Monday, February 25, 2008


Yesterday I FINALLY e-filed my tax returns. I can usually finish in less than 3 days, but this year I spent over 2 weeks searching, sorting, inputting, deleting, getting advice, re-inputting, etc., etc. This year was complicated by the purchase of our 2 farms--the Roosevelt Ranch in western Oklahoma and the Blevins Farm here in Sand Springs. I'm also phasing out my Arbonne business. I will keep my Consultant status in order to get my products at a discount and supply my family and friends with wholesale products, but I will no longer try to make time to pursue actual profit from the business. So that added to the nightmare of taxes. I was determined to do it all myself, so that I would have a better idea throughout 2008 of what was deductible, and what kind of records needed to be kept. I consider myself an organized person, but I really disappointed myself this year. The government makes it way too difficult for the average person to make sense of the infinite number of forms and schedules. It's a mind game. I wonder how many people that can't afford a CPA just give up and go the Short Form, losing out on money that they deserve. Anyway...I have big plans for the refund. More on that later.

Jeff's Birthday

Friday (the 22nd) was Jeff's birthday. As you can see, he was 4 years old. Jacob said, (holding up 4 fingers) "Uncle Jeff, you this many?" Jeff opened and closed his fists several times and said, "No, I'm this many." Jacob had a puzzled look...that was a lot of fingers. Then he proudly held up 3 fingers and said, "Ohhh. I'm this many." Glad we got that all straightened out. Actually Jeff is 28. I was too cheap to buy more candles. As you can tell, I was also too lazy to make a homemade cake. But...if you've read my previous "Tagged" blog, you know that I don't need an excuse to buy birthday cake. I did, however, make a home-cooked meal for him and Jeremy's family, a major feat since I've been up to my neck in taxes for the past 2 weeks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Role Reversal

I've heard it said that at some point in our lives, roles will reverse and our parents will become like our children, and we will become as their parents. I just didn't realize how soon that would happen.

The last few days have not been great. Yesterday, in particular, was not a good day for me. I'll give you a few of the low points.

1. Something said at Small Group Sunday night that tied my stomach in knots.

2. Neal didn't call at his regular time Monday night. A sure sign that he was playing softball against my advice.

3. I ran out of propane AGAIN yesterday.
a. Thirty-five days ago I bought 300 gallons ($600.00) and bought another 300 gallons yesterday ($735.00). This can't be right.
b. I've called an insulation company to come today and check out the attic insulation.
c. The house fills with smoke when I burn wood in the fireplace. A chimney sweep is scheduled to come on Monday.

4. A harsh email from a fellow church member. (She called to apologize last night.)

5. My friend's brand new grandson was admitted to the hospital last night with severe jaundice.

6. After working on my taxes for a week, I'm still not finished and rather frustrated that the goverment makes it so difficult.

Oh, to have the attitude of Terry Rush on days like these.

So.....last night I called Jeff to see when he was planning to come home, and would he please stop at Braum's and pick me up a brownie fudge sundae (my ultimate comfort food). He asked why, and fighting the urge to say, "cause I'm your mom and I said so," I told him I'd had a bad day. In an eerily parental tone, he advised me that I really didn't want a brownie fudge sundae..."remember the pooch belly you're trying to get rid of?"...why didn't I just run a hot bath, light some candles and brew a cup of tea--with milk (Canadian-style), and talk to my "daddy" (a name he calls God when he wants to pour out his troubles to Him). Talk about turning the tables on me. Am I already in need of my children giving me advice?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Smith Memories

Here are a few memories of visits to Grandma and Grandpa Smith:

Getting a cold drink from the cistern with a metal dipper.

The outhouse. Scary in more ways than you can imagine.

Playing games with Grandma and Grandpa from the time I was old enough to talk. Hide the Thimble, Wahoo, and eventually graduating to Rummy, Scrabble, and Dominoes.

Spying a pane of glass in the yard and stomping it to bits. I don't know why. Blaming aforesaid destruction on one of the cousins. (Sorry Brad.)

Fishing down at the river with cane poles. Watching Grandma scale the fish and wanting to get in on some of that action.

Listening to Grandpa play his guitar and sing.

Going into town (Erick) and shopping at the Dixie.

Christmas. Using Grandpa's socks for stockings. One of my presents always being fabric that I'm sure Grandma got on sale at the Dixie, because it was so weird. But Mom always managed to turn it into a great-looking dress.

Homemade chocolate malted milkshakes before bed.

Washing and drying the dishes after meals. Small, non-airconditioned kitchen, metal dishpan, changing wet tea towels at least once or twice during the chore. Fighting for the place nearest the breeze coming in through the window.

Getting into Grandma’s face powder and getting my only spanking from her (that I can remember).

Riding with Uncle Melvin in his “hot rod,” listening to “Big Bad John” on the radio and Linda threatening to tell Grandma that he was smoking a cigar and driving over the speed limit. Actually, I was enjoying the ride. Linda was always a tattletale.

Sleeping in the back bedroom, windows wide open to let in the breeze, and fearing that the coyotes I could hear in the distance could surely break through those flimsy screens.

Learning to drive on the country roads WAY before I was 16.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Atchley Memories

A fellow blogger has inspired me to write more about me. My childhood memories, highlights in my life, and places I've seen, want to see or see AGAIN. I'm starting with some childhood memories of visits with my Grandma and Grandpa Atchley. Here goes:

Placing the mattress in the living room floor for Linda (sister), Gayla (cousin) and I. Staying up late, jumping on the mattress, while Grandma sat in her chair and quietly looked on. This is the only time I ever remember her sitting down. Though occasionally she would get up to retrieve more of her homemade dill pickles and saltine crackers for our late night snack.

Digging in the dirt, with Grandma’s old spoons, making tiny houses and towns using our bare feet as molds.

Running up and down the dome-shaped cement cellar.

Swinging on the creaky front porch swing, singing the latest tunes we'd memorized from the radio.

Eating on TV trays, my sisters, cousins and I pretending we were long-lost friends who had met by chance and were catching up on our make-believe husbands and children--always including “the twins.” One of us would just say, "Hiiiiii" and the others would know that was our cue to start the games.

Walking down the dirt road to the creek bridge, picking up gourds and devil’s claws along the way.

Retreating to the storm cellar every time there was a cloud in the sky, (Grandma was terrified of tornadoes) usually wrapped in a quilt with a 7-Up nearby, because I always had tummy aches from the well water. (Or was it the dill pickles?)

Running around shoeless even though there was never a time that someone didn’t have to have a “goat-head” extracted from a bare foot.

Sitting on Grandpa’s lap and answering pointless questions, knowing there was a $5 bill in his bib overalls for a job well done.

Going to Sweetwater (the intersection of two highways) in the back of the pickup and drinking Dr. Pepper.

Lying in the bed of the pickup and looking at the enormous sky with countless stars shining brighter than anywhere else in the world.

Riding with Grandpa in his pickup to feed the cows. Windows rolled down, grasshoppers jumping in and clinging to my skin with their stickly little legs while I'm freaking out screaming bloody murder.

Noise. Large family, big talkers, lots of laughing, never quiet.

Another Jacob Story

Neal was home last weekend. On Saturday evening we went over to Jeremy and Trista's. Neal, being a good PaPa, had Jacob and Lauren in his lap reading them a book. All of a sudden Jacob shouted, (hands up in the air) "Hold on guys! I gotta pee-pee!" Off he ran to the bathroom. Immediately he came running back into the living room, and exclaimed, (hands out in front shoulder-width apart) "There's a big ol' t__d (hands gesturing like a traffic controller toward the bathroom) IN THE POTTY!"

Stay in Kemah

Here's a brief summary of the last few days in Kemah.

  • My flight from Tulsa was to leave at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening. Actual departure time was 8:20, putting me into Houston around 9:45--15 minutes past Neal's beddie-bye time.
  • Since car rentals were sky-high at Hobby Airport (I assume due to International Finals Rodeo in town) Neal picked me up at the airport and we arrived at the RV Park about 10:30--1 hour past Neal's beddie-bye time.
  • On Wednesday, Enterprise, true to their advertising, picked me up at the RV with a car from their Seabrook office for less than half the price of getting one at the airport.
  • Wednesday evening I charcoaled pork chops for dinner. When they were done, the coals were still glowing, so I cooked the steaks in the fridge for a later date. Still great coals, so on went the polish sausage and a frozen hamburger patty. Got anything else, Neal? He refused to allow me to walk through the RV park asking for meat.
  • Last night, Neal surprised me by coming home from work early, a dozen roses in hand. Even though we had steaks already cooked, he insisted we go out to eat. Fine with me, since he's still on a health foods kick and there's nothing "good" to be found in the trailer.
  • The free time has allowed me to work on Income Tax Returns. Just a few details that I'll have to look up at home and I'll be ready to e-file.
  • Began to design my 2007 Blog Book.
  • Managed to get in two good workouts. Almost broke my nose on the bicep curl machine. Didn't know my own strength!

Tomorrow I'll head back home, where Jeff is minding the farm.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I've been tagged by Jessica.

The Rules: Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share 5 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog. or Share the 5 top places on your “want to see or want to see again” list. or Share 5 things you never pictured being in your future when your were 25 years old. Tag a minimum of 5, maximum of 10 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. The tagees have a choice of which they want to do.

Five random facts about me:

1. I buy birthday cake when it's nobody's birthday. I just like birthday cake.

2. One of my pet peeves is the mispronunciation of words, i.e. similar (not sim-u-lar) and dangling prepositions (where's it at?). I have to bite my tongue to keep from correcting others' grammar and pronunciation.

3. I can't drive or walk past a Starbuck's without stopping for a Tall Skinny Decaf Latte.

4. I LOVE games. Board games, card games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, charades, Game Shows, you name it--I'm in.

5. I cry every week during the weigh-in on The Biggest Loser.

I think all my other blogging friends have already been tagged.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lauren's Visit

Lauren's been a bit under the weather this week, so instead of going to daycare on Wednesday, she came to see Nana. Even though I'm "retired" I seem to keep a very busy schedule and never have enough hours in the day. So it was kind of nice to be forced to slow down for an entire day and just spend time with my granddaughter. Fortunately, she was feeling better than the day before, so she wasn't fussy or clingy. I had never noticed how much she sings. One tune, in particular, seemed to be recurring. I'm sure she was singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." I suppose diaper-changing time is the appointed time to recite "Pat-a-Cake" as she rolls her arms one over the other. Or maybe she's singing "The Wheels on the Bus" -- I'm just not sure yet. Like her brother, she loves books. Her favorites are "The Rainbow Fish" (which I think Great Grandpa Smith has memorized), "I Am A Monster," "Rudolph's Bright Christmas" (mostly just pressing the button to turn on the red nose light), and "Where's Elmo's Blanket." Speaking of blankets, she has three special blankies, one of which must be available at naptime and bedtime. They are all very soft, but her favorite part is the tags. Lauren rubs the tags between her fingers and thumb, which must be very soothing. The tags are already frayed and will soon be only shreds of satin.