Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Friends and a Funeral

Today was Katie's funeral. I saw a lot of friends that I haven't seen in a really, really long time, which was good. The service was very sad (I will touch on this more later). I held it together except for two instances: when the pastor talked to Katie's little girl, Lexie, about how much her mom loved her and would always be with her, and when Crystal and I hugged Stan and he called us "his girls." Yeah that was hard. Overall it was a very nice service, beautiful music, a nice slide show and a nice sermon.

It was great to see everyone and we had fun laughing and telling stories about the "good old days". A lot of those stories ended up with us telling about being drunk in high school and Kiesha's name kept coming up...hmmmm :) Lunch was great: smiling, laughing, babies. We took a group photo at the end.

Kiesha's husband, Nick, also took pictures and one of the girls asked him to tell us when we were supposed to suck in, so he kept saying "start sucking it" which cracked us up and lead to this photo:

And I think that's exactly what Katie would have wanted!

Katie's dad was our high school band director. We all loved Stan, Mr. Stevenson, or Papa Stan, whatever you called him. Without realizing it on my way home I put in the Glee soundtrack: Journey to Regionals. During last season's finale the kids go to regionals and then think that the Glee club is going to be disbanded. They put together a song to tell Mr. Shue how they felt about him. This song came on and it immediately reminded me of how we all felt and still feel about Stan, how he influenced each of our lives and how all the memories from that point in time are some of all of our fondest. This one is for you Papa Stan!

Now, here is my opinion on funerals. The best funeral I ever went to was for my mom's uncle. At this service the instructions were to have everyone get up and tell stories, which they did, including, but' not limited to, his wife and his EX wife. It was awesome. I also like the idea of Jim Henson's funeral: people were to dress in Kermit green or Big Bird yellow. No disrespect to any funeral I have attended, or will attend, but this is what I want, so mark it down, if something happens to me here is what to do to keep me from haunting you! (this shouldn't surprise anyone that I've thought about this, I plan EVERYTHING!)

  • Laughter, and a lot of it (I'm really funny, even though part of it is laughing AT me)
  • I want a sermon, yes, my faith is very important to me, but I want people to get up and tell stories, funny stories, some I might kill people for telling (ie. "paws here" and anything related to the pool this summer!)
  • I want everyone to wear either fun colors or all little black dresses (well except the guys) which has nothing to do with mourning and everything to do with the fact that I presently own 7 which I rotate and they are my favorite things (google Coco Chanel for why)
  • Two songs: I can only Imagine by MercyMe and Imagine by John Lennon (theme??? of course)
  • I want my friends to sing (my friends are entirely too talented to not be showcased!)
  • I want a pastor that really knows me (this shouldn't be all that hard to find)
  • Spend as little money as possible on a casket, I'm not going to see it, and I don't care!
  • Don't waste money on flowers, they die, thus I find them pointless (and again, I won't be able to enjoy them, and this is about me, right?) Instead donate to the non profit that I'm going to start when I finish my Masters (If flowers are a must, then lilies, they are my favorite)
  • Slide show, a long one, I want everyone that has been important in my life represented, and I mean that, everyone
This list is subject to additions, which I'm sure I will have, but it's a start! I want everyone to leave smiling and laughing and remembering the good times (because there have been a whole lot, and there are a lot more to come) and I want to smile down on everyone knowing that I touched people's lives. I want to be remembered that way.

All in all, I know this has been a morbid post, but it's true and being the planner that I am, this shouldn't surprise any of you. I also want A LOT of people there! I hope that happens! I have 825ish friends on facebook (all of which I actually know) and that's not nearly all the people I know. So you better all be there! I have seen a quote that goes something like this:

When you were born you were crying and the whole world was smiling; live your life so that when you die you are the one smiling and everyone else is crying! (except I want laughter, but you get the idea!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

High School

High school was a million years ago, or so it seems. At the same time it seems like just yesterday. It has really seemed far away and close in the last 36 hours. One of my high school friends was killed in a car accident yesterday morning on her way to work. Katie was the daughter of our high school band director (which as much as I choose not to mention it, yes I was in color guard and a part of the band). Katie was a year older than me in school. We were part of the same group through most of high school, yet we were never the best of friends. I feel so sad about her death, the impact on her parents and brother and on her two little girls, Lexie and Lindsay, who will live their lives without their mom.

The news broke via facebook, as so many things in this day and age do, around 10:15 when I saw a friend had posted on Katie's dad's wall. I just had a feeling that something had happened to her, which was confirmed a few minutes later. Immediately I messaged our group of girl friends, some of which, though friends on facebook, I haven't talked to in years. In the hours after finding out about this I talked to so many friends, via facebook, text and on the phone, that I have not talked to in years. I posted this as my status yesterday:

It is days like today that make you remember who you used to be; that make you remember the people that used to be your entire world; it is sad that it sometimes takes a tragedy and the loss of one of those people to truly remember how much they meant to you.

It is completely true. No matter where we all are now my high school friends were some of the most influential in me becoming who I am today. It is sad that we lose touch, and sometimes it is by circumstance and sometimes it is by choice. Whatever the reason is it is at these moments that we really think about all those long lost friends.
As sad as it is to say I am looking forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday at the funeral. I wish it was under different circumstances, but let's be honest: how many times have we all said "let's get together for a mini reunion" and how many times have we actually done it?
My favorite Katie memory:
My freshman year of high school, last day of school, my group of friends (all older than me) went to the lake for the day. I wanted to go and my mom took me out there...and wouldn't leave! She didn't trust us because there were adults there. I remember Katie and our friend Lisa explaining that part of them were 18, wasn't that adult enough??? My mom, of course, didn't buy it. I have a scrapbook page (the only one I've ever done!) from this day somewhere at my parents house and unfortunately don't have any of the photos at my house (or any others of just Katie and I), so I don't have anything to post of her (what I do have of her my scanner isn't working). I will leave you with two pictures of my two very best friends in the world, thankfully we still talk and see each other on a regular basis as well as a picture from Band Banquet senior year.
In summary, please keep the Stevenson family in your prayers and call your high school friends and really get together with them...they made you who you are today!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

That's More Like It!

It was another game day in Norman, Oklahoma! My friend Stephanie from work went with me and I was a very bad influence on her! She lives a few blocks from Campus Corner so I met her and her house and we walked to the game. On the way to her house I saw this sign, which pretty much explains the attitude of Norman, Oklahoma:

We had a little issue when we attempted to get through the gates. Stephanie had a "fanny pack" which for some reason are banned from the stadium. I think she was ready to chunk the thing, but in my sneakiness we managed to get it in. I don't really understand why this particular form of baggage is banned from the stadium, but sure enough on the back of the ticket it says no fanny packs. Hmmm...

We make it in and to our seats. I was glad to see that "Coach" from last week is a season ticket holder. I snuck a picture and this is him (if he's related to you, well I'm sorry!).

The Coach was actually pretty quiet during the game. Or the stadium was so loud that we couldn't hear him. We did have four FSU fans in front of us that were mildly obnoxious, however they shut up for awhile and then got really obnoxious for being angry about them not so winning. Overall it was a great game. I wore a very cute red dress, because it was going to be hot. I did not, however, wear sunscreen, thus I ended up redder than the dress. I spent all summer avoiding tan lines and got them today. I tried to take a picture that wasn't obscene to show the vast difference in color of my skin. The good news, though, I was totally in OU spirit and I, myself, was Crimson and Cream!

One of my high school friends posted some "observations" about Game Day attire after last week's game. I have two to add, only one of which I got pictures of.

1. The strapless, tshirt dresses that all the sorority girls are wearing, can be cute on some of them, however the dress was NOT cute on the 65+ year old woman in the Pita Pit! She matched her granddaughter! (insert aaaawwwwww!) She had a white sweater draped over her shoulders (imagine the stereotypical "preppy" lady) It was not good, in no way, shape or form!

2. The sleeveless, tight fitting jersey or shirt on men over the age of 50. I see this A LOT at the OU games. It is wrong. That is all. The guy next to me not only had the sleeveless, tight fitting jersey, he went two better: white polyester pants and red and white Pumas! Wow

At the end of the game I glanced over to section 24 to my other seats (that I sold, but sat in for four years). I saw the people that I sat around. I don't miss them. I will take the "Coach" over those people any day! I missed one photo from last week. This is the back of a shirt that was in front of us. I love the phrase!

We won 47-17, though they really should not have let FSU score that last touchdown.

Some funnies of the day:

  • there was a cop that came up through our section, he was looking for a man whose wife had lost him, he left, we assumed they found him. a bit later two cops come through our section, still looking for him. I would put money that he sleeps on the couch tonight!
  • Poor Stephanie, when the two cops were coming up the steps I told her they were coming for her fanny pack! She panicked!
  • I corrupted poor Stephanie: After the game we went to old O'Connell's and got a beer, Stephanie asked if we could walk around with it, I said yes, then we jaywalked, so overall she snuck in a banned fanny pack, walked around with an open container and on the wild side! :)
I forgot my camera so I just had my phone. Due to the horrible heat and sunburn I did not allow for any photos of myself after the game started. Stephanie brought hers and we have a pic from before the game, prior to my baking!

All in all a pretty darn good Game Day! :)

Wit's End...

...that is about how I am starting to feel about this pool. Yes I know that to the untrained pool expert you would think that it is time to close the pool. Well I am hosting CrossTimbers Youth Group next Sunday and we are swimming! Plus it's Oklahoma and it could be 100 a few more days before it starts to freeze. My buddies at Thompson Pool and Patio told me not to close it until Octoberish and when it is 70 on a regular basis.

Onto the drama!

It all started last week when we had a little rain, which of course, by "a little" I mean torrential downpour for like 4 days. There was the chair in the pool on Wednesday:

I would, however, like you to notice that this chair is at the bottom of the pool and you can see it. Thursday it poured all day again, not exactly ideal weather for keeping the pool pretty. Friday at lunch I noticed that there were a lot of leaves from the rain, so I start in raking them out with the leaf net, to keep me from having to vacuum so many leaves. I get home Friday after work and the pool is starting to get REALLY cloudy. I jump in my car (it is 5:30, Thompson's closes at 6:00) and drive to get PolySheen (clarifier). I get back home and start in on vacuuming. There are a lot of leaves, so I have to clean out the basket. I get about half of the shallow end done and move onto the deep end. Vacuum is sucking (in a good way) quite well until it stops sucking all together (in a bad way). I expect to have a ton of leaves in the basket of the pump, but there were none. Odd... I backwash, nothing. I rinse, nothing. I filter, nothing. I recirculate, nothing. ARG!!! I finally give up for the night and go to the Norman North/Norman High football game (which is another blog post all together).

Saturday morning, which we will not discuss the beginning of this morning, I get into my game day clothes (BOOMER SOONER!) and head to Thompson's, with this really frustrated look on my face. Zac sees my pitifulness and we talk through all that I did (twice in some cases!) and finally both decide I have a clog. Grrrrrrrrreat. He sends me home with a snake, after explaining how to use it of course. I get home, change into "work on the pool" clothes. I drop the snake in the skimmer. Nothing. I try this a few times and then decide that I'm going to try it at the pump and go backwards. DING! DING! DING! It takes very little time before I hit the blockage. I try a few times and the poor little snake is just not doing the job.

Before I left Thompson's that morning Zac told me to call if I had problems. well, if you know me, you know that I don't always handle frustration with the utmost calmness. So after throwing a few things, screaming and maybe some crying I throw on a dress and head back to Thompson's. Zac meets me in the parking lot (where he had been walking about a customer) and with this wonderful, positive smile asks if I got it. While I appreciate his confidence in my abilities, I was slightly frustrated at this point. I go through my story of what had happened, explain where the clog is, and explain how I almost took a hammer to the plumbing of the pool. Again, with calmness, he explains that you can simply unscrew the top of the valve (where the clog was) and remove the leaves.

See the silver screws? Well I didn't when I was ready to sledgehammer it!

Finally my favorite, sympathetic pool expert offers to swing by and help with it! Yay! I was ordered to have fun tailgating. Zac comes by a little later and we get the clog out, no problem. Pool is up and running again!

I proceed to sleep most of the day Sunday and then Monday I vacuum it. I end up with two more clogs, but I am totally an expert at removing (as annoying as it is) the valve. I get it all vacuumed. It is still cloudy. Arg! Tuesday I go in and get some copper algaecide, which I dump in Tuesday evening, along with four bags of shock, at the prescription of Mike. I was also told to backwash in 48 hours, then backwash in another 48 hours, but if the pressure changes to backwash as necessary. I backwash Tuesday (and bake cookies). I backwash Wednesday. I backwash Thursday. I still have a green cloudy pool. Next trip to Thompson's (in a little black dress and stilettos :) and with a TON of homemade cookies in hand) I get a bucket of shock (8 bags worth). After my horrible adventure to Ardmore I come home and dump it in. Friday, still cloudy, still green.

I have also been brushing the pool. I really hate brushing the pool. No I mean I REALLY hate brushing the pool. I am doing it because they tell me to, but geez I hate it. Plus it is hard to do because you can't see what you're brushing. Friday night I was just about at my wit's end. I don't know if it's really getting better or if it's wishful thinking, but I do think it is getting a little better.

Here is where we sit today, after backwashing and brushing:

It is getting bluer, though still pretty cloudy. I have a bit more visibility. We shall see. It's game day though, so I am off to cheer on my Sooners! Tonight I am spending an exciting evening writing a paper about conflict resolution. Maybe I'll discuss my conflict with my pool...

I find it really funny that most of the words dealing with the pool are not in the blogspot spell check...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Glad to be Home!

Well today did NOT go how I planned!

This was the plan: dress cute at the end of the work day, a quick stop before I headed south, drive to Ardmore (stopping and getting a quick dinner on the way), watch Red, White and Tuna (the first show for Ardmore Little Theatre, and the beginning of my 17th consecutive season of perfect attendance), drive home, go to bed.

Simple enough?


The first part of this adventure started out how I planned. We are in the process of merging two of my offices into one, which is involving moving about 150 people around in two offices and lots of packing. I have dressed GRUNGY because of it. I was craving cute clothes and heels, so I put on a cute little black dress before I left work. I made a quick stop before heading south (in an attempt to look adorable), then headed towards Ardmore.

All was well, chatting on the phone with Michelle between the two exits in Purcell and suddenly the car started pulling funny; I thought maybe the wind was just blowing, oh no that would have been WAY to simple! (Sidebar: show starts at 7:00 I leave Norman about 5:00, the drive is between and hour and an hour and a half, depending on speed) I finally pull over, afraid I have a flat tire (Another sidebar: I had a flat August 14 on the rear, passenger side tire, took it to Hibdon's, had them fix it, all was well, BUT I also have a slow leak in the rear, driver side tire) on the rear, driver side. I get out of the car, on I35 southbound, in the previously mentioned cute little black dress and 4 inch pointy toed stilettos, much to my surprise the tires on the driver's side are fine, however the rear, passenger tire is FLAT. Flat really might be an understatement actually. I'm still on the phone with Michelle, who I put on standby to come rescue me, as I am NOT in "tire changing" clothes, plus I don't really have a clue how to change a tire, and have no jack and that X shaped thingy. I call my trusty insurance roadside assistance, who I was a little irritable with, they say they will call me back with the ETA. In the meantime it dawns on me that my wonderful friend Skylar lives in Purcell! I call her and see if her husband, Matt, can come rescue me. She calls him, then calls me back and I call him and we work out details, though he had to run home and get a jack and that X shaped thingy. In the meantime the stupid insurance calls back and says it will be AN HOUR! I kindly call the tow truck (who had no name and which the phone rings approximately 20 times, NOT an exaggeration) and cancel them. Matt and his son Nick show up, change the tire, I pay them in homemade cookies I happened to have in the car and head to the nearest gas station to air up the spare a bit. As I pull into the gas station 3 miles away the stupid insurance calls and says now it will be 20 minutes before the tow truck arrives! So glad that Matt and Nick came to my rescue.

Here is my poor spare that is getting WAY too much use lately!

I manage, without speeding too badly, to get to the show at 7:02 before the director did his intro even! The show was HILARIOUS! If you are in Ardmore this weekend go see it! Friday and Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 2:30 I think. At the close of the show I get stuff from my mom (there is always stuff that she accumulates between visits) including "Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M." by Sam Wasson, the story of Breakfast at Tiffany's: sooooo excited!

I leave Ardmore, praying that my trip home is better than my trip to Ardmore. Except I forget that I didn't get gas before I left Norman. My car gets HORRIBLE gas mileage and having driven about 100 miles before this little adventure I did not have enough gas to go to Ardmore and back to Norman. I realize this at about mile marker 98 on I35 North. If you know anything about I35 North you realize that there really isn't a gas station until exit 106 (Riverwind and Love's). Very soon after my realization that I'm really close to sitting on E my low fuel light comes on. I prayed the whole time that I could make it less than 10 miles to get the gas station. I really didn't want to have to call someone or call insurance and wait again. I managed to make it to Love's. Here is the verdict (Sidebar: my tank holds 18 gallons):

At round about 16 miles to the gallon I could have made it about another 13 miles! (Luckily I did not dare to test this theory!)

I came home to dump 8 bags worth of shock into my still cloudy and green pool. I'm praying that maybe tomorrow it will be less green, or heck not green at all. What I learned about this: don't open the bucket of concentrate chlorine and stick your nose in it to smell hurts! What can I say, don't argue with blond being my natural hair color!

The positives of today came on the radio though (when I wasn't listening to Christmas music, and no I don't have an answer why I was doing this). My two favorite songs, of the moment, were played when I could hear them all the way through: Steve Azar "Sunshine" and Kenny Chesney "Boys of Fall". I dedicate the second to my favorite 10 year old football player, Baley Sechrist, who got hit at football practice tonight and had to have a cat scan and has a neck brace right now. :( Prayers for him please!

Overall not the worst day ever, but I'm sure glad to be home in my bed!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cookies, Cookies and More Cookies!

I guess I am on a baking kick, but I was in the mood to make cookies again tonight. These are mine and Haley's famous Chocolate Chip Cookies, with a twist. When I babysat Haley we would bake ALL the time. She had this cute ABC cookbook, which included this recipe (C for Chocolate Chip Cookie, of course!) I made a double batch and made half milk chocolate/Heath chip and the other half Andes mint chocolate yummy!

Wendy and Haley's Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c brown sugar, packed
1 c margarine, softened
1 egg
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 package chocolate chips (of whatever kind, for the batch of chocolate/Heath I did 1 bag of each!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine sugars, margarine and egg until thoroughly combined. Add flour, soda and salt. Stir in chips. Bake 8-10 minutes (in my REALLY cool oven it was more like 18 minutes).

They are yummy!

I am a SUCKER for kitchen gadgets! These are my two favorite though:

My Kitchen Aid mixer! I don't think even I thought I would use it as much as I have. I even painted my kitchen to match it, before I got it!

This may have been the best $12.99 I ever spent at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It is a spring loaded cookie dough scoop. It is wonderful. If you bake, go buy one, now, go, I mean it!

And I cannot forget my two, adorable baking assistants who are not so happy that I did not drop anything for them! Ty on the left and Kai on the right!

These are going to some of the most helpful people I know tomorrow or the next day!

It's Football Time in Oklahoma!

That it is! As we sit I have currently attended 6 football games already:
2 5 year old games
1 10 year old game
1 7th grade game
1 Norman North game
1 OU game

The five year olds are just about the cutest thing ever: that not the cutest thing EVER? I am thoroughly enjoying watching the boys play, however I fell in love with the ADORABLE little cheerleaders at Baley's game tonight! That is MY kind of football! Here are my precious boys, both of who's faces lit up when they saw I had been at their games:

For the Norman North/Norman High game. Well I didn't like the outcome, but more importantly I did not like the attire of the kids! I am an old fuddy-duddy apparently, but I would have grounded the vast majority of those children! I'm hoping this was just because it was the North/High game, but the girls all had on athletic striped shorts, knee high socks, and torn tshirts with some North slogan on them. A lot of them also had bandannas on their heads. I don't really have words on this.

Onto OU football! The game was not exactly, well, pretty. It was exciting to see the new video though!

They honored the 2000 National Championship team at halftime!

And for the fun part of the day. For those that have heard the drama that I shall not mention I ended up with four more tickets this season. I sold my original pair, with the REALLY annoying people surrounding me, leaving me with half of a foursome. The other half of the foursome was sold to my beautiful friend Kara and her brother.

The negative of the new tickets, or maybe the bonus, is that we are FORTUNATE enough to have a member of the coaching staff sitting right behind us! What are the odds? This IDIOT complained the entire game, loudly, with comments such as "Oklahoma sucks'" as well as complaining about every play, every player, and pretty much anything else that he could think of. We have a running pole between Kara, Kris and I about how many games it's going to take before one of us (more than likely me) turns around and tells him to shut up.

I guess I shouldn't complain, it was just one guy, which is a VAST improvement over the others that I used to sit around, plus I am bound to have allies! For this game my guest of the week was my wonderful, fun, college friend Adrienne. We tailgated, we drank, we planned to leave after halftime when we were blowing them out. Well, that didn't exactly happen. We went back up after the half, planning to stay through the third quarter, assuming we would finally start blowing them out. Needless to say, if you watched the game, we did not even discuss leaving.

Overall it was a really fun day. There were some frustrations earlier in the day that ended up with a really good surprise before the game! (Maybe more on that later, maybe not!) We ended the evening eating and drinking at Othello's. I won't lie I'm a little nervous about this Saturday and Florida State. Say a little prayer this week for the Sooners!