Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stores and Floors...

I went to Target today to do some speedy shopping.  When I am on a mission, list in hand, I am intent on accomplishing the task at hand with few, if any obstacles and interruptions.  So when I pushed my stupidly oversized Target shopping cart around a corner into the next aisle and saw the kid lying on the floor blocking the aisle, I was put out.  And grossed out.  It slays me, the way some parents allow their little kids to loll around on a nasty store floor.

Last week while in the Rocky Mountains, I stopped by the Wal Mart in the little town.  I wanted to pick up a few groceries before heading back out to the house.  As I went down the bread aisle, I heard a plaintive voice exclaiming, "Oh, no!  OH, NO!  Can somebody please help me?!"

I looked around, and realized I was perhaps the closest (or only) shopper near this voice.  I followed the voice, which sounded like an elderly woman with (perhaps) an Eastern European accent.  I found the owner of the voice, and she looked like an elderly woman who might, perhaps, have an Eastern European accent.  And she was upset.  One of the lenses had fallen out of her glasses, and she could not see to recover it.  She became more and more agitated.  She kept repeating, "Oh, no!  OH, NO!  Can you please help me?  OH, NO!", and so on.  I asked her if she heard it fall.  Yes, she heard it hit the floor.  Where did she think she heard it fall?   Right...HERE!

I looked.

She looked.


"Are you SURE you heard it fall here?"

"Oh, no.  What am I going to do?!"

 "Are you SURE you heard it fall here?"

"Oh, no.  Oh, no..."

 "Are you SURE you heard it fall here?"


"Are you SURE you heard it fall here?"


"Are you SURE you heard it fall here?"

And so on...

Finally, I did what I consider the unthinkable.  A cardinal sin.

I GOT DOWN ON MY HANDS AND KNEES IN A WAL MART STORE.  WHITE LINEN PANTS AND ALL.  (I hiked them up above my knees, though.  Yes, yes, I know, very attractive.)

I tell you what, I almost broke out in hives.  In fact, I think I did break out in mental hives.

Because  one does not loll around on a nasty store floor. (But I was not lolling, I was scrounging.)

Someone handed me a broom.  I am sorry, and I should not think I am above brooming out underneath Wal Mart store shelving, but it was just more than I could take.  I got up.  I walked silently (and frowning) to the front of the store and found the manager.  "There is an elderly woman in aisle 7 who needs assistance NOW."

We two walked back to aisle 7, and there was the poor worried woman, still exclaiing, "OH, NO!  WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!!"   I left them there, the woman and the manager, and moved on to the next aisle.  And the next.  And then I heard an exclamation:  "I HAVE IT!"

And the elderly woman found the lens to her glasses: it had fallen into her outside purse pocket.  She thanked the manager, she walked over two aisles and thanked me, and she was off again.  Saints be praised!

So, back to that little kid in Target today?  GROSS.  GET OFF THAT FLOOR!!!!!

Because I know what I am talking about.  Yep.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday's Child

That Spouse o' Mine and I headed for the hills (the Rocky ones) last week for a bit of rest and relaxation.  And cycling!  The Pro Cycling Tour was snaking its way through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado last week and we wanted to be up close and personal in our spectating.  And, we packed our bicycles to enjoy our own bit of Rocky-riding.

Unfortunately, the evening before we left, I closed the car door on my hand.  I have never done that before.  I did not have presence of mind when it occurred.  Years ago, one of my nursery school daughters closed the car door on her fingers.  Michigan mother that I was, I swooped down and released her fingers at the same moment I cupped some Michigan snow into my other hand and onto her throbbing little hand.  The numbing effect of the frozen water was rapid, and her pain was not long-lasting.  Last week, instead of thinking for more than a split second about opening the car door and releasing my hand, I yanked back like a colt who refuses to be tied.  My hand came out, but not without some physical and cosmetic damage.

This bugaboo, not five minutes before that Spouse o' Mine called for a ride home from work.  Could I pick him up at the coffee shop?  Yes, I replied.  And, I furthered, could you please go back in and get TWO cups of ice water for me?  Why?  BECAUSE I AM THIRSTY AND I SMASHED MY HAND IN THE CAR DOOR!!!

I thought that was explanatory enough.  But apparently not crystal clear, because I arrived at the coffee shop to see him walking out with two cups of water - sans ice - and two straws in the cups.  I rolled my eyes.  I elevated my hand and the two of us continued to our next errand: the auto repair.  Inside the repair garage, I sat down, hand elevated, and my third finger pounding and throbbing, was particularly straight up in the air.  Some guys from the university basketball team came in to collect their car.  After they left one of the auto mechanics told me I looked like I was flipping them off.   

Well!  Off we went, the next day, to Colorado.  We two were joined by my niece Lisa, her husband Josh, and their little 13-month old daughter.  Even though I had packed my bike, I could not ride, because I could not make a fist, and could not squeeze the brake.  I watched the pro racers and loved it!  I niece-sat while the other three went cycling, and loved it!  I tell you what, though: getting down on the floor and getting back up again, then down on the floor, and back up again...and so on, for hours...there is a reason God gives us babies in our 20s and 30s and not in our 50s.  But Charlotte Cate was sweet and adorable.  And I apologized to her parents about that forehead bruise that occurred not five minutes after their departure.

This morning, I gained another niece.  Great niece.  Grand niece?  Nephew Brian and his wife, Katie,  delivered a fine baby daughter this morning: Olivia Kate.

Tuesday's child is full of grace.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Talk

Deuteronomy 15:11

King James Version (KJV)
11" For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."

Cut to the chase:  there will always be poor, pathetic, and needy.  Tend to those in your neighborhood.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


"Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Last week we had a discussion over dinner: We live just down the road from the Beecher Bible and Rifle Church (say it fast for the name's full effect.), and yet, we have never attended services there.  College Boy Graham decided this was the week we should go, and I seconded with, "As a family!" (sans the newlyweds in Virginia).  So the four of us were seen walking down the dusty road to church this morning.  We didn't expect to see too many worshipers in the chapel this morning, but we also didn't anticipate that our presence would double the congregation.  After us, three more people arrived to up the numbers even more.  It was a nice service!  Lots of hymns, a really good pianist, and a pastor that held our attention the entire scripture-laced sermon - and his was quite a bit longer than ones we are accustomed to in our Lutheran home church.

After church we headed back home for a very informal Sunday brunch:  College Boy Graham was manning the eggs and bacon on the stove, and we others were picking out our breads/bagels/ croissants, and waiting in line for toaster.  

The past week or two, it has seemed like my beautiful, cherry-red, Oster toaster was acting up: burning most everything.  Several times I have attempted to adjust the settings.  OK.  Alrighty, now: Here is one more arsenal in my fire regarding the use of WORDS in all signs, appliances, automobiles, documents, instructions and related ilk, as opposed to ridiculous little drawings (artistic license runs rampant in those little, teeny graphics, and apparently I am art-blind to most of them.)  Let me ask you: if there is a teeny, little picture of a piece of bread on the side of one's toaster, and it is painted white, and if there is a teeny, little picture of a piece of bread on the side of one's toaster, and it is painted black, would one not assume that the white slice denotes "Lightly-toasted", and the black slice means "I like charcoal."?   Well.  You and I are both wrong, according to the Oster artists.  How did we figure this out, you may ask?  Because daughter Gillian went to toast her french bread this morning, and it was nearly in flames when College Boy Graham discovered it!  Haul out the box fan and turn it on high!  Gillian tried to trouble-shoot my Oster, and when I admitted to re-setting the settings on a number of occasions since she and Graham have been home this month...ah!  There's the rub.  I am art-blind.  I was raised reading words, not modern-day hieroglyphics.  But now we have the toaster well-adjusted, and all is right in our world of Sunday Brunch.

This afternoon, that Spouse o' Mine went out for a bike ride.  Shortly thereafter, I headed into town to pick up groceries.  It's amazing how quickly this family goes through milk, bread, juice, and cheeses, when one, two, three, and now four kids are home.  

I knew that Spouse was up ahead of me a piece, and so I kept my eyes open for the first 8 miles, and then I spotted the red Specialized bike and the rider's red jersey and helmet.  I slowed down considerably.  When I am passing cyclists on our rural road, I slow, and pull clear into the other lane to pass when safe from oncoming traffic.  I want to give wide berth to the rider.  But when I know the cyclist, and particularly that Spouse o' Mine, who is an incredibly steady rider, I slow down considerably, but I only pull away from him a yard or so - and we can have a quick "hello-how's-the-wind?"

And that's what I did this afternoon: slowed down, edged up slowly and made my speed equal to the Specialized bike I recognize so well on the road.  As I eased up equal to the cyclist, I rolled down my window, and yelled at him.  

Uh-oh.    Uh-oh!!

Apparently there are now TWO red Specialized bikes in Wabaunsee County, and TWO cyclists sporting red jerseys and helmets.  AND TWO CYCLISTS WEARING SUCH,  AND SPORTING GOATEES!!!.

And this cyclist was not MY cyclist.  This cyclist looked a little horrified that I was driving so slow and so close and yelling at him (Albeit with a smile on my face and a song in my heart...)  Instantly I realized my error and exclaimed, "OMIGOSHITHOUGHTYOUWEREMYHUSBAND!!"  

And then he laughed.  

And all was well.


Tonight we are having River Creek Farms lamb, tahina, spanikopita, and some garden things.  Out of our garden. I am not sure what there is to have just yet, but that's what we're having!

And now: on to the volume of the week,
Golden-clasped by our Sunday...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Conversely: The Year Without a Summer

The summer here in the Midwest has been noteworthy.  Heat.  Drought.  No crops.  Fires.  Hardships abound.  Some compare it to the Dust Bowl.

Is this news?  Yes.  Is it new?  No.

"Everything old is new again."

There will always be years of drought.  And, happily, years and seasons of great weather, abundance, and contentment.

The year of 1816 is note-worthy.  It is also known as "The Year Without a Summer", and "Poverty Year", and "Eighteen Hundred and Frozen to Death".  Look it up!

According to Wikipedia, the year's weather was due to "an historic low in solar activity", as well as "a succession of major volcanic eruptions" .  There was a string of volcano eruptions that winter, and the eruption of Mount Timbora  (Indonesia) was the largest eruption known in over 1300 years.  (Note: we now have modern technology to monitor and gauge earthquakes and volcanoes throughout the world, in a matter minutes.  Fascinating, isn't it?)

Canada, northeast United States, and parts of Europe were particularly affected by this seasonal anomaly.  Cold weather.  No crops.  Malnutrition.  Epidemic.  Even the Chinese were affected in this year of "No Summer".   Again: Cold weather.  No crops.  Malnutrition.  Epidemic.

So the point I am making is that, yes - this summer has been brutal.  Is it the most brutal in all time of the earth?  I hardly think so.  I'd  venture to guess that Africa probably holds a few sad records of its own.  And, probably WAYyy worse than what we Americans have experienced.  I think we are in shock.  We Americans rarely have harsh natural disasters which affect hundreds/thousands/millions.  We have a grasp of hardship, but...I don't believe Americans have a grasp of the painful reality some areas of the world experience due to their weather and climate changes.  We claim we do, but we don't.       

When I read about The Year Without a Summer, it made me think of the quote: Everything old is new again.  Horrid summer conditions occur.  Sad winter conditions occur.  Sometimes, in both seasons, the conditions are deadly, either immediate, or by means of lack of human needs.  My point this afternoon's not new.  We shall weather this (no pun intended) summer and carry on.

As the World Turns...(literally!) 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Salad Night

No one seemed terribly famished at home tonight.  "No one" refers to that Spouse o' Mine, Graham the College Boy, Gillian the Grad School Grad, and me.

So...dinner is chicken salad (Graham requested Wedding Chicken Salad, and that's what we have), cole slaw, a terrific salad my Mom makes with iceberg lettuce and shrimp (and lots more!), and deviled eggs, thanks to the Indian Runners cavorting outdoors.

We are watching Downton Abbey tonight.  Although I have seen all the current series, others in the household are in the midst, and that's ok: I think this is a BBC series I could watch over and over again.  What a hit!

I am in the late summer doldrums and I hate it.  Hate the heat.  Hate staying inside because of the heat. Hate indoors.  Man!! I would NEVER make a good retiree in Sun City, AZ.  (Sorry, Aunt & Uncle...) 

On an upside, the very early mornings have been cool (read: 5:00 am: 56º), and so I have been up and at 'em.  The College Boy rototilled my garden for me (refer to a past post of The Power of Suggestion) and for that I have been tremendously grateful.  I planted an Autumnal Garden!  Who knows what will transpire.  We never have had such a blistering summer, and so I am anticipating an equally-warm and late autumn.  Who knows?  I planted a new crop of collard greens, lettuce, okra (because mine this hot, hot summer never made), kale (we love it!), and other fun things.

But still?  I am in a late-summer funk.  Hate it.

We're heading back to the mountains next week.  Maybe that will shake the sillies out of me...  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Petrichor (play /ˈpɛtrɨkər/ or /ˈpɛtrɨkɔər/) is the scent of rain on dry earth. The word is constructed from Greek, petra, meaning stone + ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.

All I can say to the above, is Thank you, my God, for the precious rain we received this morning! 

It smelled GOOD!

This is what I saw this morning:
And this:
It was sprinkling when I took these photos.
I did not care!
I spent an hour out in the rain this morning.
Rehydrating, after a too-long summer.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I debated with myself, which subject to write upon this evening:  Chick-Fila, or the Olympics?

I opted for the easier (for me):  the Olympics.

I am a positive soul - a very Positive Polly, if you will.  But I did not watch very much of the NBC Olympic coverage of the games this year.  In part, because I am not interested in a lot of the sports offered for our viewing enjoyment.  Badminton: Nope.  Synchronized Swimming: Nope.  Women's Boxing: Big NOPE.  And it goes on.

I enjoyed Olympic Tennis, Equestrian (Showjumping and Dressage), Cycling, Wrestling, and most of all: Track & Field.

I really disliked that there were so many ads on during the events.  And during Track & Field?  Omigoodness, WHO was in charge of scheduling, may I ask?!  Now, I will admit, we are very big track fans in this household.  When the Men's 10K race came on, we were all in the living room, eyes to the television.  And what happened, NBC?  After about three laps around the track, NBC broke to a commercial(s).  It seemed to me that they never came back to the race, but about 60 seconds?  Yes, it might be all in my head, but really!  A 10K race is full of strategy, and just showing us the first few laps and the last lap and a half doesn't cut it.  I want the WHOLE RACE.  

Additionally, we-who-enjoy-Track&Field were eagerly anticipating last Saturday's 100M run with Usain Bolt.  Hell's Bell's and Little Fishes: NBC did not film it live.  They showed it that evening at 11:00 pm!  (After we all KNEW who had won, and after I had gone to bed anyway.)  BOO!  And according to news reports, the USA (read: NBC) coverage was the ONLY television coverage which opted NOT to show that historic race live.

This afternoon, the last day of Olympic Track & Field, there was to be a terrific race between some amazing, thrilling athletes.  The Men's 5K runners are a group that are beautiful runners, athletes, and seem to embrace all of the Olympic dream.  Well!  Our College Boy, also a distance runner, already had the race up and ready to view online, live from the BBC.  He (and we) were determined to see it live.  It was a fine race!  Afterwards, I walked into the living room to see NBC's olympic coverage of...the Women's ribbon dancing?  (I apologize to those out there who know the name of this gymnastic exercise.  I am sure that if my daughters were involved in this, I would be very excited to have it pre-empt some of the finest, most historic racing in history.)

I heard a piece on the radio this week, which mentioned that NBC perhaps was trying in its coverage to appeal to people who were not athletes, were not followers of a particular sport.  Interesting.  Why appeal to a non-sporting population to watch your athletic coverage?

That would be like some PBS station trying to make their quilting show attractive to deer hunters.  That would be like some gaming station trying to make their games appealing to the Amish.
That would be like some television station trying to make their sports coverage appealing to...non-athletes.

OK.  I have said enough.

Goodbye, London.

And tonight:  Please do enjoy the Perseid Meteor Showers!!

We have friends coming out tonight, to see them in our rural, bucolic, and dark sky.

Power of Suggestion

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, No More:


I awoke early with the zenith that today would be the day I collected daughter Gillian at the the Kansas City Airport.  For her, this would be: Kansas City-Seattle-China-Seattle-Denver-Richmond-Kansas City, all in a summer's season.  What fun!  What fun for her!

And for me...I decided that today would be a stellar day of city life before hitting the airport zone lines.  I would visit the Nelson Atkins Museum, the Plaza, the Zona Rosa, and still get to the airport in time to collect said daughter.  

And I did it! 

The museum was wonderful.  I decided to spend time in an exhibit that I normally zip through (ceramics/porcelain), and I actually learned a few things.  Terms.  Dates.  Styles.  History.

I wanted to lunch at the museum, but the wait was so long, I opted out. On to the Plaza.  I shopped a bit, and headed on to the Zona Rosa.  Lovely day.  I needed this.

From there , I headed to American Airlines, and sat for 20+minutes, awaiting Gillian's arrival.  Instead of the normal "early arrival", her flight was 25 minutes late, and I sat SWELTERING in the car, waiting for her to appear.

Now, tonight, all is well.  Daughter is got, and there are thunderheads in the midst.


Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


It's still hot here in rural Kansas.  The corn isn't quite as high as an elephant's eye, and we can all tip our hats off to the drought for that.  We had a hay man come and cut the grass in our pasture.  He noticed that we no longer have hayburning equines out there, and he stopped me one day on one of my lengthy walks (7.5 miles) down the road.  Sad state of drought affairs, most of what is out in the pasture to bale as hay is only weeds.  And he only managed to eek out 2.5 round bales off the lot.  That's not much weedy hay for all the labor put into making hay while the 100º sun shines.

That Spouse o' Mine just poked his head into the study: bike helmet, sunglasses, and face glowing from freshly-applied sunscreen.  He's off on a group ride, approximately 25 miles.  I exclaimed as I have done every Tuesday this whole summer, I think, "Oh!  It's Tuesday!  I forgot."

I am living in Ruttsville.

It's too hot to do anything (unless you consider having a wedding in the mountains), and my waking hours and daylight hours, and then hot evening hours are all running together like Edvard Munch's The Scream:  

Here are two things - nay, three things which seem to be thriving in Corny-Kansas-in-August:

Datura (Angels' Trumpets)

Tomatoes.  Last week's haul: ~ 100.  That's the work of a Darwinian Garden in a drought:
 And wind.  Windy, wind-wind-wind.  At least we can harness it for our benefit.  
 And there you have it.  A tired soul, fatigued from wind and heat and dust and heat and heat and...

Oh.  I am repeating myself.


Gotta climb out, somehow...


Monday, August 06, 2012


I don't collect things.  Well, I should qualify that - having done battle this afternoon with an army of giant dust bunnies.
I don't actively collect items.  If there is anything in my household which might be construed as a collection, it might be my library of cookbooks.  But I never went out and sought to build a cookbook information center.  It just happened over the course of a few decades.

There is something I appreciate, and enjoy having in my household.  I don't go out in pursuit of linens and beautiful handiwork, but if I find old pieces, tatted, crocheted, and stitched, I love to add them to MY household.  And I use them, too; no tucking away in the dark old linen closet!


Saturday, August 04, 2012

And Then There Were Photos...

I received some really delightful wedding photos this afternoon!

So go back and re-read Wedding Week, Day Seven!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Wedding Day:Wedding Week, Day Seven!!

What a day!  What a fun, fun day!  Yes - there were moments of "Omigoodness", but really: I would not have changed a single thing in our daughter's wedding day.  Not one thing!

The morning commenced thusly:   (And thanks right here to Josh Newman and Bob Webster for the wedding photography!!  (Bob is my brother, and Josh is affianced to my niece Melinda!)

My sisters-inlaw and nieces joined me in the kitchen to begin the reception preparations.  Here's a menu of our celebration:  (If I can possibly recall...)

Hors d'oeuvres:

Artichoke squares
Melon balls
Parmesan puff pastry twists
Sweet peppers stuffed w/ chèvre
Deviled eggs
Tortellini skewers
Strawberries piped with cream cheese
Chorizo, sweet tomatoes and cheddar skewers
Apple chips
Mozzarella/ham pinwheels
I think there were more, but the day escaped me, totally!

Meatballs, Lutheran style

Bread rolls
Chicken salad
Wild rice salad
Watermelon/feta/olive salad
Yogurt Waldorf salad
Melon balls w/ blueberries

The bride and groom seemed pretty relaxed most of the day.  They did not do the traditional "not seeing the bride before the wedding" thing this day, although they did not spend the day together, either.  Claire breakfasted with her sister and girlfriends, and Rich went on a 30-mile bike ride with his cycling buddy.

At noon or so, someone mentioned the Wedding Cake.


Totally off my radar.  A moment of panic.  However, the gold-star Maid of Honor/sister of the bride Gillian, and the College Boy Graham immediately hopped in the car to fetch the cake, over hill and dale, and mountainous Vail Pass.  There were a few phone calls two hours later when they were unable to find the bakery, but all fell in to place eventually, and the cake was got.  Gillian described Graham (the driver) flying back down Vail Pass, curves and descents, althewhile she holding a death grip on the beautiful white wedding cake, decorated with calla lilies.

Some brides get their hair done, have manicures and pedicures, and basically have an "I, Me, My" day before their weddings.  After Bride Claire heard that the cake was on its way to the house, she turned to me, threw up her hands, and announced, "I am going for a run."  Three hours before her walk down the aisle.  I like her way of doing things!

The afternoon clouds set in, as is the daily routine, and the rain came down, and so did the lightning.  And it rained and thundered for most of the afternoon.

We looked at Plan B: moving all things into the house and garage.  Not a problem: Let's go to a wedding!

My Mom & Dad:

 Gillian and me!
 In our family, it was a tradition to pick one's own wedding processional.  My three brothers, my sister and I all had different ones: Beethoven, Bach, Wagner, Vivaldi.    

Claire's wedding music was Grieg's Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, played by the church pianist.  The Groom and Best Man entered at the beginning of the song.  If you listen to the link, you can imagine the Maid of Honor entering the sanctuary at 1:05 in the piece, and finally, the sanctuary doors opened at 1:30, and the Bride and her father walked in at 1:40 in the music.  Withe her tea-length wedding dress and fingertip veil, she looked like something out of an Audrey Hepburn movie.  The church is small, and the talented pianist ended the processional very nicely as soon as Claire arrived at the altar.

A father's special moment:

On the way out:  Ringing the chapel bells:

After a few photographs taken after the wedding service, everyone (65 people?) headed to the house and we executed Plan B, very successfully.  Hors d'oeuvres, dinner, champagne and toasts, cutting the cake, and dancing.
Three siblings:
  Three cousins:
 Handsome men in the family:

Line dancing, all through the house...led by daughter Gillian and son Graham...

Throwing the bouquet...

And then they were gone!
 What a terrific day!
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