Monday, October 31, 2005

Roe v. Wade

Well, we have a new supreme court nominee. And, big surprise, it's a very conservative one. The talking heads are going on about how this will most certainly be all about Roe v. Wade.

People... pay attention... NO ONE in political office is really interested in overturning Roe v. Wade. I don't care what they say - they are NOT interested - Republican, Democrat, conservative, independent or liberal. ESPECIALLY not the conservatives who talk about it the loudest.

Are you all too dense to see that no republican wants it overturned because as long as it's in place, they can get your vote, despite how incredibly incompetent they may be, as long as they blather on about how much they want it overturned.

VOTERS... we have really important things going on in this country. Stop giving all this credit to an issue that's a non-issue. When the effort is really mounted to overturn it, lets get excited about it then. Until then, lets stop giving it this much attention. Between the abortion debate, which has been raging for decades with absolutely no push to do anything real; and the gay marriage debate, which got started as soon as the abortion debate started declining - we can't seem to get anything important done in this country. Who thinks it's a bad idea for people who've made a committment to each other to have some legal rights? What kind of sense does that make? And with the hetrosexual divorce rate over 50% for decades I'm sure glad the "sanctity of marriage" is intact. "Until death do us part" is another way of saying "until something better comes along." I better stop or I'll get started a rant other than the one I'm already in.

While the populace is focused on these things we're borrowing money from China like there's no tomorrow (and, of course there's not going to be at this rate) and there's a nutburger with nuclear weapons in North Korea (we think Iraq is a security risk - please, a little reality). We're fighting a war about nothing on two fronts. (I thought it was about oil but since prices continue to rise I must be wrong about that. So, it's about nothing. It's sure as hell not about 9-11 and terror when we're not fighting those responsible.) Meanwhile, we are letting our own people die in the streets after disasters, not to mention slow deaths that happen every day in the US from hunger.

Did you know that 281 children died in Wichita last year from starvation? Yes, starvation. In Wichita - little city of less than 300,000. While you're out arguing about Roe v. Wade being overturned, you could be focusing your energy on saving children that are already here. Actions speak louder than words so I guess what that says is that it's fine for them to die of starvation once they're born - no problems there - but they HAVE to be born so they can suffer and die a slow, horrible death. How humane. No wonder you voted for people who let New Orleans residents die in the streets.

Stop wasting all this energy on this bullshit. Accept that none of the representatives you've voted to put into office because they wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade have done a single thing to make that happen. Wake up. They are not interested. They're lying to you. If anyone were really that interested, this issue would have been discussed somewhere other than in the press for decades.

And once you wake up, put your energies toward something important, something that's actually going to happen. Make your representatives deal with real problems. Oh, and since we're getting such a late start, you might brush up on your Chinese too.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Snack Trays Galore

I have been putting dishes on shelves a large part of the day, including snack trays.

Snack trays, sometimes called luncheon sets, are those little plates with an indentation for the cup. I've been collecting them for years. I don't know why, but they "speak to me." I have been putting them all in one location today. Actually, I have many more in the garage that aren't even in the house, but one thing at a time - I'm going to work on the house, then I'll get to the garage.

I also moved some shelving in my office around. I am a person who needs a lot of table space and a lot of shelving. While it's not the most attractive thing, it's the most productive thing for me. Everything I like to do requires table space and storage. I've learned that one cannot have storage without going vertical. Well, OK, maybe if you have a huge house you can, but I can't.

I'm going to work for a little bit longer and then hit the sack. I've got an early day tomorrow, kicking off a full week. And, of course, I want to enjoy Halloween.

Greg and I went to Skaets for a burger tonight and then just headed on out to Walmart to pick up Halloween candy. He's going to decorate my house and be here for Halloween, which suits me just fine. Unfortunately, Mark couldn't come as planned. But, I'm sure we'll have a fun Halloween anyway. Next to Christmas, it's my favorite holiday. It's so fun to see all the kiddos in their costumes.

America Needs its Own Petroskia

Tonight I went to hear Mikhail Gorbachev, former Russian President, speak in Lindsborg.

It was an interview format and Alan Murray of the Wall Street Journal was the interviewer. There was a chess table between them and they were playing, but Murray admitted he's not really a chess player.

I alternated between wanting to take pictures and wanting to take notes. One thing I loved was that Gorbachev was witty. Even though he was using an interpreter, he was funny and it came through.

Murray asked a few historical questions, including about the beginning of disarmament. Gorbachev said he was driven to end nuclear proliferation because "that war must never be fought."

When asked what he thought of Ronald Reagan during those talks, Gorbachev said that he was "a remarkable individual. A real person who wanted to do something to insure peace in the world." He said Reagan had "tremendous instincts" and that his profession of being an actor helped him. He said when Reagan spoke at the Berlin wall that he played that role, but that Gorbachev did not pay much attention because he knew it was a role.

When asked about today's situation, Gorbachev said,"National interests exist but now we live in a world where we need to promote peace to all people. It is a common responsibility to create a global peace."

At one point Murray asked what Gorbachev thought of the current president. Gorbachev said through his interpreter, "It is your responsibility to validate your president. Don't try to give that responsibility to us Russians." He got a good laugh and applause for that. Obviously, Gorbachev is still quite the diplomat.

One of the most interesting things was when Murray asked Gorbachev about how the world changed when we went from two superpowers to only one - the United States.

Gorbachev said we needed to be realistic about the position of the US and that much of the world is concerned about America's debt. He says it's "alarming," and that "America lives in debt to the future and to others."

He said the world worries about America's debt because they know that if the American economy collapsed it would be bad for many other economies.

He said the idea put forth that it's God will for America to lead now reminds him of the Bolshevik idea of a world empire. He said the American elite need to rethink their situation and get rid of their superiority complex. He said, "America needs its own Petroskia." And needs to understand that "no country can lead alone."

He said no country can solve everything on its own, we need international organizations "working for the common good of all people of the world." He said, "People want partnership, but object to domination."

Gorbachev's speech in Lindsborg kicks off a year long series of events dubbed, "Chess for Peace."

It was started with the help of world chess champion Anatoly Karpov, who is a friend of Gorbachev. Karpov has started 15 international chess schools, and the one in Lindsborg is the first one in the US.

When a world leader is nearby, so is security - as one would expect. This quiet little town of about 3,300 called on multiple law enforcement agencies for help.

Karpov invited the former leader to come to Lindsborg and Gorbachev accepted with the stipulation that Karpov come with him and they play chess. All of that happened today.

In fact, this afternoon there was a match between Karpov and Susan Polgar, the women's world chess champion.

I hear through the grapevine that she won two games and two were ties. The chess aficionados who were sitting near me tonight were discussing how quickly they played.

There was tons of school kids from all over the place playing chess, too.

There was a parade, during which I understand Gorabachev walked and visited and then made an impromptu speech. My friend, Greg, was there and took these photos. I'm sure he'll be posting more at

Lindsborg is a community about 45 minutes from here and a fascinating place to visit. I've spent considerable time there over the years.

It's a Swedish community and well known for its appreciation of the arts, particularly music. When I worked at Radio Kansas we were often at Bethany College recording events, including the yearly Messiah festival that is broadcast all over the country.

Tonight's activities were held in Presser Hall, which also hosts many other activities. It's a beautiful facility.

Bethany conferred an honorary degree on Gorbachev and ending the evening with a children's choir performance. There were numerous opportunities to see people in native Swedish dress.

Lindsborg is a testament to what a few people who are devoted to their community can accomplish. I'm fortunate to live nearby and be able to enjoy all it brings to the quality of life in this area.

It's not every day one gets a chance to hear a former world leader speak, much less the architect of the fall of communism. I'm so glad I went to hear him.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Bad Bush Admin. Week

Indictments are flying, approval ratings are dropping, and nominees are withdrawing. The Bush administration has been having a hard week, that comes right after a hard month. Could it be that - finally - people are going to come out of their stupor and see how this administration has failed the American people?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ready for the Weekend

I worked on the MHA newsletter today. Newsletters are something I actually enjoy doing but they're one of those things that people always want to have done but they never want anyone to work on them.

I used to joke about this at my former workplace - work that no one wants you to do but everyone wants done. I think it happens in every job. And newsletters are one of those things that seem to always fall into that category.

I finally got my ticket for the Gorbachev speech tomorrow. The phone was just busy constantly but I finally got through late today.

Tonight I went to Peggy's. She fixed a wonderful supper and then she, Cynda, Deb and I talked about Altrusa things. Gary was there and fun as always. I'm trying to convince him to become our first male Altrusan here. He works for the group already, we might as well make him official.

Greg is going to Lindsborg early tomorrow. I was hoping we could go up together but I guess that won't work out. I don't want to go really early in the day.

Tonight I'm going to do some writing on this article for Kansas Country Living and then hit the hay. Tomorrow I'd like to get some things done on the house. I haven't had much time to work on it this week.

Mark was planning to come down for Halloween but he can't, so that changes my weekend plans a bit. Maybe I'll be productive with regard to the house.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Things That Take Time

I've spent today doing things that take a ton of time and show no real benefit quickly. In some ways I love projects like this - the slow, steady progress. In other ways, I hate them - because people think nothing is happening.

It seems I always have jobs that fall into these categories.

Early this morning I worked on the house - moving and rearranging things. You can't really tell a lot of difference because there are still tons of things everywhere.

During the workday I worked on the newsletter. Again - no progress is demonstrated until it's out the door. It's the nature of the beast.

I'm also looking for homes for the Christmas homes tour set for the first Sunday in December.

Tonight Greg and I had a burger at Skaets then I decided to stop by the library and pick up "Running with Scissors," that Julie had recommended. I parked beside Jocelyn and as I was walking in was thinking why she was there. Then I remembered there was a lecture by a Buddhist nun tonight. Then I was thinking why wasn't I there. Then - suddenly - I remembered - I was supposed to be at a reception at the arts center tonight. I COMPLETELY forgot about it. Just a fluke. It rarely happens to me and generally means I'm overextended. But I'm sorry I forgot it. I wanted to go. There were three things I was wanted to do tonight and I didn't get any of them done.

But, I went downstairs to the friends preview night for the library sale and said hello to Darlene and some others there I knew. Then popped upstairs and saw Jocelyn, Diana, Austin, Theda, Evelyn, John and Catherine, even though the lecture was over.

We talked for quite a while and I did finally get the book I went in to get, along with "The Mermaid's Chair." I have far too much to do to be reading, but I'm going to anyway.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wichita for Compeer

I spent the day in Wichita today for a statewide Compeer meeting. Compeer is a program that matches community volunteers with people who are recovering from a mental illness. It has tremendous success rates.

Our new regional person arranged for a media person from KWCH to come and speak to us today. i've been out of media long enough that it was a good refresher for me.

It was a productive day.

Afterwards I went to do a couple of errands in Wichita, including a trip to the Spice Merchant. I'm hardly ever there during their opening hours so was glad to get there. They sell coffee, tea, spices and a variety of gourmet goods. I got some new spices for the upcoming holiday baking and just enjoyed being in there.

Greg was coming back from Joplin so we met for dinner at Angelo's. It was not my best experience there by a long shot but I'll just hope it was a fluke.

It has been a long day and I have another full one tomorrow so I think I'm headed upstairs shortly.

I did take some photos of trees around Wichita today. Things are starting to turn here, but few things are completely turned yet.

Sometimes I try to look at a city with "new" eyes and I tried to do that with Wichita today. It's a beautiful city in many ways.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Milestone in Iraq

Today is another milestone in the Iraq war. The 2000th soldier has been counted among the dead.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is dead at age 92.

She has always been a testament to what one person can do.

I remember her being asked why she didn't get up on the bus and her answer was simple and yet so powerful, "I was tired."

I've always loved that statement because it says so much about the state of things. I never took it to mean it was only a physical tiredness, but much more a tiredness of the way things were.

Some of us are still tired.

May she rest in peace.

Beautiful Morning

I've been up since 4. I went to bed about 9 - decided I should try to sleep before all the drugs wore off from the dental work. It was 10 before I really got to sleep - so, naturally, I was awake at 4.

I have a built in alarm clock it seems - four hours after I go to sleep, and then 6 hours if I don't get up. On the rare occasions I sleep longer than that I also wake up at 8 hours.

I had a sleep study done years ago - before they were something you ever heard about. It was at a research facility. Anyway, they discovered I have some oddities in my sleep pattern, which overall I find rather convenient.

One is that I go into REM sleep very quickly. Supposedly this just can't happen, but I can start dreaming within moments of being asleep and that only happens in REM sleep.

Maybe my whole sleep is just speeded up, although I suspect it has more to do with the training my mom gave me early in life. Regardless, I'm glad to get that little bit extra out of life that isn't devoted to sleeping.

I'm working on house stuff before the work day starts. I need to be on the phone a lot today and you just can't call people at 6:33 in the morning, regardless of when you got up.

It's nippy here - 32 now. I didn't bother to cover up the plants last night. I did the night before, figuring all the extra time I could give them to go to seed would be good but it seems that fall is really here now so there's no point in continuing to do it. I hope Monday is nice for the kiddos for Halloween.

I mailed off some photos yesterday that I took at the governor's reception last week - of various people with the governor. I like thinking that people will get a little surprise in the mail today. How fun.

Well, I need to do some more house things. I'm having company this weekend and there are some things I'd like to finish before then.

I'm reaching the point where I'm going to be glad when I'm through having work people in and things are organized the way I want them and I don't have things sitting around here and there. Things get bumped around and misplaced because although I might be careful to walk around something, work people aren't the same way about it.

I'm also starting to want to booby trap bits of my house to keep people from being snoopy. I've had three instances in the last couple of months of people just wandering in to rooms in my home where they were not invited and looking to see what it looks like - once even opening a closet. The closet was empty, but I just didn't like the gesture.

I'm pretty generous with my home - at least I like to think so - but if I'm inviting you into the living room and everything is set up for us to sit in the living room, and the rest of the lights are off, that is NOT your invitation to wander in to my kitchen just to see what it looks like at the moment. It's a mess. I'm in transition. I'm trying to get a break from it by having you over and enjoying some tea. Now you're making me deal with it and explain to you what my plan is and feel like I'm not moving fast enough to suit you. Please, can you not just sit down and enjoy some tea with me. I've made a path to the bathroom, but I haven't done anything else because it never occurred to me that you'd take off to the kitchen uninvited and flip on the light just to see what it looked like.

Along the same lines, please keep your overwhelmed looks, comments about how you couldn't live in this transition, and discussions about my choices (unless asked) to yourself. I don't need any extra pressure. I have enough, thank you.

I guess I'm just in a pissy mood about that because it's happened multiple times lately. But, it's the sort of thing that irks me. Part of me is thinking geez no wonder people here don't entertain if this is the way guests act.

Monday, October 24, 2005


I had to go to the dentist this afternoon. Turned out I was in the chair for two hours. For someone like me who's pretty squirmey to begin with, being confined in a chair for two hours was near torture - without any dental work happening.

Fortunately, my dentist and I have an understanding about dental work - I don't do pain, I do drugs. Please, bring them on. In quantity. A variety, please.

Today I had a shot to numb me so he could work on a tooth that has had a root canal. Yes, that's right - a tooth that has no nerve left. You do it your way, I'll do it mine.

Of course, four hours since I left the dental chair I'm still numb in places, but it's a small price to pay for two hours in the chair with absolutely no pain.

I've had a lot of dental work done. When I was a kid, my childhood dentist's theory was, "dental work is painful... you just have to buck up." Screw you, you old sadist. Thank goodness, today we have better living through chemicals. And I have a dentist more than willing to administer them.

Late Night

It's almost 2 a.m. and I'm just now crawling into bed. I've been working on the house. I installed some doorknobs and painted some in the library. I'm to the point where I'm going to have to spend a lot of time on the ladder. I hate that. But it has to be done, so I'll do it. Ironically, I'm going to put shelves in there for cookbooks so no one's probably going to see the walls I've worked on.

I painted them a pale pinky-peach, then sponged over a funky olive green, then five different kinds of metallics on top of that. It's pretty cool looking - at least I think so. I'll try to take some pix when I get a chance.

I am doing the ceiling in the pale base color since I have it handy. Seems as good a reason as any.

I've got to get another gallon of paint for the downstairs sunporch. Maybe I can do that tomorrow. I have to be in that area of town for the dentist so maybe I can do it all in one trip.

We're getting frost tonight. I went out and covered up the flowers in front of the house. I don't care so much about how they look now - they're pretty shaggy after I took most of the vines for Taylor's wedding. But, I want to give them as much chance as possible to go to seed. I planted with the idea that things would come up on their own in the future so I want to do all I can to make sure that happens.

I have some daffodil and tulip bulbs to put in later. I think I'll put them in the front, too, where they'll get lots of sun in the spring.

I'm watching the coverage from Florida. They're saying Wilma will hit shortly. I'm supposed to go to Florida for a conference next year. I'm guessing that may get moved. Two years ago this conference was in New Orleans. The world changes quickly.

They're showing a guy out in the ocean now with these winds hitting. I've been taking photos off and on for a year, and making notes for a "Don't be an idiot" file on my website. That guy belongs on there. Maybe one of these days I'll get a chance to do that. Not sure when that will happen, but maybe one day.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I have worked on the house today, on a variety of projects. I've painted and sorted and done laundry and thrown out and cooked and written and a few dozen other things it seems.

I did take a lunch break and called Sondra. We went to Skaets and that was a nice change of pace.

When I checked email tonight I had really nice emails from Martha, Linda and Marci. Marci's sister, who did the design on her book, wrote that she enjoyed the blog entry about it. Martha and Linda also liked it. I've had a couple of emails from people saying they're going to get copies for themselves and for gifts. I know you won't be disappointed.

Well, I'd love to write more, but I need to go upstairs and work a bit more before bedtime. I have a busy day tomorrow and want to finish up a couple of things on the house. I'm having some dental work done tomorrow so don't know how I'll feel tomorrow night and it's one of the few I have at home this week.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Kansas Guidebook

Today was a very important day for Kansas, and most Kansans don't even know it.

Marci Penner released her new book, "The Kansas Guidebook," which details what there is to see and do in Kansas. It's more than 400 pages long and chock full of cafes, museums, art, architecture, and dozens of other things you can see in Kansas.

She had a book signing today at what is affectionately referred to as "The Barn," where her office is.

Marci traveled 40,124 miles over two years to gather the information. The book includes nearly 700 restaurants, cafes and soda fountains, and I'm looking forward to trying out some of them.

Trish, Linda and I rode over together for the book signing. When we arrived, we saw Molly was already there.

There were other faces in the group that I recognized - some from Kansas Dialogue and some from other events.

I'm a proud member of the Explorer's Club, a project of Marci's foundation, which encourages people to "do dirt" and take back roads.

Martha was helping out today, of course. She has been on the board of the Kansas Sampler Foundation for years, which is Marci's organization. She believes strongly in the foundation and its purpose - and also in Marci.

That's Trish (blonde) and Linda getting their books signed by Marci. You can also see Martha in the background at the cash register.

Marci did a brief presentation before the book signing, talking about doing the book. She visited all 627 incorporated towns in Kansas to produce the book. She didn't make appointments, she just took off and found what she found in each community.

The Sampler Foundation ( encourages people to appreciate rural Kansas and what's special about it. And, there is plenty that is special. I'm sure that's true of all states, but we're blessed to have Marci to show us the way here.

Marci looks at eight elements of rural culture; architecture, art, commerce, cuisine, customs, geography, history and people. She is on the governor's Rural Task Force and is a tremendous supporter of Kansas.

Marci's mom and dad are two of her biggest supporters. The barn is built on their farm and there's a path between it and their home.

One of the great bonuses if you go to an event where Marci is featured is that you're likely to get some delicious cookies, compliments of her mom.

Today was no exception. I ate three and finally removed myself from the building and went outside to sit near the beautiful arrangement on the porch to keep from making a fool of myself with the cookies. Maybe Marci and her mom should write a cookbook.

I don't think Marci is too interested in another book of any sort right away. This has been a major project.

I am honored to consider Marci a friend.

I cannot urge you strongly enough to purchase a book if you live in Kansas, or if you plan to visit. This will keep you from missing out on the gems that are the things you find little references to after you get home and kick yourself for having missed.

It's a bargain at only $24.95 - printed on nice slick paper with color photos throughout, and with a spiral binding that lends itself to being road worthy. Order at

Check for the blog, art, and more.


Today is the first day I've had a bit of a break in over a week. I didn't have anywhere I needed to be extra early this morning and I got to be home tonight so I actually got things done in the house tonight.

People often seem to think things move too slowly on my home. The other night at red hat I said something about the studio and that I couldn't use it yet because there's still furniture in it from having the floors done, and someone said, "that's still in there?" with some incredulity.

Well, yes, it is. I haven't had a chance to work on it yet. I'm still trying to get the dining room back together so I can move the dishes out of the kitchen. I'm trying to paint the sunporch so I can get the furniture that's piled in the living room situated. I'm trying to finish the library upstairs so I can put together the shelves so I can get the books out of boxes so the boxes can be thrown away so the furniture can be moved where the boxes are.

And, I'm trying to keep work running and having a life and seeing friends and taking advantage of what there is to do in my area. I guess I don't move as quickly as some think would be appropriate, but I'm doing about all one person can do. At least all this person can do.

And, to top it off, today I'm trying to figure out a computer problem. My computer is moving like molasses. I don't know what its problem is and I'm about to run out of the obvious answers so I don't know what I'll do at that point. I miss the computer tech bf even more tonight. I've looked for spyware, a virus, etc. I've deleted unused programs, temp files, and even some files to make extra room on the hard drive. I've done disk checks and defraged. I've used system works and searched for anything that seems amiss. But, it is still running like molasses. It is more like room temperature ones instead of cold ones now, but it's not working properly.

I also suspect it's my ISP because it seems to be working OK except when I need net access. Of course, they will NEVER admit that it's their problem, but I'm very suspicious.

I had lunch with Trish and Teresa today. Of course we talked politics. I can't even begin to elucidate how fed up I am with so many things going on. Bush's approval ratings are falling - finally - but it doesn't seem to translate into anything changing for the better.

Well, I'm overdue for bed. I'm going up to Marci Penner's book signing tomorrow for her new guidebook. I am excited to get a copy. Hopefully I'll get a nice photo or two to share here tomorrow.

After that bit of fun I must work more on the house. Work, work, work!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Heifer International

Today was a very busy day and I spent part of it at the Statewide Homeless Summit being held here.

One of the things I really did not want to miss today was the lunch speakers. They were from Heifer, International, and were fabulous.

If you're not familiar with this program, it's exceptional. I've been a fan of it for years, but put my money where my mouth is by buying some honey bees today.

They provide animals to people in developing countries, with the understanding that they will pass on the offspring to other families. It's an incredibly successful idea and they do amazing work.

One of their centers is in Arkansas. When I'm able to visit the Clinton library, I think I'll try to make time to go visit there too. I spoke with Mr. Nelson for quite a while after the speech. He used to be a peace corp volunteer and we had an interesting conversation about various topics.

I cannot urge you strongly enough - if you are looking for a great gift for someone, please consider this. They raise about 80-90% of their money during the holiday season with their gift program. You can purchase honey bees for $30, or a pig for $120 or shares in various animals. You can - truly - change lives by writing a check. It can't be much tidier. for more information, or click on their logo above.

Their mission is to end hunger and care for the earth. It's hard to argue with such a mission. $13 billion dollars a year would provide basic health and nutrition for the poorest people on the planet. For comparison's sake, we just approved another $50 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, pushing the total over $350 billion.

Homelessness is often related to Mental Health issues. What people don't understand is that taking care of basic needs - like housing - is far cheaper than dealing with the issues that result from those things not being taken care of. When housing is taken care of, people are less likely to be a drain on social services of various types, to be imprisoned, or going the ER or a variety of other things. It seems, at some point, that we'd catch on, but we seem unwilling to accept the facts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Morning with Madden

It's a beautiful morning here. I've been up since before daylight, even though I went to bed late. But, I woke up ready to meet the day so got up.

I try to start every day with a thankful attitude. My first thought when I wake up is, "Wow! I woke up! This is great... I get another day." I've been accused of being a polly-anna, but - hey - you know what - I'm pretty happy most of the time too. I think there's a connection between that and starting each day thankful.

I have been to a speech this morning that reinforced that for me, which was nice. The chamber breakfast featured John Madden, a motivational speaker.

He was fabulous - witty and entertaining. He has written a book called "Leap Don't Sleep," subtitled, "How to Get Different Results by Doing Something Different."

His speech was really fun. I'm so glad I went. I wasn't sure the timing would work out because there's a conference starting today that I wanted to attend. But, that starts later today so it all worked out.

When I stopped by the house to pick up something I noticed that my morning glories have just gone crazy with blooms in the last couple of days. I couldn't resist a couple of pix.

It's cloudy here today, and they're saying we will get some rain. I'm looking forward to a moody day. It's been beautiful and sunny - and 90 degrees - the last few days. There will always be weather - I might as well enjoy whatever it is.

When I got out of the car, I thought I heard rain, but realized it was leaves falling out of the trees. That's a wonderful thing about being human, things like that are new to us each time. It took a moment for my brain to register that was the sound of dried leaves rubbing together. I've heard it every fall for 43 years, but it was new again this morning. Beautiful.

I couldn't resist snapping a photo of my neighbor's tree to commemorate the morning. to see John Madden's site and info on his book

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Music and the RIAA

I'm not a big music fan. I don't buy it. I don't go to hear it live. I don't download it. I don't covet an I-pod.

But, I'm fascinated by the RIAA's assinine insistence on prosecuting 13 year olds who downloaded their favorite tunes. The thing they don't seem to grasp is that technology does not go backward - only forward.

I-pod makers understand this. They figured out how to make money from it. Lots of money. Now the RIAA is thinking that their cut isn't enough.

I suspect this has less to do with that money and more to do with how record companies always have all the sales figures whenever there's a dispute with an artist. Isn't that convenient how that works out?

Today I opened PC Magazine and saw Dvorak's editorial about this very thing. Well, OK, his piece is much better written and more thoughtful than mine and more detailed - and he never used the word "assinine" - but the gist is similar.

I did a quick search and found it's online at:,1895,1862166,00.asp

Monday, October 17, 2005

Governor in Town

Tonight I attended a democratic party fundraiser that featured Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

She is a democrat in a republican state, but she is loved by both sides. I'm not sure if she wants a national political career or not, but if you ever get a chance to vote for her - do. She's an exceptionally gifted person who can make more happen than most people can imagine.

She spoke briefly, but it was mainly a chance for folks to get to visit with her. I had to leave early as it was also Red Hat night.

Lots of folks I know were there tonight, but there were also lots of people I didn't know. It's always good to meet democrats we haven't had a chance to get to know before.

Trish was there and I was teasing her that I wanted to get a photo of her with the governor because it would help her future political career. I'm not sure I'm ever going to convince Trish to have a future political career, but I don't give up.

Mark Treaster and Jan Pauls, representatives, were both there. They introduced the governor. Mark has us all laughing, which was nice. I don't live in his district, but really, really, really wanted him elected. It was close, but he got the votes and has proven to be a good legislator. I hope he has a long future in politics.

Before things got started, Teresa and Theda were joking and I got this nice shot of them. Theda is always teasing me that she doesn't like to have her photo taken. I believe it has been here before. I'm not sure why she doesn't like it since she looks great, but she doesn't. She is Jocelyn's aunt. I haven't been able to get Jocelyn involved in the party yet, but I'm not giving up.

Kathie and Teresa have been friends for years and she was involved in a book club I started with some friends years ago. She joined the Democratic Women's Group the same day I did and since then we have really grown a lot. She is very, very involved in the party locally.

Pat Patucek is a local artist and a die hard democrat. She spoke at our monthly lunch a few months ago and she was very interesting. Obviously, the governor knows her.

I did get to say hello to the Governor briefly and complimented her on her performance on "A Prairie Home Companion" when they were at the fair (Sept. 10 if you want to see the blog entry). She said Garrison called her a couple of times and it was interesting to hear that voice on the phone instead of the radio.

It was good to see a lot of people there tonight - including some young people. It was a nice event.

I took a ton of pictures, but this is all I'm up for getting on the web tonight. Maybe I'll do some more at a later time.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Natural Disasters

Am I the only one who thinks we've been having an awful lot of natural disasters in the last few months that are the "worst ever?" The tsunami, Katrina, Rita, flooding, earthquakes, etc. etc. etc. If I were a Bible scholar I'd be looking at Revelations more closely.

I'm starting to think all we need is a locust plague tossed in and we got some good, Old Testament stuff going on.

Maybe the current version of locusts is birds, since they seem continually infected with some sort of flu. I'm hearing the word "pandemic" much more than I like in my average media consumption.

sig line

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13.2

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Lauren's Drawing

Jocelyn and her granddaughter, Lauren, were at Diana's on Thursday when I stopped it an lunch.

Lauren decided to draw a picture of Diana and it was pretty impressive - with arms and legs and facial features - not bad for a three year old. Of course, she does have the art gene.

Lily and the Pink Purse

I believe I've mentioned Lily's love of my pink purse. I think it's really just about the purse and not the color of it.

I always let her enjoy it whenever I pop in. Now that she can crawl, if I set it on the floor, she's there in a second.

I took these pix on Thursday.

Beautiful Saturday

It is an absolutely beautiful day in central Kansas. It's 80 degrees with a gentle breeze and bright sunshine in a perfect October sky. Did you know the skies in October are bluer than any other month? They are. You can certainly see that today here.

I spent part of the morning at the Farmer's Market, then down to the local fruit and vegetable market for more goodies. At the moment I have some black beans simmering on the stove with fresh tomatoes, shallots and garlic. I'm going to toss in some yellow and red peppers after a bit and enjoy the soup with sour cream and salsa later. Maybe I'll make some cornbread to go with it.

I'm enjoying a season of home over the next few months and today is day one of that. Seemed appropriate to cook something from scratch for this particular day.

New Spam High/Low

Today I got my first piece of spam in FRENCH. As if it's not sufficient they stuff my mail box with languages I actually understand, now they're starting on ones I study. Spanish can't be far behind. I'm guessing spam filters won't do a darned thing for those and they can't even catch all that are in English.

And... gosh... all the French I've taken and I can determine something is spam... What an accomplishment...

Friday, October 14, 2005


You've been given the ability to instill in all young women, aged 10-14, one belief, one bit of wisdom, one guiding principle. What would you choose, and why?


This has been a very trying day. I had a project that had to be finished today and it took many twists and turns that were unexpected. Fortunately, at 6:30 tonight it was finished, but it took some doing and multiple people to get it accomplished. I'm exhausted, but happy it's done.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I need another couple of days in this week to get everything done that I need to do. I went hard all day today and still didn't accomplish all I had hoped.

Tomorrow is a jam packed day and here I am still up at midnight when I know I need an early start tomorrow.

Tonight was Creative Sisterhood. We met in the downstairs sunporch. I finished sealing it last night with the last coat. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. When I get a chance, I'll post some additional pix of the whole project. Since last I did photos, much scrubbing occured to get all the sand grit off before sealing. Anyway, it's officially done now. I'm a little worse for the wear, but the floor is done.

Everyone was here tonight and it was a good night. This group has become so very important in my life.

I also had another coaching session today. It was a good one. Sheri has made me think of things in different ways so that's a very good thing.

I have some projects that have to be finished this week so I'm hoping that Monday I can take at least part of the day off and relax a tiny bit. I'm pretty worn out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What Else Can Oprah Do?

Today Oprah announced that two of the men wanted for child molestation that she put on her show a week ago have been captured. I applaud her efforts. I think it's wonderful.

However, I wonder how many more things can Oprah take on? First she got America reading again. Then it was spiritual awakening. Next came Dr. Phil and his spin off TV show. There's Christmas in Africa and relief for Katrina victims. Now she's catching child molesters.

I think this is wonderful. Goodness knows, like most people, I want to see child molesters off the streets.

But what else Oprah can take on? And why is it Oprah's job to catch child molesters? Don't we have a whole system to do that? Why isn't that working?

Obviously, Oprah has decided to DO something, and that's marvelous. But it seems we should be considering why the system we have isn't working.

Something very big is broken. Maybe we should try to fix that. Or we should just appoint Oprah as dictator. Maybe that's not such a bad idea. This one woman seems to be able to accomplish what hundreds - nay, thousands - of others can't. She seems to be able to do the impossible - from getting America reading to catching child molesters. I can't figure out why those who's job it is to inspire us to read or to catch the bad guys can't do it. What does Oprah know that the rest of us don't?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Art of Gracious Living

For the past 2 1/2 years I've had a discussion group called "Art of Gracious Living."

The description is as follows:
This is a community of people dedicated to living life to the fullest - through art, journaling, creative pursuits, gathering friends together, cooking, making home a wonderful place to be whether for ourselves or a whole family, introspection and questioning, and venturing beyond our safety zones. This is the place to be reminded to appreciate the little moments that make up a life, about taking the road less traveled and enjoying every step.

I have wrestled with this group - let the membership rise but still only have a few people posting; tried to make it a smaller group but everyone must post; etc. etc. etc. I do not understand the purpose of being in a discussion list if you don't want to "discuss."

Last night I had decided to disband the group. Today I've decided to open it up to new members and see what happens.

Jan. 19 will be the three year anniversary. At that point I'll decide which way to go - keep it, delete it, who knows what.

If it's of interest to you... you can join at yahoogroups.

More Real

Disasters are always more real to us when it's a place we've been to or that we can relate to. All the news from Guatemala has me reeling because I've been to Lake Atitlan, which is where the hard hit village of Panabaj is.

When Matthew and I were in central America a few years ago, we spent a day on the lake, visiting some of the sites there. This was not a town we visited, but the area was beautiful.

Traveling in less touristed areas is always lovely for that very reason - fewer tourists. Of course, you also spend more time getting from point A to point B because there isn't the infrastructure for it.

Officials are saying they will simply declare some towns to be graveyards and leave them. That is a beautiful sentiment in some ways, and yet horrific at the same time.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Bride Wore Tennis Shoes

Diana's daughter, Taylor, married her long time friend, Tom, yesterday afternoon in an outdoor ceremony at Dillon Nature Center.

A number of us went to help yesterday morning to transform the wedding nook and adjacent area from an open area with an empty shelter into something appropriate for a wedding.

Tina is a long time friend of Diana's and also works at DNC so she was invaluable. Cousin Lori is someone I've met a few times too. Both are fun so we had a good time getting ready.

Diana did a ton of planning, then left us in charge of making it happen while she went to get her hair done and get ready for the wedding. I'm not sure we did it to her specifications, but we got it done. It's hard to carry out someone else's vision.

Jocelyn did the invitations, and then created signs that marked the path to the wedding nook from the same design. Jocelyn recently did Christina Aguilera's wedding invitations,so it's quite the coup to get her!

Jocelyn and I worked on the arbor yesterday morning, adding some color to it. We also added some berries and such to the doors that formed the gateway into the wedding nook.

It was a beautiful day - sunny, but a tiny bit chilly in the shade. But, it was lovely.

Taylor wore a beautiful gown that laced up the back, and sported tennis shoes beneath. I applaud her decision on the shoes, as it seemed the only logical choice.

Lily was there, of course, but not especially social. I think she was worn out from trying to amuse all those adults gathered there.

She did make her presence known during the ceremony, adding her chatter at times. It added to the informal, fun nature of the event. I like to see laughter during weddings - gives me much more hope for the relationship than ceremonies that have nothing but drama in them.

We lunched on Roy's barbecue after the ceremony. Teresa, Jocelyn and I sat together. Andrea came for the wedding but couldn't stay for lunch.

Diana's new son-in-law, Tom, is a long time family friend and a really sweet guy. I know he will be good to Taylor.

I had something else and couldn't stay to help them clean up. I haven't talked to Diana today but I know she's exhausted.

But, everything was beautiful.