Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Have Your Cake and Emoji Too

Let the record show that The Pony was a responsible gambler with the money I gave him to play on during our casino outing on Saturday. For the most part, he stayed with me, and we socialized while being robbed side by side by the one-armed bandits. Oh, and in case you don't frequent casinos...most of those bandits are armless these days.

Anyhoo...The Pony was raking in wins left and right, while I was not. When he'd hit a good winner, he'd say, "I'm cashing that out and saving it." Then he'd put away the ticket, and play on new money. Kudos to him! He cashed out $227 when we left. Anyhoo...this is not about introducing The Pony to a new vice. It's about embarrassing him (or not, he doesn't really seem to care about what people think) over his best friend.

Saturday night, we were chatting with The Pony at our hotel after lupper (late lunch/early supper). He bemoaned the fact that his phone only had 5% charge left. He had been texting intermittently, as young 'uns these days are wont to do, even while visiting with their loving parents who have driven 9 hours to see them for only the fourth time in a year.

"You can probably take me back to my apartment any time you're ready."

"Do you have plans? Who are you texting?"

"No plans. Just talking to GalPal (his friend who drove to Oklahoma City to pick him up at the airport after the airline snafu and nine-hour layover). She's been working on stuff with her sorority."

"Did you tell her you have CAKE?"

"No. But I will."

We took The Pony home. On the way, he said that GalPal had responded that she might come hang out for a while. The next day, on the drive home, I sent The Pony a text. I wasn't even sure he was up yet, but it WAS after noon, and I was bored.

"Did GalPal come have cake?" Let the record show that in place of "cake" I put an emoji of a slice of cake.

"Yes. And why are you using emojis? She only had a small piece but she also enjoyed Chex Mix."

"Because I CAN! They pop up at the bottom of my phone. I put extra garlic in the Chex Mix. I hope you didn't kiss, heh, heh."

"Mom! I've told youuuuu, she's not into dating."

"I know. Thus the HEH, HEH. Besides, I said kiss, not dating."

"Kissing is involved in that!"

"For all I know, you two had a drug and alcohol and cake and Chex Mix fueled orgy on your $227! Which doesn't necessarily involve kissing!"

"For the record, I'm showing her that."

"I have a warped sense of humor. If she tolerates being around you, she will get it."

"She says, 'Holy shit she sounds like my mom.'"

"See? That's not a bad thing! Now let's up the stakes exponentially...when you said you were showing her that, I could have said, 'Oh, is she still there? Roll over and wake her up, then.'"

No response.

"I know you're punching your forehead with your fist."

That was at 12:52. I did not get a response. At least we're still on speaking texting terms. At 4:05 when I informed The Pony that we were passing his favorite Steak n Shake, he replied. But only with, "Nice!"

Do you think I crossed the line? It's not like I said it in front of GalPal. I'm pretty sure the Blogosphere can be discreet about such matters...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Val Obviously Needs Some Binoculars in Her Helicopter

A disturbing fact came to light during our visit with The Pony. We only found out because I took him that surprise Oreo cake.

Let the record show that The Pony is nearing the end of the first semester of his sophomore year at OU. Meaning that he has been out from under our roof since August 2016. That's almost a year and a half. And that in August of this year, Hick went to Norman to move The Pony from his dorm room to an apartment in a university complex. I didn't make the trip, knowing that I would be of no help with the moving, and that I'd be whiny about the heat, and sad about leaving The Pony there all by himself. Again.

I gave Hick strict instructions to survey that apartment, and make sure The Pony had what he needed, be it cables to hook up his personal TV in his bedroom, or bedding that fit, or bathroom and kitchen supplies. And most certainly cleaning products, and food to get him through a couple of weeks. To take him to Walmart and get all the stuff and pay with our credit card. NOT to depend on The Pony saying that he would get it later. If left to his own devices, The Pony would sleep on a bare mattress, eat Papa John's every day, and spend his free time playing games on his computer. When Hick returned, he assured me that The Pony had everything he needed.

Flash forward to Saturday, mid-morning. We picked up The Pony for a jaunt down the highway five minutes to enjoy some slot play at Riverwind Casino. In case I haven't beat you over the head with it enough, gambling age for slots is 18 in the Indian casinos. We had a wonderful time, and The Pony and I both came out ahead. As we were leaving to have lupper (late lunch/early supper), Hick asked The Pony if he had Oreo cake for breakfast.

"Uh huh."

"Did you actually slice it, or just stick your face in it and start feeding?" I wasn't really joking.

"I sliced it. That was kind of hard, because my knife isn't long enough. I wish I had one like we use to cut the cake at home."

"You mean that silver-handled one?"

"Uh huh. Mine is too short. It gets all over the handle."

"What kind of knife do you have? Is it serrated?"

"No. I only have two knives. I guess they're what you call a paring knife. Like the only kind you allowed me to use, to cut my chicken or steak. The short ones."

"I can't believe you don't have a regular knife!"

"Well, I don't."

"Just use one of your butter knives," said Hick. "They'll cut cake. It doesn't have to be a sharp knife."

"I don't have any butter knives. The only silverware I have is plastic. And those knives aren't very long, either."



"Did you even put your cake on a plate?"

"Paper plate. The other day, I put my hamburgers on one to cool off, and they kind of soaked through."

"Why didn't you use a regular one?"

"Those pans I use to eat on are too big. And those containers you sent the Chex mix in are too deep. I use them to eat my noodles, though."

"Don't you want to wash dishes? Is that why you use paper plates?"

"I don't have any dishes."




"I thought I did! Pony! Didn't we look for them at Walmart? Or Goodwill?" Hick knew he was in for a grilling.

"No. I guess we didn't think of it. I don't really need them."


"I will! I'll drop you two off so you can visit, and I'll go to Target or Walmart or Goodwill, and find him some." Hick is good at finding a way to sneak off to Goodwill. He returned later, saying he bought The Pony two knives and two bowls and two plates and a set of silverware.

I knew I should have gone on that move-in trip! We're lucky The Pony hasn't been squatting in a park, sleeping in a nest of leaves, ordering Papa John's, and re-warming it on a whittled tree branch over a campfire.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Pony Ate Two of My Fingers

We stopped by to pick up The Pony at his apartment on Friday evening. The daylight lasts longer there. While Hick helped carry in the stuff we brought him, I waited in A-CAD, saving my knees for the third-floor ascension later. I turned to look around at the OU apartment complex, and caught the sunset.

It was breathtaking! As much as I hated to infringe upon my creaky knees, I hoisted myself out of A-CAD to capture this magnificent display without the leather headrest and car interior framing.

Well worth it, I say. We took The Pony out for supper at a Chinese buffet (his choice), and then went back to his apartment to visit for a while. Actually, until he suggested that we leave! "Doesn't your hotel pool close at 9:00, Dad? It's a little after 8:00 now. Maybe you want to go back." Sure. We only drove 9 hours to see him. But The Pony is The Pony.

Yes, Val is fresh back from Norman today, and resting up from The Pony's Thanksgiving feast before preparing our own. Not that most people would term The Pony's dinner a feast, probably. We took him the Sister Schubert's rolls and real butter and Chex Mix that he requested, and the surprise Oreo cake. But we did not partake. Maybe The Pony is saving them for actual Thanksgiving.

We asked The Pony where he'd like to go for a meal, and he said he was thinking about Cheddar's. He's never been there, nor have we. Haven't even heard of it, mostly, though I figured it was a chain. If not there, he said, then a steakhouse. Since we've been to steakhouses in Norman, and The Pony really seemed to have his tender heart set on Cheddar's, that's where we went. Sorry I don't have pics, but it DID happen!

We got there around 3:45, having spent the noonish hours in the local casino (gambling age 18 for slots), and The Pony, being a late riser, having eaten his breakfast (of Oreo cake) around 10:15. Even at this odd hour, Cheddar's had a good crowd.

Hick went all out, and even ordered an appetizer plate of potato skins, cheese bites, and chicken tenders. They came with sour cream, honey mustard, and marinara sauce. Let me just say that the marinara sauce was delicious! It was for the cheese bites, of course, but Hick kept dipping (double!) his potato skins in there. He said to give them some flavor, even though they had cheese and bacon on them, and came with the sour cream. Which I might add, had a hint of flavor that I didn't quite recognize. But it was just right! Subtle. Then I got to the bottom of the little bowl, and hit something solid. It was a slice of jalapeno! I put it on Hick's plate and told him THERE was his flavor for his potato skins. The Pony ate two of the three chicken fingers. I did not begrudge them. I was having them for my meal, so I let Hick have the third one.

Hick ordered a ribeye (medium well) and shrimp, with a loaded baked potato and Caesar salad. The Pony ordered a ribeye (medium rare), with a baked potato (butter only) and Caesar salad. They came with a croissant-looking roll with some kind of sauce drizzled on them. I ordered the chicken fingers with honey mustard sauce, fries, and SLAW (what else would you expect?).

Here's the deal. We had finished our appetizer, and Hick and The Pony were nearly to the bottom of their giant Caesar bowls, when the waitress appeared, and informed them that the kitchen was out of baked potatoes! I'm pretty sure they would have known that when the order came in, but she said she was JUST informed. So you can't blame the waitress. Missing baked potatoes roll downhill, I'm sure, and she was at the bottom. She said we could wait 30 minutes, or she could substitute mashed potatoes. Hick and The Pony both agreed to take the mashed potatoes. They came piled high in a little bowl, enhanced with bacon.

Here's the deal. I think that Hick and The Pony should have been offered some type of compensation. Maybe a discount, or a free dessert. That's how you do business. If you're out of something, why should people pay the same price for something they did not choose to order? Anyhoo, they got nothing but mashed potatoes in place of a baked potato. That's what The Pony had been talking about since we brought up where to eat. That he wanted somewhere with steak, and a baked potato. He ate about half of his mashed potatoes, and said they were good, but there was too much of them. That might have been for my benefit. The Pony generally likes his food on the plain side. Like potato and butter only. No bacon or seasonings.

I must say, the food was delicious. Especially the slaw, but all of it was tasty. The waitress asked us if we were celebrating anything when she brought out the appetizer platter. Maybe they like to sing happy birthday and make a production. Or maybe we looked like disadvantaged bumpkins who wouldn't be dining at her chain unless it was a special occasion. Anyhoo...when she asked if we were celebrating anything, Hick said, "Thanksgiving."

Not sure why she looked surprised. Unless she thought, "These bumpkins don't even know what day Thanksgiving is, and that turkey is usually the main course."

I would still term our (early) Thanksgiving with The Pony as a success. I think he would, too.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hick, the Pea-Pickin' Penny-Pincher

I mentioned yesterday that Hick and I were surprised last Sunday to see the casino parking lot almost full. We don't park in the parking garage, even though it's free. We park out at the end, in an open lot. I'm pretty sure there are still surveillance camera pointed seven ways to Sunday out there. Normally, we only encounter about 10-15 cars in that lot.

This parking lot is at the opposite end of the complex from the casino. I use the walk for my daily exercise, since it's too dark when we get home now for my driveway walk. Hick and I cut through the corner of the parking garage, go up a long covered sidewalk, share a compartment in the revolving door, and walk past the check in desk for the hotel, and the event center, and shops, and restaurants. As we got out of the car, I said, "Maybe they're not all in the casino! Maybe there's a corporate seminar, or a wedding reception, or some big event in the event center." Sure enough, there was.

Hick was nearly purring with excitement as we strolled down the carpet in front of the event center. He was holding my hand, and for once, I didn't try to get loose. I kept my grip on him.

"Look, Val! There's your event. See the sign? 'Models Line Up Here.' Maybe I should get in line, heh, heh!"

"You're not model material."

"Who said I wanted to be a model? I just want to stand in the line!"

Indeed. There were many sweet young things dolled up in dresses milling around, the line reaching from the tables inside that we could see, to the area along the wall on the other side. They had left a gap in their line for the carpeted walkway.

"That's not happening."

Maybe some of those prospective models brought parents or boyfriends along, who were killing time by playing in the casino. In any case, I mentioned yesterday how it was crowded, but that I was a winner this time, even though Hick (winning the last three visits) was not. We had a good time, and a good meal. When it was time to leave, Hick was busy losing the last of a twenty, and told me to go ahead and cash out.

Maybe that's the way men think. Maybe that's how they're wired. Just walk over and get your cash from the machine. Not this ol' Val! I'm always leery when cashing out. I'm an old lady with un-runnable knees. I feel vulnerable. There are usually people lined up three deep at those cash-out machines up front. I don't need anybody looking over my shoulder to see how much I'm getting paid from my tickets. I most often accumulate tickets until I'm ready to leave, because if I have cash, I might be tempted to put it back in a machine. When I have tickets, I don't play them.

I had a goodly sum of money on those tickets. I'd won back all I put in, plus $200 extra. I like to cash out round numbers, so it's easier to keep track in my head of how much money I'm down or ahead. Sometimes I'll have odd change on them, but generally the dollar amounts I cash out at zeroes and fives for ease of adding and subtracting.

Hick finished losing his money, and came to stand beside me at the money machine. He stood sideways, facing my right side, between me and the other cash-out machine, while I fed in nine tickets. After the first two, Hick jabbed a ticket at me. "Here! Cash this one, too." That was going to throw me off. I knew how many tickets I had, and the approximate amount I was getting back. Now this. I looked down at Hick's ticket, and it was 19 cents.

Hick refuses to leave any money in a machine. Sometimes people leave a ticket of a few cents on the machine, because they don't want it. If somebody playing next to me has struck up a conversation, I might hand them my ticket of a few cents. Just to spare myself the trouble of cashing it if I've already cashed in my main money, and am playing a couple of dollars while waiting for Hick to come back from the bathroom. Lately, though, I keep the cents and cash them, and use them for my 44 oz Diet Coke change.

When the money came out, I grabbed the bills, folded them once, and put them in my front shirt pocket. Nobody needs to know my business there. I can sort it in the car going down the highway at 55 mph. I scoop out the coins and put them in my pants pocket. Funny thing about that casino cash never gives out dimes! Always quarters, nickels, and pennies.

Hick had been watching that cash-out machine total up my tickets. As soon as I scooped out the coins, he held out his hand, palm up. "WHAT?" I though Hick was joking, like he was taking a cut of my money. No. We keep it separate. I didn't hold my hand for his winnings on the last three trips. But Hick was insistent.

"I ain't jokin'. I thought you'd give me those three nickels and two pennies for my ticket."

"WHAT? You really want the change back? I need change for my Diet Cokes!"

"Well, I gave you a ticket for 19 cents, and thought you'd give me back the 17 cents you got out of the cash machine."

Hick never ceases to annoy amaze me. I gave it to him, after some of his passive aggressive squabbling that..."I don't want it, keep it, keep the 17 cents, forget it."

Anyhoo...that's not the Hick-drama that ruffled my feathers the most. While standing at the ticket cashing machine, I saw a guy behind Hick bend down and pick something up.


Remember, those machines only give out quarters and nickels and pennies. Somebody would have picked up their quarter or nickel. I'm pretty sure that dude got my rightful penny while Hick was blocking it from my view.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Side-Eyes

Last Sunday, Hick took me to the casino. It was way more crowded than usual, and extra smoky, but that doesn't stop Val. It's a casino, by cracky! Not a meditation retreat, nor an oxygen chamber.

For once, I had a really good session. I always have a good time, but I don't always win. This time, it was like every machine I sat down at wanted to pay me. Right away. Only two machines blatantly took my hard-won scratcher profits without giving anything back. We played for about three hours, then had our supper at Burger Brothers. It was tasty, and without incident.

The only damper on the afternoon was that I could not get on my favorite machine. There are six of them, three on one side of the casino, three on the other. They are part of a circular grouping of tall machines. I like to play Buffalo Gold. It has a minimum bet of 60 cents, and a maximum bet of $6.00. I usually low-roll at 60 cents, because the money is in the bonuses, and it takes a while to hit a bonus. But on this day, I was hitting them regularly. That's not to say that I was a big winner, but I had accumulated more money than I brought in.

Anyhoo...I finally got on one of those Buffalo Gold machines about 45 minutes before we were supposed to leave. I had camped out at a different machine, just around the carousel from a Buffalo Gold. I played, having decent luck on that game, too. But I wanted my Buffalo. An old man and lady were on it. Then the man left. The lady kept lingering. I could only see one side of her, not how much she had left. So I couldn't judge when she might get up so I could dart over there and claim the machine.

Finally, that lady got up. Wouldn't you know it? I was in the middle of a bonus on mine! I couldn't just leave it running. Anybody could step up and claim my ticket. I watched a vulture pounce on my rightful machine as a younger lady walked up and sat down. There went my chance! We'd be leaving soon. I played a little more. I'd put in a twenty, and was now up to $85. Hick wandered over. Watched a minute. Then said he was going to get a soda. I kept playing. Lost a little back. I'd just hit another bonus when the Buffalo lady got up! Crap! Another chance, and I was missing it!

Just then Hick reappeared! "Go! Now! Sit down in that chair! I'll be there as soon as my bonus stops! Get that machine for me!"

Hick looked puzzled, but he did what I said. I've trained him well. He sat down, I cashed out, and he gave me the Buffalo Gold game. He went to seek his fortune elsewhere, and I started playing. I kept hitting bonuses. They didn't pay very well, but the FUN is in the bonus, because you have the HOPE of winning big. Even betting 60 cents. Hick came back to check on me with about 15 minutes left before time to go.

"I only have a twenty in here. I'm either playing it up to $100, or playing it down to nothing. I've been waiting all day to get on this machine."

Hick stood a while watching me. I suggested he grab a chair from a machine people hadn't been playing. At that moment, the Buffalo game next to me opened up. Hick sat down on its chair.

"You can't sit there! People would kill to get that game! Get up. Somebody will want to play it."

Hick put in a twenty and started playing. As with mine, he got a bonus right off, betting 60 cents. He was soon up to $35, and kept playing. I'd hit a bonus too, and when the money counted up, I was at $99.99. Heh, heh! That's NOT $100! So I kept playing. Hick was too. He declared that we would stay only another half hour. I was having a great time, up and down, hitting bonuses. We had about ten minutes left when I sensed someone behind me.

I do NOT like people behind me. I guess it's my paranoia acting up. I've never liked it. I sit in the last row at the movies. When we had faculty meetings I sat at the last table, my back to the wall. I don't like T-Hoe to be tailgated. I just don't like it. Not even taking pictures with the kids, knowing somebody would give me bunny ears. Don't get in Val's space, and don't stand behind her.

To make matters worse, every time I tried to glance over a shoulder, that presence shifted. Moved out of my peripheral vision. I don't know what kind of fool they took me for, but Val is an ex-teacher, you know, and she does not suffer fools gladly. She most certainly does not tolerate creepers creepin' up behind her. There are ne'er-do-wells in casinos. Like that little lady in Oklahoma who came up and PUSHED MY BUTTONS IN THE MIDDLE OF A BONUS! You never know what might happen.

I leaned over to mutter my discontent to Hick. He glanced behind me, and said, "It's just a guy watching." INDEED! That wasn't happenin'! Seriously. You don't know if someone might push your Cash Out button and grab the ticket, or if he's just trying to intimidate you into getting off the machine. I'd waited all day. I wasn't giving it up until I hit $100 or $0. I started taking my time between spins. No excuse for anybody to stand and watch. I wasn't in a bonus. It was not entertaining. The only reason to stand there was intimidation, I think, to drive me away from that machine so he could have it. Too bad, so sad. I'd nabbed that machine fair and square, after waiting for several hours.

I wasn't so much afraid of foul play (Hick was right there beside me) as I was annoyed at the intrusion. The nosiness. The invasion of my personal space. Most people would get the hint if you were looking over both shoulders at them, and complaining to your husband.

Then I had the most scathingly brilliant idea! I took out my phone. You have to be careful. Casinos don't take kindly to recording. I acted like I was checking the time. I got my camera all ready. I'm not techy enough to switch the camera to the other side, like for taking a selfie. So I turned it around, where NOSY could plainly see the back of my phone, with the lens looking at him. I held it at my shoulder, and TOOK A PICTURE!

Yeah. That didn't turn out so well. I got a section of my shoulder. My ear. My purse strap. BUT NO CREEPER!

Let the record show that the flash is bright! And when it went off, Nosy hit the road. I saw him as he walked away. A portly fellow, in khaki shorts, a blue striped shirt, white ankle socks, and white tennis shoes.


Oh, I got that machine back up to $105 and cashed out. I got up off the machine and waited for Hick. I left the casino with a $200 profit over what I took in.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #85 "The Sinker"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Anybody who loves art should jump at the chance to read Val's fake effort this week! To find a smidgen of beauty in her tale of a new-age sculptor who is making money hand over fist on the backs of the greats who came before him. Okay. Maybe that "smidgen of beauty" is an exaggeration on a grand scale. But maybe you can give the book to a high school student to tear up the pages and stuff them in chicken wire as they build the homecoming float. C'mon. You don't want to be thought of as a kid-hater, do you?

The Sinker

July No-Ma'am is an up-and-coming artist. He has developed a method of replicating famous sculptures in miniature. He drew inspiration from childhood play with Shrinky Dinks, and viewings of Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

No-Ma'am is on the lips of many a collector, and in the tackle box of even more rich fisherman. While a No-Ma'am looks classy sitting in a shadow box, its functionality has set the angling world on fire. Now you can make a statement while casting your line. No-Ma'ams are the perfect sinker for the fisherman who likes his tackle upscale. Jealous competitors are threatening to file an injunction to stop July No-Ma'am from stealing ideas (and actual sculptures) from other artists. July says he is at liberty to do so. Ironically, while shrinking down Lady Liberty.

Will this prove to be the end of the trail for No-Ma'am, or just a bunch of Chicago bull?
(150 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Atlas..."?" (shrugged)

The Emperor..."I like this guy's clothing! I'm pretty sure it's suited for hanging out underwater by a hook. This fake author, though, is all wet!"

Thomas Jefferson sitting on a boot taking a crap..."Not since I was found relieving my bowels at an auction has there been such a stir over a statuesque man in this position! I was a man ahead of my time, acquiring valuable real estate for my country. Let me just caution you that anyone who buys this fake book is even crazier than that Seward fellow who bought a frozen wasteland from the Ruskies."

 A bathroom stall wall..."There he sits, broken-hearted, his chance for fame, Thevictorian thwarted. For a good read, do not EVER call Thevictorian's number. I have scrubbed myself clean of that filth."

The Band..."Take a load off, VALly. Sell your book for free. Take a load off, VALly. Your authorship was never meant to be. Even fakely."

Otis Redding..."I think SOMEBODY has been sittin' on the dock of the bay, wastin' time!"

John Donne..."This fake author had better stay on that dock! She's not an island, you know. I think we all know what that bell is tolling for...THEVICTORIAN'S CAREER!"

Electric Light Orchestra..."The city streets are empty now. The lights don't shine no more. Everybody is barricaded inside, upon hearing that Thevictorian released another fake book. Reading such a tome is enough to make mankind give up the will to live."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

So Long, Farewell, A-Sweaving I Must Go-ooo UPDATED FRIDAY 11-17-17

Hick and I are off to Oklahoma bright and early Friday morning. That means a 6:00 a.m. departure from the driveway. It's an 8-to 9-hour trip, so I will be inconspicuously still here, due to scheduled posts to cover my absence through Sunday night. I'll take my Shiba with me, and if I'm not too tired, I'll soak up some of that hotel's free internet to answer comments.

Even though I expect Hick to demonstrate his usual combination of swerving and weaving for 493.8 miles, he DID take precautions to make sure we have a safe trip. He took A-Cad for an oil change, and he had the tires inflated to 35 psi each! Didn't even give me any lip this time about the air in them heating up on the way, so the pressure should actually be in the 20s. I think my BFF OnStar's email on Tuesday, suggesting monthly vehicle maintenance, made him see things my way.

The Pony doesn't want to spend two days on the road, coming and going for Thanksgiving. So we are taking Thanksgiving to The Pony. Actually, we are taking real butter and a package of Sister Schubert's rolls to The Pony. That's what he asked for. And Chex Mix. Shh...he's also getting a surprise Oreo Cake. Don't anybody let that slip. Of course we'll take him out for a real meal or two while we're there.

We have a busy holiday season coming up. Should I print out a newsletter and mail it to all of you? Just say the word...

Actual Thanksgiving will be on Saturday the 25th for us. That works best for Genius's schedule. Also, you heard it here first...Casinopalooza 3 is on the horizon! That will happen a couple days after Christmas. Let the record show that this may be an epic Casinopalooza, what with my sister the ex-mayor's wife, the ex-mayor, Genius, Genius's Friend, my favorite gambling aunt, and possibly The Pony all attending this time!

If I can't get a blog post (or week of them) out of THAT, then I need to hang up my keyboard.


But before I go, I must announce that today I hit the trifecta! A penny, 11:11, and a ladybug!

I had a doctor's appointment, picked up some items in Walmart, stopped for scratchers, and decided to wait until I return from my trip to pick up the prescriptions. Just then I got a text from the pharmacy saying they were ready, as I was leaving the scratcher place. I guess the pharmacy filled them automatically when the doctor renewed them for six months. Since I'd been in a hurry to make the doctor's appointment on time, I didn't make my weekly stop by the cemetery. But I did on the way back to Backroads. Just for a minute. Sharing the specifics of our upcoming Pony visit.

Then I headed over to my pharmacy. I was so burnt out on looking for pennies and not finding them that I said to myself as I opened T-Hoe's door, "I'm not even taking my phone with me this time." I closed the door and clicked the lock, and saw

Yes. A penny looking at me on my path to the sidewalk. Go figure! It was a 1972. That's the year I started high school. So I clicked the door unlocked and got my phone to capture it.

When I got home, I pulled into the garage and shut off T-Hoe and picked up my phone from the console to put it in my shirt pocket. Of course the screen comes on when I touch it. The time was 11:11. I petted the dogs and gave them each (including neighbor Copper Jack) a handful of cat kibble. Then I got my Walmart bags out of the back and climbed the steps to the porch. Of course I forgot one bag. It was flat, so I didn't notice it. A pizza pan (only 88 cents at Walmart) to put an Oreo Cake on for The Pony. He's not getting my cake carrier!

I went back out for the pizza pan, and as I started up the steps after retrieving it, I almost put my hand on a ladybug on top of the rail. It wasn't there when I went in the first time.

It sure is getting coincidenty around here.

This was penny #58 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

UPDATE!!! Friday, Nov. 17, 2017

On the way to Oklahoma this morning (Friday), at our first stop for a bathroom break, at a Casey's in Steelville, MO...I came out of the bathroom, walked up to the counter, and saw a PENNY shining up at me. I didn't have my phone to take a picture. Isn't that the way it always goes? Who would have expected to find a penny on the way to Oklahoma to visit The Pony? I had left my phone in the car.

Here's a picture of it, though, laying on top of Shiba in the hotel room. It's a 2015. That's the year my mom died.

When we were two hours out of Norman, Hick told me, "It won't be long now. You're going to see your baby soon." I told him I'm always excited on the way out, but then I realize that we will be leaving him there, just like when we moved him off to college. The next song on the radio was Patty Loveless, "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?"

Let the record show that driving down I-35 on the last 15-minute leg to Norman, Hick spotted an old truck being pulled on a trailer. For years, he has been trying to figure out the kind of truck I describe that my dad had. Whenever he comes up with something, I google it, and that doesn't look like the one. THIS was the one! Hick said it was a 1957 or 58 Chevy 3100 stepside pickup. My dad's was brown, with maybe a white top on the top of the cab, as I remember. This one was a restoration in progress. The color was kind of a primer brown all over. Oh, yeah. My dad's birthdate was November 17. Which just happens to be TODAY.

But there's more! After supper with The Pony at a Chinese buffet, we stopped by his apartment for a visit. on the way to the bathroom, I almost stepped on a penny. It was a 2017. I sat down to watch TV, and under the window, I saw ANOTHER penny! A 2015. Granted, The Pony is a haphazard housekeeper. But I claimed these pennies as my own. The Pony even offered me more, from a pile of loose change on his coffee table, but I declined. That would be cheating.

Yep. Still coincidenty around here.

These were pennies #59, 60, 61 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.