Posts tagged family
Happy Birthday, Dad: An Open Letter To My Dad Who Lost His Battle to Colon Cancer at 25

When my larger-than-life dad was 25, colon cancer got the best of him. In the past 25 years, I’ve transitioned from the girl who misses her dad, to the girl who wants to know her dad, to the woman who understands how truly lucky she is.

We’re all thrown a few lemons in life. Not a human on this earth is going to make it to their last day without the option to make a few pitchers of spiked lemonade, but, unlike most, I was introduced - at an early age - to the reality our days are not promised.

We’re deserving of nothing, yet I’ve received everything: I have a strong family, a pack of alpha friends, a masters degree, and a business card listing me as the CEO of my own small business.

This week, as I celebrate my dad’s birthday, I’m grateful for a man who should have had more time on this earth, who fought like hell to stay, who adventured hard, and gave me some pretty tremendous chipmunk cheeks.

 

Ron Isley was diagnosed with colon cancer on October 27, 1991 when he was only 23 years old. He passed away March 11, 1993.

Ron Isley was diagnosed with colon cancer on October 27, 1991 when he was only 23 years old. He passed away March 11, 1993.

 

 

To my dad on what would be his 50th birthday

Happy birthday, Dad!

Today, you turn fifty. FIFTY. Five zero. You’re old, man.

In a lot of ways, I can’t imagine not wishing you were here, but I also know I’m okay even though you’re not. In your wake, you left a tribe of hall-of-fame humans who have supported me through every school play, graduation, adventure and heartbreak.

I tried to call you once. Maybe it was the rocks kicking up on the mud flaps, maybe it was the pause between songs, but for a moment I wasn’t the girl missing her dad. I picked up the phone and pulled over on that dirt road as crocodile tears fell into my steering wheel. You weren’t going to answer because I tried to dial a phone number you’ve never had. You weren’t going to hear about the simple, normal day that took a hard left when I learned I’d be in Oklahoma State’s Homecoming Royalty. But, maybe you already knew.

You’re real to me. As real as you ever were.

Whether intentional or not, the relationships you cultivated created ripples that have been steadily growing and increasing in intensity. Sometimes I’m not sure where my memories stop and where others’ memories begin. I hear your laugh rustling every time Sammy Kershaw comes through the FM speakers and wonder if mine sounds the same.

As I watch my friends bring new humans to the world, the realness of your love has amplified. Through them I see how much you didn’t want to leave. As my best friend cried her way through a terrible movie because she couldn’t imagine a world where she wasn’t here for her kids, I told her, “they’d know. We’d all make sure they know.” And, they would.

Because I know.

I know as I stand on a ledge at the Grand Canyon, as I make another pass on I-40, as I watch the sun set on another adventure. I know.

I’m good. I’m really good.

Love you.

B.

P.S. Mobile phones are computers connected to the internet now. I know, weird.

 

 
Final paper from Comp 1 at IUPUI, Fall 1992.

Final paper from Comp 1 at IUPUI, Fall 1992.

The Ron Isley Birthday Challenge 

If you loved my dad as much as I still do today. I have a few favors.

  1. Do something adventurous. Go on a hike. Starch those jeans and take ‘em for a spin around the dance floor. 
  2. Donate to Fight Colorectal Cancer.
  3. Get over yourself and get screened if you need to. Sure, it’s your butt. Everyone has one. (I got tested at 19. You’re fine.)
Ron Isley Colon Cancer
will loves courtney

A week to the day after turning 21, my little brother married his high school sweetheart. Courtney, who is making a run for the title of favorite sister, is the perfect addition to the Clay family. In all honesty, she most definitely works harder than anyone else and has somehow found a balance in being Will's biggest cheerleader and keeping him alive. The latter, of course, it a big feat considering his adventurous shenanigans. Bless you, Courtney. 

WillClay
WillClay_Brother
ToriAnnaClay

The only thing that could have made Saturday better was if college football took a hiatus so my better half could join. Fall weddings, man. 

source: Originallyson Photography

source: Originallyson Photography

source: Originallyson Photography

source: Originallyson Photography

Sammy Kershaw might have written his '93 hit about Courtney, y'all.

She just really doesn't know.

But she is.

On the inside where it counts, too. 

on the eve of fall

Today, on the last official day of summer, I’m thrilled—and relieved.

As I look back at the happenings of the past few months I feel a lot like Drake. I wasn’t at the bottom when I started (ahem, Degrassi: The Next Generation) but I feel pretty high right about now.

clay_ranch_horse
Perkins_Oklahoma
John_Deere.jpg

I’m working from the office in the cattle barn this week, which is a stone's throw from the working pens. My heart is full of gratitude for a career in digital media that allows me to pursue my passion for the agricultural industry and work anywhere there is high speed internet.

And, yes, I’m thanking my lucky stars high speed Internet found its way to rural Oklahoma.

The view from the west pasture on Sunday afternoon. 

The view from the west pasture on Sunday afternoon. 

I’m three weeks into a new job, folks. Three weeks with an all-digital agency based in Boston and a client in the animal health industry

As part of the strategy team I’m working with talented, passionate stewards of the digital space on blogger engagement programs, new websites, social strategy, et al.

With an innovative, international brand.

Pinch me. 

Grateful just doesn't seem to do it justice. 

The Rest of the Story

While the rest of the country was (is) dealing with white tundra that is winter in February, the weather in Austin turned from perfect and sunny to non-so-perfect and a little bit rainy. *sad trombone*

Rain in Texas? It’s because I’m wearing my moccasins e’rday, obviously.

Because of the rain, I fell into my rainy-day habits that are everything that is unreasonable and first-world of exploring Dillards. A girl just needs something new to wear to a work event, am I right?

While perusing the Vince Camuto dresses, my grandma called to inform me had stumbled upon my Instagram and did I want to know the rest of the story

Of course, Paul Harvey. Lay it on me. 

"Ahhh, I could really use the Dodge about now."

A photo posted by brooke clay haney (@thebrookehaney) on

While loving everything that is Johnson County, Indiana, before AgChat's National Collegiate Conference, I drove past this big, red Dodge taking residence in an iconic rural barn. To be honest, to me it was nothing more than a 'grammable moment a few football fields away from my mother's childhood home.

To my grandma, it was more. 

This Dodge was one of a pair she drove during harvest near the time my family purchased a grain elevator on the south side of the county. 

Oh, hey family heritage.

Also, my grandma has Instagram? No way. 

advocating away from the farm
My Grandpa Compton gave me a farm tour this week. The coolest moment for a granddaughter. 

My Grandpa Compton gave me a farm tour this week. The coolest moment for a granddaughter. 

I've been invited to speak at AgChat's National Collegiate Congress tomorrow in Indianapolis. AgChat? AgChat is an organization created to empower farmers and ranchers to connect with communities through social media. 

I ventured to my first AgChat conference in 2011 and credit this organization to many of my professional contacts and dearest friends.

This organization has evolved past social media account tutorials and now focusses on storytelling and content. 

Tomorrow I will stand before a herd of college students and discuss advocating away from the farm. Known to me as livingCollege students are the most terrifying of species. They know everything. I know this because I was the most basic of college students. 

Because my genes are from Indiana, I ventured to the 317 early to spend a few days working remotely on the davenport while discussing soybean prices and checkoff programs with my grandpa. Meanwhile, my other grandpa started a new blog

Being here (literally, in Indiana) working on tomorrow's presentation has afforded the hamsters a significant about of time on the wheel. How did I get here? This path, man. I couldn't have planned this. 

the three one seven

I most definitely made my way to the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation competition because of these genes. 

I most definitely made my way to the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation competition because of these genes. 

My genes are from Franklin, Indiana. My family has been farming in central Indiana for quite a few years. In fact, my great-grandpa was the Indiana Dairyman of the Year in 1957.

Agriculture is in my genetic makeup. 

In the late 90s, when today's college students were learning to walk and my parents decided a life in the west was their jam.

Talk about traumatic for this 5th grade graduate. My parents loaded up a pot belly of commercial cattle, a stock trailer full of our prized processions and drove to Oklahoma where dreams could be made. You know, unicorns, glitter, magic. 

Middle school. Dirt roads. Dirt roads.

Home became Perkins, Oklahoma. 
 

the four oh five

If there was ever a time to use this photo from the Johnson Co. Fair this is the time. I'm sure I lost. 

If there was ever a time to use this photo from the Johnson Co. Fair this is the time. I'm sure I lost. 

Since the late 90s (when Nick TV was better than Disney), my family’s farm transitioned into more of a ranching operation. With a few thousand acres to run commercial cattle and purebred angus my family fell in love with Oklahoma.

I fell hard.

The life I became to know and love was so different that what I would have had in Indiana. 

Then I fell harder in college. The food system and agriculture's many facets became the thing that made sense to me. I traveled abroad with groups to Nicaragua, Argentina, Scotland, England and France and saw first-hand the different views of the vast agricultural industry. 

After two degrees, I moved the 100 miles to Oklahoma City where I became the pork girl. ( A post to be written by the sportswriter.) 

At OPC, was thrown directly into media buying and marketing promotions. I loved it. I loved telling stories. However, I became very intimate with the gap between agriculture and consumers. I needed something that, at the time, agriculture couldn't give me. I needed to know consumers. 

I mean, I liked consumers. Wasn't I one? To me, the line between the two didn't exist. I'm an equal opportunity human supporter.

My plan: Leave agriculture and return in five to seven years with mainstream media and advertising experience. 

I became the official travel writer and social media manager of Chickasaw Country, which is the south-central region of Oklahoma., and covered concerts, restaurants, stores. 

The. Best. Job. Ever.

Just me and my consumers. Chatting. Exploring. People really liked hearing my stories. They loved knowing I broke ice before school, how my show stock made its way into the herd, what “fixing a water gap” meant.

the seven oh four

In North Carolina, I joined a prominent advertising agency that worked with clients in tourism, banking, sports, consumer products, commerce, et al. and found myself on the consumer frontline.

Sure I managed social properties, but I also worked with consumers every day.  Until then, I had never been so intimate with a group of humans who were so completely removed from the family farm.

For example, during my interview, an individual in a leadership position laughed as she told me her 6-year-old didn’t know what a cow was. To me, this was completely baffling, but it made sense. How could a child know what a cow was if she didn't venture far from an urban setting? 

My examples could go on for days, but it was like something clicked. I felt like Rocky. My whole life I’d been chasing chickens just I could compare consumers to Clubber Lang. 

That may be a bad example. No fighting necessary. 

the five one two

Only three and half years after leaving agriculture, I've rejoined the team. Go team ag! I serve as a liaison between agriculture and consumers in a vast lineup of commodities and have found a solid niche career in the digital space. 

I live in an urban jungle filled with food trucks, live music and really cool humans.

My life is advocating away from the farm. 

As a work on tomorrow's presentation and pull specific tips, examples and such I'm reminded it's really just about relationships.

  1. Listen more than you talk.
  2. See both sides of the story. (Even if you have to physically go see both sides of the story)
  3. And be you. No one knows (insert your industry/passion/project) better than you do.  

From the 317 to the 405 to the 704 to the 512 and back. 

Tomorrow I talk about sharing agriculture's story in the very place my life began developing its roots. Full circle, man. Full circle. 

 

 

Adams living on Walton's Mountain

Can we all agree no one has a perfect family? 

We’re all members of highly-functioning dysfunctional families. I remember leaving the theatre after watching August: Osage County thinking, “That was dark, but utterly relatable.” To be fair, I’m not aiming to parallel my life after Julia Robert’s character, but isn’t it refreshing her family was so messed up?

Part of growing up is letting go of the idea that we should be like the Tanners/Cosbys/Bradys/Waltons and embracing the weirdness that is the Adams family.  

As a teenager, I vividly remember believing my friends were so lucky because their families were so perfect. Meanwhile, they were probably thinking the same about mine. 

When I looked around this Christmas and saw divorces, new significant others, half-siblings, etc. I didn’t notice the labels. I noticed humans enjoying Christmas. 

Man, did I love it.

My family isn't perfect, but they're pretty solid.

Payne County Oklahoma is my favorite place on this earth. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow. 

For perspective, I wrote that sentence from my hotel room in Manhattan Beach

That statement is baffling to some humans:
Have you seen the Eiffel tower? Yes.
Have you traveled the country? Working on it.
Have you tasted the wine in Napa? Ringing affirmative. 

Payne County is where I learned to embrace life in all its dysfunctionalness. (yes, that's a word.) It's where I fell in love with being a big sister. It's where I learned my parents aren't perfect. (gasp!) It's where I studied agriculture. Oh, man, do I love the latter.

It's where you can find my favorite scene: blue sky, black cows and winter wheat. 

This post is the very definition of an incomplete thought. Where was I going with this? Simply inspiring thought. On Sunday I heard a wonderful sermon about five ways to make the new year better. It's not about resolutions, but looking at situations differently. It's there for you - just sitting on the table. Pick it up if you want. 

 

Small town Friday night

Of all the hats I wear, big sister is my favorite. In this capacity, I’ve learned to manage, delegate, rule, annoy and defend – all buzz words that will be immediately added to my résumé.

A few weekends ago, my sister gradated from high school. Read as: I used my last vacation day of the year to take my heart back to Payne County, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma: where everything moves a little slower (except the wind), the people are friendlier and my heart is fuller. I can travel the world, but my home will always be in Perkins. It's where my family is, you know? It's where I learned to drive on dirt roads, first kissed a boy and met my best friend.

It's where I learned to have high standards for the boys I brought home. How's that? By bringing home ones who didn't quite make the cut. Just ask my dad - he'll tell you about 'em.

The ones who broke my heart, didn't have a solid handshake, didn't walk up to the door, drove a muscle car, didn't have a good reputation...

When I finally brought home the right one, it was all worth it. And, yes, that's his best little brother impression.

Cheers to you, little sister. May you love college as much as I did and may you make the friends who stand by your side for all of life's curveballs. You're my favorite.

B.

Claudia Jean Isley

During the past few years, my Grandma Claudy has gone from Grandma to one of my best friends. It's rare we go a few days without an email or phone call and her sound life advice is something I've leaned on heavily as I made life transitions. She knows the details of my life possibly more than anyone else and always asked the right questions - always. 

She's also the most enthusiastic fan of Rural Gone Urban.

If you're an avid creeper, you've seen her comments on posts. What you don't see is that they're always followed up with by an email and most often a phone call. "I just read it like I'm there. Write more adventures, Brookie."

So for my biggest blogging fan, I write this post.

My grandma passed away this week. Through tears, I seek peace knowing that in the end, she won. No, she didn't have a long, painful battle with an illness. She had a minor surgery that went terribly, terribly wrong. But, she won.

You see, right now she's rejoicing in heaven with our Heavenly Father and her son, my earthly father.

She gave me my infamous "k. bye.," my nose, my ridiculous laugh, my creativity and hopefully - my outlook on life. She was just so - nice. 

This morning I submitted her obituary to the local paper. It seems fitting it could have real-estate on Rural Gone Urban, too.


Claudia Jean Isley
September 25, 1944 – April 21, 2014
Franklin, Indiana

Claudia Jean Isley was a lover of westerns, Saturday girls’ lunch, the color purple and bragging endlessly about her talented and wonderful children and granddaughters.

She passed away on April 21, 2014, and it was fiercely too soon.

Claudia, 69, graduated from Franklin High School in 1962 and then earned her cosmetology license. Her chair became a haven for many; unintentionally but importantly, it made her an instrumental pillar of the community.

She recently retired after 25 years at the Indiana Masonic Home Beauty Shop.

Selfless to her core, Claudia often took cookies to local librarians and firefighters for protecting the Dewey Decimal System and civilians, respectively.

Her family brought great joy to her life. Whether she was exploring new beaches with Chris; sitting on the patio with JR and his wife, Tina; cheering for Sydney during swim meets or watching Gidget marathons with Brooke, her desire to make small moments big memories will leave a lasting impression on those who hold her dear to their hearts.

Claudia, deeply loved by so many, will be missed for her thoughtful nature, sweet giggle and quick-witted personality. Reasonable, honest and kind, her life advice was useful – and uniquely hers.

She is survived by two children, Carl Richard Isley Jr. (Tina) and Christina René Isley, and two grandchildren, Brooke Isley Clay Haney and Sydney Isley.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Wreatha Liss; sister, Crystal States; and son, Charlton Ronald Isley.

Rev. Charles Stanley will preside over the memorial service on Friday, April 25, 2014 at 2 p.m at Flinn and Maguire Funeral Home, 2898 North Morton Street, (U.S. 31 North) in Franklin.

Friends may call on Thursday, April 24, 2014 from 4 - 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks you donate to the Johnson County Public Library overdue book fund and to do for others before you consider yourself, laugh until it hurts, find joy in seemingly small moments and spend a Saturday morning watching westerns.


Today, I hope you can make a small difference in someone's life. Do it for Grandma Claudy.

k. bye.

Whirlwind.

Everyone’s life is a whirlwind, right?  This month I’ve been on two significant road trips and one amazing plane-trip. Somewhere in the middle I’ve managed to lose a new BCBG pump (just one), cover a Reckless Kelly concert, dress like a superhero, fall in love with Crossfit. Of all the chaos, the epicenter of my world is my family. This is why I didn't hesitate to drive for 12 hours to stay for 24 and drive another 12 hours home. Spending a Saturday night at my cousin's wedding was one of the most memorable nights of August - and maybe my life.

We were raised as a tight group where cousins are more like siblings and aunts and uncles are staples in a lot of life decisions. Even though half way through my childhood my parents moved us 700 miles away to Oklahoma, I've found that not every family is as close as we are. As the sixth oldest granchild of 10 (on just one side of the family) life is never dull.

Sitting at the cousins table during the wedding we laughed as we talked about the first time someone got into trouble in grade school, someone driving the odyssey through a garage door and a million other stories that were so ridiculous they shouldn't make an appearance on the blog.

There were tiny humans. Everywhere. Sitting in the pew was the equivalent of sitting in an all you can eat buffet of candy, crackers and things-that-make-children-quiet-during-weddings.

Am I mature enough to hold in giggles during a perfectly timed "uh oh," during the ceremony. Absolutely not.

It's crazy to think that this entire family story started sixty-something years ago when my grandparents (the most legit people in the western hemisphere) decided to make a family. Sometimes I wonder if they knew what they were getting into.

My grandpa restored the first tractor he ever owned just for this wedding. The tractor secured the wedding's spot as a perfect "Pinterest Wedding."

Not a day passes that I'm not thankful for this whirlwind of a life - and the characters who make it so wonderful.

A perfect week.

Do you ever look back at your college days and think, "How in the world did I survive that?" I'm not talking about too many nights at the bar, I'm talking about balancing leadership positions, multiple jobs, and too many credit hours. Sometimes I look back and think, "I wish I was still that good."

Because, if I was... I wouldn't be so tired.

Don't get me wrong, my life is completely worth being tired.

Last week was interesting, to keep state it simply. T was in Dallas for work, so made a mini road trip to Dallas after delighting in a few peaches in Stratford. Not a day passes that I'm not thankful for my amazing job that allows me to work from home every now and then, or in this case work poolside in Dallas.

After a few fun days in Dallas, including a Darius Rucker concert, I woke up in the 4 o'clocks Wednesday for a too-early road trip back to Oklahoma City. Our church group meets at our house each Wednesday, so early to bed wasn't an option. Courtney's surprise birthday party followed Thursday evening and an Avett Brothers concert Friday. I had a fun work event on Saturday, catching some zzz's wasn't an option then, either.

With all that said, Saturday night I wanted nothing more than to curl up in my faded Oklahoma State sweat pants and watch a few hundred episodes of the Golden Girls.

But, as a proud big sister, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to watch my little sister run barrels while people watching with my little brother. So, I pulled a pair of starched jeans from the closet and headed to a small-town rodeo.

Wait. Hold on. I feel obligated to confess my love for starched jeans. If I'm going to wear boots, I need my jeans to have the ability to stand by themselves. It's odd, I know, but I feel as strongly about this as I do that spending more for quality high heels is better than mostly everything else.

I love more than anything that after a long busy week of urban living, I can sit in the stands with my dad (yes, those are our boots and starched jeans) and talk his ear off about things that don't really matter while he says all of four words.

He didn't even roll his eyes when I snapped this picture. It's a Christmas miracle, really.

My little brother, one of my favorite people in the entire world, is going to be a high school senior. I can't begin to explain how much this blows my mind. This picture taken around 9 p.m. when the sun was still glaring heavily into our eyes and the temperatures were still in the triple digits. Honestly, I don't care how gross we look because my brother is smiling and this never happens. This, too, is a Christmas miracle.

I will trade all the quality nights of sleep in the world weeks like this. Weeks incorporating everything I love about life - rural, urban, family, T., adventures, family, friends - are exactly how I want to live my life.

Where there's a Will, there's a way.

{blogger's note: The title of the post has been updated thanks to a suggestion from my friend Brent. He's pretty legit... you should be his friend, too.}  Last night I was telling he-who-hasn't-been-named a random story about my little brother. Oddly, I used his actual name. By his, I mean my big-little brother.

Me: This one time Will and I went to the movies to see... (insert irrelevant story) He-Who-Hasn't-been-Named:: Who is Will? Me: My brother? He-Who-Hasn't-been-Named:: You have never used his name, ever.

Is that weird? That's using my little-big brother is not a typical habit of mine?

He's my favorite brother. Technically, he's my only brother. Therefore, he's absolutely my favorite.

Little tidbit about me: I don't like hugs. It's true. I'm more of a high-five kind of girl. People in my personal space just really creeps me out.

However, this guy, he gives the best hugs. Mostly, because I know he hates hugs as much as I do.

And it was confirmed that the day I checked him out of school to go sledding (really happened, folks) was worth the investment when he lets me lean on him at funerals.

Also, parents, don't put your college-aged child on the list to check your other kids our of school if you think there is a chance they could abuse it. Because they will. I mean I did. It was all in the name of securing my spot as Best Sister Ever.

Anyway, my big-little brother has a name. It's Will. Well, except that phase when he was 3 or 4, then it was Clyde. Different story for a different day.

The Low Fuel Light Doesn't Lie

Last week I went on a work trip and left my favorite Hobo Clutch in Ardmore (that's roughly 107 miles south of my little urban casa). In the hobo was everything I needed to survive. You know, the basics: ID, money, debit card. To be fair, I didn't even know it was missing until Saturday. Yes, for two days my lovely hobo was MIA. (Speaking of Hobos, I have my eye on a this Mavis in leaf. You know, just in case your looking to get me something pretty.)

How did I know it was missing? Well, Saturday my lovely co-worker Shelley married love of her life.

After the wedding, Becki and I decided we should put our wedding clothes to good use at make our way to one of OKC's weirdest places, Groovys. Except, I didn't have an ID. Luckily, I still had my social security card, expired credit card and a health insurance card. I have no idea why they let me in.

(btw. how great was my dress from the clearance rack? Uhm. Win?)

Moving on.

Did you know they race camels? Well they do. And, because they do, I didn't make my way to Ardmore on Sunday.

Not until this past weekend did I find inconvenient that I never found time to bank some place other than my small-town, local to Stillwater bank. Read as: no card, no money. whoops.

However, on Monday I thought I would head to the farm. This has absolutely nothing to do with the homemade lasagna my mom had made. 

It went like this: Check fuel in car. Think to self: "I can probably make it." Find gas can in garage set aside for lawnmower... top off gas... just incase. Drive home. Take a nap. Eat Lasagna. Drive into town. run out of gas.

First thought: "Whoopsy Daisies." Second Thought: "This is pretty funny." Third thought: "Oh, Will and Tori get out of school in a few minutes!"

Even if I hadn't texted my brother, "SOS! Ran out of gas - save me from the locals!" he would have found me anyway. This is a small town, and there's only one way to cross the river.

Thanks little brother for saving me.

This is the look he gave me right after I said, "well, I thought I'd make it," and right before he said, "are you going to blog about this?"

Moral of the post: 1) the low fuel light doesn't lie. 2) don't lose important things like your wallet.

Thank you.

If we're social media friends (and in real life friends) you may have noticed I made an impromptu road trip my birthplace. Aka: Indiana. It's true, it was for a funeral. And, I truly thank you for the encouraging texts, phone calls, emails, tweets (I could keep going here...) I know, with all my heart, my Papaw is in a better place, a cancer-free place, and I look forward to joining him someday to talk basketball. To me, he'll always be the man who bought me my first basketball goal. Which lead to hours upon hours of playing "HORSE," with my little sister.

The man who played Santa Claus at Christmas.

And, the man who forgot he was an IU fan just long enough to put an Oklahoma State sticker on his car.

It's truly astonishing how wonderful my friends are. I'm thankful for each of you every day, without fail.

New Traditions, I think?

As an Oklahoma transplant, the road between the 405 and the 317 is a well-traveled one especially on Holiday weekends. Our family is usually in Indiana attending the small church where most of my family was married and sitting in the same pew I crawled under as a toddler. Until this year.

For some odd reason, we stayed in Oklahoma. Oddly, we were faced with a new challenge of "what do we do?" Our traditions are nailed down in the 317.

Some things will never change. Mom made us stand around, awkwardly, to take a few pictures.

And, usually, we goof off until someone makes Mom cry and then we suck it up and muster a smile.

Note: we do have a father, he just happens to be allergic to cameras, and he's not as scared of Mom as we are.

We're weird.

And, without traditions, we were literally lost after church.

We gathered in the living room - staring at each other - until someone mustered, "hey, when's the last time you dusted off your Glock?"

Then, clearly, it was "game on" when guns were concerned.

I'm not even sure I know what type of gun this is. I just know it's loud, and I'm a dead-on shot.

How did we go from this? A normal family taking awkward pictures....

To this?

It doesn't make sense.

Happy Monday from the Clays.

And, thanks mom for the food. I'll be full until Thursday.

 

Happy Awkward Easter.

Happy Easter, Rural Gone Urban creepers. I appreciate you. Really, you make me happy sometimes. Today, I wish I could have snuck into each of your houses and left your Longaberger basket filled with Peeps and fake grass.

Only if you promised to nuke your peeps for 37 seconds, on high. It's a typical Easter tradition, I'm quite certain it's the only reason they were even created. Note: I have not seen the 'How It's Made Episode' regarding this topic; however, the probability of a conversation like this::

"We should make little chicks out of marshmallows." "The kids would probably blow them up in the microwave." "It will be an Easter tradition enjoyed by the Clay family for years."

most definitely happened.

Because you're loyal and visit RGU for reasons unknown to to even the keeper of logic and reason (hint:: it's The Guy behind the meaning of today...) this picture is for you.

You deserve a good laugh.

For future reference, if you ever plan to be a keeper of tiny humans, it's your duty to have them pose with a stuffed rabbit and distribute them to the ladies at church on Easter. However, do not forget to save one for your tiny humans future blog.

As awkward as this picture is - I'm most baffled by the choice of rabbits. I know - for a fact - I had a perfectly acceptable Roger Rabbit stuffed animal as a child.

If I had a sign-off, I would absolutely use it here. But, for some reason I can't think of anything other than "Keep it Classy, creepers," or "Until Next Time." None of them fit the bill.

So. Over & Out.

I've got nothing.

I need some new material. I have nothing funny to write {blog} about.

Also, what did we do before iPhones? Every picture from the past 12 months has been from my trusty smart phone. Granted, I have three point-and-shoot cameras that could easily be taken anywhere. That's too difficult.

It's impossible to send an image of my dreadfully awkward face, while wearing a tacky-Christmas-sweater, while driving my grandma's legit mazda, and send it to friends who are acting like grinches on Christmas eve.

Really, some people act like grinches on Christmas eve - can you believe that?

Back to the sweater vest. I walked into Christmas #2, wearing this lovely ensemble. Immediately, my aunts got it. They laughed, giggled, snorted a few times.

See, if people focus on the humor - they don't focus on the tiny-humans I don't have. It's pure genius.

However, my grandmother, complimented my outfit, and followed up with, "Sometimes I just don't know what you wear - but, this just really looks good on you. It's very conservative." And, that's wear the new tradition of Christmas Sangria came into play.

Also - what happened to my litter sister?? She's all grown up or something. How do we make that natural progression halt? forever. 

 

If you throw a party.

Last night I made the mistake of announcing to the wonderful world of twitter that I hadn't slept in my own bed in a week. Big mistake.

On the flip side, I didn't realize I had so many "big brothers" on twitter. By Big Brother I'm not referencing George Orwell's 1984 , I simply mean, big brothers: ones who sit on the front porch with a shot gun when you go on your first date.

For clarification I haven't been bed hopping across the 405.

I've been playing that big sister card while my parents were on vacation in Colorado. For the record, dropping by for a short visit, stirring up trouble, and  then heading out of dodge is how I usually play the sister card.

Not this past week. Nope, not at all. Can you believe I had to make sure teenagers finished their homework?

Lets get real. I didn't do that. I just made sure they weren't up to anything sketchy and had a year's supply of hot pockets in the freezer.

My big-little brother even made me pull the mom-voice I didn't even know I had - out of my back pocket. Apparently, the 'shop' is the cool place to hang out.

Oh, did I mention Jodi jumped ship and got married?

She's such a diva :-) No, really. She had a complete wardrobe change between the ceremony and reception. Falling into line, I obviously had to change out my heels for my dancing boots.

Also - if you can believe this - she let me give a speech at her wedding. In the four steps from my chair to the microphone I whipped up a pretty decent little dialogue.

I've always wanted to give a speech - and since, well, I'm here - might as well give this a go. Jodi, {pause}, thank you for being a friend. {pseudo-emotional pause.} We've traveled down the road and back again.

Jodi: Are you singing? Is this a song? Me: No, if this were a song - I'd be singing. I'm talking. Therefore, not a song.

Your heart is true, you're a pal and confidant. And, Since you've thrown a party -  Invited everyone you knew. You can see - that biggest gift... it is from me And, just incase you don't have time to open it tonight, The card attached says - thank you for being a friend.

Vintage Tea Pots and Baby Showers.

During my comute downtown, I'm almost always on my phone talking to some member of my family. This morning was no different. Although, {praise the heavens} this morning's conversation could have gone a little differently had I not invested in an otterbox for my iphone. mom: A lot of your friends are getting married or are married. me: yes.

Hello captain obvious. For the record, my parents are completely okay with me being a twenty-something pursuing my career and not chasing after a ring. After all, News 9 did say today Oklahoma is ranked very high on the divorce index.

mom: This means a lot of them might start having babies. me: That is the natural progression of most marriages.

At this point, I have no idea where she is going with this. She's spent a significant amount of the summer playing with my cousin's teeny humans and I'm about to throw up a little prayer she hasn't jumped ship looking for the nearest Grandparents-R-Us island.

mom: Well, I just have the cutest set of vintage tea pots that would be perfect for a baby shower. me: ____________ silence.

This is when I begin sorting through my option of responses only my 15-year-old sister dripping in sarcasm would appreciate.

mom: So, can you volunteer me to throw one when your next friend gets pregnant? me: Well, I guess you can save them for 10 years or so. mom: They'll be too old to be considered vintange by then.

Ba-dum-ching.

So, friends, if you plan on turning into one of those teeny-human-havers anytime soon - my mom is available to throw you a baby shower. She'll probably even be available to give play-by-play facebook updates if you're interested.

 

Welcome to Oklahoma

My aunt is visiting in a few weeks and I’m determined to plan a weekend that will forever dismiss her preconceived thoughts of a landlocked abyss. Although I'm an Oklahoman with roots stretching miles into the red dirt, my childhood memories occasionally linger to thoughts of playing in the rich top soil of the Indiana earth. I can relate. Pre-transplant I didn't have a clue what Oklahoma was - or who was there (here.)

In fifth grade, mere days from a 700 mile road trip to a home settled at the end of a dirt road, my class devoted an entire week to Oklahoma. Each student was given a topic and I was immersed in to the Oklahoma culture in a fast-paced fifth grader’s cliffs notes.

State Bird: Scissor-tailed flycatcher State Rock: Rose Rock State folk Dance: Square Dance State Flower: Indian Blanket

With the essentials in hand, we moved to Oklahoma where I drove (road shotgun) on my first dirt road. {It should be shared my teacher told me to watch out for cacti and copperheads - thanks, teacher, for the nightmares of moving to the desert...}

Yes, you read that correctly. I didn’t have a clue dirt roads existed. I lived in the country, road for hours in a combine, and used corn husks as grenades during fierce games of cops and robbers – but, I’d never seen a dirt road.

It’s incredible how in a relatively short amount of time I can not only call Oklahoma home but have a need to show others that there is more than dirt roads and wranglers. So let the planning begin! [I need your input]

Day 1 to-do list:

Head out of town on Route 66 stopping at Pops. A relatively new establishment is encompasses the attitude of many Oklahomans. Good people, good food, good time.

[Photo Source]

With hundreds of Soda Pop choices {is it coke, soda, or soda pop??} we might be here for hours...

Then we'll go north on 177 to a little town called Perkins - home of Pistol Pete and Brooke Clay!

Next stop, Stillwater. My aunt has been to Stillwater a few times; however, both revolved around a cap and gown, which didn't leave to much exploring. Although campus is beautiful, there is more to this one horse town than orange fountains. If I have it my way we'll eat cheese fries at Joes, buy a new pair of shoes at the Shoe Bank and take a gander at the new red dirt talent.

On our loop back to Oklahoma City, it's a necessity to make a stop in one of Oklahoma's most charming towns. Guthrie, Oklahoma's first capitol, intertwines small town romance with big city dreams. A pleathera of boutiques and tourist stops is sure to win over my aunt's Hoosier heart.

That's my rough-draft of day 1. What do you think? Anywhere else we should stop on the loop?

Talented Kittens.

A few weeks ago I blogged about laying on the ground taking pictures of the kittens at the farm and finding a Copperhead. I didn't learn my lesson - but, I didn't find another copperhead either.

I'm not really a cat fan; but, I just can resist taking pictures of these kittens.

They're just so ornery.

I'm sure one of the four will grow up to be a good mouser and get to live his/her days as a barn cat.

As for the other three, they're going to need a good home. Please understand if they can capture the attention of my big-little brother - they must be pretty exceptional. (If you live in the Perkins area - first, score for you reading my blog! and, second, want a kitten?)

Yes, they can do pull-ups. Half the population can't do a pull-up and this kitten has is mastered.

They have good genes, too.

-------- Don't forget the Social Media Lemonade Stand is still open for business! Selling Lemonade to earn my travel/registration for AgChat Agvocacy 2.0.

I just finnished @Raburgin's  NEW blog An Okie's Positive Life. She's just getting started in the blogging world - but I think she's going to have great things to say in the future!