29 July 2009

So Much for a Staycation

Since our lives are on the brink of chaos with a major move, law school and 120-day assignment in Atlanta, Mark and I decided to take a little time off to enjoy our last days in Hot Springs. We had some serious plans, which included catching some rays, grabbing a game of golf and of course eating good food. When we were awakened this morning at 6:00 with a call from the automated weather warning system saying we were experiencing flash flooding, I knew it wasn’t good. So after teaching my last Jazzercise class in Hot Springs (I’m a little sad about that), I drove our one-year-old Jeep in the pouring rain back to the dealership to fix what $456 neglected to do last time. Of course, all Enterprise had to offer was a big bad truck or minivan. (Which do you think I picked?) I then cruised on home to finish cleaning our oven and bathroom, my two favorite projects. Around 5:00 pm, with Sonic drinks in hand, Mark and I jumped in my Dodge Ram pick-up truck and headed to Lake DeGray State Park for what we knew was going to be the best staycation ever. Um, that’s when this story gets really good. The lodge was without electricity, but have no fear; they had glow sticks to light our way down the darkened steps to our un-air conditioned room. No problem I thought, we’ll just cool off in the pool. Forget that, it’s closed until tomorrow along with the hot tub, which was the reason we chose this destination in the first place. Okay, so Plan C, watch a little TV. A flat screen beats our 19-inch any day. Well, not this day, because all we could see was snow. So now, Mark and I have resorted to our usual extracurricular activity, which is conducting work on our respective laptops. Okay so he does work and I search People. Let’s hope Day 2 of the staycation is a little better. It can’t get any worse!

Last Days as an Arkansan

I’m winding down my days in the Natural State. By the end of the week, I’ll be heading west to our new home in OKC. While I can’t wait to step foot on Sooner (or shall we say Cowboy) soil, believe it or not, I am going to miss a few highlights of living in Arkansas. I’ll miss the beautiful scenery, friends who made living far from home somewhat bearable, horse racing, The Pancake Shop and running around the promenade (minus the part where the junior high boys join me). However, Mark and I will never reminisce about the curvy highways, crazy Southern accents, fanatic razorback fans, neighborhood crime and confusing tax laws. Each year, I write a Top Ten to culminate our anniversary. Following are the Top Ten Reasons Why We Must Escape the Natural State…
10. Wal-Mart is sure to run out of Dramamine soon.
9. Everything is plural in Arkansas. Example: “I says, we gots to go to MACDonalds to eats.”
8. Fort Smith is a heck of a long ways to drive to buy decent ice cream.
7. People think we’re cousins just because we’re married.
6. First the beast. Then masked men carrying AK-47’s. What’s next?
5. This Cowboy is suffocating in this razorback-obsessed world. (Is there another school in Arkansas? Didn’t think so!)
4. Two canoes + One not-so-strategically-placed electrical wire = One BIG Oops! (Think the hippy dude will ever find us?)
3. When the right wingers find out we voted for the other guy, we might be exiled anyway.
2. Four words: “You gotta get assessed.” Enough said.
1. God’s Country is calling us home!

03 March 2009

Fatty Masters ? -- Feb. 21, 2009

On Feb. 21, 2009, our beloved dog Fatty passed away from natural causes. For those of you who do not know his story, it is a heroic one. In the spring of 2007, Mark was scouting the wilderness of Northwest Arkansas for fires when he stumbled upon two starving Beagles searching for food among a dump in the middle of nowhere. Mark didn’t think twice. He scooped up Fatty and his brother Skinny (now known as Roscoe) and brought them home to Gilbert, Ark. (population 33). Extremely sick, malnourished and badly beaten, it was unlikely the little guys would make it through the night. However, Mark and his coworker Tex nursed them back to health, and before too long, the puppies were flourishing. Tex took Skinny to the hill country of Texas to live the sweet life where he was adopted by Tex’s cousin and renamed Roscoe. Fatty moved with Mark and Paige to Hot Springs. He was known for his happy demeanor and his enormous appetite. Mark says Paige could be to blame for his death. While he was in Oklahoma on a two-week fire detail, Paige was responsible for feeding Fatty. When Mark returned, the pup had gained approximately 10 pounds. Fatty is survived by his owners, Mark and Paige Masters and one brother, Skinny. Condolences may be posted on this blog in remembrance of Fatty Masters, the happiest dog in the world.

Outing at Oaklawn

This weekend Heath, Holly, Brooke and Audrey traveled to Hot Springs for a mini-family reunion in the Valley of the Vapors. Mark and I played tour guides, showing them all the hot spots. The girls hit Buckstaff Bathhouse for manicures and pedicures. Next stop – Oaklawn – for the horse races. Of course, the girls were the big winners at the track. They cashed in on their votes for Undercover Sister, Mr. Grumpy Stripes and Hold ‘Em Tiger. Bet you can’t guess our strategies! The guys were up until 2:00 a.m. “handicapping” their picks. We had our chosen ones in less than a minute. After the races, we drove home in the SNOW just in time to see our Cowboys defeat Texas. We had so much fun but missed Mom, Dad, Tanner and Jillianne.

02 November 2008

Election '08

In 48 hours, the political hoopla we’ve endured the past two years will be over. Irritating candidate- bashing television ads will no longer invade our airways. Signage will cease to dot streets and highways. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC will transition from speculation on who will be commander in chief to who will serve on his staff. And, if things go my way, the first African American will be preparing to take oath as the 44th President of the United States of America. This is perhaps the most crucial election of our lifetime. The economy is in shambles, healthcare is exorbitant and we’re engaged in two wars (one of which was waged over black gold). Whether you’re for McCain or Obama, the surge in Iraq or troop withdrawal, tax cuts for the wealthy or relief for the middle class, we urge you to cast your vote Tuesday. Voter complacency can cripple our nation’s future. Mark and I showed our support for our party recently at an Obama rally in North Little Rock. If you ask Mark, he was really there to see Bill. (I was disappointed Hillary didn’t show up). Mark braved the crowd to shake the president’s hand, but unfortunately, I panicked and didn’t capture the moment.

24 October 2008

Generation Cowboy

The fam ventured to Stillwater last weekend for THE GREATEST HOMECOMING CELEBRATION ON EARTH. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to experience the festivities, I’ll explain. Each year, OSU sororities and fraternities pair up to build these obnoxiously large house decorations in hopes of claiming the coveted sweepstakes trophy. They force their members to devote hours sticking colored tissue paper into chicken wire in a process known as pomping. Oh, yeah, and they spend thousands of dollars in the process. Of course, I was the nerd who lied about her pomping hours and hid out in the library. It may be anti-Cowboy to have this view, but to me, we could have shown our orange pride in a less expensive way and put the money we spent toward a good cause, such as our philanthropies. Mark’s fraternity gets it right. Each year during walkarounds (oh yeah, that’s when hundreds of alumni pack Greek row to check out the house decs), the Betas host a concert to raise money for domestic violence. Despite my sentiments, it felt great to be at home amongst friends and family. My pal Lindsay made the trip from Houston (she survived Gustav!). AND our pokes pulled through once again, thrashing the Baylor Bears, driving them to a No. 6 ranking in the BCS polls. Next hurdle: TEXAS. Enjoy the pics. By the way, that is the diva filing her fingernails at the football game.

02 October 2008

Oklahoma State 55, Troy 24

Last weekend, Mark and I had the chance to travel back to the place we met and “tailgate hard” as Tanner Tebow calls it with our college friends and family. (The diva must have tailgated a little too hard because she is now suffering from strep throat.) The weekend also marked the annual Beta Theta Pi tailgate. To top it all off, our cowboys pounded Troy, propelling them to a Top 25 ranking for the first time since 2004. Let's just say we’re going to enjoy it while it lasts. No pressure, pokes!

Two-Man Tailgate

As two cowboys living in a razorback-obsessed world, Mark and I resorted to tailgating solo in our own front yard recently when Oklahoma State took on Missouri State. From the looks of the spread on the grill, Mark must have forgotten it was just the two of us. Of course, we had to settle for listening to the game on our laptop, since all our television stations seem to care about is the SEC. Nevertheless, the pokes pulled through beating the bears 57-13. We’ll ignore the fact that up until last weekend Missouri State hadn’t won a game all season. A win is a win.

08 September 2008

The End of Summer

Last weekend, Mark and I finally got to take his pride and joy out for one last spin on the lake. He likes to say he makes payments on his boat and pulls it around the country. Our Oklahoma pals Jansen and Jessica joined us for a camping trip on beautiful Lake Tenkiller. Mark also got the chance to share his Cherokee culture with me by taking me to the nation's annual holiday. We listened to the State of the Nation address and toured the Cherokee Heritage Center, where Mark rubbed elbows with the Chief. Our weekend wouldn't be complete, however, without a run-in with a park ranger Mark refers to as "the rude redneck." Apparently we were camping in an unauthorized spot. You would have thought we were serial killers the way he acted. Let's just say Mark is drafting a memo addressed to everyone from the park manager to Governor Brad Henry himself. That's not what we had in mind when we ventured back to the state we love so much. Anyways, after two days of "faucet showers" (Mark can fill you in about those), we journeyed to OKC to help the diva move into her new house.

23 August 2008

Nightmare on Clubhouse Circle

A gang of masked robbers, armed with AK-47’s , hit a little too close to home last Friday night. By too close, I mean six houses down. No joke! Shots were fired inside and outside the house. Mark responded like any other “country kid” would. He immediately went to Wal-Mart and bought a shotgun, much to my dismay. When I called him at work with the scoop the following morning, he told me that he would take every precaution available to protect me. Thirty minutes later, he walks in the door carrying his artillery. That’s not the kind of protection I was envisioning. And he calls himself a Democrat! The Sentinel Record finally published a story when the culprit was apprehended this week. According to the newspaper, the robbers knew our neighbors. They were apparently on the hunt for a $3000 set of gold car rims. We can have no fear now because the ringleader is in jail on a $75,000 bond and is looking at life behind bars if convicted. Click on the link below to read all about it.


16 August 2008

Big Apple Escape

Sorry for the delay in sharing my fabulous vacation to New York to visit my best friend, Jill. (I know you were all dying to read about it!) Mark bruised my ego recently when he threatened to ban me from our blog for my cheesy entries. Of course I have to remind him that while he might reign supreme as the No. 1 firefighter in the family, I did once get paid to write. All bitterness aside, our Big Apple excursion was everything I expected and more. However, I don’t see myself packing up and heading north anytime soon. After five days of dodging rude New Yorkers and tourists in the crowded city streets, it is good to be back in the South where complete strangers greet you with a smile. The goal of the trip was to act as natives while visiting the typical tourist sites. Brooke was a pro at this game. About five minutes in, she decided I would be the chief photographer, and she would just take it all in. We dined in Little Italy, took a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, drank the famous frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity and stood in the pouring rain for a half hour to purchase cheap Phantom tickets. (Looking back, it was well worth the wait and brush with the aggravated lady who was distraught because we were not moving fast enough for her.) My favorite parts were attending the Broadway show, strolling across the Brooklyn Bridge, napping in Central Park and taking in an oldie but goody movie in Bryant Park.

11 August 2008

Bryan & Sarah Tie the Knot

It was 15 hours of driving well spent to attend the special ceremony this weekend in Baton Rouge, LA. Check out the newest member of the Masters family and the Cousin's picture in order of height, circa 1990 Jay, OK.

Expect NYC pics from Tebow soon, and "Man Weekend" pics from me as soon as we find my misplaced camera.

31 July 2008

1 Day, 1 Hour, 9 Minutes to Go

Tomorrow, my sister and I will depart for a five-day excursion in the Big Apple. Last year, Jillian, one of my best friends in the whole wide world, decided to leave the great South and move to Brooklyn to be a middle school science teacher through the Teach for America program. When she left, I tried to ease her fears by telling her I would come visit. Little did she know, I was skeptical. But thanks to a very supportive hubby, I'm going to actually make the trip. It's a vacation I've always dreamed of but never thought would happen. After all, growing up, our family vacations consisted of loading up in our silver Safari minivan and traveling to twirling competitions (much to my brothers' dislike). Oh yeah, and there was the occasional trip to Frontier City or Whitewater Bay for making "Straight A's." You can say New York City is like my Disney World. That's only because things that go upside down and round and round make me nauseous. My pre-school teacher, Mrs. Black, can attest to that! I am going to drag Jill and Brooke to all the cheesy tourist stops: Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Time Square. I am going to do my best to refrain from buying one of those fake Fendi or Prada bags in a dark alley, only because my lawyer tells me I could get arrested for that, and I need her to be my partner in crime. I can't wait. I'm going to be that kid who can't sleep because Mickey Mouse is waiting for her in the morning. Only 1 day, 1 hour and nine minutes to go!

28 July 2008

Girls' Weekend

I just got back from a relaxing girls' weekend in the great state of Oklahoma. Three of my best college friends -- Aimee, Amber and Emily-- and I met at Emily's parent's house to catch up. (Unfortunately, Jill and Lindsay couldn't make the trip. We missed you guys!) We were all Thetas at OSU and have been friends since freshman year. Since we're spread out in three states now, we vowed to get together at least once a year. Thanks to Em's excellent organizational skills, it finally came to fruition. So much has happened in three years. Aimee is teaching kindergarten in Stillwater. (Pretty sure she's the best kindergarten teacher EVER). Amber moved to Plano, Texas, and earned not one but TWO master's degrees. Emily just finished her first year of med school and gave birth to the cutest 3-month-old boy in the world named Sam. (I have to say, her stories about childbirth were a little frightening). He was the only guy allowed this weekend.

24 July 2008

The Backyard Beast

Moments after moving into our new abode in the Valley of the Vapors, Mark came face to face with danger. It's the kind of event you only see in the movies. You could say "The Sandlot" came to life in our own backyard. The minute we walked in the door we heard it. The same disturbing noise that serves as our alarm clock in the morning, serenades us at dinner and keeps us from going to sleep at night. Mark, being the curious guy he is, decided to peak over our six-foot fence and check things out. That's when the critter, we know as the backyard beast, leaped seven feet in the air and nearly ripped Mark's face off. He says he can still smell the beast's putrid breath, and when he closes his eyes, that face that resembles a Rottweiler is staring back at him right over the top of the fence. But no, we couldn't just leave the half Rottweiler half Great Dane to sit on his throne in the neighbor's backyard. We had to continue to check out the lumbering giant in his den. Even though this creature appears docile in this photo, please note, his head easily rests four feet above the ground while sitting on his haunches. P.S. Seconds after this photo was taken, the giant realized he was being watched and viciously attacked the thin wooden fence separating our alleged recreation areas.

22 July 2008

Back from the Cheyenne Country

Here is some video and pics from my Montana detail, which I just got back from last night.