Saturday, May 31, 2008

Southern Girls

We have a new coffee shop, called Roaster 2 Cup Euro Caffe, which may soon be Bruce's. Martha mentioned it the other night at Chicks but I hadn't been there yet. As you might guess, Bruce is the owner. He is roasting all his own beans every day and told us you can't be doing anything else food wise while doing that because the coffee will pick up the flavor.

Today Kate and I decided to get together and went there to give it a try. While we were in there, Amy popped in so the three of us got to chat. Kate is in the pink, Amy in the blue.

The coffee shop is comfy, with some cushy seating, and a nice selection of magazines. This is one of my favorites - Scientific American. Oddly enough, that plays into my weekend plans. I'm going underground tomorrow to attend a roundtable lecture by scientists who discovered ancient bacteria embedded in salt. I'm excited about talking to them. And, no, I'm not being funny. I'm really looking forward to it.

But, back to the topic at hand. Amy, Kate and I are all southern girls. Kate is from Georgia and Amy from South Carolina, while I'm from Kentucky. We decided today we're going to start our own little club for southern girls and those with southern ways.

Topics of conversation today were:
1. how can people possibly not know what cheese straws are - it's scandalous, I tell you
2. the horror of no derby pie on Derby Day - none of us have quite recovered from that
3. how can people not know their history -  i.e. "where are your people from?"

We didn't get much further than that, but went away with the task to come up with a name. Of course, we thought about GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) but that's been done. We considered the Sweet Potato Queens, the Ya-Yas and some other things, including our own twisted Junior League, but decided we need to come up with our own name.

I was sharing this with Greg at dinner and he asked what southern girls would say about food.  My response was, "butter, heavy cream, cheese or gravy - or some combination - can improve almost anything."

It's comforting to talk with other southern girls. I do miss my own kind.

And I do declare, those southern men are a special breed as well. I didn't fully appreciated them until I wasn't around them. But, that's a-whole-nother topic for a-whole-nother time.
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Meeting Bob Aronsohn and Baxter and Riley

This is Baxter the dog. I met him today and fell completely in love with him. He already has a human, however. Even if he didn't, I'm afraid I would not be a good dog owner because I'm gone too much. Besides, I'm not even a dog person. Baxter didn't seem to notice that, however. And, frankly, it kind of slipped my mind, too.

I also met Riley, his canine counterpart, when we went to look at a garden for the tour on June 22. Greg went with me to take photos. Have I ever mentioned he's the best ex-bf a girl can have? I'm sure I have - like 40 dozen times - but it bears repeating.

I petted Riley, too, but Baxter was jumping up on my legs, giving me this look of, "hey, pick me up, what is wrong with you, don't you see me here, pick me up, what are you waiting for, pick me up." How could I resist?

I've been doing the garden tour for a few years now and it's always interesting to find the gardens and go meet the home owners. Some people are a little concerned about one thing or another, understandably so, and some people are so casual it's amazing.

This homeowner, Bob Aronsohn., falls into the latter category. He met us at the door and motioned for us to come on into the house and we went through it into the back yard, which is as lush and green as you can imagine a yard being. Just look at the part Riley is not covering up there.

Mr. Aronsohn is a legend in hunting circles, and his house is filled with the evidence of his prowess - from Africa, Argentina and other locales. It was fascinating to talk with him. He is particularly known for crow hunting. I'm working on a passage in my novel now the involves a crow. I didn't know I had such a great resource just a few blocks away.

I was telling him about my brother in Kentucky who loves to duck hunt and Mr. Aronsohn mentioned he is going hunting with a friend from Lexington soon, and knew another hunter in Paducah. I grew up about 25 miles south of Paducah and graduated from the University of Kentucky in Lexington. I guess this would fall into the "small world" category.

Maybe he would let me come visit Baxter again. He said the dog rarely let anyone hold him for any amount of time, but Baxter was so cuddly with me. Did I mention I'm not a dog person?
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Thursday, May 29, 2008


Does this scene just remind you of small town America? I snapped it today at Fraese Drug. A grandma brought in her four granddaughters, all dressed alike, with the same hats. They had shakes, malts and sundaes. It was just too cute for words to see them all sitting at the counter.

I realized that granny was making some memories for those little girls. I'm guessing these two in the middle are cousins, but it's only a guess. I can imagine them talking about this day at some point in the future when they've got their heads together talking about more important topics than I hope they have on their minds at this young age.

Making good memories seems to be the point of life.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
                                Ashley Smith

For the past year or so I have been thinking a lot about beauty, and how I need more beauty in my life. When we did our vision collages, my focus statement was about having the f
reedom and inspiration to create and appreciate beauty. I came to that statement after a large amount of journaling over some months, and it was the result of focusing on what was wanted from me, not for me.

I can't say I've figured out exactly how to manage this in my life yet, but I know it's what I need to strive for, and continue moving toward. Of course, the problem is that sometimes it's hard to tell when you're moving, much less what direction you're headed.

I try to always move toward something instead of away from something. But, of course, it's hard to focus on the unknown you're moving toward, and pretty easy to focus on what you want to leave behind.

While I'm struggling with these issues, life has this seemingly magical way of working itself out with little input from me. Things fall into place, almost as if there's nothing for me to do. But, in retrospect I realize there were steps I was taking, I just didn't recognize them as such.

Every day I'm doing things that are moving toward something new. Something wonderful. Something long wished for and intensely desired. I hope the life I lived today moved me closer to the dream of tomorrow.

In that tomorrow, beauty will surround me and I will be able to appreciate it and create more beauty as a result of that inspiration.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mars Landing

This is a shot from Mars. Isn't that an amazing thing in and of itself? That we have a photo of the surface of Mars, and that I can download it right on my computer and send it out again to others in a different context.

This top photo is from "day 0." The lower one from "day 1."

I've been transported back to 1969 and the moon landing in many ways during this. I was too young then to comprehend a whole lot about what was going on, but I was old enough to know it was cool. I remember going outside and looking up at the moon and thinking, "wow, people are up there now."

I'm experiencing the same wonder now. Somewhere I have a little toy of the Mars Rover, which I loved. Now this. Space exploration is the ultimate in long term planning in many ways. It takes many years for the science and the desire to take us to new frontiers. When astronaut Jeff Ashby spoke here a couple of years ago he talked about NASA's motto of "The Moon, Mars and Beyond." It's exciting to be living in these times where technology is such an amazing part of our daily lives.

I love the feeling of delight I have on a daily basis about technology. I can sit in my home office and look at photos from Mars and write and share thoughts with people around the world. It's an incredible time to be alive and to be experiencing all this.
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Monday, May 26, 2008

This was the fourth day in a row that Kansas has had outbreaks of tornadoes. It's starting to seem like this is just the norm now. Fortunately, we just got rain tonight - nothing more.

I've had a very laid back day, working on stuff at the computer, and enjoying Mark and Greg's company. Mark headed home tonight, missing most of the bad weather.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning and couldn't get fully back to sleep. I did rest some more, but just couldn't sleep deeply. I sleep so little. I try to sleep. I mean, I really try. But, four hours after I go to bed I'm awake. If I go back to sleep, I'm awake six hours after I went to bed. After that it's nearly impossible for me to actually sleep any more. I may doze, but that will be about it. Every once in a great while I go to sleep and stay asleep for 7-8 hours but it is rare.

I get so frustrated when people say you need to rest. You have to sleep. Well, don't you think I'm trying? I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do? I go to bed. I even make myself stay in bed sometimes, although it nearly makes me bonkers, but I still can't sleep. I don't think I've slept more than five hours any night in the last three weeks.

Of course, there are a whole slew of drugs for such things. But, after my last go at antibiotics and steroids I decided the fewer chemicals in my body the better. I'm almost recovered from all those and I don't want to add anything else to the mix.

But, all of this to say, I'm tried now. Very tired. I'll go right to sleep as soon as I go upstairs. It's the staying asleep for an extended period that's the hard part. I'm glad tomorrow is a holiday.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Peace Demonstration in Hutchinson Kansas

One of the things I love about my life is that I just never know what interesting thing is going to happen on any given day. Today I met Mark and Greg at Roy's for lunch. Mark is covering the antique truck show at the fair for his XM radio show, Landline Now. Greg has been hired to do photos for the magazine so they were both headed back to the fairgrounds.

I intended to hit Smith's Market and then head home. As I approached the intersection of Main and Avenue A I saw something that made my heart sing. There were about ten people gathered, holding signs promoting peace. Yes, PEACE, that ever-elusive thing.

All of the photos here were taken by Greg. You can see his blog at

Well, I couldn't resist stopping and talking with them. So, I circled around and came back and interviewed them, discovering that they're the Hutch Action Alliance. Their facebook page says, "The Hutch Action Alliance is a group of concerned citizens' attempt to put good intentions to good use. We aim to aid the community through service, dialog, activism, and social justice advocacy." One of the organizers, Hutchinson native Jon Dennis, 24, said, "we're people trying to find solutions for the problems plaguing our world."

Today was their first public event, although they did volunteer as a group at the Soup Kitchen last week.

A core group of five people has been meeting for about a month. They were inspired after hearing Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness speak about that organization. The goals of the Hutch Action Alliance include finding ways to bring peace into the conversation of the community. Dennis said, "people will be talking about this tonight."

I'm sure he's right. It's not every day you see a group gathered in downtown with colorful signs stating a point of view.

The signs were created by artist Mikaela Trim, 23, who moved to Hutchinson about a year ago. Her parents are missionaries in Japan and she lived abroad most of her life, but would come back periodically to live near her grandparents in South Hutchinson. She was seeking a place of her own, and chose Hutchinson.

She is one of the organizers. She said, "I'd like to see the community come together, agree or disagree, come together and talk. And this is one of the ways to manifest that - to start a conversation."

The most recent addition to the group is 22 year old Mason Hitchcock. He said he was out there today because he had wanted to be able to do something but didn't have the means to get involved.

Another of the organizers, 17 year old Jason Depew, who will be starting his senior year of high school this fall, said he'd heard many people express that desire to do something and this is one way to provide an opportunity for that. He said he's involved because, "I'm really passionate about the causes."

The other organizer who was there today was David Coon, 24, a member of the National Guard. He said, "I was deployed to Iraq for a year and certain experiences I had over there prompted me to do something more with my life."

I asked him more about that, but as I've seen before when asking anyone who has been to war about their experiences, he didn't seem to want to talk about it much. Because this is my personal blog, and not journalism, I had no reason to press him. But he did say, "It forced me to evaluate my place here in the community. I wanted to make sure I could make a difference. I didn't want my life to go to waste."

After I was done with the interviews, I picked up a sign, and finished out the event with them. I choose a sign that said, "Support the Troops, Bring Them Home," which, as you know if you've read here any amount of time, is one of my favorite concepts - how can my desire for the troops to be home and safe be construed as anything less than supportive?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the people in passing vehicles were supportive. One man yelled out, "Peace, Brother," as he drove by. Many folks flashed peace signs and thumbs up signs.

I was thrilled they allowed me to jump in on their event at the last minute. It was a joy to be involved with folks who are interested and motivated to do something in our community.

They have another Peace Demonstration set for June 7 at noon, at Ave. A and Main. Everyone is welcome to join in. I'm going to be unavailable that day - sure wish I could be there. But, I'll be eager to read your report about that day's event.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Tornado Watching on a Friday Night

Well, they say the tornado/thunder-storm is about 30 minutes from us right now. So, I think I'll probably be heading to the basement soon unless something changes. I've gone to the basement fewer than a half dozen times since I've lived in Kansas, but tonight may be a night when I do that very thing. I'll update twitter from the phone if possible - you can see twitter in the sidebar of the blog at
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I'm involved in a new project locally, and it's one I'm excited about. I think it has tremendous potential. It's, an online magazine for Hutchinson, Kansas. It's the brainchild of Cody Heitschmidt, whose blog CodyTalks is always worth a look.

For a long time I've wanted something like this to exist - a place to go to for talk about the community and what's happening and what could happen. Possibilities. I love possibilities. Look at and take time to be part of the community there.

I'll be doing a monthly column called, "Patsy Writes," and so will other folks - folks with very divergent views. You can find my column, as well as others, in the "reads" section.

I don't know Cody well - we've crossed paths a few times and chatted, but recently we've been working on a local task force together and have gotten to know each other a little better. We've also gotten to know each other better as we've exchanged messages on twitter. (Consider this your formal invitation to join us there - look for patsyterrell and codyks and you'll instantly have two friends. OK, I'm speaking for Cody without his permission, but I feel pretty confident on this one.)  In the brief time we've been communicating, we've realized we're in agreement about a whole lot of things and at opposite ends of the spectrum on others. I'm very comfortable with that, and I suppose Cody is as well. These interactions led to him asking me to be a columnist on I'm excited by the potential, and wanted to be in from the get-go.

You can also write. The site will depend on a lot of interaction from folks. You can blog there. You can comment. You can tell us we're full of it. You can tell us we're right on. You can write your own piece because we're all missing the obvious.

In one of those things that happen in a smaller city, Cody and his wife own LogicMaze, which is the company that was hired some months ago for web design by a local organization on whose board I serve. Frankly, this sort of thing is something I like about living in a smaller city. I like walking into a group and figuring I'll know at least one person there, but that's a-whole-nother topic - and perhaps something for a future column.

Go on over to and take a look. Today is the first day it's live, so you'll be in on the ground floor.

This Week in My Life

I'm so glad Friday is upon us. This has been a hectic, busy week, and I've gotten a bit behind in blogging about life in general.

I've been working on the garden tour. We've had it full. Then lost one. Then got a new one. Then lost one. I am so weary of doing these sorts of things. It's exhausting and stressful. On top of that, I've got some unexpected things looming to take care of.

When I had lunch with Trish this week we were talking about things and she used the perfect phrase for it. She said she didn't have anything on the horizon she was dreading. I realized that was the word for it - dread. There are things I'm dreading. It's just not a good way to live one's life. I suppose people do it all the time, but it makes no sense to me.

I've been spending more time on twitter these days. I'm eager for more folks I know to get on there. I've had an account for a long time but haven't used it much until recently. It's very interesting. I'm also fond of friendfeed, but even fewer people I know are on it.

Mark is down for the Antique Truck show. I got to see him at lunch and dinner today. He's working for his XM show, so I haven't seen him except in passing. He's not staying with me this time. Since he's working his company got him a hotel room.

I'm just trying to push through the next month and get everything done I need to get done. Then I will be able to rest a bit, I hope, and work more on the novel.

My plan is to work very hard tomorrow and get some things out the door so I can have this three day weekend off. I'm hoping. Hoping, hoping, hoping.

Other good news today - I got a good report at the dentist. I always love to hear I have no cavities.

I have almost all of my plants in the ground. They were saying we might get bad weather tonight but I'm hoping it's not big hail. I don't want all the pretty white roses on the bush in front torn up, nor do I want the plants I just got in the ground beaten to a pulp.

Yesterday I got a call about doing some voice work that sounds like it will be a fun experience if they hire me. I love doing voice work so that's a bonus. We'll see what happens. I also got a new writing "job" that I'll be saying more about as soon as it's ready for public consumption. More on that soon.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Photo Story 3 and YouTube and my latest adventure

I did this recently to play with some software I wasn't familiar with - Photo Story 3. The software is easy... so there are any number of applications for it yet to be thought about. I didn't even realize it was a freebie with windows - I've never had a reason to look for something like this.

I just grabbed some pix I had on my hard drive, found some quotes that go with it and did this to get my feet wet. I think it's kind of cool looking for something done in a little bit of time with free software.

If you haven't ever watched anything from YouTube, you just click on the box below and it will play right on your computer. There's nothing dangerous in it that will harm your computer. This is just a little over a minute long.

As always when learning something new there are snags along the way. This software for Photo Story 3 is very easy. I didn't bother to put any sound behind this one, but it's an easy function offered there. You have access to this software - it's free with windows.

The snag came when I tried to load it to YouTube. It wouldn't accept it even though the format was one of the ones they take. Some online searching netted some very, very, very useful information from this page on Bill Myers website. Scroll to the bottom of the page and he addresses this very problem. His page is the only place I found the needed information. It's very easy to follow the steps he lays out and then it works like a charm.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Addictomatic Yourself

OK, admit it, you've googled yourself. And you should. Whenever I google myself I find things online I didn't know were there because I didn't put them there.

Tonight I happened across another way to achieve this that breaks down your appearance online into various categories.

Of course, you could search for something other than yourself... if, well, you know, you have any other interests. I did a little searching for some travel info, some tea info and a couple of other things. Just a new toy I wanted to share. OK, maybe it's an old toy and I'm the last person to know about it, but just in case...
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This has been a Monday. Wow. Definitely a Monday.

Did you know that stress is a factor in the seven leading causes of death in the US? It is. It's a real killer. Literally. 75% of doctor visits in the US have a stress component. There's a reason more heart attacks occur on Monday mornings than any other time of the week.

I have a-fib, and for me it's very stress dependent. People really, really, really stressed me out today and my heart went into a-fib. It was quite a while before it went back to normal. I wonder if they would take a sadistic pleasure in knowing they made me miserable for awhile? Fortunately, now it is normal again and I feel much better - just a little strung out.

The end of April through mid May is a difficult time for me. I always feel like I should get a medal for just getting through it with my sanity (such as it is) intact. When am I going to "get over it?" I have no idea. I'll just feel the way I feel until I don't feel that way anymore.

I wonder how the "business oriented" types handle loss. Do they just drop in for their mother's  funeral at 10 and are back at work by 11:30? I truly don't know, but that's how they act.

I'm just not built that way. Loss is serious to me. It's still fresh, although no longer raw. I don't know, and don't want to know, how to be that cavalier about it.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Post It Notes Essential for Novel Writing

I recently had the opportunity to work on my novel for a whole week. It was amazing to have that time. I got six more chapters written, which I'm editing now.

You may recall my love of post its to help me organize. This was the wall beside my computer. I've started color coding - pink is people in the book, orange is chapters, white are scenes yet to be written, purple are things to be tidied up in the book, etc.

I took this the last night I was there. It had grown over the week. I had taken a photo earlier and the comparison is interesting.

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Islamabad Loves Me

OK, that title is misleading, but I couldn't resist.

You may have noticed the little graphic in the sidebar that shows where people are hitting the blog from. It's a cool little toy, but only shows the most recent info and isn't always exact. For example some friends who live in north east Kansas just show up as "Topeka," although none of them actually live in Topeka. It's fun to look at it but if I were really in to stats, I'd use something far better.

But, today I got a real chuckle when I noticed the following:
Islamabad, Islamabad arrived from on "Patsys Ponderings by Patsy Terrell: October 2005"

I must admit tremendous curiosity about what someone in Islamabad might have found interesting from my October 2005 postings. I was interested enough to go look at that month's archives. I'm betting on Gorbachev, but who knows.

The internet is an interesting thing!
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Quote of the Day

"All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind." - Aristotle
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We had our first day of the year that was hot, at least warm enough that you don't want to be doing a lot outdoors. This was unfortunate since I bought plants Friday evening. So, what did I do since it was too warm to be outside planting them? I went and bought more, of course.

That was the collection before today. I didn't buy a whole bunch of things today, but I did pick up a few things. Just a few.

Every year I swear I'm not going to buy any more annuals, but they just really perk up the whole scene. So, I bought a few - but very few. I try to stick with blue, purple and pink, with some yellow and white thrown in for the front flower bed.

I have LOTS of bees. I read somewhere that bees tend to like blue and purple flowers. I have a lot of salvia and that seems to be a favorite of them. Today I watched a honey bee going methodically up one spike, flower by flower, and then starting on the next stalk and doing the same. I just love seeing bees. They're quite a rarity in some places.

Mainly I bought veggies and herbs. In fact, I carried a dozen different herbs back from a place in Ohio. I didn't buy things that are easy to find here, but I think I've gotten everything I need now. I lost all my herbs this past year in the frigid winter except a couple of lavendar plants and some chives.

I think I'm going to set an alarm and get up early in the morning and go outside and plant. I can always go back to bed afterwards, but it would be nice to get it done before it warms up. It's supposed to be 90 on Monday. Yikes!
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Friday, May 16, 2008

Lady of Leisure

When I was young I imagined that by this point in my life I'd be a lady of leisure. I expected to be lying about eating bon-bons, although I wasn't then, and am still not, sure what those are. I thought people - you know, the ubiquitous "my people" - would be taking care of the chores of daily living. This would leave me free to lunch with other ladies of leisure, attend charity events and become a charter member of the garden club.

However, I sit here tonight with grass clippings in my shoes from mowing the lawn - with a push mower no less, I have no people, and nary a bon-bon is to be found in my environs.

These dreams were obviously the result of far too much television viewing because no one in my immediate world was leading a life of leisure. Nonetheless, how, oh how, do these childhood dreams go so desperately awry?

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Online Book Launch for Smoky Trudeau

I recently had the opportunity to meet author, Smoky Trudeau. She writes for Vanilla Heart Publishing, and also does some editing for them. She was very, very kind and read the first few chapters of my novel in progress and gave me some valuable feedback. I'm thrilled to say she had only positive things to say about the plot and writing, but I did have some things to be improved regarding style with punctuation and such.

I'm familiar with the AP Stylebook because I was a journalist. I need to become familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style because that's what a fiction writer uses. I intend to purchase a copy of that. I'm also going to get a copy of Smoky's new book, Front-Word, Back-Word, Insight Out.

Smoky taught writing for some years and this is like her workshops in a book. It's full of lessons about writing the novel you've got inside you.

You can attend the online launch party on Sunday, May 18, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Central Time, at the Forum at There will be prizes and mini-workshops from the book. Barring unforeseen events, I'm planning to attend.

Here's some additional information about the event - anyone is welcome - even if you've never written, but you're thinking about it - you might as well drop in and see if it's for you.

Front-word, Back-word, Insight-Out:

Lessons on Writing the Novel Lurking Inside You from Start to Finish

Every day, people sit down in front of a blank computer screen or piece of paper and start to write their own version of the Great American Novel. Many never get beyond "Once upon a time...."  Their stories remain stuck inside, where only they can hear them. That's because writing a book is easier said than done. Writing a good book is even harder. Why? Because novel writing is a skill that must be learned, just like a nurse must learn to take a patient's blood pressure, a pilot must learn how to fly, and a concert pianist must learn to read music.

Based on her years of teaching writing workshops, author Smoky Trudeau has created a program of step-by-step lessons to teach you how to transform that story stuck inside you into good fiction. You'll learn winning techniques for starting your story and how to decide which character should tell it. You'll gather ideas for writing believable dialogue and developing characters readers will love—and those they'll despise. You'll learn how to build tension, write an exciting climax scene, then gracefully bring your story to an end; and much, much more.

Full of examples and exercises to help you hone your skills, Front-word, Back-word, Insight-Out is the must-read book for anyone who wants to unleash their inner author and free the stories lurking inside.
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Marian Madonia

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Marian Madonia speak during a Food for Thought presentation. She gave a speech titled, "Tell Me Something Good" and made some wonderful points, which I'll highlight here.

She said people don't leave their current jobs for more money and opportunity. She said that's what they're going to, not what they're leaving. What they're leaving is the real question.

Another point she made is that we can only control two things - what we think and what we do. Otherwise, we can only influence things.

She said in every situation there are five options: get by, get out, get info, get help or get going.
Her suggestion was to ask "What concerns you about this situation?"

The biggest take-away message for me was when she was giving suggestions for what you could say to someone if you felt under attack. The first one was to say, "you could be right," but what really struck me was in the explanation of that she said to remember, "it's not your job to prove someone wrong." Wow. So simple, but so powerful. And very appropriate for me.

I sometimes have a need to make sure people understand something, even if it's not a right/wrong situation - I want them to understand. How can they make an informed decision if they don't understand everything? That's the same sort of thing. So, I've adapted this to be that it's not my job to make someone understand. Sometimes it would be much simpler to just accept that people don't understand something and let it go. This seems to be especially true when it comes to technology things.

I often seem to be around people who mistakenly view me a technological wizard - that is not true, at all, even though I love technology. I always feel it's my "job" to make people understand something so they can see how beneficial/useful/fun it would be for them. I've decided to adopt this concept that it's not my job to make people understand. I think it will be easier of everyone concerned.

Her secret weapons included saying:
You could be right
You're right
Have you seen the new PT Cruiser (or something else off the wall)
Tell me more
I've never thought about it that way...I'll have to consider it
I need some time to think about that, give me an example

She also said that when you're dealing with people and they're doing something you don't like to remember that they are clueless about that and that it's not about you - it's about them. They're doing what they're doing because it serves them, not because it doesn't serve you. It's not your job to prove them wrong and curiousity is your best secret weapon.

She suggested asking lots of open ended questions. "What" and "how" are the most important of the 5Ws and H. She said to stay away from "why" because it feels like judgment.

Obviously, I came away with some things to think about.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008


This pond was part of the scenery around me for a few days recently. I was working on my novel, writing into the wee hours of the night/morning, but I did take time for an occasional walk around the pond.

My novel is going very well. I will be done before the end of the year.

Greg and I went to Roys today and then decided to go get some pie at Fraese afterwards. While we were there, Trish came in to get lunch, so we got to visit with her a bit. She and Greg think I should do some readings from the novel for friends here at home. I don't want people to feel like they're trapped listening to me, but it could be interesting. I'll think more about that.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Find me Online at Facebook et al

Occasionally someone will ask me about facebook or myspace or something similar. You can always find me there under my own name - patsyterrell. I know - not very inventive, but I just can't keep it all straight - this one personality is enough for me to manage.

The only place I don't use my own name is second life, because they don't give you the option. Of course, I rarely go there, anyway. I'm impressed with the technology and go in occasionally for a specific event, but don't hang out there.

I have patsyterrell at:
and other things that don't come to mind at the moment.

However, I must say I probably haven't logged into messenger but twice in the last five years, and that was for specific things, so you're not likely to find me there. However, if you want to chat, just send me an email and we'll find a time to do it. I rarely go into myspace either, but will check it periodically. I check facebook pretty regularly and if I had more reason to go there more often I would (i.e. if more people I knew were using the app.) so that's likely to grow.

So, if you're a user of any of the above, feel free to friend me!
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Monday, May 12, 2008

California Dreamin in Honduras

As I was driving today I was listening to an NPR podcast about the creation of the song, "California Dreamin'." In the report Susan Stamberg, who has a way with words, says it's, "A song that came from a dream and from longing - the wistful wish to be someplace else."

Whenever I hear "California Dreamin'" I'm reminded of one of those surreal moments that only seem to happen when you're traveling.

We had flown into La Ceiba, Honduras, and began negotiating a price with taxi drivers. Unhappy with the prices, we took off walking toward the main highway a couple of blocks away. We were wearing our backpacks and we each took a handle of the big bag into which we had combined the rest of our things. I could imagine how we looked and even at the time I knew it was one of those moments that will stay with you.

Taxi drivers are much the same around the world, and started coming after us yelling that they would take us into town for the price we wanted. By that time we were both disgusted with them and shooed them away with our hands.

We walked down to the main road and it wasn't 30 seconds until a taxi stopped and took us into downtown for half what we had suggested to the drivers at the airport. He even got out and loaded our luggage into the trunk.

The two of us settled into the back seat - it had been a very long travel day involving multiple flights on a variety of planes in various states of repair. Playing on the radio when we got in was "California Dreamin'." We looked at each other and smiled and agreed that we would never again hear that song without thinking about being in a speeding taxi cab in La Ceiba Honduras.

Sometimes the surreal moments are clear even when they're occurring.

When I heard Stamberg's comment today about it being a song about longing, I was right there again, in that cab, wondering what was next, lamenting that the days of travel were waning, and wishing it could go on and on. Longing for more travel even when I was traveling.

Our time in La Ceiba was very brief - we were just passing through - but that stop-over left us with an indelible memory.
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Minge Mansion in Waterville Kansas

Some friends and I were recently in Waterville, Kansas, during Victorian Days and got to tour the Minge mansion. It's absolutely gorgeous with hand painted ceilings accented with hand carved plaster.

The plaster and hand decorated walls in this room coordinated with the stained glass.

I think my favorite ceiling was in the first room as you walked in.

The floors were also incredible.

The owner stripped off multiple layers of paint to reveal beautiful walls and ceilings.

This was in the dining room.

The landing upstairs seemed a lovely place to sit.

Upstairs there was some furniture that really struck me. This bed was covered with a spread Alan Minge's grandmother hand crocheted.

This settee still has the original upholstery.

This was the corner of the ceiling in the master bedroom.

I loved this little chair.

I absolutely loved this house. The restoration work that had been done was extraordinary. Stunning.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

T-shirt Wisdom

The other night at Skaets I spotted a girl wearing a T-shirt with this written on the back: "Manhattan Kansas: A town where everyone scores except the basketball team."

That seems a bit harsh toward the team and I'm guessing it doesn't make parents paying for a college education swell with pride either.

Being a University of Kentucky grad I'm able to stay neutral in the whole KU (University of Kansas in Lawrence) vs. KSU (Kansas State University in Manhattan) rivalry. Seems to me it would make sense to support KSU football and KU basketball since that's where they seem to excel. But, hey, I'm not a big sports fan so it's all beyond me.

My beloved UK Wildcats did not have the best season. I was able to enjoy KU's win of the NCAA championship. It was an exciting game. Apparently this young lady was not very happy with KSU's performance however.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Three Bean Salad Recipe

I love Three Bean Salad. Frankly, I'm not even sure exactly what my incredible attraction to it is. But, I know it's very easy to make and mighty tasty. What more could you ask from a recipe?

To top it off, it's colorful and travels well. I never eat the raw onions, but I love how they flavor the mix. This recipe has the perfect blend of sweet and sour as far as I'm concerned.

Three Bean Salad

1 can yellow wax beans
1 can green beans
1 can kidney beans
1 onion, thinly sliced
2/3 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
salt and pepper to taste

Wash off and drain beans, and add onions. Mix sugar, oil and vinegar and pour over. Let sit to meld flavors. Even after a couple of days these do not get so intense you can't eat them like some mixtures do.

You can also add a thinly sliced green pepper if you wish. Unless I have freshly picked green peppers I don't bother as they don't have much flavor unless they're right off the plant.

I sometimes mix a double batch of the dressing, so everything is fully covered from the first moment.

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