Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Man Decorates Basement with Sharpie

I used to live in Lexington, Kentucky. It is the home of Bondurant Drugs, which you have probably seen in various ads - it's a building shaped like a mortar and pestle. I used to live about four blocks from it on Village Drive. I drove by it every day and never fully appreciated the oddity of it because it was part of my "norm."

Now, this story appears in the Lexington Herald Leader about a man who decorated his entire basement with Sharpie pens. There is a 360 view of it and it's quite interesting.

I'm starting to develop a fuller appreciation of my former home community.

Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more. Friend me on Facebook.com, Follow me at Twitter.com.

I am looking for book clubs willing to read and critique my novel when it's completed. If your book club is interested, please email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com. Thanks!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Soledad O'Brien at the Dillon Lecture Series

Soledad O'Brien spoke at this morning's Dillon Lecture Series. We all know her from her work on CNN, and it was great to see her in person.

Greg took photos from one place and me from another.

She spoke about diversity issues in a different way, weaving in stories from various places and people. She told a story about a relief worker in Africa puzzling over how to educate girls. At about eight years old, the girls became very valuable to their mothers at home, so they stopped sending them to school. The solution was to feed the girls at school, as well as give them food to take home. That shifted the paradigm and made it more valuable for them to go to school.

They also realized that when they educated boys they tended to leave the area. But when they educated girls they stayed behind and worked in the community. That, of course, meant their efforts reached further.

She talked quite a bit about her work in covering Katrina. As she put it, "Katrina blew in and illuminated a host of problems that had been unknown for years."

She spoke about talking to the sheriff of St. Bernard Parish and asking him how much damage there was. His reply was, "roughly 100%." They had two buildings that were not damaged in that community of about 70,000 people. When asked about the racial issues, he said it wasn't racial, that it was socioeconomic. As he pointed out, 97% of his parish was white.

She said the moment she knew it was really, really bad was when they went to the convention center and saw a man sitting in a chair, dead from a gunshot. Three days later they were back to do another story and he was still there. She knew it was bad that no one had bothered to remove that man's body.

That sheriff told her stories of how some of the men he thought were the bravest crumbled in the crisis, whereas others who seemed to meek rose to the challenge. He told about two drug dealers they had with them the day the storm hit. These men couldn't swim, and had a long history of trouble with the law, but rescued numerous people. The sheriff hired them.

She spoke a bit about her family. Her mother is Cuban, her father Australian. They married in 1958 when interracial marriages were illegal in Maryland. So, they drove to DC to get married.

Soledad is the fifth of sixth children, and she said her mother always insisted to all of them to not ever let anyone else define who they were - racially or otherwise. She told them to, "Do what you want to do. If there are obstacles, go around them." 

She said at the luncheon that her parents had the attitude that education is something no one can ever take away from you. Soledad and her five siblings all graduated from Harvard.

She said her mother was very no nonsense and when Soledad was asked to be part of an article about what's the best advice her mother ever gave her Soledad hesitated. The editors were talking to her about it and finally Soledad told them the best advice her mother ever gave her was, "Most people are idiots." She said the editor said, "we'll get back to you" and hung up. She said her mother's attitude was always, "Dream, and do what you want to do."

At the end of the luncheon today someone asked about memorable interviews and she said they were, "interviews were people said something." She then summed up what I think everyone who has ever had the urge to be a journalist feels. "It's when you get someone to speak the truth. Their truth. What their truth is."

She was gracious enough to pose for a photo with Julie. Local hosts were taking Soledad on a tour of the Cosmosphere and the Kansas Underground Salt Museum later today. I'm glad she had an opportunity to enjoy the town a bit. She said she loves to travel.
Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more. Friend me on Facebook.com, Follow me at Twitter.com.

I am looking for book clubs willing to read and critique my novel when it's completed. If your book club is interested, please email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com. Thanks!

Home Shows

I am addicted to those television shows where they redo a home. I was an addict long before Home and Garden Television. Remember when "This Old House" and the "Woodwright's Shop" were the only shows that gave us the vicarious experience of seeing things built and remodeled, giving us a false sense of our ability to replicate it in the process? Then along came "The New Yankee Workshop." While I appreciate the incredible work that can be done with antique hand tools, I'm a "Normite" and believe in power tools. I'd love to have everything made by hand with antique tools, but that's not feasible for me. I do good to get anything done with power tools, much less without them.

The new crop of pretty boys - Carter, Ty and the lot - will never replace Norm and Bob in my heart. Not that I mind my carpenters being pretty - it's an added bonus- but I'm much more interested in what they can accomplish.

Remember Bob Vila? What is Bob doing these days? I always liked how he popped in where the guys were working on whatever project, would give his brief explanation, and then move on to the next set of guys working. Now that I own a  home, and understand the difficulty in getting people to work on my house - much less on my timetable, I'm all the more astonished at the number of people we see swarming all over these places on "This Old House."

Now, of course, we have at least two networks devoted to nothing but home improvement, and another network to show us how to cook food in those new kitchens. I can't seem to get enough of any of them. Besides, where else can you pick up pearls of wisdom like these?

* If you have a door that isn't closing properly, the problem is most likely on the side with the hinges, not the other side. However, a quick fix that works a huge amount of the time is to take a candle and rub wax on the door and see if that fixes the sticking problem. I did this on a door four years ago and it has solved the problem.

* If you're using latex caulk, smooth it out with a wet finger - just like they always suggest. However, if you're using silicone caulk, dip your finger into liquid soap to smooth it out. Water will make a gummy mess.

Of course, if Chico would just drop by to do a little wiring for me, and Carter and crew could stop by for a few days and those plumbers that Bob and Norm were always talking to could make themselves available, things would be whipped into shape in no time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Downtown Chili Festival, free music and ice cream social

Today was the annual chili festival in Downtown Hutchinson. I'm not a big chili fan, so I didn't eat it, but Greg said much of it was really good. You paid $3 and then you could sample it at the different booths.

There were about 30 booths and there was a crowd lining up at some of them.

There was also entertainment. Greg took this photo of a sax player near the old "rooms" sign. Greg has an incredible eye.

Just as the chili cookoff was winding down, the band, The Fabulous Shirtheads started playing in Avenue A park.

The Shirtheads have given hundreds of performances throughout the Mid-West over the last 26 years. Spin magazine rated them asone of the top regional bands in the country. The group has performed with artists such as Blue Oyster Cult, Peter Frampton, Delbert McClinton, Buddy Guy and many others. In concerts for as many as 50,000, the Shirtheads have consistently been crowd pleasers.

While they were playing, people could enjoy a custom car show.

Kids were playing in the water.

And we were all enjoying ice cream. Not just any kind of ice cream - home made ice cream. Made with a twist. A gentleman in Yoder, which is an Amish community nearby, made a machine that churns the ice cream. Having "Poppin Johnnies" ice cream is a treat.

It was made just like you make it at home when you churn, except it was being turned by this motor. They added ice and salt, just like at home. When the ice cream cylinder was taken out, he just took the belt off of that wheel until he had a new cylinder with a mixture inside ready to put back in.

They did move that pole up and down by hand periodically - I'm guessing to keep the ice from becoming a big chunk. They were so busy I couldn't really ask them too many questions. I did ask if I could take photos - the Amish generally do not want photos taken as a religious consideration. But he told me it was fine to take photos of the machine.

This is what it turned out - fluffy, creamy, perfect ice cream. They had syrups to add to it, but I didn't want to sully the ice cream with those. It was amazing.

I took a lot of video for my brother, Jackie. It's rare I'm doing anything that Jackie would find even remotely interesting, but I'm betting he thinks this machine is pretty cool. I love the idea of a homemade machine to make homemade ice cream.

I was being careful to not photograph the family, so that's why you don't see their faces at all.

The first video is more of an overall, the others show the machine from different angles.

The top part of it had an open hole with water bubbling. A passerby I was talking with said that was the radiator.

Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more. Friend me on Facebook.com, Follow me at Twitter.com.

I am looking for book clubs willing to read and critique my novel when it's completed. If your book club is interested, please email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com. Thanks!

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Cancels Letterman Taping

I'm a devoted fan of David Letterman. I watch almost every night. A couple of nights ago McCain was scheduled to appear on the Letterman show and canceled, telling Dave he had to rush to Washington to work on the economy.

Instead, McCain went to do an interview with Katie Couric, at the exact same time he would have been taping the Letterman show. We know, because at one point, Dave went to the live feed where we see McCain sitting there, getting makeup right before the interview. That's at about 6:30 in the clip on the first day.

Last night, Letterman talked about it more, pointing out that McCain actually didn't leave Washington until the following morning. Does he just not think people will see him doing something other than what he said he was going to do? Did he think he just wouldn't get caught in his lie? Why not just be honest with Letterman and say, "Hey, you know what, it just isn't appropriate for me to be on a comedy show tonight..." Instead he tells a convoluted lie and backs out of a commitment. Frankly, if he had given his views on Letterman far more people would have been likely to see it than they did on the evening news.

John McCain is someone I have respected for years. I didn't agree with his politics, but I have respected him. About 3-4 months ago - long before Sarah Palin was on the ticket - I started losing respect for him and it continues to plummet. This is just not how I expect an honorable person to act. Admittedly, a late night comedy show is not a big deal, but lying about the reason seems ridiculous. If we are to judge character and decision making ability, this isn't a good showing.

Watch the videos - they're well worth the effort.

McCain Cancels Letterman show taping, saying he has to get to Washington to work on the economy, but does Couric interview at exact time he was supposed to be on Letterman

Letterman vs. McCain - Day 2

CBS News Not Happy that Letterman used the News Feed

I'll be tuning in tonight to see what, if anything, happens on the show.
Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more. Friend me on Facebook.com, Follow me at Twitter.com.

I am looking for book clubs willing to read and critique my novel when it's completed. If your book club is interested, please email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com. Thanks!

Congratulations to the Diamond W Wranglers

My friend, Martha, who you've met on the blog before, (the wedding, the bridal shower, the sisterhood, the pie) is married to a very talented musician, Jim Farrell. Jim is part of a group called The Diamond W Wranglers. They play at Cowtown Museum in Wichita and are quite amazing.

People far beyond the borders of Kansas have noted this - they've been invited to play in China, have been praised for their music by many "in the know," and as of Tuesday night have won a national award.

The Academy of Western Artists presented the quartet with the Will Rogers “Western Music Album of the Year” award on Tuesday night September 23rd, for their “Deep in the Saddle” CD release.  The awards ceremony was held in Garland, Texas.

Left to right: Stu Stuart, Steve Crawford, Orin Friesen, and Jim Farrell with their award

The title song of “Deep in the Saddle” is a Diamond W original, penned by the group’s tenor, Jim Farrell, in the spirit of Western songs from the 1930’s.  “I was inspired by old cowboys I’d met that had ridden the trail for a long time,” says Farrell.  “When people hear this song, we hope they’ll stop a moment and celebrate our Western heritage.”

An enthusiastic crowd heard the Diamond W Wranglers perform two songs from the album on Tuesday.  In addition to “Deep in the Saddle”, they shared “Rainbow Sister”, a traditional Chinese song that they had arranged as a Cowboy song to help introduce America’s Cowboy Music to audiences in the People’s Republic of China during their 2006 tour.

The Diamond W Wranglers make their home at the Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 W. Museum Blvd. in Wichita, where they perform every week. They serve their audience a chuckwagon supper, followed by an evening of western music and comedy.  The Wranglers also take their concert on the road to theaters and festivals around the Midwest.  They will be performing at the Augusta Theatre this Sunday September 28th, and at Hutchinson’s Fox Theatre on Sunday October 26th.

Members of the group are Stu Stuart, Jim Farrell, Orin Friesen, and Steve Crawford.  The performers are so popular among their fans that many fans have come to dozens of shows, and followed the Wranglers around the world.  “Western music is beautiful music,” says lead singer Stu Stuart.  “We’ve taken a page out of the book and are writing our own page.”

The latest CD from the Diamond W Wranglers is also receiving national recognition.  “Cowtown”, with a title song in tribute to their new home, is ranked #1 this month in Rope Burns magazine, and the song “Trail Dust”, also penned by Jim Farrell, has been in the top 10 songs for the last two months. 

 Both “Deep in the Saddle” and “Cowtown” were produced at Jim Farrell Studios, now in Towanda, KS.  They are on sale at the Old Cowtown Museum and at www.diamondWchuckwagon.com. For more information, call 316-729-4825 (Wichita) or toll free 866-830-8283.

I haven't yet been to see them in their new home, but I can tell you the music is wonderful and the experience of seeing them live great. If you're in the area be sure and check them out. And if you're not in the area, make a visit. We'd love for you to come to Hutchinson - have lunch at Roy's, visit the Underground Salt Museum, and top it off with a visit to Wichita to see the Diamond W Wranglers.
r, shoot, just come the weekend of October 25/26, and you can do it all in Hutchinson.

Come on... You know you wanna... Email me... we'll have a blog get together at Roy's!

Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more. Friend me on Facebook.com, Follow me at Twitter.com.

I am looking for book clubs willing to read and critique my novel when it's completed. If your book club is interested, please email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com. Thanks!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Connecting with Others

Last night I was up until nearly 3 a.m. talking with someone I had just met. We felt a real connection to each other and the conversation was intense and meaningful and brilliant and pleasant and tearful and ended only because she had to get ready to catch a plane to go home. Home across the country to a place I would be no more likely to visit than she would be likely to find herself in Hutchinson, Kansas.

And yet we obviously had things to say to each other. So, we met by accident, in a place where neither of us resides, and we connected. We talked and shared intently, and then parted with a hug.

Was that it? Or will be connect again? Have we done all the business we had to do with each other or was that just a beginning? Will we keep in touch as we vowed last night? Or have we said all we needed to say, done all we needed to do? That is always the question, I suppose. Is there more? Sometimes we can't speculate.

I'm guessing she is home safely with her husband and children and enjoying the reunion with them. I'm tucked safely back into my little world, too. It's so easy to let go of those extraordinary experiences when we're once again mired in the daily ordinary. Yet, that ordinary has a sacredness all its own.

I've had this experience a few times in my life - where I meet someone and feel an instant kinship with them. Sometimes that develops into a long term friendship like with Sondra, sometimes it burns brightly for a short time and then fades to a comfortableness like with Jim, and sometimes it's white hot for the briefest of moments and then it's over. Whatever it is is OK. No particular way is right or wrong, it just is.

I guess I just always want the tiniest of glimpses into the future, to see what it holds.
Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more. Friend me on Facebook.com, Follow me at Twitter.com.

I am looking for book clubs willing to read and critique my novel when it's completed. If your book club is interested, please email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A behind the scenes look at Cero's Candies in Wichita Kansas

This afternoon I had the pleasure of a tour at Cero's Candies of Wichita, Kansas. Cero's is owned by the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas in Wichita. The tour was part of a visit to Wichita for an MHA National Staff Institute. There were people from all over the country. It was very interesting.

Cero's has been making candy since 1885.  A Greek sailor, Pete, came to Wichita to work in 1883. He got ill and was left behind in Wichita when the railroad crew moved on. He needed to make a living so turned to candy making.

Three generations later, in 1999, Ed Cero was ready to retire and eventually sold the business to the MHA in Wichita.

The MHA here is one of the most exceptional in the entire system. Rosemary Mohr, the director, has done amazing things in the years she has been with the organization. And she's still doing them. She's a marvel.

That's Rosemary on the left and Kate Gaston from the national office on the left. I really like Kate, too. She's a jewel. Unfortunately, I wasn't introduced to the lady in the middle who was packaging Cero's candy that was emblazoned with corporate logos, so can't share her name.

Cero's can put any logo onto their exceptional candy. It's delicious and would make a great gift for customers or employees. They package it beautifully, too. They make lots of different kinds of candy.

One of the things being made today when we arrived were these little marshmallow snowmen.

There's a glass window where you can watch them work. Later, Connie was making peanut clusters and it was incredible to watch.

She picked up just a little bit of chocolate and a few peanuts and then blended them by hand.

She wasn't measuring, but seemed to instinctively know how many peanuts she needed and how much chocolate. I shot a little video because stills weren't capturing how she blended the two.

Also being made in the back room was peanut brittle. When I wandered back Justin was cooking the syrup, with that antique candy thermometer pictured up top sitting nearby for when it would be needed.

As you can see, they're still using a cooper pot.

He stirs with this big wooden paddle.

There's an adjustment for the heat. You can see it even better in another photo.

I love the legs on this stove, as well as the antique candy thermometer.

It's much like making peanut brittle at home - you cook to a certain temperature and then add peanuts and cook a while longer.

One you get to a certain temperature you remove it from the heat.

Justin had another stand sitting near the already greased table. He moved it off the stove and over to the stand near the table.

It had to cool for just a minute. He said he waited for it to look like baked beans.

Then, just like home, he added the baking soda.

And just like home, it got all foamy when he put the baking soda in.

Then it is poured out to cool.

Justin spread it out with a spatula.

Eventually it covered almost the whole table.

He then cut it into four pieces.

He then turned each one over to help it cool.

He worked his way around the table.

Then he went back and pressed it out flatter by hand.

Eventually, it looked like this, and was left to cool before being packaged to be sold to appreciative customers.

If you're in Wichita, be sure to make Cero's Candies one of your stops. It's fun to watch them making whatever they're up to that day. Also, consider ordering some. It's delicious, made by hand (a real rarity these days), and you'll be supporting a valuable cause to top it off.

Check out their webpage at www.ceroscandy.com. Don't worry, if you can't make it there in person, you can order online. I've loved every one of their products I've eaten. Yummy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn Arrives

"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up.  What was is not and never again will be; what is is change."
                                                      Edwin Teale

I took these at Dillon Nature Center last week. I love sunflowers. Many of them don't bloom until late in the summer and then, before you know it, they start fading.

We'll be seeing a lot of things fade now that autumn has arrived. Today is the first official day. But I like the changing seasons. And fall is a harbringer of winter and holidays. I love the nesting one does this time of year.

I just decided some years ago to enjoy every single day of every single season. We only get so many autumn days or Christmas days or Thursdays. Best to relish every one of them, and some of that should be done in nature.
Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more. Friend me on Facebook.com, Follow me at Twitter.com.

I am looking for book clubs willing to read and critique my novel when it's completed. If your book club is interested, please email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com. Thanks!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

MHA Conference in Wichita

I'm in Wichita for a MHA national conference. We're staying at the Hotel at Old Town, which is a warehouse built in 1906 that has been converted into a hotel. It has many nice features, not the least of which is that you can raise the windows. Really. Amazing. It's not hermetically sealed, keeping inside every disgusting thing that has ever entered. I'm on the second floor and lucky enough to have a tree right outside. As I'm typing this I have a little breeze coming in. It's cold enough I've only got one window open tonight instead of the two I had open earlier.

I came over early afternoon so I could take advantage of the time before the meeting started to write. There's something about being away from home and the responsibilities there that frees up my mind to write. I did another chapter this afternoon.

Tonight our group did a timeline. I thought this fad was over, but I guess not. It seems I've been doing them in various groups for about four years now. Maybe this is a fad that isn't going to fade.

Tonight we were asked to put ourselves on the timeline of when we first became involved with mental health issues, and draw a picture of a significant event in the mental health field. We started with the 60s and worked through the 90s. I have blurred the writing to obscure anyone's personal information, but I wanted to give you a sense of how long this piece of paper was and how full it was by the time we were done.

I suppose it's a valuable process for lots of people to see things written down like that. The colors are an interesting visual for me, but I start getting antsy to be done long before anyone else in the room does. I just do not have a brain and body that likes to sit still for two hours and meander our way through the decades. It's just doesn't resonate for me. But, obviously, it does for some people and that's great. I generally just try to participate in a meaningful way without prolonging it unnecessarily.

One of the interesting things that was brought out tonight is something I've thought about many times but never heard expressed so succinctly. In the mental health field, as in many others, there's the idea of "best practice," meaning that THIS thing is the BEST way to handle a particular situation. Tonight someone said that looking at the timeline they could see that best practices have changed over the years.

I've thought about that many times. That what people are doing today - the best they have to offer - may one day be looked back on as a horrible thing. At one time putting people in shackles was the best practice. Obviously, we don't agree with that. I wonder if 100 years from now we'll consider giving people drugs that may not be effective for them will be viewed the same way. We don't yet have any way to know what will work so we just try it and see. Surely at some point we'll be able to do better, to see in advance what will work. At that point will our "best practice" today of trying drugs be seen as barbaric? Maybe so.

Ultimately, it's like the old saying, "When you know better, you do better." I can apply that to my life in so many circumstances - work and professional. The trick is to keep learning so you can know better so you can then do better.

With that in mind I suppose I'd best sleep so I will be fresh tomorrow so I can learn. All of life is a cycle it seems. 
Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more. Friend me on Facebook.com, Follow me at Twitter.com.

I am looking for book clubs willing to read and critique my novel when it's completed. If your book club is interested, please email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com. Thanks!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fried Green Tomato Demonstration

This afternoon I did a cooking demonstration on Fried Green Tomatoes at Apron Strings downtown. I was wishing these were a bit more complex, because people had come out to see me make them and I wanted to make it worth their time. But, fried green tomatoes are very easy.

Fried Green Tomatoes
green tomatoes
yellow corn meal
oil (I used vegetable oil, but bacon grease is much better!)

Wash and core the tomatoes, and slice. Mix salt and pepper into cornmeal to taste. Dip tomato slices in cornmeal and then fry.

I made three batches today and used the same oil. This was the last batch and you can see the crumblies in the skillet. Turn them with a fork or egg turner until they're brown on each side.

Greg came to take photos for me. I swear, he's the best ex-boyfriend a girl could have.

I always put paper towels on the plate to drain the fried green tomatoes a bit before serving. Needless to say, they are greasy!

Lynette, who I've met there before, said she had been waiting for this demonstration. Her parents are both from the south so we had much to talk about after the demo. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better. I think everyone enjoyed the goodies.

Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more. Friend me on Facebook.com, Follow me at Twitter.com.

I am looking for book clubs willing to read and critique my novel when it's completed. If your book club is interested, please email me at patsyterrell@gmail.com. Thanks!