Thursday, August 29, 2013


I was told by a local police officer that the number of  homeless people living on the streets has grown considerably here in our town.  They mainly live on the east side of town (my side) and Ron and I see a few every once in awhile but for the most part they are invisible. 

The officer explained that part of the problem is that we have Red Rock Behavioral Center here on the grounds of Griffin Memorial Hospital.  They are an emergency crisis intervention center.  Towns in Oklahoma bring individuals in crisis to the center, many are brought in by their local law enforcement, however it's a one-way ticket.  When the person is no longer a threat to themselves or others they are released.  Many have no family or anyone to come pick them up so they simply stay in Norman and live on the street.  That's also why the homeless population is so high on the east side of town.  

Yesterday on my way home from work I passed the bag lady. She has a grocery cart filled with all her worldly belongings and a white and brown dog tied to the handle.   

Ron and I first saw this woman about a year ago.  She looks to be in her early to mid 50's.  At that time she only had a few items in her grocery cart but the same white dog.  The cart was so bare at that time we often saw the dog riding in the basket.  Once I glanced in her basket while it was parked outside the restaurant we were about to enter.  She was inside ordering a sandwich and her dog remained outside in the cart.  He was watching her intently through the window.

Inside her cart I noticed a small bedroll and a few items of clothing.  There were some bottles of water and not much more.  I couldn't help but wonder if she had food for her dog let alone herself.  

The only thing that identified her as possibly homeless was the grocery cart and bedroll.  To look at her she was just an ordinary middle aged woman.  At the counter she removed her wallet from her purse and paid for her sandwich.  She was dressed in a pair of knit pants and a blouse.  She was wearing a knit hat on her head which was a little odd since it was warm weather but that was the only unusual thing about her.

It had been a long time since I last saw her.  I mentioned it to Ron not long ago and he said he hadn't seen her either.  We both had wondered where she slept at night and where did she go during the cold weather.  But yesterday there she was with her companion.  This time the cart will so full she struggled to push it down the sidewalk.  It looked like a small mountain of stuff.  I guess her dog no longer gets to be a passenger and must walk beside her all the time.

This morning as I sat at the street light waiting to turn toward the hospital where I work a very thin man crossed in the crosswalk.  He was carrying a blue bedroll with a backpack on his back.  Homeless?  Perhaps.  Most Likely.  I wonder if they know each other or do they just wish to be left alone.

I guess I can't help but think of my own family members battling the effects of mental illness.  I know that the only thing that stands between them and the streets are the people who love them and refuse to give up.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Telephone Voices

This past weekend my daughter talked me into narrating her back to school presentation.  She said she doesn't like the sound of her own voice so she solicited me to do it.   It took us 5 hours to put this thing together and now she's making fun of me for using my "telephone voice".   Pre-K Orientation

I don't think anybody likes the sound of their own voice when they hear it.  My mother definitely had a "telephone" voice.  It was this low, sultry voice that would switch to normal once she knew it was one of her kids on the other end.  We made fun of her as well.

I sound a lot younger than I am and it has gotten me off the phone when solicitors call.  I just tell them my parents aren't home.

What do you like or dislike about your own voice?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Common Core Standards

Some of our state representatives in Oklahoma are pushing for the state to elect to eliminate or modify our participation in the implementation of theCommon Core Standards in Oklahoma.  Some see it as the government exerting more and more power over states.  

Like a lot of new concepts this one was derived from good intentions.  The idea is to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards-based education reform.  

That's great but like two states are alike.  Some states have more money available to education than others.  Some states, just by the nature of demographics, have more rural schools than others.   How is this a factor?  Well, in Oklahoma for example we have a lot of rural schools run by independent school districts.  Since one component of Common Core is that testing will be done primarily online.  These rural schools do not have the necessary IT capability nor the funds to implement.

Once again we are trying to cram every peg in the same shaped hole.  

One teacher, Bobbie Faulkner, who has nine years of teaching experience in Oklahoma  Had this to say, "Not all students are the same. They do not learn in the same way or share the same interests. Not all students will be able to think critically and understand concepts on a higher level. With the added stress of multiple assessments to be given throughout the course of a school year, we as educators are putting way too much emphasis on testing. Without a doubt, not all students are exceptional performers on tests! If these tests are supposed to reshape our future...wrong! We should not be teaching to the test, and it seems as if that is what it is coming too. These CCSS assessments are much more complex than the normal state standardized tests. Much more intensity added to them. Students already feel the amount of pressure these assessments impact on their lives. I see a lot more students being retained because they do not pass these higher academically assessments. Making class sizes larger and making the students older and more mature than other classmates. Having those older, mature students in the same class with younger and less mature students marks a red flag for me as a teacher in a middle school building. I can see problems arising socially, mentally, and physically. I also think that there will be a higher high school drop out rate because some students will not be successful as students and the complexity of the CCSS."

 One of the biggest concerns from teachers is how the test scores will be used to evaluate teachers.    This puts a lot of pressure on teachers and is probably the number one reason so many veteran teachers are leaving the field.

Why are we so determined to create a one size fits all educational system?  I just don't get it!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ghost stories

I told a story a while back about how after my father died I would go to bed at night and just after turning off the light I would feel the weight of something/someone sit on my bed.  I always thought it was the dog but I'd turn on the light and nothing was there.

Well, I had no idea just how many people have had similar experiences.  They are all over the internet.  It also surprised me to read that so many people were frightened by the experience.

It never frightened me.  In fact, it was a comforting experience.  It happened several times before I connected what was happening to my father.  Once I did then I really felt comforted and felt that he was there watching over me.

Over the years it has faded away and I've only felt it once in the past four years.  Maybe now that Ron and I are married my dad feels assured that I'm ok and no longer need him.

If you have ever had such an experience please comment.  I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Boo is back!

Our house guest has returned.  We picked Bella up last night and brought her back to our house.  She is obviously feeling much better because she put up quite a fight when it came time to take her medicine.  She is taking a bunch of liquid med. that is pretty easy to just squirt down her throat.  She doesn't mind the eye drops or the heart pill but there is one pill that no matter how you disguise it she refuses to take.  Ron is so tender hearted he doesn't want to force her so he monkeyed around with several concoctions before I finally took her and pried her jaws of steel open and poked the pill down......  She was NOT happy with me!  Ron gave me the same dirty look......just kidding... I said, "You better watch out...if you don't take your medicine I'll do the same thing to you big guy!

Ron really liked the idea of the train trip to San Antonio.  I don't know when we can go but we are definitely going to plan a trip as soon as we can.  My daughter's house should be finished by mid Sept. so Bella can go back home while we take a trip.  Maybe she'll take Mike in too!!!!!!  If I didn't need a break from him I'd take him with us.  That would definitely be an adventure. 

My latest Mike story..........he called me Wednesday and said, 

"Guess what!  I found some Walmart gift cards."  

Puzzled I asked him who gave them to him and he said, "Nobody".  

So where did you get them.....?

I found Walmart.

Where did you find them?

They were hanging up.....


By the cash register.............. They had birthday cakes, flags, flowers and all kinds of pretty pictures on them.

You can imagine the conversation that followed.  It took some convincing to get him to understand that Walmart doesn't just leave cards with money on them for customers to take.

Never a dull moment!!!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Bella came home last night but still has her IV pic.  The vet wanted to see her again today so she stayed with my daughter and son-in-law last night.  We went over and as soon as we walked in the room she was up and trying to get to Ron.  Her tail was just wagging away.....Ron and I just held her and stroked her while she gave Ron a tongue bath........sweet baby!  I felt a lot better after seeing her and I think she will be back with us tonight.  I totally think she will start eating better once she is home. She has an arsenal of meds to take and some of it she doesn't like.  I'm not worried, Ron can get her to do anything!

I've been checking out the Amtrak schedules to see what it would cost to ride the train somewhere.  The fares are very reasonable.  We could go from OKC to Ashland, Virginia for $425.00 round trip for two people.  The problem is it would take us 57 hours.  No sleeping compartment!  I'm not sure I'm up to that long a trip.  So.....may OKC to San Antonio, $74.00/two round trip.  I've never seen the Alamo so why not?  I'm ready for an adventure.......a short adventure!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We are still waiting to see if Bella gets to come home today.  She didn't eat yesterday and they won't let her leave until she does.  Ron is convinced that she isn't eating because she is in unfamiliar surroundings.  I sure didn't bargain for this....she stole my heart and now it is breaking.  I just want her to get better.

Last night I tried out a recipe that I got online for Cracker Barrel's hash brown casserole.  Ron loves the stuff and so I made it and it tasted exactly like what you get at Cracker Barrel.  Supposedly the recipe came from a former cook at the restaurant.  All the previous recipes I had found called for Cheddar cheese but this one said Colby.  Now let me preface this by's not that healthy but it sure is gooooood!

What you'll need:
2 lbs frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 (10.75oz) can Campbell's condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced or chopped fine
1/4 cup margarine, melted
2 cups (8 oz) Colby cheese, shredded or diced fine in a food processor
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine everything except the hash browns in a large bowl. Add in the thawed hash brown potatoes and mix well. Put into a 9"x13" baking pan and bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. 

The other day I was so disheartened to learn about the misuse of some of the funds collected after the May tornadoes that ravaged Oklahoma.  I personally know of money donated to the two schools destroyed by the storms that has been misused.  It really shakes your faith in people.  It amazes me how people justify their behavior and seem to have no ethical sense of right and wrong. I know of one teacher who teaches at one of the schools who has used money donated to rebuild his classroom who gave one of the $1000 Visa cards to his wife to purchase a new wardrobe.  They were not personally victims of the storms and she did not lose any of her clothing.  They also used some of the funds to build a shed in their backyard.  They are in their twenties and do not think this was wrong in any way.  I guess he identifies himself as a deserving victim by the fact he was a teacher in a school struck by the tornado.  The money should have gone strictly to rebuild the school and or for the students.  I have wondered if they are representative of an entitled generation.

Monday, August 19, 2013


About the first week in July my daughter sent one of her dogs to our house because of her kitchen renovation.  She sent Bella, aka Bella Boo, aka Bella Lagrosy.  You see Bella is their problem child.  She doesn't like their other two dogs and is nervous and scared of everything.  So they thought it would be easier on Bella and everyone concerned if she stayed with us until the kitchen is finished.

Bella hadn't been with us a week when we told Jamie we didn't think she was the same dog they had described.  At Jamie's house Bella just hides under the bed.  At their house she is terrified of storms.  At their house Bella won't let them hold her and she is not affectionate.

At our house she is fearless.  She loves to cuddle and no storm is a match for her.  I think this is one dog that just wants to be an ONLY dog.  She and Ron are now bonded!  She is ten years old and has a number of health issues.  She has an ongoing infection that makes her eyes tear excessively.  The infection also affects her gums so she has lost all her front teeth.  It also gave her bad breath. (hince the name Bella Lagrosy) She takes eye drops twice a day.  She has congestive heart failure and takes a pill for that.  She got expelled from the groomers because she wouldn't let anyone touch her.  She's a mess! 

But, she has stolen our hearts!  Ron and I are stupid crazy about this pitiful little dog.  She sleeps at the end of our bed and she just prances when Ron comes in the door.  She sits with me to watch tv and she's just as sweet as she can be.  The last time my daughter came by to see her she gave her a quick hello and then came back to sit beside me.  

Every evening Ron takes her for a ride in his car.  They usually end up at McDonald's where he gets her a plain hamburger.  No wonder she's such a happy camper!

But, this weekend we had noticed her cough had gotten significantly worse so Ron took her to her usual vet and they said she had congested lungs.  They gave her a prescription to get the fluid off and sent her home.  She threw up all over Ron on the way home and then twice again.  We went to get her prescription filled and by the time we got home she could no longer walk or stand up.  We then took her to an emergency clinic and they kept her over night.  They called to say she has pneumonia so she stayed again last night.  The last update was that her fever broke but she isn't eating.  My son-in-law will check on her this morning.

Oh how quickly our hearts are stolen by one of God's most loyal creatures!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Yummmmmmmm Cookies!

I remember the first time I bought a gift for a boyfriend.  I was fifteen and my boyfriend and I wanted to exchange gifts for Christmas.  My mother wasn't very keen on the idea but said OK but that the gift could not be too personal, no clothes, etc.  I finally got her to agree to men's cologne.  So I bought my boyfriend a bottle of English was popular in the 60's and I loved the smell.  I couldn't decide between English Leather and Brut.

Isn't funny how a fragrance can take us back in time and space.  If I were to smell a bottle of Ambush today I'd instantly be fourteen again.  A bottle of Jean Nate After Bath Splash and I'm a freshman in college.  Loved that stuff, especially in the summer just after a day in the sun.  Nothing better than a cool shower followed by Jean Nate to revive you.

I've had expensive colognes that no one ever commented on but twenty years ago I bought a cologne at Walmart that I still wear today.  I get complimented on it daily and I didn't have to rob a bank to purchase it.  It is Vanilla Fields.  My dentist told me one time, "Mmmmm you smell so good."  I told him what I was wearing and he said, "No wonder, you smell like my mama's sugar cookies". He said the scent of vanilla makes us remember our childhood.

I don't know if any of that is true but I know it must be a scent pleasing to most people because I sure get complimented on it.  My daughters think it just smells like mom! 

What was your signature scent as a teenager and what do you wear today?

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I took several weeks to just decompress and I can see it was well worth it.  I allowed myself to just NOT least when circumstances allowed me to disengage. 

The first thing I did was to take two weeks off work.  Even though Ron was unable to join me (due to just going back after his 6 week medical leave) I booked time with my daughters.  

We did makeovers one day, lunch another day, pedicures another and I helped them prepare their classrooms for the start of another school year. It was productive and time with my girls is always fun and time well spent.

The makeover was new for me.  Never did that before and I can say it was actually a lot of fun.  I felt silly at first having this twenty something trying to make a purse out of a sows ear but the overall affect was good.   I checked this off my bucket list of things to do.

The pedicure was the best........normally it is too up close and personal for me but dang it my feet hurt!  They felt a lot better after the massage.  This may become a regular thing for me. 

I also got my eyes examined not realizing I hadn't had an exam in over 3 years.  I thought my glasses were messed up and that's why I couldn't wasn't my glasses, it was my eyes.  Picked out new frames and presto......the world is clear again.

Now, I should have scheduled a colonoscopy  while I was off but frankly....I just didn't want to.  I'll save that for another day.  Although I really can't wait too much longer.

So, I'm feeling refreshed and renewed! 

I've been keeping up with some of my fellow bloggers and my prayers have been with Olga during her husband's hospital stay.  I know just how hard it is and only wish him a speedy recovery!