I’m still trying to get my feet back under me after spending the weekend on the road. I didn’t get much done today (you know … like Photoshopping anything I shot this weekend, cooking dinner, or cleaning the bathroom).

I spent most of the evening surfing YouTube for Joss Stone videos. I like this one a lot:

I still think it’s vaguely heretical for anyone who is not Dusty Springfield to attempt to sing “Son of a Preacher Man,” but I’ll make an exemption for Joss Stone. I just hope Kate Pierson doesn’t call and demand her hair back….


Shoving off

I’m heading for Illinois this weekend to play with Jamie, run a 10K, help my brother-in-law cover my hometown’s annual festival for the paper he edits, stuff myself with barbecue and burgers from my favorite diners, hang out with the hippies on the Makanda Boardwalk, grab a decaf cappuccino at Longbranch Coffeehouse, and catch up with an old friend. I have an assignment to cover first thing in the morning and a section of the paper to send to press in the afternoon, but as soon as that’s done, my plan is to bail out early and go hypermiling down U.S. 60 in pursuit of a personal fuel economy record in the Starlight Express. I’ll have to go some to beat the record I set in February 2006 (40.712733 mpg), but I think I can pull it off.

My original plan was to take Trymaxian (Ron’s Honda Insight) to Illinois and see if I could one-up Ron’s PR for the same route, but a pickup truck sucker-punched poor little Max and knocked out one of his blinkers yesterday. He’s still driveable, but we thought it wise to leave him in Tulsa until he’s repaired.

If I were a real smart aleck and had all the time in the world to spend on the road, I’d drive 45 mph all the way to Illinois and use every hypermiling trick in the book to see if I could post some Wayne Gerdes-worthy numbers in the Starlight Express, but I don’t have that kind of time on my hands, so I’ll just be happy if I can break 41 mpg. I came jolly close the other day. Gotta love that reformulated gas they sell here in the summer….

Anyway, I’ll post mpg figures, Jamie stories, and probably obnoxious quantities of photographs on here when I return.

Meanwhile, ponder this: We are within a few weeks of having our very own grid-tied solar power system on the roof. In your face, PSO. Heh heh heh. We aren’t quite zero-energy yet, but we’ll get there. Just watch and see.


P.S.: The Oklahoma Route 66 Association Trip Guide is finally out and in my hands in its finished form. Details (and a picture of our fab cover, shot and designed by yours truly) on Ron’s blog.

Don’t call him a cyclist

Conway Twitty released a great song in the late ’70s or early ’80s called “Don’t Call Him a Cowboy.” The lyrics stated, in part:

Don’t call him a cowboy until you’ve seen him ride.
That Stetson hat and them fancy boots don’t tell you what’s inside,
And if he ain’t good in the saddle, then you won’t be satisfied,
So don’t call him a cowboy until you’ve seen him ride.

I thought of this song this evening after taking Songdog for a training run on the river trail.

At least a half-dozen times, I watched people in spandex outfits and color-coordinated helmets send Song into a blind panic by flying past him on their bikes at top speed with no warning whatsoever.

These so-called cyclists were obviously trying to project an image. They had their fancy racing bikes and their fancy helmets and their fancy outfits, and they were trying their best to look like serious athletes … but it was painfully obvious that they hadn’t spent enough time on the trail to learn even the most basic concepts of etiquette and safety.

If they had, they would have known that three little words — “on your left” — will do wonders to protect a pair of joggers (one on two legs, one on four) from potential injury and certain annoyance.

Three little words would give me time to put just a wee bit more tension on the leash and say my dog’s name in a firm tone to calm his lingering fear of having wheeled objects speed past him at close proximity (a fear that has been with him since the day almost three years ago when a car hit him and sent him rolling into my neighbor’s yard).

Three little words would help me keep Song at heel where he belongs.

Instead, the staunch refusal to utter those three little words sent my sweet collie mix slamming into me in raw terror, tripping me and sometimes knocking me off the trail, every single time anybody on a bicycle passed us from behind.

Here’s a clue: You can put on your fancy “serious cyclist” costume and ride up and down the busiest half-mile of Tulsa’s 20-some-odd-mile-long trail system at top speed to show off your high-end racing bike all you want, but if you’re not going to follow that trail’s universally accepted safety procedures, you might as well have baseball cards clothespinned to your spokes, because it’s obvious to anyone unfortunate enough to have to share the trail with you that you are nothing more than a silly poser in a silly outfit.

I’m sorry, but I’m not calling you a cyclist. I’ve seen you ride.


Monday, Monday

Ron got back today from a trip to Illinois to see his niece graduate from high school. I’m glad he’s back home. It was nice to have the house to myself all weekend, but I miss him when he’s gone. (I was also getting sort of tired of trying to keep up with three dogs and a half-dozen chickens all by myself….)

I got a little work done last night — I did dishes, took out the trash, sliced up the peaches, cleaned the bathroom, straightened up the living room a little bit (it still needs work, but I’ll have another go at it tomorrow), read this weekend’s papers, and spent a little time reading part of next week’s Lesson. When I got home from work this evening, Ron and I went to dinner, and then when we got home, I scraped the trim on all the parts of the house I could reach and spent a half-hour or so grooming the dogs on the deck. I think I brushed enough hair off of Songdog to make a Pomeranian. It was nice to sit out on the deck with them. I also found yet another great use for my potting table: It’s the perfect place to put Scout while I’m grooming her, because it’s just high enough and deep enough that she has to think about it pretty hard before she jumps off … which means she can’t squirm away while I’m brushing her or clipping her nails or whatever.

I need to change Argon’s water and work on a couple of inDesign projects and a Powerpoint presentation tonight. I’d rather read for a little while and then take a nap. Maybe I’ll just set my timer and spend 15 minutes being a good girl and working on projects before I call it a day.


Parts is parts


Today was not the most productive day in the history of my life. I did not paint the trim on the house. I did not clean the bathroom. I did not clean the kitchen. I did not do the laundry. I did not plant flowers. I did not pick up the clutter in the bedroom. I did not clean my car. I did not finish my craft projects. I did not read next week’s Lesson. I did not cook anything for tomorrow’s lunch. I did not slice up peaches to serve tomorrow night when Ron gets home. I did not catch up reading all the papers that have stacked up since Friday. I did not read any of those Sentinels that are piling toward the ceiling. I did not accomplish 90 percent of the things on my to-do list.

I did, however, accomplish two things:

1. I ran three miles. Doesn’t sound like much, but I’d been promising myself I’d run all weekend and hadn’t done it yet, so that’s a pretty big deal — especially since I got a nasty sunburn yesterday while painting and was a little afraid I’d get dehydrated and feverish like I did the last time. Hugs to my wonderful practitioner, who managed to take the fire out of it with a gentle admonition to “expect only good.”


2. I shot the photographs posted above. I’ve loved that “PARTS” sign since the first time I laid eyes on it (about five years ago, during our first Route 66 trip), but for some reason, I never got around to shooting it. I kept thinking it would be cool to get a picture of it at sunset, but I never seemed to remember to go out there at the right time of day to get the shot. I thought of it today and decided to head out that direction this evening, but I got there too early. I figured I was out of luck, since I still needed to run three miles and didn’t think I could get to Reed Park, run seven laps, and get back to Oakhurst by sunset … but just as I finished my run and was heading down Southwest Boulevard, I noticed a streak of color in the sky above Ollie’s and decided to go for broke.

I got out to the sign just as the sky was shifting from golden to pink and snapped a few frames, under the watchful eye of the golden retriever mix who serves as a watchdog for the property. They’re big, but goldens are just too cute to fit the menacing-junkyard-dog stereotype. I was expecting a Doberman, or maybe a Rottie, but this shaggy, floppy-eared golden mutt came galumphing out instead, barking and trying its best to look threatening. I thought about taking its picture, but it’s hard to shoot through a chain-link fence.

I had parked on a side road while I took the photo, and I decided to follow the road to see where it led. It spat me out on the I-44 frontage road in front of a Quonset hut labeled “Holy Ground Evangelical Center” in large block letters. I’d never seen any signs of life out there when I’d passed it on the interstate, but they were having a tent revival out front this evening. I rolled down the windows as I passed so I could hear the preacher, who was shouting a fiery, Southern-fried sermon like I used to hear in Baptist churches when I was a kid.

Being a hopeless Diamond girl, I of course wound up humming “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” all the way home … which meant that I had to listen to Hot August Night on iTunes to get it out of my head once I got back here.

I think I’ll stay up for a little while longer and listen to the rest of this album and see how much of my to-do list I can knock out before I run out of steam. Somehow I work faster when I’ve got Neil Diamond singing in the background….

Hope you had a good weekend.


Goodnight moon


I was coming back from a QuikTrip run a few minutes ago when I noticed a dazzlingly bright star or planet or something twinkling near the moon. It was so bright that I decided to try to shoot it. I don’t have a zoom lens for this camera, so I couldn’t bring it as close as I would have liked, but the fact that I got anything at all should tell you how intense it was.

I spent most of today painting the house. I still have to paint the trim, but at least the white is on there. I’ll eventually paint the garage to match, but the important thing was just to get the house painted white so it would reflect heat instead of absorbing it. It’s already making a difference: When I put my hand on the wall this afternoon, all the white parts were cool to the touch, and all the dark parts were hot.

Here are before-and-after shots of the back wall:



Admit it: You’d love to be sitting out there on my awesome deck. I need to get some more fuel for the tiki torches and maybe buy a smallish chiminea to set out there and some firefly lights to hang off the pergola. It would be nice to burn pinon wood and watch the lights twinkle and listen to the fountain and the frogs and hang out with the dogs out there. If I were about 20 years younger, I’d take a sleeping bag out there. Maybe when Jamie gets bigger, I’ll get him a tent, and we can have campouts on the deck and toast marshmallows over a buddy burner and stuff.

Here is a thing I love about Red Fork: It’s the kind of place where you can do stuff like camping out in the yard with your nephew without having to fear for your safety. Every yard contains at least one dog, so nobody can sneak up on you, and people tend to watch out for each other.

Speaking of dogs, my next-door neighbor had the cutest puppy in his yard this afternoon. It’s a little buttermilk-colored pit bull. If it were a horse, you’d describe its coat as “buckskin.” I forget what that color is called on dogs, but it’s very pretty.

I saw a big bluejay on the back fence as I was putting my paint and stuff away this evening. It was really pretty. I also saw a mockingbird attacking some kind of bug in the middle of Frankoma Road this afternoon on my way back from lunch at the Happy Burger.

I think that’s all for today. I have to work in the nursery at church tomorrow, and then I’m going to come home and spend some time painting trim. I ought to lay out the Oklahoma Route 66 Association newsletter, but what I really want to do next is figure out how to make a sock monkey. I don’t know why, but I have decided that I need to learn to make sock monkeys. I think I spend too much time looking at Craftster….



I laid out a huge section today at work and then came home and jumped right into another big project: I’m repainting the house. Hopefully switching from dark brown to white will help reduce the a/c bills. I’m not looking forward to painting the trim (my least favorite part of any painting project), but the rest of it seems to be going smoothly thus far. I put two coats on the back side of the house, which faces south and is most in need of a more reflective surface. It looks pretty good. I’ll move the dropcloth to the driveway tomorrow morning and get the west side. It’s a larger area but should go much faster, as it doesn’t have as many wires and boxes and things to work around. I cannot begin to identify some of the things stuck to the back of my house. Some of them don’t even seem to be attached to anything — they’re just there, bolted on for no apparent reason. I need to figure out which ones I can remove without wreaking havoc on anything.

After it got too dark to paint, I took my plant markers out to the garage and hit them with a shot of lacquer. I need to do the back sides tomorrow and pick up some more wire to make the rest of the stakes for them so I can put them in the garden.

I had a bowl of broccoli casserole for dinner and will probably indulge my ice-cream craving with a Dymaxion sundae (orange sherbet with chocolate sauce — reputedly R. Buckminster Fuller’s favorite) in a few minutes. I need to muster the energy to finish up my house number project and clean the kitchen, but I don’t know whether that will happen tonight. The prospect of going to bed before 10 p.m. is awfully inviting….


About time

The Starlight Express got rather disappointing gas mileage all winter. I think it just doesn’t like cold weather (or the inefficient gas they sell in the winter), because I filled up tonight and finally found that I was getting acceptable gas mileage: just shy of 40 mpg on a mix of city and highway driving. Considering the car is rated for 38 highway and 31 city, that’s a pretty respectable number … especially when I didn’t even attempt to hypermile it until I got down to a quarter of a tank. I’ve been opting for 66 instead of the turnpike quite a bit lately, which I am sure contributed greatly to the improved mileage.

Just for kicks, I think I’ll get up 15 minutes early every day next week and hypermile it to work. I’ve never really tested the limits on this car.

More later. I’m headed to bed so I can get up early and run before work tomorrow. I wanted to do it after work this evening, but I stuffed myself at Ike’s this afternoon, and somehow running three miles in the heat with a belly full of greasy tamales and chili just didn’t sound all that appealing. (And I can’t figure out how I’ve gained all this weight. Go figure….)