This afternoon’s goals, in no particular order:

1. Have some ice cream
2. Clear one of my desks
3. Read 50 pages in Prose Works
4. Clean the fridge
5. Buy some Slim-Fast (I realize this doesn’t reconcile easily with item 1, but I like the convenience of lunch in a can)
6. Spend 30 minutes working on the OK Route 66 Association newsletter
7. Shoot photos of the Rock Cafe for the newsletter
8. Brush the dogs
9. Spend 30 minutes working on the Dining and Lodging Guide
10. Declutter the bedroom
11. Read this week’s Lesson
12. Work on the Wild Things mural

Getting ‘er done

I caught myself slipping into a bit of a funk the past couple of days. I think the erratic sleep patterns, extended travel, and emotional roller coaster of the last three months finally caught up to me, and I could feel myself starting to crash, mentally and physically.

After indulging in one too many naps, I decided it was time to snap out of it, so I sat down Thursday and accomplished something. Several somethings, in fact. Between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m., I:

1. Finished up item #65 on my 101 Things list.
2. Wrote course descriptions for eight classes I want to include in the journalism curriculum at Webster High School. Ten years ago, I abandoned my career in education after a nightmarish challenging year babysitting gang members teaching English at a hellhole high school in St. Louis County. Three months ago, my journalism career abandoned me. In mid-April, the Webster principal presented me with an intriguing opportunity to revive both careers at once by joining the Webster faculty as journalism strand coordinator for their new magnet program. We start writing curriculum in a couple of weeks. I’m so excited I can hardly sit still.
3. Designed a planner/calendar/Control Journal that will hopefully help me stay focused and organized as I start my new job.
4. Ate dinner at my Emergency Backup Haunt: Al’s Route 66 Cafe in Sapulpa. It’s not the Rock, but it’s certainly an acceptable replacement while I wait for Dawn to rebuild … and it has the dual advantage of being much closer to home and much less fattening. (My favorite thing at Al’s is the tuna-salad-stuffed tomato with a side of cottage cheese. My favorite thing at the Rock is the chicken-fried steak with a side of deep-fried pickles….)
5. Cleaned the bathroom.
6. Cleaned the kitchen.
7. Cleaned the living room.
8. Sorted and organized the magazines that were cluttering up the shelf under the coffee table.
9. Started a load of laundry.

Not bad for a girl who was so tired she had to take three naps and then go to bed at 9 p.m. yesterday. ūüôā


Road trip highlight 1

Rather than put up one ginormous post containing all the highlights from the past two weeks of my life, I’m just going to Photoshop a few images at a time and post them for your entertainment.

From the “wish I’d thought of that” files:

Four — count ’em, FOUR — wedding parties showed up at Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard on their way to their receptions Saturday afternoon. If I’d known about Route 66 and Ted Drewes’ when Ron and I got married, I’d have held our entire reception at Ted’s … and probably the ceremony, too. Because, really, why settle for wedding cake when you can have a Dutchman concrete, and why settle for a church when you can have Route 66?

This beautiful Bernese mountain dog and its owner were hanging out at Ted’s while I was waiting for Kate. Somehow the dog reminded me of someone I know:

My real reason for being at Ted Drewes’ on Saturday was to meet Kate — practitioner, blogger, Folk Thursday supporter, bee admirer, and all-around great girl:

Many more highlights to come. Stay tuned….



I’m back in Red Fork after 15 days on the road. There were a couple of people and places I didn’t get to visit while I was in Illinois (sorry, Kris … by the time I got a hand free, the tornado sirens were going off, but I promise I’ll call before you make your mad dash across the Mason-Dixon line), and I got a bit or two of news I could have done without, but overall, it was a good trip, and I’ll have lots of photos and stories to share once I’ve caught my breath and decompressed a bit.

In the meantime, I will just note that the break-in period on a Honda Fit is apparently 9,000 miles, because once I hit that, I started averaging 40+ mpg; my record for the trip (and my personal mileage record for non-hybrid vehicles) was over 42.5 mpg. I topped 42 while driving through the Ozarks — on a tank of that wretched ethanol blend they sell in Illinois, no less. I have no idea how that happened. I wasn’t even driving for mileage. I think my car finally figured out I wasn’t joking about that threat to swap it for a ’65 Ghia if it didn’t straighten up….

I get to cross a couple of items off my 101 Things list, too: #68 and #70. I almost did #99, but then I got sidetracked and forgot about it. Maybe next year….


Upon this Rock

The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares.
— Mary Baker Eddy

I was in an Amtrak station in Memphis on Tuesday night, waiting on a train to Carbondale, Ill., when the call came.

The train was supposed to arrive at 9:55 p.m. but had been delayed several hours by a problem with the rail somewhere in Mississippi, and I found myself sitting in Memphis, debating the merits of ditching my bag and heading for Beale Street to kill a couple of hours or going back to the Peabody Hotel — where the tour group was staying — to catch a little sleep before the train arrived.

As people learned about the delay, they started to get a little testy, so I thought it best to stay put and do a little metaphysical work to leaven the situation instead. As several people in line in front of me at the ticket booth grumbled and tried to argue with the patient young man at the window, I shut my eyes and silently prayed: Father, show me what You see here.

I opened my eyes to a different scene. The couple just in front of me made their way to the window and calmed down immediately as the young man behind the counter assured them that they would not miss their train out of Chicago the next day; the delay simply meant that, in effect, their expected layover had been moved a few hundred miles south, but their schedule would remain intact.

Nearby, a family with two young children had come in, and the kids were getting fidgety. I don’t normally make a habit of carrying toys in my bag, but I’d bought a toy for Jamie in Kansas, and I’d discovered, after buying it, that he was too young to play with it safely. It seemed just right for entertaining two bored little kids in a train station, so I gave it to them, silently thanking God for the opportunity to demonstrate supply.

A woman told a friend on her cell phone that she was staying at the station to wait rather than going back home, because she didn’t want to wake her mother.

Soon after, I met two women who did not know each other. One was walking with a cane and moving with obvious effort. She didn’t have any change, but the other woman went downstairs to buy her a soda anyway — and then graciously accepted the first woman’s offer of some butterscotch candy she was carrying after the first woman said she felt like a “freeloader.” The whole exchange was such a lovely expression of grace that it very nearly made me cry.

The Amtrak staff ordered pizza for all the stranded passengers, and as I watched one kindness after another unfold in front of me, I thought of a line from one of Mrs. Eddy’s hymns: “Father, where thine own children are, I love to be.”

As I rifled through my bag in search of something to read, I found a back issue of the Journal that I’d tossed in there. The cover story was called “The Myth of Time.” I laughed, taking that as another gentle reminder that all was well, despite the inconvenience.

At five minutes after midnight, my phone rang. As I picked up, I saw my friend Dawn’s name on the caller ID and my heart sank. She knows I’m on the road, I thought. She knows it’s late. This can’t be good.

The world stood still for a moment as I picked up and heard Dawn say, “I wanted you and your husband to be the first ones to know: I’m standing here watching the Rock burn itself down.”

I didn’t cry. It was a hard blow — rather like hearing that a friend has been diagnosed with some horrible disease and may not survive¬†— but after my initial horrified gasp, the calm I’d been working to preserve all evening held fast, and I managed to keep my voice steady as I offered Dawn my condolences.

To myself, I was thinking: Damn it, I am stuck in a train station in Memphis, and one of my dearest friends is in Stroud, watching her livelihood go up in flames. This isn’t right.

Thinking about it now, I realize that the Father stuck me in that station on that night for a reason, and the reason probably had something to do with putting me in a situation where my thought would already be elevated beyond matter, and where I would have no choice but to sit quietly and do the kind of metaphysical work that needs to be done in such a circumstance, rather than rushing out in the middle of the night to stand in the dark and be mesmerized by a nightmare.

Today’s Folk Thursday entry — which I selected and set to post automatically before I left last week — is Joe Cocker’s Woodstock performance of “With a Little Help From My Friends.” As I look at Ron’s site and see the sad photographs of my favorite haunt with its sturdy stone walls charred and its roof caved in, and¬†I read the words of support posted by people from all over the world, I know that Dawn — who is one of the strongest people I know —¬†and her Rock¬†will get by with a little help from their friends.


Finished at last!

I’m still on the road (in Stroud, OK tonight) but had opportunity to see the first copy of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association Trip Guide for 2008-2009 this evening. My friend and amazing administrator, Marilyn, brought a copy to me at the Rock Cafe, where my tour group was having dinner. She needed me to look it over and give final approval before the printer sends the entire shipment of 40,000 copies.

That first peek at the finished product is always a little unnerving, as the potential exists for font problems, misaligned registration, or other unforeseen issues to muck things up after the electronic files leave my desk, and I don’t consider the project officially off my plate until I have a copy in my hands. As of tonight, it’s officially off my plate, and I must say this is the best of the four issues I’ve laid out … and I only dropped three f-bombs in the process, which is at least 50 fewer than last year. Still can’t cross it off my 101 Things list (gotta get down to zero), but I’m closer than I anticipated at this point….

Me and Bobby McGee

I picked up a tiny hitchhiker yesterday on the way to Mom and Dad’s. A small, filthy,¬†reddish-brown dog was wandering around the parking lot at the Tastee-Freez in Mansfield, Mo., with a¬†forlorn expression on her face. The employees said they thought she had been dumped, as she’d been hanging around all day, staring in the¬†front door, darting in and out of traffic,¬†and lying down next to people’s cars as if she expected someone to¬†give her a ride. She was obviously in danger, and¬†I think we have long since established that I am a sucker, so I bought her a hamburger and let her follow me into the car.

I think she’s a mix of Italian greyhound and possibly basenji. She’s built like an Iggy, but her coat is about the color and texture of a basenji’s, and she has a wrinkly little forehead like a basenji. She’s also extremely quiet, and her only vocalization thus far has been a peculiar little squeaky cry that didn’t really sound like a dog.

I have been referring to her as “Trillian,” after¬†the character in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,¬†but Ron thinks that’s too obscure, so I guess I’ll just call her Bobby McGee. (The original Bobby, as you’ll recall, was a girl; Janis just changed the gender when she recorded the song.)

On an unrelated note, I got 42.25 mpg on the way out here yesterday. I was driving my Honda Fit, which is rated at 28 city/34 highway. My previous record for a non-hybrid vehicle was 41.7 mpg. Shell gas rocks….