Thursday, May 31, 2012

Old School

One of the charming parts of the cabin is its "old school" attraction.  When Mom and Dad purchased it, they kept many of the older items that were in the cabin.  An old rocker, many old paperback novels, old spices, a bed, and a chest or two are just a few of the things left.

When we inherited the cabin, I didn't have the heart to dispense with most of it.  I did change some of the curtains and the sofa, but many of the old items still remain.  When getting out the wax paper, I noticed the price on the box - 29 cents.  29 cents?  Hard to imagine . . . and for some reason, Mom had bought three boxes.  So I have three boxes of 29 cent wax paper . . . and they are big rolls.  Don't think I will be buying new for a long time.

Many of the Reader's Digests are from the 50's, as are the Zane Gray novels.  And there aren't just a few!

I have seen spice boxes such as these in antique stores.

Rotary phone.  No television nor internet.  No shower - just a claw-foot tub.  Old School.  And we love it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Amber Waves of Grain

As we were driving to New Mexico, the wheat was incredibly golden . . . much like it usually is in mid-June.  It is hard to drive through the area without singing, "Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain . . . "  When I lived in New Mexico, I didn't get it . . . but 35 years in Kansas has made me love those amber waves. 

I don't know that I have ever known the wheat to ripen so early in the year, and Don and I commented that we thought the harvest would begin before we returned.  Sure enough, today (Tuesday) as we were coming home, many fields had already been cut, and we saw a number of combines in the others.  By the end of the week, we believe most of the wheat will have been harvested.

Harvest time in Kansas makes me appreciate farmers - their work ethic, their faith, their willingness to take incredible risks.  I hope this year's crop is a profitable one . . . they deserve it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Corona Rita

After an exhausting day moving Diana into her new place, we decided we needed a good meal.  We went to a pub up the street.

As we were looking over the menu, two young women approached our table.  They were Corona representatives, passing out bottle openers that were shaped like limes.   The ladies then talked to us about Corona beer.  Since Don had just ordered a Thirsty Goat, he wasn't interested in another beer.  The girls moved on, and we placed our order.

The server at our table then told Don about Corona Ritas, which are margaritas with a Corona beer in it.  Unable to resist and unable to envision the Corona bottle in the margarita, he ordered one after he had downed his Thirsty Goat.  It arrived after he had finished his fish and chips, so he decided to fashion his leftover fries into the shape of fish bones . . . and this is what he got!

The drink was a rather novel idea, but I thought it was disgusting.  Of course, I don't like margaritas, nor do I like beer, so it seems logical that I wouldn't like it.  Don and Diana thought it was all right, but they aren't sure the Corona really added anything except novelty.

Now you know what a Corona Rita is . . . Di thinks you should just stick with the Margarita.  Why ruin something that is already good?

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Furniture

Well, I thought we took pictures of the new furniture.  We did take them at the shop, but the skirts weren't on them . . . and Don didn't take up close ones, so . . . we will have to use what we did take.

The little chair in the upper corner used to have blue needlepoint on it.  I love the white nubby material Carol Hertzler found for us.  Very classy.

This is the other orange chair with the table from Mom's living room.  It is in Di's bedroom.  It faces the bed, and she still has room for a bookcase, a dresser, and a night table.

I love how it has all turned out, and I think Diana does, too!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Old Furniture, New Furniture

When my mother passed away, Kenneth practically furnished his apartment with her couch, two chairs, and table.  They moved around Kansas City with him, going to four different apartments/houses that he shared with various friends.  And although he roomed with very nice young men, young men are hard on furniture at times, so even this furniture was a little worse for wear.  Then he and Melinda took it with them to California and back to KC . . . so it has had some miles put on it.

By the time we purchased the condo for Di, Kenneth and Melinda were ready to purchase their own furniture.  We talked to various people about Mom's items, and they all suggested that we reupholster rather than get new.  If the old frames were good, they would hold up much better than new would, unless we purchase top of the line furniture.  So we began to look for material.

Diana pretty much knew what she wanted, so it wasn't too hard, except that it was long distance.  She finally chose the materials she thought would look best . . . and I remembered to take before and after pictures of most of it.  Here are the before pictures of the chairs and the couch.

Tomorrow, I will share with you the after pictures.  It is amazing to me how different something can look with just a little work.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fruity Water

I know that fruity water is not a new idea.  I have many times been to restaurants or spas where they have offered lemon water, lemon-cucumber water, or lime water.  And I always like it.

Last week, I went to the restaurant Taste and See in Wichita.  They offered a fruity water that I loved, and I am certain the key ingredient was watermelon.  Lemons, limes, oranges, and watermelon.  So I decided to try it.

I found a large clear jar with a spigot on it.  Unfortunately, it isn't mine but I borrowed it just to see what I thought.  I sliced one orange, one lemon, one lime, and a piece of watermelon.  Then with the addition of ice and water, I was ready.

I thought it looked so pretty, and with the ice in it, I didn't have to refrigerate it, at least not at first.  Then I tasted it . . . man, oh man was it good.  Since I have had this concoction in the refrigerator, I have been willing to drink much more water.

Beth, a friend of mine, makes a similar kind of water, but she puts strawberries in hers.  It, too, is tasty.

I have figured out that one of the keys to keeping the water from getting cloudy is to drink it quickly.  Then it doesn't have time to cloud up.  I have also learned that if it is kept full but being emptied, the fruit can be left in for several days.  I am still working on the same fruit I used Tuesday, and it still is good.  By the end of the day, however, I think I will have to empty it.  Imagine how good the kitchen will smell after I run all of the citrus down the disposal.

For those of us who need to increase our intake of water while decreasing our intake of coffee, diet pop, or other beverages, this is a great way to do it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bird Calling

I come from a family of bird callers.  My dad would bring his duck calls out and practice.  We bought him a turkey call when we went to Florida, and he and my brother would practice calling turkey.  When Bart goes turkey hunting, he is more thrilled with calling the turkeys in than he is in bagging one.  So when I went on a bird walk last week and saw a woman call in the birds, I was hooked.

Last Saturday night, Don, our neighbor Susan, and I went to Chisholm Creek to find the Indigo Bunting.  I had found its call on my iPad, and we wanted to see if we could get a response.  (Note that I use the artificial iPad for my calls . . . I can't imitate their calls in any way.)  We went to the place where we had located the Indigo bunting on the bird walks and I pulled out my iPad.  Within about 30 seconds, the beautiful bird flew in.  I kept the iPad going, and he moved in even closer.  We had a gorgeous view of him!  It was so fun.

We tried calling in some other birds with less success, but I am hooked.  The iPad is going with me to the cabin so that I can try to call some evening grosbeaks and other beautiful birds.  Until then, I am going to practice calling birds in my backyard and Chisholm Creek.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Birthday Flowers

Last Friday (a week ago), my friend Kathy brought me a vase of gorgeous roses.  I don't know that I have ever received roses this red.  She cut them down into a nosegay arrangement, used some euonymus from her garden, put them in a clear vase, and voila: an absolutely spectacular vase of flowers.  It is still as perfect as ever.  She also hand-made a card for me . . . it is on the right in the picture.  I think she should sell them . . . don't you?

Then on Saturday night, the Morgans sent me home with an arrangement of Peruvian lilies and Stargazer lilies.  Stargazers are naturally fragrant, and it has seemed that the older they get, the more beautiful the scent.  One of the lilies has increased in size and its odoriferous qualities have made its presence known.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my two vases of flowers, given to me by wonderful, dear friends.  I am grateful to them for thinking of me and for enriching my day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

After the Party's Over

Well, the party is over.  But it was so much fun!

Throughout Chris Mann's appearances on The Voice, we have celebrated his success.  We had several Mannfests, we made Mann Menus (my favorite menu item name was Christopher Michaelob beer, though LeMann ade and "Chris"py fries were also fun), we had Mann fans.  We watched every episode to cheer him on.  We celebrated with his parents.

The last few weeks, everywhere we went we talked about Chris.  At Dillons, people would find Mike to wish Chris well.  I told the servers at Starbucks and McDonald's, the checkers at Dillons, the retailer at All Paws Pet Store all to vote.  The hair salon, the nail salon.  At church we were drawn together as we cheered for Chris, talking about him every Sunday morning during the announcements and the fellowship hour.  Becky was on the radio; even I was on the radio, all of us talking about Chris.

Although we were disappointed in the final standings, we shouldn't have been.  Chris represented Wichita in a classy fashion.  He stayed positive.  He showed that he not only has a fabulous voice, he has great stage presence.  He handled himself beautifully with the media.  He is Chris Mann.  And we are Wichita, home of and proud of Chris Mann.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Indigo Bunting

Did you know we have Indigo Buntings in Kansas?  I didn't, but I do now!

This morning, friend Kathy Dunlavy and I were up and at 'em early to go on a bird watching expedition at Chisholm Creek Park.  Good thing it is only a mile away from our house, so we didn't have to get out of bed before 6:30.  Anyway, for two hours we walked through the park looking at the various birds of the area.

We had two guides, and although they said it was a slow bird day, we were treated to seeing bluebirds, herons, egrets, American Redstart warblers, two different kingfishers, a flycatcher (that looked very much like my sweetie birds at the Pecos but isn't), and the Indigo Bunting.  Additionally, there were some goslings and ducklings, many deer, and the normal cardinals, robins, meadowlarks, and sparrows.  We even saw a raccoon track in the muddy part of the creek.

The morning was fresh and cool, no wind, sunny, and absolutely gorgeous.  I cannot think of a more fun way to spend the morning, and I got to see an indigo bunting.  Very exciting.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Mann"fest "Mann"ia

I had so much fun yesterday.  Notwithstanding that it was my birthday and I received numerous well-wishes for the day, it was also the final competition for Chris Mann on The Voice.  Since we watched Chris grow up and have a special connection with his family, we, along with numerous others, have watched every one of his competitions.  Last night was the icing on the cake!

After Chris won last week, Don told me that he wanted to have a party for me, but he couldn't organize it.  That was fine . . . at least he thought of it.  I got busy and found a place, which turned out to be Jerseys, a new sports bar in town.  It was perfect.

When people arrived, I had Chris Mann masks for them, along with Twizzlers, Chris's favorite candy.  I thought our eating them might send him some long-distance good luck.  We each had nametags that indicated our relationship with Chris, which included a teacher, a babysitter, a priest, a Sunday School teacher, two of Becky's friends, and many who knew Chris's parents.

The group was talkative and loud until Chris came on . . . and then one could only hear the music.  After "The Prayer," many tears were seen around the room; even more were shed after "You Raise Me Up."

Appetizers, pizza, birthday cake with purple and white decorations, and drinks of the guests' choice made for a festive atmosphere.  Chuck Morgan dancing during Tony's song and carrying his  "Chris Nailed It" sign during Chris's final song, and Suzanne's Facebook posts, including the one that read "Yep, he saw the dress" raised the level of hilarity.

I think a good time was had by all, and Chris had a fabulous night.  I can't wait to see what happens tonight . . . I believe Wichita is going to be very happy!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Book Signings

I have been a part of three book signings now . . . two at The Independent School and one today at Watermark Books.  All three have been  interesting and fun.  I have had a chance to see students from when I was there - though I frequently didn't recognize them because they have changed a lot - and I have met new people as well.

Today I saw a former student (who is now a tenured professor with the University of Kansas), two families who were there when I was, the father of a newly enrolled kindergartener, a K-State friend, and a woman who was just interested in the story of the school.

I also saw Kirstie Alley.  She slipped in, had coffee with a friend, and slipped out.  After she left, a woman came in and asked me if Kirstie Alley had just left.  She thought so, but her son thought she was crazy.  I took the opportunity to tell the young man that he should never doubt his mother - ha, ha!

I love Watermark Books.  It is a gathering spot for young and old alike, and the niche Sarah and her crew have created makes it an enjoyable place to be no matter what the reason!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Taste and See

No, I am not a foody, but I am learning from my children how to enjoy really good food.  So when my friend, Karen Combs, suggested that we go to Taste and See for her birthday, I quickly agreed.

Since I forgot my camera, I can't really show you the restaurant, but you can click the link and see it.  Its location is a little different - in a remodeled mall that is now an office park.  They don't really have signage, but plenty of people seemed to find it!  It is a contemporary look with about 20 tables and a large eating bar area.  The chef cooks right behind the bar, and there are three or four televisions showing what is going on in the cooking area.

The first serving was water.  Serving?  Well, I don't know what else to call it because it wasn't just any old water.  I have had cucumber, lemon, lime water before, but their addition of watermelon made it scrumptiously delicious!  I had more than my share!

The menu features dishes from around the world - Asia, France, Peru, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, among others.  We ordered an appetizer of black bean hummus that was perfect, and they served a variety of chips and vegies with which to eat it.  We ran out of chips before we ran out of hummus, but that was ok. We had forks!

Gretchen Torline, my New Mexican buddy and Karen's good friend, joined us for lunch.  She had eaten at Taste and See several times, and although she wanted to branch out, the fish tacos were so good the last time she was there, that's what she had.  Likewise, Karen ordered the same thing.  I ordered the Cuban sandwich, and although I have no recollection of what is in it, I do recall that the flavors melted together perfectly.  Karen and Gretchen suggested that I have the sweet potato fries, and they were as billed.

I brought part of the sandwich home for Don, and he agreed that it was outstanding.  I have a sneaking suspicion we will be frequenting Taste and See more often!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Day

Yesterday was May Day.  My friend, Kathy Gunter Davis, loves May Day.  She would bring flowers to her friends, take flowers to Betsy's mom, and celebrate the beauty of spring.  She was even married on May Day.  Because of Kathy, I learned to love May Day, too.

When my kids were young, I would cut iris from our garden, they would make baskets, and then we would deliver them to the neighbors.  They loved ringing the doorbells and running away.  But now I have no more kids to make May baskets with.

This year was weird in that I have no iris to cut.  It has already bloomed and gone.  Very sad.  I do have blooms from my Japanese tree lilac - which I have never had at this time of year.  It usually blooms mid-June.  That it is blooming now is scary.  But I can't reach the blooms, so try as I might, I couldn't find any flowers to use for May Day.

Nevertheless, we could still celebrate the spring and be grateful for the beauty God has created for us.  So whether I had flowers or not, I loved yesterday and thinking about the fun times we have enjoyed on May Day.