Monday, December 31, 2012

Golf Gypsy's 2012 Review in Photos.

Seasons of golf in the USA.
It was a warmer than average winter, so I was actually able to practice a few golf shots before flying out to Palm Springs with Peggy to play our spring golf at The Palms and The Classic Club. (We are troopers:  not even tornadoes, wall clouds, and pouring storming rains can keep us from our California destination, but it can make us a day or two late.)  I'd like to say that the golf was stellar but that would be a lie!  In May, we celebrated Peggy's two on hole 7 at MCC.  It helped us win but it cost me a dollar.   Mary Lee and I played in our first ever Triple Threat event and had the time of our lives, focused, diligent, talking golf, and laughing. Oh, I forgot to mention, feeling lucky.   I was mentally ready for golf and I thought physically, especially after  a year of Pilates, but again I was wrong.  A golf ball sized  hernia was cramping my style; once that was stitched up and six lazy weeks had passed I was really ready to test my skills.

In July the Walenz Explorer took four of us to Beaver Creek, Colorado and four days of golf at Red Sky Ranch, which tested our skills, our patients, our ability to focus in spite of the Black Angus cattle running across the fairway while being chased by a bear, and our enjoyment of taking the edge off!  August and September were filled with golf tournaments and travels with friends, as I tried to make up for missing June golf.  I will however, not complain about that rest.  I don't know when I've ever felt so refreshed.   October, November, and up until December 2 turned out to be so unseasonably warm that many friends visited Prairie Dunes to play where the pros have played, and  I took turns visiting their courses.  Along the way we each made some daring one putts, hit some memorable shots, trees, gunch, sand, and other unplayable lies.  For us amateurs that's about all we can ask for in a round of golf.  Cheers to memories of 2012.

Journeys, memories, and victories in 2012.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas on the Road

La Quinta view, but not in California

Here I sit looking out a south window at a motel pool  as snowy ice pellets hit the water's surface creating dazzling modern art forms. Today, December 25, this is my Norman Rockwell Christmas painting, and, like so many of my 64 Christmases, we are on the road.  Christmas on the road has taken me to New Orleans, Chicago, Pasadena, Miami, Florida (and my Miami, OK), Dallas, Wichita and many other tiny towns and truck stops of the old two lane highways and Route 66.  Very few Christmas's were ever spent in our home, as a child or now as an adult, but I'm oh so blessed to have celebrated uniquely.

There were years when Christmas was a struggle; when I forgot the true meaning of Christmas; when I worried that it wouldn't be perfect; when I compared our children's Christmas, divided with divorced parents and brought together in a combined family, to those of one happy home.  I'd gotten lost in maize of looking for the perfect painting.    One day in a silent prayer for guidance a gentle voice reminded me that Christmas lives in our hearts, and to open my heart to his love to his words.  Watching now as the ice pellets turn to snowflakes, the birds flutter in the trees, a cardinal perches on a bush in front of me, I am refreshed in the beauty of the moment, my heart is open and it is Christmas.  Merry Christmas World.

Monday, December 17, 2012

You're Never too Old....

The busy beaver stayed on task while we relaxed.
You're never to old to enjoy a lunch break at the Zoo, and to have a refreshing reprieve from the work a day world.  Jack and I took just such a break one warm winter day recently, and we were delightfully surprised.  The animals were as happy and relaxed with the weather as we were.  We wondered past the deer and the antelope as they lazily lay in the sun, and watched a wild turkey canvas his area.

The birds were sunning themselves on limbs high above and paid no attention to the tiny gallery.  The American Eagle perched out of camera lense but not out of my sight.  He has a striking pose worth viewing up close.  The barrier-free aviary is home to many other birds as well.

Great Horned Owl
Yuka's art over the aquarium.
 We wondered into the wild habitat building and were greeted by a colorful collage of paintings above the animal habitats.  Yuka Danshita designed these paintings and donated her time and energy to the Zoo, so we could all enjoy scenes.  Look for her rain forests and desert scenes, as well.   I must say the chirping monkeys were busy that day creating mayhem,    It sounded like a kindergarten room without a teacher to oversee them, while the lowly turtles were enjoying an afternoon delight.  We laughed.

 Burrowing Owl focused on us.
As we wondered about we were amazed at the number of animals living at the zoo and at the extend of activity and things to see and do.   A small Burrowing Owl stared me down as we were walking out.  He didn't move while I took his picture.

Why had we not visited it before?
A Wise Old Owl hooted that I should find gifts for kids here.
Christmas trees decorated by area children lined the walk way near the gift shop and entrance.  Then a distant "hoot" sent me a bright idea.  Since it was nearly Christmas would the gift shop have any unique items for me to buy for our family.  Indeed they did.

How many of you have taken a lunch break to visit the zoo or gone after work for a stroll around the park?  It is a peaceful place where one could relax and return to work refreshed.  In less than 10 minutes from downtown you could be opening a car door and stepping into another world.  The Zoo is open daily.  Call for hours: 620.694.2693 or check out <>

Tell me what zoos are in your area and when you last took a stroll through a park.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Torn Between my Loves

There's such a fine line to 24 hours, and just how much I can reasonably accomplish or enjoy.   Yet, I am torn everyday, even with lists giving me places, errands to run, and tasks to finish.  The list is never fully complete before I start another one.  The lists don't show my true loves, they only take time away from them.

My true loves are spending time with family and friends, playing golf with friends, writing, gardening, exercising and walking the dog.  The irony lies in this warm weather.  By November my golf clubs are usually dusty and my mind hasn't given a thought to playing golf or gardening, but this year nature is giving us a real fall and I'm making every effort to be outside and enjoy every minute of it.  Until December 6, I was still digging in my gardens.  Newly planted surprise lily bulbs will do just that, surprise me next summer.  A transplanted iris garden will shed purple, white, and golden colors for a few weeks this coming spring, and Jack and I will toast a glass of wine to their beauty.

The awesome Greensburg duo of Letty and Jayne playing golf in Kansas December 2.
We've traveled to OU football games and visited with friends and family;  toasted to childhood memories at our (Weaver) family's first reunion this Thanksgiving; and managed to play golf on November 30 and then again on December 2.  I've loved every minute of these memories, but still I'm torn.

My brain and my emotions love it when I just sit and write or read.  I don't handle interruptions well when I'm playing in my head, and so I need cold winter days that keep me inside and nothing else on my calendar.  My brain frequently replays a quote by Georgia O'Keefe, "In order to do one thing right you have to give up 12 other things."  My dad said something similar whenever I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer or tennis player, "Tizzie, learn to do ONE THING well, first, then you can enjoy the others."  Over the years, they were both right.  I learned to be a tenacious golfer; a well versed student; a creative teacher.  Along the way I learned to be a storyteller and puppeteer.    Now, I'm doing those twelve other things, with a tug...Write  Write   Write.  There are stories in my head nearly drowning trying to get out, get down on paper.

This afternoon the North winds blew cooler weather our way.  I turned off the outside faucets, rolled up the hoses, and came inside.  I've played with my blog drafts, filled in photos that were deleted when my blog went haywire, written short notes about Miami, called friends, toasted a glass of wine to a creative muse named Tizzie.  She's back.  She's happy, her twin Letty dislikes the cold north wind, but Tizzie is happy.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Miami Memories: MHS the Substitute

The phone rang early this morning jarring my cozy dream state.  Staying in my warm bed and ignoring the loud ring came to mind, but instead I crawled out of bed, politely answered in a most upbeat tone, and listened as the voice pleaded, "Letty, we need a sub today.  Could you please take this job?"

"No, I'm sorry," I replied, "but my calendar is full."  After hanging up, my guilt gene kicked in for a few moments.

The morning was still dark outside and the house was chilly.  My husband was eating breakfast and the dog was faithfully begging and drooling by his side, waiting on a tasty morsel to drop.   Before I had a chance to settle into the still warm sheets of bed, my brain buzzed with a flashback to my first substitute teaching job at Nichols Elementary in Miami, Oklahoma.

A picture would have read circa December 1967,  showing a bright eyed nineteen year old college student dressing for her first teaching job.  I was home from LSU on semester break and had plunged into the adult world immediately by filling out forms to be a substitute teacher.   I don't remember much about that day other than the fear in my eyes when I meet those fourth graders, and the pounding in my heart when I saw the teacher's lesson plans.   With the schedule seemingly changing every 20 or 40 minutes, I never really caught up with that first day.  Recess was a great relief to me, and the end of the day bell convinced me that I had chosen the right path, teaching high school English or History would be a breeze compared to elementary.

Spring Break 1968 I remained dedicated to making money by substituting at Miami High School, where I knew my way around, having just graduated from that stately red brick building in 1965.  I proudly accepted the job to sub for Mr. Lingo in French class, especially since I had taken two years of French from him and had continued on in college with French classes.  The morning was glorious:  my little sister Jonya, a sophomore, came by the room to see me; I drank a coke and set it on the desk as I had seen Mrs. Enderland and Mrs. Thompson do when they substituted;  other teachers recognized me and asked if I needed  help.  "No thank you, but I'm doing just fine," I replied. I spent time in the library at noon with Mrs. Watson chatting about books we had both been reading. The Confessions of Nat Turner was my favorite read that year.

The calming spirit of Miami High.
Springtime weather warmed the classroom and the janitor helped me open some of the stuck windows, leading to my first encounter with rowdy boys.  Shortly after taking role in the last class of the day, I looked up to see a boy leaping out of the window and two more on his heels.  I rushed to the window to stop them, and then I broke into a short jab of laughter followed by embarrassed anger.  The remaining students and I watched as the boys ran between two houses and on across main street to "E. C's" Drive-Inn.  A deep breath was in order, but then what to do?   Calming myself and my students came first, and when at last they were on task for the moment, I quietly stepped out and walked down the hallway to the principal's office.  Mr. Kelton looked up smiling,  "It's nice to have you in the building today.  How has your day gone?"  Humbly, I explained that I had lost control with the group of boys and described what had happened.  With no sympathy and a sheepish grin on his face he responded rather sarcastically   "Now skipping out of class isn't anything new to you, is it Letty?"  If I could have disappeared in a puff of smoke at that moment I would have, but instead I smiled, dropped my head and said, "I never jumped out the window!"

I don't remember what the course of action might have been that day.  My guess is that Mr. Kelton calmly walked over to E.C's and invited the boys back into the building.  I survived.  I never finished that degree to be a high school teacher, but I did stay in education, and am most grateful to every child who entered my life.  Forty-five years have passed since that first phone call.  Today, and perhaps for years to follow,  rather than substitute I have chosen to write, to exercise, to read, to relax and let someone else take charge.