Friday, May 31, 2013


I hate nightmares.  The neverending "I can't find my class," or "I am in the wrong class," or "I can't figure out where to go," dreams drive me crazy.

But real life nightmares are the worst.  I haven't had many of those.  As a matter of fact, I don't know that I have really had any . . . until now.

Of course, a parent's worst nightmare would be something awful having to do with their child.  I have not had any of those.  So my nightmare is probably minor compared to some people's.

In 1960, my parents bought a cabin.  I love the cabin.  It has been the place where I find calm and peace.

We left there Thursday about 10:30 to come home.  About 3:00 someone posted on Facebook that a fire had started as a result of a downed power line.  It was 4 acres at the time, and by last night it was 1000 acres.  It has grown since.

At one point, it was headed straight for our cabin.  We received this picture of it when it was going that direction:

Yikes!  What a sinking feeling, as this is less than 1.5 miles from our cabin.  It appears as if right now, as I write, it is has veered from our canyon, but it is still in the area.  Many of our friends have enjoyed the Canyon, and we hope many more will be able to.  We are praying that the firefighters are able to put the fire out quickly!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I have been going to the cabin since 1960.  In those years we have seen hundreds of deer behind our cabin.  Although we had seen elk in the wilderness, about 10 years ago, we began to see signs of elk in our area, though we never actually saw one.  We just saw the tree marks in the aspens where they had taken a big chomp out of the bark, so we knew they were there.

When we were in the canyon last weekend, we saw our first elk.  He was calmly grazing in the meadow up the road.  Kenneth and Don scrambled to get a camera, but when they went back, he was no longer in the meadow.  Sharp-eyed Don, however, saw him standing in the woods behind the meadow, and after a few minutes, the big guy moved back down.  They got some beautiful pictures of him, but they were from far away.

Several days later, he was again in the meadow and we got this picture of him.  I am a little worried that he is too tame!

Another day or two later, I was walking by the window and happened to look outside.  Guess who was there?  This same big boy.  My sister says he is probably a three-year-old.  All I know is he makes the deer look like midgets!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Well, Hail!

We were north of Wichita when we heard the weather report:  high winds, large hail, and tornadoes headed our way.  We had gone to Grace Hill Vineyards to pick up a donation for the Catbackers' Auction, and we thought we had plenty of time.  Of course, we took the new Lincoln, not thinking we would have any problems with the weather.

Don drove faster than I would have liked as we came home.  He was concerned about beating the storm; I was concerned about getting home alive.

We got into the garage, shut the door, came inside . . . and it started raining.  Within a minute, it started hailing.  First small, but that didn't last.  Suddenly it sounded like it was raining golf balls, which I guess it really was.  My irises, which were gorgeous (and late, as everything is this year), are shredded.  Branches are out of trees, the streets are green from the leaves that were torn off the trees, the hostas have holes in their leaves.  The purple Jeep . . . well, let's just say it has lots of new dimples.

The good news?  We didn't lose the electricity, and anything else that happened can be fixed.  Here is a sample of the biggest hail stone we found.  All in all, we were lucky.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hey, Wizard!

Friday night, the Facilities Department at PEC held its own retirement get-together for Don.  Don had no idea what he was getting into, but he cheerfully headed off to Emerson Biggins to see what was in store for him.

People talk about the stereotypical engineer as being nerdy and boring.  Well, the PEC Facilities Department is far from that.  The creativity these guys exhibit on a daily basis is what makes PEC such a fine firm and such a great place to work.  Don's party is just one more example.

Apparently Don has a habit, when he is approaching one of the engineers, of saying, "Hey Wizard," or some other iteration of Hey Wizard . . . Hey computer Wizard, Hey Leed Wizard, etc.  He wasn't aware he did it, but back in 2007 or so, the people he worked with started to notice the trend.  One of the unnamed engineers decided to play a game called "Hey Wizard."  Every time Don would use the phrase, that person he was addressing would become "IT" or the Wizard.  No one wanted that designation because it meant they had to keep the wand and the paper.  Emails would fly as witnesses would confirm the interaction, and the wand and sheet of paper would move around the office behind Don's back and under his nose. Amazingly, he never knew a thing.  Since 2008, they have been documenting his use of Hey Wizard.

Friday night, they presented him with a momento of the game.  Pictured below is the wand, the framed sheets of paper documentation, and his new Wizard hat.  I personally am disappointed that he didn't get a purple cape like Bill Snyder's!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Birthday at Panera

Good friends are hard to come by, and I have some of the best!  Leave it to Lynn to make sure my birthday was memorable . . . in a crazy way.  We even got a man sitting near us to participate . . . and I bought him a cookie just because he did!  Fun times!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Who Needs Enemies?

My birthday lasted for several days, and I had a blast.  Several days before, I began to receive post cards from various people.  Diana had sent them out, just like she did for Don, and people returned them with some of their favorite memories.    It was so much fun receiving them from people . . . they arrived from Alaska, California, Florida and places in between!

About 10:00 a.m. the day of, as I drove up to our house, a van pulled into our driveway.  I met the driver, as I suspected the "flowers" would be for me.  When he pulled it out, I had to laugh.  It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen.  I didn't notice the prunes until later in the day . . . but it is certainly a gift for old people!

Monday, May 13, 2013


And the last bird, a cardinal, again with acrylic on wall paper.  I loved this one . . . the cardinal looks so happy!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

More Birds!

Here is a gold finch, painted with acrylic on wall paper.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Turning 60

Well, it wasn't as bad as I expected.  With the help of many friends, it was fun to celebrate another year of life!

After working out and walking in the morning, we accomplished a few chores.  Then lunch with Pam, Lynn, and Pam, complete with party hats; coffee with Ginny and Kathy; and dinner at Red Rock with the Gaskills made the day much fun.

Of course, the requisite balloons in the front yard and many post cards arriving from varied and sundry places added to the celebration.

Great times, great memories, great fun!

Monday, May 6, 2013

It's For the Birds!

In art class, we have been drawing birds.  I started with goldfinches, and then we did some in class.  Several weeks ago we then drew a cardinal.  That will be in a future post.

Last week, we started a parrot.  Charles helped us draw our own, and then we started to color them.  We worked on patterning (I am not very good at that), but it became bright and cheery rather quickly.  We didn't finish it, but I did use the light table to draw another black and white picture to color when I got home.

I decided to try coloring it with water colors and then I took colored pencils to add the look of feathers. I have to say, I was delighted with the results.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Baked Alaska

Kathy Dunlavy is an awesome friend with a true creative touch.  Last night she treated us to a wonderful dinner of curry chicken, nahn, and Baked Alaska.  It was all so yummy we almost didn't have room for the Baked Alaska, but after playing a game or two, we decided it was time to try it.

I had never even seen a Baked Alaska before yesterday, but it was a sight to behold - sort of like a mini-Denali, which is probably why it is named as such.  Layers of ice cream on a brownie covered with meringue and drizzled with blackberry sauce . . . what is there not to like about that combination?

Needless to say, I couldn't wait to try it!

Isn't that gorgeous?  After we cut into it, this was what we found.  And it tasted even better than it looked!

Thank you, Kathy, for making our Saturday night extra-stupendous!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013


When we were in Alaska a year ago, we purchased a package of sourdough starter.  Earlier this week, I decided to experiment with it, and today was my first effort.

In order to get the starter "brewing," I had to add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water to the starter.  Then over two days the concoction had to be stirred with a plastic or wooden spoon - no metal.  Once it began to bubble it could be used to bake bread, pancakes or other yummy fattening things.

The thing is this.  I don't particularly care for sourdough.  Don does . . . I don't.  So I saw no point in making sourdough bread that takes a lot of effort to bake and that only one of us will enjoy!  That meant going to the internet.

I decided to see whether there was a recipe for blueberry muffins with sourdough, and sure enough, there it was.  Easy as pie.  The dough did not have to rise, and by adding sugar, the sour taste was mitigated enough that I thought they were really good.

Tomorrow morning, we will try sourdough pancakes.  Not sure what I will think about those!