We've had a mild winter. We got out the sleds only twice. We've missed the snow. Mother Nature must be feeling sorry for us because this is what we received on the second day of spring. I've enjoyed getting up to snow this week. It's been melting off the trees by late afternoon and the roads stay clear after they've been plowed in the morning. There was no new snow this morning and I'm assuming it'll warm up in the next couple of weeks. I certainly hope so...baseball practice starts soon!
Those of us born in 1956 will turn 56 this year. I've made it. Yesterday was my birthday. It was uneventful for me as we were busy with other things that needed to be taken care of. John gave a presentation to the EAA in Kalispell last night, so dinner at one of my favorite restaurants didn't happen either. Shayla, Legend, and I did go out to dinner at Trapper's Saloon and Legend and I shared a yummy ribeye steak. At home I was presented with birthday brownies decorated with a basketball candle. Yes, Legend did the decorating and I loved his choice :) The required birthday photo was taken by Legend. Not too bad for a 9 year old attempting a non-flash photo with no tripod. Thanks to all of those that sent birthday wishes via e-mail and Facebook! That dinner at Mambo's Italiano in Whitefish still awaits.... (Yes, I know there is no photo! I'm working on it. Typepad is giving me fits. It mush be punishment for lack of blogging.)
start regular posting here again. I miss babbling at The Babbling Brooks. Our lives have changed dramatically in the last two years and there's so many stories to tell and photos to share! Yes, I have many excuses, but I’m putting them aside with the start of the new year. Happy 2012! I'll be back soon!
I've been to Liberty Park in New Jersey. I've been to the Statue of Liberty. I didn't know anything about this, did you? What's even more important is the reaction of the Wilson and FDR administrations. Watch and listen...
Thanks to Glenn Beck TV for this American history lesson (www.gbtv.com)...
Most Americans today are remembering where they were ten years ago when they heard the news that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. I remember vividly. I had gotten up that morning and turned on the small television in the bedroom that we used to listen to the news. I showered as usual, stepped out to my hot cup of coffee (which John always had waiting for me), and started to get ready for work. I heard something about breaking news on the television and went to take a look. It struck me that something was wrong as I listened to the report. There were the pictures...it was a bright, sunny day on the east coast. How could a plane possibly have hit the building? Was the pilot disoriented, sick, unable to fly the plane? I hollored down the stairs to John to turn on the news. It just didn't make any sense. Then reports started coming in that it was an airliner of some sort. I knew what the talk was going to be about at work all day and started wondering how something could go so wrong that controllers and pilots would all miss it. Just before we were ready to go out the door to work, the second tower was hit by another plane. We now knew that this day would be like no other and had no idea what to expect when we got to the control room. We listened to the news as we drove to the control center. By then we knew that America had been attacked. It was a sickening feeling to hear that Americans had been attacked and killed on our own soil. By the time we got to work the order to clear the airspace had been issued. There had been more reports of hijacked planes and every precaution possible was being taken. I signed in and began helping get the rest of the aircraft cleared to an airport for landing. I could remember practicing this in training, but no one ever dreamed that terrorism would be the reason we'd have to do it. When our airspace was empty, it got real quiet in the control room. I think we all were a little shell shocked and just waited to see what would happen next. There was an electronic board on the wall above our heads that showed all the air traffic in the United States. It was an eerie feeling to watch those targets disappear until there were only a few left. Only the military was flying and they were doing it on their own with no help from us. It stayed that way for two weeks. We had to stay fully staffed because we never knew when the air space would be opened again and we'd be called to duty. We worked a mid-shift configuration 24 hours a day, but with next to nothing to do. Two hours after hearing the first report I was sitting in the work cafeteria watching the reports when the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell. I was horrified and in disbelief. I think that was one of the most difficult moments for me because I saw it as it happened. Private aircraft were grounded much longer than two weeks and the Cessna Skyhawk we owned at the time waited patiently in her hangar to fly again. John waited not so patiently and because we lived near a major city the restrictions on private airplanes remained longer than in other areas.
Six years ago we happened to be in New York on September 11th while we were on our way to Russia. We were able to spend the day at the World Trade Center site and be there for the memorial service. The name of each victim was read, one by one, many of them by family members who brought photos of their loved one. The reading of the names has been done every year. I hope it will continue. It was a sober reminder of all the lives lost and the unified response of America to the loss. The joined hearts on September 12th, 2001 was an amazing response by America. I hope someday we can find that strength and hope again and keep it!
That time will always be ingrained in my mind. It was so divergent from normal, so unexpected, and so life changing. That day took so much away from us. In a way it took our innocence, our innate belief that these things didn't happen in America. It happens somewhere else. That day we learned differently and we can never go back. We can never again take for granted that being in America will keep us safe from evil. We've had to make changes in the way we do things, but I hope we'll never stop doing them. I won't, because if we do...evil wins.
I think somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind I did know at one time that there were more lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner". It's something we never hear, so if we learn of it's existence we soon forget. I got this video today from my Aunt Evelyn (thanks!). Take a listen...
Here are the full lyrics:
Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream: 'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion, A home and a country should leave us no more! Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved home and the war's desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust." And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
"The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889 and the President in 1916. It was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.
Let's not forget our national history and where we came from...we are not a secular nation.
No, no, no...not his year. This year was uneventful. John flew to Arizona and will be coming back on Wednesday with Legend and Lennox in tow. (Legend went to Utah to visit family just after school was out and then he and Lennox spent two weeks in Arizona with Uncle Kyle and family.) Shayla worked and I hung out at home. So let's talk about last year cause that story is a lot more interesting...
Shayla and I had driven to Utah to pick up Legend and were on our way home. We'd spent the night at the rag-tag Ramada in Idaho Falls. (Note: Do not stay there. It's cheap, but there's a reason. Stay at the Best Western Cottontree Inn which is our usual stop. It's worth the extra dollars.) We left Idaho Falls on the morning of the 4th of July to make our way home to Eureka. It was getting dark when we entered Lincoln County and we were glad to be almost home. And then it happened! At milepost 165 alongside Murphy Lake there is a grassy slope down to the lake on the east side of the road. As we're buzzing northbound in ROVER (my new red Beetle) a deer was springing up the slope and into the road with the intent of crossing to the other side. I had about one second to hit the brakes hard. I must of done it cause I left tire skids on the pavement that were good enough that one of the law enforcement guys commented that the Beetle must have ABS brakes. The front air bags deployed when we hit the deer and the car immediately began to fill with smoke and the explosive smell from the bags. Shayla started asking if everyone was okay and then asking Legend cause he didn't answer right away. I was stunned for a few seconds and I think maybe had the breath knocked out of me. The air bag hit me hard in the stomach. I had a zipper image burn on my skin from the zipped sweater I was wearing and a deep purple/blue/red bruise the size of Rhode Island between my ribs and naval, also an abrasion and bruised left thumb and a swollen/bruised left knee (which I think must have hit the bottom of the dash board). Shayla and Legend were, thankfully, unhurt...but Legend was very scared because of the smoke and the loud explosion sound. I got out and grabbed him and got him to the side of the road. I went back and grabbed my purse for my phone which turned out to have a dead battery. (Legend had been messing with the GPS feature a lot that day). Shayla went back to get her phone and we realized we'd better get the car out of the road. No one was stopping to help and we were worried that someone would smack it at 70 or 80 mph, it was dark and even with the flashers on people don't pay attention.
Here's where it really goes bad....if I'd been thinking straight I would have simply tried the key to see if I could drive it to the shoulder. But no....we pushed it. Do you know how easily a Beetle will roll? We got it to the shoulder and it was then we realized it was also sloped and the car picked up speed...it was downhill from there, literally. It started down the slope and I tried to get the brake but missed. I yelled at Shayla to let it go, slipped on the grass, and got up to see my red Rover rolling down the slope to Murphy Lake. A quick list of what was in the car...laptop, camera, photos, meds, etc went through my head. It rolled into the edge of the lake and stopped! I expected to see it start to sink, but it had stopped on the only little grassy spot sticking up near the edge of the lake. There it was...high-centered on this small boggy knoll with the bottom half of the tires in the water!
As we were standing there staring at it Legend started up with, "Why did you guys do that? My (Nintendo) DS is in there!" I don't know what he was thinking, but he thought we'd pushed it over the hill on purpose :) We couldn't believe how lucky we were that it didn't have to be dragged from the bottom of the lake. Shayla headed down to see if she could get her phone and I ran back up to the road to flag someone down. A pickup full of people stopped for me and in the meantime Shayla was able to get her phone out of the car and call 911. We had the (1) MHP (2) county sheriff (3) Fish, Game, & Wildlife and (4) US Forest Service all respond. The ranger said he was with the border patrol and they all looked at each other with weird looks when they heard a call that the car wheels were the only thing in the water. They helped us get most of the things out of the car before the tow truck pulled it up to the road just in case something happened in the process. We still didn't know for sure if it was driveable, but it appeared to be. They were able to get the crumpled hood open and the engine looked undamaged. It's built with a "crumple zone" to take the impact and it looked like it worked. The hood, right fender and headlight, the front bumper area and grills, and a mount under the radiator had to be replaced. There was also some damage to the driver door. It was open when the car started to roll and hit the mile post marker. They were able to repair that without replacing it. We learned that in a Volkswagen when the air bags are deployed the seat belts also automatically release after the crash and roll themselves all the way out so no one is trapped. Great idea! But it also means that all the seat belts have to be completely replaced. With all that labor involved the cost was over $9000! Now we know why our insurance went up when we left the city and moved to the country. The deer? It was thrown 50-60 feet and landed on the side of the road. It was a yearling and had not had a fawn, so there was no orphaned Bambi. Safeco must have loved us last year for adding this to the other big pay out they had to make. That's a story for another time...
i am just shaking my head in disbelief that it has been over 6 months since I've written a post here! Many of you know that I have another blog that focuses on giveaways. I spend a lot of time there and have woefully neglected this one. That needs to change! I'm taking the password off here. Most of you know why I originally protected this blog, but I've found that I'm not motivated to write here with the password in place. I keep getting e-mails asking about the password, even though it's been sent out to appropriate places a few time. The situation has not changed, but I've decided we'll just deal with it if our worry becomes reality. So, look for some real news real soon!
Legend is a basketball fanatic. Papa put up a hoop outside for him. Shayla got him an indoor hoop. The first thing he does when he gets home from school is put on basketball shorts and a jersey and starts shooting hoops. He played with the Saturday Shooters this year. The high school basketball coach and his wife run the program here and they coach the kids from kindergarten all the way through high school. (In a small town, it helps them with fielding a good team at the HS level.) John made this video of one of Legend's game. He was on fire! He had shot 12 points when the game was almost over and it was a tied score at 14-14. With just a couple of seconds left he saw the clock....he shoots, he scores!! Watch for #12 in the orange shirt! (Keep your eye on #5 in black, too. That's the coaches son. He's a first grader and he's good! He and Legend are always assigned to guard each other. It was the same way in football, too)
I'm going to just jump right in here like it hasn't been 5+ months since I've posted. I'll do some catch up posts now and then, but in the interest of getting back to blogging here...well, I'll just get going on it...
I gave up my gall bladder on Tuesday. The surgery was a piece of cake, I slept right through it. In fact I kept sleeping and sleeping until my bladder said it was time to wake up! Nurse Dan didn't seem to realize that when I said I needed to go I meant "now". He was taking his sweet time getting me up until I made myself clear (which wasn't easy to do through the haze of anesthesia). When I returned to my bed my eyes promptly closed again until Nurse Tom told me I could either pay to sleep at the hospital or go home and sleep. My trip down the hall had fulfilled the discharge requirement and they were ready to see me go. Dr. G. said my gall bladder was full of "gravel" which was why it had to come out, besides the fact that I was having other issues with it. Three doctors told me those tiny stones were much more dangerous than big ones because they can be squeezed out of the gall bladder and work their way down to plug the pancreas, a dangerous proposition. So, it is done. I am tired. I am sore. But I'm getting better everyday.
You may be amused. I am not. Neither are the millions of American citizens who yesterday took time from their busy lives to make their feelings known regarding the policies you've set forth. We are screaming at the top of our lungs. You are not listening. You're arrogance and condescending attitude towards those who disagree with your "fundamental transformation of America" only serve to further our resolve to see that your party is driven from Congress in November and you are driven from the White House in 2012. Our country cannot survive the crushing debt and massive growth of government you have instituted. Look for me at the next Tea Party. I'll be one of the millions standing tall in opposition to you.
sent to the office of The White House Correspondence,
We had a great drive from Oklahoma City to Missoula! Just a few snowflakes on Monday, but otherwise sunny. We've been in Missoula for the Montana Aviation Conference since Wednesday night and are leaving in the morning for Mountain Dreams. Hip Hip Hurray! When we left 13 months and 2 days ago (not that I'm counting) we had our satellite TV and DSL internet turned off. When we built the house we were told that cable was coming and our area would be first in the valley to be connected. Interbel (our local phone/tv/internet coop) installed the fiber optic cable at the same time they put in our phone line. Last summer when we were there we saw them laying the cable from town. So....we called last week to check on the progress. They expect to turn it on in the next 2-3 weeks! We've decided to wait for it. There's no use getting the satellite service running again and signing up for the DSL we had and then be stuck in it for a year. We love Montana Skynet which we had before, but we'd like to switch to cable internet. We're hoping we can hook up Interbel DSL right away, switch to cable when they turn it on and then get out of it if we don't like it. We had a few issues with their DSL before...which is why we switched to Montana Skynet. The reason I'm telling you all this is that we may have no internet at home for awhile. I'll have to drive to town and sit at the library with my laptop...inside when they're open, out on the lawn when they're not :) As for television, we'll just wait for cable and listen to the news on satellite radio in the meantime. Will be here when I can!
Today's the day! We're packed and leaving for home...for good! We are excited about returning to Mountain Dreams. We plan to leave Yukon in the afternoon and spend the night in Amarillo while we wait for the forecasted snowstorm to pass over the prairies. The roads should be clear by the time we get to Denver tomorrow mid-day. We'll be arriving in Missoula on Wednesday and staying till Sunday for the Montana Aviation Conference. We were a little concerned about leaving a trailer full of household goods in the parking lot for 3 days, but John found a secured storage facility that will let us park it there. (He's always thinking ahead, love the man to pieces :) So...was a year in Oklahoma worth it? Well, the first section of the airplane (the fuselage) has been ordered and will arrive at the hangar shortly after we get home....so I'd say "Yes"!
We're back in the USA! We had an amazing trip to Israel and I'll be posting about it when we get home. We're in New York now and will be seeing "Wicked" on Broadway tonight. Tomorrow we're flying to Knoxville to visit the Martinis for a few days...assuming the coming blizzard doesn't postpone those plans!
We were supposed to be on a flight out of OKC at 6:00am tomorrow. But the ice storm we are experiencing has put an end to that. Our flight was cancelled this afternoon and they put us on another one, also at 6:00am. That one was cancelled a couple hours later. I'm thinking they not going to be able to get airplanes in here tomorrow morning. But, it all worked out! We are now on a flight at 4:15pm to Dallas and when we asked if there was one going to Newark...it turned out to be the same plane we're on to Dallas! Our flight to Israel had been changed from Kennedy in New York to Newark in New Jersey. So now we don't have to take the shuttle to Newark, yay!
Saturday afternoon we'll be in Manhattan for the taping of the Huckabee show for Fox News, then heading to the airport to check in with El Al and an overnight flight to Israel. Yes, our group is being led by Governor Huckabee and we are excited to meet him and his family...and Pat Boone and wife, and some others who are going with us! This will be the trip of a lifetime!
Girls Week starts today! I left Oklahoma Saturday morning and am on my way to New Orleans where I'll pick my sisters up at the airport this afternoon. Many of you know that I am working on a "50 States" album chronicling my travels to all 50 states. One of my projects for that is to take a photo of me with each state sign. By the time I got to the Louisiana border it was dark and raining. But a true photographer would never let that stop her! I aimed my headlights toward the sign, used my Gorillapod to mount my camera on the passenger side mirror, set the exposure to H10 and the flash to rear sync, set the timer, and here's the result. Not too bad :)
What? How did it get to be January 14th already? I've been a bad blogger again, must get back to sharing! We have done so many things here in Oklahoma, done some traveling to see family, and I have so much to share. I'll have to just start doing some random posts.
In the immediate future...we have a date to go home to Mountain Dreams! We'll be leaving Oklahoma the last week of February instead of in April as we'd originally planned. I'll share more on that later.
I'll be headed to New Orleans this weekend for Girls Week with my sisters! I'll be home on the 25th or 26th (I may stay an extra day in Arkansas on the way back to do a little family history digging into the Brooks family.) And then comes the real traveling...we're flying to New York on the 29th and the following day we'll be leaving for Israel with a group led by Governor Mike Huckabee. We're very excited about this! We had started making plans to visit China next fall when this opportunity dropped in our laps last August. Israel was also on our list of future travels and we can't see ourselves getting another opportunity to go with someone like the governor. We just found out that Pat Boone and his wife, Shirley, and Dr. Tim LaHaye (author of the "Left Behind" series) and his wife, Dr. Beverly LaHaye will also be with us! When we return to New York we have tickets to see "Wicked" and I'll be able to cross Broadway off my Bucket List.
It doesn't end there. From New York we'll be flying to Tennessee to visit our friends, Tony and Tonya. Yes, they're the ones who were here in Oklahoma. They bailed from here in November and are enjoying their new log home in eastern Tennesseee. When we leave we'll be headed east in a rental car with a stop in Atlanta to visit a WWII, P-51 pilot that John knows from his Warbird days and then on to Savannah for a few days.
That'll give us just enough time to fly back to Oklahoma, pack up the duplex and head out for Montana and an aviation conference in Missoula the first week of March. It's going to be a busy few weeks and we can't wait to get back to Mountain Dreams!