Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our Valiant Magnolia

Poor thing!  Its blooms were just preparing to come out when we had an ice storm.  Then several days later, adding insult to injury, the temperatures plummeted to 25 degrees.  Magnolias are not meant to endure such torture.

Despite all of the bad weather, a few blooms have appeared on the tree.  Note all of the brown, shriveled blooms surrounding the few white ones.  I think the white ones are called "silver linings."

Monday, April 29, 2013

He Owes Us!

It is turkey hunting time in Kansas, and my brother, Bart, usually comes out for a hunt.  This past weekend was the appointed one, and he and his friend, Art, drove in from Albuquerque on Thursday.  The weather on Friday was not real good . . . foggy, cold, wet . . . so Bart and Art did not get any turkeys that day.

Friday night, Don and I drove down to Winfield for dinner with the two men.  Joey and Morgan joined us at Neives' Mexican restaurant.  The real reason for the trip down there was to pick up a case of Duran's chile that Bart brought to us.  (On the way home, we got caught by a train in Winfield - waited over 20 minutes to get through the intersection.  Kept us from getting to bed as early as we had hoped, since we were leaving at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.)

After our day in Manhattan on Saturday, Bart called us just as we got home.  Art had bagged one large Tom, but he didn't get a second one, so he was going to hunt again Sunday.  Bart needed to get back to Albuquerque, so he asked us to come pick him up and take him to the train station in Newton.  We drove down, ate dinner with Art, and then came back home.  We arrived in Wichita at ten, but the train didn't leave until 2:45 a.m.  Bart and Don decided to stay up and talk, but not me!  I went to bed.

About 12:15, Don awakened me.  He and Bart had decided that we should take him to the train station so we could come home and go to bed.  We headed to Newton and drove up to the train station . . . the dark, empty train station.  Although it opens at 12:01 a.m. on week days, it doesn't open until 1:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  We had 45 minutes to kill . . .at 1:00 a.m. . . .  in Newton, Kansas . . . on a Saturday night.  Where to go?

I knew there was a McDonald's downtown, though the bar right across the street from the depot was also open.  The bikers were there, however, so we opted for McDonald's.  Amazingly, the lobby to McDonald's was open, and there were about 20 other people there.  So we bought ourselves a drink and sat down to talk.  At about 1:45, we went back to the train station, which was open by then.  Bart was the first person to arrive, but we knew others would be along soon.  (Ultimately, a group of 20 middle school students arrived to go on their trip to Chicago . . . Bart said that was entertaining!)

As we left Newton, we were surprised by the number of people walking around the town that late at night.  The drive was uneventful, and we arrived home about 2:30 a.m.  Didn't take long for us to get to sleep, and Bart said the train trip was pleasant.  But he owes us!  At least, that is what we are going to tell him!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Flint Hills Discovery Center

Don and I went to the spring football game on Saturday, but since he had a DU board meeting before, Doug Thompson and I spent some time at the Flint Hills Discovery Center.  Wow.  What an amazing place.

The modernistic limestone building fits well with the mall and the surrounding buildings.  Enter into the building, and suddenly a person is transported into another place - the flint hills.  I have never been to a 4-D movie, but it was worth every minute.  We experienced fire, snow, and wind all while viewing beautiful scenery.

The exhibits were created for young and old.  Little ones can go on a scavenger hunt while the "more mature" can learn as much or as little as they want.  I found the activities for the children to be appropriate and interesting (I learned a lot), yet there was plenty more to learn when I wanted to.  The designers used many different mediums to teach, with great effectiveness!

We should have allotted four hours for the museum . . . we didn't get through the downstairs, much less the second floor.  Sometime we will have to spend the day in Manhappenin' so that we can experience the full effect of the Flint Hills Discovery Center.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Snow in April?

Will this winter ever end?  Snow on April 23 - really?  Our poor trees and flowers.  Luckily, I brought the only one I had put out inside, but the blooming trees may take a hit.

Don took a picture of our snow crabapple tree surrounded by snow.  This hasn't happened very often . . . a tree fully in bloom with snow around it.  It is pretty . . . just hope the tree survives!

Monday, April 22, 2013


This past weekend PEC held two parties for Don, the first a reception and the second a smaller party of the directors.  Don's whole family came in for Friday night's party, and we were able to bring home this gorgeous flower arrangement:

The women of the family (Barb, Diana, Melinda and I) also had beautiful wrist corsages . . . and three of the four of us had never had a wrist corsage before!  It was a lovely evening.

Then Saturday night the directors celebrated Don's career and presented him with some lovely gifts.  He even received a picture from a world-famous artist . . . or not-so-famous artist.  (More on that in a later post!)  Some of the people attending stayed late to talk and share stories.

It was a wonderful weekend.

Unfortunately, today, which we consider Don's real first day of retirement, he had to get a root canal.  Not exactly the best way to spend the day, but at least he didn't have the stress of having to go back to work!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Surviving Mother Nature

Last week's freeze was pretty cruel to many of the plants in our area.  My magnolia tree's blooms were nearly wiped out.  But amazingly the pear trees, that were in full bloom, have acted like nothing has happened.  And see what has happened to our snow crab:

Covered in ice last week:

Today (April 21):

I would have never dreamed it would be so beautiful!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Franchise Player

In 1975, I accepted a job in Wichita, KS, to teach in the bilingual program in an elementary school.  To my amazement, Don decided he should find a job in Wichita, too, and he talked with Bob Shrum, Christy Scott's dad, for recommendations of engineering firms.  The job prospects were not great at that time - similar to 2009 - but he headed out armed with resumes to talk to various friends of Bob's.

He walked into the offices of Professional Engineering Consultants and was fortunate to meet Mr. Hysom and Mr. Peugh, who seemed interested in him.  Not long after, he received and quickly accepted, a good job offer.  He went to work in early June, 1975.  On April 1, 2013, he retired from PEC, a franchise player of 38 years.

In his 38 years, he has become one of Wichita's finest and most respected engineers.  PEC has grown
also, and under Don's leadership his department has grown into a nationally-ranked entity.  It has all been an amazing journey, but what is most special is how PEC, although much bigger than when Don joined, has managed to become a large engineering firm with home-grown values.  They still put the employees first, looking out for everyone involved in the company.   We are proud to be a part of PEC's story, and although Don and I are looking forward to doing many exciting things during our retirements, we are somewhat sad that both of our amazing and exciting professional careers have come to an end.

In the meantime, this weekend we will celebrate Don's 38 years with several receptions and parties.  The kids will be here as will Don's dad and brothers.  It will be a good way to end one chapter and begin another in Don's book of life.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beautiful Goldfinches My Way

So here is my drawing of the goldfinches.  I loved drawing it!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beautiful Goldfinches

Through the winter, we have enjoyed watching the goldfinches arrive at our feeders.  In January, they were all gray-brown and black with little flecks of yellow.  Now, the males are decked out in their finest, trying their hardest to attract that one special female.  They are still enjoying our feeder, but we are enjoying them more!

I love this picture of the male and female on the feeder above the red nandina berries.  Think I am going to have to draw it!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Amidst the Ugliness of Disasters

 . . . comes the beauty and promise that God provides.  After the ice storm, I took pictures of the sun shining through the ice.  On this day of horrific violence and disaster, I thought they would be a peaceful reminder of the beauty that God has created for us.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Oh Cruel Mother Nature!

My magnolia tree was going to be gorgeous.  It was just getting ready to bloom.  I took pictures of some of the beautiful blooms.

Then Mother Nature hit.

I am hoping some of the unopened ones survive the ice.  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Improvements in Drawing

When we were in Austin this weekend, Diana decided to try her hand at a new planting.  This is her creation.

I thought it was so pretty, I decided to try to draw it while driving home.  Here is my creation:

Ok, so the pots aren't quite shaped the same.  And the flowers aren't exactly the same.  But . . . you can tell what it is.  And there is actually some shading.  And you can tell the flowers are flowers.  And, after all, I did it from memory.

I am still no Michelangelo, but I am making progress.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Turkey in the . . . Parking Lot?

This morning during our routine trip to McDonald's, we went to the bank to make a deposit.

Surprise!  This little gal was just standing in the middle of the drive.  (The picture does not do her justice.  She was much larger than she appears here.)

I was afraid she was hurt . . . or was going to get hurt . . . but I think she was just not in a hurry.  By the time we left, she was headed across the parking lot to Dillons.  Do you suppose she was going to buy some stuffing?

Friday, April 5, 2013


Bella stayed with us for a week while her family was visiting the grandchildren.  I am glad Bella likes us and is glad to stay with us.  She is a very sweet dog.

The downside of Bella growing up is that she doesn't do funny things anymore.  She has matured, gotten responsible, behaves.

One of the days she was with us, the weather was gorgeous (the rest of the time it was cold, snowy, and rainy).  She loves to chase squirrels and rabbits, so I left the door open for her.  She was in heaven.

PattySue came over with Kathy, our trainer, and she and Bella got along famously.  After our training session, we put them in the backyard.  Bella went into "hyper-race" mode, tearing around the yard, with PattySue yapping and chasing behind her.  It was adorable.

Unfortunately, Bella had to go home.  We will miss her.