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Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 10:56 am


HALLELUJAH… I could hardly believe my eyes today when I saw a large bowl of mixed fruit at the end of the salad bar.  It had grapes, bananas, frozen strawberries, pineapple…and it was wonderful.  I hope there is more of it tomorrow.  I wanted to bring a bowl home for later, but I would have had to fill my pockets.


Celebrating Noon Year’s Eve lunch with Amy Hoffman.  Brit and I were with Amy and her husband, Nick Hoffman…a Salina banker, on many occasions during our working years.


I also sat with my friend since the 4th grade, Shirley Drawbaugh and …


Ivy Marsh.  Aren’t we just splendid looking in our tiaras?  Leo Lake handed out party hats to the men and tiaras to the women.  I couldn’t keep mine on my head and our waitress looked better in it anyway.


More of the dining room…


We had what appeared to be a full dining room today.


The pièce de résistance as we left the dining room was a table full of chocolate…including hot chocolate with whipped cream and/or marshmallows.  I avoid the desserts here as they are just loaded with sugar and opt for either a banana, orange or apple.  These desserts looked very inviting so I brought a chocolate cookie home for later since they had run out of sugar free cupcakes.

Our waitress told me over lunch that she heard the forecast included 6″ of snow. It’s going to have to hurry.


This is what it looks like outside my window at 1:00.  It’s nice to know I don’t have to leave here today.  I hope next week isn’t like this as Todd, Ally and I will be on the move to Wichita on Tuesday.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 2:30 pm


Every day at the Palace we enjoy the piano music of Ivis Meitler who, incidentally, is 102.  She’s a paid employee of the Palace and I can assure you she comes very close to knowing every song that was ever written.  I’ve been here a month and every day it’s a new program of music.  There are seldom any repeats, so far as I can determine.  She plays beautifully and her repertoire is endless.  Ivis must have music running through her brain constantly.  Clarence “Pete” Peterson can name almost every song she plays while the rest of us stumble along trying to remember the lyrics.  She and my neighbor, Dale Peck, are cousins and come from the Sylvan Grove area.


When the dining room opens for the noon meal, of which most residents partake, the lines start forming about 11:15.  There is a wide variety of offerings so everyone finds something from the salad bar that they like.  Most residents are able to make their own salad choices, but a few need some help from a spouse, friend or waiter.  Those with walkers put a plate on the seat of their walker and proceed through the salad bar then find a place at a table where one of the helpers gets the walker away from foot traffic.  There is also a large kettle of soup available on another table where you can help yourself or ask for help from a waiter.


The salad bar includes iceberg lettuce (unfortunately it doesn’t include other varieties),  three of four different dressings and an assortment of toppings such as chopped tomatoes, ripe olives, grated cheese, dried cranberries, chopped ham or bacon bits, pumpkin seeds, cottage cheese, marinated veggies, pasta salad, canned fruit and a variety of jello and fruit combinations.  I’ve been eating at this salad bar for a month now and haven’t tired of it and others who have been here for years seem to  like it too.  I wish they’d add chopped onions, beets, carrot and celery strips and fresh fruit combinations.


This plaque is in the entry hall to the memory care unit of the Palace.  As you can see, the Morrison family members were substantial contributors to the wing.  Becky Morrison lives here in one of the town homes and I believe I’m the only person here who doesn’t know her.  She’s a very popular and well-liked individual and one day our paths will cross.


This is where I pick up my mail from box #402.  I find it very convenient.  The mail slot is below the boxes, but that’s the extent of mail service that exists.  If you need stamps or a package to be mailed you have to go to the post office downtown, I presume, or impose on a friend or relative.  The same is true with cashing checks.  I think they’ll cash a check for $20.00 but if you need more than that, you have to go elsewhere.  They do everything they can to make your comfort and convenience their first priority.  My address is 2601 E. Crawford Apt. 402, Salina 67401.

If you know anyone who is interested in living here, stop by to see Kim Fair, director of marketing.  She can answer all your questions.  All I know is that the place may be full.  The apartment I was waiting for for several months just became available, but I’m settled here and like it just fine.  The thought of moving again paralyzes me.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 7:46 pm

 Hobby Lobby to defy courts over contraceptive ruling and impose religious views on workers

by Meteor Blades

Hobby Lobby, the 13,000-employee arts and crafts chain, says it will ignore two court rulings and defy a federal mandate that companies must offer health insurance to workers that covers birth control, including Plan B, the morning-after pill. The defiance could cost the company $1.3 million a day in fines. Hobby Lobby is self-insured and must begin compliance as of Jan. 1.

The 40-year-old Hobby Lobby labels itself a “biblically founded business.” It has 500 stores in 41 states that are closed on Sundays. Of the two dozen or more companies that have filed suit over the mandate on similar grounds, Hobby Lobby is the largest and only one not owned by Catholics.

Hobby Lobby made its decision after a ruling Wednesday by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor denied the company an emergency injunction while its lawsuit works its way through the appeal courts.

The company’s owners say they should not have to comply with the Health and Human Services requirement because it impinges on their religious beliefs. Imposing their religious views on their employees doesn’t bother them, however. They argue that they are not against covering contraception, in general, but oppose Plan B because, they claim, it causes abortion. That is bunk except to folks who think a fertilized egg is a baby. In fact, the progestin levonorgestrel used in Plan B delays or prevents ovulation, blocks fertilization or prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall.

None of that constitutes abortion. And none of it is Hobby Lobby’s business.

Under health care reform, employers must include contraception in their employees’ health insurance policies, without charging a co-pay or deductible. Exemptions have been granted for houses of worship as well as religious-affiliated institutions such as non-profit hospitals. But the Catholic bishops have argued that even secular businesses should not have to cover contraception if their owners have religious objections.

Hobby Lobby’s lawyers took that idea to court in September and had it shot down in November by U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton. In a 28-page ruling, he stated that Hobby Lobby and a sister company, Mardel, don’t qualify for exemptions since they are private businesses:

“However, Hobby Lobby and Mardel [its partner company] are not religious organizations,” the ruling states. “Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.”

Hobby Lobby’s owners don’t seem to get that they don’t own their employees. They hire them. As such they should stick to selling paints, glue and glitter, and making multi-million-dollar contributions to Oral Roberts University instead of mucking about in the personal lives of workers who have helped make them rich.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 6:12 pm

You’ve heard of the “fiscal cliff,” but have you heard of the milk cliff”?

If Congress doesn’t take action in the next four days, milk prices could shoot up dramatically.

Here’s why:

The farm bill contains something called the Dairy Product Price Support Program. It’s designed to help farmers by guaranteeing a minimum price for milk.

Basically, the government buys things made from milk — cheese, butter and dry milk. (It doesn’t want to have to actually store milk, which can quickly go bad.) Buy up enough of this stuff, and you drive up the price of milk.

The government hasn’t had to buy a significant amount of this stuff in the past decade because the price of milk has been high enough on its own.

Here’s where the cliff comes:

The minimum price for milk, called the “support price,” is set in the farm bill. The farm bill is set to expire on Jan. 1, and here’s the catch: If that happens, the minimum price reverts to the price set more than 60 years ago in the Agricultural Act of 1949. That price is a parity price, which means it was calculated based on how much it cost farmers to make milk during the “golden age of agriculture” 1910 -1914. Things have changed a lot since then, and costs for farmers today (equipment, labor, feed, cows) are radically different.

The parity price set in 1949 is $39.53 per 100 pounds — right now, farmers are getting half that, $19.50 per 100 pounds of milk.

If Congress doesn’t do something, the government will find itself buying a lot of cheese, butter and dry milk come Jan. 1, and even worse, it will essentially be paying double the price. Those higher prices will then trickle down to the grocery store where the rest of us could see milk prices go from around $4 a gallon to something more like $6 a gallon.

Will it happen?

Probably not. Dramatically higher milk prices won’t help Congress’ reputation for political gridlock. Farmers wouldn’t like it either. Although higher prices would be a short-term boost for them, agricultural economics professor Joseph Balagtas, of Purdue University, says it would “draw a lot of attention to dairy policy that farmers wouldn’t want.” The USDA, the folks who would be in charge of buying all that cheese and butter, say returning to permanent law would be a “bad outcome” that no one should want.

Want something else to worry about?

Balagtas says there is another outcome here that could be equally bad — passing the 2012 farm bill in its current form.

Balagtas is concerned about a specific part of the 2012 farm bill that deals with dairy — the Dairy Market Stabilization Program. The program is designed to keep milk prices high by taxing farmers for producing more milk than the government wants them to.

Balagtas says the program would be bad for successful dairy farmers because it “would explicitly penalize growth” — essentially punish them for being more efficient and producing more milk. Large, profitable dairy farmers share his concern about the program.

Discouraging farmers from producing more milk means less milk on shelves for sale, which once again, means higher prices for the rest of us.


Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 4:27 pm


My friend since 4th grade, Shirley Drawbaugh. I love this picture of her. She joined our ranks in the 4th grade that included Sally Sue Woodward, Jack Stewart, Marshall Faith, Carl Bochow, Billy DeWitt, Charles Sampson, Tom Moore…et al. You can see I remember the guys.

The tire pressure on my wheels needs attention.  The warning light comes on every time I start my car.  It does it with the first cold weather and again the first day it gets really hot.  Depending on which time, my tires either need to have air added or removed.  I drove out to Long Mac to see if someone could adjust the air pressure.  It’s like driving to Lindsborg. They had a long line waiting for oil changes and other things and I would have been there all afternoon waiting, so they said.  So, I gave up and headed back this way.  I stopped at Auto Zone and got some ice melt in case icing is a problem  and I need to use my car.  And, I stopped to fill up my tank with gas since I’ll run out going back and forth to Long Mac trying to get the tire problem resolved.  At home, that was never an issue, but I don’t live there now.

I called to get a dental appointment here and they said since I was a new patient, which I’m really not, it would be July at the earliest.  I’ll be toothless by then.  I’m on the standby list, but not optimistic.  It wasn’t like that at home with Kurt Williams, but I don’t live there now.  Those are some of the downsides of departing home.  It was to be expected.

Shirley was in the lobby when I got home and I was in the mood for something hot so she joined me for tea and one of Ally’s famous peanut butter cookies.  I even had a beautiful tray of homemade candy to offer that Todd and Karen make every Christmas.  Shirley and I get together for afternoon tea rather regularly and we both enjoy it.

I didn’t have lunch here today so I’ll take advantage of my meal plan and go for dinner tonight.  I imagine most of the women who went to the breakfast will be doing the same thing.

Tomorrow Patti O is coming to visit and pick up a boat load of mustard sauce she ordered from Ally that is consuming the bottom shelf of my refrigerator.  It will be good to see her.

Tomorrow night KU plays American and I’m looking forward to seeing that.  Maybe they’ll start showing the games in the lobby so the KU fans can gather and cheer.  I think that would be a splendid idea and Doris Wyatt should be in charge of that.  She’ll get ‘er done.

And…I received my certificate of registration in the mail today and am officially a resident of Salina.  My voting precinct is Presbyterian Manor.  How convenient is that?  I have a registrant ID number emblazoned on my forehead.  Yay!

I have an assignment to find out how many Happy Hookers live here.  That should be fun.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:22 am


Once a month the Palace has a special breakfast for the ladies of the Manor.  It’s held in the lower level of the main building and, so I’m told, usually better attended than it was today.  They served a breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls, fruit, juice and coffee.   It’s always a good opportunity to link names and faces, that being a department I’m still woefully deficient in.  I’m sure I’m not alone.

The news circulating around the table this morning is that milk is destined to go up to $6.00 a gallon, but no one seemed to know exactly why.  A friend wrote and said: “Milk price going up will affect all dairy products. Not just milk.  The lady reporter said imported French brie would be cheaper than Wisconsin cheddar.  On TODAY this morning they said it has something to do with Congress not addressing parts of the farm program that are set to expire.  Just like they’re not addressing anything else.”  So, there you have it.


Left to right: Hazel Beggs, Vivian Austin and Hallie Brewer.  Before I moved in here and while I was “shopping” for the apartment I might want, Hazel was the one who graciously let me and all my family traipse into her apartment on numerous occasions to have a look.  She was so nice about it.


Karen Larsen, activities director, on the left and ex-Ellsworthite, Janice Thomas, on the right.  Janice is a frequent volunteer at the Palace.


Two of my friends…Joy Mansfield and Ivy Marsh, all decked out in Christmas red.  Joy is the friend who has told me first hand what to expect with my surgery next month as she is recovering from much of the same thing.  She is totally optimistic. There are lots of life experiences to draw from friends in my surrounds.

It’s 16 degrees. Once it warms up a bit, I need to brace against the cold and  fill my gas tank and get some spray to defrost my windshield.  I may actually need to go some place early in the morning and am not anxious to scrape windows to clear them of ice.  I don’t have covered storage for my car; however, I am on the list for one.  I’m not sure I really need it and will decide once that becomes an option.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 10:04 pm

The monthly ladies breakfast is in the lower level at 9:00 in the morning.  The food, they say, is very good so all the women make a point of attending.  I plan to join them.

Grandson Tyler stopped by this morning as he began the long drive back to Cincinnati.  I took him to the health care area so he could see where I’ll be in rehab next month.  We met and visited with one of the aides and saw one of the rehab rooms.  I’ll have someone bring my electric throwmeacrosstheroom chair from my apartment as there isn’t a comfortable one there.  We also had a serendipitous encounter with Jean, a good friend of Eddie Jilka’s that I’ve been trying to locate since I arrived here.



Kim and I went to La Casita tonight for dinner. Occasionally I need to get out and get some Mexican food in order to be aware I still have taste buds.  It wasn’t really hot, but it was good.  I lived on hot peppers at home and I’m deprived of them, and endorphin surges, here except that I have a jars of hot stuff stashed away to satiate my appetite once I start cooking again. I may just start taking a bottle of habenero sauce to lunch with me…and a bottle of balsamic vinegar.  Everyone carries their little tote bags and containers with them for leftovers, so my additions would hardly be noticeable.  Oh…and chopped onions.  They never have raw onions except for hamburgers. I’m not sure why as they’d be a very nice addition to the salad bar.

Claudia, Preston and Ally worked on removing boxes and other stuff from my house today.  I really appreciate their help and it hastens the time when the house will be ready to show.  It seems like a long time since my birthday in June when I made the decision to sell my house.  Two hours later a friend knocked on my door…it was Saturday afternoon…and asked if I thought I’d ever put my house on the market.  Strange he should ask.  I invited him and his family in and told him I had decided on my own only two hours previously and he knew it before I’d had time to tell my family. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.  Soon some lucky family will be enjoying the most beautiful location in Ellsworth….a treasure of a hideaway.


Claudia and Preston

Thanks for tuning in …



The grandsons are home and this is the first year for them that it hasn’t been “over the hill and through the woods to grandma’s house”. Instead, they came to the Palace to check out my digs.


From left:  SSGT Tyler Britton, Drew Britton and their dad, Todd Britton.  There was the usual rough-housing going on while I was trying to take a picture….then we all went to a movie and out for dinner.  There will be more pictures tomorrow that will include their mother and more Christmas cheer.

Tonight Ally, friends and I are heading to the Japanese restaurant, Daimaru, for an evening of knife-throwing and dinner. That’s a change for us as we always prepared Christmas Eve dinner at my house… King Crab was always a favorite.

It’s pretty quiet around here as most of the residents have gone to spend the holidays with family and friends.  Today’s scheduled activities include a grocery shopping trip to Dillon’s that is usually a Tuesday weekly activity and chapel services.

Wishing you very happy holidays…

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Mackenzie, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 7:33 pm

Eddie Jilka, a frequent subject of my blog and long time friend, found me in the dining room today.  I was there visiting with the stragglers from lunch…Ginny Frederick on the left of Ed, and Ruth Willis on the right.  We had a nice visit then Ed headed to Lawrence to be with his family for Christmas.  He’ll be back next week.


My holiday chair with bird house and ornaments stands by my TV.  As you can see, Santa has arrived in the form of assorted presents from Mackenzie and Ty, special Tito’s from Lew and Cindy and some very nice Christmas cards.  I had Lorie Park put it together for me when she owned and operated La Prairie Gifts in EllswoRth.  It’s my kind of tree.


Most of the Christmas tree ornaments Brit and I collected and displayed on various trees over the many years of our marriage now reside on the tree below that is proudly displayed by Mackenzie and Ty.  I love seeing all the familiar ornaments.  The Santa ornaments above Ty’s shoulder are ones I bought years ago from Ginny Frederick.  Or maybe Margaret Wyatt.  Not sure now.


I neglected to take a picture of my other visitors today, Chuck Marsh, his daughter Gillian (chairwoman of my kansasprairieblog fan club), son Will and mom Ivy. We had a delightful chat and I hope Ivy shares them with me again when they come to visit her.

The KU game attracted my attention and I was glad to see them win again.  I’m happy to note there are a lot of KU supporters who live in the Palace.

That’s about all there is to say about this adventuresome day.

Thanks for tuning in to “Life in the Palace”…


Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 11:14 am


You can call them a double bass, string bass, upright bass, bass fiddle, bass violin, slap bass, doghouse bass, contrabass, bass viol, stand-up bass or bull fiddle.  All those monikers refer to the instrument above.  It’s the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestras.  We were treated to music from those instruments produced by six musicians who performed on them in the Ivory Keys Cafe this morning.  It was their third appearance at the Palace. The three at the right are professional double bass players and appear in the Salina Symphony Otchestra.  The three at the left play in the Salina Youth Symphony. Dorothy Carmichael introduced the group to the resident and guest audience.

My friend, Eddie Jilka, is in town.  This year he won’t have to drive, hitchhike or ride his bike to Ellsworth to see me.  That’s a first in nearly 50 years.  He always visits me over the Christmas holidays and it will be nice to see him again.  He’s a fixer.  Maybe he can fix my kitchen table.  Everything else around here is in good repair.

It’s time for lunch.  I don’t know how people do it who have three meals a day here.  They must never leave the dining room.  It’s all I can do to manage one at noon.  Maybe they spend all the interim between meals exercising and working up an appetite.
Thanks for tuning in ….



Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 10:03 pm

The Palace activities director, Karen Larsen, conducted two bus tours of Salina’s Christmas lights tonight.  I took the 6:00 small bus tour, with about a dozen of us in all.  It was very nice and I really enjoyed seeing all the effort people put into making the holiday bright and cheery for others.  Some of the lights are stunningly spectacular.

Our first stop was to see the “Georgetown Santas”.  A good many men (the number of moving Santas was too hard to determine) from the Georgetown area don their Santa suits while other family members are in costume and serve as their helpers.  They hand out candy canes, chocolate candy and bags of popcorn to those who drive by. Their houses are all decorated beautifully and they work out of a santa shop located near the street.  It is very well done and very “Christmasy”.  I have no idea how many of them there are altogether, but as many as the bus would hold came aboard to pass out their holiday goodies while the rest did the same for others driving by.  Tim Unruh, of the Salina Journal…a friend of mine…stuck his head in our bus so I was able to say hello to him.  He was surprised to see me and wondered at my spot on the bus. He was busy taking notes as I spun the story of my past six months in front of him. I don’t expect to appear “above the fold” tomorrow…or Sunday, but maybe he’ll say I love where I am, because I do.

We saw the gorgeous lights in the Country Club area and one in particular on Santa Fe that is a must see.  We toured as much of the town as an hour and a half would allow.  We ended up going down Highland past my old house on the way home.  It was dark and there was no evidence of any Christmas cheer; however,  a few of the neighboring houses were decorated.

I sat outside in the sun for an hour today in my shirt sleeves…it was wonderful, sunny and warm.  Tonight was anything but cold.  The weather has been fabulous and I’ve enjoying bench sitting in front of the Palace when the sun is shining.

People are starting to leave for the holidays, going various and sundry places to stay with family.  One of my neighbors depends on another neighbor and as she is leaving she asked me if I ‘d be able to help her.  I hated to refuse her, but I told her it was all I could do to take care of myself and that pushing her in a wheel chair was more than I could do right now.  She understood.  Maybe after I get a new valve I’ll be in better shape.

My niece, Kay, called tonight and we visited for an hour. It was pleasant because  I finally got new phones, connected and programmed them so they work.  It was aggravating for awhile, but they work fine now and I really enjoyed my visit with my sister’s youngest.  It’s time for holiday calls.  Sheila and I had a good chat today.  She’s one of my contemporaries and we all are in the same boat, either in places like the Palace or heading for one.  She has four children and said she can’t afford to live in Bethesda where one lives, and can’t stand the long, dark and dreary Vermont winters where another lives.  There are location issues with the other two.  It’s always something so she’s staying put in Kansas City even though she’s far away from family.  Sometimes it just happens like that.  I’m very fortunate to still be close to family.

Tomorrow there is a concert…The Ginormous Instrument Christmas Concert…with bass viols and big stringed instruments.  I’m not sure what else is big like that, but they say it’s a good show so I’ll try to move fast enough to get down to the Ivory Keys Cafe by 10:00  in the morning.  I imagine by now, since it’s 10:00 p.m., all the lights are off and windows closed in the Palace, except for mine.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Peg's House — Peg Britton @ 5:31 pm

Here’s the information on my house if you or anyone you know is interested in treehouse hideaway on 5 acres in the city limits of Ellsworth. It has 4256 sq ft of luxurious space surrounded by aged trees.  From the link, you can view many interior and exterior pictures of the home.

If you copy and paste the link below into your browser window, it will take you to the realtors information on my house.

Later on in January or early February, depending on the weather, Jessica Decker of REMAX will be hosting an open house.  Everyone is invited to tour the house and see if it fits your needs.

Thank you for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 2:35 pm

Doris Wyatt, the official greeter for the Palace, just paid me a visit to my apartment and brought a nice gift to welcome me into their midst.  She’s 104 and an avid KU fan.  She told me all about the game they played against Richmond last night.  You can know with certainty that she’s an amazing woman.  She told me about their monthly bingo games and I’ll try to go to the next one.  I guess they are a lot of fun, free,  and the prizes range from boxes of Kleenex to soap, to toilet tissue and fruit.  I gather the assortment of prizes is as much fun as the games themselves.  They play for an hour.  Nothing takes long here.

Ginny Frederick also stopped by to pick up several jars of mustard sauce she bought from Ally.  She’s a friend of long-standing and drops in from time to time.  She bought my living room coffee table and a couple of  chairs that I must go visit.

Management here is very nice and try not to overlook anything.  They try to provide answers so that the transition from home to here is smooth and comfortable. They know you by name long before you know theirs. They all seem to love it here and are very pleased that I do as well.

Ringo came to visit me yesterday.  It was so good to see him again.  “Sampson”, an Irish Wolfhound, visited his grandma here yesterday as well.  Dogs and cats can come visit, but can’t spend the night.  Jean Hamilton has a dog here in town who lives with her son that she visits every day.

At 5:30 this morning I stumbled over my house slippers as I was returning to bed and went down on my knees. The fall didn’t hurt, but it disabled me for the time being.  Ever since my active bout with Lupus, my muscles just don’t work as they should and they are weak.  So, when I went to my knees I was as helpless as a beached whale.  I made my way the short distance to the “panic cord” on my knees and soon Amy from health care was by my side.  I told her it would take another to get me on my feet and that I carried my own gate belts.  She laughed, called another nurse and the two of them got me up-righted again. No damage done.  It’s nice to know someone is near by when such things happen. Bill the manager was alerted as soon as it happened and he spoke to me about it to assure himself I was alright.  Several other helpers also expressed their concern. They have necklace alerts and I’ll probably get one of those after my surgery next month.  One never knows what old age will bring to fore.

In case anyone is interested, some people and their representatives who recently looked at my house raised the issue of my jumbo shake-shingle roof with MY insurance agent, if you can imagine.  She was appalled at the call and told me there was nothing at all wrong with my roof and that ping marks from hail are common, even expected on wood roofs.  The structural integrity of the roof on my house is as sound and rock solid as the integrity of the Kohl’s brothers who built it.  In case you heard otherwise.

We’re getting things ready for an open house, hopefully next month.  If not, in February.  There are still things that need to be removed.  I hope anyone who is interested in seeing the house will stop by at that time.  Jessica Decker, my REMAX realtor, has some interesting ideas.  I’m sorry I won’t be there to welcome you.

I’m watching the sky from my office where I have a very good view to the southwest.  I never know quite what the temperature is outside and probably need to do something about that.

The frozen pea salad for lunch was very good.  Once in awhile something unforeseen stands out on the salad bar.   It could have used minced onion, salt and pepper.  They don’t season anything if they do it from scratch, otherwise it seems loaded with salt.  Someone in the kitchen must be allergic to onions….formerly one of my daily habits. But, I don’t have to prepare it or do the dishes and am appreciative of their efforts.  They do very well considering. I forgo the desserts as they are loaded with sugar and get a banana instead which I save for a later time.  Slowly, I’m figuring out the system.

Frequently, I leave my front door open and wedge it with a heavy brass duck.  It helps with circulation and lets visitors know I’m home.  There is a door bell, but it doesn’t work.  I bet if I could get on a ladder, I could fix it.

Thanks for tuning in…



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

Pictures from the Annual Christmas Banquet.


Doris Wyatt, one of the Palace’s oldest residents, is the first one to arrive.


Ivy Marsh and I are being escorted to our table by St. John’s Military School cadets.  They did an excellent job seating the ladies and serving the meal.


Jane Ghan and Mabelle Mase are being seated by a St. John’s Military School cadet.


Earlene Zimmerman, her son and daughter-in-law, Ivy Marsh and I are seated together for the Annual Christmas Banquet.  I won the center piece for being the oldest one left at the table when the program ended.

Thanks to  Kim Fair, Marketing Director at the Palace, for sharing her photos.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 9:10 am

When you come through the front door of the Palace, one of the first things you’ll notice is a table to the right where  jigsaw puzzle aficionados gather to assemble one of the many puzzles stacked beside the table.  It’s rare to see a puzzle unattended as someone is always attracted to it.  They work assiduously until it is finished, then start another.


I’m almost too busy to blog. There is something going on at the Palace all the time. I can only say if I played “cards” or indulged in games, I’d never get to bed.  This afternoon there is a pitch tournament at 1:30 and bingo at 7. They have domino tournaments as well. Now, my new Kansas granddaughter, Summer, wants to teach me how to play cribbage so she can whip the socks off me.

Speaking of Summer.  Saturday night she took me to a play a friend of hers from work was participating in.  It was called “Like a Thief in the Night” and was about…yes you guessed it…THE RAPTURE.  It’s okay with me if people believe in the concept of the Rapture as it’s their right to believe whatever they want; however, Summer and I, being the only two misfits in the audience,  didn’t agree at all with them and wonder why they need to feel such extreme fear in order to validate their own morality.  As Summer said, right and wrong are inherent to most human minds yet they have to scare themselves into doing the right thing. Seems so.  The Mayan calendar said we’re doomed on the 21st.  I just bet most of us are still around on the 22nd.

I’m still hopping around at different tables during the noon meal in order to meet more people…and familiarize myself with the names of my neighbors.  There are so many to meet all at one time that it’s overwhelming.  Some names, like Rudy Camarena, come easily and I don’t forget after hearing it the first time.  Other names just don’t stick right away, but slowly, I’m learning them.  It’s okay if they don’t stick the first time around as there are some people I’ve met a several times and they still think they haven’t met me. That’s okay too.  Short term memory issues are a problem with the elderly, but their long term memories are great and from them emerge very good conversations.


This is the entry to the Ivory Keys Cafe where meals are served.  The menu for the day is posted at the entry.

They once had assigned seating for the noon meal and Jean said the seat she had been assigned  looked squarely at the kitchen door and she couldn’t see any of the other diners.  She had that seat for a year and a half until they changed to the open seating plan, which she much prefers.  Me too.  The various seating habits of others are interesting to observe.  There are only a few couples here and they appear to have a need to sit together during meals as they always do.  A few need to help their spouses, but many don’t. You’d think they’d want to table hop not only to enjoy the company of others but also to enjoy a degree of separation.  It’s “tight quarters” around here if two are sharing an apartment.   And, perhaps as a hold over from the old days of assigned seating, many people sit at the same table and, if possible, at the same place at that table day after day.


This is the area where they show movies and that they use for extra dining room seating. It opens to a large deck.

Today is going to be a good day. Ally is coming at noon to help me a bit and then we’ll go out for lunch. She’s making mustard sauce deliveries.  If you haven’t ordered your supply for the holidays, give her a call at 785.472.7065.  Cindy and Lew are coming later this afternoon.  It will be wonderful to see them.  I miss my Ellsworth friends and love it when they stop by.  Later this week, the grandsons will arrive home for the holidays.  There are wonderful days ahead.

Thanks for tuning in …



Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 4:33 pm

Karen stopped by this afternoon and during the search around my apartment for something, we had the serendipitous good fortune to find the pictures of the grandkids et al  in my “front hall closet”, the ones that “went missing”.  Finally, I can stop mulling over the various possibilities of where they might be.  They have been found. The Christmas ornament is still missing.
Karen shared some roasted peanuts in the shell with me.  My friend Shirley was sitting alone in the Palace lobby so I enticed her outside so we could shell peanuts and maybe hide the evidence.  We found a delightful bench where the sun was shining brightly on us and enjoyed a nice visit…and the peanuts.  Now it’s time to get ready for Summer who is coming to take me to a play a friend of hers is in.  It should be an interesting evening and I’m looking forward to it.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 8:52 am

The annual Christmas banquet is this evening and everyone who has experienced it in previous years is looking forward to it.  There will be guests involved so the dining room will be packed tonight.  It is one of those rare things that we need to pay extra for ($10 in this case) unless we switch it with the noon meal in which case there is no charge.  I opted for that and will have a sandwich or some thing out of my refrigerator for lunch.  Ivy and I are going together tonight. I imagine some of the ladies will be dressed to the nines as they dress that way every day.  Others of us just slosh along.

The “Dr. Bill and the Glitters” concert last night was most pleasant. Bill sang an assortment of Christmas songs accompanied by Dorothy Carmichael, a resident here.  The Glitters are four women from Hutch, as is Dr. Bill, who sing barbershop quartet style. The concerts I’ve heard since I arrived are short, lasting 30-40 minutes, probably in keeping with attention spans. There was a domino tournament last night that took away from the concert crowd, but it was still well attended, and very much appreciated.

I sat with Jean Hamilton during the concert and as I was sitting slightly behind and to the side of her, I could watch her sew.  She sews as she goes and I’m fascinated with it.  She is no amateur and has a big collection of quilts she has made to prove it.  She invited me to see her quilt and doll collection after the concert.  She has 850 dolls, out of a much larger collection, in her apartment.  I didn’t count them, but I wouldn’t argue about the number. She’s been collecting dolls since she was a young girl and her enthusiasm for them has only grown.  Some she has made, but most are from various countries around the world. She has stacks of quilts that she hand crafted.  Although I didn’t see all of them, the Dear Jane quilt was my favorite. She knows her quilts and judges at shows.  The tour of her apartment was a special treat. As I was leaving, she pulled a little yarn doll out of a cookie jar and gave it to me as she does all the visitors to her apartment.

I’m so relieved I had my driver’s license updated yesterday and registered to vote.  That’s out of the way.  Now I have to figure out my car tag and where to take care of that and when.  And there are endless addresses I need to correct. My email friends are on top of it, but there are those luddites who are harder to reach.  In addition, I need to fix my blue chair today. It shouldn’t be a problem if I got the right batteries.

It’s another beautiful day.  This is the view I have out my office windows, looking southwest toward home.


I survived another morning making toast without calling up the emergency vehicles.  The smoke detectors are extremely sensitive and several new friends have told me they are just waiting to hear the “all hands report to room 402″ alarm.  It appears every new resident sets them off and so they are waiting for me to do the same.  It’s a challenge to make toast.  I turn on the ventilators then toast my bread on low several times….while hovering over it…to get it burned the way I like it.  It was blueberry wheat bread from Great Harvest Bread Company and worth the risk. One must remain ever vigilant to avoid unwanted attention.

Thanks for tuning in…


12-12 12:12

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 6:17 pm

There was a mini-celebration in the Ivory Keys Cafe for 12-12 12:12 EST.  Bill Taylor, executive director of the Palace and a really nice guy, served residents an assortment of appetizers….deep fat fried pickles, deep fat fried mixed veggies, deep fat fried shrimp, deep fat fried corn nuggets…deep fat fried other things.  I find those things are hard to tell apart as they all taste like deep fat fried greasy batter.  It was a nice idea and gesture but I think some fresh fruits and veggies with dips would have tasted a whole lot better, looked a whole lot better, and been a whole lot healthier for this elderly group.

It was a nice day (except for the wind) so I thought I’d tackle the problem of getting my drivers’ license updated with my new address and register to vote.  I should have just googled where to go, but instead I asked a friend who told me it was in the City/County building.  That building and I just don’t get along.  I’ve been sent there numerous times and it has always been the wrong place for what I wanted.  Today was no different.  As I was pondering where to go, I encountered a female police officer on the elevator who was giving me all the directions on where to go.  I half-way exited the elevator with her to get the final turn in mind when I was called down for blocking the elevator door….like….a booming voice said “Lady…get on or get off the elevator!”  I turned around to find my way half inside a  security gate and gloomy looking guys with big guns staring at me.  So, I came back to my trusty computer, found the address, called to see if it were the right place and headed to the airport area.  I don’t know how strangers to Salina find it as it’s practically on the airport runway in the National Guard Building…and poorly marked.   I renewed my license in June, but I had to go through all the hoops again and pay $8.00 for a new one.  The clerk also registered me so I can vote during the next election, which I hope isn’t soon.

My friend Shirley has been wanting to go to the  Cozy…and have me take her since she can’t drive.  She’s mentioned it about every time I see her.  Today at lunch she asked again.  Shirley lives in assisted living which is down a 10 mile hall from the front lobby.  For some reason, she doesn’t have a phone.  Trying to go through the nurse’s station to leave a message doesn’t work.  So, I took a deep breath and headed down that 10 mile hall to find her, all to no avail.  I searched the lunch room and her other favorite haunts and never did find her, so I went alone and got a bag of burgers, half for her and half for me. I found her eating dinner when I got back and suggested she have them for dessert.

I stopped at Dollar General and got some batteries for my chair as I almost got stranded in the full laid out position today.  If that were to happen, I’d be there forever or until someone missed me and came looking for me.  That might not be until Christmas. There is no exit from that chair under those circumstances, no emergency chord to pull that would throw me out in an upright position.  I’m like a beached whale, unable to extricate myself under any circumstances.


Here’s the back of that sneaky, unpredictable chair in my living room with the sun beaming in.  I love my apartment.


This is the other side of my living room.  You can see my stick chair with a bird house on it, the carved bear, my giant TV and my apartment warming flowers.

There is a concert at 7:00 this evening so I intend to go.  It’s Dr. Bill who sings and has a musical group with him.  I hope I don’t fall asleep.


Karen Larsen, the activities director, has decorated the lobby, dining room and other areas of the Palace.  It looks very much like Christmas.  This is one area of the lobby by the front door.


This is my bedroom…well part of it.  Both of my bedside dressers fit, just like at home.  And Dane’s and Todd’s dressers are on the opposite wall.  I can open the window at night and cool the room down quite well.  Of course, the fact that I had them remove all the doors helps to cool the entire apartment.  Strange…even with all the cold air, I haven’t had to turn on the heat.  Next summer may be a buster with heat.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 6:28 pm

I was welcomed today at a very nice gathering of the other people who live on the 4th floor.   My eight apartment mates had a “reception” in the lobby of the 4th floor.  Each floor in the Palace has its own lobby.  Here’s what the hall to my apartment looks like.  I live just beyond the double doors on the right.


This is the 4th floor lobby area off the elevators and by the hall to my apartment.


Our 4th floor lobby Christmas tree with presents and walkers parked neatly beneath…


Ruby McBee, our floor leader and organizer of the welcoming party for me.


Vi Sarvis and Aully Holst enjoying the party.


Vi Sarvis


Micki Sebree


Aully Holst


Dale Peck


Fern McCall


Maxine Hammerli


Marcella Martin


Fern McCall, Micki Sebree and our floor leader, Ruby McBee.  Ruby arranged the party for me today, posted invitations, made all the preparations and baked cookies.  Maxine Hammerli also baked cookies.  Those ladies know their cookies as they were wonderful.  Great recipes.


Here is another view of our lobby.  It is ample enough to hold two tables of bridge…as it does very often.


They say this is the best place in the world to watch the 4th of July fireworks that are launched from the city park across the street.

I’m very fortunate to live here and be surrounded by so many interesting people.  When you get older and need a little help along the way, this is the perfect place to be.  For me it is. It’s better to “get on” with it sooner than later, when someone else might have to make choices for you.  My children and grandchildren are very supportive of my choice and are relieved they won’t have to drag me out of my house feet first.  The people who are here because someone else made that choice for them aren’t very happy, and never will be, while the rest of us love it here.  It’s a great place to be and I feel very fortunate to live here.

Thanks for tuning in…there will be more entries from the Palace…



Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 7:38 pm


The Salina Children’s Choir performed a number of Christmas songs today during the resident coffee at the Palace.  Their concert was well-attended and very nice.  Cute kids.  The parents served as their drivers and you could tell they were very interested in helping their children participate in something they all seemed to enjoy.

Tonight is movie night with sodas and popcorn, but I was too bushed to go.

Tomorrow at 3:00 my neighbors on the 4th floor are having a lobby party to welcome me to the Palace.  I’ve met them all and this will be an opportunity to learn a little more about them…and they about me. Maxine Hammerli told me at lunch that she loves to bake cookies and has been at it for some time now in preparation for the holidays.  I think she’s sharing them at the party tomorrow.

There are a lot of other activities this month. Thursday is the Annual Christmas Banquet so Ivy and I are going together for that.  I guess it’s sort of a big deal.  Dorothy Carmichael accompanying clarinetist Jay Steinberg in a concert  and a bus tour of Christmas lights are later this week.  I plan to attend both.  A concert by Salina musicians playing “giant string instruments” is next week. I hope it’s a double bass concert…love them when played well.  They said that last year it was really good, so I’ll go to that too.  It’s hard to keep track of everything.  Ivy said we need to go to the ladies breakfast later this month as she hears the food is really good.  That’s not to mention all the bingo, bridge and pitch games, exercise classes, chapel activities and volunteer work.  There is always something to do, someone new to meet, and interesting people to visit with.  When I go to bed, I’m “exhausticated” and down for the count.

Thanks for tuning in…

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