Sunday, December 23, 2012

Habits and Other Decisions

Heavens to Betsy, I knew I needed to start writing again, but I didn't realize how out of touch I was. It's been a busy year. Two major surgeries, one the week of Valentine's Day and the other on Halloween - I like to live it up when I have my medical problems...and I think I'm finally getting back to normal, whatever that is. I really didn't want to have the second surgery, but it was kind of one of those have to things and it was cheaper to get it over with since I'd already met my insurance deductible for the year. So there you have it. What was bad, is when the nurse called to schedule the 2nd one and she said, Oct. 31st., I thought, "that sounds familiar". But, it still didn't occur to me it was a nationally busy day. However, it's not like I have to take 2 doz. cookies or cupcakes to 3 classrooms at school anymore, so it didn't really make that much difference. Plus, it's been a busy year between surgeries...helping with a Senior Adult and an After-school programs at church, and my big news: I'm going to be opening a booth at a nearby consignment store. More about that after I can post pictures in a week or so.

Other than the fact it's 2 days before Christmas, it's all calm on the western front. Except, this slight problem. We decided yesterday, 3 days before Christmas that we needed a chimney sweep. Probably not the best time to engage one. At least, not for any of the ones we called. So, I have dug out all the electric heaters I could find in the closets, until the chimney sweeps of western Oklahoma have celebrated Christmas. Our 2 youngest will be in from college later today. They will probably decide they need to go visit their grandmother after they experience the true temperature of our house without the wood burning stove. We had run out of wood and I had gone and bought a rick from this nice man selling it nearby.  I knew it didn't seem to be burning as hot as the last wood, but thought we'd just gotten a hold of some wood that didn't burn hot. Luckily, my husband decided to do some internet research. Hip hip hooray for the internet, he probably saved us from a house fire. It turns out that's one of the signs you need to clean the chimney. As we'd had a house fire 31 years ago at Christmas, I'd already decided I didn't want to do THAT again. (That was an electrical fire.) In closing, I'll share a couple of favorite Christmas time pictures from the church we attend. 


Merry Christmas and hope everyone stays warm. 

Elaine, aka, the Red Dirt Cowgirl

Friday, September 21, 2012

Will The Person Who Stole America's Sense Of Humor, Please Return It!

Oh my heaven's!!! Where did our sense of humor go? It has gotten lost and we are seriously endangered. Just put us on the endangered species list...we're toast.

At first it was the whole politics thing. The last few years, it has become real obvious real quick that nobody could give anyone permission to think differently from them. This is otherwise known as the "you think different than me, so you're obviously wrong syndrome." I'm tired of it. I'm just daring the national political parties to call my house and ask for donations. I'm dying to tell both sides what my sister told the ones that called her house, "I'm not donating one thin dime until ya'll learn how to get along together!

Then, let's just think a moment about the division of people's opinions on Facebook. I was griping about it to my middle son one day, because I've decided some of the people I've friended are possibly downright nuts. My son's advice, "either unfriend them or fix their feed so you never see it". I told him I couldn't do that. As an informed citizen, I want to know what people from all walks of life are thinking. My inner sociologist needs to know. But, the Facebook hostility is just a little part of the background. Sometimes the put-downs are in the ridiculous and silly hateful posts on a slow cooker page, putting people down for cooking with cream of mushroom soup. (I guess some people just don't know it's a rule you have to have at least one dish at the church dinner with cream of something soup in it.) Yes, that's a joke.

I had already known for years that religion was a hot topic. When I got married (34 years ago), my wonderful father-in-law John, who just happened to be famous as one of the rabid democrats of the community, also happened to be a different denomination than I had been raised. One of the important things my mother felt the need to pass on to me before marriage was the little gem, "there were 2 things I should never discuss with my future father-law: politics and religion".

However, I was more of a dare-devil in those days, so I brought up both topics the first time he came to dinner. It was stimulating. I even got into one of those "once you're saved, you're always saved, even if you commit murder later?" discussions eventually, although, I think I saved that one for a later date. That was a long time ago. Now, I just want everyone to play nice and get along together. John has been deceased since 2005, but if he were still here, I wouldn't dream of even discussing politics with him now. He was definitely a what you see is what you get,100% American original, however, and I think he would be disappointed at the current state of affairs.

But, tonight on Anderson Cooper, I heard about this lawsuit involving a pink playhouse. I wasn't paying attention when they said where this was happening, I didn't know the story was getting ready to go bizarro on me. I was listening to my little kitchen TV that doesn't have that luxury of a rewinding DVR, so I couldn't go back for the missed details. However, something tells me the nation has not heard the last of this playhouse story. The housing addition wants the little girl's playhouse repainted because pink does not fit into the community plan and they feel so strongly that the pink playhouse is destroying the integrity of the neighborhood, they have filed a lawsuit. I would like to reinforce that this playhouse appeared to be the Cadillac of playhouses. This was no shabby tacky playhouse. Any yard should be proud to have a playhouse of this caliber. However, I did hear the little girl's grandmother say she wasn't giving up and would fight the battle out in court and that she would move before she repainted that playhouse!

Having been a child that grew up with a playhouse, I know the benefits of having a little playhouse out in the yard. Having earned a degree in Family Relations and Child Development, I could probably make a list or write an essay on the benefits of imaginative play. We need more imaginative play in this country, because we need children to grow up creative. And why do we need creative children? Because we're going to need lots of inventions to get us through the future. My teachers taught us in college that play is a child's work.

Good grief. We need to get over ourselves and give permission for people to think, even if it's different from us...and unless they're thinking of doing things that endanger the lives of others - let there be thought.

We need more thought...and pink playhouses...and tree-houses, and cardboard box space ships, and finger paint  play dough, and lots of other things that give children wings to become the future.

And we need to make sure that we're also teaching our children tolerance and compromise, a whole bunch of it. Because as the old story went, we're in a mell of a hess.

         Elaine Bellamy…aka the Red Dirt Cowgirl

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Couldn't Have Done This Graduation Party Without Mod Podge!

Boy, I've been pretty busy this summer. I've also been challenging my decision to ever blog. However, that deeper inner desire to write the rest of my life has emerged again. So here, I am - geared up to start all over. So many people have written about how superior word press is as compared to blogger, that I even struggled with the idea of if I should transfer everything to word press or start all over. But, I guess I am technologically challenged and got lost in understanding everything. Blogger just seems easier to me. So here I am, still plodding along.

One of my big projects was to participate in a mod podge contest. I didn't do it because I thought I had the best mod podge projects in America. I just did it to take on a project and follow thru to the finish. You had to post 10 different projects by a certain date and time. Since at the time I read about the contest, I only had about 3 or 4 finished projects, I had quite the frolicsome time getting 10 projects finished. One of the things that started me off being busy back in the spring was when our youngest son graduated from college in May and we wanted to give him a nice party. Since we live about 185 miles from his college, it was no small feat to get the food and decorations organized. However, I was a home ec major in college, so I was up to the challenge. Plus, I had the help of my sister, my mother, aunt, and James' girlfriend, Janae. I've been waiting on the graduation party pictures before I created these photo collages, but I still haven't received them and I really wanted to at least post what I have at this point, so unfortunately I still can't show you what the college themed decorations looked like at the party. However, I wanted to improve my pictures on Pinterest, so I needed to get this cleaned up. 

 This was our graduation tree. This was my mother's brainstorm. She wanted to use an old Halloween tree that had been stored down in her basement. She made a bunch of detailed little felt ornaments of the school mascot, Pistol Pete and other Oklahoma State icons. She even made cute little felt books. (which of course I don't have a picture of yet to show off) My brainstorm contribution was to decoupage old book page scraps to little plastic Easter eggs...that I bought marked down after Easter, of course, so the only project cost pennies practically. I went for days decoupaging Easter eggs to the tune of TV marathons. Every once in a while I'd peal another layer of mod podge off my fingers and cook my husband a meal. I made hangers of orange ribbon and hot glued little cream colored flowers to match the old book pages. I have a full size tree picture coming with the grad party pictures, so more detail will be showed later.    

A final graduation collage. The "time to graduate" clock was simple: I used an inexpensive clock I had bought on sale at Dollar General, then just added a variety of OSU stickers. Then I filled in the between areas with "time to graduate" strips that I had created in word in a variety of fonts. I think I got the clock in either a 75% or 90% off sale. (Plus, I bought a few more to use at a later date for a different theme.) I finished it off with a couple of coats of clear poly.)

The chalkboards are just some simple chalkboard's I bought on clearance several years ago. They've been packing away in my craft room until I found a good use for them. A few stickers and paint pens and they were perfect for what I needed them for. So that's all the graduation party decor I can offer until I receive my additional pics.

Go pokes!

Elaine, aka, the Red Dirt Cowgirl

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Playing with Pic Monkey

If you haven't done any online photo editing, you have missed something. I used to use PicNic, which has recently closed down. However, some of the movers and shakers behind PicNic, have come up with a new product called PicMonkey. I had played around with it and decided I was ready to post an example of what you can do.
Here is the front of my old high school. Just your basic brick building right? The significance of this one being, if the next bond election goes like we hope it will, this building will be no more. So being the historian that I am, I decided it was time I better start memorializing it.
See...ordinary brick building on a sunny day. I especially like the flag blowing in the wind.
But, stay tuned for part two, my remake of my old high school, courtesy of PicMonkey.

Oh, and by the way...prepared to be dazzled. I know I was. Maybe because I've actually been there and still drive by there all the time. Maybe it's because I used to see this from one of my old backyards. We could walk down the alley from our last house to this place. So, yes, you take things like that for granted. You couldn't ask for a more ordinary street. I think I drove by there yesterday. Twice. Didn't give it any thought.

So, ta dah.

But, the longer I looked at this, I could see things I would change if I could do it again. I decided I needed to make my little quote at the top larger, so it stood out more. In fact, I could have probably made this picture look 45+ other ways. On my way to doing this, I made one I liked awfully well, that had some turquoise in the sky. But, when I made one of my edits, I lost it and I couldn't figure out what I needed to do to get it back because it was so new for me. However, as this one is heavy on the "Fort Cobb Blue" I thought I needed to keep it. As I kept looking at it, I decided I HAD to go back and change that quote size, so here it is, all better now. When I went back, it was my lucky day...the picture file was still open & it was a piece of cake.

But, you just have to keep practicing and ya'll need to try this too. Because it's just too much fun. And who doesn't want to have fun with their pictures? I know I do. You can find PicMonkey here, @ So go on over there and have some fun. And because I just couldn't resist it, I went back another day and found my turquoise sky again...and here it is, my favorite: 

Update (end of 2012): and I'm so glad I took the time to take my pic's. Because the bond election passed, the deconstruction is in progress, and this building is no more. Because I took time out to take pictures, I have something to pass on to my kids. 

But, just to show you how versatile pic monkey is, I'm going to include some various collages I've made just this past year...

This started out life as a post card my grandmother mailed to my great grandmother in 1946. The dorm in the background was the dorm I moved into in 1968. Small world, huh? We found it in my grandparents' things after they died. I made this into a facebook birthday card to one of my old college friends that I met while living in that dorm. 
 This was some of our VBS advertising...

To the right:  This was a family reunion reminder.                                          All I can say, is it is fun, fun, fun. Go play.
 Best wishes, Elaine, aka, the Red Dirt Cowgirl

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Planning My Next Big Road Trip

I had recently heard about the Red Barn Boutique junk shopping show near my Alma Mater in Stillwater, OK that only happens twice a year in April and Oct. It is finally almost time for the April show (April 12-15) and I had the brilliant idea to not just go by myself...which of course could have still be fun because I do have 2 sons going to college in the same town and I could have gotten together with them to eat out. But, it suddenly occurred to me, why not see if anyone I knew that had also gone to OSU and loves to go back to Stillwater for field trips would like to tag along. We could get a motel, eat out, go see the newly remodeled Student Union, go to the Red Barn thing, and have a lot of fun. So I messaged a couple of other OSU alums and asked them what they thought and they agreed it would be a great trip. So, plans are now in the works.

I had surgery Feb. 13th and the doctors think I'm doing great, so I'm planning on being really great by mid April. Of course, if I buy anything heavy, I will have to get someone else to lift it into the trunk, but other than that, I should be good to go. I've created my event and sent it out to Facebook friends with OSU- Stillwater connections and already have enough reservations that we will need 2 motel rooms. My only regret is that I couldn't plan it earlier, because I can't get a good motel for a Friday night, so we have to go on a Thursday, which cuts down on the participation a bit. However, I did need to wait till the doctors gave the word I could resume my life.

If you want to plan your own Red Barn Boutique Road Trip, here's a link so you can learn more about it:  They also have a page on Facebook, if you're a Facebooker.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

TheThriftShopper.Com National Thrift Store Directory Listing Charity Resale Shops

I had DVR'd The Nate Show yesterday and heard about this website to do searches for thrift stores. I tried it for the Oklahoma City area and turned up tons of places I've never heard of or been to, so I take it that this will be a pretty helpful site.

TheThriftShopper.Com National Thrift Store Directory Listing Charity Resale Shops:

'via Blog this'

Monday, February 6, 2012

Just a word of explanation about my absence. I've been having a lot of medical tests, waiting for test results, and learning to deal with getting some postponements from the doctors/surgeons. It turns out I have to have multiple surgeries, which is a big drag...but at least now I have some answers as to what's going on with me. I have also successfully totally changed my diet over to nonfat/lowfat eating. It hasn't totally eliminated the stomach distress that waylays me from time to time, but at least I have gotten the pain to where it's more bearable. Right now, I'm just trying to get ready to go to the hospital, which also includes getting my house ready for me to be gone and some food for my husband to reheat in the microwave. I suppose there is no way to get totally prepared. I have also been stocking up on my stacks of reading material, for that laying around time after surgery. Probably what's going to be toughest is knowing after I recuperate from the first surgery, I'll have to turn around and have another one. Oh well, you know what they say, "what doesn't break you makes you stronger"...or something like that. The upside to all this? I have lost more than 20 pounds and I bet my cholesterol level is the lowest it's been in years. The other downside? I'm unable to drive around looking for those good red dirt road deals. But, I have faith those days will come again. Plus, I have a new little red car to drive when that happens. Unfortunately, the old red dirt road vehicle was getting more expensive to keep up than it was worth, so spontaneously one day, I told my husband we needed to start looking at cars. We found a great low mileage used car that same day and you know what they say, "the rest is history". Plus, I now get 30 miles to the gallon...just in time for higher gas prices. But, it beats the 21 miles I used to get.