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2/9/2015

HAZEL’S BIRTHDAY PHOTOS…

Hazel’s 95th birthday party pictures…
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Tyler and and his Aunt Ally…
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Tyler and his proud mom, Karen…
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Moi, Ally and Hazel…

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Hazel Beggs and I, just hangin’ out…

Thanks for tuning in…

12/31/2014

YEAR END AT THE PALACE…WITH THE GIRLZ IN THE HOOD…

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Todd & Karen Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 11:16 am

Another good year is drawing to a close and as I reflect on it, I’m more grateful than ever that I’m living here at the Palace.  Although my kids and grandchildren are very attentive to my needs and wants, and share an endless amount of their love, I don’t want them to be unnecessarily inconvenienced or think they are responsible to supply me with attention.  Living here takes almost all that stress off them and since they know I love it here, I don’t get lonely (it’s not my nature)  and I have everything I need to be comfortable.  That includes my computer, stacks of books, good music, The Wall Street Journal, and most of all…I’m surrounded by good, helpful, kind, pleasant people.   The family comes to visit as often as they can and I love every minute they spend with me.  That goes for friends too.  When I’m with my kids and grand kids, that is life at its best.

I really, really, really miss my Ellsworth friends and friends elsewhere, but that’s what happens when you get old and life situations change.  I can’t “get” to them and most people aren’t inclined to visit people in retirement centers.  I know about that.  I was in that position too for a long time.  I miss them but can’t do much about that.  I’ve learned that I’m physically uncomfortable when I leave the Palace, except when I visit Todd and Karen.  Their house is user friendly for me and I’m  comfortable there.  I can’t do steps and it’s generally hard for me to “get around”.   It’s best if I just stay “home”.

Since I moved to the Palace, Ally and Karen have changed my sheets.  For months now Karen has been changing my bed and washing my sheets.  I want to make it easier for Karen.  Previously I have been doing all my own laundry as the facilities here are nice and convenient; however, the process just wears me out.  Sometimes it thoroughly exhausts me so yesterday I sent all my clothes to the laundry here and am ecstatic with the results.  They  picked it up at 8 and by 10 it was returned neatly folded or on hangers.

They washed all my clothes in one 55 gallon load, containing only my clothes,  and, I’m told they rarely lose anything as they label the washer as containing my clothes.  When they move them to the dryer, they move my name tag to the dryer.  That load can include my queen size sheets and pillow cases, large bath towels and wash cloths and almost the entire contents of my closets.  They charge $10 for doing that, folding/hanging and returning them to my room…and putting them where they belong.  It just took me this long to figure all this out.  There are many kinds of service the Palace offers like this to make living here carefree.  It’s perfect.

Sharon helps me for an hour every two weeks with my housekeeping.  She’s marvelous and most helpful.  That’s about  all I have needed as my apartment is all new and not that large. She’s going to change that to include more time for me so that she can make my bed and tidy my closets, kitchen and refrigerator.  She agreed I could scream and yell at her until she makes my bed perfectly as Karen does.  No one can make a bed as perfectly as Karen.

I use a lot of distilled water in my humidifier and C-Pap machine.   It’s about $1.00 a gallon at Dollar General just down the street.  Todd and others would stop and get me as much as they could carry until I called Key Rexall and asked what they charged.  I can’t recall exactly, but  think  $1.13 a gallon…and they deliver anything, or a truck load of stuff, for $1.48.  So, once I figured that out, I order a case of six gallons quite often.  Sean delivers it to my apartment, takes it out of the case and distributes it for me where I need it.  And I give him a nice tip for doing all that for me and we both are happy.  Todd is happy too.

Salina Public Librarian, Lori, comes to the Palace once a month and brings a random selection of books and ones I special order from her.  I send her an email with what I’d like.  She brings them here to the Palace, I keep them a month and she retrieves them.  There is also a very nice well-stocked  library here at the Palace.  You just take a book and return it when you’re finished.

There is something new every day to learn about living here.  It just takes time to make all those adjustments.

Shannon called me yesterday and we visited about his new driveway.  What a wonderful improvement it  is.  I just love it that Shannon, Lindsay and their boys live there.  They use the house just like Brit and I did for our family and friends.   The house is still filled with company all the time.  They love it just as much as we did.  That makes me feel really good about living here and leaving it behind for his enjoyment.

We’re having a Noon Year’s Eve party shortly….baked potato bar and special things.  I have to join my friends now and see what alligators are circulating the moat.

And, the “girlz in the hood” are gathering any time after 3:30 at Joy’s to put a dent in the New Year. They include Amy Hoffman, Hazel Beggs, Maybelle Mase, Dorothy Carmichael, Carolyn Eland, Margie Wilson, Joy Mansfield… and moi. Yay!
Thanks for tuning in…

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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10/5/2014

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…

7/10/2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TODD…61 WISHES AND MAY THEY ALL COME TRUE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Todd Britton, Todd & Karen Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:20 am

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Todd is celebrating his 61st birthday today…that hardly seems possible.

I hope you have a wonderful day, Todd.  I wish I could bake one of the famous train cakes I once made for you!  You’ll have to settle for sushi.

I’m very proud of you and the man you have become….

lots of love always…
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Todd’s family….Tyler, Karen and Drew.

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…

3/17/2014

HAPPY ST. PAT’S DAY TO ALL…

Filed under: prairie musings, Roy P. Britton, Todd & Karen Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:26 am

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And…happy 30th wedding anniversary to Todd and Karen…

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Hugs to my main squeeze too as this would have been our 63rd wedding anniversary.

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It’s a good time to celebrate a special day…

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…

10/20/2013

TOMORROW, TOMORROW, TOMORROW A SPECIAL GUY HEADS FOR KANSAS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Todd & Karen Britton — Peg Britton @ 2:35 pm

I took the post down about my grandson…he’s safer if I don’t post pictures and information about him.

Oh, I did get stirred up a bit this morning when I did a load of dark clothes and they came out all covered with white lint.  That’s aggravating to say the least.  Usually the residents are very careful, as they always were when I lived on the 4th floor.  Someone on 2nd floor did their laundry last night night and tried to wash a box of Kleenex or something similar.  It could have been an employee or “imposter”.   I’ll now take a different approach to my laundry and nose around to see who is doing laundry in the middle of the night on Saturday.  I can work around this.
A week from tomorrow night I’m going to another International Dinner at the Korean Restaurant.  They (Joomi and Tim Bobbit)  are closed on Mondays so that night we have free rein of the restaurant.  There will be 44 of us as that’s all the fire marshal will allow. Tasneem will be doing the Indian-style cooking…or the major portion of it, and it will feature appetizers of samosas, green chutneys, tamarind sweet chutney and green salad.  The Main courses include butter garlic rice, paratha, fish Manchorian, chicken Karachi and shami kabab. For dessert we’ll have halwa or kheer.  It will either be very good, or it won’t.  We take our chances and love the experience.  They always ask for four volunteers to do the dishes and there are those who always do.  I’ll take a bottle of wine for the Headrick’s and me to consume as we wait.  Maybe two.

Friday is the soup supper. It’s a very big deal around here. My long-time friend,  Leo Lake, is the head volunteer here and he and my other volunteer friend, Lynn Taylor, head up the pie department for the supper.  They’ve enlisted my help so that starts in the basement at 9:00 am.   I bought scissors yesterday, one of the tools of my trade, so I’m ready to roll.  I unwrap the pies and Pete Peterson, also a long time friend, marks them with a form for cutting.  I also want to land a piece of gooseberry pie.

Next week I go see Linda Lawrence who will check my eyes…and we’ll visit.  She’s become a good friend after all these years.  I was one of her first patients when she came to Salina to practice and everyone in my family has been to see her.

Wednesday the 30th Ally and I are going to Abilene for the Benjamin Edwards and Co., “Investments for Generations”, open house.  Patti O is my financial adviser so she’s having the grand opening at the Abilene depot since the numbers outgrew her new facilities.  That will be a fun gathering and I’m looking forward to it.

A temporary item on the Longhorn menu is harvest apple salad.   It has greens, toasted pecans, cranberries, apples, and paper thin slices of fried or roasted sweet potatoes or plantains…I’m not sure.  It looks like bacon but isn’t.  I’ve had it twice and it’s really good.  I have them make it with spring greens (no iceberg or romaine…or spinach) and order extra dressing that is made with apple cider.   It was worth two trips out there to enjoy it. Karen had it, too, yesterday and loved it.

I got the oil changed in my car and new wiper blades put on. They are tricky.  If you know how, it takes about 10 seconds to change a blade.  If you don’t know, it takes an hour to figure it out.  Ask Todd.  Now I know just to drive to the auto parts store and buy the blades which the sales clerk will then install for me.

And…there are exercise classes next week.  I still attend the daily sittercise classes at 10 am and the twice weekly yoga classes.  They are helping, particularly my upper body strength.  My legs are still giving me fits.  I don’t see any hope of ever getting rid of my walker and it’s exasperating, but things could be worse.  I feel great so that’s the main thing.

I have great neighbors who live by me in the “hood” and I love living here.  My apartment is perfect for me…very comfortable, quiet, offers solitude or company, which ever I want.  It’s a very good life and I couldn’t be happier with my surroundings.  There is never any shortage of laughs…the side splitting type.

Thanks for tuning in….

10/13/2013

MORE OF THIS AND THAT AT THE PALACE…

The weather this weekend has been gorgeous and inviting so it has been difficult to stay inside when it’s so invigorating to be outside.  Yesterday Lynn, Margie and I drove to McPherson for “lunch”.  We had hoped to eat at the Courtyard, but it is closed on Saturday so we ate across the street at Neighbors.

Neighbors is an interesting and very popular place, particularly on Saturday morning where they serve only breakfast until 1:00 PM.  Every hungry big guy in McPherson was there. The place was packed to overflowing.  It’s a long, narrow building where there is only one aisle from front to back and it was so narrow that I couldn’t get down it with my walker.  On one side of the aisle is a counter with stools, all occupied by very big guys, who wouldn’t fit in booths, and whose backsides hung overwhelmingly out in the aisle.  On the other side of the narrow aisle, customers hung out of the booths so I gingerly made my way down the aisle clipping well-filled blue jean backsides and leaning on whatever there was to lean on. I was best friends with everyone before we made our way to the back and grabbed the only remaining place to sit…which was a cattywampus booth into which I didn’t fit.

Being a western Kansas gal and familiar with such dives, I knew the food would be good and plentiful.  And it was.  The platters of food arrived hot and overflowing.   They are famous for their cinnamon rolls and I intended to bring one home with me….but I forgot.  I bet their biscuits and gravy would be top of the line.  Their biscuits are huge and homemade.

This morning Drew and Ally came to Salina and we went to the north IHOP to eat.  Jamal is there and he is an old friend so we like to eat there.  Drew doesn’t get home very often, but he always squeezes in some time to see me.  It’s always good to see him and hear his latest adventures in hiking or snowboarding in the high country of Colorado.

I took Drew down to meet Dale Anderson, who was a banker, so they could know each other.  We all talk about our kids and grand kids to one another so it’s nice putting faces on those names.  I’ve known Dale’s two daughters for a almost a year and recently met most of his grandchildren.  I’ve met more people here at the Palace during the past year than I did for the previous five years at home.

And, last week Ally was here a couple of times so we had lunch elsewhere…burnt ends at the Hickory Hut and onion soup and salad at Longhorn’s. I take advantage of those opportunities whenever I can as the menu here is very repetitious and a change is always refreshing.

My new computer is working like a charm, thanks to Mackenzie.  Technology is amazing.  The computer arrived here…thanks to Kenz ordering it and knowing after years of experience what I liked in computers.  The maintenance men brought the boxes to my room.  Todd and Karen assembled it.  None of this took much time.  Then Kenz took all the information off my external hard drive and put it on my new computer.  That didn’t take her long either, but then she is extremely good and efficient at what she does and knew what she was about.  It’s amazing she could do all that remotely without setting eyes on my computer.  And, I didn’t skip a beat as it was just like I was back on my old computer with every thing in its place.  It is truly amazing and wonderful.

The monthly pot luck supper is Tuesday evening.  I went to one of them, but haven’t been back….not for any reason in particular except that I’m in the camp that prefers not to go. There was a day when everyone cooked and prepared homemade dishes.  That no longer is the case as most people here don’t cook much anymore…with some rare exceptions.  So, the food isn’t anything to really go for as it’s usual Palace food for the main dish  with some of the people paying others to make their dishes for them, which generally isn’t homemade, or particularly good.  I guess you either like it a lot and look forward to it, or you don’t.  I happen to be in the latter group.

The trip this month for our Taste and Travel is to Fat Boyz Bar and Grill in Little River on the 23rd.  I’ll sign up for that just because it’s an outing and fun.  I’ve never been impressed with their steaks, but it’s a change from  the food here (where steak is never an option) and an opportunity to get out and enjoy the sights along the way.   The Soup Supper is the 25th and that’s a really big deal around here.  I have to report for duty at 9 that day to take the cellophane off the pies….under the leadership of my friend, Leo Lake.   If you can come for the supper, I think you’ll find it interesting.  It’s from 4:30 until 7:00 on Friday the 25th.

Thanks for tuning in ….

9/7/2013

THIS AND THAT FROM THE PALACE…

It’s difficult for me to keep up with my blog when so much is going on around here.  Today Karen came by early to help “settle me in” my new apartment.  The big move went well,  thanks to family and friends, but stuff and things needed to be rearranged and dispersed.  We tossed a few items, but most things were intended for a place here and now they have found their proper niche.

Karen and Todd picked out a wonderful quilt for my bed that Karen delivered today.  I just love it and it fits to the floor the way I could only hope that it would.  A dust ruffle wouldn’t work so this is perfect.   It’s light weight so I can manage it…and it lends a feminine touch to my brass bed and the room.  Once I get the LeRoy Neiman Delecroix Tiger hung above my desk, that is on loan from Tyler, my room will it will be just the way I want it…desks, computer, MUSIC, dressers, clothes, and the most comfortable bed in the world, all next to but apart from my living room.

We got rid of all the boxes and arranged my spare computer table that is now a desk for all desk stuff.  Marian Adrian, the previous resident in this apartment, left the table and a chair for me.  It’s perfect for all my desk gadgetry, stationery, cards, note papers, scratch paper and odds and ends.  Lynn gave me her old computer table that is too small for my computer but is perfect as a med dispensing table.  It is perfect for that and very convenient.  With it,  I’m not inclined to be tardy taking my meds.

Ann and Terry Headrick stopped by yesterday for a chat and to take a peek at my digs.  They have several shops with old and new merchandise scattered around Salina and Abilene so they are on the alert for a living room chair for me.  And, I have friends here who are on the lookout for a chair or two and a like-new dining room table that is slightly larger than the one I now have.  That should round out my furnishing for #218.  My friends have been most helpful with very good suggestions.

And…my neighbors, the same above mentioned friends, have stopped by to watch the progress…Hazel, Mabelle, Amy, Margie, Dorothy and Joy.  I have great neighbors.  Mabelle just came by to tell me how much she likes my apartment…and my art work…but added, “I don’t understand it at all…but I like it”.

Karen and I went out for lunch.  I was hungry for “burnt ends” so we went to the Hickory Hut, which has great barbecue.  Last night Kim and I went to Jalisco’s Mexican restaurant, which is also good.  I like their combination plates, particularly #21 which is a tamale, 2 chile Rellenos and a guacamole tostada.  I always bring some home for the next day, which comes in handy.  This time of year I have no shortage of things to fix for my dinner…good tomatoes, little cucumbers, onions, peaches, pears and you can’t beat the roasted chickens from Sam’s for flavor and price.

Grandson Tyler is visiting friends in CA and is driving the coastal highway from Sacramento south.  Drew is visiting Ally in Vail right now.  She’s fixing him a steak for dinner…after a swim.  Todd is attending the K-State football game.  Karen is off to KC and a very special baby shower tomorrow.  Everyone is busy, and happily so.

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It looks like granddaughter Mackenzie and Ty are attending a gathering of Asychrony employees at the City Museum in St. Louis.

I’m reading Hitch 22 and it’s due back to the library next week so I have to get busy and finish it.   It’s one I can’t renew so I better get to it.  For anyone who likes the writings of Christopher Hitchens, I highly recommend it.  It’s not an easy read but very good and worth the effort.

Thanks for tuning in…

8/27/2013

SHUFFLING AROUND THE PALACE…

Thanks to the efforts of a lot of good friends, I’m settled into my permanent home at the Palace until such time someone determines I am unable to take care of myself and then they’ll haul me off to one of the other units under this big roof.   That will be an easy move although I hope to avoid it. Living here independently is incentive enough to get stronger, stay mentally alert and be active and involved.

Last Friday the maintenance crew from here moved all my furniture and heavy stuff.  It took them slightly less than 2 1/2 hours. They did a marvelous job.

On Saturday my friends arrived to tackle the hardest part of the move…shuffling  all the stuff that wasn’t moved on Friday.  That included everything in closets, kitchen and refrigerator plus books and odds and ends.  The problem with that was that I was moving in to smaller quarters which was not a good fit.

Greg and his granddaughter, Madison were first to arrive at 9 with Les, Bev, Audrey, Ally and Todd soon to follow.  They made trip after trip retrieving “stuff” from 402 and bringing it to 218.  It was exhausting work.  Bev and Audrey arranged my kitchen the best they could.  They finished with the last loads about mid afternoon.  It will take lots of rearranging on my part, but the move was completed very quickly.  That means I had a minimum amount of time that I was paying for two apartments.   I am so indebted to friends and family for helping me.

I have discovered this part of the Palace isn’t  quite as sound proof as the “tall building”….but it’s not a problem.  I could hear Mabelle’s church service on Sunday morning and Hazel’s TV last night.  Hazel has the apartment next to my living room and Mabelle is next to my bedroom. They are both hearing impaired so have the volume up on their TV’s.  It isn’t a bother to me.  They are both wonderful neighbors.

Thursday we are making another effort to have dinner at Pretty Boy Floyd’s.  We failed at the last attempt because Ellsworth was without power.  Today the sky is clear and other than being a little hot, we should have a good trip to Ellsworth.  Todd, Karen and Ally will meet us there to join us for dinner. Lew and Cindy are stopping by to say hello.  It will be a good experience for all and I’m looking forward to it.

The iron shots I had seem to have kicked in.  I’m feeling much better.  Or it may be that my Lupus has gone in hiding.
Thanks for tuning in …

7/13/2013

ANYONE FOR JAPCHAE OR BIBIMBAB?

Filed under: prairie musings, Todd & Karen Britton, Salina, restaurants/food — Peg Britton @ 12:54 pm

If you haven’t tried the food at Seoul USA Korean Restaurant on South 9th in Salina, you’re missing a very special treat.  It’s all you hope for when you try to find locally owned, home-cooked meals with healthful, fresh ingredients served in a friendly and spotlessly clean environment.  The Korean Restaurant may be one-of-a-kind, in that regard, in Salina.

The restaurant had been recommended to me by Amy Hoffman and Ann Headrick amidst raves of “delicious, wonderful, exciting…” so last night being the special occasion of Todd’s birthday dinner, we decided to try something new, different and as it turned out, memorable.

We were greeted as we arrived by the “proprietor”, Tim Bobbit, and asked if it was our first visit.  Since it was, he went over the menu with us and explained the various dishes, the “sides” and some of the other options.   He made you feel as though you were eating in his home, and for that matter, it was very much like that.  His wife and John do the cooking and he manages the rest. “ He” being Tim Bobbit from Kanopolis.  He looked familiar when I first saw him.

I ordered chicken Japchae which consists of mixed vegetables and noodles made from sweet potatoes.  It is served over white rice.  Todd had the pork bulgogi which was, according to him, spicy, savory, sweet gingery and mouthwatering.  Delicious. It was also served over white rice.  Karen had fried rice which was also very good.

Other choices were Galbi made with marinated beef short ribs in Korean sauce and cooked on the griddle, Gimbab rice roll with egg, carrot, cucumber, pickled radish and bulgogi.  The serve as an appetizer Korean fried dumplins with pork and veggies and a Korean pancake made with mung beans and veggies.  I’

The condiment sides are on a separate table and we helped ourselves to them.  They change on a daily basis.  You can check their website for their daily updates.  Friday’s side dishes were: Seaweed noodle (angel noodle) salad, cucumber kimchi, and watermelon.

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I hope they do well.  They are very innovative.  Once a month they have a special International dinner…by invitation/reservation only.  The first night they had 26 reservations immediately.  They will feature specialty food from different countries…Germany, India, etc.  I want to get on that list.

They close at 7:00 pm so we barely made the closing hour.   https://www.facebook.com/SeoulUSAKR  for hours and photos of their delicious entrees.

Thanks for tuning in…and I hope you give their restaurant a try…

7/10/2013

HAPPY 60TH BIRTHDAY TO SON, TODD….

Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF, Drew Britton, Todd & Karen Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:50 am

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This says it all…Todd and his wonderful family….Tyler, Karen and Drew.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TODD…. MAY IT BE A VERY SPECIAL DAY AND MAY ALL YOUR BIRTHDAY WISHES COME TRUE.

6/28/2013

PALACE PEOPLE CAN ADJUST BETTER THAN MOST…

Yesterday a group of inmates from the Palace planned to go to Pretty Boy Floyd’s in Ellsworth for dinner.  Departure time was 4:15.  We were all very excited about the prospect of a wonderful dinner and sufficient libation to make it a memorable evening.

What was not expected was a blinding wind and rain storm.  Trees snapped in half, big limbs blocked streets, howling wind and blinding rain prevailed.   The bus carrying most of our group was buffeted along the highway, but Karen Larsen did an excellent job keeping it on the road and her passengers out of danger.  It was a harrowing experience for some of the group  who are not accustomed to experiencing such raw and exciting prairie weather.

At the appointed time of joining up with the bus people, and another car full of passengers, Ally, Todd, Karen and I stood just inside the door to Pretty Boy’s to harbor ourselves from the driving rain.  The power had just failed and the town was plunged into darkness, including  the underground cavernous rooms of Pretty Boy’s.  It was literally as dark as the proverbial  dungeon.  What to do?  I couldn’t lead 20 people down those stairs into total darkness and hope the lights came back on.  I lived there and remember what it’s like to get power restored and how long it sometimes takes.

Someone got on a cell phone and called the DQ to see if they had lights.  Yes, they did, and so did the Ellsworth Steak house, so off we went to the Steak House to see if they might save the day and save the day they did.  Tina and Rick Davis, one waitress and the bartender…plus the chef jumped into action and seated all 20 of us around a big table.

Then they brought some “snacks” to tide us over….glorious large platters of delicious sliced cantaloupe, watermelon, whole wonderful strawberries plus overflowing bowls of chips and salsa.  And, our need for libations were met.  It was “happy hour” and that pleased everyone.

The lights went out, so once again we were at the mercy of whatever they could prepare with one hand tied behind their backs.   They could not have done better.  Tina explained what they could serve with their limited resources and everyone got something that was exceptionally good….salads of every type and a wide variety of Mexican food.  There was more that enough to fill the ravenous appetites.

Then on top of that, she had a wide assortment of homemade pies.  A piece de resistance.  They are wonderful.  I think Leslie Brooks makes them for the Steak House. You’ll never find a more delicious piece of pie than one of hers.  Everyone is still raving about the pie.

The day was filled with excitement, more than 90 year olds are used to, but they shouldered it very well and want to return.  A couple said they would check the weather first.

I can’t speak for the Manor, but I do know that Kim Fair, the marketing director, was well aware of the storm as she lives north of Brookville and was caught in the height of it.  She tried repeatedly to reach the drivers to warn them of the severity of the storm and tell them not to leave Salina….or turn back if they had departed.  She couldn’t reach any of them.

The trip turned out all right.  Everyone was safe although some were a little shaken from the harrowing experience.  It’s probably the most exciting thing to happen to some of us in months.  Mostly we experience someone playing a saw or a harp and call it a day.  I loved the storm…love to be out in it.  One just can’t overlook the  forces of nature, respect and enjoy them.  We all slept like rocks last night and required naps today.

I can’t say enough about how accommodating Rick and Tina Davis were.  They were simply amazing in what they did for us.  Everyone wants to go back again…on purpose this time, so I hope we can.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/7/2012

PALACE PICS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Todd & Karen Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 10:00 am

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Here is my park bench living room.  I thought my friends would like a change from the usual sofas found here and inserted my favorite park bench into the mix. Ally gave it to me last year for Christmas and I couldn’t bear to leave it behind.  The bench was made in Lindsborg and it is sturdy as the Brooklyn Bridge.  Friends find it comfortable and easy to get “in and out”.

The Gerber daisies were a house warming gift from Ally and Karen gave me the beautiful poinsettia.

You can see the windows are wide open on the 7th of December.  I’ve not spied any other open windows as I’ve ventured in and out of the Palace.  I enjoy the fresh air and have great cross-ventilation.

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This is the other side of my living room.  The room is quite small, but more than adequate, and I’m almost standing in the kitchen sink to take this picture.  The TV was one the Todd and Ally bought for Brit when he was sick.  I think it is about the same size as the one in the lobby and over-sized for this room.  It works just fine…I really don’t watch it very much.

The handcarved bear was a Christmas gift long ago from Ally.  The chair-bird house-tree was put together by Lorie Park of La Prairie.  I just love it and consider it the closest thing I’ll ever get to a Christmas tree.  The clear lights didn’t work so Ally replaced them with the next best thing we could find…red.  I’m still missing my first Christmas ornament that hangs from this stick.

The chest the TV is sitting on one of our first TV cabinets.  I loved the case (more than the TV) and had Otto Warttig revamp it into drawers and a usable piece of furniture. It has served us well for a long time and has many years to go.
I’ll post more pictures of my pad so you’ll know where I am.

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My apartment is in the tall building over yonder. I haven’t made it to the lake as I haven’t the “air” to walk that far.  I hope that all changes after my surgery. The path around the pond is a regular attraction for many of the residents and I hope it will be for me one of these days.
Thanks for tuning in…

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