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8/13/2014

JOY, JOY, JOY, THE PALACE ELEVATIONIST…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 3:52 pm

We need an “in-charge” person for the elevator.  I’m thinking maybe an old-fashioned elevator operator…the kind who sat on a stool and called out the floors…would be good….maybe wearing a dark navy suit trimmed with gold braid and lots of gold buttons…and a cute little cap.  Given the clientele, a police whistle on a rope would be appropriate for her station.

Cheerily, she could call out the floors so that everyone would have a clear understanding of what each floor contained:

Basement…chair sitting and stretchy band activities…

First Floor….harp and accordion music, ice cream sodas, birthday cake, and lobby squatting…

Second  floor… Frederick’s of California…the world’s most breathtaking lingerie.

Third floor… Aldi’s outlet

Fourth floor…Club Med…

Fifth floor… Cosmetic surgery…

Sixth floor…Leading Edge batwing suit sales and base jumping…

I say “her” as I feel Joy has reestablished her position as our most efficient elevator conductor… or vertical destination enabler… or elevationist.  She is more than a plain button pusher.  She can deliver people to their destination with class. She knows which residents have elevators that don’t stop at all the floors.

She can also pile as many people on an elevator as can fill a London phone booth on a rainy day.  One day that included people with walkers and wheel chairs and on foot, Terry with his enormous carpet cleaning machine, the new Environmental Services guy, all of Gladys’ exercise group and strangers who just happened to walk by and were drawn in the black hole by the forces of gravity.   Dozens.  At one time. Some with oxygen tanks whose lifeline supply of oxygen was jeopardized from the squeeze.  She gets them all in so they don’t suffer the interminable wait for the next lift.  She has the load limits memorized and numbers are her game.  She knows how much each person weighs, what a wheelchair weighs, bra sizes and she never exceeds the maximum weight limit…ever…but only by ounces.  Gurneys excluded.

But, should she be allowed to beat mercilessly the people who push the elevator call button after she does?

Should she allow atheists to push the button more than once?

Do those who push the elevator button more than once  really believe it makes the elevator travel faster?  How should she deal with people who fear riding in an elevator?  Should they always walk the stairs?  Is there anyone who has received an electrical shock from pushing elevator buttons?  Has anyone known an elevator to fall to the basement? Is she in charge when the lights go out?

Probably she should pass a Palace litmus test before rushing ahead.

Since this isn’t full-time employment, it would seem appropriate for her to deliver groceries and flowers during nap period when everyone disappears into the doldrums of their apartments. She also is good with lullabyes and foot massages.

All in favor of Joy running the elevator, say “Yes”.  Yesssssssssssssssssssss.

Thanks for tuning in…

MY PALACE WORK STATION…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:36 pm

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Take a gander at my clean desk.  This is the only time in recent memory I’ve had a spotlessly clean desk.  Kim took my picture for the September issue of Community News and this is the result.

This is one corner of my bedroom where all the wires that keep me in contact with the outside world converge.  Sometimes it resembles an Indian call center but I know what’s what and work around the maze of confusion.  When Sharon comes to dust, I just give her the high sign to let the dust settle where it may.  There is no need to sweat the small stuff.

I hope Tyler notices his Delacroix tiger in the background, the weed-smoking tiger.  You have only to look at the eyes to capture his docile demeanor.   I gave the painting to him many years ago…as it is one of his Leroy Neiman favorites…then I borrowed it back when I moved to the Palace.  The walls here are large and need big paintings  so I confiscated it for the time being.  I’m really enjoying it more than even since it’s in view almost constantly. Tyler has accumulated quite an extensive art collection which I think is very cool.

Our new executive director, Brad Radatz,  is on the job and cutting teeth here and there.  If everyone told the truth all the time his job would be a lot easier, but as is the case, he has to sort through a lot of information to boil it down to its essence.  It’s not that people aren’t well-intentioned, it’s that memories fail, intentions become cloudy and distorted and self-interests prevail.  I think he’ll do well here.  If he likes it only half as well as I do, he’ll be happier than a tornado in a trailer park.

They served my favorite meal today …. taco salad.  In itself, it isn’t the best, but when I add my “fixings”, it’s pretty good.  I took a homegrown tomato (diced), a hot pepper from Ally’s garden (diced) and then added some sliced olives and lettuce from the salad bar and topped it all with a lot of hot El Zarape salsa.  I wish they served Mexican food more often.  I’d like it even better if they learned how to make it properly  so that it was “stand alone” good.

Several new people are moving into the Palace.  I think all the units are spoken for except for a one bedroom apartment on the 6th floor.  The townhouses are all contracted.  The big hold up, so it appears, is the refurbishing of the units.  They upgrade everything for new residents…all appliances, new counter tops, paint, new carpet and kitchen cupboards, so it takes an extraordinarily long time to redecorate a unit.  There has to be a better way to get the job done faster.  It will be interesting to meet our new neighbors.

They haven’t made any apparent headway on repairing the elevator.  Maybe they are waiting for parts, but there has been no activity that we’ve noticed.  I can’t even begin to imagine the hell that would erupt if the one good elevator should to expire.

We’re gearing up for the annual soup supper, a huge event here in the Palace.  I hope to be on the pie detail again this year that is under Leo Lake’s supervision.  I need a job where I can sit and work.

I had a nice visit with Janice Thomas (Ray) yesterday.  We’ve known each other for many years and it was fun to catch up again with her and her family. Janice volunteers a lot here at the Palace.

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I’m expecting new pictures of my great-granddaughter, Emma Grace, as her grandparents are baby sitting at the moment.  Isn’t she a cute one?

Thanks for tuning in…

7/28/2014

BILL TAYLOR…KING OF THE PALACE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 2:02 pm

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Bill Taylor joined the Salina Presbyterian Manor…oft referred to (by me) as “The Palace”…  in November 2010 as the chief executive officer.   Two years following that,  on November 28, 2012, I moved in as a new resident and have been able to observe first hand Bill’s many skills and accomplishments.

Sadly, Bill is leaving next week.  The happy note is that he’s moving up the ladder in the Presbyterian Manor administration and will be here from time to time working within the framework of his new job.

During the almost four years Bill has been the “in-charge” man here, wonderful things have happened.  Some are very obvious; others more subtle.

I remember when I first arrived he sought me out and welcomed me to the Manor. His feelings were genuine and warm and  the occasion, which I remember well, stuck with me.  I have an open door policy in my apartment on the second floor and I soon noticed Bill  did as well.   I’m the only resident whose door is always open, and it goes without saying not all chief executives leave their office doors open as a sign people are always welcome to enter and talk about matters of mutual concern.  Bill is sincere about his open door policy.

Bill is a people-centered person which comes naturally to him.  He’s comfortable around people and you sense that quality about him right away.  I mention it because he’s leaving and I’m going to miss him for many reasons most of which is that he’s done a wonderful job of keeping this place at the top of all the retirement center/health care charts.  This is a highly rated, outstanding facility in every category and operated by top-notch, well-qualified people.  You sense that if you live here because you experience a smooth, trouble-free living style that can only come if the place is well-managed.  There aren’t any sharp edges to be found.

During his tenure here there are noticeable changes that have occurred that have made the Palace an even better facility.  He made a game room in the basement out of a series of small cubby hole offices.  The room has a TV, pool table, lounge chairs, popcorn and vending machines.

One of the things that sold me on moving here was the restaurant-style dining that Bill instituted.  There is open seating at tables for four or six, linen table cloths and napkins, nice dishes and table ware and comfortable chairs.  Diners, with menu in hand,  are waited on by  a trained wait-staff just as you’d find in a fine restaurant.

One of Bill’s recent changes has been the addition of  the Salina Activities and Movie Network (SAMN) communication system and in-house TV channel.  There are daily postings to the system that include menus and activities, notices, birthdays, anniversaries, movies, etc.

When I moved to “the hood” and a larger apartment on second floor, it was completely upgraded and renovated.  As people move out of the apartments and townhomes, they are being completely renovated for the new resident, thanks to Bill.

Bill also saw the necessity to repave the front parking lot and upgrade the concrete slab around the entry.  He included additional outside seating under the main entry canopy.

At Christmas time, Bill hosts his annual Christmas holiday open house with Christmas drinks and treats.  I’m really going to miss that as it was a special occasion.

There are many other things he’s done that I’m not remembering…or aware of…that have made us all feel more like we are part of a neighborhood where we care about our neighbors.  I’m enormously grateful the Palace is here and I’m living in it.  And, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Bill for all he’s done to make this a perfect place for me to be.  And, my family members thank him too.

Thanks for tuning in…

7/23/2014

RECIPE: HOW TO SLOW COOK TOUGH, OLD PEOPLE….

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:03 pm

Now, don’t read this if you don’t have a sense of humor.  It’s not for cranky people. I’m not throwing aspersions on the Palace where I live as I KNOW this is the best place in Salina for someone like me to live and I love every minute I’m here.

While holding this in mind, just know that there is hardly a day that passes that my friend, Joy, and I aren’t rolling on the floor laughing our lungs inside out at something funny that has happened here.  If you have a six story building, and several outhouses,  loaded with old folks, you better know there is something funny happening every minute of the day.  Joy and I try not to miss out on anything.

We have a new “head of maintenance” guy…with a fancy title, “Head of Environmental Services…”, something or other.  He couldn’t get to work yesterday because he didn’t have a key to the front door.  Don’t you just love it?

And, one of our residents who is usually very mild mannered, called a townhouse resident where she used to live…but hasn’t for over two years…and was mad as hops because she hadn’t brought her wheat check to her.  The townhouse resident was absolutely clueless about a wheat check or anything associated with it and more puzzled about getting wrung out like a rag over it.

And, yesterday one of the yard maintenance men was mowing around the pond and somehow drove the mower straight down into the pond.  Blurp, blurp…

But the best laugh of all occurred at “Travel and Taste”.  I opted out of the monthly “eat out with the inmates” which last night was a trip to Junction City.   We all load onto the Palace bus and go someplace different for dinner.  It’s fun, we all enjoy it and usually always something happens on the trip to bring us to tears in laughter.

Last night I didn’t go for several reasons, one being it was 110 degrees and that is “hot as hell” to me.   I can’t tolerate extreme heat like that gracefully.  The bus is air conditioned but no matter what seat in it I choose, the AC seems not to reach that far.  It’s a good thing I didn’t go, as it turns out they ran out of gas coming home when they were about two miles west of Russell Stover’s.  They pulled over by the side of the road and waited, and waited, and waited…an hour according to those being slowly cooked in the heat of the bus.

Eventually a highway patrolman came by and gave them some gas.  They continued on west and tried to buy gas in Solomon but nothing was open so they continued on west…and they ran out of gas AGAIN.  The same highway patrolman came to their rescue again and went for more gas to help them along.  Eventually, they got back to the Palace but they said they were all soaked through and dripping wet from a constant stream of perspiration.  I never would have managed…

Anyway, the stories going around today are really very funny…I just love this place.

Thanks for tuning in…

7/13/2014

PALACE REFLECTIONS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 1:45 pm

I knew this was coming:  I miss talking with the “young professionals”, as I like to think of them, who  are now between the ages of 30 and 50, ambitious and well-informed who appear to be on the cutting edge of life, the best ever period in one’s lifetime.  They are my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews, and young friends from Ellsworth and “around”.  They are bright, intelligent, well-educated and moving ahead with their mental GPS systems pointing them in the  direction they have chosen.  They have boundless amounts of energy and use it to the fullest.  They operate off multiple spread-sheets and have their futures planned years in advance.  They give serious thought and consideration to lifetime issues that my generation let “just happen”…like   saving and preparing for retirement, life time health care and family planning. They all know who they are and I hope they know they are missed.

They, both men and women,  are waiting until their 30s to get married, usually after they have finished their education (at least the basic BS) and after they have a career path in view.    They plan the arrival of children very carefully, sometimes well before they are married.  They are not judgmental and take people for who they are. They speak properly as if HR people were constantly on duty.  They know not to cross personal boundaries. Color, disabilities and gayness don’t enter their minds. They want equality for all. They understand the Constitution and Bill of Rights and have a much better understanding of what they mean than their elders.  For the most part, they understand the truth behind the plethora of political lies that are spewed over the airways.  Truth and honesty matter to them. Religion doesn’t play a major role in their lives, if at all.

All in all: the young professionals “get” it.  The older generations I mingle with don’t get it.  It’s neither good nor bad: it’s just the way things are. We all grow older and more set in our ways, largely because we aren’t exposed to new thoughts and ideas. There are a lot more older folk in the world than we ever expected. The young professionals are our future.  They will lead the way and I am confident they will do a better job than we can even imagine.

Our paths cross infrequently since I moved to the Palace, and I expected that they would, so the conversations that once took place regularly have been put on hold.  It’s not a negative thing; it’s  the way life is.  That’s the one thing I really miss about living here, but I’m learning how to fill the void.

Sadly, there is nothing here at the Palace to take the place of those conversations, nothing like them to stimulate our minds.  It’s likely that I and a small handful of others are the only ones who’ve noticed.  Programs and parties need to include everyone…memory unit and health care…. and they are always designed and based on the lowest common denominator, which I think is a disservice to everyone.  There are few exceptions. But…people here are happy and love living here, as I do.  It’s just all part of the adjustment to a new life style.

So, one then relies on other pockets of stimulation:  computers, books, the arts, and conversations, etc.  There are lots of reasons why conversations among the elderly are limited.  We’ve reached an age (65 to 105) where we aren’t planning vacations and trips to exotic places because travel is too difficult and tiring; we aren’t looking for jobs or spouses as most of us have already had them and lost them; we aren’t starting a family or building a house  so those aren’t topics of conversation of the elderly.

Older people get riled up over subjects such as  politics and religion, or anything controversial,  and can’t talk about them in a rational manner.  That’s because older people, in my opinion, tend to seek consistency in their beliefs and perceptions and they don’t want to be confronted with something that conflicts with another previously held belief.  We all knows that monumental progress has been made in STEM.  Young people understand.  Older people are still hanging on to creative design, deny global warming and can’t accept science. The term cognitive dissonance comes to mind when that feeling of discomfort  overwhelms one from holding two conflicting beliefs at one time.  You can see it when the “shade” is lowered and eyes get squinty. No one wants to even think about something that might cause them to slip into this quagmire.  One treads lightly around here.

Even current events are deeply infused with politics and are subjects residents avoid just as they do religion and politics.   So, in my opinion, conversations that do occur don’t require a lot of thought or information and they take place  over lunch where only pleasantries of the day and the latest spin on who is stealing the fruit cups and flatware or some thing dealing with the weather are mentioned.  I guess you call that having respect for others.

When spontaneous utterances do occur, it’s usually because someone has spent way too much time watching Fox News and is all riled up over things that probably aren’t true, or only partially true.  The inmates are overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, but the Rs who aren’t tea party folk  don’t understand how the litmus test system works now that the tea party has taken over.  For some reason I can’t figure out, they believe the Eisenhower Republicans will somehow reappear on their white horses and come to their rescue.

I particularly miss my young friends now that there is no one I live among who even comes close to filling this self-imposed vacuum of conversation-less living.  Fortunately, I still have good friends who like to have phone conversations so I can rely on them to fill my empty spaces.

This situation is one I expected when I moved here…it is, after all,  the “Presbyterian Manor” with religion infused at every turn.  And, since most people in Kansas are Republicans, you can imagine that most who live here are as conservative as they come.   Eisenhower died a long time ago and I don’t ever expect him to return.  I hate to break the news to others.   That is not to say that I don’t enjoy the people around me, as I do. Very much.  Some have become very good friends.

BUT…..there is a bright light on the horizon, which was my real reason for the blog.  Three of my good friends, who are in their early 70’s and lean the same direction I do on most things,  are moving to the Palace grounds.  It will be a joy to have them near.  That makes six of us, as far as  I know, but I’m still looking for sleepers.  Change comes with baby steps.

Thanks for tuning in…

6/17/2014

INCA TRAIL, BRAZIL AND MEXICO WORLD CUP SOCCER 2014…ZERO ZERO..

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor, restaurants/food — Peg Britton @ 3:13 pm

Great game today between Brazil and Mexico….scoreless and about over.  I know of nothing more enthusiastic than the crowd at a World Cup Soccer match. I actually find it rather frightening…too many ramped up spectators piled on top of one another.

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Tyler is having a great time at Machu Picchu….it’s not every day he gets to feed a hungry llama.

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“Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu were amazing… But the Inca Trail took the cake. Lugging around all of our own for 4 days brought a whole new appreciation for Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu.”  Tyler Britton

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” More from day one: an endless uphill climb through the jungle”…Bret Kolkebeck

The International dinner (Welsh cuisine) last night was really outstanding…we started the meal with a hearty, delicately-flavored cawl made with heavy cream and served with rolls and lots of soft butter.  That was followed by baked salmon covered with a delightful leek sauce, chicken with mustard sauce, traditional meat loaf that was reminiscent of haggis (but good and with another sauce), peas and carrots, English potatoes and three kinds of dessert  (all with special toppings and loaded with calories) and a great fruity drink.  It was delicious and a lot of fun.  I’m probably forgetting half of it due to the amount of wine that was involved.

There is a degree of uncertainty about the future of our International dinners as Joomi and Tim have been unable to hire additional help.  They are going on vacation for a couple of weeks so maybe they’ll come up with something after they have time to reflect on it. We all enjoy the evenings so much we hope they can continue.

One thing we noticed last night is that I got in and out of Headrick’s car much better than any previous time when I’ve bummed a ride with them.  It just shows that all those exercise classes have helped a lot with my strength and flexibility.  It has been a very slow recovery, but I’ve made significant progress.  I still can’t manage without a walker and may never “get there”.   I just have to keep walking and moving.

Tonight is the monthly potluck supper.  I guess you like them or you don’t.  They usually have a pretty good turnout.  I can’t really cook anything then carry it to the basement.  And going through a buffet line is difficult as I can’t carry a plate and use my walker at the same time.  Hazel always takes enough to cover me should I want to attend.  I did once, and would actually rather stay home.  I’m not hungry for one thing.  Maybe that will all change in months to come, but right now, I enjoy my evenings in my apartment.  I love my apartment and living here…doing only what I want to do.

Now to watch Russia and South Korea…

Thanks for tuning in…

6/6/2014

SITTERCISE IS NOW FUN…..aka ENJOYABLE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 11:06 am

Sittercise is now a bunch of fun…music, leadership and happy faces make it so.

Karen Larsen, activities director here at the Palace, has taken over the Monday-Wednesday-Friday sittercise classes and has turned them into a very popular activity.  Karen has a very vivacious, happy personality and has injected herself into an activity that has previously been about as much fun as waiting for the elevators.  Now it’s fun and we get a vigorous workout, to boot.

I won’t make comparisons to what we endure Tuesday and Thursday except to say I tend to fall asleep two days a week when I should be havin’ fun.  The music is irritatingly bad  and we’re almost prohibited from smiling…let alone cracking a joke.   People won’t do what’s good for them for that very reason.  Previous suggestions for positive change have fallen on deaf ears.

Since the advent of the new program, participation has doubled and participants leave with happy smiles in anticipation of the next session.  I just hope it stays this way as it’s a very positive change and one I find most enjoyable.

Today I’m having lunch off-premises with Lynn.  It’s fish day here at the Palace.  We’re going to explore one of several places where we’ve never been.  After that we’re going to the library so I can learn how to download books from the library on my Kindle.  Then we’ll be back here at 3:00 for trivia where she’s the moderator and I rarely know any of the answers.  Mostly, the questions deal with baseball and boxing and we’re losing participants because of it.  We need to get more centered on geography and history, if we can find the appropriate cards. Mainly it’s another good activity for a lot of laughs.  Endorphin time.

Thanks for tuning in…

6/3/2014

YAYA’S EUROBISTRO…PALACE FOOD…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor, restaurants/food — Peg Britton @ 1:39 pm

If you’re in Wichita sometime, and haven’t already done so, stop at YaYa’s for lunch or dinner.  Lynn and I made a trip there a couple of weeks ago and had a delightful late lunch.  The food was excellent and the service perfect.

We had calamari with agrodolce sauce and gazpacho aioli for openers.  I’m not a calamari fan, but this was quite good.  I had Diver Sea Scallops seared with saffron orzo with veggies, Maryland blue crab, lemon beurre, gastrique…and a dry martini.  It was the best.

Lynn had a beautiful grilled salmon salad with gorgonzola and feta cheeses, crispy potatoes, pecans with raspberry vinaigrette and white wine.  I’ll have that if there is a next time…or one of their many interesting specials.  It’s a really neat place to wile away the afternoon in Bradley Fair at 21st and Rock Road.

They started a one entree menu here on Sunday.  As a child I had two choices always:  take it or leave it.  I can make this work.

If you like what they have it works fine. Sunday they had good fried chicken and had left-overs on the salad bar yesterday and today so I got a piece for my dinner as well.   Both Monday and today I improvised.  They had lasagna yesterday and I’ve been that route before and try to avoid it. It’s so simple to make it right that I don’t see how they can ruin it the way they do.  Hazel ordered it and didn’t eat it.  I had bacon and eggs instead.  Today they had roast pork with gravy and dressing and corn.  I had the pork and got bread to make a sandwich…with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion and some good hot sauce that I carry with me for such emergencies.  I got a banana instead of dessert. I always have a good supply of fresh fruit and yogurt in my apartment so I get along just fine.

They have an auxiliary menu that includes hamburgers, French fries, French fried onion rings, several difference kinds of sandwiches, bacon and eggs, chicken filets and now wraps.  Amy had a wrap today that looked good and had grapes in it.  Grapes of Wrap I called it.

Sharon comes to clean for me twice a month.  She does a good job and I enjoy having her here.  I have extra things that need tending to so next week, and for a few weeks, she’ll give me an extra hour to clean cupboards and closets …and dust my bookshelves.  They have wonderful services…reasonably priced…here at the Palace.  Help from my kids and the people here make it possible for me to continue to live independently.  I couldn’t do that if I were at home….not without a whole lot of help.  I’d much rather be here surrounded by interesting people.

Thanks for tuning in…

SALINA PUBLIC LIBRARY….ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor, Salina Publc Library — Peg Britton @ 12:38 pm

It was just announced that beginning the third Wednesday of each month, the Salina Public Library will be bringing  a large selection of books and other items for us inmates to check out.  I’m so excited about it.  When they are here they can renew  and issue new library cards and check out and return library items.  They’ll also be able to show me how to down load their e-books to my Kindle which, after a period of time, disappear.  It’s all very magical.

I called yesterday and gave some very nice, accommodating person a list of books I’d like to read and requested they could bring two or three of them when they come…books by Donna Tartt, Sue Monk Kidd, Bill Bryson, Pablo Coelho, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.

And, to make it even easier for me, I can reserve books on line which they put on a special shelf at the library and my friend, Lynn, will pick them up for me when she goes to the library, which is several times  a week. I can always go to the Library myself, as it’s convenient and I just love the place, but this is even easier for me.  I still struggle with my walker, parking, carrying “stuff”, etc.
And, those same nice people send me an email to alert me when my books are due to be returned.  I love it all.

All this is under the auspices of Joe Mackenzie, long time director of the Salina Public Library….and friend.

Thanks for tuning in…

5/25/2014

PEG’S PALACE PICS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 7:52 pm

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I live behind this accumulation of “notices”…Cha Cha (top left) made by and a gift from Terry Headrick, room 218, Life is Crazy Good via Marci Penner and a native grass wreath on the door from Cindy McAtee.

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Here is the living room shot showing Ally’s park bench which is a favorite among some of my friends here, TV, Todd’s rocking chair and a few of my favorite books….love this spot. I’ve  not played the bugle in the hall, as yet.  Everyone is waiting.

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It looks small from this angle, but my bedroom is 16′x16′….with two big windows and lots of light and air…

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You can see our door knocker from the house on the wall above the old farm table.  Brit hand carried that knocker in his lap on the airplane all the way from London many years go.  I just couldn’t part with it.
I posted this with a lot of help from Mackenzie.

Thanks for tuning in…

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AND PALACE ACTIVITIES…

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Left to right:  Pattie Kitchen, me, Nancy Morrison and Ginny Frederick at the Salina Country Club enjoying Bloody Mary’s before Sunday brunch.   Picture taken by Ally Britton.  Ginny and I are Palace inmates.  Nancy and Pattie have been visiting me over the weekend.  You can’t imagine what a special treat this was…wonderful food and the most delightful company anyone could hope for.

Yesterday I had a very special visit from my grandson Drew and his girlfriend Christy Beckman.  We had a delightful visit topped off by a good supply of Mexican food at La Casita.

And, my granddaughter, Mackenzie, arrived from St. Louis Friday night and is staying here with me at the Palace in a guest room a couple of doors from mine.  It’s a great arrangement.

Tomorrow we’re getting together for breakfast before Mackenzie, Drew and Christy have to head home and resume their normal activities.  Todd and Karen, Ally and I will converge on the north IHOP to give everyone and warm send off.

It has been a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for tuning in…

5/15/2014

TYLER IS BACK ON AMERICAN SOIL…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 1:32 pm

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After three tours in Afghanistan,  Tyler won’t be going back.  Following another year or so in the Air Force, he’ll set his sights on new horizons.

Tyler, Ally, Todd, Karen and I had dinner last night at Martinelli’s.  They all love pasta so it was right for them.  All I can ever find to eat that I like is their chopped salad and cappuccino gelato, which is absolutely heavenly.  I’m sure you can eat there without having pasta, but I just haven’t found the right thing on their menu.  I fail to see what it is about pasta that others find so interesting.

Tyler will be back through here next week and I’m looking forward to that.  I’ve rounded up a few friends….Doris, Dale, Joy, Ivy and Perry…to have lunch with us on Wednesday.   He’ll stop in St. Louis to see Mackenzie and have dinner and spend the night before returning to Cincinnati.

Today we had Mexican casserole for lunch…which is my most favorite meal that they serve here.  Well, that is after I “doctor” it up.  To start with, it’s a mess of flavorless beans and ground beef on a plate with a few corn chips.  I add shredded lettuce, sliced olives, grated cheese and diced tomatoes from the salad bar then top it all with a lot of La Zapata hot sauce.  When combined it’s attractive and very flavorful.  I wish it were an optional dish as I’d have it often if it were.

Starting the first of the month, they are going to one entree menus.  We always have selections we can make off the alternate menu, if we choose.  I often order off it as they offer bacon and eggs, bacon cheese burgers, chicken filets, hot soup and several kinds of sandwiches.  I know the prices of  groceries have skyrocketed and that coupled with all the waste is troublesome.

My medical alert button was activated last night.  I’m not sure how, but I must have arm wrestled or rolled over on it.  It’s hard to turn on so I was surprised and pleased when one of the nurses came to check on me.  I’m glad to know it works although it doesn’t work every where in the tower where I think it should.

Memorial Day weekend is going to be eventful for me.  Among others, long time friend, Nancy Morrison, and her daughter, Pattie Kitchen, are coming here from Colorado Springs and will be here overnight for a visit.  I’m very much looking forward to that.

The “elevator” guys are beside themselves.  They try to tell inmates how to push the buttons, and in which order, but the inmates “already know” everything.  It’s one of those situations that is rather hopeless but drives the elevator guys to distraction.  People get in and push B for basement then proceed to push all the other floors where someone might want off.  They can’t seem to get it that once you go to the basement the schedule is erased and you have to reenter all the floors.  Sometimes I’ll get off where I want to go and later reenter the elevator only to find all the same people there trying to get where they want to go.  You know how it is trying to teach old dogs new tricks.  Well, as far as the elevators go, we have a lot of old dogs riding them.

Thanks for tuning in…

5/12/2014

PALACE VIGNETTE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 11:06 am

My friend Doris, after eating her dinner last night:  Well, that’s all there is.  We might as well go home.

H:  I’m not leaving until I get my oranges.

MfD:  You’ve already had your oranges.

H: No I haven’t.  They haven’t brought my oranges yet.

MfD:  H!  You’ve already eaten your oranges.

H:  Look!!! The orange bowl is empty.  They haven’t brought them.

MfD:  The bowl is empty because you’ve already eaten your oranges.

H:  Well, you go on without me.  I’m waiting for my oranges.

5/11/2014

MY PALS AT SHS IN 1946….THREE OF US ENDED UP IN THE PALACE

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:15 pm

1946-shs-pals.jpg

Georgann Eyler, Jeanne McClanathan, Jerry Lemon, Ivy Flora, Peg Baker, Jere Dunbar, Shirley Drawbaugh, Shirley Nichols,   Pat Howard and Phyllis Johnson.  I know that Georgann Eyler Dreher, Jere Dunbar ?, Phyllis Johnson Patrick, Pat Howard Koenig and Shirley Nichols Greiner are deceased.  I’ve lost contact with Jeanne McClanathan Schwarz Miller and Jerry Lemon Peterson.  Ivy Marsh, Shirley Drawbaugh and I are happily situated in Presbyterian Manor in Salina….along with five others from our class….Louie Reynolds, John and Katie Weckel, Loren and Margie Walter. Life does take some interesting twists. I remember well the decision that went in to us having this photo made at Majorkurths Studio.

5/10/2014

PALACE VIGNETTES…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:06 pm

Woman  who moves as “slow as molasses” is waiting for the  Gurneyvator.  Inmate from behind says:  the elevator is here.   Woman says…Oh.  Woman creeps to open door and then stops and refuses to get in.  Man from behind says:   the door is open, go on in.  Woman:  edges past the opening and stops.  Man from behind impatiently says:  GO ON IN!   Woman who is half way in and half way out and who is deaf as a doornail says:  but it doesn’t sound right.

A new couple who moved in recently had just returned from getting groceries which is a major event for them.  The woman says to her husband:  You sit right here while I go get a cart.  Man sits and waits. Doesn’t move.  Woman takes the cart to the car and loads up the groceries and comes in without the cart.  Where’s the cart?, she asks her husband.  I don’t know, he says.  Well you had it, she says.  Where are the groceries, he asks? I don’t have the groceries, she said.  You were supposed to watch them.  I don’t think I ever had the cart, he says.  Well, where are our groceries, she asks again.  Finally, a lobby sleeper from the other side of the room says…”Lady, you were the only one with the cart.    Well, where are our groceries, she asks again.  Lobby sleeper:  Why don’t you look in your car.

5/6/2014

FROM THE PALACE HALLS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 4:57 pm

I heard a story today about one of my friends who lives here at the Palace.   She’s a lot of fun to be with and her stories are a riot.   This one, however, was about her and took place many years ago when her husband was  alive and they were living a couple of miles from here.  Her then neighbor who also lives here was telling me the story over lunch, where all great conversations occur around here.

It seems that Becky (that’s not really her name) was very tired and wanted to  take a nap.  Her husband never stopped working, ever.  I knew him and he was always moving, always doing something.  He had more energy than any one person was entitled to have and sometimes he just drove her to distraction wanting her to do things with him when she was dragging and all she wanted was a nap.  He never quite understood that everyone was not as energetic as he.  This was one of those times.

She tried to relax and  take a nap on the sofa, but  he kept talking to her, wanting this or that.  She just became more weary.  She’d been this route before.

Finally, she drew a line in the sand and told him she was going to the bedroom and he wasn’t to disturb her under any circumstances. “ I’m shutting the door and I don’t want to be disturbed, even if the President calls or the house catches on fire”.

So, she went to the bedroom and closed the door.  She was  pretending she was asleep so he wouldn’t bother her.

Soon he was calling from afar, then knocking on the bedroom door, wanting to talk about something or go some place.  She decided if she didn’t respond and pretended she were asleep,   he would go away.

He was persistent, the noise continued as he made endless requests, then he came in to the bedroom.  Finally, he was nudging her on her arm trying to wake her.  He wanted her to go some place with him.  She didn’t respond and at that point, she wasn’t about to give in.  She was going to get that nap or else.  Pretending that she was sound asleep  was working.  He would go away and she could finally get some sleep, or so she thought.

Things were quiet for a while as she dozed off, smug about her success.

The next thing she knew, the EMS crew was beside her bed, shaking her out of a sound sleep.  She had pretended too well and her husband, thinking she was unconscious, called 911 for help. After all, he’d always managed to wake her up before.

You don’t want to know how this story ended.

Thanks for tuning in…

ELEVATORS AND OTHER ASSORTED EVENTS AT THE PALACE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 7:48 am

Life at the Palace is wonderful and ever-changing.  Or, maybe it just stays the same with the inmates stepping into new personalities for the day. My endorphins get kicked into high gear on a daily basis as this is a fun/funny place to be and I love it.  You just laugh until you leak!

For the past month or so, they have been working to replace the elevators that service the basement and six floors of The Tower.  There are two “lifts”, one larger than the other, and better for accommodating people with walkers and wheel chairs.  I call it the gurney lift as a gurney won’t fit in the smaller “vator” without folding the victim in half.  The gurney lift has been out of commission for a couple of months as they replace all the parts of the mechanism, to the consternation of management.

They should have a required course in elevator etiquette for  inmates before they are allowed to move here.  There are some people who just don’t get it that you have to move back in the elevator in order to get more people inside.  They walk through …or wheel through…the door and skid to a stop.  So, you have to nudge them to the back.  The same people just stand there at the front of the elevator, blocking the door, when you’re at the back trying to get out.  They’ve forgotten how to MOVE.

Moving the masses is frustrating when you are trying to “catch” an elevator.  Since they are in short supply, you don’t want one to pass you by.  Some people walk like Tim Conway and their snail like movements are hardly discernable. The elevator often leaves before you can throw yourself at the door, past the pokey puppies,  so it won’t close and leave without you.

So for the past couple of months, we’ve been dealing with moving everyone in the tower…residents who live there, the maintenance crew, housekeeping with their various and sundry carts of laundry, cleaning supplies, sweepers…and people moving in and out with furniture, artificial plants and assorted paraphernalia… in one SMALL elevator.   My friend, Joy, has taken over as the self-appointed elevator loader and won’t let the lift leave until it is overflowing with people, piled one on top of the other.  It’s like…”how many people can you get in a phone booth” type of operation. “Come on”…she’ll say….”we can get everyone on”.  You won’t get left behind when Joy is the operator, but you might lose a leg or two.  No matter.

To digress a bit….when I was room shopping here, before I decided to move to Salina…I looked at the rooms on the 6th floor.  I was awe-struck with the view out the windows.  It’s breath-taking. My friend, Ivy, lives on six and I was tempted to move up there too.  Then I thought about the elevator time I’d have going to and fro and decided against it.

I’ve joked with her about what would happen if the power failed and the elevators wouldn’t work.  Well, yesterday we found out what that was like.  She was in the lobby when the failure occurred.  She had just returned from the grocery store with a stash of groceries and neither elevator worked.  She had no options so stayed downstairs for dinner.  After that,  a couple of staff members  helped her walk the six floors to her apartment.  She said they were most helpful, walked slowly, had her rest a lot and got her safely to her apartment.  But, she said she was pooped and going to bed.   I don’t know what happened to her groceries.

I haven’t heard whether or not we have elevator service this morning, but I would bet that we do.  If we don’t, I’ll take a day off from sittercize as there isn’t any way I can do even one flight of stairs except in an extreme emergency.  I’m not going to tackle them to get to sittercise, I do know that.  I’d enjoy a day off from the boring bumps and grinds.

Staff….the staff members here are wonderful.  Every last one of them.  That makes it especially nice living here….people who work here are fabulous.  I feel very fortunate to have made such a good choice in coming here.  Amazing decision for me, wasn’t it?  I couldn’t be happier with my choice.

Thanks for tuning in…

PS The elevators still aren’t fully operational.  I waited a while for one of the repairmen to come retrieve me from the second floor and deposit me in the basement.  I waited a while longer.  Then I decided I could take a day off from bumps and grinds and give the guy a chance to fix his elevator.  They’ll never get them fixed if we keep interrupting their work.  I’m not sure what they’ll do when the hoards want to go to the dining room for lunch, but I won’t have to wait long to find out.  The drone of locusts heading toward food can be heard from far away. Once assembled, they start the business of musical chairs and heaven forbid you should move one of them an inch.  The table-moving operation the other day didn’t work and they returned the table to its original position.  I don’t care where I sit as long as I get fed.

4/25/2014

PALACE DOIN’S….

Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 5:44 pm

Karen stopped by last night and we ran a couple of errands then went to Freddie’s for a double steak cheeseburger and a small Hawaiian sundae with fudge sauce.  That’s what I had.  It’s nice to get out and about.  Previous to moving here, the last thing I ever ordered when we went out to eat was beef.  Now that good beef is a scarce item on our menus, I look forward to a burger or steak when the occasion arises.  I’ve seen enough chicken to last me a life time, but mine isn’t over yet so I know there will be more chicken in my life and some of it will be dry and sometimes inedible. Next week a group of us are scheduled to go to Abilene to eat at Joe Snuffy’s, a place made famous for their hamburgers, sirloin steak and homemade cinnamon  rolls. Things get canceled around here often so it’s a wait and see what develops.

They do have issues with the food here, and consistency.  I really can’t put my finger on the reason for it, but I have my eyes open.  Most of us in independent living choose the noon meal as our one meal a day that comes with our plan.  It’s the most extensive, but even those choices have narrowed.  It’s the one opportunity during the day that we all get together and engage in social intercourse.  It’s the one thing we all look forward to. What we have to eat and how it is prepared and presented in a large part determines  on how satisfied or restless fellow inmates are.

The best news I have to relate is that my Air Force grandson will be stateside in a couple of weeks following his third deployment  He has given years of his life to the military to protect our freedom.  Enough is enough.

We’ve had some different events lately:  a beer tasting party, a flute ensemble performance, a Founders Day celebration, a gathering to honor our volunteers, a cowboy serenade, Wii bowling, and Art is Ageless display.   I don’t attend everything, but I do try to make all those things that interest me…and are good for me, like exercise classes.

I’ve been sitting outside to read my kindle.  The wind is blowing too hard to read a book with pages to turn.

I always enjoy meeting families of my neighbors.  My friend, Ivy, had one of her daughters visiting today.  I haven’t seen her since she was about 5, so it was very good to see her again.  She even endured “Trivia” with us today.  That is always a funny experience.

I don’t have any plans for the weekend.  Maybe  the wind will blow in something tomorrow.

Thanks for tuning in…

4/6/2014

LAUNDRY DAY IN THE PALACE…TROPHIC CASCADES…

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Mackenzie, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 1:22 pm

I’m doing three loads of laundry today (do you know how many trips up and down the hall that is?) and reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  My neighbor, Amy Hoffman, recommended it.  Amy is a retired English teacher and knows good literature.  It’s a page-turner.

“The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind….Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction.”–Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review

Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

THE GOLDFINCH is a mesmerizing, tell-all-your-friends triumph, hailed by Stephen King as “a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind.” (New York Times Book Review) ”

Meantime, I’ve been fascinated reading about trophic cascades among wolves, elk, aspen etc in Yellowstone National Park. I can’t get enough of it.

Reading is better than walking the halls doing laundry….

Our little Emma Grace has been returned to her parents.  She got to see Mackenzie (with her hair cut after more than two years hiatus from the shears) and Ty on her way through St. Louis, which was very special for Mackenzie.

gen-kenz-and-ty.jpg

Thanks for tuning in…

3/31/2014

LIFE IN THE PALACE….

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Tyler Britton USAF, Mackenzie, Presbyterian Manor, Emma — Peg Britton @ 7:49 am

One of my constant nightmares is gone for the first time in about six years.  Thanks to Affordable Health Care, every member of my family has health insurance.

Over the weekend a delicious “brunch of the decade” at Lynn’s house, in honor of her mother’s birthday, was my highlight of the week.  We started out with a generous supply of mimosas which brought on smiles of good things to follow…a fresh vegetable frittata,  blueberry and peach French toast, two kinds of muffins…one savory and the other filled with English blood orange marmalade… and two kinds of plump link sausages, a gorgeous bowl of mixed fresh fruit….and special hot tea.  Leftovers followed me home and I had the same thing for dinner.  It was wonderful.

Another highlight came yesterday when my youngest grandson surprised me with a call from Germany where he had just delivered a CCAT patient from Afghanistan.  It was a turn-around flight so he didn’t have much time on the ground, but we did have time for a short exchange. Those are very precious moments. He’ll be stateside, we think, in May.

I also had nice visits with my granddaughter in St. Louis and my sister-in-law in Denver.  A good friend who lives back and beyond WaKeeney also called in with the news of the day. I love her calls. In other pasttimes, I finished the Jeffrey Archer book that followed his “trilogy”.  The next book won’t be found at better book stores everywhere until next year.  Now I’m reading the Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  Tyler just finished reading “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story”.  I’ll put it on my “to read” list as I enjoy reading what my grandkids read. They are way ahead of me.

Tomorrow I’m “goin’ home” to Ellsworth to see for the first time  my new great-grandbaby, Emma.  My friend, Lynn, and I are making an afternoon trip west to include some Mexican food in Ellsworth and visiting the rels.  It should be a wonderful day.

There are lots of things going on today so I need to move on to sittercise class then lunch and exposure to art.

Thanks for tuning in…

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