Friday, December 30, 2011

Angry Birds!

When I purchased my iPad for the PattySue book, I thought about putting Angry Birds on it. But since the iPad was supposed to be for Christmas, I wasn't allowed to download it.

Christmas morning, Angry Birds appeared on my iPad. After I played one or two games, Diana took the iPad from me. She showed my sister how to play Angry Birds. I didn't see my iPad again for days. Between Diana and Katie, it was in constant use.

Katie left on Tuesday with Angry Birds downloaded onto her phone. I still haven't seen my iPad. Now Diana is playing the game most of the time. She has nearly completed the first level - called Poached Eggs. I have maybe conquered three or four games; the remaining sixty have been played and "three-starred" by Katie and Di.

I know that doesn't prevent me from continuing to try each game . . . but I am going to have to wait for Di to return to Texas before I even attempt it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Teaching Bella Bad Habits!

Bella has been staying with us for Christmas, and I have tried very hard not to let her learn bad habits. But she seems to be at the stage where those things are becoming harder not to let her do. For example, I know she isn't allowed on the upstairs couch at home. But try keeping her off ours. Not possible. Let me show you why:



She even learned the "legs hanging off the couch" pose.

I don't think Bella is allowed in the dishwasher either. But my dogs? Well, consider them the pre-wash cycle.

Babs and Sepia:


Bella especially liked the butter from the Christmas artichokes!

I think she learned the art of cuddling from Sepia:


I hope Bella's owners don't mind that she has learned some new habits.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Europe!

Last year we were in Europe for Christmas. The decorations were very special and beautiful. Here are a few to brighten Christmas for all.

An arrangement in Greece.



Advent wreath in Rothenberg, Germany.

A winter scene in Salzburg.

The horses await riders in Rothenberg, Germany.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

O Holy Night!

From our house, where luminarias appear every Christmas Eve (at least when it isn't raining, snowing, or blowing), to yours . . .

May you have the most blessed Christmas ever.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Cure for Heartbreak

There's no better way to ease the pain of heartbreak than to borrow someone's young dog for awhile. That's why we have Bella for a few days.

This morning, after she went outside and I went back to bed, she decided to join me. (Sorry, Susan and Rick.) But she didn't just join me. She wedged herself right next to me in the crook of my knees - just like Sepia used to do. It was so comfortable . . . and warm. We slept that way about an hour. I don't know what Bella thought, but I loved it.

Then later today, she taught herself to fetch. She seems to like Sepia's cow hooves. Standing near the stairs, she would flip the hoof down the stairs and then run down to get it. Back up the stairs; flip the hoof; run down the stairs to get it. I always knew she was a smart dog, but this beats them all. We are hoping to get a video sometime.

So far she hasn't gotten in any trouble - she hasn't gotten stuck under the deck, she hasn't caught any rabbits. She does leap at the door, get on the couch to snuggle, keep Babs company, and go crazy when she sees us. The perfect cure for heartbreak.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I really thought our Sepster would be with us a little longer, but it wasn't to be. By this morning (Monday) I knew he was not going to last many more days. He couldn't stand up very well, he teetered and fell frequently, and he couldn't get comfortable. As much as I was hoping he would leave us on his own, he was such a loyal dog, I knew he would hang on for several more days. He had a really rough night, and I couldn't prolong his misery.

Thankfully our vet stays open late on Mondays, so I arranged to bring Sepia in at 7:20 p.m. All day, Diana and I sat with him while he slept. We hugged him, we pet him, we picked him up and carried him around. We did our best to make his last hours the best they could be.

After dinner, Don, Diana, Joey (our nephew), and I took Sepia to the vet. Thankfully, they had a special room all set so we could say good bye to him. And he peacefully slipped away from us. It was terribly sad, but he is out of pain now. We will remember the way he used to turn around and kick us when he wanted attention, how he loved to go to McDonald's for dog bones, how he would lay in bed on his back for hours if we would scratch his tummy, how he would sit on my lap in the RV, how he would wait in the car for us all the time looking out the window for us, and how he loved to take walks. We won't forget our Sepia.

Now I am worried about Babs, his sister. Currently, she is just confused. I am hoping she handles the quiet. We will all miss Sepia, one of the sweetest dogs ever.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last week with PattySue

Last week we had four adventures with PattySue. First, we went to Sunflower School in Lawrence to read to the well-behaved, cute Kindergarten classes there. My niece, Lily, and nephew, Will, are students at Sunflower, and I got to see them while we were there.

Then, we went to the Kansas Humane Society to read to the youngsters on Tot Tuesday. Martha, from the public television show Martha Speaks, was there, too, and she got to hold PattySue. I am not certain that PattySue thought it was a good idea.

On Wednesday we visited St. Peter Schulte school in Wichita and read to some wonderful kindergarten and first-graders. Then on Friday, we ventured to Wichita Montessori School to read to the Kindergarten through third graders.

All of the children loved seeing "the real" PattySue, and she was quite the engaging guest. There's a reason Kathy and I decided to write about her.

Her book can be found at

Friday, December 9, 2011

Speaking of Books . . .

Today I accepted shipment of three palettes of books. Three palettes. That's a lot of books.
Now to sell them.

The book is titled A School Like No Other. It details the history of The Independent School from 1980 through my retirement in 2006.

I began writing it several years ago, but I didn't really get with it until about two years ago. November 23, 2010, I thought I was done with the book. Many, many revisions, numerous proofings, and several consultations later, I took it in its final form to the printer . . . exactly a year later!

And today it is officially done. You can preview it at Whew!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Paris Wife

I finally finished reading the book about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson. The book, The Paris Wife, is beautifully written and engaging. Well worth the read, if only for the beautiful sentences the author has crafted.

I didn't know much about Hemingway before our book club read A Farewell to Arms, followed by The Paris Wife. He was a complicated man who, like many other before and since, fell victim to his success. Seeing how he threw away the greatest love he would ever know was wrenching, and although she went on to find happiness with another man, it sounds as if she never quit loving Ernest. So sad.

The author brought up numerous thoughtful and complex issues as she wove the tale of Ernest and Hadley. It is a book that I would recommend as a good way to further understand the genius of Ernest Hemingway.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Sepster

Why do I allow myself to love my dogs so much? At times like this, when I know my heart is about to be broken, I ask that question. And as Kenneth reminded me one year, "Mom, the 363 days a year they bring joy to you is worth the two days a year they cause you to worry." So right . . . but it still hurts.

Sepster started going downhill a few months ago. I noticed it when he abruptly quit eating his beloved peanut butter; the green beans weren't far behind. Now, although he seems interested in eating, he just doesn't. He is getting weaker and weaker, his bright eyes are turning sad, and he is sleeping a lot.

Each dog has its own personality, and Sepia is the first cuddler I have ever had. In the RV, he loved to sit on my lap while we were driving. On the couch, he would tuck himself into the curve in my knees to sleep. When I would go downstairs, he would follow. No matter where I would go, he was there. He is still trying to be . . . but it isn't easy.

The vet says he is having liver issues. We could find out what it is, but the prognosis is the same. So why put him through it? I am trying to love him and care for him as long as we can. That's the least I can do for a dog who gave me total and unconditional love for 14 years.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Poem to the Last Game

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Wildcats that day;
The temperature was cold, and rain was on the way.
Not many were arriving to tailgate in the lot,
And hopes for a full Bill were absolutely shot.

Our friends began arriving at 9:30 on the dot,
They were glad to be in Willie where the coffee was still hot.
With bacon, eggs, and pancakes, and donuts for dessert,
We had enough for breakfast that we would stay alert.

When suddenly at 10:15, the lightning began to flash,
"What's that?" we asked each other as the wind began to lash.
The thunder was aroaring, even Babs heard it (she's deaf),
We knew there'd be a rain delay, according to the ref.

So 14 friends and family, in the Willie they stayed dry,
The storm moved out of "Bill ville," and fans let out a sigh.
The game was going to start at 1:00, like all games used to do,
So we put on coats and hats and gloves, and donned our raincoats, too.

And soon the fans began to cheer, the Wildcats took the field,
To Cyclones who had come to play, the Wildcats would not yield,
And when the game was over and the 'Cats had won, it's true . . .
All over "Bill ville" one could hear . . . K....S.....U.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is Christmas on its Way?

I honestly thought this year I would be really excited about getting my Christmas decorations out, since last year we didn't use them. I love my decorations, and I expected to be pumped to display them again.

Think again.

For some reason, I am not much in the mood to get out my "stuff." Don't know if it is that I have so many other irons in the fire, whether I just don't want to face the mess, or what.

Perhaps by the time Di gets home from school, I will have kicked into the Christmas frenzy. I hope so, or it is going to be dull Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2011

PattySue Finds a Home


About four years ago, Kathy Simms-Melzer went to the Kansas Humane Society and adopted PattySue. It wasn't long before PattySue had stolen my heart, and within a year, I had decided I had to write a story about her. With the help of her "mother," Kathy, we put together a fun story about how PattySue was adopted. And most of it is true.

Last Friday, PattySue Finds a Home officially went on the web. We are working on iBooks approval, and we have to reformat it for the Kindle, but right now, it is available through Barnes and Noble ebooks, using the Nook or a Nook app for iPad, iPod, PC, Mac, or iPhone.

The cost of the book is $3.99, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Kansas Humane Society. We are hoping to support other rescue groups throughout the nation, as PattySue's story is a universal one.

You can find PattySue on Facebook at PattySue Stories, or on her own website, You can also go to and search for PattySue Finds a Home.

If you want gore or bad language or mean characters, you won't find them in this book. But you will find a sweet story with a happy ending that should resonate with anyone young or old. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday!

Wishing the most blessed Thanksgiving ever to all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I was reviewing my posts from last year, and on November 23, 2010, I announced that my book was done. I had finished writing it and was ready to proceed, or so I thought.

Since then I have gone through massive revisions, proofreadings, editings, and indexing. I took it to the printers in July, and we have been working through cover designs, changes, and the like since then. Finally, in early November I delivered the final copy to Mennonite Press. Today I found out that my book is officially done and due to be bound Wednesday . . . November 23, 2011.

A full year. Exactly. If you had told me it would be year before I was done, I wouldn't have believed you. But it has been. I don't know whether I will get to see it tomorrow or have to wait until Friday, but I thought the coincidence was too weird not to mention.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Harley Don.

In early October, Don had an opportunity to ride on the back of Andy Willis's Harley for Harley Day at the KSU game. I have been awaiting a good picture of him on the Harley, and thanks to Barry George, we got one. I laughed and laughed. Hope you do too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quadruple Overtime! Oh My!

I have experienced a number of overtime games. The 1998 KSU game against Texas A&M, a triple overtime basketball game in Dexter, KS between Independent and Flint Hills, and a triple overtime soccer game and shootout between Independent and Augusta are the most memorable, but there have been many others. Among the most amazing was this past weekend's KSU football game against Texas A&M. KSU football players have only ever been in two overtime games - both against Texas A&M.

When we were down 14 after the first quarter, I was a little concerned. But if there's one thing I have learned about this team, it is that they never give up. So when the score was tied at half, we weren't too surprised. Being down by ten with less than 6 minutes to go, however, was a little more discouraging. How could we catch up? But we did. Into overtime we went.

The first overtime was pretty routine. On the second, we had an opening . . . they only scored a field goal, so all we had to do was make a touchdown. Not to be, and after a nice Anthony Cantele kick, the score was tied again. Third overtime we scored a touchdown, but had to go for two. Oops . . . didn't make it, giving ATM an opening. Luckily, although they scored a touchdown, they, too, failed in their bid for two points, and the score was still tied. Fourth overtime they kicked a field goal . . . and finally we were able to capitalize, resulting in a win for the good guys.

I hate that ATM is moving to the SEC. We have had a good rivalry with them. Their fans are good people, their traditions are fun (though a little foreign to us), and their teams are generally good. It is sad that we won't be playing them again.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fifty-nine and Counting!

Today was Don's 59th birthday. I knew he would be expecting me to do something special next year, but not this year . . . after all he is only 59. So I decided to have a surprise party.

About 35 of our friends gathered at Crestview at 6:30, expecting us at 6:45. My plans for getting Don to the country club didn't go as planned . . . but they worked just as well. Although I had thought we would put the RV away and then go to dinner, instead Don just wanted to get gas in his car and head out. That would have put us there too early, so I had to improvise. "Let's wait to watch the sports before we go. I want to see what's on about the 'Cats." Luckily he bought it.

The next challenge was getting him to go in the front door. A quick explanation that the new room is rented for a private party and we didn't want to play bingo meant that we would be in the Garden Room. He bought that one, too. So we walked into the Country Club. As we turned the corner, one of the helpers said "Welcome to the party." Don quizically looked at me, confused by the greeting and realizing that he recognized some of the people in the room.

"I've been scammed," he said to me as he walked into the room of friends. It was a fun way to celebrate the last year of a decade!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Willie the Wildcat!

We K-Staters love our Willie the Wildcat. During games he is entertaining as he tackles the opponent's mascot, does push-ups after every field goal or touchdown, and leads the fans in the KSU cheer.

At the tailgate before the Texas A&M game last weekend, the Gaskill grandchildren joined us. Anistyn, in her KSU cheerleader outfit, Powercat tattoo, and pompons was excited to meet the "real" cheerleaders, and Garrett, in his KSU jersey, was fascinated with the footballs that were flying around the parking lot. Garrett was a little overwhelmed by the hubbub, but the kids seemed to enjoy the goings-on.

Willie the Wildcat was visiting a tailgate party several RVs down from us. The Gaskills decided to take the kids down to see Willie. Anistyn was ready to go, but Garrett . . . well, he wasn't real excited about seeing Willie. "No, Mommy, no." Eventually he conceded, as long as his mom would hold him. Pictured is the family with Willie . . . and amazingly, Garrett was willing to get near Willie for the picture, but only for the picture! (If you look closely at Susan, she has black tattoos under her eyes. Garrett didn't want to wear them, so he put them on lucky Nonna.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gourmet Tailgating!

There's tailgate food, and then there's tailgate food. And sometimes a tailgate comes together in epic proportions! Octoberfest was that way, and yesterday's was too.

Susan suggested that we purchase filet mignon from Yoder Meats. Amazingly, they sell $5 filets wrapped in bacon. And they are delicious! I ordered 30, hoping we wouldn't run out. We had exactly the right number.
Everyone stepped up in grand style. Jenni brought home-made rolls - yum! I cooked my Pumpkin Gruyere, and the pumpkin held together better than any of the ones before. It was not only tasty - it looked good, too! Christy brought mashed potatoes, Susan's potato casserole provided an option. Anne's Orzo salad and Erica's cole slaw, Doug's tossed salad, Victoria's cranberry salad and her corn salad, and Melinda's fruit salad all gave some healthy alternatives. And then Kelli brought the chocolate brownies with peanut butter filling. Amazing!
After the game we ate Brenda's peanut butter cake with vanilla ice cream. I have never had peanut butter cake, and Brenda says it is made just like a chocolate sheet cake. However it is put together, it was amazing. Incredible way to end a great day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Do You Think They Will Notice?

For the tailgate this weekend, I am going to make my pumpkin filled with cheesy, bready, creamy soup. It is scrumpdillyicious, fattening, and perfect for a pre-Thanksgiving tailgate.

I went to the store and purchased the Gruyere and Swiss cheeses, the cream, the broth and the French bread. When I came home, I put the bread on the table, unloaded the groceries, and cooked a cookie bar. Don called for us to go pick up the RV, so I rushed out to meet him. As I was getting in the car, I had a brain flash - Is everything away from the dogs? Certainly . . . and I went on my way.

When I came home, the first thing I saw was paper spread all over the floor, and the dogs were hovered over a 15" loaf of French bread. Bad dogs. They had somehow pulled the bread off the table. Luckily I got home before they had eaten the whole thing. As a matter of fact, they only ate a little bit. Do you think anyone would notice if I just used the bread?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Club

I love my book club. I have read some amazing books since joining. I don't know that I would have chosen any of the books we have read, but so far, I have enjoyed nearly every book we have read. I even got through Atlas Shrugged. My friend Ginny was impressed that the group was able to have a good discussion about that book without hostility or anger. Diana's favorite book is Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, both by Ayn Rand. I can't say Atlas Shrugged is my favorite . . . but at least I can now intelligently discuss the concepts presented!

The latest book we read is A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway. I wasn't sure what to think when I saw it on the list . . . a war book? But I decided to read it. And I loved it . . . except for the last chapter. The love story, the descriptions of the war . . . they were beautiful. And not to spoil it for anyone, but it ended so sadly. I didn't cry . . . but I could have. I do understand why it is such a classic book.

Next month, we will read The Paris Wife, which is about Hemingway's first wife. Kathy Dunlavy, my walking buddy, tells me that it is a very interesting book. I am hoping I will understand more about why Hemingway writes the way he does after reading it.

Our book club has been a mind expanding exercise for me, and I have loved it!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Saturday night, right after my beloved 'Cats lost a thriller to Oklahoma State, I was sitting on the couch, catching the news. Suddenly, the couch began to shake, the lampshade was wiggling, and the plant leaves were shaking. Don came out of the bedroom, and we both decided we had experienced our first earthquake. That, or it was all of those Okies breathing a huge sigh of relief - ha, ha! Within about 2 minutes, the newscasters were telling us that we had indeed had an earthquake.

Chalk that up to a new experience. And here we were worried about Kenneth and Melinda in California.

So Monday night I was at a meeting. Suddenly two of the women sitting near a wall started looking at each other, asking "Do you feel that?" The other 8 of us heard glasses hitting up against each other, and the lampshades were moving back and forth. Another earthquake.

I thought it was interesting that 8 of us did not feel the quake. My theory? Those near walls were able to feel it, but as we got farther away from the wall, the shaking dispersed and we couldn't feel it. Don't know if that's right, but it seems logical to me. Anyway, we are prepared to experience more and more of these aftershocks. I just hope they stay minor. We don't want it to spread to the fault that runs through Manhattan, right next to Tuttle Creek dam. Yikes!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Last night (Thursday) Don and I were privileged to attend the Wichita Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting. Every year they have a "big-name" speaker. Over the years we have heard George H. W. Bush, Tony Snow, Mary Matalin and James Carville, Britt Hume, Gene Krantz, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. This year's big name was George W. Bush.

I didn't know what to expect. The man that was always portrayed on television was a rather bumbling speaker full of malapropisms and incorrect grammar. As a president, he did some things I liked and some I didn't - pretty typical for someone in that position. But I didn't have a strong opinion either way of him.

What we heard last night was an intelligent speaker, funny, humble, and very interesting. He was self-depracating, making fun of some of the things he said and did. He said he didn't think his job was to tear down what President Obama is doing, which I sincerely appreciate. He spoke of some of the reasons why he did some of the things he did, and he emphasized what he felt good leadership entailed.

What I most appreciated about his talk was his optimistic feeling about the future of our world. Rough patches are to be expected, he admitted, but he honestly feels that the Middle East situation is going to improve because its people are experiencing freedom. He has seen what freedom does for people, asking whether anyone thought in 1945 that we and the Japanese would be close enough for the Japanese Prime Minister to declare after 911 that his country would stand beside us to fight terrorism. He went on to ask if we knew that 25% of the new Iraqi parliament was composed of women. The taste of freedom is what is going to make our world better, and his optimistic outlook for the US and the world was just the message I needed to hear.

Don and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and I feel like I understand more about the man who was our leader for eight years. I feel lucky to have been able to attend.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting Older.

It is a depressing thought. Although there are benefits to aging, they can probably be counted on one hand. The downside, though better than the alternative, is not for the weak. Several weeks ago, Pat Summitt, the women's basketball coach for Tennessee, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. This incredible coach - the winningest in the country, both men and women - is only 59. Although she is going to continue coaching as long as she can, she knows the gig is nearly up.

When I was growing up, I used to watch Dick Bills on KOB-TV in Albuquerque. His nephew, Glen Campbell, used to sing on the show every now and then. Today on Ellen Degeneres' show, she interviewed Glen Campbell and discussed his quest to continue touring despite his Alzheimer's diagnosis. I thought he was younger than 75, but nevertheless, he is still a young man, at least to me.

I don't often think of the depressing parts of aging, but watching Glen Campbell reminded me of the gallant people fighting every day to continue on despite the lemons they have been given. They are proof that we must cherish every day, experience as much as possible, and love our family and friends.

BTW, it stopped!

Well, the pictures have stopped. Finally, I quit receiving the same picture of Paula Deen every four hours. I think it was caught in some sort of loop, but AT&T finally figured it out. Thanks to them for fixing it. Once they told me I wasn't being charged for the pictures, it just became an annoyance . . . but I am glad they have quit arriving.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cousin Itt!

When I was in high school, such shows as The Munsters and The Addams Family were popular. One creature on The Addams Family was Cousin Itt. Although I watched the shows all of the time, I don't remember anything about Cousin Itt. So when my friend Anne Turbett wandered around Highland High School sixth hour (she was supposed to be in Student Council or in study hall) with her very long hair pulled over her face and her glasses placed over her hair, I didn't really know who she was pretending to be. Amazingly, she would walk by my typing class and stand outside the door to wave at me, totally diverting me from what I was supposed to be doing. . . and she never got caught.

Fast forward a number of years to about 1982. Don told me about a costume that his mother had made for him . . . a Cousin Itt costume. Well, by then I knew who Cousin Itt was. He wore it to church one Sunday and sat in the front row. The priest commented about how hard it was to preach with that creature sitting in the congregation. After that, I wore it to school a number of times for Halloween.

And I wore it to football games. And today I wore it to physical therapy, McDonald's, and Starbucks. I even ordered a "Cousin Itt Special" at Starbucks. It was delicious! Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2011


This been the year of reunions for me. First, my 40th high school reunion. I remember thinking how old people must be if they are celebrating their 40th reunion, and now, in the flash of an eye, here I am.

Then two weeks ago, we celebrated the 95th Anniversary of the founding of Gamma Alpha chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Kansas State University. How fun it was to see all of my Kappa sisters! Jani Noble even joined us from Australia. Most of us haven't seen her for years, and what a treasure it was to get a few minutes with her. I love her Australian accent that she has acquired in her 35 years of living there . . .(Jani is pictured on the right with her good friend, Lucille Bogner Keller.)


I also got to see my pledge daughter, Pat McEwen McCune. I haven't seen her in probably 30 years, and we did not have enough time to catch up. Seeing her reminded me of how much I miss her. The beautiful, kind young woman I knew in college is even more gorgeous, and she still exudes that wonderful, giving heart she has always had. I hope to do a better job of keeping in touch (though by her admission, she isn't great at it either!). But we can't let that be an excuse . . .

Then in two more weeks, Don has his 40th year Delta Upsilon reunion (lightweights!) It will be fun in a different way. We are hoping to celebrate not only with Don's fraternity brothers, but also with Kenneth and Joey. Neither of them has signed up, however . . . no pressure guys!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Visit to Holly

We made a trip to Austin last weekend to see Diana, and while there, we of course got to see Holly, the golden doodle. She is such a cute dog.

Babs and Sepia went too and got to meet her. They got along great. I was a little concerned that Holly would be too lively, but she wasn't. She was so well-behaved that any anxiety the dogs had was quickly dispatched.

Now Babs was not so polite. Holly's owner stored a big box of dog treats on the bottom of her storage shelf. Holly never touches them, but within about 20 minutes of being in the house, Babs had already helped herself to a dog bone. Shame on her.

They also didn't quite figure out how to play catch with Holly, but that was all right. Between Don, Diana, and me she had plenty of throwers. We now know that we can take our dogs to Austin without a problem, as Holly is a very friendly dog to all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Well, after I went to AT&T yesterday, I received another picture. Overnight, I received two more. This morning I received two more. So I went back.

The man at the store called a technician for help. The technician ultimately determined that I am not the only person with this problem. It was called a "known problem." They said it should be resolved within 3 - 5 business days. We'll see.

Unfortunately, then I received two more pictures, sent at the same time. The good news is I am not being charged for the hassle . . .


In my previous post, I mentioned that we had to figure out how to email the Paula Deen pictures to my phone. Diana successfully did so, and I received the pictures rather quickly.

The problem is . . . I am still receiving them. I have now received 15 pictures . . . 13 of them being the picture of Paula Deen in the hotel. About every 4 hours, I get a new picture in my email.

I took my phone to AT&T last night. They switched out my SIMM card . . . and I have received 4 more pictures of Paula since then.

I will be going back to AT&T when they open. I hope they can make it stop!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eat Your Heart Out!

A few days ago, I decided to make Victoria's Pumpkin Butter Cake. I had never tried a Paula Deen recipe before, but I had heard about them. This one lives up to its billing. But more about that in another post. This is about Paula Deen.

Saturday night we were celebrating a Wildcat Victory in downtown Austin. Don had seen a second-floor terrace where he had wanted to eat, so we decided to try to go there. We finally determined that it was part of the Intercontinental Hotel but that was ok . . . we were all decked out in our KSU purple. Certainly they would let us in.

Amazingly, no one even mentioned our purple, but they were very nice and we were able to sit out on the terrace. We enjoyed the Dia de los Muertos parade that went by, our sliders were delicious, and Don enjoyed his free beer. Suddenly, we saw a bus drive by and all sorts of screaming. "Paula Deen. Paula Deen is over there." Sure enough, there she was, reaching out of her RV, greeting her fans. She was as jovial in real life as she is on tv.

The bus drove away, never to be seen again . . . or so we thought. Just as we were leaving the hotel, her bus drove up to the door. Well, we couldn't leave now, could we? So after the bell hops unloaded three carts of luggage, she finally got out and walked right by us to check in to the hotel.

Now, if I can figure out how to email my pictures to myself, I will post pictures to prove it!

Well, Diana figured out how to email them to me. They aren't very good since the light was bad, but they are proof! The first one was hard to get because she was moving and just as I snapped it, a man stepped up next to her. She had just smiled at me and said hello. The next one is from the rear . . . but it is clear. The third one is of Di and me in front of her RV. First true celebrity sighting I have had in a long time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Harley Day!

For several years, I have thought it would be fun for Don to ride in Harley Day. This year I found a way to make it happen. At the Catbacker Auction one of the live auction items is a Harley Ride. I decided this was my year to try to "win" the ride for Don. It wasn't long before two of us were bidding. One man kept bidding me up, so I finally said to the auctioneer, "Who is that who is bidding against me?" The auctioneer pointed to the man, and I said loudly, "Tell him to knock it off!" And he did! So I got the ride.

Out next-door-neighbor's son, Andy Willis, owns a Harley, so we asked him to be the driver. He was thrilled as it was something he has always wanted to do. His gorgeous wife, Ann, was not so excited, however, since she had to ride on the back for the 8-hour trip from Arkansas. She is a goddess in my book, and I am very thankful she was willing to let Andy participate. I am not sure I would have been so gracious!

Don wore his do-rag the whole day, Andy wore his smile. They had a blast riding around the field, with the whole stadium cheering for the Harleys. It was a great day, capped with a Wildcat victory!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Root Beer Floats

Our nephew, Joey, received a root beer float maker for his birthday. We were given two of his first four bottles of root beer.

I didn't know how root beer was made, but it is an interesting process. This evening we invited our neighbors, the Gaskills, for root beer floats. Using some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream, we poured the root beer on top of it. If we hadn't have been sitting on couches in our family room, we would have thought we were at an A & W Root Beer drive-in.

We were all impressed. Impressed enough that they were gone before I even thought of taking a picture. Bottoms up!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tailgating Dogs!

Bella, Sepia, and Babs love tailgating. Bella spends her time outside, schmoozing with the people walking around. She gets snacks from her owners, and when it is game time, into the kennel she goes to sleep away the afternoon.
Sepia and Babs spend most of the day in the Willie, sleeping on people's laps, snuggling with Brenda or Doug, or trying to get treats. When it is all over and they are home, they are tuckered out. See Sepia sleep.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eins - stein, Zwei-stein, Drei - stein

When we were first married, Avon came out with beer steins that had a container of men's cologne tucked inside. Don's mother was big into collectibles and she felt the steins, while being fun, would eventually be worth some money. We kept the steins for a lot of years, and several years ago I decided to sell them. I advertised on Ebay, but we had no takers. So they have sat in the basement, waiting for a garage sale.

In planning for the Oktoberfest tailgate, Don had the idea to take the steins to Manhattan. He particularly thought it appropriate since one of Kenneth's friends had mentioned how proud her parents were of the three pictures on her blog of her drinking beer from a plastic cup. A German stein was much more appropriate.

The vintage steins were certainly a hit. Those who drank from them mentioned how much fun it was using them, so now, rather than going to a garage sale, they are going back on the shelves to wait for next year.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


After Kenneth and Melinda spent a semester in London and had an opportunity to participate in Oktoberfest in Munich, Kenneth said he wanted to make sure we had an Oktoberfest tailgate party. So we chose the Missouri game for the Oktoberfest.

One reason we had to hold this tailgate was so that Kenneth could wear his lederhosen and his purple and white shirt that he bought in Munich. Unfortunately, he forgot his shoes and had to wear his tennis shoes. Other than that, the costume was authentic.

So was the food. He found some weiswurst (a white German sausage), Leberkaese (a ham loaf), and bratwurst. I made bierocks, which are a meat-filled bread pocket brought to the US from some Germans who had settled in Russia. Ashley and Ann brought homemade German pretzels, which were scrumptious, and Ashley brought some home-brewed German beer. We also had sauerkraut, and Victoria brought some wonderful Black Forest cupcakes. Yum!

The first Oktoberfest was a resounding success. No doubt there will be another one!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Do-Rag Don

Harley Day! I love Harley Day. The first several years, women in bikinis and men with long hair and vests populated the cycles. It has tamed down considerably, but I have always wanted Don to ride in it. This year we found a way. At the Catbackers' auction I purchased the chance for Don to ride, and luckily, our next-door neighbor's son, Andy Willis, owns a Harley. Perfect.

Andy and his wife, Ann, drove 6 hours from Arkansas to participate. Ever since Andy was at KSU, he had wanted to ride on Harley Day, and he wasn't about to turn us down. I think his wife is the heroine in this one - I wouldn't ride 6 hours on the back of a Harley for anyone!

I went to Alefs Harley in Wichita to find a purple Harley shirt for Don, but one was not to be found. A gray Harley do-rag would have to suffice. So in September I gave it to him to prepare for the day.
The do-rag was never worn until yesterday. But Don proudly wore it all day, even though it was Oktoberfest at our tailgate party. More about the ride later, but enjoy the picture of Do-rag Don.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shrimp Taverna with Farmer's Market Vegies

I don't know why Shrimp Taverna isn't a once-a-week meal. It is so easy . . . and yummy, yummy, yummy. But I digress. First, the Farmer's Market.

Compared to the markets in California, ours is pretty sad, but today's vendors did have some good vegies - beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, chard, squash, peppers, onions . . . with the kind of summer we had, it was encouraging to see some decent vegies. I bought some beets and small tomatoes. At the artisan bread booth, I bought a French baguette.

When I got home, I mixed up some Shrimp Taverna. Saute 1 T. olive oil, a diced onion, some garlic, and a sliced tomato. (I didn't have a tomato, so I used some of the little ones I got at the market. They worked just fine.) After about five minutes, put about a pound of shrimp (peeled) on top of the saute mix, with some fresh oregano and about 1/4 c. feta cheese. Cook until shrimp turns pink and cheese is partially melted. That's it! Then I served it over rice (the saute juice makes the rice taste fab), added a salad with purple peppers and farmer's market tomatoes, and sliced the French baguette.

Easy as could be, and delicious!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Perfect Day!

Saturday morning was dark and cool as we loaded the Willie and headed for Manhattan. The sun was not yet up, and a jacket was a welcome addition to the wardrobe. We gathered our last-minute food items and set off.

Arriving in Manhattan a little early, we went to Tuttle Creek to see the lake, turned around, only to find the parking lot filling quickly. Since we have the RV, Don likes to be one of the first ones in the lot, but this time we weren't. Luckily, we were able to park without issue, and set-up began. Grab the tables, put up the flagpole, attach the flags, set up the chairs, get the cooler out and relax until time to cook.

What we had was a perfect day. Bright blue sky, cool temperature, light winds. It isn't often that we can put paper plates on the tables without an anchor, but this morning, the winds were barely blowing. Eventually the air conditioner had to come on in the RV, but it was absolutely gorgeous outside . . . so why be inside? Only the dogs needed to be in there.

Pork tenderloin on the grill with several salads, a yummy sweet potato casserole, and cake balls tasted splendiferous. We allowed enough time to eat and clean up without being rushed. Several people came by that we hadn't seen in awhile and we had plenty of time to talk to them. Marva, Christy and I took the dogs for a walk. What could be better?

After walking into the game with thousands of Wildcat faithful, we experienced the always moving Ft. Riley Day flag ceremony and moment of silence for fallen soldiers. I love how KSU celebrates our young men who fight for us so that we can be free. We don't do it often enough.

Then the game started. Oh my gosh. We got to experience the most beautiful football weather I have ever seen. I cannot remember a better day. We got to see a tremendous quarterback in Robert Griffin III. He threw the most amazing passes, leading his receivers just enough to allow them to catch many passes untouched. But somehow our guys stayed in the game. And that ending . . . perfect. I don't know how Bill Snyder did it, but what a coach!

After the game, sharing Jenni's brownies was the final touch on a great day. It could not have been scripted better.

We made it home in time to see several sportscasters wrap-up the game, the dogs managed to sleep through most of the day, Marva was treated to her first football game and I think she liked it, and we all slept well. It was a perfect day!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I know that all of God's creatures are here for a reason (though I have yet to find a use for mosquitoes, other than spreading disease.) But nevertheless, I know that snakes usually eat mice and rodents or insects, flies break down dead tissue, worms enrich soil . . . I know all that. But there are some of God's creatures that I just don't like. Spiders would be one kind.

But I am fascinated by Spider webs. When the kids were young, we had Charlotte, the garden spider. A big, colorful spider, she wove the most intricate and interesting webs in our garden. Every day we would go outside to look at them.

In New Mexico, I don't recall ever seeing spiders like the orb spiders we have in Kansas. You know the ones that build their large webs at night, catch moths and spiders, and then take down their web before morning, right? The first time I ran into an orb spider was one night in our first house. I went outside to do something, and then next thing I knew I had screamed the most blood-curdling yell and was dancing the "spider jig" as I tried to get the web out of my hair!

When we moved to our current house 27 years ago, I was much wiser about those stupid webs and am very careful when I go out at night this time of year. Sometimes, I am lucky enough to see the orb spiders weaving their webs around one of the outside lights. And one night earlier this week, one was still out when I had my camera handy. Although the web doesn't show up as nicely as I had hoped, the spider surely does. S/he is a big one! I am glad I saw it before it ended up in my hair!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pick a Peck of Purple Peppers!

Growing vegetables this summer was a grim proposition. We planted potatoes and onions in the spring, and they grew nicely. We planted two tomato plants, which are just now bearing tomatoes. I think we got three during the summer, since it was just too hot for them. And I planted one pepper bush . . . a purple pepper bush.

I have planted purple peppers before and they have given me a few peppers every year. So when it was so hot this year, I somewhat ignored it. Several days ago, I noticed it looked like the leaning tower of Pisa. . . so Monday I went to check on it. Jackpot. I couldn't carry all of the purple peppers. The first batch I gave away 8 and still had 8. Six of those were used for stuffed peppers yesterday. They were delicious, but I discovered that cooking purple peppers turns them green.

Tonight I went out to pick some more, and these are what I got. There are still a few more on the plant, but I suspect there won't be many more after that. I think a purple pepper or two in the salad at Saturday's ball game might just be the good luck we will need to win, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Several months ago, Don purchased a MacBookAir computer to take to Germany with us. I scoffed at the purchase. It seemed silly, but he thought it would allow us to download pictures , check emails, and write about the trip. He was right.

But, what neither he nor I realized were the addictive powers of the MacBookAir. It now sits next to the couch in the family room - which is also where the tv is. Since it boots up so quickly, it is easy to sit down to check email. Unfortunately, then it is too easy to check Facebook,, Diana's blog, Victoria's blog, Samantha's blog . . . you get the idea.

Then of course, while NCIS is on, or NCIS:LA is on, or Hawaii 5-O, or The Mentalist, or Big Bang Theory, or football, we have two addictions coming into play: use the computer while watching tv. As a matter of fact, I am writing this during NCIS:LA. And then there's a new show after that . . . I have to turn the tv off, or nothing will get done this evening!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Being a Wildcat Fan

Being a Wildcat fan isn't easy. Just when you think things are going well, something happens to deflate you . . . as in 1998 Big 12 Conference Championship. And just when everyone thinks the team has no prayer to win, the 'Cats pull off a surprising victory . . . basketball against #1 KU when Jim Wooldridge was coach, for example.

Yesterday was one of the "no prayer to win" times. Nearly every analyst in the nation was picking Miami to clobber the 'Cats. My brother even told me we needed to realize the Las Vegas line was the temperature for the day, and we needed to go play golf. Thank goodness we didn't listen to him. Although the 'Cats kept us nervous throughout the game, they managed to pull out a tough, gritty, nailbiting win against the Miami Hurricanes. Who would have thought it could happen?

Bill did. The team did. All the rest of us of little faith seem to forget that Bill Snyder is on our side. As Mitch Holthus would say, "It was a big, big, big Wildcat win."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Perfect Fall Days.

These are days worth waiting for. After such a horrible summer, suddenly temperatures have moderated, the wind has lessened, and the sky has turned New Mexico blue.

The mornings are cool, but I have refused to wear a jacket. It is such a pleasure to be cold! The afternoons are in the upper 70's - perfect for a walk with the dogs.

Growing up in New Mexico, I took days like this for granted. No more. We don't get many weeks like this, so I have enjoyed this one as much as I can.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The School of St. Jude

I had the opportunity to attend the District Conference for our Rotary district, 5690. It is at those conferences that I have had an opportunity to hear about incredible people doing incredible things.

This year was no exception. When I arrived yesterday, Gemma Sisia, an Aussie, was already speaking about her school, The School of St. Jude, which is located in Tanzania. A daughter of a sheepherder, after graduating from college, she went to Africa to teach. She saw the vast need for a quality education for the poorest of the poor in Tanzania, and she decided to do something about it. At age 24, she began the process of fundraising, including asking Rotary clubs for assistance. The Rotary clubs responded big-time, including traveling to Tanzania to construct buildings for the school.

Her first year, in 2002, she only had three students, and one teacher in one classroom, but now, nine years later, she has 1500 students on three campuses with 800+ boarding students. Yes, that number is right - 1500 students!!! It is an amazing, uplifting story that can be found at this URL: She named the school after St. Jude, the patron saint for hopeless situations. After hearing about the area where the school is located, I believe it was appropriately named.

I am constantly amazed at the stories I hear from Rotarians around the world. There are so many good things going on . . . spread the word!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Vacuum!

Yesterday I got out the dreaded vacuum. Sepia and Babs both hate it. They get on the couch until I get too close, then they leave for another room.

I wondered what Bella would do. She looked at me. "You have got to be kidding me." Then she grabbed Sepia's kong, threw it in the air, jumped on the couch, jumped off the couch, got the kong, threw it again, ran around the house . . . until I turned it off. Then she was just as calm as could be. Turned it on . . . hyper dog. I think the best thing to do when vacuuming if Bella is in the house is to put her outside.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Silly Wabbits!

Well, if I didn't know why Bella was under the deck, I certainly do now (though I knew then too.) What I don't know is whether she loves or hates wabbits. All afternoon she has been on the prowl. First she goes on the deck and sniffs through all of the spaces between the boards. Then she gets in the garden and searches through all of the bushes and under the deck. Then she moves around the gazebo, sniffing all the way. Sometimes she exits to look out into the yard.

I brought her in, fearing she might go under the deck again. So she stood at the window and cried until I let her out again. Now she is sniffing at the deck again. No wonder she is so skinny - she is perpetual motion.

Probably the funniest thing she did today, however, was while we were walking to our house from hers. I had her on her leash, and she smelled a wabbit. Not wanting to go on, she got down on her front paws and stuck her nose into the grass - not to be moved until she had thoroughly vetted the area. "Come on, Bella." Nope. "Let's go Bella." Nope. So I waited until she was convinced no wabbits were in the area, and then we went on. Silly wabbits!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Bella has been visiting this week since her owner is busy, and I could help out. She is a funny, funny dog . . . she reminds me of Ramona, in the Henry Huggins books. She doesn't mean to get in trouble, but somehow it happens. And then she feels bad.

This afternoon she went outside, as she frequently does. I saw her running around and went about my laundry chores. I made a phone call, and then looked out to find Bella. I didn't see her. So I went to the door and called her. No Bella.

Uh oh.

I went outside and called. No Bella. Then I heard a little knock, and I knew where she was . . . I just didn't know where she was. She was somewhere under the deck/gazebo. I kept calling, and I could hear her scrambling around . . . but she wouldn't come out. Well, that's not exactly correct. She couldn't come out. She was in such a tight space, she couldn't maneuver herself to get out from under the deck. Frankly, I don't know how she got under there in the first place, as there really isn't anywhere large enough for her to fit . . . or so I thought.

There was only one thing to do. I changed my clothes, grabbed Don's hammer, and removed one of the boards in the deck, which was one of those things that sounded easy but wasn't so much. Nevertheless, I got one board off, thinking she might be able to crawl out. She was too long, however, and couldn't get any leverage. She could, however, stick her head out of the hole, which assured me she would be all right.

A few minutes later, the second board had been removed, and Bella was free.

If it had been one of my kids, I would have been mad, but how could I be upset with a such a cute face? All I could do was laugh. We are, however, going to make sure she can't get under there again!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Tried To . . .

. . . take a nap today. With Bella in the house, that was easier said than done. After laying on the couch, I had a Bella paw stuck in my face. I held onto her paw until she got tired of sitting there, and then she changed paws. Then she licked my hand. Then she licked my face. Finally she realized I was serious about the nap thing and she lay down beside the couch.

. . . exercise today. I have a series of back exercises to do three times a day. I got down on the floor, only to have Bella lay down next to me. She grabbed my hand, rolled around, and finally she lay on her back. That gave me time to get in one set. Then I had to do a push-up style exercise. Bella tried to join me. Eventually she sat right at my head, watching every push-up.

. . . write this blog. Bella decided she needed to join me on the couch. When she was asked to get down, she rolled over on her back. "Try to get me off this couch," she seemed to say. Eventually she got down, only to lay on my feet.

Bella likes to be involved in every day activities.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How Can It Be?

I have somewhat chronicled writing my book from beginning to end. Several months ago, a friend edited it, and it was much improved after she finished. She made many corrections, and I thought I was good to go. As I began to read it, however, I found a number of mistakes that she didn't catch. I fixed those, and then decided to re-read the book again. The second time through, I found an equal number of corrections. Some of them were simply re-wordings, but many were a missing word, a bad tense . . . but I knew I found them all.

Fast forward several weeks. I received the first draft of the book two weeks ago. I almost didn't read the whole thing, but decided I had better. Man, oh man. How did I miss those corrections? In several cases, the word "a" was missing; or the letter s was missing; or a tense was messed up. Again, I reworded a few things, but the picture below shows all of the post-it notes I used to mark where a correction was to be.

I feel sorry for Jim at Mennonite Press . . . he has to make all of the corrections, and then I have to check them again. Seems like a never-ending process, but I want the book as perfect as it can be! Maybe this will be done by Christmas . . . ha, ha! It had better be done by mid-October! But at the rate I am going, who knows?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

All The Single Wadies!

I love two-year olds! That fact was confirmed last night when I went to visit Parker Alexander.

I have followed Parker on his mother's blog. He will be two in October, and I just had to see him.

I have known for a long time that the 18-month to two-year old stage is especially cute - the dancing baby on Youtube is just one example of youngsters that age. So I wanted to meet Parker again and have him sing to me.

By the time we got to his house, it was almost bedtime, so we didn't get to see quite as much singing as I had hoped. We got a few measures of Baby Baby Oh, but we couldn't get him to sing All the Single Wadies. Too bad. I know it is really funny.

Music was on the tv during our visit and suddenly, in the middle of one of the songs, Parker started displaying his stellar dance moves. I am not sure where he learned them, but he could put most dancers to shame. It was so fun visiting and getting to know this little guy - his family has many fun years ahead of them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Football Drives Me Crazy!

I was so excited about the first football game! It appeared as if our team was going to be pretty good, the stadium was sold out, there were to be fireworks after the game. The weather was great, we had good tailgate food . . . what was there not to like?

And then the game started. Yikes! We fumbled, we missed catches, our punt was blocked, we missed a field goal, our running backs couldn't find holes through the Colonel's defense . . . it was an inauspicious start, to be sure. We were lucky to walk away with a win . . . and we know it.

Here's hoping our next game is better, or it is going to be a long season!!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tailgate Craziness!

For my tailgate parties, I always like to have at least one food that is theme-based. For the 'Huskers it was always easy - something with corn, whether it was cornbread, corn chowder, or corn tortillas. For Texas, Bevo was always easy and steak was always good!

One of my more interesting ideas was when we would play Missouri, I always wanted to eat pancakes with melted butter. I know it is a stretch but when I was a child, one of my favorite stories was about a little African boy named Sam. He had nice new clothes and when he went into the jungle, the tigers would take an article of his clothing instead of attacking him. In the end, the tigers fought and ran around a tree until they turned into melted butter. Then Sam went out to collect the butter and he and his family ate pancakes with melted butter. Isn't that a great way to think of the tigers? As melted butter? I know, I know . . .

So this game presented me with some challenges. Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Well, my first thought was the Revolutionary War, so we are having cherry cobbler for dessert. That's ok. It works. BUT . . .

Along came the Wall Street Journal. Some of my most interesting and fun recipes have come from that newspaper. Last week, I saw a recipe for Corn Ice Cream. Colonels and corn? Well not exactly, but how about Kernels and Corn? So I made some Corn Ice Cream last night. Now we can "Eat the Kernels." Anyway, it is surprisingly good! I can't wait for my tailgate friends to try it!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


With the drought in the Holy Ghost Canyon that was bad enough to close the forest for the month of July, I worried about the health of the endangered Ipomopsis. I love that bubble-gum pink flower, and the lack of water could not be good for it.

Or so I thought.

Last week I went back to the cabin for a few days. The rains had returned, and the canyon was as green as ever. There weren't many wildflowers - even the purple fleabane and aster that are prolific at this time of year were sparse. It appears as if there will be few rose hips in September, and the other fall flowers were in short supply. This did not bode well for my Ipomopsis.

Or so I thought.

When I took my traditional walk the morning after I arrived, I was shocked to see Ipomopsis in places where it had never been. Although I know some of it was planted in a few of the places, I know for sure that it wasn't all planted by hand. The plants in the traditional places were more full of flowers than I have ever seen, and many plants were in unexpected places. They were so beautiful!
My picture does not do the plants justice, but you can pick up their beautiful pink color amidst the other greenery on the hillside.
This picture is just one plant . . . and it is not the pinkest, fullest flower there. But see how many blossoms are on it? Most years, only a few plants bloom so beautifully, but this year, most of them were like this. It appears as if the Ipomopsis likes drought.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Quarter Century Old!

Well, today my girl is a quarter of a century old! How can it be? That little girl who played kitchen for hours, read anything she could get her hands on, and sang to her heart's content has become a beautiful, Spanish-speaking woman, accomplished and well-spoken. In the blink of an eye.

Happy Birthday, Di! We are so proud of you! Have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sometimes I Just Don't Get It!

Sometimes I think I am from another planet. Well, maybe I am, but in this instance, I think most people will agree with me . . . but maybe not.

Last Saturday we went to the RV to start getting it ready for tailgate season. Unfortunately, we had waited too long, and the batteries were dead. We didn't have jumper cables, so we headed to WalMart to get a pair. Fifteen minutes later, we were back at the RV. Don opened the "new cables" only to find that they had been used, broken and complete with battery acid still on them. We can only suppose that someone purchased them, and after they got their car going, returned them. WalMart accepted the return, and promptly put them back on the shelf for another sucker to purchase. We, of course, took them back, bought a new pair (checking them to make sure they were new), and returned again to the RV to jump the batteries. What should have been about a twenty-minute operation took over an hour.

What kind of people return used items? Unfortunately, many. I have heard of (thankfully, though, I don't think I know any) women who buy an outfit, leave the tags on, wear it, and then return it. YUK!

Although it would be easy to blame the retailers, for the most part, I blame the consumers. There are legitimate reasons to return items: they were broken, they didn't fit, they were the wrong color. But some people have become so jaded and selfish, that they don't mind ripping off a business . . . even if it hurts someone else. I would love to see this kind of behavior stop . . . but I am not optimistic.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Knew I Was in Trouble!

Who cries during a movie preview? Well, usually I don't, but when the trailer for War Horses came up, I found myself scrambling for the Kleenex. Something struck a nerve, and I had a hard time turning off the waterworks. That's a movie I can't go to! But this should have been a warning to me for what was to come.

When the main attraction came on, I settled in for what I knew would be a good show. I had already read The Help, so I knew what was coming. What I didn't expect was how much I would cry at the end.

The movie was so well done. I loved Aibilene and Minnie, and surprisingly, the director made Cecilia a much more likable person than the book did. Equally, Hillie was much more unpleasant than I had picked up in the book. The Hillie in the movie, I think, was more what Ms. Stockett had in mind - I just hadn't paid enough attention. She was a bully in the worst way - but in sheep's clothing. I was glad the movie made her as awful as it did.

Ms. Stockett's story is one that needed to be told, and she did it well. We can't change history. . . but we can promise never to allow such behavior to continue or return. I hope her book is a good start!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Diana's New Home!

The move to Texas went smoothly. Diana now has a new home - both a new place to live and a new place to learn.

She will be spending her day-time hours at Benedict Hall on the UT campus. It is right near the large fountain that we hope will sometime be able to be turned back on - once the drought is over. It is a lovely fountain in a park setting, and it will make for a pleasant place to eat lunch or go for a walk when studying is too intense.

When she isn't in her IKEA office at night, she will probably be in her bedroom, snuggled in her new bed with her new t-shirt quilt! We still had a ways to go toward decorating, but we ran out of time. I suspect within the next few weeks, however, this space will become much more livable.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hello Holly!

When Diana was looking for a place to live in Austin, she kept coming back to this one house. She thought the situation sounded wonderful, and there was an additional incentive - a golden doodle dog! She decided to pursue the rental, and eventually she signed up!

When we moved in, Holly, the golden doodle dog, was the first to greet us. What a darling dog she is, too! She is well-mannered and friendly, playful but not rowdy. We loved her!

The night of the IKEA marathon, we came out of the office to find Holly casually sleeping on the couch. What a funny girl!