Saturday, December 22, 2007

Annual Santa Photo

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Program

We went to Jacob's Preschool Christmas Program last night. Jacob sang his little heart out and did all the motions, although he was usually a beat behind. We were very proud that he didn't pick his nose.

Lauren enjoyed herself, eating beef jerky and watching the kids.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Let There Be Light

As I was leaving for church last night, I was met by Jeremy & Trista who were driving around trying to see signs of power being restored in our neck of the woods. They were sure I must have it since my pole light next to the garage was on. No such luck--it runs off the generator. Trista was in tears and I could see that see was dangerously close to slipping over the edge. But it did look promising...the neighbors across the road had just flipped on their Christmas lights, so I called Super Alan and he informed me that they, too, had their Christmas lights on...via generator. The neighbor just south of me (see what a farm girl I am? not left or right, but SOUTH) assured me that he would call me as soon as he had power. A few minutes into Bible study and my phone started vibrating. Sorry--I gotta take this! Yes, it was my neighbor who now had power and was certain that I did too!! Yippee!!!! By the time I returned home from church, Kenny and Super Alan had disconnected my generator and turned my main breaker on. Sigh!!!!!! What a relief. It was a good time to reflect on how dependent we are on the single invention of electricity. The word "power" has a whole new meaning. I felt very "power-less" during these last few days. But how insignificant that power is in comparison to the power of God. How dependent are we on His power? That's the focus of my devotional this morning. "Out of nothing came light...Out of light came day." Max Lucado

I praise your greatness, my God the King;
I will praise you forever and ever.
I will praise you every day;
I will praise you forever and ever.
The Lord is great and worthy of our praise;
no one can understand how great he is.
Psalm 145:1-3

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 10

This is officially day TEN in the dark. Our Electric Coop is projecting restoration of power today. I'm on pins and needles. Although we have been without electricity and phone service for 10 days, it is actually only MY 3rd day. I returned from the balmy Galveston Bay area on Monday afternoon, in time for my brother-in-law and neighbor to hook up my brand-spankin-new Yamaha generator. Sooooo....I shouldn't complain. But I will. :-) The generator is a huge hassle. Being new, the oil had to be changed after the first 5 hours....10:00 p.m. to be exact. And every 20 hours thereafter. A tank of gas will last approximately 12 hours. Since I am somewhat (who am I kidding), since I am very mechanically challenged, this is no easy task. Lucky for me, I have my 27 year old son with me who is, can I say, a little less challenged in that area. (Mechanical Engineering was not on the list of requirements for his Art degree.) We...errr...he managed to get the oil changed and topped it off with gas before turning in for the night. We restarted the generator--nothin to it. But alas, no electricity in the house. Are you kidding me? I check the breakers, check the connection to the breaker panel, nothing seems amiss. Time to call my trusty neighbor, Alan. Super Alan to the rescue! After only a few minutes he discovered that the plug that attaches to the generator itself had come loose, duh! Next morning, Jeff and I fill it up with gas again and Jeff goes off to feed his dogs while I restart the generator. After about 15 pulls on the crank I thought my stinkin arm was gonna fall out of its socket. JEFFFFFFFF!!!!!! As Jeff walks up he looks at the machine and rolls his eyes as he flips the power switch to the ON position. "Mom, it has to be turned ON before it will start." Later that morning, I trudge off to "town" to fill up both of my 5-gallon gas cans. Not easy to lift those suckers into the back of the SUV, but I'm tough and manage quite nicely. But it's another thing to pick one of those full cans up and try to fill the tank without losing more gas than is finding it's mark. Speaking of Mark--Super Alan's son comes to my aid yesterday afternoon to refill the tank. This morning I'm determined to take care of this myself. My newest gas can has a nifty spout on it that remains closed until making contact with the rim of the gas tank. To my chagrin, the seal had either frozen and split over night, or I didn't re-attach it correctly when I filled it, but in any case, gas sloshed all over the top of the generator and I thought I'd never get the dad gum spout in the hole! As Jeff finishes feeding the dogs he saunters over to evaluate my performance and casually says, "I think the gas goes IN the tank, not ON the tank." Thanks for those words of wisdom, Jeff.

The generator seems to be doing a fine job running most of the house, but we are being very conservative so as not to trip any breakers. Therefore, at night we are still using the oil lamps and besides the refrigerator, we are only using one appliance at a time. In Trista's words, "I will cry tears of joy if our power is restored today!"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Heading Home

Am I crazy? I'm going to drive back to Iceland...errr, Oklahoma tomorrow. No, we still don't have power at our house. I've gotten three different dates as to when to expect electricity...December 21... December 23...December 24. No one has the guts to say "the 25th or sometime thereafter." But, here I go, back to the north, with my SUV packed with a generator, 5-gallon gas can and 2 chain saws. Why go from relative comfort to a cold, dark house? Because my family will be arriving from Canada on Christmas Eve and I'd like to at least have clean sheets on their beds and food for them to eat. I also have my exciting colonoscopy scheduled for Friday afternoon, so that day is pretty much shot. Besides that, I haven't been able to put Neal's last 2 checks in the bank, and bills need to be paid. The good news is that the weather forecast is pretty good for the rest of the week. Maybe the utility workers will get a second wind and speed up the process. Or...just maybe...we'll have an "authentic" old-fashioned Christmas, just like the pioneer days. On the other hand, the Doubletree is sounding pretty good.

I've tried to use my time wisely while here in Texas. My 15,000 mile maintenance was due on the Honda....Check. Missed my appointment this week to have my gray hair colored, which was already long overdue. Found my trusty back-up in Houston. Blonde again...Check. Read the novel on ancient Rome that was a birthday gift LAST MARCH...Check. (You can quiz me on the life of Cicero.) Gone to the gym three times...not near enough, but better than not at all, right Janet? I've checked my email every day for my next chance to play Scrabble...Mom and Sandra kept up well, but Linda held up the game for a few days. (I may be the one holding it up this week, sorry guys.) I've read every blog I know of--some of them 2 or 3 times--and stayed up with the latest Tulsa news and weather via internet. I've started learning Spanish! Just happened to have the instructional CD's with me....muchas gracias, Terri! The RV is as clean as it has ever been and I've even emptied the dreaded "black tank" twice. I've watched 4 movies in their entirety. Been awhile since I've done that! I know where to find every Starbucks and Marble Slab Creamery within a 20 mile radius...should've made more trips to the gym :-(

Friday, December 14, 2007

Say It Ain't So......

While my hometown is still reeling from the ice storm, Houston is reeling from the Mitchell Report. The Rocket, Houston's pride and joy, surely could not be on this list of shame. While my first reaction was one of absolute belief and disappointment, I've decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Even though there is no apparent plan to bring legal convictions against these guys, the mere fact that it could keep Clemens out of the Hall of Fame is devastating. Because he immediately hired an attorney and is VEHEMENTLY denying these accusations, I think (hope) that it is truly a vendetta aimed at bringing others down with the one who is already in hot water. If it is true.......what can I say? I think back to Jeff's college baseball days and remember so many of the players in the NCAA who had such a huge physical advantage over him. He was teased incessantly (all in good fun) about his size. Recently, on a trip to Lincoln, he went to the practice field where one of his coaches saw him in the bleachers and yelled, "Blev! The best 165 pound, switch-hitting third baseman ever to play for the Huskers!" Following Jeff in his college career allowed us to hear many hecklers--but the best hecklers in the Big 12 have to be at Texas Tech. Since Jeff was hitting .477 when they made their trip to Lubbock, the hecklers had to be very creative when it was his turn to bat. They came up with my very favorite in the 4 years he played college ball. "Hey Blev! Did ya leave your cows at home.......and your CALVES, too????" Even HE had to step out of box and have a little chuckle. (Who says they never hear what's said in the stands?) All that to say this. It just makes the moment Jeff hit a home run in the 2002 College World Series a little bit sweeter, knowing that it was his God-given talent and ability, without the help of performance-enhancing drugs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Still in Texas

Since the entire Tulsa metro is without power and still under Ice Storm conditions, I was warned to stay put. What a helpless feeling!!! Reminiscent of 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, I have to watch from a distance as family and friends suffer. Jeff informed me that we've lost lots of trees and the whole area looks like a war zone. I'm told that Quik Trip is about the only place open and fights are breaking out to scoop up the last sausage roll! Our house in Tulsa has roof damage and water leaking into the house. No one knows when electricity will be restored.

On one hand, I'm happy to be here--with my husband--80 degree weather--TV, lights, computer, air conditioning :-). On the other hand, I want to be back home to take care of my family and property. My controlling personality has taken a huge hit. They can survive without me. Good to know.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Today is Neal's anniversary. Two years ago, on this date, he parked the RV in this very spot...and it hasn't moved since. Seemed fitting that I should stay another day.

My plans to return home today were cancelled due to the ice storms in Oklahoma. My thanks to everyone who called to discourage my traveling today...luv u 2. Tomorrow's temperatures in OK are forecast to be in the 40's, so I shouldn't have any trouble--other than dodging downed power lines and trees. I've been informed that my house, among thousands of others, is without electricity. Meanwhile, we've had to have our air conditioner running in the RV, as the last several days have reached record highs--mid-80's. Ironic.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Just Gimme the Drugs

Refills for my blood pressure medication had run out, so as is customary, Walmart called the physician to get the "ok." The nurse called my house to inform me that they could give me a script for 1 month, but I'd have to see the doctor before any more refills. Now, mind you, I've been on this particular medication for about 15 years, with good results and no problems. I think this is a scam, to get money out of me and my insurance company. The appointment was made for Monday, the 10th. Last week, Neal seemed a little down and lonely, so, the loving and thoughtful wife I am ;-) I decided to make a trip south, and didn't want to try to be home in time for Monday's appointment. Thought maybe if I talked to the doc I could convince him that I didn't need to be seen....("I know you're so busy during this flu season, why don't we just do this by phone?"). No such luck. Could I just see the Physician's Assistant that day (Wednesday) at 11:00. Sure....will it be cheaper? Again, no such luck. Now to set the record straight, I really do LOVE my doctor. He's a good listener, and when I have a problem, concern, or request, he's very attentive and accomodating. But honestly, I'll be 52 in March and still not a word about needing a colonoscopy. You think I'm going to mention it!?!? The PA immediately noticed by my records that it was THAT time. Also that no blood work had been done for 3 years--bring in the needles. And maybe, when the results from my blood work come back, it might be a good idea to monitor my heart for a few days. Whoa! Am I her first patient this week? Isn't she ambitious! Just give me my drugs, for Pete's sake! She wasted no time in setting up the "dreaded procedure" for December 21. Neal's a little bummed that I'll only have to take pills in preparation--no large quantities of the yucky fluids, and that I'll be under sedation...unlike his unpleasant experience a few years ago. He's sadistic----now why did I feel the need to come to Texas to comfort him??????

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Old Dog--New Tricks?

It's never too late to learn a new skill, I say. I took my first piano lesson at the age of 40. Today, I took a class to get certified on a semi-automatic pistol, in order to obtain a concealed weapon license. Indulge me in a little boasting...I was the best shooter in a class of 15 (including a couple of ex-military men). I earned 100% on my written test, 100% on the first 25 rounds of target shooting and 100% on the second (further distance) 25 rounds of target shooting. The only times my bullets missed the inner circle were during the times he instructed us to warn the perpetrator, then fire 5 rounds in rapid succession. "Stop" #*POW*# #*POW *# #*POW*# #*POW *# #*POW*#. As you can see, even the ones that missed vital organs would have been quite painful and somewhat debilitating. The Chief of Police, who was our instructor, suggested I post my souvenir target on my front door to discourage would-be intruders.

My next challenge will be learning the Spanish language, for our mission trip to Mexico next June.