Sunday, June 30, 2013

After The Storms

There has been a lot going on since my last post.  We have had temperatures that have been over 100 degrees for several days without a break which have really done a number on a lot of the flowering plants that we have planted in our garden.  So, it was time to get out of town for a bit and "smell the roses" so to speak.  Our original intention was to go to one place, but we ended up looking for some replacement furniture and having lunch at a Brazilian restaurant.

 Scootard was more than anxious to get inside and eat......ha

I admired the fountain that they had just outside the door thinking of how nice it would have been to have one in my yard as well.

We made it the to the restaurant 30 minutes earlier than our reservations which was fine since we were all starving!

We started with an appetizer of eggplant mixed with "something" served on little pieces of bread....

Not bad.....:-)

Helen was very pleased to have food.  She has been known to "sing" over her dishes when they come.  I thought she was gearing up for a tune! haha

The place was decorated Brazilian style with maps and all kinds of mural and things on the wall...../.

the service was a bit slow which had me already thinking of what kind of a tip we should or should not leave.  The food was going to have to be awfully good for us to leave a "good" tip.  I ordered alligator, black mussels, and crab cakes for an appetizer and an African dish that was comprised of black beans, sausage and spices.  On the menu it stated that this particular dish has been around since the 1600's and was originally made by slaves.  This is the mussel dish which was in some kind of a white sauce with capers

Crab cakes........

and finally for the main dish (at least my main dish) was the black bean stew served with collard greens that had been blanched in hot water and dressed with olive oil, garlic and spices served with rice and orange slices.  I ate the collards with the orange slices as I found them to be a bit bitter.

Scootard had a skewer of chicken and beef along with collards and rice......

and Helen had a dish that was filo pastry dough stuffed with meat, havarti cheese, and guava and baked on a bed of risotto.

afterward, Scootard looked like he was ready for an ultrasound! hahaha

just sayin.....

We decided that it was time to skiddatle down the road, but before we did, I  needed to go to the restroom.  This guy was plastered on the wall when I walked in....

sheesh!  whatever happened to flowers, or brocade, or just plain girl stuff on the wall???

After the "potty run" we decided to just ride around and see what else we could get into.  Oklahoma City has murals painted on some of the walls down town that tell the story of their centennial.  Unfortunately, they were on the opposite side of the road from us and Scootard had to park in a construction zone to get the shots that we did.  He used the medium in the middle of the street to get as close as he could to the pictures.  

What was so amazing was that the people almost looked like you could reach out and touch them.  I was tempted to wave at the ladies, but decided .........uh....maybe not! ha

It's amazing how small the city started and how large it has grown in all of these years......

And equally stunning is the difference in the buildings.  While there are still a few that have that small town look, most of them have moved on to stay in step with today's modern look.

After pulling out of the construction area we went on to take in more of our surroundings.  We saw two horse drawn carriages in our travels.

We also noticed that there was a lot of signs that said "event parking-$5.00".  I wondered what the grand event was.  And then we saw several people dressed as you would if you were going to a square dance competition.  I didn't even know people still did that kinda thing! haha....  Wow.  Well anyway, here is a shot of one team.....

and here is another.  Scootard wished them "happy winning".  They waved at us and we carried on to our next stop.

We had to pass by the town that had been devastated by a tornado last month on our way home.
The wreck and ruin of that town was unbelievable.  The following will be pictures of "some" of what we saw.

There were signs dotting the landscape letting people know who to contact for debris removal, what  companies were willing to purchase their homes, etc.

The streets had been cleared so that the homeowners could get back in and see what they could still salvage.  Some of the homes still had clothing hanging in the closets, but no one lived there any longer.....

It was quite sobering....I could not help but think how blessed I was to have two homes in two different countries, both fully furnished and fully in tact. And how equally blessed I was not to have had to bury a child, husband, or friend as a result of this devastation.

You can see the force of the wind and how it mangled these cars.  They looked as if they had been in a crushing machine being used to process scrap metal. Most of these people had lost everything they had in just a few minutes.  My thoughts turned to the flooding that had happened in Calgary, Alberta Canada.

As far as the eye could see.... there was nothing but wreck and ruin.  Very sad....

As we drove through we made our way to two schools. This one I believe was named Briarwood Elementary School. This was the site of one that is no longer there.  I don't know if any loss of life happened here, but it was heart touching to see that someone had taken the time to fly our national and state flag and attach the word "HOPE" on the fence that stood as a silent guard between what had happened and those who came to see it for themselves.

This is Plaza Towers Elementary where 7 lives were lost of the children.  I'm not sure of how many teachers, but I am sure at least one died trying to proctect her babies in the classroom. The fence was filled with toys and teddy bears, t-shirts and letters from distant states and countries.

I took this shot through the fence.  There was nothing left where the school used to stand.

There had been 7 crosses erected to memorialize the lives of the children who perished in the tornado.

I could not imagine the heartache that these families must still be experiencing over a month later.

But the crosses, letters, flags and other memorabilia left at the site sent a strong but gentle message that people who lived far and near were once again here to support Oklahoma during her time of loss and grief.

Oklahoma has seen her share of loss over the 20 years that I have been here.  The loss of life is tragic, the loss of children is ......well, there just aren't words to explain.

Here are a few shots of those who came to support our state during the first few weeks of the disaster.  Some are still here and are still lending assistance to us.  Most are volunteers.....God bless them for their big hearts....:-)

We saw two of these makeshift staging centers set up.  Only one was being used at the time.  This one seemed to have been closed for the weekend or day.

The sun was starting to set and we began to make our way through other areas of the site.

I came across this storm cellar while walking to the other side of the street.  Strangely enough, it was the only one I saw. The house where this shelter was found was completely gone.  Only this cellar remained.

It was really sobering to think that on that very day, the school had intended to present awards to their students for a job well done. This is all that remained of that day.

If you need a little more perspective as to just how bad this storm was, below is a picture of the Plaza Tower school BEFORE the tornado.

This is AFTER........:-(

Thank you, to all of the Fire Rescue workers that worked night and day to search for those missing and who had the painstaking job of  returning the dead to their families.....

Thank you, Arizona for all of your help and volunteers.....

Thank you, Salvation Army.  Always ready to answer the call. Thank you to all of the various organizations and churches who came to the rescue in so many different ways.

And thank you to all of those who came from so far and sent messages of love and hope to our state.

May be never forget your kindness or the lives of those lost in this storm....

And may the city of Moore come back stronger than ever, with hope filled hearts and a determination to live their lives to the fullest.

God bless Oklahoma....

And God bless the United States Of America!

see ya next time.....:-)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Revenge Of The Critters/ Day Trip To Ft. Cobb

The weather has been so hot here that we usually cannot ride unless we do it early in the morning before 9:00 or in the evening after 7:00pm.  We managed to get out of the house today by about 9:15 and head out to a town that we had never been to.  This time, we had company  with us....:-). Helen has been a part of our  ministry and family for years and keeps up with our property whenever we are not around.  It was time to take her for a spin on the Majesty.....:-)

After making sure all systems were go, we hit the road and headed for breakfast at a place we stopped at before....

after a light breakfast (for me anyway), we were ready to hit the road....

Suddenly the wind was absolutely brutal and just about pushed me into a truck carrying cement.  I was NOT having a good time.....:-(  We still had a long way to go before getting to Ft. Cobb and I was concerned that the wind would make this trip very difficult for me.  Scootard had the advantage of skill, extra weight and and heavier bike than mine.  He was not having the same experience I was having in regard to the wind...:-(.

We had passed this place once before but didn't stop to get pictures of it.  It is a peanut processing plant.  I have no idea why Scootard wanted pictures of a peanut processing plant, but here it is folks! ha...  I DO NOT like peanuts.....haha.

after another 45 minutes or so of riding and quite a few dragonfly carcuses hitting me in the chest, we made it to our destination of Ft. Cobb state park.  We were quickly swarmed by wasp which seemed to be after MY bike for whatever reason!.  We quickly dismounted our bikes and headed "inland" away from the festivities!.  All the while, I was wondering how I was ever going to get back on the bike with those things swarming  like they were.  And then there was the wind......:-(.

 Here is a picture of the park with a beautiful lilac (or maybe lavender) bush??  No idea, but with the wasp swarming like there were, i was not about to find out....

We went to the nearest picnic bench to have some much needed water as the temperature was in the 90's.

 And Helen took a little trip down to the shore line to sit by the water and take in the moment.....:-).  I was still trying to take in all of the dragon flies that kept attacking me during our trip out there and the wasp that tried to sting me when I got there!

After nearly choking to death on my much needed water, I was able to take a picture of the shoreline.

I was exhausted and ready to start the trip back home after psyching myself up about getting through all of the bugs that were probably lined up waiting to smack me in the chest .

 Needless to say at one point a huge bug (yep, dragon fly),  got inside my helmet through a small opening that I had left for ventilation and I had to pull over.  What a nightmare!  I managed to get it out, took a breath and told myself I only had a few more mile to get home and by golly I made it.  haha  sheesh!!

I was glad to see my front porch.  What a day!  That had to be the longest 100 + miles of my life.