It’s time.

Unless I want to sit out another fall marathon season, settling for 15Ks and half-marathons and PRs in the wrong direction, I am going to have to get off my butt and start running pretty soon.

I think I’ll put Riggy’s pinch collar on him and take him along. I haven’t gone jogging with a rat terrier at the other end of the leash since the evening I pushed Scout too hard right after she got her terrible diagnosis. I’ve been babying my dogs since then, and I think I’ve been babying myself.

Enough. I need a good run, and Riggy does, too. I think we’ll hit the River Parks trail in the morning. It’s good cross-training, anyway. Kempo is showing me just how far out of shape I really am, and I don’t like it. Time to quit making excuses and remember who I am.



Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. Things are finally slowing down around here, but I’m still trying to catch up all the things I neglected while I was cramming for my certification test and trying to herd my kids all over campus for their EOI tests, so I haven’t had much time for blogging. Meanwhile, my sister had to have her appendix out, so I’m filling in for her over at her Red Kitchen blog. Between that and the Tumbleweed Motel, I’ve got my hands pretty full.

I did take the time to watch a movie with Ron this evening. He’d gotten Paranormal Activity from Netflix. It was OK, but I’m glad we didn’t pay to see it in the theater. It probably should have been called The Linda Blair Witch Project, because the first hour and five minutes were basically The Blair Witch Project with better sets, and the last 15 minutes were The Exorcist without Mercedes McCambridge or the creepy stairwell. Decent flick, but definitely overhyped. About all I can say for it is that it made a couple of fairly valid metaphysical points about what happens when you play around with error instead of dismissing it.


Having a Fit

I finished up Phase Umpteen of my car-improvement project after we got back from the Drillers game this evening. Here are the results:

The quotation is from a Richard Bach novel. It says: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.” I will probably paint either a seagull in flight or a single blue feather floating in space below the words. I’m leaning toward blue feather, since the line is from Illusions rather than Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but we’ll see.

The chalkboard, all cured and seasoned. The red object to the left of the license plate is actually a pink plastic box with chalk inside and magnets attached to the back. I’ll leave it on the car when it’s parked at shows, Route 66 events, and other appropriate locations.

Answers to a couple of frequently asked questions. 🙂

Scout waits beside Route 66 for her old friend Bob to pick her up and take her on an adventure.

A closer look at the Scout portrait. It’s a little hard to see a black-headed dog against a black background, but you can make it out fairly clearly in the daylight.

Scout, Bob, and a VW on Route 66 are actually fairly close to my vision of heaven, as I think about it.

This has been a pretty great weekend: bees, baseball, sunshine, and an art project.

Hope your weekend was full of whatever makes you happy.


Chalking it up

I had a pretty afternoon and a little time on my hands today, so I touched up the paint on my hood — which was getting a little dinged-up — and added a couple of flourishes to the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcar:

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the area above the bumper and below the back windshield is now covered with chalkboard paint. After it cures, I’ll season it with chalk dust (you rub the side of a piece of chalk all over it and then erase it) and attach a magnetic container full of chalk to the back so people can leave me messages.

One of my main goals, upon starting this project, was to immortalize Bob Waldmire and his famous VW Microbus on the side of my car. I think this attempt turned out pretty well. I’m going to hit it with a shot or two of lacquer tomorrow morning to protect it a little bit.

This gives you a little better sense of scale. The picture took something like three hours to complete, but I think it was worth the time. I’ll finish roughing in the road when time allows. I still want to paint a Route 66 sign and Scout hitchhiking next to the road on the driver’s side of the car. On the passenger’s side, I’ll put another quotation in the clouds (probably something from either Mrs. Eddy or Richard Bach, but I haven’t settled on a line yet) and add a glowing Route 66 shield and maybe a neon sign to the mix.

We had a pretty busy Saturday. We spent part of the morning picking up trash with a volunteer crew from RedFork Main Street, headed down to Okemah for lunch, and came back home, where I washed the car, started to paint it, stopped for a light rain, wrote up next week’s lesson plans, and went back outside to finish painting after the rain.

Tomorrow, I’ve got church, lunch with a guy who wants me to lead a group of teachers on a Route 66 tour from Sapulpa to Clinton this summer, and a Drillers game. When we get home from the game, I’ll probably work on the car some more.



From the “never a dull moment” files: I came home this evening to find a swarm of bees hanging out on my back fence. I suited up and grabbed the camera and a bee brush while Ron rustled up a hive body and some frames. Here’s how the process went:

A lot of people think they’re looking at a swarm if they see a half-dozen bees flying around. Five or six bees do not constitute a swarm. This is what a swarm looks like.

We put a hive body right next to the fence and then gave the chain link a good shake to knock the bees into the hive. These girls, who were hanging onto the top of the fence, stayed put. Another good shake and a little work with the bee brush dislodged them quickly enough.

I am happiest when surrounded by bees. The suit, incidentally, was not meant to protect me from the swarm (bees are not inclined to sting when they are swarming), but to protect me from the other inhabitants of our bee yard, who are not so docile.

Here, the girls are inspecting their new digs.

Here’s a closer look at the bees. I caught a couple of them sticking their butts way up in the air, which is a good sign — it means they’re identifying the hive as their home and are thus planning to stay put.

While I was suited up and standing next to an open hive, I seized the opportunity to do a little macro work.

This isn’t as weird as it looks. The bees are actually feeding each other.

This image kind of illustrates why I love bees so much. The fur collars really hooked me, but I think those delicate, shimmery little wings are pretty irresistible, too. Such pretty little creatures!

I wish I could take a picture of the way those bees smelled. Honeybees smell wonderful — like honey and wax and nectar and … well … bees. It’s vaguely reminiscent of honeysuckle, but much more exotic. I can’t really describe it. You just have to experience it.

Hope your Friday evening was as enjoyable as mine.


Springtime in Red Fork

This is what our deck looked like a few days ago:

In case you are wondering, wisteria smells heavenly. For a few glorious days, our deck was an utterly gorgeous place to be. (The bumblebees thought so, too, and were rather assertive about guarding the blossoms.)

A closer look at one of the blossoms. They look and smell a lot like the royal paulownias that were blooming all over southern California when we were there last June.

I discovered this little guy in a hanging basket that’s been enveloped in wisteria vines. One of his siblings didn’t make it — I found it on the ground — but Ron found another one the deck a little while later and put it back into the nest. I’d been concerned that the nest was abandoned, but Ron said the mama bird sat nearby, giving him the skunk-eye and yelling at him, when she saw him pick up her baby.

Our front flowerbed was a sea of purple when the grape hyacinths and violas started blooming at the same time. This was a few days ago. The hyacinths have since faded, but the violas are blooming even more profusely now and have been joined by native violets. My great-grandmother would be proud. Purple was her favorite color.

Speaking of purple, here’s an extreme close-up of one of the chive blossoms. I just have them in a smallish container on the deck. They don’t seem to mind; they’ve come back two years in a row.

We planted tomatoes yesterday evening. We bought only seven plants this year — less than half our usual number — but I’m hoping for a record harvest anyway, as we are really babying these plants: The raised beds are full of horse manure and barn litter, and we bought some red plastic mulch to lock in moisture and stimulate growth. I’ll probably treat them with seaweed tea before it’s over, too. Tomatoes love seaweed tea.

I love rugosas. They’re tougher and less temperamental than regular roses, they smell absolutely wonderful, and they produce intensely flavored hips as big around as quarters — wonderful for making Red Zinger tea. (Speaking of which, I need to get some hibiscus and lemongrass for the corner flowerbed in the front yard.)

A closer look at a rugosa blossom.

Last but certainly not least, here’s the bee yard. We planted buckwheat in the garden next year to give the girls a convenient nectar source (and hopefully produce darker, richer honey).

A closer look at the bee yard. The hive in the middle is in its third or fourth year (I’ve lost track) and is populated with golden Italians. The hive on the right is in its second year and is occupied by a colony of feisty Buckfasts. The hive on the left houses a brand-new Buckfast colony.

I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned this already, but we have a new chicken. A couple of weeks ago, we bought a buff Orpington rooster from a lady in Beggs. We named him Bond, of course. He’s very pretty and has fairly decent manners — not too loud, and not inclined to crow at night. Guess we’ll keep him around for a while.

Hope your spring is as pretty and productive as ours….



From the “Classic Emily Priddy Moment” files:

Yesterday afternoon, I came home from school to find a large, friendly pit bull ambling across my front yard. Predictably, the big lug came snorfling up to me and clamored to be petted.

I am a sucker for dogs in general and pit bulls in particular, so of course I stopped to pet the dog and coo over its pretty coat and sweet, smiley face: “Aren’t you cute? What a pretty doggie! Yes, you are! You’re adorable. Oh, yes, you’re a sweetie, aren’t you? Yes, you are. What a sweetie! You’re way too cute to be out here all by yourself with no collar. Sweet baby….”

You get the idea. Typical human-fawning-over-dog idiocy.

About a minute into this performance, I realized that I had inadvertently butt-dialed Zaphod, who now had a message on his voicemail from me, telling him that he was too cute and too sweet to be running around all by himself with no collar.

Coincidentally, I got an e-mail from Verizon yesterday, telling me about an early-upgrade special they’re running. Something tells me I will be taking advantage of that offer….


Action alert — your help is needed!

As most readers know, Route 66 preservation is one of my greatest passions. I’ve been involved in everything from hands-on historic preservation projects to successful letter-writing campaigns to save structures all along the Mother Road. This week, I became aware of a pressing preservation issue right in my backyard, and I really need your help to protect a beautiful, historic bridge from demolition. Below is the action alert I am sharing with anyone who cares about historic preservation:

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is considering demolition of one of Catoosa’s historic “twin bridges” that carry Route 66 traffic across Bird Creek. The older of the two steel-truss bridges was built in 1936 to accommodate vehicles weighing up to 15 tons. Modern vehicles, which are much heavier, have taken their toll on the 74-year-old structure, which has deteriorated so badly that it will have to be closed to traffic in the near future.

ODOT is seeking public comment as it weighs several options for the bridge’s future.

From an aesthetic and safety standpoint, the best option seems to be a compromise that would involve building a new, flat bridge, then placing the old steel trusses – with some minor changes to meet modern height and width requirements – on top for aesthetic purposes. This option would preserve the bridge’s visual impact while meeting modern safety requirements. This option is similar to the method used a few years ago to preserve the Captain Creek Bridge on Route 66 near Wellston.

To voice your support for this compromise option, please go to:

(The site may take a few minutes to load, but this beautiful old bridge is well worth the effort.)

In your comments, be sure to include the following talking points:

1. The bridge is very popular with Route 66 tourists and photographers.

2. Demolition of the bridge would cause irreparable harm to Route 66.

3. The best solutions to the problem would be to either keep the bridge in place and bypass it with a new structure or replace it with a new structure that uses the old trusses as decorative elements to preserve the look of the “twin bridges” while resolving the safety issues.

Thanks in advance for helping with this project. By the end of the day, I would like for ODOT to receive at least 250 messages of support for the bridge from Route 66 enthusiasts around the world. Please lend your voice to this cause. I will try to get some good photos of the bridge this weekend.



I apologize for my spotty blogging habits of late; I’ve been busy with a project that directly relates to my employment status.

The details are very complicated and confusing, and I’m not entirely sure I understand all of them, but the upshot is that Swayze came to me two and a half weeks ago and said, in essence, that my job was in danger, and that his best shot at saving it hinged on how quickly I could get myself certified to teach algebra.

I’d already planned to take the math certification exam in late May, but that meant I wouldn’t get my test score back — and my certification paperwork filed — until June, which Swayze was afraid might be too late, so I registered for the April 17 test.

For obvious reasons, I’ve been a little preoccupied since then.

I took the test this morning. I won’t know for sure until mid-May, but I am fairly confident that I passed, because most of the problems seemed easy, and there were only two or three that I absolutely could not figure out at all.

I will probably be offline for a couple more days while I catch up all the projects and deadlines I had to postpone while I was cramming for the test, but I am optimistic that things will smooth out a little bit by the end of next week.

If you think of it, please say a prayer for my kids this week. They’re taking their big End-of-Instruction tests in several different subjects (including English II), and they are required to earn passing grades on some of the tests as a condition of graduation, so it’s a pretty high-stakes game for all of us.