Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nutburgers in the News - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Well, you knew it couldn't last - me being quiet about what's going on in the news. I try. I swear, I really try. But, the world keeps presenting me with nutburgers I can't resist talking about.

Nutburger of the Week is... drumroll, please...  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

There are no gays in Iran? Well, of course not. The ones who could afford to have already left, and you've killed the rest or shamed them into being hidden. It's amazing how ignorant a person can be and still be running a whole country. And, no, I'm not going to make a George Bush joke here - there's "I didn't really excel at my ivy league school and I'm not too smart" and there's "I'm a bigot who's too stupid to even know I'm a bigot." Very different kinds of ignorant.

The debate has raged about Columbia University giving him a platform. Maybe I'm just a complete idiot myself, but I'm glad he spoke there. I think far more people heard what he has to say than they would have if he had only spoken at the UN. Would he have said there are no gays in Iran at the UN? No. Well, I don't think so, anyway. But, of course, I can't imagine anyone would say something so ignorant anywhere. But, I digress. OK... back to the topic at hand. I think the fact that he spoke at Columbia brought his message to a larger audience so more people can see what a fool he is.

I've heard the argument that apparently Columbia would have hosted Hitler. Well, you know what, if they had he probably wouldn't have gone unchecked for so long. And speaking of Hitler, how many people got upset when Ahma-nutburger-jad denied the holocaust a couple of years ago? Admittedly, there was "international outrage," but it was talked about less than this has been and I think the reason is that Columbia offered a way for more people to hear what he has to say. It's easier to just blow nutburgers off  in "official" contexts than when they're doing it just because it's who they are.

Oh yeah, and lets not forget that part of our identity as a country is free speech. So, you'd think the president of another country would be extended the opportunity to speak. If he happens to be a nutburger and doesn't bother to hide that fact - as they never do because they see themselves as completely reasonable - it clues the rest of the world in. And someone we really need to be hearing are nutburgers in positions of power - like presidents of countries with nuclear power who think other countries should be "relocated," for example.

OK, I know... he speaks lots of places. Well, I don't know about you, but I've seen far more of him and his general nutburger-y-ness from the Columbia speech than any other. I think it's good for people to see that and I don't think they're likely to catch the latest C-Span installment from the UN. OK, I don't even know if C-Span does the UN or only congress, but it sounds good as a comparison.

So, there you go... Nutburger of the week is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bill O'Reilly and his fumbling buffonery about Sylvia's restaurant and its patrons is spared being the Nutburger of the Week. At least this week.

(And yes, Nutburger is my word. I don't know where it came from. It just popped into my brain and out my mouth and I've been using it ever since to describe people who are so far removed from anything resembling reality that they can't even get a grasp on it.)

Check for the blog, art, and more.

Saturday is for Scones

I went downtown for the Chili Cookoff today. There was a great turnout - even at 1 p.m. when I arrived to help with clean up for the HRAH (Hutchinson Reno County Arts and Humanities) booth. There were people everywhere.

I guess multiple times the HRAH booth had a very long line of people waiting for their chili samples. People pay $2 and can get samples from each of the booths. I think there were about 25 this year. Then they get to vote on what the best chili is.

Mark, the director of HRAH, pinpointed the only real problem. It seems as if people are more interested in just filling up on chili for $2 than actually enjoying a community event. He mentioned this just about three minutes after I had said to another board member that I hadn't seen anyone I knew. But, I guess people were enjoying it in ways we couldn't see.

But, this was echoed when I pulled up to get the three pumpkins Mark had told me to take home. We had left them sitting there while I pulled my car around. Another board member had come along and his kids wanted one. I told them to take them all. While we were discussing it, some older gentleman none of us knew walked up and took one. Who takes something like that - obviously a decoration that had been used by one of the participants - just because it's not nailed down? This guy I guess. He didn't ask anyone, including the two of us who were wearing logo hats and discussing them. He just took it. We didn't do anything except watch. Frankly, I was a little too surprised to say much. It's not that I need the pumpkin - I'm blessed that I can afford to buy as many pumpkins as I want to go on my porch - but it was just the idea someone would help themselves to something that obviously didn't belong to them, that they had no right to. I would rather the other board member's kids had all three of the pumpkins. I guess I live in a sheltered world, what can I say?

I did see something funny, which I wish I had gotten a photo of - a black lab with his own arm band, meaning he got to sample the chili too. He trotted right over to me to be petted so it's my own fault I didn't get his photo. But, suffice it to say, it was cute  that his three guys got him his own armband.

While working on a number of different computer projects this afternoon I took a break to read some blogs. When I checked Jan Lemen's I saw the most scrumptious photo of a biscuit with jelly on it. This made me long for a scone. I don't know why, but it did.

So, I dug in my computer recipe files and found the scone recipe shared by tea enthusiast Eve Hill on a tea list some years ago. Teresa has a good scone recipe, too, but I didn't have it in the computer. Most of them are pretty similar - but I like a scone that is flaky and crumbly. I don't care so much about the shape - round or triangular - but the texture is important to me. I like them to be rather biscuit-like only a little sweeter.

Anyway, I whipped up some scones, and ate one with real butter and blackberry jelly. Yum. I, of course, had it with some blackberry and sage tea. Susan gave me this tea at Christmas last year and I have loved it. I've been parceling it out and this was the perfect time for some.

I also finished up the invitations for Mary Ann and Jackie's 50th Anniversary Party in a few weeks. Cathy and Kim have been kind enough to let me be involved in the planning. My other big task is the centerpieces. I've got some ideas I need to experiment with. I want to make sure everything looks nice.

Well, time for bed for me. I'm hoping that tomorrow I wake with an uncontrollable urge to tidy up my house.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Out of Sorts

I have been feeling "out of sorts" for the last few months. I'm not depressed. I'm not upset. I'm not bored. I'm not unhappy. But I'm not normal. I'm a little "flat."

Part of it is the need for newness in my life, but that's not all of it. It is deeper than that and I need to figure it out and address it.

I have been trying to put my finger on it and just can't quite get a handle on what the problem is. After some soul searching time late today I have reached some conclusions.

1. My "overstretched arch" has prevented me from getting the normal amount of movement in each day. I'm not saying I exercise regularly, but, in the course of the average day when I wear my little pedometer I walk about 2000-3000 steps. For the past four months it has been so painful that I have walked no more than necessary, which is far less than that. Maybe it's true what they say about needing some exercise/movement to keep various chemicals that affect our moods flowing in the body.

Late today I walked a little nature trail that's about a mile long and although my foot is slightly sore tonight, it's not bad. And I walked a couple of little trails near Mammoth Cave last week, too. So, hopefully it will continue to improve and I can move more.

2.  I have spent too much time and energy this year on things that drain me and too little on things that restore me. It seems there is a constant increase in things that require my attention that I don't wish to do. But, they must be done. So, what is one to do? We all have responsibilities to fulfill. All I can do is try to limit future obligations.

3. I have been journalling less than usual. I've had other kinds of writing to do, including blogging, and have spent less time with pen and paper and I must change that. Journalling is something that we know makes people happier so I must get back in the habit of doing it nearly daily. I go in cycles, but have been keeping a journal since I was in grade school, so this is obviously just a blip. But, regardless, I need to be aware of this.

4. I need opportunities to be with people in meaningful ways that result in learning, creativity, or emotional bonding. For example, leadership last fall provided a great chance to get to know 29 people from different areas. The artist's retreat last year was a great example of a bonding experience. A group of us used to gather and go to see the energy healer, or attend related conferences and such. We haven't done that in a long time and no one in my circle seems interested in doing it anymore. I long for the connection one can only get from a concentrated time frame with others. I have tried to create opportunities for that a couple of times with friends and met with little or no interest.

So, I think I must create something and issue an open invitation, instead of limiting it to people I already know. Obviously, I'll be posting info here when I consider what that will be. It would be fun to get a group of women together from some meaningful interaction.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Managing Life and Changing Times

I've been doing some personal excavating tonight. My desk at home is always covered with piles of stuff. Piles. The fact that my hands haven't been crushed by those piles careening onto the keyboard qualifies as a small miracle.

So, I've been going through piles - filing, tossing, shredding, and wondering. It's that last one that is the reason piles accumulate, I think. I'm not sure what to do with something so I just put it aside. Then, eventually, that grows into an infamous pile, which I continue to add to. When I finally do get around to going through things, many of the pieces of paper I couldn't bear to part with initially because I might want to do something with them are no longer important - a date has passed or for some other reason they're immaterial now.

But, this doesn't stop me from making new piles. I know all those rules about how you should only handle a piece of paper once, have a certain time each day to return phone calls, etc. etc. etc. Who does that? Who lives a life that works like that? Not me and not anyone I know.

Stuff comes into my world at a far greater rate than I could ever process on a daily basis. So, I wait until the things that aren't urgent are outdated and then it takes no brain power to process them. I've recognized this problem of too much stuff coming into my life for some time, but cannot figure out how to deal with it. I had my mail held while I was in Kentucky and after just five days, the stack was about eight inches tall when I picked it up. And that's just the mail - my personal mail - it doesn't take into account email or phone calls or anything work related, where stuff also arrives at a pace I can't maintain. Email floods in from the national office, with complex details and issues. Meanwhile I'm working to keep the daily stuff going.

So much of what arrives at my inboxes, my mailboxes and my doors is so overwhelming - in quantity and topic - that I end up ignoring it unless it's urgent. I don't like feeling like I'm never caught up - never on top of things. I don't know how to manage it all.

I used to say I wanted the world to stop for a few days so I could catch up. Then it was a month I wanted it to stop. Then it was about six months. Now I think I probably need about 10 months of nothing coming into my world to just deal with the stuff already in it.

Of course, people could rightly point out that I could give up the time I spend writing, painting, blogging, doing Christmas, going to events, working on my house, seeing friends, etc. But those things restore me. The other things take from me. I cannot give up the things that nourish my soul or I will have nothing left to give to the other parts of my life. So many of the things I must do seem designed to try and suck the very life out of me.

I always seem to need more hours in the day to do everything I need and want to do. It's certainly not a matter of me not working. I don't think anyone who knows me would ever use the word "lazy" to describe me. I rarely stop, even for a few minutes, from the time I get up until I go to bed. I don't lay down on the couch when I get home. I come in the door and keep going. I haven't actually watched television without doing something else in at least 15 years, except when ill enough to be bedridden. If I'm at the computer I'm working on something - work or personal. I never waste time waiting for appointments - I always have something with me to work on. I even spend very few hours resting every day - rarely more than six - so I'm not sleeping my life away either.

One of the things I found tonight while excavating was my ticket to a performance series here. I haven't ever attended one of their events, but I buy the ticket every year to support it. There are a couple of things this year I might actually go to. Regardless, they send with the ticket a set of stickers for you to put on your calendar, to remind you of the dates. Honestly, I looked at them for a few seconds before I figured out what I was supposed to do with them. I haven't kept a paper calendar for the last 2-3 years. So, the stickers went in the trash - what would I do with them.

It's much like when I have to pay a bill by actually writing a check and putting it in the mail. It's so archaic. Frankly, I'm ticked off that I have to spend time doing either thing. So, I simply don't do business with anyone who requires that of me anymore. If automatic payment isn't available I'll use someone else's service. I want it to just happen seamlessly every month without me having to be involved. I still have to do it for the MHA and it seems so bizarre to me. Fortunately, we don't have a lot of monthly bills.

When I took this job about 5 years ago I was shocked to see two typewriters in the office. I actually turned to one of my board members who was with me and said, honestly, "Whatever will I do with a typewriter?" Type, of course, is the answer. But I never, ever opened either of them. Finally, a few months ago I found another non profit that wanted them. What do you do with a typewriter these days other than use it to create cool, actually typed paper for art projects? I recently put an actual typed envelope into one of my bits and pieces books. I haven't gotten one in years - many years - so I kept it. It's definitely a last gasp of a bygone era. Like so many things from bygone eras, it's charming in it's own way, but I don't want to go back.

The world changes very quickly these days. It's a struggle to keep up. Now, if you'll excuse me I need to go check out my new SpiralFrog membership. Always something new...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Moon Rise

Moon rise tonight was beautiful. I was on my way to Goodwill and pulled over in the Aldi's parking lot to take a photo.

One thing I've learned from Greg is that when you see something cool like that, you've got a very limited time frame in which to capture it. Unless you're very close to an interesting foreground, you better just shoot it with whatever is nearby because it's fleeting. In this case, Lowes was what I had for a foreground. However, I used the trees to block that.

As you can tell, clouds were moving across the moon, which is what gives it that striped look. I was quite infatuated with it.

Walking Through My Dreams

Driving through parts of Kentucky I hadn't been in in a long time, or ever, has given me vivid dreams of people I had practically forgotten who walked through my life at one time or another and now are walking through my dreams. It's almost like guest appearances.

I drove by a sign pointing to Cerulean, Kentucky. I've never been there, but I remember a boy named Bob I met at Murray State University my one year there. Bob was a sweet boy. We lost touch very quickly after I left Murray, but a few years later my Lexington phone rang and it was Bob. He was visiting some friends in the area and had seen me on the news because I was working as a TV reporter then.

In that way that early twenty somethings will do, and I suppose others as well, Bob called me to impress his friends that he knew someone on TV. I'm not sure how much it's worth to know someone who's working the weekend news as a lowly reporter in the 76th market in the country, but it was worth a long distance call to him at the time.

I had no ill will toward Bob, and I was genuinely happy to hear from him. We wrote a couple of letters after that and promptly drifted apart again because there wasn't anything to bond us together.

It was one of my first experiences with someone making an effort to "be in my world" in some small way because of what I was doing for a living. I'm sorry to say it has happened many, many, many times since. I can't imagine what it's like to be a real celebrity, because even on this teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, little scale you're always wondering if people are really interested in you or just your job and what you can do for them with it. Now that I don't work in the media anymore it's no longer an issue. And, there are people who quickly drifted out of my life when I didn't do that for a living anymore.

However, there are others who entered by life because I suddenly had an "important" title. There are a couple of people in town who, literally, did not speak to me prior to me taking this job. But, now that I have some title they deem worthy of note they also consider me worth noting. Can you guess how much respect I have for that? I'll bet you can.

Bob was the first time I had that experience, although I didn't recognize it for what it was then. We have to learn everything in life. And, he got the payoff, his friends were very impressed he knew someone on the news. Twenty year olds are easy to impress, what can I say? But, I talked with them, they were happy, and Bob was too. I wasn't happy, but I wasn't unhappy. I guess I was indifferent that would move to indignant as the days progressed.

Seeing the sign for Cerulean, Kentucky made me think of Bob and that night he walked through my dreams - making a cameo for the first time in many, many years.

I woke up remembering something more pleasant about Bob - bumping into him on a very rainy Thursday afternoon on the Murray State campus - and him driving me back to my dorm a few blocks away. I know it was a Thursday because I had just finished my voice lesson and it was on Thursdays. I was relieved it was over and looked out to see Bob, who was not a music major, walking up the steps with an umbrella. It didn't strike me as odd at the time that he would be a in building a business major would have no reason to ever set foot in. Obviously, it was not happenstance that he was there to rescue me from a rainy walk back to my dorm.

He drove the mile or so and pulled up in front of my dorm. We talked for a few minutes in the dry warmth of his car before he leaned over and kissed me for the first and last time. That one kiss sealed for both of us that we would never have that kind of relationship. It had never crossed my mind until that moment, and it was fleeting, but I guess it had crossed his.

It was nice to have him make a guest appearance in my dreams after seeing the sign for Cerulean. At the 20 plus year schedule my subconscious seems to be on, it will be a long time before I see him again.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wigwam Motel, Mammoth Cave and Big Moose's BBQ

When Greg, Mark and I stayed in the Wigwam in Holbrook, Arizona on a trip across Route 66 two summers ago, the following morning I proclaimed, "When you CAN sleep in a Wigwam, you SHOULD sleep in a Wigwam." Well, I stand by that, and the phrase has even become famous as The Lope has used it in a book now. OK, famous might be a stretch, but it's in a book.

Wigwams were once a small chain, but there are now only three left - Holbrook, Arizona; Rialto, California and Cave City, Kentucky. We stayed in the Arizona and California ones on that trip, but I had not been to the one in my home state of Kentucky until this past weekend. Finally, my Wigwam Triology is complete.

In a burst of energy or stupidity, depending on your point of view, a group of us came from Kansas, Missouri and Ohio to meet in Kentucky for a Wigwam experience.

From Left to Right, that's Greg, Barb, Natalie and Ace, Mia, Will and Richard, me, and Mark.

Wigwams are way cool. I had number 4 this time. There are 15 of them in Cave City - some with one bed and some with two. Greg and Mia had number 3, Mark had number 5 and Barb and Richard and their family had number 6. Each is basically the same with its own little bathroom and cool furniture. You even have your own little parking spot beside your Wigwam.

And the view from inside the Wigwam has this cool profile. You can even see the sign in the distance from my front door.

There's a bigger Wigwam that is the office and gift shop, and two smaller ones that are restrooms beside it.

They're built in a big circle, with a drive that goes behind them.

Friday night, Barb and Richard built a fire in the little fire pit in the middle. We roasted hotdogs and marshmallows. It was very cool.

Cave City and Holbrook both have some original furniture still left. Very, very, very cool.

Wigwams also have the cutest little bathrooms with the oddest little angles. The mirror angles down at you over the sink and the shower has more corners than you can imagine. I love the tile in these.

Cave City tells us they may have to give up the tile because it's getting worn. They have a lady in Bowling Green that re-canes their furniture for them. It's way cool. Did I mention it's cool?

And, Cave City isn't called Cave City for no reason - Mammoth Cave is nearby, which we also visited.

At various times we all took the Frozen Niagra tour. It's only a little over an hour long and has about 80% of the pretty formations in the cave.

Mammoth is the longest cave in the world. I've been on a longer tour before, but was content to take this nice, easy, pretty tour this time.

Previously I did a tour that involved a lot of hiking. With my "overstretched arch" in my right foot, lots of hiking was not on the agenda for me this time. The foot continues to improve, but a multi hour hike would not have done it much good.

I have to say that the rangers at Mammoth Cave are the nicest ones I've ever run across - not that park rangers aren't always pleasant, but the ones at Mammoth Cave seem to be particularly fond of their jobs and genuinely happy to be interacting with the public.

This tour had an optional part of it - 49 steps down to see another part of the formation. As the guide put it - there are 49 optional steps down and 49 mandatory ones back up.

If you took the steps down, you saw this "drapery" overhead.

And this large stalagmite.

This tour had a lot of pretty formations to see...

You could peer down into Crystal Lake...

Our guide, Jeff, told us there was about 10 feet of water in it now. It has been very dry there lately.

In fact, the park has two ferries, which were closed until late August. I took one of the ferries the following day when I did some sight seeing around the park and took in some walking trails and some scenery. It's a beautiful area.

I did hike down to the famous sand cave where Floyd Collins met his demise in the mid 1920s. Floyd was looking for a new cave - a new tourist attraction - and got caught in a collapse. Newspaper accounts of him being trapped brought about 10,000 people there to witness the rescue operation. Unfortunately, Floyd was found dead about two weeks after the initial collapse.

I also visited some historic churches and soaked up the atmosphere.

To top off the trip, we discovered a fabulous restaurant in nearby Glasgow, Kentucky - Big Moose's BBQ. Mark and I went there one night before everyone else arrived. When we mentioned we hadn't been there before they gave us a sampler platter of all their side dishes, all of which are delicious by the way. That's not because we were special, although we do like to think so at times - they give a sampler platter to anyone who's new so they can pick their favorites. How's that for some Southern Hospitality? The young lady at the front counter was as pleasant as could possibly be on top of that.

We loved it so much we encouraged everyone else to go there so they did the next night. I cannot speak highly enough of the sweet potato crunch. Lets just say in the south we like our brown sugar and pecans and we know that to do with them and we're not afraid to use them. When Greg tasted it he said, "I want this in my mouth all the time." That sentiment was shared by everyone.

I also heartily recommend the Indian Stew and the hashbrown casserole.We all loved it there. So, should you find yourself in the area, don't miss Big Moose's BBQ. It's well worth the short drive from Cave City to Glasgow. When you leave be sure and ring the bell - that lets them know you liked the food.

Check for the blog, art, and more.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn Is Here

Today is the first official day of Autumn. I've noticed color creeping into the landscape. In some places, only one leaf has turned so far. In others, like this, there are a couple of trees that are much further along than their neighbors. I took this in the river bottoms near Barlow, Kentucky, a few days ago.

I just read recently that what makes leaves really pretty in the fall is not what I've always heard, which is a wet year. Apparently, rainfall has nothing to do with it other than if there has been enough rain to keep the trees alive. What really makes them pretty is if the temperatures have been hot enough and there has been lots of sunshine so the leaves have made lots of food over the summer. That is what gives them lots of color.

I was struck when driving through the game refuge near where I grew up a few days ago that we never really appreciate what is nearby. I have known that intellectually, but thought I was really good at avoiding the trap. However, I found myself exclaiming over how pretty things were. They're the same things I spent more than 20 autumns with, and barely noticed. What is that part of human nature that discounts whatever is "easy" in our lives? What we have near us? Convenient?

Maybe I need to renew my vow to see the world with new eyes every day. That gives ample opportunity for finding new and different when you're seeing things fresh. Why is that a struggle for us? Or is it only a struggle for me?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Christmas Preparation

What is it? You may be asking yourself that and the answer is...

It's a Jackie Terrell original...

Christmas Tree Stand.

I have this problem with Christmas trees and stands and remaining vertical. The trees don't fall over - not since I started bolting the stands into a 4 by 4 piece of plywood - but the stands bend. The poles bend. There's a lot of bending. This is NOT a desireable function of a Christmas tree and its accoutrements.

This afternoon my brother, Jackie, built me an official, industrial strength, Christmas tree stand. This will NOT bend. I'm certain of it. If it does, even I need to rethink how I do Christmas trees.

It was quite the process, but he whipped it together with things he had lying around in his shop.

There was cutting...



and welding.

And then I had a cool, wonderful, extra heavy duty, Christmas Tree Stand. He even spray painted it. He's a full service, brother, I tell you.

I'm so excited I'm nearly beside myself. Yes, I know, this may not seem like something that's that big of a deal. But, I have an entire circuit in my house that's devoted to one outlet specifically for the Christmas tree.

I realize not everyone requires the services of an electrician and now a welder for their Christmas tree, but it's so pretty and sparkly.

2005 Tree

2006 Tree

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I've been reading through some old blog posts lately, with the idea of making a compilation of favorite posts. Of course, I've been thinking about that for over a year and it hasn't happened. But, hope springs eternal, it could. It might. It will.

In looking back through old live journal posts, I found this one from three years ago - almost exactly three years ago - that I posted on 9/17/2004. I was working on a speech, which I still give, about how to increase your happiness level. Oddly enough, it's not something most people are too interested in. I think it's the "forgiveness" part that trips them up. But... just in case it's something you might be interested in... here is the outline.

This is all based on science - not just Patsy making stuff up.

Here's the post:

Happiness - It's Yours for the Learning
We are all born with a "set point" of happiness, but we now know that it is also a learned behavior and just because someone isn't born that way, they can be that way if they chose to be. Genetics determine about 50%.

Important in learning to be happy:
1. Meditation
2. Journaling (esp. gratitude)
3. Fake it till you make it. Faking happiness causes the same chemical reactions as BEING happy and eventually will create the happiness. Actions matter - act happy.
4. Surrounding yourself with friends and family is a huge factor in increasing happiness.
5. Having your own sense of self and no interest in keeping up with the Joneses is helpful.
6. Doing activities that put you in the "flow" where you lose sense of time and enjoy it, increases overall happiness. The more of those you have, the better off you are. Doing what you're best at.
7. Must have a capacity to love and be loved.
8. Altruism
9. Spirituality
10. Creativity

Damaging to happiness:
1. not forgiving - huge - the biggest stumbling block - the single biggest determining factor in someone's happiness level
2. materialism

1. Major health problems, such as loss of mobility, have no long term effect on people's general happiness. After about 90-180 days they return to their pre-incident level of daily happiness.
2. People are very bad at predicting what will make them happy. Better to trust human resilience than human prediction.
3. More choices you have the more likely you are to be unhappy. People feel with so many choices, there's no excuse for failure. Choices also make people question every decision.
4. Happiness comes mostly in daily little bits. People get thrills out of finding a quarter or getting an unexpected gift. The emotion actually makes them more generous, friendlier, flexible, creative and better at solving problems. Small bursts of this feeling caused radiologists to make more accurate diagnoses in one study.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quote of the Day

I am always doing what I can't do yet, in order to do it.
~Van Gogh

I was reading some old journal entries today from before I came over to blogger and ran across this one. It struck me anew so thought I'd post it again.

This is me, in a nutshell. I like to do different things - knit, paint, ride 844, go to Quebec, whatever. But, once I know how to do them or have experienced them, I'm done, unless it was an incredible, amazing, unbelieveable experience that I want to repeat. I love to paint, and no doubt always will. I like to knit on occasion, but it's not any big deal. I have no great urge to do it perfectly - just like to do it.

The perfection thing is the key. I'm content to just "do" whatever it is. I don't need to do it "right" or "perfectly," I just want to "do." And then I want to do the next thing.

It's yet another conundrum in my life. Because there are other areas of my life where I'm so "stable." When I'm involved in a serious relationship I have eyes for no one else. Greg told me once that when I'm involved I just give off NO vibes. And I'm very content.

With work I tend to stay in a job for a long time. I may change what exactly I do in that job, but I tend to stay somewhere for extended times.

But, with less serious things, I'm content to just try it and see how it goes. Of course, that's usually how I get into those relationships and jobs now that I think about it. I guess maybe they just work for me - like painting or travel - and I want to keep at it. Obviously food for more thought.

Fair Time Over for 2007

Another milestone has passed - the Kansas State Fair for 2007 has ended. Mark was down this weekend, but not feeling up to taking in the fair, which is very unusual.

He took off about 10 this morning. He had a 2:30 doctor's appointment in KC. It's a pity he couldn't stay longer, but there are always so many places to be. I often have the feeling that I should be at least 2-3 places, and want to be at most of them. Unfortunately, I can only be at one at a time, and that seems to not be enough most of the time. I can't figure out why this is, but it seems to be that way.

Tonight at dinner I was talking to Terry and Greg and we were talking about other art shows. I realized I have something all but two weekends the rest of the year. How does my life get so overscheduled when I'm consciously trying to make it not that way? But there are always things to do - from seeing the Governor at the fair to any number of other things.

I think I mentioned the Governor was here on Thursday. She always has a day when she's at the Kansas State Fair. She kicks it off with a chamber breakfast that morning and then tours around a bit on the grounds.

The Kansas State Fairgrounds have had some major improvements in the last few years, which is great. It was in need of some updating.

Of course, there are always things that get changed that I don't like and one of those for the faigrounds was a consolidated food court area, instead of the individual placees dotted over the complex.

But, they've kept the agrarian nature of the fair, which I love. I want to always be able to see jellies and giant pumpkins and such.

This year's giant pumpkin winner was 976 plus pounds, more than 300 pounds over the record at the Kansas State Fair. There were four entries, and three of them were from families named "Stanley" in Newton. I'm guessing they're related, but I don't know.

And if you were wondering what champion peppers look like, here are Jim Hoover's of Hutchinson. I need to call Jim and ask him his secret. My peppers never get more than the foot tall they are when I put them in every year. Eventually I pull them up and throw them away. Jim, on the other hand, has produced some lovely specimens.

All kinds of produce is competing...

In the last couple of years, there has been a scarecrow competition. Cindy Ward of Hutchinson won this year.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I slept 10 hours last night - practically unheard of for me. That's about two night's sleep for me, instead of one. But, considering I got up at 2 a.m. to go to the Hillsboro show, and stayed up until 10 last night, it's understandable I would need some sleep.

This morning I went to breakfast with Mark and then I started unloading the van. I hate the hauling. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. I hate loading. I hate unloading. I hate hauling. But, I made a dent in it today - didn't get finished, but accomplished some of it.

And, I started doing the laundry. Every tablecloth we took with us was soaked, of course, due to the torrential rain that fell all day. Not sure if I mentioned in yesterday's post that the sun came out just as we were getting ready to unload and was bright enough that I had to squint all the way home. It was in the 90s today, but not above 50 yesterday. Delightful.

We were out in it all day, of course. Mia and I were miserable. Greg snapped a photo of us near the end of the day. You know why we're looking happy? Because it's about over.

Otherwise, today was pretty laid back. Greg, Mia and I did go to the fair to see Ron Diamond, the hypnotist. I'd seen a couple of his shows earlier this week. He's always wonderful.

Tonight there were about 10 people in the audience that went under. I've never seen that many. It was a good show.

One of the routines he has people do sometimes is he'll ask all the men to believe they are finalists in a body building competition and give their best moves. Tonight one guy ripped his wife beater in half as part of his competition. It was hilarious. Fortunately, he was a guy you didn't mind seeing with his shirt off.

Another of my favorite routines is when he has them pretend they're the village people and plays YMCA. It's just as funny as you would imagine.

The Kansas State Fair wrapped up tonight after 10 full days. I always enjoy it on multiple levels. I took some more photos, which hopefully I'll get to share over the next few days, but I decided the grand champion wheat would be critical since this is Kansas and all.

Cross Bell Farms of Deerfield, Kansas won the grand champion ribbon. Will Frusher of Ness City, Kansas is the Reserve Grand Champion. You can't have a fiar without ribbons and wheat. And ribbons on wheat.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hillsboro Arts and Crafts Fair is a Misnomer

We did the Hillsboro, Kansas Arts and Crafts Fair today. Once is enough for me. It is really a craft fair, despite what their publicity would lead you to believe. The people on one side of us were selling things like 6 feet tall stuffed moose with blue jeans on, and they were moving them.

It was a miserable day. It rained... no... poured... all day long until we were leaving town and then the sun was in my eyes bad I could barely see. I don't think it ever got above 50. This wouldn't have been so bad if I had been prepared for it. But the weather forecast was for a 30% chance of scattered thundershowers in the early morning, then clearing and in the 70s. Liars. It was cold and wet all day. I think it's the most miserable I've ever been physically due to weather for that long of a time.

Jocelyn did "poorly" according to her and Mia and I certainly didn't sell much - Mia more than me. I didn't lose any money but it's certainly not worth the time and effort to ever do it again, unless I start making benches with "Grandma's Garden" on them and that is not likely to happen.

The bright spot of the day was getting to meet and talk with blog reader, Deb. That was delightful.

I'm so tired after getting up at 2 a.m. to get there and get set up that I'm about to fall over. So... off to bed for me. I only wish my electric blanket was hooked up. I'll have to make do. I'm too tired to get it out.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Long Day

It has been a long day, starting with the governor's speech at the chamber breakfast meeting. Unfortunately, what we largely heard was other people talking about things I had no interest in instead of listening to the governor. They kept making announcements, including a long spiel about a Prairie Dunes event, instead of letting the governor talk. The reason there is a big turnout is because we want to see the governor. Duh. If the governor weren't there it would be the same crowd it usually is - much smaller. It was really rude to the governor. I don't know what the chamber was thinking.

But the day had some fun parts too. I had lunch with Trish and dinner with Sondra, so I worked in some friends.

I just finished up in the studio. I did a couple more things tonight I hadn't planned on. But, I just have about an hour of finish work tomorrow and they'll be ready to go. Of course, I have to pack things into the van and be ready to go. We're thinking of going over about 3 a.m. I never thought I'd be saying the phrase, "we need to leave by 3 at the latest" and be referring to 3 a.m.

I'm already in bed and it's very early for me. My plan is to get up very early in the morning and then go to bed very early tomorrow night so I'm somewhat with it on Saturday. I'm sure it will be an experience. Hopefully a good one.

This evening was a productive one. Jocelyn came over with some things she wants me to carry in the van to the Hillsboro show for her and we talked for quite some time. She has been very helpful to me in figuring things out for the show.

I've got everything ready to go as far as pricing and such. I will do a couple more things tomorrow night and then that's it. I don't want to be up all night on Friday. In fact, Jocelyn and I were talking tonight that we are going to go over in the wee hours of the morning to set up. She said her Aunt has been before and although the show techincally starts at 9 that people are shopping by 7. So, we want to be prepared.

I also got to have dinner with Susan tonight. She's in town for the fair, helping at her husband's booth, and we had hoped to find a night for dinner. Hopefully I'll get to see her yet again this week. I sure miss having her in town.

Today I got the notice about the St. John tea. I'm looking forward to going. Jan, Julie and Susan and I are going. I tried to think of everyone I knew who is into tea - that goes to the MHA teas or that I know from other tea experiences and I came up with six people. So, four out of six available isn't bad. Julie and I have been before, but not anyone else as far as I know. It should be fun. Hard to believe early November is only six weeks away.

I know the rest of the year is going to zip by. I will start decorating for Christmas soon. Yeah, I know. But I like Christmas and I don't want to miss the season by having everything left to do then.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Autumn has arrived

Autumn has arrived, without so much as a warning. Suddenly, temperatures are not even reaching into the 80s most days and weather forecasters are saying we're done with the hot weather for this year. It was just a couple of weeks ago that we were baking in the unrelenting sun, and it seemed that would never end.

I'm not complaining at all. I like that distinctive feel of a fall day - a little breeze constantly stirring the air and a crispness that has been missing for months. It's lovely. I just needed a bit gentler approach to the changing season. I'm accoustomed to first seeing the sumac, then noticing with surprise the leaves starting to turn even while temperatures are still hot.Only after that am I ready for the forecasters to start saying we're done with hot temperatures for the year.

It's not that I want any more hot temperatures, but I do want to mark the seasons. We seem to have gone from the height of summer to the middle of fall, with little inbetween. There was no tapering off, no ramping up. It was as if the calendar page turned and mother nature noticed and complied immediately.

One of the things I know about myself, that was crystallized when I worked with a life coach, is that I need time to get used to things. I need to process them at my own speed. This is a blessing and a curse. But, it just is. Maybe this is the reason I need the seasons to change gradually, so I grow used to the idea that we're moving on.

I also like to anticipate. I love each season in its own way, and I like to anticipate its arrival. Anticipation is a huge happiness for me.

The seasons also note the marching on of time. I'm reminded of how we can so easily forget to live our days, and end up wishing them away instead.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11

Today is September 11, a date that acquired a new meaning six years ago. I don't know how many years it will be before it doesn't have the same effect, but it won't be in my lifetime. People still think of Pearl Harbor Day, so I know that 9-11 will have this meaning the rest of my life, and probably far beyond.

I am very concerned that we seem to "celebrate" this day a bit too much. And we "glorify" it in some ways. There are always incredible stories of heroism in any tragedy and they're compelling. I am just as touched as everyone else when I see them.

But, when I hear phrases like "greatest American tragedy" I bristle. First of all, I don't want to classify tragedies as "great" or... what... "less than great?" Second, there are other tragedies I would consider in the running for "greatest" - they certainly involve more people.

There are children dying of hunger - yes, in the United States. Worldwide, 18,000 children die every day of hunger. Every day. That is a tragedy. There are elderly Americans who suffer because they don't have sufficient heat or air conditioning, medication or food. There are homeless people who's only crime is losing the health lottery and having a mental illness in a country that doesn't believe in treating people who aren't employed by someone who offers good health insurance. And we Americans have a very long and ugly history of tragedies. Slavery? More than 600,000 people were brought to the US against their will to serve as slaves. I call that a tragedy. Of monumental proportions.

So, let us remember that not all tragedies involve bombs or planes flying into buildings. Of course, 9-11 IS a tragedy. Absolutely. It is horrific to us and at the same time we are inspired by the stories of rescue workers and those people on a plane who went down in a field, fighting for their lives. It's a tragedy and I don't want to diminish it. But I don't want to celebrate it either. But it certainly is worthy of remembrance - the event and the people who lived through it and those who didn't.

In honor of that remembrance, the Kansas State Fair has a quilt on display made by Lois Jarvis of Madison, Wisconsin. The Lone Star pattern has been manipulated to identify many events of 9-11, including the explosion, gray skies and the chain link fence where remembrances of victims were placed. The quilt also includes images of 700 victims. Greg provided me with some photos from his blog.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Kansas State Fair 2007

The Kansas State Fair is well underway. It happens in Hutchinson, where I live, so I go every year.

It's one of the last great agricultural fairs left in the country and there are canned goods, and hand work, and livestock to be judged.

My friend, Andrea Springer, told me she was entering some knitted items and I see she won Second Place in one of the categories. Andrea is an exceptional knitter. It's her favorite hobby and she even works part time at a yarn store, called, appropriately enough, Yarn.

I try to stay out of that store because I am attracted to all those cool bits of fiber in all those cool colors. And I already have a stash of yarn that is still in it's fresh-from-the-store, pristine, condition. I do not need to add to my pile of yarn until I use up some of what I already have. I am not nearly as talented as Andrea when it comes to knitting needles. She has a real gift.

While I was in domestic arts I took a quick look around at the Governor's Cookie Jar and also at the cake decorating, cookies, breads and cakes. I was impressed with this cake designed to look like a folded quilt. I would never have the patience for this, but I think it's cool looking.

Greg and I went to see Ron Diamond, the hypnotist, tonight. He always puts on a great show. I think this is his 4th year at the Kansas State Fair. I did have a nice post about him from a previous year, but had to take it down because some people were fond of the photos of the people hypnotized for the wrong reasons. What reason? Well, remember how Jeffrey Daumer wanted to make his victims into "zombies?" Apparently some people think hypnotized people make good "zombies" and share Daumer's interest in that. Of course, that's not how hypnotism works, but I just didn't think the young lady who's photo was on my post would appreciate her picture being looked at by people in groups focused on such things so I took the whole post down. Suffice it to say that Ron Diamond puts on a great show. It's fun for all ages.

On our way back to the car we stopped off at the Hedrick's Petting Zoo. Their farm is in Nickerson, about 10 minutes from Hutchinson, and they bring some exotic animals to the fair for a petting zoo every year. Some of them are more exotic than others, of course.

We tried to feed various critters, but late in the day we didn't find too many takers. Except the goats. Goats will always eat - two at a time.

I found myself quite taken with the giraffe this year. I swear he started to pose when I got out the camera.

I think the following is what would be called "truth in advertising." In case you can't make it out, the sign says, "Careful! I can bite. (I have top AND bottom teeth.)"

And, yes, Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close up.