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.