Monday, May 30, 2011

My Attempt at Crafts

My confession is I'm not very crafty. I have scrapbooked but not for years. I used to do cross-stitch but then I got bored with it.

Whitney had to have a white dress last year for a photo. She did not own one and I would never have bought one. White is not her color. I hated to do it, but we found a reasonably priced dress that I thought was a nice shape so we bought it. It was eyelet lace over a cotton dress. Very summery and I loved the neckline and back. I knew that she would never wear the dress again. So the dress hung in her closet for months.

I did always love the shape, so since it was white I suggested that we dye it. I've never dyed anything. I've never tie-dyed anything. So this would be a new experience. But since she would never wear the dress again, if something went wrong we were only out the cost of the dye. Michael's had a nice selection of dyes and I had a coupon so it only cost $2. But then I had to buy a bigger bucket because I was scared to use my washing machine and never get it clean.

Yesterday we followed the instructions. We took the bucket to the front yard so any spills would be in the grass. And it went well. No spills and no messes.

Here's what the final product looks like.It was a little darker until we washed it so next time I would probably let it sit darker than I wanted. And the hem stitching and a few other stitches didn't color. But it looks like they are just accent stitches now. I was impressed that the zipper pull dyed.

We are really happy with the result. She will be wearing the dress Saturday for senior recognition at her dance recital.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Graduation Day

A happy girl
The happy parents
Well Thursday was the big day. Whitney's high school graduation. To think that all those years of school led to this one night. It was a beautiful day and the evening was wonderful. There was an indoor ceremony at the university's basketball arena so we had great graphics and closeup shots. This was important since the kids were on the floor and we couldn't take pictures up close. My wonderful daughter got to be in the front row because she made it through high school with straight A's. There were 30 kids that did that out of 360. A pretty smart class if you ask me. And we lucked out that she was on the aisle so we could see her the whole time. There were three seniors who gave talks; a good mix of serious and humor. A touching song and then it was time to announce all the names. I was prepared to cry and cry and cry. And I was surprised when I didn't. Somehow I don't think it sank in. Or else I know that she will continue in school so I've got more of seeing her grow. There was so much going on I forgot to listen for all of her friends names.

Getting her diploma

After receiving their diplomas, the kids walked off to get hugs from their teachers. It really was a touching moment. They have had the same homeroom teacher for four years. Whitney's retired last year but she came back for graduation.

I will miss the high school. But I'm looking forward to the future. And I know Whitney is too.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Tornado Encounter

This is the bigger shelter. It is a classroom built in the ground
Well after yesterday's blog I got to put into action my tornado preparedness. We had been warned by the forecast office that between 5-7pm very high risk for big tornados. Sure enough, about 4:30 there was one SE of us that was coming our way. We had plenty of time to take cover. We gathered up a few belongings, put the dog in the closet (I'm sorry but we couldn't take her into the shelter) and went to my office. We have two huge rooms that are designated storm shelters. They are supposed to hold 600-700 people. When we got to work, it was raining. Dan dropped us off at the front doors and we ran in. He parked the car. There were so many people there. The rooms were full. Like really really full. Like they were going to have to start putting people in bathrooms. They overflowed into the hallway. They put them in the security officer's special safe room. People came in wheelchairs. They brought their dogs and cats. I really think they should have told people they couldn't bring those in because if they weren't in there, they could have gotten more people in the rooms. It was warm and noisy. But I knew we were safe. I went to my office and got my laptop and walkie/talkie. There is no cellphone reception in the rooms since they are so surrounded by concrete. But we have wireless internet and I knew I could get on that. The local tv stations websites were so bogged down with viewers I couldn't get that working. But I could get on facebook. Always good. They were playing the news on the big screens. Finally someone shouted for everyone to be quiet. The news was talking about a tornado coming our way. When they mentioned the name of my building, the room was dead quiet. I also knew from the tones they were playing on the intercom that we were in the way because it was the sound for the forecast office to clear out.

And then it was over. The tornado fizzled out just west and south of us. The other tornado went north of us and fizzled out. Some people I know had a little bit of debris fall in their yard. But we had nothing. Dan went home first to check on the house and he called and everything was fine. Abby was happy to see him but didn't look traumatized from her closet stay. We called our mothers to tell them we were ok. Then I heard how the Weather Channel was saying we were evacuating the building. I had to think about that and they meant the forecast office.

I know people who were up in the observatory deck and saw the tornados. I've seen pictures from up there. Someday maybe I'll go see one. But I was quite happy and safe in the bunker.

The lesson to be learned is have a plan and do it. I know a lot of those people in the shelter probably won't come the next time. They came because of the big tornados over the last month. I hope that they do come back. I want all of us to be safe.

**The photo isn't mine. I was too busy trying to get on the internet to even think of taking a photo. Thanks to one of my co-workers for taking it. It doesn't do justice to the number of people in there.**

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Disaster Preparedness

It is time for me to address disaster preparedness. Living in Oklahoma we are very familiar with tornadoes. That is one of the few natural disasters that really have little to no warning. The others being earthquakes and tsunamis (although that depends on how far away you are from the epicenter).

I work with lots of researchers who try and figure out why tornadoes form so they can come up with even larger lead times for warnings and reduce the number of false warnings. And that's what I want to talk about. Please pay attention to any warning, even if you don't think it is serious. These meteorologists have gotten so much better over the years using technology that if they say there is a warning, take cover. I don't care if you have had 15 false alarms and you think you know better. YOU DON'T! Do you really want to risk your life because it inconviences you to go to a shelter?

I really think the media does a disservice when they interview people who say they had no warning. YES they did in most cases. It is just that they weren't paying attention to the warning or they decided to ignore it.

So have a plan. Know where to go. Most of all, pay attention. Listen to the experts.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A kind and loving heart

Isn't that what we are all supposed to have? A kind and loving heart. I think for many of us that is hard to accomplish. Yes we can wake up every morning and think that is our goal, but then someone cuts you off driving to work, you have people yelling at you, you spill something on your clothes right before a meeting and that kind, loving heart stuff goes out the window. So you try the next day. Some days you get it right.

 I'd like to introduce you to some people who really do a great job and following this principle.

The Lunnens happen to be my sister-in-law and clan. They have six kids. But they still have more love to give. They are adopting a special needs boy from Eastern Europe. You can read about their adventure here One Little Boy. I am awestruck with the generosity, love and kindness that comes out of them. I encourage you to read their story.

Grab This!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What's For Dinner Tonight?

Whitney won't be home for dinner tonight so she told us that we should eat something gross. Of course that means something that she wouldn't like, which is a lot of things (mushrooms, Chinese, fish, rice). I believe we have settled on Chinese food. Her idea of Chinese is maybe some lo mein noodles and that is it. We will probably just stop and getting something takeout that feeds the two of us. We still don't have any good recipes to cook for ourselves. I'm sure this will change in the future. We'll have to get used to cooking things we want. I plan to get adventurous in our cooking next year.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fabulously Bad Songs

OK, I promised my family I would write this one. We were watching tv tonight and some cell phone company had a commercial that used the song "Flash Gordon" in it. What a wild flashback moment to one of the most horrendously bad songs that are catchy. And an even worse movie. I can't even describe how bad this movie is. And yet, I was singing the song as soon as I heard it. I started quoting the movie. And my family looked at me like I was nuts.For those of you who have not had the pleasure of hearing or seeing this, please view with pleasureFlash Gordon

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Countdown clock keeps ticking

It is now 8 (EIGHT) days until graduation. I still need to go stock up on kleenix. I've done really good at not crying at things yet but I'm afraid it is coming. Last night I cried during Glee. Dan looked at me and said are you crying and I said yes. Then I had to explain there was a funeral scene that was very touching. He said you cry at commercials so nothing surprises him. I do want it known that I haven't cried at commercials for quite awhile now and I haven't watched Field of Dreams in ages. So I have all the tears stored up for next week.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What I Did This Weekend

Wow, I actually got things accomplished this weekend. Normally I don't do anything.

We replaced a door knob to get into the garage. That may not sound impressive but we are not mechanical people. But after seeing how easy it was (Dan said it was going to be easy) we now need to replace the knobs/locks on the front and back doors. That way we can rekey them all to the same key.

We looked for shrubs for the front walkway. This is a huge problem area for us. We've gone through probably 4 sets of shrubs. It gets little to no sun because of the angle of the house and the garage. So we are very limited in what will grow. And then everything seems to get winter burn. Still haven't picked something out but really need to because that dirt is not getting any more attractive after a year.

We did buy three new outside light fixtures. I had won a light installation at our United Way auction last fall and now I plan on using it.

Balanced three sets of checkbooks. Bad me hadn't done it for a month. Everything is online so I knew we had money, I just hadn't updated my Quicken files. Well now I have and am happy to report that me and the bank agree.

I spent $165 at Walmart on Saturday and I ended up with a full cart but no meat. I guess that $20 in birdseed sort of did me in.

And then there was the dog. The weather was nice so we had the front door open so just the screen is there. She hates that. She gets restless. So when the door finally is closed she crashes in sleep. I'm not sure how she sleeps with her ear like that but she was out and quite comfortable.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wine Reviews

Well I had an idea for a blog yesterday. I even went so far as to download pictures to go along with it. And then blogger was down. And I couldn't write. So now I'll try and see how well I fair. I know I'm going to forget something.

Usually twice a week, local liquor stores have free wine tastings. Yes I said free. One of the only good things about the stupid liquor laws in this state is that the distributor can host a tasting in a separate entrance to a store. So two stores in town have these little rooms that have tastings. One of my friends keeps detailed notes about all the wines. I just read along the sheets and only make note of something I really like. And then I have a notebook where I write down wines I really really like so I can buy them more than just the one time. This system seems to work except that by just writing down the names, I forget what they taste like and then when I'm looking for something specific I'm not sure what to buy. But I digress. This blog is supposed to spotlight three wines I've had lately that I've really enjoyed.

The first wine is from Bodega Elena Mendoza. It is a red blend from Argentina. I used to not like reds but over the years I've gotten accustomed to some of them. I don't like tannins so a traditionally heavy red is certianly not going to be bought. But this blend is really well flavored and very reasonable. It is new to our state so I've only found it at one store so whenever I'm there I buy it. That to me is a true sign that I really like it. It is $9.39 right now so definitely affordable.

Oxford Landing Estate is another red blend and it is from Australia. One of the things I'm really getting into is screwtops. It seems so much easier to twist off the top and not have to fiddle around with the corkscrew. And the problems that come about when a bottle of wine was not taken care of properly and the cork dries out just stinks. Plus a screw cap makes it easy to buy when travelling (thank you states that sell wine in the grocery store but I always forget the corkscrew at home).

And finally we have Apothic Red. You can see a thread running through these wines. They are all blends. I think that helps when you get the best of a grape and not the parts that aren't so good. This is definitely a pretty bottle and very tasty. It is a little more expensive (around $13) and I like my every day wine to be less than $10. But if I'm in the mood to treat myself, this is a good choice. It is from California.

So there is my Friday wine review. Maybe next week I'll do whites for summer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Writers Block

What do you write about when you got nothing? I have to say I would have in the past just not written anything. But I enjoy writing this blog, eventhough just a handful of people read it. I find it an outlet that I've never chosen before. I never thought myself creative or a good writer, but I enjoy the challenge.

So what to write about? I could rant, but I do that a lot so that isn't interesting.

I could write a tv review, but I've done that recently too. Plus I haven't watched anything that made me go OOOOH I have to tell people about that. The Voice was ok, Amazing Race sucked after the cowboys got kicked off, Top Chef Masters is weak. When the best show I watch in a week is Bert the Conquere squealing like a girl, it was a sad week.

The weather has been hot. Perhaps stormy today. Not exciting.

Nothing exciting has happened at all. Perhaps tonight I'll get to try a new wine that I like at a wine tasting. Or maybe I'll find a wine tomorrow night at another wine tasting.

And so I leave you with nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Prom 2011

Last night was Whitney's last prom. We went through multiple dress choices, finding a beautiful blue strapless one that I think she looks gorgeous in. She went and got her hair and makeup done professionally. She even went and got her car cleaned out, spending way too much money on it but it does look good.

The fancy curly hair (lots of hairspray)
That's a lot of dresses
There was a large group of kids going to dinner together. I love how they can get a group together and everyone doesn't have to have a date. Boy when I was in school you didn't go anywhere without one. In fact, I did not go to my prom. I sold my free tickets. It was a good looking crowd that gathered and then went to a fancy restaurant in town.

I learned from last year that the group goes out afterwards for breakfast (I can't even think that late at night) so I was prepared to go to sleep before she got home. But my poor baby was fighting a cold and had to come home because she felt so bad. Luckily it was close to the end of the dance.

I know that she'll have lots of fancy dress parties to go to in college. I hope that she'll be able to use these dresses again then.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday Rant

I haven't ranted for awhile so I figured I got nothing else, so here goes.

Why is it that the inability of the federal government to pass a budget means that I have to cram six months of work into three days? We've been given a ridiculously short timeframe to get all of our proposals submitted so that the government has 4 months to process them. Because it takes them that long to push a few buttons. And we are expected to do it in just a few days. Something is wrong with this picture. It is not like I can write proposals based on funding amounts that I still don't know what they are. And have everyone at my university approve things.

OK rant is over now. We can all go back to our cheery selves.

Have a good Thursday!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Senior Recognition Night

My poor photography skills
So last night was the big night to announce scholarships. I was amazed at the number of students who didn't participate in the event. Frankly if I got a scholarship, I would want to be there when they announce it. Whitney chose a private school to go to so there aren't a lot of students from her high school going there, eventhough it is only 30 minutes away. Her admissions counselor presented her with a scholarship certificate along with a boy who is going to major in music. The funniest part of the whole evening was when the counselor was talking about Whitney. Earlier a boy had received a naval ROTC scholarship from his father. It was very touching. So Ashley, the counselor, said that "in case you didn't know, Whitney is my daughter". Of course everyone got a good laugh because Ashley is African-American and Whitney is as white as you can be. At the reception, Whitney was dragging around going this is my real mom.

The 2011 graduating class had received over $7 million in scholarship offers and had accepted $5 million as of yesterday. While some of that is the Oklahoma Promise money that the state gives out, it still is a very impressive total.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Month of May

Wow, we are already 1/3 of the way through 2011. May is going to bring a lot of things to our family this month.

Scholarship night is Tuesday. Let the waterworks begin. I had better invest in Kleenix.

Saturday is prom. See above.

Next week we get a call as to when the "signing" day will be for Whitney's scholarship. I love that this is getting treated as big as those athlete signing days.

May 26 is graduation. Do you think they will let me wheel in boxes of kleenix?

Both grandmas are coming for graduation so I get to see my mom for the first time in 1 1/2 years.

Then we end the month (really June 4) with the last dance recital. I will be there for four shows. How can I miss the last time to see her dance?

I'd better stop or people will wonder why I'm crying right now.