Friday, March 30, 2007

Splurge! Magazine in Wichita

Well, today I get to feel like a celebrity. OK, no one has asked for my autograph or anything. Not yet, anyway... but it could happen... at least in my fantasy world.

I'm one of the "Splurge! Blurbs" this month in Wichita's city magazine, "Splurge!" If you click on this photo you'll get a version big enough to read, that shows the other two folks featured this month, too.

Of course, I just scanned this, so it doesn't do justice to the magazine. "Splurge!" is a really beautiful magazine - slick, full color, very upscale - fashion, restaurants, happenings, etc.

Thank you to the people involved who have made me feel all warm and fuzzy today.

The magazine can be picked up at various locations around Wichita, including one of my favorite restaurants, Yia Yia's, where I had dinner tonight.

Well, I'm going to enjoy these 15 minutes or 15 seconds or whatever it turns out to be...

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hiawatha Tea

I promised photos from the tea this past weekend in Hiawatha. It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

They have community volunteers bring in their own place settings, table cloths, centerpieces, etc. A couple of the tables this year even brought their own chairs.

The most elaborate one was this one:

There were a lot of different designs. My favorite was this one that had cake plates set up to be a tiered centerpiece.

This was our table. It was done by the library staff. I loved the pansies.

The food was better than it was last year. They serve it on these little plastic plates so the plates don't really get very dirty, which makes it easy for them to be packed up to be taken home. Quite ingenious.

This was our little group - Teresa, Cynthia, Susan and me. Unfortunately, Kathleen wasn't feeling well and didn't get to partake.

The Hiawatha tea supports the Morrill Public Library. You know how much I love libraries so I'm thrilled to support this event and have a great time all at once. The Morrill Public Library is celebrating it's 100th anniversary.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I've had a few emails from people recently asking me why I haven't written about politics in awhile. I've had to ponder this a bit.

1. I'm weary of it all. I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that George W. Bush is in the White House and so I'm just counting the days until he's not. (663, in case you're wondering - you can find a counter at

2. Our government hasn't done something like let people die in the streets of New Orleans in awhile. I'm hoping we can go another 663 days without this administration being faced with something else they're incapable of handling.

3. It seems that, finally, other people have awakened from their very long slumber and gotten interested in seeing us get out of Iraq. I feel less need to be talking about it every few days because others are. Finally. It doesn't mean I feel any differently, but I've stated my views already and there are finally new voices to carry it on. In case you missed it - War is Stupid. This War is Extra Stupid. The Iraqi War has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with oil. I support the troops by wanting them home, instead of being blown up in the Iraqi desert. I want us out NOW. I don't give a flip about a plan - fly a plane over and load up our troops and bring them home. This is a civil war and it ain't none of our business. It's another Vietnam because we don't learn. OK, some of us do. But then there's bloodthirsty Bush. Nothing good is going to come of this.

4. I'm still mad as hell and it's just not good for my stomach lining or blood pressure to remind myself of it any more than necessary. Isn't it funny how you can scarcely find anyone who voted for Bush, and yet he won a majority of the votes. It's the incredible vanishing voter - particularly noticeable in this Republican stronghold. You used to see "w" stickers every few cars. I haven't seen one in months. My guess is that sales of scraping razor blades have increased with the death tolls.

OK, there's the short version. However, naturally, I reserve the right to rant at any moment.

Quote of the Day

"I'm the me I choose to be." Sidney Poitier

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Self Control - Or Lack Thereof

The Atlantic Monthly has a piece online about a study in the Journal of Consumer Research that indicates, "regret over indulgence and gluttony diminishes with time, but regret over missing out—doing the responsible thing and deferring gratification—only increases."

Researchers look at two ways people approach life - the idea of enjoy it now and pay for it later, and the idea of giving up immediate gratification for future benefit.

Apparently the guilt we may feel for overeating or overspending or over-fillintheblanking is intense. But, we're fickle, and it's fleeting. On the other hand, that wishing "if only I had" emotion comes on slower but stays much longer.

I believe this is what people mean when they say they regret the things they didn't do more than the ones they did.

I've always believed my elders on this matter and been a very much "live in the moment" person. I don't have any regret over anything I've done, and none for any missed opportunities either.

I'm sure some of my escapades in my wilder days would shock many people who see me in the mode of chamber breakfasts and afternoon teas. It just goes to show that people are multi-faceted - some of us more than others, perhaps.

At least I think people are multi-faceted. I hope so. I hope the other people I see at chamber breakfasts have, at some point, done something more exciting than this. I hope so. I really hope so.

Everyone should have some things worthy of regret in their past, maybe in their present. It doesn't mean you have to engage in the useless exercise of regret. But, everyone should do something "shocking" on a regular basis.

Of course, "shocking" is in the eye of the beholder. I just think I'm living my life until I'm telling someone about something and watching their eyes grow wide and their mouths drop open. My friend, Leah, is the ultimate in this regard. She jokes that I've given her more gray hair than her children. Maybe she's not joking.

I think I'm due for something shocking. Maybe overdue. Maybe you are, too. "Shocking" in a good way, of course, just that way that gets the blood going, the adrenalin pumping - raises the excitement level of your life a bit.

However,  I said shocking - not stupid - drive sober, practice safe sex, and don't mess with any potentially instantly-addictive substance or activity.

St. Mary's Church in St. Benedict Kansas

Sunday before the tea, Susan took us to St. Mary's Church in St. Benedict, Kansas. It is just outside of Seneca, where I had been before with the ex-boyfriend when he worked there. He had taken me around a lot of the area up there, and it seems like we had driven by this church, but hadn't stopped in. I'm so glad Susan took us - it was an amazing place to be.

Because I love stars, of course I was enchanted with this bit of a stained glass window. There are many, many, many stained glass windows and lots of hand painted decoration on the walls. Stunning. Completely stunning.

The church was completed on November 13, 1894, three years after construction began. It is 162 feet by 60 feet, with a tower of 172.5 feet. The limestone came from the Schneider and Hurley farms about three miles north. This is actually the fourth building to serve the parish, which was founded in 1859.

The church has the traditional, Roman style, layout. Inside the front doors is a small vestibule. When you walk into the sanctuary, the organ is overhead in the loft, which was open when we were there. The vaults are 52 and 35 feet high, with cast iron columns bearing the weight of them and the roof.

The ribs in such structures are always amazing to me.

The painting on the walls was done in 1901 by G.F. Satory of Wabasha, Minnesota did the decoration in the church. He used stencils to create patterns, bands and friezes in a variety of colors. He did the columns, vault ribs, window openings and other areas. The designs incorporate many Christian symbols. It was this ornamentation that got the church placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 5, 1980.

Around the church are the 15 mysteries of the Rosary. This one, "The Finding in the Temple," is in the choir loft.

If this all looks very fresh for more than 100 years, you're very observant. It was restored beginning in 1979. It took three years to complete the job, but was done with painstaking accuracy to the original as far as color, blending and design. It is the only known Satory-painted church to be preserved. All the others have been lost to modern paint jobs over the years.

The choir loft has two angels, one pink and one blue, holding lights. They are magnificent pieces. In this photo you can also see more of the painted decoration.

You may notice some color differences - that's because of where I was in relation to the sunlight in the church. The choir loft was one of the best areas for photography.

In 1984, the pipe organ was fully restored by the Quimby Organ Company of Warrensburg, Missouri. It is all mechanical. It was manufactured by the Hinners Organ Company of Pekin, Illinois about 1916. The sound is styled on the Romantic Period of organ building. It has 17 rans with 932 pipes. Most of the pipes are constructed of wood, but the larger pipes in and behind the case are made of zinc. The smaller ones are made of an alloy of fifty percent lead and tin.

Of course, the stained glass is spectacular.

I couldn't resist some close-ups in the one place I could get close enough - the stairs and the choir loft.

Structures like this are built with attention to detail. One place where it's obvious is in the light that hangs near the altar. If you put yourself right under it, the decoration is made to the perfect size to frame the light itself.

It's a beautiful place to spend some time. There's also a grotto to the side, with some fascinating rocks to enjoy.

St. Mary's is worth a drive to enjoy.

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