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Showing posts from 2008

Birthday Bash

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I feel as if I have lived a lifetime since my last post. At least that's what it feels like. A mere seven days ago, I was cleaning house and working and cooking and grocery shopping like mad. Preparing for Christmas is always hectic. Christmas was not the main event this year, however.

My mom celebrated a big birthday this year, and we did it up right! The entire family spent the weekend at The Hotel at Old Town in Wichita, complete with elegant buffet dinner on Saturday night. I have three siblings, who are all married with children, so we totaled 18 people. It was quite an achievement to get us all in one place at the same time!

The historic hotel was beautifully decorated for the holidays. After checking in on Saturday afternoon, members of the family went out to lunch and then hit the Museum of World Treasures. That place is cool! Upon returning, we dressed for dinner and spent time in the piano bar of the hotel. They have talented musicians playing there in the evening.

During …

It's Over!

At last, I can lie down and rest! The annual Youth Christmas Program at Missionary Baptist Church is done. No, it's not a huge program, just a little Nativity play with 16 kids of various shapes and sizes. Somehow, during the month of December, it turns into a giant, energy-zapping ball of activity and stress!

Don't get me wrong; I volunteer for this every year. And I love it! It wears me out, though. I was in charge of costumes this year. We had plenty of them, but they all had to be cleaned and fitted and ironed and re-fitted and finally put on for the performance and then un-pinned and cleaned all over again! Did I mention that the whole time this was occurring, I was standing up?

There were just four of us brave souls that took on this task. Julie directed, Jana did all the music, Patty was rugrat wrangler and helped yours truly with costumes. There were several others who helped with sets and curtains and miscellaneous. I think we all deserve combat pay! The play was well-…

Music/Music

In the past four days, I have seen two great Christmas concerts. First, the Ark City Middle School choirs performed a festive medley of traditional and contemporary tunes last Thursday night. Two of my Sunday School students, Alexis Coldwell and Brittany Guevera, are members of the ACMS 8th grade choir. Their director, Nancy Eis, likes to get kids involved with lots of feature solos. My favorite tune was "Winter Song," which had a haunting melody.

The Arkansas City High School Christmas Choir Concert was tonight. Jessica Coldwell sings alto in both the Ark High Singers and the Symphonic Choir. Her brother, Conner, played the drums on two songs. The tunes were a mixture of traditional carols and satirical compositions. My favorites were "The Gift," a sweet love song, and a doo-wop version of "White Christmas" by the men's ensemble.

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The Hubster and I drove out to the Cowley 8 on Saturday night to see "The Day the Earth Stood Still," with Kean…

ACHS Concert Review

Look out, I think I may have caught the Christmas Spirit tonight! I attended the Arkansas City High School Instrumental Music Department's Concert. Man, are they good! The orchestra was angelic, the concert band was masterful, and the jazz band was hot, hot, hot!

I always try to go to school events, as much as possible. My nephew, Ryan, plays percussion in the concert band. He's a cool kid. You should see him on a xylophone! Jessica Coldwell, the drama diva, also plays the viola in the orchestra. Her brother, Conner, mans the drums in both the jazz and concert bands. Jessica and Conner are my good buddies from church. We hang out, because I'm incredibly immature and they like to take pity on me!

The orchestra began the night with five traditional pieces. My favs were "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" and a medley of carols, called "Songs of Christmas." Then the jazz band took the stage...by force! They rocked out three strong numbers, and brought the house …

Turkey Day Recap

Thanksgiving came off very nicely last week. The Hubster cooked a masterful feast, along with desserts by our talented daughters. I thought a 22-pound turkey would be too big a bird for our six-person table, but by the time we divvied it up into Ziploc bags for both girls, we had just one bag left for us. Praise the Lord!

It probably helped that the girls brought their boyfriends along. They are both young men of "healthy appetites." We had a really nice time, sitting around the table, sharing funny stories. While we let our dinner settle, the whole group watched old movies. It was a nice, relaxing day.

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Last week, The Hubster and I went to see the movie, "Bolt." We try to see all the animated films when they come out in the theater. I think it reminds us of our childhoods! I liked this movie, in spite of the whole Miley Cyrus thing. Besides, you just hear her voice, you don't see her at all.

The film had a "The Incredible Journey" meets "The Truma…

Confessions

I have a confession to make. I only bathe once a week. That's not to say that I'm stinky, I take a shower on the other days. Saturday night is the time I set aside to treat myself to a hot soak in the tub. I shave my legs, give myself a facial and pedicure and pluck my eyebrows. You know, girlie stuff!

Before you start thinking that this is my time to relax and reflect on my week, please know that there is no solitude...no peace and quiet, or time of reflection. Instead, The Hubster sits on the "throne" and we discuss world (and local) events and the cats line up to perch on the edge of the tub. It's still fun, though.

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Second confession: I accidentally dialed 911 this afternoon! You hear about those small children that dial 911 and then the cops come and their parents are horrified. Well, it happened to me. Allow me to elaborate.

I had just returned home after a trip to the dentist for my six-month cleaning. Dr. Alan Marcotte has been our family's dentist fo…

Batteries are Fully Charged!

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Infinite Grace was the theme of the 2008 Women of Faith Conference in Oklahoma City last weekend. And I was there. What a total blast! Two days of music, worship, laughs, tears and ten thousand screaming female Jesus freaks!

My mom's church got a group of ladies together, along with another church in Derby, and we chartered a big bus. We left on Friday morning and came home on Saturday evening. Jim, our driver, has amazing skills. Plus, he was a very nice gentleman. Anybody who can put up with 50 talkative women for 48 hours is a saint in my book!

The speakers at this year's event were diverse and gifted. Sheila Walsh sang and discussed her difficult childhood in Scotland. Allison Allen, a Broadway star, did a really funny skit about how music shaped our perceptions of love as young girls. Sandi Patty blew me away with her stunning vocals and touching testimony. Luci Swindoll(Chuck's sister) made me laugh about how God speaks to us in a still, small voice, not a hammer to th…

Creeping Crud, Part II

And so the saga continues. Yes, last week I wrote about catching the cold that everyone seems to have, and now it has morphed into something devious, something evil, something worse...the dreaded double infection!

The Hubster has said that I hardly ever get sick, but when I do, it's a doozy. That's true in this case. I went to the doctor this afternoon, after suffering through a really nasty weekend of coughing, little sleep and body pain. He said I have both a sinus infection and bronchial infection. Now, I'm just heavily medicated.

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The reason I am so incredibly bummed about being sick is that I have a big event I want to attend this weekend. My mom and I have planned to attend the Women of Faith Conference in OKC. To say I am excited about this trip is like saying that a 5-year-old is excited about Christmas. Well, duh!

I don't get out of the house much. We take trips, occasionally. And I do see the girls in Wichita as often as I can. But I work at home, so it seems…

Creeping Crud

I haven't had a cold in more than a year. However, Friday I succumbed to...The Creeping Crud! It started with just a little throat tickle. By Sunday night, I had a fever, alternating sweats and cold chills, hacking cough, red and irritated eyes, stuffy AND runny nose (I have no idea how it does that!), and the worst sore throat of my life.

This morning, my throat was swollen to 1/3 of its usual size. Yeah, that was pleasant. It took two cups of coffee and a saltwater gargle before I could work up a decent swallow. Did I mention that I turn into a whiny baby when I get a cold? As if that wasn't good enough, I got really generous and gave it to The Hubster.

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I did attend a baby shower this weekend. What fun! My good buddy, Jacque's son, Matt and his pretty wife, Callista, are expecting a little blue bundle in December. They're both K-State grads, so the shower theme was decidedly "Wildcat." It's so fun to go to the baby department in a store and pick out ti…

Uncle, Already!

Okay, so last week I told you about the bald spot on the roof...well, the insurance adjuster said the whole thing is a mess, with wind and hail damage. The upshot is we're getting a new roof. Great, now my new hobby is finding reputable roofers and getting estimates. But wait, there's more!

That's right. My washer was acting up last week. The Sears guy came today and thought it was just a clogged drain line. Nope, a bearing has gone out and it'll be 750 smackeroonies to fix. Yeah...so we're buying a new one. Dang! I loved that washer!

If you haven't heard before, I have a bit of a laundry fixation. I love that clean smell, getting stains out, even the folding. I have been denied that pleasure for an entire week, and now I have to go out and look for a new one. I hate to say the "L" word, but The Hubster needs clean drawers!

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Arkiepoopoo was last weekend. Or, for the uninitiated, Arkalalah. The Hubster dubbed this nickname for the annual Ark City festiv…

This Old House

Typical Sunday morning. Coffee, shower, and a mad dash to the car. Yesterday was a little bit different, though. As the car exited the garage, we saw a few shingles laying on the ground. Our roof has a bald spot!


All the high winds we've had lately have done a number on our roof. Long story short, the insurance man is coming over this week to take a look. As long as it is fixed by Christmas, I'm good. I don't want those eight tiny reindeer coming through the ceiling on Christmas Eve!

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I have Christmas on the brain, already. I am researching short skits for our Sunday School kids to do this year. We have a small congregation, only 40 on Sundays. (Quality, not quantity!) Our kids do like to have a small Christmas program, though, so I'm in charge of the "skit quest." Small, but meaningful.

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Okay, that's it! When it rains, it pours. I just went downstairs to check on the laundry, and my washer has bit the dust. Ugh! The floor is covered in a thin layer of …

R.I.P. Shredder

It was bound to happen. After two years of faithful service, it was just too much stress. What was I thinking shoving in four or five sheets at a time, not to mention plastic cards and DVDs? The poor old thing finally gave out. My paper shredder died last week.

I could hear it laboring...coughing even, grinding slower and slower. I guess I just asked too much. When you run a business, you have to do a lot of shredding. Especially in our business, dealing with Medicaid numbers, everything is confidential. Most of our paperwork must be destroyed, thus the need for a hard-working shredder.

The old one was the "executive" model from Staples, guaranteed to shred 20 sheets at a time. (I never got it to shred more than five sheets!) It had a lousy trash bin, too. Side-loaded and always dropped paper shreds all over the office floor when I emptied it. Ugh!

I think the new shredder is going to be much more of a workhorse. It shreds 12 sheets at a time and has bin full and overheat light…

Collecting Sunsets

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My dad liked sunsets...a lot. He tried to photograph one everywhere he traveled. I am blessed to have a few of his pictures in my home. Because of his interest in sunsets, I have grown to love them, too. I am a collector of sunsets, like my father.

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Tonight, I attended the Ark City Middle School fall vocal music concert. Two of my Sunday School students are in the choirs, Brittany Guevera and Alexis Coldwell. One of my friends from A Capella Choir at Southwestern College is their conductor, Nancy Eis. The groups sang some show tunes, patriotic tunes, and a little Aretha thrown in for flavor! It was great!

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Speaking of music, have you noticed that cleaning your house to music makes it go much faster? My sisters and I used to listen to KEYN radio when we cleaned the house on Saturday mornings. I guess it just stuck with me, because now I do the same thing. I listen to Motown, or something jazzy, put my hair in a ponytail, and go to town with the vacuum and the scrub brush. It is posit…

Whistle While You Work

It had to be done. I put it off as long as I could. Actually, I put it off a lot longer than I should. This morning, I cleaned out my desk drawer. Before I go off to join the Ernest Hemingway fan club, let me elaborate.

Sorry, the Ernest Hemingway crack is a bit of a stretch. Hemingway is an author I can't stand. He writes in painfully bare bits of sentences. It drives me crazy! Give me some color, for Pete's sake!

As you may know, I'm a bit of a neat freak, except for my desk. That drawer was appalling! In addition to 18 errant rubber bands, four M & M's, a petrified Reese's peanut butter cup and receipts for the last four years, I also found weekly data entry totals dating back to 2000. Yup, it was about time I had a good clearing out.

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I found a really cool website last week, it's www.postit.com. The delightful world of Post-It notes. My daughters call me the Post-It Queen, so I was positively pleased as punch with this primo site. There are lots of new p…

True West

Every once in a while, something comes along and...blammo! You get it right between the eyes. The Hubster and I watched a PBS show 21 years ago, and haven't been able to get it out of our minds ever since.

"True West" is a Sam Shepard play that was shown on PBS ONCE in 1983. I don't remember if it was Masterpiece Theater or Great Performances. It starred a much younger John Malkovich and Gary Sinise, as adult brothers who spend the weekend at their mother's home. The play is categorized as a dramatic comedy. In other words, it's a real slice of life!

The play is full of sibling rivalry, laughs, arguments and lots of toast. (Inside joke!) Set in their mother's kitchen, the boys spend a weekend trying to work through all their childhood baggage. It might work, if they don't kill each other first.

Although it rarely happens, The Hubster laughed himself silly throughout this play. He hardly ever finds anything that funny. Since we talked so much about it t…

Birthday Dinner

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Last Friday, The Hubster and I went to Wichita to celebrate the September birthdays in our family. There are three...well, actually, there are two "human" birthdays and one "feline" birthday. Ivan is my daughter, Rachel's cat, and my "grandcat." He will be two years old tomorrow. Yeah, I know, I'm a crazy old cat lady!

We had dinner at Sumo, a teppanyaki restaurant on the east side. Noisy, but great food. The Hubster and I were joined by our daughters, Sarah and Rachel, and their fellas, Derek and Drew. It takes a lot of engineering to get us all together, so I loved every minute of it. After the meal, we saw a so-so movie at the 13th Street Warren, and then went back to Rachel's hotel to open gifts.

Drew's birthday was on Saturday, so he got to open his presents first. He got a new laser printer and a snazzy watch. I got Ivan his-and-hers Halloween costumes. His "sister" Cookie is going to love hers! (Bride and groom.) The Hubster…

I'm Tardy!

Okay, I realize it is Tuesday morning. And I usually write my weekly blog entry on Monday evening, but I had a pressing engagement. I had dinner with my girlfriends last night at Mozitti's, the Italian place in Ark City. Yum!

You know how ladies are when they get together. We talked and laughed and cried and ate for 2 1/2 hours. Practically closed down the place. Jacque was sick, though, so she couldn't be there. So we just talked about her instead. Ha!

Dionne is suffering through the onset of empty nest syndrome. Her son, Tristan, is studying to be a pilot. (Ask her about Lesson 3) She is also finishing her bachelor's degree. Deanne's son and his wife are moving back to Ark City. He is the new youth pastor at Bible Christian Church. She's more than a little bit excited! Deanne's husband, John, is a candidate for pastor at a church in Ponca City, so between kids, job and church, she's swamped.

We ran into Kasha Kelley, Scott Margolis and their new son, Thatche…

Welcome to the 21st Century!

Okay, Flash Gordon, I'm not! In fact, I'm a very conservative person and sometimes change is hard. Take for instance, my checkbook. I have been writing checks to pay for purchases since I was 16 years old. Today, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and into a new millennium.

The Hubster and I paid with our debit card. We marched right up to that Wally World checkout stand and presented our purchases and swiped that card. Whew! I'm not a dinosaur; we have had online banking for years, and I AM WRITING A BLOG HERE. My daughter has been bugging me for years to just try it. So we did. And I don't know why I was waiting. *sigh*

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Labor Day has rolled around again. Marking the end of hot summer days and the beginning of what promises to be a beautiful Fall, marred only by that nasty national election. Don't get me started on that! Today, The Hubster and I rested from our labors. It wasn't always that way, though.

My childhood Labor Days were spent toiling in the waning s…

The Grammar Nerd

I admit it. I have a monkey on my back, and his name is Grammar. It's become automatic, when I see a billboard, when I read a newspaper...I edit. I can't help myself. It's like I'm possessed!

Poorly written websites send me into spasms. Typos, misspelled words, poor sentence structure and incorrect usage make me shudder. I keep a red pen on my desk, always ready. There is a big, wide world of bad writing out there, and my aim is to correct it. Or maybe just my corner.

I don't know when it started. Reading constantly as a child may have something to do with it. When you are steadily exposed to words, over and over again...they become indelible in your brain. You can see them. You know what they are supposed to look like.

Sometimes I worry that I'm driving people crazy, with my compulsion. I try not to correct others when they speak. Poorly written advertising is one thing that I always point out. These companies have editors and staff whose job it is to look over …

Food and Travel

Monday, Monday! So filled with phone calls, stacks of mail, stacks of laundry and assorted and sundry crapola. I make my to-do lists for the week, organize a battle plan, and somehow I don't get half accomplished that I wanted to. As Karen Carpenter said, "Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down."

This past week was plenty busy. I billed a whole boatload of claims, started a new book, cleaned the house, had the kids over for dinner, shopped for a church dinner and even had time for a light case of food poisoning! Seems like there is always much more to do on the list than days in which to do it. The Hubster thinks I should concentrate on what I managed to accomplish, not how many things I didn't. He's a "glass half full" kind of guy.

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The new book I'm reading is really cool. Kelly Park by Jean Stubbs. Granny Moore (The Hubster's grandmother) sent a huge box of books to me when she moved into the nursing home. We used to trade books a lot. Simi…

Family Reunion

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I attended my family reunion last weekend. Actually, The Hubster, Rachel and Drew and I all traveled to Missouri to be there. It was Drew's first family reunion with us...the poor baby!

My parents grew up in a tiny town in the heart of north central Missouri. Hale is idyllic: a throwback to a simpler, more gentle era. This rural community is surrounded by farms lush with green pastures and hearty livestock. The rolling hillside hides this little jewel. It is protected from the cold, outside world.

We all gathered in Chillicothe, the nearest large city. Large is a relative term: Chillicothe's population is 9,000. They do have a Best Western, so we stay there. My mom's family tries to meet every other year. Twenty-nine people showed up this time. It wasn't the whole family, just part of this motley crew!

On Friday evening, after arriving in town, we attended a cookout at my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Barry's house in Chillicothe. While feasting on burgers, brats and hot dogs…

Ladies That Lunch

Last Wednesday, I had lunch with my girlfriends. It's been a long time since the last time, and that's way too long for my liking. Having lunch with your girlfriends is like a combo of the five 'o clock news and a therapy session. Except you get to eat, too!

We always nosh at the same spot. Green Door restaurant in Ark City. Great Mexican food and it's quick enough for lunch time. There's just something about catching up on every one's lives over a meal. We laugh, we cry, we eat tacos!

I met "the girls" when we all worked together at First Intermark Corp. Jacque is the got-it-all-together girl. She's smart and funny, too. Deanne is the heart and soul of the group, always willing to share in her experiences. Dionne is the beauty, so sweet and thoughtful. I'm the nut.

We talk about the usual stuff: kids, jobs, church stuff and yes, husbands! We celebrate the highs, and console each other through the low points. When we met, all our kids were little…

Jane Austen is The Man!

The Hubster and I watched a really cool Netflix film yesterday. "Becoming Jane" is a 2007 BBC film, starring Anne Hathaway and James McEvoy. It chronicles the real-life story of famed romantic novelist Jane Austen, author of "Pride and Prejudice" among others. Now I know where she got all her story ideas!

Jane's father was a country vicar in a small parish of rural England. Jane had three siblings: two brothers and a sister, Cassandra. They lived a modest existence with no servants, tending their own garden and livestock. One brother was deaf, another a soldier and her sister (and best friend) was engaged to a missionary. Jane's parents were counting on her to marry well and care for the family.

Soon after learning that her parents had agreed for her to marry a local noblewoman's geeky nephew, Jane met the love of her life, a dashing albeit poor Irish lawyer, Tom LeFroy. Tom had money problems of his own. He lived in London with his cranky uncle, a judge.…

Thanks, Girls!

Yesterday, The Hubster and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. Twenty-seven happy years together! Or, maybe 26 3/4 years of happy, mixed in with three months of weirdness (provided by me!). I guess being married that long is a big deal in today's society, but we just like each other's company. Simple as that.

Have I mentioned lately that my daughters are the most wonderful women in the world? Rachel called a week ago and told us that she had arranged for us to stay in the fanciest hotel in Wichita on Friday night. Then Sarah called and said she had our evening's entertainment planned, too. Wow! I could get used to this kind of spoiling!

The Hotel at Old Town was breathtaking: historic, rich furnishings, a great view and a full kitchen to boot. The girls had already placed a beautiful rose bouquet and chocolate truffles in our room. We strolled through Old Town for a while, then saw a movie at The Warren Theater. Afterwards, we feasted on steak and prime rib at Whiskey Cree…

Gershwin, he's not!

I went to a play on Sunday afternoon. It was a musical, "Disney's Beauty & The Beast." I went alone. Usually, I take a friend or family member. Except The Hubster. He never goes. He's...The Musical Hater!!!

I don't know how long he's detested musicals, but I've been married to him for 26.97 years, so it's been a while. Maybe I'll call his mom and ask if he had some sort of musical-related trauma as a child. The Hubster says that musicals are great plays that are ruined by "all that singing." I have found one epic musical film that has been revered down through the ages, and he loves it. "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol." Yep, he's a Renaissance man!

By the way, Beauty & The Beast was awesome! It was a fundraiser by Marquee Performing Arts Center, the movie theater renovation project in Winfield. There was a huge cast and crew, including lots of folks I went to Southwestern College with, and lots of young people from A…

Thanks, Dad!

I keep a photo of my father on the desk beside my computer monitor. He's at a swap meet, dressed in jean shorts, old car shirt, suspenders and the ever-present chapeau. And he's smiling. My dad was a professional man, an intellectual man, who loved his wife and kids and worked really hard for everything he had. He loved his life.

Dad's life really started over again when he retired from Boeing after 30-some years and started his spark plug business. He loved being an engineer, but it was stressful. Dad and Mom toured Alaska for several weeks immediately after his retirement. The first time I saw him after their return, he was different. Yeah, he had grown a beard and was wearing jeans, but his demeanor was completely changed. He was relaxed!

Our family spent the next few years hanging out together on holidays and vacations. Dad chased grand kids around, teaching them to fish, reading the funnies together and hand-cranking homemade ice cream. He and Mom traveled all over the …

Singspiration

What an interesting title! I attended a "Singspiration" on Friday at Sara Road Baptist Church in Yukon, OK. The event is a gathering of several churches, where musicians are picked to bring selections. There was a dazzling array of singers, pianists, saxophone players, and guitar-, mandolin- and banjo-pickers.

Man, was I nervous! I have sung at this church before, and I had been this nervous before. There was an extra big crowd this time, and I had two songs that were tricky to sing. I selected "I Believe in a Hill Called Mt. Calvary" by the Gaithers, and "Who Am I" by Rusty Goodman. Toss in a bumpy 2 1/2 hour church bus ride each way, and you have the makings of a memorable evening!

Don't get me wrong, I'm an experienced singer. I've been in musical groups and ensembles since elementary school. I've spent 3-5 hours per day practicing for years during junior high, high school and college. I've sung in concert halls, gymnasiums, churches…

The Plant Murderer

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Among my family, I am known as The Plant Murderer. I don't have a green thumb. I don't even have a brown thumb. It's black as evil sin! Give me any living plant and I can kill it in 48 hours or less, guaranteed.

It's not like I set out to kill a plant. It just happens. I either love it to death, or I neglect it so much it keels over. So very sad! What's more, I love flowers and plants. I give them often as gifts. But when I receive them, they're goners.

On Mother's Day, my mom presented me with a beautiful Gerbera daisy plant. It was just so pretty, and that scared me to death! What if? I carefully transplanted it into a larger pot, set it on the front porch, and prayed for guidance. I water it every other day and God takes care of the sunshine and rain. So far, so good! (See photographic evidence!)

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Last week I had a chance to spend a day with my mom and her siblings. It was amazing! My Uncle Don and Aunt Sue and my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Barry have always be…

A Day at the Zoo

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I made a trip to the Sedgwick County Zoo last week (visiting old relatives). Ha! I took along two of my church buddies, Conner and Alexis Coldwell. Actually, I was dying to go and needed some kids to go along, so I could keep my street cred. My new digital camera came in handy there. I took loads of photos. The Hubster helped me zoom and crop them on the computer.

Alexis and Conner are 13 and 15, and totally cool kids. I really enjoy hanging out with them. We ate lunch at the new "Plaza Beastro," then headed out to see giraffes, elephants, hippos, napping lions and shy brown bears. After touring the rain forest jungle, we finished at the new South American penguin exhibit. How fun!

The Zoo is undergoing a lot of construction, and I am excited to see all the new animals that will be calling Wichita home.

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I am left-handed. Yep, always have been. Demographics prove that 7-10 adults are lefties, and more men are left-handed than women. I like to think that my creative, eccentri…

Whatever

I am filled with ennui. Or, in other words, I'm really lazy! Although I accomplished quite a bit around the house and office today, I haven't left the premises. I did retrieve the newspaper from the front porch. Downright ambitious!

The thing is, sometimes I just don't feel like seeing other humans. There's nothing wrong with them, it's me. My old therapist said it is part of the illness. Interacting with others takes too much energy. I'm not depressed, but I still have my blue days.

Don't you find it ironic that I write a weekly blog that is read by 10's of humans??? If I was standing face-to-face with each of you, I would be picking at my fingernails and talking way too much. If you ever see me in a social situation and I look like I'm panting like a dog, I'm most likely stressed out. Relaxation breathing is a coping mechanism I use.

We all wear masks. Some of us wear Freddie Krueger masks...no, not really! I'm talking about how we present o…

Ode to Chocolate

A great man (The Hubster) once said, "The ability of chocolate to heal the human female is a power rarely seen in the universe." How true! A box of Russell Stover's truffles can bring me such rapturous bliss! Okay, don't get carried away. All I'm saying is, when I'm having a bad day, chocolate makes it right.

When I was a kid, it was that sack of goodies at Halloween. It could tide me over until Christmas candy kicked in. Nothing was more special than that little red heart box from my dad on Valentine's Day. The German chocolate birthday cake and the Cadbury creme eggs at Easter were great, but the best chocolate of all is the stuff that The Hubster brings home from Graves when he knows I had a bad day, or am sick.

I've found, in my extensive research, that the best chocolate for me is high quality cocoa beans, like Ghirardelli or Cocoa Dolce. The nut component is crucial, as well. I like to have roasted almonds or cashews or peanut butter mixed in. I&…

Memorial Day 2008

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While most people are outside camping, swimming and grilling, The Hubster and I spent most of the day indoors. Ark City was stormy a good portion of the day. That has been the routine for the last week or so. What do May showers bring? June mosquitoes?

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We had revival services this week at Missionary Baptist Church. Dr. Wayne Hudson of Azle, TX, was the evangelist. Tall Texan with a no-nonsense approach. Loved it! It was definitely back-to-basics. He talked about how Sunday morning worship has become "religious hoopdeedoo." (All the rituals, programs and fancy dress.) When was the last time we really got serious about worship and prayer?

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The mulberry tree in our side yard has started to bear fruit. This event has brought every bird in the county to our house! The Hubster has been trying to photograph every species that comes by. The most unusual one was the Cedar Wax Wing. I bet we had 20-30 of them this morning. (See photo)

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Saturday was my youngest daughter, Rachel'…

Persistence

How do you throw away a trash can? Persistence pays off! Last week, I wrote in my blog whining about the trash can that just wouldn't go away. The trash collectors finally hauled it off on Friday. Hooray!

All it took was a brief note, attached to the offending item: "This is trash. Please take it away. Thank you!" Even then, all three city workers had to peruse the note and confer, before throwing it into the truck.

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My niece, Becca, and her boyfriend, Jesse, graduated from Ark City High School yesterday. Rachel came down to attend (she and Becca are close friends) and we sweated in the 86-degree heat. After that, we hit the post-grad party trail. First up was Becca's get together at Granny Judy's house. We got to visit with a lot of relatives, have some good snacks, and pass around the new baby in the family. Becca's big sister, Jessica is visiting from Fort Bragg with beautiful Amelia.

The next party was for Tristan, son of my dear friend, Dionne. I remembe…

Happy Mother's Day!

A wise man (The Hubster) once said, "Behind every mom, there's a middle-aged fat guy making a mess. Yep, that's right! Yesterday was the day set aside to honor mothers. As we all know, if you really wanted to reward mothers for a job well done, every Sunday would be Mother's Day!

After attending church yesterday, I spent the day with my mother and my daughters. It was glorious! We hadn't planned it that way, but it turned out just us girls. I grilled chicken and steak, and Mom took care of all the rest. We ate lots, including chocolate sundaes followed by chocolate (!), opened presents, and then talked and laughed the afternoon away. (Silly photos next week)

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A philosophical question: How do you throw away a trash can?

Months ago, after a large thunderstorm, we lost one of our three trash cans. It had blown down the alley and been run over before I could fetch it the next morning. When I retrieved it, Marcus Welby couldn't have saved the thing. It was dented, t…

Kibbie Got New Specs!

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Just wanted to show you all a photo of my pretty daughter, Rachel, with her new glasses. We got them last week at Lens Crafters in Wichita. Isn't she a doll?


A poem by Maya Angelou

When I say...'I am a Christian,' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean livin'
I'm whispering 'I was lost, now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say...'I am a Christian,' I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say...'I am a Christian,' I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say...'I am a Christian,' I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say...'I am a Christian,' I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say...'I am a Christian,' I still feel the sting of pain...
I have my share of h…

Top 10 List

Have you read about it in the newspaper today? Your "Stimulus Package" check is in the mail! Yes, the money Congress has released to encourage taxpayers to spend is on its way. And not a moment too soon, I have contrived a Top 10 List of ways to spend the dough!

TOP 10 WAYS I COULD SPEND MY $600 STIMULUS PACKAGE CHECK

1. Buy 600 king-size Snickers bars and stash them in every drawer, cubby and closet in my house. Hey, you never know when you might have a chocolate emergency!

2. Two words: BOGO. Or maybe that's one, but Payless is having a buy one pair, get the second pair for 1/2 price. That means you can buy twice as many pairs of shoes for spring! Flip-flops in every color of the rainbow, strappy sandals for each of your sundresses and a new pair of tennies for every day of the week!

3. Spend an entire afternoon at the swankiest bookstore in town, poring over all the best sellers, classics and new novels by my fav authors. With $600, I could be set for reading well into 20…

Here You Go!

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Have you heard that phrase a little too often lately? It's fascinating to me, but "here you go" is the new euphemism for "thank you." Um...correct me if I'm wrong here, but when did anything trump a nice, sincere thank you?

You hear it all the time now, in the grocery store, Wal-Mart, the drive-thru window, the drug store, etc. The Hubster and I have made a game of counting the phrase. When did customer service get to be so lackadaisical? I don't think you should blame it on the younger generation, either. Who's training these people?

If we all got together, maybe we could start something big--a good manners revolution, if you will. Arkansas City could be known as the little town with the big manners. People would be thanking each other left and right: cashiers could thank patrons for shopping in their establishments, patrons could thank cashiers for their good service, teachers could thank students for their attentiveness and students could thank tea…

Project Carol--Part II

One of my first entries in this blog, dated August 27, 2007, was titled Project Carol. In it, I whined about all the things that were wrong with my life, and myself, and how I intended to try and improve things. For the sake of posterity, (yeah, right, like this will ever be read for more than a year or two!) I will give you an update on my progress on Project Carol.

First, I received an associate's degree in English in May 2005 from Cowley College. Cowley is close to my house, so there was no excuse. I haven't finished my bachelor's degree yet, but that's a financial thing. I hope to go back to college in the next five years, and get a degree in writing or literature. I may or may not ever use the degree, but I want it for myself, because of my love of books.

I went into therapy in the fall of 2001, and took anti-depressants for a short time. The therapy helped me talk through a lot of personal junk from my life that needed to come out. Depression runs through my family…

Sniff!

Ah, Spring, when a young woman's fancy turns to thoughts of...allergies!!! Ugh, my head is throbbing and my nose is running and my eyes are tearing up. By the way, how can you be stuffy and drippy at the same time? The Hubster is plying me with hot tea and soup, bless his heart!

I've taken so much Tylenol Sinus that I don't know which way is up any more. My head feels like a watermelon, and probably looks like one, too. Please forgive me for the brevity of this entry. It's difficult to be pithy when you're high on decongestants.

More next week. Hang in there!

The Puppet Masters

It's insidious, really. One day you're sitting at home and your little girl comes in with her big puppy-dog eyes and says, "He NEEDS me!" and life as you know it completely changes. Yup, you're a cat owner. You are the puppet. They are the Puppet Masters!

The next thing you know, you're spending hours researching on the Internet for cat behavioral problems. Or driving 1 1/2 hours to find a store that carries a certain brand of cat health food that you've heard is better for the little monsters. Or you spend $50 on a deluxe cat bed from Pier 1, and buy baby blankets for each of your darlings. Or waking up the vet at 1:30 a.m. because your elderly, diabetic cat just had a seizure. Yup, you're whupped.

I don't know how it happened, really. We decided to get one cat, and the rest of them followed. Most came from the neighborhood. Word gets around, among cats, that there is a place to get food, and it's all over from there. First, they show up around…

Hide and Seek

Every now and then, I get this irresistible urge to run away. You know, when your life and the world just get to be too much. I would love to escape to a magical kingdom with nothing to do all day, but nap and read and soak in a luxurious tub. Sounds too good to be true? My magical kingdom exists!

The Hubster and I have a secret getaway that we sneak off to every now and then. It's just two hours away, but a world away from our daily life. There's a lake and mountains and trees and lots of wildlife. My magical kingdom is a luxury cabin at Keystone State Park, near Tulsa, OK. Now that you know, I am swearing you to secrecy! Don't tell anyone, because then we'll never get a reservation!

The cabin is perched high on top of a bluff overlooking the turquoise water. Inside is a fluffy bed, fully furnished kitchen, cozy fireplace and...a huge Jacuzzi! The patio out front accommodates a table and chairs that are perfect for morning coffee and newspaper reading, or romantic dinne…

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

March 23rd is Easter Sunday. Hooray! I love everything about it: sunrise service, special music, new dress, resurrection sermon and even pastel baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly bean eggs. All the hoopla reminds me of the 1970s, when I wore lacy socks and white gloves to church, along with a new dress!

Mom made sure all her kids had a new outfit for Easter Sunday service. Most of the early years, that meant weeks of preparation and sewing on her part. My two older sisters and I had "sister" dresses several of those years. They were the same basic dress, with each sister getting a different colored sash. Little David got a new dress shirt that matched our dresses, too.

We were angelic, from our white hats to our little patent-leather Mary Janes. Or, if I'm honest, we looked angelic. I don't know how my parents did it! Raising four kids is not for the faint of heart. (You'll note here that I have two children!)

My dad was always in charge of the Easter …

Country Mart Rules!

Country Mart is my local grocery store. I say that like I own the place, but I don't. I just live there! The Hubster loves to cook; I love to eat. Thus, we are at the grocery store a lot. Country Mart is locally owned by Russell and Patty Clark. I like that it's a mom-and-pop shop. They're nice people, and they recognize us when we're there. (After all, we put their kids through college!) Whenever we need something unusual, they order it. They hire nice, friendly people. Including, as of last week, my nephew Jesse!

My nephew Jesse is actually my niece Becca's boyfriend of two years. Jesse lives just around the corner from us and comes over often for The Hubster's food and conversation. He loves The Hubster's Chai scones. Jesse and Becca are the hardest-working teens in Ark City. They each have a couple of jobs and are seniors in high school. Jesse also attends Cowley College. Lazy, huh?

My new obsession is Thai food. Wow! We had my birthday dinner at Thai Tr…