Tuesday, August 30, 2011


  What do you do with an extra pair of cemetery lots?  What an odd inquiry, but that  was   the question I received this week.   My friends elderly parents had changed their minds and decided against being laid to rest here in Broken Arrow at the famous and beautiful Floral Haven Cemetery.

Evidently the father had purchased the "funeral plan" several years ago in preparation for their final home.  At the time he was convinced that "pay now, dig later" was the best financial move he could make.  Several thousand dollars were  involved which included two beautiful tombstones and all the funeral trimmings required. His intentions were noble, he didn't want his family to have to worry about such details when the time came to make such decisions.  It's a lovely thought and the whole idea works well for many families.

Things changed!

As  their age increased and their health decreased the couple moved several states away from OK to be near their  only daughter, my friend.  Their new life  in their golden years was "set in stone" near beloved grandsons.  Relocating was absolutely the right decision.

So,  how DO you get rid of a "pre-paid" funeral?  I suggested that she negotiate with the cemetery, but she tried that and they declined to get involved. Living a thousand miles away from the property complicates things for her as well.


Newspaper ads?  Online ads?  Craigs list?  Is there a category for the "afterlife" on Craigs list?

How about a raffle?  A door prize?  A donation to charity?  An auction?  A Christmas gift?  Can you put up a FOR SALE sign in the cemetery? Are there real estate agents for  such tiny properties?

Someone out there NEEDS this piece of land at the Floral Haven.  There must be one or better yet two folks, that have a goal of lying side by side in that beautiful place throughout eternity.  It is very important for some families to be able to visit, lay flowers, pray over, sing songs and remember their loved ones at a physical place. 

Another friend recently shared her experience of her deceased girlfriend, Phyllis.  She'd attended the funeral at the chapel on sight, but everyone left before the casket was lowered into the ground and therefore she never knew the exact sight of burial. For 15 years she would drive by the cemetery and have loving thoughts, and shed a tear or two in remembrance of Phyllis.  One brave day she decided to contact the officials, look at the records and actually walk to the sight.  She was kindly informed that Phyllis was NOT there, she'd been shipped to another state for internment.  (15 years of assumption, oh my!)

I remember a time, years ago, when my kind well-intentioned in-laws offered me and honeybuns two burial plots right next to theirs.  I laughed and teasingly replied to my father-in-law that there was no way I was going to spend eternity next to him! I was sure he'd come back with a witty answer.  Nope, silence was the reply. They were highly insulted and we left that place with a chill in the air.  They were trying to give us something and I took the offer too lightly! After that day I heard that they gave it to another son and his wife! I think they envisioned a sort of "Walton's Mountain" scenario, a time when the family would be together at last. It was a sweet thought that I didn't appreciate at the time.

Yep, things get emotional when talking about land at the cemetery. 

I'm looking forward to life beyond the plot!  Now that gets exciting!  I call it "unspeakable anticipation," filled with joy and smiles and a depth of confidence that lights up my mind and countenance.  Things of this word are SO temporary!  A view of eternity puts everything here in it's proper perspective.  "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through."

Sunday, August 28, 2011


We lost one of the girls this week!  Five years ago we started out with seven, all lined up in a row along our back fence.

They were much smaller when we planted them, but we had HIGH hopes of them filling in the space between our back yard, the common area and then the street. 

We felt that joggers and motorists needed to be looking at beautiful Leland cypress trees instead of into our back patio windows. The issue was not that we have something to hide,  but a  privacy hedge  sometimes protects the innocent! They grew tall and served their purpose.

They have thrived beautifully and their graceful limbs have provided shade and shelter for various birds and critters.  We love these trees.

However, this summer has been brutal on all plants in the heartland.  How can anything exposed to days and days of triple digit heat and little water survive? 

After YEARS of fertilizing, watering and decorating with white lights at Christmas, one of the girls went up in a blaze this past week and her sister is in critical condition. 

Reminds me of the burning bush of Exodus fame.  This truly must be something like the visual Moses experienced.

However, none of our trees have spoken aloud, YET!

If they COULD speak, I'm sure we'd be hearing these phrases: 

"Hot enough for you?"  "It's too hot to live!"  ""Remember last February when it was 28 below zero with 14 inches of snow on the ground?" "We'll be wishing for some of this heat come next January."  "Do you think it'll rain today?" "The temperature today is higher here than in Las Vegas."  "Could you bring me a glass of lemonade, please?"  "I think I'm having a heat stroke!"

Yep, that's what they'd be saying, because that's what they're hearing from US!

The weather man says this summer has been the "600 year experience, " every 600 years we have this kind of heat.  I wonder how he knows that.

The expert at the nursery says, there's no explanation, some trees live and some trees die.  It's the nature of horticulture!

Spontaneous combustion? For plants?  For human beings?   Is that even possible?  Who knew?

I'm headed to the AC button and turning her down to 65! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


It's a new phenomenon and a new word for the dictionary.  It involves taking time off work, staying home and calling it a STAYCATION.

 Perhaps today's economy  invented this new method of taking a vacation without spending money, wearing out frazzled nerves or  wasting time  in airport  security lines or gas station bathrooms. I think it's here to STAY! But I'm not sure it's for me!

These past few weeks I've been on STAYCATION! 
However wonderful the concept sounds, the floors still cry out to be mopped, clothes don't jump out of the dryer and onto hangers by themselves and dinner is NOT served by a guy smiling for a tip!  All those chores are still completed by ME!  And I'M supposed to be on STAYCATION!

I don't have the concept mastered yet.  Evidently for this to be successful I must PRETEND that I'm staying at a 5-star hotel, get up at noon, laze around the rest of the day and convince Honeybuns that eating dinner out is the ONLY option.  I should be reading summertime thrillers, playing games on the ipad, watching old movies and eating chocolate. 

It's just not happening!

STAYCATION is a FRAUD!  It can't happen, it's a misnomer!  It's impossible!

 I'm ready to fly away to a far distant land (preferably  to a cooler climate) and spend hours examining the backs of my eyelids.

Having experienced a STAYCATION  also solidifies the fact that  henceforth we'll NOT be taking a "tour-the-west" road trip in an RV.  I've given this a lot of thought, too.  Taking the kitchen along on a vacation is another no-BRANER!

Now I'm convinced that both the RV road trip and the concept of STAYCATION were conceived by a husband trying to stay on a budget!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Have you noticed that it takes TWO TIMES to make it right?   For whatever reason, trying to get something accomplished just seems harder than it used to be.  It takes two trips, two phone calls, two e-mails,  so much of  the time.

 Nothing is easy!  I hear this complaint from folks of all ages, it's not just us geezers!

I have some examples.

This past week my car battery died.  No big alarm. Honeybuns took off work, drove to Sam's, bought the right size and came home to install it.  My job was to return the OLD battery for a $9.00 refund.  I was headed back to Sam's for another errand anyway so I took the receipt and old battery.  At the end of the day I pulled out the "credit" receipt.  Yep, the woman at Sam's had credited our account for $134.00,NOT $9.00.  SO...yesterday we made another trip back to correct the mistake. The Sam's woman was grateful.

Yesterday I spent two hours on the phone tracking down a Delta flight for a business trip we'll be taking in October.  The FIRST phone call a few weeks back lasted 2 1/2 hours to get all the details straight.  A few days ago I got an e-mail  saying that the airline had changed our flights to a different day, please call.  The SECOND attempt took only an hour on the phone to straighten things out.

Two weeks ago our microwave repair man overcharged us $48.00.  It showed up on the Visa statement.  Honeybuns is following up on that one today.  More phone calls, more second attempts to get something done that should be relatively easy, correct!

Do-overs are so aggravating and time consuming.  Can't we just get it right the first time?

We know a fellow that trains pilots.  He now travels around the country with a PowerPoint presentation and begins with a dark screen. The audience is puzzled because the screen is all BLACK!   He tells the story of training two young  would-be pilots, taking off and landing 10 times each to be sure they knew how to safely get the plane IN the air and then back ON the ground in tact. They were young  and carefree, confidently living with an attitude of  "close is good, good enough."

They went together for their first flight without their instructor.  They took off and slammed their plane right into a mountain. 
One minute they were looking upward into the clear blue sky and very soon everything went black, just like the picture on the screen.

CLOSE really isn't good enough.   Those young men never got a do-over.  Sometimes it's important to get it right the first time!

Maybe if I'm more careful and precise in the little things of life,  I'll pass the test when something important comes along.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


This evening we're joining a group of friends for a "It's Too Hot To Cook" dinner.  Everybody is bringing a favorite dish that they did NOT cook.  (It's 102 degrees here AGAIN!)

I'm bringing BUSTER BAR to the gathering.  It's a "cool me from the inside out" kind of recipe and requires NO COOKING.  This treat doesn't happen often at our house because it has about 832 calories per bite.

 Here's the scoop (pun intended!)

Crunch up one package of Oreo cookies (food processor will work), save  out one cup of the crushed cookies and mix the rest with 1 stick of melted butter.

Pat that down in the bottom of  a  9 x 13 glass cake pan, or whatever size you like.
Sprinkle peanuts on top of the black crust.  Use as many or as few as you can stand.
On top of the peanuts spoon on 1 gallon of vanilla ice cream that you've left out on the counter to melt a little. (I use two half gallon cartons of Blue Bell Homemade vanilla, because the Blue Bell factory is about 2 miles from our house and I LOVE that place!)

Pour one whole jar of hot fudge sauce on top of the ice cream.  Make some pretty pattern as your pour, just for fun. Lick your fingers!
Pour one whole jar of Carmel topping on top of that.  Ditto with the pattern. Lick your fingers again.
FREEZE until the melted ice cream is hard again.  I put it in the freezer overnight.

Pull it out of the freezer and cover the top with Cool Whip, as thick as you like it to be.
Sprinkle the cup of crunched up Oreos on top of the cool whip just to make it pretty...and WA-LA!!....it is ready!

I'm going to put the whole thing in a cooler with some ice packs around it, just so it doesn't turn to ice cream  soup before we get to our friends house.

Get ready for compliments...and after dinner make a vow to "get back on the diet" TOMORROW!

Friday, August 19, 2011


A first haircut is a mighty big deal!  It usually happens when a little boy is two or three years old.

Tiki is seven. 

Because his life in the United States began just a year and a half ago, other issues were a priority.  Things like sitting in a chair, eating out of his own plate and learning English received top priority.  (He spoke only French and "Kenyarwandan" for the first years of his life at the orphanage in Rwanda.) 

Acquiring a mom and dad, four siblings, a bed of his own and all the food he'd ever dreamed of were adjustments enough.   Until this week.

His family came to Broken Arrow to visit us (his  very Caucasian grandparents) and while  he was here it was decided that it was time for a professional "do."  His mom was thinking maybe some stripes over his ears or something decorative along his neck like the football players enjoy.  His very tightly wound itty bitty knotted curls were a challenge that the "weak of heart" barber would not be able to trim.

Neighbors recommended "Hair Studio" at 81st and Aspen.  It was perfect!

The folks there took a look and knew exactly what to do.  Tiki squirmed as the owner combed, brushed and buzzed his head to achieve a managable look.  His attempt to be brave was stellar. What a great memory! 

Another hurdle successfully conquered.  There will be plenty more to jump, but for now, he's focusing on first grade, looking good!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I  have a few super duper brave friends that are gracious enough to ride shotgun.  They agree to road trips that take us into the "unknown."  Because I am often invited to speak at various women's events, sometimes in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas or Oklahoma it means I need to be in my car for long hours at a time. (Once in a while it's an airplane if the venue is far, far away.)

My friends Janet, Laura, Sheila and Deanna are the faithful buds. I invite them along and if it's physically possible at all one of them  will consent.  A couple of these ladies have heard my talks  so many times THEY could give them more effectively I'm sure! 

When we hit the road I know that I'm in for a GOOD TIME!  Telling stories, sharing joys, heartaches, successes, failures, dreams fulfilled and  dreams dashed are all shared.  World problems and local skirmishes are all resolved in my big red truck. By the time we've arrived at our destination we know each others birth weight. A tear or two might be shed over a past heartache but raucous laughter is the usual response. TALKING is a recreational sport and we're Olympians!  SO much wisdom is tossed around while speeding down the road.  Rarely do we listen to music or the radio talk shows.  That would be too distracting!

(We're waiting for someone to ASK us our opinions about world peace and prosperity, or to be notified of our candidacy for the Pulitzer Price but alas, no interest yet!)

Sometimes we stop along the way to visit an antique store, a McDonald's, or a pit stop at a gas station.  More often than not it's a pullover to ask for directions because regardless of all the maps and GPS systems available I still get turned around.  (It's a family trait, neither Andy or I can find our way out of the driveway.  Honeybuns and Philip could get to Tinbuktu if you pointed them in the right direction.)

Recently I was made aware of a situation with many young people.  YEP, they are having trouble in social situations because they don't know how to navigate conversation. Evidently our wonderfully brilliant technology has isolated our teens into a world of texting code words, "tweeting " ideas within a word limit or one sentence e-mails.  Even though everyone has a phone those devices are rarely used for TALKING! Rare is the young person that can actually look an adult in the eye and carry on a meaningful discussion.

Time with tell whether this will be a  handicap in future employment or relationships.  It could be that by the time these kids are grown they won't have to talk at all. Technology will be such that they'll just THINK a thought and it will be electronically relayed to the other person's brain.  Perhaps the  whole GenX, GenY and generations following them will all agree that conversational skills are highly overrated and no one will care!

Personally I think much is accomplished by talking and listening!  Isn't that why counselors and psychologists are in such demand?

 I've heard of a business called "Rent-A-Friend" where you can pay for someone to listen to you talk! It can get expensive.

 I've read that the '"ladies of the evening" spend most of their working hours just lending a sympathetic ear.

One popular author suggested telling all your troubles to someone that doesn't speak your language. Safety there!

Evidently there is a great need  and I have the solution!   Just come ride along with me and my friends.  We'll show you how it's done.

When we're back home safe and sound we vow to each other to "forget everything that was said and/or heard."  The next time we load up my truck the stories are all fresh and new and funny again! (I love having friends my age, every day is a new day, every road is a new road, and every story is a new story, even if they've  already heard it 3-4 times.)

Yes, young person, you're invited.  Come sit beside me and hear a tale or two.  It may seem old fashioned, but you'll be surprised at the improvement in your social skills AND mental health!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


WARNING: I'm on a soapbox!

Celina Cass, age 11, was found  this week in a river in New Hampshire, not far from her home. The search for her has consumed the TV screens this week.  The police are still investigating and will no doubt unravel this horrific crime. The culprit will be arrested and brought to justice.

It would be bad enough if Celina were the only statistic this year, but she represents THOUSANDS of missing girls.  Her picture has been on the TV  channels and her town has come out enmasse to search for her.  MOST little girls don't have that kind of support from the media or their community.  They just go missing, and a few family members grieve and get angry and live out the rest of their empty lives wondering "what happened?"
The many studies by law enforcement and focus groups bring new numbers almost daily and they are staggering. Celina's story is one of THOUSANDS in the United States.

Yes, it is dangerous to be a girl in America.  Bigger, stronger, and  very evil adults have the upper hand, literally! Often it's a family member that betrays their trust, sometimes a family friend, and once in a while it's a stranger.  Force, fraud and coercion are the tools they use.  

We have shouted "stranger danger" for years ignoring the very real "relationship danger" aspect. Dads, uncles, brothers, friends of babysitters and sometimes boyfriends of mom are the very people that live near and have access to vulnerable and helpless little girls. The crime crosses all socio-economic groups and hides behind public pretense. Because of their age little girls are not certain when they should shout "HELP." Family loyalties keep them silent, too. 

Every DAY there are  several articles in the Tulsa World about harm done to a child. This week a mother goes to trial for placing her tiny baby girl in a washing machine and turning it on.  A principle from a nearby town has been arrested for abusing a little girl and murdering a boy! It goes on and on!

It makes me want to build a gilded cage, put my grandchildren inside it and then put a lid on.  I have oftened wondered what I would do if one of my granddaughters were harmed.  Forgiveness would be impossible and I'm sure I would demand or even administer justice, and willingly go to jail or even death row for  my crime.

How do we protect our children without scaring them to death or causing such paranoia that they're afraid to live and enjoy life?
How do we warn them without taking away their childhood?
How did we get to this place in our history? 

Why or how could ANYONE harm a child?

Celina's story is a reminder that EVIL exists. 

How does a nation confront EVIL? 

Maybe one home at a time.   I wonder if someone knew Celina was in some kind of danger before she went missing and for whatever reason decided to NOT speak up.