Saturday, July 29, 2006

Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Missouri

Altrusa District Eight is having an informal gathering in Springfield, Missouri. There are about 20 of us here and it's been a really fun get together.

I just arrived this morning, but some came in last night.

This afternoon we went to Fantastic Caverns. I may not have mentioned this before, but I have a thing about caves. They're filled with rocks, so how could I not love them. Something I learned today is that springs are the overflow for caverns. I didn't realize that.

This is the first time I've ever been in a cave where you ride through it. Generally there's a list of different trails you can take and you pick which one you want by length and difficulty level. But at this one you just get on a trailer that is pulled behind a jeep and ride through it.

It's always so nice and cool in caves. This one had a couple of places where they let us touch the ceiling. You could feel the wetness. Where people had touched so much it was darkened and where the jeeps don't go and people can't reach it was still the white of the calcium.

Overall it was neat. And a bonus was that they had a lot of rocks on sale in the gift shop at half price. I bought some amythest that's really pretty and a piece of citrine. It made me want to go back to the Rock place in Arkansas where Diana and I went before.

I would say Fantastic Caverns is well worth it if you're in the area, but it's not the same sort of experience as Mammoth or Carlsbad. But, for someone who can't walk a long way it would be a great way to see a cave.

It's good to see everyone.

If you've ever wondered

If you've ever wondered what video producers do when they're not producing videos.....

This is Steve, Greg's brother, who is a video producer. He has produced documentaries that have appeared on PBS, and his piece, "The New Ballgame," played at the Cooperstown museum for a whole season. His current project is about RailFans. Find out more about his work at

Steve is one of the best writers I've ever met. The first thing I read that he had written was about a trip he made to Russia and it was amazing writing. That was some years ago and I still recall it. I'm always impressed with writing that seems effortless because I know that's rarely how good writing happens.

The short story - Steve's work has won three CINE Golden Eagle awards. That's a really big deal. Other winners of this award over the years include Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ken Burns and John Lasseter. Like I said - it's a big deal.

No wonder he needs to relax...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Creative Sisterhood on the Road

I had another tomato from the garden today, with some fresh mozzarella and basil flavored olive oil. For once I had the good sense to put the basil in the olive oil a few days ago, so it had a nice flavor today.

It was a wonderful day today - it rained off and on and it was so nice and cool today - 70s, which was such a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, I was tied to the computer most of the day so didn't get to take advantage of it much.

I did pick my first lavender flower today. I didn't take a photo of it and I gave it to Martha tonight, so I can't show it to you. But it was nice and delicate.

Our Creative Sisterhood group went to Wichita tonight, and met Martha there, to see her new office space. She is expanding her business, with an office in Wichita soon. It is WONDERFUL space. I just know they're going to be happy, productive and profitable there. Diana was kind enough to drive so we could all go together to meet Martha.

After we spent some time in the office we all walked over to Larkspur for dinner. It's right across from her new space. We had a great conversation. All around it was an amazing night.

That's Teresa in the yellow, then behind her is Virginia, Martha, me, Julie (green) and Diana in the purple.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Finding a Good Man

I heard a song today that refers to Finding a Good Man. I was thinking about the men I've dated and I think I've found every single one of those mentioned in the song, with one exception that I don't think really exists.

liars (check - don't lie to me - especially when the truth would suit better)
cheaters (check - but only once - learned that lesson quickly and thank goodness wasn't stupid enough to fall for the "I'm sorry, it meant nothing, it won't happen again, I'll make it up to you" crap - yeah, you can make it up to me when you can turn back time and not do it - until you have that power don't bother me again)
cold mistreaters (check - people sometimes have odd ways of showing their love for you - people can be more cold-hearted than you ever would have imagined when they were telling you how much they love you - was that just yesterday?)
Momma's boys who can't make a stand (big check on that one - I hope I've learned that lesson because this one is quicksand)
superficial players (check - hasn't everyone been down this road)
"I love ya" too-soon-sayers (big check - it creeps me out when you tell me you are going to make me fall in love with you on the first date - save it until you at least know me well enough to know I'm not a serial killer)
big-talkers (check - talk is cheap)
bad losers (check - let your 6 y/o niece win the game for goodness sake)
fast movers (big check - sorry, you just can't sleep with every guy who asks you)
listener (check - they're jewels - rare and precious)
perfection (not yet - although love and lust have blinded me to the fact that this doesn't really exist at times)

Fortunately, I was always smart enough to stay away from the liars, mistreaters and players for the most part. I did make one mistake with a cheater - but I learned from that.

The odd thing about it all is that I just find this more humorous than upsetting. Men come in all types, just like women do. I've had some wonderful men in my life and you take the bad traits with the good one.

I've been crazy about a Momma's boy but I think once is enough in a lifetime. You just can't compete with his Momma or his Daddy and what they think, so don't even bother trying. 'Cause I can guarantee you that you're not good enough for their little darling - he already knows it, but he really wants to pretend that he can stand up to them. He can't. And eventually you're out and Momma and Daddy are back in and that's the way it will always be. I'll file that one away in the "lessons learned" category.

Overall, I've been very fortunate when it comes to the opposite sex, but it's fun to remember people who taught you important lessons in life - even if they were painful at the time. My heart has been broken. My heart has healed. And I'll no doubt repeat that cycle again if I live long enough. 'Tis life - rich, wonderful, exciting, rewarding, funny, painful and enticing.


Fifty questions from last night --- it's a bit over the 20 Question Limit --- but I'm game.

1. First Name? Patsy

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not that I know of

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Few days ago


5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? thinly sliced mesquite turkey

6. KIDS? no

7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH You? would depend on who I was - some people love to be around me, some people can't stand me

8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? many, many, many - some filled, some blank

9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? No, why do you ask? Yes, I certainly do.

10. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? nope - just a gory story about their extraction from my throat when I was three - yes, three.


12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds


14. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? yes� life requires it� I'm far more easily hurt than people realize... but I am very strong... life didn't offer any other options - you roll with the punches

15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? I don't discriminate against any kind of ice cream. But, I'm very fond of chocolate and nuts as ingredients.

16. SHOE SIZE? 11

17. RED OR PINK? Depends on the shade of each� My dining room is painted red� my purse is bright pink

18 WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Oh gosh, that's a tough one� I'll pass


21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Green summery pants and white shoes

22. LAST THING YOU ATE? a tomato from my little garden plot


Burgundy red

25. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SMELL? something baking on a chilly day, when you walk into a warm house are are hit with that smell



28. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? now that's a silly question� like I'd give people I don't like my email address

29. FAVORITE DRINK? Diet Sprite or hot tea

30. FAVORITE SPORT? not a big sports person now that I'm not in college

31. HAIR COLOR? brunette

32. EYE COLOR? Blue

33. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? sometimes contacts, sometimes glasses

34. FAVORITE FOOD? salad, veggies, fresh food� great fruit� cheese� homemade bread� pasta� and - of course - sweets... wish I didn't like them but I do. A lot.

35. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? happy - I don't do scary� fear is not an emotion I enjoy - I don't pay people to induce it in me.




39. HUGS OR KISSES? depends on the person

40. FAVORITE DESSERT? bananas foster

41. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? I'm not sending this to anyone, so N/A

43. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Just finished Freakonomics - haven't started a new one yet - am reading my latest Scientific American Mind magazine right now

44 WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? gel wrist pad - both blue


46. FAVORITE SOUNDS? many, many, many � "I Love You" whispered in the dark by someone I am madly in love rates pretty highly

47. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles by a hair


49. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? yes� but I don't know you well enough to share

50. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? December 23 in Kentucky

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I spent the day working on a number of different projects. I have some things I want to get done before the end of the week. In fact, I'm staying up tonight until I get the newsletter ready to take to the printer tomorrow so it's out of my world.

We did go to lunch at Roy's. When I was outside the door I could hear Mike chopping inside and it occurred to me that that is one of the "sounds of Roy's." I'm always into sound - I guess it comes from all those years in radio.

I realized once that it was probably no accident that I chose a career where I was controlling sound, something I couldn't do in my childhood. In radio I could control what sounds, the volume, how it sounded in the end, what was mixed with it, everything... not accidental. Of course, I guess few things in life are accidents.

Tonight I went to a civil rights rally on the steps of the courthouse. Today is the 16th anniversary of the passage of the ADA. There were lots of people there I knew.

Jan Pauls spoke, as did a number of other people. Jan is one of our state legislators and someone I really like. We don't always agree on politics, but I really respect her. She was just noted as someone who has never missed a vote in the 15 plus years she has been in the legislature. That is dedication.

This was organized partly by Taylor, Diana's daughter. A number of Diana's friends were there to show support. Teresa and Debbie both came, as did John.

There were representatives from a number of different groups. Jim Potter told a great story about growing up that related to the topic.

The most interesting comment came from the Reverend who said if only we would uphold the constitution and Bill of Rights we'd have no need of additional legislation for so many civil rights issues. He is correct, of course. But we don't seem willing to do that.

It was good he was there - not only for his speech - but also for his singing abilities. We definitely needed a song leader on each one and the Reverend had a nice, strong voice. I guess that's pretty much a requirement of being a reverend. There were three different songs, including "We Shall Overcome" at the end with the candlelight vigil.

Afterwards, Diana, Teresa, Debbie and I went to get something cold to drink. We didn't leave until a little after 10 when they closed.

I've still got some work to do before I can go to bed so I should get to that.

Journals I Covet

There are some things I covet, and journals are one of them - these journals. I'm very particular about journals - the kind of paper, the texture, the size, lack of lines, etc. etc. etc. Like I said, I'm particular.

Diana just got in these really cool journals made from recycled saris on the covers. I swear, The Dancing Grouse is like drugs to an addict sometimes.

I so desperately want to own about a dozen of these journals. But, that would be excessive. And foolish. And unnecessary. And I already have journals that are waiting to be used. But I like these oh so very much - they are in pretty colors and the paper feels so nice.

I had a small leather one like this for awhile that was my journal for my purse. It's full now, but I did like it. At the moment I'm using a little journal I got at Target in the $1 section and I love it except it has lines. I can't really journal on lined paper - it's confining - but I use it for notes.

Pretty journals... something I covet...


It has been a full day. I got up very early this morning and did some things around the house and then went out for a walk while it was still cool - well, it was only about 80, which is cool compared to what it was later in the day.

Greg came back to Hutch last night so we went to Dutch Kitchen for breakfast this morning. It was good to see him. It's been about a month that he's been gone.

I spent the work day focused on some projects I just want to get out of my life - things that have been hanging over my head too long. There are always things that aren't critical, so they never seem to get done. I'm trying to get some of those out of my life.

Tonight was meditation class at the Dancing Grouse. In addition to class I also checked on the time for the spiritual fair in Wichita this weekend. Friday is 3-7 - I was hoping it started earlier as I have to be there for some things and wanted to stop by. But, I'm not sure I can wait that long and catch it as had been my plan. We'll see how the week develops.

Meditation class was interesting, and afterwards Teresa, Debbie and I went out to continue our conversation. It was enlightening. We had a discussion about private vs. public lives, and how that plays out in everything from relationships to blogs.

Although I share a great deal about my life here, there is still a lot of my life that is very private, and will remain that way. Experts say that when you say you're "private," what that really means is "I've been hurt and need to protect myself." Well, gosh, who hasn't been hurt? I don't know anyone. Pain is just part of the price of being alive - at least truly alive. I don't think you can live a full life and avoid pain at the same time. Interesting thoughts...

Monday, July 24, 2006


It has been an enlightening day for me. I got some insight into an old relationship today that came from an unexpected place. The details don't matter, but I realize that in the end it was all about power and control.

Isn't so much of life about power and control? Maybe this is why it takes me a long time to figure things out - neither of those matter much to me. I forget they are driving forces for so many people. Sometimes I wish I understood others better, but as I wrote some time ago, "the 'norm' is a mystery to me."

When people's lives are out of control, when they have no real power, they exert power over whatever in their lives they can - including relationships, colleagues, their personal appearance and dozens of other things.

It's been an eye opening realization for me. As I look back over a number of years, I can see multiple instances where I - or a situation I was engaged in - was the victim of someone's life being out of control and them needing to exert power and control over *something*, which became the relationship/situation/whatever. It's the reason I've spent time doing incredibly stupid busy work, the reason I've cried over lost loves, the reason I haven't understood purchasing decisions, and no doubt many other things that will eventually occur to me.

What to do about this? Well, all I can come up with is... nothing... other than to not have anyone in my world who cares about these things. That's much easier said than done. We can't choose all the people we do business with or interact with on a regular basis. Besides, these are not horrible traits in and of themselves, it's how they are manifested when people feel powerless that is the problem.

We all feel powerless at times. It's what we do about that that matters. I generally get in the car and drive and get away. Or, plan a trip further away to remove myself from the situation. I turn to my journals and try to figure things out. The ways I try to regain control over my life are much more subtle than the "housecleaning" others sometimes do. I haven't ever felt the urge to go cut a foot off my hair because work sucked. But, people do things like that - dramatically change their personal appearances - without realizing why they're doing them.

I think if you're living consciously, present, in the moment, you're less likely to do something like that. But, that could just be my thinking, and have no bearing in reality.

I don't think it's a conscious decision by people when they feel out of control. They just feel out powerless - impotent, if you will - and so they exert whatever power they have to control whatever they can. Sometimes you or the situation you are in is something they can control, so they do.

I guess if I were a more easily controlled woman that would probably have served the purpose to some degree. But, that's not who I am. So, there you go. Maybe the trick is for me to choose to work and play with people who are present and in the moment, and can find different ways to deal with it when they feel powerless. Yeah, hmmmm..... good luck with figuring that out in advance. We humans just aren't that predictable when it comes to such things. So, you live and learn... and so does everyone else on the planet... and hopefully you meet in the middle somewhere.

Miranda's Drawing of Bush

This was drawn by 6-year-old Miranda. I don't know Miranda, so I had nothing to do with influencing this, but I'm sure Miranda is destined to be one of the great thinkers of our time.

Christine, her mother, who - for the record - I also do not know, was looking at pictures Miranda had drawn in her notebook and ran across the picture. When asked about the picture, Miranda had a story.

The drawing depicts President Bush standing at a podium holding his money bags while Miranda stands in front of him yelling angrily. She told her mom that President Bush was a bad president, because he takes money from the poor people, and keeps it for himself. She said that she wanted to be president, so she could give the money back to the poor people.

Going Through the Motions

I have been working around the house all day today. I haven't been any further than the yard, and other than a quick phone call to Sondra and a quick hello with the neighbor, haven't talked to anyone. I have been focused. I could really use one more weekend day to get some things done, but it's time for the work week.

I've been thinking a lot today. It seems I have just been going through the motions in my life the last couple of months. I can't seem to accomplish much in my private life. Work I do because it has to be done, but my personal projects seem to languish. I just can't seem to get a handle on things.

I've been mulling over why this is. I think my brother's illness has hit me harder than I realized. He's doing very well so far, but of course, the fact that there's nothing I can do and the uncertainty of it all is difficult. Of course, uncertainty is always part of all our lives.

I feel like I've been spinning my wheels for a while, and not accomplishing anything. I don't like this feeling. I'm just not sure what to do about it, but I think I need some different. My life has become very mundane - very same - and I must change it. Otherwise I will become a drone, which is what it seems our society wants to make us all into. But I'm not a good drone.

I need a constant supply of newness in my world. I need to do things that frighten me a little bit. I need to do things I'm uncertain about. How else can you grow as a human? How else can you develop new skills? If we just do the same things over and over, having the same experiences, what is the point?

Maybe I need a trip to somewhere I've never been...

Sunday, July 23, 2006


It rained this morning and cooled off - thank goodness. It was a beautiful day. I snapped a couple of pix in the flower bed this morning after it stopped raining but while everything was still wet.

I love this spiderweb in the lamb's ear.

I planted two mini roses that are doing very well.

I had lunch with Trish today. It was great to see her, although we were definitely in the crying baby section. Sometimes it just works out like that.

This afternoon I got an invitation from Susan - she is having a retreat at her farm and has told us we can invite another woman to come with us if we wish. I immediately emailed Trish and asked if she'd like to join me and she said yes. So, that will be fun. I'm not sure who all will go but it will be neat.

Susan invited me up in March for the tea in Hiawatha and she was a very gracious hostess, so I know this will be a fun weekend. I will love getting to share it with Trish.

Susan told Teresa and me about it when we all had dinner on Monday, so hopefully Teresa is planning on going.

I was planning to meet Terry and Nancy S. for dinner at the Anchor tonight at 7, but decided I had time to go out and get some fresh air before then. So, I headed out to Sandhills to take a little walk. There's a trail that's only about a half mile and mostly shaded, which I thought would be nice and give me time to get some things done at home before dinner.

I went and it was so lovely to be outside without the oppressive heat. I sat down at a picnic table at the start of the trail to journal for a bit.

When I got up and opened the mailbox where they put trail brochures, I found something unexpected - a letterbox. It had been added to by a few people - who obviously didn't really understand letterboxing. I don't either. I think you're supposed to stamp in them, but I didn't have a stamp and there wasn't one, so I did a quickie watercolor sketch in it since I had my watercolor set with me.

A little net research tells me that you're not supposed to just run across them, but someone had moved this one - obviously. Oh well, I plead ignorance. I tried to email the person, but they've changed their email so there's nothing more I can do.

HINT: People... get a yahoo or gmail account that you will ALWAYS have if you're going to do something like this.

Well, I wasn't really paying attention when I took off down the trail and a few minutes later realized I had not taken the short trail, but a longer one. I thought, oh well, I'll just see where this leads - if that one's a half mile, this one is probably a mile. I'll have plenty of time to get to dinner.

It was different, and there were some pretty sights, but the thing I wasn't prepared for is that large parts of it are in the sun. It wasn't horribly hot today, but it was warm. Fortunately, I was wearing a summer dress so it was cooler than slacks would have been. But, I was plenty warm.

They were out of trail brochures, so I had no idea which trail was the shortest of the blue or green that were my options. Then I came to a fork in the path and there was an orange option as well. I decided I should stick with the blue/green. Thank goodness I did.

This might be an opportune time to mention I have no sense of direction, not that you can have much when you're on twisty-curvy trails. I can tell directions when the sun is setting in the west, which it was, but that's not overly helpful when you can't see if the trails are going to go straight or turn up ahead.

Also, there's a reason they call it sand hills. There are some little hills - many of which I circumnavigated on the little trails, wondering how long this trail was and if I was going to make it to dinner on time. I knew my estimation that it was a mile or so was not correct because I'd had plenty of time to walk that far.

Anyway, I just decided to enjoy the walk and figured they would call me if I was too late for dinner. And, of course, being in nature, I had my cell phone. Doesn't everyone? What I didn't have was a hat or sunscreen but I think I escaped without any damage. I wear sunscreen on my face every day but had I planned to be out I would have put it all over me.

Overall it was a nice walk, although a bit longer than I expected.

When I got back to the start of the trail and checked - the trail was about two and a half miles long instead of the half mile I had intended to take. I had about 20 minutes to get to dinner. Sandhills is about 10 minutes from my house. I needed a shower after my walk that was much sunnier than I expected. So, I jumped in the shower and washed my hair, changed clothes, put on some lipstick, and got to the restaurant at 7:03 - not bad, if I do say so myself. I pride myself on being able to get ready to go quickly. Admittedly, I did have very wet hair, but I was there.

Hunting and Gathering

I spent the morning hunting and gathering. OK, that's a gross exaggeration. I did the 2006 version of it.

I went to the farmer's market for fresh fruit and vegetables, then to the grocery for what I couldn't get there, then to the bulk food store for vanilla, because they carry some made from beans grown in Madagascar, which is the best you can get. My second favorite is from Mexico.

At the farmer's market I got some fresh green beans and new potatoes, obviously grown here. I also got an eggplant. There were tons of zucchini but I didn't pick up any - I can never figure out what to do with them other than fry them and I didn't want to do that.

I also got some peaches - shipped in, obviously. I'm not sure why I can buy those at the "farmer's market." They're better than what you get in the grocery, but they're still not locally grown, which is what the concept of the farmer's market implies. Of course, I guess if people are unaware enough to believe those were grown here they deserve to be fooled. If we weren't so far removed from the reality of growing our own food, people would know better.

I had planned to have the green beans and new potatoes tonight, but decided to make eggplant parmesan instead. I went ahead and cooked the other, though, so they'll be ready for lunch tomorrow.

I've been working on computer stuff today. I have some website stuff I need to do for some organizations I'm involved in. I'm hoping that I can also motivate myself to work on my own, which is pathetic.

I have the last load of dishes in the dishwasher at the moment. When they're done, I will have everything clean from having people over Thursday, from cooking today, and all the dishes in my kitchen have been washed recently. All my cabinets have been cleaned. All I really have left to do is a bit more tidying on the counters, finding places for those really unusual things that don't have a logical place, and cleaning the floor. It sounds so simple but it seems to be more involved than I think. I keep trying to get it done and so far I haven't been able to accomplish it. Of course, cooking meals in there while this is going on makes it one step forward and two steps back.

When I came back from the bulk food store, which is out of town, I went by a furniture store in that area. Why is it that furniture sales people annoy me so very much? I'm just instantly curt and I don't know why. It's not like they've ever done anything to me - I've never bought a new piece of furniture in my life - but for some reason they just instantly put me on guard. I'm not as pleasant as I'd like to be and I don't know why. Something there I should examine I'm guessing.

I need to do something about my living room furniture. I like it, but it's worn out. I bought fabric to recover it, but finding someone to do that is no easy feat. I've been on the list for one person for almost a year now.

So, I decided maybe I'd just buy something new. I've looked at three or four places now. They all have really ugly stuff. Where is the cool furniture? Is there no such thing anymore? Something made with quality, with some wood - real wood, not fake wood - on the frame, something long enough you can stretch out on should you have the urge. I'm back to thinking maybe I need to find someone to recover what I have. That seems to be a difficult feat as well. Maybe I can find someone in Wichita. I think it's going to be another few years before I can get it done here. I'd like to get it done a little sooner than 2010 or so.

Oh well... that's my day in a nutshell. If the biggest problem I have is worrying about living room furniture I should just be grateful. So, I think I'll do that very thing and stop my whining.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Art of Gracious Living #32

Click here for show #32 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.

Taking time to write down the guiding principles for your life - your Rules for Living - will help you make decisions easily.

My number one rule for living is to "Seek," so when a friend asked if I wanted to go to Honduras, I instantly knew the answer was "yes." When you have your own rules for living you'll be able to make decisions quickly too.

Take time to list your own rules for living, and lead a more gracious life.

Click here for the Art of Gracious Living Page

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Fake Floors

I'm watching HGTV, one of my little addictions. They're doing someone's sunporch, putting down a psuedo wood floor. They're talking about how great it is. I always just want to scream at the TV - PEOPLE - it's plastic, not wood. It looks like plastic, because it is. No one is going to believe it's wood - because it is obviously plastic.

What happened to using wood for wood floors, trim and fences? Why do we want everything in our world to be fake?

Friday, July 21, 2006


It seems every day I have at least a few tomatoes that are ripe - only cherry ones so far. I have one full size tomato that is starting to turn. Maybe by the end of the weekend I'll be able to make a fresh mozzarella salad with my own tomato.

Creative Sisterhood

Tonight was Creative Sisterhood. We are approaching three years of coming together each month and sharing our lives. It was a really good gathering tonight. Everyone was here for the first time in awhile and the energy when that happens is always amazing.

I tried a new recipe tonight for a chocolate cake. I didn't care much for it but everyone else seemed to like it. I was able to send everyone pieces home so I only have an empty cake plate left, which is what I wanted. When I make something I really love, I like to have some left the next day. But there's no point in wasting calories on something you only sorta like. I mean it was chocolate - so by definition it was OK - but I've had other chocolate I like more.

I made iced tea tonight, with mint in it. I made a mint mixture first - just pouring hot water over freshly picked and washed mint. After it had steeped I cooled it and mixed it into the brewed tea. I also garnished each glass with some mint. I should have taken a photo of the glasses, but I didn't get that done. Oh well... next time. It was good.

Teresa stayed for awhile afterwards and it was great to have a long chat with her. Even though we see each other often we don't always have time to connect in a meaningful way. Tonight we had a nice long chat about all kinds of topics.

One of the things we talked about was being "fragile." People rarely believe I am fragile, even when I tell them, "I'm fragile" in those words. Because people are used to me being strong, sometimes people tell me, "oh, you can't be fragile... you just can't... you have to be the strong one." So, I end up being fragile alone, which is not good. I have had a couple of boyfriends who let me be fragile, but it's rare for me. Teresa had a couple of interesting thoughts - one is that sometimes I seem like if anyone asked what was wrong I would crumble - which is true. The other is that even when I say, "I'm fragile," and I'm being as direct as I can imagine being - what else can those words mean - but that I say that with "authority" too so people don't really hear the words - only the tone.

We also talked about relationships. I'm really puzzling over some patterns in my life and trying to dissect them, figuring that's the best way to learn from them. However, I've been unable to figure them out yet.

My topic for the evening was to have everyone talk about if the group is serving a purpose in their lives and if so what it is. Teresa mentioned that she forgot one of her points which is that most really good events have a "social" more formal time, and then they have an intimate time. Like at my Christmas party, there are people who come early and chat a bit and stay awhile, but they leave early and eventually there's a core group that stays late, and we have a much more intimate time.

We used to do this with Creative Sisterhood, but really don't anymore to the same degree. There are times when all six of us reaches that "intimate" state, and it's always more of that than you would have in any other group,but it happens more rarely now. Of course, tonight Teresa and I had a really wonderful, intimate conversation together. And as is always the case, I hate it that others missed out on it. I guess that's just the nature of groups of any sort.

It was a good night.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Too Hot to Breathe

It's too hot to breathe here. We broke a record from 1980 yesterday - it got up to 109. Of course, can you really tell much difference between 103 and 109? I don't think so. It's hot. It's supposed to be hotter today.

I'm very fortunate that I have climate control. I don't know how people stand it without air conditioning. I've even been conscientious about keeping lights off - no need to have that extra heat.

I worked on some press info for Art of Gracious Living tonight. It has been on my list of things to do for forever. My personal webpage is so out of date it's embarrassing but I just dread sitting down and focusing on all that detail stuff. Webpages are not my favorite thing to do. Maybe I'll get it done this fall. At least I got the Art of Gracious Living things done. That has been on my "to do" list for awhile.

Tuesday night I got to see Julie for dinner and that was nice. We went out after the board meeting. It had been a really long time since we'd had a chance to chat. Monday night with Teresa and Susan was fun and tomorrow I'm having lunch with Trish, so it will round out the week of connecting with people.

Tonight is Creative Sisterhood and I think everyone is going to be here for the first time in awhile. It is always powerful to have all six of us together. Martha and I were at a working lunch together yesterday but didn't really get a chance to have any fun. I popped in to see Diana briefly afterwards, but it will be good to connect with everyone together. I haven't seen Virginia in ages.

I generally serve hot tea at Creative Sisterhood but maybe I'll make it iced tea tonight. Maybe I'll go pick some mint and make some iced mint tea - that sounds like a nice cooling drink. We'll see what I come up with.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sometimes You're Just DONE

I had a really interesting series of dreams last night that involved people from almost every era of my life - long gone relatives, old lovers and childhood friends were blended into a melange of images that left me feeling "done" this morning. "Finished" is good.

I had to get up about a half dozen times last night to go to the bathroom, and I rarely get up more than once, if at all. It was as if my body was cleansing itself as my mind was doing the same. Each time I woke up I would think about what I had dreamed. When I went back to bed I would continue the dream, as if it were another scene in the same play. When it came to a natural conclusion I'd wake up and have to go to the bathroom again. I began to wonder just how much liquid I had consumed yesterday, but it was no more than normal.

The first time I woke up it was only about an hour after I went to sleep. The next time it was about 45 minutes later. Each time it was as if another chapter had come to a close.

Oddly enough, I also took a very long bath last night - as in hours long. That's always a sign of a clearing. When I went upstairs I had an urge to change my sheets, which I did. It was as if many things were pointing toward a clearing out. Not to mention all the cleaning out I've been doing in my house.

Two other interesting things - last night I unplugged the lamp by the bed, thinking I wouldn't be getting up until it was light anyway. So everytime I got up I turned the TV on for light, and yet that never changed my dream pattern.

The other interesting thing is that yesterday and the day before, I stepped on old, rusty nails in my yard that went through my shoe and were sticking the bottom of my foot. I haven't stepped on an old nail since I was a kid, and then it happens two days in a row, in areas I've walked in hundreds of times and never had a problem. Odd. One was in the back of the property and one near the front. I had on different shoes both times, but each time the nail went through the sole of the shoe. Two days ago, it was a small nail and a thick sole in my right foot. Yesterday it was a long nail and a thin solein my left foot. As I was driving to dinner last night I was considering what that meant - it seemed that the message was getting more intense.

The things that occurred to me were, "poking," "not seeing what was coming," "painful," "warning," "when you least expect it," and a host of other things. When something hasn't happened for decades and happens two days in a row it seems worthy of note. Maybe it was just that old business was pricking at me. Neither of them pierced the skin, but they were painful. Old business that's painful - no big shocker there.

When I woke up this morning about 5 and stayed up I took time to write about my dreams. Even before I started writing, I knew the meaning was that I was just "done" - with some people and some things and some situations. Done is good. It frees you to move on to other people and things and situations.

Some of these situations are in the past and some are current. I periodically go through a time when I just clear people out of my life - relationships that just aren't productive, where we really just aren't connecting, where I'm making all the effort in the relationship. I'm overdue for one of those clearings, but as of this morning the time has arrived. It's no big surprise, really, as over the last few months I've been taking my life in a new direction. That always means some people won't fit into your life anymore. Of course, there are also always those people who go through every season of life with you - those are the true, real, deep friends - they are few and they are priceless.

I really finished some old things last night - some of the past that I haven't been able to leave completely behind dissipated. It's a fresh slate.

I woke up determined to leave some current situations and relationships behind as well. There are always things I'm working on in some way or other. I'm officially letting go of a couple of those this morning. If they're meant to be, someone other than me can make them happen.

I'm also moving some people out of my "active" list. If our relationship is not deep now, and isn't growing, there's no point in putting any more energy into it. I'm always open to new friends, but there must be a natural progression toward more closeness or it's just a waste of time. I don't have any interest in casual friendships - you're either *in* it or you're not - if you're not, why bother. Casual is just a drain on one's energy - energy that could be devoted to something meaningful.

Well, obviously, I have much to think about. This isn't a new idea for me - I "clear out" about once a year, but it has never been suggested to me in the way this was. Sometimes, you're just DONE. And this morning I am DONE, with a lot of things.

Art of Gracious Living #31

Click here for show #31 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.

Setting boundaries is an essential for leading a gracious life. Each of us must know what our limits are and how to create a life within them.

We cannot possibly take advantage of every opportunity presented to us, and some of the choices would not be wise for us anyway. When we know how to set boundaries, it's easy to make good decision about our lives.

If we cannot define our boundaries, we cannot expect people to honor htem.

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

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Stop Doing this Shit

Well, we all know he said it. The man representing our country, the president, said "... stop doing this shit."

You know there is no love lost between me and the president - he's not one of my favorite people. So, no doubt, you're expecting me to rip him for this. Well, while it's tempting, I can't say I disagree with his sentiments, and "stop doing this shit" does sum it up nicely. It could be applied to so many war situations, including the ones we've created.

Here I've been trying to put my thoughts together about the whole situation, and I need look no further. What do you know? Bush can speak for me. I never thought it possible.

Frankly, what bothers me much more is that fact that the man cannot stop talking with his mouth full. Good grief, I cannot imagine what family dinners are like if this is how he acts on the world stage - literally - a stage - being watched by the world - it's the freaking world stage by definition. Tacky, tacky, tacky.

Of course, we Americans only got a little bit of the whole story. There were "four minutes of candor" as the International Herald Tribune called it.

In addition to his use of what they called a "scatological term" ("scatological" is just not a word you get to use often - I'm not missing the opportunity - and neither were they), we also learned of his love for Diet Coke and that he was eager to get home. Not exactly earth-shattering revelations.

However, the part that frightens me the most - while he's on the world stage - is where he's overheard talking to an aide about some upcoming remarks, saying, "I'm just going to make it up, right here. I'm not going to talk too damn long like the rest of them." He adds, "Some of these guys talk too long." Bush unscripted terrifies me.

And, although they don't specify, I'm guessing he had all of those conversations while chomping on his food. Someone - please give the president an etiquette lesson in how to eat. Maybe once he's got that down he can grasp the concept of open microphones.

By the way, who do we need to thank for these revelations - the Russians. Politics is a strange business.

The Morning

I love the early morning hours. Even when it's going to be miserably hot, the early morning is cool and welcoming. I went out for a walk about 6:30, after I'd gotten the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer all going. It was already feeling like it was in the 80s, but it was pleasant enough. I also did a couple of outdoor things that were necessary, and did a little weeding in the front flowerbed.

I picked some of the miniature roses and some assorted greenery to have a little display inside. Do you recognize the "vases?" Yes, they're spice bottles. When I was cleaning out the kitchen cabinets, I had some old flavorings that needed to be tossed out. But I saved the bottles, thinking specifically of using them for miniature roses. I like the look of them. Of course, I may be the only one who does, but since I live alone I guess that's all that matters!

I also picked a white rose and some purple sweet potato vine to go with it. I have it in the kitchen. I have mini yellow roses, I'll have to pick some of those to go in the yellow kitchen. I have another dark purple calla lily blooming from that same plant - it's quite the producer! I have others that are leafy, but only a couple more that are blooming yet. My morning glories have tons of big leaves, but few blooms. I'm hoping I get lots of blooms as time progresses. I'll be disappointed if not. I understand over-fertilizing makes the leaves grow, but not bloom. I hope I haven't done that. I guess time will tell. I do have a few blooms so hopefully I'll get more.

Well, I must get on with the work day. I have a lot I need to accomplish before the board meeting today. I spend the day of board meetings killing lots of trees, printing things. I wish we could go even more to electronic format and stop printing so much. At least we do send meeting notice by email so that halves the amount of paper we print and that's positive. But, it's still a waste and I hate that.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Heat Wave

At almost 9 p.m. and it's still 99 degrees. I am a heat wimp. I'm waiting for it to cool off so I can go to the grocery store. It got up to 108 today. It's supposed to be 110 tomorrow and unfortunately I've got some running around to do so I won't be able to avoid it.

I have spent today working on the newsletter, comfy with the climate control. Tonight was dinner with Susan and Teresa so I did go out for that.
I've eaten out much less lately and I've been enjoying preparing my own food. Today for lunch I had a spinach salad with blue cheese, pears and walnuts. I've grown very fond of Bertolli Balsamic Vinegarette - it's the perfect touch on fresh salads.

People always talk about how it's so much less expensive to eat at home, but I'm not sure that's true for me. I guess if you're eating hamburgers, maybe, but when I am preparing food at home, it's going to be good stuff. I've also been making lots of smoothies with fruit, yoghurt and soy milk. When I was at the artist's retreat in May they turned me on to soy milk and I love it - it lasts a really long time, unlike regular milk that seems to spoil the second it's opened. I'm not a milk person, anyway, but I like to have it for cereal or baking or whatever. I much prefer the taste of soy milk to cow's milk.

I just realized today that Thursday night is Creative Sisterhood. I have some things I want to get done before then. My cleaning binge has resulted in my house being torn apart. But the parts that are clean are really clean. I even moved the fridge out yesterday and cleaned all around and under it. That will give me a goal to at least have the dining room table cleared off by Thursday night. At the moment it has stuff on it that is going to Salvation Army. However, I'm not going to mess with taking that stuff in 100 plus degree weather. It can wait in a pile on the floor until it's more temperate.

I have a board meeting tomorrow night so I'll have some preparation to do for that tomorrow. At least much of it can be done in climate control.

I've been thinking a lot about the situation in Lebanon. I've had emails from people wondering why I haven't commented on it here. I will, as soon as I have my thoughts more organized. Suffice it to say I'm not happy with more war. And I'm not happy that once again the US is blindly supporting whatever Israel does. I'm still pondering it all.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

World War III

I've been trying to think of something intelligent to say about the situation in Lebanon and Israel. I guess the most interesting thing I can say is that in one survey done last week, 19% of people believe World War III has already started.

Pink's Song - Dear Mr. Presdient

Mia sent this link to Pink's live performance of "Dear Mr. President" on TRL:

There's a video here, that has lots of pix to illustrate the song:

Here are the lyrics:
Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me

Would You?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Open House at the Dancing Grouse

Last night was Open House night at the Dancing Grouse. It was really fun to see everyone.

Diana had a very good turn out. People were playing the angel guidance game and playing with angel cards, taking time to look at the selection of books, and doing various activities.

Evelyn did biogenesis, Jocelyn was doing Reiki, Diana and I were both doing readings and Dan Higgins was doing animal cards. I didn't get pix of everyone because I was busy at my little table.

I took some rocks I had picked up in Kentucky and encouraged everyone to take one. It's always interesting to me that people almost always have an attraction to one particular rock. That's what's in the little basket there. I love getting to share them with people.

Teresa (black shirt), Martha and Andrea (white shirt) were there at various times of the night. I hadn't seen Andrea in awhile, so it was good to reconnect.

Diana was looking radiant in her beaded poncho. She was showing us all the photo that we were talking about at the Christmas party when we were just incapacitated with laughter. She has forbidden me to take a photo of it to share with you. But, just picture Nelly Olson curls and you get the general idea of her "hair twigging," as her grandmother described it.

It was from 7-10 p.m. I had four people, and Diana had two, I think, because she was busy doing other things too. Dan did a couple of people and I think Jocelyn did the same as far as full treatments, but did some other quickie "introduction" treatments. I'm not sure how many Evelyn did, but she was busy all night.

Ryan Coon and his buddy were playing music. Ryan's dad, Mike, is someone I run into at the Dancing Grouse on occasion. He's a really nice guy.

Diana has a great selection of books. She recently rearranged the store and now there's a nice chair there, which prompts you to just want to sit down and browse. That, of course, leads you to want to take the books home.

All in all, it was a really fun evening. I think everyone had a good time.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Exposing Oneself

Friends often tell me I'm "brave" to share my life's path in this blog. I always respond that it is certainly edited for publication - that I do not share my very most private thoughts here - I reserve those for my paper journals, which I never share with anyone. There's a magic to pen and paper that keyboards will never replace, although I love my keyboard.

Each month I get over 90,000 hits to my website and the vast majority of them are coming to read the blog. When I started this a couple of years ago I thought it would be nice for my family in Kentucky to learn about what was happening in my life here in Hutchinson, Kansas. It was also just to be a chronicle of my life. It never occurred to me that anyone I knew would read it because they all know what's going on in my life. And I never imagined anyone who didn't know me would want to read it. Oh, I thought maybe a couple of people here or there might check in but I had no idea anyone would flatter me by reading regularly. And flattered I am.

A funny thing happened. I got in on the early stages of a trend - "social content."

When I was a journalist, one of the things I learned was that *everyone* has a story to tell. The trick is can you get them to tell it to you. And blogging has become one of the ways we learn each other's stories. Many of them are fascinating.

Of course, we all go through periods where our lives are very mundane. But most of us also have times when what we're thinking about is very interesting, even if what we're doing on a daily basis is the routine.

At least once a week I read the blogs I keep up on. I love to read about the art, the kids, the details of life. Life is made up of these little bits and pieces that we forget about if we're not keeping track on a regular basis. If we're not careful we can miss the little sidebars that ultimately make up the story of a life.

This is a good opportunity for me to say thank you for reading, and sharing my life through this blog. I'm honored that you spend some of your day here.

Fresh Food

Tonight I'm feeling very grateful that I can cook. It's not that I'm an exceptional cook or anything - but I can cook and take advantage of wonderful fresh foods that are so abundant this time of year. I'm generally not this much of a foodie, but it's so nice when things are fresh.

Last night the neighbors brought over some green beans and new potatoes. I cooked them with some garlic and shallots, and they were great. I also bought some Gaedderts Farms corn on the cob today. It was delicious. They pick it fresh every morning and sell it at their stand on 30th street. I understand Smith's market has it, too, but I don't know if it's picked the same day and that really does matter.

Going to the farmer's market is great, but so much of what is sold there isn't really grown locally. I'm really disappointed by that. It amazes me that people don't realize that they're just buying things shipped from somewhere else half the time. Of course, some of it is fresh, but much of it is not. When I go to a Farmer's Market I want to be buying direct from farmers, not just more food that has been shipped in. I can buy that at Dillons or WalMart. I guess I'll miss the Farmer's Market Saturday because I have an event for the MHA that morning and they close by 12:30. Oh well, I've got enough food in the house to last me for a few days anyway.

Teresa stopped by today on the way home to get some basil. I went out and picked her a few sprigs and told her to let me know if she wants more. I put in two plants and it's way more than I can use. I also took some over to Sondra. We had lunch today and I mentioned basil and she said she'd like to have some. I had a meeting tonight in her neighborhood so just dropped some off at her house.

I'm really thinking a lot about travel... I have a travel voucher I need to use in the next few weeks, but fortunately I just have to buy the ticket but can travel after the expiration date. I'm thinking the fall would be a nice time to travel. I need to meet more people who want to travel. Definitely something I need - more potential travel partners.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Veggies and Rainbows

I've had a very long day. I got to the office early in case the cable guy arrived before his 8 - 10 a.m. scheduled time. It was a good thing because he did arrive right after 8. He remembered me from setting up the cable at my house. I don't remember that, but he did. I think he remembered the house more than me. I'm sure it was in a bad state when I had the cable hooked up but I don't recall.

His news was not good, but not awful - the network card in the machine is dead. I'll have to get a new one but didn't have time today. Of course, I could have figured that out myself if I'd had the laptop with me yesterday. Anyway, I'll get it dealt with.

Teresa and I had lunch and that was fun. It was the day for the diversity lunch group, and I love the people in that group, but they want to go to restaurants that are consistently bad - bad food, bad service, bad. The one they had planned to go to has apparently closed. It's a pity, but your food can only be so bad and you stay in the restaurant business. I knew the first time I ate there that it wasn't going to last. But, I'm not sure how to say to a restaurant owner, "excuse me, but your food is truly awful... you're going to be out of business in no time unless you do something." They obviously think it's good or they wouldn't have gone into the restaurant business, and it's not like they're asking me. But, overall, my record is stellar at predicting such things - I've been wrong ONCE.

Anyway, they wanted to go there but when they couldn't decided to go to another place downtown. I've eaten there once and that was more than enough. It's bad. Very bad. So, Teresa and I went across town instead. She didn't want to waste her money there either.

I worked on various things all day, and late this afternoon called Susan to ask about dinner. She was open so we went out. I left the house in the midst of a torrential rain storm. Fortunately, I had my Radio Kansas umbrella. By the time I got to the restaurant it had mostly stopped. I went to the grocery afterwards and should have taken the umbrella in with me because it was pouring again when I came out.

However, I just don't find hanging out in the foyer of Walmart to be that thrilling, so I went out and loaded my groceries in the rain so I could leave. It's always funny to me to see people standing there watching it rain. We all know eventually they'll give up and leave in the rain, getting just as wet as they would have if they'd left 20 minutes earlier. It's a bizarre human phenomenon. It's not like it's a cold rain - it was over 90 degrees today.

I hadn't been home very long until there was a knock at the door and it was my neighbor, Bob, with some fresh green beans and new potatoes for me. He asked me earlier today if I liked them. I adore them. Guess what I'm having for dinner tomorrow? He came in and we chatted a bit and when I walked out with him there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky. He said he and his wife had seen a double one. And, upon looking more closely, you could see the remnants of the double one. I came back in to get the camera so I could share it with you. It was well defined all the way across the sky - a lovely sight. I'm so grateful I got to see it. I would have missed it if Bob hadn't come to the door. So, just a wonderful happenstance.

Beautiful Morning

It's a gorgeous morning - only 70 degrees so far. I think I'll go take a little walk before going to the office. It's supposed to be over 100 here for a couple of days so I'm not going to want to move any more than necessary then. I'm so very thankful for air conditioning!

At the meditation class last night, the instructor was talking about the Buddhist concept of being thankful to have a human life because you have the opportunity to pursue a spiritual path. I have thought about that before, although not in those particular terms, but just how fortunate we are to be able to pursue our interests more than any other animal.

Well, if I'm going to get in a little walk and be at the office by 8 I must go. It will have to be a little walk, but you see things on a walk you miss any other way. There is a mimosa tree just a block away from me, and although I drive by it, I'd never noticed it before. The blooms smell so sweet.

Full Day

It has been a full day today. I had lunch with Trish. She's planning a rafting trip to the Grand Canyon with her oldest son, Nick, and I wanted to hear all about it. I just know they will have a great time together. She tells me I was instrumental in her deciding to go ahead and do it.

We went to El Potrillo, our usual spot. The other day when we were in there the owner told me he has noticed Trish and I are both always smiling. He said he loved that, that it made him feel good. It was so sweet of him to say something.

I spent a large part of the work day on the phone with tech support at Cox. They're sending someone out between 8-10 tomorrow morning to check it all out. I just know I couldn't get online.

Tonight I went to a meditation class at The Dancing Grouse. I'm glad I went. Diana was there, of course, as was Debbie. Austin and Amy popped in after the event was over so I saw them briefly. Austin has started a new business - basically hiring himself out for anything people need done. I may try to hire him to put together the rest of my bookshelves for the library upstairs. I keep thinking I'll get in there and get it done, but I haven't. Maybe it's worth it to just pay him to do it and be done with it. I still have to do some painting in that room and I can't get to the walls to paint because the boxes of books that go on the shelves are in front of the walls. Seems my house is always like puzzle pieces.

I did call Salvation Army and they will take mattresses. So, I'm going to donate those to them and get them out of my house. I just don't have company and if I do a good air mattress would be better. I'm also thinking about getting rid of the fold out couch. We'll see. I need to measure my other couch and see if it will fit in that space.

I wasn't home tonight so didn't get much done in the kitchen, but things are coming along slowly. I've got something every night this week, and an event on Saturday, so it will be awhile before much more happens in there.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Work of all sorts

I've spent the day glued to the computer working on the newsletter and tea things. I want to start publicizing the tea and all this background stuff has to be done before then. Always a long list of things to do. I got so wrapped up in it that I didn't go to a meeting I was supposed to attend. Fortunately, there wasn't any critical reason for me to be there.

Tonight I worked in the kitchen a little bit more but didn't get finished. I was out of steam by the time I got to work on it. Maybe tomorrow... The story of my life... maybe tomorrow...

Lately, I've been acting like someone who is depressed, although I don't feel depressed. Regardless, tomorrow I'm going to get away from the computer and interact with people. I'm going to do the thing I most do not want to do - schedule myself so I have no choice. If I don't nip it in the bud when I feel this drifting, it can get ugly. So, I'm going to do that very thing - bright and early in the morning. I'm turning the cell phone off so I can't get wrapped up in it or email. I need to be interacting with people face to face.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Yet More Cleaning

Well, here is some of my handiwork from the last few days. I have taken everything out of all but one cabinet in my kitchen, cleaned the cabinets and rearranged the items. I will get to the last one in the next couple of days. Then I'll be ready to move into another room I think.

I had a lot of stuff in the kitchen that I had never really organized since I moved - some of my things and some of my mom's things. So, I'm on my third dishwasher full of things, I have a mound of things ready to do to Salvation Army, and I've about half filled my dumpster.

I have been to Walmart the last two days to get various organizing widgets. Of course, as is so often the case, what has been the most useful was not intended for such purposes - sweater boxes. I'm using them to containerize things like powdered sugar and chocolate chips and such. Those are things I always like to have around en masse because I like to bake.

I have moved my can goods across the room, in a less convenient cabinet, and made the things close to the stove the baking things because that's what I really like to do. I've also dedicated a drawer to my pie baking materials - rolling pins and rolling mat, as well as the silpats. Since I cleaned out the cabinet that holds the pans, I have all my pie plates organized now. I could start making pie at any moment - but I'll have to take it somewhere because I can't eat that much pie.

Last week when I took the car in to get some work done I took the guys some brownies I had baked. They were very appreciative. I suppose I could take them pie. That's the only downside of not having coworkers that I've found - no where to take baked goods. But it's a small trade off.

I ate two little cherry tomatoes out of the garden tonight - my first ones of the season. I ate them while they were still warm from the sun - my favorite way. I'm a complete germ-phobe but will eat tomatoes right out of the garden with just a swipe on the bottom of my t-shirt. Go figure.

It's raining here now, so my plants will enjoy a nice drink of water. It's a good, gentle rain, too - not a pelting.

Well, I want to go start the dishwasher one more time before I head upstairs to bed. I think I just have one more load of dishes tomorrow and then everything in the kitchen will have been sanitized. That was one of the things I insisted on in the new dishwasher - a sanitizing cycle - it adds a couple of hours to the run time on the dishwasher but it's worth it.

I have poured bleach all over the kitchen counter between the stove and sink. I will let that sit all night and wipe it up in the morning. I also have the washing machine full of dish towels and cloths that have been bleached heavily. Hopefully any little buggers either place are dead, dead, dead. Tomorrow morning before work I'll wipe that up and bleach the other counter top so it can sit all day.

Well, time for bed. My workday starts in only about 5 hours. Even I need some sleep.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cleaning, Cleaning, Cleaning

I have spent the day working in the kitchen. I am slowly cleaning and reorganizing every cabinet in there. My stack of things to go to Salvation Army continues to increase. I have lots of "really cool" kitchen things that I never use. I'm going to give them to Goodwill or Salvation Army so someone else can buy them and never use them. But at least they'll be storing them instead of me. And there's a bonus in that!

For reasons I can't determine I've decided that while the kitchen is a freaking disaster, I want to prepare food. Who knows the ways of my mind - not even me. Tonight I fixed a tomato and mozzarella salad with basil-flavored olive oil. I'm really loving having fresh herbs right out the back door.

I went to Roys for lunch - it was yummy - and I needed a break. I also went to Smith's market to get some good apples. I ate my last one last night and apples are one of the things I keep at all times. Weird that everyone has those three things that when you're out of any one of them you have to go to the store. Mine change periodically, but at the moment they're apples, yogurt and pop. I know, it sounds so healthy, until I get to the pop part. It's caffeine and sugar free... but it's still pop.

My little tomatoes are turning. I'm resisting the urge to pick them until they're really ripe. It's so tempting. I'm thinking about expanding my garden area in the back yard for next year. I would love to have some eggplant, potatoes, spinach and green beans. In fact, everytime I think about this, I seem to add something additional to the list - tonight it's spinach.

Today I noticed that the calla lily I mentioned yesterday is not just white, but has a tinge of pink on it. I can tell I'll be planting even more calla lillies in the future - I really love them - and they're easy to grow. I remember Pat Mitchell talking about them years ago.

These are the ones I picked from the backyard. They've been in the kitchen on a shelf above the sink. Figured I might as well have them where I've been spending most of my time lately. I think I'm more than half done in the kitchen so I've made a lot of progress.

I'm eventually going to have tons of tomatoes. In fact, when they all start turning I'm not sure where I'm going to get rid of all of them. But, that's a nice problem to have.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Eyebrows and Old Friends

I'm glad it's Friday. I need a weekend. By Monday I'll be ready to get back to my normal life, I think. But I need a couple of days free. I have to work next weekend so I want to really make use of this weekend.

I had lunch with Trish again today, and it was good. She's someone I never see enough of. I

Right after lunch I had an appointment to get my eyebrows waxed. This is not something I do casually. I've done it fewer than six times in my life. Why? Because it HURTS. Ripping hairs out by the roots, en masse, is painful. Who would have guessed? And, as I have had to do everytime I've had it done, I came home and plucked them a bit to even them up. If I ever find someone who's really good at it, maybe I'll get it done more often. OK, probably not - because it hurts.

And, honey, I don't know WHAT those women are thinking when they have the "bikini area" waxed. By the way - Newsflash - it itches like you wouldn't believe when it starts to grow back. Yeah, no one ever tells you that. Well, I'm here to spread the truth. Just say "No!" or expect to go around with your hand buried in your crotch for a few days when you decide you don't want to suffer the waxing all the time. No... I've not waxed - the mere thought of the pain is too much for me. But lets just say that was one of the many things my girlfriend Robin and I learned first hand in college.Experience is a good teacher.

I popped in to see Diana late this afternoon. I have really wanted to have a long conversation with her for quite a few months, but have been unsuccessful in catching her at a time when that can happen. Conversation has an ebb and flow that has to have time to build. There is always too much going on to have any focus. I really, really, really enjoy her and there was a time we had lots of really meaningful conversation, but I can't seem to find a way to make that happen anymore. I guess it's just one of those things.

Tonight I went out to do some errands and went to Walmart to buy another fan. While I was looking at fans, I heard someone scream, "Patsy Terrell!" I looked around and it was Shirley Mackey. It was SOOOOOO good to see her - and a big surprise. I think of her and Rob so often, but I had no idea she was in town. When I was in DC last month I had hoped I might get a chance to see them, but when I saw the schedule it was so packed that I didn't even bother to call because I had no free time.

She very graciously offered me their spare bed anytime I was in the DC area. I told her that was dangerous - I have a travel voucher I need to use. She reiterated that the offer was genuine. Some people are naturally generous.

Tonight when I came home I noticed I have a white calla lily starting to bloom in the front. It was dusk, so too late to take a photo, but I'll try to do that tomorrow. My little tomato is more red and a second one is turning. I picked some oregano and basil to go with my eggplant parmesan tonight. I love having these things right out the back door.

Well, I must sleep. I want to finish reorganizing the kitchen this weekend so I need to get a pretty early start tomorrow.

Art of Gracious Living #30

Click here for show #30 and it will automatically download for you. You can listen to podcasts on your computer. You don't need an iPod or any additional software.

We know that children who are connected through simple things like having dinner with their families, are less likely to do drugs. Yet, the number of families who eat together continues to drop.

We attribute it to our lack of time, but in reality we all still have 24 hours in the day. The trick is how we spend them.

We engage in more group activities, that limit our ability to connect with people one on one. Organized sports for kids have increased 200% in the last 20 years. We're losing something significant in this transition.

I encourage you to consider how you can make real connection with people this coming week.

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Friday, July 07, 2006


I spent the workday focused on the newsletter. I did get to have lunch with Teresa, which was fun.

Tonight I've been working on the kitchen more. I have reorganized all the lower cabinets and started on the upper ones tonight. Basically, I've made a huge mess. But, I needed to wipe down all the cabinets and throw out expired items and just get it reorganized.

I'll be doing another Victorian Tea on August 26 so I want everything tidy before I start that. It goes so much quicker if I'm organized to start with. I've been thinking a little about the menu but haven't made the final decisions yet.

I did fix myself some real dinner tonight - eggplant parmesan. The eggplants looked really good at the store the other night so I bought one. I'll be eager when the farmer's market has more to offer - it's a little early in the season yet. But, the eggplant was good and I've got enough left over for tomorrow too. It's one of those things that is rarely good when you order it anywhere - always mushy.

I've been working on more computer things. I just never seem to have time to get them all done. I have also been messing with the PDA. I downloaded some etext books to have with me whenever I'm stuck somewhere with nothing to do. But, there's a bug of some sort in the T5 that won't recognize the internal memory card so I have to figure that out. I have a feeling it's more likely a bug with the software and not a hardware problem. There's probably a work around. I've found the software designed for PDAs in general be rather lacking.

I talked to Greg briefly. He and his girlfriend, Mia, were eating at a cool diner place. We had a bad connection so I didn't get all the details, but it sounds like they were having fun.

Well, I should go on upstairs. I have some things I want to do up there before I go to bed and it's already close to 2 and I need to get up early in the morning. There's never enough time for me to get everything done or sleep... how can that be?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Wreckers

I'm really enjoying The Wreckers these days... maybe because I can relate to "Leave the Pieces" so well. "Drag out the heartache..." - there's a phrase most women can relate to.

I listened to it from their website more than once last night and was singing it to myself all morning. When I got in the car and started it, I was still singing the song and it was also on the radio - I was suddenly singing in sync with the radio. Freaky.

I think my favorite part is, "you're not sure that you love me but you're not sure enough to let me go." That harkens back to more than one relationship in my life.

Of course, years later I hear how he couldn't understand why I didn't know how much he loved me... of course he loved me... how could I not have known that? I guess because you never told me that. And losing me was the worst mistake of his life. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Seems I just hear the same song, different verse, over and over again. Not sure what the lesson is there for me, but I'm trying to figure it out before I get into another relationship.

Men are always more in love with me in retrospect than they were at the time I was with them. It's very odd, really. I think this must mean I'm very hard to actually be with, but the good times must leave some intense memories that they long for later. Unfortunately, I don't know why I'm hard to be with at the time, or why I make such a good memory, so I can't address it.


As the song says...

"It's alright. I'll be fine. Don't worry about this heart of mine. Just take your love and hit the road. There's nothing you can do or say. You're gonna break my heart anyway. So just leave the pieces when you go."

Tomatoes and Cucumbers

My big excitement of the day is that I noticed one of my cherry tomatoes is starting to turn red. It has been awhile since I've grown any veggies, so I'm overly interested in them.

I put out a few tomato plants, some herbs - basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, lavendar and parsley, and one cucumber plant. The cucumber plant has grown huge. It has tons of blooms, but no beginnings of cucumbers yet.

I put them into the backyard, beside an old lawn glider that I got from some folks in Kentucky. I love it but haven't decided how to make it function yet. I think it involves some plywood and cushions but I'm not sure. However, at the moment, it's in use by the cucumber plant and I've decided it looks cool so I'm leaving it.

It was a really nice day here today - only in the mid 80s - very unusual for Kansas in July. I took advantage of it to fertilize the lawn. You're not supposed to do it when it's too warm. Well, that's almost impossible here after a certain time. It's been on my list of things to do for awhile so I was happy to get it done.

I have more plants popping up that I put the bulbs in for in the last few weeks. We'll see how this all works long term. I think some of these need to be dug up at the end of the season. I'll have to do a little research on that.

I got to have lunch with Trish today, so that was fun. It's always so good to see her. She is one of my favorite people on the planet - I can't ever get enough of her.

I finally went to bed at 7 this morning and got up about three hours later. I tried to take a nap this afternoon and did lay down between 5 and 6:30 but never really fully got to sleep. Although I'm not feeling sleepy now, hopefully if I go lay down I will sleep.

But, I've gotten tons of things done in the last 24 hours. And I do love to get things done. I have a pile of things to go to Salvation Army, I've worked on webpages - personal and work, and I've done some writing that I need to get out the door. I have also worked on the house. I'm starting to see a tiny glimmer of "my life" but it's going to take awhile yet.