Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's!

Wow. I’m finally feeling better. We delayed our trip to FW until the 26th because I had the flu or some type of respiratory stuff, which has continued in some form or the other, until today. I have been ingesting huge quantities of Emergen-C and taking a Wellness Formula herbal defense complex…I just couldn’t stand to go back on antibiotics. (I had just finished a regimen less than 2 weeks ago.)

A lot of it is probably just exhaustion – we have now been enjoying a much needed rest. The day after we arrived, we drove to Shreveport to the casinos, then came back and had lunch with my cousin Kristy at Longview. Last night, we drove to Dallas and had supper with some friends at a new restaurant called Cuba Libre. That was fun, and the food was amazing!

Tonight, we’re schedule to eat supper at the Chophouse Restaurant and then, attend the Robert Earl Keen concert at the Bass Performance Hall with our friends from Lubbock, John and Suzan and their daughter Becky. Tomorrow, we hope to entice our friends Mike and Pam into the mix, and just gad about town, shopping, going to museums, whatever we can stir up. Later in the afternoon, Younger Son should be coming into town, hopefully fresh and rested (snark!) from a Reckless Kelly concert in Gruene, Texas.

Later that night, you will find us all in Arlington, at the house of a friend of Mike and Pam’s, where a bunch of guys will play their bagpipes and pipe in the New Year. That will be a first for me, and I’d bet, for the rest of my crew, as well. New Year’s Day, ten of us will meet at the The Worthington Renaissance, our Fort Worth hangout, for a sumptious New Year’s Day brunch.

And within that schedule, there will be lots of fellowship and napping. What a way to end a holiday season!

If I don’t post again until after the 1st, y’all have a safe Blessed and Happy New Year! God bless you, each and every one!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Name That View

Regionally appropriate prize to the winner. Correct answer must be somewhat specific...have fun!

UPDATE: Lone Chatelaine is the Winner - she guessed Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas, with the Dome being the Casa Manana theatre! So, girl, send me your info and I'll get your prize out to ya! (Since I've not yet figured out what the regionally appropriate prize is, do ya have any wishes?)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Past....

Christmas Breakfast recap – it was good, fun, and we had way too much food. Bob and Cherie were here, as well as our friend Bud and Younger Son. I was feeling rough, but made it through. After everyone left, I went straight to bed and stayed there all day. This morning, I’m feeling a wee bit better – enough to run to the chiropractor for an adjustment. That always helps!

We’re getting ready to pack the vehicle and head east to Fort Worth. We delayed our trip because I was feeling bad – but we’re moving on, now. Zack the Wonder Dog wasn’t quite up to par, either, and MLH took he and Zoie the Wonder Pup to the vet. For those of you who wonder what happens when we go out of town, our friend Bud stays at our house with Zack and Zoie. Bob and Cherie are going to come take them for their daily walks, so that will be good. It’s good to have friends who are willing to help out so we can get away for a much-needed vacation.

On our way east, we’ll stop at my brother’s house to see them. I’m looking forward to seeing my brother and sister-in-law and the boys. This is the first Christmas I can remember that we didn’t go to their house or to my Mom’s for the day. I’m pretty sure their boys have never been away from their home on Christmas except for the time we all went on the Christmas cruise, plus, now they now get to enjoy their beautiful little grandgirl on Christmas. I think that’s an admirable way to raise your sons. My brother and sister-in-law definitely understand the concept of family and traditions – they so get it.

Anyway, hope y’all had a Merry Christmas! We’ll soon be eastward bound. If I don’t blog again before the New Year (no promises!), y’all have a blessed 2008!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It's Christmas Eve...

Today, we slept in…for once. We went to breakfast with Younger Son, then finished the last minute shopping. We had a great day. And tomorrow will start a new tradition at the Sounding Forth house. We are staying at our house for Christmas! In all our married years, we have never done that - not even once! And sometime after Christmas breakfast with our kiddos and some friends, at our leisure, we will head to the DFW area to chill out for the rest of the year, and celebrate our anniversary. We need some time off - and we're going to take it! We'll spend some much needed time together, and also, visit some friends.

Many of your have asked for new shots of the Zoie-girl. Here’s a pix of Miss Zoie in November…

And today. She’s grown so much! She and Zack are hilarious together.

Some friends of ours, chilling out with Zoie. Aren't they beautiful children?
Merry Christmas, y'all…and may God bless you and yours this season and for the New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

What would Dave say?

I know, ‘tis the season and all, but…I have to sound off about the Wendy’s on Loop 250.


I think Wendy’s makes good burgers. I’m just not sure if they are worth a 23 minute wait in the drive-through line at 9:30 p.m. And it just reinforces how tired I am that I let it happen.

Just sayin’.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I’m on vacation until the end of the year. Therefore, I had lunch with my customers today, and will have breakfast with more customers at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Yesterday, I was in Houston. After all, just what part of this “I’m on vacation” do I not understand? I'm going to have to draw a line here somewhere.

I am waaaaaay too dedicated to my job. Or maybe to my customers, I’m not sure.

MLH makes me laugh.

He’s typing up his daily report to send to his company man. On the report, he recounts what happened today. One thing had to be done over and over due to the incompetency of the contract crew and well problems, and on MLH’s well report he wrote: “Loaded and tested pipe, didn’t hold, came back out of hole, went back in, loaded and tested pipe, no good. Walked off location and had a huge internal hissy fit, complete with imaginary stomping. Being the totally politically correct man I am, I then quietly turned around, went back to location, finished working. Sent crew home and shut down for day.”

He’s a funny man.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Angels for angels...

I called the local Salvation Army yesterday to see where they stood with their angel tree kids. They had just been informed of 10 more that didn’t have sponsors. I took a step of faith and volunteered, and I went and picked them up.

As soon as I got back to work, one of my coworkers grabbed two of the angel cards and headed out to shop.

This morning, I called a customer to confirm a brunch date for Sunday. He asked what our Saturday looked like, and I told him “Shopping for Angels!”. My customer then told me his family usually adopts angels every year … but they recently suffered a death in the family, and his wife is out of the country attending to her family. They’re just out of rhythm right now – a death will do that to you.

He’s going to split the costs with us on these 8 remaining children. He's an angel for our angels! Isn’t that awesome?? These kids won't go without gifts. Now that, ladies and gents, is what this season is all about! Woohoo! And thank you, Lord!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Eulogy for a Crepe Myrtle

According to an insurance article I read this morning, 23% of most accidents happen within 1 mile of the house.

After this week, I can attest to that. Maybe within 50’ of the house.

MLH and I went to Outback for supper. He had 2 glasses of wine, I had ice tea. MLH very rarely drinks, but on the rare occasion that he does, I am ALWAYS the designated driver. No question. This is a set agreement we have between us, and we always honor it.

We left the restaurant. We are one block from home.

MLH: I can’t believe you let me drive.
Janie: What do you mean? You didn’t drink anything.
MLH: Yes I did. I had two glasses of wine, and I didn’t even think about getting behind the wheel.
Janie: Man, I must be tired. I’m sorry. That’s not good, at all.
MLH: I didn’t even think about it, Janie. I’m sorry, too.
MLH: We’re turning on to our street now, we just have 5 houses to go.
Janie: Okay.

We pull up to our house.

Janie: Hey, do you mind turning around my truck so it will face the other way, in case it’s icy in the morning? I want to limit walking in the street if it’s slick.
MLH: Sure, hon.

At which point, he whips into the neighbor’s circular drive to better enable him to park the truck right in front of our house.

I look up, and scream “Don’t turn yet!” just as he cuts across the circular drive, right onto the top of the neighbor’s crepe myrtle bush. I swear, between my 4wd Yukon XL and the sounds of an icy tree biting the big one, it felt like we’d run over a cinder block fence.

Yesterday morning, I left at 6:30am, so it was still dark out. I ran home around 11 a.m. to clean out my truck to get ready to pick up customers for lunch. I surveyed, in the daylight, the damage we’d inflicted to the bush during the night.

The tree/shrub/bush…is dead. Waaaaay dead. I don’t even think it would live if we cut it back. And MLH had to confess to our neighbor, a local fireman/EMT. The stuff this poor guy has to put up with to be our neighbor, I swear. He’s really a super nice guy, and a great neighbor. He actually thought it was funny. Neither MLH or I do. We are sufficiently humbled. What were we thinking? It's obvious we weren't.

Anyway, I guess we fell within the parameter of the statistics. We were very lucky that’s all that happened. And a lesson was reinforced. No matter how tired your designated driver is, she’s way better than any driver who’s had a glass of wine. Or just get a freaking taxi. Thank God that’s all that happened.

Anyone know of a sale on crepe myrtles?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A letter from Pepsi

Pepsi the German Shorthair and Sierra the Vizsla at a field trial

Hey, y’all, this is Zack posting here. Well, I can talk, so of course, I can write!Mom got this e-mail for me today from Zoie’s aunt Pepsi (who also happens to be the 2006 Upland Classic High Point Champion – for the whole nation!!) and I thought I should share it with you.

From: T**** & E**** [mailto:************]
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 11:33 PM
To: Janie
Subject: From Pepsi!

My Mom would like your mailing address as she has a Christmas card to send you.
Sierra beat me by only three points at Rex's event last week-I am in shock!
What does Zoie want for Christmas?

And my sincere reply…

Dear Aunt Pepsi, (I know, you’re Zoie’s aunt, but since Zoie is (supposedly) my new sister, everything is relative in dogs and fence jumping, so you’re my aunt now, too.)

Mom’s mailing address is:

MLH & Janie
P O xxxx
Midland, Texas xxxxx

Sierra is a young whippersnapper and I’m sure she’s pretty cocky about her win…however, we know that age and wisdom always prevails…in the end. As to Zoie’s Christmas, I would be most happy if she didn’t live to see it and my life could go back to where it was! You know, I was the king! I ran the house! And all I had to do was look at Mom and Dad and they gave me what ever I wanted. And I slept on the foot of Mom and Dad’s bed EVERY night. Now, I get up there and Zoie has to come join me, bite on me, jump on me…and I just want to take a nap with Mom and Dad. It’s our bed, after all.

Yup, I’m just the freakin’ glorified babysitter now. It’s easy for them… they can say “no bite” and she won’t bite them. I have to growl or bark to get that message across, then Mom and Dad get cross with me and say, “Ooooooh, Zack, be sweet – she’s just a baby.”

Baby, my butt. She is the German Shorthair version of the Tazmanian Devil. Speaking of butts, I’d like to see hers spin off into the sunset. Any sunset would do as long as it's far, far away from the flatlands of West Texas.

That’s not going to happen though, and she will grow up soon. I’ll get over it. Thanks, Pepsi, for letting me get this off my beautiful ticked chest. Have a great weekend, and give Sierra my love.

Love and lickies from Zackamundo The Wonder Dog and the brat child Zoie the Wonder Pup

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bah, Humbug? Naaaaaaaaaah.

It’s a cold, wintry night. I’m kicked back on my bed, watching Lifetime – a rarity (me kicked back on my bed, even getting to watch television). Zack the Wonder Dog is asleep and snoring, laying on MLH’s pillow, with his head on my shoulder. Zoie the Wonder Pup is nestled up against my leg, and is chewing on…a coathanger? What the heck?

MLH is at the kitchen table finalizing his morning reports. Younger Son is working at Best Buy and won’t be off until 11 p.m. – the joys of the Christmas Season. Elder Son is doing his own version of Christmas retail in Las Vegas, modeling for Cinch Jeans at Cowboy Christmas, and having a blast.

As for me? I’ve not even thought about one single Christmas present. That is horrible, I know.

One of my coworkers asked me what MLH was getting me for Christmas – and I must have had this weird look cross my face. He said, “What? Do y’all not exchange presents?” And I said, “Oh, sometimes – it just depends.”

The truth is, we usually don’t exchange Christmas gifts, by mutual agreement. Now, if I see something that I absolutely know will blow MLH’s socks off, I will snag it -like the cool amp I surprised him with on Christmas last year. I love to surprise him, and he does a good job of surprising me, as well. We always get the boys Christmas gifts, and though they’re grown, one of our traditions are filling their Christmas Gift Sacks (their stuff won’t fit in stockings!) with all sorts of music stuff, fun things, gift cards and neat t-shirts, things they’ll use but probably wouldn’t buy for themselves. Zack (and now, Zoie) will get a stocking, as well.

Before December’s end, we’ll go on a short trip, and that will be our Christmas and anniversary celebration with each other. Getaways are always good for renewals - and we've been working so hard, we need some time off - just to breathe.

As to giving within our extended families for Christmas, we don’t. Our families always adopt other families through the Salvation Army and give to them, instead. On MLH’s side of the family, we all get together for family dinner, and go deliver all the presents to the Salvation Army at one time. It’s fun, and we all know we’re helping others – and it is right to do so. On both sides of our families, we do a themed stocking exchange, much like a white elephant party – if someone else likes the stocking you chose better than the one they drew, it’s up for grabs. That is a lot of fun, and can get really crazy.

Mostly, we try to live Christmas throughout the year…with each other, and by giving when we see a need, volunteering, and supporting different causes close to our hearts. It’s where, hopefully, we’re most effective.

The awesome gift the Father gave us - the gift of Jesus Christ - lasts all year, every year. It's the gift that's new every morning! And that's gift enough for us.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Zack is Back!

Zack is back from the trainers, and is in fine fettle.

That only means one thing…life at our house has entered a new season of craziness. Zack is a very calm dog…but now, he has a 3 month old ball of energy attacking him at every second. Zoie the Wonder Pup will absolutely not leave him alone.

If, by chance, we get her in a situation where she calms down, all Zack has to do is shake his collar and the Zoie-monga is up and running full speed again. She is so afraid she’s going to miss something!! At times, we have to crate her to get her to settle.

Zack is handling everything well – he is down to the “every once in a while when she’s crossed a huge boundary” warning growl. Overall, I’d say their relationship is progressing along nicely.

Zack and I have a field trial this weekend, and I’m looking forward to hunting with him. We’ve definitely missed his presence around here!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

An Industry First!!

I am sharing top-breaking news with you. An industry first! In all my years in the energy industry, I've never seen such. So, I figured you, my faithful readers, should be the first to know.

Visiting an office yesterday morning, I asked one of the managers if he'd like to go to lunch. He accepted - then the other manager came to his door, and said, "Let's go to lunch!" I graciously offered to be their lunch sponsor, and they accepted. This was my first foray with this customer, and our first such meeting. We enjoyed some great fellowship, and some great Mexican food at one of our local restaurants.

When it came time to pay, I found my billfold had escaped my purse. Woe. Despair. And agony on me…deep dark depression, excessive misery...

I confessed my dilemma, and they got the biggest kick out of my oversight! We all laughed, me until tears ran down my face – and one of them graciously picked up the ticket. Once we checked out, we went and searched my truck. The billfold was in the back seat, where it had fallen out of my purse.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a first for me. Bet they don't quickly forget me!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Zoie Scores Some Glasses

Remember the story last week, the “economic limit” episode between Zack the Wonder Dog and MLH?

Well, Zoie the Wonder Pup hit the big bucks this morning. Thus, it begins…

This morning, I called MLH at 5:30 a.m. (He was out of town on a consulting job.) He didn’t answer. A minute later, he called me back. Conversation went much like this…

Me: Hey, babe…did you not hear your phone?

MLH: Oh, I heard it all right. I just couldn’t find it. I was looking for my glasses – I’ve been looking for them for an hour. I can’t see.

Me: Your glasses? You can’t see? (a lump of dread forming in my stomach) Did you find them?

MLH: Yes. (clipped voice.) YOUR wonder pup woke up about 3:30am and I took her out to do her business. When I brought her back in, I put her get in bed with me. And I guess while I was asleep, the little @#$*% crawled up and stole my glasses from the bedside table and demolished them.

Me: Oh, no.

MLH: Oh, yes. Jane (he only calls me that when he’s very, very upset!), I am wondering about the wisdom of getting another pup right now. (And he goes off into a short tirade.)

Me: (Very quiet – listening hard, and thinking harder.)

This presents a problem. Zoie the Wonder Pup has not only chewed MLH’s Oakley glasses with non glare lenses, they are prescription glasses. Progressive bifocals. Expensive progressive bifocals. Need I mention, they are MLH’s only pair? And that he is in Orla, Texas – 2 hrs from his optometrist? Who is probably booked to the max, anyway, and that MLH’s glasses are definitely special order?

MLH: And I’ve got to perform this very detailed, specific procedure out here today, and I can’t see. (And off he goes again, second-thinking our thinking about getting a new pup. I let him roll for a minute or two.)

Janie: Hey. Hey.

MLH: Yeah?

Janie: Zack and Zoie are definitely “our land”, right, part of that the Lord’s given us? And we thoroughly explored every facet of getting a new pup, right? We knew stuff would happen – they’re shorthairs! So…you’ve got a very important job to do out there today. You cannot go out angry – you have to be clear and straight thinking. So let’s look at it this way. Had it been Elder or Younger Son, and they were babies, and one of them messed up your glasses, you wouldn’t even be mad because you’d realize you had some culpability, right? And Zoie is just a pup, right? So, babe, you’d best look in the mirror and realize your portion in this, and walk on over that bridge. (MLH starts laughing, and I breathe easier.) Is there any way you can modify the glasses to get through the day, or are they totally trashed?

MLH: I’m working on it. She chewed every piece of rubber, I can’t find the pin, the lenses are scratched all to hell, I’ve got to go get some tape – and remember, these glasses are made entirely of molded plastic. I’m going to try to fix them, if I can. Can you go by the doctor’s and see what miracles you can work? Don’t even call me for a decision, just do whatever you can do to get me going again. We’ve got tons of your clients’ parties to attend, starting this weekend, and I’m going to look like a doofus with black tape on my Oakley designer glasses, that’s if I can even see through the scratched lenses.

Me: Sure. No problem. I love you, be careful out there.

MLH: I love you, too, babe.

So, I get ready for work. Take breakfast to a customer’s office. And when the eye clinic opens, I’m there…for 1 ½ hours. MLH has an eye disease, and he’s about to have his 6th corneal transplant. He’s probably close to being legally blind, which translates to a very stout prescription – I’m pretty sure there’s nothing they can turn around in a day, or even 2 days.

In the eye clinic, I explain the situation.

Technician: He’s in a town, right? He can go to a clinic there and they can fix him up (this is before she even looks up his file.)

Me: The glasses are beyond repair. He’s going to try to nurse them through. Is there anyway you can help me get started on this today? I promise you, the town he is in doesn’t even have a convenience store –much less a Walmart. It’s smaller than 1/4 of Stanton, with no commercial vendors whatsoever.

Technician: Every town has something, even the oilfield is there, I’m sure someone could solder the glasses. I’m sure they…

Me: Okay. Please. Please stop. I AM the oilfield. 23 years worth. I know about soldering. Can you solder plastic glasses? The Oakleys? No? I didn’t think so. Not without special stuff. Will you look at his file? Let’s play like I came in here, and you absolutely positively have to help me find a solution, and the word “no” cannot be a part of the equasion. Can you do that?

Technician: But…

Me: Please. ma'am. Please. Look at his file. Then, we can talk. I’m not trying to be rude, but we have an extenuating circumstance with his glasses, much less his prescription.

At that point, everything started turning around for the better…I think.

The technician and I ended up settling on emergency budget glasses, with another pair for readers. (If you consider budget to be $448.) Those will be in on Monday.

And, I reordered the Oakley frames, just to save time. MLH will see the doctor on Monday, get a new prescription, as well as a new referral to the surgeon in Dallas, and we’ll start this process again. They will overnight the Oakley frames, then send them off to fit the lenses. It usually takes 2-3 weeks for those glasses with the progressive lenses and non-glare tint to come in.

MLH came in tonight, and we went to supper. He’s laughing about it now…thank God.

And the Zoie-monga?

She’s bouncing around like she’s the baddest spotted shorthair ever. She may well be.

But at least the little heifer’s made it one more day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Tonight, I attended a “Wildcatter” function at our local Petroleum club. The Wildcatters Club always honors one of their peers who has gone above and beyond in our industry. The event was fun, as usual. I was able to visit with many customers, and see many of my peers in a relaxed atmosphere.

Friendships were rekindled, hands shaken, hugs given and received. Stories were told, and I laughed a lot, throughout the evening. It’s always good to laugh. Though I was one of but a handful of women present, this meeting always feels as good as putting on a favorite coat.

I walked up to a trio of men, one of whom happens to be my boss. After visiting for a minute, my boss took off to work the crowd. One of my customers started laughing. He'd never met my boss, and when he did meet him, he asked, "So - do you work for Janie?" Too funny.

I saw one of my colleagues from my early sales days. I think the guy has retired three times. As of late, he has been mentoring younger sales people. He said, “My company wants them to follow me around.” I looked at him, smiled, and said, “Well, you’ve been in this place before, haven’t you?” He looked back at me, puzzled, and then, he got it. I trailed after him many a day myself when I was starting out in sales, over 20 years ago. And I learned a lot from him. He’s a great guy – we all need more mentors!

I ran into this guy's better half, and as always, it’s a pleasure to visit with this one.

Our industry is organic, constantly changing, and as such, I was able to reconnect with some former co-workers. It’s always good to see them. Even though they’re gone, there’s still such a sense of family.

I met a man who happens to own a brother to Zack, The Wonder Dog. We were talking about hunting, and I mentioned the fact that we owned littermates. He was unaware, curious, and started asking about Zack. Can he hunt? Does he do well? Y’all know the answers to those questions. So I asked him about his dog. He unloaded on me! He said, “My dog is so stupid in the field! We were hunting the other day, and a friend of mine was working his dog. His dog retrieved a bird, and my dog went and stole the retrieved bird from my friend’s dog, ran away with it, and hid the bird.” He was laughing, though, and told me the dog is well loved, and shares common traits with Zack…such as sleeping on the bed with his owners. I just laughed. There, but for the grace of God and Zack’s trainers, go us!

It was an awesome night – it’s never boring around here! Functions will happen almost every night this week, and will kick off the Christmas party season next week. It will be hectic – but fun.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And The Answer Is...

Tonight at supper, MLH and I discussed where we are in this season of our lives. I mean, do you ever wonder where you are in the grand scheme of things? Are you behind? Ahead? Right on time? Or not in the drill of things at all? (Pardon the oilfield talk, but you get…the drill.) These are just a few of the things that came up between us.

1. Are we striving - or stilled? Are we vibrantly (think tuning fork vibrant) in sync with the Holy Spirit? Are we at rest?

2. Are we fulfilling the purposes of God for our lives? Do we know what that purpose is? (And this isn’t a questionnaire for “A Purpose-Filled Life” – matter of fact, it’s not a questionnaire at all – just a list of some of the things we talked about.)

3. What if there really is no spoon? (Think “The Matrix”). What if all we see and wish for is vain imagination?

4. Fellowship with other believers…what is that? Are the life-line relationships in our life just that? Life-giving? Sustaining? Equal in measure? Would these people chase sleep for us? Better yet, do we chase sleep for them, since it’s not about us?

5. I always say, “I’m just here to serve.” Am I? Serving? Or delusional? And if I am serving, am I serving Him, or man, or both?

6. Another Janie-ism: “I was born to die.” Do I? Die to everything, for Him? How can I measure that? And is my measure, His measure?

7. All this stuff is being published. All these speakers are speaking. People are always saying to us, “You need to read this book, right now! It’s what God is saying!” You know how some people talk just to fill the void? Well, what if God is corporately silent right now – like in the time after Malachi? Those 400 years? And those people are just talking and writing to fill the void?

8. We know we are to have no roots in this world – but what does that mean in relationship to our lives?

Now, if all those questions don’t jack you up, I don’t know what will. (Y’all should do supper with us sometime – it’s not boring!) My mind is going 110 mph right now – so I had to write it down. We’re going to be doing some praying and seeking, some thinking – and listening. Once (if) we figure all this out, maybe I’ll share the answers. But…don’t hold your breath, because I don’t know the timing. God does. (And, anyway…if you hold your breath too long, it might give you a whole new meaning to dying…and I don’t think that’s what He means when He says we must die to self. )

PS – Question 9. Man…how can God love a irreverent woman like me?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Kia Maniac

Have you seen this Kia Maniac ad? It is crazy. It’s played so much today, the song is now running through my head.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

ZZ Dogs Update

Oh, yeah - she looks all shy and coy - do not believe it. It is a trick.

For those of you clamoring for a Zack and Zoie update, here it is. Zack is in Christoval with “the girls”, Tina and Tonya, the hunting dog trainers extraordinaire. He’s getting a tune-up and we’ll pick him up this week. As for the Zoie-monster, all I can say is…she. is. alive. (But only by the skin on her chinny-chin-chin.) She's tripled in size, and her spots are getting darker. Her little feet looks like she's stepped in dark brown paint. Zoie is beautiful, and is already acting like a little diva.

I guess we conveniently had amnesia on what life with a puppy is like. Zoie is hilarious, always making us laugh, which somewhat lessens the pain of short nights and sharp teeth. She has a huge personality, and I’ve not seen more expressive eyes in a dog. She and MLH are really bonding, since she goes to work with him. Zoie is doing well with the crate training, but man, do we have to keep our eyes on her 24/7 when we’re at home!

This weekend, due to changed plans and funky weather, we’ve pretty much stayed at home the whole time. That has equated to some good nap time…but we’ve had a hard time getting Zoie on the same schedule. We are so spoiled by Zack – he lovingly hops on the bed when we do, and snuggles up to us. He loves a snuggle and nothing makes him happier than getting to sleep with us at night. At times, we’ve had to resort to crating Zoie when we need a rest; she automatically settles when crated.

We pull Zoie up on the bed with us, and she thinks, “Allright, chew time!” We’re her most favorite teething toys. We correct her, she comes right at us with those sharp little thingies. Tonight, we ran to Petsmart to pick up some things, and ran into a mother and her son – also GSP owners. They fell in love with Zoie – and the mom said, “Isn’t the first year with a GSP hell?” Oh, yeah - I forgot. At times, I swear, we’ve wondered if Zoie might need exorcism (okay, just teasing!).

Zoie’s doing well on tricks thus far - today, she mastered “sit” and is working on “down”. I have to wait until she’s pretty focused to work with her on it – she’s a little ADD at this point in her young life. She is starting to go to the back door when she needs to go out, or she whines at us and heads that way, so that’s good.

One day, Zack was about 6 months old. I had let him in the back door, just as MLH was coming through the front door. In a snap, Zack was in a full run from the back door to the front, to greet MLH. We had just purchased a new couch, have tile floors, and once Zack got going on that tile, no way could he stop. The new couch covered Zack's old route to the front door, Zack could see no way to get to MLH other than jumping over the couch - and though he tried, he couldn't stop on the tile. So, up and over he went. In mid-hurdle, Zack’s foot caught the edge of a Italian blown glass ribbon bowl, (MLH’s favorite - value had been estimated at around $4000), and it fell to the tile and shattered.

MLH grabbed Zack’s collar and said, through gritted teeth, “Jane, when are we going to reach our economic limit on this dog?”

I said, “Looks like a dry hole to me, baby!”

MLH cracked up, and that was that.

Yup, the memories of raising a young pup are coming back to me, one nibble, one accident, one whine at a time. I know, we entered into this willingly – but y’all pray for us, okay? Please?

"Oowwwwwwww , Zoie, no bite!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Life is Good

In my prior post, I asked for prayers for my friend Joe, who was injured in a farming accident on Saturday. Two times since he was hospitalized Saturday, he has passed out and had no pulse or respirations. Today, I’m blessed to say (after a multitude of tests) he has been released from the hospital with nothing more than some nerve damage in his neck and shoulder/arm. The doctors believe this will heal in time. No broken bones – not one bruised organ. Joe is now a walking miracle. Thank you so much for your prayers – please continue to pray for complete healing.

Joe has farmed since he was 11 years of age. He lost his dad when he was 14 years old, and took over the family farms. He finished school, and went to college. I introduced Joe and Rhonda some 30 years ago, and they subsequently married. They had three beautiful children. Read about Rhonda and myself when we were neighborhood friends here.

Rhonda and Joe are woven into the very fabric of my life. I like to tease them that I introduced them, and they still love each other – and me! I introduced them to each other - and they introduced me to the Lord.

Last night, Rhonda said, “Where would we be without you?”

I said, “Where would I be, without you?”

Though Rhonda and I grew up together, I was 38 years old when the Lord apprehended me. That’s another story, for another time. Suffice it to say that the Lord knows the timing, and none can come before He calls. He called, I came. And Rhonda was a huge part of that.

Three years ago, on New Year’s Day, I received a call that literally brought me to my knees. John, Joe and Rhonda’s eldest son, had been killed in a vehicular accident at the young age of 22. John had taken off a semester from college, and chose to help his dad in the field the entire semester. He was going back to school in January. New Year’s Day, John and some friends had been out coyote hunting, and he was coming home, and rolled his truck. MLH and I ran out the door and drove the 75 miles to Joe and Rhonda’s house. What do you say to your best friend when she’s lost her boy – her firstborn? What could we say to Joe? To Sarah and Clay, John’s siblings?

There is nothing to say. You just have to be there, and breathe with them. So we did. And we've continued to do so.

It’s been hard, on the entire family. I have no way to measure. They miss John tremendously…words cannot possibly describe. They have gone on, in their very best way. They serve their community and the body of believers in the area. They work with other grieving families. Sarah is here, in college, and we see her frequently. Clay has grown up, and is high school, is driving now, playing basketball, and helping his dad in the field when possible.

When we visited Joe yesterday, he told us what happened. Joe, Rhonda, Clay, and Joe’s helper were in the 24 hour/ 7 days a week stage of harvesting cotton. Everybody works in a farming family. Clay was running the module builder, having just relieved Rhonda. Rhonda had gone for refreshments for everyone. Joe was cleaning out some clogged up cotton in the cotton stripper, and failed to turn the vehicle off prior to getting in it. His glove caught in the auger, then his shirt, and the auger took him, bodily, down into the machine workings. Joe remembers he was being slowly choked to death. He remembers forcing his tongue back into his mouth, and deliberately taking taking two deep breaths, and then he passed out. One of Joe’s helpers drove the boll buggy up to Joe’s stripper, and noticed the stripper was running, but couldn't find Joe. He got out, looked around for Joe, and saw Joe’s boot sticking out of the stripper basket. The helper turned off the stripper, and when he did so, the auger reversed itself.

The next thing Joe remembers was being able to breathe, and thinking, “Oh, my Lord! I can’t believe I’m alive!!” I know he had to be in intense pain, but he remembers…joy!

Joe had to physically extract himself from the auger, his clothing ripped to shreds, and climb down out of the stripper basket. The helper drove Joe to where Clay was working on the module builder, and then called 911, while Clay took his daddy to the house. The ambulance met them there.

The Lord knows our strength, and our capabilities. He knows all. And me? I know nothing…except that Joe is a walking, talking miracle. And he knows it.

I am thankful. Ecstatic. Humbled.

And now, you know the rest of the story.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Prayers please...

Remember little Sarah and her mom, Rhonda? Well, Rhonda’s husband (Sarah’s dad) Joe was in a farming accident Saturday evening. His glove caught in the auger while he was stripping cotton, and the auger pulled Joe into the stripper machine. He is alive, thanks be to God! He is currently hospitalized and is in serious condition.

Please pray for Joe’s complete healing, and for this family. Thanks so much.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Giving Thanks...

I haven’t had much time to post lately – I’ll try to catch up soon. All is well, just busy. Y’all have a great Thanksgiving (even if you're not from America!) and may you and yours be amazingly, abundantly blessed this week! So I thought I'd list the things that make me smile...

Why I'm Thankful....

1) I love my Father, and my Father loves me!
2) MLH! He loves me, too!
3) Elder and Younger Son are awesome men and they make me laugh so much
4) My brother, his family, and all my cousins - I love you all!
6) My husband's family - they're awesome, as well
5) Zack the Wonder Dog and Zoie the Wonder Pup - they rock!
6) Health and happiness
7) Provision
8) Numerous friends and acquaintances mean the world to me - and yes, you are one of them!!
9) Music, hunting
10) I could go on for hours, but I'll spare you...

Why are you thankful??

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

But a heartbeat...

Field trials are usually held…in the field. If enough pre-planning is done, someone usually has an RV or a tent or something in which to do the required paperwork – computing, filing, and general things that happen in a contest of most any type. It becomes a gathering place, of sorts – a place in which to escape the elements, enjoy some water, a snack, and fellowship.

Saturday, I was in and out of one such trailer. Visiting, playing with one of Andy’s new pups, helping tally scores, whatever was needed. I met some people I’d not seen before. After lunch, Andy’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, showed up. (If you read this blog regularly (God bless you!), you know that Andy is Zack the Wonder Dog’s trainer.) Andy’s parents are sweet, precious people. The Andersons are the ones that instilled the love of dogs and hunting in their boys, Andy and Sammy. And Andy and Sammy have passed that same passion for training dogs and hunting to their own children and relatives, as well as to many people in West Texas.

One of the people I met was a young man named Chris. He lives in Wyoming, and works for an oil well service company. He is an avid hunter, and loves dogs, as well. I enjoyed talking to him throughout the day.

At some point, I’m sitting at the table in the trailer, working on scores. I glance over towards the couch. Andy is sitting on the couch with his arm around his dad. It’s all I can do to keep from crying. That man loves his daddy, and his daddy, at age 81, has been diagnosed with cancer. The doctors aren't giving the family much hope. Today, that's hard for me to reconcile. Mr. Anderson tells me about his life – after he served in the war, he went to work for Conoco, and served them 40 years before retiring. He talked about raising dogs, and hunting, and asked me questions, as well. Sharp as a tack, he was. Then Chris comes in, and sits on the opposite side of Mr. Anderson, and puts his arm around him. Sammy steps up into the trailer, and sits at the table beside me. I ask him a question about Chris, and I’m quietly told that Chris is their nephew – he is Mr. Anderson’s grandson.

It all comes together for me, then. And somehow, I realized…my camera is right in front of me. I grabbed a couple of shots of Mr. Anderson and Andy, then asked and was granted permission to take pictures of this family. We got some wonderful shots. I developed the shots that night, and delivered pictures and disks the next morning. Everyone seemed very pleased.

My favorite shot of Andy and his father - natural lighting. Gotta love it!

My brother and I would give anything for pictures of my Mom late in her life, or better yet, with all of our family. Days like Saturday bring it on home for me - how I miss her.

I encourage you - grab your camera – set up some shots with your family. This weekend, I was reminded of the brilliance of a life. Capture it while you may. Today is only one day – and the length of this day may be but a heartbeat.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fallin' into it...

Elder Son is one of those people that could fall into a vat of putrefying poop and come out smelling like a rose - most of the time, anyway.

Many of you have prayed for him since the loss of his friend Rachel, earlier this year. (And we so appreciate and are thankful for your prayers.) Since that accident, Elder Son (ES) has had a hard time gaining traction – he’s not returned to college, and has been doing different day work jobs and playing some gigs. Yes, as his mom, I’ve been concerned – but I trust the Lord for Elder Son. I know the plans He has for ES are good.

At one point this summer, ES called me and told me he was going to start hauling horses for some PRCA team ropers. He’s a roper, himself. Some of the pro cowboys have professional drivers that take their horses to the next show, and they fly in to the rodeo to participate. ES thought he needed to just “spend some time on the road” until he figured out which direction was right. So, off ES went, driving horses to rodeos all over the nation. These guys are professionals, so usually, ES was driving a Western Hauler, dragging trailers with super nice living quarters. He loves meeting new people and seeing new places, as well as roping, so this gig was right up his alley. September found him at the Pendleton Roundup in Pendleton, Oregon. There, ES met some new people. These people liked his music, his look, and they liked the fact that he could “sling him some twine.”

Draw a dotted line from those people at Pendleton to Vegas. December will find ES at National Finals Rodeo/Original Cowboy Christmas. What will he be doing there, you ask? Well, ES will haul horses out to Vegas. Once there, he will also be modeling (and getting paid good money!) for Cinch Jeans, Resistol Hat and Southern Thread and will be playing his guitar and singing at Cowboy Christmas. He will be working at the Double J booth with his friends. And he will be roping at some of the local ropings. All the things he loves. Is that crazy?

I tell you, people pay agents good money and never get that kind of exposure. It may lead to other things, or it may be a one time thing.

Only God knows.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Zack at the Texas State Championships

Update 11/11/07 - Due to the high temperatures, we had to finish the field trials on Sunday (we didn't want the dogs to overheat). Zack won a very respectable 5th place, and we are very proud of him. Andy said Zack is maturing well, getting lots of "bird sense" and Andy is expecting him to rise to the top soon!
Zack the Wonder Dog...
If you enlarge this picture, you can see four things...

(1) Andy Anderson (Zack's trainer who is also a crack shot!)

(2) The shell casing ejecting from the gun (to Andy's right)

(3) Bird falling

(4) Zack, going after the retrieve

Similar shot - can you see the shell casing?

I didn't get to shoot over Zack due to the fact that the trials started Friday morning before my plane landed; thus, Andy will follow through to the Finals tomorrow. It did, however, allow me to take pictures (finally!) of my own dog during a run. Zack is currently sitting in fourth place, with a 448 total score. Zack had a 5:33 minute run today (out of 20 minutes), so it kicked him on up there a bit.

I loved this shot of Zack dropping the bird off on the fly...

We'll be back in Coahoma by 8am to start the finals. Keep your paws crossed!

Friday, November 9, 2007


I. Am. Miserable. I don’t want to get up, much less pack. And my feet hurt. Yup, yesterday was a day of overindulgence. Much walking. Much tasting. Okay, whining over. I have to get going. Zack and I have a field trial today, when I get home!!

I am in Houston. Yesterday, I attended our quarterly National Association of Drilling Engineers Board Meeting at the Humble Civic Center. Immediately afterwards, we were shuttled via golf carts to the Civic Center Barn for the AADE 5F.

What is the AADE 5F? It is the AADE National Fin Fur Feather Food Fest. All of the oil companies and service companies had their cooking teams out working and serving the public. The fare was highly varied and simply amazing.

I had my first crab beignet – awesome. I had lobster on noodles. I had catfish/shrimp gumbo. Gumbo abounded – elk gumbo, deer gumbo, you name it. If you were an etouffee lover, you could get it here - etouffee of all flavors – crawfish, shrimp, the works. Duck burger (I just couldn't.) There were alligator legs – frog legs – squirrel legs. Clam and shrimp chowders. One of the oil companies cooked a “Tsunami Roll”, which was full of sushi and all sorts of good things.

Liquor was flowing freely, fine wines abounded, and I even saw my first jello shot (saw, didn’t imbibe!). I had to work hard to find water, my preferred beverage.

All of the booths were beautifully decorated. One of the vendors did a salute to the troops, with girls dressed in USO uniforms. When the booth judges came around, the USO girls did a “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” dance – it was so cute! Another vendor had an old-time saloon theme, with cowboys dressed in old-time western garb, complete with saloon girls.

Several Houston chefs of note actually judged the food, and a good time was had by all.

Ah, the perks of my job. Gotta love it!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Zoie and the Price of Oil

The picture in Sunday's Permian Basin Oil Report was captioned:"High oil prices mean holiday travel will be more expensive." Zoie's take: "Pump, schmump! Let's go hunting!"

Morning news sources said that oil reached a record high this morning at $98.62/bbl, and further predicted that oil could go as high as $128/bbl. That is craziness. I'd better call my oil purchasers and tell them to go pick up a load...oh, wait...I don't have an oil well.

It's funny - prices in the oil service sector seem to be softening, and yet, the price of oil rises. I've been in the oil industry for 23 years now...and I still haven't figured it all out. It's a new day, every day, out here in the patch .

Guess that's what keeps it exciting!

Zoie the Hunting Dog....eeeeeeuuuuuuuwwww!

Yesterday afternoon, as the sun set, we took the dogs out front to play a bit. Zoie is becoming quite adventurous. Here, I think she’s picking up a stick. (It was hard to see through the viewfinder at dusk.) And off she goes. I’m praising her for her first retrieve. And then, realization hits.

Here, I’m screaming to MLH, “Oh, my God, Honey! Catch her! It’s a dead squirrel!”…as she beelines for our open front door. MLH caught her right before she got through the threshold.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Chunk of Spotted Love

You are just going to have to bear with me during this time, concerning content. Wonder if Eric will give me a temporary “content-free” pass until this season is over?

My life is currently consumed by MLH. Work. Zack. Zoie. Zoie. Zoie. And not necessarily in that order.

This morning, Zack and Zoie were playing (really! Yeaaahhh!) and Zack pounced a little hard on the pup. She immediately scrambled under the couch. Zack got down on his side and using his paw, tried to get her out of there. He would stick his nose under the couch, and Zoie would try to take a nip of him. This went on for some time. We were so proud of her – she had already figured out how to make Zack bow to her every demand. She would come out only so far that he could see her head and front paws, and then she would retreat.

And then, we figured it out.

She was stuck. Her little belly was too fat to get out.

(Shhhhh…Zack just thinks she’s Mensa material. Don’t tell him.)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Open Threads at the Well

I would be writing entertaining and exaggerated stories about Zack and his new sister Zoie, but I’ve kind of been engrossed in reading the Wellheads’ open thread concerning the Midland mayoral race between Stephanie Sparkman and Wes Perry. That puppy has been going on since October 26th - 6 days and still going strong.

The Wellheads' thread has now passed 300 comments. Amazing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And it begins...

Lily the liver colored pup went with her new owner today; thus begins a new chapter in our life as we begin the adjustment period for Zack and Zoie. According to MLH, Zack’s trying his paw at subliminal messaging. So far, only ONE of us can hear it…and it’s not me.

Tonight, as we all piled up on the bed, Zack whispered, in that sotto (vaguely sounding like MLH, but on helium) voice…

“.og tsum eioZ . Won. Won. Og ot eioZ rof emit eht si won. Og tsum eioZ.*”

MLH: “Did you hear something? No? What do you mean you can’t hear it? You’re like the dog whisperer! I think maybe I’m receiving some subliminal message from Zack’s psyche, then. Something about Zoie must go…what? Surely that's not right! Zack wouldn't say that. ”

Yeah, right…I think the men in this house have been playing the Beatles’ White Album backwards again.

*(best read backwards)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One of My Favorite Things

I love the smell of puppy breath, don’t you?

Last night with the pups was the best thus far. We put them in their crate around 11:30 p.m., and they slept until 4:30 a.m. I guess they’re getting used to being away from their Mom, crate life, and life around here. Their crate sits flush up against Zack’s, it looks like a crate apartment community or something. The pups are eating well, and they are so comical! They both have great personalities.

Yes, the pups have been named, and we now know which house they will inhabit.

Zoie is the little ticked one, and will stay with us. Lily is the little solid one, and will go home with Mark, brother of MLH. Both dogs are very smart, and very “birdy”, so none of that counted in this decision. We had received advice both ways: “Keep the solid one, she’s more aggressive!” “Keep the ticked one, if you like to hunt long!” Lord, how can you tell? What a quandary – and as many of you surmised, we’ve even considered keeping both pups. Finally, we decided that interaction with Zack would be the determining factor. From the start, Zoie has been a little more sociable, creeping up to Zack, trying to play with him. Zack seems to accept her, as well.

Though Zack’s not quite letting them crawl all over them, he is interacting with them well, and only growled once – when Lily decided Zack was the biggest and best chew toy ever.

Puppyhood. Here we go again.

Actual Movie Review

Call me a romantic, or call me tired of the blood and guts of major violence, or call me stupid. MLH and I loved the movie Dan In Real Life. Go. See.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Funny Son...

When we got to Wichita, Kansas, on Friday night, Elder Son called to check on us.

ES: Mom, where are y'all?
Janie: Wichita, Kansas.
ES: Picked up the pups yet?
Janie: No, we're meeting Montica in the morning.
ES: Don't click your heels together, or you'll be home without your puppies.

God help me. I raised such a smart-ass.

Heading Home

Just an update to let y'all know Suzan and I are heading to Midland with our little charges. They are so cute, their personalities are precious, and...they.are.teething. Ouch.

We stayed at Suzan's friends on Saturday night (Thanks, Bob and Billie!) and Mike and Pam's (thanks, y'all!) last night. Everyone pitched in with puppy duty, which allowed me to catch up on a couple hours of sleep since I was the designated night time watch and puppy-taker-outer.

The baby girls are doing well in their crate, sleeping about three hours at a stretch, and have not had one accident. So far, they are traveling machines!

Pictures to follow soon!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Babies..(subtitled How On Earth Will We Choose?)

Here's the little liver colored girl. She may be small, but she's feisty! Wonder if we can call this her first point?

This little munchkin is too funny, as well. She seems pretty laid back...but it's hard to tell, this is their first day away from mom. We'll see how it goes!This is Suzan. She's been giving the pups lectures on proper guest bed etiquette and the importance of clean linens. (see the prior blog post for reference.)
Here are the girls saying goodbye to their other mom, Montica. Montica and her husband Mark own both parents of the pups. Montica drove 2 1/2 hours to meet us in Salina, Kansas to deliver the pups. She's a sweetie - and so are the puppies! Thanks, Montica, for meeting us!

The pups have been fed, watered, and are at present asleep in their crate in the back seat of my Yukon. We just left Oklahoma City and are heading to Dallas. It's now 6:45 p.m., and we've been on the road since about 2 p.m.

Heading back home to Texas...with two cutie pies.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Zack The Wonder Dog Strikes Again

My friend Suzan came in from Lubbock last night. We got up early this morning, packed my truck, including the puppy crate, and got ready to go to Kansas to pick up the pups. Zack was jumping into my truck, then he’d jump into Suzan’s. That dog is so smart. And he loves Suzan. Sometimes, in the night, he’ll go jump on her bed and sleep with her for a while. She calls him her protector. Anyway, the boy knew something was up, and a crate in the back of my truck means one thing to Zack…HUNTING.

We got everything loaded, and MLH put Zack up. We got in my truck, MLH got in his, and we went to breakfast, then we were on our way, anticipating a fun, girly-girl trip. I am on vacation, after all. But it was not to be so. I am a stressed out chica. How could I be stressed, you say? When my friend is driving us to Kansas and all I have to do is loll in my leather reclining butt warmer equipped seat and talk on the phone all day?

Well, heck. Even though I employed my Microsoft Outlook “out of office assistant” prior to leaving the office last night, in this oilpatch, YOU NEVER REALLY GET AWAY. It’s a good thing my friend loves to drive, because this is how today went.

Suzan: Um…Janie, would you like me to drive? You’ve been on the phone since we left Midland, and it seems like it’s getting pretty intense. I can’t read or write while riding, I get carsick, so why don’t you let me drive?

Janie: Done. Just let me get off this phone and we’ll stop at the next town.

Smart woman, that Suzan. And she may be a prophet, because almost everything that could go wrong in my side of the oilfield went wrong today. I’ve been on the phone to Houston, Midland, Oklahoma and sending and receiving e-mails. All. Day. Long.

I had called MLH a couple of times to check in, to no avail. Finally, he called. Turns out he had quite the day, too.

MLH: Guess what happened?
Janie: What?
MLH: Well, I stayed at the Harvest Caffe, working for a couple of hours after y’all left.
Janie: Yeah?
MLH: And I went home. And Zack…(pause)
Janie: Zack what?
MLH: Zack had gone in and ummm….urinated on Suzan’s bed, on her side. I had to strip everything and I’m going to steam clean the bed and the floor and…
Janie: WHAT? What was he doing in the house? I thought you put him outside?
MLH: Nope, I left him in – he always does so good.
Janie: Yeah, he does. Do you think he’s sick?
MLH: Hell, no, he’s not sick.
Janie: You’re teasing, right?
MLH: Nope.
Janie: (seriously speechless.)
MLH: That’s not all.
Janie: What? Okay, you’re serious. And I’m seriously scared. He really went on Suzan’s bed? Zack’s not done anything like that since he was a puppy. Ummmm…that time he got mad at you at Pam and Mike's house.
MLH: Yeah, I know.
Janie: Okay, tell me. What did he do, as if that wasn’t bad enough?
MLH: He pooped.
MLH: In the living room.
Janie: Where?
MLH: On our brand new zebra rugs. Both of them. I'm going to have to steam them.
Janie: What the heck?
MLH: Yup. Twice.
Janie: Are YOU SERIOUS? Are you sure he’s not sick?
MLH: Yes, I know he is not sick. And, honey, this was no accident.
Janie: What do you mean?
MLH: This was calculated.
Janie, in shock, but trying not to laugh out loud: Oh, my God.
MLH: Yup.
Janie, trying not to laugh, words barely recognizable: Umm…where is Zack, now?
MLH: In. His. Kennel.
Janie: Have you let him out since?
MLH: Yes. Once. And I’ll get him out again, because I have to take him back for his veterinary checkup. But right now, he can just sit right there. He is in deep...poop.

Later, MLH called me to tell me that they were going to the vet. And while he’s talking to me, he realized that he had locked himself and Zack out of the house. It’s all good now, he’s back in and just got back from a dinner date with his LB1. As for Zack? He’s back in his kennel. He’s had supper, and he’ll come in to sleep in his crate. I bet he’ll be glad when his momma’s back.

Maybe my day wasn’t so bad after all.

Naaaaaaaah. I had a great day.

Countdown to....Zoie!

Tomorrow morning will find me heading north to pick up the pups.

I believe that Zack's little sister will be named "Zoie" - once we decide which one to keep.

Yup, the hardest part will be for MLH to decide just which pup will be ours, and which will go to his brother's house. He's already going from picture to picture and saying, "This one. No, wait, this one." Any bets on both of these pups hanging out permanently with Zack upon our return? Lord, help me.

Okay...funny story...sort of.

Since it has turned cold, the mice in this town have turned housebound. And a couple have found their way into our house. (EEeeeeeeeek! I HATE mice.) So, MLH purchased some of those cool plastic mouse traps that work like a clothespin, are top of the line, more sanitary, you know, the whole drill.

I came in this afternoon, and MLH was home.

(Enter disclaimer: For those of you who have recently started reading my blog, I have something to tell you...Zack the Wonder Dog...talks. He has a funky sounding voice, sometimes sounds like MLH on some major helium.)

Janie: Hey, y'all! How's it going??
MLH: Good.
Janie: Whatcha been doing? Did you catch any mice?
MLH: No.
Janie: No? So are we done with the mouse hunting thing? You got them all? Woohoo!

At this point, MLH has a funny look on his face - like the one little kids get when you've not heard the whole story...yet.

Zack: Mom, don't listen to Dad! It's just not true. I hate peanut butter.
Janie: What?
Zack: Dad's saying stuff about me. And I don't even like peanut butter. I don't!! And I don't care what he says.
Janie: Do what????

It seems that Zack the Wonder Dog has figured out how to spring the traps and is stealing the peanut butter.

No way am I going to be on the receiving end of a Zack kiss tonight.

No. Way. At. All.

Did I tell y'all I HATE MICE?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Expanding House

In a week or so, our world as we know it will be rocked, once again.

Zack the Wonder Dog is getting a little sister. We will be traveling to Atwood, Kansas, to pick up two pups, and will get our pick of the two females of the litter at that point. The remaining female pup will be delivered to MLH’s brother Mark…yup, Zack done flung a cravin’ on him for a good bird dog.

So, now, we’ll have doubles…double dog tales to tell, double trees to climb, double birds to hunt, and double dogs to love.

We’re excited, and more than a little hesitant. A new dog? We've talked it over, up, and down - but still it will be a change in our routine. (Yes, crazy as it may be, we do have one!) Zack is a very social animal, so we fully expect him to be accommodating, and now, he’ll have another playmate. We had been discussing the idea of another pup for a while, and I had been tentatively looking on the net and checking out litters whenever we saw them at field trials, etc.

A friend of mine, Karen, thought we might be interested in another liver colored German Shorthair, and e-mailed me from Kansas about Cola’s litter. We knew it was the answer to our question. Cola’s pups are nieces to Karen’s dog Pepsi, who was last year’s High Point Pointing Dog of the Year. (Scroll down to see a picture of Pepsi and Karen’s husband, Eddie.) Though AKC registered, Cola and Pepsi are “rescue” dogs that Karen had saved. It’s a neat story, and I’ll tell it sometime.

Karen went and took pictures, e-mailed them to us, and we were so.immediately.busted.

Here they are. Could you say no to these beauties?

The litter of four, grouped by boys and girls.

Here's the little spotted female. The pups had just opened their eyes the day before. Looks like someone woke her up from a nap. But believe me, the lethargy these pups show in these pictures is a joke. I don't think there is a more energetic breed than the German Shorthair.

And here is the little liver female. Doesn't she have a cute face? I know it's going to be hard to pick between the two, but MLH is good at that, so it will be his job. And we're open to naming suggestions, if you'd care to put your two cents in!

Back to the pup. I'm not worried about house training or any of that, GSP's are so smart. Zack was easy, and we understand female pups are usually easier to train than males. And as for me, I’m ready to have another female in the house. I’m more than a little outnumbered gender-wise at the present, with our sons and our LBs. Outnumbered, maybe, but not too worried, because you know that, admit it or not…

Ladies rule*.

At least in the dog world!

Monday, October 15, 2007

May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up...My Nose?

At lunch, I had a rather intense meeting. All went well, and my customers and I were walking back out to my car so I could deliver them to their offices. It was around 1:10 p.m., and our talk had been rather extended. As I was walking down the sidewalk to my car, I remember taking a deep breath and exhaling quietly (a great stress reducer).

My next breath was a shocker.

A huge insect flew up my nose. (Well, at least, I thought it was huge. It felt huge.)

My thoughts were, in the following order:

(1) This didn’t just happen to me, did it?
(2) How can I handle this in a graceful manner?

I unlocked my truck doors, diving for the Kleenex box. I start blowing my nose as gracefully as possible. Nothing happens.

I confess what has happened to my customers. They laugh. I don’t.

Customer 1: “We had two lost time incidents last month due to insects flying into people’s ears. On one of them, the doctor couldn’t ever find one of the insects, but the employee swore that insect was still in his ear.”

Me: “Well, dude, this insect is still in my nose, too. I can feel it!”

I deliver them to their respective offices, all the while trying to eject the insect from its randomly chosen perch, somewhere up my nose. I drive to the post office. I’m pretty calm, believing that what I feel is just the “sensation” that something foreign has been in my nose, and that with all that blowing, it has to be, by now, (a) dead and (b) expelled.

I go into the post office, and am immediately confronted with a honking huge line of waiting patrons. I join the line, and start sneezing. No, I didn’t take any Kleenex in with me…stupid, huh? Everybody’s blessing me, and I’m thinking , “If y’all only knew. How am I going to handle this? What if whatever this is inches its way up into my brain?”

I get through the 14 minute line, handle my business, and go back out to my truck. I grab the Kleenex, and give it one more college try, and…Voila! At approximately 1:50 p.m., I delivered some type of flying ant type thing, STILL FREAKIN' ALIVE, with wings almost ½” long. And no, I didn’t weigh it, or name it, or take a photo of it. This is the only evidence of the birth certificate you’ll see. And, it is now dead. It will NOT fly up anyone else's nose. I made sure. I promise.

But... Holy Snot, Batman.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Breakfast Shock

On Sundays, one of our favorite brunch haunts is Wall Street Bar and Grill, located downtown Midland, Texas. The doors open at 10:30 a.m., and the food is exquisite. If you’re a little late, you’re guaranteed a short wait.

One Sunday, we arranged to meet friends at 11 a.m., and would ultimately have quite a large table of diners. We went a little early to get everything set up before our friends arrived, and were waiting in the front area.

A beautiful family had arrived before us, consisting of two sons, their wives, and between them, 4 children, and a set of grandparents. The children were absolutely beautiful, and were very well behaved. One tall dad was holding his 3-4 year old daughter, while his 12-18 month old son toddled around amongst all the adults, garnering smiles and gentle pats on his golden curly-locked head. We were admiring the daughter, who was all golden curls herself, and dressed in a very frilly frock, white stockings, and…cowboy boots. You could tell this little one had a mind of her own. She was whispering in her Daddy’s ear. It was obvious they were enjoying a special moment.

About that time, we noticed the dad’s face blanch white…and then, he yelled. I looked around, and happened to see the young golden-hair boy. He was wrapped around his father’s leg, and when I saw him, he was backing his mouth away from his father’s groin.

He had taken a test bite to get his Daddy’s attention. It worked.

To his credit, Daddy handled it very well. He didn’t knock the munchkin across the room, he didn’t do anything but slowly put down the girl child, bend over for a second, steer the little boy away from him, and try to straighten up again, tears streaming from his eyes.

Once he regained his composure, Dad looked over at us and said, “I’m sorry.” MLH said, “No problem, sir, are you okay?” Dad assured us he was, and we all went to our tables.

It’s never boring around here!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Ultimate Death of Onstar

This happened to us en route to Santa Fe last week. It was a pretty normal road trip day, with the exception of one thing…instead of me being on the phone non-stop, it was MLH. He was pre-planning a fracture stimulation on a well, and as such, was in non-stop coordination mode. Our cell phone coverage had been rather spotty, so at times, we had to resort to using our On-Star phone.

Here’s a sample call:

Onstar: Brinnnnaleep! Onstar Ready.

MLH: Dial.

Onstar: Number please.

MLH: 9
Onstar hears and says: 9
MLH: 5
Onstar hears and says: 3
MLH: Clear
Onstar hears and says: 8
MLH: Clear

Onstar disconnects.
MLH and I look at each other – me, exasperated, him laughing.

MLH hits the white button again.
Onstar: “Brinnnnaleep! Onstar Ready.”
MLH: Dial
Janie: snicker
Onstar hears and says: Directory

MLH hits the white button again.
Onstar: Brinnnnaleep! Onstar Ready.
This time, I take the turn.
Janie: Dial
MLH: harrumph (clearing throat)
Onstar hears and says: Storing number?

Janie: Clear
Janie: Dial
MLH: repeats “harrumph” before dissolving into laughter
Onstar hears and says: Number please.
Janie, in a short, staccato, angry voice: 9
Onstar hears and says: 9
Janie: 7
Onstar hears and says 7
Janie: 2
Onstar hears and says: 4
Janie: clear
Onstar hears and says: clear
Janie: 2
Onstar hears and says: 2

I finish enunciating the number successfully and the call initates…only to go to that person’s voice mail. Really.

Janie: I quit.

Onstar hears and says: Gotcha – nanny, nanny, pooh, pooh! Oh, yeah…you have 10 minute units remaining. To purchase more, please push the Onstar Blue Button.

Where’s Ba Doozie’s knife? I feel a stabbing urge coming on.

Onstar hears and says: Calling Ba Doozie. No number stored. Knives are illegal.

Well, Brinnnnaleep, my butt.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fours at Random

A week later, here I go with this Random Four Meme…after being tagged by Jeff and Jonboy. Hey, guys, better late than never!

Four Jobs I’ve Held:
Tractor Driver (really!)
Business owner (multiple times)
Corporate – Executive – Technical – Senior Account Representative (all same job, they just changed the names to protect the innocent, or I got promoted.)

Four Films I Could Watch Over and Over:
Ummmm…I can’t remember one. What does that say about me? Yikes!

Four TV Shows I Watch:

Do I have to reveal this information? Okay. Just remember, my life is not my own. Therefore, until I invest in Tivo (and learn how to run it), I’m basically left with the stuff that happens after 10pm and prior to 6am. I mean, what did you think made me start blogging?

American Idol (when I can)
Flip this House (hey, they’re from Texas!)
The Colbert Report

Four Places I’ve Lived:

Okay, this is huge. Can you handle it?
Big Spring, Texas
Lomax, Texas
Stanton, Texas
Greenwood/Midland, Texas
Do you notice an ever creeping move west?

Four Favorite Foods:

Les Vela’s Swamp Juice Crab Legs from Vela Bay in Midland
Clam Chowder, Landry’s, anywhere
Sweet Potato Fries w/ cream gravy, Wall Street Bar & Grill, Midland
Huevos Rancheros w/ black beans, La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe

Four Websites I Visit Daily;

All of yours! And…
The Fire Ant Gazette
Skewed View
A Big Doozie
For Love of Home

Four Favorite Colors:
Deep purple
Deep chocolate brown

Four Places I Would Love to be Right Now:
Seattle, Washington listening to some musician on a corner
Hunting birds with my sons, my man, and Zack the Wonder Dog
East Texas hanging out with my cousins
Santa Fe, NM with my man and his guitar, but not on a work-related trip

Four Names You Love, But Could/Would Not Use for Your Children :

Ila Dick. Ila Dick was my grandmother’s first and second name – like Mary Jane. What were her parents thinking?
Emerson. My maiden name – and I’ve known ladies and men with this as their first name, sounds great.
Myers - I love this name as a first name, but my nephew claims it!
Rowdy – I love how this name sounds, but my son would be very unhappy with this name.

I hereby randomly tag:
Karen at Pondering Penguin, Foo at Random Synaptic Misfire, Tricia at Silver Linings, and The Poet of the Panhandle!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I need some Geritol...or maybe a nap would help.

We ended up taking a customer to the airport at 5pm yesterday, then headed home from Albuquerque. Yup, craziness.

I drove the entire way, since MLH needed to leave at 5 am this morning for a job. We got in at 12:30 am this morning. And then...I couldn't sleep. I guess I drank too much caffeine.

I get to the office this morning, and find out I'm leaving for Houston at 4pm today for an overnight trip. I have called and re-engaged the housesitter for Zack the Wonder Dog, and notified MLH of the change of plans.

And I have a lunchtime Assn of Drilling Engineers meeting to help facilitate, with around 100 rsvp'd.

So hear this...(the sound of exhaustion and quiet frustration as I smile and carry on about my day.)


Monday, October 8, 2007

A Weekend in the Life of a Salesperson

This has been an extremely busy weekend. Early breakfasts, lunch dates, activities with customers, and then evening receptions every night, going from there to formal dinners.
I don’t think I’ve had so much rich food since…last year’s event in Santa Fe!

We’ve had a good time, and I thought I’d share with you the life of a salesperson during an event such as this. (I know you’re dying to know!)

Drove to Albuquerque, arriving around 6pm
Went straight to Landry’s, reserving a table for 8
After a long dinner, took customers to casino, stayed out way too late.

Drove into Santa Fe, checked into La Fonda, a historic Santa Fe hotel, unpacked
Took customers and about 25 co-workers to La Casa Sena, where we dined on excellent fare, and were greatly entertained by our singing wait staff. I recommend this restaurant to anyone!
My boss suggested we help him take customers to the local casino. Rerun of Thursday.

10 am Ladies’ Brunch at La Fonda Terraza , where the entertainment was Lisa Trujillo, co-owner of Chimayo Weavers, along with her husband, Irvin. Their work is on permanent display at the Smithsonian, and Irvin was just awarded The National Endowment for the Arts 2007 NEA National Heritage Fellowship. I promise, I will never look at a weaving the same again. These people gather plants, make their own dyes, and put hours and hours into weaving their wares. I am amazed, and plan to make a trip back up to Santa Fe just to visit their facility. Go! See!
12:30 pm – shopping Santa Fe with customers and their wives
6 pm – Attended formal reception for BJ Services (around 500 people)
8 pm – Attended our customer appreciation dinner (around 300 people)
10:30 pm – finally went to bed (left MLH and others milling around the bar)

Breakfast at the hotel, talked business (it never ends, really.)
12:30 pm – took customers on a winery tour – what a fun time!

We stopped first at Balagna Winery, San Ysidro Vineyards, where proprietor John Balagna, a retired nuclear chemist, entertained us mightily! And of course, we walked away with a few cases of his wine. If you get a chance, go visit the Balagnas. Their 500 acre homestead includes a beautiful canyon and a great view of the Rio Grande River.

We then went to Santa Fe Winery, where we purchased some port and chardonnay. And someone, namely MLH, goofed off for the camera in the Wine Diva visor.

6 pm – Attended the Devon/Marathon reception on top of the Eldorado Hotel , so crowded we couldn't move (it was too cold for everyone to be outside, so we were sardined up!)
7 pm – Attended the NMOGA kickoff reception (around 1000 people)
8 pm – Went to dinner at The Ore House on the Plaza
10:30 pm – Back to the hotel, where we crashed

8 am – Up, working on the computer
10 am – Going to late breakfast with customers/friends
Noon – hopefully heading home!

Such is the life of an oilfield salesperson…and you thought all we did was have a great time!
(We did!)

Drive-by Pictures!

This is some of the scenery en route to White Rock...going to our winery tour. I actually took these shots as we were driving down the road. I'm amazed they came out this well!
It was a beautiful trip. More pix and stories to come! Enjoy.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Socorro, New Mexico

These shots were taken as we left Socorro, NM, heading into Albuquerque. Enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Where in the world is....Janie? (Prizes will be awarded!)

Jen P won the contest and as the winner, will be the recipient of either a cool prize or some great wine from Santa Fe! So, Jen P, let me know what you want! Woohoo! Thanks for playing!

The answer to the contest: The pictures were taken while were driving into San Antonio, N.M. Isn't it beautiful? And Jen P had even been there!

This was fun. I'll try to think of another while I'm here!

Okay. I’m pulling a Jim at Serotonin Rain survey. You probably know where I’m going…but based on this picture, what town am I near in this portion of the journey? I know, if you're like me, you'll say "It's so beautiful, who cares where Janie is?"

First winner with the right name gets an (as yet undetermined) awesome prize straight from some (as yet undetermined, but cool) shopping place somewhere around here (here being where I presently am now)...unless, of course, you want a cool prize from our Winery Tour on Sunday. (Whew, that was one long run-on sentence!) You pick. Are you a winehead? Or do you trust me to surprise you? Okay, Sherlocks, get to it!!

Hints – (1)we got a little off the beaten path; (2) an old Charley Pride tune; (3) Saint Anthony of Padua (4)Texas shares a sister city of the same name. Who knew?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What not to wear made easy...

Wow. What a night. I left the office at 7:30pm, called and begged the cleaners to open up for me since I forgot to go pick up our clothes for the trip. They graciously met me and loaded my truck. MLH is just now coming in from his leases, and we still have to pack. But the neatest thing happened, and I just have to share it!

Around 8:30 p.m., I called Bob and Cherie to see what they were doing. They were having supper with friends, and I asked them to call me when they were done. I guess they heard the panic in my voice…because I was panicking. Around 9pm, they called me back and asked if I needed help.

I knew MLH wasn’t going to make it home before midnight at the earliest. We have to leave early in the morning for Santa Fe, and I had no clothes picked out. We go from breakfast meetings to golf outings to tours to formal dinners, and though I had some ideas of what I was going to take, I hadn’t worked it all out.

Bob and Cherie came through the door and we went to work. (Well, Bob went to work watching a western, which was good – we probably would have driven him to drink.) Cherie made a long arduous task fun and gave great advice. Want to check the status of a friendship? Go through what we did tonight!

Now, all we have to do is get MLH and Zack home from the field, pack our truck, and go west, young man! No way could I have been this far along without Bob & Cherie’s help. Thanks, y’all! You rock!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

To every thing, turn, turn, turn...there is a season...

I’ve not been sleeping well lately. Meetings, schedules, trying to finish projects prior to leaving town – it’s all creeping into my head and pinging my I.P. at the most inopportune times…like at 2 a.m. When I do wake up, I’m wide awake, so I usually just get up. It’s almost not worth the fight to go back to sleep.

This season in which MLH and I find ourselves is different than any prior, and we know it. Nothing is set in stone. Almost as quickly as we discern something, things shift. Each day is a new day. I’ve become somewhat used to the shifting – which is a personal miracle in itself. We want to discern the seasons of the Lord in our lives, the blowing of the wind.

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning." Daniel 2:20-22 NIV

This is a unsettled time for us – there seems to be a lack of firm ground – of definite direction. Our families, our jobs, everything is fine. It’s just that it is a different time. It feels, smells, seems so foreign, yet, so much remains the same; and, we walk on. Amazingly enough, our steps are sure on this shifting sand. Hearts are open, eyes and ears turned towards Him.

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5 :23-24 NIV

We wait on Him. Because He has called us. He is Faithful. And He will do it.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ace the beautiful Elhew English for sale!

This blog has been paused for a commercial break. I’m showing these pictures of Ace for a friend of mine. (Translate this disclaimer to “I need a website, Eric.” )I have shown pictures of this amazing dog Ace before, but here are more for your viewing pleasure.
Ace is a registered Elhew English Pointer, 4.5 year old light orange and white stud. Ace is fully trained on bob white and blue quail, chukar, and pheasant. This dog has several local wins and, as you can tell by the photographs, is a performing machine. If you know of anyone looking for a great hunting dog, let us know!

Or, for further information, please call Steve at Blue Quail Kennels, 432-561-8228.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Abby the Brittany Spaniel

Lest you think I’m partial to pointers, here’s some pix from our Saturday morning hunt. This is little Abby, the Brittany Spaniel.Though Abby is a local dog, she was professionally trained by T&T Kennels, Christoval, Texas. This was Abby’s first run with her owner, Jeff. She is a beautiful dog, and did extremely well.
I was pleased with the pictures. I know Jeff is pleased with his little girl Abby! And Miss Abby? If that smile on her face is any indication, she's pretty pleased with herself, as well.

And so should she be.