Saturday, September 30, 2006

Well, few things get my weekend off to a good start like news of the resignation of a Republican Representative. I am sorry that a young person had to be involved in this, but aside from that huge issue, I'm thrilled we have one less republican in congress.

A congressman who supposedly represents family values is talking dirty to a 16 year old boy online. Nice. And you know what, I don't care if you ever acted on it, or intended to, teling a 16 year old you want to slip his shorts off is inappropriate. And "inappropriate" in this case means I'm refraining from saying exactly what I think - I know, not like me, but there are some young people who read this blog.

Who knew this is what "family values" really meant all this time? I think it's also what "hypocricy" means.

Mark Foley's sexuality has been questioned for some time, just because he has never married. I always think that's a bit unfair. I haven't been married either. Of course, to my knowledge, no one has ever questioned my sexuality because I've had a number of very public relationships with men. If you don't have public relationships with the opposite sex, and you're in the public eye, the questions are going to arise.

However, I don't think anyone assumed he was interested in children, particularly given his position as co-Chairman of the Missing and Exploited Childrens Caucus. Who would have guessed that while he was advocating for children's rights to be free of sexual predators that he was one? I guess he knows of what he speaks. Those who protest the loudest are often the biggest offenders on any of the "sin issues." For the record, I'll confirm I am NOT a closet republican. Unlike Foley, who when asked about his orientation said, "I like women," I'll go further and say, "I like some republicans, but I am not one."

When asked by "The Advocate" in 1996 about his sexual orientation, Foley said, "Frankly, I don't think what kind of personal relationships I have in my private life is of any relevance to anyone else. I know one thing for certain: When I travel around the district every weekend, the people who attend my town meetings and stop me on the street corner certainly are a lot more concerned with issues like how I voted on welfare reform or whether or not Medicare is going to be there when they need it -- not the details of whom I choose to have a relationship with."

Well, Mr. Foley, I can guarantee you they would have been if they'd had any inkling you were interested in children. Many, many, many people don't give a flip if you're gay - me included - but we care a great deal if you have a penchant for using children for sexual pleasure. And, let me state for the record, in case there is anyone left in the world who doesn't know, who might stumble across this blog, there is NOT a relationship between homosexuality and a desire for children. Most sex crimes against children are committed by HETEROsexual men. OK... 'nuff said.

I hope the young man in quesion is doing OK.

Henna Tattoo - Six Days Old

This photo was taken the evening of Thursday the 21st, so, it's six days old at this point. I should state for the record that I spent a lot of time in the tub on Wednesday evening and that probably accelerated it's fading.

Monolithic Domes

When we went to Arlington Kansas for tea recently, we drove around town a bit and spotted these unusual structures.

Justin, a local guy, told us they are monolithic domes, which are great for energy efficiency. He had tried to convince his wife to get one, but she wanted a house with real walls and all.

There were three of them in a row - two finished and one they were working on.

I guess they are fire, earthquake, tornado and hurricane resistant.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Playing Lego

One of our tasks at Leadership was to duplicate a creation made from Legos. We got a ziplock with the same kind of Legos for our group. We could go - one at a time - to the other room and look at the creation. Then we had to plan how to make ours look just like it, but we couldn't build until we were all done with the planning.

This was the creation in question.

As soon as the project was announced, I knew I would suck at it. I am not good with spatial relationships. Fortunately, we had a construction guy on our team - Curtis - smiling in this photo.

Curtis instantly started making a diagram to plot out how to recreate the legos. Dan and Teresa were also very good at this task.

I'm a big believer in letting people who are particularly good at something do it. When we get to a word game, I'll jump right in. I decided the thing I could do the best in this task was keep someone in there looking at it everytime there was a question. It's easy to get caught up in discussing it when you can just go look and answer the question.

If it had been a task I had to do myself I would probably still be there.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chicks and More

Tonight was Chicks and it was an exceptional gathering. I almost forgot because I was really busy, running around today. Thank goodness I didn't. It was a really good gathering.

Sometimes there's lots of news, and sometimes we just touch base - tonight was full of important things.

Always fascinating to gather with people.

I was thinking earlier today that one of the best parts of the leadership class is going to be getting to know these other people, people I would probably not meet just going through my days.

We need to find new ways to foster those connections in people.

I'm going to be sharing more photos and tidbits from the leadership class in the next few days and doing some general catching up on the blog. I can get a bit behind - witness that Puerto Rico hasn't been blogged and that was over a year ago!

Last night I got some podcasts in the bag. I'm making an effort to get things under control in my life.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Henna Tattoo - Four Days Old

I promised regular pix of the henna tattoo I had done on Friday evening the 15th. This photo was taken the evening of Tuesday, the 19th. So, it's four days old at this point.

Dyck Arboretum

Our leadership class retreat was at Dyck Arboretum in Hesston, Kansas. I took time on our first break to walk the trail and snap some pix.

Dyck Arboretum is about 25 years old and is owned by Hesston College. I was so glad I walked the first day because the second day it was raining and there was no opportunity.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Past Life Regression

Saturday morning I spent time doing a past life regression. Karen, pictured here, was one of the other participants. I asked if it was OK for me to use her photo.

Diana had this gentleman from Arkansas, Steven Summers, come up to the store for a session. You could book individual ones, or a group one. Since I'd never done it before, I decided to do the group experience.

There were nine of us in the group. He hypnotized us using a technique specifically for past life regression. We did two sessions, and he used two different techniques to hypnotize us.

The first thing he had us do once we were in the past life was look down at our shoes, and see what they looked like, and then our clothes. It was a curious thing to do. He also had us describe our dwelling and what was in it and the people around us. It was a really unusual thing to be doing.

Someone asked him before we started if we would recognize people who are in our lives today that were also in our past lives. He did put that suggestion into the induction, but I did not have that recognition. A couple of people did, but I didn't.

Many people believe that we come through time in "soul groups" so it would be natural for us to have some of the same people in our worlds each lifetime.

The first time I had a really pleasant experience. It was beautiful in many ways and as I wrote in the journal afterwards, "it was a good death."

Others in the group did not have such a good time with it. He said it's common that people have a variety of experiences. One woman was hesitant about doing it again because she didn't want to do that same thing again. He said he had never had that happen - that someone went back to the same life.

One of the suggestions he gave us under hypnosis was that if we were touched on the shoulder that we were to become an observer of the experience. That was to protect people if they got overly upset. But he said he thought tears were healthy and he wouldn't stop us only for that. I did cry a few times the first time but not the second time. They weren't bad tears, they were just "appropriate" tears.

The second time he put us under he used a different techinque that put me much deeper under. My experience was not unpleasant but it was not as "rich" as the first one. However, he told me that there were always messages to get from each experience and to not discount that. He said people tend to have more revelations for about 72 hours afterwards.

It was a really interesting thing to do. Frankly, I went into it not really sure if I would experience anything. But, I did, even though in one case I was fighting having that particular experience. But, the experience went right on anyway.

I will probably do it again if he comes back.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Past Life Regression

I spent the morning doing a session on past life regression. It was quite interesting. The gentleman who was doing it was very interested in the experiences we all had. It was a group of nine of us who were doing it. Some got nothing from it, and others experienced a lot.

I will share more but at the moment I'm off for a nap to see what I dream!

Journalling Class

Thursday night I taught a journalling class. I had six people, which is a good size. There were more people who registered who didn't show up. But it was a good group.

I do some chatting about types of journals and also some writing exercises in class. I also gave everyone a little bag with a lot of prompts in it they can use for writing in the future.

It was a good group. I invite people to share if they want, but don't make it a necessity. It's always enlightening when people share because you see completely different approaches to the same thing.

I took in a number of different kind of journals, most of which were "in process" but these were some of the completed ones I took. I use a number of different kinds of journals but do have some favorites. I adore those Claire Fontaine notebooks. I'm so glad I stocked up when I was in Paris last time.

I'm going to be going to Canada soon. Maybe I can get some more there. Although I don't recall seeing them there on a previous trip. My supply is running low.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Home Again

I just returned home from an overnight retreat for a Leadership Class I'm doing. It was an interesting experience and I'll have more to say about it but this is just a quick note before I go off to teach the journaling class scheduled for tonight.

I decided to not take my laptop, and go without email and blogging for a day. So, if you are waiting on a response from me, that's the deal - it will come tonight or tomorrow.

This will be an interesting time for me. I could tell some of the people in that group were a bit annoyed that there was this woman in their midst with a henna tattoo on her hand and a ring on her toe, but I think most of them felt a little different about me at the end of a day and a half together.

I don't try to be an oddball - it just seems to happen naturally.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Creative Sisterhood

Monday night was our Creative Sisterhood group and it was interesting. We had a lengthy talk about many things, touching on religion and belief systems. For the first time in three years, I felt like I could not communicate with the group. We weren't speaking the same language, so there was no way I could explain my views. And without a lot of background they wouldn't make sense anyway.

It was a very different Creative Sisterhood experience for me. But it was good to have this insight into others. I finally just determined it wasn't important that I share. No one is really that interested in anyone else's background, and I'm not sure I could explain it anyway. I quickly figured out I didn't even want to try - and certainly not in a limited time - so I just chalked it up to a learning experience.

I should not involve myself in such conversations. My views are so very different than anyone else I have ever met that there doesn't seem to be much common ground for communication. And I'm a big believer that religion should be a private matter anyway.

My spirituality is something I've devoted many, many, many hours to over the years. I've written about it in more journals than I can count. I've pondered it on long drives. I've had a lot of a-ha moments. I've had a lot of confusion. I've found some answers and even more questions. I've come to my own conclusions, which are from multiple faith traditions, with a healthy mix of things not tied to any religion that I'm aware of. I sum up my spirituality with the phrase, "Your Life is Your Prayer."

At the last place I lived, I painted that on the wall in one of my rooms. It was interesting to hear what it meant to other people, if anything. No one ever thought of it in the same way I do, and I guess that means it would be a poor thing on which to base a religion. But, I'm not interested in starting the Church of Patsy anyway, so I don't suppose it matters.

My original topic last night was that I have no sense of the norm and it was all the more clear to me by the end of the evening. As always, it was enlightening.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Art of Gracious Living #39 - Defining Our Fears

Humans work harder to avoid what we fear than we do to seek what we desire. This means that our fears have tremendous power in our daily lives.

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in 1960 in her book, "You Learn by Living" that, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face." She said, "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

Defining our fears is part of leading a gracious life.

Hear more about it by listening to the Art of Gracious Living Podcast #39.

Art of Gracious Living RSS feed

Art of Gracious Living Webpage

Monday, September 18, 2006


Coming into the house at lunchtime today, I was looking at the flowers and spotted something buzzing around. It was a hummingbird!

Well... that's what I thought, anyway... Nine-ah tells me it's a hummingbird moth, which explains why Greg kept saying it was a moth and Mark and I kept saying, but it acts like a hummingbird. There are two of them in my front flower bed. So, there you go... I learned something today!

Political Joke

One of my board members sent this to me and I thought it was too good to not share. I rarely share such things, and feel free to skip it if you've heard it, but it gave me a chuckle this morning...

Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush were in an airplane that crashed; and believe it or not, initially they all end up in heaven. The three are led to meet God who's sitting in regal splendor on a great white throne.
God addresses Al first. "Al, what do you believe in?"

Gore replies, "Well, I believe I won that election, but that it was your will that I did not serve. And I've come to understand that now."

God thinks for a second and says, "OK, very good. Come and sit at my left, Al."

God then addresses Bill. "Bill, what do you believe in?"

Clinton replies, "I believe in forgiveness. I've sinned, but I've never held a grudge against my fellow man, and I hope no grudges are held against me."

God thinks for a few seconds and says, "You are forgiven, my son. Come and sit at my right, Bill."

God then addresses Bush. "George, what do you believe in?"

Bush replies, "I believe you're in my chair."

Tea in Arlington Kansas

Today I went to one of my very favorite events - the fundraiser tea at the Methodist Church in Arlington, Kansas. This is the third year I've been and it's just wonderful. These five ladies who organize it do an amazing job.

They transform their church basement by bringing in dishes, furniture, pictures, and all manner of decorations. I'm always amazed by the work they do. Everything is beautiful.

These ladies also do a great job with food. It's tasty and very pretty - just like tea food is supposed to be.

They had new tablecloths this year, and the settings were more streamlined. I have liked all the ones I've been to, including this one, it was just a little different.

The program this afternoon was about aprons. Interestingly enough, the lady giving the talk was Susie Haver. I know Susie from way back - she used to be involved with the Brown Grand Theatre in Concordia, Kansas - and I interviewed her when I was with the radio station.

Since then I've bumped into her at various times at various things. I guess we move in some of the same circles. She's also a Kansas Explorer, so that's another connection.

She had a number of aprons as examples of various sorts, but this was one of my favorites - one that the lady on it was wearing a little skirt that you could lift and see her pantaloons.

Teresa (yellow shirt), Susan (black) and Jan (beige) and I went today. Peggy was supposed to go but couldn't at the last minute. I asked for a take away plate for her and took it over to her and Gary tonight. We chatted for awhile and it was an interesting talk.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Henna Tattoo

I did something last night I've never done before... got a henna tattoo. I'm not sure exactly why I wanted to do it, but I did. I went by a tent at the Kansas State Fair where this lady was doing them and thought about getting one. I decided to go ahead and do it and I've already had fun with it.

I picked out a design in a book and she did it by freehand on my palm. She embellished it a bit and changed it, making it even better than the one in the book.

It was a paste and very 3-D on my hand. The trick was that it had to dry for 15-30 minutes. I didn't really think about that - but I was basically incapacitated for awhile.

The wind was blowing about 900 miles an hour and I couldn't even pull my hair up because that took two hands.

She said it would start falling off by itself and it did. The instructions said that in two hours I could scrape off the dried paste.

It was interesting when some it was off and some was still on - you could start to see what it was going to look like.

Today it is a bit darker it seems to me. It's supposed to last for 2-3 weeks. I'll keep you posted on that. It's on my right hand, and I'm right handed, and an obsessive hand washer. So, we'll see how that goes. I hope I have some left in a few days.

A Full Day at the Fair

I took today off because I wanted to work at the Sebelius booth with Trish. I went out a bit before 11 this morning and just got in a little bit ago.

I worked the booth until 3 and then wandered around visiting with people I knew for awhile. Greg came and got me and we went and had lunch/dinner. We left the fairgrounds. Frankly, there's not much food there I want to eat - it's just not very good overall.

I decided to go back to the fairgrounds to go to the hypnotist show at 5 p.m. It's the first time I've been when they didn't have more people waiting to be in the show than there was room for. But, he invited others who wanted to come up to do so and there was a full roster.

Ron Diamond is the hypnotist. He generally travels on the east coast, but this is his third year here. He's a blast. I hope the fair has him back.

Tonight there was a young man who was just hilarious. He suggested that he was a spy and when he cued him this guy would hear his phone ring and it would be his shoe but there wouldn't be an answer. This guy did that and kept going to the edge of the stage to get better signal. Then - the capper - he pulled the string taut, as if he were extending the antenna. It was hilarious. Diamond even broke down laughing and said he'd never seen that happen in all the years he's been doing this.

This young man was in the 5 and the 7:30 show today. We talked to him briefly afterwards. He was really a neat kid.

I had numerous other fair experiences, but I think I'll have to blog those tomorrow as I'm weary tonight. It's time for beddy-bye.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Governor and More

This morning I went to the chamber breakfast to hear Governor Kathleen Sebelius speak. I always enjoy her. She has been a fabulous governor for us and I'm looking forward to another four years of her leadership. She is exceptional

I don't know if she has any desire for a career on the national level, but if you ever get a chance to vote for her, do.

Diana just joined the chamber and this was her first breakfast so we sat together. Jan Pauls was there, as was Mark Treaster. It's neat we have two democrats from our area in this very Republican state.

Bornholdt Plantland got an award this morning for being the small business spotlight. It was presented by Dick Westphal who I just adore. He is on my board and a really great guy. He's Diana's next door neighbor in downtown now, and across the street from me.

Bornholdt Plantland is a fourth generation business - Gary's grandfather started it and now his sons are involved in it. Interestingly enough, Diana's husband's business - Johnson Sheet Metal - is also a fourth generation business.

I also got to chat with Martha and Molly briefly, as well as Pat Potucek and Trish. Trish is Sebelius's local campaign person and I'm taking part of tomorrow off so I can work the governor's booth with her.

I had thought I might get back to the fair later today but I didn't. There just isn't enough time for me to get everything done I want to get done in life.

I still haven't been to the birthing booth, seen the chainsaw artist, or ridden the train. I can do without all of those with the possible exception of the train. I need to ride the train every year. Don't know why, I just do.

Tonight Teresa, Julie, Martha, Diana and I met at Diana's new store to clear the space and bless it. It was good to see everyone and also a good experience.

We have Creative Sisterhood Monday night so this was a preview. I'm looking forward to tea in Arlington on Sunday. Mark may be here this weekend. It will be good to see him.

Well, I'm overdue for some sleep. Never seems to be enough time for that either.

Check for the blog, art, and more.


One has to live a life that creates a writer. ---Erno Paasilinna

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Yoder Kansas Charter School and The Kansas State Fair

It has been a full day. I started at 8 this morning with a tour of Yoder Charter School. I was impressed and horrified, all at the same time.

Yoder is a small community a few miles from Hutchinson, and it is largely Amish. About ten years ago, many of the Amish pulled their children from the public school to a private school to avoid their children being exposed to various "influences" - like science.

The school administrator at the time came up with the idea to seek charter status to keep the school open. Basically, it boils down to three things - they do not teach evolution, they do not teach sex ed, and they have no DARE program. Other than that, it's pretty much the norm, although it's certainly interesting to see little boys in the traditional Amish clothing complete with suspenders.

However, the children are tested over all the standard things. But, the school leaves it up to the parents to teach what they want their children to know about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Wait... sex, drugs and science.
The school focuses on traditional values and subjects - they do the three R's.

I'm horrified that we're not teaching children science, but I'm impressed that the administrator came up with a way to save the school. And, did he ever. Children who live in that area are, of course, automatically admitted. But, aside from that, the school has a waiting list for people who want to put their kids in this school because of its values.

It also happens to have small classes. The K-2 are individual classes and then 3-4 grades are together, 5-6 and 7-8. They teach social studies for third grade one year, and for fourth grade the next. I guess that system works unless you happen to leave the school between years and you're now a 5th grader, but you only had 3rd grade studies, not 4th grade. I don't know. I guess it all works out.

After the tour I went over to Carriage Crossing for breakfast. When I left I couldn't help but notice there were multiple tractors parked in back of the building. I don't know if they were customers or employees.

Just as I turned back to the steering wheel, I glanced out the window the other direction and spotted an Amish buggy in the distance. The Amish don't want to have their photos taken, but it's OK to take pix of the buggies I believe.

Tonight I went out to the fair. I went to see Ron Diamond's hypnotist show. He's always entertaining. This is the second time I've seen it this year.

Otherwise I just wandered around a bit. Things are a bit calmer during the week generally. I went to see if there was anyone at the democratic booth I knew, but there wasn't. I'm taking part of Friday off to work in the Governor's booth.

I also stopped by to see the spider bite mannequin guy again. He's getting more and more tags illustrating where people have been bitten by brown recluse spiders. I hope to never add one to it.

I thought I'd just share some fair scenes with you tonight... including Greg getting some taffy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Sheep in Sheep's Clothing

Tonight I was leaving the fair a little after 10 and noticed a sheep was being sheared. Greg had gone to shoot some other things, but I called him on the cell and said, "Hey, there's sheep shearing going on." He trotted right over. Why? Well, because neither of us know anything about sheep or shearing them. So, obviously, we needed to learn.

For the next hour to ninety minutes, we questioned this very nice lady, Carolyn, who was working to get the sheep ready for judging in the morning. Carolyn lives near Newton, so didn't have too far of a drive tonight, but it was after 11:30 when we left and she wasn't done cleaning up yet so I'm sure it was a late night for her.

Technically, the sheep belongs to her son, Aaron, but he's in college so mom is helping out. And it takes awhile to complete this process.

First is the shearing with a clipper that has 20 teeth, so you're less likely to cut the sheep. Professionals use ones that have 9 teeth and are flared, so they are quicker to use.

After shearing they "card" the sheep, which is somewhat like brushing out the hair that's left on it. The sheep really likes this. He was vocalizing his displeasure at the shearing, but when Carolyn and Larry, a neighbor farmer from Oklahoma who was helping out, were carding the sheep he was standing still and enjoying it.

After that, they did what's called "blocking," which meant they were doing a lot of hand trimming with these large scissors. The sheep's left side is where they stand when holding the sheep and the right side is what they consider the "show side" so they are paying very close attention to it.

This is a Dorset sheep, named for the place in England where they come from. This is a common domestic breed. When they are judged, they look for a variety of physical characteristics about the sheep.

And, lets just say that "all" the parts get sheared.

I was commenting that I knew some knitters who would love to have this wool. But, don't despair. I'm told this particular wool wouldn't be of any use because it's too short.

Last, he got his face groomed - sheared, carded and trimmed.

He was then covered, as were many of the other sheep already in the pens. While the irony that jumps to mind is that we're shearing their wool, and then giving them new "clothes," the reality is that it's just to keep them clean for the judging tomorrow. Because before the shearing, the sheep has to be bathed. And just like with a kid, you want it to last a little while.

In many of the livestock barns, people camp out to be with the animals. Some are more elaborate than others.