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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.



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.


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

The Funny Things We Do

Okay, I’ll admit it.  Maybe you don’t make as many funny mistakes as I make.  I make lots of them.  But, I learned a long time ago that if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’ll spend a lot of time watching other people laugh.

My truck was making a funny noise as I was leaving work on Wednesday.  Not funny!  The noise was coming from the engine compartment.  I checked my gauges.  The oil pressure gauge was near ZERO!  There are many things that you can do to a vehicle and they will forgive you.  Running the engine out of oil is not normally forgivable.  I pulled back into the parking lot and killed the engine.

I popped the hood and called my handsome hero, my best friend and my lover.  One man, one phone call!  He answered and I told him about the noise.  He asked if there was oil on the dipstick.  I had already checked.  I had golden brown oil all over both hands because I was too impatient to get a tissue from the backseat of the truck.  I had wiped off the dipstick with my fingers and put it back in the hole.  This time there was a tiny hint of oil on the end of the dipstick.  Not good, people.  Not good at all.

“Sit tight.”  He said.  I could hear the smile in his voice.  “I’m bringing you some oil.”

We put the oil in the truck.  I started it.  The noise had gone away!  Yeah!

But . . .

I looked at the oil pressure gauge.  It still said almost ZERO!

I had My Hero look at the gauge.  He sighed and said.  “That’s your engine temperature.  The oil pressure gauge is on the other side of your speedometer!”

The engine was low on oil.  I have no idea if it was low on oil pressure!

Blessings to you and yours and may your oil of joy never run out!


(Update on the engine:  There was a hole in my oil filter!)

My Writing Class: Inklings

I am SO excited about class this Saturday.  The first time I had any of my writing published it was a poem.  Now, I’m trying to get novels published.  The things I learned then are true now.  The most important one is this:  It is easier if someone else does all the leg work!

No such luck now.  I do have many wonderful people who encourage me, pray for me, laugh for and with and sometimes at me.  I need them each and every one!  I still have to do the leg work!

However, we press on.  This week we will be talking about poetry.  Sonnets, rhyme schemes or not, limericks, haiku, songs . . .  The Star Spangled Banner was originally written as a poem.  I still get misty eyed every time I hear it played.  What kind of poetry do you (hate is such a strong word) dislike the most?  Maybe poetry isn’t for you.  Maybe the problem is you had the wrong ones jammed down your throat as a kid.  Give it a try again.  Come write one with us 4343 North Flood, Norman OK.  Yes, we are having it at a church.  You don’t have to be a member to come.  The name of the church is Victory Family Church.  We will meet from 9 to 10.

For your reading pleasure, here is a poem I wrote.  I hope you like it.

I Run

When the path is soft and the grass is green and water flows sweetly in the sparkling stream, I run.

When the trail is dusty and the night is long and the coyote cries in mournful song, I run.

When the dulling heat ad numbed my will and every road leads straight up hill, I run.

When I am afraid I’ll lose my way, afraid to go, afraid to stay, I run.

Because in this race I find success when I dare to do my very best, I run.

For the path has steps that it only shows to those who dare and boldly go, just run!

Learning to run.


I have not abandoned you!

A pipe burst.  That’s a very simple sentence.  The bursting pipe did not have a simple solution.

We have removed all the tile/vinyl from the utility room, the north bathroom, the hallway, and the kitchen.  We’re removing the carpet from the living room and from the third bedroom.  I’ve learned more about my lack of tolerance for change than I imagined was true.

Imagine your life changing dramatically.  Are you available for God to make changes?  Are you (Am I?) willing to tell God, “Whatever you want.” or “Whatever it takes.”?  How about, “Wherever you want me to go, I’ll go.”  Are you willing to say that?  Am I?

Then there’s that other thing.  I (You) might be able or willing to pray that, but are we willing to live it?

Whatever it takes, wherever you take me, whatever you want; God, I’m yours.