Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On Waldo's Pond

I hadn't lived here but a couple of months when my friend, Phyllis, came to visit.  Up until now, her version of Oklahoma had been the same as mine . . . flat, flat and flat.  As it turned out, we were wrong, wrong and wrong.

The acreage that I now called home had great topography, plenty of land for pasturing my horses, and it had this incredible pond.

Just a few hours into her stay, we found ourselves relaxing by the pond.  It didn't take long before she suggested that we give my new home a name.


Our first thought was, "On Walden's Pond."  Wouldn't work.  Already taken.
Our second thought, "On Golden Pond."  Also taken.

Then along came the resident cat, full of himself, enjoying life.  His personality was gentle, yet fearless.

I had acquired this cat along with the purchase of the property.  This may have been the first time in history where there was a specific "cat contingency" clause in the offer.  The sellers agreed it was the right thing to do.  It was, after all,  his home.

"Phyllis, this is my new cat.  His name is Waldo."

Phyllis and I looked at each other, and in unison we said, "On Waldo's Pond!"  And so it is.

Over the years, this pond, which I thought would only be used for swimming the horses, has been a resource for paddle-boating, swimming , fishing, dog training, and just plain cooling off.

It has also served as a backdrop for about a bazillion photos.

And where's Waldo?  He's in cat heaven.

But he left his legacy:  "Be gentle.  Be fearless.  Enjoy life!"

Indeed, Waldo.  Indeed!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Life Going on 60

Today I am 59.
Tomorrow I'll be 60.

And it is a reminder of the day I turned 30, and the lesson I was about to learn.

I was living in Madison, Wisconsin, taking care of two small children and wishing my birthday would just go away.  After all, I was turning 30, and my life was not where I thought it would be.
I had already spent the prior month preparing to have a bad day.

Be careful what you wish for . . .

I woke up grumpy, made breakfast for the kids, and sulked for the remainder of the day.

Then the roses arrived.  They were from my husband, who was somewhere in South America at the time.  A dozen red roses.  They were beautiful.  But they were not enough.

I told the kids that their father had sent the roses, but I did not tell them why.

And then a friend showed up and handed me a box containing six cupcakes.  The cat was now, as they say, out of the bag.

My kids were delighted with the cupcakes but disappointed that I had not told them it was my birthday.  In my desire to ignore my birthday, I had robbed them of a reason to celebrate.  It was demoralizing.

Thirty years have passed since that day, and I have not forgotten the lesson.

Where I am in my life is defined by my attitude, not my age, and certainly not whether I think life is fair.

Today I celebrate being 59.

Tomorrow I'll celebrate being 60.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Large Hail, Damaging Winds . . . and Thunder!!!

Here in the Midwest--and specifically Oklahoma--there are four seasons:  Summer, Fall, Winter, and Wild.

Just last week, I was running for cover as the softball-sized hail was heading in my direction.  This is, after all, the Spring Season, and anything can happen.

Fifteen minutes of enormous hail can do a lot of damage . . . broken windows, battered roofs, shattered windshields.

In a good year, we will get rain, the grass will turn green, the ponds will fill up, and we will hear Thunder.

I'm talking Oklahoma City Thunder!!!

This NBA team joined our city about four years ago, and they have been pivotal in transforming this once fly-over city into a vibrant, why-don't-you-consider-coming-here type of destination.

We could not be more proud.

It has been a long time since the sports world has seen a team like this.  They are young, energetic and honest.  They play as if they were a catch team made up of neighborhood kids.  If they have egos, it is not apparent to their fans.  And their fans are many.

It is Spring here in the Midwest.  We expect the tornadoes, the winds, and the hail.  And when there is lightning, there is thunder.

It is Wild!  Bring on the Thunder!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

An "About-Face" about Facebook

An "about-face" is a reversal of attitude, behavior, or point of view.

I admit I was more than reluctant to join Facebook.  Who needed to know what everyone else was doing, thinking, or reading?  Autonomy is good, right?  But I signed up with FB and was determined not to get too serious with its content.  I'll just have fun, keep it light.

Then I did an about-face.

When tragedy strikes, we look for reasons why.  We ask ourselves, "what if?"  And then we reach out for support.  In today's world, that is Facebook.

About a week ago, my daughter and I were involved in a tragic accident that resulted in the loss of her horse.  Within three seconds, a wonderful morning ride had turned horrific. Badly bruised, but still alive, my daughter picked herself up off the gravel road and gave her attention to her horse.  While her life had been spared, we were unable to save his.

So the haunting questions began.  We drove in silence to the emergency room, our minds cluttered with the day's events.  Any words we wanted to say could not be spoken.

Later that evening, I posted a status update on Facebook because I didn't know what else to do.  My daughter needed more support and reassurance than I was able to give.  The responses came in immediately, and they were many.  It was remarkable.

In the still of the evening, we read the responses through our tears.
The healing could begin.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rhonda Kieson Designs of Oklahoma City, Receives Houzz's 2012 'Best of Remodeling' Award

Rhonda Kieson Designs of Oklahoma City, Receives

Houzz’s 2012 ‘Best Of Remodeling’ Award

First-Ever Survey & Analysis of More than 1.2 Million Members Reveals Top-Rated Professionals and Current Design Trends from Across the Country

[OKLAHOMA CITY, OK]  --  March 29, 2012 – Rhonda Kieson Designs of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has been awarded  “Best Of Remodeling” 2012 by Houzz, the leading online platform for residential remodeling and design.  This innovative interior designer was chosen by the more than 1.2 million registered members of the Houzz community.

The Houzz “Best Of Remodeling” award for 2012 is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction award winners are based on homeowner members who rated their experience working with remodeling professionals in 12 categories ranging from architects, and interior designers to contractors and other residential remodeling professionals.  Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the 1.2 million members, also known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 16.5 million professional images to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site and iPad/iPhone app.

            “Houzz is an invaluable website for my interior design/remodeling business.”

“With 3.5 million monthly unique users and 80 million monthly page views, Houzz has rapidly become the largest community of active remodelers, providing homeowners and design enthusiasts with first-hand advice from Houzzers who have been through the renovating and decorating process,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of marketing for Houzz. “This is a real stamp of approval for Rhonda Kieson Designs from the Houzz community and we’re thrilled to welcome them to this elite group of ‘Best Of’ winners.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Rhonda Kieson Designs, but also those whose work visually aligns with their own design goals. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and evaluating their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

About Rhonda Kieson Designs

            Rhonda Kieson Designs is not simply a single individual, but a network of talented professionals who collaborate on everything from custom furniture design, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, whole-house renovations, as well as interior finishes that make a house a home. Although many of Rhonda’s designs reflect the soft comfortable feel of “life in the country,” she often takes on projects that lay outside standard designs.  Working with her clients on an individual basis, she customizes each project to fit the unique feel and atmosphere of the home.  The end result is a space not only worthy of photos, but comfortable and functional in a way everyone can enjoy. 

About Houzz

Houzz (www.houzz.com) is the leading online platform for home remodeling, providing inspiration, information, advice and support for homeowners and home improvement professionals through its website and mobile applications. Houzz features the largest residential design database in the world, articles written by design experts, product recommendations, a vibrant community powered by social tools, and information on more than 1.2 million remodeling and design professionals worldwide who can help turn ideas into reality. @houzz_inc

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What is it About a Horse?

I was born without a horse.  From the moment I could talk, I began asking--no, begging--for a horse.  Yet, birthday after birthday, and Christmas after Christmas would come and go, and still no horse.

"You'll never take care of a horse," my mother said.  What did she know?  Of course I would take care of it!

Marriage and children would take up the next twenty years.  And while I still dreamed of having a horse, there was no time or money for such a luxury.  I may have stopped talking about it, but I never let it go.  I was convinced my time would come.
. . .
It is a common fact that you can learn a lot from looking into a horse's eye.  It will reflect everything you need to know; fear, caution, anger, anxiety and tension.  It also reflects kindness and wisdom.  And if you're lucky, it will reflect your soul.
. . .
I had sixteen years with my "horse-of-a-lifetime."  Sixteen years of morning feeds, evening feeds, mucking stalls, mending fences.  Then there was the fox hunting, trail riding, parades, and even stage performances.  You name it, we did it.
. . .
He is gone now.  There are still times when I can hear my mother say,"You'll never take care of it."

You were right, Mom.  I would  never take care of him.

As it turns out, he would take care of me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pizza Anyone? You Can Do It!

First--If you do not have a pizza stone, go buy one!

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  (Not for the pizza, but for the pizza stone.)
While the stone is heating up, get out the ingredients.

Tomatoes.  Thinly slice about five small tomatoes and place slices in a bowl.  Drizzle with really good olive oil.  My choice?  B.R.Cohn Olive Oil (This not only adds great flavor, but also keeps the tomatoes from becoming dry during the baking time.)  Add a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper to these tomatoes.

Thin pizza crust.  I like "Mama Mary's Thin & Crispy".  It's almost a flatbread crust, and it is really good!

Now, spread a thin layer of Prego Veggie Smart Pizza Sauce on the crust.

Then the cheese . . . a blend of provolone, Mozzarella, and a little shredded cheddar.  Spread this evenly over the sauce.

Place the sliced tomatoes on the cheese.  Be generous.

Add some sort of artichoke.  In this case I used "Gia Russa Artichoke Bruschetta Topping" that I had in the pantry.  Why not?  Use it sparingly . . . a little here, a little there.

And then--just because--sprinkle some Crushed Red Pepper over everything.  Go easy on this, as you can always add more after it's baked.

I would have added fresh basil IF I had any.  But I didn't.

Okay,  BEFORE you place the pizza on the hot stone, TURN THE HEAT DOWN to a respectable 350 degrees and set the timer for 8 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the stone and place it on a cutting board.  Let it rest for a short time.

Time to slice and enjoy your signature pizza!!!

You can thank me later.