Friday, September 30, 2011

Runners' World

In someone's research somewhere, there is an educated hypothesis stating that if you do anything steadily for three weeks, it becomes habit. I like that hypothesis. Sort of. If I eat raw carrots for three weeks and then I have rabbit-like cravings, I am not so sure. But if I run down the road like I have been, and do it for 3 weeks, and it becomes habit, then I am a happy camper runner.

And so I have. For two weeks. Get back to me next week.

This afternoon I had "Lunch with the Ladies", and afterwards, I popped over to the university bookstore. First stop: cookbooks. And as I knelt down to peruse the titles, the lady next to me righted herself, and I saw that she was an acquaintance and fellow mother of a former Manhattan HS XC runner. And she herself? A half-marathon runner. Dang! She was buff!

Me? Age 51, maybe not so buff. Capable of some hiking, cycling and running jaunts, but my physique did not mirror this woman's.


I mentioned a friend's running experience to the woman in the bookstore: "I have a friend who has done the Marine Marathon/Half Marathon/whatever for many years - you should look into it!"

And then? Lo and behold, coincidentally, just out out of the blue: tonight, I received a really nice note from my friend, the Marine Corps runner, from whom I have not heard in months!

What is that, I ask?


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Yesterday I came across a weird TV show called Super Couponers or something like that. These people. One guy had 1000 tubes of toothpaste stored in his garage. Another family (7 kids) had stockpiles of things in every room of their home. The toilet paper was stored underneath their 2-year old's bed. A couple, whose combined weight might possibly top 500 lbs., stored their stores in their 2nd bedroom - their guest room. It was full of Lucky Charms!


I love a good bargain. Way back in very, very early marriage, Povertyville, I tried using coupons. It was time consuming. And the coupons offered were not necessarily the brands I used. And then came the generic craze - all those black & white boxes and cartons. But even after that craze leveled off (because some of that generic merchandise was NOT quality goods), I was content in buying store brands - off brands, and early in marriage I began studying health and nutrition. I understood then and now, that processed foods, while cheap, are not necessarily the way to go if one (I) has to look at fat, sodium and cholesterol content in order to keep the pharmaceuticals at bay.

Two thoughts here:

Time is money.
The time spent purchasing newspapers (that in itself is a cost I have not heard addressed.), perusing said papers, time online checking multiple sites for coupons, the time spent organizing (one lady had two giant organizers filled with coupons), and most of the people interviewed had laptops full of shopping information such as aisle location of products, etc. These people spend an awful lot of hours at this past time. I'm not sure I get it.

Give it away.
If you have the time and attention to acquire 1000 tubes of toothpaste, why not give them to your local food bank, elementary schools, or other local charity? There was a couple interviewed who swept the grocery shelf of its mustard supply. The husband gleefully chimed in, "I don't even like mustard!" OK. So, donate it to a worthy food bank. Don't stockpile it in your basement till the due date beckons you to toss it.

I appreciate that there is a place for savings, coupons, and sales. But really: 100+ cans of soup? A whole roomful of paper towels instead of furniture? Why not take up bowling, or tatting, instead?

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cat and Mouse

In addition to the sadness of losing one of the very best cats in the entire world this summer, this evening I ventured out to the duckhouse to do some animal husbandry, only to discover the evidence of a pack rat, squirreling away (ratting away?) corn kernels which are meant for the ducks. Not the field mice, not the pack rats.

After we lost Euripides (we know not how, and although my hope does indeed spring eternal that one day he will waltz right in our back door as he was wont to do on his whim, we suspect the coyotes from the river must have caught him. I prefer not to dwell on the hows of Ripsy's disappearance.), I told that Spouse o' Mine that I could not take any more heartache with animals just now. Just a month or so before Euripides went missing, I had to put down our last horse. There is nothing easy or clean-cut about that. It is as heart-wrenching as it gets.

Now the nights are getting cooler - cold, in fact.
And I am seeing the telltale signs that in addition to one great cat,
we are missing a great mouser.
Yes, we have a geriatric house cat, and a 20-lb grotto cat who couldn't, I don't think, chase a mouse further than 10 yards.

And therein lies the quandary.

That Spouse o' Mine wants a mouser. If I could be sure that I wouldn't love the mouser and it wouldn't die or disappear on me, I would acquiesce.

So. We have a rural-living quandary to deal with...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mirthful Sounds, and the Sound of Silence

I wrote this for my Lydia Circle women this month, but I am happy to share it here as well:

Some of you know that Paul & I have enjoyed having all three (adult) kids, plus 1 boyfriend, home the past couple of weeks. How fun it has been! Lots of activity and laughter.

Yesterday we took the last two to the airport for their flight home. This morning, Paul left early for work, and I had the morning to myself.

It was quiet.

And it was OK!

I sat out and listened to the hummingbird wars whirring in the yard. We have a wind chime which only has one very, very deep tone, and it chimed in the morning wind. After a whirlwind couple of weeks that I would not trade for diamonds, it was nice, too, to wake up and enjoy the silence.

"Some days, we just need to turn the quiet up." ~Dr. SunWolf

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.... We need silence to be able to touch souls." ~Mother Teresa

True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment." ~William Penn

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose." ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's Cookin'?

I love to cook. And I have quite a collection of cookbooks to reflect this, one of my favorite pastimes. Here are a few (only a few...more to come another day!) that I visit with frequency:

The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook:
Great for providing ideas and menus for all the holidays and celebrations that I enjoy cooking for! A wealth of ideas...

Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special:
A vegetarian cookbook, which provides menus for soups/salads/main menu/whatever. I love this cookbook!

Farmhouse Cookbook:

The author of this cookbook, Susan Herrman Loomis, really did her homework in terms of visiting the farmers of America, and searching out their lifestyles and their recipes. This book is as informative regarding American agriculture and horticulture as it is cookbook! I learned
a lot from reading this book!

And here it is, this evening, in the 50º range, purported to soon be 40º. What better thing to cook for dinner, I think, than lamb-barley stew?
( recipe book is far into the future.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kids Home!

What a fun week! All three adult kids plus a straggler (read: boyfriend) were home to visit.

That sounds odd: "home to visit".

All three kids were home. But anymore, it's difficult to define their homes. I caught myself telling College Boy Graham, "When you get home...", meaning returning to Bellingham and the university, not Wabaunsee and Mom & Dad. I asked Grad Student Gillian, "What time will you be going home tomorrow?" And to College Grad Claire and boyfriend: "What time is your flight home?"

I always say, Home is where you hang your hat. I always refer to Wabaunsee as home. I also refer to my hometown, Pryor Creek, as home. But I always refer to any hotel at which I am residing as home, too. "I'm tired; let's go home." i.e., whatever hotel room I am in that particular night/week.

"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself." ~ Maya Angelou

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." ~ Jane Austin

"Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave." ~ Martin Luther

"More than anything else, I want the folks back at home to think right of me." ~ Elvis Presley

"Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Songs I Sing

This afternoon I was caught singing Waltzing Matilda by my College Grad Claire:

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
Down came the troopers, one, two, three,
"Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?"
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
"Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?",
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,
"You'll never take me alive", said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."

I learned this song as a kid.
WHO KNEW that one day I would meet an Aussie? And marry the guy??!
A tea-sipper? (As my Dad says...)

This song narrates the story of an itinerant worker making a crude cup of tea at a bush camp and capturing a sheep to eat. When the sheep's ostensible owner arrives with three policemen to arrest the worker, he drowns himself in a small lake and goes on to haunt the site.

"Waltzing Matilda" means, in now-day terms, to backpack.
"Swagman" is someone looking for work.

OK, OK, the rest of this song's definitions can be found here:


It's a singable song.

Sing it.

Friday, September 09, 2011

September Weekend

Not many people read my blog, so maybe I am safe in writing my thoughts. (I should feel safe anytime I write my thoughts, but given that this is the 10th anniversary of 9-11, who knows??)

My thoughts this week, ten years out from that horrible experience? I read something from a native New Yorker, whose words echoed my emotions. This person and their family was leaving town; they will not forget 9-11, but they do not want to be REMINDED about 9-11.

That's me.

I recall every moment of that morning, and I will not recount it here, but it began at my work at the high school library, continued on to taking time to visit my youngest for lunch at his elementary school, (just to "be there" for him, lest he had some wild reactions to the news on terrorism.) {Why the ten-year-old would be subjected to videos of this, is beyond my comprehension, but - there you go...I am only a parent.)

And here we are, safely ten years out, and the press is making wild grabs at what might happen this weekend.

I pray it is MOST anti-climactic. My dear children are flitting here and there this very weekend, from coast-to-coast. I believe they are fine.

And I pray to God that all Americans will be safe this weekend.

On another - more positive - note?

It's raining cats 'n' dogs, just now. Yippee.

We can say: Thanks be to God.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

September's First GLORIOUS Week

"But now in September
the garden has cooled,
and with it my possessiveness.
The sun warms my back
instead of beating on my head ...
The harvest has dwindled,
and I have grown apart
from the intense midsummer relationship
that brought it on."
- Robert Finch

Monday, September 05, 2011

In My Head

Our whole family listens to NPR. Today Grad student Gillian and I somehow began discussing the pronunciation of Lakshmi Singh's name. For starters, I have never bothered Googling or Wiki-ing her name. And for another thing - in my mind's eye (and I have a very vivid imagination, so I've been told), Lakshmi Singh looks (now, past tense) Asian. Asian, as in, I assumed her name was Lak Shmi Sing. Maybe a Chinese/Vietnamese type of Asian. In my head, she took on a kind of new millennium-Connie Chung appearance.

So Gillian brings up the mispronunciation of her name (because, according to one linguist to another, the Asian name should be pronounced Lahk, not Lak). And then we began mulling over the ethnic origin of her family. And Gillian thought Indian. I thought Connie Chung Asian. All this, we discussed while perusing the Labor Day sales racks at the mall department stores.

Upon my return home, I received an email from Gillian, with a link: and this Lakshmi Singh quote:

"...Some of our friends in the South Asian community have expressed their dismay with the pronunciation of my name. But I have not heard any complaints specifically from South Asian residents of the Caribbean (such as Trinidad, where my father was born and Lakshmi is pronounced LACK-shmee)..."

Her father is Indo-Trinidadian, and her mother is Puerto Rican.

So there you have it. We learned something worthwhile during our time at the mall today.

I feel enlightened.

By the way:
Not at ALL how I imagined her.
Now I have to rethink her face and voice and humor and EVERYTHING.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Around the Place

Today is the first day in many that I ventured forth out of the air conditioning for any amount of time. How nice to have a day of 70s temps. I planted my fall garden: bok choy, basil, mesclun, and fennel. I am eager to have something growing in the garden.

The geraniums,
babied through the August heat with water
and afternoon coverings,
seem to be doing well. Grapes....
Pretty pink...
Gillian and Boo
Sunday dinner...
Off with her head!
This wind chime is my souvenir from my San Diego vacation. One has to be choosy about Kansas wind chimes. I once had a tinkly wind chime. Very soon after we moved to Kansas, it went into the dumpster. This new one, though, gongs. GONG. GONG. (You can see by the wind sail that it was once again a windy afternoon in Kansas.)

That Spouse o' Mine has been outdoors most of the day. College boy Graham went running this morning (16 miles) and was looking for our kites this afternoon. Grad student Gillian came home for the day. She went running this afternoon as well.

I think we all are thrilled just to be outdoors. And not sweating.
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