Saturday, March 31, 2018

Pre-A to Z Thankfuls

Imma slipping a Ten Things of Thankful in here (early, for a change) before I start posting my A to Z Challenge posts, which begin tomorrow. In case you aren't familiar with the A to Z Challenge, for the month of April (excluding Sundays, except THIS Sunday, and I don't know why they chose to start it on Sunday except that it's the 1st but that makes for six days IN A ROW of posts and I'm kind of panicking a little, can you tell?!) you write one post a day and theme each post with the letter of the alphabet for that day. 

It is fun but HARD.

In the meantime, here goes the thankfuls:

1. I will be so thankful if you will follow along on my A to Z journey. My theme for the month is Pinterest Wins or Losses. I start out of the block pretty low key, but I've got some doozies planned.

2. Spring is being kind of snarky this year. It's been rainy. It's been cold. It's supposed to snow on Easter Sunday. But the flowers are popping out regardless and they are lovely.

A violet fighting its way up through the dead
grass and old gumballs.

3. My dad had to go to the ophthalmologist last week, had his eyes dilated, and couldn't drive until they UNdilated, so I made him run some errands with me rather than sit around the doctor's office. We got some items needed for my A to Z Challenge posts (it feels as though I spend several thousand dollars on the thing, although that could be a slight exaggeration), and I took him into Red Racks for his first visit to a thrift store. I think he will want to go back there, as we happened to hit it on Senior Citizen Discount Day AND he found this sign to hang up at the lake house:

He was pretty amused by this. It's
now hanging outside the front door.

4. I got tired of my hair and cut three inches off of the front and it's mostly even (or, as my mother would have said about it being uneven, "Can't tell it from a moving horse").

5. I don't shop for myself much, but I ran into Old Navy and came out with three t-shirts and two pairs of capris and only spent $50.

6. Emma got to join us at the lake house this weekend. She was going to stay at school and do homework but changed her mind and came home. (The Med School Student has a big exam on Monday, so he couldn't come.)

7. We haven't brought the cats with us to the lake house since Christmas, so they came this time, and right this minute, they are snuggling together in a chair and SOMEONE LOOK OUTSIDE TO SEE IF A LEAD BALLOON IS RISING.

Spooning kitties.

8. I have my first two A to Z posts written. Already! My usual MO is to write them and post them with mere minutes to spare before the daily deadline. A turning point perhaps?

9. After running an errand with my dad today (turn about is fair play), we ran across a couple of tom turkeys and their harem of about a dozen females. I did an abysmal job of getting a picture, but the fellas were all puffed up and pimpy and would have made a great photo if I had been quicker:

They unfluffed as they approached the road, but
they were certainly gentlemen about watching
their ladies cross the road safely.

Turkey butt.

10. This week marked the sixth anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy and free tram reconstruction surgery. Monthly self examinations are CRUCIAL, my friends! KNOW. YOUR. BODY. Annual mammograms are not sufficient. 

Now, go out and be thankful!

Linking up with Josie Two Shoes and Ten Things of Thankful 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Ten Busy Things Of Thankful, More Or Less

When last we met, I had been so very, very busy that I had to do two weeks worth of thankfuls in one post.

Sooo, this week will have to be THREE weeks worth, but I PROMISE it won't be three times as long. Nobody likes me enough to read all that.

I made the commitment to do the A to Z Challenge, so part of the reason I have been too busy to take the time to write is that I have been working on my challenge posts. Okay, the writing has only taken place inside my head, but it's still preparation! 

We're getting into the busy time of year for preschool. Or maybe I should say "busiest" instead, because we're ALWAYS busy. It starts in mid-March with Big Wheel Day, an event where we set up the gym with centers to resemble a town, and the kids bring tricycles and big wheels and ride them on the "streets" of the town and visit the centers. For example, we have a bank (you get play money and a sucker), a grocery store (play grocery carts and empty food containers, such as cereal boxes and milk cartons, all cleaned and taped closed), a beauty shop, a tattoo parlor (before someone says it, of COURSE they're temporary ones), and a McDonald's. The McDonald's is a HUGE hit, because the kids pick up a pretend Happy Meal there: a "hamburger" made with a vanilla wafer bun, an oreo "burger" made from a spring Oreo (the kind with the yellow filling - cheese, get it?) and some red frosting (you guessed it - ketchup) and shoe string potatoes for the french fries. These Happy Meals are so well loved that we all have to take one home to our own kids, most of whom are graduates of the preschool. Here's one of those kids now:

Med School Boy's last Big Wheel Day
was 18 years ago....

A reporter from one of our local tv stations came to tape a segment about Big Wheel Day for that evening's news, and I was standing there, MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS, when he asked who was doing the interview, and the director said, "SHE is," pointing to me. This is how I had dressed that day, and believe me, it's not what I would have chosen had I known I was going to be interviewed:

I didn't want to see myself babbling on tv while wearing pigtails and, ironically, a Razorback hat, so I avoided the news all day. That evening, however, I got a text from a preschool mom telling me how excited her son was to see me on tv at Big Wheel Day on the news that evening. Ahh, my heart!

Got some spring going on around here! Hyacinths and daffodils have been up for a couple of weeks. The Bradford pears are blooming, the trees are budding and a few have baby leaves making an appearance, the tulips have thrown up bulging buds, and the grass is greening by the day. 

Anyone know who Chris Long is? You do?! Cool! For those of you who don't, he is a defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles (you know, that team that won the Super Bowl this year); his dad is Howie Long, now a sports analyst for Fox Sports. I started following Chris Long on Twitter a few months ago because he's funny. The other day, he tweeted about Three Billboards in Ebbings, Missouri, and while I wouldn't ordinarily reply to a tweet from a celebrity, this one time, I did:


Rode that high for quite awhile.

This past week was Spring Break. Teachers LIVE for Spring Break, even part time preschool teachers (sometimes ESPECIALLY part time preschool teachers). My daughter and I road tripped to Nashville to spend part of the week with my best friend and her daughter. We ate entirely too much very good food and we talked and laughed more than you would think was possible. I wish Terri and I could tesser back and forth, because it's a hella long drive and we need to be able to spend more time together.

I have never been away from Nora Pearl that long before, and she was beside herself when I finally got home. 

The Med School Student came home for Spring Break as well (there's another thankful: all three of us, at three different schools in three different states, had spring break the EXACT SAME WEEK). The whole family took a quick trip to Kansas City to visit my brother and his wife. We visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum and saw the visiting Picasso exhibit and ate my favorite Kansas City pizza (and probably favorite pizza of all time). 

Saturday, my husband and I attended the March For Our Lives in Kansas City. It was FREAKING COLD, with 6,000+ in attendance, but what an uplifting, promising event! Two of my childhood friends were also in attendance, and thanks to the miracle called the interweb and me being next to the biggest tree in the entire park, we managed to find each other.

Dana (friends since we were 11) and
Teresa (friends since we were 4)

Initially, his reason for attending with me was
to make sure I didn't get arrested....

The A to Z Challenge starts ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. YIKES! Once again, I am doing a Pinterest Challenge theme, so feel free to send me interesting Pinterest pins you would like me to try to replicate. PLEASE, I BEG OF YOU! In spite of what I said in the first paragraph, I am woefully underprepared for the A to Z Challenge and need ideas! Nothing is too bizarre for me to consider! 

Linking up with Josie Two Shoes and Ten Things Of Thankful

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Two Weeks Of Thankfuls In One

The past couple of weekends have been BUSY, and I didn't even get my TToT written last weekend. It was a good busy, though, because I spent each weekend with one of my kids, and my thankful cup overflowed. Here's how they played out:

Weekend #1 was spent with Kyle in Oklahoma City. 

It seems we have a favorite pizza place everywhere we visit. I think we like pizza. When in Oklahoma City, we always make a trip to Hideaway Pizza (shout out to my friend Melissa for introducing it to us some 8 years ago). We had the Pepperonipalooza pizza, and it was worth every greasy bite.

We ate breakfast at a bakery that wasn't as good as the reviews implied, but the good news was it kept us from overeating doughnuts and pastries.

The Med School Student allowed me to take photos of him AND HE KIND OF SMILED!

We got a tour of the school. It was brief, as he is mostly in the same lecture hall every day, but we got to see his module (the medical students [and there are around 160 of them] are divided into small groups of roughly 20 students each called modules, or "mods," for short). Each mod has a room with desks around the perimeter, and each student is assigned one. Some study there, some eat lunch there, others (like my son) have hardly anything there.

His desk in the "mod."

Hmmm. Which white coat belongs to the
guy who's 6'4"?

Since eating out and having us pay for it and giving us the med school tour was the only thing my son planned for us to do that weekend, it was up to me, the consummate tour manager, to come up with activities, and I found a doozie: The American Pigeon Museum & Library! As goofy as it sounds, it really was interesting. Did you know homing pigeons were used in WWI and WWII to send messages back from the front lines? And that they were dropped by airplanes in special containers (yes, there was a parachute attached) or carried in little harnesses by paratroopers? Admission is FREE, which makes me even thankfuller for finding it (I did leave a donation, however).

In case you didn't believe me.

Been there. Bought the shirt.

Birds of a feather....

We hit a few thrift stores while we were there. I picked up a few OU t-shirts to wear to the gym, and my biggest coup was finding an Arkansas t-shirt deep in Sooner country.

We ate a ginormous lunch/supper at Ted's Cafe Escondido. It's not my favorite Mexican food, but it's an institution in the OKC area (and it now has locations in other cities, including Kansas City, I believe), but the reason to go (besides Kyle saying he REALLY wanted to eat there) is they bring you hot, freshly made tortillas and queso for dipping, and they KEEP THEM COMING throughout the meal AND IT'S FREEEEE!

Before we left town on Sunday morning, we ate at a restaurant named Good Gravy. 40 different kinds of gravy, and biscuits so light you practically had to hold them down with a fork. I went old school and had sausage gravy with my biscuits, but my son had bacon jalapeno and declared it delicious.

Pick your poison.

Weekend #2 was spent in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with Emma:

Emma's sorority held its Moms Weekend last weekend. She and I had been looking forward to it for weeks, so imagine our dismay when the weather forecast was for rain. Not "chance of rain" or "scattered showers" but 100% chance of rain for two days straight. The good news is it took the guesswork out of which shoes to wear, since rainboots were the only feasible choice.

Parking was available in a garage that was only about four blocks from the sorority house. That's the good news. It was full to the brim of student cars, and the only metered spots were taken, so I parked in one of the few open student spaces and hoped for the best. I was neither towed nor ticketed - whew!

Every Friday at the sorority house is Chicken Finger Friday, and that's how we kicked off the weekend. The chicken fingers were crispy and flavorful, there was yummy macaroni and cheese, and, best part, THEY HAD GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE AND IT WASN'T EVEN THANKSGIVING!!! We sat with group of Emma's friends, and I don't think there is anything a whole lot better than listening to a group of girls giggle and talk together. 

We sloshed and slogged our way back to the car and went to the amazing Rick's Bakery for treats and then to see "Greatest Showman" again (5th time for both of us). I want that movie to stay in theaters FOREVER.

Rick's Bakery. This isn't even half of it.

Brunch at the sorority house Saturday morning, and it was lovely! Rumor has it the house mother has given the boot to at least three chefs so far this school year, but I think this one is a keeper. We toured the house (it has three stories and a new addition was just completed this summer that doubled the size of the house) and Emma shopped for her potential room for next school year when she lives in-house.

I look rained on.

It was Bid Day for fraternities that same day, so the boys who went through spring rush found out which house they would be in, followed by parties that started around noon and ended some time around 2 a.m., I believe. Emma thought it would be a hoot if I went to some of the house parties, and we were joined by a couple of other mom and daughter duos. (Bear in mind it is raining BUCKETS while we do this, with some lightning and thunder thrown in.) We were greeted with great enthusiasm by fraternity boys at each house, and I hope their livers survive until they graduate....

Shootin' a little pool at the Phi Delt house.

We are the cool moms.

After the parties, we attended a cookie and cupcake decorating session at Rick's Bakery, and we got to take our creations with us FOR FREE! 

Sugary goodness.

We found a Vietnamese restaurant right by our hotel and had big bowls of pho to warm our bellies after walking around in all that rain. 

Naturally, after all of the Moms Weekend activities had already concluded, Sunday turned out to be warm and sunshiny, but maybe we'll remember this one a little more fondly in years to come as the one where we practically needed hip waders do go from place to place.

Bottom line: great kids, great times. Can't be more thankful than that.

Linking up with Josie Two Shoes and her Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Transfer: A Six Sentence Story

When I left Kansas City, where I grew up, to attend college in a city over 150 miles away, I left behind my sweet friend Meri, who was two years younger than I was; she and I became close friends during my senior year in high school, and before I left for college after a summer of probably too much fun, she promised to come visit me. It took until spring before the right combination of schedules that coincided and Meri's mom agreeing to allow her to ride a Greyhound bus by herself occurred, but finally, the weekend had come that Meri would come to Springfield.

Meri's mom took her to the bus station on a Friday afternoon and put her on a bus headed south; she was to ride it until she got to Joplin, where she would transfer to an eastbound bus and arrive in Springfield around 10:00 that night. I was anxiously awaiting her arrival, but not long before it was time to go to the bus station to pick her up, I got a phone call, and on the line was a sobbing Meri.

"I'm in F-f-f-f-fort S-s-s-s-smith, Arkans-s-s-sas!" she sobbed, "I f-f-f-f-fell as-s-s-sleep and m-m-m-missed my tr-tr-transfer!"

I swear I DID NOT LAUGH at any of this, or at least, not until she safely arrived in Springfield, more than 12 hours later, and I've forgotten how Meri and I spent that (shortened) weekend, but I will never forget her story of waking up in a bus station hundreds of miles beyond where she should have changed buses, then, thanks to the kindness of ticket agents and bus drivers along the way, returned to the original transfer point (successfully changing buses this time) and on to her original destination - me! 

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "transfer".