Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend Turbulence

Saturday night that Spouse o' Mine and I hit the hay and apparently snoozed peacefully until the 3:00 am storm hit.  It was a riot of lightning and thunder and wind - all things which unsettle me. 

And fast-forward to the next wave of turbulent fun and games which arrived at 5:00 am.  I debated, looking out our bathroom window, whether this was "the time" to awaken the man-who-sleeps-through-all-things-including-tornadoes.  I opted for a prayer instead. 

When I awoke at 7:00 am, I was quite unhappy at my sleepless night.  (Or was I unhappy at that Spouse o' Mine still slumbering peacefully, oh, so peacefully, on the other side of the bed?)   I lumbered into the bathroom and looked out the window:  Something looked different.  There was a lot of green where there used to be not green with a few Adirondack chairs.  Now there was a lot of leafy green, and no chairs to be seen.  What the heck?  This was remindful of a winter's day years ago when I looked out the same bathroom window of a morning, and everything was encased in ice.  And there were HUGE limbs lying in the lawn.  I remember opening the window and hearing the creaking of the ice-laden trees. 

Well, Mother Nature has once again saved us from those age-old Widow-Makers (big old limbs which could come down on your spouse, but for the grace of God.) 

The morning itself was quite spectacular, with cloud rotations and all sorts of lovely nature:

Happily, what I viewed from the bathroom window did not damage our beloved hammock.  The hammock was placed there some twelve years ago, and its rope has been encompassed by twelve years' of tree growth.  Sadly, two of our Adirondack chairs were smited by the winds and consequential limb-fiasco.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Security. Blah.

While at Hilton Head, daughter Claire (who was visiting from Virginia) and I talked her husband into driving us to our favorite (in that we have visited there twice) greenhouse on HHI.  And I must say here, that Rich (my SIL) drives a standard-shift, which for the likes of me I DO NOT UNDERSTAND, my daughter has never bothered to learn how to drive. 

HELLO?!!!  911??!! Or a casual drive to a greenhouse on Hilton Head Island?!

Nevertheless, Rich is a terrific son-in-law.  He puts up with me.  He smiles at me and laughs at my faltering jokes.  And he teaches me fun things that have been in his brain for a few decades (history of the US and the world, global information system information (should I need it), fun political yin-yang, and much more.  He is brilliant and allthewhile, patient with me.

I digress.  We went to our favorite greenhouse last year and daughter Claire bought MANY banana trees, and she and Rich drove home with bikes and banana trees in their car.  Ha ha ha.  Young love.

This year, I spied a whole lavender field's worth of lavender, on CLEARANCE. 


Because last fall I had part of our pasture plowed so that I could commence the planting of my lavender field.  I have spent two years propagating lavender for a small, small field.  And this is my year to do it.  So, add to the ??? many plants I have ready to put in my little garden/field, plus the 38 plants I brought back from HHI, and that makes me a lavender farmer, I think.


I am simply growing lavender fields.  Forever.

And here's a funny:
In addition to the 38 lavender plants I scored on HHI, I purchased three eucalyptus plants.  You know, fom which the Vicks Vapo-Rub folks make their cold stuff.  (I almost made that sentence end with a preposition!)  I wanted to carry-on those three plants, onto the plane.  The TSA website said I could.  I was only carrying my overnight bag, (go back a few posts to read about my packing plan.), and I certainly wanted my carry-ons to be light, and so I took all three eucalyptus plants out of their plastic pots and put all three into three plastic bags.

Well, here's an interesting lesson on carry-on eucalyptus:
Apparently the TSA could not discern what it was that I was carrying onboard, and they pulled me aside.  Ha ha ha ha!!! 

I was ready. 

The TSA man stated that there was something in my bag that they could not identify.    

I said, "Is it three globs of dirt?"

And the TSA guy took a poker-object which also had some sort of "discerning" material around it, (think tiddly-wink made of fine, fine netting), and he probed my carry-on.

Yep.  It WAS three globs of dirt.  Yessiree.

And I was allowed on board my flight.  Which, may I add, was delayed three hours, during which I read Tracy Chevalier's novel The Last Runaway.  I would recommend said novel, either on a delayed flight, or just for a fun read. 

And so, now?

We have 38 lavender plants in temporary planting, and in a week we will commence the "Big Plant".
Happily, we are not farmers who rely on a return for our money.  Happily, we are planting for the beauty of the earth.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Golf, Tennis, and Sea Pines

"The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course."  ~ Billy Graham

While I was at Hilton Head last week, the golf folks began gearing up for the PGA Heritage Golf tournament on the island.  I am not a follower of golf, but it sure was interesting watching all the goings-on all week. 

My Dad played tennis most mornings while I was visiting. There are 16 tennis courts at Sea Pines/Harbor Town.  Well: the tennis folks were in a bit of a twit because the golf folks parked huge television systems, semi-trucks of all things golf, and even Winnebago-like vehicles on half of the tennis courts.  The tennis folks were beginning to  feel like second-class citizens of the sports world.

There is so much security at Sea Pines this year.  We were made to park in a lot miles away from the tennis courts (I accompanied Dad in the mornings, and walked around Harbor Town enjoying the yachts parked in the harbor while he played tennis.)  We had to take a shuttle to the tennis courts, and we were told that shuttles would be running to and from the "tennis lot" (Ha!  Tennis folks even got sent to their own lot!) 

Speaking of security measures, I got to watch a sheriff unload scuba gear for the harbor one morning.  I asked two different security guys why there was so much security - was it because it was the anniversary of the Boston Marathon last year, with its bombs? Both men met my queries with dull stares, and replied that they did not know.  Hmm.  If they DID anticipate something bad, I wanted to know.  I was at last year's Marathon.  I was 1/2 mile away from the finish line and unaware of the bombs.  But I never want to be remotely involved in such a sad day ever again.   (Spectating, post-Marathon)

On the first morning of the Heritage, we were unable to find a shuttle back to our car.  My Dad was getting a little irate (Yes, Dad!  If you are reading this, holding your racket in the air in the middle of the road is seen as irate!) I can't blame him - he had just played over an hour of tennis, and was ready to go home. 

Well, a Food and Beverage truck came by, and my Dad asked him if he could take us to our lot.  The driver looked towards the ground, and I saw what he was saying: something to the effect of You aren't food or beverage, but if you slide in quietly, I will take you to the tennis lot.  Or maybe he just quietly said, "Get in."  Whatever it was he said, I was keen to go, and climbed in, by hands and knees.  My Dad, a little on the reserved side, initially refused to take part in this escapade, but he eventually came to his senses and joined me.  We had a good laugh about it that evening.

Here are some pretty photos of Hilton Head.  No wonder my parents picked this place:

And here is a good video.  No wonder my mother taught her grandkids how to run away from an alligator (Perpendicular to the gator!  Not only did my tykes learn alligator escape, they also learned the math term "perpendicular".  My Mom is a good teacher.)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Packing for a Trip:

As I planned my trip to South Carolina in my head, I thought about comfort logistics.  A beach, some hiking, running, walking, beachcombing.  That would be about it.  I thought about the flight.  Six days on the beach would not require much in the suitcase.  In fact, I thought, why take a suitcase?

And so I did not.  I took a smallish overnight bag and a largish (to me) purse.  I left behind my laptop and my camera: an exercise in experiencing the here and now that we nowdays so often overlook while in pursuit of the perfect photo or news headline.  I took three very small books: Collections of Samuel Coleridge, Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men , (which, until I read this evening's Book Club email, I thought was this month's title.  Apparently we were to read Flowers for Algernon.  Huh.), and my small KJV Bible.  (It fits into a side pocket of my overnight quite nicely. )

I wore a comfy pair of shoes on the plane.  I had running shoes/wardrobe in my overnight, plus a pair of linen capris, a pair of linen pants, three shirts, and my jammies.  Yep.  That's it. 

I keep a perpetually-packed bag in my closet for any rhyme or reason.  Who knows when you will be invited to flit to Tahiti on a moment's notice?  (I have never been to Tahiti, but my brother Bob once gave me six days' notice to fly well into the Arctic Circle with him, a few years ago.)  A scout is always prepared.  In it I keep any essentials for health and beauty: the toiletries, the sunscreen, the aspirin, the tissues, a pair of socks and undies (did I just use a word from back in the 50s?), and so on.  I tossed this in my overnight bag, and...

...And so I went south!  I was one of the few, if not the only one, who deplaned and walked right out into the fresh air without a glance at baggage claim. 

More to come...Hilton Head Island Fun  And Games.

Friday, April 18, 2014


My last post was nine days ago.  Where the heck have I been?!

Well...I went to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  It is an annual haunt of my family's.  It has been for years.  Thirty-two years, in fact, so my mother told me last week.

Really?  Thirty-two years is a long time. I certainly have not been going to HHI for 32 years.  But my parents have.  Once they got us five kids out of the home and on our own, it seems that they had plans, hopes and dreams that did not include us kids.  In fact, I wonder if they snuck off to HHI for several years without any of us kids the wiser. 


I remember our first few trips to HHI, way back when - some 21 years ago.  Three kids, nursery school and stroller-aged.  What fun!  Since then, we have gone to South Carolina many, many times to enjoy the beach and the family ties. Even though it's been tradition for years of springtime and Easter weekends, each year holds its own facet of family life.  There were the toddler years to share with Grandma and Grandpa (who were often off on their own on the beach or the tennis court).  And there were years of us aunts and uncles and cousins meeting up.  Sailboats, geocaching, hiking wildlife refuges, and tennis.  My sister's last trip, terribly bittersweet, with a glorious full moon at high tide, four months before she passed away.  More recently, the college kids and newlyweds (formerly, the toddlers) have returned to camp out on the balcony to sleep to the rhythm of the waves. 

And so it goes.  Just as the tides.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Kansas Wind

So here is my wee little cartoon  describing my five-mile run/walk this morning.  I traipsed around the block - the block being a five-mile section of land.  Most sections are only a straight four miles.  I wonder if someone was tippling a bit when they surveyed our section.

The south wind was dreary and prohibitive today:

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Attention Deficit at Its Best

Last week, before the Fool's Day, I sent an email out to my Wabaunsee Book Club ladies.  It was a challenge: a Mile-a-Day April.  How fun!, I thought.  We could all walk and then run a mile every day in April.  This concept is not my original thinking.  Last year on Facebook, "I heartemoticon  to Run" (Read: I love to Run.) introduced Nike's Mile-a-Day March.

Well. Last year I instigated it with my family.  My family spread throughout the U.S.A.  Some 38-40 of us ran at least one mile each day in March, 2013.  And so my family opted in once again for April, 2014.

I guess I was overly enthusiastic.  I sent that email out to my fellow book club members, and it was met at first with a bit of silence. And then there were a few nibbles on the hook.

WELL.  Eight days into this month, and there are perhaps 1/3 of our Wabaunsee Book Club at least walking at least one mile each day.  (I really think they are walking more than one mile each day, and that makes me happy.)  A couple of members have added some run into their walks, and it is good that they are doing so gradually.

Today I ran/walked 5 miles.  I run till I feel like walking, and then I walk till I feel like running.  Five miles allows for some serious thinking, and praying, and imagination.  This evening's run/walk was pretty brisk, but for the two stops to chat with newborn calves and their mothers, and a stop to play with a Western Worm Snake, and then two more stops to listen to the deafening croaking of the armies of frogs now happily celebrating Spring.  As the title describes: Attention deficit at its best.  It was  a great afternoon.

Here's a painful aside:

I was to meet a fun friend for lunch today.  The last time we were to meet for lunch there was a blizzard, and we both arrived to the luncheon destination late, but yay for cell phones: we both knew the other would be late.  Today I jumped in my car, time was accurate, and I headed into town, 12+ miles, for a fun lunch.

Uh-oh.  That black Mini-Cooper that the neighbor was headed my way.  I was just putting my hand up to wave at my neighbor (whom I don't know at all,, but I wave all the time),  and I see the writing on the hood:


Really?!  Police, and NOT neighbor?!  I was in a mess of trouble, I thought.  Sure enough, the non-Mini-Cooper does a U-Turn on the highway and puts his lights on. 

Sheesh.  (And that's not really the word I was thinking at that moment.  The word I was thinking of did not end in -eesh.)

Nevertheless, I put my hazards on and drove ever-so-slowly to the next point which I thought might be a safe spot.  This was about 1.5 miles from the point where the officer first flashed his lights.  I drove approximately 30 mph for 1.5 miles.

OK!  So! End of story:  I could not come up with a witty answer to Officer Whomever's question of "why was I driving so fast".  (I shall work on that reply for future meetings.)  and I was socked with a fine that is equivalent to half my airline fare to Hilton Head, South Carolina later this week.

What does this teach me? 




Yep, I got the lesson, officer.

Over and out.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Wildcat Grand Prix Homestay!

I've got late night Chicken & Noodles cooking in the kitchen.  It's 8:30 pm.  That Spouse o' Mine just came in to have a shower.  I have yet to get mine, after my 5-mile walk/run.  The eleven or so collegiate cyclists are due on our doorstep in an hour or two.  Or now.  We never really know until they pull into our drive.

This weekend marks our annual rubbing of elbows with the collegiate cycling set, when cyclists from Texas and Minnesota and places inbetween arrive here (here being K-State) for the Wildcat Grand Prix Cycling.  The weekend will bring in over 250 cyclists from all over.  We are housing eleven. 

 Ours is such a relaxed home, it's almost sinful.  (Seriously. Pathetically relaxed.)  But it works for us, and it does for our collegiate houseguests as well.  They can sit in the living room and chat with us, or go upstairs and not chat with us.  I can go to the old living room, alone, and catch up with mags and Wall Street Journals, or we can go outdoors, and invite them to join us in the grotto, or at one of the two picnic tables outside. (Wind-variable, as it IS Kansas, you know.)  They can go out to the hammock to read, followed by Martin the Helper (Kitten of All Good Nature), or they can sit out in one of the Adirondacks and enjoy the Indian Runner ducks. They can hunker down in that Spouse o' Mine's Bike Barn (that-which-makes-me-crazy).

All-in-all, this weekend is fun for us.  I do hope the college kids concur.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Cougars and Other People

A cougar has a vertical leap of 16-18'.  That's tall.  A year or so back, our ranch neighbors were working cattle - i.e., doing vaccines or branding, or whatever would entail putting said cows into a squeeze chute one-by-one.  Maybe they were AIing them.  (Artificially inseminating)  Whatever was going on, one cow came into the chute with large, symmetrical, claw marks down either side of its hide, from front shoulder to back flanks. 

A cougar.  Mountain lion.  Puma.  Whatever.

Seven years ago, there was a youth out running on the country roads, and he was attacked by one of these wildcats.  (And I do not mean K-State.)  He kicked and fought and managed to scare the wildcat away.

Let's get back to vertical leaps.  18' is a long leap straight up into the air.  That cougar can do a lot of catching if he's in the mood for birds or coons or squirrels.

All righty.  How about humans?  Her are a few fun ffact.  (Unless they are media brags.) 

Julius Erving, 6'7", vertical leap: 41."
LeBron James, 6'8", his leap is 44".
Michael Jordan, 6'6", with a leap of 48".

All are very commendable.  Very, very.  I am thrilled this week that I can RUN up my 17 stairs without loss of balance or breath.  Whew!  I moved my office upstairs a month ago, and have made myself get into the habit of running up and down the stairs.  The UP-thing is fine, just fine.  The DOWN-thing is a bit wobbly in balance just now.  Check back in a month or so.

Speaking of months, I challenged my local book club to run a mile a day in April.  I think my challenge was met with some smirking and shrugging and deleting.  But here we are, day three, and some of us are at least walking a mile a day, and I have notes from some who have begun the venture into running. 

That Spouse o' Mine and I were talking last night about running.  As kids, we ALL used to run.  Tag.  Duck, Duck, Goose, or Drop the Handkerchief, and so on.  But then, some people stopped running.  And have never ventured to run again. 

"Knees."  "Hips".   Yep.  I get it.  I have to stretch a lot before and after runs anymore.  I NEVER used to stretch. 

My Dad ran track in college way back when.  And he runs now, at age 80-something.  (a few miles each day, unless he plays tennis instead.)  But he says he did not run, at least regularly, in the "between". 

And so, I see a light leading me to the track. Or trail.  or even a race.  (My Dad ran a 5-k just a few months ago!)

Ok, I digress.  Today I went to the Rec center (K-State) and ran around the track for three miles.  I love watching all the other athletic activities going on, and one in particular made me stop in my tracks, clogging lane traffic ( I know, I know, and I did not care, at all, at all,) - here was a guy, doing a squat or a "sit" on a bench, and then immediately vertically jumping onto what looked like a 36" block. 


Is he part cougar?!  I have no clue at all how he could do this.  I saw it once, and then stopped in my lane tracks to ascertain that  h did that more than once.

And here I was, silly me, thrilled that I run up and down my stairs a million times a day.
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