Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On the Road Again - into the Snow!

We're leaving Clearfield, in a white out. Total white out. Ten mile an hour down the highway whiteout. And then, 20 minutes down the road, it looks like this.


On a lighter note, here's a cute picture of Zanna running her little heart out on Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Homeward Bound!

ThatManILove had to go to location up on the mountain this morning. My job? To sleep. I’m sort of sick, with a cold, or flu, or something, so I’m racked up on Tylenol Cold and Sinus, AM or PM, whichever is applicable.

I woke up around lunch, and decided to go clean up our vehicle while he’s on the mountain. Took me a bit, but I got it done. Last night we packed up 6 boxes of clothing, etc. to ship home so we won’t be crowded in the Yukon XL en route home. Today, we shipped them home. Thank God for UPS.

Tomorrow morning, we’re Texas Bound, really we are. Bye-bye, VodkaMom, we’ll be back soon to visit y’all! Thanks so much for babysitting, I mean, taking care of MLH while he was up in the PA – y’all freakin’ rock!

I'll be posting and taking photos for your enjoyment all the way home! I know. Y'all just can't wait for the thrills and chills, right?


Monday, December 29, 2008

One Dog Shy

Our house is one dog shy for a couple of months. We delivered Zanna the Wonder Pup to her hunter trainer on Saturday. She was so cute – at first, a little shy, but not so shy she couldn’t check everything out. She got to see her Mom, and two of her siblings. This is an important part of having a hunting dog, but it was sure hard to drop her off and leave her! We'll miss that little chica.

Here are some pictures of her driving stance. LaToya the Sequoia has a console between the driver and passenger seats, and this has become Zanna’s “place”. She rode and slept on that console, between us, the entire trip. Here's a picture - pardon the Crackberry quality.

It was so funny when ThatManILove came through the door Christmas Eve – Zanna didn’t bark at him. She went right up to him and started jumping up on him, excited to see him. Both ThatManILove and I were SO pleased. Even though she’d only been around him for a couple of weeks before he left for the PA, she remembered. Dogs are amazing.

Saturday night, we met John & Suzan, Gilbert & Sandra (Sandra’s a lurker on this blog, so y’all shout out to her!) for Mexican food at Grapevine, then went to our hotel. We arose bright and early yesterday morning, and went to Love Field to catch our flight to the PA. Which we did, barely. I forgot to allow for the huge holiday travel and associated bag check lines. Eeeeek! We boarded the plane with only 10 minutes to spare. Thank God, that's good enough for Southwest Airlines!
With only a little drama at Chicago (we pulled away from the airport, only to pull right back in and deplane due to a mechanical failure, then change planes entirely), we were soon on our way to the PA. (Southwest Airlines Seriously Rocks. Just saying. It would have taken Crapinental 2 days to get us out of that airport, and they would have blamed that mechanical failure on God's Will or weather, no refunds, no boarding, sorry.) We arrived in Pittsburgh around 6 p.m., got our baggage, and went to supper at Outback.

And now, we’re in Clearfield, PA. We’re going to pack up ThatManILove’s things and ship some home. In the next couple of days, we’ll be driving back to Texas, where we’ll celebrate our anniversary.

And for those inquiring minds that want to know, are ThatManILove and I Sync’d up? Oh, yes. And we're glad to finally be together again. All is well in our world.

All is well.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sync'd - the Alternative Punk'd

Nobody told me that there would have to be a synchronization period before ThatManILove and I would be back to our “oneness”. I think I've been punk'd. Where the hell is Ashton?

I guess 3 1/2 months is a long time to be apart.

After Christmas Day with our Littles (as in Big Brothers Big Sisters), we took Zack and Zanna to the dog park. Then, we decided to go to the late late movie – the four of us. It was fun. Until we got home and ThatManILove and Younger Son decided to have a “discussion,” eventually drawing us all in. Nothing like a little conflict on Christmas Night. Elder Son intervened and brought some clarity to the situation. Finally, everybody kissed and made up.

Since then, our house has been the setting for a comedy of errors.

This morning, I decided to let MLH sleep in. So, I got up with the dogs at 5:45 a.m.. They did their “business” and I begged them for a few more hours of sleep. They complied, until about 9:45 a.m., when they told me they were “Starving, Mom! Just starving! You never feed us! Where’s the number to PETA?”

(What. What? Your dogs don’t talk, I take it? Well, B.S. You have to channel your inner Dog Whisperer. Mine is called Cesarina. She’s a short Hispanic chica who does some mean rollerblading. She has zero problema being the pack leader, if you get my drift.)

Back to this other crap.

I decided to let ThatManILove catch up on some ZZZZ’s ‘cause that’s how I roll. When he woke up, we ran the dogs for a bit, and then decided on flights back to the PA. I started some laundry, threw a roast in the oven for supper, and decided I needed to take a break…

Just about the time ThatManILove decided we needed to be 100% packed at 2 in the afternoon so we would be ready to roll to Dallas at 9 a.m. tomorrow. I mean, he was getting all antsy about it!

MLH: I think we need to pack, really, Jane.(he only calls me that when he’s mad.)

Jane: Dude. I can so pack in twenty minutes. I’m getting good at it since you’ve been gone.
(for you newer readers, he usually packs for me - and he's damn good at it!)

MLH: Since all my stuff is still in the PA, we’ll both pack in the same bag.

Janie: Let’s see. I have to take 6 days worth of clothes, and makeup, and all that entails, and we’re going to pack in the same bag. Guess it’s going to be pretty warm up in the PA. Think shorts and T-shirts should do it?

MLH: Jane.

Janie: I’m really needing a nap. I haven’t had any down time in forever. Are you good with that?

MLH: I want us to get packed.


Later, I’m folding clothes and I hear him talking. I realize that he’s talking…to me. From three rooms away. I go into the bedroom, where he’s watching TV.

Janie: Hey, Babe, are you talking to me?

MLH: Yes. Do you know where my socks are? I can’t find any! Y'all have to quit putting my laundry where I can't find it.

Janie: They’re in this drawer, this drawer, and this drawer.

MLH: I’ve got to get all this cleaned up and organized.

Janie: Nothing’s changed since you left for the PA. Nobody's worn your laundry, honey.

Then, supper.

MLH: Do you know where the wine corkscrew is?

Janie: No. That's another coincidence - there’s been no wine consumed here since you left, so it would be pretty safe to say you had it last.

MLH tears into every drawer looking for the corkscrew, griping the entire time. Finally he finds it, in the implement drawer. Later, at the table…

MLH: You know, I’m really not feeling a “welcome home.”

Janie: Are you kidding me? (And that’s all I’m going to say about that conversation.)

Later on, I’m counting the 18 Robert Earl Keen tickets to the concert we’re going to miss, trying to decide to mail them to the attendees, or to give them to John and Suzan for distribution, or split them up between Mike and Pam and John and Suzan for further distribution between all the people that are going without us to the concert, or go by Bass Performance Hall and put them at WillCall, or what. I have tickets all over rows D and E, and trying to figure out who gets what.

MLH: Girl. How many times are you going to count those tickets?

Janie: I’m just trying to figure it all out since I don’t quite have a fix on who’s taking who.

MLH: You need to go pack, seriously, Jane.

I finish with the tickets, and go into the bedroom to start packing, and…

He sleeps. And he looks so dang cute when he’s curled up like that, with his head resting on his hands. Arrrrrrrrgh!

We gotta get sync’d up before we head to the PA – or that ride home will be the longest in the history of rock and roll.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas, Revisited

It’s late Christmas night.

ThatManILove and our sons are at here at home. All is well with my world. Zack and Zanna the Wonderdogs are asleep on their pillows at my feet. Thanks so much for all your love, comments and support. I know full well y’all helped me on a daily basis - and I appreciate each and every one of you.

ThatManILove finally arrived at 6 p.m. last night, after all sorts of weather delays. Younger Son and I went to the airport to pick him up. I stayed outside with the vehicle, and Younger Son went in to meet his dad at baggage claim. They hadn’t seen each other in almost 5 months. It was a sweet, sweet reunion - both came out the door with huge smiles on their faces.

Elder Son arrived around 8 p.m.. He was in the house about 3 minutes before all the guitars came out (shout out to Tricia - you would have loved it!). Mom-in-Love and her husband came and joined us for supper and presents.

We have a tradition we share with our sons. Every Christmas, we give them each hand made knives. This year, we introduced them to another knife-maker’s wares - Tippy Knives, made by Jason Tippy from Monahans, Texas. Jason is a youth pastor, and makes the most wonderful knives. Early in 2008 we asked him to make knives for our sons. He not only did so, he numbered them 1 & 2, and we get to name the series. This will happen every year. A new tradition within a tradition! The boys flipped a coin to determine who would get gift #1, then opened the respective gifts. They flipped out. Next year, whoever got #1 will get #2, and vice versa. After the knives were admired and shown around the room, it was time for the other gifts. Our sons were surprised last year by tickets to the James Taylor concert in Lenox, Massachusetts.

This year? I’ll let the pictures do the talking. (When Mamarazzi's around with her camera, they always think they have to make faces.)

Yup. New Mac Books. Oh, yeah...and Booth? Now you can talk to Elder Son about his gifts! Love ya, man!

We’ve had a great time, late breakfast this morning, spaghetti tonight, and now we’re heading to the movies.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

En Route To La Casa!

ThatManILove is driving right now (12:36 p.m. CST) from Clearview, PA to Pittsburgh, PA. A storm is right behind him, and they're shutting down roads right and left. The Highway Department just detoured him to Clarion, PA., which is only 70 miles from Pittsburgh. He's driving 40-45 mph, and weather is setting in.

Hopefully, he'll get to the airport in time to catch his 7:50 EST flight to....(wait for it!)...HOME! Woohoo!!! A Christmas Eve flight!

We're all praying and anxiously waiting! I think our sons are going to force Christmas for tomorrow night, they're so excited to see The Man. Surely they'll let him take a nap first! They're sleeping at our house, too, so weather willing, we'll all be together for the first time in ages. It will be fun, and I'm sure all the guitars will be pulled out of cases and plugged into amps.

Then, the plan will be to go to Dallas after Christmas, take Zanna the Wonder Pup to her trainer, and board a plane back to the PA. We'll go get the truck and all of MLH's stuff, and drive back home. It's our anniversary on the 28th, but at least we'll be together.

On another note, Zanna barked at Elder Son when he came over earlier in the week. I thought I was rocking the casbah getting her socialized...but I guess I forgot the "men" part of that exercise! Oh, well, I did as well as I could! Hope she doesn't bark at ThatManILove when he walks through the door - or tries to get into "her" bed!

Thanks for bearing with me these last 3 1/2 months, listening to all my whining and gritching. I promise to be better...and soon! ;)

Merry, blessed Christmas and Happy New Year to each and every one of you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snooty's Christmas Wish

Snooty wrote a Christmas poem, and I’m in it! Forget my man coming home, I’m going to the spa with Snooty and the girls and "Santa"! Go check it out.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Whiny Gritchy Moany


Time for truth.

When your man’s been gone since the beginning of time, and it’s decision time about coming home or going there for Christmas, how would you handle it?

I feel like crying.

Shouting. Throwing a temper tantrum.

Saying “Fluck, fluck, fluckity fluck!” about a million times.

The rig finally got on the mountain late today…so they’re all up there, 12 degrees and wind chill feeling like -4 in Clearfield, PA, which is the closest town – can you imagine how cold it is up on that mountain? I know they have light plants, but Lord have mercy on all of them.

A decision will be made probably tomorrow as to Christmas and where our family will best be located for that holiday so we can all be together. Our sons are frustrated with the lack of decisions. Me? Don't even ask.

Meanwhile, if y’all pull another meme like you did yesterday, my pix won’t be as pretty. My hair will be flat out screaming from pulling it out in desperation!


Thanks for listening to all that crap. I feel better now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

If I Have To, So Do You! Throwdown!

Amy at Bitchin' Wives Club posted a meme today.

This is what she said:

Take a picture of yourself RIGHT NOW and then post it (no makeup, no adjustments, no Photoshop, etc.). I'll understand if you don't do it. I have a Mac, which makes it a very easy task.... just open the Photobooth App and POW! it's done. So there it is.

What a heifer.

Well, Amy-girl. I don’t have a Mac…yet. But I have a crackberry, which is the epitome of non-flattering light when taking personal pix. But I’m gonna do it anyway…I ain’t a-skeered!

Bad hair day = cap.

Don’t wanna get dressed = fleece pullover and workout pants, no makeup but yesterday’s leftover (shutup and deal with it!). Notice cap doesn’t match outfit.

I did brush my teeth.

Brace yourselves, me hardys! (How do you do that and not have your arm cranked up in the sky? arrrrgh!)

It's Travis Erwin's Birthday!! Let's Play!!

I’m at work this afternoon. It’s a beautiful, blue sky day – but a little cold for West Texas! It was a windy 32 degrees when I took Zack and Zanna to the doggy park today. I put them in their kennels indoors, and then ran down to the office.

And then, I remembered! It’s Travis Erwin's birthday today! Josie is hosting a bloggy birthday for him, with prizes and everything! Go over there, tell him Happy Birthday, and answer the questions. Just come up with some crazy goofy answers, make them all laugh – I know y’all can do it! It will be a cool thing to do.

Trav is crazy funny, I promise. He writes women’s fiction. Travis is also the founder of "My Town Monday" in the blogosphere, and hosts it, as well. He’s a hoot, and to prove it, he and his wife and others dressed up as a Polygamist Sect for Halloween, so he definitely fits right into this bunch of bloggers!

See y’all at Josie’s!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

One Two Three - GO! Go! GO!

Having more than a little trouble getting motivated today. I’m a girl that likes a plan, and I don’t have one yet. ThatManILove and I are still way undecided about how to handle Christmas, all based on when his rig is getting to location. It wouldn’t be so bad, but other people are being affected, as well…the flowback guys have been on location on the mountain in the PA since Sept. 15th. When they go home to Louisiana, they don’t want to come back until the next job. They’re great guys, and I can see their point. They’ve not seen their family in all that time, and one of them has a brand new granddaughter as of last month. At least I’ve been able to visit ThatManILove, though our sons haven’t seen him in over three months. Anyway, enough whining about that.

I’ve over 200 corporate Christmas gifts to deliver on Monday and Tuesday, which will keep me hopping. I have to go into the office today and do some paperwork, and then I’ll take the ZZ crew to the doggy park. The trainer’s not been here in two days, and there’s enough fodder in that for two posts – but I have to wait until I cool down. Hint: my dogs were stupidly exposed to an infected with parvo pup who subsequently died, and I’m not a happy camper. At least my dogs have been vaccinated.

I went and picked up the main gifts for the boys. I can’t post about them (Hey, Booth, love ya) yet, but after Christmas, I’ll post pictures. Amazing, amazing, amazing. I have to take pix of them today before they are wrapped so y’all can see.

I also helped some parents find a new shotgun way below cost (one of my customers won it!) for their young shotgunner son Nate, so I’ll be delivering that today. It’s exciting to help a young one grow, and he’s one I’ve taken under my wing. Last week, I went to borrow Nate’s gun for a friend to try – she’s going to start shooting and needed to check gun fit. When I picked it up from Nate, something had drastically changed. Somehow, someway, Nate has grown taller than me…so his present shotgun (one of my old ones) won’t fit him for long. I did some calling around, and found this gun, and then called his parents and offered to sponsor part of the cost. They agreed to allow ThatManILove and I to do so, and I bet you there will be one happy young man in our town come Christmas day! I'm so excited for him!

The Trav has his interview questions posted. Go check them out! I think I’ve sent out questions to all of you who offered to suffer through an interview – if I missed you, please let me know!

Have a Happy Saturday before Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Scott's Only Dreaming He's as Good at Photography as Me - and other sibling rivalry stuff

Brother Scott got a new camera – and his first posted picture with it is too freakin’ funny! Go check it out!


I had time to send one set of questions from This One over at the blog Chasing Wentworth Miller…and Simplicity took the time to answer them. Her responses are amazing, deep and true. Go! Go! Go check them out and give her some bloggy love. The rest of you? Your questions are coming soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tired and Discouraged but Here Ya Go

I'm tired. ThatManILove isn't going to be home for Christmas, so hey, I might be heading back up to the PA to be with him. We may be spending the holiday with Vodka Mom and her crew, who knows? (She SO rocks - she said we could! Now, that, people, is the LOVE of blogland!)

Anyway, I was thinking about the man, trying to remember all the funny times we've experienced. Which led me to read past blog stories. Which now leads me to repost this story, first posted April, 2007.

Not too long ago, a man and his wife were in Academy Sports. She was looking for mucker boots, and somehow got separated from her husband. Around the corner he comes, looking very pleased with himself. In his hand? A folding shovel, and a portable toilet seat that is supported by four legs. Amused, yet more than a little mortified, the wife accompanies him to the checkout, places her items on the counter…and quickly exits stage left to loiter at the entrance, leaving him to pay.

Later, they are talking with one of his fishing buddies, and the wife updates the fishing buddy on her husband’s embarrassing purchase. She thought that her husband had purchased the toilet for the camping and river trips the two men take upon occasion. She is quickly corrected by her husband. He informs his wife and his friend that he bought both toilet and shovel to assist him in taking care of "business" during his long work days out in the oilfield. The fishing buddy laughs, and more ribbing ensues.

(Her husband’s good ol’ boy fishing buddies have given him no end of grief concerning his love for the environment, taking care of business, not trashing the camping surroundings, etc. Matter of fact, she says they now call him “Dudley”, the character played by William H. Macy in the movie “Wild Hogs.” She is of the opinion that her husband mistakenly believes he is helping his buddies become a little more citified out there at the fishing camp.)

I know why the husband wants to take this little jewel of a toilet to work. The oilfield is one of those places that has virtually seen no changes after all these years, at least in the area of personal comforts. There is a distinct lack of amenities out there. One can be two hours from the nearest town and no facilities in sight. Guys have it easier than women, yet none differ when that certain need comes upon us.A month or so later, the husband, staying out of town, calls his wife. They go over the happenings of their respective days. He begins to tell her a story.

Husband: “Remember my little camping toilet I purchased at Academy?"

Wife: "Yes."

Husband: "Well, I was putting it to use today. I dug a little hole, situated the toilet, grabbed my book.”

Wife: “Grabbed your book? You are out in the middle of nowhere. Why do guys have to read when this particular body function is going on? Oh, my Lord. Okay, honey, continue…I’m sorry I interrupted you. It’s just that anybody could drive by, at anytime.”

Husband: “As I was saying, I dug my little hole, and settled in. I finished my business, and shifted to put my book on the top of my truck. I thought “Wow, this thing is really sturdy!” and, just to test it, I wiggled on it a bit…

Wife: “Yeah?”

Husband: “I felt it start to give. The legs collapsed on my toilet seat…and I fell. Right into my business.”

Wife: “WHAAAAT? What did you say?”

Husband repeats himself, adding “I had it everywhere. I’m running around with my coat on, my pants around my boots, trying to get everything cleaned up. I had to almost totally undress. And it is coooooold.”

Wife, tears of laughter running down her face, buries her head in the pillow.

Wife: "Where were the little receptacle sacks?"

Husband: "I guess they blew out of my truck, I can't find them. And, anyway, as I was cleaning up, I realized – the pulling unit was only a football field away – and Joe's up in the derrick. I look up, and Joe is staring down at me. He’s seen everything. He waved at me.”

The wife is laughing hysterically, as is the husband.

Wife sputters: “Do you think he’ll still respect you in the morning?”

Story disclaimer: Any content submitted to Sounding Forth via method of voice, written or otherwise may or may not be posted. The acceptance of any particular content is not related to its value or merit. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Any resemblance between Janie, MLH or the persons herein and real persons living or otherwise is purely incidental. And that’s the twuth…

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday from an OilPatch Gal

Ron's Questions for Janie - Unplugged.

I volunteered to be interviewed by Ron of The Warped Mind of Ron. Read below if you’re interested!

Ron: Thanks for dropping by my blog and volunteering for an interview.

Janie: No problem, Ron. I’m stupid like that. I just love opening myself up for ridicule, derision, and laughter. I figure, if they’re talking about me, they’re giving someone else a break.

(we're really not talking. I just imagined myself on some interview show. What? Jerry Springer? No! Please! Make it...Larry King Live or something like that. I like all those little lights in the background. The lighting flatters my face and makes me look years younger.)

Ron: Question #1:
How in the world did you find my blog and what made you click on it?

Janie: Because I’m Warped like that! Get it? I clicked on the The Warped Mind of Ron because I’m warped and warps attract? Nahhhh. I think I scammed on through the crazy and zany Vodka Mom. No, wait, maybe it was Sabrae. Oh, heck. I dunno. I piggybacked onto one of your readers, then decided to follow. Just be glad I came by and graced you with my stupid royal assedness. I’m sure your good U.S. bank account will benefit in some way. Some time. You know, like when one of my relatives whom I didn’t know I had, and by the way, was rich as Croesus, kicks the bucket and I have to have some safe place in which to deposit said funds because the government’s trying to abscond with the family jewels. And I’ll split it with you 90/10. Me 90, you 10. Are you good with that?

Ron: Question #2: What inspired you to start blogging in the first place?

Janie: Oh, the twisted trails we take, all to further twist the tale. I would write stories about our trips and family life, which is Way Twisted, and send them to my customers. They loved them (they said!) (I didn’t pay them, I promise) and kept after me to write more. Then, somehow, I happened onto a local blog from one hilarious guy, Eric at The FireAnt Gazette. He has the driest sense of humor! And I was hooked, read it daily, and then read all of his linky love. A year later, I finally hopped into the blogworld as a pseudo-wannabe-blogger. Not much has changed. I’m still a wanna-be. Though I still send twisted stories to my customers, ‘cause that’s how I roll.

Ron: Question #3: For whatever reason you have no time to do any of your normal Holiday decorating or rituals. If given the time to have one decoration or ritual only what would it be?

Janie: Seriously? What is normal? I don’t do normal. And really, I have no time to do any Holiday decorating this year. Don’t even have a tree up. Bah freaking humbug. Zanna would shred everything anyway. Wonder if decorating Zack the Wonder Dog and Zanna the Wonder Pup will suffice? I’m trying my hardest to keep my head in the Christmas game, what with ThatManILove being gone for over three months now. I figure if I bought the presents, got them wrapped (thanks, Cherie!) and delivered them, I’d be knocking it outa the park. Ovah da fence. You know.

Anyhoo…One thing we always do is adopt families (or last year, four!) for Christmas, and that is still happening. It’s fun, and a blessing to us as well as the receiver. And I think that’s what Christmas is all about – loving on people. And we donate to our local Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization in which I totally believe, having been a single mom myself. But, enough. You don’t really wanna hear all that stuff.

Ron: Question #4:
Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so what is it?

Janie: I don’t really have a favorite Christmas Carol, I like them all. But my favorite song of all time, Christmas or otherwise, is “Mary, Did You Know?”, written by Mark Lowry. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. I'll hum along.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

Ron: Question #5:
What bank do you use and what is your account #'s..... wait... that may be inappropriate?

Janie: Well, I could give you all my Nigerian friend’s bank accounts…but you’d have to share all your information. I mean their information. You could send it to

Ron: What blogger from your regular visitors do you really hope volunteers to be your victim, ummm I mean interviewed?

Janie: I hope that everyone of them wants to be interviewed - and I promise to ask nice…well, sort of nice…not mean, anyway…questions!! Braja, Vodka Mom, Eric, and the Dooze. But she’s incognito, so I’d have to publish hers.

Ron: This question thing is harder than it sounds :-)

Janie: What? Asking, or answering? Are you freakin’ pre-judging me? I belong to Womensa. My I.Q. is through the ceiling…of the doghouse. And, by the way, is by no means related to the number of daily hot flashes experienced. I can ask questions. See? Like these. I can SO play this game.

Janie: What color are your shoes? Is your favorite book "See Spot Run"? Do you know Dick and Jane?

Ron: Thanks for playing along and have a very Merry Christmas.

Janie: (Got him, didn't I? I sooooooooooo smart!)Thanks for allowing me the pleasure, Ron! It was fun. Now, anybody else wanna bare their soul for everyone to see?

Let me know. I can aska da questions. I can. I can.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hunting Pheasant and Chukkar in Santa Anna, Texas...and Pheasant Phighting Throwdown!!

ThatManILove is missing out on all the fun stuff. Earlier this year, we, along with another local family, pooled together and bought a pheasant/chukkar hunt at a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation fundraiser. The hunt was at the Santa Anna Hunting Area, which is one of the premier bird hunting places in Texas.

And yesterday, we went on the hunt. One of my customers, Dave, took MLH’s place. Our family friends (dad, mom, son and daughter) went with us, and we had a good time hunting together. There was much excitement, laughing, and encouragement.

I think we walked 10 miles, over stubble and high grass, hunting those pheasant and chukkar. I am a very, very tired girl. Gerry and Eldena Sterns, the owners of Santa Anna Hunting Area, will spoil you rotten on one of these hunts. Gerry takes you out with his dogs, and the hunters fan out across the field and walk in a line across the field. The dogs are working to the hunter’s right and left, and when one goes on point, the others all go to back him up. It was so much fun. These dogs were amazing – brittanys, pointers, and even a French spaniel. And you can tell these dogs love their owner! The shooter guns the bird, and then the dogs retrieve it, and Gerry carries all the birds. Some of the best hunting in the world. The birds are beautiful, and there were some black pheasants out in the field. They're really show-stoppers, big beautiful showy birds.

After the hunt, we returned to the main facility. The Stearns grandkids were there, and had our birds cleaned, bagged, and in a cooler in no time. Here they are: Hunter, Cheyenne, and the tiny one, “Tay-wah” (Taylor). Beautiful, sweet young people. Eager to please, and very personable.

Taylor stole all our hearts, she’s a sweetie, and will tell you in no uncertain terms she’s too “wittle” to hunt, but she’d love for you to stay and “pway” with her! And…she’s a camera ham. Can you tell?

This is Gerry Stearns with his granddaughters Cheyenne and Taylor. You can tell they're all the best of friends!
Here’s a pix of all of the hunters. I’m the chunky monkey in the bright orange. And the wind was blowing so hard my hair was screaming, but Lordy, we had a great time!
Here are some pix I caught of rooster pheasants fighting and bowing up to each other. They jump up in the air and fight with their claws. It's almost dark, and I didn't have my big flash with me, but if you click on pix, you can see the vibrant colors of their feathers. I can't believe we got this close to them. (No, we didn't shoot them.) Aren’t they beautiful?

See how they puff up their feathers? Just like some men I know! Oh don't have feathers!

So…if you’re wondering what to get the hunter in your life, call the Stearns – buy a hunt. Your hunter will love you forever.

Or, heck. Forget that! Just buy me one!
On another note entirely - does anyone else love the Chelsea Lately show as much as I do??

Friday, December 12, 2008

Clearfield Corners

It’s time for ThatManILove to come home. Seriously. The PA and the cold are Wearing. Him. Out. And he is in wait mode for some equipment to go to location.

Today, he called the office and talked to Mark, a VP in my company.

TMIL: Hey, Mark!

Mark: Hey, how’s it going up there?

TMIL: Great. Guess what I'm doing?

Mark: I don’t know. What?

TMIL: I’m stuck up in the upper northeast corner of my hotel room, and the only thing that’s holding me up here is static electricity. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to hang on to myself.

Mark: (roars for freaking minutes.) Cold up there, is it?

TMIL: Freakin’ 18 degrees!

Ummmm. Yeah. Maybe you had to be there.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas is A-Coming!

Elder Son is in town today, and called to have lunch with his MommyDearest. We had a good time. In retrospect, though, I think he was just fishing to see what we were getting him for Christmas, and beg to go hunting. I knew the "fishing" part was going to happen. Now, I just have to guess when Younger Son will do the same thing.

Another thing I pegged about Elder Son was that his friend Booth would call him and tell him he made the blog.

Booth did, and Elder Son told me. It was funny. Booth told him, “Dude. You made the blog again. And I would tell you what you’re getting for Christmas, but your mom made fun of us, and won’t tell on the blog. She knows I read it.”

You probably know that both of our sons are musicians, and that we frequently do concerts somewhere, as a family. Last year, for Christmas, we surprised them with JT tickets, in JT’s own home town of Lenox, Massachusetts. We tucked the tickets into brand new JT cds, so it took them a while to figure it out. Once they did, they both freaked out and started calling all their friends. They love his music (well, heck, who doesn’t??)

Elder Son: So, Mom. What are we getting?

Janie: What makes you think you’re both getting the same things?

Elder Son: Makes sense.

Janie: We always make sense. (in my dreams!) We’re your parents.

Elder Son: That sucks, Mom. You should just tell us.

Janie: Okay. We’re getting y’all tickets to Wayne Newton.

Elder Son: Shut up!

Janie: Okay, how about Tony Bennett?

Elder Son: I’d rather see Tony Bennett than Wayne Newton, I promise!

Janie: You don’t wanna go see the king of Botox?

Elder Son: Kenny Rogers is the king of Botox, Mom.

Janie: No, son. Kenny Rogers had a facelift and jacked his face and they had to redo it.

Elder Son: Not going to tell me, are you, Mom?

Janie: Nope.

Elder Son: arrrrrrrrrrrgh!

They're never too old for this kind of stuff, I swear.

Fun, this.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Funky Consignment Store!

In Pennsylvania, we were going down the road and I saw this fox. And then, I looked again, and saw it was a Savvy Fox. I will admit, I've never seen THAT kind of consignment store.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sunday Follies

Though we had a late night Saturday night, we were up and at ‘em on Sunday morning. We met a customer and his wife at Cabela’s at 10 a.m. He’s buying her a new shotgun (her first!) for Christmas, and they needed my advice on fitting her with the right gun. We had a good time – it will be fun when she starts shooting sporting clays!

We left, and went to Uncle Julio’s for lunch. ThatManILove is missing his Mexican Food, so we indulged. He was so funny – he ordered three different things – just so he could taste everything. You don’t realize what a staple Tex-Mex food is until you’re away from it for an extended period of time!

We had a couple of hours before he was due at the airport, so we decided to go work on the Christmas presents for Elder Son and Younger Son. I can’t talk about what either of them are getting for Christmas in this blog, because Elder Son has a friend who is a faithful reader. (Hey, Booth! I miss seeing you, dude!) Elder Son says that Booth calls Elder Son from time to time and tells him, “Hey, bud, you made the blog again!”

We headed to the airport. I’m not paying attention to the signs, thinking MLH will. He doesn’t. So we enter the maze that is DFW Airport, looking for Continental. We go to Terminal A. Then, Terminal B. (Can you imagine how we looked from the air? What stupid idiots! It would have been better to leave the terminal, start over, and come back in and read the signs. Seriously.) DFW is designed like a bunch of cloverleafs, and it's a mess. Okay, we’ll try Terminal C. ThatManILove is getting more than a little antsy…it’s 3:30 and his flight leaves at 4:35 and “Jane, you know how picky Crapinental is!”. Oh, yeah, baby. I know ALL about Crapinental.

Finally, we see the sign. It’s Terminal E. Off we go. We get to the departure drop-off, and park. I get out, and start helping him unload his stuff. We hug, and kiss, then I go through the checklist.

Janie: Got your phone?

MLH: Yep.

Janie: Computer? Your wallet?

MLH: Jane. C'mon. (and then) Yep. Oh. Wait. My wallet? Oh, no! Where is it?

Do I know my man, or what? The frantic tearing through the bags and truck begins. I call Uncle Julio’s to see if we’ve left it. I call the other stores. No go. The clock is t.i.c.k.i.n.g. seriously.

Finally, amongst many curse words, he finds his wallet, underneath the passenger seat.

Rerun. We hug, kiss, and he goes up the escalator into the airport. I pull into parking just to make sure he gets through – 30 minutes is usually the cutoff for Crapinental. MLH calls me ten minutes later, to tell me he made it through security. It’s now 4:05 p.m.

I start breathing again, and head west into the right into my eyes afternoon sun for the 5 ½ hr drive home to Midland.

It’s never boring around here!

Monday, December 8, 2008

But Oh So Worth It!

If you’ve been a reader of this prolific (cough) blog for any length of time, you know that I. Am. So. Spoiled.

Friday night, ThatManILove and I met in Fort Worth, Texas, where we attended my company Christmas party. We woke up, and planned the day.

MLH: What all do we need to do today?

Janie: I’d like to go by Origins and pick up some stuff, then go by the camera store and look at a wide angle lens for the digital. Would that work?

MLH: No problems. Let’s go eat lunch, get it done, and we’ll head to the Omni Mandalay and be there around 3 p.m. to check in and get ready for tonight’s party. We'll even have a bit to rest!

And, off we go. I run into Origins, pick up the things I need, and we head to the camera store in the same shopping center. Except, it is no longer there. So, we search camera stores on the GPS, and head to the nearest one, the Fort Worth Camera Store.

We’re shopping, I’m talking to the Canon rep, and ThatManILove gives me one of those looks that shout I'm about to make a move and you can't stop me!”

MLH: We’re buying that camera. Today.

Janie: Whaaaaaaat? My camera is fine, and almost brand new!

MLH: You’ve really stepped it up with your photography, and I do not want you to be limited in any way. It’s going to be Christmas and Happy Anniversary.

Janie: And my birthday for years to come!

MLH: (laughing) Yeah, well, we’ll see about that.

He also bought me a new lens, plus new Photoshop software (Yahoo! Watch out, world!), and a new flash and diffuser. He said “Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary!” It’s kind of neat, because on our wedding day way back then, he bought me a 35mm Canon SLR.
Getting all that took a while; once on the road, we headed to the Omni to rest a bit before readying for the partay. We were pulling into the Omni, turning the corner.

MLH: “What necklace are you wearing with that pretty dress? Did you bring your pearls?”

Janie: (Silence.)

MLH: You forgot your jewelry, didn’t you?

More silence. Look of chagrin. Affirmative head nod. One. Single. Curse. Word. Rhymes with Grit.

MLH: Turn around, girl, head to the Galleria, we need to buy you a necklace.

I did, and he did. A beautiful drop pendant with three diamonds.

I am spoiled rotten by ThatManILove. And I love it!

Oh, yeah. He LOVED LaToya the Sequoia. And he loved my Adrianna Papell dress I bought for the formal party. And he loved my surprise when he bought me the camera and the necklace. And he loved…

Never mind.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I finally got in from the PA Wednesday night around 8:30ish. Count on good ol’ Crapinental to fly the friendly skies on their terms, which meant when I got to Houston, I had to literally haul buns to the basement to catch my plane to Midland. What was supposed to be a 1 ½ hr layover turned into a 20 minute run. The basement at Intercontinental is where the baby planes (Embrier) fly to small towns unknown. Sometimes, it’s unknown if you’re ever going to get there...I mean to those small towns unknown – like my town. When you fly the small planes, it’s a crapshoot if you’re going to make it to your destination on time and even, on the right day.

Remember, when I left the PA, it was ccccccooooollllldddd? I didn’t take a jacket, but had on a light warmup suit. The top happened to be a very thin fleece. I didn’t want to have to deal with a jacket when I hit 80 degree Midland.

But I forgot about humid, humid Houston.

By the time I left Terminal E and made it all the way through this hall and that hall to get to the train to go to Terminal B, I thought I was going to have a meltdown. And the minute you leave Terminal B and head down to the escalator to the HELL that is the basement of Terminal B, you enter yet another level of H.O.T. I couldn’t to this minute tell you if it was hormones, or heat generated by my sudden, lumbering dash with Canon and computer to the other side of the airport. I was so soaked with sweat I thought I was going to have to be treated for black mold. People, how do you live in that kind of humidity??? That stuff is CRAZY.

I get into the basement, and I look around. For once in my life, there is no one I know. It’s a miracle, I tell you. (At my last job, my fellow coworkers had a standing bet that if whoever traveled with me could get through any airport without me knowing someone, the pool would pay a collective $100. Noone ever collected. ) It’s a very good thing I saw no one I knew, because my straight hair is now plastered across my brow…and down my neck. It is SCREAMING. I sneak over to a corner, plug in my phone, melt into the plastic chair, grab my claim tickets and start fanning myself. Trying to look cool and collected, just placidly fanning myself prettily. Or at least as prettily as possible with big huge sweeping arm movements and heaving chest. The people around me look away, trying not to laugh, I swear to God. At least I wore deodorant today!

I drain what little water I have left in my always present travel bottle of Aquafina. I look around. There are zero concessions in the basement at Intercontinental. Zero. I am dying, I tell you. Dying. In a freaking flaming throwdown of hot flash.

And then they call my flight. I grab my phone, stuff everything in my bag, and go across the room. To the boarding door. Where, if at all possible, it is even more stuffy and overheated. There are about a million people there, waiting on their respective flights. Which, along with mine, are delayed due to weather. In other words, I got up, ran over to the door, for nothing. Nada. Zilch.

And up walks one of ThatManILove’s friends. Very successful nice man. We start talking. I’m trying to respond in a relatively intelligent manner. This is one of those guys that talks to you straight up. Total eye contact, and we’re all crammed together waiting to go down the walkway. I’m trying to pay attention and stay on task, but all I can think about is “do I have a sweatball hanging off the end of my nose?”

(Enter Gilda Radner doing the nasal voice of Roseanne Roseannadanna: “she had this little, teeny, tiny ball of sweat right here, hanging off the tip of her nose. It was just hanging there! It wouldn't fall off! Like if she turned her head, it wouldn't fall off. If she stood up it didn't fall off, if she stretched it wouldn't come off, and when she picked little pieces of her sweater out of her bellybutton it wouldn't fall off. That little sweat ball just wouldn't fall off. So I yelled at her, I said, "Hey, Doctor! Flick that sweat ball off your nose! What are you trying to do, make me sick?" )

Finally, we board the little plane. My man’s friend sits down in the plane. I tell him that he has my seat, and he looks a little confused, but moves over. I’m 5’ 7”. He’s probably 6’5”. Tight fit, what with his height and my bulk and the two seat row. He’s very gracious. We start talking business, and settle back to enjoy a great flight.

The stewardess comes around. It seems there is some confusion. She asks for my ticket. I find it, and give it to her. She says, “Ma’am, you’re in the wrong seat.” My new friend looks at me, then at the stewardess, then says,” actually, she has my seat. I am sitting in the wrong seat, as well.”

They all looked at me. And then the other young man, standing in the aisle with the stewardess, the young man who was prepared to take me down for the right seat – he looked at me, and this look of recognition washed over his face. He didn’t know me, but he knew something. You could just see it. And. He. Caved. He backs off, tells the stewardess it’s not a big deal, and decides to take the seat in front of me – my original seat, if I’d have just read the lay of the land correctly.

I’m wondering, “What happened? I would have changed seats with him, no problems.”

And then it hits me. He’s about Elder Son’s age.

Yup, he may be young, but he’s not stupid. He saw it - the tremors signaling the beginnings of a serious head rotation, and the green bile forming. " Reeeaaaaaaagggggggaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnn!”

Oh, yeah. He knows all about the Demon Menopause. And he had serious "I wanna live" written all over him.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Did You Say???


I’m not a happy girl. Well, I am, just because I pretty much try to stay that way.

But here’s the dealio – I’m at home in Midland, flew home tonight, and ThatManILove is STILL in Pennsylvania. Our best laid plans went astray. I did get to spend some good time with him, on location, doing work, but still, we were together, had fun, sang songs going down the road (and we sound great together, if I do say so myself.)

We will meet Friday morning in Fort Worth, and be together for Christmas parties all weekend in the Metroplex, and then…he goes back to the PA. Vodka Mom, I may need to wedge him into your family for a week or so – he’s getting pretty homesick.

Anyway, here’s a story. May be a little offensive, but just love me through it and build a bridge, okay? I was a cool 38 years old when I came into relationship with the Lord, and he’s still doing a work on me. When I get stressed, or scared, sometimes my mouth overloads my a$$, and that’s a lot. Not that it happens a lot, just that I have a lot of a$$. Just sayin’. But anyway, back to my mouth - when I’m under stress, and something happens, I can curse with the rest of them. It’s like a switch turns on, and I go for a second, then, BAM! I’m back to being sweet, sweet, sweet. (And for those of you that have seen my head rotating and green bile projectiling out my pie-hole, please don’t pick now to throw your two cents worth in. I’m telling this story. Do you hear me? Good. Because all the rest of the readers think I am an angel.)

This morning, we got up early, repacked everything, took the laundry down to the hotel front desk to send it out, and walked out to go to the airport. It was COLD. Seriously COLD. And dumb me, grabbed my coat, had it over my shoulder, not wanting to take it back to Texas, because I knew it would be knocking 80 when I got home, temperature-wise. Hands full of luggage, camera, stuff, and couldn’t put that coat on. And ThatManILove is taking his sweet time unlocking the truck. Did I tell you it was COLD? Like in the 20's. Freezing.

Janie: Sh!t. D@mn! H3ll! Pi$$! (and I thought I said it under my breath.) It’s cold as a witch’s you know what out here!

ThatManILove: Honey. Think you might interject a few more expletives into that sentence?

Janie: Ummmm. Dang. I didn’t even realize I said anything. (Liar, liar, pants on fire!)

ThatManILove: Well, that was pretty entertaining. I just wondered.

Janie: Well, I could have added that phrase I read on somebody’s blog lately.

ThatManILove: What was that?

Janie: It was “fluck, fluck, fluckity-fluck.”

ThatManILove: Whaaaaaaaaaat?

We both cracked up, and headed to the airport. Ees a berry goot ting he lubs me.

Speaking of love, my Brother Scott has a new design featuring a pix of he and my nephew, as well as a cute post of the WonderGrandGirl...go tell him hi!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We Ain't A-Skeered of No Woods!

The crazy things I get into, I swear.

Monday, we were up in the Pennsylvania woods on the wellsite. I promised the flowback guys I would make them some stew, and I did so. I sat in the trailer looking out the window, I saw two hunters walk out of the woods. Nosy girl that I am, I ran outside and started talking to them. Needless to say, they were shocked to see a woman on location, but were very friendly. I went and got ThatManILove, and we stood outside in the cold and visited with them. Their names were Pete and Donnie. Nice guys from different parts of Pennsylvania. They invited us to come by their deer camp.

Yesterday, on the same location, Pete came by again, to say hi and bring us some paperwork. He asked us to come by their deer camp again, and ThatManILove decided we’d do so. By this time, it is colder than a witch’s you know what, and snowing. Nasty weather. We leave about an hour after Pete, and head down the mountain. In four wheel drive, and low gear. Five miles took about 30 minutes. I’m telling you, it was one icy son of a gun going down that mountain.

We get to the bottom of the mountain, turn a hard right per Pete’s directions, and end up on this skinny road. On the left of the road is the river, I think, it was soooo dark and hard to see. On the right? Sometimes a railroad, sometimes a steep valley. Dark. Very dark. Road was muddy and slippery and only one car wide. One of those bad boys. Longest two miles of my life, and

By the time we got to the end of that road to their deer camp, I swear to God I was hearing the music from “Deliverance”.

We drive up, and three guys we don’t know are smoking on the front porch of an awesome two story deer camp. We get out, go up to the porch, and introduce ourselves. Silence. We ask for Pete. Oh, they say. He’s inside. Go on in. (Don’t you know those guys had to wonder who the freakos were with the Texas license plates and the funny accents?)

Being the gentleman he is, ThatManILove opens the door for me.

Oh, no, I say. I’m not going in a deer camp before you. These guys are tired and are probably in their pink flowered pajamas. MLH looks at me with that look that says, “Oh, my lovely wife, you really are oh-so wise” and smiles, going in first. Pete comes and meets us, and brings us inside the cabin proper.

I met 11 tired hunters. Guys of all ages, from New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. They were so nice! Retired NY policeman, a retired roofing contractor, one tire shop owner, one scratch golfer, lawyer, I don't know what else. They treated me like a queen, and ThatManILove like a king. They tried to feed us supper, did card tricks for me, told us jokes, we all laughed so hard. They were great.

It was so much fun – and proof that most people are nice, wherever you go, even tried and true hunters when you invade their MAN CAVE. They’ve invited us back next year, and I hope we go!

But the best part? When we were heading back to the hotel in Clearfield, ThatManILove said the sweetest thing.

"We get to do cool stuff like that because guys LOVE you. You are so real, and you love the things they love, and you just connect with them. That was so much fun!"

Yup. And that's why I love ThatManILove.

He's not a-skeered of a little adventure!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Meet Vodka Mom!

It is snowing up here in Pennsylvania! And before I forget, JillJillBoBill wins the at this moment undisclosed prize from Pennsylvania for guessing correctly the mystery blogger.

Mystery Blogger from Pennsylvania happens to be Vodka Mom! We tried to meet for 3 days, unsuccessfully, due to my husband’s work. She was very, very patient with her soon to be oilfield buddies! But finally, yesterday, ThatManILove and I came down from the wellsite early and were able to go to State College and meet Vodka Mom! We had a drink at Outback, and visited, and had a simply marvelous time. Vodka Mom is so funny, we all just hit it off immediately. She flipped out her wallet photos, and her kiddos are beautiful. Mr. Vodka was at the hunting lease, so we’ll have to meet him next time. And the Golden Child, her youngest, was wearing out Vodka Mom's cell phone. It was precious. I can't wait to meet them all!

And as you can see by this picture, Vodka Mom really does drink cranberry with her vodka! Isn’t she beautiful? (I’m the large tall one with the rained on hair. She’s the tiny compact going to the gym perfect hair little one. Heifer*.) And me? What is that in my hand? Why, that’s a freakin’ Shirley Temple. I promise it is. Okay, I lied, it’s the “Wallaby Darned”, otherwise known as the Peach Bellini. And I liked it wayyyyy too much. Until it gave me brain freeze. But, yeah. Good stuff, this meeting. Good stuff, I say. And the best thing is that if ThatManILove has to stay in the PA much longer, he has found himself a new adopted family.

And Jilly? Next weekend, girlfriend. I’ll be in Dallas. Sunday morning brunch somewhere, husbands included – Trulucks, maybe? Not your house, I know, you’re all cooked up. But somewhere, somehow, somewhen (is that a word?) we will meet.

*Vodka Mom knows that "heifer" is a term of endearment. So don't y'all be going and getting your panties in a wad on her behalf, ya hear?

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***"