Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Last year, I got an unbelievable opportunity to fly in an Aero L-39 Albatros.  
This is a Czech designed and built aircraft with some Soviet Union parts, like the engine.  It is still in use today by some Soviet allies.  I talked about my ride last August, but it was brought to the forefront of my mind today when I read a story about my buddy, Dan Bailey, former Oklahoma State University football kicker, and now the ever-consistent kicker for the Dallas Cowboys, going on a ride very similar to mine.  His ride was with the Blue Angels. 
Here is the link to his flight prep and some of the footage of him in the flight.
Just like Dan, when our jet left the runway, we started a steep climb and banked hard to the right.  It kind of takes your breath away when you realize, "of course I am sitting back hard in my seat, 
I should have expected we would get right to it."

I have similar video of myself during my flight, and it makes me know I need to get that edited and put up on You Tube.  I sat down to do that once, and with two cameras, each with over 90 minutes of video, 
it became time consuming and overwhelming.

In Dan Bailey's video, he keeps his composure.  In his video, he has a stern or serious look on his face.  In my video, all you can see is my teeth, I am smiling so big.  I am yelling, I am talking, and I am asking questions.  After what feels like 30 minutes, I get quiet.  The enormity of what I am doing and how I will probably never do it again sets in.  I start to look around in every direction.  There were beautiful clouds in the sky that day, and I will never forget the silence and the 180 degree view from my left shoulder all the way up and over to my right shoulder.

Apparently, I have a stomach of steel.  And I was able to fly, control, roll and loop-tee-do our jet.  Dan doesn't mention whether or not he got to actually steer or fly his plane.  I'm sure he did.  My bet is on the fact that he is not allowed to talk about it.  He pulls 7 G's.  Pssssshhhhhhh............ 
Yeah, well, I can't kick a football between the uprights.

Yet again, being an NFL player must have its perks, because I was not allowed to consider riding along on a U.S. military jet.  I believe I was permitted to accompany my friend, Dan, (different Dan) the pilot, on a training mission" after signing my name in 23 places on some document taking full responsibility for my choice to ride along and holding no one responsible by doing so.  The video I have really is quite amazing.  As soon as I can find the time, I will pull that together.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lily and Chief Welcome Their First

I don't even know where to start.  We were encouraged by our kids to pick our grandparent names.  As part of my year-long 50th birthday celebration/rebellion, I thought we had to think of names that might sound kind of hip.  We wanted names that wouldn't sound ridiculous when our future-25-year-old grandkids called us by the name they grew up calling us.  Lily was a no-brainer.  But Chief is hilarious because he is the only one in our little nuclear family that doesn't have an Indian blood card.   As of now, that's what we are called.  If she wants to change it, all bets are off.  She might be running this show at our house...  
You have two grandparents-to-be that have no idea what to expect, and everyone we have asked has said, "oh, it's just the best thing ever!" -and- "there's nothing like it!"  I have had almost a full week to digest the fact that we are grandparents.  In the flesh.  She is here.  And she is perfect.
We got the call at 4:15-ish A.M. on 4-14-14.  "Details unnecessary, but the baby is definitely coming today."  The kids were in the car on icy, slick roads driving the 100 miles to the hospital where our first grandchild would be born.  Frankly, I was not all that calm. 

So here is what I did.  Yes, it was almost April 15th, and I had a few tax details to finish up before we left.  I went into the office, and finished up all my paperwork, prepared everything for mailing, and answered a few emails.  Then, I jumped in the shower, and put on my makeup -- just like a normal day, but it was now 7:25 A.M.  Yeah, the unusual part of it is that I would not normally do all of that prior to 7:25 A.M.  Under these circumstances, three busy hours enabled me to tie up the loose ends.  I grabbed a few comfortable things to wear, all my cameras and chargers, threw it all in a cute grandma bag, and off I went.

And here is what Chief did.  He rolled over and went back to sleep.  His exact words were, "Really, Liz, what do you expect me to do?"  He got up and went to the ranch as usual at 6:30 A.M.  After the initial rounds, he headed toward the hospital, too.

I arrived in the hospital about 10:00 A.M. -- there hadn't been much delivery progress, so I was glad I had taken that extra hour to shower and get organized.  She didn't arrive until about 5:40 P.M.  Glad we had a big lunch, and I started celebrating early with that margarita.  My gut feeling was that I was going to win the most brownie points with my son if I could just be the kind of help they needed.  I didn't want to be in the way, I didn't want to step in the room or knock on the door at the wrong time.  No doubt, I was clueless at the grandparent thing, but I was going to do my darnedest to help or stay out of the way.  Their choice.  But -- oh.  my.  gosh.  Look at her!
This week I have thought a lot about how we are not the first people in the world to be grandparents.  We are not the only people in the world to think we have a beautiful granddaughter.  Really, the only thing that I am beginning to comprehend is the differences between being a parent and being a grandparent.  And it is a big deal!  :)

Is she perfect?  I'm sure of it.  But before this week, I was confident that babies are little miracles, and any way you look at it, they are all perfect.  It is important to me to not minimize anyone else's joys, but I do want to share my excitement and discoveries.  If you are a grandparent, I'm not going to have any news for you.  The deal is, I just have to talk about it.  My perspectives may be too general and unimpressive, but I hope that I can elaborate in an entertaining way. 
This was a good sign.  Happy in the car seat.  A two hour ride home could go one of two ways.  I was told that traveling very much agreed with her.  I don't think she made a peep.
During the whole pregnancy, I wondered what my role would be.  Gosh, it's been a long time since I have held a newborn baby.  And this baby has a direct connection to us -- we are related!  I've already promised her we can watch all the Disney princess movies together, and we can dress up to do it.  And we will sing the songs -- loudly!  Additionally, I have assured her parents that I will have her reading by next week.  I crack myself up.
Baby O is beautiful, and one of her strong points is that she is a phenomenal eater.  Seriously, how many things can you be awesome at when you are one week old?  She is not very fussy, she is a champion burp artist, and her parents are truly goo goo over her -- as are the rest of us.  It is all really great as of today.  Everything is still very new for all of us, but we are in love!
 While we receive congratulations from our friends and other grandparents, I continue to ask any and everyone for grandparent advice.  Usually, the most I get is "oh, it's the best thing ever," and "there is simply nothing like it!"  Today, someone finally gave it to me straight.  This guy at church said, "you just punt."  Bam!  That's what we have been doing, but he and his wife have a little more experience than us, and I believe he nailed it.  Terms I can understand.  Sometimes there is no perfect or right way.  
You just punt.


Sunday, April 13, 2014


No, I have not let go of the fact that I could be holding a new baby by the end of the week.  A TINY BABY in my arms in the next week to ten days!  It is happening!  We are counting the minutes, but we are trying to be cool.  Part of that being cool thing is because we don't know what the heck is going to happen.  Right, we've seen babies and been around them, but this is going to be totally different.  I think we will feel strongly about and love this little baby girl more than we can even comprehend yet.  Can someone please tell me what is going down?

There is this tiny part of me that is being rebellious.  Really?  Us?  Grandparents?  We have friends who are parents of babies and toddlers.  We do not know where we fit in... so I bought a car seat, we got a 'pack and play,' we have diapers, wipes -- pretty sure we are good to go.
The big event of the weekend was the season premiere of "Mad Men."  Well, that and the Masters golf tournament.  With the expected snow this week (*eyeroll*) -- we built a fire, and while the rancher was on the phone, I put the 'pack and play' together.  As this task was being completed, I became frustrated with the amount of safety tags and safety information affixed to this piece of baby equipment.  He got off the phone just in time to see me pour a glass of wine, and grab another pair of scissors.  He quickly jumped in before anyone got hurt.  See those little owls on the mobile?  Each one had FIVE little tags attached to it.  I swear, we cut 50+ tags off of every part of this thing. 
I know, this shouldn't be what it takes, but Lily likes her fermented grapes.
Seriously?  A 36 page manual did provide some of the answers to the couple of questions I had.  Probably could have figured it out by myself, but I thought the manual might be faster.  Uhm...., no.  The rancher went after the phillips screwdriver and the Exacto knife.  We proceeded to cut and clip every single tag off of all 46 pieces of this very important piece of baby equipment.  The caution and safety tags are senseless.  Who really reads those things?  It's like those permanent safety notices they iron on to the headliner in your car.  I mean, the people that these are meant for, are probably unable or unwilling to read them.  For instance, don't leave the baby on the changing table unattended.  Okay, thanks.  Great idea.  And any person that has any money to buy one of these things, does not need to be told that you should keep plastic away from babies while they are in the bassinet or bed.  How about you keep plastic away from infants at all times?  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  As I've said before, not my first rodeo.  I was just irritated at the assumption that anyone needed to be told these things.  And I was doubly irritated that we had to take approximately 30 minutes, maybe 45, carefully cutting these tags out because they are unattractive and unnecessary.  Sheesh!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Keeping It All In

As I have mentioned here before, we will soon be grandparents.  And just to be clear, it is not the international kids who are having the baby.  It is the local kids.  :)  During the last 8 or so months, I have been pretty chill about it.  Excited, but it's just something that has been hard to digest.  Am I really old enough?  Clearly.  Do I know how to do anything but parent?  No, but surely we will catch on eventually. 

Shouldn't I be getting ready?  Don't I need to go buy some diapers or something?  Maybe I need to be stocking the pantry so I can cook for them.  Maybe I need to stay out of the way.

Yesterday I was told, this event is definitely happening before the end of the month.  Most likely much sooner than that.  Do I need to pack a bag?  Is it rude to go to the hospital and wait?  Do they want us to do that?  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I need to charge all my camera batteries.  And my iPad.  Could be lots of sitting around, and waiting.  Or maybe we won't get there in time.  The baby isn't being born in our little town.

I need an online class or something ASAP - Grandparenting 101.  I'm going to google University of Phoenix right now.

Last weekend we watched a movie and in one scene a dad was holding a newborn.  I froze.  All this time, I've been thinking, we've got this, we've done it before... but it has been 24 years since the last time we did it.  They tell me things have changed.  I get it.  But also, the more things change, the more they stay the same...


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No Whining or Complaints

I like to think that the glass is half full.  Therefore, I want to share with you some things that I like...

People --
1)   Erin Andrews.  Beautiful, smart, and she likes sports!  Bam!
2)   Maks (Russian, can't spell his last name) on Dancing With The Stars.  I like some attitude.
3)   Vince Vaughn.  The guy is hilarious.  We would have him over for dinner any night of the week.
4)   Kevin Spacey.  He reminds me of my Uncle Mark, who was one of the funniest people ever.
5)   Grace Kelly.  She lived a fantasy life.  From what I hear...
6)   Phil Mickelson.  He just seems like a really good guy.  Thanks for being a stand-up man.

Stuff --
1)   Bling.  I can't explain why.  I like sparkly things.  Glitter on shoes, sparkle on a hat...
2)   Bedtime.  I am not happier anytime during the day than when I hop into bed at night.
3)   Fire.  A fire in the fireplace or in a pit is my happy place.
4)   Magazines.  I feel like an addict.  I like to keep up with trends, and I like pop culture.
5)   Sports.  Any of them.  I can watch it on television.  Try me.
6)   Makeup.  New, old, as long as I don't break out, I love it.
7)   Fermented grapes.  Hobby, not habit.
8)   Long haired cattle dogs.  Sweetest and smartest pets ever.
9)   Movies.  Chick flicks, action, humor -- not picky.  Love them.

To Do --
1)   Travel.  Anywhere.  Anytime.  Long trip or short.  Not picky.
2)   Sit on the back porch.  I prefer no bugs.  And a glass of liquid.
3)   A two hour lunch (or three) with a friend.
4)   Drive in the car.  As long as I have radio reception, it's all good.
5)   Have someone blow my hair out straight.  I can never do it right.

To Eat -- 
1)   Fried Rice.  Anywhere, anytime.
2)   Practically anything on the grill.  Steak, shrimp, vegetables, bacon...
3)   Any combination of salad and chicken.  Any.
4)   Don't try to sneak pecans into anything you want me to eat.  I gag.
5)   But I can eat almost anything if you give me a glass of iced tea with it.  

I like to be positive.  And if I'm not, I pretend to be.    :)


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bobbi Brown continued... Part 2

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After having one of Bobbi Brown's national makeup artists here a couple of weeks ago for a home event, I found that I had so many pictures and so much info to share.  Rogelio Reyna lives in Miami, and in the words of The Anchorman, Ron Burgundy, he is "kind of a big deal."  After growing up in our little town, he chased his dreams, and he found a career that he loves.
It is always great having him here.  He is so knowledgeable, he knows what women want as far as their makeup, and he wants you to learn how to recreate his professional touches onto your own face every day.  

So here is what I had to do.  Pick up the phone.  Call my friend, Katrina.  And tell her I need a cool looking cheese and cracker tray, and maybe another hors d'oeuvre.
This is what I got.  
Oh, I asked for it.  I said, "Yes, that sounds great."  
"Of course we need that, just add it to your list..."
"Well, sure, we need a vegetable tray.  Oh, I forgot how good those mini shrimp cocktails are -- okay, let's do those, too."
"Okay, that chutney will be awesome and autumnal, but that's it."
"Yeah, you're right, we don't have any sweets, just add those tiny spice cupcakes, then we are done."

Oh my gosh, it was over the top.  Fabulous.  She is the bomb.  And I am a loser because I didn't get a picture of her being the bomb.  And somehow we didn't get a picture of this either, but she (her son) brought this unbelievable drink.  We called it the "Bobbi," and her son consulted a mixologist friend in Maine to obtain this delicious concoction that tasted like apple crisp.  They rimmed the glasses in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Good grief.  I didn't even want her working because it was a Sunday.  She apparently is the rancher's secret twin sister.  She doesn't know how to not work.
Everyone he touched looked like a million bucks.  He is just a rock star.

I just had to add this picture to make fun of myself.
A)  Awesome picture of my unorganized pantry in the background.
B)  One of us is pregnant, and it's not the one in white who looks pregnant.

Thanks again to Rogelio for bringing a piece of the big city to us.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Bobbi Brown Big Guy

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Yes, it happens from time to time.  Big deal things happen in our little town.  We do lay claim to several famous, successful, and wonderful people making a big difference in our world.  We have citizens in our community who give huge amounts of their time, as well as money, usually very quietly, to improve the quality of life for others.  There are people who have grown up here, and left here to make their contributions in other locations.  Wherever you are, and whatever your goals are, don't you just hope that your loved ones can wake up every day and be thrilled to death to be doing what they are doing?  That's what we have always talked about at our house.  The rancher has been the example, because his eyes pop open automatically every morning, and he can't wait for his feet to touch the ground so he can start running.  
Not literally.  He's not a runner.  

Recently, a friend of mine that grew up in our little town returned to share his passion.  His name was familiar as he grew up several years behind me, but we have become more acquainted as adults.  Roger lives a very exciting and busy life as an executive makeup artist and educator with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.  He travels extensively on the East Coast, as well as representing Bobbi Brown and educating other artists in the U.S., Latin America, South America, and Mexico.  Chile and Argentina are frequent stops for him when he isn't trekking back and forth between his home base in Miami and working in New York City.  I think he is the Hispanic director of education for Bobbi Brown in the United States, too.  Even though I may not be getting all his titles and affiliations perfectly accurate, it is safe to say, he is a pretty big deal.

Passing through "home" to see his parents, he called a few months back and wondered about doing a Professional Master Class type of presentation in my home.  We have done this before, and he is so good with what he does, I didn't hesitate to say yes.  (I always need a good reason to deep clean my house.)  He had one day available, and we made it happen.
Here's how it goes down.  He brings in what appears to be an entire Bobbi Brown makeup counter from Nordstroms, and sets it up in my living room.  Women are packed and pushed into every corner, and he proceeds to show us new products, new techniques, and emphasizes some of the old tried and true rules that every woman should know.  He has an abundance of concealers and correctors, and he picks different women from around the room to show certain techniques related to covering age spots, or developing the perfect party night smokey eye, or the accurate use of bronzing powders and blushers.  
Skin care is not overlooked.  He speaks and teaches about all kinds of moisturizers and their different purposes.  Bobbi has not forgotten anyone.  One of the things I like best about her products is how you can multi-task with them.  There is this Extra Soothing Balm (below) that I use in about 6 different places on my body.  I believe it was designed as a layer to be used around the eyes.  But I also use it around my lips on fine lines; I use it on my cuticles; I use it on my elbows, knees, heels; I use it on my neck and d├ęcolletage.  
Can you get any more versatile?
Having used Bobbi Brown products for quite a few years, Roger has taught me so much about makeup and application.  A self proclaimed makeup slut person that overindulges, I use things that work.  You know how I love my beauty boxes and trying new products.  Bobbi Brown is one of those companies that stays current, develops new and improved products constantly and encourages a girl to feel good about herself by taking proper care of her skin.
On the super cute teenagers, he used and emphasized age-appropriate techniques, as well as teaching all along the way about proper (and so important) skin care.  He showed them how to get out of bed and be at school in 15 minutes by doing 3-4 important steps, and he also showed them how to glam it up a bit for stage or cheer performances, as well as special events, 
like the prom.
He worked so hard.  I bet it was worse for him than fashion week in NYC.  Except he wasn't working with a bunch of divas.  He was on his feet for well over 12 hours.  I think he barely took a drink of water.  Everyone loved his stories about A-list actresses whose makeup he had done.  He told about being in their homes, about interacting with their families, how sweet some were -- now that I think about it, he didn't tell any critical stories about anyone, although I am sure he has some.  But no kidding, "so-and-so" who is the face of this other 'well known makeup', is really using Bobbi Brown.  Name after name after name.  You had to be here.  
I don't tattle.
We had the opportunity to order products at a discount, and for those who were able to stay and wait, he gladly matched everyone to their best colors and made recommendations.

Gosh, we had a good time!  In fact, it may be worthy of a two day post.  It was that good.  I have lots more pics, and I think I will finish this tomorrow.  Additionally, I have a couple of other great makeup gurus in my arsenal, and I want to share them with you.