Happy Father’s Day

He pushes them to take risks when I'm too afraid.

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He tells them how to use a socket wrench, shake a hand, work a compass,
and paddle a canoe.

He helps me be firm when I want to be too easy, and he helps me stay calm when I didn't know I could.

He tells our girl that she's pretty and valuable, and he puts on a suit and tie to take her to dinner.

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He mysteriously shows up at the perfect moment with a screwdriver, or duct tape, or an ace bandage, and he knows how to let go of a bike seat at just the right moment.

He handles all the dog poop, tile grout, and algebra.

He coaches and prays and quiets and scolds and laughs and pushes and pulls with a courage and will that is the bedrock to the rest of us.

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Happy Father's Day to the far better half of this team–the man who is, in every sense, a miracle.

Romance

It's Valentine's Day. This afternoon Hubs and I climbed the stairs, closed our bedroom door and…

…finished scraping the popcorn off our master bathroom ceiling.

Who needs roses when you can have soggy chunks of plaster in your hair?

We're generally not impulsive remodelers–when we've tackled projects in the past, we've usually thought them through very carefully, with a budget and a plan in place. Early last week we began to wonder how hard it would be to strip our old wallpaper, which led to a wondering about how much bathtub refinishing costs, which led to a wondering about whether we could remove a doorway. Ten days later, my bathroom looks like this:

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So, it would appear we're remodeling the bathroom.

I am learning many things in this little adventure, chief among them that plumbers are expensive, sledgehammers are surprisingly therapeutic, and wallpaper glue is forever. And I am reminded, with much thankfulness, that I'd rather spend an afternoon inhaling sheetrock dust with him than sitting at a candlelit table with anybody else. Come to think of it, maybe we should've written that into our wedding vows.

Happy Valentine's Day, Hubs. Thanks for the drywall and the babies and the sanity and for looking so dang good in a tool belt.

Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plains

I didn't grow up in Oklahoma, so unlike my own children, I didn't have the benefit of years of Oklahoma history in school.  It's a shame, really, because the interesting lore and culture of my adopted state endears it to me more and more all the time. 

I mean, there are 306 million people living in the United States, but only three-and-a-half million of us get to live in a state that actually inspired a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.  Not to mention a Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman movie.  (I loved that movie.  It came out in 1992, before I was a married woman and before Tom was a couch-jumper.  And let me tell you that it was very pleasant sitting a dark theater, watching a close-up shot of Tom whispering "Marry me, Shannon."  "Okay," I whispered back.)

When Hubs first told me we'd be having a romantic anniversary getaway a few miles outside of Guthrie, Oklahoma, I was skeptical.  "What's in Guthrie?" I asked.

A lot, it turns out.  It was the original state capital of Oklahoma, and it was the headquarters of the famous Land Run of 1889.  This picturesque little town is home to a huge historic district, meticulously maintained and restored.  During our trip, Hubs and I spent an afternoon taking in the history.

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I have an unhealthy obsession with historical markers.  My idea of a dream vacation is to stop at every single one of them:

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100_4092 We stopped at an old drugstore that had been turned into a museum.  It was an interesting look at the  pharmaceutical history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Half the remedies in there included "cocaine" and "heroin" as ingredients.  No wonder Aunt Eller was so moody. (I also saw with my very own eyes a particular piece of turn-of-the-century medical equipment that is horribly seared into my brain for all eternity.  I'll spare you the details, but let's just say we should all thank our lucky stars not to have been constipated in 1903.)

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100_4101 Parts of the original brick sidewalks and streets could be seen throughout the district.  Together with the old buildings, it was hard not to let the imagination run wild.

I turned to Hubs.  "Do you realize there might have been a gunfight RIGHT HERE?  Somebody might have been shot to death RIGHT HERE." 

Hey look, another historical marker, and this is a good one:

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Hubs turned to me.  "Do you realize Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman staked their claim RIGHT HERE?"

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Romancin’

Last week Hubs and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, and he surprised me with a weekend getaway of such perfection that all future weekend getaways will surely develop inferiority complexes. 

"We're going to a place called Aaron's Gate," he told me, "a few miles outside of Guthrie, Oklahoma."

(I am not a native Oklahoman.  I had never heard of Guthrie.  It's such an interesting and picturesque town that I'll have to wait and give it a post all its own, very soon.)

Hubs and I have stayed in some lovely places during our years together, but this place takes the cake.  Photos, of course, won't do it justice, but I'll do my best.

We headed in the general direction of Guthrie, Oklahoma, turning off the interstate to drive on about ten miles of this:

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(I love roads like that, don't you?)

When we had officially reached The Middle Of Nowhere, we pulled up to the front gates:

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I know–charming, isn't it?  Here's a close-up:

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Once inside the gates, we wound through the woods:

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…and we pulled up to our unassuming little cabin:

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When we got out, we immediately noticed the quiet.  No traffic, no people, no sounds at all–just the birds, the wind, and the crickets.

We opened the door to the cabin, and this is what we found:

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(Behind this armoire was the giant television and DVD library.  We watched a lot of movies, including the very excellent HBO series on John Adams.  Because, you know, nothing says "romance" like a bunch of men in wigs and tights declaring their independence from the King of England):

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A hot tub in the screened-in porch.  My fingers are permanently pruned from all the soaking: 

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They left us our dinner and the next day's breakfast in the fridge.  By this point, I was so smitten with the place that I half expected little mythical woodland creatures to show up and prepare the food for us: 

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("WHY ARE YOU TAKING PICTURES OF A CHICKEN LAMP?" Hubs asked at this point.  Fair question.)

The weekend was perfect, and I have found my new favorite little spot.  We agreed that if someone couldn't relax in this quaint spot, then they just couldn't relax. 

Last picture, I promise, on our way back out of the gates as we left:

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See?  Perfect.

But My Lips Are Silky Soft

Last week Hubs was cleaning out my desk drawer.  Partly because he is good to me, and partly because it is his preference that when one pulls on a desk drawer, one might expect that the desk drawer be unencumbered enough to open.  Picky, picky.

"Hey," he called.  "You might want to come look at this."

Here's what he had found in my one desk drawer:

Carmex

"I think you have a problem," he said. 

I pointed out that if I had a "problem", they would all be Carmex.  As there is a trend-breaking Burt's Bees throwing in the stash, I assured him, I do not have a "problem", I merely have a "preference". (And, it would appear, a tendency for losing lids.)