "GRANNY!" Granny's solution involved either peroxide or alcohol as either of these two liquids would reverse any medical malady one could possibly experience. "Wood floats, let's fill your ear with alcohol and it will float out." Even at six I was not too thrilled with the prospect of trying to float a piece of wood out of my ear by flushing it with alcohol. " way you aren't doing that. I"ll just wait for Dad." "He's going to kill are such a dork." Can't you just feel the love oozing from my sister's every pore?

Dad showed up...having just clocked out from an 8 hour work day on his feet. He was always dog tired and wanted nothing but his recliner and a news paper blanketing his face. "Dad...William has a stick stuck in his ear and we can't get it out." "A what? how'd he get stick in his ear?" By now I was crying and trying to wrap my brain around how I could go through life with this stick in my ear. "I was wanting to be old and I needed a hearing aid so I stuck it in my ear to have a hearing aid and I tried to get it out and it wouldn't come out so I poked it and it went in then SHE! jabbed it in further, 'I was trying to help you, you idiot' and Granny wanted to fill it with alcohol and it's hurting." I saw every ounce of my Dad's hopes in his son drain from his face. I hadn't used firecrackers to blow up anything, or set fire to something, I didn't torment girls with reptiles, or get in a fight, no I had a stick in my ear because I wanted a hearing aid because that's what old people do...wear hearing aids. Makes a father proud. "Let's go to the hospital...Lesa stay here with Granny." "come on boy."

The whole ride there was in silence. I spent it gazing out the passenger window...wondering how the medical profession would approach stick removal in a six year old. I hoped it didn't involve floating it out with alcohol. Our hospital, Sale Memorial, was an old limestone square building. The Doctors office portion of the campus was a long hallway which seemed to go on for ever. One side of the hallway was a waiting area with the other side being the offices. You sat outside your doctor's office in the waiting area and waited for their nurse to come out. Every doctor had their own nurse...all in a starched white dress with white hose white SAS shoes and a Nursing cap. The air smelled of sterile cleanliness, a crisp clean odorless smell almost as if you were breathing pure oxygen. It's one of the most unique smells.

Dr. Dabb's was our family doctor and about half way down the hall. His nurse, Gladys was one of the meanest people of the 20th Century--we did not like her. "Spoon...Bill Spoon...Spoon." "Here we are." "Mr. Spoon what seems to be the problem with Bill?" "He has a stick stuck in his ear." "What? a his'd that happen." "It's a long story." "The doctor will see you in a minute." Dr. Dabbs was a kind soft spoken gentleman. Very distinguished. He looked like Marcus Welby but walked like John Wayne. He was cool. He always had a grin on his face, a kind here to help grin that just didn't go away. "Hi Will, let's see if we can find that stick?" He grabbed the ear-looker (I now know it's called an otoscope) and poked it in. "Ouch! there it is." "Yep...there's a stick in your ear." Thank God all of those years you spent in medical school and all of that money led you to this conclusion! He opened his stainless steel drawer full of torture tools and pulled out the longest pair of tweezers I had ever seen. These tweezers could pull a chicken bone from the depths of a giraffe's throat. "Hold still now it." The bliss of sound coming into my ear was just wonderful. "There you go son, all better. Gladys is going to come in now and flush it out with some peroxide."

On the way out to the truck my Dad walked with me around his arm, drawing me into him which said to me, "it's ok if you get a stick in your ear...I still love you...a lot." I never heard that but knew that the actions were saying it. "Son?" "Yes Dad?" "Please don't ever stick anything in your ear again." "OK Dad, sorry." Granny was pleased that her "float it out" idea was reinforced by Gladys flushing my ear with peroxide. Yet again the two miracle liquids of modern medicine came through.

I did continue to play "old" but found devices that would fit only a little ways into my ear. After all, I had learned my lesson. The Fischer Price snap-lock beads had an awesome cylinder piece that worked great for O'hura or hearing aid play which ever I decided-they also made cool bombs. The beauty of it was you could stick it in your ear and have it stay all the while enjoying the bliss of being able to live out your imaginative play for hours and hours at a time.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hash it out

I have a recipe for Mexican hash, which I've had for quite some time. I can't quite remember where I got the recipe and don't really make it very often, but I do get cravings for it. I've taken the original recipe and made it my own by little tweaks here and there. It's a super simple, quick and easy recipe that the whole family loves. Enough said let's get started.

Here's what you will need:
One onion (about baseball size, you'll want to yield about 1 cup or so)
One pound of ground beef
Seasoned Salt ( I use Lawry's)
1 tablespoon Cumin (again I just use a cupful I use mostly McCormick spices)
Pepper ( I like to use fresh cracked pepper, but I'm not a snob about it)
1 tablespoon of Oregano (I just fill the lid and sprinkle it in, calling it good)

One can of Ro-Tel (this is a tomato and green chili blend, any brand will do)
One can of Pinto Beans (I use Ranch style, which is everywhere in my neck of the woods)
One can of Enchilada Sauce (I always grab Old Elpaso and haven't really ever tried anything else)
Doritos or Frito's
Condiments (this where you can do what ever you like some thoughts are below)

Onion 101:
I would venture to guess that I've watched close to 5,000 hours of cooking shows in my life, if not more. Public television was my friend for years: Frugal Gourmet, Jacques Pepin, Justin Wilson, Lydia's Kitchen, Martin Yan, Julia Child, Galloping Gourmet, all taught me great things and kept me great company. Then came the Food Network and...well it's the FOOD NETWORK!
Jeff Smith (Frugal Gourmet) taught me how to cut with a French knife and I'm eternally grateful to him, thanks Jeff. I picked up a trick to cutting onions that really works well if you are looking to get a diced onion, for frying and stuff like that, and don't want to dirty a food chopper. It's really easy. Here's all you do:
  • Cut the tips off both ends of the onion, then peel off the outer skin, you want a flat surface so the onion won't get all antsy and roll on you.
  • Using your sharpest knife make 5-6 cuts into the onion going 3/4 of the way down each time, you don't want to cut through the onion.
  • Next, turn the onion one half turn, so the cuts you have just make are now horizontal and not vertical. Do the same thing, 5-6 cuts 3/4 of the way down.
  • Turn the onion on it's side and slice straight down Usually about 5-6 slices is all you need, enjoy the waterfall of perfectly diced onion pieces.
  • When you get to the end of remaining 1/4 of the onion, just turn it to it's flattest side and chop finely.
  • This is step saves the most cutting and gives you great uniform results.

Ok, back to the hash.
In a large skillet:
  1. Place 1T. of olive oil or butter in your skillet and heat to medium. You want the oil to evenly coat the skillet, or the butter to melt. As the oil heats it will get more..."flowy."
  2. Add your onion and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until they are beginning to release their juices and turn clear.
  3. Add your ground beef. I buy the leanest meat I can and wish I had butchered a cow. We had some butchered beef (given to us as a Christmas gift) and I am forever ruined to any other meat. This is the point where you season the pan. If you wait until the meat is cooked the meat gets all reclusive and won't let anyone in to visit and spice up it's life. Fry your ground beef until it is no longer pink. Note: I use a potato masher to get the meat all nice and ground up, no huge chunks, just smooth Finley mashed meat.
  4. Add your cans of beans, ro-tel, and sauce, stir well. Now let this sit and cook for 30 minutes, stirring twice. I set my timer for 15 minutes, stir, set it again and let it go. This will give you time to get the rest of your duke together. And, the meat has time to let go of it's water and concentrate on being thick and delicious. This is what it will look like at the beginning of the 30 minute stewing.

  5. While the hash is stewing and getting all happy get your duke together.
  6. I like to use crushed Doritos (this recipe usually starts calling my name when we have a 1/2 bag of Doritos left and they are all already crushed to bits anyway!), you can use Frito's too. Lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, onion, olives, jalapeno, there is no limit to what you can do to this dress this up--it's your palate be creative.
  7. The hash will be thick and delicious when it's stewed for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  8. Build your hash: chips, meat, cheese, lettuce then whatever else you want.
This is really, really good. It might remind you of taco salad, but it tastes different to me.

I just had a though! Right now. You could take this hash and call it Mexican sloppy Jose (get it!). What a great left over use. Toasted buns, hash, lettuce and cheese...oh man I have to make this again and make sure I have enough for my new creation: Sloppy Jose's! I'm so excited.
Come back and let me know if you like this...don't let me know if you hate it as I'm super vulnerable and live close if not over the edge most of the waking hours of my life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy, happy birthday Chubber Chubber

Today is the day that Chubbers turns 2. It really is amazing that he's already 2 years old and talking up a storm (I would guess is vocabulary of audible and understandable words pushing 100, inaudible only Mom and Dad can understand let's say...1,000,000.) The good Lord has delivered all of our children to us in the most unexpected of ways and in the most unique ways, each in their own right. Today, being my Chubber's day here's his story as told from the foggy, emotional memory of his Dad.

Before we knew that Chubbers was created and that God had planned to bring him to our home, Kendra, Titus and I were at a crossroads. My current work at Heritage in Texas was moving down a bumpy road with many twists and turns in it. It seems that the Lord was telling me it was time to move on and to wrap my brain around the idea of relocating. The first of these opportunities came in the form of a job offer from one of a man I have admired for nearly 20 years as a great minister. I had often said, "If [he] offers me a job I'm going, no question." Well it happened. The call came and the offer was made and we were on our way to interview in San Antonio. The idea of living in San Antonio wasn't really appealing to me, no family in close proximity, cost of living was high, city was huge and spread out with a lot of diversity of cultures that I had never experienced. Other than the fact that this man was there and that this church was there, nothing was appealing to me.

The interview went very, very well and the offer was made for me to go to work with this church. I asked for 48 hours to pray and contemplate the decision. What a struggle...then a dream came to me. It was my first "real" dream in which I felt that the Lord was talking to me and spoke through that dream. In my dream I saw a white figure floating from side to side at the foot of my bed. This was a very strong looking, angelic figure with a face I could not make out. As this figure floated, glided from side to side I was just staring at it, like it was watching us sleep. Then the figure turned it's head and quickly zipped up into the darkness just as a huge Chinese dragon face screamed toward me. I bolted up out of bed and the first thought in my head was, "it is better to stay than to go." That's what kept playing over and over in my mind. Short of a talking donkey I saw that as a sign that I needed to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime. Very, very hard to do.

Forward two months. "This is Will." "Hey Will this is Tim...say are you and Kendra wanting to adopt again?" "Well...yes and no. We want another child but the cost is too high and we just can't afford it right now." "Well [our little girl]'s teacher at her school is pregnant and doesn't to keep the baby because she just can't afford to." "Wow, I'll talk to Kendra." That was how the conversation went that ultimately led to us meeting Chubber's birth mom. We met her and her aunt at Starbucks and came packing with our album's and a truck load of information. She was pregnant, didn't know exactly who the Dad was but had a good idea and didn't have a way to take care of herself, her baby, and this baby growing inside of her. As we talked, probably two hours or more, we began to feel more and more comfortable with her and agreed to adopt her baby if she decided to do that.
We contacted an adoption attorney in Dallas who told us exactly what to do and how much to save for the fees, and we started saving. I began to cook pies, cakes, and cookies for people and selling them. I also wrote a cookbook, "Brother, Now we're cooking." to help raise funds. Kendra and I worked every spare minute to save and scrimp enough money to pay for the fees.
Chubber's birth mom was about a month, close to two months along when we met. We were able to see the first sonogram of him, have that on tape. Along the way we would get updates, not a lot just every now and then. We finally got the call. "Mrs. Spoon? This is Rose...I have the date for the baby's birth. It's going to be a c-section."
The day of the birth was so different from Titus' birth, more calm. We were at the hospital by 8:00 a.m. and sat in the waiting room with her family and Kendra's family and my Mom both sides of the spectrum- anxious. Kendra was in the room with Rose and just wanted to comfort her and hold her hand and thank her for the courage that she had to release the life she was giving into our hands. I can not get in touch with the courage of these ladies. As Rose went to the OR we were sent to a room across from the hall of Rose and her family.
I'll never forget the sight of that baby being wheeled into the room. He had jet black hair...ivory skin and every thing was in place. So beautiful. Titus was thrilled to see his "broder" and wanted to leave right then and there to go home. Hospital rules kept us from staying over night with him, but we certainly camped out at that hospital. The adoption rules specify that you wait 72 hours before releasing papers. This gives the birth mother an opportunity to change her mind. The nursery at the hospital allowed Kendra to stay in a supply/break room which had a table set up with Chubbers the entire time. Guests could come visit one at a time, but always had to be with Kendra.
The hospital was so very nice to us and helped us over our anxiousness. On go home day, we were there at 10 am and began the process of waiting. That's the most excruciating thing to do, wait. We waited until 7PM to get the papers signed and begin the release process. I thought it would never end. Every second seemed like an hour and time was just in slow motion. But the time finally came and Kendra was wheeled out of the hospital holding our boy.
It wouldn't be but two months before the Lord said, "now it's time to go" and we made the move to Tulsa.
It's really an amazing thing to have children. Each experience is completely different in so many ways, but also exactly the same. We love each of our children so much, but differently at the same time. I've often been asked about how it feels having adopted children and a biological one and for us it doesn't matter. There is no difference in our love for them and the feeling of attachment and dedication is not different. We are attached and dedicated to our two boy, profoundly thankful and blessed to have them, as we are our little girl. Sure it's cool to see a nose, eye, or lips (she has her Mom's lips dead on) and know that you "made" that, but when we look at our boys we also know that the process we went through to get them was tough and emotional in and of themselves.
Chubbers is happy and keeps our house full of joy. He has a tremendously tender heart and has been blessed with the gift of compassion and service. I know that the Lord has plans for him that are great, and I am so excited that I will get to see him live those out. We love you so much Chubber Chubber!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I know I will forget to tell you the story of Babylou if I don't do it today. So here is a two, in a row post.

Babylou was the family pet of my Dad's brother. My dad is the middle child of my Grandparent's three children, Jim is the oldest, Dad, then my Auntie Ilene. Uncle Jim, his wife Edna, and their children: Lori, Pam, and Jay all lived in Milpitas, California. My Uncle Jim worked for Xerox there. They would come visit, usually every other summer and eventually moved to Oklahoma where they still live. My Uncle Jim's entire family was totally bizarre to me, they had so many strange and odd things about them, my sister and I would just marvel at how weird they were. We also marveled at how much Tiger, Julie (his sister) fought with them while they visited. Sis and I would just kind of stay back and watch the fireworks. I remember this one huge fight in the Grandparent's front yard over how much my cousin, Tiger, chewed his food. Lori and Pam were convinced everyone needed to chew their food 100 times before swallowing and they were just sure that Tiger was only chewing his food maybe 20 times. I know, I know, does it REALLY matter how much another person chews their food? That's just how they were though. There were other amazing quirks about them, but that's for another day (not tomorrow).

Babylou was the beloved pet of my bizarre Uncles family. She was a great dog, a beautiful German Shepherd that was smart as a whip. Babylou didn't think she was a dog because my Aunt and Uncle treated her better than their children. My Aunt Edna would immediately go int this goo-goo, ga-ga, baby talk every time she looked at Bab's. Coming from a family that kept their pets chained outside I always just starred at them in shock and disbelief. Bab's was expected to have full family privileges. If we were inside, so was she. If we ate, she ate. At Christmas we were all expected to have a Bab's present. In our family the Grandchildren all opened at once, first followed by the adults and then wrapped up by everyone watching Bab's. She would actually open the present, pick it up and take it to my Aunt Edna and then be told who to go lick in an expression of thanks.

At my uncle Jim's house, Bab's ruled the roost. She had her own couch which no one was to sit on, no one actually wanted to because it was coated in a thick layer of dog hair. When we ate, Bab's was right there perched by my Aunt Edna. Aunt Edna would take a bite of her food, then give Bab's a bite. Ice Cream cone: lick for you, lick for Bab--GROSS! I'm all for loving a pet but I will not share an ice cream cone with them no matter how much "they" say a dogs mouth is 10 times cleaner than a human. Anything that licks their own butt is not coming near my ice cream cone!

My cousin, Jay raised two cows on their land for FFA, Sora and Sugar, in high school for about two years they were "in the family." Any card we got from Aunt Edna was always signed: "Love, Uncle Jim, Aunt Edna, Pam, Lori, Jay, Babylou, Sora, and Sugar." Ever get a card from a cow? Lucky.

Babylou had to be put down because she had stomach cancer, and debilitating arthritis. My Uncle's family mourned her death for years. They were totally devastated. I have to admit that I miss Babylou, too. She can still get her own dad gum ice cream cone.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pet projects

Growing up my family weren't pet people. Any animal that unfortunately came our way always met a tragic fate. I love dogs and have always wanted to have a dog in the house..a dog that was my best friend and one that would just follow me around faithfully and loyally. I don't really want a dog that requires activity, just one that enjoys lazily strolling through life content to be by my side and not running to fetch something that I need to throw, or any duke like that. I went to the AKC website and did a "find your dog" survey. Their recommendations were in the terrier breed. Mildred says I can't have a cocker spaniel--just can't. The only problem is, lazily strolling dogs seem to have a real problem with drool. Bulldogs, basset hounds, st. Bernard's get the picture. I don't think I need to have that in my life. If there were a dog out there that would stroll through life with me-drool free then I'd be just fine.

Titus is about to be beside himself with wanting a dog. It's really in his soul, he just wants to be a pet owner. We have a fish, Rocky, that is a beta and one tough nut in my book. Rocky is fed at best occasionally and generally swims in milk. His water is so murky that it looks like milk. Fortunately for betas they love nasty water (I'm sure Rocky is the envy of all betas around the world). I did some research on betas once, just one of the many curious Google search journeys I took my brain on. Turns out Betas are Chinese, figures, fish that live in the shallow waters of rice fields. Betas have lungs for air and lungs for water--ever notice your beta coming up for air? They are very beautiful fish. Titus' first, Cobalt was a great fish too. He had a good character and disposition. We managed to feed him with more regularity than poor Rocky. Note: When you get a new another state...move from your home indefinitely...take your fish. Cobalt didn't last long not being fed. It was a horrible, unfortunate accident and I feel horrible about it. You know fish are really quiet and don't really draw much attention to themselves.

My first bout with betas came as a Christmas gift. My mother-in-law gave me a Christmas gift one year that was a large vase filled with water and a top the vase was a plant. The plants roots would drink the water and make a nice fixture for your bathroom or where ever (that's where ours lived) and they came with a beta. That was the ultra-cool part. Note: Betas that live in vases topped with plants do not survive or thrive on foraging for food in the root system--they require regular feedings..and they can get stuck in the roots and drown probably from being too weak from not eating. The second beta I owned lived in the same vase and had regular feedings.

My office beta, Oscar is a great fish totally feisty and just a hoot. No I don't talk to the voices in my head and no I'm not crazy--my fish is cool and a hoot. He will swim down and nudge a rock against the side of his bowl or splash to let me know he's hungry. He's been on my desk for two years and I'm attached. I've tried unsuccessfully to take his picture three times and have had no luck. Oscar is a brick red with rather large fins, quite stunning. His bowl has smooth black river rock. I bought the bowl and rocks in the floral section of Wal-Mart because I didn't want a traditional round "fish" bowl.

Kendra doesn't want a dog in the house...period. I don't want a dog that is sequestered outside, just don't think that's fair. I know that this poor dog will live out his life alone. Every now and then we talk about it and it always goes the same way. I've told Titus that we'll talk seriously about a dog when he can properly take care of his fish. "When is the last time you fed your fish Titus?"..."Dad, dad...I don't fink he's hungry...I just don't know." Point settled dog discussion tabled for another quarter.

When we lived in the pink house we had a beagle named Sam, one of our favorite dogs-ever. Sam was a great dog that we played with all the time because we pretty much lived outside. My sister's two Easter bunny's became a snack for Sam, it wasn't his finest hour. It's amazing how much two rabbits can poop, we were kind of glad they were gone. Sam probably felt our angst and just eliminated them for us. Sam was tragically hit by a car, witnessed by me, driven by a teenager that saw a three mile stretch of smooth highway never frequented by a cop and put the peddle to the medal. Poor Sam, we were all crushed.

Then came lady. She was a sheep dog, I think she was the original sheep dog God created in the garden because she was old..amazingly old. I don't really know how we came to have lady, she only lived with us maybe a year. Lady had pups...long after her pup bearing years. These pups were all born still and Dad and I buried them in the field behind our house. Lady kept digging them up and bringing them to the porch to care for them. It was horrible, sweet in a way, but really horrible. We finally had to take them away and bury them. Lady went to live with a cousin on a farm where she could roam free, she lived live five years after we had her. I think she died which would put her at 1400 in human years or something. She was old.

My all time favorite child hood dog was Amos. Amos was a jet black Cocker Spaniel with one white patch on his chest. Playful and happy, we had a great time. Amos came to live with us after we moved in to town, on Lincoln street. We always let him in the house when Mom and Dad were gone, some when they were home. He could stay until he peed on the carpet then he had to go outside, chained to his tree. I never liked having him chained. I just don't think a dog should be chained. Amos was dumb. Inbreeding I guess made him so. We sent him to a breeder to stud and after two weeks he was sent home. Turns out Sam couldn't figure out what to do...he knew he needed to do something...but just couldn't quite get it all together. Poor thing. When it came to my sister's leg...he knew just what to do. She would always launch him into the air with a kick, "Amos...stop it! Bad dog." When we went on vacation Robba took Amos in for two weeks and when we got home from vacation she said, "I just love this dog, can he stay with me?" I could not say not to my Robba. It worked out, he had a fence, no chain, and spent the days with her because she lived alone and didn't work. It was great. He loved Robba as much as I did. After Robba died, Amos ran away...forever.

Another day I'll tell you about Babylou, my Uncle Jim's family pet. That's a whole post for a whole other day.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The King

Today is the day the Elvis died. Just like I remember where I was when Ronald Regan was shot...the challenger exploded...Oklahoma City bombing...9/11...I remember distinctively where I was and what I was doing. That's the way it is with everyone, I think when something tragic happens that shocks our culture, stuns our sense of safety, or just simply murders innocence.

This summer day of 1977 I was 7 years old and spending the day with Tiger, Julie and my Auntie Ilene. She was a tremendous fan of Elvis, everyone was a fan of Elvis in my world. Even my bluegrass loving Dad, liked Elvis. He really crossed all genre's and appealed to everyone. Tiger and I had been playing outside under the huge Spruce tree which was our own little Narnia. We were dying of thirst and craving some of my Aunt's sweet tea. We went into the house to get some tea, there is no sweet tea better than Auntie Ilene's. As the aluminum screened door slammed shut we hear a wailing from my Aunt's bedroom. That's when time stood still and everything kind of moved in corn syrup. Tiger and slowly looked at each other and decided to make our way to the back of the house to check out the noise.

It was kind of a struggle for us to decide who was going first since we were both chickens. It was ultimately decided that Tiger would lead the way since it was his Mom and his house. Of course we were walking like Siamese twins down the dark hallway. As we made it to the bedroom I couldn't see my Aunt, but I could certainly hear her crying like I've never heard her before. On the chenille bedspread were all of her Elvis albums spread out and she was sitting on the floor with her arms spread over the albums saying, "he's gone...he's gone." there was an instant when tiger and I thought that one of the albums was missing, but then, "he's dead...Elvis is dead."

That was the first time that I ever witnessed someone mourning the loss of a celebrity to the level and degree that they didn't even show toward their loved ones. By seven I had been to my fair share of funerals and never seen anything like this. I think she's over it now...maybe.

One of my friends Jamie, whom I work with, is a complete fan of Elvis and has brought Fran and I along the journey of the 30th anniversary of his death. She has helped me see just how significant he was in the shaping of the rock culture in which I grew up. I'm looking forward to chatting with Mildred about this, we love spending hours and hours talking about duke like this. My other friend, Darrel and I would have spent many, many lunch conversations on this topic and I would have loved it.

To all of the Elvis loving fan' heart goes out to you as you celebrate and yet even mourn his loss.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I have a song in my head

...the one from the Steve Miller band about time slipping. I feel that song in almost every day of my life. Time just seems to be in short supply to get all of the things done that need to be done. Usually, Fall is a time to settle down and take a respite from the crazy summer's that have defined my life in ministry, but that isn't the case in this wonderful new chapter of my life as it is lived out in Tulsa.

I don't make excuses, while I have plenty that would work, I just simply don't find that I have time to love this blog as I should. For me, if I don't really go both guns I don't go at all and so I'm contemplating this blogs grand finale being sometime this month, not sure though, but I feel it coming. I think it would help me not feel as much pressure that I'm not getting everything done because one more thing would be put off my list of things to do. I don't know that, but I do feel guilty that I don't post as much as I would like to. My lone commenter Tracy, who has been such a sweet friend, would have more time to go around to other places and not worry about this old rag.

You see I suffer from horrible self-esteem and tend to beat myself about with great ferocity. No one is more critical of me than myself, and I'm being very critical about this place that has really helped me feel great and express myself in ways that I didn't think I could. It's really been a lot of fun, and is fun, but would I miss it? Would "you", gentle reader, miss it? That's the question. If time is precious, wouldn't it be a favor to you if this wasn't one more thing to feel guilty about? Just wondering and pondering the fate of this space.

There is also part of me that wants to take my time to "do" something with this space. As of now it's been mostly just stories and random thoughts, but it could be more. What would I do? That's the question. I don't really get an opportunity to cook as much as I would like, so this can't be a cooking site, just wouldn't work.

So, let's see how things go and how I feel in a week or two. Who knows you may be reading, "Goodbye cruel world" my final post some time soon. Kind of like J.K. Rowling writing the beginnings of the final Harry Potter book years before writing the remainder of the series, I knew that my last post on this space would be just that, "Goodbye Cruel World." Just as my first post was, "Hello World Part 2" and only such because Levi trashed my first post, I've long since forgiven him for it.

Read up, dear friends, for tomorrow we may be gone.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I can see clearly now...

I often get tickled that I live and work on the same street, just 10 miles apart from Point A to Point B, one straight shot with a horrendous bad spot (my cell phone dies there all the time, when I rule the world...wait wrong post). Going home is often times very much the same old, same old because of the familiarity of this stretch. Several months ago and again on Friday I saw my favorite sign of all time. My intentions were to get a photograph of this sign today on my way in to work, but the sign had been removed. I love this sign, really love it! It is made of white poster board that has been cut down to about 9x11 with not one edge straight, but the obvious attempt by the cutter to make it so--love that too. Then there is the advertisement for a daycare in the home of the sign's creator. It reads: 3 Star Daycare then lists the phone number. Can I just tell you how much I love that! I love it for the honesty of it's advertisement. Here's why, the world knows that top-notch is 5-star:

  • if you want to go to a nice restaurant 5-star is the best.
  • Stay in a nice hotel the 5-star top-notch.
  • You buy vehicles which have a five-star crash test rating and turn away from the cars with less than five stars.
  • My Recipeezaar account has 5-stars as the top of the line. The Brunch casserole is by far the most popular of all my recipes.
  • Top of the line Generals are five-star.

So you see, it's pretty much a standard in the "star" rating system that five is the best. Knowing this, the creator of the sign has just decided, "we are 3-star" at best, on our best day when everything is working and running in absolute fate defying perfection we are 3-stars. Most days you can count on 1, maybe 2 stars. Don't you just love that kind of honesty? I wonder how many people who are looking for the "right" person to watch their children as they attempt to scratch out a living think, "There it is! I've been looking for that one person who feels they are mediocre at their very best. I must call that number because I want average to below average care for my child while I can't raise them myself." I just love it.

Some things go without saying that they are not going to be the best of the best, any buffet no matter what the price is NOT going to be good. I don't care how fancy the Country Club, the buffet is not going to be good and eating at a buffet will put your life at risk. One such famous buffet in our town has on their marquee, "Best steak in town." HA! Leather soaked in water is more tender than this hide! It's just ridiculous to have the audacity to make such a statement when it is clearly NOT the case. Maybe when I rule the world this sign maker will have a job assessing the accuracy of one's worth. "Oh, I'm sorry sir, but you are clearly horrible in your effort to create a mega-buffet with Grade-Z beef rejected from the dog food cannery, you'll have to change your sign to say, 'enter at your own risk." Justice!

Wouldn't it be great if we all could see our selves clearly enough to say, "at best I'm 3-stars." That is all you are going to get, don't expect more. When my favorite Barista raised their already outrageous, but so worth it, Non-fatnowhipwhitemochapleasestir slice of heaven I was a little peeved, then more peeved when the excuse was the rising cost of supplies. Just come out and say, "we want to make more money and so we are raising our prices to make more money." It's ok, those of us you have to have will still have to have it and will pay. Now about those destable pastries...

Gas companies don't make excuses (well they might try) they just post quarter profits in the billions and move on down the road! Why are gas prices so high? Because everyone needs gas who drives and they want to make more money. Just when does the billion become trillion? trillion? I think that's right. We'll soon find out if we watch the quarterly profit posting from the oil companies.

So, the next time you see an assertion that something is THE BEST, be very cautious and just say to yourself, "who would want 3-star child care?" Thank you 3-star, whomever you are for you have given me a glimmer of hope and extended my waining view of mediocre, but we think we aren't capitalism. Your ways are great oh mighty, mediocre--sorry, one.