Tasty Toast

It was a rare, semi-cool, cloudy afternoon in the middle of a hot, Kansas summer. In my air-conditioned home, though, using my imagination, it felt like a cold, snowy afternoon. Without using my imagination, I felt hungry and it seemed a perfect time for cinnamon toast.

I placed the two slices of 45 calorie apiece bread in the toaster while I assembled the butter, cinnamon, and sugar canister. In my hunger I planned to spread a generous spoonful of sugar over the butter and finally lightly sprinkle with cinnamon.

Up popped the toasted bread and I quickly finished preparing the cinnamon toast and settled myself at the kitchen counter–ready to devote my full attention to the Andy Griffith show. Andy and Barney were having quite the time capturing three escaped women prisoners–there is no end to the number of blunders Barney makes.

Apparently there is no end to the number of blunders I can make either but I now know I should not confuse the salt canister with the sugar canister.


The Winner!

“Who do you think the starting pitcher will be?”

“I hope someone makes a home run.”

“Are our seats in the shaded area of the stadium?”

“I hope there’s a foul ball. I’ve got my glove.”

“Did you see the end of last night’s game?”

“I just wish they wouldn’t wait until the last inning to pull the game out.”

“Did you see the slide at home?”

“What were they thinking? Putting in that relief pitcher….”

Yes, there was a lot of anticipation and speculation by my family members during our three-hour car trip to the ball park. I, too, was excited and anxious.

“Should I have a New York style or Chicago style hot dog?”

“Or, maybe I should just have a plain hot dog without any relish, ketchup, or mustard.”

“Should I pick relish, ketchup, or mustard, to win their race?”

“Just how hot will it be?”

“I hope no one spills beer on me.”

“I wonder who the other team is….”

Oh yes, nothing like a family trip to the ball park.


Summer Vacation!

Reservations were made two years ago; work vacations scheduled; and kids’ summer activities’ coaches informed. It was vacation time!

All sixteen family members arrived safely to the five-bedroom, two-bath, rustic cabin in the mountains. I had pictured the cabin with a horseshoe over the doorway, knotty pine walls, wooden floors with an oval braided rug, and possibly a deer-antler lamp. The reservations clerk, however, meant “rustic” as in portions of the log cabin were probably constructed before 1907. The chinking between the logs appeared original, and I placed the carpeting from sometime in the 1970s. Still, what a great way to enjoy the mountains!

But, after I read the warning not to leave the cabin or go to sleep without locking the ground floor windows and doors for fear of bears, I panicked. The rustic windows did not lock.

“Don’t worry,” a family member (not from bear country) said. “The front-desk girl told me they haven’t had any problems with bears yet this year–just don’t leave food out.”  His words were not reassuring.

Happily, there were no bears–and judging by the pile of shoes always by the door, we were especially careful of the floors of our rustic cabin.

Busy, Busy, Busy

My life is busy. Yet, in a recent one-month period, I did or brought about, the following extras:

  • Installed a new hard drive on my computer
  • Installed a new and canceled the old virus protection
  • Determined I needed and purchased a new printer cable
  • Cleared internal storage on my camera, purchased, and installed a new SDHC card
  • Determined there is a maximum number of times a phone can be dropped
  • Filed insurance claim on phone using computer AND participated in a live chat
  • Enrolled in a special UPS “club” which allowed me to know the delivery time of my new phone (I am concerned they already knew the name of my first born child and the birth date of my last born child.)
  • Purchased a new car along with my husband

I do want to give a special thank you to the many technicians, in-store and tele-communications personnel, and car salesmen who assisted with the above.

During this period of time, my stress level rose to the “high alert” level, and I understood why as my mother aged, she was contented to sit home and watch television. I’m not there yet, but, wait…is that Gunsmoke?

Break a leg!

“Nana, you will come, won’t you?”

“Oh yes, I wouldn’t miss it. You know I enjoy the theatre,” I answered.

I enjoy the theatre, and some years ago on a visit to New York attended several Broadway shows. My small community is only a couple hours away from cities that host touring Broadway shows.  Yet, my best theatre experiences have happened during my years as Nana.

A few memorable performances that come quickly to mind are those in which my grandchildren excelled as the following: a mermaid, a raccoon, a cart-wheeling orphan, a “lead” zebra, a blade of grass, a Munchkin, an Oompa Loompa, a piece of pizza, a leaf, a flower, a chorus member, a pirate, a leopard, a shepherd, a lamb, the Virgin Mary, and Joseph.

Now, I’m not one to brag, but I myself am a veteran of the theatre having appeared as a “town person” in community theatre productions. My first role, however, remains my favorite, and indeed, was my best performance. I was in the second- grade at a one-room school and performed the classic role of “rock” to rave reviews.

It was the best-ever performance…my grandma said so.

Beautiful Freedom

Americans will celebrate their freedom on the Fourth of July.

I recently returned from a road trip to the mountains, which included a morning drive up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. I felt the same wonderment I did when I first saw those majestic mountains.

Fifty years ago, I traveled by Greyhound bus across Kansas. This trip, John and I drove a van with one of our daughters and three of our grandchildren. I’m happy to report we were in the van nine hours before the words “get your arm out of my space” were spoken. I’m sorry to report the question “are we there yet?” was first asked only two hours into the trip.

I spent a summer during college working in the Rockies and after work, enjoyed hiking, horseback riding, and making memories with friends. I spent my recent time in Colorado making memories with fifteen of my immediate family members.

America is beautiful, and its people are free. I pray it remains so, and I pray my grandchildren’s grandchildren will have opportunities to make memories in the Rockies.

Thank you to those who have fought and died for our freedom.

Too Old to Learn?

Researching, writing, editing, and printing our book, Cameos of Courage, provided excellent learning opportunities, albeit frustrating opportunities, for Collette Reichenberger and myself. Marketing the book also provided learning opportunities—or perhaps demonstrated how much we didn’t know about marketing.

For example, I now know if I search the Internet for possible markets for our book, I need to read all the information provided on the home pages of the possible markets. Frankly, I was embarrassed the day I called a museum in Lawrence, Massachusetts. While she sounded nice, the lady who answered the phone didn’t think the patrons of the museum would enjoy reading about the Bleeding Kansas years. (Although the book is set in Kansas, girls and boys in any state who are interested in our nation’s history will enjoy the book.)

If anyone in Lawrence, Massachusetts, wants to purchase the book, it is available on Amazon. If anyone in Lawrence, Kansas, wants to purchase the book, it is available at The Raven bookstore.

The learning process continues…our second book, Cameos of Strength, will be available in November.

Grandparents vs. Soccer

I did not participate in organized sports in high school nor did I pay enough attention during boys’ games to learn the rules. As a parent, though, I have watched many hours of football, basketball, and baseball games. I have an idea of their rules. While I have watched my grandchildren play soccer, I have only a vague idea of its rules.

Recently, John and I watched a young grandchild’s soccer game. Her parents had quickly, I mean reluctantly, consented to us taking our young granddaughter to her game. With three children playing on three different teams, their soccer season had been long with numerous practices and games.

“Where is she?” I asked John.

“I don’t think she’s on the field,” he answered.

“Well, she’s not on the bench,” I said.

Alarmed we searched the other fields. There were no fewer than 1,000 young children on the five soccer fields, and each child wore either a red shirt or a blue shirt. Where was she? How could her parents have trusted us? We panicked and struggled to keep up with the coach as we ran down the field alongside him.

“WHERE’S KATHERINE?” John yelled.

“SHE’S THE GOALIE,” the coach growled with a frown.

Well, yes, we were embarrassed…but relieved.

What to Do?

Recently, while sorting piles of papers in an effort to reduce their numbers, I found several uncompleted “to do” lists. Not all items were crossed off the list, but I suspect I did get the menu planned, the groceries purchased, and the bathrooms cleaned.

I have no memory of making to do lists as a young child. At some point in time, though, life got so busy, or my memory got so bad, I acquired the habit. I liked the feeling of accomplishment a completed list gave me. Oh sure, when my children were younger, I didn’t always have time to write a “to do” list. However, it didn’t matter because if I had a spare moment or two, I just did laundry. The baskets of clean, unfolded laundry proved I had a productive day.

I still make “to do” lists, but now they are more detailed. Some days I even write do laundry on the list–I’m sure it is an age thing.

A Mysterious Light

In a dream world I live on the top floor of a skyscraper with a view of the lights of a large city. Life has not yet allowed me to live in that world. So when I accompanied John on an out-of-town trip and found myself on the 17th floor of a hotel with windows overlooking only a river and city lights, I pretended I was in that dream world.

“Let’s not pull the drapes. I want to enjoy the night lights of the city.”

“Whatever,” John said, exhausted from a full day of continuing education classes on the Internal Revenue’s tax code.

The room glowed from the lights, but I, too, soon fell asleep. I awoke when a light flashed in the room. I did not move, but the light did not return. I again entered dreamland. Throughout the long night, I was often awakened by a flashing light.

Before daylight, I gave up, investigated, and discovered a motion nightlight carefully placed between the night stand and bed. Apparently, as I often sleep with one foot out from under the covers, I, myself, had activated the nightlight throughout the long night.

Night two? Well, I pulled the drapes, unplugged the nightlight, and slept tight.