Sally in The MIX

Friday, September 8, 2017

Stories About the Cooks

I don’t claim to be a great grill cook, although I do love my charcoal grill and feeding my family outdoors, no matter what the weather.

One Thanksgiving I was grilling outdoors, in the rain, under an umbrella, but that was only because the stove had quit for some reason.

Thank goodness this Labor Day my Darling Daughter decided to do the gilling outdoors, which was fine by me. Than you Darling Daughter. Love your burgers and hot dogs.

I like to cook, but have not been named by my family as the Best Cook in the World, although they do love my potato salad. But my Country Philosopher friend sent an email this week defining Lousy Cooks. I hope he wasn’t referring to me. I’ve only set the kitchen on fire once, er, twice. He said:

You are a lousy cook if… 

-Your family automatically heads for the table every time they hear a fire alarm. (I took the battery out! But doggoneit, they put it back in!)

-Anyone has ever broken a tooth eating your homemade yogurt. (It was a popcorn ball!)

-Your kids know what "peas porridge in a pot nine days old" tastes like. (They said they liked porridge.)

-Your little daughter goes outside to make mud pies, and the rest of the family grabs forks and follows her. (Daughter makes excellent pies!)

-Your kids' favorite drink is Alka-Seltzer. (And Tums, and Rolaids, and…never mind.)

-You have to buy 25 pounds of dog food twice a week for your toy poodle. (Can I help it if the dog buries the leftovers I leave in her bowl?)

-Your kids got even with the neighborhood bully by inviting him over for dinner. (All kids are invited, but their parents seem to be a little cautious.)

-Your husband refers to the smoke detector as the oven timer. (Well, OK. No one at my house gets excited when the smoke detector goes off.)

-No matter what you do to it, the gravy still turns bright purple. (My poor sister-in-law did her best to teach me how to make gravy. I’m so sorry that didn’t work. Bu that gravy in a jar is pretty good.)

So much for Country Philosophers. I have another friend, who shall remain nameless because I don’t want her hurting me, who was so excited about her Labor Day meal.

“I didn’t have to cook,” said my friend, who has set her kitchen on fire more than I have. “My granddaughter grilled some hamburgers. They were great.”

I asked her to remind me how old her granddaughter is.

“She’s 13.”

A 13-year-old grills while grandma chills? Wow. At last, I’ve found a grandma cook who rivals me. Yippee!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Birds and Books, or Things to Do on a Hot Day

O.K. I admit it. I’m a sucker for hummingbirds.

And, I’m a huge fan (sounds better than sucker doesn’t it) of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and it’s website.

Now the ODWC doesn’t just concentrate on hunting and fishing, although if you want to know anything about Oklahoma hunting and fishing the ODWC website is the place to go.

The website also has lots of news and information about all the state’s wildlife (No, not OU and OSU!)

While visiting there recently I found the following about our hummingbirds, which are incredible little creatures. So, I offer that information here, and hope you get to at least watch a hummer and feed one too. 

The ODWC tells us:

With Oklahoma's hummingbird feeding season in full swing and sizzling summer temperatures looming, biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Wildlife Diversity Program offer the following hints for a successful hummingbird season.

Fill Feeders Weekly

"We recommend refilling and cleaning your hummingbird feeders on a weekly basis," said Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department. "A simple four-part water to one-part sugar solution should do the trick."

Most commercially available feeders have enough red coloration to attract the small birds; adding red food coloring to the sugar-water solution is not necessary.

Though hummingbirds will use a variety of feeder styles, those with a wide mouth are easiest to clean. "When sugar-water is left in the hot sun, harmful bacteria may begin to grow," Hickman said. "A bottle brush and hot, soapy water is the ticket to a clean feeder."

Ease Territorial Disputes

Hummingbirds may be our state's smallest birds but they have a lot of attitude, especially at feeders. "Adding multiple feeders -- out of sight of one another -- may help cut down some of the territorial disputes and allow more hummingbirds to feed," Hickman said.

Prevent Pesky Pests

For many hummingbird enthusiasts, ants, wasps and other insects are unwelcome visitors. To deter these "pests," consider feeders with bee or wasp guards. These plastic mesh covers prevent insects from reaching the sugar-water. Water traps can be used to dissuade ants. "I've found that water traps hanging above the feeder work better than those built into the feeder," Hickman said.

Make Your Backyard a Hummingbird Oasis

"Hummingbirds also love feeding from blooming flowers," Hickman said. "We've found that salvia, trumpet creeper, coral honeysuckle and bee balm are all frequently visited by hummingbirds." Learn more about wildlife-friendly landscape designs in "Landscaping for Wildlife: A Guide to the Southern Great Plains," available in the Wildlife Department's Outdoor Store.

The ruby-throated hummingbird is Oklahoma's most common hummingbird species. These birds begin arriving in our state in March and migrate back to Central America by early November. Two white eggs are laid in tiny nests built on a downward sloping tree limb from May to July.

Southwestern Oklahoma hummingbird feeders may be visited also by the black-chinned hummingbird.

Celebrate these long-distance migrants by downloading a free hummingbird coloring page from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Yes, I have returned to my adolescence and am coloring too. Now, of course, we call it adult coloring. And the free coloring page offered is fabulous. Give it a try. Take a moment, do a bit of adult coloring, and watch those birds!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Man’s Thoughts on Things

A friend recently sent me a list of his opinions on things. Then he asked why I never responded to his emails.

I told him I didn’t know I was supposed to respond. He said I was. But I just decided to share.

♦ I read that 4,153,237 people got married last year. Not to cause any trouble but shouldn't that be an even number?

♦ Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool. I gave him a glass of water.

♦ I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

♦ I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom until they are flashing behind you. 

♦ When wearing a bikini, women reveal 90 percent of their body. Men are so polite they only look at the covered parts.

♦ A recent study has found that woman who carry a little extra weight, live longer than the men who mention it.

♦ Relationships are a lot like algebra. Have you ever looked at your X and wondered Y?

♦ America is a country which produces citizens who will cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won't cross the street to vote.

♦ You know that tingly little feeling you get when you like someone? That's your common sense leaving your body.

♦ Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?

♦ My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We'll see about that.

♦ I think my neighbor is stalking me as she's been googling my name on her computer. I saw it through my telescope last night.

♦ Money talks ..but all mine ever says is good-bye.

♦ You're not fat, you're just... easier to see.

♦ If you think nobody cares whether you're alive, try missing a couple of payments.

♦ I can’t understand why women are okay that JC Penny has an older women’s clothing line named, “Sag Harbor.”

♦ My therapist said that my narcissism causes me to misread social situations. I’m pretty sure she was hitting on me.

♦ The pharmacist asked me my birth date again today. I’m pretty sure she’s going to get me something.

♦ Money can’t buy happiness, but it keeps the kids in touch!

♦ The reason Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet was because nobody was married. Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney, Floyd, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Earnest T Bass, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara and, of course, Opie were all single. The only married person was Otis, and he stayed drunk.

And there you have it. A married and retired man’s opinion on, well, almost everything. I asked him how his wife responded. “She loves me,” he said. I hope so.

And everyone who reads here may respond.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Goodbye Gallbladder, and Good Riddance

I have returned from the missing.

For those who stop by here occasionally, I feel I should explain why I went missing for a month.

On April 1 (how appropriate) my gallbladder and I had a disagreement. Because gallbladder would not listen to reason, it was required to leave the premises. . . that being me.

After sharing this information with friends and family, I have come to the conclusion that I may have possibly been the only person left in the world who had a gallbladder. Almost everyone I know has had their gallbladder removed, including a son who didn’t even tell me about it! He said it was no big deal. He walked in. They took out gallbladder. He walked out.

Well, no big deal until the complications set in. With me, complications were a daily surprise, surprise.

My rebelling gallbladder was a surprise from the very beginning. It gave me no warning, other than two bouts of upset stomach, taken care of quickly with a couple of antacid pills.

Then at 1 a.m. on April 1 – Whamo! I texted Darling Daughter, “Stomach hurts. I’m going to emergency ward.” This stomach ache was not to be deterred by a mere pill.

It took one great doctor, three nurses, a whole bunch of tests, one great big pain-killing shot, and one warm blanket at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital to get gallbladder under enough control to transfer me to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith for surgery so gallbladder and I could part ways.

And I want to offer a great big thank you to the staff at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital emergency ward for the best-ever care, on-target diagnoses and compassion they showed to me, who was a babbling cry-baby at that point.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Dr. Richard Pearson and R.N.s Samantha Harriman, Carol Heaton and Chelsea Real.

They held my hand. They told me it was gonna’ be OK. They told me a surgeon in Fort Smith was gonna’ take that nasty gallbladder out. They told me they knew how much it hurt. They never left my side.

They were and they are amazing. I love those people. I even think I told them that after they gave me that great-big pain shot and wrapped me up in a warm blanket.

Of course I don’t remember much after that gallbladder pain and that great-big pain shot. I even had to ask Darling Daughter later how she got there.

“You texted me,” she replied, “and drove yourself to the emergency ward before I could even get to you.”

Oh yeah, I sort of remember.

I wanted Darling Daughter to take me on to the Fort Smith hospital, but for some reason, possibly my condition, my health care persons didn’t think that was a good idea, and they called an ambulance.

I have a question for ambulance companies.

Why are there no shocks in an ambulance? Even with that great-big pain shot, I felt every bump in the road all the way to Fort Smith. The ambulance crew was great, and took good care of me. But on my, when you’ve got a stomach ache as bad as a mad gallbladder, every bump counts.

And that was just the first six hours of Sally’s gallbladder adventure. The tale goes on for days, and days, and days. Well, eight days. Eight lo-o-ong days at Mercy Hospital.

But they were good too. I got the best care anyone could hope for, especially after all the complications set in. Those included:

-Bad gallbladder upset my pancreas, and I developed pancreatitis, with fever, which required three days of antibiotics before we could dump that gallbladder.

-That caused my breathing to get complicated, and 24-hour oxygen, which limits access to the bathroom.

-That caused my heart to have a tantrum and I got moved to the cardiac floor, on the orders of Sister Michaela, hospitalist. (Someday I’ll tell you about Sister Michaela. who is awesome!)

-And when they finally decided I could go home, at the last minute they decided I had a magnesium shortage, and I had to spend another two hours getting a straight shot of magnesium into my slippery veins.

Oh, I did forget to tell them I have slippery veins. That’s what the poor blood-taking folks at the hospital now call me . . .slippery veins. Seems every time a needle is stuck into my arm to take blood or deliver some necessary medicine, my veins slip away. This, it turns out, is quite upsetting to those blood-taking folks. One poor guy actually ran from the room after only one try and I never saw him again. On another day they called in some kind of expert who was not happy. Well, it was the dinner hour. But she had to bring an ultrasound machine (she said) in to find that dang slippery vein. Didn’t take her long. She was either mad at me or very hungry and missing dinner. She got the job done and left quickly. 

My apologies to all those folks. I’ve known I had slippery veins ever since I was pregnant with Darling Daughter many years ago, when they couldn’t find those veins even then. 

And those are just few of my gallbladder adventures. But everything is fine now, and my sincere thanks to all those at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospital for their kind and health-giving care. I survived thanks to you!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is Sunday. I am among those who wish their mothers were still here to be honored. I can only hope that my Mom would be proud of the mother I produced, also known as Darling Daughter, and her daughter, the fabulous Beautiful Granddaughter, who wrestles daily with a 3-year-old son.

There is nothing I can say to honor them enough. So I went to the Internet, and found the following by those who can say it so much better than I can.

-“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln

-“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” Abraham Lincoln

-“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.” George Eliot

-“My mom is definitely my rock.” Alicia Keys

-“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” Robert Browning

-“It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful?” Mahatma Gandhi

-“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” William Makepeace Thackeray

-“Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.” Sophocles

-“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.” Victor Hugo

-“Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.” Erich Fromm

-“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Theodore Hesburgh

-“There is nothing in the world of art like the songs mother used to sing.” Billy Sunday

-“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” Barbara Kingsolver

-“The love of a mother is the veil of a softer light between the heart and the heavenly Father.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge

-“For when a child is born, the mother also is born again.” Gilbert Parker

-“Motherhood is …difficult and…rewarding.” Gloria Estefan

-“I was always at peace because of the way my mom treated me.” Martina Hingis

-“My mother is a walking miracle.” Leonardo DiCaprio

-“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” Tenneva Jordan

-“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs…since the payment is pure love.” Mildred B. Vermont

-“If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.” Robert Brault

-“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” Author Unknown

-“All mothers are working mothers.” Author Unknown

-“Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” Marion C. Garretty

-“Mother – that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries.” T. DeWitt Talmage

-“A mother understands what a child does not say.” Author Unknown

-“A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Two Treasures to Visit

It’s good news!

It was exciting to learn from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation that Sequoyah County has the second best place in the state to watch birds (actually wildlife of all kinds) at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, and the overall county is number 10 in the state as the best place to be a bird watcher.

As a novice birdwatcher, who knows pretty much absolutely nothing about birds, it has been amazing to me how many birds there are in my own back yard. I can now recognize 20 or 30 different feathered friends. Before getting my bird book and a pair of binoculars I could barely tell the difference between a robin, a cardinal and a blue jay. I’m much better now. It’s those 30 or 40 different types of sparrows that keep me confused.

The wildlife department is a big help. The wildlife department is more good news for us if you don’t know already. And they have a great website, with all kinds of information for hunters, fishermen, and people like me who just like to observe wildlife.

Our wildlife department cooperated recently with the Cornell University Ornithology Lab and the National Audubon Society on the Great Backyard Bird Count. I counted my birds but didn’t send in the info. Wish I had now. It was the smart bird counters who went to the wildlife refuge and counted 53 different types of birds that got us in the top 10. That’s exciting. Think I’ll go to the refuge myself. But there’s nothing I like better than sitting on my own back porch on a sunny morning and taking photos of my birds, many of whom I know by name now. Yes, I name my wild birds.

Chad Ford, the outdoor recreation planner at the refuge, said a visit would be good.

“We encourage everyone to get outdoors and enjoy their local treasure, the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge,” Ford said. “Not everyone gets a wildlife refuge in their own back yard.”

Yes, our wildlife refuge and our wildlife department are both treasures I thoroughly enjoy.

Now the wildlife department is joining in the Virtual Spring BioBlitz! OK 2017 Project. This is for people like me who would rather observe wildlife than pseudo-star people on TV. The project will have we observers (also known as citizen scientists) taking photos of both fauna and flora (critters and plants for those who didn’t like biology), which we then post on the iNaturalist website. According to Oklahoma wildlife, participation is free and prizes will be awarded to the top observers. New challenges will be posted each week with opportunities to win additional prizes and compete with fellow citizen scientists statewide.

During last year’s inaugural virtual BioBlitz! More than 2000 observations were made of 701 species in the state, so the competition is rough. But I still signed up, and hope I can find out the name of that pretty salamander that lives under my back porch.

You know, sometimes we get really tired of all the bad news. Well, here’s good news – our wildlife department and wildlife refuge.

So come on in, join the watchers, have some fun, and meet new critters. Visit the wildlife refuge south of Vian and visit the wildlife department on the internet. I love both places.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

40 Bags in 40 Days

This is the update report on the three-generation 40 Bags in 40 Days Purge, to which Darling Daughter challenged me and her own daughter, my granddaughter.

Don’t think Darling Daughter thought I could do it. I didn’t either. But, yep, I’m right on schedule. I do have these rules about “Use It or Lose It” and “Wear It or Share It.” Doesn’t mean I follow the rules. Even my own.

Darling Daughter has been texting us about her own purge success. Gorgeous Grandddaughter hasn’t texted one word. I suspect there is little purging going on at her house. But anyone with a 3-year-old doesn’t get to do much but chase the 3-year-old around, so we understand.

I had never heard of the 40-day purge before Darling Daughter brought it up. Maybe that is why my house needs a purge. I find it hard to throw anything away. I may need it. I might not need it today, but I might need it in 10 years or so. And that recalls another of my rules. If I throw it away or get rid of it, whatever it is, something will come up and I will need it within 24 hours. But I won’t have it anymore because I threw it away. It never fails.

Nevertheless, I agreed to do the purge, because Darling Daughter is always challenging me. But I looked it up on the internet first.

Good Grief! There is a whole 40 Bags in 40 Days world out there. These people must live and breathe purging. How can they have anything to purge if they keep purging all the time? They are so busy throwing things away they don’t have time to buy anything.

And they make lists, lots and lots of lists. One list suggests what areas to purge, one per day, for 40 days. The list goes from the basement to the attic, and even includes such things as your makeup bag, your bookcase and your liquor cabinet. All I can say is I’m too old for a makeup bag, don’t touch my books and ha, ha, ha, I don’t have or need a liquor cabinet. Uh, well, I may need one after this purge thing.

Another lists all the things you should throw out, like thin and frayed washcloths and towels (but they make good dust cloths); shopping bags (hey if that bag says Disney on it, it’s staying); and jeans that don’t fit anymore (I am going to lose weight). That list had 60 items on it.

One lists demands we toss out “scraps of mail.” I don’t even know what that is. If it’s a scrap, it was gone a long time ago. Another list says to toss out old receipts and checks. But someone else said they should be kept for at least two years! One list suggests getting rid of flat surfaces because they gather clutter. Terribly sorry but earth’s gravitation suggests I have a flat surface for my coffee cup if nothing else!

So I made a big decision, and decided to kick off my purge by dumping all those lists. That worked well. Then I did dumped old mail. I will donate all those glass vases that came with flowers on Mother’s Day, and I packed up all the boxes I save cause I might need them next Christmas.

We’re 10 days into the 40-day purge, and I’m still on track. Only 30 days to go. I’m so proud.

The only thing is, my house doesn’t look different at all!