Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fun! Not :-/

So it turns out it really is all in my back and not just on my head. Hopefully once the chiropractor is finished with me in a couple of months I can get back (NPI) to working out. Until then yoga (gag) and the zone.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Year in Review

Because I know you are all waiting in breathless anticipation, and because all the news programs do it so why not me, I am going to do a year in review for our family.  We took several trips this past year that were just amazing.  We hit milestones and had some firsts.   Some things were awesome and some we would rather not remember, but it should be fun to look back and see where we have been so that we can plan on where we want to go from here!  It will be kind of like that Christmas letter you get from Aunt Edna that you know she sent to everyone because she couldn't bother to write a short, yet personal note.  Breathless, aren't you!

On a side note, just used spell check and it found no mistakes!  (That can go on the "Firsts" list.)  Too bad it doesn't check punctuation.  I'm sure that is a different story.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Think I May Have Figured It Out!

What  have I figured out?  To start it off, my back is once again giving me troubles.  With this occurrence I had decided that it was probably due to the fact that I had been reading a book about getting better at running.  I have been wanting to run a half marathon for 3 years now.  Every time I get serious about it, i start having back troubles.  I seem to always start getting serious about it in December.  I figure that gives me almost 5 months to prepare for OKC's memorial marathon.  Maybe God is trying to tell me it ain't gonna happen?  I'm not sure about that, so there has to be another explanation.  Mental, no.  Well, I can be mental, but I don't think that is it either.  Remembering that I had blogged about it, I looked back at my two blogs to see what was going on in my life around that time.  It's the oak trees.  Huh?  Well, to be more precise, it is all the leaves that they drop and that need to be raked.  Twisting and bending has always been harder on my back than lifting.  I grew up with a dad that endured 3 back surgeries and proper lifting techniques were always emphasised in our house.  Now picking up a sock is much more likely to get me than picking up a loaded barbell. 

So, what can I do about it?  I'm not sure.  So I am experimenting.  (I do think I will give up leaf raking.)  I've had a few massages these past two weeks.  I went and bought a beginners yoga video.  Just watching it made me hurt.  And yes, I just watched it.  After that, I did one of the poses just to see how bad I have gotten.  (I don't think I have ever been so inflexible.)  I am hanging upside down on an Orthopod.  It is like an inversion table but you are only hanging upside down from your waist. Sitting makes my back hurt, but I get tired of standing all the time.

I may have to stop basketball for the next month, but we are also going snowboarding in a month.  I think I would rather break my wrist again than spend time on the laundry room floor again!  Maybe not.  I won't be testing that theory either way I hope.  So far, being 40 has sucked,except for not having to pay for my lift tickets.  Hopefully 41 is going to be better!  Still aiming for a half marathon!!

USS Oklahoma Anchor

To pay our repsects to those who died at Pearl Harbor, yesterday Elijah and I went to the small memorial in OKC.  It is one of the three anchors that was on the USS Oklahoma.  There is a small historic marker that tells about the battleship and her eventual fate.  She did not stay resting in Pearl Harbor, but was sold for scrap in 1943, minus her anchors and guns.  The marker tells the whole story, but she now rests on the ocean floor between Hawaii and California.

Best Waffle Ever!

I got a great new waffle maker and it makes all the difference!

Cottage Cheese Waffles (Pancakes)

1 egg
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 teaspoon each oil and vanilla
3 tbsp whole wheat flour

Blend in a mini blender and cook as usual for waffles or pancakes. Serves 1.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor-70 Years Later

As President Roosevelt stated so many years ago, December 7, 1941, has indeed become a date that lives in infamy. Just two weeks ago, Jeff and I took a trip to Hawaii. As part of that trip, we made it a point to tour Pearl Harbor.

Our first stop was the ticket booth. While it costs nothing to tour the Arizona Memorial you do need a ticket. They are first-come, first-served and they go fast. Our tour wasn't scheduled for another hour so we bought our tickets for the rest of the site and went on to tour the USS Bowfin. This submarine was launched exactly 69 years ago today. Because of her launch date she was nicknamed the Pearl Harbor Avenger and avenge she did.  It was a fascinating tour. While the quarters were indeed cramped, it was larger inside than I expected. That of course comes from one of about five people that were moving through at the time. With 88 men on board (only 66 beds, some over the torpedoes) I'm sure it didn't feel nearly as spacious. It also did not have the benefit of A/C, very limited shower usage, and long weeks under the ocean. Because of this, those who signed on for submarine duty were given better food rations.

The Pearl Harbor Avenger
How would you like to sleep above the torpedo?
The other sleeping quarters.
After we finished at the Bowfin we went to our USS Arizona tour. As we were waiting to start the tour, the park ranger told our group that one of the survivors was there that day and that he was available to talk. That got us really excited. Then it was time to watch the movie. Before you are taken by boat to the memorial you watch a 23- minute film on what happened at Pearl Harbor and why. While a little PC, (there are a lot of Japanese tourists that come through) it does a very good job of explaining all that leads up to the tragic day. Survivors are interviewed and it is full of footage from the day. We made our way to the boat that would take us to the memorial. The Pearl Harbor Historic sites are not only national monuments, they are US military sites on a working military base. The boat ride is conducted by US Naval crewmen. Once at the memorial I was a little surprised by how moved I was to be there. We had been at Pearl Harbor for a couple of hours by this time and had already seen so much about the attack that I wasn't expecting it. Seeing the oil that still leaks from the wreckage, different parts of the ship that are still visible, the markers that show where the other battleships were docked at the time, it was all moving. Then you go into a back room and see all of the names. These young men, so many of them only about as old as my daughter, never had a chance. Then you notice two small benches. One of them also has names on it. These are names of the survivors who have since died and had their ashes placed with their fallen comrades. We were told that when a survivor dies and chooses to do this, his ashes are put in a special lead container and after the park closes for the day the family is taken to the memorial and then a full military service is conducted. Then Navy divers take the container and place it in a crack that was formed when the ship sank. Today there is one more survivor that will be laid to rest with his shipmates, 70 years later.  That brings the number of USS Arizona survivors to 19.

It is customary to leave a lei at the wall.

The Arizona was not the only ship to have sunk that day. One that did not sink but rolled over, taking 429 men with her was the USS Oklahoma. Until 2007, there was no memorial to these men. Now, just outside of where the USS Missouri is docked, in what was the spot the USS Oklahoma was docked on that day, is a memorial of 429 white marble pillars, each with the name and branch served in of the sailor or Marine that died. Among them were two medal of honor recipients.  In Oklahoma City you can go see the anchor of the great battleship.
USS Oklahoma Memorial

The USS Missouri memorial is just amazing to see. While to a couple of people from Oklahoma it was the biggest ship we'd ever seen, we were told that it paled in comparison to the USS Ronald Reagan that had been there fairly recently. This great battleship served all the way up to Desert Storm in the 1990's You can tour living quarters, officer's offices, a post office, the bridge, much of the ship is open to tourists. Perhaps the two most interesting things are being able to stand on the exact spot where the Japanese signed the articles of surrender, ending WW2 and seeing the Kamikaze Dent. Only one time did the Japanese attack it this way. The pilot clipped a reinforced area, exploding his plane and losing his life, but only a dent was suffered by Mighty Mo.  Sailors recovered his body and he was given a proper burial at sea.
 Kamikaze Dent

 Mighty Mo

 Powerful Display
 The end of the war
 Articles of Surrender of Japan and the United States

 Respect shown to the enemy
Words of wisdom from one of our great leaders
Allen (Al) Bodenlos. He was 21 year-old boy that day. He quickly became a man. He was the Bugle Master for the 804th New Drum and Bugle Corps. He recalled the USS Arizona blowing up and the USS Oklahoma rolling over. He was also the company courier and for the next two days, without sleep, he carried messages from the command posts to the airfields. He lives in San Diego and comes a couple of times a year to volunteer at the memorial. He is now 91 and only one of a handful of living survivors. They don't make men like this anymore

Such a privilege to meet this man.  And he was so funny too.  When his friends in San Diego ask him why he keeps going back to Pearl Harbor each year, his reply: "I'm looking for a hula momma!"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

OK Cityscape

Elijah loves going to this each year. Here are just a few pics.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


The last part of our feast trip took place on the Emerald Isle.  Flying in you could see, even through the cloud cover and rain, exactly why it is called that.  Although we stuck mainly to Dublin, we were able to go and see some of the countryside and learn about its rich history.  Right now I will just post the pictures because I am trying to get pictures from our latest trip organized.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Scotland-Our Heritage

Although I need to dig much deeper into our Scottish heritage, here are a few things I know: Jeff and I both have Stewarts in our line. His is a little more recent with his paternal grandmother being a Stewart (that's where we got Elijah Stewart). Mine goes back a few generations, and I also have Stuarts in my line. For a bit of history, Mary Queen of Scots was a Stewart but changed the spelling t Stuart because she preferred France to her native Scotland. She had married the Dauphin of France and since there is no "ew" in French she replaced it with "u", but they are the same family line.  She had a son, James VI of Scotland who became James I of England. He gave us the King Jame Bible. There is a little more delving to do, but maybe we have a little royal blood in us. i also had several ancestors who came from Edinburgh, so maybe we walked in their footsteps while we were there.

We had a great time, beginning with our train ride from London to Edinburgh.  We met a family who was going to Edinburgh on vacation.  They were really great.  We also sat with what had to be England's version of a redneck family.  I guess every culture has them!

Once we arrived in Edinburgh, we sought out a good pub.  We gound one that from the outside looked really good.  The downside, they weren't licensed for kids, and it did smell of beer and piss.  Blunt, but the only way to really describe it.  So we found a really nice pub just across from our hotel.  Haggis!  That is what Jeff had been looking forward to (really) for a week.  We ordered the appetizer size first.  I have to say, it was really good.  He went on to order the meal.  I had salmon and Elijah chose chicken.  The salmon was really good, but I would guess after haggis, that is a food the Scots are known to do well. 

The next morning we headed off to Edinburgh castle.  It is very imposing and you can see immediately why the site was chosen.  We really enjoyed our look around.  We saw Scotalnd's crown jewels and the Stone of Scone (Destiny or Lia Fail).  While not nearly as impressive in quantity or splendor, the crown jewels are actually older than England's.  Afterward we went to to theTartan Weaving Mill.  It is next to the castle on the Royal Mile.  We bought a couple of Stewart plaid scarves for Tabitha and me and the guys got neck ties.  I really wanted a kilt, but the one I wanted were too short in my size or tehy didn't have my size in the longer ones.  I also think I was teh blue Stewart.  I may order one in red and in blue.  Here is a picture of the looms set up. 

It was a great day.  I think we all enjoyed Scatland more than we did England, even though it was only for a day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Few More England Pics

I promise it is just a few. And Calais really is in the picture, you just have to look at a larger version.

London, Folkestone, and Dover

We had a great time in England!  We arrived before 6 a.m. in London so we had a bit of time to see the sights.  We had only two places that were musts. Two years ago we had seen most of what we had wanted to see on a lay over in London.  What we didn't see was the Tower nor did we ride a double decker bus.  We made sure this time to do both.  We knew we didn't want to be stuck on what has been called by some, the world's largest parking lot, the M25, so we knew we should be back to the Avis before 3 p.m.  We ate a quick bite at the airport and then hopped on the Tube.  I love the Tube!  It is so easy to navigate, if you don't let the map overwhelm you.

We got off at Piccadilly and walked around a bit. We went to Trafalgar Square since that was another place we missed the last time.  I forgot to put these pictures in the slide show so I'll just add them here.

We hopped back on the Tube and made our way to Westminster station.  Here is where you will see Big Ben, Parliament, and of course Westminster Abbey (which we have managed to miss both times in London, I guess we'll have to go back sometime).  Here we decided that we should ride the London Eye.  The giant Ferris wheel takes 30 minutes to complete a revolution, and you get great views of the city!  We thought we might have to stand in line for a while, but we got there right as it opened and were actually on the second pod to load.  I'm so glad we decided to add that to the day. 

From there we hopped on a bus.  When we were in London last time Elijah was crushed that we didn't have time to do this.  I think he was a little let down that it was an open air bus, but that was to come later.  We got off this bus after a few stops because we weren't quite sure where it was going.  Not a good thing to do in a large town.  We did know that it wasn't far from our destination.  We were also getting pretty hungry by this time.  We stopped in a little cafe and had a nice English breakfast; t brown toast, eggs, and smoked salmon.  Definitely not your southern breakfast from back home, but tasty just the same.  Then on to the Tower.  We came to London Bridge and walked along the Thames to Tower Bridge and crossed over.  We were starting to run out of time, so it was a good thing I had prebooked our tickets.  We walked around a bit and headed towards what I really wanted to see, the Crown Jewels.  WOW!!  I just wish that we could take pictures.  Here we had a bit of a surprise, in a city of over 7.5 million people and who knows how many tourists, we saw people we knew!  Dave and Shadise!  That was probably way too much Okie for the Tower to handle in one day, but I don't think it suffered too much.  We didn't get to stay as long as I would have liked (another reason to return sometime) but we wanted to be sure to get out of London before rush hour.  Back to the Tube,

Now here is where it got interesting.  We got our car, steering on the right of course.  Manual transmission to boot.  Now Jeff had driven this way in Tobago many times so that wasn't an issue.  What was an issue were signs telling you where to go right at where you were to turn.  No signs a block or two ahead of the turn, just at the turn.  Of course we were in the wrong lane every time.  It took over an hour to get out of Heathrow!

Wow, this is long and I haven't even gotten to Folkestone.  Okay short and sweet.  At Folkestone we had a bungalow that looked out over the channel.  We could see France from our living room.  Jeff and Elijah even dove into the Channel for a swim, a very short swim.  We spent a lot of time with friends.  We also made it to Dover castle a couple of times.  I highly recommend it and the wartime tunnels are a must.  I couldn't find all my pictures from Folkestone, so I will post them later. 

Next post: Scotland!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting There

The last few days have been filled with canning. There has not been a lot of time to blog about our great trip to the UK and Ireland, much less get pictures posted. Hopefully tomorrow. In the mean time here are a few pics from canning.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hiatus Over

Well, it's been awhile, and I have several things to post. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to get some pics up while I get some work done.

In the past couple of weeks I have picked over 50 pounds of peppers. They have been frozen, smoked, and turned into jelly and jam. More to be made tomorrow along with some bison stock. I don't really need more bison stock, but I do need the freezer space!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Down a Dirt Road

What you are seeing here is not a lack of cleaning.  It is a lack of rain combined with several other factors.  Factors such as: much cooler temperatures, open windows, and living on a dirt road.  When you combine these things you are basically just asking the dust to come in and make itself at home, especially in your windowsill.  Guess I will be dusting today, and it is everywhere.  I wiped my counters down in the kitchen yesterday (an everyday occurrence mind you) and there was a lovely dusting of red dirt on all of them.  That was just one day's worth.  My poor car looks like it hasn't been washed in several months.  That is a weekly occurrence.  I'm not sure why I bother, by the time I drive home, down the dirt road, from the car wash it already needs washing again.  Now as much as I would love it if the county would pave our roads, I would rather have the rain wash them out again!  GAG!

Well, off to dust!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Elk City Rodeo Of Champions-A Labor Day Tradition!

 Every Labor Day weekend Elk City has its annual Rodeo of Champions.  It had been years since I had gone to it and thought this year would be a great time to change that.  Elijah has decided that he is going to be a rancher when he grows up, so I thought he ought to see some things that a real working cowboy might have to do on his own ranch.  Tabitha had the weekend off from school and work so she went with us.  Her grandmother has really missed seeing her and was glad she was able to make it.
So, here we are before the rodeo. Elijah quite proudly told his dad that, "Mom actually got into a pair of Wranglers!" I like to think he was just surprised that I wore Wranglers, and not that I actually found a pair that fit. (Although they are the biggest Wranglers that I ever had the displeasure of wearing. I think the rodeo clown would have had to cinch them up.) Oh well, it was the first time in years that I had worn Wranglers and my ropers (cowboy boots) had long since disappeared, so I just got myself some new boots too! Now I am ready for any western event that might come my way. Hopefully in smaller jeans though.
Kathrine, Tabitha's BFF, went with us as well. Everyone had a great time! Below are some pictures of some of the events. Enjoy!

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