Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Abbye report

I'm home! Yeah!

Prior to going home, we met a realtor and a friend to look at a house he's thinking of purchasing.

En route to said house, who did we see cruising the neighborhood park?

Eric on hiatus, walking a certain lady of the canine persuasion.

Both looked very healthy and at peace with the world.

And that's your update from this end of the planet.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Random Monday thoughts...

On the road again, but it’s been a fruitful trip.

Well, other than the key card situation at the Crowne Plaza - Addison. Their key card system is down, so you basically must be escorted to your room and let in by the MOD (manager on duty) or the security guard. That should make you feel safe…until you realize that tonight (the second night of my stay) is the first time they have asked anyone in my midst for a picture ID, prior to escorting me to my room and letting me in. Sleep easy, all you wanderers. The hotel does furnish a sleep kit, complete with drapery clips, sleep CD, earplugs, linen spray, blah, blah, blah. The mattress is the very best I’ve tried in all my travels. So that’s all good.

The weather has been delightful, and is slated to be, tomorrow, as well. Had meetings today in the town of Pattie's place, and tomorrow’s meetings start at 6:30am close to Foo's town. Unfortunately, I was unable to slate time to hook up with my fellow bloggers in the Metroplex, but maybe we’ll be able to get together next time.

Had dinner last night with customers at Trulucks in Addison (and if you get a chance, try their specialty, stone crab claws) , and tonight at Del Frisco's. I’m so full, I’m going to bed. Another early morning, and a potential late night scheduled for tomorrow.

Sometimes, I look at the search key words that lead people to this blog, and here’s one of the best thus far…every time I see it, I get tickled.

“Cumbia By Here, My Lord”

Well, if anyone can do the cumbia, my Lord can!

Have a great rest of the week!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Opportunity Missed

The sometimes craziness of my life.

Elder Son has been sick for the last couple of days. Sick enough to go to bed. Sick enough to call Mom. Sick enough to roust his own skinny little butt out of bed and take himself to the doctor, get a shot, get antibiotics and go back to bed.

Elder Son lives 100 miles north of here. Today, he feels good enough to go to work, i.e., drive his truck to location and supervise workover work on an oil well. Good news. More good news, the location is close to Mom’s house. So, Elder Son is staying here for the night, and maybe, for a couple of weeks. We had gone to supper with friends, but Elder Son didn’t go, knowing that he was probably still a little contagious. We get home, greet Elder Son. He looks good, even though he’s still not at 100%. He’s like, “Mom, I am so tired of sleeping, I can’t believe I slept that much and I’m still so tired!” I pull out the vitamin C, and talk to him about his medications. I’m so glad to see him. Zack and MLH are, as well. We catch up a little, he checks out some new clothes we bought him at the Dillards 75% sale, then we all head to our rooms to settle in. MLH and I are still awaiting a call for a possible meeting with clients at 9:00 p.m.. (They’re from out of town and had a prior dinner engagement.) We get released from that meeting, and prepare to turn in for the night.

Elder son text messages me: “Gone to get something to eat.” I text back, “Okay, see you in a few.” I catch up on e-mails, everyone’s blogs, receive a call I’ve been expecting, and then it hits me - my son is in the house for the first time in almost two months, and I’ve not been able to spend any quality Mom/Son time with him.

I think, “I know he’s not feeling great, but he's working on his computer - I’ll grab my computer and go to his room and just hang out with him for a bit until I get tired or he goes to sleep.” This was at 9:45 p.m. I go into his room, talking to him, and realize he’s not home yet. I could swear I heard his truck drive up! It’s now 10:45 p.m. and the cowboy isn’t back yet. He must have caught his second wind, but I’m fading fast. I have a 5:15 a.m. workout date in the morning.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be…super independent? Self-sufficient? No, that's exactly the right thing to raise them to be.

Better yet, don’t waste any time when they’re home – because they’re not, very much.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Procrastination is Making Me Wait...

We were motivated yesterday. We decided to clean house. Actually, we had planned to clean on Saturday, but successfully found enough stuff to occupy our day that we were able to procrastinate until Sunday. Don’t get all self-righteous on me, you know you’ve been there, done that.

On Saturday, we went to Harvest Caffe for breakfast, and then went our separate ways. MLH had some tax duties calling at the office. Younger Son and I went to buy a cool couch for our music room. There were a couple of requirements for the couch – (1) it had to be armless, to further facilitate the great (or will someday be great) guitarists in the house and (2) it had to be comfy enough to sleep on, should the extra musicians stay all night. Color, unimportant. Style had to be a little contemporary. We found one! We ordered the couch – and have a 3 week delivery date. Whilst looking, we found these two really cool lamps with metallic shades for the boys’ room. And then…we all went to the movie.

Sunday comes. And Younger Son gets sick and stays in bed all day. One warm cleaning body down for the count, two left standing. MLH and I begin the task of cleaning. Did I mention our house has 100% tile floors? And it has been rather wet outside in the past week? And we have a dog?

Ah, well. On with it. We have this HUGE red sectional couch. (And we special ordered it for our funkily-shaped living room, so it is our own fault, no matter how much we gritch about it.) We have been going back and forth about the configuration of this couch for almost a year. We turn it this way, and then that way. And nothing works – so much so, that in December, we bought a flat screen TV to hang on the wall, and as of yet, it is not hanging. And no rug has been purchased. No pictures hung. In other words – don’t let the humongous red sectional couch be the center of your decorating scheme. It will jack you up – for months.

For some reason, unknown to even me, I suggested a partial configuration. And MLH tilted his head this way, then that, and said, “Janie, that might just work!” We stopped what we were doing, reconfigured the couch, and voila! It was done! And that inspired…further moving of furniture. And that inspired…a trip to Salvation Army for disposal of even more furniture! I know, too many exclamation marks, but it’s exciting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our house, which has been in remodel mode of some sort since we moved in here, is finally taking shape. And the plan is unfolding.

We have much more to do, but hang in with us – it will get done. I can feel it. It was a great, funny day…and even made more so by Zack the Wonder Dog’s constant asides and comments. Zack can't clean house worth a pig's ear, but the boy can be a smart-aleck - and a funny one, at that.

What? You’ve never heard a dog talk?

Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

We always wanted a pool...

Yesterday morning, it was below freezing in Midland. MLH went out back to turn on the water to fill up Zack the Wonder Dog’s bowl…and the water was frozen.

We both worked late, with MLH getting home a little before me. He opened the gate to greet Zack, and found the back yard had turned into a swimming pool. Apparently, he had not completely turned off the faucet, and once it warmed up enough to thaw out, the flooding began.

Thank God for the neighbor (whoever you are) who trekked into our back yard and turned off the faucet. I bet your shoes are muddy, neighbor! And Zack the Wonder Dog – well, he is another shade of brown.

We were going out to supper with Younger Son (after MLH got Zack cleaned up and settled). MLH walked in front of us to open the door for us, and we cracked up! There were two huge muddy pawprints on the back of MLH’s pretty new sweater.

MLH said, “What? What is it?”

Well, we couldn’t let him go out like that, could we?

It’s never boring around here.

Not ever.

Because Jen did it...and she's cool!

Tip of the meme hat to Jen over at Lintefiniel Musing.

Your EQ is 160 - yeah, right...

50 or less: Thanks for answering honestly. Now get yourself a shrink, quick!

51-70: When it comes to understanding human emotions, you'd have better luck understanding Chinese.

71-90: You've got more emotional intelligence than the average frat boy. Barely.

91-110: You're average. It's easy to predict how you'll react to things. But anyone could have guessed that.

111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt.

131-150: You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin.

150+: Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Beretta 391 Xtrema 2

If you read this blog with any regularity, you all know my family and I love shooting sports.

Someday I'd like to be this good shooting sporting clays.

If you buy the gun, do you automatically gain the accuracy?

Yep...In. My. Dreams.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Welcome back to Texas!

Click on the following link to see why ABC News has chosen Bert Brady, ABC Person of the Week. This man welcomed the troops coming home for 300 days at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport last year. The video is awesome. Get out your kleenex.

Pretty amazing.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Natalie, Natalie, Natalie....

They win a Grammy, and Natalie's still not ready to make nice. Emily and Martie were generous and sweet, as usual, even while giving a nod to Natalie’s behavior by saying they had no regrets…

Yup, once again, Natalie acted less than the lady she is...or was.

Update, 10:02 pm CST - the Chicks win their 2nd Grammy of the night...they did a little better, this time, thanking all their producers, co-writers, etc.

2nd Update, 10:25 pm CST - the Chicks win their 3rd Grammy, for Album of the Year - Natalie says she's finally ready to make nice! and says she's very humbled. This time, the girls thanked their families and their fans.

Hopefully, she means it.

One thing is for sure - the music stands, no matter her attitude.

Other Mom's Special Day

Other Mom's surprise dinner was awesome. None of her boys had called her to wish her a Happy Birthday. One of the daughters-in-love had called, and Other Mom had mentioned that no one had called (she didn't know that they hadn't called, on purpose.) The daughter-in-love acted indignant, and said, "Oh, those boys, they are going to be in so much trouble!" Needless to say, when Other Mom and her husband walked in to the The Garlic Press, they were blown away.

All five of her sons were there, which in a way, is a miracle itself. All the boys are in business for themselves, all oil-related. And the party was even more a blessing, because the youngest son was present. He has lived away for sometime, but his new line of work as a directional driller has brought him a little closer to West Texas…and we're so glad! We get to see him more often, and that is a very good thing.

Other Mom was way blessed. She loves the Garlic Press. Joshua Washburn, the proprietor, went out of his way for us, once again. The food and dessert were delightful.

And, here's the shocker for the kiddos…Other Mom is not yet 80.

She. Is. A. Whopping. Seventy-nine. Years. Young.

So, now, we have a whole year in which to plan a big fling-ding! Whoopee! All sorts of thoughts are running through my head…an out of town plan with the entire family? A big deal at church? What kind of mom-loving, yet respectful, mischief can 5 sons concoct?

Or, better yet, their wives???

Time will tell, my friends. Time will tell.

Friday, February 9, 2007

And I despise whining!

I’ve not been feeling up to par lately, and my doctor suggested allergy testing. So, I bit the bullet and made an appointment. They told me to block out all day, bring a book, my computer, I could watch movies, TV, whatever…so I did. This will be a snap. I can work, away from the office, and get this testing done. What a multi-tasker!

Holy. Crap.

It’s 4 p.m., I’ve been here since 9am, and I think I’ve had more sticks than … ah, heck, I can’t even think of anything funny. We’ve got the surprise birthday party for my Other Mom at 6:30 – I’m in sweats and a t-shirt, barely presentable. I don’t really feel up to a party anymore. What the heck was I thinking?

Here comes the needle lady with her pretty little poison. And she sticks me, injects the stuff. Barely under my skin. I know where the term "gets under your skin" was coined...right here in good ol' Midland, America. By noon, I had suffered 108 injections. And she told me “We’re halfway done, sweetie.”

Halfway, my butt!” I mutter under my breath.

I think I’m having a reaction. Everything is kind of foggy. Not to worry, by now I know the drill - she’ll be giving me an antihistamine in a minute to counteract the reaction.

We’ve done this all day long. Inject my skin with some known allergen that I might possibly be allergic to…monitor the reaction for swelling, monitor me for all sorts of things like headache, depression, anger…record said reaction, if any…stick me again with whatever counteracts it. Then, in a minute or two, I feel somewhat normal again.

Ready for the next injection?” she asks.

“Ready for me to open up a can of good ol’ West Texas whup-***?”,
I mutter under my breath, as I half-smile (grimace) and nod my head.

What ever happened to customer satisfaction?

I’m trying to work here! I’m trying to do my expenses! Answer e-mails! Answer my customers' calls!

I think I’m developing needle-o-phobia.

I want my mommy. I want my blankie.

I want out of here!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Other Mom...and Mom

Friday is my Other Mom’s birthday…her 80th. By blood, she belongs to MLH. By heart, she adopted me when I married her boy. I’m so grateful for her. We’re going out with Other Mom and her sweet husband, her brood of boys (my 4 brothers-in-law) and their wives to celebrate her special day. It will be fun, and we’re looking forward to it!

The last 80th birthday I celebrated with anyone was my mother’s birthday. That was eons ago, it seems…yet it was just 2002. My Mom was a very active woman – she skillfully managed her own stock portfolio, volunteered several hours a week as a “Pink Lady” at the local hospital, and followed us around to all of our respective hobbies and kids’ activities. Our boys called my Mom “Lucy-Gran”. Elder Son and I lived with her for a while so Elder Son could go to the private parochial school my brother and I had attended in our youth. She never missed a kindergarten graduation, a dance, stock show, a roping, a ball game, or a play. My brother and I live 45 miles apart – and she was at every event, for every grandson. I will never forget how much she sacrificed for us. Where those grandsons were, you would find Lucy-Gran.

I think Mom knew every person in our home town. She stayed very active. And independent…very independent. She would drive from West Texas to Shreveport, to go gambling at the “Boats”, and call us after she arrived…"Janie, I’m in Shreveport, spending your inheritance. I’ll be home in 2-3 days, after I go see your cousins in Troup. Love you!” Or, she and my Other Mom would hop on the tour bus and head out to Niagara Falls, or north to watch the leaves turn – whatever trip came up, they were game. Mom would fly to Vegas or to Laughlin just because she’d had a dream that she was going to win…and did! I remember, on Mother’s Day, 2003, she even went to the hunting refuge to watch Zack work. Mom was, for every single day of our lives, simply amazing. She was both mother and father to my brother and I – as well as several of our friends!

To everyone else but us, she was Lucy. Everyone loved her. About two weeks before her birthday, I had a brain wave (thank you, God!), and started planning an “I Love Lucy” party. I still can’t believe we pulled it off. I sent out invitations, and enclosed were two questions to be answered by the recipient.

“What is your favorite memory of Lucy?”

“Will you please tell us a funny story about Lucy?”

I captured all the replies, and put them in an animated power point, and played it continuously at her party. My brother and I almost pulled off the “surprise” part. Mom had been gambling again in Shreveport, and we thought we could get away with putting a sizeable invitation ad in the local paper, which Mom never read. (Raised in the East Texas Piney Woods, she was a Dallas Morning News kind of girl.) The ad was styled something like this:

“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Please don’t tell Lucy-gran!
You’re invited to a Surprise 80th Birthday Party for Lucy on June 26 at ...”

Mom returned to town a day early, and ran by the bank on her way home. Almost immediately, some old codger came up to her, and said, “Well, did you have a good time at your birthday party?”

Mom called me.

We. Were. Busted.

“Honey, I know.”

“Know what, Mom?”

“About the party.”

“What party, Mom?”

“Jane. You know. My surprise 80th birthday party at the church - the one that you and your brother are throwing for me.”


“Oh. Yeah. That party. How do you know, Mom?

“This stupid man at the bank told me. Then when I asked what he was talking about, he said “Oh, you didn’t know?” and, then, told me what the ad said. And I told him that if I was supposed to know, the ad wouldn’t say “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Please don’t tell Lucy-gran!!!” Can you believe that stupid man?! I can't believe he's even smart enough to be in a bank!”

“Well, Mom, don’t worry, that just takes the stress out of it! We’re still picking you up for lunch at 11. Be ready, Mom, I love you!”

“Okay, sweetie...but honey, please don’t make me cry, okay? I don’t want to cry.”

“Okay, Mom. It’s all good.”

And it was. We had a blast. Tons of people showed up. Memories had come in from every part of the country – via fax, e-mail, and regular mail. And they were sweet, poignant, and funny. Every time she read a new slide on the power point, she would cry. And laugh. That party blessed her socks off.

Mom died September 29, 2004. I had been out in the field on one of those massive frac jobs. Mom drove 20 miles one way to meet me in Stanton that night for supper, to celebrate my birthday. Then she drove back home and around midnight, experienced a massive brain bleed, and went home almost immediately. She was never in pain, and for that, we are thankful.

And, I’m so thankful for my Other Mom. I love her. You would, too. She is a beautiful, Godly woman who loves her husband, her sons and their wives, and all of our children. She was a good friend to my Mom, and they loved each other. I’m thankful for that, as well.

I miss my Mom.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Through Another's Eyes

Sunday was a field trial practice day for Zack, The Wonder Dog, and I. MLH, Younger Son and I all are “Bigs” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. MLH and I decided to invite his “Little” to go with us. Around 8:30 a.m., we go pick up burritos and then go pick up Little Brother #1 (So named because he is our first “Little” – he is 11). LB1 is always over the top with energy and wit – we so enjoy being around him!

We head to Big Spring. LB1 has a million questions…"Now, what are we going to do? I’ve never been hunting. What is a chukkar? What is a pheasant? Will I see chickens? Do I get to shoot? Do you use BB guns? How is Zack going to do that? Did he go to school? Will he knock me down?” We try to explain everything to him. He is so inquisitive – and so very smart!

We get to Andy’s (our trainer) house. Andy is cleaning out dog pens, quite an aromatic chore. LB1 doesn’t like that smell, but there are two little pups hanging around, and he thinks they are quite the treat. We play with them, and go to the barn to see all the birds. En route, we have to stop and see Tank, the world-class barrel racing horse. Tank gently lips LB1’s hand, looking for treats. LB1 is not so sure about that, Tank is pretty big - but LB1 quickly gets over his fear. We enter the bird pens, and there are chickens after all! We see a ton of pheasants and chukkar. The birds fly all around, and LB1 gets a kick out of the bird catching process.

Finally, we head out to the field, and LB1 is all eyes and ears. The kid doesn’t miss a thing. Andy, Zack and I head out for our first two birds. I miss my first one, and get the second one. We bring it up to the truck, and LB1 is all over it – he has to hold it and examine it. “Where did you shoot it? Let me see! Look at the cool colors! The stripes! Are you going out again?” He’s handling everything extremely well, on this, his first hunting trip. We carry on, and finish the training session. LB1 has had a good time.

We go to eat lunch, and the kid devours a triple decker hamburger and fries. LB1 is so long and lean – where does that food go?! We head into town, looking for our friends that will take the birds home and eat them. We find them at Hunan’s, eating lunch after church. We transfer the birds, and we’re heading to visit Scenic Mountain State Park . LB1 likes mountains, and is excited about going…but only if we will think about coming back to Hunan’s to eat lunch (again) afterwards.

We get on top of the mountain, let Zack out of his crate, and take off. We walk up and down the mountain side, looking at rocks, animal scat, anything and everything. LB1 is like a little mountain goat. Zack, nose down, escapes our immediate control, and LB1 is the one who finally leashes him in. LB1 is so proud that Zack came to him. LB1 looks across the mountain to another point, and off we go. He wants to go all over that mountain.

At some point, MLH and LB1 head down to another ledge. Zack and I stay on top, watching. Why didn’t I bring my camera? LB1 is just glowing, smiling – he’s really enjoying this trip. It is a beautiful day. I cannot explain my feelings as I watched these two climbing and talking – I just knew that is was right that they do so. It took me back some years. I know that MLH and Younger Son explored many a mile in their earlier years, and I’m grateful that MLH and LB1 are getting to experience this together.

I was a single mom once. Not all single moms are afforded the luxuries we enjoyed in Elder Son’s youth. ES and I were lucky enough to live in the country. We hunted rabbits, explored, shot BB guns, all the things that country-raised children take for granted. Times were lean, but we had lots of fun – and my son wasn’t hooked to the television! Elder Son was always outside, and we had tons of adventures - some even on this very mountain. I'm glad LB1 is able to taste stuff like this.

Much to LB1’s chagrin, it was time to head back to Midland. We stopped by Hunan’s, and fed LB1 again. Once the bottomless pit was full, we headed west. We’ve enjoyed a full day. It was a very good day – and it was a blessing to see our world through another’s eyes.

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Perfect(ly stupid) Response

Last week was absolutely crazy. Returned from Denver late Wednesday night, rose at 5 a.m. for a small breakfast meeting at 6:15 a.m. with a customer and another coworker. Left there for another meeting in the morning, a new technology lunch and learn at the Petroleum Club, then back to the office for more meetings. I am tired – and my day is not yet finished. Around 8:30 p.m. (still in a meeting, BTW) my phone rings…it is a co-worker, asking for a 6:45 a.m. breakfast commitment - a VP is in town and wants to meet me.

My (tired, and yet, beautifully inane) response to such a request?

“What for?”

I could give you a million excuses, yet I think I’ll just tell you the joke I coined immediately after accepting the breakfast engagement and hanging my head in shame for my lack of utter professionalism…

#9 of Top 10 things NOT to say when the VP of your company calls to invite you to a breakfast meeting:

“What for?”

The breakfast meeting was absolutely delightful.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Bad flight, good flight...who am I to judge?

When he flies, Elder Son always teases me, “Wonder if this will be a Mom fly day?” Or he will call, “Mom, you’re rubbing off on me, guess what happened at DFW?” Or, Vegas - “Mom, I’m sitting in the plane, on the tarmac. The captain just announced they’re canceling this flight due to maintenance issues, so I won’t be home for 4 more hours, and Mom, it’s your fault, they must know I’m your kid.”

Yes, we are finally home from the Mile-High City trip - and glad to be so. You thought the weather was funky in West Texas? You should have been in Denver. It was fun, and pretty there. But…

We. Almost. Got. Stuck. In. Denver.

Our flight out of Denver was scheduled to leave at 12:45 p.m. . Some of our colleagues were on the same flight, going to Houston. They had been in the President’s Club, and heard that at 2 p.m., high winds were expected, and the Denver airport would be shut down. It was lightly snowing, I was a little worried. We were on time, boarded the plane, so I started breathing a little easier.

We back away from the airport, and start taxiing for position. We stop. Everything goes quiet. The engines start again, and then go quiet.

Due to the cold temperature, the right engine would not start,. Mechanics came out and start working on the plane. Meanwhile, time is ticking by. We sit on the plane 15 minutes, then 30, then 40. Finally, at 1:45 p.m., we are cleared to fly. They spray antifreeze over the entire plane. The snow outside is now blowing in a horizontal line, so I know the winds are coming, if they have not yet. We take off, and everything is well.

We get to Houston, and basically run to the train. Our 2 ½ hour layover has now evaporated to an hour. Disembarking the train, we are running (with many others) to the B Gate (down in the bowels of IAH Airport). As we come down a ramp, a security guard stops the entire crowd. “Halt! Back up!” she screams, cordoning off the area. There has been a security breach within the airport.

About 5 minutes later, she lets us all go (with no explanation as to the breach), and we get to our gate just in time to board the bus to go to the small jet that will fly us to Midland. Thank God. We’re home again…finally.

And Elder Son? Well, last night he was scheduled to fly from Lubbock to Austin. He was invited to hang and spend some studio time with Keith Gattis, a renown lead guitarist and rising country music solo artist.

I know ES arrived at Austin in a timely fashion, because he text-messaged me: “Austin, Texas welcomes Elder Son!” We can always count on our sons to make us laugh.

Yeah, well - let's see what happens on his flight home.