J got a job!

Great news! J got not one, but two job offers this week. He has decided to take the one with the most room for growth. He is going to be the Restaurant Supervisor for the Day Shifts (Breakfast and Lunch) at the famous Warren Duck Club at the Doubletree Hotel at Warren Place, here in Tulsa. It's a AAA four diamond restaurant with a long standing reputation and regular clientele. It is also close to our house, so he can walk or ride his new Baccio scooter. We are thrilled! We have officially been here two whole months and this is just the beginning of the next chapter in our move here to Tulsa. He goes in tomorrow to fill out the paperwork and for orientation.

Here's a picture of the restaurant:

You can check out the menu, if you're curious...

The Doubletree is part of the Hilton chain and we will get some great perks as part of J's new position including discounts on lodging and dining.

Annual Exam...

A new job brings new insurance and a new doctor. Yesterday I went in for my annual "well woman" exam with my new OB/GYN. I chose her because she came highly rated and she was one of the only women listed on my preferred providers from my insurance company. I went, and fear that this time next year, I'll be looking at that list again and seeing yet another new doctor. ARG! In 5 years, I have been to 5 different new doctors. Mostly because they left my insurance plan, but this time, it's because this doctor is not the one for me.

First of all, she was 2 hours behind on her schedule! My appt. was for 1:30 pm so I arrived at 1:15 pm to fill out paperwork. I am used to doctor's running somewhat behind (a huge issue, but one that everyone seems to just accept). But once it hit 2:15 pm I was getting irritated. The woman next to me was even more so...she had a 12:40 pm appt.! Not one of the receptionists ever mentioned how far behind we were nor did they offer any solutions. Some patients ended up leaving because they had to get back to their jobs or kids. I decided to stick it out, since I do have some flexibility at the office and I really needed to get my prescription for Yaz refilled.

Finally, at 2:40 pm my name was called. I was led to the back, had my blood pressure and weight taken and was led to an exam room and given the little gown and sheet to change into. From 2:45 pm until 3:20 pm I sat on the edge of the exam table, legs dangling over the edge, trying to get comfortable in an exam gown that was too short and exposing too much to be comfortable. Finally, the doctor came in. She didn't apologize for being late. We got down to business and I got a huge cramp in my leg. She wanted to reschedule me since it was "obvious that I was having a problem". For what it's worth, I have had leg cramps for years! She said she had never seen such a case. She asked if I had osteoporosus in my family or if any women in my family had shrunk in height. No and no. She asked if I drink milk. Not really, other than on my cereal. Then she suggested that I start calcium supplementation since Yaz is supposed to already increase my potassium. Good advice, I guess. I chalked it up to being slightly dehydrated and oh yeah, sitting there on the edge of the exam table with my legs dangling down for a half hour and cutting off the circulation in my leg! I worked the cramp out quickly because there was no way in hell that I was going to reschedule my appt. with this woman. 5 minuntes and she was done.

I stood up, wrapping the sheet around myself while she talked to me. She started in with telling me that if I ever have hopes of trying to concieve that I need to lose at least 100 lbs! That would put me a size/weight smaller than I was in high school. The weight she wants me at I have not been since the 8th grade. Then she proceeds to warn that it will probably take me a few years, which of course, would put me at risk because I would be an older woman (35-36)! Finally, she insulted my intelligence by saying, "all you have to do is eat less and move more." Oh, really? I had no idea. She's a genius! She caps it off by asking how much caffiene I drink and I told her that I have about 12 oz. of coffee in the morning to which she replied, "well, you should cut back since caffiene stimulates your appetite." WTF? Her attitude was beyond for me. There is a way to communicate with people and she just has no clue.

Needlesstosay, I was angry and hurt by the whole thing and won't be going back to her. I know that I need to lose weight. Everyone I know, knows this. But I certainly don't think I need to lose 100 lbs before I try to get pregnant! My doctor, last year, said 50 lbs. would be a great goal (and one that is more in-line with what I was thinking too). He also said that he wasn't too concerned about my age (being in my mid-30's for a first baby is more the norm these days). Of course, he was a reproductive endocrinologist in addition to being an ob/gyn, so I felt confident in his advice. Anyway, it was an awful experience and I am definitely going to write up a review on Yahoo! and Yelp for this lady...other people need to read what I went through so they can avoid her.

Bye daddy...

My Dad left today. It was so nice having him here for the past week. I know it was way hot for him, but in a way, I am thankful for the heat. It forced us to just lay low and hang out inside and not run around crazy trying to see and do everything. It's the most time we've hung out together in many years. And the longest he and J have ever visited. They really got to connect on this visit in a way that was not possible before...although we have seen him on annually visits, it's been rushed, crammed in between other obligations and just never enough time. It was so great just to hang out, talk, laugh and eat. Despite the heat, on Sunday, J cooked up a wonderful dinner of asparagus, couscous and steak followed by DIY ice cream sundaes. It all makes me even more grateful since I just heard that Michael's father passed away this weekend. After a long battle with cancer he is finally at peace. I pray that my brother can be at peace too. I cannot imagine what it feels like to lose a parent and it makes me all the more aware of how precious each day we have together truly is.

Dad left this morning for Kansas, to visit with friends and then back to South Dakota to pick Dana up from summer camp. I miss him already...one week a year is never enough time to visit. J and I want to get to Alaska...my job will take me to Seattle in October 2010 and maybe we can piggyback a trip up to Alaska from there? But that's two years away! So, we'll see...we have got to at least coordinate a visit next year in CA or HI. Both would work for us!

Work was crazy busy today, but I love to be busy! Makes the day fly by! I have to work two Saturdays this month. So I hope to bank the time and use it for a couple of early days or something. We shall see...my company is so generous with their scheduling and time off that I am not really worried about it. I guess that I got so used to working 6 days a week that now, 2 days off a week feels like a real luxury!

J continues to interview for jobs. He didn't get the management position at Target, despite going through 5 rounds of interviewing! So, we're thinking about food service again and just biting the bullet, since most likely it means we won't see eachother as much as we'd like. We know that it's temporary and will not last forever. It will just force us to maximize the quality time that we do have together. We shall see...he had two interviews today. The goal is to have a job by the end of this week, so send him positive job vibes. I know that whatever he does, he will excel and be promoted up the ranks quickly. He's more worried about it than I am, but that's because he puts a lot of pressure on himself. The great news is that the cost of living here is somewhat manageable on one salary...especially since gas prices have dropped a bit. We're down to $3.68 here. Still high, but at least it's under $4! And my 90 day bonus will kick in at the end of August, so that will be helpful. I have found that stressing about money never makes it come faster, so I chose not to stress about it anymore. We always have everything we need and most of what we want, so I have faith.

Beating the heat!

It's been so hot here...100 degrees for the past 4 or 5 days. UGH! So we've been staying inside and cool in the nice A/C. Friday we saw "The Dark Knight" and yesterday went to the movies again for "Get Smart". We have been eating out too...it's too hot to heat up the kitchen. J did make some brunch yesterday and is cooking steak, couscous and asparagus tonight.

Today we drove around to different neighborhoods to went to some open houses. We saw the gamut and one really cute house built in the 50's stands out for us. It had a fully finished basment complete with a working fireplace and kitchenette. The main floor was all public living space and the fourth floor had two bathrooms (with original tile) and 4 bedrooms. It was super cute and has a pool and decks in the backyard too. And the price is falling...currently at $234K we think it's over-priced for the neighborhood. So who knows? Maybe in six months they'll drop it a bit? For now, it's fun for us to see what's out there.

Four Days Off!

I have decided to take the next two days off of work...to rest and to visit with my Dad. I was feeling so tired after all of the time spent running around in San Antonio. What's awesome is that because I hit over 40 hours of work this week by yesterday, I don't have to use any of my PT or Comp Time to take today and tomorrow off! Can I just say, I love working for someone else!?Three months ago, had I wanted to take two days off, it would have cost me a lot of money!

Anyway, we're trying to beat the heat! It's been hovering around 100 for the past few days. Miserable! Thank goodness we have a nice, strong A/C and everywhere we go also has A/C (I needed a sweatshirt at dinner last night!). We want to see the new Batman movie for sure and maybe go to the local museum. We shall see...right now, J and Dad have operation "bathroom fan" and are trying to fix the fan in our bathroom that is probably as old as the house. Dad always likes to dink around and as soon as he saw that fan, he was delighted to know he'd have a project to do while he was in town.

Speaking of dinner last night, we went to Olive Garden. It was Dad's request, J and I don't normally go there unless someone else wants to go. We prefer to patronize local, mom and pop type places, but every once in a while we will go to a national chain franchise. Anyway...we unfortunately had a server who had only been on the job about a week. She never brought us menus, spilled beer on me, forgot to bring us salad and breadsticks (the only reason to really even go to Olive Garden!) and took forever to refill our drinks. Needlesstosay, she was having a very bad shift. The saving grace was that the manager came over and gave us soup, salad and breadsticks to-go and apologized profusely. So we have a free lunch today. J has been there, done that and we felt bad for the server...she was really upset. I guess she lucked out with such sympathetic customers. We gave her a nice tip and told her to try to let it go.

Speaking of J's work, he has interviewed for management positions at three companies this week: Hilton, Target and Lens Crafters. He has a third interview with Target tomorrow and we hope that's the job he gets. We'd get an awesome discount, not to mention compensation and benefits including tuition reimbursement. The best part about the discount would be that they have a full grocery store, in addition to all of the normal Target stuff, so we would save significantly, every month! The downside is that he would have a flex schedule which would require some nights and weekends. On those days, it's highly likely that we won't really see each other. But we also know this is not a career move, just a job to take while in school and working towards his degree. And I love Target, so I will be happy if he takes that position. We shall see...keep your fingers crossed!

Back in Tulsa, OK

I was gone all last week for our International Education Symposium in San Antonio, Texas. It was an exhausting week, but very inspiring and exhilirating too. I was so inspired by the joy in singing and music making that I actually got up at the closing party and sang "Summertime", a capella to the 1500+ members in attendance. Here I am at the party with The Four Bettys, who are the current champion quartet, called Queens of Harmony by SAI, which is why they have tiaras on them (every year, the champion quartet is crowned as Queens of Harmony and they keep their tiaras and wear them to conventions and for public appearances) :
I got home on Sunday. My Dad arrived today...he flew down to Minneapolis with Dana last Friday. They visited the Mall of America and he took her to her summercamp near Sioux Falls, SD. He spent the past two days making his way southeast here to Tulsa. We were expecting to see him tomorrow, but he arrived today. So we get one extra day together! I plan to take the end of the week off of work so we can have some quality time together.

Home Sweet Home

We finally hung up some photos and framed prints this weekend. It's amazing that a few well placed nails in the wall with a picture hung from it can make such a difference! We still need to do the bedrooms, but right now, the main living spaces are looking more homey.

Joseph continues to cook up a storm! I am getting spoiled! Yesterday he made yummy yellow curry chicken with steamed broccoli over smashed potatoes! Today was a delish brunch (after church today) of baked eggs with mushrooms, whole grain english muffins, green salad with tomatoes and carrots and berry yogurt with fresh blueberries and a little Kashi for crunch. Tonight is steak with mushrooms, brown rice pasta and green beans. We have vowed to eat at home more often and shop as organically as possible....so far, it's been great! He cooks and I clean. What a deal!

Luigi has been whacked!

Today was the day...Luigi's neuter appointment. He's just shy of his 6 month birthday and it was time to go ahead and schedule the appt. Joseph called the recommended vet yesterday and they had an appointment for this morning!

Joseph took him in at 8 am and he had him home before I got home from work at 4:45 pm. No cone head, no isolation. He has a small incision on his man parts and that's it. Pretty easy, I guess. They did anesthetize him and therefore also cut his nails super short (they do that to get the quick to recede) which is really great because he has black nails, which makes trimming them extra challenging. He's resting now...it's nice that he doesn't have to wear that cone. He is a little wobbly, which is probably the anesthesia still wearing off. Poor baby. I am glad we got it done though. And it was less expensive than we thought it would be. We paid about four times as much for Regina's spay over 4 years ago. Could be because she's a female and it's a more complicate procedure or maybe it's because we're in Oklahoma and everything is cheaper here. Whatever the reason, we are most grateful.

Home Chef Hubby

OMG! J has been cooking up a storm and I am getting spoiled! Today he unpacked the crockpot and put it to use. This the first time we've actually since we got it, for a wedding gift! I am not quite sure what exactly he concocted, but it was t-a-s-t-y...tasty! Pork loin, red potatoes, onions and all sorts of spices, including white truffle oil, which he was SO excited to find today that he had to call me at work to tell me about it! Too funny. So my budding chef is working it out in the kitchen. It's so nice to finally be eating good, tasty, healthy meals at home, after nearly six weeks of eating sandwiches, salads, cereal and milk and restaurant food.

Speaking of food...this weekend we're checking out The Art of BBQ. Um yeah! It's one of those BBQ competion/festivals you see on the Food Network. And it is being held... right.across.the.street.

How can we not go!?

There will be live music, wine tasting and of course, the BBQ contest.

Check out the categories:

Steak, Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Butt, Beef Brisket

And the rules are awesome! Here are some of my favs:

  • Fires shall be of wood, wood pellets or charcoal. Gas and electric heat sources shall not be permitted for cooking or holding. Propane or electric is permitted as fire starters, provided that the competition meat is not in/on the cooking device. Electrical accessories such as spits, augers, or forced draft are permitted. No open pits or holes are permitted, except at the election of the contest organizer. Fires shall not be built on the ground.

  • Parboiling and/or deep-frying competition meat is not allowed.

  • Garnish is optional. If used, it is limited to chopped, sliced, shredded or whole leaves of fresh green lettuce, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley and/or cilantro. Kale, endive, red tipped
    lettuce, lettuce cores and other vegetation are prohibited. (Improper garnish shall receive a score of one (1) on Appearance)

  • Sauce is optional. If used, it shall be applied directly to the meat and not be pooled or puddled in the container. No side sauce containers will be permitted in the turn-in
    container. Chunky sauce will be allowed. Chunks are to be no larger than a fine dice, (approximately 1/8 inch cubed). (Sauce violations shall receive a score of one (1) on

  • Each contestant must submit at least six (6) separated and identifiable (visible) portions of meat in a container. Chicken, pork and brisket may be submitted chopped, pulled, sliced, or diced as the cook sees fit, as long as there is enough for six (6) judges. Ribs shall be turned in bone-in. Judges may not cut, slice, or shake apart to separate pieces. (If there is not
    enough meat for each judge to sample, the shorted judge(s) will score a one (1) on all criteria, and the judges having samples will change the Appearance score to one (1).)

  • Meat shall not be sculptured, branded or presented in a way to make it identifiable. Rosettes of meat slices are not allowed. (Violations of this rule will be scored a one (1) on all
    criteria by all six judges.)
So awesome! I cannot wait... don't you just wonder of someone is going to lose points over purple cabbage garnish and meat rolled into a rosette? The anticipation!

Sunday Service

J and I have been thinking that one great way to get out and meet some people is to join a church. But the question has been, which one? Every parish/congregation has their own vibe that cannot really be determined just by their denomination. In San Jose we had attended Trinity Episcopal for about a year or so but hadn't been in over a year before we moved away. Before that, I was attending a Catholic Church, but after the divorce, I felt less welcome there (for many reasons...).

Today we attended All Souls Unitarian Church which is close to our neighborhood. And it turns out to be the largers Unitarian Universalist Church in the world. It has about 1600 registered members. Reverand Marlin Lavanhar gave a powerful sermon today and it moved the both of us greatly. They have podcasts of the sermons on their site and hopefully they will upload the message we heard today, so we can share it with you. After the service we were welcomed to the hall for brunch and sat with some members who chatted with us about the church itself, UUC in general, and also just about Tulsa.

We are going to give it some time and attend for a few of months before we decide if we like enough to become members. They are on a "lighter" schedule for summer. So we want to see what it is like when it is in "full swing". For now, at least it's a way to meet people who live in our community and for that, we are extremely grateful.

Illegal fireworks + barking dogs = no sleep!

Alas, yesterday was the Fourth of July which means barbeque, watermelon and fireworks for most redblooded Americans. (For what it's worth, we did none of those). Tulsa puts on a big fireworks display down on the river because the "safe and sane" type of DIY fireworks are illegal in Tulsa county. You can be fined $250 if you're caught with them. I guess that doesn't deter locals, because last night, it seemed that EVERYONE and their cousin was putting off their own bottle rockets, firecrackers and roman candles.

Yesterday was a lazy day for J and I. We futzed around for the better part of the day and around 7:30 pm I decided to head to Target for some things to get ready for my trip to San Antonio. When I arrived at the shopping center, the parking lot was nearly deserted. I was there for about an hour and half and it was pretty empty. But near the end of my spree, it started filling up in trickles. I left the store with my purchases and the parking lot was PACKED with tons of families tailgaiting. And putting off their own fireworks! Not a cop in sight. Obviously, this is a regular place for locals to congregate, perhaps to catch the big display on the river (from a distance) and to also have a place to fire off their own. It was sort of bizarre. It took me twice as long to get home.

A couple of hours later we settled into bed. Only to hear more DIY fireworks going off on our block. The pugs went nuts! For hours and hours. So yeah, we got no good sleep. Not cool. Personally, I hate fireworks. Especially the DIY kind. They are dangerous, stinky and make a mess. Plus I think they are just emulating bombs and gunshots. That said, I have enjoyed a well planned, professional display at Disneyland or the ballgame, but in general, I am not a big fan of blowing things up because it leads to people thinking they can do it themselves in their backyards.

When did waking up at 8 am...

become "sleeping in"? We awoke today at 8 am and were thrilled that the furbabies let us sleep in past 6 am. Not too long ago, 8 am was EARLY! Isn't funny how quickly things change?

It is Independence Day and I have a long weekend...yay! The office was practically abandoned yesterday, there were just a handful of us in the building. We are getting ready for a week-long educational symposium in San Antonio. Half of us will be there, so there are lots of preparations being made. Thankfully, I get to attend classes and meet and greet the faculty and members. I love putting faces with names and am glad that I will have the opportunity to do so. The rest of my colleagues will be charged with the tasks of checking-in registrants, facilitating the classrooms, etc. So I lucked out, because I am the new girl. I have never been to San Antonio, but I hear that is going to be really hot. Like over a 100 degrees. Thank goodness my stint in Bangkok a couple of years ago has given be a new meter for what I can stand when it comes to extreme temperatures and humidity.

Luckily, we haven't had it too bad here in Tulsa. Seems the major storminess of the season has subsided. It does get up to the mid-90's and it is humid here, but everything is so air conditioned, we barely notice it. Of course, if our power ever went out...well that's a different story entirely.

We're officially OKIE!

We got our Oklahoma driver's licenses today. It was kind of weird...we decided to go to the DMV nearest my work since I like it be in a 8 am. So we found one and yay! It opened at 7 am. So we got their early and waited a short while for them to call our numbers. We go through the process...2 forms of ID? CHECK. Vision test? CHECK. Fingerprints? CHECK. Photo? CHECK. Signature? CHECK. They print out a form and stamp it with an official looking stamp. So we think we are all done and are ready to pay the fee and await the arrival of our new DL Cards in the mail in 7-10 days, yada, yada.
Nada, nada! They do it "differntly" here in Oklahoma, OK! We had to take said offically stamped and signed document to the "Tag Office". They have them all over and they are the offices that you can get your DL, your boating liscense and new liscence plates for everything from a Harley to a House on Wheels. Just our luck, there was one right across the street. Oh joy! Oh wait! They don't open until 8 am.

So 45 minutes later, the doors opened and we were the first inside. More official forms, a check for $56.00, another photo, finger prints and signature. Presto magic! Out comes a new Oklahoma DL....right then and there. Hey! At least that beats the 7-10 day snail mail wait. So yeah...long story short...we are now card carrying okies. We even had to hand over our CA DLs! So...it's officially offical. And officiously official. Next? Gotta git new plates...and wouldn't you know that this grand state offers over 100 special, customized plates....

Adoption Creates Families
Agricultural Awareness
Air National Guard
Alpha Kappa Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha
Amateur Radio
Animal Friendly
Antique or Classic
Bacone College
Benevolent Order of Elks
Boy Scouts of America
Bronze Star
Bronze Star - Motorcycle
Cameron University
Carl Albert State College
Certified Public Accountant
Child Abuse Prevention
Choose Life
Civil Air Patrol
Civil Emergency Management
Classic Vehicle
Color Oklahoma
Combat Infantryman Badge
Congressional Medal of Honor
Connors State College
Crime Victim Awareness
D-Day Survivor
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Deputy Sheriff
Desert Storm
Disabled American Veteran
Distinguished Flying Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Douglass High School
Ducks Unlimited
East Central University
Eastern Oklahoma State College
Eastern Star
Emergency Medical Tech
Environmental Awareness – Rolling Hills
Environmental Awareness – Wildflower
Fight Breast Cancer
Firefighter – Motorcycle
Four H
Fraternal Order of Police
Future Farmers of America
Global War on Terrorism
Gold Star Parent
Heart of the Heartland
Highway Patrol – Retired
Historic Route 66
Indian Tribal
Joint Service Commendation
Kappa Alpha Psi
Killed in Action
Kiwanis International
Knights of Columbus
Korean War Veteran
Langston University
Lions Club
Masonic Fraternity
Mid-America Bible College
Missing in Action
Motorcycle Personalized
Multiple Sclerosis
Murray State College
Mustang Club
National Guard
National Rifle Association
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College
Northeastern State University
Northern Cherokee Nation Old Louisiana Territory
Northern Oklahoma College
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma Baptist University
Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition
Oklahoma Christian University
Oklahoma City Bombing Victims and Survivors
Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City University
Oklahoma History
Oklahoma Military Academy Alumni
Oklahoma Panhandle State University
Oklahoma Safe Kids Coalition
Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma Statehood Centennial
Oklahoma Wesleyan College
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
Oral Roberts University
Organ, Eye and Tissue Donor
Pearl Harbor Survivor
Personalized License Plate (colors shown)
Physically Disabled
Physically Disabled Motorcycle
Police Chaplain
Police Officer
Police Officer--Motorcycle
Purple Heart – Motorcycle
Purple Heart
Red Cross Volunteer
Rogers University
Rose State College
Round and Square Dance
Seminole State College
Shriners Hospital for Children
Silver Star
Somalia Combat Veteran
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Southern Nazarene University
Southwestern Christian University
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
St. Gregory’s University
State Parks Supporter – Golf
State Parks Supporter – Pavilion
State Parks Supporter – RV
Support Education
U.S. Olympics
United States Air Force – Retired
United States Air Force
United States Air Force Association
United States Army – Retired
United States Army
United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard Retired
United States Marines – Retired
United States Marines
United States Navy – Retired
United States Navy
University of Central Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
University of Tulsa
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Vietnam Veteran
Vintage Decal
West Point
Western Oklahoma State College
Wildlife Conservation – Bass 9
Wildlife Conservation – Deer 93
Wildlife Conservation – Quail
Wildlife Conservation – Scissor Tail
Wildlife Conservation - Trout
Wildlife Conservation – Turkey
World War II Veteran

Isn't that a little wacky?

We're actually leaning towards these personalized plates in colors that coordinate with our cars.

"Chamois" for our gold CRV.

And "Gray" for our silver Accord.

Although, I personally like the color of the "Sea Green" one:

What do you think? Which ones should we get? Oh the decisions. Who knew that Oklahomans like to express their individuality this way? Guess we've got to get on board!