OKC marathon


I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon this morning. I was up at 2 a.m. (I did the early start at 4:30 a.m. instead of waiting for the 6:30 a.m. regular start) and am obviously very tired after getting up before dawn and running 26.2 miles, so I’ll keep this short and post more later, after I’ve had a chance to sleep … but I had a wonderful run and am giving serious thought to running Andy Payne in late May. (Ron is giving serious thought to having my head examined, but whatever.)

Here’s the hardware they gave the finishers. I think it looks very classy:




It’s been pouring here. My garden loves it — I went out this evening after work and looked at the plants, and they are absolutely thriving. The Jacob’s cattle beans have tripled in size in the last two days, and I’ve got tons more seedlings coming up.

I hope my sunflowers come up pretty soon. Sunflowers are my favorite. I want them to do well.

A female cardinal came and perched on top of the pergola today. She was really cute. I was on the phone with a friend when I saw the bird, so I didn’t get a picture. I’m sure I’ll see her again, though. We have a pair of cardinals that spend a lot of time in the yard.


Froot Loops

Froot Loops

I haven’t eaten breakfast on a regular basis since the Reagan administration, but Kellogg’s is doing a Cars tie-in, so of course I had to go out last night and buy a box of cereal so I could get my proof of purchase to send in (along with $2.99 shipping and handling) to get my personalized Fillmore the VW Microbus license plate.

I have always been partial to Lucky Charms. I don’t like them with milk (the marshmallows get all soggy and slimy and disgusting), but I like them dry. Dry Lucky Charms marshmallows are vaguely reminiscent of that freeze-dried ice cream we used to eat in science class when we were studying astronauts.

Unfortunately, Lucky Charms are a General Mills product … so I figured I would have to settle for Frosted Flakes or perhaps plain old Froot Loops instead.

You can imagine my utter delight when I discovered that Kellogg’s is now manufacturing Froot Loops with tiny Lucky Charms-style marshmallows in it. And these aren’t just any marshmallows — these are miniature depictions of Toucan Sam, along with various types of fruit, all rendered in pastel-colored freeze-dried marshmallow gunk.

They’ve also added some new colors. Back in my day, we only had three flavors of Froot Loops, not six. Adding cool tones to the mix seems like gilding the lily, but maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I have now divided most of the box into Ziploc bags and am planning to take it to work to eat as a convenient snack during the day.

And remember: I’m running a marathon Sunday, so sugar-coated cereal can be considered diet food this week — I’m carbo-loading. 😉

If they’ll just hurry up and start selling those boxes of cereal that have the little sheriff’s car toys in them, I’ll be a happy camper.

who has a sudden and inexplicable craving for Flintstones vitamins … but not the yucky orange ones

What’s new in the garden

Mystery flower

I don’t know what this flower is, but it’s growing behind the back fence, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’ll have to do a little research later this evening and see if I can identify it.


I wish I had a way to post smells online for you to enjoy, because this honeysuckle growing next to the back fence is absolutely lovely.

Trail of Tears beans

The rain really helped my beans. These are a variety we got from Seedsavers called Trail of Tears. We’ve planted them before, and they’re wonderful — very productive, very tasty, and they put out these gorgeous little purple flowers.


Here’s an eggplant we bought from the Tomato Man. I think it will do well. I bought four different varieties. My editor tells me he has a killer eggplant parmigiana recipe, so I think we’re going to work out a little swap this summer: I’ll supply the produce if he’ll cook lunch for everybody. 🙂

Lemon balm

Lemon balm is one of my favorite plants because it’s so easy to grow. It’s a mint, so once you get it started, it will take care of itself forever. You just have to keep it from taking over the whole garden. I solved that problem by cutting the bottom out of a flowerpot, sinking it in the ground, and putting the plant in there. It confines it without interfering with the root system too much.


I’ve had two requests for zucchini so far. Which is a good thing, because I planted three hills of the stuff, and I know we’ll have way more than we can possibly use ourselves.

I didn’t take any pictures of the tomatoes, because they don’t look much different than they did the other day, but they’re all very healthy and pretty and green.

I’m hoping for a good summer in the garden.





Look what my editor, Jeff, found stuck to our front window at the office this morning!

BTW, I didn’t post last night because we had storms in the area, and we had to unplug the computers. It’s all cold and gray this morning, but the rain really helped the garden. Hopefully it will warm up this afternoon and give the cucumbers and peas a boost.


Beans, zucchini, and flowers

Here’s the latest from the garden:

I’ve got eight bareroot roses soaking in a Rubbermaid bin in the back yard right now, waiting to be planted in the holes we dug this afternoon.

I got the eggplant in the ground and replaced a couple of tomato plants that didn’t make it for some reason.

Sunflowers are finally planted, and Ron put mulch cloth behind them so we won’t have to weed between the plants and the house.

The cardinal climber and morning glory sprouts are looking healthy; I thinned them today. My zucchini, one of the cucumber varieties, and the Trail of Tears beans have all started to come up. I haven’t checked on the watermelon seeds I planted in my hay bales behind the back fence.

Something purple and gorgeous is blooming behind the fence. I don’t know what it is, but it’s really pretty. I’ll try to get a picture and an ID on it soon.

We still have a long way to go, but the yard is slowly starting to live up to its potential.


Earth Day!

Normally, I’d do something special to mark Earth Day, but I was tied up with an Oklahoma Route 66 Association poker run and meeting all day.

Before I go to bed, I will, however, honor my annual tradition of checking my environmental footprint and taking a peek at 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth to see how I’m doing and where else I can make changes to reduce my impact on the environment. If I come up with any good ideas, I’ll post them here. One thing I might do is tuck a new recycling bin into the corner of my kitchen to hold steel cans. Our curbside program won’t take them, but M.E.T. will, and we use a lot of canned goods, so we really need to start recycling them again. When we lived in Belleville, IL, we always saved steel cans and took them over to the recycling center in Fairview Heights, but it wasn’t until very recently that I found out where to recycle them here in Tulsa.

If you haven’t already, find something good to do for the environment this week. Given the current price of gas, you might start by checking the air pressure in your car’s tires. Improperly inflated tires will really drag down your gas mileage.


Gentlemen, start your credit cards

Cars toys

God help us all — the first Cars toys have hit the shelves. I’d promised myself I would only buy toys that depicted the sheriff’s car, which is voiced by my friend Michael, but they’re not available yet, and I just couldn’t resist buying the few items that are. Pictured above are the Doc Hudson lollipop case (what a great idea — convenient storage for those moments when you don’t have time to get all the way to the center of your Tootsie Roll pop in one sitting) and the Lightning McQueen and Ramone spin pops. (And they wonder why we have an obesity epidemic in this country … do children really need battery-powered assistance to move a piece of candy around in their mouths?)

Cars is set on Route 66, which is why I am excited about it. If all those little kids whose parents bought them speckled pups after the release of “101 Dalmatians” see this movie and start begging to take a trip on Route 66, it will be a huge boost for our beloved Mother Road businesses.

Meanwhile, the Red Fork Hippie is looking at a long, expensive summer if she doesn’t keep her butt out of the toy stores….


UPDATE: I just brought these to the office, where our astute editorial assistant noticed that not only do the lollipops rotate, but the cars’ eyes move back and forth on the spin pops. Said assistant proclaimed them “creepy.”

Garden update

Here’s the latest from the garden:


Sage is blooming. I planted this last year, and it came back this year. It’s really doing well.


Tomatoes are in the ground. The one in the foreground is a Brandywine. Notice the potato-type leaves on this venerable old heirloom.


The cilantro I planted in hanging baskets on the pergola is up and looking healthy.


I planted petunias in some of the hanging baskets.

The cardinal climber and convolvulus are starting to come up, too, although the pictures of them weren’t really exciting enough to bother posting. I’ll wait until they get a little bigger.

I hope my beans and cucumbers start coming up pretty soon. We really need some rain to get things going, but we haven’t had any lately.

I bought a motel chair today in Sapulpa. I walked past an antique store on my way back to the car after interviewing a guy about a new restaurant, and the chair was sitting out in front with a price tag on it. I asked if I could pay for it today and pick it up later, after I get the Starlight Express back. The lady said that was fine. I’m going to sand it down and then paint it to look like the chairs in front of the Boots Motel on Route 66 in Carthage, Mo. It will be nice to have on the deck.


One Million Paper Cranes


How many seas must the white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes’n how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?

— Bob Dylan

When I was in the sixth grade, I read a book called Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. It made me cry. It still makes me cry.

In 1955, Sadako Sasaki, a sixth-grader from Japan, developed leukemia as a result of exposure to radiation from the atom bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima. She was fond of good-luck charms, so when she got sick, her best friend brought her faith, love … and origami paper. Sadako’s friend told her there was a Japanese legend that if a sick person folded 1,000 paper cranes, the gods would grant her wish and make her well again.

Sadako didn’t make it to 1,000, but Sadako and her cranes became an international symbol of peace. In 1958, donations from Japanese schoolchildren funded the construction of a statue of Sadako at Hiroshima’s Peace Park. A plaque on the base of the statue bears this inscription:

This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the innocent children affected by our country’s actions in Iraq and the innocent children who will be affected if our leaders make the wrong decision about Iran.

I want our leaders to think about children like Sadako. I want them to think about Sadako every day. Every time they make a foreign policy decision, I want them to remember Sadako, and I want them to think about how their actions will affect children like her.

Sadako was a toddler when we dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima. She was on the brink of adolescence when its aftermath caught up to her. I don’t want our leaders to create any more Sadakos.

If you don’t want our leaders to endanger any more children like Sadako, please join my latest project: One Million Paper Cranes.

It’s very simple: Fold as many paper cranes as you can. Send half of them to President Bush. Send the other half to the congressman of your choice.

Send a short note along with your cranes, explaining what they mean and why you are asking your leaders to think of the children in Iran, Iraq, and everywhere else in the world before they make a decision that could alter those children’s lives forever. Then drop me a quick post, telling me how many cranes you sent and where you sent them. I will total our flock periodically and post the total here and on the main page of my blog.

I do not want to send one thousand paper cranes to our leaders. I want to send one million paper cranes to our leaders. One million paper cranes, coming from all over the country and maybe all over the world, will be hard to ignore. One million paper cranes will make our leaders think about what they are doing and whether war is really necessary. One million paper cranes might keep children safe.

Here is the address for sending paper cranes to the White House:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Click here to find your favorite legislator’s address.

Click here for directions on folding a paper crane.

It is easier to fold a big crane than a little crane, especially at first. You must start with a square piece of paper. Thin paper is easier to fold than thick paper. Old magazines and newspapers are made of thin paper, and you can get them for free from your recycling bin. Maybe you could make your cranes out of articles about war, thus turning a symbol of violence into a symbol of peace.

If you would like to make your cranes out of pretty paper, you can find all sorts of origami paper, already cut into perfect squares, at teachers’ supply stores, craft stores, and online. Here is a link to a list of places that sell pretty origami paper online.

Let’s send a message of peace to our leaders. Let’s make them think about the impact of their decisions on the children of the world. Let’s send them one million paper cranes.


“We are all capable of more than we do.”
— Mary Baker Eddy