Boy + Girl + Army + e-Harmony = Captain and Mrs. Butters! This is what we're up to. Observations, opinions, events, images, and more.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The past 1.5 weeks in pictures

Yes, I've been a little delinquent in updating this blog with anything approaching my past frequency. My apologies! I did make it to Oklahoma in one piece. Here's the rundown on what's happened in the meantime:

First, we found out that Spike will be staying in the Chemical Corps for the time being, so our best guess is that we'll PCS (Permanent Change of Station) to Fort Riley, Kansas sometime in the first half of November. However, I'm learning that nothing's certain in the Army until the orders are in hand--and in this case, they won't be for awhile. In the meantime, the Captain will ask around his network just in case another position in which he'd be interested opens up. I know he'd love to end up back at Fort Bragg, North Carolina so that he can continue to jump fearlessly out of airplanes as a paratrooper.

As the title of this post suggests, the rest is going to be picture-centric (and probably a little disjointed as well). Mostly because pictures are supposed to be worth 1,000 words, and all that. And I suspect that most people who stumble across this site will be much more interested in seeing pictures than in reading thousands of words. So, here goes!

Spike and I went to Meers Store and Restaurant again. As a reminder, this is the place that serves delicious longhorn burgers. Food Network has rated them the third best burgers in the country, and for good reason. This visit, I polished off a half-pound cheeseburger, which is far and away a burger-eating record for me. Normally I don't even finish a quarter-pounder. That, friends, is the power of the longhorn steer.

Check it out: Meers doesn't serve French Fries. Meers serves Freedom Fries.
The following sign was seen outside a local shop. I really don't think it needs much explanation from me.

So, if you want me to ship you some of Oklahoma's finest culinary achievements, you just let me know. And no, I can't confirm whether or not the salsa actually works as advertised.
This past weekend, Spike and I took another trip to Oklahoma City. Most notably, we went to see the memorial and museum devoted to the 1995 bombing. The museum was somber, to be sure, but very interesting--and extremely affecting. The exhibits are peppered with the personal belongings of those who survived the blast, and those who didn't. It's one thing to see photos of a building with one side sheared off by an's another to see broken coffee mugs, scuffed shoes, and (most heartbreaking) dusty stuffed animals, and to know that their owners woke up that April morning expecting the day to be just like any other. We really cannot take any moment of our lives for granted.

Part of the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. The adjacent hillside is dotted with chairs--one for each person who died.

On a (much!) lighter note, Spike and I also ate lunch at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill. Yes, good ole Toby has a restaurant--a fact previously unknown by me! I must say, the establishment was not nearly as hokey as I'd feared. Essentially, it looks like a verrrrrry spacious Western steakhouse, one wall of which is dominated by a screen that plays country music videos. Oh, and there are a few silver saddles hanging from the ceiling--country music's version of a disco ball, I suppose.

Also, I have to hand it to Mr. Keith--he puts his money where his mouth is in terms of patriotism. By showing his military I.D., the Captain got the "American Soldier" meal (a cheeseburger, fries, and a drink) for free. Thanks, Toby Keith! (Sidenote: the "American Soldier" music video played during our meal. Lest anyone think he's slipping, the Captain pointed out the uniform violations therein with alacrity. Meanwhile, I decided that I should probably avoid videos like that in the future since they now make my stomach clench up in knots.)

Yes, this is the women's restroom door at Toby Keith's restaurant. It's also a horrible picture of me, but I couldn't resist. I do love me some whiskey (neat or on the rocks, if you please!).
Here's to you, John Jameson et al.
Now, I'm going to wildly skip topics once again. Turns out that being in Oklahoma has really caused me to notice and appreciate nature more than is my usual habit. A lot of that is probably due to the fact that the environment here is so different from what I grew up with in North Carolina. Also, though, the pace of my life here is a little slower and more relaxed than at the ancestral home. In Geronimo, Oklahoma, I don't have years worth of routines and habits built up--the absence of which is surprisingly freeing. That's not to say I don't miss my family members and various aspects of the place where I grew up--I do--but I can also see that moving on and settling into a place of one's own (darn you, Virginia Woolf, you were right!) is essential. Anyway, the point is, I'm enamored with natural Oklahoma. Who'd a thunk it?

I've always had a "thing" for dramatic clouds, and the big sky here is conducive to some ominously brooding vistas, indeed. This was taken from the driveway.

The Sunday after I arrived, Spike and I drove out to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (which I've mentioned before). We ate a picnic lunch on the top of Mount Scott, and then walked off some of the calories.

The Army taught Spike how to blend in with any flora he encounters. Clearly.
Where is he taking me?
Ahhhh, we found a stone tower. You can see its base behind us--but alas, the entrances were all boarded up. Maybe there's treasure up there. Or maybe it's the hidden abode of a hermit. Maybe?
We even saw this little guy on our hike. He's a collared lizard, the state reptile of Oklahoma. Apparently these things can run upright on their hind legs, although this one didn't treat us to such a performance.

Back in the car, we drove past grazing bison...

...and later in the week (after our Meers feast), we saw this big guy standing on the side of the road. We stopped and rolled down the window...he just continued to eat. Guess we aren't that impressive to big hairy beasts.

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