Ludowe

This change in status (from “single” to “married”) leaves me unable to continue writing on Two Girls and a Road because it is no longer just us two girls.

We have been thinking for a while about what to call the new blog that would include all of us:
lokahoma (taken)
chokeallama (had the web address and gave it up – don’t blame me for choking llamas)
Two Girls and a Beard (that could be misunderstood…and what if there are more of us one day?)
Grab Root (after my Dust Bowl whimsies, I learned it really means to sit down and eat, not to hold on tightly)
Oklahoma Sweet Home (what if Oklahoma isn’t home?)

I need to break away from the singleness (from singlehood to single parenting) that was (to me) Two Girls and a Road. Elle and I are no longer adventuring alone. This makes me very, very happy and wanting for a new start.

I decided to go with a simple theme, something that could follow us anywhere no matter how many of us there are and no matter where we all may be. Honestly, Oklahoma reminds me of the word folk. It’s a good word that represents good people. It also represents the ways and stories of good people. These are all things I enjoy learning about and sharing with others, whether they live down the road or on the other side of the world.

Ludowe is the Polish word, my people’s word, for folk. I don’t speak the language, but just like the English translation, ludowe is a good word. Ludowe is also where I will be writing from now on.  Two Girls and a Road is over.

It is time for a new road.

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City Garden

The entire time I’ve been here in Oklahoma City, I haven’t ventured far from home too often but only because I’m hopeful that I will be returning later this month on a permanent basis. There is truly a lot to see here and I like to think I will have all the time in the world once July comes to a close.

Anyway, I often pass by this gated city park on my way down 36th Street to May Avenue. Even from the outside, one can see the meticulous landscaping and grounds work that is put into the place. This is Will Rogers Park, by the way, and it’s on the National Registry of Historic Places. There is a building for garden exhibitions, a single one used as a tennis training center, an outdoor playground, and even a community pool and splash park. But the signs that caught my attention a few weeks ago were those directing visitors to the arboretum and the rose garden. Last week, I finally decided to take a walk inside the gates.

Some of the places I saw in this park reminded me of a real-life version of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, but only those parts of the film when Alice and her sister are supposed to be reading lessons under the shade of a tree. Instead of swans, though, there were geese and Dinah wasn’t there, either. However, I do recall Alice talking about how much she enjoyed books that were filled only with pictures.

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lavender

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You can see all of the photos I took while visiting the gardens by clicking here.

Posted in adventuring, community, flora and fauna, flowers, gardening, nature, Oklahoma City, outdoors, photography, trees | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Tradition?

A fun Fourth of July tradition may be in the works.

Last year, I spent the holiday with some family and friends at the Jacksonville Suns baseball game. After our home team’s one-run loss, we were treated to fireworks accompanied by Lee Greenwood’s song God Bless the USA, which always makes me cry.

This year, Elle and I were again at a baseball game, but this one was in Oklahoma City. Matt had scored some free tickets in club seating. The three of us cheered for an exceptionally loooong time (a nearly-5 hour long game, with an extra inning to boot) for our new home team, the Oklahoma City Redhawks. After our home team’s one-run WIN, we were treated to fireworks accompanied by some really cheesy 80s music montage about the greatness of America, followed by Lee Greenwood’s song God Bless the USA, which immediately made me cry. Because damn that song.

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11-10 win over Memphis (in extra innings!)

11-10 win over the Memphis Redbirds!

It's Ruby!

Ruby the Redhawk. She’s only the cutest mascot ever!

If I find myself at another minor league baseball game next year for the Fourth of July, I’ll be fully convinced that this tradition was meant to be.

*****

On the way home, which was around midnight because, well…longest game in HISTORY, I began craving something to eat but it had to include maple syrup. Matt offered to take me anywhere I wanted to go until Elle mentioned she was hungry, too. We decided on French toast – the homemade kind, not something from Denny’s or IHOP. So we headed straight home so I could whip up some French toast in the middle of the night.

EXCEPT…

The chocolate lab had managed to jump the kitchen counter while we were gone and snag the brown lunch sack that was full of garlic bulbs. It was all right there in front of us as we walked through the back door into the kitchen. No worries, though. The bag was intact and the bulbs had pretty much been left alone, but I noticed something else was missing, too.

The loaf of bread was no longer on the counter. Also, the hot dog buns were gone. Nobody got to eat any French toast that night. Hmmph!

(This is not something I want to continue as a Fourth of July tradition, by the way.)

Posted in community, food, holidays, Jacksonville, my family, Oklahoma City, sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

These Peaches Don’t Come From a Factory Downtown

I went a little overboard in quantity the other day when I bought some peaches from the OSU-OKC Farmers Market. My shopping list included only three things: okra, tomatoes, and fruit. It didn’t matter what kind of fruit because I am not familiar with Oklahoma’s seasonal stuff yet, I just wanted something fresh and local.

The first vendor I saw when I walked into the pavilion was selling peaches and there was a line of people waiting to get their hands on some. That’s always a good sign. So I waited my turn, handed over my cash, and came home with a basketful of peaches.

Oklahoma peaches!

Because of my deep loyalty to the South (some the first things I made when I got to Oklahoma were a gallon of sweet tea and a key lime pie), I publicly declared on Facebook that no other peach could possibly be better than a Georgia peach, although South Carolina peaches are pretty darn tasty, too. This didn’t necessarily cause an uproar but my husband called me out, and rightfully so.

You can’t judge our Oklahoma peaches until you’ve actually eaten one!”

I’ll admit it – I hadn’t even put a bite of an Oklahoma peach in my mouth yet before I’d downgraded it to some kind of substandard replacement for the real thing from Georgia.

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breakfast…

And here is where I make my public apology, because these Oklahoma peaches are freakin’ delicious! I have eaten at least one each day since Sunday, mostly for breakfast but sometimes for dessert. Sadly, I don’t think they’re being eaten quickly enough because a few of them are becoming wrinkly and squishier than they should be, but I’m doing my best!

Some people might say, why don’t you can them? And I have two reasons for why I am saying no.

  1. I’m too lazy to learn and, quite frankly, I don’t want to.
  2. Why save for later what you can EAT RIGHT NOW!!!???
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breakfast, again!

Surprisingly, I am not yet sick of eating peaches. I am, however, sick of this song playing over and over and over in my head, though. Does this little ditty pop into your head every time you hear the word peaches? Damn you, 1995.

Posted in community, farmers' markets, food, music, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Burgers and Love Truffles

Believe it or not, this is the first full weekend we have all spent in Oklahoma together. Nobody got on an airplane to fly to Jacksonville or packed suitcases to make the 20-hour trek out west. In fact, we never even left the city limits, except to have Matt give us a tour of some mansions in Nichols Hills.

I had coffee Saturday morning with a high school friend from Maryland and loaded up on fresh flowers, fruits, and veggies at the OSU-OKC Farmers Market that afternoon, all while Matt and Elle were watching The Avengers on the big screen.

Later, I simmered bratwurst in a pot full of beer and onions and soaked fresh okra in olive oil while Matt and Elle stuffed hamburger patties with mounds of feta cheese. The key lime pie from the night before had hardly been touched so we invited some friends over for a cookout and to share in the feast. They brought with them their cute little 4-year old son and a bottle of Cupcake brand Moscato (that stuff tastes like Sprite and comes in a really pretty bottle). Elle finally managed, with much gore and blood, to yank out a troublesome baby tooth during a break from playing Flapjacks and Sasquatches. Then little Daniel got a nosebleed. Typical family fun.

On Sunday, we searched Best Buy for some techno-contraption (that’s not my department) and picked up a bag of potting soil and a daylily (totally my department) from Home Depot. Then Matt took Elle and me to brunch at La Baguette, a French bistro that could manage to up their prices and still be reasonable. Delicious! There was a lot of maple syrup and southern-style gravy, crepes and croques and coffee. The little market in the front of the restaurant is filled with European-style pastas and fizzy drinks and love truffles. Norman love truffles? Ha! I’m a love truffle.

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I think it’s time to explore my barely-existent French heritage by eating ALL OF THESE.

We spent the rest of the afternoon potting new flowers and lavender plants, clearing the debris of a dead tree, enjoying the sounds of two girls – one of which being Elle – playing soccer in the front yard (the neighbor has kids!), and closing out the day by eating leftover brats and burgers and watching Bob’s Burgers, our new favorite thing on television:

Posted in cooking, farmers' markets, food, friends, home, my family, Oklahoma City, television | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Coastal Oklahoma

Temperatures have been hovering in the triple digits all across Oklahoma this week. Yes, it is a different kind of heat from the humid, steamy boil of a Florida summer that I’m so used to, but this dry heat is sometimes unbearable even for me. Back home, this is the sort of weather that sends the kiddo and me to the beach to splash around in the salt water and get knocked over by waves. But as Dorothy said, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” (And this, folks, is a good thing because the Kansas town of Hill City topped off at 115 degrees this week.)

Elle and I were in need of an adventure outside the confines of any store on May Avenue, so I searched for directions to Arcadia Lake. A few months ago, I learned Arcadia Lake is the only lake in the OKC metro area that has a designated beach and I was really looking forward to the right time and opportunity to head out there.  With forecasts warning of possible record-breaking temperatures on Wednesday, the two of us packed our beach bags, suited up, and headed north to the city of Edmond.

There were no records broken that day, by the way. It only reached 101 degrees.

Arcadia Lake

Before this day, I hadn’t been swimming in a lake in over two decades but I at least knew what to expect. Elle, on the other hand, is a born and bred Florida girl, raised near the ocean and taught to stay clear of lakes and their shores for fear of alligators and venomous water snakes. Even in the ocean, one must always be aware of her surroundings. It’s not uncommon to be bumped by a shark or suddenly enveloped by a floating armada of jellyfish.

Arcadia Lake

It was quite understandable that Elle was a tad nervous about taking her first steps into the lake and she asked me to hold her hand.

I linked her fingers with mine but instead of calmly wading in, I convinced her to run down the beach with me and into the lake until we both collapsed into the water. We ended up playing in Arcadia Lake for over an hour. The water was cool and refreshing for a day that had gotten so hot, so early. Elle and I were reluctant to leave but even the lake temperature was becoming uncomfortably warm as the morning wore on. It was time to pack up and go home.

Arcadia Lake

Once she got in, I couldn’t get her out. She’s half-fish, by the way.

Homesickness has been a slight problem for me this week and knowing the ocean isn’t nearby to soothe my soul when I become overwhelmed, which is how I have been feeling quite often this entire week, has made me find other ways to comfort myself.

Arcadia Lake did a damn fine job of that.

Arcadia Lake

Coastal living, Oklahoma-style

Posted in adventuring, community, exploring, happiness, nature, Oklahoma, outdoors, road trips, the beach, travel, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Big Easy, Part 2

Ever since I crossed over the Mississippi River for the first time in my adult life last year, I’ve been fascinated by it. Not necessarily by the river itself, just by being on the other side of it. So when we exited the Audubon Aquarium and decided to walk into the French Quarter for lunch, I insisted we walk by the river. I can’t help myself, but every time I look at this big body of water, I see Mark Twain and his old timey steamboat.

New Orleans Riverwalk

not pictured: Mark Twain or his old timey steamboat

The river walk was not as crowded as I expected it to be. It was noon time and the weather was typical for a soupy, humid city like New Orleans. Luckily for me and my trigger-happy camera finger, there were more monuments than homeless people.

Riverwalk - New Orleans

New Orleans

Holocaust Memorial

Monument to the Immigrant, New Orleans

Monument to the Immigrant – facing the river

Monument to the Immigrant, New Orleans

Monument to the Immigrant – opposite side

The end of our walk led us to a crossing of railroad tracks, at the moment an empty space and surprisingly peaceful and quiet. Another couple was speaking to a nearby musician who had propped himself up against a black stool with an open instrument case to collect tourists’ change. The moment I turned around to snap this photograph, the sounds of a jazz saxophone took over the entire tracks crossing yard. Finally, I could feel New Orleans!

New Orleans RR

We walked through the opening of a boundary wall and were immediately met by the overwhelming bustle of New Orleans’ French Quarter: the tourists, the horse carriages, the curbside trash bins, the hot, humid air being stifled by impassable buildings, and a sign propped on the sidewalk declaring the best po’ boys in town. Matt had heard incredible things about Johnny’s Po-Boys and it was becoming very crowded in the meantime. That’s always a good hint, so Matt took a place in line while Elle and I headed upstairs to an air-conditioned ice cream parlor to grab a table.

Saint Louis Street, New Orleans

inside Johnny's Po-Boys

Lunch consisted of an alligator po’boy, a fried catfish po’boy, a hamburger for the kid,  too many French fries and not enough refreshing glasses of iced sweet tea. After a short walk back to the parking garage, we were on I-10, heading west to Oklahoma City.  We made it home by 1 o’clock in the morning, accompanied by the right amount of sunshine during the day and a sky full of stars when it finally fell dark, somewhere around Dallas.

My only regret:  I have yet to see the Arbuckle Mountains in South Central Oklahoma in daylight.  Time to go exploring in Oklahoma…

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