Tuesday, May 26, 2009


After Grandpa died last year, Mom and Sandy decided to use the stone post that sat in front of their house as their grave marker. It was either use it out here, or give it to one of the cousins. So, the girls decided to use it at the cemetery. Later, after Grandma died, Mom and Sandy went to Ashland to talk to a man over there who carves limestone. He was hired to carve their headstones. Last week, they were installed. This is the result:

Here's a closer view of Grandma's stone showing the detail of the sunflower Gary (the stone mason) carved. The diagonal lines you see are from where the stones were smoothed. Gary drags them behind his tractor on the ground to smooth the stones. It's also what the Kansas pioneers did, except they used a team of horses to drag the stones.

Here's a closeup of Grandpa's stone. Somehow, a windmill is as appropriate for Grandpa as sunflowers are for Grandma. We did tease Mom that the V makes the stone look like "Kirby the Fifth!"

Gary set the stones on a smaller piece of limestone, and set that into a cement base. He then sealed the limestone with a varnish which will protect them from the weather. It also makes the limestone darker than the old stone post.

I like the stones. They are unique and are a local native product. I even think Grandma would be happy with them because they are the biggest headstones in the cemetery! The only thing that Grandma could find to be unhappy about is the fact that her name is smaller print than Grandpas...but we can argue with her that her name has more letters.

Do you go to the cemetary on Memorial Day?

I belong to a discussion board which is frequented by 3000 or so women. Today, I read a post where one member was asking what everyone was doing this past holiday weekend. She had several responses, but not one person said they had actually gone to a cemetery.

I was floored. Going to the cemetery is just what you do on Memorial Weekend. Now, when we lived in Colby, granted, we didn't go to the cemetery there, because we didn't have any friends or family members buried there. But, whenever I've been at my folks' for the holiday, I've gone to at least one of the cemeteries where family have been buried.

When I was younger, I went with Grandma and Grandpa. We'd drive down to Gate, Oklahoma to the cemetery. That's where Grandpa's family is buried. We'd usually run into most of Grandpa's brothers and sisters and have an informal family reunion right there. We never went to where Grandma's parents were buried because they were buried about 100 miles from us, in Lyons.

I kinda enjoy going to the cemetery. I like looking at the old headstones. I walk through areas full of old pioneer names. I count how many stones belong to children. I look to see who died in 1919-1921 and wonder if they died of the Spanish Flu. I see women buried between two men. I see men, who died young, and have a stone for their wives, but no wife was buried there because she remarried and is buried somewhere else.

I like the older stones. The variety of shapes and styles. The tree trunks, the lambs, the angels. I like the new stones that have been personalized. I really liked one in Gate that was probably 5 feet long and for an old Cowboy. He evidently wasn't married because the only name on that stone is his--and it's centered, no room for a woman's name. But, he had a ranch scene etched into his stone. Then, there was a deer hunters stone. He had deer, trees, and a guy in a tree stand etched onto his stone.

Cemeteries are interesting and fascinating. Several years ago, my MIL took me to Ravenna, Ohio to visit the cemetery where my Great Great Grandfather was buried. (He had buried two wives, one in Dayton, Ohio, a second wife was buried in Kansas. He was buried in Kansas, but his third wife had his body moved to Ohio, to be reburied with her.) Near his grave was that of a small child. If I remember correctly, that child had died around the age of five. Someone had recently left a memorial on that grave of a stuffed animal. My kids were mesmerized by that stuffed animal, which had been left for a child who had been dead for 100 years. I was moved by the thought that someone still cared enough to remember that child, and my mind turned to how fragile children's lives were 100 short years ago.

In my mind, Memorial Day is a time to visit the cemetery, to remember not only those who've given their lives for our country, but those who gave their lives giving US life.

Do yourself a favor, next year, go to the cemetery. Walk around, look at the interesting stones, look at the names of people, and the dates they lived. Note how old they were when they died. Take time to look and wonder, and give those folks a moment of your time.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I just finished eating my lunch. For the 5th day in a row, I had a brat and pasta salad.

To be honest, it's probably the 6th day for the pasta salad.

I don't even want to think about potato salad right now. It's waiting at home in the fridge.

The cheesecake is gone, as is the chocolate cake.

Those I don't mind eating 5 or 6 days in a row...

And, guess what is on Mom's menu for Memorial Day...

yep, you guessed it. I can see the headline now;

"Woman in Kansas dead from too much pasta salad."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Graduation weekend

Graduation weekend was a busy time. An emotional time. A time with family and friends. A time of...change.

Saturday morning, we all were up bright and early--7 a.m. We had breakfast--homemade Cinnamon rolls or peanut butter rolls. Kev and Bob then went out to start up the smoker. Kev came in shortly after, and told Andy that he needed to go to town to get some lighter fluid. My menfolk then headed outside. The rest of us went out the other door and stood on the deck, watching Andy find his new car...

He headed towards the Volvo, our family car, but Kev directed him towards the car. Andy said he saw the car, and thought that maybe Kim and Bob and their family drove it, but there was also an SUV sitting there that he couldn't place the owner of. So he was confused...then he saw the bow, and Kev said "Happy Graduation."

Those of us on the porch saw them head out towards the car. We saw Andy look, hesitate, and then we saw him grab Kev and give him a huge hug.

He was stunned. And excited. Me, I got teary.

Andy did run to town for lighter fluid. His Uncle Dan rode shotgun and Andy drove out a lot more carefully than he does in our car!

The ceremony was at Four in the afternoon. There were 4 cameras there in our group. I even took our camera, but for some reason, I couldn't focus well on the proceedings. Might have something to do with all the tears in my eyes. They kept coming and I kept fighting them off, but they'd just come back. Darn tears. After graduation, I asked each person with a camera if they'd gotten pictures, because I hadn't. Two of those cameras had no batteries. No batteries, no pictures. One other camera wasn't in a good spot for pictures. Only one person got pictures. (Thanks Dad!) Sheesh, weren't we well prepared!

There were speeches, awards, diplomas, a PowerPoint slide show (that really helped the tears...) Andy received a scholarship, which we didn't expect. The graduates honored their parents with flowers and hugs. (Andy presented bouquets to both his Grandmas...another teary moment.) The graduates threw their mortarboards in the air, and marched out of the room.

There was a small reception in the East Gym, (something else didn't know about.) Boys aren't very good with giving information to their mothers... After a few photos, and watching all these strange women hug my son, we went home for the BBQ.

I think the tears were finished...yeah, they were. WE got home, served the food, visited with all our guests and tried to relax.

You know something though, I couldn't have gotten through this without my friends. Sharon, Jody, Kelli and Kim all pitched in at some point, and cleaned up the kitchen. They loaded the dishwasher, put the leftovers in the fridge, and wiped down my counters. I hadn't even had time to think about cleaning up yet, and it was done!

Andy was very gracious and grateful for his gifts, he was happy to have everyone here and visited with everyone who chose to share this special day with him. If I hadn't already been so proud of him, I would have been then.

Most of our company left before dark. And those of us who were still here were tired. Exhausted, and emotionally drained. Well, I was!

This was one of those milestones that arrived much faster than I ever thought it would. And I was totally unprepared for my tears. I think that this event in my son's life was more of an emotional event for me than his birth or his first day of school. It marks the end of something...not parenthood, but it signifies that he's now an adult and that he will now be pursuing his goals which will be independent of Kevin and my goals. It means that he's really and truly an adult, and is someone who will have to find his own way in the world. I hope that his dad and I gave him the tools he needs to succeed.

Just for Megan...

Here's two pictures from the weekend. I'll blog later, but, here's a couple of pictures from Graduation.Andy with his present. A 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix.

My two beautiful children, Andy, who graduated with honors, and Miss Kat.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Movies I want to see this summer

Star Trek
Angels & Demons
Terminator Salvation
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Time Traveler's Wife

I'm sure there's more, but these, I definately need to see.

Andy and I will go see Star Trek as soon as we can. Kev and Kat don't care.

Kev will want to see Terminator.

We all want to see Harry Potter.

The other two...I'll probably have to wait till they come out on video. No will go with me to see Angels & Deamons or Time Traveler's Wife, so I'll just wait and watch them at home.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'll believe it...

You know, we decided a few months ago to get rid of our land line and just use our cell phones. Well, that has worked really well.

Except Miss Kat ran her phone through the washing machine yesterday.

Miss Kat's phone now doesn't work.

I went down to the store, and turned in an insurance claim. They now mail out phones rather than give you one in the store.

Kat is supposed to have a new phone tomorrow.

I'll believe it when I see it.

18 years ago.

I should have posted something on Friday, but I was busy on Friday, and didn't have time to post. Andy was born 18 years ago, on May 8th. Today is May 11. Eighteen years ago, today, I was in Wichita Kansas, staying at my friend Sharon's apartment. Kev and I (and Sharon) were taking several treks to the Wesley Medical Center to see Andy. I'd like to be able to tell you lots of wonderful things about those days, but honestly, I don't remember much.

Andy was born on the 8th at 4:30 a.m. He was eleven days early. After he was born, and I went to my room, Kev and I waited and waited for the nurse to bring him in. Around 6:30, Kev fell asleep in the chair. I was still to keyed up to sleep, so I remember just patiently waiting for them to bring my baby boy in, as I watched Kev sleep while sitting in the uncomfortable recliner. Finally, around 7:30, Kev gave up and decided to go to work. (We were much younger then, and he could get by on a lot less sleep than he can now!) The nurse finally brought me my baby at 8. She said they hadn't brought him in because his body temperature was a little low and they wanted to warm him up first. (He was a skinny baby, only 6 lbs 2 oz.)

I had visitors in throughout the day, Dan and Kelli, Virginia, Jody, and around 4:30, Lana and her son Jeff. Right after they walked out of the door, I heard "Code Blue in the Nursery." Lots of nurses ran down the hall to the nursery. I remember thinking "I hope it's not my baby." And, then someone shut my door.

After a few minutes, my friend, Virginia stopped back by and stayed to keep me company. She didn't know what was going on either, but it was busy, so she just stayed--until the Dr. came in to see me.

I'm still not 100% sure of the truth, but the Dr. told me that Andy had "momentarily" stopped breathing. He was breathing fine now, but just to be on the safe side, the Dr. wanted to fly him to Wichita, to the NICU there. There I was. A new, first time Mom, thinking that maybe something was wrong with this baby. And, I was alone.

I called Kev and he came up to the hospital. The Dr. repeated that we shouldn't worry, but he just wanted someone to check this out. (The Dr. had, in the past two months, lost 2 babies. One was stillborn, the other was a SIDS baby. He was nervous and scared and probably afraid of a lawsuit.) So, from that point on, things are rather blurry.

I remember being very stubborn about wanting, and making Kevin hold Andy. He hadn't held him yet, and if something were to happen, I wanted Kev to hold his son. And, at the same time, I refused to believe that anything was wrong, or that anything bad could really happen to my baby. And, I forgot to call my Mom. And, she was upset when she called, because the hospital switchboard wasn't very willing to transfer her call to me...which scared her.

Kev and I sat in the Nursery with Andy. He was being given oxygen, and they had him in a special isolet. But, we held him and talked to him. The airplane didn't arrive until 3 a.m. Kev had to go to his second job at the bar around 10. I pretended to rest.

I don't know why I didn't fly down with Andy. I really don't remember anyone encouraging me to go. I don't remember anyone telling me I could go with him. So, he flew down alone.

Kev picked me up the next morning when I was dismissed. The worst feeling in the world is leaving the hospital with balloons and flowers and no baby.

We drove to Wichita as soon as I got a bag packed. We had called Sharon, and were staying with her. We got there and went to the hospital and finally found the NICU. That was an experience for us, as we had to gown up and scrub for 3 minutes before being allowed in the room. The nurse was nice, and immediately took us to see Andy and to update us on everything. Funny thing, in Colby, Andy looked so tiny, but in the NICU, he was the biggest baby, at 6 lbs. He was swaddled in blankets with his monitors and all. The other babies were too tiny and weren't wrapped up. The nurse said he hadn't had any more problems, and she thought the Dr. would "down grade" him later that day.

Thinking back now, do I remember ever seeing, or talking to a Dr.? Or did we just talk to nurses? See, I can't remember. We got to hold Andy and then we had to leave. We spent some time at Sharon's, and then we went to bed. I didn't sleep well, partially because we were sleeping on the floor, and my milk came in, so I was miserable and scared and worried and uncertain and just getting through the day. We spend several hours at the hospital the next day. They'd moved Andy into another nursery. He still had monitors and such, but we didn't have to scrub anymore and we were encouraged to hold him, and I could even nurse him.

Mom and Dad came up that day. They stayed at my Aunt Margaret's (Dad's oldest sister). That was Saturday, May 11. The Dr., or someone, said they'd probably release Andy on Monday. So, on Sunday, Kev drove back home. Mom and Dad stayed with me and would bring Andy and I home on Monday.

Andy never stopped breathing again, but we took him home with an apnea monitor which he wore until he was 3 months old. I kinda liked that monitor, because I sure slept good and didn't worry about SIDS because that monitor was sensitive! We've never learned why he stopped breathing. I honestly thought for a long time that he hadn't really stopped breathing, that it was just a "hiccup" in his breathing pattern. Our friend Cathy, the nurse, later told us that he definitely had stopped breathing--for a minute. So, I'm not sure what actually happened.

Later, my Aunt, Sandy, said that sometimes babies who don't have a lot of body fat can't regulate their body temperature well, and that can sometimes cause them to stop breathing momentarily, because they are cold. I'm guessing that's what happened with Andy.

And, I now get angry with myself, because I didn't demand they bring me my baby, and that I didn't hold him next to my body to warm him up and keep him safe and secure. I tell myself, that if I had had him in the room with me, he'd never have had to go to Wichita. And, now, I'd make sure I flew with my baby. I was so trusting, and inexperienced, and there wasn't anyone around to give me advice, or to help me think. Kev was stunned and scared, I was in shock and scared, and we didn't know how to help each other. But, that was 18 years ago.

That tiny, skinny, 6 lb. bundle is now 175 lbs and is 6 foot tall, and he's healthy! He's also graduating from High School this coming Saturday. He's a very special person. And, while I wish his arrival had been different, I'm sure glad that he's been a part of my life these past 18 years.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Darn kid

For weeks, folks have been asking me what Andy would like for his birthday, and for graduation gift ideas.

I had no answer, because the darn kid couldn't think of anything. Which, on one hand is good--he's not very materialistic. But it's a pain on the other hand because I have no idea what to tell people.

Well, last night, two days before his birthday, he came up with a few ideas.

Ipod (because he can't find his MP3 player)

I tunes gift cards (For the missing MP3 player or for the "new" Ipod?)

New cell phone with a keyboard for easier texting.

That's his list.

I'd love to get him an ipod, but I think that his big graduation gift will overshadow anything he gets for his birthday. The cell phone, I want to wait on, because his contract is up, but we might switch providers, so I don't want to commit to another 2 year agreement.

Last week, the darn kid told me that all he wanted for his birthday was for us to go as a family to see the new Star Trek movie, and maybe supper. So that's all I've planned. And now, now, two stinkin' days before his birthday, he comes up with something else.


But, I thought I'd post it here in case anyone else in the family wants an idea.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

a family of boneheads...

Yesterday morning, I got out a package of deer steak for supper. Andy got home a little after 4 p.m. and put it in the crock pot with a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. I thought it would be done by 6ish, and we'd enjoy it for supper.

It wasn't done at 6. It was done around 7ish, but by then, my family had mutinied and had already found something to eat. Andy unplugged the crock pot, but neglected to tell anyone. I was outside, working with Kev, as we planted some plants in the garden. We came in after 8, and had a snack. We both saw the crock pot, but neither of us thought anything of it.

Until this morning. Shortly after 6 a.m., Kev said "Guess what, there's still a crock pot full of deer steak sitting on the counter--unplugged."

Great. Just great.

Our cats are now enjoying the meal that I didn't serve my family last night. Instead, I intended to serve it to my family tonight. I have no idea what we are having to eat tonight.

See, we are boneheads! Andy is a bonehead for not telling anyone that he unplugged it. I'm a bonehead for not remembering to check it. Kev's a bonehead because he should have thought to remind me to put it in the fridge. Kat is a bonehead because she wasn't even involved, but maybe if she had been; it would have gotten put away.


Monday, May 04, 2009


Kev and I drove down to the farm on Saturday evening. We had to get the camper brought home this week as Dad has cattle coming in and we really don't want a hundred steers using our camper as a scratching post.

We've had quite a bit of moisture these past couple of weeks, and everything is nice and green. The drive down was absolutely beautiful. As we drove down the county road, we even got to drive through water! See, there's a couple of creeks that run across the road, but they really only run when it's wet, so most of the year, they are dry. But right now, you get to drive through the creek! It makes me happy and excited. I wanted to stop and play in the water, but Kev said no.

Wildflowers are blooming, lilacs are blooming, trees aren't blooming, they didn't bloom well this year. Baby calves were running and playing in the pastures, baby horses were running and jumping. All signs of spring.

What's that you say? You'd sure like to see some pictures?

Sorry. Kat broke the digital camera. The shutter won't open. I priced a new one, but the one I really want is $750. It's just going to have to wait. I might get a cheap one and let Kat use it. Not sure yet...

So, without a camera, you'll just have to take my word about the green grass, the cute baby animals and the flowers. I guess I'll just have to play in the creek without you.

Friday, May 01, 2009


Miss Kat had a track meet yesterday at Greensburg.

Except it wasn't really in Greensburg, as they still haven't finished rebuilding their new school, track, and football field yet. Greensburg hosted the track meet in Mullinville, which is between Greensburg and Bucklin. It's a 10 mile drive for us over there. Kev and I got there before she ran her races.

She's got a beautiful stride, nice long smooth stride. No bouncing, smooth stride, legs stretched out, arms in front of her...she's a pretty runner.

Yesterday, she ran in two relays, the 4 x 800 and the Medley Relay. Often she's in the 4 x 100 and runs the 100 meter dash. She was only in 2 events yesterday. She was the first leg in both races. Their 4 x 800 (which used to be the 880 relay, or simply the 800 meter relay) took 4th place. We left before hearing what the Medley Relay placed, but by watching times of the heats, we think they placed 3rd or 4th.

Miss Kat's been having trouble with shin splints. Having had them myself, I know how badly she has been hurting. Kev brought home some Kinesio tape from work and taped her legs for her. It's supposed to help relieve the pain and allow the muscles to heal. Kat says it helps. I figure it can't hurt. The tape Kev brought home is a bright turquoise blue. Which came in handy. We just looked for the blond girl with the blue legs. Once we saw the legs, we knew we had the right girl!

Now, most teenage girls would die of embarrassment at having her legs taped. And, Miss Kat was the only girl who had her legs taped. (Kinesio taping isn't common yet in athletics around here.) Kat actually likes both the attention, and she likes being a little different. Which is good! She educated a lot of adults yesterday, as I saw several ask her what the tape was for. Even the guy with the starting gun was asking her about it. Who knows, she just might be a trend setter. (If you start seeing girls with blue tape on their legs, let me know.)

Yesterday morning, before the meet, Kat told us that she's slowing down. She said her times last year were faster than they were this year. Which I had trouble believing because she's usually the only 7th grader running in the relays. She's usually running with 8th graders, who are bigger than she is. And, she's grown so much this year, her legs alone have grown a mile! So, we asked what her splits were (her individual time, separate from the rest of the team). She had no idea. None what-so-ever!

I know she's running the 100 meters in 14-15 seconds; depending on the day. That's not slow! So, yesterday, my Dad brought his stopwatch to catch Kat's splits. He used to do that for me all the time, so he offered to do it for Kat. Except, he forgot to use it! He got so involved in watching her run, he forgot to check her time! I'll tell ya', some people...

Even so, Kat ran well. Her team had great hand-offs, they placed, and most importantly, all had fun. Kat enjoyed having us there, and she enjoyed running. That's really what it's all about, having fun.