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King of the Prairie

Tonight will probably decide if the Thunder will be finished for this season by Sunday or whether we will live to fight another week.


In the scheme of things it’s just a small blip in all things OKC and NBA. The Thunder has had an amazing run since coming to OKC. It’s been exciting, fun, frustrating and downright disappointing at one point or another. We’ve been season ticket holders since day one and have been to at least at 90% of the games each year. The golden days of Serge, Durant, Thabo, Nick and Westbrook are long gone and are remembered fondly. But I can say without equivocation that this year, the Durantless era, the Ibakaless era and Waitersless era has been the most exciting to me. We’ve gone from a vagabond team at the beginning to quickly becoming an elite team and now to what the pundits call a non-playoff team. Judging from the last two games, they are apparently right in theory. But according to Russell Westbrook, that’s just not so.

He has willed, fought, pushed and shot the team into the playoffs. Not the team, but Westbrook. Our team has shown such promise at times, that we’ve would become giddy with anticipation of what was in the future. And others times, we can look at them on the court and ask….who are these guys?

Westbrook gets criticized for taking too many shots, for not taking enough shots, for rebounding under the basket and for not rebounding under the basket. No matter what he does, according to some, it’s not enough. I just shake my head when I read the comments. But I guarantee that any real NBA fan, would love to have him on their team. He can “play team ball” but he has to have the team behind him in basketball ability, not in cute videos (although I admit I love them).

At times I’ve wanted to play general manager, but not this year. I don’t have a clue what Presti is going to do, actually we never do. But I don’t even have a clue what I think he should do. Blow up the fringes of the team and try to replace with better players? In that case who do you get rid of? Because I guarantee that most of the ones on the fringe will develop into strong players in the next few years and I for one, don’t want to sit and watch a Sabonis and Abrines killing it on another team, after we traded them away for yet another draft pick or B team player.

I don’t envy his job at all this year, but since everyone says he is brilliant, I’ll wait to see what magic he can cook up.

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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.

Levis: The Jeans that Won the West

Note: This was an article written by Joe Caro that he was generous enough to share with Collectibles readers on About.com. The article has been redirected, so it’s being reproduced here for your reading enjoyment.
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Levi Jeans — at one time or another, they were called britches, trousers, overalls, pants and finally jeans. They were guaranteed to shrink, fade and wrinkle and were originally made from brown, canvas sail-cloth intended for use as miners’ tents and Conestroga wagon covers. Invented by a 24-year old German immigrant dry-goods salesman, they are as American as apple pie! We know them fondly today as “501’s”.

When a young Levi Strauss arrived in a bustling, noisy San Francisco in 1853, the rush for California gold riches was still in high gear. The son of a Bavarian dry-good peddler, Levi expected that the mining camps would welcome the buttons, scissors, thread and bolts of fabric that he had brought with him, along with yards of canvas sail cloth that he intended to sell for tent-making and as covers for the the Conestoga wagons that dotted every stream and river.

Opening a little store on California Street with his brother-in-law David Stern, they were immediately successful and their reputation and business grew. It is reported that Levi was often found leading a pack-horse, heavily laden with his merchandise, directly into the mining camps throughout the region. The story goes that both prospectors and miners, often complaining about the easily torn cotton “britches” and pockets that “split right out” gave Levi the idea to make a rugged “overall” trouser for the miners to wear. They were fashioned from bolts of brown canvas sailcloth with gold ore storing pockets that were nearly impossible to split.

Exhausting his original supply of canvas, as the demand grew for his long-wearing overalls, Levi switched to a sturdy fabric called serge, which was made in Nimes, France. Originally called serge de Nimes, this name was soon shortened to “denim”. And, with the development of an indigo dye, the brown color was soon replaced with the now familiar deep blue, the trademark color of most jeans made today.

Another novel trademark, the riveting process, was patented in 1873 and was used to add even more strength to the pocket corners and stress areas of the pants, in addition to another Levi hallmark, using a double stitching or arcuate pattern on the hip pockets, to further increase pocket strength. In 1886, the Two-Horse brand leather patch was first introduced and in 1890, lot numbers were assigned to all products including lot “501”, which contained the first watch pocket.

It is interesting to note that Levi Strauss always disliked the term “jeans” to describe his … well… jeans! The word “jeans” it seems, is derived from the French word genes that was long associated with cotton trousers worn by Italian sailors. It is reported that Levi, and everyone working for him, referred to his denim trousers as waist-high overalls until long after his death in 1902. Not until the mid-1930’s did the company ever refer to them as jeans.

Originally designed as cinch pants to be worn with suspenders, the firm added belt loops in 1922, the red Levi’s tab in 1936 and removed the crotch rivet in 1941. It’s widely rumored that the crotch rivet removal was long overdue and attributed to a troublesome problem suffered by many cowhands while crouching near a roaring campfire on chilly nights out on the range. The story goes that the president of the company, Walter A. Haas, while wearing a new pair of “501’s” experienced first-hand what cowboys had been complaining about for years. Crouched down like that, it seems, the rivet at the base of the fly is mostly exposed to the fire and is an excellent conductor of heat. Shortly after his experience, and by executive order, this single offending rivet was removed forever!

Not a company to change its successful line of clothing without good cause, Levi’s continued to sell its denim overalls with both suspender buttons and belt loops until 1937 when they discontinued the suspender attachments. The next flurry of changes (after the removal of the crotch rivet in 1941) occurred in the ’50’s when the pattern was re-cut for a more tapered leg and pre-shrunk overalls were introduced. 1955 was the year that zippers were introduced to Levi Strauss’s famous overalls with other lots like “Lighter Blues” that marked the company’s entry into the sportswear business. The popularity of the Levi’s jeans grew to such an extent that during World War II the government declared them an essential commodity, and sales were restricted only to defense workers. Demand and price skyrocketed!

With the popularity of the Western movie and stars like John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, blue jeans were all the rage. What were originally designed as prospectors working britches now gained the irresistible aura of romance and adventure. The bad-boy, devil-may-care image of Marlon Brando and James Dean in the 1950s established blue jeans as the uniform of the day for the baby boomer generation. In 1960, the company dropped the word overalls from all advertising and finally started calling jeans — “jeans”.

From the California 49’ers to cowboys who were home on the range, to Rosie the Riveter, James Dean and Garth Brooks, the pants that young Levi made, especially lot “501”, have been with us now for well over 100 years. In over 70 countries throughout the world, everyone knows his first name, and continues to eagerly buy millions of of pairs of his pants that are still guaranteed to shrink, wrinkle and fade.

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.

The Quiet is Deafening . . .

The quiet is deafening. My little black shadow isn’t following me anymore and my heart is breaking.ali-7

Ali was her name.

And she was the sweetest Schipperke ever. If you know the breed, you know that they are fierce and protective. There is a reason why some folks call them Tasmanian Devils. But not Ali. She loved everyone and was happiest when people were here. Especially Eli. When he came over it was always a party going on and she would go into her happy dance. They would run around the backyard and she would be so excited that her boy came over to play with her.

When it was a Wednesday, I swear she knew the day of the week as she sat by the door waiting for all the ladies of my Wednesday group to come over. We would sit around the table and she would sit at our feet. Often grossing them out with her farts, powerful for just a little thing…but she was always happy to have her friends here.

If there is a Heaven for dogs, I know it was my friend Kathy Taylor who opened the door for her. Anytime Kathy came over the house, as soon as Ali saw her she would head to the back door. She knew Kathy had infinite patience with letting her in and out and in and out. When Kathy passed away, Ali was a little lost. Where was that nice lady who took care of her on Wednesdays?

Jet black, typical of Schipperkes with no tail, a little small for the breed, but the sweetest face. She was a bundle of energy that loved going on half a walk. She always wanted to walk, but about halfway through, she would sit down and not budge. So there I would be taking my dog out for a walk by carrying her home. Up until the last day she would follow me in every room I would go to, up and down the stairs. Like I said, my shadow.

The one thing I did that annoyed her was staying up too late. About midnight she would finally stand up and stare me down . . “Aren’t you going to bed yet?” I never could get her to go into the bedroom with Robert. No, she had to stay up with me. After all, I was her Mom.

The hardest thing about being a pet owner/lover is that they live too short compared to our lifespans. I thought I had it all figured out, seriously. She came along when I was 60. Schipperkes are long-lived breeds, so I figure out she wouldn’t get too old until I was about 75 or 76… just when I was getting too old. That’s the only time she’s let me down. She went too young at eleven.

We don’t quite know what did her in, but she was having digestive problems for about two months. Problems that we couldn’t figure out, but she seemed to be tolerating them well until last week when she wasn’t as interested in eating unless I offered her people food. It makes me smile to remember the last thing she ate was part of a Famous Amos cookie (no chocolate!).

Over the weekend she had a seizure or perhaps a small stroke, but it progressed into neurological issues that were steadily getting worse over her last twenty-four hours. So at 10:30 on a Sunday night we went to the hospital, held her in our arms told her how much we loved her and we let her slip away. So hard. So sad, but the right thing to do.

So now I face days that are too quiet, rugs that are not peed on, no more water bowls in four different rooms, no more automatic crumb catcher, no more heavy weight snuggling right next to me all night long. No more happy face running to greet me when she hears the door opening.

My sweet Ali…. Much too short a time on this earth for the happiness she brought us.

October 14, 2004 – November 1, 2015

Barb’s 15 Rules of Life

Just my two cents, for my grandkids.

  1. Remember that people will judge you by what you post and write on social media, you never know who might be reading those four-letter rants or risque pictures. Is that what you want employers or your parents to see?
  2. Always buy lemonade from the kids selling on the corner.
  3. If you stop to listen…. always give some change to street musicians. And if they are not so great, make it a buck.
  4. Don’t steal someone’s thunder by announcing their news on your social page.
  5. Tip generously when the waiter/waitress is trying their best, does that extra dollar make more of a difference to them or to you?
  6. Complement a stranger.
  7. Don’t always be the taker in a friendship, but then again, if you’re always the one giving, the question is why?
  8. Never, ever pass a Christmas kettle without helping others.
  9. Buy the “good” candy for Halloween.
  10. Vote. In every election.
  11. Give the service folks a present during the holidays. Think of how much easier they make your life!
  12. Treat people kindly, as we never know what they might be going through.
  13. But when the negativity gets to be too much, don’t let it destroy you. Vacate the relationship!
  14. Pick up that penny on the ground, it’s your lucky day.
  15. Tell someone you love them. Everyday.