Sunday, November 30, 2008

Name That Blogger Contest!

It's cold and wet in Pennsylvania. Here are some pictures I took on location yesterday. This is where ThatManILove has spent most of the last 74 days. Craziness, but such is life in the patch. A fallen leaf, perfectly framed in about two inches of snow.
The woods on the edge of the location. Right under the hill is an old strip mine.

New location in the Pennsylvania. This location had a foot of snow on it 2 days ago.

I could have gone skating on the fresh water pit. On second thought, naaaaahhhhh.

Ice melting on the frac tank. Took me three tries to catch the droplets. I love it.

On another note entirely, tonight, we met a fellow blogger (who is hereby excluded from this particular contest) in State College, Pennsylvania. We had a blast!

First one to guess the blogger's name gets a present from Pennsylvania – and I promise, it won’t be snow!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pennsylvania and the Underground Railroad

We ate Thanksgiving lunch at Alfanos At The Quail in Washington, PA. It is a beautiful old 1837 plantation mansion originally built by David Quail, and was one of the Underground Railroad Waystations. The Quail family lived in the house for almost 100 years. The mansion has been elegantly redecorated, and is awesome to behold. The proprietors, the Marc and Christina Alfanos, are beautiful people. Christina met us as we came through the doorway, and was very sweet. She remembered John and Suzan by name, and later, took us on a tour of the beautiful house. The company was great, and the food was delectable. We had traditional Thanksgiving fare – but I’ve heard the food any other day is amazing.

See this little hole? This is so the slaves could see out of the closet.

This is the stairwell above the "hold".
You can see the lookout hole better now at the bottom of the stairwell.

And this…is the closet, stashed under the stairwell. It is tiny. I am standing up, and shooting the picture down into the closet. I can’t imagine anyone staying here for long, but the runaway slaves did. And they waited to be moved to the next safe house.

Makes my heart hurt.

Scott and I were raised with a black lady always present in our house. We called her Momma Jean. She was a huge part of our lives, and loved us with a passion. We loved her, too, loved her kids and her family. I don’t know how long she worked for our family, but she was never a slave. She went home to her family and kids every night. We grew up with her kids, who attended the same school as we did. As a result, we grew up without prejudice.

I was unaware, until just a few years ago, that at the same time we were all growing up together in Big Spring, that most black people couldn’t go some of the same places my family went, just because they were black. I had no idea, that in my home town, things like that were going on. I don’t know if I had my head up my butt, or what, but I was clueless. And when one of my friends, who happens to be black, told me that she and her family had to go eat in the kitchen of some of the same restaurants we frequented back then, I was shocked. She is the same age as I, and it had to be happening when I was growing up in the same town as she. Once I realized she had to be telling the truth, I was mortified and felt somewhat culpable. So, when I see places like where the Underground Railroad operated, it hits me hard.
I hope every slave who came to the Quail House made it to freedom.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving - and Lots of Snow!

I’m up in snowy Pennsylvania, with John and Suzan…and today, ThatManILove rolled in to town. Finally!! It is so good to see him – I’ve missed him so much!

Tomorrow will find us eating traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Alfano's at the Quail, which used to be one of the safe houses of the Underground Railroad. I’m excited about being in a place that was used to house slaves on their way to being free. John and Suzan said it’s amazing, and they were very humbled. I’m sure we will be, as well.

Friday will find me with ThatManILove, going back to the Pennsylvania oilfield for another three days, and then we’re driving home together. I’m excited about that, too – I’ve not seen this part of our United States! It will be a good time for us to be together, debrief, and just spend time with each other.

Our sons are healthy, safe and sound. Bob and Cherie are housesitting and keeping Zanna the Wonder Pup company. Zack the Wonder Dog is at Andy’s, hunting daily and thriving. We’ll be more than ready to see all of our family, both personal and extended, by the time we get home.

Speaking of seeing family, by the time we arrive back in Midland, Younger Son will have departed the country for his second trip to Haiti in three months. He will be working in an orphanage over there, and will return right before Christmas. He has fallen in love with the kids over there, and the people. If you think about it, pray for him as he embarks on this trek.

We’ve much for which to be thankful – and thankful, we are. And I am thankful for you, my patient and enduring readers. You daily make me smile, laugh, cry, and oftentimes, spew whatever I’m drinking through my nose onto my computer screen. Stop that, you hear? My IT guy just doesn't get it, and he's getting tired of fixing my stuff!

God bless you each and every one during this holiday season.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Tuesday at 5 p.m. found me feverishly driving home from the airport, where I had dropped off a co-worker. I ran to the house, changed clothes, loaded Zanna into Latoya the Sequoia, and drove to the dog park. I was trying to beat sundown. I made it! And Zanna found new friends, Winnie the Doberman Pinscher and Riggs the Red Heeler. Here, she's teaching them the game "That Dog Will Hunt."

Here, she's making them play Chase!

Before long, it was dark, and time for Zanna’s Pet Smart beginner training class. We left the park, and headed to Pet Smart. Zanna and I rocked the class, loaded back up, and headed back out to the airport to pick up Young Whippersnapper Salesman at 9 p.m.

I got to the airport a little early, and decided to pull into a parking lot so I might let Zanna out to do her business. As soon as I parked, my phone rang. Then, I took a second to make another call, to Pam and Mike. Pam was snoozing, so I talked to Mike.

(Time out for a related story.)

Earlier in the year when car shopping, I called ThatManILove. He has a severely dented in several places Ford Powerstroke. Big old 4-wheel-drive truck - the oilfield standby. I’m trying to get him to buy a new truck. Here’s how it went down:

Janie: Honey, you’ve got to buy the new Toyota Tundra. It hauls butt, has all the bells and whistles, and it has your name written all over it.

MLH: Why is that?

Janie: It has 360 Sonar.

MLH: What does that mean?

Janie: It’s a warning. It basically means that if you hit something, it’s because you have your head up your a$$ and can’t hear anything.

MLH: (Laughing) I’m hanging up now, you heifer. I haven’t hit anything in forever!

Janie: Just teasing, honey.

MLH: Seriously, the Tundra is good, huh?

Janie: Oh, yeah, baby…it is suhweet and you’ll love it.

(Related story over.)

Back at the airport. While visiting with Mike, my phone rang again, and it was Young Whippersnapper, saying he was waiting by baggage claim. I told him I’d be there in a minute. I put my truck in reverse to start out of the parking lot. (I was safe, I have Bluetooth. And…a reverse camera. And…360 Sonar. All of this will be very important in a minute.) I was backing up, telling him I’d pick him up at baggage claim, and…it sounds like Zanna has started throwing up in the back seat.

On my new, LaToya the Toyota Sequoia, beautiful soft leather gray back seat.

I’m still backing up. Trying to see what Zanna is doing. Not even looking in the rear-view camera. And my sonar isn’t going off.

And I hit a pole. Poor Young Whippersnapper Salesman, I don’t know what all curse words I said, but I’m sure he now thinks I need deliverance. I tell him I’ll be there shortly, switch back to Mike, and put my truck in park to go look at the damage. Now, Mike is hearing the story and finally, I tell him I have to go.

I want to throw up. La Toya the Sequoia has some scratches, and a small ding. Not too bad, and it could certainly have been worse. But still, I just knocked down 2000 miles on LaToya, and she’s already got an owie. And all I can hear is ThatManILove giving me grief once he finds out about it, especially after the afore-mentioned excerpt. He’s been gone so long, he’s not ever even met LaToya, much less driven this beautiful vehicle. And it’s already been through much – a spilled Starbucks Venti Chai, multiple Zanna throwups, and now this. Arrrrrrgh.

I head to the baggage claim, where I pick up Young Whippersnapper. He’s laughing, talking to his wife, about my dilemma. (I should cut his Christmas bonus for that one.) I leave him in the car, while I clean up Zanna’s mess.

We’re driving to the hotel, and Young Whippersnapper starts asking questions.

YW: I thought this car had 360 Sonar. Isn’t that what you harassed MLH about?

Janie: Yup. I guess I had my head up my a$$, because I sure didn’t hear it.

And then, I look at the dash. The light is not on. The Sonar button is turned off.

And my memory goes back to Starbucks – when I was in the drive-through line with the fellow coworker, en route to the airport, I turned it off, because of the incessant beeping when you get close to the pick-up window. And I had not turned it back on.

My bad.

MLH is going to crack up over this one.

(Update as of 8:35 p.m. - I read ThatManILove this post, he laughed until he cried. Then, he told me to tell y'all one thing: "Justice, baby, is served.")


Monday, November 17, 2008

Zanna Goes to the Dog Park

This is a pix of Zanna and her amazing "blankie"... she takes it everywhere possible.

Sunday evening, I took Zanna the Wonder Pup to the Hogan Dog Park in Midland. She's been a little whiny since Zack's at the trainer,and I thought it would better socialize her.

Shy? Not a bit. Did she have fun? I couldn’t get her shut down. She was hilarious, playing with the other dogs. She had a blast.

And the better benefit?

She slept all night, sweet baby.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Looking Back - Chapter 1

Yesterday, Bob and Cherie came by and we went to eat lunch. It was good to see them.

Afterwards, we went by our storage rooms to check them out and see if I could downsize, since I’d received my second rent increase in a year. One is full of construction supplies, and part of a woodworking shop that MLH has given to Bob. The decision was made to rent a trailer, and clean that one out, and take the wood and equipment to Bob and Cherie’s. Bob is an accomplished woodworker, so the equipment will be put to excellent use, and we will save rent on another storage unit.

While we were there, we opened the second storage unit, which is filled with the accumulation of combining houses, and closing a business. While we were there, I grabbed four boxes of pictures and journals. I thought it might be good to go through them, and scan them into a file. I went and bought a scanner, and started work on the pictures. I think I finished my first box after midnight.

It’s wild to look back. Elder Son is now 27 years old, nearing 28, and these pictures ranged from the wedding to his father, all the way to when Elder Son was 5 years old. I can see the change in his eyes and little face in the pictures before and after his dad and I split up, and it grieves me still. Even though some split-ups might be necessary, it seems the effects of divorce always manifest in the children.

I’m going to keep on scanning, and looking back at my life from way before then, to now. Thank God I kept a camera in my hand all my life from age 18 on. There has been, and will be more, some rejoicing, some laughing, some tears, and much repentance. This is probably a much needed step for me, and truthfully, I’m having to rope up to get it done. Y’all bear with me!

This is the after picture. Can you see the difference, the sobriety in his eyes? Arrrrrrrrrgh. It makes me die inside all over again. Thanks be to God for His grace, because I know I need it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's Me, Again!

I guess having the Zanna-monster has made me go to sleep late and waken early.

I’m in Houston – actually, the town of Humble – for an AADE Nat’l Board Meeting. And I woke up at 4:39 a.m. for no obvious reason. It’s not the bed, I’m at a Hampton and their beds rock. It’s not the DOW falling 411 points, what’s new about that?

Yup. The one day I don’t have to be at a meeting until 10 a.m., I woke up almost 6 hours too early. Oh, well. I caught up on my expense report, wrote letters to issue scholarship checks, and now I’m posting to the blog because I KNOW you just can’t wait to hear the latest episode in my life. I know you’re sitting on the edge of your chair, or your bed, or something, just waiting to hear about me.

Oh. You’re not? Well, dang. That’s a good thing, because I have absolutely nothing to say.

Nada. Zip. Zilch. The prior paragraphs are just so much drivel.

But, hey, I’m consistent.

About posting.

Or, maybe, about posting drivel.

I do have one thing in my life that is currently of interest.

Look! There’s a spot on my bed! Actually, lots of spots. And Shout won't get them out - and the Tide pen doesn't have enough white in it to do any good...

Wait for it....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Word Verification - I HATE it.

Just to let y'all know I'm tired of getting the Viagra spam from Sir Sucksalot. So I've enabled word verification.

Please be patient enough to comment, cause you know I be loving your comments!

(Well, all except John at Sir Sucksalot. I'm hating on him, bible verse or no.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Three More Weeks

Three. More. Weeks.

What, you say?

Three. More. Weeks.

I just found out ThatManILove will be staying in the Pa. Three. More. Weeks. Which, when finished, will add up to the fact that he’s been gone three months. One fourth of the year. That is CRAZY. I know, I shouldn’t whine – he’s alive, he’s well, he’s not in the military, and he’s as safe as a man can be in the oilpatch. He's got an awesome job, one he loves. He’s just miles and miles and miles away.


I can’t believe it. Almost three months he’s been gone. I’ve been extremely busy, with work, the dogs, hunting, the concert, etc. My calendar brought everything home. Next week, I have to go to Houston to attend the AADE Fin Fur Feather Food Fest. Last year, MLH was working and couldn’t attend. This year, MLH is working and can’t attend. See a pattern here? When I reminded ThatManILove that Houston was next week, I thought he was going to cry. It’s a great event, lots of important people attend, and…the food is awesome! We had definitely planned to make this year a “couple event”, just like we planned to make Santa Fe a “couple event”.

I watched “Hope Floats” yesterday…and I was reminded: my cup runneth over. I’m such a blessed woman. I have a man that loves me, sons to die for, and beautiful loving dogs, a great job and a mortgage-free house. It's all good.

I miss ThatManILove. Countdown 21 days. 504 hours to go.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Marty Stuart Travis Tritt Concert Review


The election’s over, what is there to talk about?

Oh! The concert! The Marty Stuart Travis Tritt concert! At the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona! It rocked.

Tell me – can you be twenty-plus years older than your kids, go to a concert together, and all of you know all the words to all the songs? Music makes this family’s world go round, I promise, and it sure keeps us together, when we’re together! These young men are getting older by the minute and it’s times like these I treasure and will always remember.

Travis Tritt was awesome and worth the money, no doubt, but Marty Stuart was simply amazing. Travis has an amazing voice, which I knew from his recording, but in person, that boy has some pipes. And Marty Stuart? Oh, Lord. That man can play a mandolin like nobody’s business. He would play mandolin, then guitar, then mandolin, then sing. Travis mostly played acoustic guitar, absolutely phenomenally, and it was a gift just to be able to watch him pick. These guys flat burned up their instruments. Elder Son and Younger Son, both avid guitarists in their own right, were absolutely spellbound (as they sat on the first row, spoiled, spoiled, spoiled!).

Marty and Travis would sing harmony for each other, and it was beautiful. It was the best of the best of the best, unplugged. You can tell these guys are close friends, and they talked about their wives as they are precious jewels. (By the way, Marty is married to country legend Connie Smith.)

Both of these guys run true to their country roots, and are avid disciples of the old country traditions. They both played songs of their own, as well as covered those of other artists. They did a long, slow version of “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash, and it was absolutely beautiful.

Stuart started out touring with Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass at age 13, and later joined the Johnny Cash Band. He credits all his success to the people that mentored him along the way, which was greatly refreshing. You can tell Tritt is a lover of all types of music, but blues and country just shine in him. He’s an amazing artist in his own right, and has enjoyed mentors in the business, as well.

Elder Son was talking to the couple behind him, and it turned out the man was raised in Big Spring, and knew brother Scott and myself. So we had a little mini-reunion at the concert, which was a cool thing! Shout out to Robert if you’re reading this!

The historic Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix is really neat, and is a theatre in the round, with a rotating stage, that first opened in 1963. The owner came out and visited with everyone, and had his dog with him. Everybody loved that! The crowd was pretty eclectic, and covered all ages. The people sitting around us were very nice, but I think it blew people’s minds that we flew from Texas to Phoenix just to watch this show.

Believe me, a fairly intimate concert with Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt, with my two bestest favorite sons? Honey, you just can’t go wrong there.

You just can’t go wrong.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Truett Says "Go Vote!!!"

This is TOO cute and somehow Blogger's not letting me upload the video, so please click on the link...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Of Floods, Mice, and Holes in the Yard - And Roping

Another crazy day in the life of Janie, Zack and Zanna. (Subtitled: This crap never happens when MLH is home!)

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 4 a.m. Now, tell me, how restful is that? When that happens, there’s absolutely no way to go back to sleep, because it’s a 6:30 a.m. take breakfast into customer day. Took the dogs out, and decided to start the dishwasher. Caught up on some e-mails, and hopped into the shower. Ran to the kitchen to feed the dogs, give Zack his meds, and stepped in water. Lots of water.

Oh, no, you diiiiiiidddddn’t, you say.

Oh, yes, I did. And it’s about 45 minutes before I’m due at Chick Fil A.

I order my customer breakfast food the night before, so I knew that in 45 minutes, Maria at Chick Fil A would have 5 large chicken mini trays ready, and 16 burritos. Waiting on the counter, steaming, for me to pick up. At 6:30 a.m. on the dot. I have to be there.

I called MLH. With flashlight in hand, I tried to unplug the leak detector on the RO unit, MLH trying to talk me through it. We have pullout drawers under our sink, and they fit like a glove. Little hard to pull out when they’re loaded down with cleaning supplies. I unloaded the dishwasher, which I expected was the culprit. I knew the plumber, once he arrived, was going to have to pull it out.

Time is ticking away. My hair is drying in it’s “just got out of the shower” screaming state and needs major attention.

I decide to feed the dogs outside, throw towels all over the kitchen floor to begin the drying out process, and slam into clothes and quick fix makeup and hair. Then, I go pick up the towels and put them in the washroom, where lo and behold, I see…

A mouse. Aaaaarrrrrrgh!

(Notice how, in color and in font, the mouse got more attention than the flooded kitchen? Thus is my life.)

I hop onto my computer (aw, don’t be so literal) and send an e-mail to my exterminator friend.

“ Mice police! Mice police! Will you come back and implement another strategy, please sir? More poison and more stickies? I saw a mouse and I know it’s getting colder, so one means a million, I need HELP!!!….”

I get the breakfasts delivered. Work all day. The plumber comes, and fixes everything. The exterminator comes, and does his deal. In doing so, finds moisture under the air conditioner unit inside the house. So, another call to the plumber will be inititated.

And, the electrician came over today. Seems my outside lights are history, and my sprinkler system has quit watering. They do all their investigative work. And of course, the short is underground. Underground in the front yard. Somewhere. There are now little holes all over my yard. And they ALMOST got it fixed, but needed another part. And the supply store closes at 4 p.m. So they’ll be back on Monday. But I’ll be out of town.

Elder Son, Younger Son, Banker Girlfriend and I are going to Phoenix to see Two Amazing Songwriters, Marty and Travis and won’t be back until Monday night.

In our once sometimes twice a day phone call, I inform MLH of all that’s happening. You know what he said?

MLH: Honey, we need to go over some things about the house before I leave town next time.

Janie: Ya think?

And I'm thinking: (Yeah, baby, we’re going to go over some things, allright. You bet we are. You may never leave this house again. I may put a monitor on ya. You might just have a new vocation: House Honey. Can you make money doing that?)

No. I didn’t think so. Dang it.

Here's a cool thing. I googled Elder Son, and this is one of the things that came up...not that I'm a proud mom, or anything like that.

"***Congratulations to Elder Son for winning the Average and short round riding Cowboy at the Tuley Productions Truck Roping in Glen Rose, TX***"