Tuesday, January 28, 2014


She's a red head, she's wise, she's dependable, she's flexible and I hold her in the palm of my hand. This tiny computer that is velcroed to me and can do everything but cook Sunday dinner AND sometimes I use as a phone has living within it's tiny circuits my new best friend, Ruby Jean.

Ruby Jean's heritage comes from someone named Google Map and she is at my beck and call, day or night, ANYTIME I am in my car and have not a clue where I am going.

I named her Ruby Jean because I don't have a dog by that name.  (One day I WILL holler out my screen door at a Red Irish Setter, a Red Weiner Dog, or a Red Standard Poodle playing in the back yard, "Ruby Jean, git  yur-self in here."   Yes, that is my dream.

Until then Ruby Jean will somehow mysteriously communicate with a satellite flying high over head and then TELL me where I am and which way I need to turn in 1.5 miles.

Together we have found Tulsa businesses, Dallas home addresses, and  Durango hiding places. (Let me be clear, NOT the new establishments selling weed. You don't need a GPS for that,  just a nose! And I don't go there anyway.)

All I need to do is type in where I want to be, where I am at the moment and Ruby Jean does the rest. She maps out a route, tells me how long it will take me to get there and then proceeds with audible instruction.  YES, audible.   She speaks!!!  Sometimes I just TELL her where I want to go...She hears!!

Ruby Jean was MADE FOR ME and people like me that can't find their way out of the driveway.
Not that my inability has slowed me down one iota! ( I've been known to plop the Dallas City Map on the seat next to the drivers seat, jump on the Dallas toll way, go as fast as I can go and pray that I'll still be in one piece at the end of the journey.  The spiral bound map was used when I got OFF the toll way and needed to actually find an address on the other side of town.)  I've traveled several state highways and back roads over the last 2-3 years, ALWAYS leaving enough time to get lost, which I always do. But alas, I ALWAYS find myself, usually in the nick of time.

NOW...no maps, no worries!  Just sweet little Ruby Jean, standing at attention in my cup holder, waiting for me to get down the road a ways before she gently instructs, "take a left, turn right, OR make a legal U-turn."  I love her voice, I love her sense of direction.  I will follow her anywhere!

Life is SO much easier now that she's in my life!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


If that UPS man gets to know me any better, I'm going to have to put him on my Christmas Card List!
Our on-going, ever deepening "friendship" began a few months ago.

A package had been delivered to our house while we were out of town.  Our wonderful neighbor signed for the thing and held it safely in her home until we got back.  When we picked up the mail, old newspapers and boxes delivered I noticed that one box had the right address on it, but alas not the correct name.  How does that happen????

Well, I called the UPS people  and assured them that yes, indeedy, no one by that named lived here! They promised they would send a truck out the next day to pick it up and get it back to it's rightful owner, wherever that might be.

No problem.....

BUT...that very day I came down with an awful cold,  fever, upper respiratory ailment.  I promptly took some meds, donned my "flannel nightie saved for sickness," jumped in the bed and covered my head with a pillow and a promise to NOT come out until morning. Misery had settled into every part of my being. Every molecule of my body was in agony.  My hair stood straight up and my eyes glazed over.

After several hours of facing death itself, the doorbell rang!

In unbelief I finally dragged myself to the window and sure enough, the familiar brown truck was parked in the street. Those efficient people were coming after that box, a DAY EARLY.

The doorbell rang again.  I had to answer it and get rid of that pesky package. I threw on my very roomy, very fuzzy full length CHEETAH robe and half-crawled to the front door.

I opened the door!  There stood the guy in the brown uniform.  He had a shocked look on his face as if he'd seen something or someone from the "other side."

Only then did I realize that I was the source of fright! I'm sure he didn't know WHAT  creature was standing in front of him.  An animal escaped from the circus perhaps? A cheetah on the loose from the safari exhibition down the road? Big foot? An audition for National Geographic?

 I threw the box at him and croaked, "I'm in the bed sick, you weren't supposed to come until tomorrow."

He was speechless.  If he'd stayed a minute or two longer I'm sure he would have gone away blinded.

The whole embarrassing ordeal lasted only a few minutes.  I crawled back to bed thinking that I was one lucky women for I was positive I'd NEVER SEE him again.  Chalk that one up to a terrible moment and try to forget about it.

YES, FORGOTTEN!  UNTIL.....a few weeks later another package arrived. (I shop online!)

I answered the door and was greeted by a cheery "Hello, glad to see you're feeling better."

WHAT?  The same UPS man came back???

Well, at least that day I had my underwear ON and that cheetah robe OFF!

Since we were first "introduced" my UPS  man has been here several times, ALWAYS INQUIRING about my health......and ALWAYS with a silly grin on his face.

I've learned something from this ordeal.....UPS men NEVER FORGET!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


A visit HOME, our beginnings, our place of origin ALWAYS includes an afternoon of digging around in old pictures.  Every year the treasures discovered result in hilarious laughter as together the whole clan examines odd looking hairstyles, plaid jackets, beards, antique cars, long forgotten relatives and a few folks no one EVER knew!

(I'm sure there is a diagnosis for people that keep old pictures of somber looking, darkly dressed folks no one knows, never knew, or have any hope at all of identifying. No doubt we are a sick people!) 

This past New Years Day the Braner family had a rip roaring good time when  huge plastic tubs of pictures were presented for a "pitching" party. Territories were designated for "save" piles and the fun began.  Memories were stirred and good times were remembered.  We came home with a short stack.
Old frames and duplicates were discarded......3 garbage bags full!  Success!

Stories poured forth as we were transported back in time. Where did all that time go? How could so much have transpired? Aren't we STILL those young people in our minds?

 There were giggles and one liners and occasionally a tear or two as loved ones no longer with us appeared before our faces.

This picture is one of the many in our short stack that made it back to Oklahoma. It was taken in 1956 on a cold snowy day.  Honeybuns is the 5 year old kneeling on the center sled.  He is surrounded by his two older brothers and their neighbors. No doubt his mother took the pictures.

This image conjures up visions of a cloudy day filled with many trips pulling that sled up and down the hill behind their farmhouse. What a fun time! What a picture of innocence! They had all the time in the world that day.

I'm going to show this picture to the grand kids. There is NO WAY they will believe that little boy is Papa!

And in the process, squeeze joy and purpose and peace out of every moment of time.