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.