Saturday, December 30, 2006

Going to the Chapel

We were guests at a wedding last night. It was a fun, festive time - quite a sizeable wedding. We are long time friends of the Bride’s family, and as such, I had access to the bridal “getting-ready” room. I walked in, and the Bride was beaming, beautiful, and in control. The Bride’s Sister, the maid of honor, beautiful in her own right, was crying and smiling. Dad of the Bride wiped his own tears while calmly managing all the emotions of the women in his household. Mom of the Bride was teary, smiling, organized and checking her list twice, all the while, hugging and kissing her girls and her husband. The young Flower Girl and the Bride’s attendants were absolutely lovely, smiling and ready. Flower Girl is the youngest daughter of another couple who, in their youth, actually introduced the parents of the Bride to each other – and this young Bride has been practically raised like an older sister to this little Flower Girl. The young Ring Bearer, nephew of the Groom, was gorgeous, in that polished and prepared manner that 6 year old little men carry about them. With quiet dignity, Ring Bearer was even carrying (gasp!) a teddy bear, to which the wedding rings were secured.

At once, the time was nigh. Everyone glided into place. The beautiful Bride sprayed her hair once more, then did some goofy stuff while I took pictures, just biding time while everyone else arrived at their appointed places.

Mom stops me from going to take my seat. “Janie, will you please make sure the train of her dress is just right as her Daddy walks her down the aisle?”

I am honored – not only to hold the train of her dress, but to know this family. How long have I known this young lady – since before she was two or three? I can’t remember not ever knowing she and her sister. These girls captured my heart from the first time I ever saw them. I’ve watched them grow and mature into beautiful young ladies. I’m aging myself here, but you get it - we’ve walked beside this family, and enjoyed their friendship, for many years.

The wedding march begins. The Bride, beaming up at her Daddy, takes his arm and floats out of the room. The train of her dress is straight and flowing freely. She proudly, beautifully, walks up to her Groom, himself a man of excellence. He awaits her, elegant in his military uniform, smiling at his Bride. The wedding is performed. As the pastor prays over the couple, the Bride and Groom face each other, and their foreheads touch throughout the prayer. The kiss is one of those extended ones, inspiring subsequent whooping and laughter.

MLH nudges me, and I slip out of my seat, readying myself to take some more candid shots during the couple’s walk down the aisle. The Bride and Groom walk past me as I snap some shots. I remained focused on the walkway, and through my zoom lens, I see the Flower Girl as she’s coming down the aisle behind the Bride and Groom. She is openly sobbing. This little one runs straight into my arms, and I’m having to encourage her to breathe, to calm down, that it’s all right – by now, tears streaming down my face, as well. I’m a little taken aback - and then I get it. The Bride and Groom will soon be stationed outside the U.S., come March. At some point during the wedding, Flower Girl added up the sum of the parts, and everything has come to light. Moments pass, and the Bride realizes what’s going on. Quickly, little Flower Girl is enveloped in the arms of the Bride and calmed down.

The Flower Girl’s dad had grilled steaks and chicken, and a most excellent supper was served. After pictures, the Bride danced the first dance with her Groom. Then, the Bride danced with her Dad. Both father and daughter cried. Beautiful. The Groom danced with his mom. And then, the band really rang out, and a wedding party ensued. The parents danced. Couples danced. Little kids danced. The garter and bouquet were thrown and caught.

As we are readying to leave, the Bride and Groom see us, and grab MLH and I. We are ushered back into the bridal ready room, and the door is shut behind us. The Bride looks at us, as only she can, and asks us to pray over them. We were humbly honored. We pray for them, speak blessings over them, hug them, and walk out to the parking lot.

It was a beautiful night for a wedding. the House...

It’s a beautiful day in West Texas…cold and crisp, with blue skies and the sun trying to push aside the gray clouds. Diffused light pours into the living room through the shutters. I’ve been visiting with a girlfriend on the phone, just laughing, sharing stories, and seeking the Lord about some matters.

It’s the Saturday of a long weekend. Part of me doesn’t even want to get dressed and get going. My husband is way west, working on one of the leases. One of our good friends is finalizing the tail end details of our duplex renovation, and insists he doesn’t need my assistance. A long list of errands and chores keep pulling at me. But Zack, our wonder dog, lays beside my chaise lounge on his big chair, sighing, snuffling and finally, snoring.

James Taylor softly croons in the background.

It’s peaceful around here.

I’ll get out and go do those errands… tomorrow.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Get You Some Happyness!

Happy anniversary to us! We’ve had a great couple of days since last post. Our anniversary was yesterday – we ran a few errands, went to lunch. Then we met friends at the new Will and Jaden Smith movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. Later, we went to one of our favorite restaurants, the Garlic Press. If you’ve not visited the GP, please give it a try. The food is awesome. We had a delightful afternoon, and evening, with each other, and with friends.

Back to “Happyness”…we liked this film, a lot. The story deals with the daily ins and outs of a strong father-son relationship inundated with hardship. Mom leaves, dad and son have to go it alone. Hard things. Eviction. IRS garnishment. Stout stuff singly – much more as a parent.

MLH and I both have been married previously, so a lot of things hit home. But if I were giving a review, I’d say, “Hie thee unto the theatre – post haste!” Will Smith is an excellent actor…but little Jaden steals this film. He is such a natural.

Usually, I’m a sucker for a film like this…but yesterday, I was not alone. The almost full theatre spontaneously erupted in applause at the end of the movie.

Go! Buy tickets. Buy popcorn. Watch all the trashy pre-movie stuff (or visit with your friends.) Then, sit back, and enjoy.

You might just learn to spell happyness in a whole new way.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Children

Meet Roxy, at age 3 1/2 weeks.

Christmas Day around our house (or, I should say, not much time spent at our house) was an eventful day. Big family = big day, made successful only by major coordination. Elder Son played guitar Christmas Eve in a church in O’Donnell, Texas, and then spent the night there. ETA our house scheduled for 11 a.m. Younger Son had early Christmas morning breakfast and packages at his mom’s house, ETA same as Elder Son.

Due to circumstances beyond their control, neither son made it on time. TTA (true time of arrival) was around 12:30 p.m. for both, leaving us exactly 30 minutes to open packages, enjoy, and load up and go to the in-laws’ house for lunch. Younger Son received a new American Deluxe Telecaster for Christmas, and MLH received a new Fender deluxe tube amp…so, out came the cords & guitars, all three of my guys plugged in, and started jamming. I had to grab the camera, because times like that demand preservation.

Needless to say, we were about twenty minutes late to Mom’s. Another couple was running late, so all was good. We had a great time visiting with family and friends, and time just sped by.

It was time to head to my brother’s house in Big Spring! We left town at 4:20 p.m., and had supper there. Mexican dinner – green beef enchiladas, homemade tamales, and homemade salsa – it doesn’t get any better than that, unless maybe
you were with Eric.

Then we had our crazy stocking exchange game, which was fun. And then…we adults bowled with my nephews’ new Nintendo WII system. Toys are for…adults! My brother and my husband made huge fun of my bad bowling form…they were agreeing on things such as “Janie bowls with the WII just like she bowls for real – she walks up to the line and chunks the ball.” Whatever, men!! I bowled strikes! Form, schmorm…it’s the score that counts, right!

And then, Elder Son begs us to go help him pick out two pups from a litter of pups
Zack, our German Shorthair Pointer, fathered. MLH is really gifted at choosing hunting dogs, and Elder Son wanted to tap his expertise. It is cold and MLH has been a little under the weather; however, choosing hunting pups is important. So, at 8pm, we head to Coahoma. By flashlight, five fat-bellied bird dog pups attack us, tumbling over our shoes, each other, and chasing shoelaces. They are so cute! We pick two, and Elder Son loads them in his pickup, headed 3 hours north to his deer lease. No crates, no box, just leashes, collars, and puppy food. (By phone, I had tried to ready him early Christmas Eve, advising him what to buy while PetSmart was still open.) He thinks he’s prepared, “Mom, I’m good, I’ve got it handled.” MLH and I look at each other, smiling while skeptical. We head back to Midland with Younger Son.

An hour later, Elder Son’s called us at least four times. He’s coming into Post, after stopping numerous times – one of the pups is carsick. He’s stopping at a car wash to clean it all up. It’s going to be a long night for this young man. MLH and I look at each other and smile. Parenthood. It’s good Elder Son learns it now. We get back to Midland, and go to bed. At 11:16 p.m., I’m asleep. My phone rings, jarring me awake. It’s Elder Son again – half scared, half-adrenaline.

“Mom, I just hit a huge buck. I’m good, Mom. Really. My truck’s okay, the pups are okay, but the deer is dead.” Thank God for front replacement bumpers. I hate it that the buck had to die that way, but I’m thankful the Elder Son’s okay. He’s about 30 minutes from the deer lease, and the puppies (now named Roxy and Rusty) have settled down and are sleeping.

Tuesday update: Roxy and Rusty are doing well, eating and traveling well. Elder Son said whenever they’re on the ground, they’ve got their noses down, hunting. Roxy already went on a hard point. Elder Son is very excited about these dogs and their hunting ability. Boys and pups are now heading into Lubbock for their first vet check, shots, and … dog crates.

It was a great Christmas. I’m thankful – for the gift of Jesus, and family, and pups...and front replacement bumpers.

Who knows?

Why do I read blogs?

My husband says I read blogs to calm down after a hard day’s work. I don’t know about that, but I’m open. Many of you write really well and I enjoy reading your words and hearing about your lives (May be an element of curiosity?). Many times, I read about the most newsworthy things on your blog. I’m not good at TV (though I do miss Katie Couric on the Today show, when I left late enough to see it…), and I love to read a good book. But why do I read blogs? I’ll have to think about it, and I’ll get back to you.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Different View on Bird Hunting

Meet Zack! Zack is one of the joys of our lives. He is a loving, caring dog, who is definitely tuned into the habits of birds. He will climb a tree in search of a bird - and it is a daily ritual when he's home, and not in training! He is usually well-mannered, but is high-spirited by nature (I think I just contradicted myself). He loves to run. Loves people. Loves all dogs. Has never met a stranger. Loves to take stuffed animals apart by the seam (with his teeth and without tearing the fabric, and totally remove all their innards…but if he can get the squeaker out of the toy, he’s done.). Thanks to MLH, Zack loves, loves, loves ice cream sandwiches.

In the field, the Zackster’s in a totally different zone. The boy is all business. We tease our trainer that Zack does not even blink his eyes when he's "at work". The boy goes on hard point and holds until given the word. Shoot a pheasant, quail, or chukkar? Zack will bring it to you totally intact and lay it in your hand. Miss your shot? He gives you a look like, "I can't believe you did that!"

And yes, that is...his chair.

What Movie Is Your Christmas Most Like?

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Christmas Story
Loving, fun, and totally crazy.Don't shoot your eye out!
What Movie Is Your Christmas Most Like?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Tipping - extra, or not?

I've been running around all day, delivering gifts to our adopted families, picking up stuff (including homemade tamales – yum!!) for the Christmas celebrations at my brother's, then my other mother's. Running other errands, as well, I've going non-stop since early this morning. Heading up to the hospital to visit my son's paternal grandmother, who fell early yesterday morning and broke her hip (prayers coveted!).

And I'm wondering…

What are your thoughts on holiday tipping and/or gifts for those that are in the personal service industry? For example, your hairdresser, barber, nail technician, housecleaner, car wash guy, etc.? What if they own their own business?

Do you:

1) Give them a small gift or a cash bonus for the Christmas season?

2) Or do you tip your stylist throughout the year? (BTW, 15-20% tip is still the norm, from the little research I've done)

3) Or do you tip throughout the year, and give a gift at Christmas, as well?

I'm off and running again - but, I'd love to read your comments!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Have ya been to the iFest?

The iFest is short for The Houston International Festival

This year, it is scheduled for the last two weekends in April, and is spotlighting China - an ancient and future celebration. Last year, the iFest spotlighted Jamaica.

Lucinda Williams, prolific songwriter and singer, is scheduled to perform at this year's iFest at the Texas Stage on April 29th, 2007. I've not seen the entire lineup, but I know one thing - the musicians of my house will want to be present!


Vacation? (Sounds of Belinda, Jane, Charlotte, Gina, and Kathy ringing through my head.)

Do you find you've unused vacation at year end? No? I concede defeat - you are more intelligent than…moi! Every year, I say "Never again!" So, I tried to schedule all my days for the end of the year.

It's not working. And I'm not the only one, according to
this article.

Supposedly, I've been "taking vacation" since the 15th of December. Today is the 20th. I've been at the office every day, generating proposals, making calls, responding to e-mails. I'm still scheduling my customer appointments, with the exception of tomorrow, when I'll head north to Lubbock with my friend Lisa.

This has been an extremely active year in all facets of the Oilpatch. I'm not the only one with vacation days unused. Those drilling rigs don't stop punching holes just because someone needs a vacation. At the current price of oil and gas, we might see a slight decline, but all indicators say busy, busy, busy. I'm an excellent time manager…and I'm keeping lists of my lists. Thank God for my
Franklin Covey Plan Plus program. I've used it for years, and it promises to help me "Get Organized. Focus on Priorities. Accelerate Productivity." I'm ready.

Hats off to the Midland Robert E. Lee High School Orchestra – they did all my Christmas wrapping this year, and did it well! Jordan G. and crew came out to my Yukon, picked up the presents, took them into the mall, wrapped them, and called me on my cell to inform me the 30+ packages were ready (we adopted families through Salvation Army). I called them when I arrived back at the mall, Jordan and crew came back out, packages in hand, and loaded them in my truck. Now that, people, is service! If you need some wrapping done, take your things to the mall. They're in the JC Penney's court, directly in front of Dillard's (Men & Juniors) store.

Merry Christmas shopping to each and every one! I'm heading north…to Lubbock.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Need a laugh?

At anytime, Tracy's camera may be confiscated by her brother. Check out one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while!

Dakota's Quik & Rowdy Zack

And he sleeps…

It’s been a long day. We were in the oilpatch until late last night, and Zack (our GSP) was relegated to our back yard. We both worked late today, and Zack was exultant when I opened the gate. And what a welcome is Zack's!

He jumped the gun a little coming into the house. Usually, Zack is a perfect gentleman, waiting until I cross the threshold of the door, and then coming in only when I invite him. Good PetSmart puppy obedience training!

I had to play a little fetch (yes, inside) to calm him down. He ate a bit, brought me his green frog, played, then it was time to snuggle. We’re on our bed, waiting on MLH to arrive home. When Zack hears that Ford Powerstroke dieseling up the drive, he’ll repeat the entire routine again – because he’s got us both fooled that each of us is his chosen master!

For now, our beautiful boy snores…loudly.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jerrie's Café – Kermit, America

Today, friends scheduled to go with us to visit one of MLH's leases. We left our house about 6:20 a.m. to go pick them up. We were supposed be there 6 a.m., but Zack, our GSP, heard the truck running, and assumed we were going hunting. Zack promptly went outside, and parked himself by the open door of the truck, ready to assume his position. He would not move. He looked at us like, "Where are your guns?" We finally got Zack coaxed back in to the yard, and left.

Picked up our friends, stopped by Starbucks, and headed west towards Mentone and beyond. Our plans were to stop at the Town and Country at Kermit, get breakfast as well as a Subway sandwich for lunch, and head on out to the lease. As soon as we get out of Starbucks, we are enveloped in a heavy fog all the way to Kermit, Texas.

Our timing was such that we hit the Kermit Town and Country simultaneously with the later oilfield crowd, stocking up for breakfast. And we couldn't get the deli help to pay attention to us at the Subway counter. After a little discussion, I asked MLH to go inquire about any breakfast restaurant that might be open on Sunday in Kermit.

Their reply? Jerrie's Café. My heart leapt! This is a place I frequent when we get through with our big frac jobs at Mentone. It might be 4 p.m. when we're released to come eat lunch, but they're always ready to serve us. My crew loves eating there, the food is great, and it's always fun. The wait help is oilfield-friendly. We can come in wearing our coveralls and steel-toes and it's no problem. Jerrie's is a biker bar by night, café by day. We grabbed snacks for later, and hopped back in the truck, planning to do a late lunch in Pecos on the way home. We headed a couple of blocks west, to sample Jerrie's breakfast fare.

We walk in, grab a table. I'm the only one of us four that's ever been to Jerrie's. There's already quite a crowd there, and they are wondering who the heck we are – it's obvious we're not locals. The air is thick with smoke…and Jerrie is wearing jeans, shirt, her flannel robe, and her fuzzy slippers. My traveling companions are decidedly curious, but they go with the flow. A lovely young lady comes to our table, takes our drink orders, and gives us menus.

A second later, I am laughing out loud. On the menu, there are things like:


Suicide Burrito
(or just tell me what you want)


Omelet with meat (your choice)
Pain in the A** Omelette
(or just tell me what you want)

I ask our waitress, "What's a suicide burrito?"
"Whatever the cook decides to put in there, depending on his mood." she replies.

And, I fall for the second one…"What about the Pain in the A** Omelet?" She just looks at me and grins.

I can only imagine. We all order pretty traditional breakfasts.

About that time, we realize that Jerrie is in a confrontation with one of the locals. She's teasingly harassing him, I think, but quickly, he gets up to leave. About that time, she starts clapping, and says, "Hey, y'all, ***** is leaving, yeahhh!" All the locals join her in clapping, and she kind of pushes him out the door.

About 10 minutes later, Jerrie gets back up from her table, and goes into the kitchen, and comes back out with a baby bottle about half full with coke, or coffee, or something. She delivers it to another table inhabited by two grown men, with a smart remark about no whining. She says, "I got in at 5 a.m., I do not want to hear it." They duck their heads, but they're smiling. Who knows?

Our breakfasts are delivered, and they are delicious. We've had an entertaining morning. We finish, pay the check, and head west. It's going to be a great day!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Thinking back over the last week, we've had a pretty full Christmas social season.

Last Saturday was crazy – an 8am 'til noon "Christmas with Santa" with our Big Brothers Big Sisters kids, then a wedding at 2pm, another wedding at 2:30pm, party following, then another Christmas party at 6pm. The rest of the week followed suit, with a function almost every night and sometimes two.

But this Saturday night's party seemed different from the onset. It was hosted by a lovely family that I met some years back, as customers. Our relationship has since grown into friendship. The mix of people attending the party was absolutely perfect. Some, we met for the very first time. Some were co-workers. Some were customers, and yet others, peers.

MLH and I milled about and visited for a bit, enjoying the elaborate fare. Then, one of the hosts gained the attendees' attention, welcomed us all, and started the party off with a prayer.

Personally, I've prayed many a time before I enter an event like this – for favor, just asking the Lord to be with me, etc. That probably sounds weird, but, hey, the oilfield can be a tough place – and I'm definitely one of the few women in this industry. (Thank God for my supportive husband!)

Somehow, tonight was different. MLH & I knew that there would be people there we did not yet know, of course – and that's always a little intimidating. We also knew we were supposed to be there, at this party – kind of a divine appointment thing.

We walked in the door and were welcomed with hugs and kisses. Immediately, MLH ran into one of his earliest clients as an independent in his 23-year career, and their relationship was renewed. Through another introduction at the party, and a subsequent anecdotal story, I saw a young man's father honored in front of many. And yet another man approached my husband, asking him to do some consulting for him. It was a very special night…and it only got better. I think it is all because the hosts had already determined to honor the Lord, before the party ever even kicked off, before the prayer was ever uttered.

On the way out the door, I told another of the hosts, "Have a merry Christmas." And he said, "We will. Y'all will, too, 'cause you know what I know about y'all? I know that y'all know the true Reason for this Season."

We do know. Yet, we are thankful to be reminded.

What's In A Name?

What's in a name? Everything!

After many months and days of contributing to blogs, I've finally taken the plunge. The decision had already been made, probably from my first contribution to Eric's blog, what, a year ago? All along came the encouragements from all my favorite bloggers, i.e. "Go ahead, Janie, blog!", and many e-mails and questions and answers traded back and forth between bloggers and myself.

But. I'd. Not. Thought. About. A. Title. For. My. Blog.

Now, that's planning ahead.

Well, to my credit, I didn't think I'd start the blog until after the first of the year - when hopefully, we would be through the holiday party cycle, the duplex would be finished, all my end of the year reports at work would be submitted in a timely fashion, hunting season would be over, the sporting clay season would not have yet started, blah, blah, blah.

("Oh, ye of little patience," she mutters to herself.)

So, last night, I started the process of setting up the blog. And then I found I had to name the thing! Worked on it for about an hour, or three. Wrote down all these possibilities, all the while checking on availability. Ran into the bedroom to vet the choices to MLH, who promptly said, "Janie, not now, honey!" and turned over and went back to sleep. Bummer. In the process, I woke up our beautiful solid liver colored 3 year old GSP, Zack, who promptly took the opportunity to go outside - and it was what, 44 degrees? Ah, well, y'all know the drill.

Well, I'm here. I've taken the plunge. Chosen a name. Created a baby template that should mature as I learn this game. Hopefully, I can live up to the demands of posting regularly and well, all the while having fun and creating some enjoyment for others.

Zack and I are heading up to the duplex to check on Stephen (and progress of the duplex renovation!)

Have a lovely, blessed day today!