Friday, December 30, 2005

This N' That


I received an email this morning from my cousin in Colorado. She read my post about eating at the Cheeseburger In Paradise in Kansas City. She sent this picture of her beautiful daughters at the same restaurant in Maui. Now, that would be a good burger!

She didn't say, but I wonder if this is the original restaurant. We definitely think of Hawaii when we see "Paradise."

As I mentioned, I have been home this week and am a cleaning maniac--especially here in the computer room. In the process I have been going through old Christmas things. I came across an article entitled, At Christmas, we all see the light differently, by Craig Wilson. My clever friend, Kathy, in Wichita sent it to me last year because she knew I would love it. I kept it all this time and even now am posting it after the fact. I typed it in an earlier post so just click on the name. If you are still enjoying Holiday decorations, as I am, it will make you laugh.

I am a white light person--after reading this, I hardly want to admit it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cheeseburger Paradise

Since I am taking the week off work, we decided to treat ourselves to a different restaurant. Dan wanted to get a couple of items at Cabela's in Kansas City so we ate at the Cheeseburger Paradise. (They have a great web site).

In the past when we have tried to eat there, the wait was prohibitive. Last night was no exception. So, I sat down at the bar to wait while Dan ran over to Cabela's. Nebraska vs Michigan was on television, but I was entertained by the bartender mixing up the exotic beach type drinks. They had live music Jimmy Buffet style.

We ended up just staying at the bar and eating our meal. Dan had one of their specialty cheeseburgers and I had "n'awlins BBQed Shrimp" as well as their sweet potato chips. They have a rather limited menu but our choices were delicious and served quickly. It was rather loud. Don't go there for intimate dining, but I felt like we had been to a party which was a fun evening.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas 1/2 price

This evening we had to run to the grocery store in Lawrence. I spent time looking at the Christmas items that were marked 1/2 price. I am not one to turn my back on a bargain so the prospect of saving money was a reason to accompany Dan in the first place.

As I was looking at wrapping paper, napkins, decorating accessories, I began to feel sad. I had a melancholy feeling all day anyway and seeing the colorful items that would have to be put in a box for a year reminded me again that the excitement of Christmas with our family and friends was over. Soon the bright lights and beautiful (in its own way) tree would be taken down and, in the case of the tree, burned.

I did buy some wrapping paper with moose on it for my oldest grandson and briefly thought about how he would look a year from now when he opened his gift wrapped in that paper. He was so cute this year because he can't contain his excitement. We look to the oldest for change because we know the two younger boys will follow his lead. Little Carly, our youngest girl, will march to her own drummer.

I am not taking down my decorations for a few more days. Maybe I'll even leave them up for New Years Eve. I love everything about Christmas (even delivering the Christmas cards) and will look forward even as I begin the process of putting away.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas


Christmas is a time of celebration and love.
May the spirit of the birthday of Jesus
continue through the new year.

Friday, December 23, 2005

2nd Annual Route 2 Bakeoff

This contest is only known between you and me. I certainly don't tell the thoughtful customers on my route that I am critiquing their food. However, I must once again announce the top entries and the winner--as of today. I say that because last year's winner has not come through. I even asked him about a month ago if he was going to do any baking. He didn't promise me anything, but I did tell him his cookies were the best.

Once again, Kathy was in the first week of December. She brings those cinnamon rolls in the post office warm. They are wonderful and since they are the first, we make short work of them.

Jeanne and Nancy's plate looked very good, when they brought it into the post office but for some reason it disappeared before I hardly had a chance to sample. (I suspect the postmaster)

John's peanut brittle was delicious again this year, but I have to compare to my friend Sue's, and it just doesn't crack up. Sue is also a rural carrier, but not on my route so she can't be in the contest.

Sandy, where are you and your fabulous apple bread? I am going to ask the next time I see her if she brought it in. Maybe we have a mouse.

Geneva brought in her little cookies made with butter and squeezed out of some kind of gadget. They are melt in your mouth good. She also makes cookies that look like lacy waffles. She should get the gourmet award.

John made his muffins and left them in his grill (so their dog wouldn't get them) yesterday. I ate one and couldn't believe how good they are. They went directly into the freezer for Christmas morning. (He didn't bring them into the post office so they are all mine, right?)

We had a new entry this year. Judy made cinnamon rolls. Without a doubt they were made with her kneading the dough. I know this because they weren't hot when she brought them in and they were still delicious. Alright, honestly, I brought a couple of these home with me.

A new entry is the winner this year. I will describe it and probably everyone but me will know the name. It is made with rich and tender bread and a filling is spread on one side. (Linda used some kind of cream cheese melt in the mouth stuff.) Then it is folded in half. I actually think it is a German bread. Anyway, Linda's bread was unique and delicious... and because of Dale's default, the winner!

Merry Christmas, Mom



Tonight was Mom's Christmas party at her new home at Chapman Valley Manor. It was fun. Everyone brought goodies and snacks and either ate in the rooms or circulated around to visit other friends who are there. Santa came with candy canes and a gift.

Mom looked pretty tonight. She had a good time.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tomatoes by Christmas


Last summer Dan started a hanging tomato. We thought this was a unique idea and perhaps one that would produce vine ripe tomatoes at Christmas.

We brought the plant in to the sunroom from the deck and then downstairs with a growlight. My plan is to have bacon and tomato sandwiches when the family is here for Christmas.

It's just a small miracle.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Poinsettia revisited

Christmas has become a little stressful, so I turned the lights off except for the decorations and enjoyed a cup of hot tea and one more piece of Sue's peanut brittle. While relaxing in my chair, I noticed the poinsettia's "blooms" were perfect for Christmas.

This was my poinsettia plant from last year. I kept it healthy until summer and then repotted and set it where it received full sunlight until about 1:00. This fall I brought it into the sunroom and left it alone. It received the natural day and night cycle. It has been fun watching the top leave emerge red. I didn't buy a poinsettia this year--I already had one.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunday Snow Discoveries


Glad I don't have to work today.










Kansas Red Cedar are as pretty as Colorado pines






Cold drink, anyone?





This is me by a very interesting bridge over the Wakarusa River. I will research and write about it next year.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A bear in Kansas?

I had to work today in another snowstorm. The temperature hovered in the mid twenties so this snow had more moisture and the roads were a bit slicker. It was a beautiful snow most of the day.

Well, OK, this isn't a bear. It is a Great Pyrenees dog. However, I did find a web site that mentioned this breed resembles a white bear. He was loving the snow--I think he was dressed for it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Boys will be boys


I saw these two macho bulls playing games in the field as I went by on the route today.













When I turned the corner and could see behind the trees I found that...

Girls will be girls

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Music

The roads are clear so I am back in my truck and a radio. I started to listen to my usual sports talk radio, then decided to find an all Christmas music station to be festive. I found the local easy listening station was doing just that.

The station advertises itself as 70s, 80s and 90s music, so I began listening for the different renditions of well knowns songs. I heard the Hallelujah Chorus blended with a pop song, long time favorites set to jazz and, the most disturbing, changing the words to the traditional Christian songs.

Don't misunderstand, I do like the popular renditions and styles but I wonder if music companies are pushing every artist to make a Christmas album and then that artist feels the need to put their signature style on it. Maybe I am overreaching. It could be I should throw in some sports talk every hour for a break from Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire overload.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mail route passenger

The snow storm last week caught every creature off guard. Obviously, this sparrow thought my mail car looked warm and dry.

I had parked the car to unload after the route and in the process left the door open. When I came back out, I had this little passenger looking out the window at me.

Birds are not a herding animal. Getting them to fly out of an enclosed space is a challenge. When I opened a door, it would fly to the other side. It ended up I had every door, plus the hatch, open before that bird would exit. This picture makes him look pretty content--I will say that was not the case. It was bashing into everything.

He did finally escape and fly off. Probably my car was the warmest place he had been all day.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas tree makeover


This was our Christmas tree last Friday morning. It actually was quite beautiful with the snow. It also was quite frozen!

This is the same tree Saturday night. If you click on the picture you will see Christmas tree balls that have a beautiful crochet covering--sort of like an old fashioned doily. A customer on my mail route made these for me one Christmas. I have wonderful people on my route.

At Christmas, we all see the light differently

During these times, when it seems the whole world is divided into hundreds of warring factions, each battling to get its own voice heard, I hesitate to bring up yet another divisive issue. But I will.

Are you a multicolored-light person or an all-white-light person?

Like politics and religion, it's a topic best not brought up in polite company. But sometimes you've just got to take a stand. Otherwise, the Martha Stewarts of the world will take over and well, you know what happens then. Lawyers have to be call in.

This fall I ran into an old friend who went from grade school through high school with me, and seeing that we hadn't seen each other in about 35 years, we immediately began talking about Christmas tree lights. Obviously, this had been on our minds for decades.

Larry, a minister in western New York who survived what seemed like 147 years of Methodist Youth Fellowship with me, confessed that he is a multicolored-light guy.

I was relieved to hear this, because I kind of like him and, well, if he'd said he was a white-light kind of guy, I'm not quite sure how I'd have reacted. It would be like him telling me he had become a yogi and levitated daily. As we all know, Methodists don't levitate. I mean, they hardly even dance.

He then confessed that he's in a mixed marriage. His wife, Brenda, is a white-light woman. Sadder still, they have children. I see years of therapy in their future.

I didn't ask him whether he knew this unsettling fact about his wife before he married her. I can only assume he did not. He is a man who has dedicated his life to spreading The Truth and there's nothing truthful about a Christmas tree with all-white lights. I' m sure Larry looks upon them, as I do, as nothing but white lies.

he wrote about our conversation in his church newsletter this month, reiterating that there are certain important issues over which you have to draw the line.

"For instance, everybody knows that candy canes are supposed to be red and white," he writes. "Last year I saw some that had orange, yellow and green stripes. Here I make my stand. Is nothing sacred?"

Excellent question. But let's leave the candy cane issue for another day.

I'm more interested in trying to figure out what the white-light people are thinking. That Christmas is supposed to be monochromatic? Tasteful? That everything is supposed to be matching?

Don't they know Christmas is supposed to be a cacophony of color and sound? A celebration instead of sedation? Madcap instead of Martha?

My neighbor, Patti, a nice woman although a bit of a showoff, always has two Christmas trees. One is in the upstairs living room window. The other is downstairs in the dining room.

The upstairs tree has multicolored lights. The downstairs one has all white lights. I've never asked her what's going on there.

Talk about a cry for help.

Craig Wilson for USA Today 2004

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Fun weekend

It’s been a hectic weekend.  There is nothing like entertaining to get things done.  We cleaned house, put up decorations and cooked.  Today 17 of the post office employees and their families came for a homemade lasagna dinner.  We pride ourselves in good food down at the Berryton PO and today we outdid ourselves.  LaWanna made the lasagna and the postmaster’s son made soup. I furnished the salad & breadsticks.  We always have fun even though we work together every day.  That speaks well for our supervisor and really the rest of us, too.

I took some pictures of our Christmas tree, but I cannot get blogger to publish.  So, check me out tomorrow night and hopefully, I will be able to show you how a red cedar looks all dress up.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Beauty in being unique


Snow has a way of defining the ordinary and making it beautiful and also making out of the ordinary stand out.

I pass by this tree each day on the route. I have never noticed the odd way it is growing until today when the snow defined its Siamese twins.

The person who owns the tree is a retired landscape architect. Perhaps his plan all along was a tree that had beauty in its uniqueness.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pictures of my day


This tree has weathered many a storm
Picture by Linda

Sweetness Nova saw me through an all day snow storm--so far six inches--more to come.
Picture by Linda

Looks like some turkeys escaped Thanksgiving
Picture by Linda

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Rhythm on the back beat

I try not to have many bad days. I like my job, the people I work with, and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in eastern Kansas while delivering the mail. However, once in a while there is a day where my rhythm is on the back beat. Here is how the day went:

Truck tires appeared a bit low and due to my paranoia about flat tires when it is frigid cold , I checked all of them. Due to checking and adding air where needed, I was 15 minutes late to work.

Could not find the truck keys when ready to load mail. 10 minutes

Two customers caught me at boxes with questions 10 minutes

Flagged a customer’s mail indicating they had a parcel which I finally located under other parcels 10 minutes

Truck started running “funny” and all the gauges dropped to zero, suspect alternator and a complete stall. Take off like a bat out of @#$# for home. Load Sweetness Nova and return to route. At least 30 minutes

Could not find a working ink pen anywhere in the backup vehicle. Finally, rummaged around in my purse and came up with one that sort of worked

Remembered I left my post office keys in the disabled truck. Dialed the postmaster to make arrangements and…

Discovered my cell phone battery was dead

Charlie was a friend of mine and is my rural carrier guardian angel. After carrying the route I have now for many years, he retired and later died. It seems almost without fail, when I have a day like this, everything seems to work out.

Thank you, Charlie.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Indian statue


On a hill three miles south of Junction City stands The Indian, a statue unveiled around July 4th, 1920. At the present time, unless its whereabouts is known, it would not be visible.

As a kid, our family would travel the Skiddy Road to visit my cousins. We would go by the statue each time and I would always beg Dad to stop and let me climb the hill to look. Even as a kid, I sensed this was a special place.

Yesterday we had an occasion to be in Junction City. Dan had business so I had time to spend at the Geary County Historical Society. The first person I met knew exactly where to find information on the Indian Statue.

Before writing about the statue, or the colorful person who commissioned it, I will tell a brief history of its location. “The Point,” as it was called, has a magnificent view the two valleys, the Smoky Hill from the south and the Republican from the north merging to form the Kansas River. Directly below this hill was the buffalo Indian trail which ran westward to the Smoky Hills & then southward to the Santa Fe trail. The trail was used by the Kaw, Pottawatomie, Pawnee, Wichita and other Kansas tribes as the direct trail to the buffalo plains.

The hill itself was thought to be a ceremonial mound. When the hole was dug to set the statue, the skeleton and ornaments of a chieftain thought to be the aboriginal Black Pawnees or Harahey as Coronado called them. The charred remains of an ancient stake were found on this rock with great deposits of charred human bones. It was not known if the Harahey burned their captives as sacrifices or torture. The information at the Historical Society indicated Coronado might have actually came to this spot and it was here that he learned the bitter truth of the myth of the cities of gold from the great chief Tattarex of the Harahey tribe.



Why was this historical spot chosen for a statue?

There is a statement in the information I acquired from the Geary County Historical Society that the story surrounding the family, land, and statue is one that novalist Faulkner might have told covering centuries with only the land remaining constant.

How the statue came to be begins when a young solder named Robert Henderson, an Irish immigrant, was transferred from an army post in Texas to Fort Riley in 1853. Prior to the transfer, Henderson had joined the army as a private and was assigned to duty in the Indian wars on the Texas frontier. He acquired the land near where the statue was erected as a land warrant for valor when he and another soldier rode three hundred miles through Indian country for reinforcements for his isolated army camp. After discharge from the army, he successfully farmed the land and acquired additional adjoining land, including the hill where the statue is located.

When the Civil war broke out, he enlisted and was quickly promoted to captain. His detachment participated in the disastrous Red River campaign where he was wounded, captured, made a prisoner and eventually escaped. He eventually was discharged and returned to his farm.

Captain Henderson then became a successful farmer and business owner. He was interested in the history of the Quivera Indians that inhabited land where he farmed as well as the history of Coronado’s expedition in Kansas. It was because of his desire to honor that history that he decided to commission the statue. The following is an account of the original statue that was written in the June 20, 1920. Junction City Union:

The figure is not the work of any famous artist, but was cast in cement over an enduring reinforcement of steel, in accord with a description of the Indian as he appeared at that time in the historical account of Coronado’s personal historian.

The Indian is complete with the period in every detail. His bow is slack and his arrows gone, proof of long time spent in the chase. Even the pad on the left wrist, worn to receive the impact of the bowstring, is reproduced exactly as it was worn by the Indian hunters and warriors. That he is a leader and fitted to be entrusted with the important commission of scout for the hunting party is shown by his large headdress, worn only by tried braves.



The Indian statue today.


The Indian statue would seem to be a prominent and historical landmark of the area. Actually, according to reports, when it was first erected it had up to 1,000 visitors a year. However, it soon began to deteriorate. It is possible the concrete was unable to withstand the Kansas weather or more likely, vandals or well intentioned tourists.

The Indian’s right arm has disappeared and its left is a rusted metal reinforcing bar that, using imagination, shows the hand brought up to the eyes.
The face is decayed. It hasn’t helped that there is evidence of it being hit by rocks or bullets. The ceremonial headdress is in surprising good shape. One leg is missing, but the foot is still there. Someone poured red paint over it that the weather has not fully removed giving it a distressing appearance. There was once a fence around it, perhaps to keep the vandals out, but it is in total disrepair.


The statue sits on private land. The site was totally overgrown with weeds and shrubs, but there was no fence or posted sign so I slipped up the hill to take a picture. Even though I was saddened by the condition of the statue, the wild prairie setting and beautiful view still brought to mind a feeling of admiration and respect of those who walked the land before.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bears

Tomorrow no one will deny the beginning of the Holiday season. December is a busy month and sometimes it is nice to have a brief distraction. I am posting a link to some pictures that are truly fascinating and beautiful. Perfect for a Holiday break.

Chip, his wife and family, vacationed in the Kenai Penninsula or the Chugach National Forest in Alaska. They were fly fishing on the Russian River where the Red Salmon were spawning. While there, Chip was able to spend considerable time observing and taking pictures of the Russian River brown bear.

According to reports eleven bears were observed using the river to catch salmon and eat parts of fish that had been caught and dressed. While Chip and his party were there, a large female mother bear was shot by a careless individual. They were then able to witness the motherless family begin to take care of themselves.

If you have had enough of Care Bears, Teddy Bears, Barenstein Bears, or even the Chicago Bears for that matter, click on the following link and enjoy fabulous scenery and beautiful animals.

http://www.webshots.com/search?query=Russian+River+Grizzly+bears&new=1&source=search_results_top

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Perfection

First, the Postal Service’s goal is for each carrier to be 100 percent perfect in delivery of mail each day.  That means there should be no misdeliveries—period.  

Having said that, I will tell about Monday (yesterday).   For the most part, Mondays are a “heavy mail day” meaning a lot of mail.  Yesterday was no exception.  As is my routine, I jumped in and kept on task.  I was ready to leave on the route much later than usual and I had lots of parcels.  

Despite everything, the delivery part of my day went well.  No radio, no mental distractions, just concentration and delivery.  It snowed off and on and by 5:00 the roads were starting to get slick.  By 5:15, I needed to use my interior light to see the mail I was putting in the boxes.  It was getting harder to make time, but I finished.  

The concern as I started the route today was whether, in my haste yesterday, I had made mistakes.   For me, haste makes errors.  However, believe it or not, I was nearly at the end of the route and had not found one mistake.  I was already patting myself on the back and feeling good about my ability to be an accurate carrier.

Wait, right at the end.  I had delivered over two thousand pieces of mail accurately, but at the very end, when it was dark, I made a mistake.   The point of this story is that no matter how hard you work, how hard you try to be productive, one mistake—no matter how small—will ruin a perfect day.

Wait, are we talking about mail delivery or football or…..

Monday, November 28, 2005

Christmas cards

I made my own Christmas cards this year. This was a picture I took last winter. Actually, I think I posted it at the time.

Originally, I added two birds with holly in their mouths that I downloaded off Microsoft clipart. Feeling pretty good about my creation, I showed it to Dan. He said it was nice, except he wondered if I knew that the two birds were seagulls. ( They looked like pigeons to me) I am glad he told me because how crazy would it have been to have seagulls standing on snow.

I settled on the mailbox even though it is fake looking. I needed a little color. My goal is to prepare five cards each evening. Maybe I'll actually get cards sent earlier than the week of Christmas this year.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Tornado warnings, hail and thunderstorms

I don't know when we have seen a severe storm this late in November. I do remember there was a tornado in Topeka the day Kim was born but that was early in the month and 35 years ago.

Thankfully, all we received was wind and small hail. The weather radio has sounded all afternoon. There have been numerous storms moving through the area.






It moved out as the sun set.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving Day

We had a great family Thanksgiving. Kim and Marc planned the meal and bought the ingredients and we all pitched in and cooked. It was traditional, except the dishes were tweaked a bit.

The turkey was smoked (by a meat market in Beloit) and was delicious. The stuffing was my favorite. Prepared completely from scratch, it had apples and spices, no sage. Rather than load the sweet potatoes and green beans with sugary or high fat calories, they opted for seasonings and light butter—much better. My oyster corn was pretty good because I opted for cream and lots of butter, but oysters require that.


After the meal and before we left for my brother & wife’s house, I decided to take a family picture for my Christmas note. This tells the story of my attempts to set the camera timer while everyone endured the cold. We ended up getting a good one, but it took several tries. This tells the story of my attempts but will use the one of us looking at the camera with perfect smiles….because you know Christmas letters.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What's on the menu?

I have been looking through recipes this evening. Actually, I have been looking for one recipe that I obviously didn’t put back in the file last holiday season—Scalloped Corn and Oysters. I finally found it, but not before finding several old favorites.

Recipes, much like fashion, have a time of popularity. When I was a kid, a meal would not be complete without Jello containing upside down half pears or peaches, fruit cocktail, or strawberries and bananas. Layered Jello salads were big after that. They were rich as desserts. Then there was a time when we all used pistachio pudding in salads and desserts.

Each family has traditions and a meal is not complete without that dish present. My Mom always had sweet rolls as well as regular rolls. The regular rolls were made by putting three little balls in each hole of a cupcake tin. (There was a name for this type of roll which I can’t think of.) Green beans & mushroom soup never goes away. The cabbage salad with crunchy noodles and fresh vegetable salads are popular with us now. The bread is still homemade (bread machines have simplified that chore) Desserts haven’t varied much from pie (pumpkin, pecan, cherry or apple).

The turkey is always there, just presented differently. As a child, the turkey was placed on the table whole with stuffing inside. When I began having the meals, the turkey was baked early, sliced and defatted juice poured over the meat and warmed before the meal. Recently, our kids have deep fried or smoked it.

Kim is cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. Our Colorado family is only coming east as far as Salina so we are going there. I am bringing the oyster corn and pies. I will share the corn recipe. It was my grandmother’s. I am sure she told it to my Mom, though, as grandma never used recipe cards.

Scalloped Corn and Oysters

3 cups cracker crumbs
1 t salt
¼ t pepper
½ cup melted butter (not oleo)

Mix above ingredients together & put 1 ½ cups in the bottom of an 8 x 11 glass dish. Over this arrange drained oysters (two cans if you really like oysters) reserving the liquid. Add another light layer of crumbs then whole corn (frozen is best). Over all pour 1 cup milk and oyster liquid (add additional milk if you can’t see liquid around the edges). Sprinkle a few crumbs over the top. Bake 350 25-30 minutes.

Monday, November 21, 2005

KSU Football--one more thought

Coach Snyder could have hoped for a better ending to his career with a bowl trip, but as their season went, this was a hard fought and legitimate win over a good Missouri team.

About half way through the first quarter, I asked Dan if he thought the game had a eerie feel to it. The cloud cover was low and damp and with the lights on it just felt surreal. The offense was working a no huddle strategy which gave the game a different rhythm.

Then there were the injuries. This is the first time I have seen an ambulance back out on the playing field. It was a dislocated hip, which from all accounts, is very painful. There were at least three or four other injuries. I think all the players were giving 150% to make it a memorable game for Coach Snyder.

Each year after the last home game the seniors go around the edge of the playing field and high five or shake hands. There are always lots of young people. Most of these young men are excellent role models for the kids and it is nice for them to be able to connect. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it was awesome that the entire stadium stayed after the game. It was like no one wanted the moment to end

Dan and I aren't fanatical followers of KSU football. As our grandkids are becoming more involved and we have more plans to travel, we have considered giving up our season tickets. We decided on the way home from the game Saturday, we would wait one more year. There is no other thrill than to watch, in person, a good football game. I think this team has winning games in their future as well as a good coach.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Last game for Coach Bill Snyder


Scene immediately following the last play of the game.

Special tribute to Coach Snyder after the game. The players and Snyder family surrounded the small platform. There was a short introduction by
KSU President Wefald and then remarks by Coach Snyder as shown on the jumbotron.

Coach was preparing to say his final farewell to the fans. The stadium remained almost entirely full. Those present sensed the team staged the stunning comeback in the second half for the Coach.

The most touching scene was when the team carried Coach Snyder out of the stadium on their shoulders

Thanks for the ride, Coach.

Click on pictures for larger view


KSU Football and Bill Snyder

We are headed to Manhattan soon for the KSU Wildcats final game of the season and Bill Snyder's final game of his career. We want to get there early so we don't miss any of the pregame ceremonies. They are renaming the stadium in his honor, The Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The fact that Coach Snyder wanted to put "Family" in the name says so much about his life. He said in the news conference announcing his retirement that he had not been a good husband and father because of his commitment to coaching. I suspect otherwise. A person who is passionate about a job often is passionate about all parts of life.


Coach has received much praise the past few days. In some ways it reminds me of a funeral. It's hard to believe someone was that good. However, one thing everyone agrees on is Snyder's ability to coach. No matter how the Cats were playing the first half, there was always that knowledge it would be straightened out at the half. He is a hall of fame coach.

We were "sort of" in on the ground level of Coach Snyder's career. Our daughter enrolled at KSU in the fall of 1989. Our son two years later. Doug and our son-in-law, Marc, worked for the KSU football program in the video department. They both would agree that the Coach was a firm boss but fair. It was an opportunity they will never forget.

This on-line video is a very nice tribute to Coach Snyder: http://streamload.com/KansasStateCat/Tribute.wmv

Also, The Rattler wrote a fitting tribute. There are and will be more. He is personally a person who shuns media, and in doing that creates many stories from others.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Watch for deer, dear

This time of year, driving at night or early in the morning carries a high risk. We know this from experience because our family has had at least six encounters. I have hit three in my mail truck, Dan two, and Kim one.

We live in an area with an exceptionally dense population. The other night we were on the road. I told Dan I would watch one side and he the other. All of a sudden he jammed on the brakes just in time to miss the doe running across the road in front of us. Thankfully, there was only one as we would have hit one tagging behind.

One deer encounter involved a buck that flat out ran into the side of my truck. So, to be totally correct, my score would be Linda: 2 Deer 1. Those buck have only one thing on their mind and it isn't looking where they are going unless it is at a doe in front of them.

We were very lucky last winter, actually right about this time. We were on our way to Kansas City on Hwy 10. Dan was in the middle of a sentence when a deer hit the side of the van, flew off and hit the car behind us breaking their front window. Had that deer hit just a little sooner, it could have come right in and hit Dan. Thankfully, no one in the car behind was hurt.

Watch for the shining eyes on the side of the road--more than likely there will be a deer in front of you in a flash.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Shine On Harvest Moon

It was a long day today on the route and it was dark when I left the post office. I was about a mile down the road when Dan called on the cell to ask if I had noticed the moon.

I immediately turned off the main road and to try for a picture. There is something truly beautiful about a rising moon on a cold crisp night. No wonder songs, poems and stories are written attempting to capture the feeling and sight.
Moonlight and Roses
Moon River
Blue Moon
Paper Moon
Harvest Moon (Neil Young)
Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd
Tennessee Moon (Neil Diamond)

Any others?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This one has been around

Is it me or are there fewer plants in homes now, at least in prominent places. The new silk plants look good and are definitely cleaner. I still prefer real plants. Last spring, Kim helped me clean up after my plants. They do seem to make work, especially when they put sticky stuff all over the floor. However, after a summer outside, they all made it back in the house.

Everyone has at least one houseplant with a story. As a kid, I visited my aunt's house often. She had a beautiful double flowered Hibiscus plant. It filled the whole corner of her livingroom. I admired it as it always seemed to be blooming. My Mom took a cut off that plant and started this one. She gave it to me when she and Dad started traveling after retirement.

For a long time I would prune it back to a bare stump each year. Then two years ago, it became root bound or just tired and died--or at least I thought so. I cut it off even with the soil, repotted and loosed the roots, and set it down stairs, watering when I thought about it. Sure enough, up came shoots from the roots.


I mentioned this plant might be older than I am, but actually the original plant would be older. This one would still be a senior citizen, though.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Progress of cleaning project

The house is cleaner, but still not where I want it to be. It has been a good weekend, though. The weather was perfect.

There is a satisfaction to cleaning. It might be the act of putting possessions in order or the feeling of comfort when finished. I suspect both are innate human needs because most people work at keeping their lives clean and organized. Maybe we just feel better that way. At any rate, I did make progress, although not completely done.

I spent time with my house plants this weekend. They needed attention after "summer camp." As I cleaned dead leaves and pruned a bit, I thought of how I had acquired them. Houseplants can be like that--gifts from relatives, cuts from friends or even inherited. I will share a couple stories this week. There is one that could be my age!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hanging tomato update


This is the current status of the hanging tomato. Previous comparison is here. It seems to like its inside home and, as you can tell, I think we will have BLTs for supper.

There are a few green ones, but no blooms. It will remain to be seen if we will have fresh tomatoes at Christmas.

It's a short post, but I've got to get to the cleaning program.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Prioritizing Life

I don't often write about my faults--I want to say it would be a boring. Although, for whatever reason, I am interested in what other people find wrong with themselves. Maybe in some weird way, confession makes one seem more human. On the other hand, strength through success is also an interesting read. Tonight I am confessing my house is a mess and I intend to do something about it.

I am not surprising anyone who knows me by confessing my struggle with prioritization (which explains why I write on this blog instead of clean). I make long lists of Things To Do and then start off by doing the one thing on the list that least needs to be done. I've discussed this at work with the Sisterhood and they can't fully understand my delimina. Both of them have set routines with housework, etc. and they just naturally stay organized. It is the same with my daughter and son (how did we raise them like that) and their spouses. Dan and I are very alike in this respect so we aren't much help for one another.

My mother was a meticulous housekeeper. I think she could see a problem in my future because she used to tell how she sent me upstairs to clean my room only to find me reading old letters and looking through picture albums instead. She had a routine of cleaning house that I remember to this day. She would tell me to clean the sidewalks and porch first because if you don't that dirt will track into the clean house. Dutiful to my mother's teaching, I go out to the garage to clean the floor only an hour later find myself outside checking things out and the garage floor is still dirty.

I have the next three days off from work. I am entertaining our card group tomorrow night. A deadline is good--I will have that part of the house clean. However, by Sunday night, I better be able to say--and I will be honest--that I have my desk, our bedroom, and the basement not only decluttered, but clean. Oh, and the garage floor too. The priorities are set. Can she do it?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Who invents toys?

I wonder who thinks up the concept of toys on the market for young children and why do they have to be noisy. It seems they either play a song, chirp, click and they all require batteries. Young children are exposed to noise pollution at an early age. Even simple puzzles make noise. There are child reproductions of cell phones, computers and IPods, airports, construction sites, etc. It is nice that they do make the correct sound but often, to me, it comes out as noise. One particular truck of Aaron's made this peculiar sound. I finally had to ask--"It's a trash truck, Nana." Of course, the little towns need trash service.

Surprisingly, Carly received a very nice selection of noiseless toys. For bath play there were little animals that squirt water & ducks that sound a note when pushed down in the water (no batteries so not too loud). A soft fuzzy kitty and a wooden Noah's Ark with holes to fit each animal (makes absolutely no sound).


What toy did the kids play with the most? In addition to the toys mentioned above, she received this ingenious air toy that blew balls up into a tray and sometimes around the room. While doing this, it had a electronic pop sound along with a song. One push of the button and this would all take place for about 20 seconds. There were eight different songs. There was a simple pick up ball part for Carly and the more complex air flow interest for the older children. Well, OK, it was a cool toy, despite the noise. However, we would have played with the ducks in the kitchen sink longer if there was more time.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

There's only one 1st birthday

What I should say is there is only one celebration that is truly as much fun for the guests as the one celebrating.


Carly was in her cutest party dress, a little white skirt with t shirt and sweater. This was especially cute because she has just recently decided to walk and the little skirt moved with her new practically running steps. After playing games, we had a delicious meal of BBQ beef, baked beans, potato salad etc. Carly and company enjoyed their hotdogs & mac and cheese. Then it was on to the gifts. Big brother Trent, first cousins Aaron & Adam along with friends helped with the task of opening. Cool stuff.


Finally, it was time for singing and cake. Carly was a bit tentative at first. Rather embarrassed at everyone watching. She got the idea, though, and while everyone else ate their homemade ice cream and cake she thoroughly enjoyed hers.

Thank you for inviting us to your party, Carly. It was a perfect 1st birthday.



Thursday, November 03, 2005


I will be off line for several days. Of course, I will have a report when I return--probably Monday night.
Picture by Linda

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Competition

There are three rural routes in our post office and three female full-time carriers. We call ourselves the "sisterhood." We do not race through our day to see who finishes their job first. We have each developed a pace and this dictates the length of our work day. So, the same carriers return about the same time and in the same order each day.

The fact is, I am the last carrier back in the office on most days for reasons I consider important. I don't mind bringing in the rear and am even ready to take more than a little ribbing about it. However, for the past few weeks, I have been trying to be more efficient with the increase in Holiday mail. Interestingly enough, I am still coming in last, because everyone else has picked it up also. All of this takes place and no one really acknowledges or talks about it.

What does this little post office scenario prove? Your team is only as fast as your slowest person. Actually, I think that when there is a job involving speed, the element of competition is always present, even if it is unspoken, which isn't necessarily bad.


All of this also lets me brag about my six year old grandson who, at his very first swim meet last Saturday, did not come in first, but finished each race with determination, enthusiasm, and potential. He obviously enjoyed his teammates and said he had a great time. Who knows where swimming will be in his future, but I was pleased with his sense of competition in and out of the water.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

You gotta love fall

Today was a beautiful fall day. This is an especially pretty spot so on my way home, I decided to detour by to see how it looked as the sun was going down. It was worth it.

One more Halloween post--OK?

I received an email from Doug (Colorado) with a picture of his winning pumpkin carving entry in his office building contest. He said his pumpkin was a variation on one that has been floating around the internet. The name? Hoyee pumpkin. Our family is a bit odd in that we think it is funny to put different names on doing what this pumpkin is doing. Sick--literally! Also, Sue sent several pictures taken at the costume party.

To be continued.....next year.