Sunday, February 28, 2010

I spent part of the weekend at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. It's one of my favorite spots in the area. Of course, it's not the best time of year to see lots of wildlife. It's known for birds, but you often see lots of other critters around.

Saturday I spotted this deer - one of 13 that were grazing in an area near the road. This is the look of a deer that knows it's on a game refuge and it's not hunting season. Most of them didn't even bother to look up, none of them ran. The couple who looked up were more annoyed than frightened by my presence.

Saturday night Greg and I went to the Fox to see the play, "Late Night Catechism." Martha couldn't use her tickets and passed them on. It was really hilarious. I learned the appropriate way to address a nun is, "yes, sister." It seems to be a very versatile phrase.

The whole weekend was nice weather wise. I went out for a walk in the neighborhood this afternoon. It was great to need only a couple of layers, but not hats, scarves, gloves and coats on top of them.

The best part of the weekend was my sister in law, Mary Ann, calling Saturday morning and sounding normal. When she had lung surgery late last year they messed up one of her vocal cords so I haven't talked to her much in months. It sounded like it was such a strain for her to talk, and my brother's not a big talker, so I stopped calling. Fortunately, she has recovered fully and sounds normal again. I'm so thankful.

As always on Sunday night, I wish I'd gotten more accomplished over the weekend. I either have too many projects or not enough energy or some combination of the two.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Feeling Good About The World

I'm feeling pretty good about the world tonight and this young man, Jason Klamm, is why. He has been working with the Cosmosphere's Education Staff to redo a camp area used for one of the elementary camps, Lunar Base, we offer each year. It is his Eagle Scout Project.

He raised the money for the project and created these various "pods" connected with tunnels to outfit the room. Previously they were using tents. Jason's dad helped him build, his mom helped with the sewing, and some of the other boys from his troop helped set it all up today. I was so incredibly impressed with Jason and the other boys from his troop.

You can see the whole story in the Hutchinson News on Monday, so I won't begin to tell it here. But suffice it to say that spending a couple of hours with Jason and friends today left me feeling pretty good about the world and its future.

Okay, yes, I know, I'm easily swayed, but this was impressive. And he's impressive. Tom mentioned today, and I concurred, we'll all be voting for Jason Klamm one day.

Otherwise my day was a very busy one - I didn't even have time to go to lunch. It was a real pity because it was a beautiful, gorgeous day so I hated it that I never got to leave the building until after 5 and by the time an appointment was over it was 7 and dark before I got home so I missed the sunshine.

But, it's nice to go to bed feeling good about the state of the world. At least one little tiny, Eagle-Scout-to-be part of it.

Bonus question of the day - courtesy of Tom:
On the side of the lunar base pod Jason is standing in front of, what is the crescent shape?

Did you say the Moon?

Me too.

But it's a lunar base, so that's the Earth.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Random Observations

Today has been a fascinating day from an observation standpoint. Some random thoughts from the day...

1. I had a conversation with someone today that left me a little uncertain if I was in on the joke or if I was the joke. Even now, hours later, I'm still not sure which it was. But, just like a car wreck you can't stop yourself from looking at, I wasn't willing to leave the conversation because I wanted to figure that out. Was it a "conspiratorial" or "condescending" tone? No idea. Maybe after I sleep on it I'll know.

2. In marketing we often talk about who the audience for a particular product or service is. If you don't have children using cloth diapers, you're probably not in the market for a diaper service. If you are 17 you aren't likely to buy life insurance. You get the idea.

Today I was at a business where I thought their whole premise was odd, and the people running it to be very sloppy in their approach to everything - from poor planning to bad execution. It was loud, with terrible food being served by the managers who were dressed like they were going clubbing instead of talking to business people. As I was mulling over how this just wasn't "right," the obvious occurred to me - it was very simple - I just wasn't their market.

One person at my table was quite interested in their services and was picking up brochures. She was also the only person at our table who ate heartily and went back for seconds. I took one bite of the food, politely spit it out in my napkin, (well, as politely as one can do anything involving "spit"), and pushed the plate aside. I'm not the market.

The people who are their market aren't interested in being served great food - if they want food, it just has to be basic sustenance - and they don't see much difference between one thing or another. The loud atmosphere suits them just fine - they're content to speak loudly over it - and they're not there for conversation. The clubbing vibe is cool - they like clubs. I'm just not the market.

Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the business. It's just not geared to me. I would never trust a gathering to these folks because I think they don't handle details well. Other folks would just think, "it's okay... no big deal." But I'm not the market. Period.

It's good to be reminded of this obvious fact on occasion.

3. I went to a number of schools today to deliver materials. Thank goodness for GPS units. Even when it would tell me, "you have reached your destination," sometimes I couldn't figure out exactly what I was looking for. But, very quickly I learned to search for something that looked like a prison.

When did we start building schools to look like prisons? I didn't vote "yes" on that bond issue. All that's missing is the barbed wire fence. But, some of them do have the fences, as if preparing for this inevitability. I began to say aloud to myself in the car, "oh, there it is, the prison for children."

Is there some reason we have to build schools to look like prisons? Is there some reason we have to confine children in a prison-like structure in order to teach them?

The contrast to this was that the people I met inside the schools, by and large, were open and friendly. I caught a glimpse of fourth graders playing various Olympic games in a gym at one school, and a first grader skipping down the hall at another. I decided there's not much that's more adorable than a first grader skipping from the office back to class. Her dark hair was in long, braided pigtails if you need to complete the picture in your mind. What could be cuter?

I'm guessing I'm very much the Johnny-come-lately to this observation and the rest of you have already noticed the striking architectural similarity between prisons for adults and schools for children. Rather ironic since there's a correlation between people not achieving in school and going to prison, but it's too late for me to go off on that tangent. Maybe another time.

4. It's really good to connect with people. Different people on multiple levels. I watched two people who are geniuses at connection work rooms today. It was masterful. I wanted to prostrate myself like Wayne and Garth and chant, "I'm not worthy," but it would have been disruptive so I refrained.

5. Things change. Even things you don't expect. You can't stop it, so you might as well welcome it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

“Writing saved me
from the sin
and inconvenience
of violence."

- Alice Walker

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunlight and Super Bowl Rings

Teresa and I tried out a new place for lunch - the Firehouse Cafe. It's in an old firehouse, as if you couldn't guess that. I tried a burger, and it was okay.

They were doing a booming business, so I guess some people think it's better than just okay. I did love the sunlight coming through on the table, and on Teresa.

Most of the menu is devoted to breakfast, so hopefully I'll get to try that out soon.

I love going out to breakfast with someone. Seems like such a nice way to start the day. It rarely happens, however, because few people want to get up that early.

Tonight I went to a black history month event. It featured the African American male voices, a local gospel group I've always enjoyed.

Dr. Curtis McClinton spoke about his own life as a professional football player, as well as his early life, all while sporting a Super Bowl Ring.

He ended his presentation by singing "Old Man River." He had the deepest voice I've heard in a long time. I have to say that his presentation wasn't what I expected, from the content to the Super Bowl ring. But I guess that's part of the beauty of such an event - surprises.

Creative Sisterhood

Tonight was Creative Sisterhood and it was a very nice evening.

I had the day off today so I had time to putter around the house a bit, which was great. I had lunch with Trish, but other than that I was pretty much home tidying up a little and working on some projects.

Last night I baked a new cake to share with Creative Sisterhood. I'm not generally a big fan of cherries, but I love this cake. It's wonderful.

Cherry Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling

Cream butter and sugar, then mix in eggs and extract. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Pour into 9 by 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

1 c. sugar
1/3 c. milk
5 tbsp. butter
1 c. chocolate chips

Mix sugar, milk and butter in saucepan and boil for one minute, stirring continuously. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Pour over warm cake.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Day

I spent a few hours in the art studio today and it was wonderful. I had hoped to get a lot of things done in the house, but most of my time today was spent painting and cutting and glueing and varnishing and enjoying.

I went right into the studio this morning as soon as I woke up. Three hours later I had finished a piece and decided to get dressed and meet the day. It was snowing and I went for a walk in the snow, which was perfectly lovely. The snow stopped, then started again, while I was out walking. We didn't have any accumulation because it didn't snow very long, but it was very atmospheric.

After lunch I was trying to motivate myself to work around the house but found myself back upstairs in the studio again.

I haven't felt like bending over the table in there, but I had my back and neck worked on Friday afternoon and it feels so much better. I need to get into the routine of going for that treatment regularly again. It makes so much difference.

Tomorrow is the flea market. We'll see if I can actually get out of the house. They're predicting snow and ice, but their accuracy rate is pretty minimal so I'll look out the window in the morning and decide for myself.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Lot To Forget

One of the reasons I love having real conversation is that it leads to new thoughts. A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend and we got off on the subject of what I always refer to as my "younger and wilder" days. He didn't know me then, and by way of explanation, I said, "I had a lot to forget."

It was an unconsidered, unplanned statement. But as sometimes happens in such circumstances, it rang with truth. Real truth. Unvarnished truth.

When you hear real truth, it touches your soul, even if it's truth from yourself that you didn't recognize just moments earlier. Truth is more than just words. It has a depth unlike anything else.

And as truth always does, it has stayed with me. I wonder what other truth is lurking about, as yet undiscovered, waiting for the moment when a conversation causes it to rise from my unconscious, unbidden, but nontheless welcome.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Third Thursday

Third Thursday in Hutchinson is a night of art, music and other fun downtown every month. One of the centers of activity is always at Jennifer Randall's Gallery 7. Tonight the Gazaway Mountain Boys were playing, and Tammy Colladay was singing with them.

I always intend to make the rounds, but I go somewhere and find folks there I know and we start chatting and then I start to make my way to the door and scenario repeats.

Tonight I bumped into Amy and Greg downtown.

And I saw Kate, Tracy and Emma... I get the feeling that young Emma is used to having her photo taken!

There was a great crowd tonight.

Jennifer just moved into this space in the last few months and has repurposed the meat hook into something far more artisitc. Interesting approach for a strict vegetarian, don't you think?

She also has some decor for the event.

Jennifer made what started as a one-night artwalk by the Downtown Revitalization Project into a regular, ongoing, every month event and it's wonderful. She is also the one who keeps things organized and moving along. People sometimes think things like this just happen. They don't. They require someone to take responsibility for keeping them going and that's Jennifer.

That's Jennifer on the left.

And here on the right, talking to Amy.

Before I went to Gallery 7 I stopped by the Reno County Historical Museum, which was having its reopening tonight. They've been closed for some renovation. They had an idea for an exhibit I really liked - the staff picked some of their favorite things to display. They also had a number of items from a large collection of items they took from the Hobbs family in the 1980s.

There were some cool things on display, and one of my favorites was this street sign.

Delos Smith's trunk was another cool one. Delos was an actor who appeared in numerous films, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. When I first moved to Hutchinson it was common to run into him at various spots around town and it always resulted in an interesting conversation.

I would have liked to see how this looked in my hair, but it wasn't available for playing with.

These shoes are also very interesting, although I don't think I'd want to be facing these every morning before work.

This stool make from sewing spools has a funky vibe I like, too.

Of course, as is often the case, it was a little detail that jumped out at me. In the Hobbs exhibit, on a little stand, was this book. I just love the artwork on it.

And I love this, too.

Linda asked me about having some of my hand painted journals in the gift shop there, which would be cool. I need to see what I have on hand that's ready to go. That would be fun.

As I was leaving the museum tonight to walk to Gallery 7, I noticed Memorial Hall across the way. It was the site for tonight's presentation of "Peter Pan." I couldn't resist a photo of the museum's entrance framing Memorial Hall.

There was so much going on tonight that I had to choose what to do. That seems to be the case most of the time, which I guess is a nice problem to have.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Saturday when I was coming back from Roy's I spotted this little bit of spring in the front flower bed. A crocus - bright yellow, insisting that spring is imminent. Of course, poor little thing has been snowed on and suffered below freezing temperatures since then. You've got to love that persistence.

The last few days have been a blur. I'm very busy at work. Everyday I start with a pile of notes of things I want to get done and I work as fast as I can and at the end of the day I've gone through a bunch of them but I've added new ones. I think I'm losing ground, overall.

This past weekend I worked Friday night, went in Saturday to tidy up some from that event, then went to Wichita on Sunday for an event, then out to a meeting last night. I'm starting to need a little time to stop and think. Of course, that will just mean I'm more behind at work. Seems like the proverbial vicious circle, although I really enjoy the work.

Of course, in addition to work, I insist on having a life, and that takes time as well. Seeing plays, going to lectures, eating out with friends, gathering with groups, serving on boards - it all takes time and energy. These are very pleasant things, of course, but I think my attraction to having a life explains why my house is always a mess. Something has to go. I'm sleeping as little as I can and that only leaves so many hours to work with.

Naturally, I keep thinking of other projects I'd like to do. I'm getting a number of speech requests lately, which I love doing, so that's nice. I've also got some social networking jobs lined up, which is great. If I could just squeeze another 9-10 hours into each day I could get everything done I want to do. If you have the answer to that, please let me know as soon as possible.

I love all the parts of my life. I just want to expand some of them, and address some I've let lie fallow.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Henry Winkler at the Dillon Lecture Series at Hutchinson Community College

Henry Winkler spoke at the Dillon Lecture Series at Hutchinson Community College this morning. Best known for his role as "The Fonz" on Happy Days, Winkler is also an activist and co-author with Lin Oliver of a series of children's books.

The son of German Jews who emmigrated to the US and believed strongly in education, Winkler's academic showing was a disappointment to his parents. They referred to him with a German phrase that translated means, "dumb dog."

Winkler learned at age 31 he had dyslexia and it explained the difficulty he had had in school. He said he defined dyslexia for himself as being one-third figuring out school, one-third figuring out why you can't figure out school, and one-third covering the shame and humiliation.

When it was time for college, Winkler applied to 28 schools before getting two to accept him. He went to Emerson College in Boston and said he nearly flunked out his first year but he took so many tours around that they gave him another chance.

At the luncheon afterward he said he got through college by reading each word separately, and outloud. He learned scripts the same way.

He eventually was accepted into the Yale School of Drama. At this time he said, "I was tired of continually hearing negative thoughts about everything." He realized that's how he was talking to himself and he learned a technique that whenever a negative thought started he would mentally say, "I'm sorry. I've got no time for you now."

He said, "Don't put a period on the end of a negative thought." That way it can't grow into a negative sentence, a negative paragraph or a negative thesis. Winkler finished Yale, and was one of only three asked to join the professional acting company.

Winkler has an affinity for children, and spoke directly to the young people in the audience today. He said, "You all have greatness in you. Every single one of you has greatness. Your job is to figure out what your gift is. How we learn has nothing to do with how brilliant you are."

He spoke about auditioning for his famous role as "The Fonz" in Happy Days. He said he got the call he had the role on his birthday, when he had run out of money. He mentioned the large amount of fan mail he got during those years, including the many gifts. There's one he says he still has on his wall today, that he has had visible since 1975 - a metal cutting that says, "If you will it, it is not a dream."

He said, "There's no reason you can't live your dream." He reminded the children, "You have an amazing amount of power inside you. Your job is to figure out what to do with that power."

Winkler's parents were not impressed when he got accepted to Yale. They were not impressed when he got the role of "The Fonz." But, once the show became popular, and for the 10 years it ran, they referred to themselves as, "the co-producers of Henry Winkler." He joked people were always telling him they had his parents' autographs.

Winkler said we all have to make the most of ourselves because:
1. each of us has unique qualities
2. we need to help someone else, and if we don't something mportant will remain undone
3. we can help people at the beginning of life before damage is done
He went on to say, "This city, this state, this nation rests in very little hands."

He admonished the crowd that the "prejudice between intellectual and vocational pursuits has to be erradicated." He went on to say that the great scientist will be living in a house built by a contractor.

At the luncheon afterwards, he spoke briefly about education and said teachers are expected to teach the brightest student and the one having difficulty the same material in the same amount of time. He said, "It is Herculean, and almost impossible."

The short section he read from one of the books today was about him trying to take a spelling test and the frustration that led to him banging his hand on his head.

Winkler ended his speech by saying, "Thank you so much for listening, because my parents never did."

Afterwards he spoke with people and shook hands for quite awhile, getting to the patron luncheon much later than usual. I didn't mind at all, even though we had very little time with him at the luncheon. It was nice to know lots of people got to connect with him.


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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Appreciate the love in your life, in whatever form it takes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I am sitting at my desk, still wearing what I slept in, downloading apps on my phone. Maybe when you're downloading things like the periodic table to your phone you know the day isn't likely to be overly productive.

I can't honestly say I've needed to look up the symbol for manganese recently. Besides, I already know it, because Mrs. Keyser made us memorize the periodic chart in 9th grade chemistry. Or was that 10th grade? or 11th? Whenever it was, I still remember that Mn is the symbol for manganese. I doubt I'll need to know that today, or tomorrow, but I like knowing it.

Of course, it's easy to remember things like manganese and magnesium (Mg), but what about antimony (Sb) and argon (Ar)? Right? One might need to know those at a moment's notice. And with just somewhere between three and 47 clicks I can find that out now.

Truth be told, I didn't even remember antimony until I looked at the periodic table. Shouldn't we all know the elements? Of course we should. That's why Mrs. Keyser had us learn them. And that's why I need to have the periodic table on my phone to refresh my memory.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress at Hutchinson Art Center

Tonight I went to see the play, "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress" at the Hutchinson Art Center. It was SO good!

Two of the people from work are in it, and I didn't want to miss it.

I'm so glad I went - it was hilarious.

Michele (on the right) is right across the hall from me at work and I've been asking her about this play since she started rehearsals a month ago.

Her character, Georgeanne, is drunk throughout the play, as you can probably tell from the ever-present bottle.

It's about five women who are bridesmaids, as if you couldn't guess.

Two things really surprised me about the play. One is that it's really funny - I mean, laugh out loud multiple times kind of funny. Two is that all of the actresses were really good - I mean really, really, really good.

I couldn't stop taking photos - they all had such great expressions.

Meredith is someone I also work with and she was hilarious in the play. Her character is rather subdued, by comparison to the others, but she has some really funny moments.

These "antenna" on their headbands were just the perfect topper to the dresses. I think they captured the idea of bridesmaid dresses and hats.

The character, Frances, on the left here, cracked me up. She repeatedly says during the play that "I'm a Christian," as explanation for everything.

And there is a lot for her to be scandalized by. The language is adult and the content and references are adult. This is not a play for the kiddies, but it's great for the adults.

I can't urge you strongly enough to take it in. It's Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 at the Art Center at 5th and Washington. It's really good. And a bargain at $8.

I'm really impressed by people who put themselves out there on stage for something like this. And in this case it was such an impressive showing.

My congratulations to:
Jaden Bowman as Frances
Casey Walker at Meredith
Tobie Henline as Trisha
Michele McCartney as Georgeanne
Meredith Miller as Mindy
Matt Montgomery as Tripp

and Director Shannon Knipp

This was a production of the Hutchinson Theatre Guild.

At the end of the play they all pose for a photo. Very convenient for me.

I had such a great time tonight. It was written by Alan Ball incredibly well, and was very well acted by our local group. I was so impressed!