Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Even More of Lawton

The next morning, we planned to attend Cowboy Church, an outdoor church service at Fort Sill, but when we arrived, the seats were empty. So we decided to drive around and explore Fort Sill.

Fort Sill is huge! It is a 95,000-acre field artillery and missile base and is the home of the U. S. Army Artillery and Missile Center. About 20,000 soldiers are trained at the fort each year. After Fort Sill, we ate lunch at the Back Porch. They had the most awesome sweet potato fries I've ever tasted.

 It was almost time to say good-bye, but we made one more stop at Crutcher's Western Wear. Daniel purchased his Lawton souvenir, a Stetson cowboy hat. Now he fits right in.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

More of Lawton

After we visited Medicine Park, Daniel drove us up to Mount Scott, which is on the eastern edge of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The peak is 2,465 feet above sea level. It was twice as windy on the top of Mount Scott as it was down below. Even Daniel's hair was getting in his eyes.

This is a picture Daniel took on Mount Scott at the end of February.

The Wildlife Refuge keeps a herd of approximately 550 bison. They are allowed to roam freely on the 59,000 acres of land. They keep their heads down pretty much all day long. It's hard to get a picture of their smiling faces.

The Refuge is also home to a herd of about 300 Texas Longhorn cattle. This is a female, and yes, she has horns.

These are some young, hornless Longhorns.

And this is a bull Longhorn. Don't mess with him!

At the end of the day, Daniel took us to a very classy restaurant. You can't tell by looking at it, but Meers was rated 3rd best burger in the United States by the Food Network. The reason they didn't win first place is because their burgers don't have the proper fat/lean ratio. Their burgers are 97% lean. Meers is the only restaurant in the USA that offers beef from its own herd. They know where their meat comes from, and their Longhorn are all grass fed. So we ate burgers!

I had the "baby-sized" 1/4 pounder, Don had the "mama-sized" Meersberger, and Daniel had the "papa-sized" Seismic Meersberger. It was the size of a pie plate.

After dinner, we called it a day. There's more to my story, but you have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Visit to Lawton, Oklahoma

Don and I enjoyed a busy weekend with Daniel in Lawton. He planned many activities for us so that we could experience all Lawton had to offer.

Friday night when we arrived, Daniel took us to a Adam's Greek House for dinner where we had a delicious meal. We are always up for Greek food. Then we just went back to Daniel's apartment and hung out for awhile watching season 1 of How I Met Your Mother.

Early Saturday morning, we drove to the Goodyear tire plant where Daniel works. We put on our steel-toed shoes, ear plugs, reflective vests and protective eye wear so that we could take a plant tour. With Daniel as our guide, we walked the mile long plant watching tires being built. Then we walked the mile back. It was very interesting since I had never been inside a tire plant. I did not know that pretty-colored fabric goes into the layers of tire building.

After the plant tour, we ate breakfast at Leo's Country Cafe where they served us eggs, hash browns, and toast soaked in butter. Yummy! We could feel our cholesterol rising with every bite.

Don lugged his tennis racket all the way to Lawton, so the boys had to find a couple of hours to play. Did I mention yet that it is very windy in Lawton? Tennis is hard to play in the wind, but they managed to hit the ball back and forth while I got my hair blown halfway to Dallas.

Next, we were off to Medicine Park, which is located at the main entry to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

I thought this was a lovely view of the recreation area at Medicine Park.

The use of round cobblestones in almost all the architecture in the park was fascinating. This construction material is unique to Oklahoma and is found in only a few other places in the U.S.

We did some more exciting things after visiting Medicine Park, but I'm going to save those for tomorrow's post. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bran Muffins

I've had many a dry bran muffin over the years, so generally they aren't my favorite choice in a breakfast buffet. However, I made some bran muffins from the other day that were very, very tasty. And I even left out two ingredients: the vanilla because I was out of it, and the salt because I forgot it.

Try these. They are good for you. You can make them even healthier by replacing the oil with applesauce, substituting some of the white flour for whole wheat flour, or reducing the brown sugar. But they are very good just the way they are.

Classic Bran Muffins

1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin pan.
Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla. Add to buttermilk/bran mixture.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended.
Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin tin.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Makes 12 muffins.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hermetically Sealed

I was one of those fool brides of the 1980's who bought into the notion that you had to have your wedding gown hermetically sealed to preserve it for generations to come. I didn't even know what "hermetically sealed" meant, but I dutifully took my wedding gown to the cleaners when I got back from my honeymoon, and I haven't seen it since. It has been in an airtight box for the past 28 years.

It's not like the gown was heirloom quality. I paid $300 for it because it was a discontinued sample.

When I went to open it last night, I wasn't even sure if it was going to be MY wedding gown in the box.

It turns out, my gown was in there.

The way they packaged it, it looked like it was part of a wake. I knew that once I cut the seal on the box, it was never going to fit back in there, so I had to be sure I wanted to take it out.

It certainly wasn't going to fit me, so what was I going to do with it?

I made Katherine try it on, and it fit her. Why did we go out and buy another wedding gown? She could have worn mine.

Unfortunately, it has long sleeves and she will be getting married in August. Besides that, it's not her style.

I think I will cut it off, hem it, and put it in the dress-up box for my grandchildren. They'll love it!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cake Tasting

One of the most fun parts of wedding planning is the day you get to taste the cake. We went to Bittersweet's in Stow for a cake tasting on Saturday. They presented us with a plate of white cake, red velvet cake and chocolate cake cubes along with three different frostings and three different fillings. Then we went to town mixing and matching.

I won't tell you which combinations we chose for the wedding reception. But we sure had fun trying them out!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Carol's Chicken Salad

When I was visiting cousin Carol in Richmond, she had a big bowl of homemade chicken salad in her refrigerator. Let's just say I had more than my fair share of it. It was so good I had to have the recipe, and I have finally gotten around to making it myself. Yummy.

Carol's Chicken Salad

1 large rotisserie chicken breast, no skin, about 2/3 c.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 t. granulated sugar
2 t. balsamic vinegar
2 dashes salt
1-2 t. lemon juice
1/2 c. celery, diced
1/2 c. grapes, seedless, chopped
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

Mix all ingredient together, taste, adjust. Let sit 4 hours or overnight.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Barber Shop Duet

Daniel was such a creative little boy. Just look at this picture.

One day, he decided to set up a barber shop in our driveway. He took the wagon, hooked it up to his bike, put a lawn chair in the wagon, hoisted Peter on the throne, got a spray bottle to wet his hair, and combed it just right. I'm sure there were scissors hiding somewhere.

Peter was a good sport to let him practice on him. Of course, I was there with my camera, so I wasn't going to let Daniel do anything crazy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Captain America

Early last summer, I wrote about Peter having the chance to be an extra in a movie being filmed at Tower City in downtown Cleveland. At the time, I wasn't allowed to say anything about the movie. I had to call the movie Freezer Burn.

Now that the movie is out, I can disclose that Peter was in the movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We went with a big group on Saturday night to see it.

Whenever you are an extra in a movie, you never know if you will actually show up when the film is finished, so we watched with great anticipation to see if Peter and his friends got screen time.

About halfway though the movie, the stars of the show were walking through Tower City mall. Peter, who was sitting to my left sat up straight in his chair and paid close attention. Two seconds later, he saw himself on the screen, and not being able to contain himself, he yelled, "There I am!"

It was pretty funny. But how exciting is that to be in the Captain America movie? The rest of us didn't exactly see him. We didn't know what to look for. We will have to wait until the DVD comes out so we can pause the action.

A couple of seconds of fame goes a long way. Peter will be eating this up for quite awhile.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Who Raised that Girl?

Katherine is in the right field. I've never know a more compassionate person. She regularly makes me feel guilty for not seeing the best in people.

Has it been the eight years of experience behind the checkout counter at Kohl's that has made her so nice? Or has it been her studies in the field of Psychology and Counseling?

She won't give bad reviews, and she won't cut a waiter's tip because he or she did a bad job. She will speak politely to someone who is being rude to her.

They may have a personal problem we don't know about.

I'd like to think I made her this way, but I'm generally not that nice. I need to be. She makes me think. I shouldn't be so judgmental. I shouldn't jump to conclusions about someone's personality the minute I meet them. I should give the salesman a chance. Maybe I shouldn't hang up on solicitors.

Sometimes you learn lessons from your children.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

National Siblings Day

Today is National Siblings Day so I want to say I love you dear siblings: Michael Dunphy, Patrick Dunphy and Carolyn Husk. Hugs and kisses to you all!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


It's true that our tastes change as we get older. I never would have imagined liking beets. When I was growing up, my mom ate beets out of a can. She tried to get me to eat them too. No thanks. As far as I was concerned, they ranked right up there with Lima beans and peas, mushrooms and liver.

It wasn't until about 18 months ago that I tried beets again. I had some friends over for a potluck, and Rosa brought a beet salad. Rosa noticed I skipped her beet salad when filling my plate. She's not the kind of person who would let something like that go. She practically bullied me into tasting it.

What do you know...I liked it! Since then I've been adding beets to my salads whenever I get the chance while eating out. Tonight at the grocery store, I actually bought my first three beets. I brought them home and was determined to cook them.

After watching four YouTube videos on how to roast beets, I went to work. I cooked them up, cooled them, and put them in the refrigerator for this week's salads.

Did you know that ounce for ounce, beets have more nutrients than any other fruit or vegetable on the planet? If you haven't tried one in awhile, I suggest you do.

I roasted mine at 400 degrees for 35 minutes after trimming and peeling them and cutting them up into slices. I coated them with some olive oil and sprinkled them with some salt. Next time I'm leaving the salt off. I think it takes away from their natural sweetness.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Project Get Healthy: Month Nine

I'm guilty! Here I am caught in the act of stuffing myself with about 5,000 calories in one sitting.

It's all Pam's fault. I'm blaming it on her.

I had lost four pounds before this Richmond trip. That donut made me gain two back.

But it's not about the pounds gained or lost. It's about healthy lifestyle changes which I'm slowly incorporating into my daily living.

The revelation I had this month is that I eat too much. I mean this in all sincerity. For a long time now, I've been under the impression that many small meals throughout the day are better than three squares.

I realize now that I eat again the minute my stomach empties. This never gives my body the chance to burn fat for energy. I'm always burning the calories from the last mini meal.

I also realize that I hate to be hungry. And the sad thing is, I'm never REALLY hungry. Hungry is not knowing when your next meal will come. Hunger to me is just a habit. My body is so used to eating all the time that it wants to continue eating all the time.

Major changes are needed here. I need to retrain my body to only expect food three times a day, and that means no food after dinner. It's good to let your digestive system rest for ten or so hours a day, and imagine all the stored fat you burn while sleeping.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Anyone who knows me well knows I am not a plant person. I don't like plants. I don't like taking care of plants. Plants (and this includes flowers) don't make me smile.

For years I have asked Don not to buy flowers for me, but he insists sometimes. I think he likes them more than I do.

I know this is heresy to some. My grandmother would roll over in her grave. My sister thinks we are unrelated. I ask her to pot my outdoor plants so I can have some color on my deck. She has to remind me each week to water them.

But every spring when I see potted tulips in the grocery store, I melt. Tulips are the ONLY flower I love. I think it is because I once did a country report on Holland in the fourth grade.

They call to me, and I buy one bunch. I actually take care of them. I smell them. They smell like candy.

Unfortunately, they open up fast and furious, and they are gone in the blink of an eye.

But for that one week a year, I can say I love those flowers.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Jury Duty

12 Angry Men

In the 37 years I have been qualified to serve on jury duty, I've escaped the random draw. That is until today when I received the dreaded letter in the mail telling me I am to be on call between May 1 and August 31.

I'm not Amish, over 75 years old or disabled, so I have no excuse not to go. I don't even have a scheduled out of town engagement. I don't think wedding planning will qualify for my removal.

It wasn't long ago that we had friends over for dinner and this topic came up. The group was astonished that I had never been called to serve. I guess my number was just about to come up, or one of my friends squealed on me.

I know it is a civic duty and a privilege to serve in such a way, so I'm not going to complain any further. And don't ask me to talk about it going forward. I believe mum's the word as a juror.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bedroom Makeover 1

I've recently re-decorated Katherine and Daniel's rooms since it is looking like they will not be moving back home.

I have a few finishing touches to add to Katherine's bedroom, but for the most part, the makeover is finished. I like the way it came out, all except the fact that the paint that was supposed to be gray looks blue.

The queen size bed and nightstand came from Fish Furniture, and the bed linens and curtains are Target Threshold.

 I found this display of birds canvas collage at Pier One.

The desk came from Crate & Barrel. I love the "No Place Like Home" wall hanging because it reminds me of Katherine.

There is a nice cozy swivel rocker in the corner for relaxing.

This is the night stand.

 I added a magazine rack in the other corner, along with an ottoman that can be moved around the room.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fat Riley

Fat Tuesday was March 4 this year. I guess Riley missed it. He decided to double up on his breakfast today.

I'm not going to blame Don. Riley tricked me.

I got up later than usual this morning. Before I got out of bed, Riley was in the room with his paws near my head. I took that to mean he was hungry.

I padded downstairs, turned my tea kettle on, and got his food as usual. Riley acted like he usually does. He turned around in circles a few times, hardly able to contain himself.

I poured his food into the bowl. He ate it. No big deal.

Then Don came up from the basement and said, "You didn't feed Riley, did you?" Well, of course I did. I always do. Don had fed him too.

That rascal. No dinner tonight.