Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Mini Road Trip, Trying to Be Normal

The last couple of weeks have been harder for me. Knowing the cancer spreads is a burden. But nurse came on Tuesday and said everything she could check was in good shape. She advised if I had any energy at all to get out somewhere. Since we had canceled the New Mexico trip, we opted to try a local drive as a getaway. I found a 58 mile Ozark scenic drive and called for Biscuit an overnight at the Kennel. Pretending life was normal, we drove out.

We hadn’t been to Harrison, Arkansas or Buffalo River in years. Using a state tourism guide we did the Jasper Disaster Trail with over 300 curves. It wasn’t a disaster for us, but it was a disappointment. We saw the Buffalo River only once from a bridge, there were no pull outs or overlooks. The scenery might have been great had we been able to see through the thick trees! Also, we missed seeing any of the numerous elk due to the heat and time of day.

 However, the wildflowers were impressive and the newly cut hay sweet smelling. The Queen Anne’s Lace fluttered like a lady’s lace handy. Delicate blue chicory dotted ditches, and black-eyed wild daisies were abundant. There were lots of black walnut trees, both new and old. I saw some Ohio buckeye trees I had never seen before. Also, the further south we wound, the more the mimosa trees appeared, their pink gauzy flowers looked like fairy tutus hung out to dry.

However, the wildflowers were impressive. The Queen Anne’s Lace fluttered like a lady’s lace handy. Delicate blue chicory dotted ditches, and black-eyed wild daisies were abundant. There were lots of black walnut trees, both new and old. I saw some Ohio buckeye trees I had never seen before. Also, the further south we wound, the more the mimosa trees appeared, their pink gauzy flowers looks like fairy tutus hung out to dry.
We stopped for lunch at a café on the National Historic Register. It was not a particularly impressive building. Lunch was downhome cooking and tasted okay, but I eat downhome cooking all the time at home so I am less impressed than some folks. Poor folks, not unlike many eateries, can’t make a decent glass of tea though. It is so hard for me to pay $2 for a glass of poor tea!

So, we wound our way back out of the Ozarks, got dangerously low on gas, came out west of where we expected to be. Got on a major highway and as we are apt to do, missed our exit! We found ourselves not only west of destination but in the state of Oklahoma. We tried to find a motel, which in the area was not so easy. But found a bed and I crawled into it! Crackers and water for supper and while I usually don’t sleep well in a motel, this time I was out for 12 hours!

The next morning after a tasteless motel breakfast, we got on the road and headed to Muscogee for a museum listed on our map. This corner of Oklahoma is still in the Ozarks. There are trees and streams and rolling hills, but gone were the close stands of trees that pinned you to the road. Oklahoma opens up a bit here and begins to move towards western terrain. The land spreads and sky sweeps.  

The Five Civilized Tribes Museum is very small but interesting. It is the building itself that carries the charm. This native stone structure was built in 1875 when the Five Tribes superintendent consolidated to serve all the tribes here. It is beautiful. The rock steps where ladies dismounted from wagons is still there. You could feel history here.


This was an interesting piece of work. Note how many flat irons could be heated on this stove all at once. Originally it was in a Chinese Laundry and then was used at the Eufaula Seminary Boarding school near Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Then we made an effort to find Miss Scarlett’s Tea Room about 40 miles away. We managed and again the structure was impressive. The food was good and presentation nice. There was a piano player for lunch which was quite nice to hear while we ate.

Then it was time to head home as I had done about all I could do. Once on i44 again, traffic became increasingly treacherous. Drivers were aggressive, careless, and mean-spirited. We were glad to arrive home in one piece!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Good June Sunday

Finally, I can write here again. It has been a slightly miserable session around here. I hate to give in to the monster ravishing my insides and fight to stay up, both physically and mentally. Some days I lose the battle, but today I am working on being up. That doesn’t mean I am energetic or full of zip or free from aches and body failures. It just means I am able to push through, to keep trying, to keep pretending life is normal!

Today I managed to cook and run the dishwasher which doesn’t sound like much. However, for me it is a push and a slow going at best. I made a pea salad and a lovely zucchini salad with vinegary bite! I also made Golden Burros. This is a made-up recipe that the SEK Living Magazine is going to publish soon. Years ago, when we were in Leadville, Colorado we had huge Golden Burros that a café was famous for. The boys loved them, and it was different at that time to us as we had little Hispanic food around us.  What made them a little different was potatoes inside along with meat and cheese. I am sure now they used green chili but I knew nothing of that then. So, I concocted a mix of canned chicken gravy with salsa, used mild sausage and hash browns. Today I made them for first time in years since boys left home. They are mild but good.

I also created a birthday card for a photographer friend; he will turn 70. I wanted a card no one else could send and built a birthday wish around cameras and such. I wrote my own poem quickly for it. (He dabbled in poetry at one time.) It feels good to design a project and carry it through right now when most things only happen in my head.

The Photographer

Hides his searching face behind a black box

While, like a winter squirrel digging secreted nuts,

he uncovers our buried selves in a frame.


He brings to light our dark fears and blue dreams,

Eposes even a rainbow of ourselves we don’t know exists.



He saves our past, captures our present,

stores the bits and pieces of our life’s crazy quilt

for the future to wonder over.


Other events this week have been a biopsy and Biscuit had to be sewn up from ripping herself on a fence nail-we think. After the family reunion which really tired me and before the biopsy, I did not need this.  We put a tee shirt on her to keep her from licking the stitches and she did not like it one bit. Changed her personality which was a worry. She did not eat or play and barely moved. But when we took it off she got rowdy and tore a stitch! Oh my, each day wore me slick!

Yesterday, Diane Yates had a book signing a few miles from me. Diane is president of OWL right now and is a lovely person besides a talented author. (Have you tried her Pathways of the Heart?) It was a push to get there but I wanted just a few minutes, and DH left his important shop toys to run me to the book store. So, worth it as being in Diane’s serene presence is soothing! Surely that helped make today better too!

The week ahead holds Biscuit’s stitches removal, dentist appointment, and I hope some lovely reading and thinking and writing days even! The air heats up and is becoming summer so time outside is limited for me. But I do love being among the flowers early in the morning-with tea of course. The world can’t be all bad if there is tea!

Friday, June 2, 2017

And June Begins....

So, it looks like a few more days of on and off rain before the weather turns HOT! No moderation it seems. The weather, no matter what kind of stimulus, is in climate change. Mother Nature is acting like a two-year-old with some happy days but a lot of sniffling around with some out and out temper tantrums.

While I try avoid political ranting, I don’t say much on this country’s present situation. But yesterday when our president backed out of Climate Change group, I hung my head not in anger but shame. How can we take this ignorant stand, how not to work with the world? No matter what I or anyone thinks, it is time for the Republicans and Democrats to meet on the 50-yard line, shake hands, and say let’s forget the past. We all have made mistakes. Let’s drop the stiff-necked bully stance and work together. After all it doesn’t matter how the hole got in the bottom of the boat, when it sinks everyone in the boat goes down!

I have written a blog in my head many times this last week, but just could not do the actually writing online. I have not felt well, both physically and emotionally. This whole mountain I am climbing and slipping on is getting to me! But I try not to complain because I have so many people cheering me upward. I feel obligated to keep climbing to vindicate their faith!! The prayers, thoughts, cards, notes, and gifts keep coming as physical handholds for me up the rocky cancer crag.

Just yesterday someone paid for our lunch downtown and left us free of a bill. Just an effort to say, “We are with you.”  This week alone I have received a new cup and a quilt, see below.

Wednesday, I had contrasting CT scan. Thought Springfield was going to send me home again as they did not like my kidney numbers. Big discussion and they proceeded. Now biopsy already set again for next Wednesday. I feel like a yo-yo spinning and retracting, only to spin yet again.

Yesterday was my book club and I made it. It was a push but so glad I did. It was the month of choosing the next year’s reads. It was grand for a while anyway to be deeply involved in something outside myself. We had a tremendous list to choose from this time and the end reading list looks good. Some I have already read.

One of the best books lately has been Killers of the Flower Moon about the murders of Osage Indians in Oklahoma during the 1920s and the beginnings of the FBI. It is not a happy book at all, but it was so interesting to me. It happened during the years my Granny was a teen and young woman. Although not Osage, she lived a couple of hours east of Osage County and well, no wonder she cut up her Indian card not wanting to be Red. It will blow you away how many White people were involved in killing these people for their oil money. Stupidity, greed, and meanness are not new; sometimes we forget how much of it all has been around and hurt so many. We need to KNOW these things so we can avoid the same behavior instead of repeating it!

Tomorrow some California cousins are coming to visit before Sunday’s family reunion. Another one I have not seen for over 50 years. This too is a gift. Hope all blog readers have a winning weekend ahead!