Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Jack and Roxie and I took a road trip yesterday. We knew it would be a long trip and couldn't leave Roxie home alone for 14 hours. So we put a mat in the back seat, packed a jug of water, a dish and some food. While I worked, Jack either sat in the car or walked Roxie. I saw the Pioneer Woman Museum, the Marland Mansion, the Standing Bear Museum and the Conoco Museum in Ponca City. Roxie enjoyed the grassy, park area at the Pioneer Woman Museum and really liked the walking trails at the Standing Bear Park. We stopped at the Buffalo Hills Golf Course in Pawhuska for lunch -- unfortunately, they're only open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Roxie inspected the parking lot and took pleasure in scaring a cat. She waited patiently while we lunched at Bad Brad's. Rox checked out the grass at a Phillips 66 station and rested in the car while Jack and I visited the Phillips Museum in Bartlesville. She stretched out in the back seat while we toured the Glass Mansion in Nowata and she and Jack took a stroll while I looked at the windows in the Presbyterian church. She felt right at home with the guys at Nowata Firearms and ate her meal there while Jack and I chatted with David Lynn and Bill Brown about their work-in-progress gun range. More waiting for her when Jack, Bill and Sandy Brown and I drove back to Bartlesville for dinner at Bogart's. After our dinner, she enjoyed a drink of fresh water, then settled down for the long drive home. Roxie logged almost 400 miles yesterday. What a good dog! Today when I put her leash on for her walk, she headed to the car. She's a born traveler.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Warm Memories for a Cold Day

Remember that warm weather I wrote about before Thanksgiving? It's gone. There were traces of snow on the ground this morning and I climbed into my long underwear and revved up my annual whine -- "Did I tell you I hate cold weather?" To which my patient husband replies affirmatively and then tunes out. So I entertain myself looking at photos of warmer days. These are from my October trip to Cornwall, England, and an afternoon's outing at Trevarno, an elegant estate with famous gardens. Oldest records date back to 1246. Over the years, the property has been owned by several prominent families. In 1994, the 750 acres were divided into 33 parcels and put up for sale. Two gentlemen, Nigel Helsby and Mike Sagin, were able to buy the entire amount and have set about restoring the amazing gardens and putting the estate on a steady financial footing by establishing rural crafts workshops on the property. Garden settings range from broad lawns to a steep crevasse; from formal plantings to nature untrammeled. When we visited, the last of the roses were blooming and the hydrangeas covered themselves with pillowy mounds of blossoms. What a beautiful place! Spring, when the floor of the bluebell woods ripples like a magical ocean and the mountains of rhododendrons glow with magentas, reds and purples, must be awe-inspiring.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bulbs and Begonias

It's two days before Thanksgiving and the house is ready. It's been hard to get into the holiday mood because we've had amazing, warm weather. We set a record at 82 today and right this minute, at 6 p.m., it's still 75. Our begonias have been thriving and the rhododendrons and azaleas have put on tentative blooms. But it all ends tonight! A big cold front is headed our way and the high tomorrow is predicted to be in the 40s with a hard freeze tomorrow night. What a dilemma! Should I put up the outside Christmas lights when the weather is still nice or wait, as I have always done, until after Thanksgiving? Hobby Lobby started putting out their Christmas decorations around the Fourth of July -- and I thought that was awful. Still, the warm weather won out and I sweated as I put up the Christmas lights. I think I got a mosquito bite, too. Did it serve me right?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chillin' with Chihuly

The Flaming Lips lead Wayne Coyne, native Oklahoman, set some jaws dropping recently when he proclaimed that Oklahoma City was f---ing cool. Not how I would have put it but he's right. One of the many things that makes our city exciting is the Chihuly exhibit at the Oklahoma Museum of Art. If I've got the wording right, this is the largest permanent collection of Chihuly glass in the United States. There have been larger traveling exhibitions but this one is ours -- bought, paid for and permanent. The exhibition was mounted for the opening of the museum and proved so popular that money was raised to keep it. Dale Chihuly has taken joy and given it a solid form. Hurrah for Chihuly, hurrah for Oklahoma City. We're fantastically cool and you can quote me.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

An Oklahoma Classic

I must admit I was disappointed when I found out that we were eating at Cattlemen's Steakhouse on the first night of the Oklahoma press trip. We have so many new and exciting places I hoped we'd show off -- instead we were going to Cattlemen's. It couldn't have been a better choice. It's an Oklahoma classic with great history and it let all the out-of-towners feel comfortable with their stereotype of our state -- pure cowboy. The steaks were fabulous. I ordered a small filet which was cooked to perfection -- just a half-step under medium -- tender, juicy, everything a filet should be. Sated, we climbed into the vans and headed for the bright lights and Bricktown. The writers were beginning to get a clue that Oklahoma is not only a bit country -- but we're also rock and roll!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

National Memorial

All the journalists were taken to the Oklahoma City National Memorial honoring "those who were killed, those who survived and those whose lives were forever changed" by the 1995 bombing of the A.P. Murrah Federal Building. I frequently take guests there -- usually at night. Until this trip, I had only been to the museum once. Marketing director Nancy Coggins told us that 13 % of the museum's visitors are from the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and less than 20 % are from the state. As difficult as it is, everyone should go. As part of their recognition of the Centennial, SpiritBank has arranged for all Oklahomans to visit the museum free during November. Just bring a state-issued ID. The Memorial is stunning anytime of day or night. Those who wanted to take night photos were brought back to the Memorial later in the trip. There's a real dichotomy between the horror of that time and the exemplary actions of so many Oklahomans. It's handled very well in the museum and the Memorial is a moving and healing place for all.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Drumming Up Business

The state of Oklahoma just hosted a major press trip. Over two dozen journalists from all over the country spent five days trekking across the state. As an Okie, it was gratifying to me to hear all the oooohs and aaaaahs. We all know Oklahoma has an image problem -- the lack of an image. There are still people who think of us as a dust bowl state with residents still riding horses to school and shopping at the general store. The trip provided a wonderful combination of history, heritage and contemporary living. One of the featured stops was the Chesapeake Boathouse here in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City has become a favorite spot for rowing and other boating competitions. The USA Canoe and Kayak Flatwater Sprint Olympic Trials will be held here next April. For our visit, our hosts put a dragonboat in the water. It takes between 15 and 20 rowers to power the long, slender craft, which sports a dragon's head on the bow. To keep the rowers together, a drummer sits on a small seat mounted on a platform in the bow -- no legs in the boat, no security blanket, just a little seat perched atop the boat. That was me!!!! I was exceedingly brave -- and didn't look down. The big plus -- a position of power and I didn't have to row! What fun!