The Four Seasons (Minus Three)

I have an affection for those transitional seasons, the way they take the edge off the intense cold of winter, or heat of summer. ~Whitney Otto

Seasons… I’ve been thinking about seasons because I keep forgetting which one I’m in. I miss having real seasons. Back in the Midwest I knew what month it was because I could see and smell and touch Spring (lilacs and crocus) and Summer (fireflies and freeze tag) and Fall (bonfires and a potpourri of colors) and Winter (snowflakes and hot chocolate).

As a TSA in southern TX, I only know what month it is by seeing which holiday cards Hallmark is selling or what gaudy items Walmart has on the end racks or from the ads on TV. However, since I record more than I watch, I’ve learned not to rely too heavily on the TV. Last night I saw an ad encouraging me to take advantage of Back to School sales.

I don’t seem to be alone in this state of un-seasonal confusion. A few days ago, when it was 85 degrees, someone wrote 7/7/12 on the TS log and from then on – for hours – everyone else did the same. It was August for most of a day that first week in December on paper and on the thermometer.

But tonight is something special. We’re having a brief bit of cool weather. Tonight, and for the next 2 nights, the prediction is for temps to be right at freezing (which isn’t freezing as in terribly cold – just freezing as in 32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Some folks here love it. Some, not so much. Some, especially those who have never been north of Dallas, (no kidding – never, ever) started wearing stocking caps and coats when it got down in the 50’s at night. I couldn’t even get my kids to wear coats to school in the middle of the real winter in Iowa and people here are wearing Down Jackets when it dips below 60!

It’s 31 wonderful degrees right now. Some nights, after hours of looking longingly at the fake fireplace, I turn it on just for ambiance. But tonight, Henry VIII and I are enjoying the real heat from the real blower above the very fake logs!

I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year. ~ Texas

This is really a quote by Edna St. Vincent Millay but she could be speaking as Texas where it is perpetually summer. My heart longs for the full four seasons … fleetingly.

Mostly I just miss Spring and Fall which only last about 3 weeks each, but they’re such glorious weeks! And at Christmas time, I miss snow – just for a few days.

If you love Winter (the real Winter), or if you miss snow just a little, or if you’re happy to say you don’t have to shovel rain (or caliche), or just because it’s great music, I hope you enjoy this is a new video by The Piano Guys (ironically featuring just the cello guy). May this be your perfect snow fix – no shoveling required!

Going Dark

When I’ve been in New York City (once) 😉 and San Francisco a few times… it happened on Monday nights.



When I was in London (once) 😀 it was on Sunday nights.



I believe that most cities have a night when many of the theaters go dark. The show doesn’t close. They just take a night off.

Today I received a call from Gate Guard Services corporate offices, requesting that The Fork in the Road go dark as well.

While I’m free to keep the blog, I need to abide by their cease and desist request re: any future posts that are in any way related to the industry, gate guarding or to Gate Guard Services. They expressed their preference that this also includes all past posts (400+ ).

I may come back to Fork at some point with a different focus. I’m uncertain right now.

SO – one last thank you for being such an amazing group! I’ve truly been flabbergasted by your readership and support. Although I’m sure that you all don’t love musical theater (you know  how it is with me and music), I keep thinking of this song from Wicked so I’ll end with this and go dark, at least for now.



I’ve Been Everywhere

This first video is the original by Brian Burns. The video at the end was shot by someone who visited every town in the song on a motorcycle! Actually, it seems I’ve Been Everywhere (in Texas, that is), has inspired many a road trip.

After a year and a half in Texas, I was surprised at how many of theses places, that even most Texans haven’t heard of, I lived in or been through.

Remember, as with most videos, once you start playing it, you can click on the partial square in the bottom right corner of the video and it will full screen.



I’ve been everywhere in the song, almost, and tomorrow I’ll be somewhere else. 😀

We’re done here drilling here in Concrete. There are still legions of trucks coming and going as we begin to rig down.

Tomorrow we head SW (out in the country between Beeville and Kenedy) about 75 miles. This would be kind of bad news to us overheated Yankees in Texas, in the Spring (which is really summer since it’s already 90’s every day), except that we’re moving with the rig and we have such a great group to work with!

We’ve been on the same ranch (2 different holes) since March 5th.

The day we moved to this site, it looked like this:



I’ve been to Waco, Hico, Hondo, Navasota, Winnsboro, Jacksboro, Hillsboro, Santa Rosa, Austin, Houston, Galveston, Texarkana, Frisco, Buffalo, Conroe, Corsicana,
Goliad, Groesbeck, Glen Rose, Red Oak, Post Oak, Live Oak, Lone Oak, no joke…



Before long the pad was filled to overflowing.



I’ve been to Kruegerville, Pflugerville, Van Horn, Val Verde, Brackettville, Bartonville, Beeville, Bulverde, Bear Creek, Cedar Creek, Mill Creek, Mineola, Maypearl, Monahans, Telephone, Tuscola, Redwater, Round Rock, Round Top, Round Lake, Sour Lake, Southlake, Spring Lake, for Pete’s sake…



I’ve been to Greenville, Gatesville, Gainesville, Alameda, Kerrville, Kellyville, Bastrop, Benavides, Somerville, Smithville, Stephenville, Prairie View, Luckenbach, Longview, Plainview, Idalou, Justin, Junction, Panorama, Pasadena, Angelina and Lorena…see what I mean-a…



Two nights ago the semi lights stretched for miles waiting for their turn:



Now let me see I’ve been to Valley Mills, Pine Mills, Dime Box, Duncanville, New Home, New Hope, New Deal, Liberty Hill, Rockport, Rock Creek, Bridgeport, Brownwood, Cleburne, Comanche, Cut & Shoot, Cottonwood, Bayview, Bayside, Baytown, Bay City, Falls City, Center City, Bridge City, what a pity…

It’s wildly busy tonight. I’ve had about 40 trucks in the past hour so I’m giving up on the computer and shifting my attention to tucking away fragile things.



We’ve packed up, backed up and done everything but hitch up. Tomorrow begins another grand adventure!


I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

I know an old lady who swallowed a fly
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

I know an old lady who swallowed a spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
But I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

Well, you know the rest. If you don’t, I’ve added a video of Judy Collins singing this on Sesame Street.

I’m feeling a lot like the old lady in the song. I’ve never swallowed a fly, as far as I know,  just a few moths and at least a half of a spider, but I am combating entomophobia with a touch of DOP.


I don’t know what these are but we’ve had thousands of them!


Two different conditions are recognized that relate to an inordinate fear of arthropods like insects and spiders. Entomophobia (“entomo” = insect + “phobia” = fear) refers to an unreasonable fear of real arthropods. The key here, as with other phobias, is that the fear involves a real stimulus, in this case an insect or spider, encountered in everyday activities. For example, a spider found inside the home might trigger this intense fear reaction.

A condition called delusions of parasitosis (DOP), or delusional parasitosis, on the other hand, is a severe, debilitating reaction to an imagined infestation. Delusions are a mistaken belief and in this case the person believes, wrongly, that they are infested with an insect or mite, or that they are being repeatedly bitten.

~ Jack DeAngelis, PhD, OSU Entomologist

My latest troubles began with the bee-like thing with pincers that nested in my hair while I was logging in a truck and burrowed into my head. The harder I pulled at him, the deeper he went. I had a sore head for days. He’s looking a little worse for wear in this photo. I took a picture in case I broke out in hives or went into anaphylactic shock (which was more likely to happen from eating the crawfish, but still…). That way if  Heidi found me passed out on the floor, she would know what bit/stung/pinched me.



Of course, there was that cricket the size of a Dorito thumping the mouse trap.

The last few nights have heightened my entomophobia. There was the furry spider on the door, the creepy spider with white spots that lives on the night lights and the red spider that spins in the wheel well at night.



Then, night before last, it was the giant winged thing that came in stealth-fully (again, probably in my hair). I’m beginning to redefine hair-net as: my hair that nets every winged creature! He came in quietly. I didn’t notice. Hours later, he dropped down on my head from somewhere while I was reading. I can’t tell you how much I hate arthropods dropping on my head.

You can’t really get a true idea of this from the picture but he/she was about the size of a monarch butterfly when it spread it’s wings… and u g l y!



He fell on my head. I jumped out of the chair. Henry flew out of his bed. The giant flying thing went all kamikaze on us – bouncing off the walls and ceiling and even under the table.



Henry isn’t much of a mouser but he does go after bugs, but this one was too much for him. He couldn’t get to it. I was disappointed to wake up and have Heidi say the winged creature disappeared shortly after she got up. He resurfaced just  few hours ago. I was a little more prepared tonight. I knocked him out with one of Heidi’s Crocs before he could get fully airborne.

I carried him outside.



We’re pulling out of the hole right now which mean there were non-stop cement trucks and tankers. By the time I’d logged everyone and returned inside and sat down to read again, my DOP kicked in big time.

Although I knew it wasn’t possible, I felt the giant winged thing crawling down my back.

It wasn’t possible. It wasn’t that giant winged thing. It was a this giant winged thing.



I’d rather have DOP, but I don’t think I do. So far, everything I’d hoped I was just imagining was crawling on my skin, was real and worse than I’d imagined.

I may have entomophobia but there’s something about being phobic that implies it’s a little irrational and I don’t think that’s that case either.

I think I just have boundary issues.

And, all things considered, I think they’re pretty reasonable. I’m saving the snakes and frogs for another day. I actually love the frogs but I wish they’d eat the giant winged things.

It’s supposed to be in the 90’s this week. Still, a hoodie is starting hold a certain appeal!


It’s a Man’s World

If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.    ~ Yogi Berra



To quote the late James Brown, it’s a man’s world, at least it is in the oil/natural gas industry.



According to Catalyst it looked something like this in 2011:

Male-Dominated Industries in Canada and the U.S.


Women’s Share in Canada, 201110

Women’s Share in U.S., 201111




Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting






Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping



Forestry and Logging with Support Activities



Mining (including oil and gas extraction)






Women in Management in Male-Dominated Industries

Those stats are just management. By the time you get to a drilling rig, or FRAC or production or completion, the percentage of female employees is next to nil.

I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary.     ~ Yogi Berra



We have deep depth.  ~ Yogi Berra



Gate guards, which are made up of about 55% men and 45% women, don’t count since we’re Security not Mining. There are still several men who work gates solo but only a couple of women. We’ve met  two other women teams –  a mother and daughter and two that are good friends. Needless to say, in this man’s world, men do not work in teams at a gate. Can you imagine 2 men living in an RV? They can’t even sit next to each other at the movies! 😀

If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. ~ Yogi Berra


So yes, it’s a man’s world.

He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.             ~ Yogi Berra

In a year and a half, we’ve worked with 1 woman who was our geologist, 1 woman who was a safety trainer and maybe 2 or 3 female semi drivers.


Other than the women in sales, we live in a man’s world, deep in the heart of very macho Texas!



It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility. ~ Yogi Berra

Heidi and I spoke to groups of health care professionals for nearly 25 years,  90% of whom were women.  Yogi got this one right – at least partially. 😀



It isn’t the heat (or the gender), it’s the humility, the attitude, that makes the difference between people who are good to work for and with, and those who can make the day really unpleasant.

These guys get a lot of credit. I know it was a shock when their gate guards arrived in this man’s world and we were both women! We’ve gotten used to each other over the last 7 weeks. They’ve decided we’re “family”.  It’s mostly a man’s world, but it’s our world, too. 😀



Drop in a Quarter and Press A5

When I was little, there were Jukeboxes in restaurants and diners all over the country. Many had tabletop jukeboxes right in your booth. You could flip through the pages of selections, drop in your coin and push the button. You used to get 5 songs for a quarter. Every booth could listen to the 45’s of their choice. I used to love to go to the restroom, which was always in the back, just to hear what everyone was playing.

My head’s a lot like a mini-jukebox, minus the slot. Just about every moment of every day, there’s a song playing.

I’ve Got The Music in Me

I’ve learned to live with it.

I can hardly imagine a moment without a soundtrack. Just about anything can trigger a different tune. A word, a thought, the weather and I’m off.

I have pretty eclectic musical tastes, so I can be (mentally) singing Rock of Ages one minute and The Lion Sleeps Tonight the next.

I’ll go from humming a beautiful melodic section of Rachmaninoff to Feed Me without missing a beat. I don’t decide what songs to play, they choose themselves.

For example, Heidi and her Mom talk on the phone everyday. I probably go through 10 or 15 songs with each conversation. It’s a little like being a Savant except I’m not gifted and it has absolutely no practical value.

Nearly every change in topic drops the needle in a new grove for me. I try not to burst out in song, which would be pretty rude when she’s on the phone, kind of like trying to talk when you have a toddler in the room, but I do hum some.

While I’ve learned to keep most of the music in me, it does leak out from time to time.

This would be typical of what I hear of  Heidi’s conversation with her Mom and the cascade of music it sets off in my brain:

Heidi:  What have you been up to today, Mom?

What’s the buzz?
Tell me what’s happening. (Repeat many times)

(What’s the Buzz – Jesus Christ Superstar)

Heidi:  Jimbo’s gone, but we still work for Dale. He’s a great boss!

You’re not the boss of me now
You’re not the boss of me now
You’re not the boss of me now, and you’re not so big

(Boss of Me – They Might Be Giants)

Heidi:  So you’ve had some rain?

Don’t you fret, M’sieur Marius
I don’t feel any pain
A little fall of rain
Can hardly hurt me now
You’re here, that’s all I need to know
And you will keep me safe
And you will keep me close
And rain will make the flowers grow.

(A Little Fall of Rain – Les Miserables)

Heidi:  She’s feeling a lot better.

she put the lime in the coconut
she called the doctor, woke him up, and said
“Doctor, ain’t there nothing I can take”
I said, “Doctor, to relieve this belly ache?”
I said, “Doctor ain’t there nothing I can take”
I said, “Doctor, to relieve this belly ache?”

(Put The Lime in The Coconut – Harry Nilsson)

Heidi:  No I don’t think it’s working nights that caused it.

I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day
I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day

(Rock and Roll All Night – Kiss)

Heidi: It’s incredibly hot! We really feel sorry for the guys who have to work in this heat all day.

Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man’s made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that’s a-weak and a back that’s strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

(16 Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford)

Heidi:  Did Stacy come out and mow your yard yet?

He rakes and trims the grass
He loves to mow and weed
I cook like Betty Crocker
And I look like Donna Reed
There’s plastic on the furniture
To keep it neat and clean
In the Pine-Sol scented air,
Somewhere that’s green

(Somewhere That’s Green – Little Shop of Horrors)

Heidi:  I really hope I can see you in September.

I don’t wanna say goodbye for the summer
Knowing the love we’ll miss
So let us make a pledge
To meet in September
And seal it with a kiss

(Sealed with a Kiss ~ Bobby Vinton)

Heidi: I don’t know yet, still RV shopping.

All I want is a room somewhere,
Far away from the cold night air.
With one enormous chair,
Aow, wouldn’t it be loverly?

(Wouldn’t it be Loverly ~ My Fair Lady)

Heidi: I love you! Goodbye Mom.

Hello, hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye
I say hello
Hello, hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye
I say hello

(Hello hello – The Beatles)

So there you have it! Contextually, almost none of the songs makes any sense. Clearly I’m not a Savant. Until a few years ago, I thought everyone thought in music. Anyone else have a continual soundtrack going in your head? Want to share what yours’ sounds like or what sets it spinning?

Thanks for reading. I love to hear from you. I saw Wicked in San Fransisco a couple of years ago and thought it would be appropriate to close this musical montage with a thank you song to you.

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return

(For Good – Wicked)