Saturday, June 30, 2007

How Your Garden Grows

I was looking through some of my digital pix tonight and found this one of the herb garden taken on June 3. Quite a change from how it is now that I posted a couple of days ago.

At some point things just go wild, and June in the time, obviously. I just posted that pic of the tomatoes and herbs a day or two ago so this really struck me when I ran across it. Hard to believe that's less than a month's time.

I grew up on a Kentucky farm, and we always had a big garden. I guess when you have a bunch of people to feed, you get pretty interested in a garden. My mom canned green beans and peas and tomatoes, and froze corn. We ate potatoes fresh from the garden and never thought a thing about it.

When I bought my house, one of the considerations was that I wanted enough land to have a little garden - nothing big - just a little garden. I adore fresh tomatoes and in the last couple of years have really loved having fresh herbs. It seems each year the garden gets a little larger. I don't think that's a bad thing at all, just curious.

Gardening used to be a necessity. Now it's more of a nicety. However, I've started to think of it as an esential. We are spoiled because we can go to the farmer's market, but not all of the things sold there are fresh out of the ground. We're fortunate because there's a large number of Amish and Mennonite farmers around here that still farm and bring their goods to the farmer's market. But there are also places that just buy the produce elsewhere and sell it at the farmer's market too. I can just go to the grocery store for that.

Thinking about gardening caused me to think about all the other things that are no longer essentials, but that we might all be better off if we did nonetheless. Think about how often you cook dinner compared to how often your grandmother did. I'm in the same category myself. I don't cook as much as my mother did, or as much as I would like to. But it's easy to go out to eat. It's social and it happens a lot.

We used to rest on Sunday. Even those who weren't religious rested on Sunday. Now we run like maniacs, trying to cram in more weekend time because we have no time during the week to take care of our lives. And, ironically, the people I know who are church goers seem busier and more frazzled on Sunday than those who don't go to church. I'm not sure when the "rest" part comes in - for any of us.

Why are we all running crazy all the time? There are still 24 hours in the day and people were working much harder 100 years ago than we are now. They found time for all kinds of things, so why can't we? We have dishwashers and laundry facilities and cooktops and yet we can't get it all done. They were hauling water and building fires and killing chickens.

There's something wrong. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but there's definitely something wrong.

Of course, I've always known about myself that I would have made a very good 1950s housewife - all except that answering to the husband part. Other than that I would have been excellent at it. Excellent, I tell you! I'm made to be a corporate wife or other such thing. I throw great parties, I'm a a good cook, I lunch with the best of them, I still write thank you notes - I would be so good at it in so many ways. I just am not willing to have no control over my life financially. It's too scary in a world where divorce rates are over 70% to let my future be determined by someone else. That has always been the problem.

I love the idea that one person in the couple is staying home to raise children these days, but I'm scared for everyone of them. If you're not being paid to stay home with your child, and can therefore save for your future - and that of your child's - in case of divorce, you have no financial standing. I know all about child support and alimony (a rarity these days), and I also know how much of it is owed. I just could not bring myself to be that trusting - especially not with a child's welfare at stake. Of course, no one ever thinks they'll get divorced. None of those 70% that did thought so either.

Well, I have meandered... no big surprise there... but I think I'll stop for the night...

Times Change

I have always loved old houses. I've always wanted to live in one. I've always wanted hardwood floors, and great woodwork and high ceilings.

I can remember telling someone once that when I bought a house I wanted hardwood floors. This was years ago and they looked at me like I was from another planet.

"You don't want carpet?!?"

"No! No carpet. Nasty stuff."

"Of course you want carpet. You just don't know..."

"Trust me, I know... it's nasty... put a rug down and walk on it for a week and it's filthy. Why do you think tacking it down on the edges so you can't clean it makes it get less dirty?"

"Oh, you want carpet... you'll see... you won't be happy without it..."

"No. I want hardwood."

Well, if like me you've been a long time lover of hardwood floors and other "old fashioned" ideas, are you not enjoying the fact that these same people who have sung the praises of carpet are pulling it out and slapping down plastic faux wood floors now? I can barely control my chuckles each time I hear that story. Yet again.

My sunporch downstairs didn't have hardwood - it was just subfloor. I was thinking about getting real wood to go in there - not plastic made to look like wood - but splurging for real wood. When I went shopping for it, every salesperson warned me not to - that if you could see old hardwood from the room with the new you'd never be happy with it. And these were people who stood to make some money from selling me the stuff.

They were in consensus so I put down slate tile instead. I'm very happy with it. It's a natural product - like the wood. And I think they're probably right. My old hardwood has a beautiful patina of age.

Everytime I walk on my hardwood floors that creak a bit here and there, and have imperfections after 100 years of use, I smile because I always knew they were the thing to have. The rest of the country is just catching up with those of us who have been in love with such things for a long time.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Week

My intention had been to rest this week, but that hasn't really been possible. It seems I have been in constant motion and been trying to catch up from weeks of special event prep. Now I have a few weeks before my next event.

I am so exhausted I think the most exciting thing I'm going to do tonight is soak in a hot bubble bath. And I think I'll get started on that very shortly.

67 degrees

It's 67 degrees at noon in central Kansas on June 29, 2007. This is not normal. But, as we all know, our weather patterns are perfectly normal. The administration told us so. Is my sarcasm obvious?

Herb Garden and More

We have had a few wet days here. This morning about 7 I went outside to peek at the herb garden in the back. I say "herb" but I also have a few tomatoes, a cucumber and a couple of eggplants out there. I'm tickled to say I have some little green tomatoes.

I set up the watering system a day or two ago, so the timer had set it off and I was watering the bed as the air was so moist everything was already dripping. But, generally, it's very warm here this time of year so you need to water. In fact, we set a record today of the lowest high ever - it was 72 for the high today. I'm not complaining - at all - but it's weird.

Things have really started to grow in the last couple of weeks. I think it has to get warm and stay warm for awhile for a lot of plants. Apparently we've reached that time of year - today notwithstanding.

I'm tickled with my little herb garden. Everything is doing well. You can see here on the left the chives, sage, lemon balm and cilantro. The cinnamon basil is just slightly out of view on the left. On the right the sweet basil is out of view, too. I planted four plants, which I think is going to be a lot. I have two last year and was going for three this year but after the hail beat one of them to pieces I got an additional one. But that one recovered a bit so I've now got four. I should be able to keep everyone I know in basil.

I also have some lavendar, rosemary, oregano, thyme, tarragon, dill and two kinds of parsley growing. I am looking forward to homemade tomato basil soup this summer. I've also decided that next year I'm putting cilantro in the front flower bed. I've been picking it as a cut flower rather than anything else. In fact, I've been creating bouquets out of all kinds of herbs the last few weeks.

At the moment, my dining room table is graced with a bouquet of cilantro.

I love, love, love having fresh plants inside. I need to grow more blooming plants suitable for cutting. Although, something I learned at the artist's retreat last year is that different kinds of greenery can be really wonderful - even without blooms. And some herbs - like sage - hold up really well for a long time. I also need to plant more pinks, as they seem to be in continual bloom and last a long time after cut. This is the bouquet on the table across from my door.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sexual Partners

A new study just released says the average American woman has sex with four different men, and the average American male has sex with seven women. These are obviously not people who were in college at the same time I was - after the pill and before AIDS. Four? In a lifetime? I knew women in college who went through four men in one weekend.

Maybe the potpourri of sexually transmitted diseases has slowed people significantly, although I haven't witnessed that myself. Of course, averages mean that some women have one partner and some have a dozen and some have none - so that averages out to about four.

I do know a few people who just have no sex life, and never have, as far as I can tell. I always thought they were the anomalies, but if the averages are four and seven, there must be a bunch of people having no partners to even out the numbers.

Long Day

It has been a very long day of one meeting after another. Sometimes I question the amount of volunteer things I'm involved in, but I believe we all have a responsibility to the communities in which we live. So, one of the things I do is serve on boards and do other volunteer work.

I have learned in the last year to not involve myself in any more projects that rely on other people to meet deadlines in order for me to get something done. You'd think I would have figured it out before now, but I guess I'm a little slow in this regard. I just know that I can end up holding the bag when something isn't done if I'm at the tail end of the process. It has been a good lesson.

For years I would volunteer to do projects that required skills I had but were not common - from graphic design to newsletters to webpages. I eventually caught on that this was a recipe for disaster more often than not. But, I'm still tempted sometimes to do it. I'm learning to resist.

A year or two ago, I was almost sucked in to doing  a lot of webpage design but I resisted. I don't even have time to redo my own website, which is in desperate need of a real design, so I don't need to be working on others. It's just not work I particularly enjoy - it's way too rote for me. And I've finally caught on that just because I can do it doesn't mean I should feel obligated to do it for someone. I offered suggestions, none if which were heeded, and I've been so thankful I did not commit to doing anything more than offer suggestions.

If only I could figure out what exactly I do want to do with my life... At least I'm weeding out things I don't want to do...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


So, there I was at a garage sale and there was a photo album filled with stamps. I'm not a stamp collector and don't know squat about stamps, except I use a lot of them because I'm a letter writer. But I thought - hey - I could just use these for postage. So, I bought it for $15. There were five sets of the state bird stamps worth twenty cents each so I figured I'd make my money back on those, much less anything else.

I brought it home and set it aside, figuring I'd check these things out on ebay and see if there was anything in there worth any real money. Well, two years later, I happened to notice the photo album on the shelf last night. So, I started the search.

It also occurred to me that I was assuming the stamps were still valid for use as postage. Thanks to the internet I now know that any stamp issued since 1861 is still valid for postage. Unfortunately, there's nothing that old in this collection so it's not a worry.

I really want is be the sort of person who can just slap a 30 year old Olympics stamp on a letter and send it out into the world without giving it another thought. But, I'm not that person. Instead I had to do a little research. Well, what I learned is that stamp is worth about 65 cents - not exactly a gold mine, but an appreciation. Of course, I don't know anyone who wants to give me 65 cents for it so what does it matter.

But, I still don't know what to do with them. The bird stamps - those I'm using - they're not even worth their face value anymore so they're worth more as postage than as collectibles. The rest I think I'll see if I can sell as a group to someone who's in the business of selling them to collectors.

I was charmed by the "airmail" stamps. That's certainly a nod to a different time since all mail is "airmail" these days. There are old Christmas stamps and Vietnam remembrance stamps and other goodies. They're quite attractive in their own way. But I just don't have the temperament to be a stamp collector.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Personal Note

Opening the mail box to find something other than a credit card bill or yet another offer for a credit card or a catalog where you can use your credit card, is such a delight.

In the past week I've received three lovely thank you notes regarding Martha's Shower on the 16th. The first to arrive was Betsie's - she must have written it as soon as she arrived home. It was one of the nicest notes I've ever gotten - perfectly lovely. Betsie is someone I've always wanted to get to know better. She was a dancer in New York before moving to Hutchinson with her husband. She teaches dance and mounts some extraordinary performances, including The Prairie Nutcracker, which included a part written specifically for Martha. I've always thought that was such an amazing honor - to have a part written for you.

I remember reading once that Princess Diana used to address and stamp the envelope and leave it with the note paper out on her writing desk before going to an event, so when she arrived home she would write the thank you note promptly. I thought that such a lovely idea. When I'm leading a life where I'm invited to places on such a regular basis I need to do that, I'll keep it in mind. I wondered if maybe Betsie had read the same thing because her note arrived so promptly.

A day or two later I got Julie's note and it, too, was wonderful. It arrived on a Mary Englebreit card. She remembers that I love "Home Companion," Englebreit's magazine. There's something charming about getting a hand written note from someone you see on a somewhat regular basis anyway. There's a unique beauty in that, alone, not to mention the extra care that went into choosing a card.

A day or so after that I got a note from Martha, who no doubt was busy writing many notes for her gifts. Martha has a terrific command of the language and her thank you note was a work of art in its own way. I believe she was touched by the way the women who gathered here that day honored her in different ways.

I believe that's something we all crave, but so rarely get - to be honored by those important to us. It's why celebrations are essential to the human experience - be they bridal showers or birthday parties. Everyone deserves to be the center of attention at times. And I believe we need it. Why, then, do we so rarely give that to each other?

It's Done

The garden tour, that has consumed practically every waking moment for weeks, is over for this year. It went well and after spending tomorrow doing some detail work on it I can rest.

I am not doing anything tomorrow that doesn't HAVE to be done. In fact, that is pretty much my plan for the whole week. I was at a health fair yesterday. Today I was at the office or otherwise working on the garden tour for about 10 hours straight. I need to do something different now.

I would love to get in the car and just drive somewhere and be in a different place - some place I've not seen before, some place I've not visited, some place I've never even thought about going. But, alas, I have an eye doctor's appointment tomorrow, Creative Sisterhood on Tuesday, an important board meeting on Wednesday - you see the trend.

But at least I can rest a bit and focus on some of my "real life" as opposed to my work life. I lead a life that needs some attention regularly and it suffers when work is consuming so much energy.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

101 Things About Me, repeat

A couple of years ago, this was going around on the net, and I couldn't resist doing it. Tonight I saw it on someone else's blog and looked up mine to see if it was still accurate. It all is - except the age things, of course, since this was first posted Saturday, May 21, 2005. I thought it might be fun to have a reread. No. 101 is especially true these days.

101 Things

Well... this idea has been going around the net for who knows how long... and I've resisted the urge... but after reading Kether's list yesterday at, I'm going to do it too. I know... makes me look like a copy cat... but I'm gonna do it anyway.

1. I love old houses.
2. I came into this world knowing that time is not linear.
3. I am an incredibly loyal friend.
4. I "tell it like it is." Don't ask me a question if you don't want the answer.
5. I am the question person among my friends - always have a question.
6. I am happy most of the time.
7. I agree with my great grandmother Maranda Rose, who was gone long before I came along, who always ate dessert first because she said, "I might die and some other son of a bitch would get to eat it." It's a general philosophy of life - enjoy it. Now.
8. I have a trail of failed relationships behind me. I'm not very good at them, even though I try really hard.
9. I can sing.
10. I love to travel - nothing gets the heart pounding like a little jaunt into the developing world.
11. I wash my hands dozens of times a day - I've got a "germ thing."
12. I *rarely* get sick. (Reference #11)
13. I'm brand loyal to very few things - Wisk, Heinz ketchup, Colgate winterfresh gel toothpaste, Tampax tampons, Jif peanut butter.
14. I HATE to clothes shop. Good grief, could there be anything more mind numbingly dull?
15. I hate carpet - nasty stuff. If you put a rug down and walk on it, it's filthy in a few days. Why do you think gluing the rug down prevents it from getting dirty?
16. I suck at trivial pursuit.
17. I have a *major* case of ADD and consider it a blessing.
18. I don't like to go to the movies. I'm a prisoner in a theatre.
19. Freedom is the one thing I've never had enough of.
20. I was on my fourth career before I turned 40.
21. I write cookbook reviews.
22. I used to do radio.
23. I used to do TV.
24. I used to write for a newspaper.
25. I have written a novel. It's not great, but at least I strung together 100,000 words and they make some sense.
26. I've been keeping a journal since I was in grade school.
27. People tell me I don't look my age - 43. I certainly don't feel my age.
28. I've been involved with men much older and much younger.
29. I think people spend far too much time thinking about what they SHOULD do instead of just doing what they WANT to do.
30. One of the most meaningful songs to me is Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" because of the line, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Because it's true.
31. I love Maya Angelou.
32. I know what it's like to be facing someone older and stronger than you, thinking they are going to kill you. (He didn't, obviously. He probably regretted it.)
33. I have two brothers that were married with children before I was born.
34. I have laminates on eight of my teeth. I got them when it was a very new procedure. Love them.
35. I have been fat all my life. It's part of who I am. Take me or leave me.
36. I miss my Mama. She's been gone for 4 years now.
37. One of the people in this world I know I can always count on is my ex bf, who remains one of my best friends on the planet. He always will be. We just don't make a good couple.
38. I'm a pack rat.
39. I love "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR.
40. I collect rocks.
41. I am an artist.
42. I am a writer.
43. I cannot remember details of shows, books, etc.
44. I treasure my friends.
45. I adore my family - none of that "oh, I don't get along with fill-in-the-blank" foolishness.
46. My great nephew, BC, is one of my favorite people on the planet.
47. My sister in law, Mary Ann, has always been a second mom to me. She is the ROCK of the family. Don't know what families do that don't have a Mary Ann. We are blessed.
48. I know that the dimensions we perceive in this world are very limited. And we limit ourselves by not looking beyond them.
49. I adore having an art studio in my house.
50. I could create on the computer for hours and hours.
51. I'm a good cook. Very good cook. I love to bake.
52. I love lipfinity lipstick.
53. I believe that journalism is a noble profession.
54. I used to be a journalist.
55. I have compiled and edited cookbooks.
56. I have designed billboards, bus ads, posters, programs, ads and dozens of other things.
57. I have voiced national radio ads.
58. I like genealogy.
59. I took a quilting class. I like to choose the fabric. The sewing isn't my favorite thing.
60. I love to dye things like freezer paper.
61. I learned to sew by making Barbie Doll clothes.
62. I am redoing an old house.
63. People think I'm weird. They might be right.
64. I'm definitive.
65. Decision making is pretty easy for me.
66. I'm convinced it's pretty obvious what's right and what's wrong. People just like to pretend otherwise so they don't have to take responsibility.
67. I have "Patsy's Rules for Living" that keep me centered.
68. The confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers at Cairo, Illinois is an important place for me.
69. I was born and raised in Kentucky.
70. I graduated from the U. of Kentucky - Go Wildcats - with degrees in Journalism and Telecommunications. I work in the Mental Health field now. Nothing like using that education.
71. I love Mary Englebreit's Home Companion but still miss Victoria.
72. I went to Egypt by myself.
73. I've hiked in the Guatemalan jungle.
74. I love Paris.
75. I am not afraid of death. Never have been. I'd rather live fully and have fewer days, than live a long time and be afraid.
76. I get a lot of things done every day.
77. I don't sleep much. Six hours is plenty for me. I can do with much less.
78. I've never bought a new piece of furniture.
79. I grew up on a tobacco farm. I hope I never have to raise tobacco again but I can if I have to.
80. I have never smoked anything - including tobacco.
81. I don't drink. It all tastes bad to me - beer, wine, whatever. Very occasionally I have a margarita with Mexican food but don't get the thrill of getting shit faced. There's a season for everything in life and by the time you're old enough to do that legally, that season should be wrapping up.
82. I don't do drugs.
83. I own a discussion group.
84. I think our lack of connection with one another will be part of our undoing.
85. I can read people. Have always been able to. But I don't do it without permission.
86. I know when people are feeding me a line of bullshit. I can't figure out why others don't see it. It's incredibly obvious to me.
87. I have been criticized for being smart, efficient, getting a lot done and not needing supervision.
88. I have a "genius" IQ. Pity I think IQ tests are bogus.
89. I am incredibly annoyed by stupid people.
90. I laugh every day. Heartily. Multiple times a day.
91. I write every day.
92. I meditate every day.
93. I pray every day.
94. I do not believe in war.
95. Clinton is the only president I've ever voted for who got into the white house. And I've voted in every election since I've been old enough.
96. I love cats but don't have any.
97. I am not a huge fan of music. I sing along with the radio. That's about it.
98. I love old costume jewelry pins.
99. I treasure the family things I have - quilts, trinkets, furniture - my mom's dining room table where almost everyone I've ever loved has gathered at one point or another.
100. I have been kissed while standing on the banks of the Nile.
101. I think I'm a very dull person.
102. I hate to be confined in any fashion - including 101 things about me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Writing Desk

This is where I spend many of my early mornings and late nights - at my writing desk in the downstairs sunporch.

In the last few weeks I've watched flooding, passersby and sunrise out those windows. It truly is a window on the world - at least my little tiny bit of it. I'm often accompanied by a cup of tea while I observe the world and its inhabitants.

I also get far more writing done by having a place devoted to that pursuit. And when I say writing I mean journaling and letter writing. This is a spot devoted solely to writing with pen on paper - not by computer. The writing one does on paper is different than that done by keyboard. Those functions use different parts of the brain.

If you don't have a specific place for doing whatever you value, I urge you to create one. The things that nurture your soul are deserving of a place to engage in them.

Third Person

I have been so busy the last few weeks that I haven't been writing here the normal amount. Generally I share my days but other than some instances, which I've noted, my daily life has not been particularly interesting lately. I've been working - morning, noon and night - on the garden tour.

It's set for 2-6 on Sunday and at this point there's not much more I can do to make it successful. I've done about all I can do. We've got some great gardens and the weather is supposed to be nice so hopefully it will go well.

Saturday I am working a health fair all day - not exactly what I would like to do the day before a garden tour, but that's just the way it worked out. Today a huge garden tour project got done in about half the time I expected, so that was a bonus.

I've got volunteers tomorrow afternoon to do the ticket books and I'll be so glad to have it done. I need to rest a bit. Monday I rest. Monday. Monday. Monday.

All work and no play makes Patsy a very dull girl. And Patsy doesn't like herself much like that. Oh my gosh, I've started talking about myself in the third person like Bob Dole. I must break that habit quickly.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I have been moving some of my "personal papers" upstairs. Of course, I can rarely keep from sneaking a peek at the notebooks where I have stored letters, and copies of letters I've written, and cards. I have years where they're very organized and years of them that I need to do. That's what's in all those boxes of "personal papers" upstairs.

Tonight the notebook I pulled down is from 1982. Was that really 25 years ago? Amazingly enough, it was. The first page I opened to was a letter from my mother that was postmarked June 3, so almost exactly 25 years ago.

I wrote Mama regularly at times, and talked to her often. She also wrote me often, even though she would have said she hated to write. Then we would go through periods where we didn't write often, but talked more. Over the years it varied, but I'm so glad we did exchange letters.

The letters are filled with the minutia of daily living - nothing overly exciting in and of itself, but a chronicle of lives nonetheless.That's why I have always kept letters from everyone.

Mama did not like to write much and wrote quickly, without much regard for spelling or grammar. But I always loved getting a letter from her. This letter was not from that envelope, but from the same time period.

This was before I was keeping copies of the letters I wrote, unfortunately, but there are many letters from mama and from friends in this notebook. Some friends are still in my world - Evelyn's program for her senior recital is in this notebook. Others are no longer in my life, but none of the people represented in this book are ones I wouldn't love to hear from at any moment.

There are some people represented here that I long to connect with again.

Some notes are what you'd expect from a fellow college student...

Also a letter from a favorite professor who had moved on to another college...

There were letters from a friend I dearly miss - who I long to connect with again. I hope one day she will show up in my life again.

It has been interesting, peeking back at my own life as if it was someone else living it. Those were days of difficulty in many ways, and yet I was on the verge of something amazing that I didn't even know was around the corner. I guess that's how life always is in retrospect.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Managing Life

I have been asleep about four hours and am up working on garden tour stuff again. I didn't set an alarm - I'm just up because four hours is enough sleep and I just woke up. Over the years when sleep comes up and people tell me they just have to have eight hours of sleep I wonder how they manage their lives. I can't even get everything done I want to do sleeping half as much.

People have always marvelled at how I get so much done - work, volunteering, art, writing, entertaining, etc. while redoing my house and participating in events and travelling. I'm starting to think a lot of it is that I watch very little television and I don't sleep away a third of my life. Three or four extra hours a day can really make a difference.

Monday, June 18, 2007

American Chopper

OK... I'll admit... I'm a fan of American Chopper. What? You didn't expect that from a girl who spends her time poring over the embroidery on vintage linens? I have many interests.

I've decided that part of the success of American Chopper is that everyone picks a pony in that race. People either love Paul's abrasive manner and continual yelling, or they find it annoying. (I fall into the latter category.) People either see Paulie as the brains of the whole thing or a lazy bum. I believe Paulie is the misunderstood creative genius of the whole lot.

The bikes... well, they're cool, but they're just ancillary to the show. The real show is the process and the people engaged in it. It's those people and their distinctive personalities that keep our interest.

There are a few things everyone can agree on - Vince and Rick are indispensable. Cody is a pleasant sort, and Mikey is ... well.... Mikey is... well... he's Mikey.

What people think about Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. is a sort of personality test. Maybe I'll start asking people their thoughts about Paulie when I first meet them to get some insight into who they are.


During the summer months I keep some fresh cut flowers and/or greenery in my house almost all the time. Yesterday I snapped this photo of the bouquet on my writing desk. I love the way the light coming in has burned out parts of the photo. I bought this little vase at a flea market for $1. The neck of the musical instrument is broken off but I adore the shape of the vase. I had forgotten about it and found it a couple of days ago and couldn't wait to use it.

I'm discovering I seem to have more and more pink in my house. I'm not sure why - it wasn't a conscious decision - but it seems to be cropping up here and there. I certainly don't want to paint any walls pink or anything, but I like the little touches around.

There's something magical about having flowers in the house. It's a little bit of luxury that's easy to come by. I only have to walk out the front door and pick the plants - it's low cost, low fuss.

Flowers are one of the things I think make me appreciate the moment. They last only briefly, but are spectacular in that time. It's one of the things I love about summer.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Personal Papers

I've been upstairs the last couple of hours, going through "personal papers." When I used to hear people mention "personal papers," I wondered what in the heck that was. It sounded very high-falutin' to me - like their lives were so important that they had to keep notes on them.

Well, now I know what "personal papers" are. I have some. I have lots, actually. Mine aren't too fancy - they're letters, cards, receipts, programs from events, journals, writings, graphic design pieces I've done, newspaper articles I wrote or am in, newsletters, etc. etc. etc. The whole category of "personal papers" seems to be vast.

If you've read here for any amount of time, you know I'm very fond of these sorts of things and put them in bits and pieces books, catalog them in notebooks, and try to generally not be swallowed up by them.

But I just came downstairs to do something I don't think I've ever done before - I shredded some of those personal papers. I have never had the desire to get rid of anything like this before, but today was an exception. I ran across some material that is really not an important part of my history and was not flattering to anyone involved - including me - so I put it through the shredder.

I didn't know I was the sort of person who would destroy such things, but apparently I am. It's in a recycling bag, ready to go to wherever such things go.

Some people burn old journals, particularly those from difficult times in their lives, as a way of breaking with the past. I have never done that, and can't imagine I ever will. The things I destroyed today weren't anything like that - not insightful or interesting or a chronicle of an important time in my life. And, now they're gone, and everyone involved should be thankful.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Martha's Bridal Shower

Today was Martha's bridal shower. I've been planning this for a few weeks and today was the day. It was a really nice mix of people.

Like me, Martha is quite fond of rocks and crystals. So, I asked everyone to bring a rock or crystal that was important to them to give to Martha. I wasn't sure how many people would do it, but almost everyone did and it turned out to be quite a moving experience. In fact, I didn't use some of the pix because some of us are doing the "ugly cry" in them.

We had a lovely assortment of presents. Some people who couldn't come dropped things off beforehand.

Paula said Martha is one of the most exuberant brides she has ever seen. The fact that she's into it makes it fun for all of us.


I made a ten inch cake, with a six inch heart on top - both two layers. I decorated in purple because that's Martha's flower color. Amazingly enough, after sending just a few pieces home with people the cake is all gone. I was surprised, but glad, because I didn't want it to go to waste.

The smaller cake in the background I made for Martha to take to Jim, the groom to be. I also served the traditional nuts and mints, and - of course - punch with the ice ring I showed a photo of a week or two ago. 

My original plan had been to put some white roses on top of the cake. However, we had a torrential downpour yesterday, complete with intense wind, leaving the roses pretty mangled. I did get enough for a little bouquet but they were no longer perfect enough to be used on the cake.

It was a really fun afternoon. I hope everyone had a good time. I love having people into my home - it's good to have people bring their positive energy into your house. Teresa said tonight that she thought I created an event that would be a good memory for Martha. I certainly hope so. That is the reason we do things like this - to create memories.

More than a couple of people mentioned the little touches here and there. I believe life is in the details - it's what this blog is all about - and I am devoted to the idea of appreciating the small moments of life that can otherwise go unnoticed.

I had a little favor for everyone to take home today - just a little remembrance of the day. A couple of people had to leave early to go to a wedding and I forgot to give them favors so I'll have to do that later.

I think my favorite photo of the day is this one of Martha cradling the griddle. She is thrilled about the gift, but the fact that she looks like she's offering a prayer of thanksgiving to the heavens is partly the angle on this. But I love the photo.

Friday, June 15, 2007


This will be an interesting st. My keybard is in the rcess  dying as I tye. As yu can rbably tell the letter that is the beginning  my irst name n lnger wrks. Nr des the letter net t it in the alhabet and n the keybard. I bught this keybard June 16 last year. Aarently they are built t last a year. Tmrrw I will g buy anther ne because ne has t have a keybard that wrks. It's a micrst ergnmic in case yu're wndering. Isn't this delightul?

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I'm so overwhelmed with things at the moment that I am practically incapacitated. That's not a good place to be. But I've just been slogging through stuff because I have to. I'm just so fearful I'll forget something really important.

I worked until about 3 a.m. last night and got up before 7 a.m. today to start again. As the 2 a.m. mark approaches tonight, I'm starting to feel pretty tired. But I did accomplish a lot today. Unfortunately, there's still plenty more to do in the next few days.

I also have to find some time to prepare for the bridal shower I'm giving on Saturday. My house is not ready for company. I'm not an overly detailed housekeeper, but after packing, unpacking. laundry, etc. it definitely needs some work before I have people over. And I also need to get the cake done.  Fortunately, I have the dishes washed, the napkins folded and the favors ready.

Well, obviously, I need to stop whining about being overwhelmed and get some rest so I can work tomorrow and get things done. Beddy bye time for me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I Went To College For This?

Years ago I had two buttons for my bulletin board at work. Each morning I would select one and stick it up so people knew what kind of day I was having and therefore what kind of mood I was in. One said, "I can't believe I get paid for this." The other said, "I can't believe I went to college for this."

Tonight I have spent the last three hours putting labels and stamps on postcards for the garden tour. Yes, I could get a volunteer to do it. But the cards were ready at 8 p.m. tonight and I need to get them in the mail. I don't have the luxury of figuring out when the stars will align and things will be ready for a volunteer that I have to request a week in advance. Nor do I think I could get one at 10:30 p.m. So, I end up doing things like this myself.

I'm at 627 postcards and counting.

I have the bonus of the extra step of putting on an additional stamp since the rates just went up again.

And, yes, in case you were wondering, I do have a college degree. Two, actually. One in journalism and one in telecommunications. My current job is in the mental health field. You may be saying, "Huh?" Yeah, me too sometimes, but I use skills from my previous careers everyday.

When you run a non profit, you have to be able to do a lot of different things. I designed the card, worked with the printer to get it out to specs, and now I'm sitting at my computer with Alton Brown on the TV while I slap labels on. I also organized the garden tour. (That would fall into the category of "special event planning" if you're looking for the resume lingo.) Did I mention that I truly like my job? It's an honor to be involved in people's lives the way I am. These things just facilitate the real work.

Nonetheless, it's definitely a "I can't believe I went to college for this" kind of night.

I'll ponder that while I drive these to the post office before the 2 a.m. pickup. While there I need to go make an adjustment to the garden tour sign posted at Main and A. Is my life glamorous or what?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Air Travel

If you've been reading here for very long, you know that I despise air travel - except for the part where you're somewhere different at the end of the trip. Well, because of my penchant for general ranting about the airlines, I thought it only fair to say that I had four flawless flights on this trip.

Of course they were miserable - how could they be anything else? And, I was herded like livestock as always. But, everything was on time, my luggage arrived on time and intact, none of my flights or gates were changed or cancelled and to top it off on one of them I met someone interesting.

During the flight from Chicago to DC I was seated next to a gentleman who works for Coleman. We had a wonderful chat. He was very, very pleasant. It always makes the time go quickly when you have an interesting seat mate. Unfortunately, that's rare. But, he was delightful - sort of the ultimate dad type - with a really interesting business perspective.

Yesterday I wasn't quite so lucky. On the DC to Chicago leg I was seated next to a guy who should have used more deodorant before boarding. On the Chicago to Wichita trip I was seated across the aisle from a body builder. I find the body builder look very creepy, but I guess some women go ga-ga over it. There's something weird about men who have used so many steroids that their veins look like they could burst through their skin at any moment. Yeah, a guy who's in shape is appealing, but there's a long way between in shape and that "my skin can't really contain my muscles anymore" look.

Of course, he was wearing shorts, so in case you didn't catch the veins in his forearms looking like they could explode if he moved his arm too much, we had a good view of his leg muscles that were like one of those drawings of muscles without the skin over them. I swear I expected them to be blue and red like the pull down charts your 8th grade health teacher had.

But, if you think that was the creepiest part, you'd be wrong. His wife and one of their kids sat in the row behind him so his mother could sit next to him. I looked over more than once to see his mother with her hand on his thigh - his inner thigh - near his crotch. (Apparently she doesn't know what steroids do.)  Way creepy.

Of course, none of this was the fault of the airlines. It was just another part of the air travel experience. There's always an experience.

First Day After Being Gone

The first day back at work after being gone for a few days is always a treat - in so many different ways. Today was no exception.

It would be nice to ease back into things, but with the garden tour less than two weeks away, that just isn't feasible for me. So, I jumped back in with both feet.

To add to the day, the insurance guy came to look at the car's damage from the hail storm a couple of weeks ago. It's totalled. So, I have to deal with that. The guy said there was probably $6,000 worth of damage to it. Not suprisingly, a 10 plus year old car is not worth that much. But, it still runs perfectly well, which is all I need from a car, so I'll just keep driving it. It's certainly banged up from the hail but I guess I'll just have to accept that and deal with it. I'm one of those people who drives a car until it's done. When it's used up is when I give it up. As long as it's mechanically sound I see no point in getting anything different. I don't really like driving a car that looks rough, but I don't like making car payments either, so there you go.

I still haven't heard from them about the house yet, but my next door neighbor tells me he has $18,000 worth of damage to his roof.

Tonight was Chicks, which was good, as it always is. It seems many of the other Chicks are as busy as I am these days. I am eager to get through the next couple of weeks and then relax and take a deep breath or two. I'm pretty much just trying to move through one day into the next, leaving things done in my wake.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Rob and Shirley

It was just a week or two ago that I was writing here about old friends. When I was in DC last week I was able to connect with an old friend I hadn't seen in quite a while - Rob Mackey - and his wonderful wife, Shirley.

Rob and I have known each other for more than 20 years. I met him shortly after I moved to Hutchinson. We were both doing radio news, and at one time he was my boss, and I really respected him in that role.

He left radio and became the director of United Way locally. Some years later I took a job running a United Way agency. It's curious how some lives intersect repeatedly, as if there's some "business" we need to complete together.

A few years ago, Rob took a job at the United Way national office. With their son out of college and married, and their daughter still in college, they made this major life change - moving from Hutchinson where Rob was born and raised and they had lived all of their adult lives - to the Washington DC area.

I ran into Shirley a few months ago when she was visiting and we had a nice chat, albeit brief. She was so gracious and invited me to come stay with them whenever I wanted to visit. (And, yes, she does know my penchant for taking people up on such offers!)

When I knew I was going to be in DC for the conference, I emailed Rob to see if - by chance - they would be in town while I was there. I had a free night before the conference started. Rob picked me up at the hotel and we drove out to their home where we met Shirley and we all went to dinner. It was such a wonderful evening - truly, truly, truly wonderful. The conversation flowed freely, we reconnected, we talked about the future, and we discussed their new life.

They love living there and all the opportunities it affords, but it has had its challenges as any major change like this does. But, I have to tell you, I really admire them for taking such a huge risk and making such a major change in their lives.

Rob and Shirley are the kind of people you want in your world. They're both kind, generous and incredibly gracious. Through all the years I've known him, I have never heard Rob say an unkind word about anyone. Both Rob and Shirley are people I am honored to call friends.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Washington DC

I have been in DC all week at the Mental Health America Annual Meeting. It's always fascinating to hear the speakers and this year was no exception.

The highlights of the conference for me were hearing Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and Representative Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy spoke to our group last year, too. He is an eloquent advocate for mental health. This year I was lucky enough to get my photo taken with him.

As usual we went to lobby on Capitol Hill. We managed to see all of our Kansas legislators, or their staff members, on Thursday. There were some important votes that day so representatives were very busy. Nancy Boyda (center) did meet with our group between votes.

I had very little time to sight see, but did walk the couple of blocks down to take that photo of the capitol. I loved that the fountain mimics the shape of the capitol.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Things are starting to bloom that have been absent for many months and I'm thrilled to see them. Calla lillies have become one of my very favorite flowers. I planted a bunch last year but so far only a couple have come back up. I was hoping they'd all pop their heads up this year. Frankly, I'm not having very good luck with blubs of any sort. None of my tulips came back this year either.

I planted a ton of lily of the valley last year and I had ONE plant come up this year. It didn't bloom but I don't think they do the first year. People are always telling me they're very prolific, so I hope next year I have some blooms. They smell soooo sweet.

Honeysuckle is another favorite. I put in an old fashioned one a few years ago and it's finally starting to take off. I also put in a pink one. It comes up every year but hasn't really flourished. Maybe this will be the year.

There's something magical about flowers.

I'd like to do more in my backyard. I want curving pathways and flower beds here and there. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to really accomplish it. Maybe I'll gain that knowledge as time goes on.