Tag Archives: Oklahoma


Prairie_fence.JPGThere’s nothing quite like going somewhere else, or getting ready to go somewhere else, that makes you take a good long look at home.

I am looking forward to seeing sights and hearing sounds, and tasting things that I don’t normally. The other side of the coin is that to those I am going to visit, I live in a far-away and unusual place.

I am watching out my window as I type.  There is a juvenile rabbit hopping along the fenceline in the yard next to ours filling up on an abundance of overgrown clover.  A flock of sparrows keeps darting from a variety of perches in the chain link fence to the dirt pile under the elm tree.  I wonder if locusts are digging out. There’s something delectable scurrying about down there.

Ah, there’s my pigeon buddy.  I don’t think it can fly.  For the past week, it has visited me in my garage, I have frightened it out from behind our air conditioner when I walked out the kitchen door, and right now it too is darting about around the dirt pile.  It flaps every now and then, but not much and lists a little to its left. Oops, well….it just made it to the top of the chain link fence.  Then came down to the ground again to feast on something.  Wait, no.  That’s a second one!  The injured one is climbing up the tree trunk now.  I might have to stop writing and watch to see what happens.

I hope in the next few days I can put together a digital photo album to showcase familiar parts of my surroundings that might be intriguing to those I meet.  My son was already sweet enough to put family pictures on a small digital key chain for me to take with me.  Now I need to learn how to say family, husband, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, niece in Bulgarian.  Should have done that a long time ago.  But I can say hello! And please and thank you and introduce myself. And count.  And gesture a lot.

Language. That’s a whole other adventure.

So will I get to do any of this in Bulgaria?  Will there by time to watch birds or find rabbits or catch the smallest glimpse of everyday life, somebody else’s mundane that is strange and fascinating to me?

I certainly hope so. In the meantime, where did that pigeon go?




World English Dictionary
virga (ˈvɜːɡə)

— n
( sometimes functioning as plural ) meteorol wisps of rain or snow, seen trailing from clouds, that evaporate before reaching the earth

[C20: from Latin: streak]

The Oklahoma sky and weather have taught me many things. Dark wisps of virga eerily transform the sky into a canvas of dark ghosts trying hard to land on earth.  The sky is one of the few reasons, in my book, that make it worth it to be up before the sun. It is equally worth it to stop whatever I am doing and watch the sunset.

I have also learned respect for the storms that come sweeping through and the wisdom of listening to warnings. It is pretty cool to be able to watch weather changes approach in that wide open expanse above our heads.

Then there’s the summer sun, blazing so relentlessly you swear you should be able to reach out and touch it.

For me the sky is most interesting when there are clouds.  When life is too busy for cloud watching, then life has become entirely too busy, and it’s time to ratchet back a notch or two.

Here are a few of my shots of the Oklahoma sky:


Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds



Angel Wing Sunset


Storm Cloud


Another storm cloud


Mother Ship Got Through


Oklahoma Clouds Can Sign! Love you, too.

Love clouds, too?  You’ll enjoy visiting The Cloud Appreciation Society.


Blast From the Past: Susie

When it comes to my first pet, I often forget Susie, but I shouldn’t. If she wasn’t a dog and she wasn’t long dead, she’d never forget me.


Susie was an Airedale and as I remember it she belonged to my Dad’s brother Steven. However, Uncle Steven wasn’t always home, and at the time I imagine their parents–my grandparents–were often traveling as well. So for stretches of time in my young life  Susie would become mine. And when my sisters came along, ours.

In my mind I can hear my Mom raving to others about what a good-natured dog she was and I do remember using her as a pillow to watch TV. Not just me either. Imagine three little girls resting their heads on a doggie-belly pillow; her four legs created the arms for our resting place. Susie didn’t seem to mind one bit.

She also loved pancakes. Mom would sometimes make pancakes for us on the weekends when Dad was home for breakfast. Once the family had their fill, rather than throw away the leftover batter, she’d make one last–usually oversized–pancake for Susie, who stood patiently beside the stove through the entire cooking process for her treat.

When I was almost nine, we sold our home and moved in for a year with my Mom’s father. I imagine Susie was home with my grandparents in Chestnut Hill then. There aren’t many details of that year-long stretch that I remember well, other than winning a gigantic chocolate bar for a story I wrote, my sister Jill burning pop-tarts in the toaster one Saturday morning when she wanted to make us breakfast, and receiving my first diary. I don’t know where Susie was, I guess because of her habit of appearing and disappearing at the whim of someone else.

When that year was up, we were ready to move to Oklahoma. Dad left in March to go set up our house that he and Mom bought over the phone (a story for another day) and get a job, making sure all was ready for when the rest of us would join him in June. He needed someone to keep him company. Going from a wife and three daughters to being a bachelor was a little much for any man. Plus Uncle Steven was planning a permanent move to Japan. Susie moved to Oklahoma with my Dad to pave the way for us and for a time when she would be completely ours, all the time.

I religiously read Little House on the Prairie books during those three months Dad was in Oklahoma. I often would imagine Susie running wild and free through the acres and acres and acres of land. Dad wrote detailed letters home, sent pictures and there was Susie, looking like she belonged. Going from the danger and noise of living in the Philadelphia suburbs to a place where three houses occupied a square mile had to be fantastic for a dog who could finally run wherever she wanted, whenever she wanted and not worry about getting hit by a car.

However, Susie had to have been an old dog by then, judging from the pictures of us when I was a toddler. I was a month away from 10 when moved into that old Oklahoma farmhouse, so Susie was probably well into her 70s when she headed west.

I don’t remember exactly how long it was after Dad’s move, but after a few good romps through the prairie with my father, Susie got sick, and it turned into pneumonia which took her life. He told us in a letter. I was sad mostly for Dad, that he had to be all by himself when he buried her out on the Oklahoma prairie, sad that I had lost a friend, but so happy that Susie had experienced the glorious freedom of wide open spaces before the book of her life closed.