All posts by Lorelei Sawtelle

Believer, wife, mother, reader, writer, teacher, grandmother, gardener, crafter, fun, happy, silly,

But I didn’t lock myself out!

But I didn’t lock myself out of the house.
Except for the part where I did.
No shade if I park in the driveway, I thought. So, I’ll park in front of the house. If I park in the drive it is closer to the back door. Parking in front of the house under the shade of the sycamore tree yields an easy few steps to the front porch. The deadbolt on the front door has always been a trifle stubborn. It is hard to lock and to unlock the silly thing. Sometimes you can jiggle your key to get it in far enough. Sadly, sometimes you cannot. I can always force it in when jiggling and wiggling are ineffective tools. Well, I used to be able to.
However, one day last week I took my daughter to band practice, then I went to the gym to work out. I got home just before 9:00a.m. I was ecstatic. I had three hours to write. Three quiet hours to write. I could turn off the home phone, cell phone, modem, and every other time-sucking device in my home. I stuck the key in the front door and it almost went all the way in. I jiggles and cajoled. I didn’t just talk to the lock; I also talked to the door and the key. None of them listened. Good thing someone invented Bluetooth. Now I can talk to myself and most people don’t even clue up that I’m not wearing an earpiece.
I pushed hard on the key and it bent sideways. My shoulders dropped. Well, I’ve never happened to bend a key before, at least not at a 90 degree angle. Now I have to walk all the way around the house to the back door. You know which door, the one that always unlocks easily. I stuck the bent key in the door and voile, nothing. Nothing? Nope. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nein. Not. Nyet. No. No, as in no, it didn’t unlock.
The key didn’t go in far enough because it was bent. An easy enough fix, right? I simply bent the key back straight. And it snapped. I was so shocked that I didn’t even yell–or breathe. I just stood there with my jaw brushing the tops of my shoes. Now could it snap so easily without warning? It broke off flush with the outside surface of the lock. It must have been an conspiracy between locks and key.
Fortunately, I wasn’t without hope. My daughter was at summer band only six miles away. (And under the direction of an unforgiving maestro.) My older daughter sometimes works from home, only seven miles away. Sorry, not that day. That day she was working out of the downtown office. She was only twelve miles and nineteen stories away. She might as well have been a hundred miles away. She was in the middle of interviewing candidates for an IT job. She said, “Mom, really? You’ve got a screwdriver in the tool box on your truck. Surely you can take the door off its hinges or take out a window or something!” Nope, I can’t. The key to my tool box is in the house. The key to the shed where I can probably find a dozen helpful tools is also in the house. She laughed and hung up after reassuring me that if I could get the broken key out, I could come get her key. She was right. It wasn’t going to do any good to get a key if both locks had gotten jinky.
Well, I thought, my handsome prince charming is only 26 miles away. He said I could come get his key, or he could take a half day and come fix it for me. I’m not sure he’d do a better job than I could. I told him I’d call him back if I couldn’t get it. Lowes is only six and a half miles away and the front lock needed to be replaced anyway. Surely Lowes would have a cute little tool to remove crises from locks. Don’t bother looking for such a thing there–they don’t have anything close. They had several beautiful lock combinations though. I got new locks for the front and for the back door. I even got them keyed alike. But, they had nothing with which to remove the broken key. Fortunately, I do not give up easily. Unfortunately in this situation, I didn’t have the luxury of giving up. In real life we seldom do.
I stopped in at Sally’s Beauty and the incredibly compassionate clerk showed me where the tweezers were. Eventually, she did. She had to stop laughing hysterically and catch her breath first. When she could breathe halfway normally, she giggled her way past the nail clippers and polish to the eyebrow tweezers.
Considering all of the opportunities I’d already had to lose my joy, I got the broken key out of the lock easily. I was still locked out!
By then it was 12:30 and time to pick up my young teen from band. I explained what all I’d dealt with that morning and made her give me her key. She complied giggling, but asked, “If we can’t get in the house, can we go to Subway for lunch. I really want a meatball marinara.”
That was a request I could honor. “IfF we can’t get in, yes. A 6″ chicken bacon ranch sounds good to me.”
To her dismay and my delight, the backdoor opened easily. After she’d eaten something far less worthy than the meatball sub she wanted, I delivered her sans key back to the high school for another session of summer band.
I put her key in the back door lock and I was shocked again. The door unlocked and opened easily for the second time in a row. After the morning I’d had I expected another crisis. In less than two hours I’d found the necessary tools and had changed out all the locks. I gathered up the spare keys and the errant locks and even put my tools away.
I don’t think this should count as locking myself out of the house even though I locked myself out of the house. I think I need to plant a tree so I will have shade when I park by the back door.

Gratitude Journal

While I try to write in my journal every day, the truth remains that I don’t even write in it every week.  Today I was especially grateful for a plastic canister full of sugar that didn’t break when it crashed onto the floor.  The lid didn’t even come off!  Tiny blessings are sometimes the most profound ones.  I also mentioned that my beautiful daughter helped me make delicious sweet tea.  (I must admit the crashing sugar was entirely my fault.)

2. I have wanted irises the same color of purple that my grandmother (Ma) had since my parents dug up and got rid of Ma’s iris bed when I was a third grader.  I haven’t been able to find them anywhere.  The iris tubers that I’ve found are either too dark or too light or too many colors.   On to the good news.  Remember I was headed to a Cousins Reunion?  My cousin Patti happened to know where some descendants of Ma’s irises were still stubbornly clinging to life.  I am delighted to report that a few of those lovely purple connections to my past are now happily planted in the corner of my yard.  THANK YOU, PATTI!

3.  I am grateful that I got to spend time with my sister Bonnie while she was gracing the state of Oklahoma with her inimitable presence.  For that I must thank my brother Don who loaned her a vehicle.  For that I must thank my friend Rodney for loaning Don a vehicle so Don could loan his to Bonnie.  Way to go Rodney!  Reminds me of the poem, For the Want of a Horseshoe Nail.

4. For the want of a nail the shoe was lost.

for the want of a shoe, the horse was lost.

for the want of a horse, the rider was lost

for the want of a rider, the message was lost.

For the want of he message the battle was lost

for the want of the battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

I’m grateful for poems no one author can claim.  This poem is one example of that.  Sundry variations spring from every culture and people.



This, too, shall pass.

I confess I was too fragile to post this in September when I wrote it.  I am stronger today–no guarantee for tomorrow.



So, maybe what you’re going through will pass too quickly and maybe it won’t pass quickly enough.  I know when I’m stuck in an uncomfortable place in my life, it feels like it will never pass.  I know those feelings are more intense for middle school kids.  They think every awful thing will be awful forever.

I heard a preacher on the radio this week admit to taking scripture out of context.  He said, “It came to pass. . .  It didn’t come to stay, it came to go.”  Just remember, it doesn’t matter how wonderful it is, or how awful it is.  It will pass.  Enjoy the good, endure the bad.  Pray for your friends.  Pray twice as hard for your enemies.  They need it.

Today was my Aunt Mary’s funeral.  She had written a note to one of her grandkids not long ago.  She said something like, “Embrace life.  It is amazing when you’ve reached the end of a long and wonderful life how very quick it was.

She was one of those people who always tried to be tactful and kind and gracious.  When that proved to be impossible, she was at least honest if not as gentle as she’d have preferred.

Let us all aim for that.


Cousins Reunion

I am looking forward to a reunion with my cousins.  I will be taking Mom with me.  At least one of my siblings will be there.  Two or three of my children will be there.  Lots of laughter!  I come from a very witty family.  We frequently put each others’ feet in their mouths for them.

Mom has been at my house for two weeks.  I’m still hearing, “What possessed you to get your hair cut like that!”

Of course, there are benefits.  If I ask her what she wants for lunch, I know the answer will be, “Whatever.”  Which means grilled or baked chicken, green beans and potatoes.

I think I’ll bake bread to take to the reunion.  Everyone loves it.  I got the recipe from Buddy Probst who used to own/run the Old Weigh Station Café and Sitka Social Club in Sitka, Kansas.  When I got the recipe it called for 25 pounds of flour.  I’ve had to play with the math to get a reasonable amount of bread.  It is the best and easiest bread I’ve ever made.  (No kneading!  No kidding!)

Buddy Bread

2 pks dry yeast

2 1/2 cups of warm water (100-115 degrees Fahrenheit)

1/2 c oil

3/4 c sugar.  I usually add more like 1 1/4 cups.

2 eggs

2 1/2 teaspoon salt

8 – 8 1/2 cups flour.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Place in covered bowl in the fridge until thoroughly chilled.  Overnight or for a day or two (or a week) is fine.  When ready to use the bread dough, punch it down and use as much as needed.  Store the rest in the fridge for another day.

Place shaped dough in greased pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled.

Bake 325-375 until golden brown.

This makes great rolls, cinnamon rolls, hamburger buns (use less sugar), and loaves of bread.   They freeze well after baking.  I haven’t tried freezing the bread dough.

God Bless and good baking.


a work in progress

Aren’t we all works in progress?

This week I am blessed to have my mother with me.  She has said several times, “Well, this isn’t the Thanksgiving we had planned, is it?”

I have to remind her that it is July 4th, Independence day, our country’s birthday.  A few minutes later her mind has returned to November–or sped forward to November.  No one knows which.  But, I am glad she’s here.  I cannot glean from the wisdom of her years.  Alzheimer’s has taken that from us.   Although she does have definite opinions which she does not temper through a filter.  “What possessed you to get your hair cut like that?”

Again, patiently I hope, I explain that my middle school students raised quite a bit of money for the chance to cut my hair.  They raised $253.00 and got to shave my head.  Do I look funny?  I don’t much care if I do.  No matter how the wind blows, my hair stays out of my face.  I can wash my hair, face, neck, and ears with only a drop of shampoo.  I am only mildly concerned that the ‘cowlick’ on my crown will stand proudly when all the rest of my hair decides to lie flat against my scalp.

“This isn’t the Thanksgiving we had planned, is it?”

Well, no.  But for today I am thankful that I still have my mother with me.  I’m grateful that I can fetch and carry for her–her foot is broken.  She believes that the boot/splint causes her foot to hurt.  “No, mama.  The boot helps it heal.  You broke your foot.”

“Well, how did I do that?  I sure didn’t expect to spend Thanksgiving in a cast.”

I’m sure you didn’t, mama, but we are all thankful that it was your foot and not your head.”

“Well, I guess that’s right.”

Gratitude Journal

Linda Lael Miller writes a very uplifting blog.  She got an idea for a gratitude journal.  Every morning and every evening she writes five things for which she is grateful.  I think I’ll start that, too.

1.  Irises in my garden blooming in lavender and sunshine yellow.

2. Buds that have tiny brownish tips poking though.  What color will they be?  Raspberry Ripple?

3.  Dark red climbing roses–I’m not as grateful for the thorns, but they do keep the neighbor kids out of the roses.

4.  Hubby who cooks.  Even now the essence of fresh bread is teasing my senses.

5. Four wonderful children, two sons-in-law, 1 daughter-in-law, 4 grandkids, 1 granddaughter-in-law. and the list could go on and on.

6.  I am especially grateful for a church that believes in me, loves me–just as I am.  And that, Dear Friends, is saying a lot!

Afterthoughts and God Bless DPS

We bought a van last month.  We were kind of looking for another car, but we didn’t have anything specific in mind.  This one was almost dropped in our laps.  It is handicapped accessible.  ’03 Windstar with 4 leather captain’s chairs.  The heater works wonderfully well.  Haven’t needed an AC in months.

When we got the TX title in the mail (The guy who sold us the car didn’t have it readily available when we bought it . . .he’s completely trustworthy.)  I called my insurance company. (Insert shameless plug for Shelter here.) I bought insurance on it over the phone, she emailed me the verification forms.  I printed them out and took them and the title with me to the tag agency.  As an afterthought I took the little card to renew the tag for our ’03 Chevy Astro that we’ve owned and insured for almost 100K miles.  My Hubby was going to take care of it later in the week, but, hey, while I’m there I might as well.

While I was there (this was an afterthought to the afterthought) I asked about the tag for my pickup truck.  The tags for the truck and the Chevy are one number different.  I figured if they had the tag number they could tell me when the tag was due, right?  Easy.  Right?

That was when the poop hit the fan–not to put too fine a point on it.  They insisted that the tag on the truck didn’t expire in January of 2015.  They insisted that it expired in January of 2014–despite the fact that it had an “expires in Jan 2015 sticker.”

So, I tagged the Ford, I tagged the Chevy, I also tagged the Dodge and got out of there in a little less than two hours and less than $500.

It turns out that DPS was right–on a technicality.  (They also remained pleasant throughout the entire process.)  Thank God the penalty was only $100.00.   Right?


Same group, old faces, new faces, new location!

This spring we will be meeting on Thursday evenings 7:00-8:00 at the City of Moore Community Center.  That’s at 301 S. Howard.  I-35 to Main.  Main east to Howard.  Howard south to 301.  The building is on your right (or west).

I hope you can make it.



May your list get longer!

Every year at Christmas I edit my Christmas card list.  People move; I must update addresses.  People divorce or marry and I delete or add names.  Sometimes, I simply put each divorcee on a separate line usually with new addresses for both of them.  I make new friends and add lines.  Children of friends mature and become friends, too.  I add more lines, more names, more addresses.  🙂

But now that I’m getting older, it seems that I have to delete entire lines from the list much more often than in the past.  Friends, family members, and acquaintances are all human.  (No, I will not send a Christmas card to the new baby elephant at the zoo.  Yes, I think I is wonderful that she is here, but not sending her a card.)

My wish for you in 2015 is that your Christmas list gets longer rather than shorter.  May your life be filled with family and friends and good books.  May your “to do” list include benevolent activities.  May you never be bored.

If you’re looking for a book to read, pick up a copy–or order one from Tate Publishing–of Creepers.  I started it and couldn’t put it down.  Did I mention the author was a sixteen year old high school boy?  Yup!  Great writing.   Great reading.  Enjoy