Thursday, August 31, 2006

Archaic Mail


I bought an airline ticket today, using a travel voucher I got last year as a result of the hell trip home from Puerto Rico. I haven't used a travel voucher in awhile and never on this particular airline. There were some surprises.

First, I couldn't just use the voucher online. I could make the reservation and hold it on the website, but then I had to call to make payment arrangements.

Second, after all that was done, the final step is for me to MAIL the travel voucher. It seemed so archaic to be physically mailing someone a piece of paper when I can choose my flights and seats online, and even pay online with a credit card. But I can't pay with their own internally generated payment system. Very odd.

Oh well, it's fixed up and ready to go. It was just a moment of oddness when they told me to mail it to them. I mail many things because I still write letters, but I just never think of business involving the mail anymore. Interesting how our viewpoints change.

Creative Sisterhood


Tonight my Creative Sisterhood group gathered at Virginia's cabin to celebrate our third anniversary. Technically, it will be Sunday - September 3 - but tonight was the night we chose to gather. It was a wonderful evening.

We had the windows open and the bugs were singing and we had a fabulous meal. We did a potluck and it was incredible.

Virginia grilled chicken breasts and squash, Teresa made a Vietnamese noodle salad that was amazing, as well as a fresh peach pie. Diana brought corn casserole and I took green beans with fresh basil and also baked potatoes. Julie made rice and Martha brought some great bread. We coordinated a little bit so we ended up with a nice mix. It was a very tasty meal.

It has cooled off her a bit in the last few days and tonight was perfectly lovely. As we were finishing up it started lightning and now we're expecting rain. I'll be so happy to get some rain. I continue to water my plants but they just couldn't make it through the horrific heat. Things are looking puny.

This morning was the United Way kick off breakfast and it went really well.It's always good to see people and visit a bit.

I had scheduled breakfast with Peggy afterwards and visited with her while she had breakfast since I'd already eaten. We didn't get done with our planning so we're going to get together again in the morning.

I also looked at a garden for the Tenth Annual Hutchinson Garden Tour set for June 24, 2007. This is the second one I have lined up now so it's shaping up.

Well, I am headed upstairs shortly. I got up at 5 this morning and have been going pretty much constantly since then so it's time for a little rest. I am so glad it's a holiday weekend. I need a little time to think.

I've got a lot on my mind these days.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Water, Water, Water


I'm watching yet another program about global warming and how it's going to cause a dramatic rise in sea level, while at the same time dramatically diminishing the fresh water supply. That, of course, will mean a lack of food.

We have known about this for a very long time. We remain unwilling to give up our gas guzzling vehicles, to not water our lawns or even to use compact flourescent blubs on a large scale. We continue to forge ahead as if there is no problem. We give a lot of lip service to "our children and grandchildren" but we don't change our ways.

I have officially given up trying to affect this, on anything other than a personal level. I'm just thankful I did not bring any children into the world. And I certainly do not intend to.

Ultimately, the Earth will survive in some fashion, and life will survive in some fashion, it simply may not be human life. So be it.

Digging Out Life


It has been another full day. Once I get through this week I'm going to take a day or two to gather my thoughts. I have some personal projects I need to work on. Thank goodness it's a holiday weekend coming up. Even though I might not get a lot done, at least others will stop for a day and that means more new things won't come into my world. That is a huge bonus at this point.

However, I did take time at lunch today to go to Diana's store and help her a bit. She has moved the Dancing Grouse to 125 N. Main, right across the street from my office. I went in and helped put jewelry into the counter and move some things around. Things look really good for having just moved everything in yesterday. Apparently, numerous people have helped, including Debbie and Teresa. I wish I could inspire people to help me with projects. Others seem to have some magic I don't possess. It was good to get to help out.

Tonight was a gathering for the NewComer's group. I hadn't seen Peggy in quite a while, so it was good to connect with her. I'm really optimistic about the NewComer's group this time around - we've got more people involved and that's good.

Well, I need to find a bit more energy to do a few more things in the house before I go up to bed. I'm trying to get things a little bit more normal in my world. When I do a tea I use a lot of my own things and it takes a while to get everything washed and put away afterwards. This time I have all the new table cloths to wash too, so it will really take some time.

I don't have anything time specific until 2 tomorrow afternoon so I think I will spend the morning working on digging out my life a bit.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A 10 Year Plan


Tonight was Chicks and it was a great evening. Almost everyone was able to come and that was great. One of the topics was a suggestion to set a goal for 10 years in the future and think about what you need to do today for your health in order to be able to enjoy your life ten years from now.

That theme was one that everyone kept coming back to. When it was my turn I said that I didn't expect to be alive in 10 years so I couldn't imagine planning for it. Everyone was obviously shocked by my statement, so I had to explain further. I don't expect to be alive in the morning, much less a decade from now. For me, that is the ultimate presumption - that we will continue living. It's why I'm so adamant about living fully every day - it may be my last.

I'm all for tempting fate, but I'm not brave enough to tempt it so much to be planning for the future. Plus, why would I want to limit myself with plans.

My life is so different now than it was 10 years ago. If I'd had a "plan" that I made up a decade ago that I was still following, I wouldn't live in this house, I wouldn't be debt free, I wouldn't have been to Egypt, I wouldn't have been with my last two lovers, I wouldn't have watched a meteor shower in Honduras, I wouldn't have the career I have now, and I wouldn't have the friends I have now. Why? Because none of those things were possibilities for me 10 years ago - my life was very different than it is now.

On the other hand, one has to always consider what one is missing by not having a plan. I don't know. I firmly believe in thinking about what you want and then leaving that up to the universe to create, but to actually plan what you want - to have a goal to be doing x-y-z in 10 years - I can't imagine how you could ever do that.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mental Health Association Victorian Tea

Yesterday was our annual Victorian Tea for the MHA in Reno County (Mental Health Association). Grace Episcopal Church let us hold it in their facility and it was just perfect! I'm so thankful for their generosity.

I do all the cooking for it, other than the scones, which Nancy Murry makes for us every time. I just ate a leftover one and it was delicious. I hope all the things I made were good. I realized last night that I never sampled anything, other than as I was cooking.

Something new this time was trifle in individual punch cups. The church has snack trays and punch cups we could use, so that worked out great.




I had a volunteer who agreed to make table cloths for us, and I used fresh flowers on the tables. The theme was Lavendar and Lace. I also used some of the linens I've collected over the years. For some reason I seem to think it's my purpose in life to preserve such things. But, I just cannot imagine wanting to let go of embroidery or crochet work that had been done by my loved ones.

Some of the people who were there are friends, and some are people who come everytime. We also have new people everytime. Some of my regulars were occupied with the United Way workday on Saturday and couldn't come. I was really sorry to learn that was scheduled on the same day as our tea, but it's just the way it worked out. It was a nice group overall.




Teresa brought her granddaughters. That's Kylie sitting all prim and proper having tea with her grandma, and Kenzie is telling grandma a secret.

I really enjoy planning tea, and thinking through all the details, but it is a lot of work. I cannot imagine doing this for a living. It's great for a once a year fundraiser, and at the moment I'm all excited about doing it again. But I'll be happy to just think about it for a bit, and go to other people's teas.

In fact, I'm going to one in Arlington next month. This is one of my very favorite teas. They didn't have it last year and I really missed it. I generally attend the St. John's tea in November, but they're not having theirs this year. I am turning www.mhatea.com into a website for fundraiser teas in Kansas. Frankly, they're much nicer than the typical tea you get in a tea room - and no wonder - there's no way anyone could make money paying for all the labor that volunteers donate for us to put on tea.

Three of my board members, as well as Nancy, helped pour tea yesterday. We had multiple comments that the tea was hot, which they liked. And people loved it that their cups were always full. That's one of my big deals - keeping people's cups full.

Susan came, along with her friend Kathleen, who I met when we all went to tea in Hiawatha. I wish I could find other fundraiser teas to go to. Maybe as www.mhatea.com grows I'll learn about more.




I asked "Scarlett," who has attended our teas, as well as the St. John one, before, to regale us with some tales. She most graciously agreed to do so. I think the ladies all enjoyed her stories.

I think people are eager to have a reason to dress up a little bit and do something out of the ordinary. I'm always struck by how much people are enjoying just talking with each other. I think it's because we don't do it very much anymore. I almost hate to talk because I interrupt their conversation. But, people like to have a little program of some sort.

All in all I think everyone had a good time. Now I just have to get everything reorganized and then I can start thinking about another one.



















Because it is summer I was able to use some things from my garden for the tea, including some fresh herbs.

The Menu from the
Lavendar and Lace Tea
August 26, 2006

Cucumber Sandwich
Egg Salad with fresh royal pepper
Tuna Salad on Seven Grain Bread
Bacon - Basil Tomato Bites
Prosciutto and Rosemary on Carrot Chips
Calla Lily with Herb Filling

Traditional Scones and Clotted Cream
Pumpkin Bread

Butter Cake with Cherry Topping
English Berry Trifle
Chocolate Heaven
Lemon Tart
Sugar Cookie
Raisin Walnut Fudge Cookie
Frosted Petite Grapes

The news today has been filled with word of the air crash in Lexington, Kentucky. It's always odd when something like this happens in an area you know. I used to live just a few miles down the road from that airport. I've been to Keeneland, which is practically across the road from the airport, many times. When they show the maps of the area I know all those places. That's always odd.

I don't know anyone who was on the plane - that I know of, anyway. I haven't lived there for many years, but spent some very happy times in Lexington.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Long Lost Me

Well... I have been largely absent here for a few days - very unlike me. But, we had our Victorian tea fundraiser yesterday and I was very busy preparing for it and cooking and organizing and decorating and well - you get the idea. It went very well. We had a good turn out and I think everyone had a good time. Now I have to clean up and reorganize and get things back to "normal."

Greg came and took some pix at the tea yesterday and I will share some, along with the menu, but today I'm just trying to get my life back in a bit of order. I've got so many things on my agenda to take care of and some of them have fast approaching deadlines.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Cooking Fiend


I have been a cooking fiend today. But, I've gotten a lot done for the tea. I'm right on track - actually maybe a little bit ahead. However, I know from experience that there are so many details that I'll be up against the deadline at the end - it's always that way.

I've finished the sugar cookies, the pound cake for the trifle, the pumpkin bread and the miniature butter cakes. I've also got the filling for one of the sandwiches made so it can meld the flavors together. I also cooked the bacon for another one. Tomorrow I'll mix the tuna salad and the cucumber sandwich filling.

I did stop by Grace Episcopal church today, where it's being held, and double checked a few things. They have been so very helpful, which I genuinely appreciate.

Oddly enough, one of the big challenges for the tea will be keeping that much hot tea made at all times. It's something I always remind people of when they contact me about doing a tea. People often don't pay much attention to that and it's a critical part of the whole thing. I always have someone who's job it is to keep tea made. And that person is busy the whole time.

Well, it's 3:16 a.m. and I've been doing constantly since I got up. I think it's time for me to sleep a bit - not too much - just a bit.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Feeling Better


I have been cooking for the tea today. On Saturday the MHA is holding its fourth Victorian tea. It will be at Grace Episcopal Church in Hutchinson from 3:30-5. The theme is lavendar and lace and I'm having a great time pulling it all together.

This is a fundraiser for the MHA and fundraiser teas are always the best. I love going to those kind of teas. Because we're doing them only once a year we can pour a lot of energy into them, unlike if you're doing it for a business and you're doing it every day. We sell our tickets for $20 each and it's a bargain compared to what I've paid to go to tea at various places around the country.

I'm still working on the menu, but I know I'm serving pumpkin bread - always a favorite. I'm also making individual trifles for everyone this time. I'll serve them in punch cups. They'll be pretty on the table. I'm always looking for color.

In other news, I'm feeling MUCH better. I didn't mention it here but I went to the doctor on Friday. I generally just beg for antibiotics when I'm sick, but this was weird. I had a little sore throat on Sunday after getting back from Colby. Monday I was pretty worn out but getting better, and I had no symptoms except a sore throat and earache. I didn't even feel bad.

On Friday morning I woke up completely congested, could barely talk or breathe. I had volunteers coming that afternoon to do things for the tea. Fortunately, Greg went to the office with me and helped get them setup, and I went to the doctor. He gave me some mega drugs and told me to go home and rest all weekend, which I did quite a bit of. Even yesterday I was not feeling great, but today I am much, much better. I'm such a horrible patient.

I've got to get a few more things done for the tea and then I'm hitting the sack. I've got some "real life" things to deal with tomorrow so I have to get some sleep tonight. It's going to be a busy day.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

This I Believe - in My Own Voice


I recently posted the presentation I did at Kansas Dialogue about my belief that life is about the little things. That generated a lot of interest from readers and some commented they would like to hear me read it. If you would like to hear it in my own voice, just click here and wait for it to download on your computer. You can then listen at your convenience.

Art of Gracious Living #36

I was recently asked to give a brief presentation about one of my "core beliefs." I chose to talk about how I believe life is all about the little things that happen in a day.

I decided to share it with listeners as part of Art of Gracious Living because it sums up part of why I decided to start this podcast - to encourage people to appreciate daily life, and not just live for the special occasions.

A small excerpt: "Wonder at new life, honor those who are dying, appreciate the gift that is living. Drink in the smell of coffee in the morning and sink your bare feet into freshly plowed fields. Eat the best chocolate - before meals. Wish on shooting stars, climb trees and pinky-swear with your best friend. Take responsibility and forgive yourself and others. Whisper "I Love you" in the dark, sleep with lightning bugs in a jar by your bed, jump in puddles and always stop to watch the snow fall. Live every moment like it's your last and never forget to be amazed. I believe life is all about the little things."

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Groom Wore Tennis Shoes

Today was Austin and Amy's wedding day. Austin is Diana's son, and has been a delight to know since I first met him. He has a great sense of humor, as evidenced by the lime green tennis shoes he was wearing today, which perfectly matched his tie.

Amy chose green and blue as her colors and it really turned out pretty. She was truly a radiant bride.




They were married at St. Teresa's church in Hutchinson, which is a gorgeous facility.







They both said their vows without tears as far as I could tell. I think they'll be a happy couple.







They did something I thought was neat. Instead of having the ushers come and lead everyone out, Austin and Amy came back into the church and took time to hug everyone and exchange a few words with them as they left the pews. It was a nice touch.

It's especially a good idea for people who are having their photos taken after the wedding and before the reception. It gives the bride and groom a moment with everyone, without a receiving line. And if someone doesn't go to the reception or leaves before pix are done they got a chance to say hello to them.

They had bubbles for everyone as they left the church.




Everyone was invited to a reception at another location, which was a tiki/luau theme. I've never been to a wedding reception with that theme, but it was really neat. It lends itself to some beautiful touches. They had leis for everyone at the front door, so we are all colorful in the photos.

The table decorations were neat and included shells and lots of other touches that went with the theme.

At the reception, Amy's uncle sang "Mr. Bojangles" because Amy's mom said when Amy was a kid she would come home from spending the night with her cousins and say she wanted her Uncle Jim to sing "Mr. Bojangles" at her wedding. So, he did. Well, at the reception.

Lily was the flower girl, and was really enjoying herself at the reception. Grandma said she was bouncing off the walls from the four marshmallows she had let her have, and goodness knows how many she'd had that others had let her eat.

She sported pink cowboy boots during her walk down the aisle. She was none too happy at the prospect of sitting still once her part was over, however. Rebecca, who was taking care of her during the wedding, had to take her out.




Taylor and Sarah (left) did a nice toast involving a letter Austin had written to Santa when he was a kid.








Meeting a Blog Reader


Last weekend at Kansas Dialogue, I had barely arrived when a nice lady walked up and looked at my name tag and said, "Oh! I read your blog." That was Kathy, who's photo I posted last weekend.

It was only a little bit later when I had the same basic conversation with Wendee, seen here.

It's incredibly flattering that people take time to read the blog and share in my life. I would love to post more photos of readers, so if you're willing to share your thoughts, email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com and I'll put you up here, along with a link to your website if you wish.

Wendee is going to be work with Marci at the Sampler Foundation. You know I've gone on and on about Marci's "The Kansas Guidebook" and other projects of this organization devoted to preserving rural life. I know Wendee will be a big help and I will get to see her again when doing Explorer functions. Find more info about all those things at http://www.kansassampler.org/

Friday, August 18, 2006

Our Own Florida

In my little burg of Hutchinson, Reno County, Kansas - a town of about 50,000, we have our own Florida happening. And I'm no happier about this one than I was about that one. It's not even that it's "my guy" who's involved - I can't vote for him, he's not in my district. It's that the laws we have are not being followed and therefore the playing field is not fair.

In the 101st district, one term incumbent Mark Treaster is running for re-election. I have mentioned him on this blog before, and shown photos. Even though I don't live in his district, I supported his first campaign and also support this one because we need good legislators and he's one of them. He's a good guy, with reasonable ideas. To top it off, he didn't miss a vote in his first year, telling me he's also devoted to the process. He is a democrat, but I am not a "party line" person - I'm a "who's best for the job" person.

Republicans have decided that the 101st should be their district. So, they recruited a candidate - but not in time for him to get on the ballot. Instead, he waged a write-in campaign, and did a good job - no question about it.

Kansas law says that in order to be on the November ballot, a write in candidate must get at least 10% of the number of total votes cast in that district for the Secretary of State in the previous general election. This seems a bizarre way to determine it to me, but that's the law, and it's something that can be measured, or so you would think.

After recounts, we know that the write in candidate received 598 votes. Fair enough.

The Secretary of State's staff looked at the number of votes cast on Election Day 2002 for Secretary of State and came up with 573 as the number needed, which means the write in candidate would be on the November ballot. However, they did not include advance ballots, which are a big factor in general elections.

The Secretary of State's office, which happens to be headed by Republican Ron Thornburgh, says they didn't include advance ballots because they couldn't verify how many voted for a Secretary of State Candidate.

However, that's not really a true concern when you look at the math involved.

We know the following:
4,171 advance ballots were cast in all of Reno County in 2002
1,149 of those were in the 101st district, the one in question

159 of the 4,171 voters in all of Reno County did not vote for a Secretary of State candidate. Even if all of those happened to be in Mark Treaster's district, that would leave 990 votes cast in the 101st district for Secretary of State. So, the 10% would mean that the write in candidate would need 672 votes to be on the ballot. The write-in candidate did not reach that number.

It's now a committee that gets to decide - our Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. Our governor is a Democrat and the other two are Republicans.

At worst it appears the Secretary of State's office is not following the law, they're interpreting it. That is not the job of the Secretary of State's office, it is the job of the judicial system. At best it looks like the Secretary of State's office made a mathematical error. There's no shame in admitting when you're wrong. On the contrary, it's a true sign of character.

Why does this matter so much? Well, it matters because regardless of your party affiliation or your belief in one candidate or another, the system needs to be fair. Next time the tables could be turned and it's "your candidate" on the other side of the fence. The system should be equal for anyone who wants to enter into it - that's why we have laws to determine such things.

The Secretary of State's office is essentially saying that anyone who casts an advance ballot doesn't count. If that's the case, we need to do away with that system. I'm certain that no one who went to the effort to cast an advance ballot expected that their votes would not be considered.

This is not a situation that requires interpretation. The math is clear. The write in candidate did not receive the necessary 10% of votes cast for Secretary of State in that district in the 2002 general election. Therefore, he is not entitled to be on the November ballot.

The Kansas Secretary of State's website says, "In addition to many legislative duties, we are responsible for overseeing the administration of all national and state elections in Kansas. Elections are the cornerstone of democracy, and we are committed to protecting the sanctity of the democratic process." If they are really committed to the sanctity of the democratic process, Mark Treaster will not have an opponent on the November ballot.

We must not let Kansas become yet another example of election corruption.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Living to Work

Yesterday's post about how we spend our lives generated a lot of email, some of it rather defensive about how their kid is going to be the next Shaq. Yeah, right. There's only one of him. And if my limited email is any indication, about 1 out of 20 parents believes this to be true.

No wonder we're a nation of disappointed people. It ain't happenin' for the vast majority of people. When your kid is playing pro football, please feel free to email me and tell me how I was full of it and I'll gladly apologize. I won't even say he has to be at the top of his profession - just if he makes it to the pros in any field - even if he's just a bench warmer - I'll still apologize.

This is all part of our foolish belief in the US that we must be busy all the time - working or working at something that's not supposed to be work.

I saw a reference on someone's blog late last night - I believe it was adayinthelife - to this piece in the SF Gate by Mark Morford. Anyway, it's a beautifully written piece about how we live our lives to work. This is only part of it but I've provided a link where you can read the rest and it is well worth it.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2005/07/08/notes070805.DTL&type=printable

Why Do You Work So Hard?
Is it maybe time to quit your safe job and follow your path and infuriate the establishment?

- By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, July 8, 2005

There remains this enormous and wicked sociocultural myth. It is this: Hard work is all there is.

Work hard and the world respects you. Work hard and you can have anything you want. Work really extra super hard and do nothing else but work and ignore your family and spend 14 hours a day at the office and make 300 grand a year that you never have time to spend, sublimate your soul to the corporate machine and enjoy a profound drinking problem and sporadic impotence and a nice 8BR mini-mansion you never spend any time in, and you and your shiny BMW 740i will get into heaven.

This is the American Puritan work ethos, still alive and screaming and sucking the world dry. Work is the answer. Work is also the question. Work is the one thing really worth doing and if you're not working you're either a slacker or a leech, unless you're a victim of BushCo's budget-reamed America and you've been laid off, and therefore it's OK because that means you're out there every day pounding the pavement looking for work and honing your resume and if you're not, well, what the hell is wrong with you?

Call it "the cafe question." Any given weekday you can stroll by any given coffee shop in the city and see dozens of people milling about, casually sipping and eating and reading and it's freakin' noon on a Tuesday and you're like, wait, don't these people work? Don't they have jobs? They can't all be students and trust-fund babies and cocktail waitresses and drummers in struggling rock bands who live at home with their moms.

Of course, they're not. Not all of them, anyway. Some are creative types. Some are corporate rejects. Some are recovering cube slaves now dedicated full time to working on their paintings. Some are world travelers who left their well-paying gigs months ago to cruise around Vietnam on a motorcycle before returning to start an import-export business in rare hookahs. And we look at them and go, What is wrong with these people?

It's a bitter duality: We scowl at those who decide to chuck it all and who choose to explore something radical and new and independent, something more attuned with their passions, even as we secretly envy them and even as our inner voices scream and applaud and throw confetti.

Our culture allows almost no room for creative breaks. There is little tolerance for seeking out a different kind of "work" that doesn't somehow involve cubicles and widening butts and sour middle managers monitoring your e-mail and checking your Web site logs to see if you've wasted a precious 37 seconds of company time browsing blowfish.com or reading up on the gay marriage apocalypse.

We are at once infuriated by and enamoured with the idea that some people can just up and quit their jobs or take a leave of absence or take out a loan to go back to school, how they can give up certain "mandatory" lifestyle accoutrements in order to dive back into some seemingly random creative/emotional/spiritual endeavor that has nothing to do with paying taxes or the buying of products or the boosting of the GNP. It just seems so ... un-American. But it is so, so needed.

Being Bigger


The last couple of days have been busy. I'm hoping tomorrow slows down a bit.

The high point of my day was getting to have lunch with Trish. She just returned from a rafting trip with her son, Nick, in the Grand Canyon. They've done the trip before, but this one was really exceptional. She said she is feeling more "herself" than before the trip. I know just what she means. I sometimes can tell that I *need* to do something dramatic. And you come home feeling "bigger" and "more."

We were talking today about how people make their lives busy so they don't have to make any decisions about them. You "don't have time" for anything so you can just drift from one day to another. This is probably one of the reasons organized sports for kids have increased 200% in the past 20 years - what better excuse than "it's for the kids." You can get life so busy that there's no time, so you never take the initiative to make plans for a trip through the grand canyon so you don't have the risk of getting out of your comfort zone. It's easy to keep your life "small," with little chance for growth, when you heap on so many things that you "don't have time" for anything other than the ordinary. It's a mentality that has created a nation of zombies going through daily life with little true pleasure in it - always planning for "some day" - when the kids are grown, I lose weight, or there's money in the bank. People... This is it... It's all we get... Don't squander it.

Ask yourself...

When was the last time you did something that scared you? Really scared you? Made your heart pound and your palms sweat because it was unknown? If it has been more than a couple of months you're overdue.

When was the last time you had the same excitement you feel over a first kiss? I'm not suggesting you should go kiss someone new if you're in a relationship, I'm saying look for the feeling - the anticipation, the thrill, the excitement. When were you last that excited about anything?

Don't let life slip by going from one of your kid's ballgames to another one, drifting between work and dinner and then tv at home, without living somewhere inbetween.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cathedral of the Plains at Victoria, Kansas


On Sunday when we were coming back from Kansas Dialogue in Colby, I asked Martha - our chauffer extraordinaire - if we could stop at Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria. She, Andrea and Teresa love it just as I do, so we stopped.

There was a tour bus there when we arrived, but fortunately they left shortly after we went in. Not until after one of them snapped a photo of me saying a prayer after lighting a candle. I swear, I don't know what is wrong with people sometimes. But I know that everything that is wrong with them is magnified in a tour group.

I'm not Catholic, but this cathedral is an amazing place to be, regardless of your religious affiliation, or lack thereof. It is truly a sacred space. I generally stop on every trip that direction, and I am always moved to tears.

The other day when we were there there was a brief thunderstorm, complete with thunderclaps, while we were inside. We came out to find everything freshly washed from the rain and the temperature a bit cooler. That was certainly welcome because there is no air conditioning in the building. They have fans around, but no AC.

It was started in 1908 and finished in 1911. The German immigrants who settled this area sacrificed much to bring this building into being. Stunningly beautiful bits and pieces were gathered from Europe and moved to the site from railroad some distance away. Our forefathers were made of much stronger stuff than most of us are.








Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Art of Gracious Living #35


Click here for show #35 and it will automatically download for you. You can listen to podcasts on your computer. You don't need an iPod or any additional software.

Loneliness has become an epidemic in the United States. We have more people than ever living in this country and we're increasingly isolated.

Being connected with our fellow humans is essential to our own well-being and to the health of our society. We cannot lead gracious lives without having relationships with others.

This week make an effort to reach out to someone in your world.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Voting for Jack Wempe


I'm working on a post about Jack Wempe's run for the State Board of Education. We desperately need him. Ken Willard, his incumbent opponent, is a right winger who thinks we should ignore science and teach religion instead. He and the other fools have made Kansas a laughing stock. They talk a lot about "brain drain" here - well, no wonder - what self-respecting, intelligent parent of young children would want to "educate" them in a state where we just decide to ignore basic science?

I saw Jack this weekend at Kansas Dialogue and we talked about the election just briefly. Jack is a great guy - one of the most thoughtful people you'd ever want to meet. He is coming to this race with great credentials and I know he will do a fabulous job for the 7th, and all of Kansas as a member of the state board of education. Look for more about him here soon.

Donna Viola, who lost to Willard in the primary, has thrown her support to Wempe, too. I hope the voters pay attention and do the right thing. I think given the way the primaries turned out that we're going to end up with a more moderate board, regardless, but Willard is one of the WORST offenders and he needs to go. To top it off, we can get rid of him and put in Jack Wempe, who's a great choice all around.

Sometimes I wish I didn't care so much about politics, but it's so important. I'm only the second generation of women in my family to have the right to vote and I always exercise it.

Monday


I have been droopy today - maybe a little allergy from something on the farm Saturday afternoon. I went to bed very early last night and at 3 woke up with a horrible sore throat. I went out to buy some zinc and started taking it immediately and although I was pretty tired today the other symptoms are better. I wasn't going to take a chance on it being a cold and not getting zinc into my system quickly.

We were supposed to have a board meeting tonight for Arts and Humanities but it was cancelled so I didn't have to do that, either. Unfortunately, I did not get a whole lot done today, so I'll have to work harder tomorrow. But, sometimes your body says "rest," and if you don't let it have what it wants you find yourself sick in bed for a very long time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

This I Believe...

I have returned home from Colby and Kansas Dialogue. It was an exceptional weekend. I think this was my favorite of the four I've been to.

The last session this morning was a takeoff on "This I Believe." I was invited, along with five other people, to give a brief talk about a core belief.

I had practised many times, to try and get through it without getting too emotional. However, when you get to the point where you're talking about your core beliefs, it's likely to be emotional, and it was for me. I only cracked up once, and it wasn't even in the place where I expected it to be. To top it off, Teresa and I talked a long time last night and then I talked a lot this morning so I started off raspy, but that's the way it goes. I guess it was as it was meant to be.

********


This I Believe

I believe life is all about the little things. Life happens in the moments we're not paying attention. It's never the things we plan for that are the turning points - it's the things that blindside us on an idle Tuesday when we aren't watching. They come out of nowhere, hit us with a fury we couldn't have imagined an instant before, and move on - leaving us to pick up the pieces or revel in the celebration.

It's the things that happen every day that make up a life - the little things - the things we take for granted. Life is not the well planned, long imagined and carefully orchestrated moments. It's the little snippets we don't give a second thought to until we're wishing for them once they're gone.

For many years when I would visit my mother on her Kentucky farm, I would lie awake in the mornings and let the sounds of her daily life wash over me. I would hear the clink of dishes in the sink, the front door opening and closing, and her side of phone conversations. I would close my eyes and commit everything to memory - the sounds, the smells, the feelings - for I knew these times when I could eavesdrop on Mama's life were fleeting. I knew there would come a time when I would be desperate to have just one more of those ordinary mornings.

Life is not made up of the milestones we celebrate with cakes and parties. It's made up of ordinary days that slip into the past without us noting them. We don't long for more weddings and Christmases. We long for more Thursdays and Saturdays. We long for more every days and the routine little things that happen in them.

I believe we should live every day consciously aware that it could be our last. I believe we should try to capture those every day bits - live them fully. and take those memories with us into tomorrow - provided we get tomorrow. These small moments that make up a life are all there is. All relationships end - by choice or by death - we must not let a single second of any we have slip by unnoticed, unappreciated or misunderstood

I've always known death is close. Life is here and death is right there. It truly is a thin veil and it's easy for you or anyone else to cross over. That's why every ounce of life is a gift to be relished, soaked up, lived with complete abandon. The past is over and done with - not even God changes it. We have no guarantees of tomorrow, or even today. We have only this one moment and all that is precious about it, so live it.

Bake bread, treasure your true friends, and tempt fate... take long walks, make snow cream, and wander in distant lands... sing - even if you can't... live in awe every day... smell the lilacs in the spring and touch the smooth skin of pumpkins in the fall... cherish being on thin ice... dance...forget regret and embrace joy... stay up all night just to see the sunrise... learn something new every day... grow tomatoes, pick tulips and give more of yourself than you think you can.

Grieve when necessary, but be happy whenever possible. It's allowed, it's even encouraged. Marvel at a tree, love like your heart can never break, and have tea and cookies every afternoon. Say I love you, say I'm sorry and say I understand. Laugh, give in to your whims and cut everyone some slack, including yourself. Have conversation, give generously and stare at the moon. Listen more than you talk. Write letters, read books and indulge yourself. Be kind, be honest, be gracious, be grateful. Paint your walls red and play in piles of autumn leaves. Question everything, break the rules and respect your elders. Actually, respect everyone.

Wonder at new life, honor those who are dying, appreciate the gift that is living. Drink in the smell of coffee in the morning and sink your bare feet into freshly plowed fields. Eat the best chocolate - before meals. Wish on shooting stars, climb trees and pinky-swear with your best friend. Take responsibility and forgive yourself and others. Whisper "I Love you" in the dark, sleep with lightning bugs in a jar by your bed, jump in puddles and always stop to watch the snow fall. Live every moment like it's your last and never forget to be amazed.

I believe life is all about the little things.

--------copyright Patsy Terrell, August 2006, www.patsyterrell.com

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Frahm Farmland

I have spent a fascinating afternoon at Frahm Farmland near Colby. Lon Frahm, who's another person involved with Kansas Dialogue, has been very generous and given us an upclose view of farming in today's world. It's very, very different than the farming I know about from childhood.




They have very little equipment as he does no-till farming. He has 11,000 acres, and the majority of them are in corn. Corn is a very hot commodity these days because of the need for ethanol.

The corn he raises all goes to a feedlot a short distance away. Of course, this makes perfect sense given the cost of transportation. He works with brokers who schedule trucks not only to deliver products, but also fot the "haul back," meaning they return to wherever with another load of something.

We had three sessions this afternoon, one of which was about water. Water is in short supply almost everywhere, and certainly in parts of Kansas.

I'm generally impressed with the overall intelligence of this group, but they have some serious misconceptions about farming. One of the things that's talked about often in Kansas is the divide between urban and rural. Urban people always blame the declining water on the farmers irrigating their crops. Of course, they never consider that they like their golf courses green and the backyard tomatoes watered. And, sure, they're using less water per household, but there's 100,000 households in their town.

It's always so easy to tell the other guy he needs to stop what he's doing, as long as you get to keep doing what you're doing.

And, of course, these are the people who are buying the beef, that's processed down the road at the plant that's pumping money into the state's economy, after beind fed on the corn that's raised with the water.

Corn is a major crop at the moment because it's anticipated that more ethanol will be produced in coming years. I can guarantee you that if there's a market for corn, farmers are going to grow corn, and that's going to take water. So, instead of getting high and mighty about the farmer's water usage, take a look at your own use of the product being made from that corn. If you don't want to eat beef anymore, and there's no need for ethanol and there's no market for corn, farmers will stop growing it. It's very simple, but people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own part in the puzzle.

This afternoon was a prime example of rural vs. urban in Kansas. There were only a few of us in that session who have rural backgrounds, although mine is not in Kansas, and largely we kept quiet, but as one person summed it as we were leaving, "It's easy for suburban dwellers to sit here and say stop doing it. It's not their livelihood."

People use all kinds of resources that are non-renewable (like oil) and create all kinds of negative impact (like pollution), but that's OK because it's their livelihood, not someone else's. I hate the hypocricy of it and, of course, these people would be the first ones to complain about hypocricy.

I did learn something fascinating about sunflowers today. Lon doesn't grow them anymore because they deplete water and nutrients more than any other crop. They also cause combine fires because of the oil that builds up. Apparently they have a very long tap root that sucks water up. Of course, they're essentially a weed, so they're very efficient!

It was a great way to spend an afternoon and the weather even cooperated a bit - it was well over 100 yesterday and at least 15 degrees cooler today. So, that was a bonus.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Kansas Dialogue

I was with a group tonight at Kansas Dialogue, where we gather to talk about issues facing Kansas. Within just a few minutes of people arriving, two people mentioned they read this blog. I'm flattered, very flattered.

One of them is Kathy Kajinami...

Oddly enough, I was thinking the other day that it would be nice to ask readers to send me pix of themselves and tell me something about themselves and I would share it here. So, by accident, Kathy gets to be our first photo.

If you'd like to share your photo, please email me - patsyterrell@gmail.com - and I'll put you pic up here too. I think it could be fun!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cukes and Callas


Today I picked the tomatoes to share with Debbie and Sondra.

While I'm out there I'm looking at the cucumber plant that is just wild and growing everywhere. I think... hmmm... I know it's been a long time since I grew anything but I should have something other than tiny cucumbers by now. So, I look around and sure enough, there are a couple that are close to being ready. Then I find two that are much bigger. I pull them and cut one and they're not bitter, but not ideal, either.

Tonight I go out when it's cooler and look at the plant some more thinking maybe I'll find another one that's actually the correct size and I can eat it for dinner. Well, I do find one. I also find NINE others that are huge. I mean more than a foot long and bigger around than my forearm - huge. I couldn't help but laugh at myself. I need a sign that says, "Ask me about my Ginormous Cucumbers."




This is one heck of a plant - it's been producing blooms constantly, while growing these monsters even bigger. You'd think I wouldn't even admit this, much less provide the photographic evidence of my neglect. But, of course, here it is on the world wide web.

On the very positive side, I have new blooms - two absolutely perfect calla lillies - the best ones so far. They're a beautiful white with the palest of pink touches... just gorgeous.

I also have two glads that are starting to bloom. I've got to figure out a way to be better about the grass next year - it just wants to take over everything.

This fall I'm going to use the organic method of putting down lots of newspaper and killing off the grass - then hopefully I will have an easier time of it next year.

It has cooled off a bit here this afternoon so I could actually be outdoors for a little while. I went to Roy's for lunch today and they had the weather channel on. It was showing it was 89 in Concordia and I thought, "geez, this is sick, I'm jealous if 89 degrees there - that's almost 90 - and I'm jealous." The heat does things to our brains is my only explanation.



Lamont Wins


Today was the diversity lunch. There were six of us, and it was fun. It's always good to see Theda. I don't get to see enough of her. Rose came with Teresa and I hadn't seen her in ages so it was fun to visit with her. Carolyn is always fun and so is Lovella. All in all it was a good lunch.

This afternoon I had reason to see into the life of some folks I know who live way below the poverty line. It's interesting how I *know* this, but make it a point to not really be aware of it. Today was an eye opener and I left with the thought of "but by the Grace of God there go I" on my mind. It's something we don't think much about, but any of us could find ourselves in that situation. Most of us lead very precarious financial lives.

It made me think about lots of things - from minimum wage laws on up. That, of course, brings me to politics.

Joe Lieberman lost his primary in CT and it couldn't have happened to a better guy. When you're the sort of guy that President Bush wants to kiss, you're not representing democrats. Thank goodness the smart people of Conneticut sent him that message. ABC is saying that Rove has called Lieberman to offer the President's help. Lieberman's people say Rove called but no help was offered. You know what that says to me? Rove called Lieberman. That's not anything to be proud of - not if you're a democrat.

I can only hope this is just the first of many similar stories to come. And, for once, I'm proud of the democrats in congress who all came out today in support of Ned Lamont. Hillary summed it up by saying she has been saying since July that she would support whoever won the primary.

Of course, all Republicans can talk about is war and how we need more of it. I refuse to buy into this BS that to question war is unpatriotic and that we're all in danger if we don't make more war.

Uh, yeah, ask Joe Lieberman how well that worked. Americans have finally figured out that this war is very, very, very costly in lives, money, goodwill and tons of other things. A clear majority of Americans now see the war as a mistake.

Of course the Bush camp is trying to make it seem like moving away from the President's plan in Iraq is bringing on another 9-11. Uh, yeah, except you forgot the part where Iraq didn't have crap to do with 9-11 in the first place.

All you have to do is look at the middle east at the moment and see what we did by destabilizing the region in the first place by invading Iraq. There's more war everywhere.

Maybe people have finally awakened from their long sleep and are starting to realize fighting a war over oil is not very smart - particularly when we keep paying more for it all the time. Maybe they're finally getting tired of watching body bags come home. Goodness knows I'm tired of it. I was tired of it on day one.

Well, I need to go get some rest. I've got a grant to finish tomorrow. Grant writing is one of my least favorite parts of my job, but it has to be done. I'm not real optimistic about getting this one, so it's hard to motivate myself to put too much energy into it. Grant makers really like to support new projects and children's projects. Of course, that's their choice, but it is an odd system. Many people "chase the money," meaning that they see what the grant makers have decided to support this year, and then they write grants for projects geared toward that. I refuse to do that. It's unethical, and I will not lower myself or my organization to that level, but it's done all the time.

I'm not going to just toss out the people I was working with last year because grant-makers have decided to move on to other things. That's the situation and what happens - this year I can get money to serve children with parents in jail, so I create a program for that. Next year I can get money to serve fathers who are single parents, so I create a program for that and discontinue working with children with parents in jail because the money has dried up. I find that distasteful and unethical. If it's a program worth having, then it's worth having. If it's not, then we didn't need it in the first place. I'm not going to get into this "chasing the money" game.

I am so thankful for grant-makers who are supportive of long term programs. United Way is fabulous about this. So many organizations could not exist without the money United Way provides for the basics. An Exec I know from another organization likens it to walking into someone's office and turning off the phone, the computer, the fax and then saying, "OK, work..." - that's what is expected of social service organizations - to work without the basics taken care of. Our local Rotary Club is also fabulous about supporting projects that are not necessarily "new" but are providing a great service.

The Rotary Club of Hutchinson has supported our screenings the last two years and that really makes a difference. Those screenings have saved lives - more than once. And they've certainly improved a number of lives. The Rotary Club has been very generous in supporting that work and I'm thankful for it.

However, in general, people want to support NEW things. And things for children. Those are the big pushes for most grantmakers. And, of course, it's completely up to the people with the money what they want to do with it. It's just frustrating to try and find money to support things you're doing that are working well already. It seems like an odd system - to only want to support unproven ideas instead of things that are working already. But, hey, I don't run the world. If you've read here for any amount of time, you know things would be much different on many fronts if I ran the world.

Oh, gosh... there's something nice to dream about tonight... If I ran the world...

1. Teachers would be rich...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

John Doll speaks at Democratic Women's Club


John Doll was the speaker at Democratic Women's Club in Hutchinson today. He's running for congress against Jerry Moran, who's a long time incumbent.

Doll taught school for many years and really wants to change the system we have. I'm including more info from his website below.

The first district in Kansas includes 69 counties, so it's a lot of area to cover. He is traveling pretty much constantly, trying to meet people.

I am continually amazed by the dedication of people who run for office. As ALWAYS, I encourage you to vote. When you don't vote you are, by default, casting your vote for whoever wins.

Reba Gunzinger was at the meeting today. Pat Patucek brought her as a guest. Reba is the new gift shop buyer for the Underground Salt Museum that will be opening in Hutchinson later this year. It was really good to see her. The last time we ran into each other was at Lowes. I'm looking forward to getting to see her more often.

It's funny how there are people who you cross paths with repeatedly in life and Reba is one of those for me. I really like her a lot. We've been acquaintances for years, and I've always wanted to get to know her better.

I also had a really nice talk with Jeanette Mull today. Now that she has her studio next door to my office we get to see each other more often. She's someone I reconnected with last fall that I have always enjoyed.

______________
From John Doll's website - www.dollforcongress.org
John lives in Garden City with his wife, Janet, daughter, Hayley, and son, Ethan. When you speak with John, you find he is friendly, warm, and personable. John explains it this way, "I really value the opportunity to meet my neighbors throughout our district. I listen carefully to all they tell me - to make sure that I truly understand their concerns, hopes, and priorities." As your congressman, John will be exactly the same as he is now - compassionate, concerned, and committed.

John graduated from St. Mary of the Plains College, and for 20 years taught the subjects of history and government in Kansas public schools. He loves sports and young people and has also served as athletic coach in Kansas schools.

John has an extensive agricultural background, first learning machinery operation, seasonal responsibilities, and the importance of teamwork on his family's farm. As a young man, John was also put to work in the family-owned feed yards and grain elevators. Later, he gained experience as crop chemical applicator and crop insurance adjustor. At present, John owns and operates a successful chemical application business in southwest Kansas.

John values family, faith, and service to country. John's parents and grandparents worked their acres, developing successful agricultural businesses in the entrepreneurial spirit of wanting to make a better life for their children. John's parents emphasized to him the importance of hard work, generosity to neighbors, help for those less fortunate, and a duty to serve his community and country. These values now comprise the backbone of John's philosophy about life, government, and service to others. John says, "We must return our government to its roots and its rightful owners, that is, a government 'by and for the people'."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday


Well, I've done a bunch of publicity for the Victorian tea, including going out and posting some flyers. Terry, his mom, Dotty and Joya and I had lunch at Fraeze Drug, but other than that I've been working all day - on about 2 hours sleep. But, I'm doing OK still at 10:57 p.m. I'm going to run to the post office and then I think I'll take myself upstairs for bed.

Austin came by after work today and put together the shelves for the library upstairs. Now I can get more done in that room, which is the key to getting things done in other rooms - it's all a puzzle in my house. It was pricey to have the shelves done that way, but it is also pricey in other ways to have them not done. So, there you go.

4:23 a.m.


It's 4:23 a.m. and I have not been to bed. I've been intending to go for at least 5 hours now, but I've just been a flurry of activity.

I never understand why people want to sleep. It has always been torturous for me, as long as I can remember. I sleep as little as possible. I dread going to bed and can rarely stay asleep more than a couple of hours at a time.

Years ago I did a sleep study, when they were only done at teaching hospitals and were oddities even then. I don't remember all the names for various things, but suffice it to say I'm an odd duck when it comes to sleep. I go into REM sleep almost immediately, and can start dreaming when I'm almost between waking and sleep. This used to be thought impossible, but now with research into things like polyphasic sleep, we know it's entirely possible. It's just something that people generally have to train themselves to do, whereas it seems somewhat natural for me.

One of the tricks for me is that I don't have to have tons of sleep, but I do have to have some consecutively. So, if I'm ill or for some other reason up and down a lot at night I don't feel rested until I have some uninterrupted sleep.

Over the years I've learned to just pay attention to my body and what it is telling me about how much sleep I need. I'm generally up early and also up late. I'm sometimes doing things others might consider odd in the middle of the night. I just went out for a walk about 30 minutes ago, for example. But, it's 73 at the moment - it will be 103 later today - seems to me like 4 a.m. is a great time for a walk.

I have been cleaning and working on MHA projects, doing laundry, organizing things in my house, writing press releases, doing podcasting things, and watching CNN. In only 30 minutes Morning Edition will be on, but I think I may be about ready for a little sleep.

.....

Well, it's 7:08 now and many more things have been accomplished - for home and work. I've not been to sleep yet, but am starting to get tired. An hour or so of sleep will do wonders for me.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Lazy Sunday


I again spent many hours in bed last night. But, I'm feeling more perky tonight, thank goodness. It's unlike me to not be very productive on the weekends, but that was certainly the case this weekend. I haven't even been out of the house today except to hang out clothes.

I did make some more tomato basil soup. For the first time I think I could actually use more basil than the two plants I have in. Next year I'll be more organized about gardening and plan better. Picking the tomatoes is a challenge because I didn't stake them so they're sprawled everywhere. And that one cucumber plant wants to take over the world. I have to keep fighting it. My lavendar is doing well. I'll plant more of that next year. I also have buds on some of my gladiolus. I can't wait for those to bloom.

I've been organizing a bit in the house today. I have to figure out how to deal with the clothes that are overtaking my bedroom. I keep taking clean clothes up and piling them in there and not dealing with them. I'm not sure how I can think I have no clothes to wear when my entire bedroom is full of clothes. I think, more accurately that I don't have a good system for dealing with clothes. I've got to figure this out because I just don't like my bedroom not being completely clear and restful.

I think I'm going to move my bed to the other side of the room, with the headboard up against the window. I'm not sure I'll like it but I think I'm going to try it. Moving my bed is a process because it's an antique and requires dismantling it. But, I need to do some repair work on the footboard anyway, so it's a good time to do everything at once. If I don't like it there I can always move it again.

I have too much furniture in there at the moment. Austin is coming tomorrow to put together shelves for the library so I'm hoping that I can get some movement on getting the puzzle pieces put together upstairs. It has languished for far too long.

I've also been working on my office downstairs. I have cleared out some things in here and have yet more to do. There are so many things in here. I am going to rearrange this room too. I know part of what I need are a lot of shelves in here. Lots of shelves.

I'm tired of things always being in disarray in my world. So, I'm trying to slowly make progress toward addressing that. Number one seems to be throwing things out. I've kept things for years that I "might want" one day. If I haven't wanted them in a decade, I'm probably not going to. I'm beginning to accept that, which seems healthy. I have hauled so much stuff out of my house, and yet it's still full - seems hard to believe that could be the case, but it is.

Saturdays Aren't Always Productive


I did not have a very productive day, but it was a very pleasant one.

First of all I was in no hurry to get up this morning, which is very unlike me, but I was tired. When I finally did rouse myself I piddled around the house doing a few things and working on some podcasting bits. Terry called and I drove him down to pick up his car.

I decided while I was out to pop by Diana's to chat with her. She is moving the Dancing Grouse to a new location - 125 N. Main - this month. I know it will be good for her. She'll be right next door to Dick Westphal Jewelers and right across the street from my office.

Karen was in there and we all chatted for a bit. I finally convinced myself to come home and get a few things done. I did go pick tomatoes. I'm going to need to find someone to give some to if they continue to produce at this rate. Maybe tomorrow I'll make some more soup.

Susan had called this morning about dinner so we went out tonight. It was good to see her. She has sold her home here so she was in town this weekend packing things. After dinner we went over to her house and visited a bit.

I did accomplish some podcasting chores tonight, as well as did some interesting reading. I'm not feeling overly industrious. I'm just a teensy bit under the weather, a little tired, but it will pass. In the meantime I don't seem to be accomplishing a whole lot.

Tomorrow I have to get some things moved around in the house. Austin is coming after work on Monday to put some shelves together for me and I need to make some room for him to work in. Hopefully I feel a little perkier tomorrow.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Art of Gracious Living #34


Click here for show #34 and it will automatically download for you. You can listen to podcasts on your computer. You don't need an iPod or any additional software.

We have so few opportunities to have quiet in our lives, but it is essential to leading a gracious life.

Noise is the number two complaint in restaurants, yet they continue to play loud music because it causes you to eat faster and drink more. Restaurant owners want to sell you more product and get you to consume it quicker so they can seat someone else there and sell them more product more quickly.

Unfortunately, this leaves us with less time and inclination to talk with our companions, making the connections that are essential to a gracious life.

Click here for the Art of Gracious Living page

Click here for the Art of Gracious Living page at the Podcaster News Network

Click here for the Art of Gracious Living RSS feed

Viagra


I'm watching Craig Ferguson, as I do almost every night. I've decided it must be me and a bunch of impotent men who are devoted to the show because they have constant ads for Viagra and Levitra.

Again, I ask, "When did all the men in America become impotent?"

I've seen the Viagra commercial a bazillon times now where they guy is watching a game but wants to follow his woman off to the bedroom. So, he picks up a video tape while the announcer says something like, "there's only one great passion, unless you're really clever." Clever? People have been using videotapes for decades now. Actually, we've pretty much stopped using them now. The fact that the guy can put a video tape in is not an indication he's clever.

Levitra is obviously geared to men with medical issues. Viagra is geared toward men who are pretty - but not very bright.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Long Week


It has been a long work week. The last couple of days have been especially trying. I just got out of a very long bath - more than three hours long. I wanted to wash away the residue of the week.

I didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped but that's just how it goes. Hopefully next week will be more productive.

I've got a lot on my mind these days and I guess it's making it even more difficult for me to concentrate. It's not the easiest thing in the world for me to begin with, so I don't need any more confusion.

I just read something recently that said people who take Ritalin - even those with normal brain function - have higher IQ scores. I will have to check the veracity of that, but I remember thinking it was a reputable source I was reading at the time. I've never taken Ritalin, although it - or something like it - has been suggested to me on more than one occasion. I'm just not a fan of messing with my brain chemistry unless absolutely necessary. Things like that have effects we cannot foresee and I'd just as soon not be sucking down stimulants - amphetamines - potentially addictive drugs.

Taking something that alters my brain chemistry is far too risky for me at this point. However, there are times I wish I could focus a bit more easily.

Well, I have some writing to do that needs to be sent to various spots, so I'd best get to it. If only I could figure out how to get paid for writing my blog.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's a Good Thing I Love Computers


We had a bit of rain last night and I'm thankful. It cooled things off a bit and that was a welcome change.

I had volunteers today to do the newsletter. It's on its way - thank goodness. I spent most of the day on the phone with various tech support people. In the last 24 hours I have done the following computer related things:
1. replaced the network card in my work desktop
2. Called D-link for further instructions - this, thankfully, was someone who could actually help me
3. Call to Cox where, as usual, they tell me they don't have to do anything for the box to recognize the adapter. But, as always happens in these cases, it begins working while I'm talking to them, without me doing anything. They're magic.
4. Had my printer suddenly decide that all the print menus should be in Japanese. Unfortunately, I don't speak - or read - Japanese. Had it been French or Spanish I could have muddled through, but an entirely different language, I couldn't work with that.
5. Call to tech support for Brother - LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM.
6. Call to D-Link for further instructions on wireless setup, which stopped working two days ago, but was too low of a priority to deal with yet. I now know the D-Link support number if that's any indication of how much I've spoken with them in the last few months. Today I spent over an hour on the phone with a girl in India who, not only does not have much of a command of the English language, but apparently also has a bad headset. After all of this, the answer is that the router needs an update. I just went through the update bit a few weeks ago. Oops, there's a new update. Lucky me. Of course, one can't download it through a router that doesn't work, so it's a multi stage process. I left the office with that still not working. Maybe tomorrow.
7. Replaced the keyboard that suddenly stopped working.
8. Replaced the mouse that couldn't go on without the keyboard.
9. Decided it's a good thing I really love computers or I would have chucked this one out onto Main Street about 2:15 this afternoon.

I decided yesterday I wanted to rearrange my office so everything in my office is torn apart, too. Sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking. Or if I am.

Well, I think I need to get to bed a bit early tonight - at least for me. Obviously, I will need all my brain cells firing tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bugs and Blooms


I have been very suspicious that the little guy here, and his friends, are the reasons my morning glories have very large holes in the leaves. I figured I had enough plants I could share, so I haven't sprayed for grasshoppers or any other "pest."

This afternoon when I came in from the office it was starting to cool off a bit so I pulled some weeds and in the process discovered this grasshopper and also a little caterpillar, and then another caterpillar. Maybe I've been too quick to blame the grasshoppers.

It was so windy I couldn't get a good pic of the caterpillar. His little fuzzies were blowing in the wind. Someone I'm just guessing he's not just hanging out, but may also be consuming some of my plants.

Of course, I still have no blooms on the morning glories - but lots of leaves - so I'm not sure it matters. I went and looked at last year's blog entries and it seems I was blathering on then about not having blooms so I'll just be optimistic it will yet happen.

This afternoon I also discovered that shamrocks bloom - I had no idea.