Tuesday, October 31, 2006


It has been a very busy Halloween day. Mark and I attended the Dillon Lecture this morning. It was really good, and I'll be posting more info on it. Of course, I got to see a number of people I know, including Alan Montgomery. We chatted with him for awhile after the lecture. He and Mark used to work together and we've all known each other for more than 20 years - hard to believe, but true.

Tonight Greg brought over lots of Halloween goodies and he and Mark decorated the house. Susan, Jesse and Terry all stopped by. It has been a fun night, although a bit chilly. The weatherman said yesterday that it would be "breezy" today and unfortunately, he was correct.

Governor Visit

Governor Kathleen Sebelius was in town today for a reception. This was an event open to the public at no charge. We had a couple hundred people come, which was great.

There were lots of other candidates there, including John Doll and Jack Wempe, who both have major races on their hands. I'm not going to try and list all the candidates who were there because I know I'll miss someone. But, I will be providing a list of who I'm supporting in various races before election day. People often ask me and I'll just provide a list here on the blog. Sebelius, of course - also Jack Wempe and Paul Morrison.

Mark Treaster and Jan Pauls are both running unopposed, but they were both there.

Kathie Moore did an incredible job of organizing. Lots of people brought food, but someone has to take on the organizing and that was Kathie. She did it beautifully.

I ran into Kip from my leadership class and got to meet his wife and introduce them to some of the folks locally. One of the things I love about democrats locally is we're a very welcoming group overall. I even got a pic of Kip with the governor.

Trish was there, of course. It's always so good to see her. She was chatting with Pat Potucek. I told Pat how much I was enjoying getting to know Scott, her son, in leadership. In fact, I think I just had his photo on here a few days ago from our Kincaid tour. Ever a mom, she said, "Does he talk too much?" I assured her he did not. It made me laugh because moms always worry about us.

One of my contributions to the day was a decorated cake. I hadn't done one in a really long time. It's fun to do every once in awhile. People kept asking if I did them professionally. I'm starting to think maybe I need to go into that business. However, the amount of money I'd want to do it is probably prohibitive. I certainly wouldn't do it for Walmart prices. But I bet mine tastes better than the Walmart ones do too.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Missing Ike

Bumper Sticker seen in a parking lot the other day... it was night so I couldn't take a photo, but it was pithy so I remember it.

"I miss Ike. Hell, I even miss Harry,"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Call for Change

Call For Change

If you want to see a difference in this country, here's something you can do in addition to voting for it. In fact, even if you're not registered or can't vote for some other reason, you can still help create a change in this country.

Voter turn out is going to be THE deciding factor in the upcoming election. If Republicans get their voters out, they will win. If Democrats get their voters out, they will win. If any single segment of the voting population decided to turn out they would carry every election.

This is something YOU can do to effect change. YOU can make a huge difference. Sometimes a very small number of votes carry an election.

From Move-On:

In 2006, Democratic voter turnout matters big-time. Many races will be decided by just hundreds of votes�and those races will determine the future of Congress. MoveOn's Call for Change program allows people with busy lives to spend as little as 15 minutes mobilizing voters in key races from their home computer and phone.

The goal is to make 5 million calls this election season�2 million have already been made. Here's what some MoveOn members have reported back:

This is easier than any political calling I have done. The print is large, you click on the screen rather than filling in tiny boxes. I like being able to call from home.
�Shelby, Spokane, WA

The best part is the flexibility of the program. I can call when my schedule permits, in small time slots: while I'm waiting for a fax, or have a half hour to spare.
�Diana, Los Angeles, CA

The tools, the script, the ease in which you can do this is wonderful! It could not be easier, and you can make a lot of calls in a short amount of time.
�Tomi, The Woodlands, TX

Republicans and Democrats

When I was driving across Missouri a couple of weeks ago I was struck by the number of signs I saw for Jim Talent (R). He's the incumbent who is in a dead heat with his challenger McCaskill.

I wasn't that knowledgeable about either of them, although people I know who live in Missouri have spoken highly of McCaskill for the last couple of years.

It's about stem cell research. Missouri is trying to become the first state to protect stem cell research. Not surprisingly, the Republican is against it and the Democrat is for it. Actually, Talent says he's for stem cell research and against human cloning - but he voted with the president to throw out fertility clinic embryos instead of using them, so in reality, he's against stem cell research. Actions ALWAYS tell the real story - words are just words.

The great irony is that neither of them will really have squat to say about stem cell research in Missouri, other than their own votes. It's an initiative that people will be voting on at the same time they're voting on this race. It's a great example of how one issue can polarize a race. It may or may not be an important issue. In this case I would contend it is important, but so often it's a nothing issue like abortion.

Again, let me state for those of you who haven't caught on to the obvious - if Republicans really wanted to outlaw abortion it would be done. You've had control of the white house and the congress for years now. If anyone really wanted it done, it would be done. Have you noticed that no one talks about it except at election time? That's so they can get you to vote for them on this ONE issue, without paying any attention to the fact that they may be idiots otherwise. I'm not saying all Republican candidates are idiots, but some are, (just as some democrats are), and they get voted into office based on ONE issue and then we're all stuck with them. It's foolish to vote for anyone based on one issue - we live in a very complex society.

I was impressed this morning to hear a St. Louis voter say that she was voting for McCaskill, even though she thought Talent had done a decent job, and her decision had nothing to do with stem cell research. I'm encouraged to see thoughtful voters - even if they're not in agreement with my views.

Michael J. Fox's ad has increased support for stem cell research by 5%, but there's no word yet if Patricia Heaton's ad against it had any effect. Of course, Rush Limbaugh saying Fox was "faking it" in his ad no doubt garnered more attention for it than it would have had otherwise.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say I support stem cell research. I think we have to be forward thinking and look for new advances in medicine. This is, by far, the most promising thing we have on the horizon and affects a large number of diseases - and probably more we aren't yet aware of. The idea that stem cell research leads to human cloning is just ludicrous. Please, read a little bit about the science involved - that's so ridiculous it's not even worth the effort it would take for me to type more words about it.

This race has reminded me of something I've noticed before. It makes no sense to me why it would be this way, but I've noticed it multiple times.

There's a view of the world that is "progressive," meaning that we want to move ahead, try new things, be experimental, are open to new concepts. Then there's a view of the world that is about maintaining the status quo and eschewing anything we don't know everything there is to know about it. More and more democrats are the former and republicans the latter. That makes no sense to me. A political affiliation is generally about HOW to do something, not about WHAT to do. But anymore it is about the most basic concept - are we moving forward or are we staying where we are?

I've noticed this on a ton of issues, stem cell research being just one of them. Looking at other structures for health care, innovative ideas for day care, giving people who live together rights (and I don't mean just gay people), etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on but over the last few decades it always seems to be republicans arguing for why we should not do something different, and democrats pushing for the new.

Maybe this is why the republican base is the wealthy in general - if you've got the money, you don't want change - you want to maintain your position. If you're wealthy and healthy, with great health insurance, a job where you can never be laid off, and no concern for the environment I can understand why you'd vote Republican. If you're not all of those things I cannot understand why you would want the average republican candidate in office. Why would you not want to look at some innovative change?

This country could never have been founded by a group of today's republicans. They would not have wanted to venture into something new that we didn't know enough about. They would never have broken free of British rule. They would never have written the constitution. Although they may have gotten on the ships to come here for religious freedom, they would never have created a situation where every man could choose his own religion. Still, 200 years plus later, they're trying to shake that very basic foundation of our country.

It is going to be an interesting election.


It has been a stunningly gorgeous day - in the 70s with just a slight breeze. Cool enough to wear long sleeves but warm enough to be outdoors.

I snapped this photo yesterday. Fall has definitely arrived.

I have accomplished a ton of things so far this weekend. I decided I should take advantage of the beautiful weather to do some outdoor things that may become difficult as temperatures drop.

Yesterday I cleaned out my car, which was no easy feat. I still need to go vacuum it, but at least I gathered up the things that were lying about and delivered them to where they belong.

Today I went and got some Roy's. I ran into Alan, one of the guys in my leadership class, while I was there. So, I ended up chatting with him while we ate. He's a neat guy, who's also an artist. He was in my visioning group the first night of our retreat and I enjoyed getting to know him a little bit.

Afterwards I popped into The Dancing Grouse for a few minutes. I hadn't seen Diana in a couple of weeks.

This afternoon I managed to put together some of the shelving I bought to go into the wardrobe in my home office. I've put together three of them and have one more to go. I'm on my way out now to get some bins to use for storage in there.

The nice weather prompted me to wash off the front porch. It's quite the project because I have to move the many rocks I have by the front door in order to do it. When I was cleaning out the car yesterday I ran across a really cool rock I had picked up somewhere and forgotten. It had gotten lodged underneath the seat, but I rediscovered it yesterday. So, I added it to the stack of rocks by the door. I even took the globe off the light and washed it, and cleaned the front door.

I may just leave the globe off the porch light until after Halloween. We might want to replace the bulb with a colored one instead of the white one for the night.

My recycling experiment has been successful so far. My bag of glass, plastic and aluminum is almost full, as is the paper one. But, my actual trash is very minimal. Unfortunately, they only take recycling stuff every two weeks so I'll have to hang onto it until Friday.

I also made a cake tonight for an event on Monday. It's cooling now so I can frost it tomorrow. I fixed myself eggplant parmesan for dinner. I need to run the dishwasher again before bed so I can get up to a clean kitchen in the morning to make frosting and get that done. I'm doing an autumn theme - not sure exactly what yet - maybe sunflowers.

I'm also reminded that my oven is still not perfectly level. I will get more shims and work on it a bit more.

Well, I'm off to grocery shop. I want to do some more cooking tomorrow and I like to start fresh with everything I need.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Creative Thinking - Art of Gracious Living #43

Creative Thinking - Art of Gracious Living #43

Creative thinking is the ability to apply knowledge to seemingly unrelated situations. It's the reason no knowledge is ever wasted.

My high school teachers would be happy to know I still use algebra and the periodic chart, even though I do not work in a field where you would think it necessary.

When we can take information learned in one arena and apply it to another that is the essence of creative thinking. Creative thinking is essential to leading a gracious life.

Hear more about it by listening to the Art of Gracious Living Podcast #43.

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

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

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Art of Gracious Living #42 - Being a Guest

When you're a guest, your job is to create the event. Your host is providing the setting and the circumstances, it is incumbent on you to bring yourself to the event fully.

You're invited to an event because the host thinks you'll add something significant to the occasion. Bring your personality and your charm. That's all that is expected of you.

However, a small hostess gift is always appropriate.

Hear more about it by listening to the Art of Gracious Living Podcast. You can either click this link and it will automatically download for you, or listen with the flash player below.

Click here for the Art of Gracious Living page at the Podcaster News Network and you can see a list of all the Art of Gracious Living shows, and also check out other shows on the network.

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Trish and I had breakfast today and it was great to see her. If I don't get to have lunch with her every week it just seems like my week is incomplete.

She, Teresa and I had lunch earlier this week, but it seemed so quick. So, when Trish asked yesterday about breakfast I said yes. Afterwards I did a pile of MHA things, not that there isn't more to do. Isn't that the way with all jobs?

Greg called tonight. He is safely back in the states after his trip to London. It was good to hear his voice. I can't wait to hear all the details of his trip. I haven't been to England in many years now so it will be good to get a first hand report.

Tonight I've been working on some podcasting stuff and also playing with the map of where I've been.

create your own visited states map

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kincaid in Haven Kansas

Leadership today was in Haven, Kansas. It's a town of nearly 1,200 people about 15 minutes away from Hutchinson. Despite their size, they have a lot of manufacturing there, not the least of which is at Kincaid.

Brad Stephenson, the manufacturing manager, gave us a tour. They make equipment geared toward seed producers. A large part of what they make is sold to universities.

They have agreements with a company in Finland that provides a combine that they then modify to work for seed producers.

Because test plots are done in 20 feet rows, and the seed can't be mixed, special equipment is required to harvest that so it can all be tested.

Some of the folks in our tour group were really knowledgeable - namely Pam, Dan and Brad. They all have experience with manufacturing and/or farming.

Scott also seemed to know quite a bit about all of this. He was asking lots of great questions.

That's one of the things that's always interesting on these tours - the questions people bring up.

Our host was very patient with us and explained how they've built their business over the years.

Part of the way is by adding to their products. They now make these machines that spray a water mixed with wood or paper cellulose that makes a covering over exposed soil to cut down on erosion, such as at road construction sites. It's also used at landfills and such.

It was an interesting way to wrap up the day. The topic today was economic development, which I enjoyed.

Creative Sisterhood

Tonight was Creative Sisterhood. Only four of us came, but it was a really good evening. There has been a lot going on in the lives of a couple of us, especially Teresa.

So much has happened in my life since we last met that I neglected to mention a couple of really major things. It's just been a busy time.

I really value this group so very much. It has been a way to connect with my spirit in a different way than I do in going through daily life.

Tonight I made chocolate pie. It's the first time I've made pie for the Creative Sisterhood group. I was just in a pie baking mood. I'm happy to say the crust turned out really well - very flakey. I used the last of my European Cocoa in this pie.

I had to call Mary Ann for instructions. I hadn't made chocolate pie in ages. My mom has a recipe that you can make either coconut or chocolate. Coconut pie was the first thing I cooked - all that stirring. I remembered there was a particular way you were supposed to mix in the ingredients but I couldn't recall.

I have my mom's recipe box and pulled out her recipe card. But she didn't have any instructions listed - just the ingredients. She made them often enough she didn't need instructions. But, I had to get some input. I'm lucky I could call Mary Ann for help - she has always been a second mom to me. Today was the first time I've ever called her for cooking advice. I knew it was a bridge I was crossing, but it felt perfectly natural - for both of us.

Martha really enjoyed the pie, and even gave it a good Vanna White just for the blog.

The meringe was really good, too. I only like "southern style" meringe, which is another way of saying it has more sugar than the norm in it. Three egg whites, and two tablespoons of sugar per egg white - yes, six of them total. Of course, the usual cream of tartar rounds out the recipe. I'm not a big meringe person, but this was tasty. If I'm going to make it, I like it to be big and fluffy - you can use just two egg whites if you want a smaller pile. But, don't put more than 2 T of sugar per egg white - they won't fluff up if you do.

I'm including the crust recipe here - it's basic, but always good. The trick is keeping everything cold while you're making it, and putting it in the fridge if you're not going to bake it right away.

Pie Crust

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water

You can leave the salt out if you wish.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I have been a lump today. I decided to take today off to get my life in a bit of order. I didn't accomplish much. I was just a lump. I haven't been out of my house and it's after 10 p.m.

Yesterday I went out to Quivira but I realized last night that I had not spoken to anyone all day. The same for today other than brief phone calls.

I'm not depressed or annoyed or anything like that. I think I've just not had enough quiet, alone time lately and I'm "catching up" on it.

I am, however, here at 10:19 p.m., going to go grocery shopping. I can't face another bowl of soup.

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

Today I decided to get out and enjoy the nice day. It was a little chilly, but sunny and nice.

I took off to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, which is about 30 minutes away from Hutchinson, and is an amazing place. It is a place I can go to here that I really connect with.

One of Patsy's Rules for Living is that when you've lost your way you have to go to some place where you can reset your compass. That place for me is the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in Cairo, Illinois. But, Quivira has become a place I can do that here.

It has taken me a long time to grow to appreciate the prairie. It's a subtle kind of beauty. But once you take time to see it, you find it has many layers of color. And the sound of wind on the prairie is unlike anything else.

I took time today to walk a nature trail called "Migrant's Mile." It is pretty short - about 3/4 of a mile - but at the furtherest part of it there's a bridge that spans a marsh.

There are cat tails on each side. I've never seen so many in one place. You can also witness the effect of "Plant Succession."

Underwater plants die and as they decay form a matted covering called humus. The humus provides a place for larger plants - like cat tails - to anchor so their roots can get nourishment. Grasses and other plants along the shoreline will gradually grow into the fertile drying humus left behind when the aquatic plants decay. Over time the shorelines will meet in the middle of the marsh and the marsh will disappear.

Marshes provide habitat for a host of plants and animals, and are disappearing because of being drained for development.

The ones here are not in danger of that, of course, because it's a federally protected area.

I'm often surprised at how well such things can be organized. There is a plan in place here so the neighboring farmers work in partnership with the government. They grow crops on a share basis and the farmers harvest their share and leave the rest for food or habitat for animals. It's a great system and benefits everyone.

Quivira is known for birds. It's a major area for that. However, what I saw lots of today were deer. At one time there were eight in one place.

There's always plenty to see in nature and I think it's good to be outside in the sunshine and seeing nature work. There is a cycle to things that we can easily lose sight of because of the way we live our lives, in very artificial circumstances.

I believe this is the plant that monarch butterflies feed on that makes them toxic to predators.

At one point on the trail there were lots of trees with mushrooms growing on them. The different colors and shapes were extraordinary.

October skies are the bluest of the whole year, and I always make it a point to appreciate them.

Like I mentioned, Quivira is known for birds.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kris and John's House

Tonight I went to Wichita for a gathering at the home of Kris and John, who I met at Kansas Dialogue. They are friends of Andrea's and were a great addition to dialogue.

They decided to create a "mini-dialogue," to introduce some folks in Wichita to the concept. They generously invited me to join Martha and Andrea as the "veterans."

It was a nice evening. They really put some energy into the gathering and it showed.

I always love getting to meet new people and there were a couple dozen of us there tonight, and I knew none of them other than the four of them. Interestingly enough, at leadership last week they asked how people felt about coming in the first day. My answer was that I was excited at meeting new people. Everyone else who answered had some trepidation about it. Maybe it comes from being a journalist for so long - you're used to doing what I called "dropping into people's lives" for awhile.

I asked John and Kris if I could take their photo for the blog. That's John standing, and Chris in the middle. Andrea is on the right and that's Bill in front. It was a lovely evening.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Four Hours

I have four hours before I go to an event tonight and I am working to motivate myself to be in constant motion between now and then. Admittedly, some of that time will be spent preparing for tonight and getting ready, but I need to work on my house - seriously need to work on it.

I've been gone so much that I've just been bringing my suitcases home, dumping them out, washing the clothes and repacking. Once again, I'm reminded that I should just toss out everything that's in my closet because I don't wear it. However, I did just this week get some winter clothes out of it so I guess I am wearing some of those things. Yeah, that's right. Those are the out of season clothes. OK, even I can't believe that.

The problem has been that everytime I've repacked I've left some things behind - in the living room - not where they belong. So, I need to deal with that. I'm a big "piler" of things and that just leads to a great big old mess.

To top it off, I have to clean everything in my kitchen because I've had a mouse. The mouse is now dead and dispatched out of the house, but of course I think he's been all over everything in the kitchen so I've got to wash it all. Again. I just did this a couple of months ago. Lucky me, I get to do it all again because of that nasty little thing. I despise them in a way that cannot really be explained with words - not in a "I'm scared of them" way, but in a "I'm disgusted by them" way. Don't write and tell me how wonderful mice are and how awful it is that I killed them. I'm not living with them. You can if you wish, but I'm not going to. I don't go hunt them down, but if they get in my house, they're not getting out alive if I can help it. There's a whole huge planet outside of my house, but these 2600 square feet are off limits.

I've got the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer going. I must get me going again...

Francs, Limps and Cordobas

A friend is leaving for London tomorrow and as a result I've been going through some of my travel things, in case he could use them. At this very moment, my luggage backpack is on its way to London, a place it has not been before. I bought it for a trip to Central America, years after my last visit to London.

In digging things out for him, I have had reason to run across bits and pieces from various times in my life. I found a 100 Franc note from France. Not sure how I missed it because on my first trip to Paris after the Euro conversion I went to the Bank of France near the Bastille and turned all my francs into euros - well, I thought I had anyway. I guess I'll just keep that note as a souvenir - not that I needed a $20 piece of paper souvenir, which is about what it would have been worth when I bought it, but I have it anyway. It's now worth about $15 but I'm not sure it's worth another trip to the bank during a trip to convert it and I'm not sure you can convert them any more unless it's a certain amount. Oh well... guess that's something to figure out.

I also ran across some Cordobas from Nicaragua - they're worth less now than when I bought them. I think that's when you know your economy sucks - when the dollar has lost ground against the Cordoba. I also have some Honduran limps and it's the same story for them - they're worth less now.

This has made me think about travel - as if I'm not always thinking about it anyway. Since I changed careers a few years ago I've done a lot more traveling within the states as part of the job. It's pleasant to be able to do that, but you start to get the feeling that you've been traveling when you've really just been away from home. They're not the same thing. And I'm guessing this is part of the reason I've felt so out of sorts at times in the last few years. I need a lot of newness in my life and travel gives you a big dose of it at one time.

Of course, the fact that the dollar continues to decline against other currencies means that travel is more expensive. The dollar was roughly equal to the Euro for quite some time. Now you spend about $1.26 for each Euro. So, you're paying 26% more for everything you buy.

So, you have to scope out somewhere that you can afford to go... always a challenge when the economy tanks.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Beautiful Day

When I first looked at weather bug this morning it said it was 29, so I guess it finally really froze, no question about it. However, as the day wore on it got to be a beautiful day. By late afternoon it was wonderful - still cool, but nice enough with just a light jacket.

I had a lunchtime meeting, but went to eat with Julie after that. We went to the Airport Steakhouse. It has been redone and is much nicer than I remember it. Our food was good and it was cool to watch the small planes landing and taking off. I had no idea the Hutchinson airport was this busy, but there were lots of people coming through - most carrying either briefcases or golf clubs or both.

After lunch Julie and I went to Dillon Nature Center for a walk. It was just gorgeous out. Things are starting to look like fall around here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Leadership to Collins

Today was Leadership Class and it was city and county day. So, we had visitors from the governing bodies.

Afterwards, we went on tours to three different businesses. My tour was to Collins Industries, where they build school busses. Bryce, the gentleman giving us the tour, gave me permission to take some photos. I've never been to a manufacturing plant, so it was interesting.

One of the most interesting things he said was that the side panels on busses are actually glued on. The rivets don't really hold them in place. It's a glue made my Loctite, and they use about six tubes for each small bus. The tubes are about the size of caulk.

There were nine people in our tour group, including Wanda on her crutches. She was quite the trooper and there was a lot of walking inside a large plant.

They make different kinds of busses - from small ones to large ones. The white ones are generally used by child care facilities. They customize them to order - nothing is built in advance. They make 23 different kinds of busses, but there are 1300 different kinds of customization they can do.

They have a sophisticated system to keep track of how much effort goes into each part of the process. Just an aside, the yellow paint is more expensive to do than the white, but they don't charge extra. You just can't charge extra for yellow paint on a school bus. It wouldn't be right.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I have returned home after a brief visit to Kentucky to see the new baby in the family. It was great to see everyone, but I'm a bit weary tonight. In the past five days I've driven more than 1300 miles getting there and back. I like to drive, but that's a lot of driving.

As always, I had a lot of time to think while driving. It's a great activity for me to put my brain in neutral and let my creative thought go.

I'm planning to be home now for awhile. I have a lot of year end MHA things to do, and things to finish before the holidays, so I need to focus attention here for a bit.

Of course... should the opportunity arise...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mia's Entourage

This is my great, great niece Mia Isabella. She arrived on June 12 in Chicago, but this is the first time I've gotten to see her. She is quite the little show stopper and travels with an extensive entourage of adults ready to do her bidding at any moment.

Her assortment of adults includes her devoted parents, Nicolette and Andy. Some people are just natural mothers, and Nic is one of them. Mia is a lucky little girl in that regard.

Also attending to Mia this weekend were great grandma and grandpa, Mary Ann and Jackie, who are celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary today.

Their daughters in law, Cathy and Kim, suprised them last night with a cake to celebrate the occasion. We were all gathered to see Mia, of course. Hard to believe one tiny baby can be this much amusement for this many adults, but it's true.

Today, Kim was back to her appropriate duties being one of Mia's entourage.

Frankly, none of us can leave the poor child alone for more than the briefest of moments. We are all trying not only to do whatever she wants, but anticipate what that might be. And how could you not? Is she not adorable!?!?!?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

One of my favorite things in Portland was the Chinese Garden. It was a bit of a fluke that we ended up there, but I was so glad we did. It was on my "maybe" list of places to go. But, we ate lunch at an oyster bar downtown (I did NOT have oysters - eeewwwyuck), and I realized the Chinese garden was only a few blocks walk away.

Well, it was so beautiful we ended up spending the rest of the afternoon there. If I lived in Portland I would need a membership to the garden because I would spend a lot of time there.

It was a beautiful place to be. Very peaceful and the most wonderful vistas. It's on a city block, but seems much larger. I guess that's a standard with gardens of this type.

One of my favorite parts were the various walkways, which featured rocks in different designs. It was gorgeous. I will be writing more about it, but wanted to share just a little bit.

I promised photos of the Seattle trip. I'm only now starting to really look at them, but thought I'd pop up something fun from the trip.

This was taken when we were on the ferry ride over to Victoria, Canada. It's a beautiful part of the world. It was impossible to select just one thing that was representative of the whole experience, so I just picked something at random.

If we had had more time, I would have liked to spend more time there, but we just didn't have long enough in the area. Isn't that always the way vacation goes? Never enough time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another Full Day

I had leadership class today and it was good, but I couldn't do the tour that was scheduled for the afternoon. I had a little project I had to get out the door before 5, and the tour was out of town and I just didn't have the time to do that. But, it worked out OK.

I had planned to be on the road tonight, but I was so exhausted I just decided I couldn't do it. I have been literally going from one event to the next with no break for days.

But, tonight I called Julie to see if she wanted to go to dinner. She was free so we went out and had a nice chat. It had been awhile since we'd had time to talk and it was good.

I'm blessed to have wonderful friends I really value.

Art of Gracious Living #41 - Being a Host

When one is a host, some things are required - namely that you are responsible for your party.

Please do not dispense assignments to your family and friends as if they are your hired staff. Instead, throw the party you can manage in time, money and energy.

Your guests are coming to be with you and enjoy the evening, not just to eat and drink. A gracious host offers themselves through their gathering.

Hear more about it by listening to the Art of Gracious Living Podcast. You can either click this link and it will automatically download for you, or listen with the flash player below.

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Books I Made This Weekend

I promised I'd post pix of the books I made at Susan's farm this weekend. Here they are. The one with the Monticello material on it is not full yet, but the others are bulging. I like the look of them when they're like that.

Art of Gracious Living #40 - Saying I Love You

We humans are blessed with the ability to express our affection for each other with words.

Use the power of language to tell someone important to you how you feel about them. We should never waste the opportunity to say, "I Love You." Most of us do not hear it enough, nor do we say it enough.

Hear more about it by listening to the Art of Gracious Living Podcast #40.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Slim Goodbody at Dillon Lecture Series

Slim Goodbody at Dillon Lecture Series

This morning Slim Goodbody was at the Dillon Lecture Series. I didn't know who he was, but the hundreds of school kids in attendance certainly did. I guess he's been doing this for 30 plus years and was a fixture on Captain Kangaroo.

I always go to the lectures if possible, even if I don't know anything about the person, because I figure it will be interesting. And this was, although it was certainly not my favorite by a long shot. It was all geared toward kids, but it was neat to see them so interested.

They bussed in kids from all over and invited them to come sit on the floor so it was kind of cool - I was surrounded by kids and they were really enthusiastic about him.

At one point he had kids come up on stage who could do something unusual with their muscles and have them demonstrate. We saw kids walk on their hands and a chest roll and other fun stuff.

He did share some neat facts that I made note of:
Only two creatures live longer than humans - tortise (200 years) and a tree that is 4,900 years old. That means it was growing when the pyramids were built.
Two creatures have bigger brains than humans - elephant is 13 pounds and whale is 17 pounds while humans are 3 pounds. But compared to body weight ours is largest.
Heart is the hardest working muscle in the body - the diaphragm is the second hardest working muscle.
Every mammal has 7 bones in their necks - humans, mice and giraffes all have 7.

One of the most interesting bits he did was have five kids come up and he gave them each a word - I Will Never Smoke Ever. He then tapped them on the head at various times and used those words in a variety of ways to get across that message. I thought that was really effective.

I had to leave the luncheon early to get to the marketing training that was being put on by the Hutchinson Community Foundation. It was really, really, really good. I was glad I went.

Tonight was Altrusa, so I've had a really full day. Leadership starts at 8 a.m. tomorrow so I need to try and get some rest. I haven't had a break all day.

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