There are a lot of dog pictures on my blog.  Dogs are a huge part of my life.  My big dogs, my little dogs, puppies, my sister's dogs ... I love dogs.   When I was small my Aunt Billie took me to get my first puppy, a Collie which we named Lassie.  Then for the rest of my childhood we had and raised Collies,  yes, we were the "pure breed" dog breeder family that so many people today get outraged about.  The outrage annoys me because I had a childhood of puppies. Not just one puppy for a  year or two but years of puppies to love and adore.  Raising animals teaches you compassion and love.  I also had chores, I had to care for the dogs after school as I got older and I showed dogs for 4H.  My friends who breed and raise purebred dogs love their dogs more than most people I know.  I am constantly seeing pictures of their children with their dogs and puppies.   I realize there are horror stories about people who don't care for their animals but that can be anyone, right down to the people who "rescue" animals.   


Since he was adopted right before Easter his name is The Easter Buddy... which goes well with his new Sister

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I got a few shots of Pumpkin this afternoon playing ball and the other dogs.  


I mean how precious is he?  Super precious.  I can't wait to get home and cuddle my little boy.   


He's so hard to shoot he won't stay still most of these shots are not totally in focus.  He's a little stinker.  

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And awed, Sweet little Buddy meets his Big Sister.  

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Here is my Ozzie boy with the new boy.  

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He is a noble old dog.  We call him "Old Man" though, most of the time.   


Carlsbad Caverns

So we did a super quick trip to New Mexico over Spring Break -  and by quick I mean like 36 hours quick.   We drove to New Mexico on a Thursday evening and home on a Friday night, but we still went to a place we have never been before but always heard about.   So I spent the day looking at the weather and checking different state parks and places within four or five hour drives that we could go to but since it was St. Patricks Day I also knew that I really didn't want to be in downtown Dallas or Tulsa that night.   After watching the weather Carlsbad was our destination of choice, my husband's suggestion and it was a good one.   

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We left the house at four thirty or so and made it to Carlsbad around midnight.  Of course New Mexico is in Mountain Time so I'm not really sure what time it was by the time we arrived. 

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I haven't been to New Mexico since 2010!!!  When I went to a National Endowment for the Humanities workshop up in Colorado at Mesa Verde.  It has been a long time and I love New Mexico it is one of my favorite places.   I can't believe it has been six years since I've been out there already.   

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So we make it to Hobbs and I get to drive from Hobbs to Carlsbad.   Which was a decent little drive.   We arrived at the hotel and went to bed for some much needed rest after our 463 mile drive.   

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It's pretty flat until you get to the mountains,  and you only get to the mountains near the caverns.  

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So you drive up the mountain and eventually arrive at the visitors center. 

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It was incredibly windy when we got to the top of the mountain to go into the visitors center for our self guided cave tour.   

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This is probably a REALLY, REALLY GOOD IDEA.  If you are in horrible shape and don't like walking uphill this is not the national park for you.  Also, small children, good luck with that.  If you want to carry them and hope they aren't scared of dark places.  I consider myself in "decent" shape and this cave hike kicked my butt.   It takes three to four hours and the hike back out is brutal and uphill.  The hike down isn't too bad, but it is one of the most incredible places that I've ever been to.  

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They weren't kidding.   

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As you enter it is truly other worldly.  I used a tripod and a 15-30 2.8 lens on a Canon 6D,  I still struggled to get the shots that I wanted out of these caves.  Of course it was so packed with tourists it is truly difficult to enjoy America's National Parks sometimes because they are always relatively crowded.   

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Now for the pictures inside the caverns.   

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I hope to have some more time at home now which will allow me to catch up on everything that I'm behind on.  

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I can't even caption these photos because they do not do it justice.  It is a place that you can only imagine if you see it and experience it.  A photo does nothing to help you understand the vastness.   

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I'm trying to show you the images that are in focus more but I felt like I was battling shooting in this not quite dark situation on crowded pathways.  

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We hiked a total of two miles in the caverns  but four round trip and that is all underground.  It is impressive.  I can't explain or tell you what it is like.  You need to go see it for yourself.  

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These were all shot at 15mm, ultra wide but you really can't tell can you? 

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See the trail going through the bottom of this room.   

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So it was time to hike out and I didn't take any photos on our brutal hike out.  Mainly because the 15 year old decided we should "jog" out, or walk very quickly.  It didn't bother me to leave because I really don't like enclosed places that much!   But I was definitely sore the rest of the weekend. 

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Just beautiful.  Other worldly.  

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And as today is Easter, this photo is symbolic to me because it reminds me of so many Native American emergence stories of how they came out of the middle place.  Emerging from the cave just as we as humans emerge into this world from the womb.   I sure was glad to see the light and go back to the outer parts of this earth.  


Sad Papaw's Cookout

Last night I was chatting online and one of my friends said she was driving up to Oklahoma from San Antonio to go to Sad Paw Paw's Cookout in Purcell.   Well, I've vaguely read posts or tweets about Sad Paw Paw and how he had a cookout and only one of his Granddaughter's made it.   But I haven't thought much of it.   So I decided not to be lazy and got up this afternoon and went to meet my friend at the interstate to ride up to Sad Papaw's Cookout.   I thought it would be an adventure and something to do, and hey I got invited somewhere!  

Sad PawPaw Cookout in Dibble Oklahoma-1

So the photo above sucks.  I know it.  It's okay.   I forgot to change my ISO settings for a while.  Dumb move but it's not the first time and it won't be the last.  They will get better, I promise.  

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That was the food line...  my friend and I got in the Meet Papaw line.   Now the directions said Purcell, and I expected this shindig to be at Purcell, but we turned off and kept going east, and I realized we were almost to Dibble.   When we moved back to Oklahoma from Kansas in 2005, the first job I was offered was in Dibble.  I always regretted leaving that job despite the commute because I loved the community and my coworkers.   

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Look at that grill!  It was quite a cookout!   

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I don't think I have ever posted about Dibble?   I am certain I haven't.  Dibble is a little town that is in-between Blanchard and Lindsay Oklahoma off of Highway 76.   

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The line was probably an hour or an hour and a half. I didn't keep track, it was nice outside.  

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When you work in a community you never forget that connection.  Especially as a teacher, just like I'll always be a "Dibble Demon"  even if it was briefly.  And ten years ago!  What has happened with my life!  I worked here in 2005 and 06.  This is the first event I've attended since I worked here and I didn't even know I was going to Dibble.   So, I think this was a wonderful thing.   People coming out to show someone that they matter.   Sometimes the internet is amazing.   

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These guys were from Texas, up for a basketball game.   Which, how about those Sooners?  My school rocks.   

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The line behind us. 

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The hosts of the cookout made sure the dogs had water while we waited in line.  

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This little guy is adorable!  

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We finally made it in the tent and I finally realized that my ISO settings were off.  

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We also got to have a burger with Pawpaw!  

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This was fun.   I bet he was a tired man after the day was over!  It's pretty amazing how one post can turn viral.  

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It was about our turn... 

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My friend came with gifts.   

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And her family!   

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I think I missed this one?  

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Oh yeah... Buzzfeed was here! Here is Tamerra Griffin and her post "I Went To Papaw's Cookout And It Was Kind of A Blast"

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I'm glad Sad Papaw doesn't have to be sad anymore, I hope he has an awesome experience with his internet fame!   

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One of me up here...   I didn't get a shirt, but that's what cameras are for...  I have pictures of the shirt but I can officially say that I've "been there, done that."  

Trade Offs

So one of the subjects I teach is Economics.   One topic of economics is "trade-offs"  whenever you choose one thing over another it is a trade-off.   Just like having a full time job, family and long commute, that is a trade-off that I make five days a week.   So because I'm writing about my trade-offs right here let me tell you what I did this weekend.  Part of my schedule is driving my daughter to work and picking her up which is two hours a day all weekend.   That, of course is worthwhile because she is working full time and building a work ethic.  

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Oh yeah Saturday my "Baby Boy" turned 15.  Boy time flies my first blog post for him was when he was ten and a photo of him driving the tractor that I posted in 2011 has kind of went wild online.   

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So we have a 15 year old.   I can't believe it.   My oldest is visiting my alma-mater today and looking at college for her future and my oldest son will be 18 soon.   

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After we had cake I drove to Sulphur to check out some of the hiking trails at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.   I just get restless and need to get out and do something.   This was about the closest place and I had wanted to check out the hiking we usually go in the middle of summer and go swimming.  

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I'm slowly getting back on track with exercise, but it seems like things come up to mess up my schedule it's frustrating.  I will never be great at dieting but I can exercise.  

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I'm continually stressed this year. But it is good to get outside.  

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Besides swimming at the falls there are lots of great trails here.  I find something new every time I visit. 

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So no housework was caught up on this weekend. I traded that time for a chance to go to the park.  

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A quick hike to a spectacular view. 

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Definitely worth the time for  a short hike.  

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But I can't forget the creek. 

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Or the bridge...

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On the way home.. I've passed this a million times always vowing to stop someday. I finally did. No some of these aren't the greatest shots... but that's okay.  

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I hate seeing the turbines, but they did add a little extra to this shot.  

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I finally made it home by the time the sun was was a beautiful sunset.   Now I have to go to bed because I have a long day tomorrow.   

Grandma's Trunk

A deeply spiritual woman who lived her life in the spirit of the 19th century.   My Grandma was a throwback to a simpler time.   She was 41 when my father was born in the late 1930s.   She was sixteen when the Titanic sunk.  President Grover Cleveland was in office when she was born.  She lived through WWI, WWII, The Cold War and Vietnam.  She left me her trunk that she had as a girl.  The eldest of ten children, her mother was a teacher and her father was the Justice of the Peace in Umpire Arkansas for sixty years.  She, like so many in my family was a teacher, but a teacher in a one room schoolhouse.    She married my Grandfather in 1922 after a courtship of where he rode his mule eleven miles to meet her. She had five children with my Dad as the youngest.  

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Her school books all over 100 years old now...  

Grandma always wore her long black hair in a bun.   She was not a small lady, but she always wore a dress and smelled of Noxema for her Eczema.  She made homemade cornbread every single day.   She always cooked for us but I remember it was often interesting.   She watched Jeopardy every single day.  She kept lemon drops and ginger snap cookies.  I remember staying the summer with her and I remember her letting me go through her trunk, which was just magical to me.  

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Bootsy liked the trunk too.  

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I know she shaped me because she was living history.   A sunbonnet was on her head when she went outside.  She kept her skin out of the sun, she had that strong southern drawl and whenever we came to visit in Oklahoma she would be awake until we arrived, even if it was three in the morning.   So my faded memories of my Grandmother are refreshed with the sound of her voice that I got to relive thanks to a cousin who sent me a copy of her telling her story.  

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Opening the trunk strikes you with the musty, old book smell.  Old worn and faded cloth, filled with old newspapers, and tidbits of her life.  Keepsakes, like baby clothes and a rattle that was my fathers.  School work from her children.  Letters from her sister.  

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This is a cry for the importance of vaccinations... 

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The odds and ends from decades ago, really resemble the stuff that I tuck away... old bank statements, random unimportant things.  Things that we all need that unite the past and present. 

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 A letter from her sister, a newlywed.  

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 Arrowheads, ceramic figurines, old pocket knife...  just the odds and ends that ended up in Grandma's trunk. 

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 Letters from sisters...  

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Her black hair was once auburn, this was the hair she saved after brushing and a woman made it into a hairpiece for her.  I remember her telling me this story. 

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This 1922 article is pretty upset about women wearing pants and foregoing the hosiery.  I think it was as great idea, myself.  My Grandmother was 26 in 1922.

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1922 wasn't a good time to be enforcing prohibition for this man.

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My Dad's baby rattle.   I have more images but this is just a few to put up tonight.  

Grandma Sharp from Joy Franklin on Vimeo.

 This is still one of the best gifts I've had.   To be able to hear the loved ones that you've lost is priceless. I love having images but I believe we should record ourselves and our family because someday the sounds will be as important as the images.   

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Sunday Night

I hate Sunday nights.  I know I have to begin the drudgery of another week.  A fifty mile drive and then work and all before 7:25.   Today I kept looking at the outdoor temperature and looking at the bright blue skies and decided to go ahead and go out for a walk.   My furry friends didn't all get to go with me today because on New Years Eve they decided to get skunked. 

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Now Jack dog was with me and he barely would let me get the shot I wanted because he was constantly blocking my camera. 

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I didn't do a New Years Post, last weekend my friend and I went to see Rob Thomas at Winstar Casino, we had a great time.  

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So I noticed this at the base of the tree, it is actually a part of the tree now. I don't know what it is, but it has been there a very long time. I don't edit a lot of photos black and white anymore because I kind of feel like if you can't get it right in color why bother with black and white.  But sometimes the image just "feels" black and white. 

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Here is a shot of the tree in color. 

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So nothing exciting, photographing the same old things.  It is still good to get outside in the cold.   

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I have an incredible amount of topics that I'm interested in right now but I do not have the time to write about them.  I've discovered how much I enjoy reading on my kindle app on my phone,  which means I keep reading books.   My reading list is a lot of food histories and economic history.  But I am reading some classic political philosophy.  I know, I'm super exciting right now, but it enhances my teaching.  

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I have some serious philosophical issues with the education system.   We teach in a system where the focus is pedagogy and technology over content.   Procedures and rules are important but I am still a firm believer that content is everything when teaching a discipline.  It is my job to make the content more interesting, to diverge from these boring text books.  Yes, I said boring because texts seem to find a way to kill interest in a subject.   How can we force kids to sit still at desks for hours on end and still engage them?   

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I tried to blind myself by staring into the sun.   

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This is my new favorite spot to catch winter sunsets.  

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By the time I sit down to write I don't have much to say.  I probably could work on becoming a better writer on here.  I certainly need to update posts from my trip last summer but that is usually something I do mid-winter.  

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Sunday evenings go so fast...  

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Sundays go too fast and I never finish what I need to do. Never enough time in the day.  

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And that's enough from me tonight. 

Christmas 2015

So Christmas 2015 we finally celebrated in the family room that we envisioned had the potential to be so nice for a very long time.  

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The tree is already down. I knew that if I didn't take it down right after Christmas it had the potential to be up until February.  

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As much as I love the holidays I'm always relieved when they are over.   I've discovered that after a year of gatherings with people for their events/weddings etc, I no longer enjoy them.

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The more polarized people are online... the less likely this peace on earth thing will ever happen.  I don't understand how so many can put every single issue or news story into a political context and lay blame on this or that side of politics.  I don't understand people and their justification for their behavior on political views.   

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So now on to Christmas Eve.  I bet you heard about the first full moon since (gasp) 1977...  

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I got one shot. I don't shoot on full moon nights. Too much light.  But I did one just because it was the Christmas Eve full moon.  

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 Mom downsized her tree.  I didn't like it.  It didn't seem right.  

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But she baked two of my favorite things... one of which the dog managed to snarf down when I was asleep...I only got one piece of my cinnamon roll - ring.  

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I got a cool gift.  An antique Zeiss light meter.  It still works.  

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My Dad wants to restore his Grandfather's Gristmill that he used to mill grain for people (for a percentage of the grain of course).  

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Which is pretty neat.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday this year and are ready for 2016 because it is almost here.