Arrived in Oklahoma City a few days ago, and immediately headed for MiniHaHa Ranch to visit Mary and Lina.  Carlita decided to wait until I got there to foal. Beautiful baby boy — long legs, wobbly, great ornery personality — but couldn’t figure out how to nurse. After two days of syringe and bottle feeding, plus having momma stream milk onto his head, he finally figured out at about 4am this morning how to nurse. Now, everything’s great. So cute to see his little belly all full and puffy.  And he drinks until he acts like he’s drunk. What an incredible gift to be there through the whole experience.

Yesterday, I took a trip to University of Central Oklahoma, where Abbi graduated. As soon as I saw the stadium and big Blue & Bronze Broncho on the side of the building, I got homesick. Immediately wanted to go to another ball game, watch Abbi dance, laugh as Jared Meers would wait to watch his touchtown on the jumbo-tron before he’d line up for the extra point. So many incredible memories.

Then, went to the Wellness Center to see one of my four sorority “nieces.”  Some houses call alumna who have an organized group of adults who connect with selected sorority actives “Alum chums.” We are a niece/Aunt-kinda-group. I’m lucky to have four amazing young women. The first, Lori, is a teacher. Number two is her little, Crystal. She’s an RN now, and married to an Air Force officer — has a baby boy named Aiden.  Brittney and Jennifer adopted me. Brittney works at the University’s Wellness center, has her Masters in Public Health. Jennifer is in grad school working on her MBA and dances on the weekend. She’s a world-class belly dancer — started taking classes with her mom when she was in high school, and now travels to India to study. They’re all so smart, fun, gifted, and I adore each one of them. I’ve got the greatest “family.” Of course, one of them had to be the first person I visited once my bags were in the house. The funny thing is that everyone who has heard of me in the house refers to me as “Auntie Ann.” I’ve been called so much worse.

Today, I moved into a pilot’s home while he’s out of town. Got to do a little research towards both the thriller and a true crime story that needs to be written. Has been screaming at me to be written for years. And now, I’m in a place where all the information is readily available. It may be the only true crime I ever write. Hope it is. But the person it’s about deserves to be known. Heroes exist. They should never be forgotten.

Hit “my” jeweler to have a couple of pendants fixed. We talked forever. The shop had been a client of mine from ’88 – ’97, and they became great friends. Abbi got her first ring there. It was a little gold bow with a tiny diamond in it. That ring got turned into a charm for my bracelet.

Then, went to an antique store owned by the orneriest kid in Abbi’s bunch when they were growing up.  He was one of the 30 that camped out on my floor every single weekend from 9th grade through high school graduation. Chris was always up to his elbows in trouble, and now he owns his own business and has a great family complete with baby boy. Pretty amazing. I’m going to be house sitting for him when they take a trip to Cancun from the 26th through 1st.  Another one of the kids is working for him while he’s waiting for a job to open up at the Air Force base. He just got out of the service, went back to school and upgraded his skills as a plane mechanic. But back in “the day,” I kicked him out of my house more than once. He kept coming back. I kept letting him in.

I may never have to find a place to live.  Which wouldn’t be a bad thing. Can’t wait to see Chris’ mom. Cathi was the other “mom” of the group. If the clump of kids wasn’t at my house, all the parents knew they were at Chris & David’s. It’s been a great birthday…….and no one here even knows I’m having one. Maybe that’s the best part.

Still making plans to see other kids — sorority / fraternity kids from UCO, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State — Abbi’s dance team members, collegiate/all-star/professional — other friends from along the way.

It’s been the best birthday ever — and no one even knows I’m having one.

For now, I’ve got to make a couple of phone calls and then, will start writing. Have no idea what will come out, but excited to find out.

I love my life.

So, until tomorrow, keep a good thought and be safe out there. Snuggling in for the afternoon/evening.