Friday, December 28, 2007

More Snow in Kansas


Last night, it snowed again. We received four inches on top of what we already had.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Morning!


Click on the photo for a larger view! Merry Christmas, ya'll!
Vj








Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from our house to your house!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pictures from the Winter Storm

Tuesday, December 18, 2007, the ice began. This is out our front window.




And then there was snow, about six inches. This is Illinois Creek Road, on Wednesday, December 19, 2007.


This is the Kraus's hay field...


Then came the snow, beginning at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, December 22, 2007. It was called "almost a blizzard". This is a picture of the road somewhere along Mission Valley Road, northeast of Eskridge, Kansas.







When we got home, my honey measured the snow. At 2:30 pm, we had 7.5 inches of white stuff! And still coming!


This is the tree by our garage. Note: it was still snowing at 6:00 pm.
This is Sunday morning, December 23, 2007. The tree is out by our road.

The following two pictures is the Harvey Road fence line:



This is the restored one-room school house on Old-K10 Highway. The picture was taken on Wednesday last.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

So, you think it's snowing enough for you? How about 8 inches of snow in 3 hours, still coming down at 2 inches an hour and no end in sight. At 11:30, there was a bolt of lightening and a rumble of thunder, all during the blizzard like conditions in Topeka. At noonish, Interstate-70 between Topeka and Manhattan was closed due to the snow... Well, we had an adventure coming home today, in the 2007 blizzard. Ended up in a ditch, not one block from our church in Eskridge. Got out okay, just four-wheelin' it a bit!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Peanut Brittle - oh, yeah!

Well, it is that time of year and my dear husband and I have been trying out peanut brittle recipes and since I can't find my Grandpa Kenny's best peanut brittle recipe anywhere, we used one I found in the ol' recipe box...


The first batch was too thick. Later, I talked with some lady friends and they said to spread the cooked goo with your hands. -- Now, this stuff is 300 plus degrees of hot sugar and peanuts. I think not.

So tonight, I got the bright idea, use a smaller recipe and more than one pan. Well, the candy turned out too thin, it shattered! Teeny, tiny pieces. but it is good. So, next time, I'm going to use just one pan...

So, here is the best recipe so far:


Ingredients:
2 cups of sugar
1 cup light karo syrup (I used yellow 'cause that's all Solomon's Porch had at the time)
1/2 cup water
1 T butter
2 cups of raw peanuts
1 teaspoon soda
slightly less than 1/2 teaspoon of salt

You will also need a heavy 3-4 quart pan with a handle; a long handled metal spoon with a wooden or insulated grip and long enough to avoid splatters; a candy thermometer that works; one metal cookie sheet pans buttered up real nice and heavy; hot pad holders or layers of t-towels to put under the cookie sheet pan; and a couple of hot-pad holders for yerself... just in case.


Directions:
Measure out the soda and salt and place in a small dish, set aside.
Measure the T of butter and set aside.
Measure the peanuts and set aside.

Measure sugar, karo syrup and water into the sauce pan. Cook the candy slowly and when the sugar mixture is melted, add the Tablespoon of butter. When the mixture reaches a temperature of 230 degrees - it will boil, add the 2 cups of raw peanuts and continue stirring. Stir constantly. (This will take a while, but cook slowly and it won't fail!) When the candy thermometer reaches 301-303 degrees, set the pan off the heat. Dump in the soda and salt mixture and quickly blend in. Now, the candy will foam up and this makes it light. pour the mixture on the buttered cookie sheet. Cool.

Now, you can pick up the pan and tilt it back and forth to spread it out. Do not touch the hot candy, it is very, very HOT. Set outside in the cold air to cool for awhile. Then, turn out on the counter (make sure it's clean!) and break into reasonably small pieces. Store in tupperware or zip lock bags.

Okay, that will last about one day. Tomorrow night, make a second batch for your friends. Merry Christmas! vj



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I like redneck jokes. A friend sent this to me. Although I do not think Santa drinks Lite Buds, you might get a kick out of this. My dear husband is from the South. He appreciates this humor:


Twas the night before Christmas

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, AND ALL THROUGH THE SHACK,
NOT A DARN THING WAS A MOVIN', FROM THE FRONT TO THE BACK.

THE KIDS WERE IN BED, WE HAD NINE AT THE TIME,
THE WIFE IN HER CURLERS, WAS LOOKIN' REAL FINE.

A COLD WIND WAS BLOWIN', UP THE HOLLER IT MOANED,
TEN DOGS ON THE PORCH ALL HOWLED AND GROANED.

THE BOYS WERE ALL DREAMIN' OF WEAPONS AND A GUN,
FOR KILLIN' GOD'S CREATURES, THERE'S NO BETTER FUN!

THE GIRLS IN THEIR FEMININE DREAMS WERE ATTUNE,
TO GETTING THOSE GALLONS OF WAL-MART PERFUME.

THE WIFE WANTED JEWELRY, LIKE RINGS WITH BIG ROCKS.
I JUST WANTED MY CHEVY DOWN OFF OF THEM BLOCKS.

THEN OUT IN YARD, SUCH A NOISE DID COMMENCE,
LIKE SOMETHING WAS CAUGHT IN OUR NEW BARB WIRE FENCE.

I RAN TO THE WINDOW, AND SAW PRETTY QUICK,
THE MAN MAKIN' THAT RACKET, WAS GOOD OL' ST. NICK.

YOU MAY THINK OF SANTA IN YOUR OWN MIND'S EYES,
DRESSED IN A RED AND WHITE SUIT, BUT I'VE GOT A SURPRISE.

THAT OLD BOY'S AN ARKIE, FROM UP NEAR MT. GAYLOR,
HE MARRIED HIS COUSIN, AND THEY LIVE IN A TRAILER.

ON CHRISTMAS, OF COURSE, A SLEIGH FOR HIS RIG,
HE HOOKS THE SLEIGH UP TO A RAZORBACK PIG!

HE CLIMBED ON THE ROOF, WITH HIS BAG & EACH GOODY,
HE BACKED DOWN THE FIREPLACE, ALL DIRTY AND SOOTY.

FAT LEGS IN HIS BRITCHES, CHUBBY HANDS IN EACH MITTEN,
I MUST ADMIT FROM THE BACK, HE LOOKED LIKE BILL CLINTON.

THEN OUT IN YARD, SUCH A NOISE DID COMMENCE,
LIKE SOMETHING WAS CAUGHT IN OUR NEW BARB WIRE FENCE.

I RAN TO THE WINDOW, AND SAW PRETTY QUICK,
THE MAN MAKIN' THAT RACKET, WAS GOOD OL' ST. NICK.

YOU MAY THINK OF SANTA IN YOUR OWN MIND'S EYES,
DRESSED IN A RED AND WHITE SUIT, BUT I'VE GOT A SURPRISE.

THAT OLD BOY'S AN ARKIE, FROM UP NEAR MT. GAYLOR,
HE MARRIED HIS COUSIN, AND THEY LIVE IN A TRAILER.

ON CHRISTMAS, OF COURSE, A SLEIGH FOR HIS RIG,
HE HOOKS THE SLEIGH UP TO A RAZORBACK PIG!

HE CLIMBED ON THE ROOF, WITH HIS BAG & EACH GOODY,
HE BACKED DOWN THE FIREPLACE, ALL DIRTY AND SOOTY.

FAT LEGS IN HIS BRITCHES, CHUBBY HANDS IN EACH MITTEN,
I MUST ADMIT FROM THE BACK, HE LOOKED LIKE BILL CLINTON.

HE TURNED TOWARD THE TREE, HIS EYES ALL AGLOW,
HE WAS A BACK WOODS BOY FROM HIS HEAD TO HIS TOE.

HIS NECK WAS A RED ONE, HIS SHIRT SAID "LITE BEER",
HE HAD NO RED HAT ON, BUT HIS CAP READ "JOHN DEERE"

HE LEFT ALL THE PRESENTS, WITH AN AIR OF DELIGHT
THEN IT WAS BACK TO THE CHIMNEY, AND INTO THE NIGHT.

HE RAN INTO THE YARD, THREW HIS BAG IN THE SLEIGH,
THEN HE YELLED AT THE DOGS, "GET THE HECK OUT TH' WAY!"

I RAN OUT TO ASK HIM WHY HE BROUGHT SUCH GOOD CHEER;
BUT INSTEAD HE JUST ASKED ME, "YOU GET YOU A DEER?"

THEN I HEARD HIM EXCLAIM, AS THOSE PIGS TOOK FLIGHT,
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL...I NEED A BUD LITE!"

HE TURNED TOWARD THE TREE, HIS EYES ALL AGLOW,
HE WAS A BACK WOODS BOY FROM HIS HEAD TO HIS TOE.

HIS NECK WAS A RED ONE, HIS SHIRT SAID "LITE BEER",
HE HAD NO RED HAT ON, BUT HIS CAP READ "JOHN DEERE".

HE LEFT ALL THE PRESENTS, WITH AN AIR OF DELIGHT,
THEN IT WAS BACK TO THE CHIMNEY, AND INTO THE NIGHT.

HE RAN INTO THE YARD, THREW HIS BAG IN THE SLEIGH,
THEN HE YELLED AT THE DOGS, "GET THE HECK OUT TH' WAY!"

I RAN OUT TO ASK HIM WHY HE BROUGHT SUCH GOOD CHEER;
BUT INSTEAD HE JUST ASKED ME, "YOU GET YOU A DEER?"

THEN I HEARD HIM EXCLAIM, AS THOSE PIGS TOOK FLIGHT,
"MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL...I NEED A BUD LITE!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beautiful Lake Wabaunsee


Good morning to take a run in the snow! After the 46 degree weather yesterday, there is not much left! vj

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The pine tree I planted in 1996. Note the board I used to prop it up! And it hasn't hit 32 degrees yet!

Across the street!






In our yard!




Poor flower bed!

The above pictures and to the right were taken on Tuesday morning. At 9:15 AM, we lost power, along with 160,000 other folks. As of today, December 14, 2007, we have had no power since Tuesday. However, we have a generator to run the furnace and the 'fridge. Clean clothes. Lots of food. And gasoline to run the generator. God is good! vj




Saturday, December 8, 2007

Where did you spend the day? In a ditch?

It started sleeting this morning about 8:00 and then by 9:15, it was a sheet of ice - black ice in Topeka. However, we got home OK and stopped in Dover at the new little cafe there: Summerset Cafe. Great food. Homey atmosphere. The pie lady must be around 80 and she gets up every day and bakes at least four to five pies. The cherry is to die for!

Friday, December 7, 2007

When my daughter was just a little girl, 3 1/2 years old, we went to White Lakes Mall in Topeka, Kansas for some Christmas shopping. In 1977, the mall was a popular place and at Christmastime, vendors were in the mall selling foods and trinkets. It was quite crowded and full of spirited people in a Major Shopping Mode.

Of course, Santa Claus was there. His throne and all his regalia was set up on the south end of the mall and they were taking the traditional pictures of children on Santa's lap. I didn't have the extra money for pictures and wanted to wait for my little girl to visit Santa. My little girl was quite upset with me and cried.


We walked through the Christmas Season crowds and went into a store at the other end of the mall, which was about a quarter mile from Santa's location. We had been in the store for some time and when I turned around, she was gone...

She was gone from sight! Not in the store, not outside the store, not anywhere. Of course, during those days, there were not too many child-napping folks, but it did cross my mind and I ran down the mall, hollering her name.

My daughter was all of 2 and a half foot tall at that time. She was (and still is) a little princess: tall, long pale blond hair and blue-green eyes. She had taken off on her own, ran down the promenade, had gotten in line and was waiting to see Santa Claus.

When I got there, I waited in line with her until she got on Santa's lap. My dear sweet daughter, in her little red snow suit, froze up and wouldn't talk to him! Eventually, Santa got her to whisper in his ear.

After she was off Santa's lap and in my arms, Santa leaned over and said to me: "All she asked for Christmas was a Strawberry Cake." That Christmas, my little girl received a Strawberry Cake for Christmas and for several years after that, I baked a Strawberry Cake for Christmas as a desert- with white frosting.

Eventually, I started making Strawberry Cakes for her birthday. I also had Strawberry cake for the wedding cake when my dear husband and I got married. That is what I did for for years on every special occasion - regardless of the reason, I make strawberry cakes.

Hence, the significance of the strawberry cake is in our lives -- a remembrance of her and how special she is, and the run down White Lakes Mall!


Whitelakes Mall, Topeka, Kansas

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How beautiful the fall; How glorious His work of art.

The weather today was an unbelievable 60 degrees. I raked the leaves and cleaned my flower garden, then hauled the leaves via the back roads through the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills to Alma, Kansas. The drive was wonderful. The corn fields lay empty, stubble of stalks standing in rows. The foliage from the trees absent and the hills were pale brown and off-white in the afternoon sun. Shadows in the late afternoon of this winter day, were long. I drove with the windows down, the dust from the gravel road I was taking kicked up white clouds as the leaves flew from the truck bed. Our annual trek to the burn pit, but I took it alone today. Christmas carols played on the radio station seemed foreign with the clear blue sky and warm weather. Christ didn't care about the weather when He came so long ago!

The above picture was actually taken in October 2004 in Terre Haute, Indiana on my too infrequent fall visit. Hopefully, next year I will get to go! As always, vj

Monday, December 3, 2007

I have a great respect for teachers and para-professionals who work with special education children. I, for one, appreciate it more, now, than I did last week. I worked in special education with two different levels of abilities today. One certainly needs a special calling for assisting and teaching low-functioning children.

I actually think I am more a book-person and will need to keep to librarian work. I have a job interview next week as a part-time processing person at the Pot-Wab Library in Saint Marys, Kansas. While I enjoy the reader program at the local school, I do not think I am special ed teacher material. I trust God will measure my steps as we walk through the next few weeks and months.
As ever, vj

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Merry Christmas!

MDH and I spent Saturday afternoon at the Rescue Mission in Topeka, Kansas, with the youth leaders and a dozen youngsters. We decorated the adult section of the Rescue Mission putting up four nice little trees, decorating one huge 12 foot tree and hanging giant candy canes from the ceiling of the dining room.


On Christmas Day, December 25, 2007, over 500 meals will be served to those who are less fortunate. Each of those people, little ones and big ones, will leave with wrapped, new Christmas presents. Lest you think this is an easy slide, remember... many of those people eat only one meal a day (at the rescue center), have no home and/or have no job and transient, have medical bills that they cannot pay due to either no insurance or just simply not enough money to cover the charges, are in the process of a move to, hopefully, a better home with a job opportunity.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. vj


Friday, November 30, 2007

Could this be Kansas?


Well, this speaks for itself.


This week, I have seen a number of hunters in their bright orange outfits, some in camos, driving trucks and heading for the woods. Of course, deer season always starts on our anniversary and, this year, it will again. However, my dear husband (MDH), who was offered hunting trips by several of his buddies, will not be shooting Bambi this year. Well, that's okay by me.

The first year we lived in Wabaunsee County, he brought home a six point buck. It was the first time in YEARS that he had been hunting and got the deer on the first day!

After the deer was field dressed, MDH strung the head and hide up in the tree -- in our front yard. Now, how redneck is that? MDH didn't want it in the garage, but he wanted the antlers and the hide.

Did you know that nylon ropes s t r e t c h ? After about a week, we heard growling and fighting going in the middle of the night. The next morning, there were hunks of hide and tuffs of fur all over the yard and the hide was shredded. The head and antlers were still in tact, but the hide... Well, coyotes had their fill! Needless to say, us city folks cut down carcass and properly disposed of it after removing the antlers.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Professional fo-tog-er-fur

Well, I had one of my photographs published in the Wabaunsee County Historical Society newsletter for the Fourth Quarter 2007! I took the above picture approximately two years ago. This is the Wiser Barn, north of Allen, Kansas in Lyon County Kansas and Highway 56. About one year ago, we had a violent storm and some additional damage was done to the southwest corner of the barn. I understand that several years ago, the owners (Copelands) had extensive work done on the barn at a great expense, then a tornado stuck and damaged the SW corner. This picture was used to promote the Kansas Barn Alliance, formed in January 2006 as a non-profit tax-exempt organization, to preserve the history and architecture of Kansas barns.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Okay, I am a nice person. However, I like to mess around with little programs and make computer dolls and stuff. This is from meez.com. My "person" 's name is Rosamond, after my favorite artist from Lawrence Kansas who made it big in the late 70s and 80s. Rosamond is a watercolor artist who used negative-space in a wonderful way. She drowned in a tragic accident in 1994 in the Pacific Ocean. Such a loss. I current have two of her pieces hanging in my home. Although they are not originals (I wish), they are beautiful and represent my thoughts about myself. Check out her stuff on eBay sometime or just search the internet. She did a lot of self-portaits and of her son... VJ

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jail House Rock!

... well, not quite! Today, a friend and I went to Wamego and lunched at the Friendly Cooker, which is downtown. We walked the shopping district; stopped at Duckwalls where I picked up some items for the church Advent Celebration beginning December 2; and then headed home. Before we left town, we drove through the park because my friend had never seen the grist mill - a one-hundred year old windmill where wheat and corn is still ground. The museum in the park was also open and we plunked down $4.00 and received a grand tour from Mr. Gene P. His wife, Jean, also worked at the museum. We toured the old White Chapel School House, a Mercantile, the old jail (see above), and an old wooden homestead that was lived in until 1950 (?!!) and one other building that housed old-time telephone equipment. Most of all, Mrs. Jean P. gave us a tour of the main museum where they had displayed many, many old quilts and a fantastic collection of antique dolls. There was one doll I had only seen in the Theriault's Auction Catalogue -- with three faces! I actually held her. There are not too many museums that let you do that!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Woes

Mmmm... The only disadvantage to having someone else prepare dinner for you and wait on you hand and foot at their house is... no leftovers.

We traveled to my daughter and son-in-law's house for the Thanksgiving Holidays. This is the turkey she made. It was wonderful... I had considered asking her to send leftovers home with us, but I know we would have gobbled 'em up before we got back to Kansas.

The traffic on Saturday between St. Louis and Kansas City was really wild! As in Missouri fans were caravaning with their little tiger tails a-waggin' all the way to KC. Groan. I am just glad that we didn't have to wait in line at the Arrowhead Stadium like all those folks did. The trip was worthwhile. Mizzu won. Darn it.

All in all, we traveled a thousand miles for a great meal and homecoming. I am just thankful that our daughter enjoys our company and allows us to visit. That makes growing older worthwhile.

The road to a friend's house is never long.

I am thankful we are their friends. vj

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway.

This picture was taken at the "Goin' to the Sun" highway at Glacier National Park in August 2007. Pretty scenery, huh?

Well, sometime the scenery is not too good and the highway is sort of rough. This morning, however, the scenery out my front door (of the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills) was absolutely beautiful. A heavy frost covered the evergreen trees across the road; a white icy coating on the blades of grass in the front yard; colorful leaves piled up around the corners of the house. The house is toasty warm, it is 25 degrees outside and the sun was shining brightly in the blue canopy above us. God is in his heaven and God is good.

The road, however, is bumpy and the times are trying. I miss being a young mother, I miss seeing my daughter more than just on holidays... a fact of old age and children growing up -- ; I miss my grandparents who were so much a part of my life in my younger years - supporting me, caring for me. My brother is in my life and I rejoice; so is my dad. God is good and He is always near. Even if I don't feel like it.

Take care and God bless. vj

Friday, November 23, 2007

Holiday Traffic

We arrived! Wednesday night at 11:30 EST, in Terre Haute, Indiana. And it snowed or sleeted most of the way. You talk about bumper to bumper traffic, it was a moving parking lot on I-70 from west of Kansas City through Saint Louis. It took an hour to get through old' KC, but Saint Louis was a breeze compared to KC.

We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my daughter and her husband. Turkey, dressing, traditional comfort foods. Today, Friday, we are staying away from the shopping malls and all those shopping spree places. I think will we go out for lunch, though, at some little cafe or deli. Hmmm...

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Take care and God bless. vj

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's what?

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is cold. It is wet. It is sleeting and it is windy. Well, it is November!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Construction on HWY 31

Congratulations to the Kansas Department of Transportation on another construction zone in Wabaunsee County! Highway 31 was closed, one mile east of Harveyville, Kansas. Of course, the detour is about 25 miles out of the way - to get to Burlingame - unless you want to take a one-lane gravel road going over a one-lane bridge over the turnpike. Since it is dry, it was dusty and at least one was able to tell when someone was speeding toward you... on the one-lane gravel county road. Thank you KDOT! another day on the Kansas Highway System. --

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kansas Native American History Week

This afternoon I had the pleasure to work with the librarians at the Eskridge Branch Library in Eskridge, Kansas. The second grade children from Mission Valley Elementary School, their teachers and assistants visited the library and were treated to a special afternoon of story-time about Native American History as well as listening to a local Native American Drum Artist, Susan Skyes, play her drum.

Ms. Skyes of Auburn, Kansas is a skilled orator on the history of the Native American Tradition as well as a talented artist. A member of the group, Folk Medicine Jamboree, Ms. Skyes brought her musical talent, teaching the children simple Native American greeting songs as well as letting each child take turns playing her drum.

The drum is constructed from pine, painted black and stenciled with 29 different phases of the moon . The drum is covered with Buffalo hide on either side (about the size and appearance of a bass drum) and laced together with strips of Buffalo hide. It has a variety of deep, beautiful tones, depending on where on the surface one strikes. It can be played by either hand or by padded drum sticks -- not the kind you see in a music store!

Mr. Alan Willes of Jackson Hole, Wyoming made the drum for Ms. Sykes in the Hopi drum making tradition. Sacred Mountain Drums is the web site. Please click on the drum and you will be taken to his web site for various drum designs!

Beside the musical group, Ms. Skyes also teaches healing drum classes as well as leading a women's drum circle in the Alma, Kansas area. For more information on the Folk Medicine Jamboree or either the drum class or drum circle, you may contact Ms. Skyes at moondrummer22@yahoo.com.

'nuf said. vj

Ride em' Cowboy!



May your horse never stumble
May your cinch never break
May your belly never grumble
Nor your heart ever ache.


A sign seen in Malta, Montana at the "Hitchin' Post" cafe.

vj

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday News

We finished up the west side of the porch, primed the siding and cleaned up. One more coat of finish paint to match the side of the house and we are done. Painted the north end of the house, then I drove Maisie Devore around Lake Wabaunsee and we picked up all kinds of aluminum cans for the Maisie DeVore Community Pool. (check out the link by clicking on the name. ) Our biggest haul was a the North Shore Steak House -- at the bar. Two trash sacks! Yahoo. We took them to her house and she said that she would crush them tonight!

Maisie also plays the piano at the
Eskridge Baptist Church, drives a country route to pick up cans, and accepts donations for the pool...




(click here)

Thursday, November 8, 2007



Tri-folded flag. Today I attended a funeral and the Big Red "1" conducted a military 21-gun salute. Taps was played. They also folded the United States Flag, in silence and respect for our friend. 13 folds, one for each of the original 13 states. We were told that the seven soldiers (6 men and one lady) had just returned from Iraq last week. They all looked so young and so serious. I was proud to watch them in this solemn ceremony as well as rejoicing for their safe return. They are so very young, I just wanted to run up and hug them all and take them home for cookies and milk. But, they were doing what was required of them today.
Later, when the ceremony was over and they were out of uniform, the young men and woman cut up and had a good time. They are someone's sons and daughter. They are our sons and daughter, too. God bless them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

If you could see me now, that little gang of mine!


Take that, you dirty rat!
Cassinova finally gets fed up...

Working on the porch

My brother and my dear husband as they work on the porch. This was a couple of weeks ago. Today, I primed the inside walls of the porch. If the weather is good, we will finish up this weekend and then put in a door. The rest goes up next spring.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oh, what a forecast!

Who brought on all this cold weather? Sunday we worked outside in shirtsleeves and today, the high was 50 degrees. My dear husband told me this evening that it is suppose to snow next week. Now, imagine that, snow in November? Ha, I remember a snow day on October 16, 1996 where it snowed a foot and our future son-in-law, from Canada, was visiting. Called his folks; it was 70 degrees up north.


This picture was taken in 2005 on the shores of beautiful Lake Wabaunsee, in the Kansas Flint Hills. Yes, it was very cold that day!





Sunday, November 4, 2007

How did you spend your vacation?

Oh, yes. This is what happens when you have a little breakdown. The bike follows you around Beartooth Pass on your rear bumper. Thanks to a lovely couple who agreed to drive the "support vehicle", we had a safe drive over the perilous road. Top speed? 20 miles an hour.

Thanks to "Hal" R, a dealer rep with HD, he called on our behalf to Billings Montana Shop and we were back on the road the next day...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

PPS Files

Yes! I did it! I produced my first Power Point Presentation and it turned out pretty good. Now I am fine tuning it! More to come later... :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Too Many Books...

Today I spent several hours working at the Alma, Kansas Branch Library. Yes, I have a real job since the day I retired; actually, I was hired on the same day that I retired from "the other job" as a substitute librarian for the Eskridge and Alma Branch Libraries, which are part of the Pottawatomie-Wabaunsee Regional Library. Check out the link!

Libraries have been a part of my life since I can remember. A perpetual book worm - I love books, love browsing book shelves, and reading. I hope someday to find one of my own books on a shelf. Since retirement, I really don't want to buy books. But you know, we have a fabulous library system in Wabaunsee County and a book-loan system where you can get just about any book. So... if you didn't get your library card during "Sign up at your Library Month" -September-, it is never too late to get a card.

Oh, yes. A bit of trivia I learned today from the head librarian in Alma, JM. Wabaunsee means "Dawn of Day". Pretty cool, huh!

Have a great day! vj


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Keeping young

I am a substitute teacher's aide at the local school, Mission Valley. Today was the first day I assisted in the kindergarten and first grade rooms. It was quite an experience as my only child is more than 3 decades in age and I, just tottering below of the eligibility of Social Security, wondered at the knowledge these young people have. The favorite class of the 1st Graders? Computer Art. I am jealous! I wanna play too!

However, I loved the children and I think they had a grand time with me, especially those that know me from church activities. One kindergartener said something that really shocked me, but after I got over what was said - I chose to ignore the remark - the youngster then went about his normal behavior. Gosh, where does that stuff come from? TV?


I got lots of hugs, too, and that was wonderful. AND I was drafted to help with the reading program on Friday afternoons. Sounds like I will be busy, with that and the subbing for the library and teacher aide's. Hmmm...


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Helloooooooooo

I've always wondered about Hell. Maybe it will be something like this, but only perpetually burning...


This picture was taken during the spring burn of the Kansas Flint Hills, north of Eskridge, Kansas on Old Military Trail Road. Spooky, huh?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Saint Mary's

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. Henry Ward Beecher.

My friend and I traveled to Saint Mary's Kansas, where my grandparents (both sets) lived. We shopped downtown in the little business and had chia tea in a bookstore. This was after we were given a personal tour of the Historical Museum and the Indian Pay Station. Pretty cool place.

Special thanks to the lady, LR, who gave us the tour. She lived next door to my grandparents when they first moved to Kansas. Her husband and family originated in Saint Mary's. She was from -- Los Angles. Talk about culture shock. We reminisced about my grandmother, the first house she lived in when she and her husband moved to Kansas - which was in the old McCoy house east of the grandfolks' house, as well as stories about several of the local businesses. We had such a great time and I hope to write a thank you note tomorrow.

As a child, I spent many summers with my Grandmother Muriel, a school teacher and lover of grandchildren. Many of the stores were gone, but I remember them as though it were yesterday: Grockle's IGA, Miller's Department Store, Jim's Pharmacy, and many other places where we (my brother and I) were allowed to walk -- downtown!

I did stop by to see my dad, who lives in their house now. He is 78 and was outside polishing his new car. I will see him next Saturday at the THD in Topeka.

vj

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quilts Again!

A friend and I drove to Holton Kansas to see a quilt exhibit at the Roebke Memorial Museum. The theme: Millennium Madness, a Contemporary Quilt Display. All the quilts were made after 2000; the youngest quilter was 8 years old and she did a lovely job! The oldest, 90.

Also, there were four special quilts before 1880. I recognized one of the quilts as the "Buck's Grove Quilt", brought by the Buck family from back east when they settled east of Holton, Kansas. My paternal grandparents (Grandfather Kenny) and his three brothers were born and reared near Buck's Grove. The quilt was very fine and was a signature quilt, probably of all the friends left behind when they migrated west.

Later, we took a windshield tour of Holton, as I had not been in the town for 35 years. It has it's finer points, beautiful old Victorian homes that are well kept and muched loved. And then the "poorer" section, I suppose like most communities. Small towns in Kansas are dying or, in the case of Holton, booming because of all the gambling places on the nearby reservations.

It was a perfectly beautiful autumn day. Warm sunshine, colorful displays of fall leaves, the smell of wood in fire places. Ah, Kansas. vj