Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Delights!

It has been a long time since we have been to an early morning service on Easter Sunday.  This morning, however, Kenneth and Melinda took us to their church, Resurrection Methodist, for the 7:00 a.m. service.  The church is much different from our small Episcopal Church . . . the sanctuary alone is 3 or 4 times as large as our church, with video screens, stadium seating, and a garden of flowers.  Although Easter was a bigger production, with a complete orchestra and 100+ person choir, the sheer size of the event was overwhelming.

The service was not different from other Methodist services, but after hearing Pastor Adam speak, we understood how the church has grown so amazingly.  His sermon was about Christianity and the need for Christians to do good works, accepting others the way Jesus accepted us.  He has a marvelous way, and his intelligent sermon was perfect for the day.

Then we came home in time for the more casual, smaller 5:30 service at St. Stephen's.  Interestingly, Fr. Steve's message was similar to Pastor Adams' in that he used it as a call to action for Christians to engage.  We were able to get our Holy Communion fix with the more familiar liturgy, but the similarity in sermons surprised me.

Easter is always a wonderful day, and we were delighted to get to spend it with Kenneth and Melinda.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I have loved my art class.  I am still not very good at all, but Charles has given us some interesting techniques that I have used.

One thing I have learned for sure is that if I draw during a KSU basketball game I do not get stressed out as badly as usual.  I don't pace . . . of course, I miss a lot of the game because I am drawing, but that's ok.  It makes it better for the rest of the fans in the room.

Last Friday, as we were going to Hello, Dolly, the sunset was particularly gorgeous.  It was etched in my mind, so I decided to try to draw it.  I watercolored several and then applied Charles' black sharpie technique to it.  It turned out like this:

Then I decided to do the same scene as a moonset.  It is not as blurry as it looks in the picture . . . I think black and brown don't translate well with an iPad.  But it has that eerie, full-moon look that I was going for.  The exciting part for me?  I actually thought of doing the moonrise without prompting.  Maybe my art class is doing more for my creativity than I thought!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

More Snow?

Spring break storms are not unusual around here . . . I remember driving to KC to catch a flight to San Diego when the kids were little (Kenneth was in 2nd grade).  We were lucky to make it.  We haven't had one of that magnitude for a long time . . . until yesterday.

Northern Kansas really got it, but we weren't spared.  It started snowing about 10:00 p.m., and the several times I had to get up with Babs, I noticed the snow was accumulating really fast.  At about 3:00 a.m., she went out onto the step and wasn't sure what to do . . . so she just took a leap of faith, landed safely, did her business, and came back inside.  For a 15-year-old, she had quite the moves.

This morning, Don took a picture of the snow from Babs' perspective.

Yikes.  Not too appealing for a little dog!  It wasn't long before Don had a path shoveled to the grass.  Despite that, she still ventured out into the snow, only to come back covered in snow balls.  Babs will be glad when the snow is gone for good!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Essays . . . about Flatulence

Today I had the privilege of reading some scholarship essays written by high school seniors.  The writers were to address an ethical dilemma either in their community, in politics, or at school.  There were some very well-thought-through discussions about immigration, cheating, stealing, bullying . . . the normal stuff.  Many of the students had been taught how to put together a good argument, and I was impressed.

The most interesting one, however, dealt with flatulence.  Yes, indeed.  Flatulence.  He (yes, he . . . no girl would touch the subject) first discussed passing wind, then proceeded to discuss the biology of flatulence, ending with the ethical dilemma of what to do if one passes gas.  Leave the room was his answer.

Although many advisors tell their students to make their essays memorable, I doubt they considered that the people reading the essay would be old women and probably wouldn't think it was very funny.  I did think it was clever . . . but given the seriousness of subject, this one just didn't pass the "smell" test!  (I think the writer would have appreciated my sense of humor.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Galileo's Daughter

On our trip to Texas, I read our April book club book - Galileo's Daughter.  I happened to really like the book, but I know it won't be for everyone.

The book details Galileo's life and his struggles between his scientific work and his devotion to the Catholic Church.  The intriguing part of the story involves letters that were written by his daughter to him.  His replies back to her were all destroyed, so it is a rather one-way conversation, but the letters reveal much about Galileo and his relationship with his daughter.

The research conducted by Dava Sobel, the author, must have taken years, as it appeared that the story was very accurate.  I am sure there were some portions that she had to invent, but in general I think she remained true to the story and the times.

I really liked reading about how Galileo tested his hypotheses, how he navigated the slippery slope of politics, how he survived in a difficult environment.  For some, the book will probably not move as quickly as they like, but I found it interesting and enlightening enough, that I was able to complete it on the drive to and from Texas.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


We made a quick trip to Austin to see Di this weekend.  We found out a few things:

  • Driving a hybrid saves gas.  A lot of gas.  Bringing the Jeep, we would fill up a total of five times.  The new Lincoln will take 2 1/2 tanks.  Amazing.
  • Staying at Di's saves a lot of money.  The blow up bed is not great, but it works.  And did I say it saves a lot of money?
  • Whenever we travel to Texas, our 'Cats lose.  We came to the Texas basketball game last year; loss.  Baylor football game; loss.  And now the KU/KSU game; loss.  We are not going to come to Texas when we are playing an important game.  Kenneth has already banned us from next fall's Texas/KSU football game.
  • Iris is blooming; redbuds are out; pear trees are done.
  • We can plant tomatoes.  Imagine, planting tomatoes on March 16.
  • Austin has the most awesome burger places in the nation.  HopDoddies and Big Daddy's are just two of many restaurants that have unique and yummy burgers.
  • Traffic in Austin is awful, especially during South by Southwest.
Glad we came to see Di; great place to visit, don't want to live here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

We decided to go see Zero Dark Thirty after our 'Cats lost to Oklahoma State and so lost the Big 12 Championship . . . or so we thought.  More about that later.  We decided we couldn't be much more depressed (well, we could . . . think 1998 KSU vs. ATM football game), so a movie would be a good idea.

I couldn't watch much of the first part of the movie.  The torture scenes were too much.  I hate the thought of torture, and I don't want to watch it.  Many years ago when we were Medieval Times we went through the torture museum  . . . I had to leave.  So I didn't watch this part.

The movie itself was masterfully done.  I understand why it received an Oscar nomination, as the acting was excellent and the story quite interesting.

The biggest surprise was that our leaders did not know for sure the Bin Laden was in the house.  Maya was sure, but no one else was.  It took great courage to authorize the operation.  I am not sure, based on the information our leaders had, that I could have done it.  But I am grateful someone did.

I also thought the depiction of the women and the children during the raid captured the reality well.  I ache for the children . . . and the women.  One person I was talking with said the women didn't deserve our sympathy, but I disagree.  I doubt the women had much say in the goings on of Bin Laden's life, and they were most likely innocent victims in the story.

Zero Dark Thirty is an interesting and scary story about real life intelligence operations.  For those interested in that kind of thing, it would be interesting.

Once the movie was over, we turned on the KU game.  We heard KU was down, so I turned off the radio - couldn't jinx it!  As it turned out, my 'Cats became co-champions of the Big 12 because everyone lost.  Not a great way to do it, but better than the option!  Turned out to be a good day.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Feed the Birds . . . and Squirrels!

When the huge snow arrived, I bought bird seed.  Lots of it.

For some reason, however, the birds did not show up in the droves I expected.  We did get some goldfinches that have finally found their special finch feeder, but it took over a week for them to find it. We also have the requisite sparrows, but even they are not as numerous as I expected.  They found the millet, as did the dove, but it is certainly lasting longer than it should.  An occasional junco pecks around the ground, but the cardinals have not been visiting the sunflower seed at all.

The only thing that seems to like the sunflower seed is the squirrel.  And he is annoying.  Yesterday, he even took the top off the bird feeder so he could get inside it to eat the last seeds available.  And he has chewed so much wood off the top that I am going to have to buy a new one.

Oh well . . . the birds and squirrels are great entertainment for these snowy days.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Emotional attachment to things.  Yep, that is me.  I have a hard time giving away items that were hand-made for me or special in some way.  The dresses my mom made - yep, have them.  The sweaters she knit for me - still have many.  Do any of these fit?  No, but that doesn't matter.  I just don't seem to be able to give them away.

Thursday, I decided to clean out a cupboard.  Hidden at the very back was this lovely item.

Don's Grandma Nellie made it for us (along with several others that I must have already given away).  It is a Kleenex box cover in colors reminiscent of the late seventies.  I wonder what the boxes looked like that we covered.  I am not sure they could have looked much worse than these.

Anyway, Grandma Nellie did some nice needlework - but this is one I have decided I can dispense with.  Hope someone enjoys their newly adopted, retro, handmade Kleenex box cover.