Category Archives: my two cents

Boom Town:

The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City: its Chaotic Founding… its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis

A book I wasn’t sure I wanted to read, but a review in the local paper convinced me otherwise. For me the dry words of a geographical biography can be often mind numbing, but about two chapters into this book and it was apparent that was not the way this one would read.

It’s not a love story, it’s not a hatchet job, it’s something in between, something that made me read the book almost straight through.

I still was hesitant because of the way the author Sam Anderson jumped round from chapter to chapter, he talked about the land run and then one of the next chapters would be about James Harden, Sam Presti or Wayne Coyne – then Daniel Orton popped up and claimed a fair potion of the book. How did he really fit in the scheme of things? All of these were important parts of the book that made me both proud and angry at the people who started this city. And certainly furious at the some of the more recent shenanigans that has given Oklahoma City a poor reputation, one that has been at times richly deserved. Anderson explores all the high jinks and devious maneuvering that went on in the early days, how when cities and states around us were civilized, Oklahoma had its own laws. It wasn’t pretty.

Names that are familiar to all who live here come alive as the history lesson unfolds in way that you won’t read in typical history books. Clara Luper comes alive with the sadness of the race issues that plagued and still plague this state and will haunt me for a long time. And the description of one of architects of the city, Angelo Scott, sounds like he could have been an ancestor of Sam Presti.

But the parts that surprised me the most was the emotions I felt at retelling of the bombing and preceding days of McVeigh. Next, the descriptions of the famous tornadoes that hit in the city in 1999 and 2013. It made me feel physically ill as they came alive through another’s eyes and from the point of view of Gary England. I was never a huge fan of his before, that changed and the story just reiterated my feelings for David Payne. Not good ones.

When the author starts retelling the life cycle of the NBA Thunder seasons, when they were hit with injuries, the trades and treason, I had to put the book down, even though I knew what was going to happen. As an outsider I also felt a bit vindicated for some of the feelings I’ve had over the years. Yes, finally someone else saw what I was watching from afar.

Anderson starts off with the story of the killer of the killer of Jesse James – Red Kelley and jumps almost immediately into the saga of the Beard. The books takes lots of turns and twists with flashbacks to the early days of the land run and statehood, as well as the declines, booms and folly of the government. But woven throughout is the life cycle of the Thunder, mentioning things as fans we’ve never known about and a glimpse of the thinking of the powers that be. It was a fascinating read for me, a person who has never felt like I belonged here. I’m still not sure if I do – but now I can pinpoint some of the reasons why.

The book finally ends on September 29, 2017, another boom day for Oklahoma.

Susan Jennifer Titus

So many times I read how a loved one has passed away peacefully and surrounded by loved ones. I don’t know what was going on in Susan’s mind as she made that leap, but I can tell you that she was surrounded by loved ones, but wasn’t peaceful about it. She was still fighting and not ready to give up. She was even making physical therapy appointments while on hospice.

She’s a warrior. Susan didn’t give up one bit. Another Leiomyosarcoma patient called her Rocky. Yes, she was and is a Rocky. Ever since she became a cancer warrior her mission was to fight. She fought the disease along with helping others learn how to both fight and learn how to accept that wicked diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma. She did it with both grace and determination through her public journal of the daily struggles a cancer patient faces. She shared her story to the point of uncomfortableness at times for her family, but always letting others know of her strong faith. It was her therapy and way of dealing with the ups and downs of everyday life while struggling with cancer.

We are grateful for the outlet it afforded her, even when it became so painful for us to read.

Her grace and passion dealing with one of the nastiest diagnosis one can get was awe-inspiring. For those who read her posts and responded with positive and encouraging comments on Facebook, you will never know just how much you helped her. Helped her cope, deal with it, made her feel as if she wasn’t alone, which gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Five years and three months and twelve days.

That’s how long she fought. Think about your last five years and how much you’ve done or accomplished. How your life changed, babies, college, graduation, in hundreds of little and different ways. There’s a lot you can do in five years of life. she did too — her big accomplishment was exactly that, five years of life when her odds were about six months when she was starting the journey.

She was a fighter, a warrior, one of my best friends as well as my daughter. She loved her family with a fierce passion. Her son and husband were the light of her life, everything she did, she did for them.

I remember one time when life was particularly hard, she turned to me, feeling a little sorry for herself and impatient with others who would complain about minor life setbacks and said.. all I want right now from my life is to see Eli turn thirteen. She did that. And she also saw him turn fourteen and then fifteen.

Five years, three months and twelve days of his young fifteen year old life has been spent with a mom fighting cancer. One third of his life.

She had a dry sense of humor and was the true grammar queen. Even as I type this I am watching for errors, because she will know and probably send a thunder bolt crashing down nearby. She could spot a spelling mistake from 50 yards and, oh my gosh, do not, repeat do not ever put two spaces after a period. She would just shake her head in embarrassment and make sure I correct it immediately.

Susan was born in Dallas and traveled north very grudgingly to Oklahoma when she was in middle school. She hated it. Every time she would get mad at me or Robert, remember she was junior high age, she would flounce to her room in a snit and we would soon hear her hammering away on the typewriter as she would write to her Dad about the injustices of her life. Then to rub salt into the wound even more, we moved to Oklahoma City during her high school years — not sure she ever forgave me for that. But if we hadn’t moved here, she wouldn’t have met the love of her life Ron. In the long run we did good!

She grew up hating rules, and never had a rule she wouldn’t try to break. Or try to test me to my limits on a daily basis. One day stands out when she was around kindergarten age, a neighbor called me and asked me to please come down to her house. Uh oh. Susan and her friend had completely covered the neighbor’s wrought iron gate with mud, not one curve, turn or finial was even visible, it was all mud. When asked why, she said, “you never told me I couldn’t do that”.

Out of all our kids, she was the one I thought would move far away as soon as she could. Nope, her family wound up living 300 steps away from us. That closeness was a precious gift for me, both physically and emotionally, during the last years of her young life.

There is so much more I could and should say about Susan, but we’ve received so many notes, letters and cards telling us how special she was, that I know I don’t really have to tell people what she was like.

She loved and was loved every day of her life.

Death happens to all of us and it’s never easy to accept, especially family members and loved ones. It’s heart-wrenching and feels like the very essence of your being is forever gone. Absolutely no death is easier than another — but my only wish for you is that you never lose a child.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Kahlil Gibran

A Perfectly Normal Day

Today was one of the best days ever. We were celebrating my birthday and daughter Susan planned the day for me.

She picked me up and we hit a few craft shows in area, the first one was pretty small and not very promising. But we wound up buying some goodies at a bake sale and found a great Christmas present for a friend.

One of the vendors had painted signs/sayings for sale. One sign was perfect for Susan, but it was pretty big, so reluctantly we passed on it. We continued visiting with other vendors and a few minutes later the painting lady came up to Susan with the sign and said she wanted her to have it. She insisted upon her taking the sign. We both cried.

After two more small craft shows we wound up at a nearby cajun restaurant that we don’t get to eat at very often, especially since the guys in the family are not fans. Sorry guys, but it was as delicious as always.

Next it was time to head home for a short rest and nap.

A few hours later all five of us went out for a great dinner, I got to open birthday presents from my family that knows me all too well and an early bedtime soon beckoned.

Like I said, a perfectly normal day.

When a member of your family has a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, those days are what we all long for and are so rare, but absolutely perfect when it happens.

HelloFresh Meal Delivery

We’ve all seen these advertised — easy meal options delivered right to your door. I’ve toyed with the idea of ordering, but often there have been drawbacks. Many are only in metropolitan areas or several ingredients still have to be purchased locally or the cost is prohibitive when shipping is added.

I stumbled upon a review for HelloFresh and was intrigued, mostly because of the idea of getting some new ideas for meals. As a senior citizen, I just don’t enjoy cooking as much as I used to, part of that is we are neither gourmets or gourmands. I also liked the idea of everything being delivered with no last minute shopping. (Scroll down for a link for a $40. discount!)

So I bit the bullet, placed my order and waited for the result.

Hello Fresh Ingredients

Yesterday a very heavy box arrived, shipped via UPS. It contained three rectangular boxes with sealed ingredients for each meal, two huge frozen cold packs and three packages of meat for the meals. At the very top of the box were three colorful 8 x 11 heavy-paper recipes with lots of illustrations.

Last night was our first meal, Thai Spiced Pork and Rice Noodle Stir-Fry. When I looked at the ingredient box, I kept thinking this is not going to be enough to satisfy us — I was so wrong. It was filling and neither one of us finished our entire dinner. It took about 10-15 minutes to cut up the veggies and another 10-15 minutes until the time it was ready to eat.

Stir Fry Pork

Verdict — Good to Very Good.

What I liked:

  • everything was included
  • delivered right on schedule
  • food was fresh tasting
  • meals I probably would not have prepared on my own
  • ability to choose between several meals offered
  • price seems reasonable
  • appears to be easy to cancel or stop for a week

What I didn’t like:

  • not all ingredients were clearly marked
  • concerned that foods will not stay cold during Oklahoma summer deliveries

Fish container

And what I thought was fun — the adorable little containers for some of the ingredients!

Price is about $10. per meal per person, but drops down a bit for family size plans. Yes, I could probably make it cheaper, but I would have to do a lot of shopping! If you’re intrigued or interested in trying this out, check out this referral link to save $40. on your first order.

Don’t lie to me. Ever.

I was just reading a personality assessment, not about me, just something in general. When this particular part hit me and hit me hard. I was talking to myself about this earlier in the day, thinking I should “forgive” someone who lied to me several years ago. Not only lied to me one time, but carried on the deception for months. I cannot even talk to them anymore, they are basically dead to me. And still are years later. I can take unpleasant news, I can take it if you don’t like me, but don’t lie to me. Ever.

All it takes is a simple glance in your direction to know you are lying to us. A lot of people don’t realize this, but being lied to really sucks for an empath. We feel it ooze into every aspect of the relationship…and it usually ends them.

As I said above, this hit me particularly hard today because an old friend’s name surfaced earlier, someone who I hadn’t talked to in years — because they lied to me. At the time the truth would have bothered me, but I would have gotten over it and all would have been good.

Okay Kevin, let me get this straight . . .

What a wake-up it has been this summer for Thunder fans.

We find out that — he didn’t like playing with Westbrook, he doesn’t like all the attention received in Oklahoma City (just weeks after he talked about how he loved his easy-going life here) and lastly now it comes out that he doesn’t like to play under pressure! What? This is when all of this comes out? Now? Really?

It was apparent in the weeks leading up to the decision that Durant wasn’t planning to stay. His body language during the playoffs, his play during the playoffs and his disappearing act right after the Thunder were out, all made me predict in early June that he was going to be gone. I didn’t necessarily want it to happen, but I was also not too upset about him leaving. Fans could tell his head and heart weren’t in the games. Although he wasn’t limping, many fans in the stands wondered if his foot was bothering him again. He just wasn’t himself or maybe he was and this was his way of showing us. We kept waiting for him to have a game from the days of old, one of those games where he took over and made those incredible shots to win the game. It wasn’t going to be, although there were occasional games during the playoffs when we thought — maybe he’s back.

Instead it was Westbrook, like he has all season long, that came out with the passion and fire of someone who wanted to win. With the spotlight on Westbrook with his record-setting season and passion evident for all to see, perhaps that’s what helped make the final decision go the way it did. Durant didn’t look like the team leader as much as Westbrook did, even though everyone still called Durant the leader, he had to know down deep that it wouldn’t be too long before it would be widely recognized that Westbrook was the true leader of the team. Perhaps that’s what his revolving door entourage was whispering in his ear, get out now.

Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem with a twenty-some year old young man wanting to change jobs, that’s most certainly his right. But what I and so many others have a problem with is going to the team that he basically handed a win to in the last few minutes of game six with his multiple turnovers and shooting something like 1 for 7 when it mattered. And then the most disagreeable member of the other team starts bragging on how he was recruiting Durant all year long, including during the playoffs. That’s where the problem is with me and that’s why he will never be thought of the same way here in Oklahoma City. Any other team, we wouldn’t have liked it, but Golden State, come on, that’s just way wrong.