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12/31/2003

NEW YEAR’S WISH

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:10 pm

MY NEW YEAR’S WISH IS THAT EACH OF YOU PASS SAFELY AND GENTLY THROUGH 2004 IN GOOD HEALTH AND GOOD FORTUNE WITH ADDED CONTENTMENT FOR GOOD MEASURE.

ANOTHER CONVERSATION

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 12:14 pm

Me (in the dentist’s chair): Oh, by the way Kurt, sometime the middle of next month Dr. Cossett is going to inject my uvula and shorten it. He doesn’t think Medicare will take care of it since I have a C-PAP machine to take care of my nighttime breathing, but, as you know, I have a bad time breathing here in this chair. Everything collapses when you have all that stuff in my mouth and I can’t breathe. Well…you already know that.
Kurt: Hummm….yes
Hygienist: Yea, I’ve noticed.
Kurt: Actually, throat surgery hurts a whole lot you know.
Me: Swell, thanks for telling me that. But this is non-invasive…well, except for needles…and he said I’d only be uncomfortable for a couple of days and not to plan on giving speeches or anything like that.
Kurt: Yeah, I was talking about the other kind that is very invasive.
Me: No, I don’t need that. The machine works for that. That kind of surgery is for people in their “prime” years who don’t want to wear a mask at night and scare off the person they are trying to attract.
Kurt: What do they inject it with?
Me: I didn’t ask.
Kurt: Well, it’s something that makes it less floppy and makes the palate stiffen up so it doesn’t just fall down in your throat.
Me: Hummm…sounds like an alternative use for Viagara.
Kurt: (writhing in laughter after falling off his chair…and amid guffaws coming from all the other treatment rooms…)…all I know is, I don’t think it’s permanent. It will take care of your soft palate for awhile. (more funny associations)
Me: Then get my teeth in good shape so I won’t have to go through this more than once. I’m not really looking forward to it now that we’ve been talking about it. I’ll probably burst out laughing in the middle of the procedure and swallow the needle AND the syringe. I know Medicare won’t pay for that!

NEW YEAR’S EVE PLANS

Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 10:21 am

I’m not going to the Midland for dinner after all. I need someone to tag along with me…well, I’d feel better about that, particularly on New Year’s Eve….and the only one who seems to be as available as me is Linda. Brit doesn’t want to go anywhere, and usually we just stay home. However, the allure of a movie has drawn me to head east to Salina this afternoon. Movies and dinner are in the plan with her two kids. The plan is to see “Mona Lisa Smile” this afternoon, eat at the Japanese place and then see “Something’s Gotta Give” tonight. I hope those plans materialize but I will be very surprised if they do. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

The Midland event sounds like a lot of fun. They already have over 60 reservations for the Czech dinner tonight. One group, including friends from Newton, is arriving in a limo…how much fun. All the rooms except for two are booked. I don’t know what they expect for the dance, but I’m sure there will be a good turnout. There are a lot of dancin’ people in the Wilson area.

So, whatever you intend to do, I hope it is fun and safe. I doubt I’ll be awake to usher in the New year, but if you are, tip one for me.

SOLOMON VALLEY HERITAGE ALLIANCE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:11 am

The annual meeting of the Solomon Valley / Highway 24 Heritage Alliance will be held in Osborne on Saturday, January 10, 2004.

Kicking off the festivities is a round table panel discussion at 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. on the subject of “Defining Culture Through Literature” in the United Methodist Church sanctuary on West Main Street.

The panelists for the discussion are contemporary Kansas authors Robert Day, Denise Low, Jim Hoy and Fred Whitehead.

Robert Day is the author of the book “The Last Cattle Drive” and many short stories about Kansas. He is a teacher of creative writing.

Denise Low is a humanities instructor at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence. She considers settings in the context of human history in her writing.

Jim Hoy, professor of English at Emporia State University, is an expert in the history and folklore of Kansas, cowboys, and the Great Plains.

Fred Whitehead, a native of Pratt and retired Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine, has published an anthology called Free Thought on the American Frontier. He will bring the literature of Populism to the panel.

Together the panelists will explore literature’s place in defining culture and its capacity to empower people, concentrating on the literature that has arisen from rural sources. The panel will raise questions that will challenge modern readers, such as how can literature about Western Kansas enable us to understand ourselves, and for others to understand us. In linking literature to place, the panelists will attempt to motivate everyone to be better readers, perhaps even writers. The discussion is open to the public and there is no admission fee.

Starting at 4:30 p.m. a reception for the panelists will be held across the street at the Carnegie Research Library. The public is encouraged to get acquainted with the panelists and to enjoy the continued conversation and discussion.

At 5:30 p.m. dinner will be served in the United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, to be followed by the annual meeting of the Solomon Valley/Highway 24 Heritage Alliance. Guest speaker at the meeting will be author Robert Day.

The cost of the meal is $12.50. Reservations need to be turned in by 5 p.m. on Monday, January 5, 2004. The contact person is Von Rothenberger, Osborne Chamber of Commerce, at (785) 346-2881, or email at ochamber@ruraltel.net. The public is encouraged to attend.

Sponsors for the panel discussion and meeting are the Solomon Valley/Highway 24 Heritage Alliance, Osborne County Tourism, the Osborne County Genealogical & Historical Society, and the Kansas Humanities Council.

MARTHA

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:50 am

Well…I’d really hoped that Martha would be out of the soup by now, but her fate with her securities problems seem to be going from clear broth to borscht.

I’ve even noticed, probably under the strain of it all, she’s beginning to appear more like the rest of us kitchen habitues and is sporting a discernible roll around the middle under those loose fitting blouses she wears. Join the crowd.

Martha is not a really nice, loveable lady to work for, although I’ll admit to being drawn to her show and her pleasant TV personality. There are comments she makes to her mother, throwing a glance here or there full of impatience, that you know do not display genuine love.

And, the tales of people trying to get along with her her in Bar Harbor Maine and Aspen Colorado are legendary, and have come pretty directly down the pike, which lead us to conclude she is not the nicest person to work for. I think she’d be fun and cool to have as a friend. I really do.

Now she has Douglas Faneuil to contend with. Faneuil was fired from Merrill Lynch after he switched his stories about how she came to sell her stock at such a fortuitous time to save her some big bucks. That’s big to the rest of us…$228,000…but a drop in the bucket to Martha. She was penny-pinching as she does with everyone and it caught up with her.

Faneuil hired himself a lawyer and finally came clean about his part in the deal. He said he got free airline tickets and an extra week’s vacation in exchange for misleading investigators about the stock sale.

There should be enough paper work to clear the air on this issue at the trial which starts in a couple of weeks. Meantime, both Martha’s waistline and her amassed fortune (which she shares with no one…not a single donation to charity) are under scrutiny. I’m amazed at how cool she can be under the pressure of all of this.

12/30/2003

LUMIGAN AND LAGAVULIN

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:41 pm

Lumigan for my eye and Lagavulin for my throat.

KURT WILLIAMS, MY DANDY DENTIST

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:35 pm

After my eye appointment (not good news…the Lumigan we’re using to treat the glaucoma in my right eye is not working…I’m the ONLY patient she’s ever had where it hasn’t worked…wouldn’t you know?), I was too late to have lunch with my favorite granddaugher and her father so I just came home and ate salad like a good South Beach dieter…with lemon olive oil and well-aged balsamic vinegar.

The phone rang and it was the office person for my dentist saying he was running ahead of schedule and I could come in early…like right now. That was a nice surprise.

He has a dandy dental hygienist who said I was doing everything just right (it’s all that flossing), the X-rays looked fine…and I’m to keep track of what my one sensitive tooth is telling me. Kurt said the nerve may be dying. It hadn’t damn better die. I have all my permanent teeth (not the four that should have made me wise) and I’m not going to part with a one of them without a huge fight. Kurt is good…he’ll stop at nothing, get up in the middle of the night and rush to his office, to help me save my teeth. He’s done that before.

After all that, I figured I needed a cup of good coffee at the Espresso Cafe…and Josie fixed me my caffe latte special…extra strong, extra hot, ….with several shots of sugar free raspberry syrup. I sipped and visited with Mark about the Drovers National Hall of Fame roof repair job. Things are looking up.

That is just about all my day had to offer.

WAITING ROOM CONVERSATION

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:42 pm

The doctor’s schedule was hopelessly two hours behind when I arrived for my appointment. She was on time when her day started and no one had a clue as to what happened to make it go south. It was a zoo and all chairs were filled. Hey…there is son Todd. Surprise.

After everyone had talked about “when their appointment was supposed to be” and “how long they’d been waiting”, and what would happen to their businesses if they made their customers “wait that long”, the general waiting room conversation began. Everyone had shared their reason for being there now…except me…the hold out. They’d bonded and joined in a common cause against the doctor…whom they all adored.

I figure I’m very fortunate to have one of the smartest and nicest doctors around (she entered Texas A and M when she was barely 16 and graduated 3 years later summa cum laude, then entered UT med school…) and, I don’t mind waiting for her, all day if I have to. I pretend I’m dozing…so I can listen and not be a part of the conversation.

Joker: Did you hear the one about Santa getting sick? He got into the chimney and came down with the flue?
Blind Lady: I had an apartment but we went there and it wasn’t there so we all went home.
Blind Lady’s son: shakes head vigorously back and forth.
Guy on Oxygen: How long have you been blind?
Blind Lady: three weeks.
Blind Lady’s son: Time escapes some of us. When did you last eat Mama? (she’s also diabetic which is why she is blind, according to her son. I wanted to ask what kind of diabetes since she is a very frail 84 year old woman).
Blind Lady: I don’t know. I’m not hungry. Did you know I had an appointment, but we went there and I didn’t have an appointment so we all went home.
Billiard Lady: I was supposed to have the tables in place the first of December but they haven’t even ordered them yet. If they don’t order them by tomorrow, they will be $200 per table more on Friday. The carpet hasn’t even been laid and it was supposed to be down in November. They want 7 billiard tables…there isn’t much profit for me in them….The man you want to talk to about getting the brass antique plate for your snooker table is in Clay Center.. Joe Newlin, I think.
My Son: We could have pooled rides. I didn’t know you were coming over. I went in at 5:00 so I wouldn’t miss so much work today. I’m weeks behind….(and we continued with family conversation that everyone now feels comfortable about entering into and offering opinions…).
Joker: (out of the blue) Did you hear that a guy died from a bad cough and they were having his burial on a hill top and it had been raining a long time and they dropped his coffin and it went sliding clear down the hill and right through all the traffic on the interstate and across the frontage road and right through the window of a pharmacy and right up to the pharmacist’s window…and the coffin flew open and the corpse sat up straight and said in a loud voice, “Do you have anything to stop this coffin”?
Guy with oxygen tank: Hardy Har Har…that was a good one.
Germ Spreader: Cough, cough, cough, cough, ughhhhhhhhhh.
Me: I think I can find some cheese and crackers in the kitchen for your mother if that will help (I go explore the refrigerator…I’m at home there!)
Blind Lady’s son: She won’t eat it. Yes I worked at Marshall Motor for 35 years…(directed toward the tall guy)
Tall Guy: I knew I knew you from someplace.
Blind Lady’s Son: Yes, you look familiar too.
Germ Spreader: Cough, cough, cough, cough….
Blind Lady’s Son: Comeon mama. We have time to go eat. She is running two hours late.
Blind Lady: What time is it? (she “plays” her watch and a voice tells her it is 12 noon). I’m not hungry. I just ate. My daughter in Baltimore fixed all this food and we couldn’t eat it all. It was really good.
Oxygen Man: Oh, you’ve been to Baltimore?
Blind Lady: No, my daughter lives in Baltimore but I haven’t seen her in years. We all went there but she wasn’t home so we all came home.

There were two hours of this kind of conversation…then…

Marnie: Peg….you’re up. Come on in. (She’d put on my med chart…”Peg deserves some some wine and cheese with her appointment”.)
Doctor: Sorry I’m so late. Wine and cheese sounds good right now. I don’t know what happened. I got here on time and before I knew it, I was in the weeds. They must have triple booked me today. And…everyone wants me to talk with them because they are sick and depressed. I’m not that kind of doctor, but I listen to all of them. Thank goodness you aren’t sick and depressed…wanna go to Peru with me?….the Lumigan isn’t working….

12/29/2003

THE DA VINCI CODE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:29 pm

I started the Da Vinci Code last night after we returned home from the employee party at the Midland. No, we aren’t employees, but every employee could take a guest so a couple of them asked us. Ally had a spread of Mexican food and, as usual, it was top-of-the-line.

It was a nice gathering. I didn’t have an opportunity to meet everyone, but I did meet some people I didn’t know. I always like that. I like Wilson. I like Wilson folk.

Anyway, back to the Da Vinci Code. I finished it this afternoon. It’s an easy-to-read interesting novel. I don’t read many novels, but this one was intriguing. I anticipated the answers to some of the puzzles before they were revealed in the book and I would rather be surprised or find I was wrong in my guestimates. The obvious flew at me in the face…but maybe it won’t be that way for everyone. Anyway, it’s a one day novel and I don’t read all that quickly. I’m sure it is going to offend some readers but it made me smile. Another bright.

Speaking of, Brit has waited weeks to get a copy of the Da Vinci Code at the library. The librarian called today to say his name had risen to the surface. One person had that book for weeks and I wonder why.

Brit is fixing some of his famous macaroni and cheese. Save me from starch on starch. But, after a month on this diet, even that sound pretty good.

Speaking of my diet, I haven’t done all that poorly…I blew it Christmas day but not to the extent I ordinarily would have. I’m doing better and watching my carbs pretty closely. I guess I’ll have some leftover turkey and MORE BROCCOLI AND SALAD for dinner. It’s becoming a habit.

I anticipate the salad. Barb and Dane gave me an elegant…very elegant…bottle of extra virgin olive oil. I like that on salad with good balsamic vinegar. The only thing that is missing is a big hunk of crusty French bread. Give me a good bottle of olive oil and one of balsamic vinegar and I am very happy. Life is good.

Tomorrow I have to make a Salina run to the ophthalmologist to see if those $120 an ounce eye drops are working. Geez. I don’t understand the price of meds. And I bought this at the low price pharmacy in Belleville where meds are definitely cheaper. Then tomorrow afternoon I get to have my second checkup this year with dentist Kurt. I’ll get it all over with tomorrow. I’m going to miss friends who were going to stop this way, but we’ll reconnect another time.

Wednesday I’m heading to Salina again for movies…plural…movies, I hope, and dinner at the Japanese restaurant. It’s not my favorite restaurant, but I’m not doing the selecting. It should dovetail well with my diet. I’d like to go to the downtown cinematheque where “Lost in Translation” is showing… plus see Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give” and the “Last Samurai” and “Cheaper by the Dozen”, etc. And “Calendar Girls” sometime with my granddaughter. Whatever we decide to do, it will be a fun afternoon and evening and a way to usher in the New Year. Quietly.

Thanks to all of you for hanging out on my blog. You can always write with comments, you know.

12/28/2003

DUDE, WHERE’S MY COUNTRY? AND THE DA VINCI CODE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:57 pm

No matter your political bent, I think it is a good idea to look at all sides of an issue. One you might not have examined very carefully is contained in Michael Moore’s best selling book, “Dude, Where’s my Country?”. There’s no doubt it is controversial (not with me), but it is well documented with plenty of footnotes and quotes that you can take a look at. Stay with it as he provides hope at the end for those of us who agree with a lot of what he has to say. You might be surprised at how much you agree with it also.

I’ve started reading the Da Vinci Code and it holds promise of being one you can’t put down. Let me quote from the page before the prologue.

“Fact:

The Priory of Scion—
a European secret society founded in 1099—is a real organization.
In 1975 Paris’s Bibliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Scion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo and Leonardo da Vinci.

The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic sect that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brainwashing, coercion, and a dangerous practice known as “corporal mortification.”
Opus Dei has just completed construction of a $47 million National Headquarters at 243 Lexington Avenue in New York City.

All descriptions of artwork architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this noval are accurate.”

Of added interest to me is that I attended Mary and Sam Brownback’s wedding in Topeka, at the Presbyterian Church, as I recall. Senator Sam Brownback later joined the Catholic Church and is now a very active member in Opus Dei. He lives in a group home in Washington D.C. where all the male residents are members of Opus Dei, so I’ve been told. The newspapers have carried numerous articles about his association and active participation with this extremist group.

For more about Opus Dei and corporal mortification see HERE

THE FIRST THING EVERY SUNDAY MORNING

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:47 am

I keep a back up of all my blogs by photocopying them with snagit. I go through the motions anyway, just in case I need to track down something I said. Heavens knows I can’t remember it all!

Then, after doing that, I make a hard copy of everything I’ve entered for the week and put it in a ring binder. I keep the ring binders off the floor in case the hot water tank decides to spring a leak again and ruins everything as happened not too long ago. I don’t want to go through that again.

I don’t know why I go to all this trouble…then again, maybe the grandkids will have fun reading all this in their tottery years.

WHO TO BELIEVE ABOUT BSE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:21 am

We know that the ear tag on the BSE infected dairy cow from Washington State was traced back to a herd in Alberta Canada. The herd of 74 cows was shipped to Idaho. Anyway, we know the sick cow was slaughtered, the meat processed and sold…minus the spinal column and brain, so they say. During the first news conference, it seemed they sashayed around that issue and one was inclined to believe the meat was not in the food chain.

We know now the meat was on the market and presumably sold before the cow was tested positive for BSE.

We know how the British people lost confidence in their governments testing programs for BSE. That was back in the 80s when BSE first emerged and they didn’t believe there was danger in eating beef from infected cattle. The British government stated unequivocally that the meat was safe to eat.

The BSE template was established in Britain where all cattle are now tested.

Last year in the U.S. there were 35,000,000 cattle slaughtered. Only 20,000 were tested. That is one tested out of every 1,600 head slaughtered. It costs $30 a head to test cattle for BSE, which is costly. On the other hand, we have lost 3 billion in exports in recent days.

It wouldn’t take a lot for me to become a vegetarian.

CELL PHONES

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:57 am

I just tried to call my granddaughter who is on the highway in western Kansas. Her phone was on “roaming” so she couldn’t talk right then. I don’t know why “roaming” makes a difference, but it does. I hear that mentioned by others all the time. “I can’t talk…I’m on roaming.” Maybe there is a Roaming Law…speak during roaming and “go past GO and go immediately to jail”. Maybe it just costs an arm and a leg to talk while roaming. It seems to me that when you’re roaming, it would be the best time to talk since there must be little else to do except roam.

Then we have….the blackouts. It seems that everything between Wilson and Topeka, where most of my cell phone conversations take place, has big gaps of “blackouts”…hills and such cause that, I guess. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a complete, uninterrupted phone call with someone on a cell phone. Everyone in our family hips a cell phone except for Brit and me. They are going to have to improve a lot before I’ll want one.

FOUR DAYS LEFT

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:47 am

There are four days left for all those decisions to be made that comprise “New Year’s Resolutions”. Four days to decide whether or not to stick with the old year…or ring in the new year. It all has to do with self-improvement.

I’ve always thought the key to self-improvement is to first stop thinking about yourself.

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:41 am

Thirty years ago today the Endangered Species Act was signed by Richard Nixon amid much controversy. It was the time of the snail darter and the northern spotted owl, if you’ll recall. They were the subject of many arguments regarding the funding of the Act. Many people didn’t care about them or other endangered species. They didn’t see the need for our grandchildren to inherit a better world than we had then. Every species on this planet has a roll to play in our lives.

Since that time we have saved 200 species that would otherwise would not be here today. The list is long, but still doesn’t include the entire list of endangered species. Since the Act was passed, seven more species are gone forever.

But, we do have more whooping cranes, more wolves. The California condor and the peregrine falcon have rebounded. The sea turtle has not. We must be constantly vigilant.

We all have a place on this planet, no one more important than the other.

12/27/2003

RESTORE CONSERVATION ETHIC

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:06 pm

Charles Francis, of the prairie writer’s circle, has an excellent essay in the INDY this week on the editorial page. I always enjoy reading what the prairie writers have to say and this article is one of particular significance.

JUST THINK ABOUT IT…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:27 pm

A car company can move its factories to Mexico and claim it’s a free market.

A toy company can out-source to a Chinese subcontractor and claim it’s a free market.

A major bank can incorporate in Bermuda to avoid taxes and claim it’s a free market.

BUT, heaven help the elderly who dare to buy their prescription drugs from a Canadian pharmacy. That’s just so un-American!

Now just think about that.

NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY…DINNER AND DANCE

Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 6:30 pm

There is a big New Year’s Eve party planned in Wilson that should be a wonderful way to issue in the New Year. Ally is serving a traditional Czech dinner at the Midland between 6 and 10 p.m. where reservations are encouraged and appreciated. The price for the dinner is $12.95. For reservations call: 785.658.2284.

A New Year’s dance will be held at the Wilson Opera House with music by Jimmie Lewin and the Kingstones sponsored by the Wilson Foundation. It’s $10 a head to dance to some pretty good music (not polka), so I hear. Tickets will be sold at the door. There will be barbecued pork sandwiches available at the dance.

You can also play it safe and spend the night at the Midland. It’s a great place to stay, and you can be assured of a safe evening by making a reservation for the night. There are a limited number of rooms.

If you want to get out and celebrate the New Year, you’ll want to be in Wilson Wednesday December 31st. You can partake of good food, good music and spend the evening visiting and dancing with good friends.

It’s a good thing to support the efforts that the people in Wilson are providing for citizens in the county and elsewhere.

See you there.

WIND FARMS

Filed under: prairie musings, energy — Peg Britton @ 6:14 pm

There are always several sides to every issue and this is one I’ve been reading and hearing about for quite a long time. At first blush, it sounds like a wonderful idea, harness wind to produce much needed energy, but the more you look into it, the more questions arise that make it seem like a very bad idea at best.

This is a very serious issue and one everyone ought to take the time to be informed about. You’ll have an opportunity to hear about it on Thursday January 8th at 7:00 p.m. at the Ellsworth Senior Center. I would encourage you to attend and take your friends and neighbors with you. It has become a volatile issue in other parts of the state and I would expect it to be no less than that here.

JACK’S TRANSFORMATION

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 5:58 pm

We were greeted by a very handsome, well-groomed dog when we returned from the movie. Todd had taken the electric clippers to Jack’s heavy coat and trimmed him down to a handsome feller. Todd is getting very good at it. He clips both Smoky and Jack then Tyler baths them in our big shower. It’s perfect for it with the additional shower spray I had installed, not for dog bathing, but for us in our tottery years. Then Tyler, the inveterate scrubber, cleaner-person, cleans the shower until it is spotlessly clean. I don’t know what we’ll do when that young’un heads for college.

Jack is so full of himself after his grooming routine. He knows he looks and smells good and he really struts around showing off. What a dandy dog and good companion he is.

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