Friday, September 23, 2011

Ann Wrage and there IS a reason

Wyoming in the later '70's through the mid 80's was caught up in a surge of oil exploration and production. As happens in any "boom" area, jobs were plentiful and employees were scarce. A boom town will attract men that can't find a job any where else specially those on the run from the law or fresh out of prison with  job prospects nil.

The remainder of the workers were people seeking a better job then what they had in the states they left far behind.

Into the maelstrom we arrived to work this boom. Finding friends is usually a task that entails time. Not so in a boom town; most of us were there away from family and friends and everyone was open to making friends.

As follows all booms, a bust in the late '80's sent most of these workers scurrying to other areas of the United States; this town impacted with homes that couldn't be paid for and businesses that lost the major amount of their revenues from the people fleeing in search of jobs.

As we scattered to different states, connections were shattered and we drifted away from the friends we shared time with there.

The years have passed too quickly it seems. We were too busy to notice them flying by. Our jobs and children kept us busy and one day those children were grown and making their own lives while raising their own children.

One day a message is sent and received and an old friend has finally found their way to connect and that connection was accomplished by a search on Face book.

Once again, an old friend from Casper, Wyoming has wandered the web until a connection was made this week. She found me by doing a search for my daughter. She could remember her last name and as mine has changed since those years spent in Casper, the daughter's name was easier to find.

For future reference, I'll title this post with the name I used all those years ago in the hope that anyone searching for that person will find their way to this page and email me at

I'll do a Google search later to check to see if this page occurs when doing a search for Ann Wrage.

Here's hoping anyone searching for me will find me. I thoroughly enjoy reestablishing those connections for that time.

Fall, Too Early to be Struck down with a Cold

We have fall and what to most may appear to be summer temperatures in many parts of the country, to us, we are enjoying fall. Temperatures have plummeted to the mid to high 80's. The leaves on the trees have started peppering the ground. It's just a light dusting of leaves right now but it's a start.

Knowing that Carrie had a doctor's appointment today, I hurriedly started and finished my chores this morning then changed into "presentable in public" wear and met up with the daughter at her house.

Carrie rode shotgun in the roadster. She prefers riding in it then to riding in her mother's jeep. Our wait in the office was minimal. We were escorted to the Pooh room. Apparently this was Carrie's first time in this one and she was interested in all the Pooh characters that were stuck randomly over the lime green wall. All four walls were painted lime green. This is not a room that I would want to spend hours and hours in but for a 15 minute spree, it was enjoyable.

Soon the doctor appears. She is a small oriental woman. Barely 4ft tall, her head appears lower then Carrie's while Carrie was sitting on the exam table. I watched as she examined her little patient. Soon Carrie had the giggles and the doctor giggled along with her. Patient and gentle, she questioned Carrie about how she was feeling. Carrie was treated as a patient capable of answering her own medical questions. Occasionally the doctor would look to the mom for an answer before turning her attention back to Carrie.

Antibiotics were ordered and two days relief from school were suggested. No pneumonia and her lower lung lobes were clear. Hopefully, the next two days off plus the weekend and she will be right as rain by Monday.

Leaving the office, Carrie headed for the roadster. She requested going to my house and that's what we did.

A few hours passed before the daughter appeared with the medicines. She waited for the prescriptions to be filled before she came to collect Carrie. I don't even attempt to give Carrie her medicines. It takes sternness which is better doled out by her mother. Amidst tears and a small amount of gagging, Carrie got the liquid antibiotic swallowed and chased it with some ice water.

She will not go to school again on Friday but instead go to spend the weekend with her father. Four days to rest up before going back to school, we are hoping she spends those days getting rest and lots of naps.

I'm off to pull my bike out of the shed and do a few laps around the neighborhood. The weather is right and my legs need some exercising!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It is now at Croak Stage...

She woke but not by her own power. I slipped into the bedroom and started softly calling her name. It's 0630 and I expected her to come padding down the hallway as she does every school day. Today it was quiet so I entered her bedroom to wake her.

This should have been my first clue that something was amiss. She opened her eyes at my chanting her name and a smile didn't cross her lips. Another clue. She spoke in a raspy voice "Nana, my throat hurts."

I carried her to the sofa and moved on to the kitchen to get her a cold Popsicle. Carrie is under the weather. Sick. Not feeling "well".

"Carrie, let's stay home today. You're sick." I said to her.

"No Nana! I'm not missing school." she croaks.

I tried a few more times to convince her to stay home and she wasn't having any of it. Dressed in a red shirt and a navy blue skirt, she followed me to the car where she would be delivered to her bus stop.

Fast forward to 1500 hrs and Carrie alights from the school bus, her voice non existent. It was time for her mother to intervene. Carrie was kept home today and a doctor's appointment has been scheduled for 1100 hrs this morning.

I'll be going along for moral support and to offer comfort of the "Nana kind" should she want it.

It's time to get showered and dressed. I'm done here.

Happy Birthday Mom

September 22, 1918 was a big day in my life. It was the date of my mothers' birth which made it possible that I enter onto this earth one February day many years later.

Mom passed on December 1st, 1999. A part of me was lost on that day. Only our mothers and fathers know us all our lives. When they pass on they take the history known only to them of our entire life. I miss not having that person around. Who does one go to for answers now?

I can't ask about her ancestors; our ancestors. So many times occasions appear where I would like to phone mom and ask her some questions. All those stories she told, I should have recorded them. I should have taken pen and paper in hand and wrote what she said. I didn't and I regret it now.

The first three or four years after she passed away, I would think of something I wanted to ask her and reach for the phone only to remember I couldn't make that call.

Do we really ever get over the loss of a parent? We learn to live with it. Happy Birthday Mom. I miss you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Accompanied by An Adult

I thought I had it under control. I explained to Carrie the rules of the restaurant we were going to visit. She nodded her understanding of what I was saying and then proceeded to explain her point of view.

As 1500 hrs. approached, I gathered up the birthday invitations that were just spit forth from the printer and slipped them into an envelope to be delivered to the daughter. She showed up here last night with some decorative paper and a request. She wanted invitations conjured up and ready by today. I'm always amazed at how easy they think this is especially knowing that they are incapable of producing them. She flatters me with her confidence in my computer abilities.

Early this morning the phone rang and she asked if I had them done yet. Sighing and trying to not snap at her, I quietly explained that this would take some time. It took most of my day. I changed the picture, changed the font a few times, moved it around to fit the small space, changed the layout a few more times until I finally was satisfied with the product. I phoned her and told her I would pick Carrie up at the bus stop and deliver her and the invitations.

Of course this meant that Carrie was going to want to come home with me. We gathered up her clean uniform and her book bag and returned to the house.

A few hours later we got back into the car to go to dinner. A buffet was our destination. I explained to Carrie she was not to go to the buffet unless we were with her. She nodded then said
 "Nana, I've been here before and I know what to do."

She followed us around the buffet, up and down the aisles selecting what she wanted. I had cautioned her to not take big portions. We don't want to be wasteful.

Back at our table, she enjoyed the shrimp that had been prepared by boiling, stewing and rolled in coconut. The seafood selection is vast and Carrie enjoys anything that has spent time in the sea.

She wanted to visit the buffet again and I told her she would have to wait until one of us was ready to go back. The husband was ready before me and as she left the table with him I again warned her to be careful what she chose and how much.

All went well. We obeyed the rules of the restaurant that states "no children allowed to visit the buffet unsupervised."

Carrie wanted to know if she could have some ice cream after dinner. She had finished what she had put upon her plate so I agreed to go to the ice cream bar with her. She assures me she can get her own ice cream and proves it by knowing where the ice cream scoop sat in the container of water. Standing close by, I watched as she pulled the ice cream scoop from it's watery holder and slid back the glass door above the vats of ice cream. Chocolate,  vanilla, mint, strawberry and a few other flavors crowded the oblong freezer chest.

Carrie, with scoop in hand, buried it into the chocolate ice cream and pulled out a scoop which she emptied into the bowl she held. One more scoop pried from the vat and emptied into her bowl and then she placed the ice cream scoop in her mouth. I stood there watching her do this. It was done so quickly and without guile, I had no time to stop her. She grinned up at me as if to acknowledge the tastiness of the ice cream being licked from the communal scoop.

"NO! Carrie, you can't lick the spoon! Other people will be using it and they might get your cold!" I said as I relieved her of that scoop and began to wonder at how many other 5yr olds had licked that ice cream scoop.

Carrie looked at me as if she didn't understand my concern. I reminded myself that she is only five. Five year old children lick the spoon. It's part of the fun of baking or scooping ice cream. It's also the reason children must be accompanied by an adult when visiting the  buffet. Rules are made for a reason.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

S&S (Saturday and Sunday)

What a beautiful day here! Another few degrees lower and the temperatures will be just right.

Yesterday we went to the fountain down town and let  Carrie cavort in the water that gushed intermittently into 14ft sprays of water. Benches made of iron but covered in plastic to make them bearable to sit on surround the fountain. I would like to suggest they offer some sort of shade above these benches but for now we sit in full sunshine and it doesn't take long before we are encouraging Carrie to leave the water and head for the park.

Carrie packed a picnic lunch of ham sandwiches, pudding and drinks so she didn't mind leaving the fountain. 

We headed for Girard Park and the playground there. We enjoyed our lunch and then she headed for the gym set. When I had soaked up enough of the heat, I called to her to get ready to leave. She didn't argue. I think the heat is too much for her too and she was ready to find some air conditioning.

Today is football day. Chicken and sausage are simmering on the grill. Carrie is bouncing around the house chattering to whomever she is the closest to. We are having a mild Saturday and that's fine with all involved.

Earlier when I picked Carrie up we swung by the Sonic for an ice cream treat. We selected a plain vanilla cone of ice cream and then tried to lick the dripping melting ice cream as the wind swirling inside the car on the ride to the house melted it faster then we could keep up. Buying a cone while driving a convertible might not have been a wise move. Giggling, we hurriedly got back to the house and dumped the messy cone into a bowl where a spoon was used to slurp up the liquefied cone. Carrie is spending the night. Her mom has a date to go see  a movie.
0200 and Carrie is stumbling around the house calling for me. I call for her to let her know I'm in the master bedroom. She climbs into bed with me and says "Nanny, I hate to ask but my throat hurts."

"I'll go get you something cold to drink. It's alright. I don't mind." I say as I swing my legs out of bed and prepare to stumble into the kitchen for a cold Sprite. I poured it into a sip cup for her and headed back to the bedroom. She was restless so I loaded her on my back and we went back to her room where we crawled into bed. I tucked the sheets around her and kept very quiet until she drifted off to sleep which only took minutes.

She wasn't interested in going home today. Her mother called and insisted she return to her house so I handed her the telephone and let her receive the bad news first hand. I don't want to be the bad guy by telling her she has to go home.

The afternoon was spent watching football and Law and Order. I flip back and forth between the two and sometimes forget that I'm watching two things at once. A commercial appears and it reminds me it's time to change channels again.

Dinner will be take out from some where close to the house. The snacks of cheese poppers and fried cheese logs will hold us until dinner time.  I'm off to cruise the television channels and investigate a nap.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday and Fall is In the Air

The Jeep coughed and groaned and died. She needed a battery and a battery she got. The daughter's vehicle sputtered to a stop and would only roar with a set of jumper cables connected from it to the Grand Marquis. She is up and about and doing much  better. The daughter? Not so much. It appears that she had developed quite the head cold, the headache tremendous thanks to the sinus cavities that are overflowing.

I had Carrie spend the night relieving the daughter of the responsibility of getting up early this morning to get her off to school. I called to check on the daughter this morning but not early morning. It was almost noon and she sounded terrible.

Grabbing a can of chicken noodle soup, I headed to her house to administer medicinally the cure for the common cold. If not a cure, it's a signal of comfort to the sick.

While there I folded some laundry for her and left her to rest for the afternoon. I'll call later today to see if she wants Carrie to spend the night again.

The husband hadn't put away the pressure washer and before he did, I popped the hood on the Grand Marquis and did a little engine cleaning and used the air compressor to blow out the air cleaner. I'll work on the inside of the car tomorrow.

Night time temperatures are now in the high 60's and the next few days, a mid to high 80 is forecast and I couldn't be more thrilled. We are having some welcome fall weather. It's about time and truth be told, it's a bit early for us here to start cooling down. I'm not complaining and I won't be surprised at more hot days in the future. I'll enjoy what we have right now and be joyful.

I'm watching the LSU/Mississippi State ball game. I'm off to watch the finish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mustached Not

I stepped outside and into a sauna. The air was thick with steam; there was that much moisture in the air. Will fall ever get here? I've had quite enough of summer.

The flowers around the house look as beat down as I feel. I've neglected watering them and while I was out of town, the only water they received was when Irene came stumbling through.

An uneventful day spent doing mundane chores and an afternoon of naps until Carrie arrived. Her mother has contracted the same head cold Carrie has been dealin with this past week. I offered to have Carrie spend the night so the mom could sleep in tomorrow.

Carrie was hand delivered by her brother. She slowed down to say "hello" to me and continued on her journey to the bedroom to see her Poppy. I wanted to be around when she had her first look at him to watch her reaction. I missed it. She came rushing back to the living room squealing "Did you see Poppy?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked

"Nana, his moustache is gone!" she hisses.

"And what do you think?" I asked

"Well, he looks better! He looks younger!" she says.

What she doesn't tell me is what she said to him.

"Poppy, now you can get the hot chicks!" 

She makes repeated trips back to the bedroom to look at him. He shares with me later that when she first saw him, she backed up and was a bit frightened.

She strokes his upper lip and where the mustache was. And we thought she might not notice!

She is in bed now for her 9 hours of rest. I'm ready to join her. A little time with Dave Lettermen and it will be lights out for me too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Trip Back

The medium strip down the highway was scorched black, the land beside the highway had trees that lay smoldering and emitting spirals of blue smoke. The air hung heavy with the smell of a wood fire. Signs along the highway warned the motorists "Do Not Drive Through Smoke".

We were traveling though Texas and viewing what had been broadcast on the major news networks. The evidence of the fires were sporadic. Miles would pass before another patch of scorched ground was noted.

We have been in Oklahoma for the past week. The drought was noticeable; dust was everywhere. Most of the vehicles in town were smothered beneath a brown veil. Lawns were crisp and green was a scarce color. The trees have started to change from the green leaf of summer to the golds and oranges of fall  from the temperatures that have started to dip down in the evenings. 

Back in Lafayette, the husband spent the entire day cleaning the dust off his truck and getting it ready for his next trip. Most of my afternoon was spent preparing dinner. I had white gravy to make, potatoes to peel and whip and carrots to be candied. Fried chicken for an entree while macaroni and cheese was added to appease Carrie's appetite.

At 5 yrs of age..soon to be six, Carrie abhors vegetables. Late in the game of culinary training, the daughter has institued a new rule. Carrie must taste the vegetable being served. On this note, she placed one slice of a carrot on Carrie's plate and one slice on Ted's plate. Ted is 18 and he still sidesteps most vegetables but since Carrie has to have a taste, so must Ted.

We speared a carrot, all four of us. April sat with her carrot hovering on her fork close to her mouth while she did the count. A  one and a two and on three, the tears poured down Carrie's face. I had already swallowed my carrot and Ted quickly popped his onto his tongue. I didn't notice a chewing motion and I suspect he swallowed it whole. Meanwhile Carrie gazes at her mother, hiccouphs from the sobbing and begs to be excused. "I'm not hungry." she sobs. I bow my head and try to stay out of this skirmish.

"It's one slice Carrie! Now put it in your mouth and taste it." encourages April.

The tears continue to flow. She places a small piece of the carrot on her tongue and gags. It might be too late to start vegetable training on Carrie.

The daughter backs off and Carrie calms down a bit. A few minutes pass and she softly asks for more macaroni and cheese. Brave little girl?

"No, you can't have any, now finish your chicken." the daughter remains adamant on not offering more of her favorite food. While she talks to Carrie, I spear a piece of pasta from the daughter's plate and transfer it to Carrie's plate. She quickly pops it in her mouth and says "Nana, can I live with you?"

April lets this slide. I know when I've pushed to my limit. We change the subject from food tasting to Carrie's day at school. Carrie's eye lids are drooping. I can see the fatigue creeping in. It's time for her to go home for her bath and the bedtime that is getting close. 0600 comes early and the little girl will need her 9 hours of rest. I'll clear the table take care of the dishes. A kiss from Carrie and she follows her mother to the Jeep. A last wave and she is gone.

Tomorrow will be another day and another vegetable, and more tears. I'll take a rain check on watching. Maybe veggies aren't all THAT  important in the grand scheme of things. I know watching her pain at the thought of having to eat them is something I don't want to do again.

I'm settled into bed for some TV. That's my day. No complaints and  I'm done!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bartlesville or Frank Phillips Town

Tomorrow we head back to Lafayette. This job that was scheduled for 10 days was completed in three. The client is impressed. We are impressed with this little town of 35,000 Okies. Rolling hills make up the landscape here. This part of Oklahoma escaped the flat lands of the southwestern part of the state. We are 40 miles north of Tulsa and not that far from the Kansas border. That means snow happens here and a lot of it.

There will be more jobs here but the husband may decide to not return especially if it's in the winter and there is snow on the ground which means the air will be cold. He shys away from cold temperatures. I have the same aversion to hot air.

We had dinner again at Murphy's Steak House which is really not a steak house at all. This little diner is situated on a back road far from the main drag and had it not been for the client alerting us to it's location, we would never have had the pleasure of dining there.

The street to this diner meandered through a neighborhood, past fields with abandoned pump jacks and on into a commercial area that had seen better days.

The building has a walk up window where a short line waited to pick up "to go" orders. A sign in front announced proudly it was the home of the famous "Hot Hamburger."  Apparently this has made it's way into culinary magazines hence it's popularity. The first night there, we had to have the "Hot Hamburger". A hamburger steak on a slice of bread hid beneath a mound of hand cut french fries smothered in homemade brown gravy. It was awesome. The next night's dinner was at a Mexican food restaurant, again recommended by the client.  Tonight, our last night in this town, we returned to Murphy's Steak House where the husband had the "Hot Hamburger" again and I had the chicken fried steak smothered in homemade white gravy, mashed potatoes and corn. This place has quickly become our favorite place to eat and apparently most of this town covets this place too.

The booths line up around the edges of the walls are red vinyl with two more rows of booths back to back down the middle of the room. Grey and black gingham curtains adorned the windows, while vinyl tiles covered the floors. Everything was clean and orderly. A coffee bar broke up the line of booths along the wall. Silverware and napkins shared the space beside the coffee pots. All the wait staff wore t-shirts that said "covered in gravy". Gravy seems to be the catch word in this place.

 The atmosphere is casual, the wait staff very friendly and accommodating. I wasn't sure about ordering the chicken fried steak and the waitress noticed my hesitancy. Soon she reappeared at our table with a small dish containing a portion of chicken fried steak with cream gravy for me to sample. Have I mentioned how friendly the people are here? I ordered the chicken fried steak and it was delicious. No instant potatoes here. All country cooking prevails and the patronage reflects it. It has been said that this diner is always busy.

After dinner we did a little tour around town. I'll post the picture of Frank Phillips' home on this blog when I get back to my own laptop. I'm using the hubby's laptop and I'm not impressed with it's ability to let me download pics to it's picture folder.

Fields were passed with deer grazing alongside the cattle. Huge mansions settled among the rolling lawns, portico's with giant white columns decorated the homes with their well kept lawns. This is an oilfield town that has seen many booms and busts. The Frank Phillips I've mentioned earlier is the Phillips in the "Phillips Petroleum" company. This is his home town. Streets and hospitals carry his name and the locals are proud of this famous son and all he has done for this town.

I'm going home tomorrow. I'm hoping we get to return here again soon. I've lived in Oklahoma a few times but the towns I lived in were in the southwest corner and that's tornado territory. This has been my first opportunity to spend a little time in the northern part of the state.

I'm off to slip into a pair of pajamas and watch the Cowboys and the New York Jets determine who is the better of the two on the football field.

I'm ready to go home and sleep in my own bed for a few days plus it's time to do some laundry and see Carrie Lane.

I'm done!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Home and Gone Again

We got home, unpacked, loaded the washer with the laundry from the past week and I headed for the shed to get the lawn tractor. Racing around, I mowed the front and back and cranked up the weed eater to do the trim work. The husband says "Hey, slow down. We are not going any where." I nodded at him and kept moving. The following day was spent indoors cleaning floors, stripping the bed and doing more laundry.

Late on the second evening of being home, the husband's phone chimes and I listen as he talks to a client. He hangs up the phone, turns and says to me "I'm leaving tomorrow for Oklahoma. Are you going?"

And here we are in Bartlesville, Oklahoma after a 10 hr drive. I'm sequestered in a Holiday Inn with the option to rent a car should I feel the need. The back of this hotel adjoins a mall. There will be small restaurants where I can have lunch. I have my iPad, internet access, a pool and a weight room. Coffee is served 24 hrs. a day.  I'll be fine. I'm off to get showered and dressed and go exploring.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Leaving for Lafayette

The husband's job has finished up here in Shreveport and we will be heading back to Lafayette today. I'm ready to go home. The temperature this morning is 57 degrees and I'm ecstatic. Tolerating the heat of the day would be so much more bearable if we could look forward to those temps plummeting after the sun goes down. August doesn't accommodate unfortunately.

Each day I have flown out of the hotel and went site seeing and exploring this town. I've become comfortable with navigating around Shreveport and Bossier City. The GPS is my insurance that I will be able to find my hotel once my traipsing around is done.

We've visited the casinos and dined out. The shopping I did on my own.

The husband is packing suitcases to his truck; I'm outta here to collect my things and get ready to hit the road!

See ya in Lafayette.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Kewl! Kewl! and Cool!

I loaded up the roadster with a suitcase and makeup case and tossed them onto the passenger seat and headed out. I'm bound for Shreveport, Louisiana. Shreveport sits beside the Red River, a town largely owing it's growth to the riverboat casinos.

My room at the Holiday Inn is on the fourth floor and faces the river. From here I can see the casino hotels rising tall, the park that attracts the bike riders to the paths and the children to the fountains.

I've spent the past two days exploring. The husband leaves for the location every morning at 0400 and I sleep in until 0700. Dressed in Capri's and t shirt, I invade the coffee shop for a pot of brew and some breakfast. A leisurely breakfast doesn't quite cover all that time I spend in the dining room. I catch up on online stuff on my iPad and sometimes a few telephone conversations on the iPhone.

The weather outside is positively balmy today. A nice wind and an overcast sky allows me to ride around in the roadster with the top down until a slight sprinkle of rain on the windshield gives me warning to pull over to the side of the road to raise the top. We are getting the effects of TS Lee that is whipping S.W. Louisiana with heavy rains and winds. I'm grateful for the cooler temperatures here. The rain is beading on the floor to ceiling windows and gathering to slide down in streaks of wetness. I don't plan on going back out again this afternoon. It's time to turn on the television and turn off the computer and watch a movie until sleep becomes my partner.

I'm done for a while and I'm gone!