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12/12/2014

CHRISTMAS DINNER AT THE PALACE…

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My good friend for a life time, Ivy Marsh, leads the way into the dining room accompanied by a SHS basketball player/waiter. I’m following with that look about me like I don’t know exactly where I am or why I’m there.

It was actually a nice evening, better than most special functions, with decent but not exceptional food and entertainment.   Ivy and I sat with Hazel and a town guest of hers so the conversation was lively. Brad Radatz, in the green shirt on the right, is our new executive director and, like his predecessor, is good about attending events.  Kim Fair took the picture. The dining room was packed and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.

It doesn’t seem possible that Christmas is just around the corner…like we’re down to the last 12 days.  It’s a good thing I have nothing to do to prepare for it as it wouldn’t get done.  Thanksgiving leftovers are still on my mind.  I am looking forward to spending Christmas in Ellsworth with Todd, Karen, Ally, Drew, Christy, Mackenzie and Tyler.  It will be a long winter after that, but since I rarely have to fight the elements, it’s not a concern.

Thanks for tuning in…

11/24/2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS…

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Ally and I are missing our home in Breck. It was always a fun place to be on Thanksgiving where our family gathered and Ally brought all the orphans from the ski area where she worked to join us. The mountain on the right between the trees is Quandary. The front railing on the porch held the turkey roaster with the carcass and scraps for the Canada and Stellar jays to pick clean while we enjoyed our dinner. Those were very happy times.

Ally and I are looking forward to being “home” in Ellsworth with all the family we can muster together this year…Todd, Karen and Tyler.  Karen is fixing her famous Butterball turkey dinner with all the trimmings and we’re all looking forward to it.  It’s always lip-smacking good.  Tyler will be the only representative of the grandchild generation and we’re very much looking forward to having him home and hearing about his recent trip to and experiences in South Africa.

Some of my neighbors here at the “Palace” will be heading to the homes of their children and grandchildren.  Others, lacking any family, will have a nice Thanksgiving dinner here “at home” with friends.  No one will be alone at this time.

I hope everyone has a very happy holiday weekend with family and friends.
Thanks for tuning in…

10/30/2014

FOOTPRINTS OVER THE YEARS…

My grandson, Tyler, does a lot of traveling and, from time to time, he asks me to tell him where I’ve been, or about one of my favorite destinations. That’s hard as every trip had it special highlights.

There are many places in the US I haven’t seen, but I’ve also had the opportunity to see and visit many places, some many times.  The only two states I haven’t visited are Rhode Island and Delaware.

I thought it might be convenient for Tyler, and interesting for me if I could list the places outside the US where Brit and I, Ally and I, Dane, Mackenzie and I or I alone, have visited…not just passed through on the way to some place else.  The journey brought me back many memories.

Brit and I went to Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Taxco and Aculpulco on our honeymoon.  We also drove to Mexico randomly just because we loved it so much.  One trip was to Tampico to meet Vera and Reuben Sparks. We went to Aculpulco again with Karma and Paul Aylward and stayed at Tres Vidas, which may have been dissolved by the salty ocean water.  It was a magnificent place.

We also made four trips to Hawaii which were wonderful, but they don’t count in this list.

Brit was the People-to-People leader for a group of Kansas bankers we took to China for an extended visit.  We took numerous tours with other groups…and by ourselves. Many were trips that Dane arranged.

Ally and I drove 7,000 miles during our trip to visit Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.  We ate only at locally owned restaurants and slept in locally owned motels/B & B’s. Ally played golf with a group of guys we met over a sack of garlic we happened to have and that they desperately needed.  No fast food/franchise patronizing. We stayed in Baddeck for a week or so and loved Lunenburg where she took the helm of a large sailing vessel and was invited by the captain to stay and sail for him.  She’s that good. I love Nova Scotia.

Ally and I also took a 17 day trip through the Panama Canal on the Norwegian Wind and racked up some wonderful memories.  Another time we spent 10 days in Cancun where she spend her time cave diving and I luxuriated at the Grand Mayan Resort.

Another memorable trip was one that Mackenzie and I took to visit Dane in Hungary when he was there working for the Eisenhower Foundation assisting Hungary to return to a democratic government.  That was a wonderful trip and holds special memories not only of Hungary, but other countries as well. .  Mackenzie lost a tooth while we were there so we launched it in to the Danube and figured some day it would  be inside a big fish in the Black Sea.

I didn’t list a family cruise we took in the Caribbean or the bucket trip the family took with Brit before he died.  Of course, we didn’t venture out of the US for that.

Brit and I had three trips to London/England and I went another time to visit my friends, Ann Harrison, and John and Geoff Spearman (Ally and I met them on the Panama Canal trip). I remember one flight to from New York to London where we were served 7 full meals before we landed in London and we didn’t go to bed until our return flight home two days later.  We were young then.

I don’t have my passports with me which would give me a better idea of what I may have missed, but for all practical purposes, this list will cover most of my travel destinations.  I’ve always had an itch to travel…Dane, Todd, Mackenzie, Tyler, Drew and Ally all have the same gene.  Before he’s finished, Tyler will put my list to shame.  He’s already way ahead of most 26 year old travelers who have to do it on their own.

My Travel To Non-US Destinations (more than just passing through):

Jamaica
Bermuda
Bahamas, Nassau
Costa Rica
Cartagena, Colombia
Panama City
San Blas Islands
Panama Canal
Australia, Sydney
Australia, Canberra
Australia, Melbourne
New Zealand, Rotorua
New Zealand, Queenstown
New Zealand, Christ Church
Indonesia, Jakarta, Jawa Barat
Indonesia, Bali
Philippines, Manila
French Polynesia, BoraBora
Japan, Kyoto
Japan, Tokyo x2
Malaysia, Jahore Bahru
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Thailand, Bangkok
Macau
Singapore
Hong Kong
China, Shanghai
China, Beijing
China, Guangzhou
Canada, Victoria
Canada, Vancouver
Canada, Banff
Canada, Jasper
Canada, Lake Louise
Canada, Medicine Hat
Canada, Calgary
Canada, Edmonton
Canada, Quebec City x2
Canada Montreal
Canada, Nova Scotia, Kentville
Canada, Nova Scotia, Baddeck, Cape Breton Island
Canada, Lunenburg
Canada, Digby
Canada, New Brunswick
Canada, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Mexico, Cancun
Mexico, Monterrey
Mexico, Puerto Vallarta
Mexico, Mexico City
Mexico, Taxco
Mexico, Aculpulco
Mexico, Tres Vidas (where is it?)
Mexico, Cuernavaca
Mexico, Guadalajara
Mexico, San Angel ?
Mexico, Tampico
England, London x3
England, Southern England Petworth and Pulborough
England , Stanley, County Durham
Scotland, Edinburgh
Scotland, Tighnabruaich
Hungary, Budapest
Czechoslovakia, Prague
Austria, Vienna

The end.  My traveling days are over.
Thanks for tuning in…

10/27/2014

PALACE FRIENDS AND HAPPINESS TIME…

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Living here is like a nice bowl of cherries or attending Korean summer bible camp…however you look at it.  It’s all cherries and happiness time for me.

In recent days I’ve had wonderful friends stop by for chats, some bearing good things to eat. It’s always this way.  If I were still living at home alone, I would not experience this kind of activity.  Family yes, but my friends at home work and I couldn’t  get out and about to see them except infrequently.  Everyone is busy and I understand that.  Moving here separated me from lifelong good friends who I didn’t see all that often, but it put me in a position here where I am surrounded by people, some have become good friends.

I have an open door policy here so anyone who wants feels welcome to enter anytime.  Most often, they just walk down the hall and wave as they go by, but even that is better than sitting home alone, as I would be if I were still living in Ellsworth.  There are people working on the jigsaw puzzle in the lobby or having coffee at the coffee bar all the time…day and night.  So, if I had a spell of loneliness, I could always find someone to chat with at any time.   Insomnia goes with old age so someone or another is roaming around.  I really do like the people who live here as they come from all walks of life and are interesting in their own way.

The main highlight of recent day visitors was Tyler who was able to come from Cincinnati for a short weekend.  He was here Friday night for our Five-Hundred-Thousandth Annual Palace Soup Supper, a day of football with his dad in Manhattan on Saturday and back to Cincy on Sunday.  That’s a lot of road time for such a short time here, but he doesn’t seem to mind.  We love it that he can be here, even if only for a few hours.  Tyler does good work, good things.

Todd, Karen, Ally, Jan Paull, Lynn Taylor, Ann and Terry Headrick were all here before we split up and went downstairs to eat chili and chicken noodle soup.

Other friends have been in and out:  Ellen Morgan came by for green tomatoes and a visit, Lynn Taylor stopped for a glass of wine and a break from working pie detail for the soup supper.  My neighbor,  Carolyn Eland, was here for a wonderful afternoon of chatting about family, music, ballet, travel, politics and other topics of common interest.  She loaned me a couple of books her PhD brother wrote which I’m enjoying reading.  Faithful friends, Ann and Terry, we in and out a  couple of times, once bearing beer and hard cider.  Yum.

Dalene Anderson and her daughter, Leah, came by to deliver a case of Two Buck Chuck’s wine from Trader Joe’s.  I really appreciate that.  Dalene, whose dad lives here, is a peck of fun and I love it when she’s here visiting.  She and her sister, Karen Collins, and their kids and grandkids are frequent visitors and delightful/fun folk.  They’ve become wonderful friends.  If I weren’t living here, I never would have met any of them.  That’s one of the special things about living here.  I’ve made so many wonderful friends just by living here and being part of the big family of friends of other inmates.

Jovita Christensen who lives up on the 6th floor by Ivy, stopped by with a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls and my neighbor, Hazel, arrived with a bowl of wonderful baked apples, warm from the oven.  Jovita and Hazel both have reputations for being excellent cooks…and are famous for their baked goods.

Margie dropped by with two Harry and David pears that were wonderful and stayed for a glass of Malbec.  I go through a lot of wine.  Red wine is especially good for old people, they say.  No one here argues about that.

I was downstairs when Barbara Houdek arrived with one of her famous Dutch apple pies, so I bought it at the food sale.  It was fabulous.   I shared some of it with Hazel, Ivy and Margie.  Barbara still makes angel food cakes from scratch…no mixes for her…and beats those egg white with a whip by hand.

Last week Ally was here running errands so I had her drop me off at the Korean Restaurant where I  had a wonderful bowl of Korean Ramen chicken veggie soup that was both steamy hot and spicy hot.  It was wonderful.  I spent the afternoon at the restaurant visiting with Joomi and Tim and reading a Lee Childs book that was easy to absorb in bits and pieces. The restaurant is light and airy, the odors that waft through are wonderful and I just blend into the wall paper. Later in the afternoon Joomi made bananas Foster with scoops of ice cream that she, Tim and I devoured. They are very nice and treat all their customers like the family we are. I love that place. It’s my home away from home.

Mabelle Maes, another neighbor of mine, stopped by for some of Ally’s tomatoes. She accidentally dropped one on the floor and it rolled under a table and a couple of chairs where it lodged up against the wall.  In a jiff she was down on her hands and knees and under the table retrieving it even though I insisted she leave it where it was. I can’t pick up stuff off the floor and do periodic pick ups with one of the half dozen picker-upper tools I have strategically placed around my apartment.Mabelle is agile as a fox….and 96 years old. She’s another good cook. The other day she brought me a plate of monster cookies she’d baked.

Amy Hoffman left a bowl of white chili in my kitchen that was wonderful.  Ally arrived with potato soup, chili and other good things.  Somewhere in the mix Karen came and changed the sheets on my bed. She keeps me in a clean bed and runs lots of errands for me. Without help from her, Todd and Ally, I’d have a difficult time living where I do. They do wonderful things for me.

I also caught up with Mackenzie yesterday as she came to my rescue on a computer problem I was having. As usual, she sorted through it in short order and walked me through a fix. It was not a common problem and should have only happened if I were using two monitors. Kenz loves living in St. Louis, works for Asynchrony where she’s a senior web developer learning new things all the time, lives in a wonderful complex, has good friends who do interesting things.  Tyler spent the night with her Thursday on his way home so they had an opportunity to catch up on cousin news.

I’m looking forward to this weekend as grandson Drew and his girl friend, Christy, will be here from Boulder for a quick visit. It’s always fun to catch up with them as they lead very busy, interesting lives. Since that is the weekend of the KU vs K-State rivalry everyone around here will be drawing up sides for their team and donning all kinds of very old, worn out college shirts and hats. We’ll have special gatherings for the game.

The same is true for Halloween Happenings, which is the 31st. There will be a “Draculas Diner” the 31st. I’m not sure what that is…is it a dinner in a diner which maybe should be Dracula’s Diner Dinner…or it is supposed to be a dinner for many Draculas…as in Draculas’ dinner…or are there lots of Draculas in a diner? Grammar is grandly abused around this place which doesn’t help the split-infinitive-challenged crowd. It will be an evening filled with Bloody Marys, spookghetti and eyeballs, Frankenstein fingers…etc. But, the best thing is that the employees bring their children to the Palace after dinner so we can pass out candy and see them in their cute costumes. That is always fun.

Lunch was especially good today…nice fresh fruit, good cheeseburgers with warm buns and good toppings, potato salad, and much, much better than usual baked beans.  I took some of Ally’s mustard sauce, a sliced jalapeno pepper and fresh tomatoes to top my burger.  Hazel, Ivy and I  enjoyed our lunch and lively conversation.  Doris wasn’t there at “her” table and we all miss her enormously.  She has something contagious so we can’t visit her.  She is one very special lady.

Thanks for tuning in

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10/7/2014

PRECIOUS MOMENTS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Roy P. Britton, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 6:56 am

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Ally and her dad…

10/5/2014

MORE PALACE MUSINGS….

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Todd & Karen Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 2:32 pm

Palace life is wonderful…

This is perfectly stated: True equality for every human should be something liberals, conservatives, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, men, women and people from all races, backgrounds and ethnicities should support. And anyone, or group, who opposes that should never be shielded from criticism for doing so.

I’ve not been satisfied with my news sources since I moved here.  I like to be able to stay abreast…or at least try to stay abreast of the news and that has been an overwhelming challenge. There is too much going on in the world to just breeze past it.  It needs study.  I rarely watch TV and local newspapers are not the answer.   I decided to subscribe to the WSJ.  Ginny Frederick passed on a copy to me last weekend and I really enjoyed it.  Brit and I always liked it and the format has improved favorably over the years. So, the very day I decided to subscribe, one of my fellow inmate friends, John Zimmerman, approached me and asked if I read the WSJ.  I said I was just planning on subscribing and he offered me his.  So, every day after he’s finished reading the paper, he leaves it at my door, just like a real “paper boy”.  I’m loving it.  It fills the big news “gap” that previously existed in my life.

John’s a very nice man.  I grew up with his wife and knew one of his sons and a daughter-in-law was Brit’s VA doctor for many years.  Now I count John among my friends, as well as all four of his children and numerous beautiful and very talented grandchildren.  Another thing:  when John moved into the tall building from one of the outhouses, he was not in good health.  He was on a very slippery, downhill slide…but through determination and lots of exercise, he brought himself back to the real world again.  Living among us and being challenged made the difference. That’s what I love about this place.  It’s all family and we do help each other.  You don’t have this level of full time help and support when you live alone.

I had a wonderful dinner last night…designed just for me by me.  I removed more leaves from that perfect head of bib lettuce Ally got me and wrapped them around paper thin slices of smoked ham, pepper jack cheese and slivered onions.  The three rolled sandwiches looked beautiful on my place especially after I added a few of Ally’s cherry tomatoes and a small bunch of red grapes.  That and a glass of red wine made it a perfect meal.  That would  cost you a small fortune in a five star restaurant, if you could get it.  Tonight I’ll have some of Ally’s chili.  It’s always delicious.

There are a few people who live here who can’t find anything nice to say about anyone or anything.  We just look at them with amusement and wonder when they’ll grow up.  We avoid sitting with them during meals. Fortunately, they are few in number.  Today…as we were going through the salad bar, one of the grouches was grumbling that the table cloths weren’t ironed.  Ironed?  They’re made of material you don’t have to iron and look quite nice. I’ll admit they tend to wrinkle a bit if you don’t pull them out of the drier right away, but the kitchen staff isn’t in charge of laundry and that’s where the complaint was registered. Can you imagine?   That guy has a prickly pear in his shorts and gripes about anything and everything.  When I meet him in the hall and say hello, he just glares, doesn’t speak and walks by.  If I had lain in bed all night long dreaming of stuff to complain about, I never would have come up with that one.

Sunday is the day I do my laundry.  I did a couple small loads and am ready to go for the week.  The machines aren’t top of the line, but they do a good job and are clean and available for our use…and free.  There are machines on each floor, but more people live on the second floor than any other.  Even at that, we all manage to get our laundry done.  Some who have trouble sleeping do theirs in the middle of the night.

I haven’t signed up for the dinner trip to Solomon on the 16th and I need to do that.  It’s another Travel and Taste bus trip that always has unintended consequences…like running out of gas, near misses of getting stuck on muddy roads or lasting over two hours with a busload of women who by then have long extended necessary trips to the ladies’ room. Those are always interesting trips although not always the way intended.

The annual soup supper is  Friday November 24th starting at 4:30.  You can eat in or carry out.  The place is packed so it’s a good opportunity to say hello to people you probably haven’t seen in ages.  Tyler is coming all the way from Cincinnati just for it along with his parents and Ally.  I’m excited about that.

Thanks for tuning in…

7/30/2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALLY….

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:39 am

My youngest just turned 60 today.  How can that  be?
Happy Birthday, Ally.  I love you bunches and wish I could be with you to celebrate.

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You can always pick Ally out of a crowd.

5/26/2014

MEMORIAL DAY DEPARTURE SHOTS…

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Family:  Ally, Karen, Christy, Drew, me, Todd

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Family:  Ally, Karen, Mackenzie, Drew, me, Todd

It was a wonderful weekend with family….

5/25/2014

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…

4/1/2014

PEG AND EMMA…MEETING FOR THE FIRST TIME….

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Rodney and Gennifer Helus, Emma — Peg Britton @ 6:41 pm

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Peg and Emma…photo by Ally April 1, 2014

3/12/2014

ANOTHER PERFECT DAY IN KANSAS….FOR HALF THE DAY….THEN THE WINDS CAME….

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 8:03 am

 

Yesterday was a splendid day…a perfect day in Kansas, warm and sunny without wind (until mid-afternoon).  Ally came early to visit so we had all day to “get things done”.   I need help to accomplish most things that accumulate on my list.  We began the day by meeting our good friend, Ann, for breakfast at the north IHOP.  That’s always a good way to start the day and our conversations with Ann are always lively and animated.

Since I’ve lived at the Palace, I haven’t had the opportunity or energy to take on the new, big Dillon’s store.  I still use a walker and how was I to use it, carry it in a cart? Tie it to the back of a go cart?  It’s a very big store and walking the aisles would be too much for me.  I’d need to stop and sit awhile…maybe on the display of  bags of rice?

Nonetheless, the store has been like a magnet to me and I have longed wished I could peruse its aisles. Yesterday was my day.  Ally took me and her only stipulation was that we limit my purchases to what we could carry in three plastic bags.  That was going to be tricky, but they all have to be carried into the Palace and up to my apartment and Ally has to do that.  When we pick a day to do such errands, we both have to be in tiptop shape.

I used one of those handy-dandy mechanical carts designed for the incapacitated elderly shopper. It was a nightmare to operate as it was either full go, forward or backward, or STOP.  The “stops” were brain- jolting and bone-jarring and each stop almost threw over the windshield.  I jerked up and down every aisle until I became disoriented and hardly knew where I was.  By then, I had accumulated enough food stuffs to fill several more than my allotted three bags.  Food for my pantry to last for a long time.  And, the required veggies.  We don’t have enough crunchy stuff here so I loaded up on raw veggies to satisfy that craving.

Since I have my main meal in the dining room with the other inmates, I don’t want a lot to eat in the evening.  Last night I had some tofu miso and naam I found yesterday at the store.  They were both very good and provided a wonderful change from the usual fare we have here.  I’m not sure I would ever tire of either.  I also bought several other items that will be easy to prepare and are “different” from anything that is served here.  In addition, I bought some  Idaho baking potatoes and the required toppings to go on them when I feel like a “loaded” baked potato for dinner.

The skids on my walker were worn out.  I need a new set every couple of months as I wear them out rather quickly.  I guess that proves I’m walking around.  Ally took my walker to Key Rexall where Pat changed out the skis.  She also went by the Medical Arts building to see if they could take the wiggle out of my walker.  They can’t so I’ll use this one until it falls apart.  My friend, Ann, has her eyes out for a used one for me.

Then Ally went by Bogies to get me a surprise…a diet cherry limeade, the best in town.  It’s always a special treat.  We had a very good day.

I’m still going to sittercise class every morning as it does help my mobility.  Yoga a couple of times a week also helps me to stay limber.  Well, as limber as old, arthritic joints will allow.  Every little bit helps.  I should do more but my level of energy seems to dictate what I can do without getting overly fatigued.

I still love living here and for me and my family, my decision to move here was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.  Life is very good….

Thanks for tuning in…

2/16/2014

EAST EIGHTH STREET KIDS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:51 am

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Some of the neighborhood kids…Ally Britton, Jim and Peder Larsen, Dane Britton.  It must have been taken on a Sunday morning.  Maybe 1959.  I don’t know where Todd was when this picture was taken, but I was usually missing one of my kids…who wandered off.  The group also included Richie Irwin, on a regular basis.

2/12/2014

PALACE PEOPLE AND PLEASURES…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 3:30 pm

There is a flurry of activity in the Palace.  One would never guess.

February is a strong birthday month around here so it gives cause to celebrate.  Hazel, my next door neighbor,  turned 94 on Monday.  I wanted so much to have a surprise party for her, but I can’t do anything like that without a lot of help from  Ally and she was socked in at her farm under massive drifts of snow.  Tomorrow we’re trying to make up for it and taking her out to have lunch and pick up some groceries.  It’s not the same, but we “make do” and are looking forward to that.

Today is Doris’ birthday…she’s 105, if you can imagine.  Her daughter, Barbara, and son-in-law, Jerry, from North Carolina have been here for about a week taking her out for meals and generally having a good time.  Other assorted relatives have drifted in and out to make the occasion of her birthday memorable.  Friends have brought her cakes and generous slices of their goodness have arrived in my apartment by various runners.  We’ll have birthday conversations to talk about in days to come. I really enjoy being with Doris and usually sit with her for lunch.  She has a wonderful sense of humor and is very “quick witted”.  I keep telling her we share the same warped sense of humor.

Tonight is the annual resident Valentine’s Day dinner so I’ll be attending with Margie, Amy and Ivy.  Amy volunteered to go early and save places for us. We have harp music for entertainment which will bore me rather quickly, but I’ll try to be attentive and polite.  Lynn is preparing chicken cordon bleu, fruit salad, homemade rolls, some kind of veggies and brownies for dinner.  Lynn is an Ellsworthite and I enjoy her company.  She’s so thoughtful.  I inadvertently left my insulin syringe on the dining room table yesterday and she brought it to me after lunch.
Dalene Anderson is here visiting her dad so she stopped to see me for a quick visit today.  She’s always a day brightener and it’s fun having her around.  I’ve loved getting to know her kids and grand kids and following their exciting adventures.

Tomorrow night I’m going out for dinner with Lynn, her mom and the group of Ellsworth ex-pats…Lila, Jane and Janie.  They have dinner together every Friday night and include me whenever I want to go.  They are going to Tucson’s so I will join them. I bail on the times they go to Olive Garden, Martinelli’s, Chilis, Applebee’s, etc.   The weather ought to be good to be out and about for the next few days.  I don’t get enough fresh air.

Later this month our Travel and Taste inmate group will be going to Skye Brewery and Eats and I never pass by an opportunity to go there.  The food is good and the beer cold and wonderful.  That’s a winning combination, in my book.

I guess the bottom line is that life is good at the Palace.  I’ve been here over a year now and never skipped a beat during the transition.  I know my family is happy that I’m here and “covered” in any emergency,  and I’m happy about it too.  I like it that they can come and go, make plans to do whatever they like, without worrying if “I’m covered”.  I’m always covered.  I don’t know of any place else where I’d want to be in this stage in my life as I’m surrounded by thoughtful people who have become my friends. Live is crazy good.  I do miss my grandchildren…a lot…but that would be the case no matter where I lived.

Thanks for tuning in …

2/6/2014

BILL HALL, SUPT. OF SALINA SCHOOLS, WAS OUR LUNCHEON GUEST TODAY…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Todd & Karen Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 3:29 pm

Most Palace inmates are playing it close and staying out of the snow drifts.  We may see a little activity today as it’s a whopping 7 degrees and the sun is shining.

I had lunch with Salina School Superintendent Bill Hall today along with Don Smischny, Dorothy Carmichael, Pete Peterson and Doris Wyatt.  It was a good experience and the conversation was stimulating and interesting.  He’s an interesting man with a world of challenges at his doorstep.  It was an occasion that Kim Fair arranged and I was happy to be included to give a little balance to all the teacher reps.  The guys who routinely sit at that particular table were torqued at having to sit elsewhere.  Life goes on.

The Olympics are starting to day with 98 medals to be won over 16 days,  Russian rock music, traditional costumes, Cossack nomadic horse culture and dancers… the whole works. These will be the  costliest Olympic Games in history as they officially open in Russia on Friday 7 in Sochi, on Russia’s Black Sea coast, and will welcome about 2,900 athletes in 15 disciplines.  The TV coverage will never be what it once was back in the early 50s, but at least it’s something.

Russia, politically,  is trying to keep out decadent Western dissidents while spending 50 billion dollars on this Olympics, more than all previous Olympics combined. That, in itself, is something to ponder.  I wonder if Putin will free all the gays from prison at some point as a show of power.  It will be interesting to follow as we all cross our fingers and hope there aren’t tragedies that overwhelm the games.

As for social events, Margie had a birthday party for herself the other night that was a lot of fun.  Karen and Todd brought me some of their famous ham and beans with cornbread so I had Ivy come “down” from the 6th floor and join me for dinner and watch the KU/Baylor game. We also had wine, brownies and Ally’s peanut butter cookies. The particular order of consumption isn’t really relevant at our age.  Our Valentine banquet is Wednesday so I’ll be going to that and hope the food is good.  It’s getting better, I think.

Face Book has been doing “Look Back” features on some members.  I really like mine as it features some good photos…not all, but it’s good.    I’m not sure how Jerry Moran got in there, but there he is.  Once Jerry became a minion of George Bush and the tea party, he lost my support.

If you enjoy tea, having access on the net to all the wonderful tea companies is a real joy.  I’m enjoying a mug of Maharaja Chai Oolong/Samurai Chai Mate Blend with Rock Sugar that can be purchased from Teavana.  My friend, Lynn, gave me a sample of it and I like it well enough to order some. Maharaja Chai Oolong & Samurai Chai Maté intermingle to form a blend that is bold in flavor and rich in heritage. Ginger, cinnamon, black peppercorn, cloves, & nutmeg harmoniously balance with sweet notes of pineapple, papaya & star anise. Spicy and rich, this sweet Ayurvedic blend combines oolong, maté and green rooibos in a wealth of flavor.  Ah, tea.  Nothing like a cup of hot tea  on a cold day.

It bothers me, and shouldn’t, when individuals make an incorrect statement and then base everything that follows on that statement.  I tend to get so hung up on the incorrect premise that I can’t sort though all the stuff the tumbles down after that.  Oh well…

Thanks for tuning in…

1/11/2014

THIS AND THAT AT THE PALACE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Todd Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 2:28 pm

It’s like spring today…45 degrees and climbing.  The ice hasn’t melted around the parking garage so it has taken some careful maneuvering to get to cars that are parked in that area. I leave my car in the front parking lot for that reason, and when it rains it gets rinsed off.

Most of the inmates here who are still driving own old cars.  That figures.  Old cars are “comfortable” for them and they don’t want to learn to drive a new/different car.  And, the old ones are usually bigger, easier to get in and from which to extricate one’s self.  Recently, one of my friends had a new transmission put in her old car for those reasons.  She didn’t even consider buying a new car although financially it probably would have been more prudent.

Today is the KU-KState game and the inmates are all geared up for the big showdown.  My neighbor, Hazel, who bakes fantastic pies has a warm cherry pie to share after the game today.  Joy is going down the hill to Braum’s for vanilla ice cream to go with the pie.  I love my “neighborhood” and my neighbors.

Ally and I were in the south part of town having lunch Thursday and saw Ellsworthites Hector and Jean.  That was fun.  I miss seeing my Ellsworth friends.  I also had “football” on Thursday.    I’m on Team B and we fell behind this week.  The game involves throwing bean bags at a hole on a board…the object is to get it through the hole, so everyone can play.  When I signed up for it…just to see what it was…I didn’t realize it involved every Thursday all month…five of them.  My friend, Susie, who lives in a retirement facility in K.C. is playing “soccer”….all the same thing, I presume.  It must be a popular activity for the elderly.

Eddie is in Salina from Silverton for a week, so he’ll be stopping by to visit me. His uncle, Bud Jilka, who was a freshman walk-on basketball player for K-State in 1947, will be honored with other players Friday and Saturday in Manhattan.

Todd will be here Monday to attend International night at the Korean Restaurant featuring Sicilian  food. Tim Bobbett will do the cooking using his grandmother’s family recipes.  Todd and I will go early and save seats for Ann and Terry, Martha and Kent.  Spending the evening with friends enjoying interesting/different food, and a bottle of wine,  is a good way to spend the evening. It will be nice to spend the evening with Todd.

Oh, if you forget a corkscrew for the wine, you can open it with your shoe.  See how here…

I’m enjoying a growler of Salvation…Belgian I think, that Drew and Tyler gave me for Christmas.  It’s the first of several and very good.  I have two movies to watch again…The Town and Fracture….to go with the beer.

Life at the Palace is good.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/21/2013

ALLY’S PERUVIAN INKKAS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Mackenzie — Peg Britton @ 7:58 am

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Ally’s Peruvian Inkkas.  Photo by Lindsay Jackson-Mog…

I  love ‘em. Mackenzie is sporting a pair too.

12/17/2013

SEOUL USA KOREAN RESTAURANT…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, restaurants/food — Peg Britton @ 9:34 pm

Ally surprised me this evening with dinner at the Korean Restaurant, my favorite place in Salina to eat.  It’s home owned and operated, which is a winner for me.   It was especially nice since she had arranged for us to meet Ann and Terry Headrick there for dinner.  As usual, I enjoyed every bite of  my dinner and the delightful conversation we had with the Headricks, Joomi and Tim Bobbett.

Ally and I split dinners.  She ordered Mandoo which is Korean fried dumplings with pork and vegetables.   She loves dumplings with dipping sauce, as do I.  I had Japchae which consists of mixed vegetables and beef with noodles made from sweet potatoes and shared it with her.  I seem to order that each time I eat there.  It came with piles of rice and all the kimchi I wanted…which was a generous amount.

I’m not sure what Ann had, but it looked very good.  Probably it was beef bulgogi.  Terry ordered ramen noodle soup which I helped myself to, and it was so good I ordered it to-go for my dinner tomorrow night. Joomi brought us a sliced orange too…which I consumed almost by myself.

It came as a surprise to me, but Joomi said someone from Presbyterian Manor had called about bringing a group from there to dinner on the 30th.  After hashing it over with Ally, Ann and Joomi, and considering it’s also International Night potluck, we decided that if Joomi fixed several of her dishes that we’d all just share.  I thought that would be easiest for the inmates.  They can try the various dishes and there will be something they are bound to like.  I like all the various flavors Joomi combines in her dishes. That way, she wouldn’t have individual dinners to prepare to order for 16 to 20 people which takes time.  We’ll have to be out of the way of the other group that will start arriving that night at 5:30.

I’m hoping that we’ll have a busload from here for that particular dinner.  Joomi’s going to fix beef bulgogi, pork bulgogi, chicken bulgogi, Japchoe, rice and two other side dishes.  The price will be $12.00 per person which includes soft drinks and tips.  I’m really looking forward to it and hope an appreciative busload from here will also partake in the event.  Life is an adventure to be lived.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/16/2013

A DAY FULL OF SURPRISES….

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 10:12 pm

Today was full of surprises…and that is always special when every day is very much like Ground Hog Day.

I went to lunch and ordered bacon and eggs instead of either of the two options…chicken and dressing or riblet sandwiches.  I don’t care for either and am perfectly happy having breakfast which they prepare very well.  I take my own toast made from special bread Mackenzie brought me from St. Louis  and I took the blood orange marmalade that Lynn gave me.  It is delicious….the best I’ve ever had.

After lunch Tyler “Skyped” me from his far away place in that sand box.  It was so good to see his smiling face and see that he was well, healthy and happy. He’s shaved off his bushy mustache and I don’t mind saying he looks much better, imo, without “Fernando” on his upper lip, but if he wants a mustache, that’s perfectly fine with me.

I could see his “living quarters” as he turned his computer around for my benefit.  He has pretty tight quarters with bunk beds, a couple of dressers,  and a small area to hang clothes…and barely room to turn around.  That’s okay.  He’s used to it as are all the other CCATT members he’s with, at the moment.  He has made four flights during the past month and even got to Heidelberg over the weekend.  He has another 5 months on this tour before he can return home.

I just completed my visit with Tyler and my friend Cindy arrived for a visit.  I really miss seeing her and was delighted to have her stop by to fill me in on all her family news.  She’s a very busy woman so we don’t see each other as often as we’d like.  She’s good to stop by when she can.

Tonight was monthly Bingo and I decided to go.  It’s the third time since I’ve been here that I’ve played….and have been pretty lucky at it.  Doris and I sit together and have fun.  I won three times tonight and picked three boxes of Kleenex for my prizes.  There are plenty of choices for everyone, each worth about a dollar.  I play when I can see I’m getting low on “staple” items…kleenex, toilet tissue, toothpaste, etc.  Last time I won $7.00 worth of prizes.

They are having some kind of entertainment in the basement tomorrow night as well as a clothing showing.  I guess you buy/order whatever.  I might go just to see what it’s all about.

It’s time to turn on my music and hit the feathers.  It’s so quiet here that once I go to sleep I’m out like a light.  It’s the first time I’ve had the luxury of so much “quiet”.

Karen will get home from Atlanta tomorrow where she’s had a wonderful time taking care of her new granddaughter, Emma Grace.

Ally is coming tomorrow to deliver her mustard sauce and I hope we can go out for lunch.  It’s supposed to be nice one more day before the cold weather descends on us again.  Maybe we can run some errands tomorrow.  I’d like to go to Aldi’s and get some grapefruit.  That’s where my fellow inmates say they have the best and least expensive fresh fruit.  I can’t seem to get my fill of it.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/15/2013

ALLY’S FAMOUS MUSTARD SAUCE IN THE MAKING…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 6:05 pm

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Here’s a photo of Ally cooking up another batch of mustard sauce in her spic and span clean commercial kitchen.  At this time of year she is busier than usual with orders.  If you want something special as a gift for a hostess, housewarming, friend, etc., her mustard sauce is a delicious and welcome one.  There is nothing quite like it on the market.

She’ll be back in Salina on Tuesday Dec 17th with orders that she delivers downtown at Ad Astra (where her product is used on their sandwiches).  In Ellsworth, you can pick up your orders at her Prairie Dancer farm 5 miles south of town.  Give her a ring to order:  785.472.7065. Thanks for supporting her efforts.

11/26/2013

ALLY’S PRAIRIE MUSTARD….YUMMY GOOD…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, restaurants/food — Peg Britton @ 3:24 pm

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Here is what Ally’s commercial kitchen and production line look like.  Her famous mustard sauce…in four flavors…is in the making. You can determine the differences below…plain smooth, “the kind with seeds”, jalapeno and horseradish flavors.  They are all delicious and essentially taste the same with a defined and distinguished tang.

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Here’s a refrigerator filled with finished product, Ally’s Prairie Mustard, and already sold and delivered.

She makes it year round but the big demand is over Thanksgiving and Christmas as it is most particularly delicious on ham and turkey.

It makes dull deviled eggs come alive if you use a little mustard sauce in them.  It’s great when baking or broiling fresh salmon…or a pork tenderloin roast.  Hamburgers and sandwiches are better when slathered with her mustard.

It’s featured on the menu at Ad Astra in Salina.

She’ll be delivering more after Thanksgiving and through Christmas so give her a call if you want to get on the list. It makes wonderful hostess gifts if you’re invited out for the holidays and to send home with family and friends after the holidays.

Those living in or near Ellsworth can visit her farm 5 miles south of town and pick up your orders.  She makes periodic deliveries to Salina.

Her number is 785.472.7065.

Thanks for tuning in…

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