Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kiva Loan

This is my latest Kiva loan. I love this. It's something that can make real, sustainable change in the world.

After I posted the one a few days ago, I had email from some readers who got enthused and decided to do this themselves. Please join in if you're so moved! It's a cool deal!

Iraq Panel

The news is breaking now that the Iraq Panel has recommended withdrawal of troops. Well, duh. There's some good thinking. They apparently are not offering a time table. Here's one - yesterday. It can't happen soon enough.

We've created civil war in yet another place in the world. We're unable to control it. The "officials" there are unable to control it. You know who could control it? Saddam Hussein.

He was the guy who controlled it. Admittedly, his methods were not the greatest, but it's not like what we've created is good either. We've managed to kill more people faster - like that's better somehow.

It's a country with three factions and all any of them can agree on is that they hate the other two. Well, I guess they can all agree they hate us. And why wouldn't they?

We have created a whole new set of young men and women with life altering injuries, missing limbs, more mental health problems than we can even imagine at this point, and who knows what else. And what have we accomplished? We've removed the man who kept a lid on the warring factions, so they can be at war with each other, and with us, and soon with others in the region if we don't get out so things can calm down.

Meanwhile the "war on terror" that should be happening in Afghanistan is at a standstill. Isn't that what we were supposedly doing - fighting a war on terror - where the terrorist is? I think that's what congress agreed to do - after being lied to about weapons of mass destruction - fight a war on terror - against terrorists. I mean Bin Laden, just in case you've forgotten since it has been so long since "Mission Accomplished."

We've now been fighting in Iraq longer than we fought in WWII. Unfortunately, it bears a lot more resemblance to the war in Vietnam.

So, here's the Patsy Prediction.

1. We're leaving Iraq. Oh, we're going to maintain a presence in the area, but we're going to tuck tail and run now that we've made this mess. The American people have finally gotten tired of spending billions of dollars a week, and seeing 19 year olds come home without legs. We're slow, but eventually we do catch on. Obviously, our schools need to teach better critical thinking skills so we're not so damned slow on the uptake. But, people finally got it and voted in democrats to get us the hell out of Iraq. And, frankly, getting out is the best thing we can do - we are not wanted, welcome or wise there.

2. As soon as we get out of the way Muqtada al-Sadr is going to become the new Saddam Hussein. He's essentially leading the country already. We just need to get out of the way and allow the sectarian war that has been expected for years to happen. It's happening now with us in the middle of it, making it worse.

3. He will keep control the exact same way Saddam did because it's the only way control can be kept in this kind of circumstance.

Al-Sadr hates Americans more than Hussein did. And just in case there was anyone in the whole country who didn't already hate us, we've made sure to take care of that by invading Iraq and ruining their country, creating a situation where 3,700 Iraqi civilians have died just this month.

I've mentioned it before - but it bears repeating - the only kind of war that has any long lasting effect is true civil war. Not war we start - can you say "Sandinista" - but true civil war. All we do when we start a civil war - can you say "Iraq" - is prolong the inevitable.

Just go back to all news stories and cross out "Saddam Hussein" and write in "Muqtada al-Sadr."

Same song, different verse. ...and the chorus swells... fade to black... and we're out.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Tonight was Chicks and it was great as always. My topic of the evening was leadership. It's something I would recommend to anyone, but I do want the next level of class. I think that's something that will be coming down the pike eventually.

I have spent the day trying to juggle dozens of different things. That seems to be my life in a nutshell these days. But I'm thankful to have a job I enjoy and the health to lead a full life.

For those of you who have emailed regarding the post about Michael Richards, I appreciate your thoughts, but I stand by my post. There are things you cut people a lot of slack for and there are things you hold their feet to the fire for. I contend this falls into the latter category.

Big Idea Person in a Small Project World

I was reminded again today that I am a "Big Idea Person" in a "Small Project World."

People always say they want big ideas, and they enjoy discussing them, but no one really wants to take them on. Big ideas require a lot of work. Big work.

Instead people want to implement small projects. They can accomplish them in a short amount of time, with little money or commitment, and then move on - feeling like they've done something important.

Somehow those big ideas get pushed aside so small projects can be implemented. Unfortunately, big ideas don't come to fruition through small projects, unless people can look at the big picture and do a lot of small projects. But that never seems possible.

Small projects just result in accomplishing small things. Ah... such is life.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Day

I have spent the day moving from one project to another, without a moment's down time. And, yet, unfortunately, few projects are completed. I did take time for dinner with Julie tonight after a meeting.

I had planned to continue decorating when I got home but I worked on cards instead. I have four Christmas letters left. I think I will just not send letters with any other cards I send. I don't want to have to make more. Maybe I'll call office max and see if they still have it in their system - if so maybe I'll get more. If I have to resend the whole thing it's not worth it.

I suppose it's quite presumptuous of me to think anyone will want to read my Christmas letter anyway, so it doesn't matter. I think everything in it of any consequence is on the blog anyway.

Tomorrow I'm going to do some running around town.It's supposed to be a nice day, and it may be the last one for awhile. So, I'm going to make use of it. I have a long list of MHA things to take care of and some of them require some running around. I'll enjoy them much more if it's 70 than I will if it's 30.

I am going to head upstairs to bed - it's rare for me to do that before midnight but I got up very early today and haven't slept well lately.

Sleep and I never seem to be on the best of terms. I never, ever, get it when people talk about wanting to sleep - it's a bit of torture for me every day/night. And napping - oh my - why would I want to do it more than I already have to?

If I can just squeeze in about 6 hours a night that's plenty. I'm guessing I may actually sleep about 4 of those hours, and about 90 minutes of that is deep, restful sleep. I'm awake 4 hours after going to sleep and will go back to sleep for another two hours - waking often, but resting some. Then for another hour or two after I wake up I try to write or read so I'm at least getting rest even if I can't sleep.

Racist Talk

I have refrained from commenting here about Michael Richards' racial outburst. However, as of today, I am done refraining. He keeps apologizing so there's no reason for me to not enter into the conversation.

OK, here's the deal, I honestly didn't know there were people walking around using the n-word in their heads - and probably to their friends - to describe people. Oh, I know some who use it outloud - I'm from the south - but I didn't realize there were people walking around thinking it but not saying it.

Frankly, I'm even more disturbed by that. At least when someone is blunt I know where they stand. Now I'm wondering who else is walking around with these thoughts in their heads, but I don't know it because their speech doesn't betray their true feelings. And that is ultimitely the issue - their true feelings.

I realize how naive I am. I thought we were so far beyond this. Like decades beyond it. Surprise. I hate ugly surprises.

I have been very pissed at people before. But I can't imagine a time when the n-word would have been a way I would have chosen to express that anger. Am I less angry? No. But that word just doesn't exist in my vocabulary as a way to describe people so it wouldn't come up. Am I holier than thou? No. Absolutely not. I might use a string of other offensive terminology, but there are lines that are not to be crossed and that is one of them.

Things like referring to people as "niggers" and saying the "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" are just not things that are part of what's going on in my brain so they're not going to pop out, even in moments of anger.

And, therein, lies the problem. If those things are coming out of your mouth, they're in your brain somewhere - in your consciousness enough that you can say them without having to think too hard about them. They're in your possible list of insults, just waiting to be pressed into service. And it's hard to believe this is the first time you've ever used them.

Mel Gibson and Michael Richards are just two examples of people who are obviously walking around with feelings we didn't know about. I was happier not knowing.

I won't ever look at "Kramer" the same way. I'm sure Richards' costars really appeciate him choosing to do this just as the Seinfeld DVDs came out for the holidays.

He says he has some anger issues and that he doesn't know where this came from. Well, none of us do. Can anger cause you to hurl insults you're not using - at least occasionally - in your every day private life? Can anger cause you to make statements you don't "feel" at some level of your core being? I don't know. I'm doubtful. But that's a question for the psychologists. He is seeing one now, he says.

I'm guessing Richards will head off to rehab for something soon. It's the answer for any inappropriate behavior from public figures - from sending sexual emails to young men to blaming the Jews for all wars.

Unfortunately, once those words are "out there" they can't be taken back. It's why I have a framed postcard by my door that says, "Les mots qu'on n'a pas dits sont les fleurs du silence." Roughly translated it means, "The words not spoken are the flowers of silence." It's just a nice way to remind myself as I walk out the door every morning to try to keep my mouth shut. I'm more successful some days than others, but at least I don't have things like that rattling around in my brain to keep under control.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Sometimes you learn about an idea and you just know it's a big idea. That's what is - a big idea.

You can change someone's life with a $25 loan. You'll even get paid back. works with non-governmental organizations (non profits) in various places around the world. Local entrepreneurs apply for loans and it's then posted on the website. You can pick who you want to support in what areas of the world and by what they're doing.

I chose to lend to a woman in Togo for money for a beauty salon - her profile will be in the box above until her project is completely funded, then another one will appear. You can read more her or any of the others by going to yourself.

You get paid back over the next few months, without interest. It's an ingenious idea that allows the average person to invest $25 or more, and make a real difference.

I support Heifer International for the same reason - it's doing something that will have long term effect.

Go take a look at Kiva and find something you'd like to loan to. It feels good.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Tree

I put more decorations on the tree - actually, that's what I've been doing for the last two and a half hours. I kept thinking I was done, but then I would see a bare spot. When I decided I was really done I went to the basement to take some ornament boxes and discovered an unopened ornament box.

Of course I had to bring it up and go through it. Last year I didn't use all my ornaments and missed some of my favorites. I knew there were two boxes I didn't open last year. Well, this was one of them and I got to rediscover some of my cherished ornaments.

In that box were two glass balls that Mia beaded around that I like to have near the top of the tree. Also, a little teapot ornament that a former board member gave me one year. It also had the ornament I bought at Monticello and a glass star I got at Kate's Paperterie in NYC.

It also had a painted ceramic bell my friend Leah's son, Zach, did when he was about five. He's almost 15 now. Another gift from a friend's child, David Naylor's daughter, Ariana, gave me a dough star with glitter on it when she was little. Well, actually, it was really her mom, Kristin, who gave it to me but I have treasured it all these years. That was probably 12 years ago.

I didn't look at the tag on it, but I do try to tag things with the date and names so I don't have to guess how long it has been. If people give me an ornament and it has a name tag on the gift I try to just save the tag. But, I also just buy little tags that I add to the ones I can't write on.

Decorating the tree is always such a memory-rich experience for me. There are ornaments people have given me, and things I've picked up on trips. There are things people have made, and things they selected specifically for me. I love them all.

I cannot imagine not wanting to have a Christmas tree. It will be a sign to me that I'm getting old if I ever don't want to put up a tree. It's always an indication to me that someone has entered another phase of life when they choose not to decorate. It's something I associate with elderly people, although I know many older people who still decorate trees. My mom did every year.

Of course, sometimes you have to scale back for one reason or another. When I was house-hunting I didn't decorate extensively because I realized I could be moving at any time.

But it's one of the things I love to have - a beautiful, sparkling, bright, cheery Christmas tree. Mine is ready for the icicles and then it will be done. I will try to post some pix soon.

Congratulations Salt Hawks

OK, I'm so not a sports person, despite the fact that the UK Wildcats played a large part in my choice of a university. However, the local High School Football team just won its third state championship in a row. That's impressive, even if you're not a sports fan. So... Congratulations Hutchinson Salt Hawks.

I can't tell you a darned thing about the season - I've been barely aware of it - but even I know a state championship is very cool - much less three in a row. What a treat for the guys who have gotten to play in all three of those games.

Cards and an ID-10-t error

Well, about 95% of my Christmas cards are in the mail. I have some left to do and some that I need to do address corrections on. Due to my own stupidity, I have to reenter some addresses into the computer. It was NOT computer error, it was definitely an ID-10-t error and I'm the idiot. Oh well... all of life is a learning experience.

I just got back from a Thanksgiving trip to Joplin and dropped off a chunk of the cards in Wichita. Since they would go from Hutch to Wichita and back again I thought I'd just short circuit that journey.

I went grocery shopping on my way into town, so I don't have to leave the house again tonight and I can finish the tree and do some other decorating.

Christmas is exactly ONE MONTH from today. I want to enjoy every moment of the season. You only get so many Christmases in a lifetime. I want to relish every one.

Well, I was out with the masses this morning, hunting bargains. It's only my second time to be out in the day after Thanksgiving rush. It's OK the first stop or two, but after that it becom1es a nightmare as more people drag themselves out of bed.

Frankly, if you're not going to get up and go early there isn't much point I don't think. Of course, "early" to some people means beginning Thanksgiving afternoon. I'm not that devoted.

My big purchase of the day was an external hard drive at $100 less than retail after rebates. It was worth getting up early for and worth fighting the crowds for - mainly because there were plenty of the hard drives and no fighting was necessary.

This is what a happy shopper looks like. Still tired, but happy.

I realized as Greg was taking pix that I had not even brushed my hair, much less applied any makeup before leaving this morning. And, unfortunately, I've noticed that I've reached "that age" where I look a lot better with makeup than without it. Most people would be smart enough to not post such a thing on the world wide web, but here it is - me after just rolling out of bed and heading to the stores. I did brush my teeth, but that was about it. I broke my mother's cardinal rule - never leave the house without lipstick. I think that's twice this week I've done that.

One morning Greg and I went to Skaets for breakfast and I thought, "oh, gosh, I never see anyone there I know in the morning - I can go without any makeup." We hadn't even gotten seated until I heard Andrea saying hello and introducing us to her parents who were visiting. It was great to meet them, even though I was doing it without any lipstick.

After a couple of stops this morning, Greg and I went to have breakfast. Then I had a nap. Then Greg had a nap. Then I had another nap. Who needs tryptophan when there's wee-hours-of-the-morning shopping to be done?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

It is officially the Christmas season. Now no one can argue with me that the holiday season has arrived. Of course, for me it has been going on for a few weeks. I need prep time.

My tree is about 95% finished, and that's my biggest project for the holidays. I will finish it by the weekend.

I'm working on my Christmas cards tonight. I try to mail a majority of them the day after Thanksgiving. I dropped some in the box tonight already. Of course, I continue to send them throughout the season, but I try to get a lot of them out early.

People always give me a hard time about my Christmas card list. They joke about me working on them months in advance, but they would be hurt if they didn't get one. It's one of those things I'm somehow supposed to magically accomplish without ever working on. I experienced this at a former employer too - all these things were supposed to be done but I wasn't ever supposed to be spending time on them. As of yet I've not figured out how to do that.

I had hoped to have a night to get together with friends and work on cards, but it didn't happen. A couple of people had asked me about doing it and I suggested they host it. No one did - at least not that I was invited to. So, I did my cards as I always do. I would have enjoyed chatting with people while I was doing some of them but I just wasn't in the mood to host it. I still have a number of them to do, but I have at least half of them done.

It has been a gorgeous Thanksgiving Day today - just beautiful. It was a fun day, with a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I hope you have had a great day. And, let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas!


It is officially Thanksgiving. I hope you have much to be thankful for this year, and I hope you take time to list some of those things.

I try to spend time each day being grateful. I have so very much to be thankful for. I am healthy. I have much love in my life. I have family I adore and friends I cherish.

It is good to remind ourselves to be thankful for things we take for granted, too. On Maslow's scale, few of us are worried about the basics of food, shelter and safety. We are somewhat unique in this among our world's neighbors. We should never take it for granted. We are fortunate.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Purpose of Business

Black Friday is approaching and already the stories are out about toys that are hard to find. I don't have a child who could be disappointed, but I am so incredibly sick of this whole scenario. Every year it's always something. There aren't enough of whatever.

I hate being played by the manufacturers who want to create artificial demand for their product so they don't make enough. It's so idiotic. Most retailers make half of their income during the holiday season. People want to buy products from the retailer. Manufacturers won't make the products for the people to buy.

I cannot figure out what, exactly, people are trying to accomplish sometimes. It would seem that if you're in business, you want to sell products, but there is considerable evidence to the contrary.

I went to buy prescriptions the other day and found that one was 90 days, as I had asked for, and the other was 60 days. I say, "this isn't right." They say, "oh, we will have to call to get a refill on that." I'm looking at them wondering why they haven't. They start explaining how it's my fault for not getting the same number of pills last time. I just looked at the woman and said, "At some point today, you knew there were only 60 pills. Why didn't you call then, instead of waiting until I come in to pick them up and then tell you to call? Please put a note in my file to just call when the situation arises."

The next day I go in to pick up the other pills. They have not called, they're not ready, they've done nothing. Anticipating this, *I* had called the doctor's office to have them call it in.

But the question remains - are you not engaged in the business of selling me drugs? Is that not your primary business? Why, then, are you making it so difficult for me to purchase drugs from you? I'm wanting to buy more drugs. Isn't this good for business?

It's the same mentality of the printing company I use that doesn't keep a particular paper in stock so everytime I'm doing a newsletter I have to call in advance and make sure they have the paper. Their reason for not having it in stock? They sell a lot of it. OK. If you sell a lot of it, then why wouldn't you order more of it so you have it in stock for people to buy? Are you not in the business of selling things printed on paper? Then why do you not keep the paper that is so popular on hand so people can buy things printed on it?

I'm no business genius, but this seems pretty straight forward to me.

It's the same reason I can't buy my favorite pop a large part of the time. It's almost always just empty shelving. So, why would you not devote more shelf space to the thing that is always empty, instead of having 24 extra cartons of something else that no one is buying? They're not buying it because it's still on the shelf.

The true purpose of business is obviously something other than selling products. Because if selling products were the purpose I would be able to purchase them much more readily. It would not be necessary for me to call for refills, to remind people to order their supplies, and make 3-4 trips before I can find pop on the shelves. The mystery is that I can't determine what the purpose is.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Christmas Parade

Saturday we were in the Christmas parade, with Clarence the dino, as usual. Greg really makes this possible for us to do every year.

He and Terry and I put Clarence on top of the van the night before. At the moment, he's still up there because we haven't been able to coordinate our schedules for 10 minutes to take him down.

I drove in the parade and Greg handed out candy canes. Also helping with distributing candy canes were the Briebiesca clan - Jesse, Joey and Christopher, and Peggy and Gary helped for the first time.

Greg took pix, which I'm sharing here. I tried to take a few during the parade, but you really have to pay attention to what's going on when you're driving. People are not very smart and will let their kids run out to get candy.

A few years ago a girl got her foot run over doing that so people are not supposed to throw candy anymore. We don't, but we are about the only ones. However, I'd just as soon a candy cane with a tag with the MHA on it not be what someone is after when they get run over. So, we hand them out, like we're supposed to.

The parade is always fun but it is some work. Next year we'll have the homes tour to promote so we'll be doing it again.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I am cocooned in my house tonight, working on the Christmas tree while drinking Constant Comment tea. Before Thanksgiving I hope to have the tree finished. I'm going to have to hussle to get that done.

Sometimes I wish I could just do Christmas like other people do - a couple of hours and be done. But, that's just not my way. I put a photo from last year up a few days ago. Needless to say, that takes awhile to get that done.

I spent all morning running from one thing to another. I had an eye doctor's appointment, and guess I'll be wearing these glasses for awhile yet. The new contacts I want to get that you can wear for 30 days aren't available in bifocals yet. As soon as they are I want to get those. My prescription has changed a bit, but nothing major - not worth getting new glasses for.

I managed to work in a lot of things today. I need to tidy up my office a bit after doing candy canes Friday but it's not too bad. I didn't work on it any today. I was hoping the internet would be up at my office since it was down at home, but no such luck. They obviously had a major problem.

I am feeling a bit better, although I did spend most of the afternoon in bed. Those who know me well know I am not a napper, so that's really unusual. I think the problem is that when I'm in bed the coughing keeps me from getting fully rested. So, it takes many hours to equal a normal amount of rest.

I'm starting to wonder if one round of antibiotics is going to do the trick. I may need an extra one. Unfortunate that this is all in the midst of a holiday week, when they won't be in the office normal hours. Obviously, I can't wait until Thursday to decide I need more drugs.

Well, I'd best get back to working on the tree or it won't be done by Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Candy Canes!

Friday I had volunteers come in and tape little tags to candy canes that we handed out in the Christmas parade Saturday morning. This is always a good event for us, but it does require some prep work.

The first part of it is buying the candy canes when they're on sale after Christmas! I run a non profit, so I have to get a deal on them in order to be able to do this event.

It went very well. Gary and Peggy walked for the first time, handing out candy canes. Jesse, Joey and their nephew, Chris did as well. And, of course, Greg did. We never seem to have enough people. I'm not sure how many that would take. It's a fun event.

There are some great volunteers who come in to help with various projects, and Doris is one of my favorites. She has done so many things for me over the years. They were teasing me that I was probably the only person who would ask for taping mini-flyers onto candy canes.

Other than what I had to do to get ready, I've been in bed. I have a respitory infection and haven't felt the greatest. I called the doc for some antibiotics on Friday and am feeling better with those in my system, but I will be glad when I am well again.

I hardly ever get sick and this is the second time I've had this in about three months. Hopefully this will be it for being sick for me for the whole winter, plus some.

I got all my test results back from the recent physical, and all was good. Cholesterol was 104, sugar was 100, everything all normal. I have a mammogram in January - hopefully that will come back normal as well. And I see the eye doctor Monday. I think I'll be getting new glasses because I know I'm spending way too much time lifting these to see something close. That means a new prescription. I'm just glad I live in a time when I can get such a thing.

I'm working on Christmas cards, trying to gather the addresses I need to find for various people I've met in the past year that aren't already in the files. I used to hand address all my cards, but a few years ago started using the computer. Otherwise I just wouldn't get it done. I realize it's not as personal, but there you go. I also do one of those letters that are loved by some and hated by others. Again, not as personal, but I simply am not going to write 300 notes into cards. So, it's a compromise.

At this point, the rush is to get the ones out that have invitations in them for timely events. Others can go out anytime between now and Christmas.

I know cards have become a less common thing, but I really think they're something people love to get.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Leadership Graduation

Leadership Graduation was Wednesday night. Each of the five project groups made a little presentation about what we did.

I don't have any photos of my group, of course, since I was in it. But I did get a chance to snap some pix of three of the groups, and our instructors, Lynette and Kris.

One of our class members was thoughtful enough to spearhead getting bouquets of flowers for them as thank yous. (Thank you, Jennifer, for taking care of that!) They both put a lot of themselves into the class and it is appreciated.

One group did a logo for Leadership Reno County, which was great.

Another group took on putting up a sign for Lincoln School. Janice, with the kids in this photo, has been instrumental in working on that area. Curtis, who has the mic, has been a delight to get to know. He is a contractor with Heib Construction and has an amazing sense of humor. He did a great job making their presentation fun. Of course, kids always help that a bit.

Curtis also helped with another project where they built a shed for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Connie, who was in that project group, did a whole power point presentation about that and it was great fun to watch.

Our group delivered brochures about watering to the homes where the city has planted trees. And the final group also did a "green" project.

They identified all the various green spaces in the area, and linked them into a map online. There were some I wasn't aware of on their list.

All in all, it was a great experience to do the leadership class. I really enjoyed getting to know these folks.

They asked us early on if we had a sinking feeling when we saw the list of, "oh, no, not that person..." but I didn't because I didn't really know any of these folks. There were three people that I knew who they were, but I didn't know any of them well - two of them just to know who they were and nothing more.

At the end of the class, I can honestly say that I like everyone more than I did at the beginning of class and would not hesitate to get together with anyone from class. There are some folks I'm really going to miss seeing every week.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Less Stressful Day

I took today off since I'm working this weekend. I needed a day of relaxing a bit.

Of course, I have pretty much been in constant motion all day, working on Christmas things. I'm not sure being on the move all day is exactly relaxing, but I did get some things done. Not as much as I would have liked, of course.

It takes so much work to get my house the way I want it for the holidays. But I enjoy it so very much. Of course, then I have to dismantle it all, too. But, it's worth it.

I've added another gathering to my December calendar - a get together for my leadership class. It will be fun to see everyone again.

I love to entertain, particularly in December. The house is decorated and it's a breeze to have people over.

Tonight is Creative Sisterhood. I have everything ready and am just taking a little break before everyone arrives. I should probably be collating/folding/stapling my Christmas letter instead of blogging!


I am thinking a lot these days about my life and how I'm perceived by others. I have come to realize that some people consider me "hoity-toity." That is so incredibly far removed from who I am and how I was raised that it's hard for me to even wrap my mind around it.

I grew up on a farm in Kentucky - at the dead-end of Terrell Rd., which didn't even have a name when I was growing up on it. It was a house my parents bought in 1949.

My childhood was filled with what we now euphemistically call "risk factors."

My father was an alcoholic, and died when I was 11, leaving my mother as a single parent. I was very fortunate that my mother was an extraordinary human being and an exceptional parent who put what was best for me above all else. Her belief in what was best for me was to get an education and that was all she focused on. Of my four nephews and me, only two of us went to college.

We were poor when I was a kid - don't get me wrong, we were never hungry - but we were poor. Only in retrospect do I realize just how poor we were. I guess being in the first Head Start class would have been one clue. But children don't think about those things.

I remember when the indoor plumbing was put into our house - I was young, but old enough to remember it. My cousin, Jimmy, helped dig the septic tank. I was young enough to think playing in the big hole they were making was fun. There probably are not too many people age 44 who can remember that, but I do. And, frankly, I'm blessed to be able to say that, because it gives me a very different perspective on the world.

I grew up saying, "ain't" and not knowing there was a different way until my third grade teacher, Mrs. Chandler, insisted we change. I would never have had the broadcasting career I had without her influence. I saw my first movie at the theatre at age 11. I was with my cousin, Brian, and it was as foreign to me then as trying to write in Chinese would be to me now. I knew people do such things, but I have never seen it myself.

I was never more than 200 miles from home until I was 13, when we went to visit my Aunt Eva in El Paso.

Verbal abuse between the adults in my world was an every day occurrence. It does something to you when you hear that every day - I'm not sure exactly what - but I'm sure it's no accident that my first career choice of working in radio involved controlling sound.

My childhood had loss, poverty, alcoholism and a good sprinkling of sexual abuse added in. But, when I was living it, I didn't give it a second thought - it just "was." And even in retrospect, I am more thankful for it than traumatized by it. Maybe that's because of the years of therapy, but I can honestly say it's true - now.

Yet I would still describe my childhood as idyllic in many ways. Is that a defense mechanism or is it just choosing to focus on what's "right?" I don't know.

I refuse to be defined by things that happened "to" me. I will only be defined by things I "chose." Those I will take responsibility for, even if the choices were not necessarily the best that could have been made, and I have a long list of those. We all have to learn - some lessons we have to learn "the hard way," and that was true for me with some things. I truly believe you do the best you can with the person you are at the time and when you know better, you do better. I do better now than I did when I was 20. Hopefully in another 20 years I'll do better still.

When I was growing up, I never imagined I'd walk in the Paris snow or bask in the Egyptian sun. I could never have imagined I'd go to Honduras to see the work of the foundation who's board I chaired. I probably didn't know Honduras existed. I could not have imagined I would attend Broadway shows or converse intelligently about impressionist art. Frankly, I didn't even know there were any people like that, much less that I would ever desire to be one of them.

I didn't think about the days I would walk the ground inside the Roman Coliseum, pray inside the pyramid of Unas at Sakkara, or stand inside the ancient circle of Stonehenge. I did not dream of being kissed on the banks of the Nile River, charmed by a Frenchman met on a cruise ship, or being moved to tears at the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam.

I didn't dream those things or any others. I didn't have dreams, at least not that I can recall. I'm not sure when I started having dreams. And it wasn't really dreams as much as the belief that things are possible - and that you'd better get about doing them because there may be no tomorrow.

I went to my first funeral of someone I loved when I was five. My great Aunt Ann had been a big part of my young life. Her death taught me things can change very quickly. Don't plan for a future that may not come. I've never felt there was a future - only right now - only this moment - it's all there is.

Somewhere along the way I started to have dreams, but they were still small ones. But I started to dream. I started to want to live a different life. I didn't know what it was, or what it looked like, but I knew it was different.

And as these ideas took hold I developed an idea that the world should be fair - for everyone. That led me to a career in journalism for radio, print and TV. Once I understand how the media worked I realized that could be used in PR and marketing in a different way. Now I use all those skills for mental health, as well as other projects.

How did I get to be this person? I don't know. I'm trying to figure that out. As often is the case, Greg gave me some insight when we were talking. He said I am not a "climber," leaving anything behind. Instead I kept all of what I was raised with and just added to it. Instead of leaving anything behind I just added to it, broadening the spectrum.

Maybe this is why I have been in love with a farm boy and I have been infatuated with a judge. Maybe it's why I love barbecue but my favorite dessert is bananas foster. Maybe it's why I'm familiar with the music of Kenny Chesney and Johann Sebastian Bach. Maybe it's why I stay in touch with people over a long time period - they're still part of my life, even if it's a different time.

Maybe it's why I can never decide where I belong, because I don't live in only one world, but I'm not really accepted by either. I'm a little too rough around the edges for "society" and a little too "hoity-toity" for others.

When people suggest that I'm "hoity-toity," it makes me feel unloyal to my upbringing, although I have no control over how others perceive me. I'm not sure why it matters to me, but it does. I want people to know who I am, with all the stages of my life represented, and still accept me - or not. But I don't want to be judged on only this one sliver of life - for it is just a moment, a brief moment, and tomorrow will be different.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Long days

I have had a very long day, that has stretched into the next day, which is yet another very long day. I'm about to get worn out. It takes a lot for me to feel overwhelmed, but I'm getting close. The first quarter of the year is incredibly busy but this has turned into a very busy last quarter as well. I can go, go, go, go, go for a long time, but eventually I get to the point where I need some rest. I'm there. I must get to bed because I need to get up in five hours.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Buddhist evening prayer

I ran across this today and thought it worthy of noting. It's a Buddhist evening prayer.

Let me respectfully Remind you,

Life and death are of supreme importance

Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.

let us awaken


Take heed

Do not squander your lives...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Scenes of Life

I've been so occupied lately that I've not been taking the time to post pix of various scenes in my world, or even write here. Needless to say, I've been spending a lot of time with politics - locally and calling for races in other places. And, of course, having one day a week devoted to leadership has taken some significant energy. This week is my turn to work with a group to do the setup so it will be even more time.

Last weekend was the Altrusa This and That sale. I didn't help at all. I just could not commit to one more thing when they were asking for people to agree to do various things. Plus, I wasn't sure if I would be in town. But, I was, and stopped by to buy my pecans. Altrusa orders fresh crop pecans to sell there and they are wonderful. I bought five pounds of them to use.

Jocelyn had a booth set up so I ended up visiting with her for an hour or so. It was good to see her. Now that she's in Wichita all week it's hard to hook up with her.

I did go take a walk at sandhills one day with Greg. The hedg eapples are all over the ground in places. These things are great to put in your basement - they keep the crickets away. I don't know why. I just know it works. And if you keep the crickets away you keep the spiders away because they come to eat the crickets.

We have had some great days here weatherwise, although the last few days fall has arrived with more blustery days and night.

But this particular day it was gorgeous outside and we decided to take advantage of it with a late afternoon walk.

Of course, I wrote about going to see Garrison in Lindsborg. I didn't get a chance to mention that across from Presser Hall is this church. They had the lights on so the stained glass was beautiful.

I ran into an old friend at the Keillor performance, but didn't have time for more than saying hello. Sometimes there are people in your world that you have a history with that you don't see for a long time and then when you do it's instant connection again. He and I are like that. We may not see each other for years, even though we live within 30 miles of each other, and when we do I'm reminded of how much I miss him.

However, neither of us makes the effort to connect any other time. I'm not sure why. I used to, but it was just too complex to work out schedules. And, generally, when it's that complex it just means the other person doesn't really want to get together - for whatever reason.

We don't have any "baggage" between us so I'm not sure what the reason is, but it is obviously there. If people are "too busy" for five years to get together, they don't want to get together with you. Five weeks I can understand. Even five months if your life is full. But, not years.

I really enjoy being around him, and when we're together he seems to feel the same, but I long ago accepted that he obviously does not share my interest in getting together.

Teresa has told me before that it "takes a lot of energy" to be around me. So, maybe that's the deal - it's just too much energy for him to expend. Whatever the case. I'll just be happy to see him when I bump into him and let it go at that.

It's not like I'm hard to find - google my name and you can find an email for me in about two seconds. So, if he ever has a desire to get together we can. Otherwise we'll just exchange the occasional pleasantry and let it be.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jason from ATT

I had a great Random Act of Kindness this week.

I was walking into my office building after a late lunch on Thursday and my cell rang. When I answered a guy said, "Patsy, this is Jason with ATandT." I thought it was a marketing call but thank goodness I didn't cut him off.

He went on to say, "I found your name tag in the Ken's Pizza parking lot. I had a ticket near your office so thought I'd drop it by but I see you're not in." I told him I was just coming into the building and so he waited for me upstairs and gave it back to me.

I thanked him profusely. It was so sweet of him to pick it up, track me down, come to my office and return it to me. The timing was great, as well.

It was the epitome of a Random Act of Kindness.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Being Open - Art of Gracious Living #46

I recently took a trip with a friend. The idea of being open became a motto for us during our travels. We each had experiences we would not have had left to our own devices because we went along on excursions the other person wanted to do.

Greg went with me to tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada. I went to the Alibi Tiki Bar in Portland with him.

Part of leading a gracious life is being open to experience.

Hear more about it by listening to the Art of Gracious Living Podcast.

Click here for this show 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.

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

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Clutter Control Overdone - Art of Gracious Living #45

So much is made these days about clutter control and clearing your space, but it is important to keep the things that matter to you close. Things that make us feel good, that remind us of pleasant times are not clutter, as the experts are so fond of telling us, they are memories and deserve to be treated with respect.

Of course we cannot keep every item that comes into our lives, but we also don't need to get rid of everything that does not have a defined purpose in daily life. Sometimes the purpose of something is to provide comfort with its mere existence.

Hear more about it by listening to the Art of Gracious Living Podcast.

Click here for this show 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.

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

Click here for the Art of Gracious Living RSS feed

Infinite Possibilities - Art of Gracious Living #44

It's easy to get caught up in the details of daily life and forget that we have infinite possibilities. We have options that we often don't full consider because we are not looking beyond our current obligations.

Give yourself some breathing room to look at options for expanding your horizons.

Hear more about it by listening to the Art of Gracious Living Podcast.

Click here for this show 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.

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

Click here for the Art of Gracious Living RSS feed

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Democrats Have Control

It's official now, the democrats have control of congress.

This is my plea to each and everyone of them:
Please, for the next two and a half years, keep your pants zipped. Don't text message anyone about anything. Don't accept any trips, meals or tips. Watch your p's and your q's and your emails and your phone calls. Don't buy porn, don't hire prostitutes and don't surf the net to anything racier than CNN. Don't loan out your car, your cell phone or your laptop. Don't buy or sell any stock, or make any other financial arrangements. Don't have sex or engage in any sexual activity, including conversation, with anyone you're not legally married to. Even then, keep it private. Please, keep your nose clean. And everything else too.

What you do in the next two years will determine whether or not democrats are in the Whitehouse in 2008. Don't screw it up.


At this time in every election year I'm reminded of how interesting our system is. In most governments throughout history, and many today, a change in power required considerable bloodshed.

We go from hurling public insults at each other to gracious phone calls. We stop highlighting our differences and try to find our similarities. We eat some chocolate and we eat some crow.

For a short time there is a coming together. And then, in no time at all, we start the cycle over again.

Happy Dance

Well, it's hard to really focus on the news when you're doing a continual happy dance around the TV. However, I've been able to figure out that it would seem democrats are going to control the house and senate. And that Donald Rumsfeld is gone.

People are finally fed up and have put their votes where it counts. And even Bush and Rumsfeld have gotten the idea that people are fed up and want out of Iraq. It's not something Rumsfeld can do and save face so he's gone.

It's ironic that the people who are busy telling us how the terrorists are going to get us - like a boogie-man hiding in a cave - are the same people who were telling us there were weapons of mass destruction, we'd be treated as liberators, and "mission accomplished." Please - all of those were lies. Why should we believe you now?

Get the hell out of Iraq. Get out. At this point I don't care how we get out. Just get out. I'm past the point of talking about how we have to have a plan and carefully consider every point. Get out. Put the planes on the ground, load them with troops, and get the hell out. We don't need any fancy plan, just get out.

I wish, wish, wish, wish, wish this was something the democrats could actually accomplish but I'm not sure what they can do. Hopefully brighter people than me know what they can do and they're putting plans in to place to do it - whatever it is. Just get us out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good Day to Be a Democrat

It's a GOOD DAY TO BE A DEMOCRAT! One of the folks is our local democratic party always ends his emails with that tagline. Last night when I saw him I told him I'd been thinking of him all day. This morning, all I can say is that David hit the nail on the head.

We have a new representative in this state. Hallelujah. Jim Ryun is out and Nancy Boyda is in. When we were lobbying in DC Ryun was gracious enough to meet with us but he was practically antagonistic - at least what little personality we saw out of him. I don't know Nancy Boyda, but she has GOT to be an improvement.

In a state race here a twenty-something libertarian candidate got 22% of the vote over the incumbent republican. If that's not an indication the Republican isn't doing well I don't know what is. Had a democrat been running in that election my guess is they'd be the incoming rep.

Watching the statewide races, it's amazing how many school bond issues passed, as well as other "liberal" agendas. Amazing what happens when people get out and VOTE.

THANK YOU for voting, calling, and whatever else you did to start the wheels of change in this country. It has been a long time coming. I hope it's not too late.

Your vote does count. Witness how close the races are in places. This is why your vote counts.

And, I hope every democrat who is coming into office remembers that we put them there for change, and they better deliver. No one is going to be watching that more closely than those of us who have worked on this mid year election. If you think we're going to take the fire off your feet, you've got another thing coming. I've invested my time, energy and money in this - I expect to get what I paid for with my time, energy and money.

Don't screw us over. And, please, don't screw over the people who decided their vote did matter and got out and voted for the first time. Get busy and do something good with this mandate you have. I realize you don't have to do a lot to accomplish more than the outgoing congress, but dream bigger.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Night

The democrats had an election night party at Carl's Bar tonight, to celebrate. And, it was a celebration.

We were all watching the TVs. When this photo was taken I was watching Governor Sebelius give a speech once it was clear she was the winner. It was clear all night, but it was official at this point.

This was right after Phill Kline had conceded the Attorney General race. I swear, that man is evil. The sad thing is that he doesn't even realize he's evil - quite the opposite - he thinks he's doing the right things.

Trish and I were doing a bit of quiet celebration over that. I am so incredibly glad to be rid of him.

As I write this, we still don't know the senate races, but the house is going democratic. Thank goodness democrats have finally awakened from their long slumber and come up with a plan.


GO VOTE!!!!!!!!!

Even if you and I are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, please GO VOTE. We need everyone to participate in this process.

Garrison Keillor in Lindsborg

Tonight I went to Lindsborg to see Garrison Keillor at Bethany College. It was part of the Johnson Lecture Series, named for Charles and Lucy Johnson who endowed it. Mr. Johnson is gone, but Mrs. Johnson was seated just a couple of rows in front of us.

We weren't really sure what to expect - if it would be a serious lecture or more like a "News from Lake Wobegone" or something inbetween. It was more like a "news" segment. He had everyone laughing multiple times throughout the program.

He also had the entire group sing on more than a couple of occasions. There are many talented musicians in Lindsborg so we sounded pretty darned good as a group.

Greg took lots of photos and was generous enough to share them with me.

We went to the book signing afterwards and I got my photo taken with him. I'll have to dig up the one from sometime in the 80s when I saw him in Minnesota and have a matching set.

He was quite charming to everyone in line waiting to get books signed.

Of course, this is the second time he has been in the area in just a little over a year. He was here for the Kansas State Fair in September of 2005, and did a live show from here. Governor Sebelius played herself on the program and was quite a hit. He was singing her praises to people tonight.

Of course, Garrison is a democrat. Yet one more thing about him to love.

And, this is a good time to remind you to GO VOTE!

I ran into a bunch of people I know. Greg is always teasing me that I know someone everywhere we go and tonight we were waiting for the doors to open and I heard someone say, "Patsy Terrell!" It was Susan, who I used to work with years ago. She said she had seen my website and found a photo of her mom on it from the Christmas parade last year.

Greg had a good chuckle. He looked at his watch and said, "OK, we're 45 miles from home, and within 12 minutes you've run into someone you know." Later I ran into Trish. She was there with Judy and Ellen who I just saw in passing. I also ran into Don from Kansas Dialogue. And, the capper of the night, I saw Lew - someone I adore that I worked with many years ago. We only had a moment to chat but he asked for my contact info so hopefully we'll get together soon.

As we were waiting in the line for autographs, we were chatting with this nice couple. We later learned it was the president of Bethany and his wife. We had a great conversation with them about everything from Gorbachev's visit last fall to population trends. I just love being around smart people!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Michael Kelly Blanchard

Wednesday morning I went to see singer/songwriter Michael Kelly Blanchard. He was brought in by Prairie View's Food for Thought series.

His presentation was about telling our stories, and how important it is to do that. He suggested various categories we could look at - home, heritage, animals, work and fun.

He used some beautiful turns of phrase in his brief bits of conversation between songs. One of the first was that "we have an art gallery in our soul" that we're walking around with every day, those things that we carry with us all the time. It caused me to think about just how true that is.

He did a number of songs with incredible phrases in them. One I made note of was in a song where he was talking about the house he grew up in. "Where souls are grown and then they're set free. Wood and stone 'round flesh and bone, call it home to me."

I spent my growing up years in the same house. It stands empty now that my mother is gone, and it breaks my heart a little every time I drive by it.

Call for Change

Call For Change
If you are ready to see a difference in this country there's something you can do in addition to voting.

Are you ready to have people in charge who aren't listening to the hypocrites who are devoting their energy to banning gay marriage while they're having gay relationships? I am. I've had about all of the "moral" Republicans in charge that I can take.

That's why I've been making calls for change. You can do the same thing. It's very, very easy to do. In less than five minutes you can be talking on the phone to someone who can vote in an election on Tuesday that can make a big difference. These are people who are likely to vote for democrats, but don't always vote in the off year election. We need every democrat to vote this time - we need everyone to bring change.

This is a great way to make a difference. You can affect national politics, going far beyond your own local and state races, where you can vote.

Whatever you do, VOTE on Tuesday.

Sometimes very small numbers of votes decide an election and that's going to be the case this time. Make this election count.

Haggard's Lifelong Sexual Problem

WARNING: This is not a typical post. Sexual language is included here. SKIP IT if you're offended by such things.

The former reverend, Ted Haggard, one of the leaders of the evangelical movement, and a man who had access to the president, has admitted he has a "lifelong" sexual problem. For those of you who don't speak religious double talk, let me translate for you - he was having sex with the gay male prostitute.

He doesn't have a sexual problem - he has a truth problem. The man's whole life is a lie. I feel for his wife and his children, although his wife is not demonstrating a good deal of judgement yet. Hopefully she'll come to her senses and be his "former wife." But his children - they're stuck in the mess he has made with no way out. This is what happens when we lead a life of lies. I believe a wise man once wrote, "what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

The problem that neither he nor his church members, or any of the others in the evangelical movement, have caught on to is that it's not the gay sex he should be embarrassed about. It's the hypocrisy. So you're having anal sex with a man. Big whoop. It happens every day. Not in my world, mind you, but in plenty of people's worlds. It happens with women, it happens with men. It happens. No one cares.

But, when you are preaching about how wrong it is to be having gay sex the other 29 days of the month and then getting blown by a gay man the remaining day, *that* is a problem. Again, no one cares if you're giving head - it happens every day. Men do it. Women do it. So what? But people care when you are blathering on incessantly about how horrible it is for people to be gay, and then salivating to get your lips wrapped around another man's equipment. (Yes, my inclination was to be far more graphic than "equipment", but I refrained. Please feel free to add slang descriptor of your choice.)

OK, admittedly, I don't know the details of which sexual acts Haggard performed with the male prostitute, or others he had sex with. (Oh yeah, you can bet that his first gay experience was not at age 47. Just like Foley, there are more stories to come.) I'm only speculating about which acts for the effect, but isn't it a fun game for those of us who love seeing the hypocrisy of "religious leaders," the "moral majority" and the holier-than-thou republican party.

I gotta tell you, I can just barely keep from doing a continual happy dance as I watch the Republican's moral high ground crumbling beneath them. If you want to set yourself up as the moral party (that would mean for people who hate people who aren't exactly like them - that is the Republican definition of "moral" as far as I can tell), that's cool, but try to make sure those you're giving access to the president - to counsel him - are not banging gay male prostitutes when they're not busy preaching about how people should not be banging gay male anythings. Because if you're going to be the "moral" party then you better make sure your counselors and elected officials are leading whatever your definition of a "moral" life is.

The hilarity of the whole thing is that republicans keep trying to make issues out of things that the "religious" will flock to, only to then do the very thing they purport they're against. You've got Foley being inappropriate with young men - something anyone of any party can get upset about. You've got the financial scandals - too numerous to mention. And now you've got your religious leaders who counsel the president (and, yes, he did - they're just trying to distance themselves from him now) doing that in the time he's not busy doing the nasty with a male prostitute.

To top off the whole twisted story, Haggard's wife says she's going to stick with him "until death do us part." Oh please. Give me a break. Hire yourself a good attorney and strike while the iron is hot. Honey, it ain't the only secret he's got. Don't torture yourself with what he was thinking about while he was making those five children with you - just get out. Get the hell out. Get out now.

And, I hesitate to be the one to mention this glaring fact that seems to have gone unnoticed - but it was UNMARRIED gay sex to top it off. Sex outside of marriage - a sin in and of itself. Never mind there were two penises present during the unmarried sex. But, of course, because of people like Haggard, unmarried gay sex is the only kind available.

I'll admit, I don't care about marriage one way or the other - gay or straight. I've never been married and I've never longed to be married. But if I wake up tomorrow and decide I want to be in a legally binding, state sanctioned relationship, I have the option because I'm attracted to the opposite sex. I see no reason everyone shouldn't have the same options. It doesn't bother me when my straight friends get married. Why should it bother me if my gay friends get married?

And gay marriage is one of those topics - like abortion - I've stopped talking about. Because I think it's just used by the Republican party to polarize people so they can get any nutburger in office just because they're pro-life and anti-gay. I'm fed up with it.

And, again, I can't miss the opportunity to mention - if republicans really wanted abortion to go away, it would be gone now - they've had the white house, congress and the freaking supreme court for years. It's not going away because they want it to remain a hot topic. If it went away then they would have to have some real platform other than anti-abortion, anti-gays, anti-whatever.

People don't decide to be gay. Just like people don't decide to be straight. Ask Haggard how well that has been working for him? People are gay or people are straight or people are inbetween. When did you decide you were straight? Exactly. You're attracted to the boys or you're attracted to the girls. It's not a decision. It's just a fact.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Voting in Hutchinson

People often ask me who to vote for. So, for people who are in the local area, here is a list of some of the candidates I'm voting for in Tuesday's election. Obviously, this is a partial list, but here it is. I'm publishing it now so if you have any questions you have time to get answers from me or someone else.

Governor - Kathleen Sebelius
The reasons are obvious. She's done an extraordinary job and is a natural born leader.

Attorney General - Paul Morrison
He has been a long history of good work behind him. He will do a great job as Attorney General. I met him this afternoon and found him very personable, which is just a bonus.

Congress - John Doll
He's running because he truly wants to make a difference. He is a guy who understands what it's like to work for a living - really work. He and his wife, Janet, have been campaigning very hard.

State Board of Education - Jack Wempe
Jack is a super great guy - intelligent, kind, patient - the epitome of a gentleman. He has a varied history in political arenas and will be a tremendous asset to the state.

I will also be voting yes on the local school bond issue. I vote yes for everything that is for the common good, and few things fall into that category more than schools.

If you have any questions about other races, I'm happy to share my thoughts, but these are the main ones I'm concerned with that have opponents.

When in doubt this time I think it's safe to vote democrat. We don't have any nutburgers running on the Democratic ticket this time. I will be voting for people from both parties, as I usually do. Of course, as Bill Clinton pointed out today, many of the democratic party candidates running this time used to be republicans. Read more about it in the Washington Post.

Wherever you are, please go vote on Tuesday. If you don't vote, you're just voting for whoever wins, only it's worse if it's not what you want because you could have changed it. So, don't let the opportunity slip by - vote on Tuesday.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thank Heavens it's Friday

This has been a week of running from one event to the next. I'm glad it's Friday and I can breathe a little over the weekend. I just want to be still. Just for a little bit.

Monday was the governor's visit and Mark arrived for a visit. It was also the night for Chicks. Generally we go around the circle and share at Chicks but I never shared Monday night. I guess it was just the way it was meant to be.

Tuesday was the Dillon Lecture with David Franz. Mark went with me and then we went with Greg to Roy's for lunch as soon as Greg got back from Joplin. Of course it was Halloween night so I enjoyed handing out candy for the kiddies.

Wednesday I got up at 4:30 to do some things before the 7 a.m. Food for Thought series. I left there and went straight to leadership, then from that to dinner with Greg and Mark before Mark took off.

Thursday I had a physical scheduled. Amazing how you can feel fine and just going to the doctor makes you start thinking about all the things that could be wrong with you. I'll just hope I get a good report.

Today I had lunch with Trish and ran into one of my former board members who I really, really like. I also took time to go to a reception for Paul Morrison who's running for attorney general. I had nice chats with Randy McEwen and Kathie Moore, as well as saying hello to other folks. I visited with Joyce Morrison a little bit. I'm so optimistic that Paul Morrison will be our next AG. Otherwise I was focused on MHA things today - I had a ton of things to do and got most of them done, although I'm still working on a couple of them here at 9 p.m.

The big news from last night was that I found - quite by accident - my tickets for Garrison Keillor's speech in Lindsborg on Monday. I had ordered them some time ago and had called saying, "hey, I never got these." Well, last night I was working in my home office, rearranging things, because I put together some shelving to go into a wardrobe I have in here. I was sitting on the floor and reached over to pick up a catalog that had fallen off my desk - who knows how long ago. Anyway, I pick up the catalog and out falls this envelope from Bethany College. I guess the envelope got stuck in there in the mailbox and I never saw it. I'm so glad I found it last night instead of next week when we would have missed it.

So, Greg and I are going and I wrote a couple dozen people last night, asking if they were interested in the extra tickets. Two people responded, so they got the tickets. It occurred to me later that some people have their email set to not allow bcc, and I didn't want to expose everyone's email addresses, so some may never have gotten the message. But, that's the price of not controlling your email, I guess. And, fortunately, Jan and Marci were both interested so the tickets found good homes! I didn't want any of them to go to waste. You could order six at the most, so that's what I did. It should be an interesting evening.

Dr. David Franz at Dillon Lecture Series in Hutchinson Kansas

The Dillon Lecture Series on Tuesday, Oct. 31, was by David Franz. He's a bioterrorism expert who served on weapons inspection teams to Russia and Iraq. He's originally from Buhler, just outside of Hutchinson, so it was a homecoming for him.

He told us about being in Russia in early 1994 as part of a team working to hammer out an agreement. At one point the leader of the team turned to him and said, "Col. Franz, you and the Russian Colonel go and work out the wording on this section here. After all, it's only science." Franz said that they were able to agree in about 20 minutes, which they felt good about. It was a turning point for Franz because he realized that science could be a common language. And he has been thinking of it that way ever since.

Franz said he thinks the first time the US really thought about terrorism was the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He reminded us it was Oct. 2001 when the anthrax letters were sent. He said overnight the budget for bioterrorism went from the 1997 level of 137 Million to the 2001 level of 6 Billion. Overnight.

Franz joked about his role as an "expert." He was preparing for an interview with Mike Wallace on October 4, 2001. Wallace came in and said the story was breaking about someone in Florida being ill from breathing anthrax. Franz said his comment was, "No way. We haven't had a case of inhalation anthrax in the US since 1978."

He is also working with K-State to develop a major research facility there. Being a trained veternarian, he has a particular interest in animals. He said the biggest threat to Kansas is probably foot and mouth disease, which doesn't hurt humans, except economically. He said it's very easy to use and hard to trace - the problem with lots of these things and the reason five years later we don't know who sent the anthrax. He estimated the cost to Kansas of one foot and mouth disease outbreak would be $30-40 Billion.

He offered some really interesting figures from various research about how our stance on the world stage affects us. For example, in Indonesia, in 2003, support for the US was 23% and support for Bin Laden was 58%. After the tsunami and the US sent aid (albeit small), in 2005, support for the US rose to 40% and support for Bin Laden dropped to 23%.

Similarly, in Pakistan, in 2003 support for the US was at 23% and support for Bin Laden was at 51%. After we sent aid for the earthquake, support for the US rose to 46% and support for Bin Laden dropped to 33%. And 81% of those said the earthquake relief was important in their decision.

What does that mean? It means we could do a whole lot more for ourselves - and others - by sending aid. And it's far cheaper than war. It's far more effective in changing public opinion.

Franz ended his speech with an Edward R. Murrow quote, "It's the last three feet between people that count."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Full Day

I will try to get caught up on blogging over the weekend. It has been a busy week so far. I may post more halloween pix, but here's one of me last night. Needless to say, I scrubbed my face before we went out to get dinner. I was way too "sparkly" for public. I love these long dresses as costumes because you can add many layers underneath was warmth, which was necessary last night. It's even colder tonight - 27 at the moment.

It has been a very full day for me today. I'll post pix later but I have to get some sleep first.My day started at 4:30 a.m. - I intended to sleep a couple more hours, but I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I had a 10 hour day of running from one thing to another without a break and I need some rest.

This morning at 7 I went to Food for Thought with Michael Kelly Blanchard. I left there for leadership, knowing I'd be late for it. But, I arrived just as they were finishing the gathering question so it was decent timing on my part.

Today was tourism and Martha was one of the presenters. She was wonderful - truly inspiring. It was a great panel.

Then we toured the salt mine this afternoon - an amazing experience. I did take some photos underground that I will share. From there we went for a tour of City Beverage.

Finally it was dinner with Greg and Mark at the Dutch Kitchen before Mark headed home. It was good to have him here. I was sorry I couldn't visit with him more but today was very full.