Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

Well, we had another successful Black Friday.  Did not set foot in one store, did not fight one crowd, did not spend one cent, except for a few beverages at McDonald's, Starbucks, and Louie's.  Instead we did yard work, took naps, spent time with Kenneth and Diana (while Melinda was fighting crowds), and generally had a relaxing day.

Tomorrow, Small Business Saturday, we will set foot in several stores - all local - to try to help boost their sales.  Keeping money in Wichita is the best way to do business!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chance Meetings

Today was an interesting day in terms of seeing people I have known but not seen in a LONG time!  First, I went to my art class and in walked Cory Ruedebusch, one of our first 8 students at The Independent School.  She is still darling, and it was so fun to see her.  She has two beautiful children who I also got to meet - Vin and Geneva - and her mom, Ginger, was also with her.  It was so fun to see them!

Not an hour later, in walked Suzanne Mitsch.  I haven't seen her in several years, and her beautiful daughter, Elizabeth, was with her.  They were doing a special art project, and I was able to catch up with Suzanne and all of the kids.  Several grandchildren and one on the way makes it sound like the Mitsch family is still just as fun as ever.

Finally, this afternoon Don, Diana, and I were delivering turkey dinners to people who have fallen on hard times.  We called one person, and when I heard her voice, I quickly put two and two together.  She answered the phone, and after we told her we were bringing a turkey to her house, I asked her if she is a cook.

"Yes," she answered.

"Did you cook at The Independent School?"

"Yes," she answered.

I told her with whom she was talking, and she was as surprised as I.  After the holidays, we are going to get together.  I loved her . . . and her cooking was outstanding!  She is still cooking now in Goddard, but with her grandchildren living with her, it is tough to make ends meet.

Anyway, three chance encounters that reminded me of the very fine people I met during my years at TIS.  Just another one of the many reasons to be thankful.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Not so Frond of You!

In our back yard we have a beautiful, very tall bald cypress tree.  I have written about it before.  It is an awesome tree . . . except for a few weeks in October and November.  That's when its fronds fall on the yard . . . and get in Babs's hair, feet, and mouth, and then end up all over my house.

Last weekend, most of the fronds fell in a period of just a few days.  Usually they fall more gradually and we can keep up with them . . . but not this year.  When we went to the back yard, it looked like this:

The beauty of the fronds is that they roll up pretty well, squish well, and fit in bags much more easily than leaves.  And when we were done, we ended up with these bags:

It was a lot of mowing and rolling, but it is probably a small price to pay for a beautiful tree.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Being a Fan

Being a sports fan is hard work.  It involves emotion of every shape and size.  It involves planning meals and get togethers.  It involves adjusting schedules.  It involves money . .  . and sometimes lots of it.

We have been on quite a roller coaster ride with our football Wildcats (basketball, too, now that I think of it!)  We were one snap away from the championship game in 1998.  Talk about a roller coaster - we went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in about 15 minutes.  We have been through a coaching change that went south; we re-hired Bill.  And slowly we have been climbing up to the top of the roller coaster again.

And nerves.  I do not handle the stress very well.  Close games are so hard for me to watch when I have a team in the hunt.  Saturday night's game was agony . . . we were never far enough ahead for me to be completely at ease.  Pacing.  Going into the stairwell.  Closing my eyes.  I am a mess.

Now that we are #1 in the BCS polls, I am even worse.  I am trying not to be too excited . . . bad karma.  I am trying not to be too pessimistic . . . bad karma.  I am trying not to think about the possibilities of "that that cannot be named" . . . bad karma.

Guess I just shouldn't think and should instead enjoy the ride . . . except I hate roller coasters!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Reading Is Fundamental

One of the philanthropies in which Kappa Kappa Gamma has immersed itself is Reading Is Fundamental.  As a part of it, three times a year we go to read to classes and hand out books to children.  Yesterday (Thursday) was that day for me.

Unfortunately, it was a bad day for volunteers and I found myself reading to five classes consecutively, 20 minutes apiece.  Whew!  Haven't done that in a lot of years.  Good thing my voice was in good working order, since I have been practicing being loud at football games.

For the kindergarten through 3rd grades, I read PattySue Finds a Home and Happy Hippopotami.  They really liked PattySue, and how can a person not love the rhymes in Happy Hippopotami?

     Happy Hippopotamuses Climb aboard the picnic buses
     For a hippo holiday, in the merry month of May.

It is a great book for teaching rhyming, and PattySue has several rhymes in it too.  It is gratifying to see how much the children enjoy PattySue.

For the fifth-grade students, I read a portion of The Phantom Tollbooth.  It is one of the most fun books to read aloud, especially the part I read . . . when Milo meets the Doctor of Dissonance and his sidekick, Dynne.  I get to yell a lot, which scares the students, and I get to do some acting too.  They seemed to enjoy the book, and I always get a kick out of it.

The children love their new books, and I think the program is a very fun one.  Hoping that my presence makes a small impact on some of the children.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This movie was rated with 4 stars, so my friend, Karen, and I decided to see it.  I was afraid it was going to be a juvenile comedy or chick flick, but I was so wrong.  It was a deep coming-of-age story, funny in some scenes but heart wrenching in others.

At the beginning, Karen and I commented that it was excruciating to watch.  Why?  Perhaps because we had lived it so many times.  The nice kid from a good family who is quiet and smart.  He hasn't necessarily been bullied but he hasn't found a friend.  Those who used to be friendly had gone on and were suddenly too cool to include him.  So he sat alone at lunch, he sat alone at games, he went home to his social life with his family.  Sound familiar?  You know those kids, too.  You may have been that kid.

As the story progresses, the under stories begin to develop into a rich tapestry that is all woven together at the end.  Indeed, it is a movie every person involved with young people should see.

The saddest part to me is how hard it is for adults to help.  Parents try, but they cannot control the behavior of kids at school.  Teachers try, but they can't catch everything that happens.  Friends try, but they can't always do anything either.

The one thing I know for sure is that many times, bullies beget bullies, and if a parent is a bully, so is their child.  If a parent is mean and nasty to others, their children are too.  As much as we in education try to change the culture, we can't do so alone.  But we keep trying by setting good examples, talking with students, educating communities.  This movie is another way to get the message across.  If it helps just one young person, one parent, one teacher, it will have been worth every penny it took to produce it!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dinah and Fiona - Wildcat Fans in the Making

At our tailgate parties, we don't very often have the privilege of  having little ones join us.  Kenneth's friends are just beginning to have children, and luckily they are bringing them to games.

At our Octoberfest, Fiona and Dinah joined us.  There are a few months difference between the two, but Fiona, the younger, weathered all of the people wanting to hold her, and Dinah seemed to enjoy the food we had.  We did tell Alison we needed to get Dinah a little more purple, but she promised that she has some!  The moms did a great job with the little ones . . . I hope these adorable little girls return next year.  It will be fun to watch them grow up!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Red Cup is Here

In 2007, we arrived in London on October 31.  It was fun watching Halloween unfold in a different country, and in London, it didn't seem much different.

As we walked around the city that day and the ensuing ones, we saw signs all over that said, "The Red Cup is On Its Way" or something of the sort.  The signs were mostly in Starbucks, and sure enough, on November 3 (I think), the red Starbucks cups arrived in their stores.  Prior to that I hadn't noticed a starting date for "the Red Cup."

Today I stopped by Starbucks for my usual drink. ( I name my drink a different special, depending upon the day, but until December 8, I am ordering the Collin Klein for Heisman special!)  I digress.  Anyway, today when my order arrived, it was in a red cup.  I asked when the red cups had arrived, since I hadn't noticed it yesterday.  Today.

This year in the US Starbucks is not making a big deal over the red cup.  Maybe they aren't in London either.  But the fact that I noticed my drink in a red cup tells me the Starbucks marketing campaign was effective.