Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Centus/Family Time

Jenny gave us a normal prompt today!  Use
the ATM machine began dispensing twenties in a 100 hundred Saturday Centus. For complete rules and a link, visit her at:

Meanwhile you can read my Centus offering below.


                                                          Family Time

Camping would be family time he said.

Indeed, she did spend time with her diapered toddler and hyperactive preschooler after he left for the trout stream at dawn. She built a fire, cooked outside, walked the dog, tried to corral the kids away from the snakes and bees in the heat of the day.

In the evening after supper, she sponge-bathed the children, put dishes to soak in a plastic tub, and watched hubby, his casting arm exhausted, fall into his sleeping bag.

Monday morning, she smiled at the children as the ATM machine began dispensing twenties.  Today was real family time—at the mall.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

J.M. Davis Gun Museum, Claremore

As we left Tulsa last Friday, we choose Old Highway 66, the Mother Road, and traveled towards Claremore. Claremore played a significant part in my childhood. My great-grandmother lived here in a small white frame house complete with side yard, wooden front porch, and porch swing. It was 1959 life at its best. There were holiday dinners, family gatherings, and casual visits to Mama B’s house. Louise Toy Brasher was a widow; my great grandfather, known as Pop, died when I was two month old, but family stories record the kind and gentle man he was. His own father (Bryon Lafayette Brasher), was born in Kentucky and traveled to Jerico Springs, Missouri where Pop (Claude Everitt Brasher) was born. As a grown man, Pop was drawn to the Oklahoma oil fields where he met Lou and married the tiny Cherokee blooded woman.

One of their daughters, Twyla-my grandmother, lived in Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas as an adult. The bulk of her later years were spent in Coffeyville, Kansas. Her sister Wave lived half a block down the street in Claremore where she raised three daughters. Her middle daughter, Patt, lives in that house now. Patt has worked for many years at the J.M. Davis Gun museum in town. Before we went out to her house, we strolled through the museum for yet another time.

During the 50s and 60s, I visited the Mason Hotel many times with my dad and grandpa. Once a dinner was over, the ladies retired to wash dishes and exchange family gossip, even rehashing the story line of As The World Turns, a family favorite soap opera. But the men took off to stroll downtown, ride out to the river, see the Will Rogers Museum or hang out at the Mason Hotel where J.M. Davis had every spare inch of wall and floor filled with guns and saddles. The firearms hung behind the registrar’s desk, up the stairwells, on walls, and rested in glass cases. The lobby of the hotel was filled with huge overstuffed leather sofas and chairs. A child sank down into the seats, but an adult could sit and study all the guns. The smell of leather saddles permeated the lobby. This wonderful collection of firearms started with a muzzle-loading shotgun Davis received when he was seven years old.

Davis continued to add to his collection until a separate building had to be built for the collection in 1969. The J.M. Gun Museum sits only a couple of blocks away from the original hotel he owned, which is now torn down. There are 14,000 guns on display here: muzzleloaders, flintlocks, shotguns, rifles, small cannons, pistols, and an array of various types of igniters. The displays cover 600 years of firearms. One of the earliest exhibits is a Chinese hand cannon form 1350. There are also collections of beer steins, Indian memorabilia, swords, and John Rogers (known as the Norman Rockwell of the 19th century) statuary.

I am not a knowledgeable about guns, but I find things there worth the study when I go. There are handguns displayed that were involved in murders; there are pistols from famous outlaws. The curators have reconstructed one room to be similar to the lobby of the Mason Hotel. When I walk in and see those leather chairs, I again think that I can sniff my dad’s Old Spice, feel grandpa’s calloused hand in mine, and feel like I am seven years old again if only for just a few minutes.

Entracne to the J. M. David Museum is free or for a donation. Visit the museum online at:

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Trip to the Philbrook

Who let the winter cold back in after a couple of lovely spring-like days? DH asked yesterday when we open the deck usually. Well NOT in February. Today the temp is back to the 30s, and the air feels so much colder after a warm sunny 70 of Friday.

Although we did not know how nice it would be on Friday, the forecast was for a nice warm day. We had been not been out for any reason for days and weeks so we planned a ride. When the boys were still home, we had gone to see the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa but did not have enough day to see the Philbrook too. We always intended to return; after 22 years we made it on Friday! It was a pleasant and easy drive down I-44. We went straight into the city and back out again, only stopping to see the art museum.

The art is housed in an Italianate villa built in 1927 by oilman Waite Phillips who donated it to the city of Tulsa for the museum. Phillips also donated another home in New Mexico to the Boy Scouts for their Philmont Scout Camp. It is a breathtaking building and one can only imagine what it would have been like to live in this palatial setting during the 1930s. There are 23 acres of gardens and walks around the structure. Even in stark February, one could picture how beautiful it must be when flowers and shrubs are at their best.

Inside were several small collections of European, American, Southwestern, Egyptian, and Modern art. The upper gallery had a special exhibit of Wyeths by Andrew, N.C. and Jamie. These were my favorites for the day, although they competed with the Rodin sculptures for that honor.

 Rodin’s Adam graces the entrance space. The special traveling exhibit was American Streamline Design: The World of Tomorrow which showed the streamlined designs of household appliances, toys, office machines, etc that became popular during the 20th century. There was an accompanying film with this exhibit. It all made me a little sad to have lived through this time of sleek trains and bicycles and fancy typewriters (what are those?) that no longer are the IN thing.

We went downstairs to the la Villa restaurant for lunch. It was chrome, glass, and very modern. It was cold looking to me, but I had heard the food was good. It was excellent as was the presentation and the service. We both had the chicken BLT on ciabatta bread and sweet potato fries. It was huge and tasty. The iced tea was some of the best I have ever tasted.

We were tired when we left, but my winter mind felt restored a bit. We eased out of Tulsa, caught old Route 66 to Claremore, where we stopped for a visit with a relative and return visit to J.M. Davis Gun Museum, but Claremore is a story in itself for another day.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Centus/Life in His Hands

February, a season all of its own....locked between winter and spring, waiting....
The snow has cleared here in much appreciated sunshine that resulted in melting, but there might be more coming. So we wait for spring. Meanwhile I am surprised and pleased to see two new Followers. Welcome to Poetic Justice and Cathy C. Hall!

Today is Saturday Centus and Jenny threw out one crazy prompt again! That means we have to write something using the prompt I'd catch a grenade for ya in 100 words or less. My contribution follows. For complete rules visit Jenny at her blog:

                                       Life in His Hands

“Medic!” he screamed for the second time, but his call was dulled by the shrieking shrapnel around him. Smoke burned his eyes and reminded him of autumn burns on the Kansas prairie. What was he doing on this Pacific island anyway? Why weren’t the leather harness lines across Old Bette’s black rump in his hands instead of the bloody hand he held?

“Serge, I always said I’d catch a grenade for ya,” whistled the Bronx accent.

“Shut up, Sal. I’m getting you out of here.” He watched without conviction as the soldier’s femoral artery pumped sunset red blood out to moisten the rocky terrain. “Medic!”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Poetry Contests

I know there isn't much time left on this contest but if you hustle you can make the postmark!

MSPS WINTER 2011 CONTEST: Here are the guidelines for the MSPS Winter 2011 Contest:

Deadline: Postmarked February 15, 2011
Format: Submit two copies of each entry, category number and name in upper left-hand corner of both copies, poet's name and address in upper right-hand corner of one copy. If you are a member, put "Missouri State Poetry Society" below your address. Put "Non-Member" if you are not.
Limits: Poems may be 40 or fewer lines. They may be unpublished or previously published if the poet retains the rights to the poem. Poets may enter each category as many times as they wish. No poems will be returned.

For more info go to:

I found a wonderful listing for poets at where there are several tabs, and one deals just with available contests. There is one just for Chapbooks as well. I have always thought I would like to try a chapbook, and I found a contest with only a few hours left to enter. I gathered up things fast and furiously and sent in an entry by email. There wasn’t much time to study the situation, but I can always hope something I wrote will catch an eye.

It was at Poetry Resource I also found the Robert Frost Contest which is open between March 1 and September 15. Check it out at

My Snarky Remark Today is: I am so irritated by editors who don't respond. I think it is plain rude for editors to leave writers hanging in the day and age where they can merely hit reply or simply drop an envelope in the mail where the postage is already paid. To hear "No Thanks" is a downer, but to be ignored is insulting. What are you thoughts?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Confinement Ending?

It was -6 with -20 wind chill first thing this morning after five inches more snow yesterday. We attended a college luncheon with friends on Tuesday at noon between two storms. It was the only day we have been out of the house to speak of in eleven days! The word is a warming trend comes by the weekend. Not sure what we will do with ourselves.

I am working through the larder and through the writing list. Frankly the larder is showing the most change. Yesterday it was ham and beans with cornbread. Today it was a quiche for lunch. I had lot of fresh spinach that is looking less fresh each day. I found a dabble of browned sausage and green pepper in the freezer. There was enough feta cheese and Swiss cheese left that when added to a can of mushrooms, I had a nice spinach mushroom quiche. Hubby squirmed at that green, but he will live.

My sister-in-law sent me several sites to check out for possible markets. One is located in Carbondale and I wonder if my St. Louis Sistas are aware of it not far from them. The Jack Dyer Fiction Prize contest will open on the first of March.( There is a healthy entry fee, but it does give you several issues of the publication for the price.

Do you know about It is a place to register the books you read, form groups of other readers, and to learn about new titles for reading. There is also a poetry group for posting and voting on poems if you would like. This from their newsletter:

     Goodreads and the ¡POETRY! group have partnered to host an ongoing poetry contest. Join the ¡POETRY! group to vote each month to pick a winner from among the finalists. You can also submit a poem for consideration.

One other literary journal you might want to check out is University of Virginia’s Blackbird at reading period is open until April 15.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow Anyone?

The town square had just been cleaned and movement starting again when another storm headed in. One to three inches is forecast for today. It started furiously about 3:00 this morning and is still falling and blowing.

Put the teapot on at 5:30 am, retrieved ham bone from the freezer, put on the last of dried beans (if dried bean supply is gone, does that mean it is spring?) and picked up my book. Had no creative zip for exercising.

I have noticed the last week that two other writers use Leslie Sansone's walking DVDs. Both Cindy Dagnan and Debra Vogts mentioned this form of exercise on their blogs. Writers need exercise. Sitting at a desk all day is not healthy, not to mention the drinks and snacks it takes to keep a writer going at the keyboard! Then add winter carb craving to the mix and well writers, especially this one, need all the help they can get to keep moving!

You might find Caryn Mirriam Goldberg's blog interesting at Goldberg is the Kansas Poet Laureate and has lots of writing ideas and projects going. In honor of the 150th birthday of Kansas, Goldberg has a special poetry page at This is excellent!

Like a winter rabbit I am going to creep back to my snow den now.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter Time


Yesterday the sun ventured out for a while and actually did some minor thawing, although it could not make a dent in the huge piles of snow. DH and the neighbor both were on their roofs for hours pushing off snow in preparation for the next inches coming our way. Both wives stood on the driveways looking like cheerleaders when actually we were more like emergency responders, our hands in pockets, fingers on cell phones for 911 if needed. All went well but it was a wearing day.

This morning, again gray and we wait for what is coming…today, Tuesday, whenever. I opened up my email early and found quite a sunny perk there though when poet Olive Sullivan sent me a spring poem! It is lovely, and after reading it, I felt like a robin had perched on my shoulder. I thought, how nice she wasn’t trying to be published, just sharing. The joy she sent to everyone’s mailbox this morning must be worth so much more than dollars. I wonder if she realized how her poem paid off? Why don’t we just share our writing anyway? Well, of course we want paid, and we want that stamp of approval “publishing” gives. But there is this lovely side of giving our work away that Olive practiced this morning.

Olive is an excellent poet living in Pittsburg, Kansas. She is multi-talented in the arts and has a support group of other writers and poets that she interacts with regularly. She has a small poetry collection published as We Start As Water. You can visit her at

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Centus/ Snow Prison

Okay, Saturday Centus Day, but before I could do exercises, finish my tea, or begin a Centus, I heard the patter of DH's size 10's hit the floor. There went my day as he decided to get on the roof with the 20 inches of snow that rests up there! With more snow last night and more forecast for tomorrow, he thought it a necessity. I have been out, cleaned paths as best I could through the deck, fetched the snow shovel that escaped from him once already, and continue to check that I don't have a pile of catastrophe on the ground under the eves--meaning him! Between times, I thought this week's Centus had to be more fact than fiction. Now to go check on him again!

With the prompt of It was growing bigger...

                                                                    Snow Prison
The first ten inches of floating flakes were pretty, but the next ten were threatening with their weight and confinement. The mound outside her windows, it was growing bigger all the time. Now four more inches were forecast for the afternoon. Jerome was up on the roof scooping off stacks of snow, tossing it below where the mass in front of the door was already a gargantuan heap of white powder that looked like chains and padlock. As she tossed the last M&M in her mouth, she said to herself, “I won’t get out of here until next summer!”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Books, Blogs, Beans, and BRRRRR

If at the end of the day you feel dog tired, maybe it is because you growled all day.

This delightful saying came from a book that arrived from Wales for Christmas. Note it is full of goodies that I want to remember because I have them marked.

Only supposed to see snow flurries today, but it has been snowing heavily now for over an hour. Wonder where this is going? Tomorrow is to hit above the freezing mark and Sunday to bring more snow and zero temps. Ah, one week of this is confinement, two weeks might mean insanity!

Well, I am determined to make USE of this time. Yesterday was wash the kitchen curtain, finish a story draft, sweep the floors of the top layer of crumbs, reschedule all the canceled appointments from the week, send out reminder for coming writer guild meeting, answer calls from house bound friends, and listen to some music that I never had time to get to. I am also skirting around blogs that often get by-passed.

One of the newer blogs for my reading is Lisa Richard Carlo’s Writing in the Buff. This is a handy dandy blog to book mark because not only does Lisa have a list of writing sites; she also has a tab full of paying markets. It is like having a little writing secretary for yourself because Lisa organizes all these writing helps for you. She is now running a contest at her blog aiming for garnering 100 Followers. You could win some nice prizes, but you can’t loose if you just sign up to follow this blog. Head on over to and look for yourself.

Night falls again as does the temp. Another frosty night ahead. I think ham and Anasazi beans or a lentil soup are in our future here. The mail is coming again, but Mr. Mailman is bringing only a bare bunch of bills and boring things for the box…where did all those B’s come from? I’d better bolt away from this computer before I become boring beyond belief!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Let's Pretend Spring!

 Okay, this week has been beautiful, scary, and sometimes felt like it was a month long. We have finally wedged a spot to the street where we could get out the drive if we had to do so. However, we truly need nothing so it is silly to step out into a deep freeze and get in the way of others who do have to fight both cold and snow covered roads.

Late last night when I heard another ball game on the telly, I thought I had to do something positive instead of vegetate. I was tired enough that reading would have put me to sleep I knew. I did not feel sharp witted enough to write. I had cleaned one bathroom earlier in the day, but I didn’t want to hug a broom or mop again. So I decided to part with my last poinsettia and snowmen tea pots and cups. Yes, I know, it is too early to think spring especially when you look out at a four foot pile of snow that might stand by the curb until St. Patrick’s Day! But…I needed some yellow!

So I folded the red tablecloth away and shook out the yellow. I decided I wanted lots of yellow and blues both. I dug around and found things. I have prettier placemats, but I wanted these out. I shopped in my own basket of pots and cups and found this tea pot. It is an Ellgreve ironstone from England. I bought it for a song at a flea market and then wasn’t sure I liked it. It has been put away for two years, but it fit my mood last night. She’ll stay out a while in this limbo season between winter and spring.

Then I remembered a little plaque a fellow blogger sent me. I meant for it to out on my deck wall in the spring with my Library Open sign and another tea plate, but when I remembered the yellow shades, I gave it a new spot for now inside. Just the right dash of yellow on the wall!

Besides cleaning and of course eating, I have been writing. This morning I finished a rough draft of a story I hope has a great future. Now the work begins to trim and tighten, to make sharp so the tale will pierce some editor’s heart with desire to publish!

Now, I rest from this snow day and prepare for another night at -6. Gee, those yellows feel warm!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Not Waiting Anymore!

The storm has hit. We are now at 14 inches and it is still snowing, although the flakes are smaller now and a little slower. The forecast is 20 inches by nightfall. I-44 has been closed in westbound lanes and the National Guard is posted forcing people to exit at Springfield or Joplin.I must say it is a gorgeous storm, but I do dread the gelid temps coming when the snow stops. There will be no melting and dirty snow with icy streets for days to come will erase the beauty I am sure.

I started the day as usual with tea and exercise and a chapter or two of reading. Then I tore into writing. Oh was I on a roll! Then DH got up about 10:00 and all creativity came to a halt. I switched gears and went to kitchen duty. I made a batch of fiber muffins and a batch of new tea bread called Canadian Lemon Bread. With fresh lemons, I can't wait to taste it. Then I moved on to lunch which really wrecked the kitchen some more, but no one was coming and what is a mess on a snow day?

We had a pot roast, stir fried broccoli and mushrooms, butternut squash with maple syrup, coleslaw,  fresh fruit salad with a whipped cream dressing, and tea. Now the kitchen is restored to some degree of straight and the afternoon is for reading is my guess. Soon the bread will be cool enough for an afternoon tea, maybe an herbal lemon would be good with the fresh lemon bread? I hope the blizzard doesn't last too long or we won't be about to get out the door!