Thursday, March 31, 2011


I've been writing cookbook reviews for a magazine for seventeen years. I've featured more than 200 cookbooks in that time, most of which were published in Kansas.

In those years, fewer than a dozen people have followed up with me afterwards, so I was delighted when I got this nice note from the owner of Winfield's College Hill Coffee. She thanked me for featuring her book, sent me a copy of her next book and a gift card for a visit. It was a lovely surprise.

Of course, when is it not wonderful to pull a handwritten note out of the mailbox. It's far too rare these days, but always a delight.

Quote of the Day

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
                               - Emile Zola

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I'm a fan of bright and cheery things, and springy yellow daffodils poking their heads up certainly qualify. Their season passes so quickly. But for the briefest of moments, they're the stars of the show. They herald the beginning of spring, even if they do so from a cover of snow at times.

Some of the daffodils are already dried up now, telling me it won't be too long before the heat will arrive. I'm not fond of summer. It's a demanding season, insisting we come out into the unpleasant heat for mowing and other nasty tasks.

So, for the moment, I'll enjoy the waning daffodils, even if I have to do it while bundled up against the wind and rain.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Greg and I went to Metropolitan Coffee Sunday afternoon and watched the snow while we drank hot chocolate. It was a good way to spend some time. We had planned to go see a movie, but the snow was just too enticing. Mother Nature always puts on a better show.
While we were there, I was asking Greg for some help on a website redesign. I'm trying to think through if someone comes to my website, how do they find what they're looking for quickly and easily. I was trying to figure out how to write the "About me" section you would expect.
"I think of you as a carnival," Greg said.

He went on to say that you're walking down the midway, there's food on one side, games on the other. There's information booths, interesting speeches, the occasional high speed ride, always the bells and whistles.

I asked, "Is there cotton candy?"
"Always cotton candy," he said.

"Is it colorful?"
"There are more colors than are physically possible in the rainbow," he said.

He continued with, You're the carnival barker at all the booths, but you say something different when you see something bright and shiny. And when you go down the midway, all the stuffed animals are hanging up, but they're all yours. And there's glitter. Everywhere. Even on the people.

Greg was kind enough to not say it was "loud," but I suppose that's understood.

It's always interesting to see how others perceive you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Times Change

This afternoon Michele and I were working on a project when we heard a noise down the hall.
Michele: "What is that weird noise?!?!?"
Patsy: "I don't know... it's... what..."
Michele: "Oh, wait... maybe it's a typewriter..."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

French Knots as Life Metaphor

Southern girls learn to do handwork. It doesn't really matter if you have an aptitude for it or not, you learn some basics. You don't have to know everything, but you should know how to sew, crochet, knit or embroider - hopefully more than one of those.

My mother was not a fan of doing handwork, other than sewing, which she found practical and useful. However, she did teach me to embroider. I'm sure she wouldn't mind me saying that I showed more interest in it than she did, even from the beginning.

My favorite thing was the French Knot. It requires a little bit of technique to make one, but it's very forgiving in the finished project. You wrap the thread around the needle a few times and then put it back through the fabric, leaving a nice little "lump" there.

As you can see from this piece I picked up at a garage sale recently, you can do beautiful things with this one technique. I love the pointillism effect of them gathered together.

It's somewhat unusual to find them on a vintage piece, especially in a quantity like this. French Knots have had an undeserved reputation of being very difficult.

You must remember people were learning to embroider before we had the internet with instructions and patterns for everything one might want to try just a few clicks away. Fortunately, Mama knew how to make French Knots and she taught me.

I was in love with them from the beginning. I'm not sure why, exactly, except that they seemed significant. With just a thin bit of thread and a needle as a tool, we were creating something more ample and beautiful than you would imagine possible looking at the raw components.

French Knots are substantial and yet delicate at the same time. That's a lovely metaphor for how I've always wanted to be as a person. French Knots have, no doubt, succeeded at blending those qualities far more than I ever have. But as Scarlet says, "Tomorrow is another day."

Indeed it is, Ms. O'Hara. And if I could spare the time I'd make a few French Knots.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quote of the Day

If I had but two loaves of bread, 
I would sell one and buy hyacinths, 
for they would feed my soul.
                                                               -- Prophet Muhammad

Friday, March 25, 2011

Addicted to Complacency

I've been doing some planning for an upcoming retreat. Tonight I had a bit of a breakthrough and my copious notes coalesced into something succinct. It's now a workable plan. Some tweaking is needed, but the outline is there.

The various concepts have been brewing in my brain for a couple of years now. Recently I was talking to a friend about the ideas and she warned me people could be "addicted to complacency."

I'm not concerned about that with regard to this group, but I think it's really interesting to consider that statement. I think she is correct, that many people are complacent. It's an easy way to live, which is part of the appeal, no doubt. Really curious to think about.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

101 Things (and more) About Me

On May 21, 2005 I first posted this online. It was going around the net at the time - 101 Things About Me. The idea was to generate a random, off the top of your head, list.

I went to look this up and thought I'd repost it because it's kind of fun. Some of it is still true, some of it no longer is. Some of it is very dated now - it is almost six years old, after all. A lot has changed in my life in the past six years. Different job, different outlook, different people in my world. I didn't make any edits - it's just reposted.

There is some mild "language," so if you're offended by such things, stop reading now.
1. I love old houses.

2. I came into this world knowing that time is not linear.

3. I am an incredibly loyal friend.

4. I "tell it like it is." Don't ask me a question if you don't want the answer.

5. I am the question person among my friends - always have a question.

6. I am happy most of the time.

7. I agree with my great grandmother Maranda Rose, who was gone long before I came along, who always ate dessert first because she said, "I might die and some other son of a bitch would get to eat it." It's a general philosophy of life - enjoy it. Now.

8. I have a trail of failed relationships behind me. I'm not very good at them, even though I try really hard.

9. I can sing.

10. I love to travel - nothing gets the heart pounding like a little jaunt into the developing world.

11. I wash my hands dozens of times a day - I've got a "germ thing."

12. I *rarely* get sick. (Reference #11)

13. I'm brand loyal to very few things - Wisk, Heinz ketchup, Colgate winterfresh gel toothpaste, Tampax tampons, Jif peanut butter.

14. I HATE to clothes shop. Good grief, could there be anything more mind numbingly dull?

15. I hate carpet - nasty stuff. If you put a rug down and walk on it, it's filthy in a few days. Why do you think gluing the rug down prevents it from getting dirty?

16. I suck at trivial pursuit.

17. I have a *major* case of ADD and consider it a blessing.

18. I don't like to go to the movies. I'm a prisoner in a theatre.

19. Freedom is the one thing I've never had enough of.

20. I was on my fourth career before I turned 40.

21. I write cookbook reviews.

22. I used to do radio.

23. I used to do TV.

24. I used to write for a newspaper.

25. I have written a novel. It's not great, but at least I strung together 100,000 words and they make some sense.

26. I've been keeping a journal since I was in grade school.

27. People tell me I don't look my age - 43. I certainly don't feel my age.

28. I've been involved with men much older and much younger.

29. I think people spend far too much time thinking about what they SHOULD do instead of just doing what they WANT to do.

30. One of the most meaningful songs to me is Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" because of the line, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Because it's true.

31. I love Maya Angelou.

32. I know what it's like to be facing someone older and stronger than you, thinking they are going to kill you. (He didn't, obviously. He probably regretted it.)

33. I have two brothers that were married with children before I was born.

34. I have laminates on eight of my teeth. I got them when it was a very new procedure. Love them.

35. I have been fat all my life. It's part of who I am. Take me or leave me.

36. I miss my Mama. She's been gone for 4 years now.

37. One of the people in this world I know I can always count on is my ex bf, who remains one of my best friends on the planet. He always will be. We just don't make a good couple.

38. I'm a pack rat.

39. I love "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR.

40. I collect rocks.

41. I am an artist.

42. I am a writer.

43. I cannot remember details of shows, books, etc.

44. I treasure my friends.

45. I adore my family - none of that "oh, I don't get along with fill-in-the-blank" foolishness.

46. My great nephew, BC, is one of my favorite people on the planet.

47. My sister in law, Mary Ann, has always been a second mom to me. She is the ROCK of the family. Don't know what families do that don't have a Mary Ann. We are blessed.

48. I know that the dimensions we perceive in this world are very limited. And we limit ourselves by not looking beyond them.

49. I adore having an art studio in my house.

50. I could create on the computer for hours and hours.

51. I'm a good cook. Very good cook. I love to bake.

52. I love lipfinity lipstick.

53. I believe that journalism is a noble profession.

54. I used to be a journalist.

55. I have compiled and edited cookbooks.

56. I have designed billboards, bus ads, posters, programs, ads and dozens of other things.

57. I have voiced national radio ads.

58. I like genealogy.

59. I took a quilting class. I like to choose the fabric. The sewing isn't my favorite thing.

60. I love to dye things like freezer paper.

61. I learned to sew by making Barbie Doll clothes.

62. I am redoing an old house.

63. People think I'm weird. They might be right.

64. I'm definitive.

65. Decision making is pretty easy for me.

66. I'm convinced it's pretty obvious what's right and what's wrong. People just like to pretend otherwise so they don't have to take responsibility.

67. I have "Patsy's Rules for Living" that keep me centered.

68. The confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers at Cairo, Illinois is an important place for me.

69. I was born and raised in Kentucky.

70. I graduated from the U. of Kentucky - Go Wildcats - with degrees in Journalism and Telecommunications. I work in the Mental Health field now. Nothing like using that education.

71. I love Mary Englebreit's Home Companion but still miss Victoria.

72. I went to Egypt by myself.

73. I've hiked in the Guatemalan jungle.

74. I love Paris.

75. I am not afraid of death. Never have been. I'd rather live fully and have fewer days, than live a long time and be afraid.

76. I get a lot of things done every day.

77. I don't sleep much. Six hours is plenty for me. I can do with much less.

78. I've never bought a new piece of furniture.

79. I grew up on a tobacco farm. I hope I never have to raise tobacco again but I can if I have to.

80. I have never smoked anything - including tobacco.

81. I don't drink. It all tastes bad to me - beer, wine, whatever. Very occasionally I have a margarita with Mexican food but don't get the thrill of getting shit faced. There's a season for everything in life and by the time you're old enough to do that legally, that season should be wrapping up.

82. I don't do drugs.

83. I own a discussion group.

84. I think our lack of connection with one another will be part of our undoing.

85. I can read people. Have always been able to. But I don't do it without permission.

86. I know when people are feeding me a line of bullshit. I can't figure out why others don't see it. It's incredibly obvious to me.

87. I have been criticized for being smart, efficient, getting a lot done and not needing supervision.

88. I have a "genius" IQ. Pity I think IQ tests are bogus.

89. I am incredibly annoyed by stupid people.

90. I laugh every day. Heartily. Multiple times a day.

91. I write every day.

92. I meditate every day.

93. I pray every day.

94. I do not believe in war.

95. Clinton is the only president I've ever voted for who got into the white house. And I've voted in every election since I've been old enough.

96. I love cats but don't have any.

97. I am not a huge fan of music. I sing along with the radio. That's about it.

98. I love old costume jewelry pins.

99. I treasure the family things I have - quilts, trinkets, furniture - my mom's dining room table where almost everyone I've ever loved has gathered at one point or another.

100. I have been kissed while standing on the banks of the Nile.

101. I think I'm a very dull person.

102. I hate to be confined in any fashion - including 101 things about me.
A few days later I continued the list...
103. I love old diners and restaurants.

104. I love my Birks - and other comfy shoes.

105. I was hit on by a lesbian at Lilith Fair. Yes, she was wearing Birks. No, I declined her offer. Got no problem with it - just happen to like the equipment men come with best.

106. I have participated in a major, award-winning, oral history project.

107. One of my radio pieces is in a time capsule at the Cosmosphere.

108. I can crochet and knit and embroider.

109. I love kitsch.

110. Monet's gardens at Giverny used to be one of my favorite spots on Earth. Now the hoardes of tourists ruin the effect for me.

111. Willie Nelson told me I had "beautiful blue eyes" once.

112. I have covered all the public areas of the Louvre.

113. I've been alone inside Stonehenge.

114. I've been alone inside the tomb of Unas.

115. I climbed the Red Pyramid.

116. I love old cemetaries.

117. I've studied French. Extensively. Mais je ne parle pas francais.

118. I've studied Spanish. No hablo espanol.

119. I've studied heirogylphics. No hope I can ever manage that. I know a few things but no way can I read them.

120. I've never been married.

121. I've never been pregnant. (That I know of, anyway.)

122. I've had wonderful men in my life. I have great taste in boyfriends.

123. My mother taught me to be happy. It was a wonderful gift.

124. I have no parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles left.

125. I am fascinated by serial killer stories. No... I don't want to marry one... just want to study them like a bug under a microscope.

126. I enjoy thinking/reading/talking about quantum physics.

127. I am part Cherokee.

128. I know how to shoot a gun and use a bow and arrow. I'm pretty good with both.

129. I've never been arrested.

130. I've never even had a speeding ticket.

131. I sued a company once for packing a worm in a can of corn. I lost.

132. I want the world to be "fair" and will fight battles that are not my own. I also think companies shouldn't pack worms in cans or corn, and sell them as "wholesome," but a jury didn't agree so what do I know?

133. I love to dress up - Halloween, Ren Fest, whatever.

134. I don't like scary movies. Fear is not an emotion I enjoy so I don't pay people to induce it in me.

135. A drawing of my hand was used on a billboard once.

136. I never cheat. I'm a 1000% faithful in any relationship.

137. I don't believe in keeping a spotless house - too much energy for too little return.

138. I make very good pie crust.

139. I plan great parties.

140. I don't believe in regret.

141. I've fixed tea, with a dozen things on the plate, for 100.

142. I carry wet wipes with me at all times. Hate germs.

143. I don't mind the blood on accident scenes but the sounds people make when they're really hurt get to me.

144. I've never dyed my hair. (Although as more gray appears, this will change.)

145. I rarely take any over the counter medication.

146. I love Christmas.

147. I've never had a traditional birthday party.

148. I love my long hair.

149. I can't wear a watch - they stop working on me.

150. I seek others who see beyond the limits of this dimension in which we live.

151. I believe in the power of thought.

152. I like good old boys - minus the trans-am and the skoal.

153. I love fun surprises.

154. My mother didn't know she was pregnant with me for quite some time. Took modern medicine a four day hospital stay to figure it out. The local "witch doctor" had told her weeks before just from looking at her across a room.

155. I think on dozens of tracks all at the same time.

156. Writing helps me figure thing out.

157. I have a great interest in the civil rights movement.

158. I admire Mamie Till.

159. I think Minnow was right when he said TV was a "vast wasteland." It has only gotten worse since then.

160. I love rivers. I am a person of rivers.

161. I have some issues with the concept of women's rights. I'd like "people's rights."

162. I think we need to accept that there are some differences between the genders.

163. I am not politically correct a large part of the time.

164. I am not ethnocentric regarding being an American.

165. I love long bubble baths.

166. I know education is the key to solving all the world's problems.

167. I get very pissed off at the extremes of any political situation.

168. I want to stop having the abortion debate. I want to get rid of unwanted pregnancy and therefore never have abortion again.

169. I am fascinated by the minds of people who do things far outside the "norm" - like mothers who kill their own children. Don't want to emulate them - just want to question them.

170. I'm a good interviewer - it was one of my great skills in radio.

171. I have a good voice - if I lived in a larger city I could probably make a living by doing voice work.

172. I can't act.

173. I can't dance.

174. I can play piano.

175. I was a music major. Briefly.

176. I've never been hungry and not known food was available. That is something most Americans can say, but not most of the rest of the world.

177. I have done therapy.

178. I have been in caves.

179. I have been on mountains.

180. I have been at a volcano.

181. I have been on the sea.

182. I have looked at the Mediterrean, the Atlantic, the Pacific and sailed the Panama Canal.

183. I have done pieces for NPR and CBS.

184. I have a large birthmark.

185. I can't tell left/right without looking at my birthmark.

186. I have won awards for news, public relations and graphic design.

187. I find the French to be lovely people. The British seem to hate me - always rude to me when I'm there.

188. I have been to an Egyptian wedding.

189. I am not a jealous sort. I believe in trust - not jealousy.

190. I have had three broken bones.

191. I have never had stitches.

192. I am impressed with people who have vision. I used to work for a man who had tremendous vision. And he could see how to take it from vision to reality.

193. I've never met a very powerful person who didn't have a vice. (Think: Clinton and women; Bush and cocaine; etc. etc. etc.)

194. My family history goes back to France in the 12th century. Or so we think anyway.

195. Some people think I'm a computer geek. I'm really just a geek wanna be. I don't know enough to be a geek.

196. I was published in the India Times once. Yeah, the one that's published in India.

197. I came home from the hospital on Christmas Day.

198. I still have most of my childhood toys - including my first doll.

199. My grandmother was blind.

200. I can drive a stick shift.

201. I own a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Doesn't everyone?

202. I have over 1000 cookbooks.

203. I have every letter I've ever gotten - and copies of many I've written.

204. I adore perfume. Nice perfume. Expensive perfume. I wear it every day - even if I'm just in my house alone.

205. I'm not a big jewelry person. But I like to make jewelry. Go figure.

206. I love to make art with other people.

207. Making things with other people is a bonding experience.

208. I have no savings. I have debt. Money is a continual thorn in my side.

209. I've been to Graceland.

210. I'm not especially modest.

211. I can't rollerskate. I've tried. It's not pretty.

212. I can make truffles. And divinity. And fudge.

213. I make a killer carrot cake.

214. I'm not into celebrities. At all.

215. But I do want my Mtv.

216. I painted my kitchen blue and yellow because Monet's kitchen is blue and yellow. Although I did use much more intense colors.

217. My upstairs bathroom color was chosen from some embroidery floss.

218. I hate snakes. Getting bitten by one this spring did not change my opinion of them any.

219. I've been to Nicaragua.

220. I studied handwriting analysis.

221. I love the feeling of sleeping in a chilly room under tons of blankets.

222. I have planned concerts, receptions, weddings, teas, garden tours, homes tours and dozens of other events.

223. My favorite journals are Claire Fontaine quad notebooks about 7 by 9 inches. Unfortunately, they're unavailable in the US.

224. I love to be in love.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Much Needs To Be Continued... from Jim and Fred at Prairie Oak Farms

Life has a way of moving on ahead, regardless of our motivation in the matter. New souls come into the world and others leave it. If we're lucky as we take life's journey, and I've been incredibly fortunate, we cross paths with people who add to our lives. Some are brilliant, some ask us questions that remain with us, some leave us with a longing, and some show us how to create a life we couldn't imagine before we met them. There are teachers and students.

Many years ago I met Jim and Fred, of Prairie Oak Farms, in Edwards County, Kansas. I had heard about them before I met them. It seemed everyone but me already knew this wonderful couple. Because of my work at the time I found myself at their farm one warm afternoon. I loved them instantly. It wasn't the greenhouse filled with orchids, the birds in elaborate cages, or the French cupboards in their dining room, but the warmth of these men that attracted me.

My friend and I no doubt overstayed our welcome that day, and promised to return. But, alas, that didn't happen. And I must take responsibility for that lack. I saw them again at various times, but never made it back to the farm where their souls were evident in everything they touched. Thousands of others made the trek, but we never did, although it was mentioned regularly.

Over the years we exchanged Christmas cards, and this letter I ran across recently was in response to one in 2002. On these pages, two friends are mentioned - Marci Penner and Martha Slater. Jim writes that if I didn't know them, no doubt I knew their names. I did know them, but know them better now.

There is a belief in some faiths that we are born into "soul circles" and that in each lifetime we interact with the same souls in different ways, until we complete whatever business we have together. It lends credence to the idea of "small world" instances. It seems I may have missed my opportunity with Jim and Fred through negligence on my part. There never seems to be a "good time" to do something like drive a few hours to visit a farm on a, "dirt road in the middle of a corn field," as Jim writes here.

These two and a half pages cover life and death. He offers condolences on my Mother's passing. He mentions he and Fred have been together for 25 years. Like most of our daily existence, it contains all the extremes. It's only with the benefit of time that we see them there - obvious now, but not so easy to spot then.

Jim and Fred are both gone, now. And it is a loss to everyone who knew them - even those like me who didn't know them as well as we would have liked. I'm thankful to have these pieces of paper, with Jim's beautiful handwriting, knowing that in early December of 2002 he took time to think of me, and share himself with me in this way. Nothing will ever replace the handwritten word to me. It brings a piece of the soul onto the page. I keep every letter because it seems nearly sinful to do anything but cherish something given so generously.

He signs off with "Love, Fred and Jim," and then adds a sentence that seems prophetic in retrospect. "Much needs to be continued - right?!"


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


When I left for work this morning, the tree in my front yard had green buds. I returned 10 hours later to find a tree in bloom.

Everything is about timing, it seems. I heard someone say tonight that most love affairs end badly, often because of bad timing. That is, indeed, very true. The same can be said about affairs other than those of the heart.

The timing being off can lead us to leave people, jobs and towns. We "bide our time" and bemoan "bad timing."

But then, just as we think there's no hope, something beautiful happens, and we get a fresh start.

It truly is all in the timing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Between Two Worlds

Saturday afternoon I was taking photos of my sale finds, including some of the items from the recipe box. The old, tattered recipe was just too wonderful to not photograph. At one point I noticed my cell phone was sitting just out of frame. It struck me as being indicative of the feeling I have often of being stuck between worlds.

This was just a visual representation of the dualities present in my daily life. I sometimes say I'm a study in contrasts, and that's certainly true. Somehow it all works. Mostly.

Billy Dean Performs in Hutchinson at The W

Saturday night Greg and I went to see Billy Dean perform at The W in downtown Hutchinson. I went into the concert liking him, and left a major fan.

The W is a small venue that brings in a variety of performers, including major artists like Billy Dean. Something I'm starting to catch on to is that artists who perform in these environments are really, really talented. They don't need a whole crew of people to make them sound good.

Billy Dean walked onto the stage and kept us spell-bound for the next couple of hours. Frankly, I don't know how long he performed, but it was a while. However, I could have listened to him for a few more hours.

It's amazing to think one man, with one guitar and one microphone, could entertain us so well for so long. And I got the feeling if it had gone on all weekend I would have still wanted more.

He mentioned at one point that musicians work hard on lyrics and playing and singing and then it gets lost in a big venue so he liked being in this sort of place. I realized there are lots of artists who could not manage a small venue because they don't have the talent to hold the attention of a crowd without all the trappings that come with a big stage show.

Afterwards he signed autographs, posed for photos and was just generally incredibly charming. It was an really fun night.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vintage Linens and an Old Recipe Box

There was a "Monster Garage Sale" today. I picked up some treasures. Best find of the day was this old recipe card file. It was marked $5, but she came down a bit on it. That was the most expensive thing I bought.

I am constantly attracted to vintage linens and today was a bonanza.

My grand total for the day was $15.50. It was definitely a success.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Too Gentle

I first read the James Kavanaugh poem, "There are men too gentle to live among wolves," in college. It's actually a whole book of poetry, but it was this piece I first learned about. It wasn't in a class, but just in my meandering reading.

It struck me instantly. I knew, even then, that there were men - and women - too gentle for the world. I understood the undertones present, but knew it could be taken at face value and be very meaningful too.

I have been one of the too gentle people at times, and I have been the torturer of them at times. I'm not proud of either.

Why is it that those of us with tender hearts can be so vicious in an effort to not be the most tender-hearted present? Do we think we'll toughen ourselves that way? Or are we just as cruel as those who prey upon us?

So many questions to ponder. But, for tonight, I'm too tired and too overwhelmed, so it will have to wait for another time. Perhaps that's why we never figure it out, because we excuse ourselves from devoting  the necessary effort to it - afraid of what we might discover about ourselves.

This poem has popped into my head a few times lately for various reasons. And as I'm want to do, I thought I'd share it with you since it's on my mind.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
by James Kavanaugh

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men too gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant's profit and gain.
There are men too gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of candied apples and ferris wheels
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who devour them with eager appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.
There are men too gentle for an accountant's world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove.
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant's world,
Unless they have a gentle one to love.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pink Hippo - I love him

I picked up this little jewel a few years ago. For one dollar. Yes, that's right - $1. It's okay, I understand your jealousy - it's only natural.

I love him.

I mean I really, really, really love him.

He has been sitting on top of my piano, just looking adorable, for quite awhile. The other day I was moved him to where he's more visible.

Why do I love him?

What do you mean?

How can you not?

He's pink. He has glittery bits. He has rhinestones.

What, I ask, is not to love?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I realize people think I'm a little nuts in my penchant for pink and glittery things. I do not dispute this is odd, but it just is. I have some pink vases I like, too, some of which also have glittery parts.

I even have a pink lamp with gold glittery wheat in the basement that hasn't ever made an appearance in my house. It needs to be rewired. I think it will be a very nice addition. I paid 99 cents for it at a thrift store in Wichita. Matthew was with me at the time. He was somewhat puzzled by my attraction to it, declaring it "distinctive," but not as confused as my then-boyfriend who was horrified when I asked him to rewire it. He didn't. It still needs to be done. But I digress.

It would seem I have developed an attraction to pink, glittery things. I do not try to explain these things. I just accept then.

And back to the topic at hand, who wouldn't love a pink hippo? Even without the rhinestones and sparkly, glittery bits. But this little guy has it all. Brilliant!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


For the past few weeks I've been thinking about a website redesign. I've tried to figure out the categories of things I need to include. What I've discovered is that I have a whole bunch of things going on.

There's the:
cooking, cookbooks, cookbook reviews, food speeches
Writing - blog, my books, freelance articles, etc.
Social media consulting work - presentations, individual clients, planning
Marketing - working with people to help them figure out how to accomplish their goals
Book promotion - including marketing, social media and things like making trailers
Speeches - I love to give presentations
Novel - I want to finish my novel
website maintenance - I do a little of this on the side, too.

I don't know how to sort all these things out yet.

All of them take time and energy. I'm very focused on things I can do to bring in extra money to pay off medical bills. And I love many of the things that do that.

But there are other things - like finishing the novel that is so close to being done - that I don't spend the time on because no one is going to pay me for that right away. But I really want to work on that. I'm trying to weigh the restorative pleasure of doing that versus the cost of not getting other things done in that time.

I'm going on retreat soon and I think one of the questions I need to try and answer for myself is to set some priorities of what I can do and what I simply can't do, even if I want to.

At the same time, I'm trying to find some balance. I realized at the end of last year that I was just totally exhausted. So, I have some fun things scheduled, but my fear is that I'll just have to work even harder to pay for them and defeat the purpose. But I'm going to try, because I have to do something different and that's one thing I can experiment with.

All of this, in addition to my fulltime job, is a lot to manage. It's hard for me to even sort it out and I'm doing it all. I'm not even sure how that's possible, but it's happening. Hopefully it will become clear.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Albert Einstein Quotes

Today is Albert Einstein's birthday. I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my favorite Einstein quotes.

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish.

Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.

The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Weekend

My first daffodils have bloomed, and I picked one yesterday to bring in and put on the shelf above the kitchen sink. It's just as well because snow is falling now, and the remaining couple that have bloomed may not be doing so well.

I've had a full weekend, but with some fun mixed in. Saturday I decided to make my rounds of Roy's and the Et Cetera Shop. Roy's was delicious, as always. The Et Cetera shop was doing their twice yearly clearing out and were offering a basket of goodies for $1. I picked up some linens and a set of cool, small snack trays, as well as a velvet clutch purse I thought would be good for jewelry display at art shows - all for $1.

Otherwise, I spent the day working on projects. I've been sorting through tax stuff and trying to make myself get started on that. I really need to talk to an accountant who deals with "intellectual" tax issues, as opposed to "building widgets" tax issues. But, I've asked a couple of accountants how to handle things like freelance writing and they look at me blankly and say they have no idea. So, I do the best I can with it myself. I'm probably costing myself money because I declare every penny of income and take very little in the way of deductions. But, it's probably all a wash I suppose. I've got everything gathered up I think. I just need to get busy actually doing the taxes.

Today I've been wrestling with a way to record skype calls for podcasts. I've read about a few tools, but none of them seem to work for me. Maybe I'll see it with fresh eyes tomorrow night and spot the little thing that's wrong.

This afternoon Jocelyn and I went to see the "Home on the Range" performance at the Fox. It was an official 150th Anniversary of Statehood event and featured the Diamond W Wranglers, as well as others performing music. Martha's company did the video - it was an amazing experience. I was so glad I got to go. It was a wonderful part of the afternoon.

Then it was back home to my various projects. I've spent quite a bit of time this weekend planning for my upcoming retreat, including making various lists. Fortunately, I had everything on hand for the salad I started to want as I started a grocery list for the retreat weekend.

Of course, all weekend the scenes from Japan have kept coming on the television. It's startling to see the damage from the tsunami that came after the earthquake. Incredible.

I was watching a psychologist talk the other night about how people are drawn to watch disasters unfold because we are trying to learn - in case we ever find ourselves in a similar situation. It makes sense, of course. It would be a skill that would have favored those who learned and therefore survived long enough to reproduce. It would make sense that it's part of our makeup since we would be the descendants of those who paid attention.

After I heard that I saw a story of a girl who saved people during an earlier tsunami because she recognized the signs of it - water that was only coming in and not going back out, and frothy. I realized later that I had unconsciously made note of that. The chance I would ever be where a tsunami would be likely is slim, since I'm not really a beach person, but apparently my brain thought that worthy information of hanging onto - at least for the moment.

We humans never cease to amaze.

Question of the Day

Question of the Day:

What is it that you really want to do with this life you have?
How do you want the world to be different because you lived?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Feeling Alive When Close to Death

I was watching a story tonight about the psychology of watching the damage of the tsunami. The speaker was saying we learn from watching these things so if we find ourselves in this kind of danger that we know what to do. It makes sense. It's how our ancestors survived various things long enough to produce those who produced us.

We humans are interesting creatures. When we see destruction and death, it makes us feel more alive by comparison. We feel fortunate. We can suddenly count our blessings that might have escaped us just moments earlier.

In the coming days I'm sure we'll hear some of those amazing stories of survival. Hard to imagine being in that situation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Retreat Planning

I've been spending some time lately thinking about retreat. For the last few years I've tried to take some time away from my normal life - sometimes alone and sometimes with friends.

In a few weeks some friends and I will be taking a weekend to examine our lives, and consider what we want them to be like in the next few months.

This is always an enlightening process, although not always an easy one. This year I'm planning the retreat with some different activities. I hope everyone finds it inspiring.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Quote of the Day

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Mardi Gras

Saturday night I was invited to a Mardi Gras party. Instructions were to come in a costume. I couldn't think of a more appropriate one than a voodoo priestess. So, I gathered the things for this costume.

I'm not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed that I had to buy nothing for it. I had everything except the skull. But, Greg had it.

I won the costume contest, which was fun.

I made the voodoo doll to go with it. Again, just from things I had around the house. But I like her. I decided burlap is way overdone. I wanted my voodoo doll to be a bit more fashionable.

This is Patti, our hostess, and her daughter. I took divinity and it was a photo prop as well as a dessert

Trish was a gnome.

The Reverse Vending Machine was a hit.

Greg took photos of a lot of people, and I took a few, but we didn't get everyone.

I did get this one of Greg and Nancy was spectacular with her flamingos.

In the spirit of Mardi Gras, Creative Sisterhood was tonight so I decided to make King Cake for us to enjoy.

I hadn't made it in many years, but it was tasty!

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Monday, March 07, 2011

My Druthers

I would spend much more time at this spot, writing, if I had my druthers (isn't that a wonderful word?). But, I have a mortgage instead. Thankfully, I also have a job that pays the mortgage.

Oh, but my druthers... my druthers are so much more pleasant to think about.

There are so many things I want to write and plan and paint and do. Just not enough hours in the day for them all. And I'm making use of all of my hours as best I can. I barely stop all day long, and well into the night. I'm wasting as few of them sleeping as possible. I'm using them all. But there still aren't enough.

Who do I talk to about having more hours per day? Who's in charge?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Flea Market Finds

The flea market today was really small - not very many dealers. But, I found some bargains. The find of the day was these old photos, which will find their way into artwork. There are no subjects that are extraordinary, but it doesn't really matter. It's the design of the photos and the sizes and edges as much as the subject. I was really thrilled to get those.

I was also happy to pick up the cookbook. Don't know that I'll make anything from it, but I love looking through them.

My grand total today was $2.50 - plus the $1 to get in the door. But, overall, a successful day.

Daniel Menaker and "A Good Talk; The Story and Skill of Conversation"

Funny how things find their way into your life sometimes. In the car today, leaving a social media presentation I gave, I happened to hear a little bit of "The Splendid Table," a show I sometimes listen to by podcast. But it just happened to be on the radio, and the bit that was playing was an interview I was very interested in.

Daniel Menaker, author of, "A Good Talk; The Story and Skill of Conversation," was talking with the host. I must read this book. It is a topic I'm very interested in and I could tell from the short interview it will be a book I'll want to take a highlighter to.

In addition to giving me a new book to read, it spawned an idea. I think I'd like to offer some author interviews here. I'm always fascinated to hear about an author's writing process, and I'm a really good interviewer. I'm not sure authors will be willing to talk with me, but I guess I will see. I need to figure out some technical things, but once I do, perhaps Mr. Menaker will be one of the first I ask.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Talking about the Hutchinson Social Media Club on the KWBW Morning Show

Earlier this week I was invited onto a local morning show to talk about the Social Media Club's (HutchSMC) Roundtable Discussion Monday night. This is a free presentation at 5:30 - everyone is welcome. The panelists will be talking about how to get involved with social media and how people are using it in their businesses and lives.

The HutchSMC has been going since late June last year. It was something I wanted to exist. I kept trying to get other people to start it, but couldn't convince anyone. So, finally I decided I was going to have to be involved in getting it off the ground.

So, I invited a few folks and I feel so fortunate that some people were willing to come together to make it happen and keep it going.. We've been gathering about once a month to meet face to face and about once a quarter doing some sort of community event. We did a training last July, then Third Thursday Twitter in the fall, and on Monday we'll be doing a Roundtable Discussion.

This is free to the public, so I hope we have a good turnout. Andrea Springer, Jordan Walker and Lori Mulch will be the panel - so we'll have someone who works with non-profits, a corporation and the Kansas State Fair - should be a great mix.

Thanks to KWBW's John Brennan for the invitation. If you can, join us Monday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the library. It's free and I'm sure it's going to be interesting!

You can hear the interview at:
KWBW's website.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

What Story Does a Desk Tell

When I was leaving the office the other day I stopped to pick up something I had forgotten. Looking at my desk from that vantage point made me stop and take a photo. I always think you can tell something about people by their desks.

You can probably tell we have a Snoopy exhibit at the moment... or that I love that Beagle. You might also discern I'm a germ freak - especially if I hadn't cropped out the Clorox wipes on the left side of the photo. You might also realize I love color. I recycle whatever paper I can, and that includes those brightly colored flyers for one thing or another.

All you might see is a mess, but there's a system to my messiness - at least for me. I'm not sure anyone else could see it, but I have a system. Of sorts.

Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to post a photo of my desk at home. But not tonight. I'd need to clean it up a bit before doing that. Maybe one day. Maybe.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Dr. Seuss

Today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss. In the spirit of that, it seemed only appropriate to share a quote from this literary genius.

He has many I love, but here's one to mull over for this occasion.

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!” - Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg reads in Hutchinson, Kansas

Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg read from her work at the Hutchinson Art Center tonight. It was sponsored by the Hutchinson Reno County Arts and Humanities Council and Hutchinson Community College.

She has written four books of poetry, and much of her work focuses on how writing generates community. This is a fascinating concept to me. I do think the arts of all kinds help form community, and give an identity to it.

Much of what she read was from her most recent book, "Landed." She said it was 16 years in the making. She said, "You have to wait until the poem arrives."

As I often do when I see poets, I'm struck by certain turns of phrase. I do not have a sufficient grasp of the language to write poetry, but I love to hear it read by the people who wrote it. It's so easy - there's no decision necessary on my part - the writer gives me the intonation the way they intended. It's an effortless way to experience it.

These were some of the notes I made tonight. Obviously, there's much more to each poem, and these are just little snippets.

"Where for a moment, all that wants to be said is heard."
"Why can't the heart stop asking?"
"When the wait is long and the news is bad."
"Shards of nightmare."
"I don't have language enough to explain how I arrived here."
"Wind tells the sea in you, the old stars in you too, welcome home."
"Will you be true to me? Do I know how to be true to you?"
"Music made of air and pulse."
"I'm just a container for time like a river. Tell, me, what's not to love?"
"In the end there's only kindness."
"In this kindness there are always stories."
"Only kindness matters in the circle of love he made in this world."
"Get up from that curb where you wait for the parade of acceptance."
"Find or make another home."
"Don't push choices before their time."