Good day

The holiday season is upon us, with all the hustle and bustle as throngs of people shop for the perfect gifts for loved ones.

I both love and loathe this season.  Traffic is horrible, crowds are oppressive, but I actually enjoy sitting in the mall food court listening to the cacophony of merged voices.  It gives me a sense of belonging.

I haven’t done any shopping this year, yet. Back problems and a bad virus have kept me in bed when I’m not at work, so this coming week I’ll be able to share the joy and pain of Christmas shopping. No matter how frustrating last minute shopping is, I’ll remember that it’s all in the name of love.

I’m particularly excited that this year we get to have our family Christmas on Christmas day.  It will be SO nice to see everyone.  As we get older, these times are even more precious.

My new year’s resolution is to find more time to write here, to slow my life down in a number of ways and learn to take better care of myself.  Hopefully, this is one resolution I can keep.  In the meantime, have a very happy Christmas, a wonderful Hanukkah or whatever holiday your religion observes.

Much love,


I continue to be amazed at the things one can find on the Internet. For kicks, I Googled my Dad’s name today and was shocked to find the eulogy I wrote and gave at his funeral in 2000. How it came to be online, I’ll never know, but I’m grateful that it did, because it reminded me what a force for good he was in my life.

I miss Dad and think of him every day. Before he died, he told me to think of him when I see a flock of Canadian geese, because he’d be waving at me with their wings. So, when a flock of geese fly overhead, I always whisper a silent hello to him and smile. Here’s his eulogy; I hope it gives you an idea of what a wonderful man he was.


My brother, sister and I are very lucky people. Like many people, we were born to wonderful parents, who loved us very much. Sadly, though, our father was taken from us at a very young age. The victim of a sudden heart attack, he left a 15 year old daughter, a 12 year old son, and a 3 year old daughter.

For six years, mother raised us alone, first in Elk City and then in a house on Arlington Avenue, and she did a pretty good job of it. We were all happy and healthy. I spent my free time chasing my pet rooster, Chicken Little, who loved visiting our neighbors, Ralph and Mary Wolverton, who, ironically, became my special friends years before I knew Warren Wolverton existed.

Marianne got married and left home, Craig was soon to join the Navy and was moving away as well, which left me expecting to live alone with Mom as I grew up.

Then something amazing and quite surprising happened. Mom introduced us to Warren Wolverton. I’ll never forget that first impression…To me he looked seven feet tall…And I have to admit that, at first, I was a little scared of him, but that lasted only as long as it took him to grin at me and shake my hand. That grin was infectious–I swear his eyes actually twinkled, as though we were sharing a good joke, and my fear was instantly washed away.

I remember their wedding on October 3, 1968. Family and friends gathered at Gordon Winkleman’s home, and though I was still a little shy around him, I can remember Dad taking me aside to show me how well trained his bird-dog, Missy, was. I was fascinated by her. She obviously adored Dad, and when he put her favorite food on her nose and told her not to eat it, she didn’t. She shook all over in anticipation of it, but she wouldn’t touch the food until he told her it was okay. I knew, then, that he must have been a pretty all right guy if a dog would forego her own pleasure just because he told her to. That was real love.

In most families, the introduction of a new step father can be a very traumatic thing, but I don’t remember it being that way in our family. Sure…there was a necessary distance at first, as we became more comfortable with one another, but what I remember appreciating the most was the respect Dad gave me in those early days. He never forced a relationship on me. Instead, he waited patiently as I took baby steps toward him.

As the years passed, those baby steps grew to long strides, as we grew closer. As busy as he was in the store and with his civic duties, he always took time to spend time with us, and the lessons he taught us have shaped our lives in so many ways.

I’m reminded now of one of the first of many lessons. When I was nine years old–the age I was when Mom and Dad married–I was terrified of thunder and lightning. Dad recognized that and made it his job to calm my fears. Because of his care, the memories I have of childhood storms, now, are nostalgic ones, filled with evenings under the carport with Dad, as he explained the ionization of the air, which, in turn, caused the lightning. He and I would sit for hours as the rain (and sometimes, hail) fell just out of our reach, talking about the weather…our lives, hopes, dreams. I thought we were just enjoying the storm, but Dad was teaching me the first of many lessons: To enjoy every part of our lives, even those things we fear. You might just find beauty in the rain.

Dad taught us all so much. He loved and respected all life, from the lichen that grows on rocks to the birds that fly in the sky, and we grew to share that love. Through simple conversation, he taught us little things about the world around us and even a few interesting facts about the universe. Geese mate for life. Purple Martins eat 10 times their body weight in bugs a day. There are so many planets in the universe that the chance for life on other planets is more than good, it’s almost a sure thing. Make sure the hook is set before you try to reel ‘em in. Be honest. Be true.

Some of my favorite memories of my childhood involve Dad, fishing and our family barge, which we often took out on Lake Lawtonka on the weekends. I loved to go fishing with Dad, particularly when we fished for carp. He made Carp fishing an art! His chum recipe was so stinky I could hardly stand the smell of it, yet it was a joy to be chosen to go with Dad to chum the water, not only because I knew that it meant catching the big’uns in the afternoon, but because it was an honor saved for few people. It was yet another of those rare quiet times…yet another opportunity to listen to him talk about sending Morse code in the Allusions…or running electrical lines in Faxon…or bird-dogging some quail in the woods. Each story was fascinating and, in some small way, educational. I ate it up.

Some days, our family spent hours at the lake, catching fish after fish for the simple joy of the catch. Dad’s laughter would echo with glee when one of us hooked one, and later in the week, I proudly showed off the bruises on my stomach caused by digging the pole into the flesh there, during a difficult catch. They were my badges of honor.

We never kept the carp, of course. If we couldn’t find someone who wanted them, we’d set them free to fight us another day. That was just the way it was.

On those warm days, Dad taught me that I could learn as much from someone else’s experiences as I could my own and that there is nothing more sublime than a quiet afternoon filled with the laughter of family.

Dad taught us how to call mourning dove…and then years later, he taught his grandchildren and great grandchildren the same thing. When we hear dove song, we always think of Dad, and I’m sure that we will hear his voice in the dove’s call for the rest of our days.

Many things have happened over the past 32 years, but the greatest of these was that, over time, the words…the very idea…of “step father” disappeared from our thoughts. What we saw was a man who loved us with all his heart, who gave of himself freely to his friends and family, who loved our mother so completely that he was simply a part of us and we were part of him. Mom and Dad together taught us that a marriage is only a marriage if husband and wife are best friends.

We saw this especially this past year, as Dad’s health began to fail undeniably. I’m not sure I can adequately describe their relationship…it was so special…but to say that, when Mom and Dad were together, the love in the room was so strong that it was palatable might come close to describing what it was like for those of us watching. It was as though a bright light enveloped them both in their own special bubble, and when any of us stepped into the room, that light enveloped us with an undeniable love, as well.

In the end, Dad’s only concern was for Mother…that we take care of her after he had moved on. All we could do was assure him we would. The real truth is, though, that he hasn’t left. Real love endures beyond physical death. I can feel his love around us now. Stop for a moment. Can’t you feel it, too? This room, so full of people he loved, is pulsing with it. Dad’s physical body is gone, but his spirit will remain with us forever.

Our family is very lucky. Dad had two daughters that he loved very much. Heather and Maylan were a source of great joy to him, and though they had grown and moved away, they were always in his thoughts. He adored them both. Even so, his heart was big enough to not only share his love with them, but to also love his children and grandchildren who had none of his blood coursing through their veins. That love was so strong that each of us…even Marianne and Craig, who were grown when Dad and Mom married in ‘68…think of him as our dad. And that has been the biggest lesson of all: Love has nothing at all to do with whose genes you carry. It has to do with who we are on the inside. And, I know no one more worthy of great love than Warren Wolverton, the sweetest man I have ever known.

We love you, Dad.

What a great week last week was!

The work week flew by, which is always good news. I had plenty of work to do, was able to complete a long and tedious project and lined out what I needed to do to get my other work done. Work accomplished and done well is always a mood booster, and it certainly boosted my mood last week!

Speaking of accomplishments, I hit a big one last week when I finally hit the 10% mark on my weight loss. It was a very proud moment when I got my 10% charm at from Weight Watchers meeting, particularly since I’ve been struggling so much this past month, thanks to my bout with the flu. It feels great to know I’ve lost 10% of my body weight after so many years of trying and failing. I have finally come to understand that weight loss is all about mind set. Through my journey — so far — I’ve learned that I can basically eat what I want as long as I control my portions, and I’ve learned that there is no such thing as failure. For example, this week my friend, Kim, celebrated her birthday, and I had a HUGE piece of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing piled so high that it easy made up a third of the cake’s height. (OMG, yummy!) In the past, I would have considered myself a failure after eating something like that, but now I just count it and go on. The good news is I lost 4.8 lbs in a week, AND had cake. Failure? I don’t think so!

Speaking of weight loss, I am one of the many participants in the Oklahoma City weight loss initiative that our mayor, Mick Cornett, set in motion. ( I got an email from them early last week saying that a new show on the Food Network is giong to be spotlighting the initiative, and they are looking for people to interview. On a whim, I wrote the woman representing the show, and to my surprise, she called me back! She did a phone interview with me and, at the conclusion of the interview, asked me to send her a video tape of myself, my son and my sister, so she can show it to the show’s producer and the Food Network. So, it looks like I have a pretty good opportunity to be on the show! How cool is that?

Just when I thought the week couldn’t get better, I went to see a holistic physical therapist for help with the constant pain and burning in my shoulders. The first thing I learned there was that I no longer have to associate torture with physical therapy. Holistic physical therapy is completely different. They use a lot of resistance and gentle manipulation to treat the pain. The environment was very relaxing, with soft mood music and fountains that fill the rooms with the sound of trickling water. The woman who worked with me had hands of gold, and when I left an hour later, I was loose as a goose and felt better than I had in a long time. The place is called Back in Action, so if you live in the OKC area and need physical therapy, look them up!!

Finally, on Friday afternoon, I got the afternoon off, so I coufrom: be home when the window replacement people got there to measure and replace my storm window that broke in last night’s hail storm. The only thing better than having to wait less than 24 hours to get a broken window fixed after a very damaging storm is the fact that it was the only storm window I had that was letting condensation in, so I needed to fix it anyway. Oh, and getting the afternoon off on a Friday, of course.

I’d say life is pretty good for this old gal. Here’s hoping that your week was just as exceptional! Now, let’s make this week a great one, too!

The holiday season is upon is. Well, it’s more than upon us; we’re entrenched in it and have been, really, since before Thanksgiving, thanks to retail marketing.

During this time of year, I avoid shopping like the plague. The throngs of people on the roads and in the stores make me so anxious that I’ll do almost anything not to be around them. I’ve never understood those people who get up at 3am to be the first in line for Black Friday. To me, that’s like getting up early to be the first in line for the torture chamber.

Nuh uh. Not me.

When I think of all the pushing and fighting and waiting in endless lines, it does nothing but stress me out. Case in point, last night I had to go to GameStop and PetSmart for a quick game purchase and some pet food. Both places are in the same shopping center, which is about five minutes from my house, and I was literally in GameStop for less than two minutes — PetSmart for about five — but because of the ridiculous holiday traffic, it took me an hour and a half to get home. (I sat through 11 red lights at one intersection!)

The blatant commercialization surrounding this holy holiday has become worse and worse each year, until now, some Christmas advertisements begin gracing our TV sets and radios in early September. For many, Christmas has stopped being a celebration of the birth of Christ but an excuse to give and get presents. The sad thing is that, in our disposable, immediate gratification, get-what-you-want-and-get-it-right-now society, gift giving has become so difficult that there’s no joy in it anymore. It’s not like the old days when we lived more frugally and rarely got extras for ourselves; these days “I get what I want” is a way of life, leaving gift buyers scratching their heads trying to come up with just the right gift. Then, on Christmas day, as they hope against hope that the gift recipient will love what he or she got, they’re often disappointed by the lackluster response.

Because of all this, about five years ago, our family decided to stop giving gifts to one another for Christmas. I have to admit that the first year was strange, but as the years have progressed, we’ve all noticed something universal for each of us.

The meaning of Christmas has returned for us.

The focus is back on love and the joy of just being together. We have a wonderful meal. We talk. We laugh. We hug. We tell stories about old times and about family members and friends who are no longer with us. We play dominoes and/or cards. We watch a football game. We enjoy just being together for one of the few days a year when we are able to do that.

Any gift giving we do are for those less fortunate than ourselves; people who have needs that are unmet, people who are alone and/or infirm. People who can’t pay their electric bill, kids who have no shoes, families who have no food for a nice meal. Those are the gifts that truly count. Those are the gifts that mean something.

As the retail world continues to push you into giving them a bigger piece of your hard earned money, consider taking this route. The economy will survive, and you and your loved ones will benefit in ways you never expected.

Try it, and have the merriest of Christmases — from me to you!


And now, an admission, which may seem — on the surface — antethetical to everything I just said…

In spite of my panning the commercialization of Christmas, I have an admission to make. My favorite Christmas song, next to John Denver’s Aspenglow and The Carpenter’s Merry Christmas Darling, is a commercial jingle that’s familiar to almost every Oklahoman.

My love for the jingle began when I was just a tot growing up in Elk City, OK. We didn’t get many TV channels back then — especially living in a little prairie town in far western Oklahoma — but one of the channels we got if we moved our antenna to just the right spot was an Oklahoma City channel. Each year, starting the day after Thanksgiving, this jingle began playing on that channel, and since it coincided with the Christmas spirit rampup, I associated it with Christmas.

When I was six, we moved to Lawton, OK, a town that didn’t get Oklahoma City channels. For years, as Christmas approached, I always felt like something was missing, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, when I was about 12, we finally moved from the dark ages and got cable. The day after Thanksgiving that year, I was in my room watching TV when the B.C. Clark’s Anniversary Sale commercial came on. I immediately stopped what I was doing and just stood there, transfixed, as waves of emotion came over me — nastagia and joy filled my heart with each note.

I have learned since then that that little jingle means the same thing to many, many Oklahomans. Megan Mullally, a native of Oklahoma City who became a household name when she starred on Will and Grace for many years, sang the jingle on The Tonight Show. It has been sent to service men and women overseas, sung on airplanes full of homesick Oklahomans, performed at school pageants and even in church services. It’s just not Christmas around here without it.

So for those of you who live near and far, here is the B.C. Clark’s Anniversary Sale jingle, so you, too, can share in a little Oklahoma Christmas tradition!

So, I’ve left a few dangling threads out there.

Sue me.

It’s been a little bit busy around here, what with work and play taking up every waking moment. (Awwww…poor me!)

Let me tie up a few of those loose ends.

1. The winter storm. Zero damage! (YAY!) What’s more, there is so much tree damage in town that the city is carting off tree limbs free of charge, so that pile I’ve had in the back yard for months will be gone this week, and it won’t cost me a cent. 

I think my desert willow survived, too, which is the best news of all. I’d have cried big girlie tears if I’d lost it. The only real pain in the you-know-what thing I have to do is cut back the pampas grass. It was beautiful before the ice, but now the huge fronds are all broken and bent. This year, I’ll be sure to get out the gloves before I start sticking my hands in that thing. (Have you ever had a hundred grass cuts from really big grass? Not fun!)

2. The guild meeting was a success, though I would have preferred more non-officer participation. Still, it looks like we are going to work on getting our member participation up in our raids, and if that doesn’t happen, we’ll move on to more serious measures. All in all, though, I think whatever steps we take will be for the better, and hopefully we can all stay together.  There’s a good chance of that anyway.

3. Though I haven’t mentioned this before, I’ve lost 16 pounds in the last month an a half. I guess that’s what a veggie addiction and a busy schedule will do for you. I feel better than I’ve felt in I don’t know when.  On top of it all, I’m more than content — I’m actually happy.

It’s been awhile, and I like it! :)


I don’t want to speak too soon, since we have another major winter storm heading our way tomorrow and Saturday, but I think our house got out of this unscathed! (w00t!)

The tree limb looming over the north side of the house somehow stayed intact — I think it was close enough to the roof that, when the ice weighed it down, the roof kept it supported enough that it didn’t break.

We are so lucky!

Supposedly, there are still a million people in the state - or 42% of the population - without power today. I’ve never seen anything like it. We’ve seen worse storms, but I think it was the type of precipitation that did us in. Freezing rain coated layers of ice on tree branches, while sleet adds a much thinner coating.

You’d be surprised how much a tree limb can weigh when it has one inch thick ice on it.

Our only possible casualty (::knock on wood::) may be the Desert Willow I have in the front yard. According to a horticulturist I spoke to, it’s not supposed to grow in climates like ours, and the only way it survived here was that its first two years had to be really mild. That tree is my favorite thing about the house and is stunning when it blooms, which it does twice a year, but right now, it’s completely weighed down by ice and its top is only two feet off the ground. My only hope is that the ice insulated it enough to let it live.

All in all, this has been a great week for me in spite of the bad weather.  Thanks to a very smart friend, I’ve got some great things brewing on the horizon, and I couldn’t be more energized and excited.  It’s amazing what progress a person can make when they can bounce ideas around with someone with intelligence and imagination.

Now, I’ll leave you with one of my newest favorite songs. It’s a Foo Fighters song called The Pretender and is up for a Grammy this year.  I absolutely love the guitar and bass line, and Dave Grohl’s voice is awesome!  I think it’s rockin’! (It’s not the kind of song you sing; it’s the kind of song you wail, and I’m doing my share of wailing! ;) )

Unfortunately, RCA won’t allow the video to be posted anywhere other than on YouTube, so here’s a link to the video. Awesome song!

Foo Fighters: The Pretender

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