Unless otherwise attributed, all content, text or image, on this site is © TaunaLen 2005-2011.
All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution is prohibited without prior written consent.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pharmaceutical Phreebies

So, I was staring dazedly at my monitor, all blog-eyed. Minding my own business, when I was startled to hear someone BANGING loudly at my front door. No joke, I jumped like someone shot me with a rubber band gun!

So, anyway, I took a deep breath, and calmed down a bit, then opened the door to my new friend, the UPS delivery guy! As you can guess, I don’t get out much. Anyway, I was so excited, because in his hand, my new friend the UPS guy, (I’ll call him Chuck.) was holding a beautiful brown box labeled "washer fins”.

Don’t ask me how I know, but I’m just sure the words "washer fins" were part of a long ancient attempt at garage/storage shed organization. I’m trained to decipher cryptic phrases such as these. It’s a gift.

Speaking of organization, I knew immediately that this box contained some very valuable goodies from my new friend BIG MAMA!

You see, a few weeks days ago she held a contest on her blog. She offered a collection of items that were straight out of this office supply store junkie’s dreams! I threw my name into the proverbial hat, and hoped against almost all hope.

Sure enough, a few days later I got an email in my inbox from BIG MAMA herself! OMG! My hands shook and I felt a little dizzy as I clicked the "read" button, and suddenly realized that I WAS AN INSTANT WINNER!! Yes, I was the soon to be recipient of a boxful of office-supply goodness – and not just any office supply goodness, but ---

wait for it ----

Drug Rep Freebies!!!! My little organizing-addicted-heart went all pitter-pat! So, I sent an incoherent email back to BIG MAMA (She’s such a bloggy star, I can’t bring myself to type her name in anything other than all caps!) complete with a mangled address that almost caused my prize to go to the post-office dungeon level 12. After a few more messages, we worked out all the particulars, and that brings me back to my doorway, where I’m grinning like an idiot at my new friend Chuck!

So, for lack of a better idea for breaking through this writer’s block I’ve been plagued with, I thought I’d attempt to make you jealous with photos of my Pharmaceutical Phreebie haul! Gaze on, oh internet pals, and try to control your envious longing:

Three Crestor notepads – to help me jot down notes to myself and my kids, all the while reminding me to keep an eye on my cardiac health.

A handful of Crestor and Nexium ball point pens – Again with the cardiac health, and little-purple-pill digestive health reminders. What’s that? Can you borrow a pen. I’m sorry, I don’t seem to have a spare.

And can-you-believe-it? My very own Crestor Tapeler! At long last, my dreams of taping and stapling simultaneously are realized and I can sleep tonight!

Finally, one of the famous Zyrtec Towels, complete with a loopy-hang-up-tab-thingy near the corner. I hear these towels are very useful and very popular with BIG MAMA’S husband P, in their famous Back House, you know.

You may have noticed that there was a very useful bonus item, lying there on that Zyrtec towel. Yep – in her indomitable southern generosity, BIG MAMA tossed a rubber band into the mix. Oh what a thoughtful bonus that was! I now have all the ammunition I need for the rubber-band-gun I plan to buy next week. I can’t wait to craft her a personalized thank-you card using my new tapeler.

Or, you know, not. Because I’m not crafty, I’m just really well organized!

Thank you BIG MAMA for your Pharmaceutical generosity. I will think of you often as I staple, tape, and wipe up spills with my Zyrtec towel.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A really great story...wish I could find it.

I’ve been reading blogs all weekend. I transferred from Bloglines to GoogleReader. (Actually, I currently have both running.) And since I can’t seem to get any creative juices flowing, I’ve just been reading every blog I can find – following link after link after link. There’s a lot of great stuff out there! Problem is, I just can’t get motivated to write something worth reading.

Something like a great two-part story full of history and family memories, with the perfect cliff-hanger to make you want to count the minutes until tomorrow – something like “The Box” over at Antique Mommy’s place.

Yeah, I could write something like that -- Last month. This month, I may never write anything worth reading again. Maybe I’ll just keep reading. Something’s bound to come to me, right? I hate writer’s block.

Wow, there’s a wealth of information in that wikipedia article. Love the idea that this particular episode could last 60 years! I guess that will give me plenty of time to read some other great blogs!

Actually, I did write a pretty good piece last Friday about a good book and a coffee shop and a bit of music, but it’s a contest entry, and I can’t publish it here until I find out whether it wins the contest. So, cross your fingers for me. (Just a cliché, I don’t really believe in that crossed eyes fingers stuff.) Maybe you’ll be reading it here soon. Sadly, that means I have nothing, zero words left in me, for your reading pleasure.

From the bottom of my heart, I apologize.

If you need me, I'll be reading about way's to write again.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A New Dress

Well, I've done it. After two years and three months on Xanga, and seven months on Blogger -- I've changed my blog design.

TaunaLen's got a new dress on.

So, let me know what you think, and how it all looks on your end of the blog-world. Most of all, I need to know one thing?

Does this make me look fat? Be honest!

Monday, July 23, 2007

For Parker

Isn't he an absolutely beautiful baby boy? This little guy is full of potential and purpose, and is surrounded by love! He truly is a "billboard of mercy" displaying God's grace and tenderness to all who come into contact with him.

Parker is one of those precious children with so many heartbreaking medical issues, whose parents work hard, and have insurance, but whose medical expenses are just not covered because of gaps in the system.

This week, Melody is hosting a love fest for little Parker, complete with prizes donated by so many amazing and generous bloggers. You can learn more about this adorable little guy through this interview with his amazing mom published at TopBlogMag. You can track Parker's progress on his blog, prayingforparker.com.

If you have a moment, please click over and offer up a prayer, and maybe a donation for this sweet baby, and his loving family.

We are truly, truly blessed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sarah, Smile

Twenty years ago today you changed my standing from person to parent and life has never been the same. You amaze me, still. How did I ever get chosen to be your mom?

I used to hold your tiny hands while you nursed. Your fingers lacing their way through mine. You would make those precious, contented, nursing noises. I can still hear them. You, of course, sat up, crawled, stood up, toddled and talked all with just-right timing. And I held your fingers tightly as you walked beside me across the street or down the grocery aisle, sometimes terrified that you'd slip away in the crowd. I can still feel your tiny fingers wrapped around mine.

You've always been the first to smile, giggle, and laugh out loud when you found something funny. I still think the best way to spend an evening is for all of us to watch you, while you watch America's Funniest Videos, and laugh until you can't breathe. You remind me of Bert and Uncle Albert in 'Mary Poppins.'

Since you were very small music has always followed you. You used to dance and twirl with that twinkle in your eye -- you were cute and you worked it! Now I hear at least once ten times a day "Mommy, I LOVE this song -- you've just got to hear it."

Today you stand before me, a woman. Twenty, and full of life, potential and such joy that sometimes it blinds me. Music is your passion and I am so proud, watching you explore the guitar, the piano, and your own beautiful voice. Music Theory is a language I don't even begin to comprehend, but when you share your excitement over a circle of fifths, or a triple-resolved-something-or-other-thing -- I love the way your voice tinkles merrily like a brook, the way your eyes sparkle like stars, and your smile lights up your face.

I know now that I had no clue that bright morning twenty years ago today what being your mother would entail. The joy is indescribable. The gifts you've given me are innumerable. The heartache has been acute. But the happiness you've brought me far outweighs any moment when I felt this was a too-difficult job to bear.

You've been leaving me for several months now. The line "If you feel like leaving, you know you can go. Why don't you stay until tomorrow?" keeps echoing in my heart. I count the moments, the hours with you as precious. Writing them on my memory, and on my heart.

I know that soon you will sleep under another roof, and your life will take you far from me. But I know there will be days when the phone will ring and your voice will echo across the miles. You'll laugh, and I'll hear you smile. So, keep leaving, my dear one, making your way into the future. You have my blessing. I believe in you, and in your gifts to the world.

My beautiful princess. There are no words to spill across this page and empty my heart of its feeling for you. I shake my head in wonder and whisper a prayer of thanks. I pray that when you think of your childhood, now spent - holding my hand, sitting in my lap, laughing, crying and singing your way along -- you'll remember my love and smile.

As your fingers slip through mine, though don't forget your way back to me.

Just in case.

Happy birthday Sarah!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Family Night Follies

Saturday night was family night again, and boy was this one a winner! We'd planned to go bowling, or to play mini-golf. But the budget was tighter than we expected. Sometimes the best laid plans just fizzle out, and the second choice turns out to be really, really good.

We loaded up the 7 person crew, including my little niece, and headed out for mexican food. It was quite yummy. The highlight of the evening was when three of the girls decided to entertain the other very bored unsuspecting guests with a tortilla eating contest.

The gist of the contest was to take a tortilla, and start nibbling the edges, around and around and around -- taking mouse-sized bites -- until it was gone. Sarah, who will be twenty on Friday, of course kept getting distracted by her own giggles, and the laughter of the crowd. Jericho, (age 17) whose mouth was probably dry came in second place, and the grand winner was my adorable little niece!

I tried to get a shot of her victory celebration with my lousy horrible handy camera phone. Sadly, all I have to offer are a few blurry shots of the action. I ended up having to convert them to black and white, so you could make out the faces.

I don't know which was funnier, the strange looks we were getting from the guy at the booth across the way, who obviously thought we'd lost our minds,

or the way our waitress tried to keep her composure every time she came over to refill our drinks. The baby at the table across from us just stared, with big round eyes as my children demonstrated their best table manners.

I am sure our fellow diners and the staff were extremely sorry to see us leave the restaurant.

For the second half of the evening's festivities. We came home and held a three-hour Skip-Bo tournament. The card game was fun, but we spent most of the evening comparing and sharing funny ring-tones and laughing at Sarah's stories about her co-workers at Applebee's.

The one that made us all laugh ourselves senseless was this one:

There's a young server who just started at Applebee's a few months ago. She evidently hasn't had a great deal of practical experince in her young life, so she gives the other servers lots of entertainment with her questions. If you'd been dining at one of her tables last week, here's what you might have overheard:

"Tartar sauce? Is that real? I thought it was just something Sponge Bob said!"

Oh my.

I thought I'd never breathe again.

So, family night this weekend was a huge success, evidenced by Jericho's suggestion to me just this morning. She thinks that no matter how old they all get, if they're in town, everyone has to come home for family night on Saturdays. If they aren't in town, they at least need to check in by phone.
That sound's really good to me!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Day in the Doorway

I read the funniest thing on The_Queen_Bea's site yesterday. Go there. Read and laugh. I'll wait here for you.

The challenge originated with Kween_of_the_Queens, and I've decided to participate:

"the challenge. . .choose any inanimate object. . . such as your front door, your floor, your closet, your toothbrush! Anything you want, and no, it doesn't have to be connected with your house. . .any object you want! Give it a personality or thought process. . .then tell us what's going on in it's head!"

A Day in the Doorway

You know, a door rarely gets a chance to sleep. I appreciate days like this, when the summer sun filters in through the glass, and I get to stand wide open to the world. I doze in the warmth of the sun, and sleepily wait.

Soon the teenagers will be home from their part-time jobs, and will rush through my space on their way to hug their mom and grab some lunch. Lately they’ve paused for a moment in my shelter to wipe the rainwater from their feet and their hellos echo through the library. I love that sound.

This week, a little one has been in and out, in and out, playing in the summertime sun. I watch through the glass as she leaps through the sprinkler and giggles with the other neighborhood kids. Yes, she interrupts my afternoon nap with her coming and going for a drink of water, a trip to the bathroom, and an occasional scraped knee that needs a bandage and a kiss. But I don’t mind. Her energy and joy make me smile.

Later, evening will creep over the horizon and the mother will come and close the blinds. She will shut me tight, and engage my lock, trusting me to guard her family against the dark night. I will stand tall and strong, never shirking my duties as the sentry for this home. Inside I hear music as voices and dishes clatter. The house is almost full, but I wait patiently for the other two who belong here.

The noises inside will grow quiet as I hear goodnight wishes echoing off of the walls. The porch light will shine and I’ll peer into the blackness, waiting for the lights in the driveway. Soon they will appear, first the daughter who will trudge wearily across my step and drop her laptop bag on the floor. She’ll slip off her shoes, and I’ll hear the refrigerator door open as she searches for the leftovers from dinner. As she gathers herself to go to bed, the second set of lights will capture my attention, and father will come wearily up the walk.

Sigh. With everyone home, safe behind my strength, Father will close me again for the night, engage the lock and set the alarm. I will stand through the night, listening to the sounds of my family, sleeping in their beds. I’ll watch the street, guarding against any danger or threat. As the moonlight streams across the lawn, I’ll feel a presence in the air.

Yes, they will arrive one by one. These great winged beings which stand guard with me. They will take up their positions, at each window, each corner, and one heavenly friend will assume his post beside me. Together we’ll stand guard and protect the precious people inside.

Later, the sun will light the sky, and father or daughter will open me wide to the morning. They’ll both rush out quickly, tossing “I love you” words over their shoulders, and a new day will have begun. The children will grab their breakfast and rush by on their way to work again, and I will hear mother in the kitchen, pouring a cup of tea to start her day. As I drift off for a quick nap in the sunlight, I’ll whisper my thanks, again. I love being a part of this home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wringing out the Muddy Water

The Caney River crested at Bartlesville on July 2 at 21 feet (8 feet above flood stage). I can tell you it's a strange thing to look out across a neighborhood, and find the streets under water. But now those waters have receded, and everything has a muddy, yucky look to it. All over town, there are piles of soggy carpet and carpet pad piled by the curb, furniture and belongings arranged on the yards to air out, and people watching the skies.

The rain is still falling. It's hard to dry out your house, when the sun is on vacation. Thankfully, my sister and her husband didn't have to rip up any floor covering or do any repairs - the flood waters stopped rising just below their porch.

I spent several days in Bartlesville last week. I played lots of Texas 42 and Spades, ate cake, and talked for hours with my mom, sister and aunt. We saw two fireworks displays, and ate at a great new cajun restaurant - - The Red Stick Kitchen. The townspeople are strong and optimistic. They celebrated our nation's independence with pyrotechnics and music, and helped their neighbors haul away soggy pieces of their homes and property.

Yep -- that sounds just like home to me.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Where I Keep All My Yesterdays

On October 4, 1986, the Caney River crested at 29 feet, and literally split the city of Bartlesville, Oklahoma in half for nine days. Unusually heavy rains in the latter part of September and first part of October that year contributed to a 100 year flood that displaced 55,000 people, lasted 18 days, did $40,000,000 worth of damage in a 102,600 square mile area. Ten people lost their lives, and the city of Bartlesville was forever changed.

After the rainiest June on record in Oklahoma History, forecasters predict that the Caney River will crest at Bartlesville today, July 2, 2007 - at 22 feet. Businesses and homes near the river are already being flooded, and the worst is yet to come. After the 1986 experience, many business and home owners are packing up and heading for higher, drier ground, maneuvering their way around closed roads, and flooded low-lying routes.

In 1986, I was in Springfield Missiourri, in the student center of the college I was attending, wondering why the telvision was surrounded by students, and where in the world was all that water? I watched, helplessly, as I realized that the people in boats, trying to rescue their photo albums from the doorways of flooded houses were in my home town. I was devastated.

Now, twenty-one years later, I live within an hour of that beloved little town, and still I sit. In front of the television and my computer screen, I watch the news, and wait, helplessly. I've spoken with my parents, everyone is fine, and none of them live in the flood-prone areas. But my sister has a rent-house that is flooding, and my brother has land up in Kansas that he's going to be cut-off from for several days. The forecast is for more rain.

But, I've seen Bartlesville dry out, and come back stronger than ever after a devastating event like this. I have faith in her. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are even now trying to decide what to pack up and haul out of their homes, and what to leave behind. I pray that everyone escapes the waters safely, and that there is enough for all to rebuild their homes, businesses, and lives in the community I still call home.

In honor of Bartlesville:

This post was originally published on Monday, August 29, 2005

Bartlesville, Oklahoma is where I keep all my yesterdays.

Though I was not born there, it is the only home I ever remember. It's where I grew up, played, learned, dreamed, wrote my poetry, went to school, met my husband and childhood sweetheart, married him the second time around, had kids, met my Savior, found myself and learned the value of family --- not necessarily in that order.

My parents and grandparents still live in Bartlesville, as do my brother, sister and her family, as well as my husband's family. It is also where two of my children live with their mom. I am blessed to have married into two wonderful children, in addition to the three wonderful children I brought with me. (edit: 2007 - only one of my children now live in Bartlesville, as of June 2006. Happily, the other lives here with his father and I.)

I return to Bartlesville at least once or twice a month, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas. There's nothing like the feeling I get when I come over the rise where you can get your first glimpse of the town...
I am home, coffee is waiting at Mama's table, and if everyone is not there, they will be before the afternoon is out.

Everyone gather's at Mom and Dad's! We've been known to all show up on a Sunday afternoon, with no warning, and Dad, who is the cook, has enough Sunday dinner to feed all sixteen of us. Their kitchen table has seated as many as fourteen at Christmas or Thanksgiving, with about ten others sitting at the 'kiddie table' in the living room.

Bartlesville is an oil town in the middle of Indian Territory, with a rich history. Established in 1907 by Jacob H. Bartles, it found its beginning on the bank of the Caney River, where in 1870, Nelson F. Carr built a grist mill, the first business establishment in what would become Bartlesville. Jacob Bartles purchased the grist mill in 1875, for $1,000, and built a store nearby. Bartlesville was born.

Here's a photo of the present day spot where the city was born. The stones you see are the foundation stones for Nelson Carr and Jake Bartles’ long-ago business venture. If they could only see her now!

Bartlesville was the first town in Indian Territory to have electricity, natural gas, running water, and telephone service. Not far from this bend in the Caney River, you can see Oklahoma's first commercial oil well - the Nellie Johnstone No. 1.

The company that brought my family to Bartlesville from West Texas when I was but a babe of two years, was, of course, the Phillips Petroleum Company. My father started working at a Phillips gas station in Texas, and has worked for the company (now ConocoPhillips) ever since. Here is a shot of the old Phillips building downtown. (edit: 2007 - My Dad retired from ConocoPhillips in Houston last year, and is now living back in Bartlesville.)

Some of the favorite local tourist attractions are pictured here:

The Frank Phillips Home is now a fascinating museum.

The Price Tower, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is now an upscale hotel and an art museum.

The Johnstone & Keeler General Store, restored, is now home of Oklahoma's own Red Dirt Soap Company.

The old train depot now houses the Chamber of Commerce, the Development Corporation and the Community Foundation.

And, of course, the nationally famous Bartlesville Community Center is famous for it's annual "OK Mozart Festival".

I loved growing up in Bartlesville. Those were really good years, although I didn't know it at the time. There used to be two high schools in Bartlesville: College High, and Sooner High. They combined in the eighties, so that the Sooner High building housed the mid-high grades 9-10, and the College High building housed the high-school grades 11-12. The Sooner High Spartans and the College High Wildcats became the Bartlesville Bruins. Good, bad or indifferent, we survived the merge. My graduating class was the first to attend all four years in the new system.

Here's a photo of the high school today.

We were proud to be Bruins! Although I wasn't athletic, I did letter in Choir, and go to state in Speech and Drama. Funny how you spend anywhere from two, to four, to as many as twelve years with the same people, and then after graduation, you never see them again. I often wonder about some of those really awesome friends with whom I spent my high school days. I see some of them occasionally. They seem familiar, yet different. But the ones I really wonder about are those with whom I celebrated graduation, one warm almost-summer night in 1986, and then never ever saw again. Life is a mystery.

I am also a proud mom and aunt to four current and/or future Bruins who live in Bartlesville now, and are or will be football and basketball players or cheerleaders. I can't wait to go to some of the middle school and mid- high games this fall and cheer my nephew and son as they play for the old blue and white! My youngest daughter, whom I gained by marriage to her father, will be down there in her cheerleading skirt and tennis shoes freezing and jumping and yelling her guts out, while her mother, her father, her grandparents and I (the other mother) are in the stands doing the same! It will be so nice to go home to those games again! (edit: 2007 - My daughter still cheers on the BHS squad, and my nephew and niece are proud Bruins as well! Go Blue and White!)

Well, if you were in my car, and we were in downtown Bartlesville, we couldn't leave without stopping by Murphy's Steakhouse. I recommend the 4 oz. open-faced, junior hot-cheese-burger with hand-cut fries and brown "gravy-over-all". It's what Murphy's has been famous for, for more than fifty years and is the very best! Of course if you're really hungry, you could go with the full size instead of the junior!

Oh, and if you get the salad, try the house-blend garlic salad dressing. We eat the dressing on club crackers while we're waiting for our food! The other thing I will never forget about Murphy's as long as I live is the candy drawer. All little guests of Murphy's Steak House get a trip behind the counter to the candy drawer. It holds such treasures as Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffy, mini Chick-o-Sticks, Peanut Butter Logs and my favorite-- Sixlets!

I miss the days when I was young enough to leave Murphy's with a fistful of candy! Now I have to settle for two peppermint patties for a quarter from the jar by the cash register. Oh well, you can't stay young forever.

So, I hope you enjoyed my tour of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It's "where I keep all my yesterdays...This is My Town."


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