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12/30/2008

MORE PICTURES FROM THE PAST…

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends — Peg Britton @ 9:08 pm

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Dane spent most of the day, as you see him, waiting for Sheriff Charlie Zavesky to pick him up and go patrol Kanopolis Lake. Dane had his hand cuffs, cowboy hat, thermos jug of hot chocolate, boots, and was ready to go.  Charlie said he’d be by in the morning, but it was late afternoon before he arrived.  Dane didn’t waiver and inch waiting for him.  I guess that’s when he decided he developed the patience to be a policeman.

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George Jelinek, Virginia Lee and Valerie Lee Horejsi are in their finest regalia for the Centennial parade.

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Ally and her hero.  I should have called Martha Stewart before I bought those drapes.
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Moi… for my friend, Susan in Halifax.

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Carolyn Andrews, Dane and Mark Andrews.  Jim Andrews was the Methodist minister here for several years.

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Todd and Ally, dressed in their finest.

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Carol Larsen in her splendid Chevy. Carol lived across the street so we became great friends.  Husband Bob was the Chevy dealer so she always drove classy cars.

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Brit wore his flight jacket most of his life.  He seldom outgrew anything until recent years.

2008

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 7:53 pm

This has been a sad year for all of us, particularly Luke and Mackenzie. It has been a very difficult year for Mackenzie, after losing her father and grandfather and now Luke’s grandfather is not expected to last but a short time.  They are heading south to Victoria to be by his bedside.  Our thoughts are with all of Luke’s family…and we hope the new year will bring more joy and happiness to all.

NEW YEAR’S EVE DAY…A CHICK TRIP IS ON MY LIST

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 6:22 pm

Tomorrow I’m going on a Chick Trip with my friend Ryon, the turkey-chicken-duck breeder and raiser of heritage fowl things. I’m not the “chick”.  He is going on a buyer’s trip to a chick-raising farmer’s place east of Chapman and asked Ringo and me to tag along. He’s a nice guy to remember his friends, young and old.  Ringo is waiting by the door with a grin on his face.  I’m right behind him.

Here’s an article about Ryon and Frank Reese and their Heritage poultry breeds.  If you read the entire article, you’ll find one of Ryon’s recipes for Huntington Chicken that was handed down to him from his grandmother, Freda Reichert.  If you latch on to one of Ryon’s recipes, treasure it.  He makes the most beautiful, light and delicious chocolate angel food cake you ever wrapped your lips around.  He makes the best mince meat ever…and I was never a mince meat lover. That’s because  I never had REALLY GOOD homemade mince meat until Ryon gave me a quart for Christmas.  Karen made it into a 9″ pie and everyone, without exception, liked it.  My dream life would be to have Ryon prepare and cater in all my meals! Of course, I have Ally who does…and Ryon would have to stretch to catch up with her.  They are top rung chefs.

Tomorrow night I  had two party offers.  One was recinded.  One is to join friends in Abilene and another to a friend’s house here, but she canceled while bemoaning the fact her house wasn’t clean enough to enjoy company.   After the chick trip, I’ll probably call it a day.  Staying home can be the best way to usher in the New Year.  Or I could have Ryon kick Ringo and me out of his truck in Abilene and we could stay there for the party.  I have options. Are there party crashing opportunities around here?  Hummmm….

On Friday Ally and I are going to Manhattan to visit Drew and his g/f Kaley.  I haven’t seen his room  in the ATO house this year, which I understand is better than the one I actually visited his freshman year.  I don’t get the hang of guys sleeping in refrigerator-like boxes with their chairs and sofas on top, but they like it and it seems to work for them.  It’s definitely a young guy thing but has expanded possibilities.  We’ll go to Drew’s fave Mexican place for lunch and with a little luck, I might capture Jesse for lunch too.

Meantime, I have been very busy trying to catch up with things that need to be done with Brit’s and my every day living and business arrangements….that now have taken a turn in his absence.  He did so much for me, gave me so much of his life, that now I need to do on my own without him.  I’ve needed help at first weeding through things that he assumed were his responsibility, but now are mine.  They will gradually fall into place.  It will take time.  He’s still here beside me…but he can’t lend a helping hand.  Family and friends are treasures, as he said they would be.

Thanks for tuning in….

12/29/2008

MEMORIES CAPTURED FROM THE PAST

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 6:52 pm

One of the highlights of our Christmas was a show that Mackenzie put together.  We watched pictures from the past on a large flat screen TV.

When Brit and I were married…and struggling…I hoped for a SLR camera to take 35mm slides of our growing family and friends. We didn’t have the money for one, so Brit came home with a Polaroid camera instead to “surprise” me.  Well, it was the first generation of Polaroids and the pictures were terrible.  They lasted a few months and faded away.

Then he bought a “movie camera” that he thought I’d love.  Wrong again.  I don’t know what happened to it, but it was a loser as well.

Finally, after missing all the baby pictures that I really wanted, and knew I’d be held accountable for at some point, we did get an inexpensive camera that took pretty good pictures.  I had them all developed into 35mm slides thinking I could better preserve them that way.

Fast forward a life time:  I accumulated over 7,000 slides over the years then suddenly gave up taking pictures.  The slides just sat there unused after we moved to the house we are now in.  That was over 30 years ago.  It was too much trouble to get out the screen, slide projector and wait until it was dark enough to watch them. We have no curtains to shut out the sunlight.   I knew it would cost a fortune to have some commercial firm convert them….estimate: over $8.000.  So, I didn’t do anything.

Then Mackenzie stepped forward and offered to convert them to CDs so we could watch them on our computers or on a TV.

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Brit and Dane at Peg and Norvin Souder’s house.  Peg and I worked together at Edward Tanner and Associates Architectural firm.

Christmas Day we had our first show of 450 of my first pictures that I took of Dane, Todd, Ally and Brit.  But since Bob and Carol Larsen lived across the street and Martha and Bill Irwin a couple houses away, I have pictures of Peder and Jim Larsen and the Irwin boys.  We were an all boy neighborhood except for Ally. And, there were pictures of friends and relatives in Kansas City and Wichita.  How much fun it was to see them again.

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Todd loved flowers. Notice how his fingers are crossed.  He looks pretty spiffy in that pink jacket and bow tie.

We had a great time looking at the pictures. I had them all numbered and cataloged with names so there wasn’t any confusion about identities.  Mackenzie figured them out except for Hires Gage who must be about 60 by now. I haven’t seen him since I took that picture.  We all noticed the striking similarity between Brit and Drew when Brit was just a few years older than Drew is now.

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This is one of my first pictures of Ally.  Poor child…always had to wear her cousin’s left over clothes.

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Ally, Debbie Scales, Todd, Jimmy Larsen and Dane. Part of the neighborhood gang.

Mackenzie bought a converter that handles 4 slides at a time, but there are newer and better ones now, some holding a dozen or so slides at a time which she might invest in.  She was timing all her activities around the 20 minutes it took for each group of slides.  As you can guess, it took her forever to get this group of 450 together.  She gave each of us a disk of  pictures to view at our pleasure…a most marvelous Christmas present.  Family pictures are very precious and she made it possible for us to enjoy.

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Ally and her best friend, Jimmy Larsen. Carol Larsen made Ally’s Easter outfit.

Drew and Tyler can now see what their dad looked like as a child…and Tyler and Todd certainly do strongly resemble each other.  Mackenzie can enjoy the pictures of her dad in his earliest years.  It’s a very special way to capture memories from the past.

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Dane’s birthday party in Miss Peggy’s kindergarten class.  I can’t name them all…Billy Fox, Mike Slechta, Neil Zouzas, Jay Svoboda, Cathy Barta, Mark Andrews?….

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12/28/2008

LILLIAN IS A SCREAM

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 8:03 pm

Here’s a cute YouTube that should win some kind of award. Lilly is a scream!  You might recognize the local voices and laughter in the background.

FIRST ANNUAL GATHERING OF THE HUEVOS RANCHEROS ASOCIACION

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 6:58 pm

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After gathering at Orozco’s this morning at 9:00…the breakfast hour for this motley crew…we all ordered the “Asociacion” required fare, huevos rancheros, except for Karen who was immediately put on probation for ordering pancakes. Jesse is also on probation for being a no show. Tyler and Ally were named members-in-absentia.  It was so much fun, we decided this should be an annual affair.

The picture was taken at the scene of the event by veteran photographer (by virtue of having two sets of twins) and cowboy extraordinaire, Monte West.  From left to right….Meredith, Drew, moi, Luke, Cindy, Karen, Todd and Mackenzie.

Following breakfast, Luke and Mackenzie headed south to Texas, Meredith took a road trip, Cindy and Karen put Christmas to rest, Drew joined Ally to clean out her storage units and Todd came home with me to dismantle my Christmas tree.

Todd carefully wrapped all our Christmas ornaments and put them and the tree in the garage and the stockings in a closet.  Christmas is over in this household except for My silly tree, our front door wreath, Cindy’s annual wreath and the lighted reindeer that graze on rocks in the driveway. In due time, they’ll find their way to rest until next Christmas.

It’s quiet now…and I’m going to get used to it and make adjustments to continue moving forward….and carry Brit’s loving heart along with me wherever I go.

Thanks for tuning in….

12/27/2008

THE STOCKINGS WERE HUNG….

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 1:05 pm

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Our Christmas tree is covered with a hodgepodge of ornaments from our travels, many that I made or were made by friends, ancient ones…all packed full of good memories.

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Here is MY special tree…a stick chair with a bird house and lights…a few stars.

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I survived Christmas filled with joy and happiness.  It was a big test, but our small, tight family, plus Jesse and Kaley, celebrated in grand style with no “Bah! Humbug!” comments.  The days were full of busyness so I wasn’t given opportunity to dwell on those who weren’t here.

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Todd and Karen make candy every year.  Friends receive their Christmas trays with hand dipped cherry mashes, two kinds of caramels, peanut butter balls, coconut balls, peanut clusters, turtles, fudge and pretzels.

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Jesse rounded out the family gathering.  We always love having him around.

Christmas Eve we had assorted foods, all excellent.  Ally made a huge kettle of cream of potato-corn chowder that all but instantly disappeared.  Karen happened on some beautiful small green beans in her pre-Christmas shopping so she fixed a crock pot of those with bacon.  Then, I slowed baked a ham all day that was so tender and tasty that it was lapped up as well. We set out those offerings and added the many cheese dips, spreads, holiday breads and cranberry apple nut pie to round them out.

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Mackenzie and Luke arrived from the west after visiting her mom in Atwood and stopped by the Catholic Church for services before coming here.  They arrived at the same time as Jesse from the east. Todd and Karen attended the Presby services and we all converged, disbanded and reconverged again eating early and staying late.

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Ally with the elderly family Santa that reigned under our tree when I was a tyke.

We had wine left over from the celebration and I can say, without hesitation, I tried to finish off a box of red wine that night. Actually, I thought it had only a small amount in it, but others will testify it must have been half full.  Occasionally, I sleep like a box of rocks but that night, I slept like a box of wine.  Today I feel better.

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Drew and Kaley were here to keep us joyful.

Todd’s very special spaghetti sauce was a big hit for Christmas Day.  He really has perfected that, and the  pièce de résistance was the mince meat pie that Karen made with Ryon Carey’s homemade mince meat.  Ryon’s family recipe dates back 150 years and I can tell you, it’s about the best thing you ever ate.   He marinates his apples, light and dark raisins and other fruit  in brandy and red wine overnight….and cooks the meat in a pressure cooker.  With the right blend of spices and the way he leaves raisins whole and course chops the other, it’s perfect.  The mince meat pie is on the left below and the cherry pie on the right.  The cherries came off Heath Barta’s tree, Todd pitted them and Karen made the pie.  Now that’s fresh, homemade from scratch pie in both instances.

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There are more pictures…

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Mackenzie, Luke and Karen are trying to figure something out…

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Look how big Maggie is now.  Ringo is waiting for treats too.  Someone needs to carry in more firewood.

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Todd is trying to get money out of the puzzle cube.  It’s one of those things that will drive you nuts.

You can tell we all enjoyed being together….very, very much.

I’m sorry I am so late in getting this posted…I’ve been swamped and enjoying having family and friends around.

Thanks for tuning in….

DELI DEALS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Deli — Peg Britton @ 12:01 pm

Ally is fixing bean burritos topped with pork green chili….(all homemade, of course) served with chips and her homemade salsa.  Small size is $4.99, large $6.99.  If you haven’t tried her pork green chili, you’re missing a taste treat.  Well, that is, if you like Mexican food.  That’s what we’re having for dinner.

12/23/2008

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN A 1919 ELLWORTH POSTCARD?

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 8:14 pm

Are you interested in a 1915 postcard harvesting alfalfa in Ellsworth KS?  Starting bid is $19.99….or round it out to 20 bucks.

Check it out here.

Today seemed warm and balmy at 26 degrees after yesterday.  It was a good day.  Ryon came for the day and Sammy joined us for lunch at KCs.  Then Ally and I had dinner at KCs.  I’m thinking about asking Karen for a job as a greeter.

The holidays will be slow and easy around here compared to the bedlam of years of yore.  Have you noticed how everyone scrambles to find something to do when there are no little ones around? It’s not a lot of work, everyone is pretty relaxed and Brit is probably saying something like….”You always had turkey when I was there (he didn’t like turkey) and now you’re having my favorites…potato soup one day and Todd’s world famous spaghetti the next.  Bah Humbug!”

Ryon brought me a quart of his home made mince meat, a recipe that has been in his family for 150 years. The assorted fruits he uses are marinated in brandy and red wine, and he cooks the beef in a pressure cooker with lots of seasonings that blend with the flavor of the fruit. Karen, our family pie maker was thrilled.  Her family traditionally had mince meat pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas and she hasn’t had one in years.  So…warm mince meat pie will be the pièce de résistance for Thursday, thanks to Ryon, his “150 year old ancestors” and Karen.

It’s so nice to have Drew home for awhile.  He fixed the lock so my front door will stay shut.  He loaded all the bird feeders with sunflower seeds,  filled the log racks by the front and back doors and moved a lot of firewood closer to the house. Then he built a nice fire and he, Ryon and I visited. It was a good day.

It’s time to head upstairs and take Ringo for a run….and turn on the bed warmer!

Thanks for tuning in….

12/22/2008

IF ANYTHING IS GOING ON…I’VE MISSED IT…

Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 9:19 pm

It’s too cold to be out and about.  I don’t seem to be the only one who is staying inside as much as possible.  It was 5 degrees early this morning and now 21, not that you can feel much difference between the two.  It’s -4 degrees in Fairbanks and DARK so here is better than there.

Ally and I went to Paden’s tonight for dinner and it was funny how all the patrons were scrambling for tables close to the kitchen and away from the front door.  She built a fire for me when we came home, so I’m going to enjoy that.  It takes the chill out of the living room.

Speaking of doors…the locks on my exterior doors seem to be frozen.  They aren’t working so I’ve resorted to dead bolts to keep them shut.

Tomorrow I’m venturing to the Court House, the bank and grocery store. My good friend, Ryon, is coming to visit and have lunch and that will be fun.

Grandson Tyler just called to brighten my evening.  He has all sorts of interesting things to talk about.  He was the only one from his class to be selected to go to the two week Critical Care Air Transport Team School.  And, he learned he’ll be deployed next summer to Iraq or Afghanistan either to work in the hospital or be on the CC Air Transport team to evacuate wounded personnel.  Then too, he’s working in the hospital ER and had 12 emergencies last night and got to work on all of them.  He loves his work.  And, his “little brother” Nathan is loving being with Tyler. They’ve been together four times in the past two weeks, to play basketball at a nearby gym, decorate their Christmas tree and eat homemade hot tamales and enchiladas that Nathan’s grandmother made. Tyler is a good role model for Nathan.  When he sees Tyler arriving Nathan runs out to his car and give him a big hug.  That should be cute as Tyler is six five and Nathan is a very short 9 year old.
It’s time to heat up the mattress pad.  Those are the greatest invention since the advent of  Kleenex.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/21/2008

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR…

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 6:36 pm

It’s that time of year:   A time to be very grateful for our bountiful well-being and happiness, and  also a time when we miss those who are no longer by our side.  Traditions bring families together and the same traditions separate them.  Every year, the list of those who aren’t here, when we most expect and want them to be, gets longer.

And the amazing thing is, it doesn’t matter if those who aren’t here have only recently been absent or they have been absent most of our lifetime….it seems the same with all those holes in our hearts that sort of merge into one.

Brit had a “Bah Humbug” stocking that he hung on his office door at the bank.  The older you get the more your feelings are mixed about Christmas.  I need to find that stocking, just for him.

Despite the sadness of losing Dane and Brit this year, I’m happy for the event of Christmas …more so now than in the most recent years.  Maybe it’s because I wasn’t sure last year how long we’d have Dane with us.   Maybe it’s because Todd decorated the tree with love and care, that Ally made all the Rom Pope, some with Tyler’s help, and Karen was constantly here to help with those things she knew mattered to me.  Events that are joyous at one point of your life get to be very worrisome and difficult later on.  The kids and grand kids have been here for Brit and me…always, but especially now. They’ve been tested and there is security in knowing that.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to Christmas because I am so very, very fortunate to have Todd, Karen, Ally and grandchildren to surround me, to love me and for me to love in return.   That’s what Christmas is all about.  That is what family is all about.  Brit and Dane would want it that way…so would my parents, Barbara and Kip, Bruce, Brit’s parents and Virginia and Don, Linda, Meme Baker, Grandmother Addie, Doc and Lucy, Beanie and Clarence, Marianne, Barbara and Linus…well, the list continues of those relatives who are no longer here but who will always be near and dear to me.

ALL OF US ARE ATHEISTS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:04 am

The following was written by Roshana Ariel, Assistant Editor of the Salina Journal.  In my view, she hit the nail on the head with her words.  I hope you take the time to read it.

We don’t need Scriptures to justify the worldwide desire to survive.

When you hear about the teachings of Islam, do you embrace them? Do you believe that suicide bombers will suddenly be greeted in heaven by 72 virgins and all the celestial delights imaginable for eternity?

No? Then you’re an atheist to that religion.

It sounds absurd to you. It has no pull on you, no effect, other than it might make you scoff at how ridiculous those beliefs sound to your ears, which have, throughout your lifetime, most likely become accustomed to the Judeo-Christian beliefs here at home.

You’re an atheist.

Now you have an understanding of what that feels like. When the beliefs of another group seem utterly implausible, we give them no credence and make no apology for it. Why would we? Those “other” beliefs are not based in reality. They couldn’t possibly have any historic value, because they’re simply untrue, right?

Spc. Dustin Chalker, the focus of a story on Page A6 in Tuesday’s edition of the Journal, is an atheist to the Christian faith. He feels the same way about Christianity that you probably feel toward the Islamic faith.

But the military has violated Chalker’s rights by allegedly forcing him to attend mandatory military formations where Christian prayers are given.

How would you feel if you were forced to listen to Islamic prayers? A little uncomfortable? A bit angry? Indignant?

Not only were Chalker’s rights violated (allegedly), but it seems the U.S. military has taken to proselytizing the enemy, which is illegal.

Videos discovered by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation show soldiers talking about their faith and the desire to spread Christianity to Muslims. The video shows missionaries, who were embedded with military units, handing out Bibles in the local language.

The head of the religious freedom foundation, Mikey Weinstein, said such activities put the U.S. military in danger of attacks and gives credence to the belief in the Muslim community that the U.S. is on a crusade to spread Christianity. The lawsuit also cites a “spiritual handbook” for soldiers endorsed by Gen. David Petraeus.

While the spreading of Christianity sounds like a fine idea to many who want to “help” or “save” the rest of the world, as we can see by observing our own atheism toward the Islamic faith, Muslims would understandably see this as a great affront.

This does us no good. What’s needed, instead of pitting one set of scriptures or beliefs against another, is finding common ground. Our hope lies in being pro-life, not in the anti-abortion sense of the term, but in the caring-for-all-people sense. Because our world is becoming smaller, it’s imperative that we rely on our collective desire for survival on this planet, which needs no scripture to justify itself.

— Roshana Ariel Assistant Editor

12/20/2008

ALLY’S FAMILY

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton, Roy P. Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:26 pm

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A rare event:  Ally’s three dogs all in one place.  Usually Haley, the black lab, has nothing to do with Maggie, the new Aussie pup, except that she likes to be chased by her.  Maggie and Sam are big buddies and play together all the time.  One of their favorite games is for Sam to put Mollie’s head in his mouth and grin.  Sam and Haley are good watch dogs.

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When Maggie was younger, Sam could get her entire head in his huge mouth. Maggie seems to think it’s great fun.  Sam is the one who nudges Mollie back to the house if he thinks she is straying too far.

I was hoping for a good Christmas program on TV this evening.  Lawrence Welk isn’t what I had in mind. The other night the San Francisco ballet performed The Nutcracker, a traditional favorite for the Christmas season,  which was one of the best I’ve seen of that particular ballet. I love ballet.  Brit and I saw The Nutcracker performed live in AU in what was then their brand, spankin’ new fabulous Sydney Opera House and the performance was magnificent….but no better than that performed by the San Francisco troupe.  I was amazed at the strength and depth of San Francisco dancers.  I guess that’s what guys see on athletic teams…the strength of the bench.  Same thing.  Tomorrow there is a program…”Christmas in Yellowstone” that should be good.

It’s bitter cold outside.  I didn’t make it downtown for the Santa festivities, but I heard echoes of… “IT’S COLD!!!”…from friends who did.  It’s 9 degrees.  North winds are going to continue with extremely cold temperatures with wind chill factors reaching to minus 15 to minus 20 degrees below zero over parts of central Kansas tonight and tomorrow.

I’m getting used to the needle routine, but I’m still like a monkey in boxing gloves trying to do an injection.  Pushing the plunger is the problem…so I’ll try a place other than my arm tonight to see if I can get it to work better.  I have no shortage of adipose tissue.

Tomorrow I’ll finish some of my pressing work and move on to preparations for Christmas.  The tree is up and decorated, thanks to Todd, my “chair with a bird house” is in place and the stockings are hung.  It looks festive.  Mackenzie and Luke will be here Christmas Eve after spending a few days in Atwood with Julie.  I’ll figure out some kind of soup to serve Christmas Eve as people will be off to the Catholic Church and Presbyterian Church for services and will be eating at different times….no doubt.  Everyone will be here Christmas Day…except for Tyler who will be doing good work tending to the sick and ailing in the hospital in San Antonio.  Todd is fixing John Shull’s famous spaghetti sauce recipe…with his own touches…so we’ll have that Christmas Day. Our family is small enough as it is, so without Dane, Brit and Tyler…it will be a small, but loving gathering….Todd, Karen, Drew, Kaley, Rod, Genn, Luke, Mackenzie, Ally and moi….and I hope a couple of special friends.

Stay warm….and thanks for tuning in…

12/18/2008

POKING FINGERS …

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Barack Obama — Peg Britton @ 12:14 pm

Okay…it’s time to make some changes. Today I start poking my finger now and then after I eat and  before I go to bed, I’ll have fun jabbing a needle in my stomach.  Jerzy has convinced me it’s time to do something to better regulate my blood sugar.  I’ve been putting it off for over 20 years, figuring I wouldn’t live this long, but before it starts to get really bad, I’ll join the diabetic bandwagon and try to do something about it.  If I could shed half my body weight, I’d weigh what I did when I was married and this wouldn’t be an issue. Some women I know can still wear their wedding dress and that amazes me. That isn’t going to happen in my lifetime, but maybe I can at least control the sugar issue.  Pat Allen at the hospital heads that program and she’s a good teacher.

The weather is turning south.  The City of Lawrence is warning motorists and community members to take an early lunch and stay off the streets when the precipitation starts. Though the streets will be treated, it won’t be effective while rain or ice is falling.  Nothing is falling from the sky  here, but the forecast includes freezing rain here until 9:00 pm. The sky looks like it’s ready to belch up something.

Ringo and I made our morning rounds to the post office and grocery store.  We’re getting to be good pals.  He’s paying attention and seems to want to do the right thing.  Brit really loved the guy and talked to him all the time.  I haven’t gone that far yet.

Karen brought it to my attention that Christmas is next week.  I have a ton of stuff to get out of the way before then, so I won’t be here as much as in the past.

So far I’ve been satisfied with Obama’s appointments and how he has conducted himself.  I haven’t paid “that” close attention, but I give him lots of latitude as he has a terrible mess to clean up.  My only objection so far is his appointment of Rick Warren to speak at his inauguration.  By asking him to speak he has tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans have a place at his table.  I find that sad and appalling.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/17/2008

“THE MUSIC AND MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS IN ELLSWORTH

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 7:10 pm

Saturday will be a big day in town as the Ellsworth-Kanopolis Chamber will be sponsoring “The Music and Magic of Christmas”. You can pick and choose the things you want to do.

To start off, you may begin with lunch at the VFW Hall at 12:00.  Following that, you may attend the organ recital on the beautifully decorated second floor of the Ellsworth Antique Mall.  The recital starts at 1:00 and features David Rankin, Ken Robson and Joyce Frees. It is sponsored by the Ellsworth County Historical Society.  The setting is beautiful and the music will be wonderful.  You’ll be glad you attended.

From 2:00 until 4:30 there will be activities at the Ellsworth Elementary School. Your child can have a picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy treats and activities.  The Kiwanis Club will give a bike away at 4:30.

The First Bank will have prize drawings at 5:00 in front of Tru-Value Hardware.

At 5:30 there will be a parade downtown with lots of Christmas activities.  There are several cash give-away programs with sizable amounts of money that will be welcomed by the lucky winners.

Many local merchants are having open house during the day, and before Christmas with special treats, give-aways and special bargains. They are the ones who make this day special so stop in to visit and shop. They have earned and deserve your patronage.

Ringo and I are getting the hang of hanging out together.  Brit took him everywhere he went and Ringo seems eager to go with me as well.  He rode with Brit in the front seat, but I changed those rules at the onset of our outings.  “Back”, I say, and he hops in the back seat and stays there while I’m driving.  He assumes his old position once I leave the car, but quickly jumps to the back again when I say so.  So far so good on that.  We have lots to learn about each other.

I’ve learned the rules while going through the bank drive-in.  Every time the tray comes out, there better be a doggie cookie in it for Ringo and I better be out of the way.  Meagan Choitz has a special routine with Ringo…the  same she had with Jack…that guarantees the customer will return. He loves going to the bank…and loves the sound of that drawer opening in anticipation of the cookie.

Today was errand day as tomorrow is supposed to bring freezing rain and colder weather.  Ringo and I made our rounds to get the mail and the Indy, went to the grocery store and the medical clinic.  I just have to get used to taking him with me as Brit always did that, and I didn’t.  Now I can have dog hair in my car and my leather seats will be scratched as were his in his truck.

A friend asked me to go to Wichita to pick up her daughter.  Without thinking, I accepted.  Then in the middle of the night before we were to go, it occurred to me that I now have a dog to take care of and couldn’t go.  I have to rearrange my thinking on many things now.

It will be good to stay home tomorrow, except for a trip to the clinic in the morning.

Today wasn’t half bad at 20 degrees, clear skies and streets that are safe enough if you drive slowly.  It’s days like this that I’m most grateful to have indoor plumbing and no feathered friends as do my friends Ryon, Sandra and Patti. They have to gather eggs three times a day to get them before they freeze and carry warm water to the “shickens”.

My friend Caleb stopped by after cutting firewood all day.  We had a share of the Rom Pope and chatted about mutual interests.  He’s always fun to have around.

Thanks for tuning in …and stay warm…

12/15/2008

MISS MAGGIE

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 9:14 pm

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Here’s Miss Maggie at 12 weeks.  Isn’t she a darlin’?  The other day Ally found she was slogging through water in the kitchen and wondered what in the heck was going on.  She discovered Maggie had splashed all the water out of the dog community drinking pan.   Then later, Maggie put all of her toys in the water pan….3 raw hide bones, a big ball, her duck, and her tennis ball.  Wouldn’t it be nice if she’d learn to put them all in her doggie toy basket?  She’s going to be a water dog.  Sam’s new delight is to gently put Maggie’s entire head in his mouth.  Now wouldn’t that scare the liver out of you?  Apparently, Maggie thinks it’s great fun.  Haley on the other hand, pays no attention to Maggie and wants nothing to do with her.  Ringo loves to have Maggie come to visit.  They play really well together.

Samantha Finke’s presentation tonight on her work, and the work to be done, in Burma was excellent.  It’s too bad the PAC wasn’t packed as it was a most worthwhile and informative program…but those who were there were most appreciative.  If you want to give even a small donation to help the people most in need, Samantha can direct it to the right place.  Ten dollars will go a long way to feed one child.  It would be an especially nice thing to do at Christmas time.

One of my young friends from Salina, RanDee, was there tonight.  I was especially happy to see her. She’s a very involved young college student with a lot of promise.

It’s just plain COLD…like 8 degrees….but it was nice leaving the PAC as there wasn’t anything frozen underfoot.  There was nice, icy cold clean crisp air to breathe.  It’s hard to beat that.  It’s supposed to snow tomorrow with maybe some icy rain to follow.  So far I haven’t had any trouble with Ringo wanting to wander…he’s happy to take a run and come back inside where it’s warm.  He’s been rather clingy lately…probably afraid I’m going to disappear too.

It’s time to call it a night….and thanks for tuning in.  Stay warm.

EDWIN AND JOYCE

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 8:43 am

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I’ve known Edwin for many years.  Not that I’ve actually met him, but I know him through my friend, Joyce Gosnell, who has been his tutor and mentor for six…going on 60…years.

I’ll call her and she’ll say…”I’m off to see Edwin”.  Or…”Another tragedy happened in Edwin’s family.  His brother was shot and killed today.”

And, plaintively, I continue to ask, “Can Edwin read yet?” The answer is always, “No, not yet”.

I was delighted when I received the copy of the news article about my friend, Joyce, and her friend, Edwin.  I think you might enjoy reading it too.  Click here.

Joyce does many, many wonderful things for others. She is a professional clown and has graduated from prestigious clown schools around the country.  Her clown persona is famous in the KC area.  When I say professional, that’s exactly what I mean.  You can see her below as “Molly”.

Professionally, she was president and CEO of a mortuary advisory business, a company she started fresh out of college.  She traveled extensively, spoke to various mortuary groups in the U.S. and Canada and published a professional mortuary magazine.  She retired from that life-long business 10 or so years ago.

She also does many good things for lots of people.  She “adopted” the three children of her single-parent hair dresser so they could each spend a day alone with her once a month to do something very special…all day long… and give their mother a break.

For almost as long as I’ve known her, she and her family have delivered Thanksgiving dinners to shut-in’s.  For years she prepared and delivered meals once a week to a dozen or so homeless AIDS infected women who were living under a bridge in Kansas City until they found shelter elsewhere.  Well…the stories about Joyce would fill a book.

She’s a good friend to many…and I’m one of the lucky ones.  She and I took the ride together, and were allowed to “drive” the Goodyear blimp, after she spent something like seven years trying to get the flight arranged.  The crew pulled the blimp out of the hanger, we took a rather extended ride over Houston, had our turns at the stick, and landed only when the weather looked a bit threatening.  In retrospect, I wonder how much it cost Goodyear for that trip for just the two of us? I remember Joyce took the pilot and crew each a rum cake from her famous cookbook of family recipes.

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We also spent a day she arranged on the USS Topeka, a Los Angeles class nuclear sub, submerged in the Pacific.  She’s taken a solo luge ride on the Olympic slide at Lake Placid, driven race cars, been at the top rung of the longest/highest rescue ladder the fire department in KC owns…now my memory fails to remember more.  Christmas in her family is totally about others who are less fortunate.

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Here’s another picture of good friends taken when they came to visit Brit and me last summer…Joyce on the left, Ann and Peg, all from the KC area.  All good friends of many years.

Joyce has been appointed by the courts in KC to represent juveniles in certain cases.  I can’t recall the legal term for what she does…maybe “guardian ad litem“…but she evaluates information from attorneys on both sides, the family and the client and submits her findings in writing to the court, which they usually follow. It’s a tough, tough job.

Tomorrow she’s going to Santa Fe to deliver a eulogy at the funeral of the daughter of mutual friends.  The daughter had stage 4 cancer for four years and fought a good fight…and gave us hope that Brit might live longer.

Joyce is a “book” and a dear friend. Whenever I would think things were getting the best of me while I was caring for Dane, then for Brit, mostly from not getting enough sleep, I’d think about Joyce who spent 16 years taking care of her husband.  She was his primary caregiver in their home and only rarely during those 16 years did she get more than three hours sleep in one stretch.  She’s a wonder and constant source of inspiration.  I wish you could all have the good fortune to meet her some day.

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Joyce and I usually travel incognito.  Here were are at KCI heading for Houston for our blimp ride…or maybe San Diego for the sub trip.  I donno which.
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12/14/2008

WHEW…THE KITCHEN GOT A WORKOUT TODAY

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 5:36 pm

Ally and I had breakfast at KCs with friends this morning then started making mustard sauce and Rom Pope.  Three gallons of each emerged today and that will see the end of it.  This was the second such batch. I used to do this alone but now I can only watch Ally do it.  It’s a Christmas tradition that is hard to break.  Our friend Cathy came by to join in the fun so we had a good visit with her.  It was a good, but tiring day.

It gets dark so early these days and with the temperature hovering at 10 degrees, I feel as though I live 500 miles north of here.  Ally brought in a huge load of wood for me so I’ll keep a fireplace going tonight to keep the house warm.

I’m going to bed so early these days that I’m missing my favorite shows, Jon Stewart and SNL. The other night Jon Stewart took after Mike Huckabee on the gay marriage issue and let him have it.  I hunted around and found a video of it if you want to watch.

“It is true that 30 states have banned gay marriage. However, Huckabee — like other conservatives who make similar claims — is wrong to suggest that American public opinion is on his side. A recent poll found that a full 75 percent of Americans favor either gay marriage or civil unions, with nearly 50 percent favoring gay marriage itself. More importantly, the next generation is much more open to gay rights: According to CNN exit polls, an overwhelming majority — 67 percent — of 18-29 year-olds voted against stripping gay couples of their right to marry in California.”

As Jon asked, “Gay people don’t choose to be gay. At what age did you decide to not be gay?”   Anyone who thinks being gay is a choice is totally uneducated to the facts.

You can watch the seven minute video of the confrontation by clicking here.

Don’t forget to be in your seat in the PAC tomorrow night at 7:30 for Samantha Finke’s program.  You’ll be glad you were there.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/13/2008

A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:00 pm

This is from the farmette woman who raises turkeys, ducks, geese and all living things:

Here’s a little farmette story - true one. We have a pygmy goat that for the past four years or so has not been able to use his front feet. No pressure on his front hooves at all. Its been pretty pathetic actually. Although he didn’t seem to be in any pain at first he could only move about by crawling on his front goat knees.

Later, as the years progressed, he learned how to walk just on his hind legs. I’m telling you that was a pretty creepy sight around the farmette. He actually got so good at walking upright that he could walk up the front steps onto the porch to eat things like pumpkins or tomato plants by the front door.He seemed healthy in every other way so we spent all these years turning down offers from friends, neighbors, relatives and the UPS man to shoot him. I think just about everyone was creeped out by the man walking pygmy goat.

Anyway, last night I looked out to admire our Christmas lights at dusk and I’ll be darned if that goat wasn’t walking perfectly fine on all four legs! It was a Christmas Miracle right before my eyes! Incredible! I asked the boys and they said that he’d been doing that the past few days - as if nothing was ever wrong.

Just thought I’d share.

Now that is a story to ponder.

NATHAN IS OUR NEW FAMILY MEMBER

Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 8:30 pm

One of the best Christmas presents anyone could ask for:  Tyler has a “little brother”, Nathan, who is 9 and lives about 10 minutes from the base. They’ve connected and like each other a lot.  Tyler is invited to his grandparents house, where he lives, for homemade hot tamales tonight at nine.  The hour is a little curious but that’s fine with Tyler.

Nathan’s grandmother works two jobs and his grandfather works full time as well, so having Tyler around to help with Nathan is a good thing for all of them.  Tyler is supposed to see him about four times a month and he thinks he can manage to do that despite his busy schedule.  He’s working nights now from 6pm to 6 am. He finished his Associate’s Degree this week and will only be carrying one college course this winter.  Maybe a history course.

Nathan likes the Spurs so Tyler is going to take him to some games.  He likes playing basketball so that is a natural for Tyler.  They will find fun things to do as Tyler is great with kids.
And Nathan wants Tyler to visit his charter school.  Tyler said that Nathan is very polite and everything is followed by “Yes, Sir” and “No, Sir.”  Tyler said he had to go through a very thorough screening process, which started some time ago, to be allowed to claim Nathan as his “little brother” in the Little Brother, Little Sister program.

Knowing this just makes me feel warm all over.  This is what Christmas is all about.

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