Friday, April 21, 2017

My TV Bit the Dust!

This past week I experienced intermittent disruptions on my 12 year old TV. In the past three days it drove me nearly crazy. Last night I decided it was time to get a new one.

Today one of the men in our church choir met me at Costco and helped me choose the best TV for the location in my cottage. With only a 32"w X 23"h opening, there were only two TV options. I chose the better one—Samsung Smart TV with HD. Thankfully, my friend came to my house and set it up.
It's funny, but when I bought my last TV, I bought a flat screen, HD ready model and paid $849.99 for it. This new one was only $249. I love it that technology seems to get lower in price the longer it is in the marketplace.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman

Knowing it was a possibility to travel through Pawhuska, Oklahoma, to visit the new Mercantile that nationally known Ree Drummond—The Pioneer Woman, New York Times bestselling author and TV personality—along with her husband, Ladd Drummond, opened late last year, my sister and I traveled north of Oklahoma City after touring the bombing site of the federal building. We had earlier made a hotel reservation in Pawhuska so that we could be in the little town early on Monday morning to have breakfast at the Mercantile.

On our way to Pawhuska, we began seeing oil wells and cattle ranches. It looked like a prosperous part of the country. I had Janet stop the car so I could take a picture of what we assumed was the entrance to the famous cook's ranch. We later learned this is actually the entrance to Ladd's brother's ranch but it is the sign that is shown on Ree's TV show as she leaves their ranch. The brothers' ranches butt up to each other.

The town of Pawhuska is in the Osage Indian Reservation and is small. In 2013 the population was recorded as 3,666. It is the county seat of Osage County. After checking into our hotel, we drove around the little town. I was surprised at how many beautiful buildings in the town were owned by the Osage Indians. We learned that the Osage people get a check every three months from the oil companies. I was happy about that, since we had seen what appeared to be poor Indian communities in both Arizona and New Mexico. Driving around on Sunday, we saw some of their senior citizen homes, their school, and court house. It was fascinating!

Monday morning we woke to a light rain. We got dressed, checked out of our hotel, and drove a few blocks to the Mercantile.

 Janet at our table

Neat menu, cloth napkins, and Mason water jar

This is the original wall that was exposed during the renovation of the 100 year old building. 

We ordered the Farmer's Breakfast: two eggs, sausage patty, ham, bacon, American fried potatoes and cherry tomatoes, plus a homemade baking biscuit and homemade jam.

After eating our breakfast, we did a little shopping in the Mercantile. I was impressed by the high quality of everything: the window lettering, the big doors leading into the store, the wooden floors, the way the clerks and waitresses dressed, the ladies rest room (toilet paper, paper towels, courtesy hand lotion, the frosted door) and the items to purchase. There were beautiful crystal chandeliers in part of the store!


I nearly bought four of these picnic plates but put them back, remembering all of the dishes I have back at home. They look like paper plates—complete with the texture—but were actually hard plastic. I thought they would have been fun to use on my porch.

Next I spotted a leather coin purse and bought it for my souvenir. I was impressed that the clerk wrapped it in black tissue paper before putting it in the pretty shopping bag (standard procedure!).

After making my "big" purchase, I walked upstairs to the bakery. Oh, my! There were beautiful choices!

I bought two cookies and started walking to the staircase to make my way to my sister. Coming up from the bottom of the staircase was Ree's son, Bryce. I recognized him right away (from the TV program) and said, "Oh, my! May I shake your hand?" He was so kind and put out his hand and shook mine. And then . . . behind him came his sister, Paige! "Well, now I need a photo with both of you. Do you mind?" "Not at all," she replied. We walked up to the bakery floor and she used my camera to take a "selfie" of the three of us. (Yes, I am standing! These young people are so much taller than I am.) I asked them why they weren't in school and they told me they are home schooled and were going into the office at the Mercantile to start their studies. Each of them was wearing a backpack. This was a thrill for me. They were so kind and polite. Paige asked me where I was from. When I told her, she told me she thought so because of my accent. Funny!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Oklahoma City

For several  years it has been on my bucket list to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Heidi saw it when she had been to see it once when she was in Oklahoma City on business. She told me then that I must see it if I ever had the chance.

Driving back to Minnesota with my sister Janet, we planned our route so we could see this place. The day was a bit chilly and there was mist in the air as we drove up to the site. We parked the car and crossed the street to see this.

On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was the target of a massive bombing that killed 168 people, including 19 children under the age of 6 who were in daycare there. On this day, Timothy McVeigh pulled up to the front of the building in a Ryder rental truck that was filled with fertilizer and diesel fuel. He parked it in front of the building and left it there, taking off in a rental car. The truck exploded at 9:02 and destroyed a third of the building as well as doing damage to many surrounding buildings. Here are other photos of the memorial.

In between the two walls that show the time of the blast is a reflective pool with gently moving water meant to bring solace to family members of the deceased and other visitors. For each person that perished, there is a personalized chair. The base is glass that is illuminated at night. The chairs are arranged in 9 rows, depicting the floor on which the person was killed. This is a very peaceful place.

After the blast, a lone American Elm tree still stood. Many of its branches had been torn away and some thought the tree should be removed, but there were those that wanted it to stay—a survivor of sorts. In these past 22 years the branches have flourished and now it is a beautiful remnant of what was. It's interesting to me that a lone oak tree also remained after the terrorists rammed commercial jets into the World Trade Center Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001.


Next to this memorial is a wonderfully planned museum filled with memorabilia from the bombing site and rooms with news reports from that day and the days that followed. In one such room, we sat in a board room replica of the Oklahoma Water Resources office that was kitty/corner of the federal building. We heard the actual recording of a procedure that had commenced at 9 AM, a routine hearing of a farmer requesting to bottle water for commercial purposes from the spring that flowed on his farm. The person holding the meeting was giving the parameters that would be followed when all of a sudden, at exactly 9:02, there was a huge blast and all of us in the room were shaken. It was the actual sound heard when the bomb went off. They said the bomb was felt 15 miles away!

In another room in the museum, the front axle from the rental truck was displayed. This piece of evidence was crucial in the arrest of McVeigh since the VIN number on the axle matched that of the VIN number on the rental slip of the rental truck.

The room that really got to me was that in which each of the 168 who perished are pictured. In each glass window, there is a personal memento of that person. For one of the children, there was a beany baby. For some of the adults, there were Bibles. In the window of one of the men was his pair of glasses.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fun at Sunland Village East

I really enjoyed my two week stay at Sunland Village East with my sister and cousins Pat and Pudge. Every day the weather was really nice so it was great to be outdoors. Sometimes I simply went for a walk. Other times Janet and I went on an errand or shopped a bit.

During the first week I discovered a mourning dove sitting on a nest in the neighbor's patio. Each time I walked past the nest, I made sure I greeted the mama. It may have been the daddy, but I preferred to call it mama. One day I saw some little heads sticking up near the mama's breast. One afternoon we watched the other parent fly in for a change of command. They were still there on the day we left, so I told them good-bye and wished them a nice summer.

This is yours truly with new friend Joan.
Pat and I managed to go to the pool four mornings for water aerobics. It was so much fun and the other women were so friendly. After our session we would sit in the hot tub for a little while.

On Sunday morning we went to church and saw our good friends John and Judy Otto. Judy's dad was our minister when we were growing up so I feel especially close to her. A couple of days later other friends from our youth group at church invited us over for lunch.

L to R: Jo Anne, Wayne, Janet, John, yours truly, Sonja, Judy

Here are some photos that show my sister's condo.

The flowers around the village were gorgeous!

L to R: Pat, Pudge, Janet
One night I went out for pizza with high school friends, Dick and Kaaren Wuertz. They own a home in Sunland Village East, too, and during the evening they drove me past the homes of three other people who graduated with us. Small world! I have known Dick since kindergarten.

(I took this photo of Dick and Kaaren off the Internet.)

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Mount Lemmon

Our dear friend, Sonja, lives about 20 miles south of my cousin Pat's condo in Arizona and she loves taking friends on trips around Arizona and nearby states. During my visit this year, she drove my sister and me to Mount Lemmon which is east of Tuscan. It was a gorgeous day and the desert was full of beautiful yellow brittlebrush. During the drive we kept gaining altitude, finally reaching over 7,000 feet above sea level. Sonja likes to stop often to take pictures, so that was fine with me. Her photos are much better than mine, but that's okay.

Yours truly, Janet and Sonja

Sonja and Janet

Sonja told us many people like to climb this big rock, but none were climbing while we were there.

I loved this sign that was in the restaurant where we had lunch.