Friday, March 30, 2007

It's a bird, it's superman, no wait...that's...our son!!

The long suffering readers of this blog know our boys can find themselves in the wildest situations. This one ranks pretty high in the “What? You did WHAT? TELL ME THAT AGAIN, SON?” (as MLH’s heart fibrillates…)

I’m so glad we knew about it already, because this bulletin was sent out from Younger Son’s MySpace ™ account.

It’s a bird, its superman, no wait, that’s T’s plane falling…

so yesterday around 4:30 i was flying solo, practicing stalls, and on my last one i ended up entering into an inverted spin (the plane was spinning horizontally while upside down). it's a good thing i was just over 5000 ft, bc it took me about 2000 to recover. i still dont know how i lived considering we aren't trained (our ground school teacher told us one time last semester) how to recover from spins, and there's a less than 20% chance of recovery, but here i am.

so hallelujah.

bc i'm convinced that skill had nothing to do with it love-T


And once again, his father and I say, “Thank you, Lord. Your mercies are neverending.”

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Catching up...

A blogging friend, Emma , has been through a lot lately - and she and her family were way blessed in the past week. This story will bless your socks off – go check it out!

Friday night found Younger Son and I heading north of town to a bible study. He met me at the office, and we headed out together. We saw lots of friends, and met new ones, and had a good time. It was a fun and blessed thing to do together.

Another personal blessing - Elder Son and friends came down yesterday to participate with me in a clay shoot. A good time was had by all. Regarding the incidents in his life lately, it’s hard to discern how well he is doing. One of his friends told me that the hardest thing is that people keep asking Elder Son all the details, and that is keeping the accident right in front of him continuously. His friends continue to surround him, and that’s a good thing. He is still having a hard time sleeping, and he told me nighttime is the hardest. Please continue to pray for him.

We saw lots of friends at the clay shoot yesterday. My score made it evident I’d not been shooting in a while. I hope I can devote more time to this sport in the near future – I need consistency. I won another shotgun in the drawing - a Beretta AL391 Urika. Woohoo! We’ve been thinking about switching brands, so we’ll see how it goes.

Elder Son picked up another one of Andy’s hunting pups for a friend in Lubbock yesterday. This little girl pointer pup was a cutie! She loves to stand on her hind legs (like she’s begging, but she’s just curious!) and she has a ton of personality. When Dawn delivered her to me on Friday, the pup had an accident in her crate – she’d not traveled in a truck much. I reminded Elder Son to bring a kennel with him, that she’d have to ride in the back of his truck. When we were visiting on the phone Friday, concerning the pup, I had remarked about how well she traveled. Yesterday, I reminded him why he needed the crate, and he said, “Mom, I thought you said she traveled well.” I said, “I did – but I was talking about her gait!” We all cracked up. Elder Son is supposed to deliver the pup today – but the way he was talking last night after he got her home to Lubbock, he’s already fallen in love with her.

MLH and I went to supper last night with Younger Son, LB1, and two of Younger Son’s friends. These four young people are hilarious together! The three older boys telling stories, and LB1 just absorbing it all. Lots of laughs and a good time was had by all. This was the first weekend LB1 has stayed overnight at our house – I think he’s had a good time. MLH and LB1 went to the driving range, to the movies, and then home. They left for early breakfast this morning, then MLH delivered LB1 back to his mom at church. We’ve been blessed by having LB1 in our lives. If you have 4-7 hours a month to spare, think about becoming involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters – you can positively affect the life of a young one – and yours!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Zack is home...

Zack the Wonder Dog is home from Missouri.

So, as all animals of his persuasion do, he has to check everything out and reacquaint himself with his territory.

Checking out the new birds in this tree?

And in this one?

And Zack, as he settles in, eating supper, scattering Science Diet all over the floor.

Yup, Zack the Wonder Dog is home.
And we're glad he is.

A la humble abode...

When purchasing household items, one should always hold the line when negotiating.

Or that’s what I’ve been told.

In Missouri on a recent Friday night, we were wasting time in Springfield, awaiting a movie start time. We moseyed down to Starbucks for drinks, then drove around a bit. We chanced upon a store named “Quixote – Organic Furniture.”

I said to MLH – “May we stop?”

MLH, “Certainly!”

It was 7:56 p.m. By the time we turned the truck around and parked, the “Open” light had turned off. Brave souls, we walked in anyway. The nice proprietress let us look around. She was waiting on a pizza to take home to her family. And, yep, you guessed it, we found a piece we wanted. We talked to the owner, and bought the piece right then and there. At least, that was my recollection.

This is what really happened. We both decided we liked the piece. The owner was a little pushy for us to close the sale, or for us to get out of the store, we’re not sure which. She gave us the option to go ahead and buy the piece, then come in the next day and pick it up. She would not hold it for us, otherwise. We talked about method of purchase, and picked one. I went to the counter, and purchased the piece, thinking MLH & I were on the same page.

We started to leave, and MLH said, “I didn’t think – I really need to measure that piece to see if the components of our entertainment system will fit inside.” The owner said we could trade within the store, but no refunds. MLH got really quiet. He said, “You seem to be the one that’s concerned about a sale here. Don’t underestimate us – we really are interested in buying some furniture, and we’re heading home tomorrow. I’m feeling pushed, but we’d like to come back and look at your other items. I need to measure, no matter what.”

She said again, “No refunds, but you can trade within the store. And my husband will look at your shipping options tomorrow. We open at 10 a.m. We’ll have people available that can help you load your purchase.”

Need I mention that we are still some 14 hours from home? I’m starting to think logistics. 10 a.m. – my Gosh, we could be almost to Dallas! What have I done?

We walk out to the truck, and get in. MLH is not a happy camper – he talks to me about folding under her pressure. I look up, and the proprietress is walking towards our truck.

MLH rolls down the window. She says, “We don’t normally do this, but I will give you a full refund in the morning if you decide that piece isn’t going to work for you. I wasn’t meaning to put any pressure on you. Please forgive me.”

MLH said, “Well, you just did what I needed you to do. We will be back in the morning to look at your other items. I appreciate your apology.”

We went back.

Boy, did we go back. And four hours later, we left Springfield.

This little 5,000 square foot store is amazing. The owners, Stan and Sherry Fauscett bring in furniture from Mexico, Indonesia, all over, and the price is very reasonable. So reasonable that we rented a U-Haul trailer and filled that baby up! The furniture is very funky and eclectic, while stylish and stout, and will go well in our rather contemporary styling. And we’re not the only Texans shopping at Quixote. Stan said they have a customer from Dallas that comes up with a huge trailer every 3-4 months and buys them out. Stan and Sherry also have an 11,000’ warehouse. They have 3 warehousemen that work full time moving furniture to the store just to keep Quixote full. Just this week, two interior decorators cleaned them out, which means the store totally turned over, merchandise-wise, twice this week.

That means this store moves merchandise quickly – which has to do with pricing and quality. After today, I believe it.

We bought a new 7’ long cabinet for our components to put under our wall-mounted flat screen (and no, the first cabinet wasn’t deep enough!). We bought an 8’ sidebar for our dining room. We bought the coolest red twig lamp, and some pottery. We chose a 4’ chest for a wine/liquor storage cabinet for the kitchen. A 4’ X 7’ long wall mirror, beautifully framed with woven silver metal was purchased for our living room wall. Due to the amount of our purchase, they cut us an even better deal (hey, it never hurts to ask!) plus threw in this cool rice mill stump table for remotes(I promise, the pix doesn't do it justice), and some more decorating accents. The stump table may go to the music room, but for now, it's tucked into the huge red couch corner.

Now that’s the way to meet a concerned customer half-way.

Even with the rough start we experienced, I highly recommend visiting this store. We have stores somewhat like this in Texas. I believe the difference in the Quixote store and the other Texas stores is that Stan and Sherry personally go to the various countries and hand pick the items that they will sell in their store.

All in all? We gave this store a 10…well, maybe a 9 – because MLH practically had to load the trailer himself, due to the high customer flow in the store today.

We are well pleased with our purchases, and plan on doing more business with Stan and Sherry Fauscett at Quixote.

As to our negotiating skills, I’m not sure we completely held the line - how do you hold a line when somebody’s pricing is WAY beyond fair in the first place? - so I’m calling this one a win-win. And finally, we crossed the Texas/Oklahoma border. Homeward bound - finally.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Thanks so much for all your prayers over the last few days.

I returned from Lubbock tonight, after attending the funeral of my son's friend. The huge church was, of course, full of young people, and their parents, and people whose lives had been touched by this vibrant young lady and her family. It was a beautiful service, for a beautiful one.

Elder Son helped the family plan the service, and served as a pallbearer. I went to the funeral, just to be there for my son. Yesterday, we were able to spend an hour alone, prior to Elder Son and others playing guitar and singing at the goodbye gathering last night. Both sets of parents (the young lady’s parents, as well as the parents of the young man that Elder Son rescued) hosted the get-together. Though many were nervous about it, I believe the gathering will further the young people gaining closure.

I know that I am breathing better after spending some one-on-one time with Elder Son. We just sat in his truck, and he talked, I listened, and marveled that he is alive. He has scratches all over him. He described the entire ordeal. It’s helping him to talk it out, I think.

We are all proud of this young man. He showed great courage and presence of mind – in calling 911, in running for help, and then, realizing something else had transpired during his short absence, running back and rescuing his young friend. This has been a very intense, adrenaline-driven ordeal. I asked him once again, before we parted, how he was doing, overall.

He said, “I’m okay, Mom, as long as I’m busy, during the day. When I try to go to sleep, it all happens again. I just keep reliving it - over and over.”

I know that the Lord, and time, will heal him. For now, as his Mom, my heart breaks.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Prayer, please

Elder Son was one of four involved in a car flooding accident last night and one of their friends tragically lost her life.

Please pray for her family and all of the young people whose lives were intertwined with the life of this beautiful young lady.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Love & Lickies From Zack

We’re stopping in Burleson, Texas to visit old friends, Mike and Pam. When we called to beg some time with them, Pam said, “Is Zack coming?” Everybody loves Zack – but Pam has a special place in her heart for the Zackster. And she is an experienced Zack friend from way back. Zack sends her cards every once in a while.

When I think of Zack, and Pam, I smile.

A couple of years ago, we went to Mike and Pam’s for a weekend trip. Pam invited us to bring Zack. Mike was out of the country on a ministry trip. We arrived on Friday night, went and picked up the furniture we bought, and shopped in town with Pam. Our goal was to head home Sunday to have Younger Son back in Midland by 6 p.m. for a church youth group party.

Saturday night, it was cold. Rainy. Dark. Zack was about 6 months old. I was reading, and the rest of the household was playing canasta. Zack let me know he needed to go out, so I let him out…and immediately, the solid liver coat disappeared into the dark.

I couldn’t see Zack…anywhere. Panicked, I called MLH away from the canasta game. I’m in the back yard, calling Zack.

MLH coats and hats up, and goes outside. By his voice, I know he’s thinking we’ve lost the boy…”Zack! Zack! Here! Here!” I can see MLH silhouetted against the neighbor’s big light. He’s in their yard. I’m thinking, “We’re in the country. MLH could get his butt peppered with buckshot. This isn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done.”

After about 3 minutes of the entire household looking for him, I hear the jingle of Zack’s tags. He comes back into the house, looking sideways at me, like “what’s up with all of y’all?”. He knows he’s in trouble. I tell him, “Get on your pillow, Zack. Pillow.” He gets on his pillow. MLH enters the house, wiping rain off his garments. He goes to Zack, and gives him a mini-lecture. Zack lays on his pillow, big brown eyes looking up at MLH, and seems properly remorseful. The canasta game resumes.

Later, Zack and I retire. His crate is right by our guest bed. Last night, we found the bed delightful. Big, soft, fluffy, and decorated with by Pam’s mom’s heirloom antique quilt.

About 3 a.m., MLH comes to our room, quietly, so as not to wake Zack or myself. (He’s such a considerate husband.)

Somehow, in my sleep, I recognize he’s in the room, and roll over.

I hear his voice…"Janie, honey, are you okay?”

I mumble, “Yeah, why?”

Honey, ummm… by any chance, did you, um…wet the bed?” says MLH.

No,” I mumble. And I come wide awake.

“What? What do you mean? Why do you ask that?” I query, confused, still having trouble communicating.

We both get quiet. Reality sets in.

MLH says, laughingly, “Zack! Did you do this?”

Zack had snuck into the bedroom after MLH chewed him out. Evidently, he checked out which side of the bed MLH slept on, and let the Master know his true feelings about the little gripe session in front of others.

“That will teach him not to trash me in front of my peers!” Zack probably said under his puppy breath.

We spent the rest of the night laundering linens for our hostess, and laughed plenty about the ironies of dog ownership – Pam, included. Since we didn’t finish our nights sleep, we made it back to Midland in time for Younger Son’s party.

Since then, when he remembers, Zack sporadically sends Pam Hallmark greeting cards with lots of love and lickies to let her know he greatly appreciates their relationship…her love and graciousness, as well as her sense of humor.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Slowly But Surely...They Turn South.

Tuesday, we left Springfield after lunch and meandered out to the dog trials. Zack was glad to see us, and we him. We gave him a bath (picture below is pre-bath), and let him run. That boy loves to run. We stayed around for a bit, visited the other competitors, played with some pups, and came back to Springfield. We ended up finally finding downtown Springfield, which was hopping. We visited a great Italian restaurant named Nonna’s, then chanced into a musical. I’ll write more about that later.

Wednesday was Zack’s first pheasant run. Andy thought it would be too much pressure for me to shoot, after only 2 field trials, so he ran Zack for us. The boy is a machine. It’s definitely hard to hold on the leash. Our perfectly mannered German Shorthair Pointer turns into a horse. Yank your arm right ought of the socket, he will. And – focused? He is so focused he won’t even blink his eyes

Zack got his first 2 pheasant within 7 minutes – and the third one went out of bounds. Thursday was his chukkar run, and he did really well there. Today was his quail run. It was raining, and the bird setter had some problems. Zack only got points for one quail out of three, so today wasn’t his best run. All the dogs are having some problems. I think traveling this far has to put some strain on them. Two of our West Texas hunters’ dogs are at Springfield vets, and one of Andy’s sounded like he was having asthma problems.

So that's it, Zack's out of the finals, and we'll probably start meandering home soon.

MLH and I have come to some decisions this week – one being that I will be shooting over Zack on a more consistent basis, so he can get used to responding to me in the field. And I hope to work him in the field at least twice a month. Our relationships with the other field trial guys are growing, and plenty of people are willing to help us. This is a great bunch of people, and they’ve given us some great tips over the span of these last few days. Shooting over Zack will be a great thing, I believe. And it’s a good time to dive fully into this sport. And Zack loves it!

The Ice Man Cameth...and Wrecked.

At breakfast this morning, we met a lady who is working for FEMA. She said she was waiting on today’s assignment – and about that time, her cell phone rang. As we ate our breakfast, I noticed two other gentlemen, sitting at separate tables, wearing FEMA jackets. Okay, I’m curious. And then it hits me…the damage from the ice storm. If the trees are any measure, I can only imagine what happened to houses. And these little birds are wondering what happened to their house, too.

The field trials are being held at the Robert E. Talbot Wildlife Reserve. It is a beautiful, huge amount of acreage, and is actually public land outside of Mount Vernon, Missouri, with acreage for shooting turkey and deer, and lots of available fishing. Unfortunately, the trees suffered tremendous damage in the past ice storm, and trees are down all over this state, as well as on the Talbot Wildlife Reserve. This stand of trees is at the Talbot Wildlife Reserve. The stuff at the bottom of the stand is a tangle of broken branches. We thought a tornado had swept through the area. I look at those trees, and my stomach hurts…I can almost hear them screaming. Though tragically wounded, the broken trees seem to only accentuate the land's beauty further.

Saved by Dawn

On the way up to Missouri, we found a trailer light was malfunctioning on the horse trailer. The guys got out to work on it…after raiding Dawn’s toolbox in the back of her truck.

The plug was out, and Dawn, always prepared, had a replacement plug on standby. Here, the guys are diligently working on it. Andy is the one with the hat, and MLH is on the right.

And here, you see Dawn taking over the project and finishing up the work, hereby saving the day.
You'd think she had worked on this trailer before, or something. She may be a tiny little mite, but the girl is simply...


Who says women aren’t handy and prepared?

And me? Well, who do you think took the picture?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Traveling Zack

It’s Sunday morning, and our little doggie caravan is heading east down I-20, going to the National Field Trials in Pierce City, Missouri. Andy and Dawn in the Ford F250 Powerstroke dually, pulling a 4Star 4-horse slant trailer – and us, in our Yukon XL, pulling Andy’s Gator. The seven dogs are very nicely ensconced in the horse trailer, complete with major air shocks, cushioned floor, and air conditioning. (Dawn is a world-class barrel racer, and this is her trailer.) Way better than your average dog trailer!

We brought Zack’s collapsible crate so he can come into the hotel room with us at night, so don’t worry – he won’t be in captivity the entire time – just during the trials, outside of his run times. Exercise fields will be provided, so that’s good. Our boy will definitely need some exercise by the time we get to Missouri. Lots of people stake out their dogs, but our group will stay cool in the trailer most of the day once we arrive. Andy is a stickler on limiting fraternization.

I just realized how funny that probably sounds. The isolation is about the prevention of potential transfer of disease.

(“Sure, Mom,” says Zack (in a gravelly voice somewhat reminiscent of MLH’s)…”Tell them what the deal really is…y’all just don’t want me talking to other hunting dogs. Mom, are you prejudiced, or what? Like we’re going to share scenting tricks - trades of the trials? Talk about living conditions? Compare our pillow down percentages? How many pig ears we get per day? (Man, I am a funny dog!)

Cat nab it, Mom…you’re not the only social animal on this trip! I WANT to meet dogs from all over the nation! I do! I do! Mom, you know I am a meet and greet MACHINE! I learned how at Pet Smart, remember, during the socialization portion? And I got my diploma…didn’t I?

Mom, sit. (Dang. I wish I had hands like hers. I have trouble making that “Sit” hand signal.) Sit. Listen to me. I just want to meet the other dogs and visit. Really. We’re not going to organize the fraternal organization of the field trial dogs, I promise. Please, Mom? Please?

Awwwwww, Mom…that is just not right! You and Dad talk to people and meet new people all the time, Mom. And I’m always nice when I’m out with you, I’ve been a very good boy -and we've not even discussed what a handsome devil I am!

Mom, it’s just not right! Did I tell you to get up yet? Mom! Mom! Sit! Sit! Listen to me, Mom.

Dad! Dad! Mom’s being mean again, and she’s not even minding my commands! Can you give me that “Hunting Mom” book again, Dad, and open it up to the Making Obedience Fun chapter? I think I might need to refresh a bit. Something’s just not right here.”)

Yup. The secret is out.

Not Zack’s verbosity...I warned you about that back here, remember?

The secret is out. Zack is a social butterfly - trapped in an alpha male body.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Cake and candles Patterson-style...

A Driving Star (or is it a rising star??) shines in our midst (once again). If you have a few minutes, click on the link to see and hear Jimmy's Rendition of Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham". Gives a whole new ambiance to the reading hour at B&N.

It's a tribute, not only to The Cat's birthday, but to the freedoms of man (i.e., equal opportunity to multitask while interfacing with the traffic light system of our lovely Tall City), vehicle and good books. As usual, if JP has anything to do with it, it is funny.

PS - Yes, this JP is one and the same as Boxstep Boy.

Dream, dream, dream

Wow. This is my 50th post. Wonder what my posting ratio of "worthwhile" to "shoulda crumpled it up and thrown it in the recycle bin" is?

We're readying to go to the National Upland Classic Field Trials with Zack the Wonder Dog, but keep delaying our departure date due to circumstances somewhat beyond our control. Hopefully, everything will get resolved, and we'll arrive in time. I'm sure we'll experience lots of things and I'll try and recap them all.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, we just got home from seeing the movie The Astronaut Farmer – and we loved it! Billy Bob Thornton was awesome, as were all the actors. It's a great feel-good film, and decent. The kiddos were absolutely delightful and will steal your heart.

One of the lines in the movie is "If we don't have our dreams, we have nothing."

Isn't that the truth?