More on the new job

I am feeling a little less overwhelmed at the prospect of teaching at Redlands. I have looked over another instructor’s syllabus (which, by the way, I am fully using, with permission, of course). I have also had time to speak with her and ask her questions about how she does things. She has been very helpful. The dean of the department has also been a great help.

It turns out that this other instructor is also from Minco. She is full-time faculty at Redlands. It also turns out that she is Presbyterian, and she attends the PCUS church in El Reno. She asked me some questions about the differences in our church with hers. She told me she mentioned to the minister there that she was thinking of attending our church. He told her, “Oh, you wouldn’t want to do that. They don’t have a very high view of women.” So I told her it was true that we don’t ordain women. I am hopeful that we will have a chance to get to know each other more, and that she will see that Mark’s willingness to help with the kids while I am teaching this class is indicative of his (and the PCA’s) respect for women.


I start a part-time job on Monday. I will be teaching English composition at Redlands Community College in El Reno, OK (about 14 miles from our house). I sent them a resume last year answering an ad in the paper, and I never heard anything from them. Then out of nowhere, they called me yesterday. It seems they had a faculty member quit at the last minute. So in desperation, they aren’t being as picky about me not having a master’s degree.

Don’t worry, I won’t tell my students about my blog. I don’t want them to have any negative writing examples to use against me 😉

rearranging furniture

I have lately become an avid fan of the cable tv show, Trading Spaces. On the show, two pairs of neighbors trade houses for 48 hours for the purpose of redecorating a room in their neighbors’ home. The hostess of the show, along with one carpenter, and a designer for each home and a $1000 budget/each for the redecorating are also part of the show. The results of the redecorating are then revealed to each couple at the end of the show. Most of the time, the people like what has been done. However, a few times I’ve watched, the homeowners have actually cried because they hated it so much. I like watching the show because the designers do some pretty neat tricks that can add a lot to a room with little money. Watching Trading Spaces (and the BBC show that inspired it, Changing Rooms) is sort of like leafing through magazines to get ideas.

Yesterday, having been inspired by my watching the last couple of months, I decided to rearrange the furniture in our living room. It all started with the purchase of some lined drapes for our west-facing living room windows. I really prefer the clean look of mini blinds to drapes, but we have been living with incredible heat from the west windows letting in sun for entire summer, and something had to be done. I have been looking at drapes for a while. They are not cheap. I came across some yesterday at a little odd-lots store here in Minco. The price was excellent, but they had only one pair of the drapes with the valance to match. I came home and put up the drapes on the west window. They fit, and look pretty good. I used the valance on the north window without any drapes, since I only got drapes for one set of windows. But at least now, the windows are somewhat coordinated, and the sun problem is at last solved. Eventually, I plan to cut off the bottom of the drapes to make another valance for the windows with the drapes. But, I digress . . .

With the new drapes and the inspiration from Trading Spaces, I decided I had to rearrange the furniture. The drapes are a part of the equation because with them, I felt it was necessary to have a sofa centered in front of the window. I have wanted this all along, but it seemed impossible. And, with the mini-blinds, it didn’t seem to look so bad to have the sofa off-center. So after several iterations of various furniture arrangements, I still thought my task was impossible. Then I had to leave to go judge a cake contest. Mark assured me he could arrange the furniture in a “cozy” and appealing way while I was gone. Hmmm? When I returned, he confessed it was harder than he thought. He fled to his office and left me with the task again. Two hours later, when he came home, it was done. Our large sofa was centered in front of the west window, and the coordinating love seat was centered in front of the north window. All of our other pieces of furniture were also arranged in an appealing way. Mark was really happy with the overall change. He has since said more than once that he really likes the new arrangement. This experience made for a very satisfying afternoon. Hopefully, it won’t take me 6 months to finish the alterations to the drapes and to make the new valance.

living in rural Oklahoma

I am not sure if people who live in cities or suburbs can really understand what it is like to live in a town like Minco. You see, I always considered myself to be a small-town girl (from a small-town, that is, not always wanting to live in one). I am from DuBois, Pennsylvania. It is on the western side of the state about 2 hours from the Ohio border with 2 exits off of I-80. When living in the south, my southern friends refered to me as a “yankee.” If the technical definition of yankee is living (or being born) north of the Mason-Dixie line is correct, then I am one. However, I tend to think the stereotype refers to New Yorkers, mostly, and eastern sea-board dwellers, more broadly. DuBois, PA, is more like the midwest than anything else. It is the line where people stop calling carbonated beverages “soda” and start calling them “pop.” DuBois, has a population of about 20,000 people. It is the largest town in it’s particular region, but it has several small towns (ranging in size from 3,000 – 10,000) surrounding it. So, DuBois is actually a sort of center of commerce for the region. I didn’t really realize all of this until I moved to Minco. I always wanted to leave DuBois as soon as I could because it was so small. Now, I realize, it was quite a thriving little city.

Now, onto the discussion of Minco. Minco is about 35 miles from Oklahoma City. It has 1,672 residents according to the 2000 census. One might think that this is ok, since the City is so close. And, in some ways it is. But I had become accustomed to Target or Wal-Mart being a 5-minute drive from my house. I had become accustomed to having 2 or 3 large supermarkets to choose from. I had become accustomed to having a library in my neighborhood to take the kids to with ease.

In Minco, we have Mick’s Discount Foods. It is a small IGA store. The prices are higher than an in-town store, but not nearly as bad as a convenience store. The meats are great quality. The produce is also quite good. The selection often leaves something to be desired. Trips to Wal-Mart Super Center (14 miles away) are really necessary in order to get several rather basic items (vanilla-flavored yogurt, for example). We also have Woodworth’s Hardware (and variety) Store. It has been in Minco since the early 1900s, and they have things in there that have been there since the 1950s, at least. But if you found such an item, you would probably pay the original price for it too. We also have a flower shop, a couple of antique/gift stores, a video/tanning store, a few beauty shops, 2 gas stations, 4 restaurants (nothing you’ve heard of), a small variety store, an electrician business, a junk store, a thrift store, a print shop, a realtor, the senior citizen’s center, the public school, and 6 churches.

You can survive in Minco without leaving town if you need to. Actually, I have made very few trips to outlying towns or OKC in the last few weeks. I have really been trying to keep my driving time down, and I’ve been more of a home body. However, I went to Mustang the other day to visit the new library there. It is the closest library to us (18 miles northeast). We have a card there, and I have taken the children there regularly since we moved here. But they just opened their new community center that houses the new library. It is an excellent facility. The library is spacious with lots of comfy sofas as well as tables and chairs. The children’s section has a great set of little tables and chairs as well as a small play area. It was so nice to be in a real library again. Going there really made me realize how much I love convenience. I love having services available to me. I miss this aspect of suburban life so much.

Now, I know I have blogged in the past about my need to be content where I am. I know God has put us here. I am still working on being content. I haven’t thrown in the towel. I just have to get my honest feelings out once in a while.

Finally, today is the Minco Fair. An agricultural event for the most part. However, for the second year in a row, I will be judging the cake contest. Now, you couldn’t get fun like that in most suburbs.