Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Business Cards

I've been working off and on today on new business cards. I thought I had another box of cards, but apparently I don't, so I need to get some quickly. I've had personal cards for years, and apparently I go through them quicker than I realized.

So, I essentially have a blank canvas. I can do anything I want to do. This makes decisions difficult. I've been looking at pictures, deciding if I want to use something like that on the card.

Maybe black type on a white card would be the way to go - simplicity at its finest. It would be simpler, but I'm better that's not what I end up doing.

A New Take on the Political Process

Driving around going to yard sales today I ran across this sign. It says, "Re-elect No One." It's a different take on the political process I guess.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Full Day

My day started with an opportunity to touch something that flew on the Space Shuttle. How cool is that?

The museum just got a flag that flew on the final mission of Atlantis in May. It's still sealed in the fire retardant bag. And, the funniest part of it all to me - the bag is pink. You've got to love that.

At lunchtime today I did a social media training at the Chamber of Commerce. We had a full room, which was great.

The Social Media Club we've started offered this free training to the community. The Chamber's small business group was interested in it, so we partnered with them to make it happen. It was great to have it in the chamber board room - such a nice comfortable place.

I was so pleased that everyone who had registered for it came. We offered it for free, and one of the difficulties with that is that people sometimes don't take things seriously when they haven't paid for them. But everyone came.

Overall the evaluations were very positive. One person was negative - wanting more step by step instruction - but our goal was to give an overview of the tools and what you can do with them. That step by step process is just not possible without being in a training lab and being totally focused on that to the exclusion of anything else. And you can't do it with this large of a group. Fortunately, I've learned the library is offering just such a class in a couple of weeks, so people can get that there.

But, hopefully, most folks got something valuable out of it. It was a great opportunity for the Social Media Club and for the community.

It's rare for me to donate my time for these trainings since it's one of the consulting jobs I do on the side, but I made an exception because I thought it was just too perfect a chance for all concerned. Maybe when all my medical bills are paid I can do these sorts of donations more often.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Days Zip By

The days are zipping by quickly. I'm working on projects as fast as I can but I can't seem to get everything done. So many interesting things to do and just not enough time to do them all.

I've giving a social media presentation tomorrow. This one is focused specifically on Facebook so it will be more straight-forward. I hope people get something valuable out of it.

I'm reminded of what Rebecca Ryan said last night about ideas are easy, it's making something happen that matters. I agree. But, things do have to start with an idea - a workable idea.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ideas are a Dime a Dozen

After work today I attended an event at the Fox Theatre. The Growth Coalition asked Rebecca Ryan to skype with the community this afternoon. She made some comments and then there was a discussion about the seven index areas she lays out in her book.

The most insightful thing I heard all night was from Rebecca Ryan. "Ideas are a dime a dozen. It's execution that matters."

All I can say is, "Amen, Sister."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Acceptance, Enjoyment, Enthusiasm

"If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others."
--- Eckhart Tolle

When it seemed the whole world was reading "A New Earth," I, too, bought the book. Unlike many people who found it life-changing, I found it rather repetitive. I felt like he made his point with the flower story very early in the book and then just repeated himself for the next couple of hundred pages.

I put the book aside, and then picked it up again months later to discover I had stopped reading just as I was getting to the best part - the last few pages.

This quote is near the end of the book and it is something I felt worthy of highlighting and flagging. Tonight I picked up the book to look at the things I had marked and noticed this again. It still rings of truth to me.

When I think about times when I've been upset, often over petty things, I can't think of any circumstance where I was in one of those three states. The idea that you're causing pain to yourself or others when not in one of those states is sobering.

I've written these three words on an index card and put them near my computer so I'll be reminded of the concept every day. I'll be thinking more about this.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


The sky treated us to a magnificent cloud display tonight. As usual my photo doesn't do it justice.

I came home from having dinner with Greg and was standing in the front yard taking photos of the interesting clouds when he called to tell me there was a really cool cloud bank in the south west part of the sky. I decided to drive outside of town, where I could get a better look. A few miles and more than an hour later I returned home with 164 photos.

I was thinking as I was driving around in the country, keeping an eye on the sky, and stopping in the road to take photos regularly, that this is something I like about living here. I like being able look up at an interesting sky and jump in the car and be far enough out of town to get some nice photos while it's still happening.

It's things like this that are so easily taken for granted, and overlooked, when one is contemplating life changes. I'm not sure what it is about our brains that they seem built to accept our "norm" as something that's available to everyone all of the time, even though we know it's not true.

Whenever you make your home, there are some unique qualities and unusual challenges. "Home" is a concept I seem destined to wrestle with constantly. Kentucky is where I was born and where I spent more than the first couple of decades of my life and more "home" to me than anywhere else. I've lived in Kansas longer than that, and although it's where I own a home, I don't think of it as "home" in the same way.

"Home" is about the people, not the place, for me. I'm at home with my family in Kentucky and always will be. I'm at home surrounded by people who care about me in Kansas. That has nothing to do with geography.

When I get right down to it, it seems I don't have a geographic place where I feel at home, and that makes it easy for me to entertain moving. But, I haven't done it. Maybe if I discovered some place that seemed like I was destined to live there I would feel compelled to move and finally feel "at home" on that level, too. But I wouldn't give up people for geography.

Only once have I travelled anywhere and had the feeling of coming home to a place I had never been. Despite all the reasons it made no sense, the night I arrived in Paris I stood looking across the Seine, feeling my feet firmly planted on home territory. But, of course, I could not stay then, or on subsequent trips. And Paris would certainly not allow me to be outside the city, taking photos of a cloud scape, in just a few minutes. But it would offer its own spectacular moments that couldn't be matched elsewhere.

That's true of wherever you call home. It, no doubt, has some extraordinary attractions or you wouldn't be there. It probably has some things you're not completely in love with too. But, for whatever reason, it is home for the moment. Maybe for some "home" can only be one location. I'm not sure if I'm fortunate or unfortunate to feel differently.

Life in a Day

I've been taking video of various things all day long to provide to the "Life in a Day" project by Google and YouTube. It's a global experiment to provide a portrait of this one day on Earth. I capture a lot of moments. Don't know if anything will make it into the final product or not, but it was an interesting thing to do.

First thing this morning I took a video tour of the studio.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Life in a Day Global Experiment

Tomorrow I'll be participating in a global experiment, and you can too. "Life In A Day" is a user-generated feature film - a documentary, shot in a single day, by individuals around the world.

On 24 July, you have 24 hours to capture a glimpse of your life on camera. The most compelling and distinctive footage will be edited into an experimental documentary film, produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.

Twenty-three hours and nineteen minutes left to participate as I write this. Go!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Small Towns and Forward Thinking

I love inventive ideas. You probably know that about me if you've read here for any amount of time.

This is an idea that has really impressed me. Garnett, Kansas, a town of about 3,400 people, put together a weekend getaway package with a $5,000 value. That, in and of itself, is amazing. They're auctioning it off as a fundraiser for the Kansas Sampler Foundation, which works to sustain rural culture.

I'm very impressed with what they pulled together. It's incredible what this small town was able to gather - a great place to stay, catered food, live entertainment and even an aerial tour.

Check out details at Scroll down and read what they organized. If that doesn't prove the ingeunity of small towns I don't know what does.

Brain Storming

I spent the whole day in a brain-storming meeting today. I was a bit nervous about the process for a variety of reasons, but it turned out well.

It was a very full day. I left home well before 7 a.m. and didn't get home until about 6 p.m., but the time was worth it.

Generally I love to brainstorm, but this was not a situation where I could let my brain roam totally free. But I think some good ideas came out of it.

I'm so grateful to Kevin Honeycutt, who gave us a day of his time, and led the discussion. It was inspiring. I'm excited by the possibilities.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Daily Writing

I've been writing almost every day since I was in grade school. I've never quite understood the desire, but cannot ignore it.

My friend, Martha, believes the act of writing every day helps a person define their thoughts and that's part of the reason I'm definitive about most things. I have to admit that often when I'm writing a train of thought occurs to me that I've never considered before. It sometimes leads to insights I don't think I would have had any other way.

At times I drift away from a practice of sitting down with pen and paper and writing something every day, and rely on keyboards and snippets of scrawled notes here and there. It's not the same as sitting down, paper and pen at hand, with the intention of writing your own thoughts down.

Lately I've been serious about doing this and it has given me a new approach to a couple of situations. I seem to need to be reminded of this occasionally.

Duly noted.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wide Open Spaces

There's something wonderful about wide open spaces. When I'm desperate for some shade, I feel a bit less poetic about it. But, there is something to be said for seeing the landscape in stripes of color.

It does give one the impression that your thoughts can soar, which is a marvelous thing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fresh Peach Cobbler

My friend, Jill, has a peach tree. A prolific peach tree. Today she posted that she was bringing peaches to her office and anyone who wanted some could come by with a paper bag and help themselves.

I called her right after five to see if she was still at the office and still had peaches. The answer to both questions was "yes" so I ran by on my way home.

This called for getting out Mama's recipe. At some point when I was a kid I typed some of her recipes. Of course, now I wish I had the original recipes, but I do have a lot of them in her handwriting.

I had a little over two cups of peaches once they were peeled and cut.

It was a little too much for the dish, but I put a cookie sheet under it and let it run over the edges. I love those crusty edges.

Thanks for sharing, Jill!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


My favorite book is Maya Angelou's "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings." The reasons are myriad but one is because I, indeed, do know why the caged bird sings so I can relate.

Regardless of the circumstances one finds oneself in, there's a drive within us to express ourselves, our most true essences, our souls. Something within us yearns to be free, even if we are caged by demands of others or by bars we have installed ourselves. Sometimes we don't know if the bars we've put up are to keep others out or ourselves in. The effect is the same, but some are easier to get past than others.

We may not all be able to sojurn to foreign lands to find the bit of ourselves that needs to be let free like Elizabeth Gilbert did, but we all travel in our own ways. It may only be out to the garden, a walk in the neighborhood, or a night spent in quiet reflection, but we can all journey to our inner selves where we find the questions we need.

I've come to believe life is much more about the questions than the answers. The answers come easy. We almost always know them even before we ask the questions. But asking that question, when the answer we already know but don't want comfirmed is hanging out there unspoken, is difficult. But essential.

Not asking the question is yet another cage. And no matter how we decorate it, a cage keeps up apart from the truth, the others, the best.

Cages come in all shapes and sizes. What others believe about us, what we think about ourselves, and the roles we play can all be cages. Some roles we seek and some are thrust upon us. Despite their unexpected nature we sometimes embrace them and settle the mantle of matyrdom squarely on our shoulders.

Sometimes the cage is a real or perceived lack of time, motivation or interest. We speak words that build prison walls. And eventually learned helplessness takes over and we won't leave even when the door is opened because the cage has become comfortable. It's all we know. We can no longer dream of a world beyond the bars. So we live our lives in this small space, keeping ourselves within its confines.

But for some, breaking open the cage is all they can think about. They're always pushing and pulling, and trying something new. They are relentless. And when there's the slightest movement, a tiny glimmer of light, they redouble their efforts, certain they can gain their freedom.

They know why the caged bird sings, but it's not the only song they want to hear.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ellinwood Kansas Underground Tunnels

This afternoon we visited the Underground Tunnels in Ellinwood, Kansas. In the 1800s this small Kansas town was a happening place above ground and below. Beneath the sidewalks were tunnels that led to a variety of stores, bath houses and saloons.

The walls are built of bricks made locally by the German immigrants that arrived in Kansas to discover there were not trees to build with.

The covers above ground offer a sunlit pattern below.

You can also see bits of history as you wander the tunnels, including some old wallpaper.

This weight was carried so when they needed to tie up their horses they could tie to the weight. The harnass shop is the first place you enter.

The tunnels house some interesting bits of history.

In 1979 the city of Ellinwood decided to collapse the tunnels because of an insurance concern. They pounded in the sidewalks from above, and then filled in the rest and built new sidewalks.

One of the town ladies fought to preserve her small portion of the tunnels and that's what you can tour today.

It's only $5 to tour, and well worth it. Call for tour times 620-564-2400 before you make the trip. I only live about 45 miles away and I've tried multiple times to go and this is the first time I've been able to connect with a tour time.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Third Thursday

Tonight was Third Thursday, after Coffee at the Cosmo this morning, so it has been a very full day. Mark is down for the weekend. It's the first time he has been here for a Third Thursday event. There's art, live music, and tonight the opening of a new store - The Owl Tree Bookstore. Mark was amazed at what was happening downtown - all the people, art and music.

It has prompted some conversation about communities and how they develop, the power of one person and their vision/drive, and friendships. So much to think about.

I'm blessed to have really smart friends, like Mark, who can intelligently discuss these sorts of topics.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dreams Come True

One of the things about seeing people's dreams come true is that it gives us all hope that our dreams can come true too.

Teresa Sindelar is someone I met during our Leadership Class a few years ago. At the time she worked at the Cosmosphere, where I now work. Soon she'll be going to a new job - her dream job. I pretty much wrote it all on the Cosmo blog, so I'll let you take a peek at that instead of repeating myself.

I sometimes envy people who have such clear purpose to a dream. But, I'm very, very happy she's getting her dream.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time for Meditation

This morning I spent some quiet time before work in meditation. It is becoming apparent that I'm not setting aside enough time for quiet or meditation.

I require quiet on a regular basis. I think it's part of the reason I'm so comfortable being alone so often. I can control all the sound in my world that way. Despite this I'm not getting enough time for quiet and meditation.

Today was incredibly busy, and much happened in it. I started at 5:30 this morning and it's now ... well, it's now the next day at 12:21 a.m. Regardless, it has been a long day.

At lunchtime was our social media club gathering and it was great. We had 15 people show up, and that was fabulous. I didn't get a chance to visit with everyone - seems that's always the case with something like this - you can really only visit with the folks in your immediate vicinity. But, it was a great group.

I had a very busy workday, too. I'm putting together an article about an employee who's going to work for NASA. We're all so proud of her! I first met her when we did leadership a few years ago.

Then after work I went to see the Drum and Bugle Corp competition. This is obviously a very, very big deal for many folks, but I was pretty ignorant of the whole thing. But, it was something I'd never done before, and I had the opportunity to go, so I did.

Finally got home after 10 and started on my list of personal things to get through. I'm hoping to get to sleep before 1 a.m. I'm starting to see why I don't get enough quiet time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

No Holds Barred Conversation

I saw this beautiful cloud formation on the way back from Hesston tonight. I met Marci and WenDee at Ruffino's in Hesston for dinner. It was really good Italian.

Even better than the food was the conversation. It was far-ranging, but was meaningful. When we see each other in an environment where we can talk it's like we've all been saving up tons of questions for each other. There's never enough time to get them all asked or answered.

I'm really blessed to have people in my life that can delve right into real conversation. I've learned in the last couple of years that this isn't something everyone feels comfortable with. And, I've learned that my direct manner of speaking, and the fact that I am very definitive, can be off-putting to some.

It was a real delight to visit with Marci and WenDee and not feel the need to hold back at all. Love that!

The weekend

I've had a really productive weekend. I spent a lot of time in the studio. I ran across this box of vintage stationery I had in my stash and did some work with it.

When I went to bed last night I wanted to kick myself because I forgot the flea market yesterday. We have one each month and yesterday was the day. But, I didn't leave the house yesterday, and obviously, didn't check my calendar. So, I missed it.

Considering I spent a large part of the weekend moving around stuff I already have in my house, maybe I didn't need to bring any more into it. But I did make a lot of progress upstairs in the house.

I've discovered, much to my chagrin, that I need a gift wrapping room. I know, that sounds insane, doesn't it. I have a table in my studio that's devoted to gift wrapping which is, by and large, Christmas, because I don't give too many other gifts that require wrapping. I knew that I had "a lot" of stuff associated with this - from giftwrap (one of my little addictions), to the boxes and such. However, I've been cleaning out the closet off the studio where I stored a lot of those sorts of things and I'm astonished at the assortment of things that have accumulated.

Some of them are on their way to Goodwill, but I confess that there isn't much that I don't want to keep.

In the process of going through the closet, I also found some other things I had either forgotten about, or lost track of. Apparently it has become somewhat of a catchall over the last couple of years. That would explain why the studio is now completely trashed because I've hauled things out of the closet into it.

Ah, always this cycle... things look worse before they get better. At least I hope they get better.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Scenes of the Day

It has been a nice Saturday. I slept late, a rarity for me these days, and then went into the studio. I did make it to the farmer's market and the Et. Cetera shop, but the highlight of my day was lunch with Trish. She took a break from campaigning to meet me at Anchor.

At one point today I drove past the community gardens and couldn't resist a photo of the sunflowers.

Hutchinson had its fireworks tonight. They had to postpone them because of the rain last weekend.

I'm not in a very "talkative" mood tonight so thought I'd just share some pix. I'm mulling over a lot of things these days. I'm sure I'll have much more to say in the coming days.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Not working on the house

Every weekend I have the best intentions of working on the house and tidying up. Every weekend I seem to do the most basic I can - laundry and dishes - and spend my time in the studio.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Art and Age

I've had a little time in the studio the last few days. I thought I'd share some snippets of various pieces. One of these days I will get things posted on etsy, but so far I haven't had time to do that. But, one day. Really. One day.

This weekend I'm finishing up a magazine article and writing my column for Kansas Country Living. Those things must be done before Monday rolls around. I have a very long list of other things that should be done but I guess we'll see how the weekend goes.

I'm so glad it's the weekend. I really needed some quiet time at home, which I've had tonight. When I don't get enough quiet time I get really grouchy. I just need time to be still and quiet and think.

Something that's on my mind these days that I'm not sure what to do with is age, and how for some people it's such a dividing topic. Virginia and I had lunch today and were talking about this and she made some good points that it's hard to communicate sometimes with people when you don't have a lot of shared experiences in common. Well, I should be more specific and say communicate deeply.

I've always had friends of multiple age groups, and I'm very comfortable with that. Yesterday at lunch with the Ellsworth ladies I enjoyed meeting Rosemary, a lovely woman, who is 93. Last night I had a nice conversation with a twenty-something man who was at the movie at the Wichita library, and continued on Facebook. I'm comfortable with both ends of that spectrum. I probably have more in common with the 20 something, but certainly don't want to miss out on the 90 something, 80 something, 70 something, etc.

I've really been puzzling over this for a while. I live in a community where the focus is on getting young people to move here. "Young" in this case is defined as those under 40, although under 30 would be preferrable. I'm in my 40s and feel very much like I'm not wanted here anymore. I feel like I've "aged out." I'm just not sure what to do about that yet. Obviously, I've been thinking about it for a long time and haven't done anything except think. Maybe by the time I get around to making a decision the focus will have changed yet again and people my age will be welcome again.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Quote of the Day

"There's no point in arguing with someone who's certain in their beliefs."
- Joe Winston, filmmaker

I went to see Winston tonight in Wichita and he made this comment. I was reminded of how many times I've puzzled that we ignore facts, even when it would be in our best interest to not do so. It's a theme that repeats itself. I'm sure that means there's a lesson I need to learn, but as of yet I've not been able to figure it out.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Always A Great Day

This afternoon I went to record a radio spot and stopped to take this photo of the door on my way out. It has written on it: "Welcome! It's always a great day at the Eagle Media Center."

When you go into the lobby this is the first thing you see. I wonder what kind of impact that has on people - even subconsciously. If it's always a great day there you probably expect your experience to be great on some level.

Just this morning I was engaged in a facebook conversation about my general "perkiness" level. I was explaining that I grew up with a mother who believed if you were going to be interacting with people you should be pleasant about it. It's good training for life.

When I wake up in the morning my first thought is, "Wow... okay... cool... I woke up... I'm still breathing, thinking, talking, walking, functioning... nothing bad has happened overnight to me or anyone I love... thank you, God." When you're grateful for these things, it feels as though a good 90% plus of your day is taken care of. These rest is just gravy.

People sometimes ask if I don't ever feel down. I certainly do. But being happy is a decision I make every day. I choose to find the positive parts of a situation whenever possible. I've discovered that focusing on the negative doesn't really do much to address it, and it wears me out. Finding the positive may not do much to fix the problem, but it doesn't hurt anything, and I feel better on the other side of things. As far as I'm concerned that's reason enough.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

How My Brain Works

This weekend when Mark was here we had a conversation about how brains are structured. I was explaining my own thought process with the aid of the diagram above.

I'm thinking about hundreds of things at any given moment. Each thought branches off others, but each one continues to its natural conclusion. When something occurs to me that requires some action, I move it to the front part of my brain, in the part I've highlighted with yellow. It takes tremendous energy to keep something in that "top of mind" position, and it slows all the other thought processes. So, my solution is to write it down. Then my brain can be free to continue all its thoughts.

If something interrupts me I am physically jarred by all of these thoughts ending abruptly. I'm likely to lose some thoughts and it takes a lot of energy for me to restart what I was thinking about on at the time. This is why I hate unnecessary noise.

If someone yells, or uses a car horn, it signals danger and means there's something I need to pay attention to. But if there's no danger, and I've stopped all these thoughts for no reason I'm not a very happy camper.

The way my brain works allows me to be thinking about hundreds of things at a time. If something is requiring a lot of intense thought, and using a lot of that "top of mind" part of my brain, the other thoughts are slowed.

At some places I've worked other people have assumed I did not have my mind on "work" because I would always be making notes about other things at the same time - from calling for a dentist's appointment to an art project I want to make. By the same token, in my "off" hours I'm still devoting thought to my work place and making notes about things we could do there.

I've come to realize that this thought process is one of the reasons I really value intense conversation with people. When I'm involved in really good conversation, fewer of these thoughts are happening and it's "refreshing" for lack of a better term. It's why having lunch with someone in the middle of the work day makes me much fresher for the afternoon than I would be otherwise.

I'm a prime example of how if people are allowed to think/work in the way that's natural for them they produce more. I am far more productive for my workplace, and with my own projects, when allowed to have this natural blending. Obviously, some work days and some evenings at home don't allow for this sort of thought process, but when possible it's better for all concerned.

Monday, July 05, 2010


Our world is noisy. And it seems to be getting noisier all the time. I don't understand the point of noise. Why do we need it?

Obviously, a yelp of surprise is reason for us to pay attention. It's a way to warn us of possible danger. A car horn tells us to exercise caution. But noise for the sake of just noise makes no sense to me. It's jarring to me and disrupts my thought processes.

I grew up in a household that came with a lot of noise. My first career was in radio, a job in which I controlled sound. I've always thought it was probably no accident that I liked having volume control buttons on the sound in my world.

When editing audio, being able to hear subtleties is important. If you cut in the middle of a breath, or don't let someone have a natural pause, it sounds artificial. I was very good at those details of audio editing.

Some years ago I had a boyfriend who would walk into my apartment and turn on the television. It was an automatic wish to have that noise going on. The relationship didn't last long, and that was part of the reason. Unlike him, I had absolutely no need to have extraneous noise in my world.

I read a few years ago there are very few places left on the planet that have no man-made sounds bleeding into them, and no where left in the US where you can experience that. In the intervening years I'd tried to find a spot. I've listened carefully in canyons near Amarillo, open prairie in Kansas, the jungle of Guatemala and the desert of Egypt. Unfortunately, I've not yet been able to experience a moment without some manmade sound being present.

I find that terribly sad.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Flooding in Hutchinson Kansas

Main and 13th street in Hutchinson, Kansas is one of the many places that are flooded in town.

Water is getting into Carrie Lynn's Flower Shop. They've sandbagged the doorway.

Some seem less bothered by the flooding.

It's not your typical Fourth of July.