Link to KansasPrairie.net

1/22/2015

OBAMA AT KU

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:24 pm

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1/16/2015

I LEFT THE PALACE AND SPENT YESTERDAY IN PARIS…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:48 am

Yesterday from the comfort of my apartment in the Palace, I viewed and heard a magnificent concert celebrating the glorious grand opening of a spectacular music venue in Paris.  It was magical. I love my gigantic computer monitor.

The day before the concert I became aware of its imminence and wished to be in Paris.  Lo and Behold!  The next day I revisited the same site and found the entire concert at my fingertips.   I couldn’t believe my good fortune.  I had a front row seat in a fabulous new venue to hear one of the greatest musical performances in recent history.  How fortunate is that?

In addition, the program featured one of my favorite Requiems and my favorite pianist, Helen Grimaud, playing Ravel.  In addition, it featured another favorite of mine, Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé.

If you are on Facebook, you’ll find a link on my page. Or, you can connect here.

Meantime, I’m going to listen to the concert again…and again and again…

Here’s the program:
On 2015-01-14 at 20:30

Philharmonie - Paris

Gala d’ouverture de la Philharmonie de Paris

Orchestre de Paris
Choeur de l’Orchestre de Paris
Paavo Järvi, direction
Renaud Capuçon, violin
Sabine Devieilhe, soprano
Matthias Goerne, baritone
Hélène Grimaud, piano
Lionel Sow, chef de choeur

Henri Dutilleux
Nocturne for Violin and Orchestra

Gabriel Fauré
Requiem, Op 48, Agnus Dei

Maurice Ravel
Concerto for piano, Helene Grimaud

Thierry Escaich
Concerto for orchestre

Maurice Ravel
Daphnis and Chloé Suite #2

1/3/2015

YOU TAKE YOUR BOW AND LEAVE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:25 pm

Stan Hayward, Film/TV/Book writer

I am really old, and I know death is imminent
Most of my friends have passed away, and of those remaining, they suffer from health problems in some way
I am myself totally deaf and partially blind. I live by myself

I am writing this at 6am in the morning
Today, if the weather is fine
I will go for a walk
I will chat with friends
I will do my shopping
I will do my laundry
I will feed the cat
I will tidy up what needs to be done
I will put out the garbage

I will do what most people do who are not really old and know that death is imminent
Because there is no feeling of being old

There is a feeling that you can’t do what you used to do
There is a feeling that you might lose your independence, or if you already have, a feeling that you should try and do as much as you can by yourself
There is a feeling that you should spend as much time as possible with those you like to be with

There is a feeling that time is precious. Of course it always was, but one becomes more aware of it
There is a feeling that many things one does will be done for the last time

There are passing thoughts about those who respect you because you are old, and about those that dismiss you because you are old

There is the aspect that life is changing fast with all the new advances that inundate us daily
There is the aspect of life that nothing changes

Mothers still smile at their babies
Children are still enthralled with their first pet
Learning to ride a bike is still as much fun as starting a company
Blowing out your birthday candles is still as satisfying at eighty as it was at eight

It is not that death is imminent that is important, but that when the curtain comes down, the audience leaves with a sense of satisfaction

As someone once said
The World is a stage
You played your part for what it was worth
You take your bow
and leave

12/31/2014

YEAR END AT THE PALACE…WITH THE GIRLZ IN THE HOOD…

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Todd & Karen Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 11:16 am

Another good year is drawing to a close and as I reflect on it, I’m more grateful than ever that I’m living here at the Palace.  Although my kids and grandchildren are very attentive to my needs and wants, and share an endless amount of their love, I don’t want them to be unnecessarily inconvenienced or think they are responsible to supply me with attention.  Living here takes almost all that stress off them and since they know I love it here, I don’t get lonely (it’s not my nature)  and I have everything I need to be comfortable.  That includes my computer, stacks of books, good music, The Wall Street Journal, and most of all…I’m surrounded by good, helpful, kind, pleasant people.   The family comes to visit as often as they can and I love every minute they spend with me.  That goes for friends too.  When I’m with my kids and grand kids, that is life at its best.

I really, really, really miss my Ellsworth friends and friends elsewhere, but that’s what happens when you get old and life situations change.  I can’t “get” to them and most people aren’t inclined to visit people in retirement centers.  I know about that.  I was in that position too for a long time.  I miss them but can’t do much about that.  I’ve learned that I’m physically uncomfortable when I leave the Palace, except when I visit Todd and Karen.  Their house is user friendly for me and I’m  comfortable there.  I can’t do steps and it’s generally hard for me to “get around”.   It’s best if I just stay “home”.

Since I moved to the Palace, Ally and Karen have changed my sheets.  For months now Karen has been changing my bed and washing my sheets.  I want to make it easier for Karen.  Previously I have been doing all my own laundry as the facilities here are nice and convenient; however, the process just wears me out.  Sometimes it thoroughly exhausts me so yesterday I sent all my clothes to the laundry here and am ecstatic with the results.  They  picked it up at 8 and by 10 it was returned neatly folded or on hangers.

They washed all my clothes in one 55 gallon load, containing only my clothes,  and, I’m told they rarely lose anything as they label the washer as containing my clothes.  When they move them to the dryer, they move my name tag to the dryer.  That load can include my queen size sheets and pillow cases, large bath towels and wash cloths and almost the entire contents of my closets.  They charge $10 for doing that, folding/hanging and returning them to my room…and putting them where they belong.  It just took me this long to figure all this out.  There are many kinds of service the Palace offers like this to make living here carefree.  It’s perfect.

Sharon helps me for an hour every two weeks with my housekeeping.  She’s marvelous and most helpful.  That’s about  all I have needed as my apartment is all new and not that large. She’s going to change that to include more time for me so that she can make my bed and tidy my closets, kitchen and refrigerator.  She agreed I could scream and yell at her until she makes my bed perfectly as Karen does.  No one can make a bed as perfectly as Karen.

I use a lot of distilled water in my humidifier and C-Pap machine.   It’s about $1.00 a gallon at Dollar General just down the street.  Todd and others would stop and get me as much as they could carry until I called Key Rexall and asked what they charged.  I can’t recall exactly, but  think  $1.13 a gallon…and they deliver anything, or a truck load of stuff, for $1.48.  So, once I figured that out, I order a case of six gallons quite often.  Sean delivers it to my apartment, takes it out of the case and distributes it for me where I need it.  And I give him a nice tip for doing all that for me and we both are happy.  Todd is happy too.

Salina Public Librarian, Lori, comes to the Palace once a month and brings a random selection of books and ones I special order from her.  I send her an email with what I’d like.  She brings them here to the Palace, I keep them a month and she retrieves them.  There is also a very nice well-stocked  library here at the Palace.  You just take a book and return it when you’re finished.

There is something new every day to learn about living here.  It just takes time to make all those adjustments.

Shannon called me yesterday and we visited about his new driveway.  What a wonderful improvement it  is.  I just love it that Shannon, Lindsay and their boys live there.  They use the house just like Brit and I did for our family and friends.   The house is still filled with company all the time.  They love it just as much as we did.  That makes me feel really good about living here and leaving it behind for his enjoyment.

We’re having a Noon Year’s Eve party shortly….baked potato bar and special things.  I have to join my friends now and see what alligators are circulating the moat.

And, the “girlz in the hood” are gathering any time after 3:30 at Joy’s to put a dent in the New Year. They include Amy Hoffman, Hazel Beggs, Maybelle Mase, Dorothy Carmichael, Carolyn Eland, Margie Wilson, Joy Mansfield… and moi. Yay!
Thanks for tuning in…

12/20/2014

PALACE FRIENDS…SOME FOR LIFE…

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton, Mackenzie, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 10:09 pm

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Here’s my neighborhood baseball captain, Jack Gillam.  I was always on Jack’s baseball team when we were in grade school.  We’ve been friends since that time.  Jack, his wife Betty and their boys, Jack, Jeff and Jay have been our family friends for….ever.  Our kids grew up together.

Jack graduated from K-State with a degree in architecture and I graduated with a degree in architecture from KU.  He learned a lot more than I did and he was instrumental in getting our house put together in Ellsworth that I sold only after moving here. He and his son Jeff, also an architect, are responsible for hundreds of school buildings, hospitals, nursing home, houses and other outstanding buildings across Kansas and elsewhere. They have done outstanding work and made significant contributions in their field.  Jack and Betty’s oldest son, Jack, is my dentist and keeps me smiling.

Jack lives here at the Palace and his wife, Betty, is here too in health care.  I went to the Ginormous Instrument Concert today and Jack was there too…so we sat together. His son, Jack, was there as well.  The room was packed with what I think is the largest audience since I’ve lived here. Many people came especially to watch Nathan Zimmerman, young son of Carolyn Hofer and Mark Zimmerman, who was one of nine stand-up bass players. Mark and Carolyn and family join John Zimmerman  here for Sunday dinner so the residents  have gotten to know their children and enjoy following their activities.

I didn’t know John Zimmerman when I was young, but his wife, Patsy Davis, and I were playmates…then friends for years.  Now, John takes the Wall Street Journal and delivers it to me when he’s finished with it.  That paper gets a good workout from the two of us.

It’s especially nice living here at the Palace since so many of my friends from the days of my youth living in Salina are here too.  They include:  Jack and Betty, Margie and Loren Walter, Marsha Stewart, John and Katie Weckel, Margie Eberhardt Wilson, Ivy Marsh, Shirley Drawbaugh, Mary Beth Engleman, Ginny Frederick, Pete Peterson, Amy Hoffman, Leo Lake and Louie Reynolds. I imagine I’ve failed to mention someone.

After my granddaughter, Mackenzie Britton, was born at Asbury Hospital on January 27th, 1983, a huge blizzard occurred on the day she was to leave.  Traffic was at a stand-still and Dane, Julie and Mackenzie were stranded at the hospital…with no place to go and no hope of getting home to Ellsworth.  Jack Gillam found a friend with heavy equipment….the only thing moving in Salina… came to the hospital and took the three of them to Jack’s house where they spent the next several days.  Here’s what Julie had to say about it:

“What a great friend Jack was on Mackenzie’s first night out of the hospital. We were trapped in a huge snowfall and Jack rescued us and took us into his home and kept the fires burning. His sweet wife made a crib from a study Mead paper box and lined it with Betty approved flannel sheets and mattress.”

Jack and Betty really were life savers.  We’ve talked about that Mead paper box and how happy Mackenzie was in for the first few days of her life.  They have been good friends in many ways for many years. It’s nice to still be close after all these years even if it’s not in a way any of us envisioned back in our youth.
Thanks for tuning in…

PALACE HONORARY PRAIRIE GODDESS….THAT’S ME…

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 8:48 pm

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Goddess activities: I was recently anointed Honorary Prairie Goddess by real Goddess Carolyn Carter who gave me the accoutrements to prove it. Note the official miter, magic wand and name tag. Carolyn and her husband Steve spent the afternoon visiting with me and I enjoyed every minute of it.  They hail from Bel Aire.

There are five real Goddesses…Carolyn, Bev, Carole, Donna and Kim… who have been Goddesses for years and years and years.  They worked together as Hospice administrators for a long time  and since I moved in the Palace, I’ve had the opportunity to know them.   They get together for mini-reunions about three times a year….and sometimes they meet in Salina.  That’s how I met all of them.

They have very finely tuned senses of humor.  They crack me up.

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Steve Carter and I…photo by Carolyn Carter.

What wonderful fun they are.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/16/2014

HERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU CAN BLAME ON BARACK OBAMA…

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Barack Obama, GOP — Peg Britton @ 9:11 am

Job losses were cut by more than 50% within his first 4 months in office.

He saved the American auto industry.

Has cut our deficits by more than half.

Killed Osama bin Ladin.

Got Syria to give up their chemical weapons without firing a single shot.

Presided over record breaking stock levels (with the Dow closing over 17,000 for the first time in its 118-year history).

Reduced unemployment from 10% to 5.8%.

We just saw the best year of job growth in the United States since 1999.

The quickest drop in unemployment in 30 years.

57 straight months of private sector job growth.

Over 10 million private sector jobs created.

Over 8 million people signed up for health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Millions of Americans have gained, or kept, health care coverage thanks to Medicaid expansions and being able to stay on their parents’ insurance longer.

He hasn’t started a single war.

He hasn’t tried to confiscate a single gun.

12/15/2014

ELLSWORTH IS ONE OF THE SAFEST PLACES TO LIVE IN KANSAS…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:54 pm

30 Safest Cities in Kansas

Check this out: 

Rebecca Edwards+ | Dec 15, 2014

30 Safest Cities in Kansas

Finding the right place to call home can be overwhelming. Sorting out economic factors, job prospects, educational opportunities, and overall safety is a lot to consider. That’s why, when it comes to finding a safe community, SafeWise did the hard work for you. We compiled the 30 safest places in Kansas for you to to raise a family, purchase a home, run a business, or whatever else your heart desires.

We used stringent reporting standards along with strict population criteria and the most recent FBI crime data from 2012 to identify our 30 featured cities. In order to be considered, we looked for cities that completely reported every element of crime data in 2012, giving us 134 cities that warranted a closer look. By adding a population requirement of more than 2,500, we narrowed it down even more to 91 cities that were ultimately considered for our list.

30 Safest Cities in Kansas! Did your hometown make the list?

From there, we examined the number of reported violent and property crimes in each city. Property crimes reviewed were larceny-theft, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson. When it came to violent crimes robbery, forcible rape, aggravated assault, and murder were considered. Next we leveled the playing field by determining the chance out of 1,000 that you’d have of falling victim to either property or violent crime in each city.

But identifying the right community isn’t where your diligence and commitment to safety should end. In order to make sure you can keep your home, family, or business protected once you find the perfect Kansas city, check out the comprehensive resources at our Kansas Safety Directory.

23. Ellsworth

It’s not uncommon to see a cattle drive going straight through the town of Ellsworth. This former frontier town takes the struggle and sacrifices of its pioneering founders to heart, honoring their rich traditions with the annual Cowtown Days celebration.

But this proud city does more than put on a great party to acknowledge its history. Ellsworth is currently in the process of establishing the National Drovers Hall of Fame. This will be an interactive museum housed in the restored Signature Insurance Building that honors “America’s real cowboys,” the drovers. For a taste of the old west and the “cowboy way of life,” there’s no better place to visit than Ellsworth.

Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.95
Property Crimes per 1,000: 17.89

12/14/2014

HAS EDUCATION BECOME AN UNINTELLECTUAL PURSUIT?

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 1:34 pm

This was written by a friend of mine, Dawnae Urbanek Bunch, who has been a teacher/educator in Ellsworth for 26 years.  She was exceptionally instrumental in the education and personal development of one of my grandsons during his high school years and continues to be involved in his life long after his graduation.  So it has been for many others as well.  I really don’t know how she does it, but she is a rare individual and exceptional human being.  In the following, she explains how “unintellectual” teaching is:

“If I had to name the one thing that surprised me most about teaching, it would be how utterly unintellectual it is, or becomes, when you have so many students with so many needs all coming at you at once, and you don’t have the time each of them deserves.”

I read this quote in an article this week about a woman who, for many reasons, got out of teaching. This is SO true. On a regular basis, in just my classroom, I encounter students who not only want to publish a newspaper or yearbook or take photos (those are sometimes the least of their concerns), but ones who need a safety pin to remedy a wardrobe malfunction; ones who need something to eat; ones who need school supplies; ones who need some attention - any attention - because they don’t get it anywhere else; ones who need a shoulder to cry on (literally); ones who need someone to talk to because they’re having drama with friends or family; ones who don’t know who turn to you to talk about life issues they’re experiencing such as sex, drugs, abuse, coming out, and a whole host of other things that are important to them, because they trust you. After 26 years, I feel like I should have an honorary counseling degree. It’s also part of the reason I will be ready to early retire in five years, if possible.

12/12/2014

CHRISTMAS DINNER AT THE PALACE…

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My good friend for a life time, Ivy Marsh, leads the way into the dining room accompanied by a SHS basketball player/waiter. I’m following with that look about me like I don’t know exactly where I am or why I’m there.

It was actually a nice evening, better than most special functions, with decent but not exceptional food and entertainment.   Ivy and I sat with Hazel and a town guest of hers so the conversation was lively. Brad Radatz, in the green shirt on the right, is our new executive director and, like his predecessor, is good about attending events.  Kim Fair took the picture. The dining room was packed and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.

It doesn’t seem possible that Christmas is just around the corner…like we’re down to the last 12 days.  It’s a good thing I have nothing to do to prepare for it as it wouldn’t get done.  Thanksgiving leftovers are still on my mind.  I am looking forward to spending Christmas in Ellsworth with Todd, Karen, Ally, Drew, Christy, Mackenzie and Tyler.  It will be a long winter after that, but since I rarely have to fight the elements, it’s not a concern.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/6/2014

LIFE IS CRAZY GOOD AT THE PALACE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 8:26 pm

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Life is crazy good at the Palace. The flag hanging outside my front door says so.

Today some of our inmates decided to go to a local church located a few miles from here for one of their annual Christmas festivals involving children, music, food and fun.   What better way to spend the day.

There were five ladies who participated in the all-morning affair.  One of the ladies was there with her daughter who had driven everyone to the event but was not feeling well and the mother-daughter team departed.  I’m not sure what they left in, but the car belonging to one of the two was left for the others to come home in, since that’s the way they got there in the first place.

So, much later, the three stranded participants gathered together around the set of car keys that had been left to them and  pondered their next move.  Since they had the keys, they decided to use the car and come back to the Palace; however, they weren’t sure where the car was parked as none of them had driven…and you know how little attention you pay to such details if you aren’t going to be held responsible for misplacing a car.

After some searching and pondering, they found what appeared to be the right car…at least a couple of them thought so.  One was decidedly uncertain and she got in and out of the car several times expressing her doubt over it being the right car.  She had the keys that seemed to carry with them a lot of responsibility.  She  got in the driver’s side and sat there awhile, pondering what to do.

Filled with uncertainty about the car’s ownership, she expressed more hesitation  about trying the keys in the ignition. She finally said she didn’t think she ought to drive, that her husband always did the driving.

So she got out of the car and traded places with another passenger who, after pondering her position as driver of the vehicle responsible for two other passengers,  said she hadn’t driven a car in “YEARS” and didn’t think she should be the one to drive.

They shuffled positions again so my neighbor who shared the story with me volunteered to drive everyone back to the Palace.  She’s very active and drives all over Kansas and Colorado just on a whim so everyone was in safe hands.  I’m not sure how they would have resolved their dilemma without her, but being a resourceful group, they would have found a way.  I’m sure they had interesting tales of their dilemma to relate to their spouses. Or maybe not.

Thanks for tuning in …

11/26/2014

MY FRIENDS….THE GIRLS IN THE HOOD…SOME OF WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM LIVING HERE….

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 2:00 pm

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My neighbors on 2 west…(from left) Margie Eberhart Wilson, Joy Mansfield, Amy Hoffman, me and Hazel Beggs. Missing a good party are Mabelle Mase, Carolyn Eland and Dorothy Carmichael. The picture was taken in Joy’s apartment because she has the largest, nicest kitchen that is never used for meal preparation.  I think she uses it for storing clothes.

Those of you who really know me are aware that I didn’t give up and move here to die.  It is unfortunate, I believe, but some people do that when they go to a nursing home.  They wait around until their spouse is really sick or dies and they move into a senior place or they wait around until their kids drag them to a care facility feet first.

For me it was quite the opposite:  I moved here to get more out of life than was available to me two years ago when I lived alone in a large house in Ellsworth.  And, that’s exactly what has happened.  More is a good thing when you are older and I found it by moving here.  The Palace is different from most places and you have to visit it, or talk with my kids,  to get the idea of how great it is. It is my happy place.

It has been two years since I moved here November 28, 2012.  That does not seem possible.  I guess the adage that time flies when you’re having fun applies to me.  Now.  At age 86. At least I believe it to be a general truth and has gained credit over the years to be worthy of repeating.  Some of my friends have been here a very long time, since this place first opened,  and I’ve not heard anyone say they made a bad choice.  In fact, it’s a choice they made without any regrets.  I count my lucky stars every day that I had the foresight to realize a good thing when I saw it.  That hasn’t always been the case with me.

Since I’m old and wiser now, I will pass on a bit of advice for anyone who might be interested in the subject.  And those of you who still have parents to look after might take note.  My observation during the past two years of living among old people, is that they, for the most part, don’t plan ahead. Almost never.   Even though they know they are going to get older, be less able to do things they’ve done throughout their lives,  show early signs of falling victim to Alzheimer’s or dementia or Parkinson’s or a myriad of other problems that plague  older people, they still don’t plan for those eventualities.  It’s the biggest mistake I see that some here have made.  They waited too long to come investigate the possibilities, opportunities and get on the waiting list for a spot of their own.

For some reason they want to stay in their own homes.  That works on occasion, but for most people that turns out to be a very lonely existence with very little stimulation from outside.   Their circle of friends gets smaller and smaller and they have to rely more and more on children or friends to help them out.  They become more prone to accidents, less able to summon help and more dependent on others outside the home.

The Palace is a different kind of home that fills in all the gaps that living alone doesn’t have. The Palace is different  from other retirement centers/nursing facilities in this part of the country.  Once you move in here, they will take care of you until you die.  For instance, if you go to another  independent living facility here in Salina and you need nursing  care, you have to move to a nursing care facility.  If one spouse develops memory issues, you can be separated.  Here, one person may live in independent living while the spouse may live down the hall in secure Memory Center or Health Care.  They can visit back and forth, participate in meals and activities with one another so it’s very much the same as living together. They are under the same roof.  You get help here so one person doesn’t have total responsibility for caring for their spouse.  The idea is to move and get settled in a new place while you have plenty of time to meet new people, become familiar with the opportunities available to you and adjust to new surroundings.  People tend to wait too long to sell their houses, dispose of possessions to prepare themselves for a new direction they’ll be taking.

And, one of the best features of the Palace is that the “outhouses”, as I call them, are gorgeous townhouses, very spacious with two car garages, and equipped with all new “everything” before you move in.  They are nearby on the Palace grounds. They are the best kept secret around here.

I have a very active friend who is 71 who just moved in a townhouse and another couple the same age who will move when one is available.  They are all very active in the Salina art community.   Their move is just plain smart on their part.  If they want to eat meals here they can, but most don’t except on occasion, and they have available all the services of the Palace…maintenance takes care of their yards, snow removal, mail delivery and any upkeep they might need.  Nursing care is available within minutes.

So, if a resident wants to leave for the winter they can head to Cap d’Agde that is set on a small spur of land west of Beziers and south of Montpellier. It’s the best known naturist resort in France, possibly in Europe. It’s large, with a whole village where you can shop naked, bank without any clothes on, and take to the naked lifestyle big time. All they have to do here is close the door and leave.  Everything here is secure and well-tended to.  (I got your attention with Cap d’Agde, didn’t I?)  The point being, you can leave any time, on the spur of the moment and be away as long as you like and everything here will be taken care of so you  can have a worry-free vacation.

I’m a self-appointed cheer leader for this place because I’m so happy here, but the person you need to talk with about particulars is Kim Fair at 785.825.1366, marketing director of the Palace.  She’ll show you around, let you see every nook and cranny, have a free lunch with her and decide for yourself.  If you tell her I sent you, I think they might even do something nice for me…if you move in…and I pass it forward.

If I can answer any of your questions, please call me 785 then 826 followed by 3668.

And, thanks for tuning in…

11/24/2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS…

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Ally and I are missing our home in Breck. It was always a fun place to be on Thanksgiving where our family gathered and Ally brought all the orphans from the ski area where she worked to join us. The mountain on the right between the trees is Quandary. The front railing on the porch held the turkey roaster with the carcass and scraps for the Canada and Stellar jays to pick clean while we enjoyed our dinner. Those were very happy times.

Ally and I are looking forward to being “home” in Ellsworth with all the family we can muster together this year…Todd, Karen and Tyler.  Karen is fixing her famous Butterball turkey dinner with all the trimmings and we’re all looking forward to it.  It’s always lip-smacking good.  Tyler will be the only representative of the grandchild generation and we’re very much looking forward to having him home and hearing about his recent trip to and experiences in South Africa.

Some of my neighbors here at the “Palace” will be heading to the homes of their children and grandchildren.  Others, lacking any family, will have a nice Thanksgiving dinner here “at home” with friends.  No one will be alone at this time.

I hope everyone has a very happy holiday weekend with family and friends.
Thanks for tuning in…

11/12/2014

BRITONS BELIEVE RELIGION DOES MORE HARM THAN GOOD…

Filed under: prairie musings, print news, religion — Peg Britton @ 12:51 pm

Huff post

By Jessica Elgot

More than half of Britons believe that religion does more harm than good, with less than a quarter believing faith is a force for good, the Huffington Post UK can reveal today.

Even 20% of British people who described themselves as being ‘very religious’ said religion was harmful to society, and a quarter of said atheists were more likely to be moral individuals than religious people.
The exclusive poll for the HuffPost UK reveals that just 8% of Britons describe themselves as very religious, with more than 60% saying they were not religious at all.

The eye-opening survey, that will reopen debate over the role and worth of religion to British society, found of the ‘non-religious’ people polled, more than 60% said they thought religion caused more problems than it solved.

The poll shows that more people believe being an atheist is more likely to make you a good person than being religious. In fact, one in eight Britons said atheists tend to be more moral, compared to just 6% who say atheists are less moral, challenging widely held beliefs that religion is one of the last remaining bastions of British morality.
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11/11/2014

WE HONOR YOU AND YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY…

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Tyler Britton USAF, Roy P. Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:04 am

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Roy P. Britton, Army Air Corps corporal WWII radar observer with grandson, Tyler J. Britton, now a tech sergeant/respiratory therapist in the US Air Force.  Missing is a picture of my brother, Bruce H. Baker, a captain and fighter pilot in the US Air Force and my father, 1st Lt. US Army Bruce H. Baker, WWI.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

11/4/2014

DON’T FART DURING AN MRI…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:09 am

HUFF POST
by Elaine Ambrose
Author, syndicated blogger, featured humor speaker, publisher, and retreat organizer knows that laughter - with wine - is the best medicine.

Don’t Fart During an MRI

I share this true but pathetic story to commiserate with other tortured souls who relentlessly endure and survive extreme humiliation. We’re a group of accident-prone fools who regularly trigger embarrassing situations that would permanently traumatize a normal person. My experience this week will be difficult to surpass: I farted inside an MRI machine.

In medical terms, I had torn the meniscus cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between my shinbone and thighbone. In middle-age woman terms, two demons from hell invaded my body and lit fires in my knee and then danced around poking the raw nerves with electric forks. The pain was beyond intense, and the accident severely damaged my body so I couldn’t stand, walk, or even crawl to the wine bar.

Five drug-induced days later, I finally saw an orthopedic surgeon. He manipulated my knee until tears streamed down my cheeks and I threatened to tear off his arms. It should have been obvious that I was injured by the way I was ripping off chunks from the sides of the examination table. I silently vowed to add him as a nasty character in my next short story. Finally, some lovely angel gave me legal narcotics. Soon my ravaged leg was a big, bandaged joke, and I laughed and laughed.

A few days later I experienced the MRI - a magnetic resonance imaging procedure that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio waves to make images of damaged ligaments and joints. A handsome young technician helped me into the tube of terror and strapped down my leg. I nervously remarked that a first name usually was required before I allowed anyone to tie me in a bed. He didn’t laugh but ordered me to hold still for 45 minutes. So there I was, in pain, suffering from claustrophobia, moving on a conveyor belt into the white torture chamber, and I didn’t have a clue how to remain motionless. And, to complete the distress, my only audience wasn’t amused by my jokes.

After about 20 minutes, I started to get anxious. I was tied down in a tunnel and could only hear strange beeping noises and grinding sounds. For all I knew, they were deciding which body parts to extract and sell on the black market. Then a queasy feeling predicted a pending passing of gas. I bit my tongue, pinched my side, and tried to focus on a pastoral scene in a green meadow beside a babbling brook. I could hear my mother’s advice: “Squeeze the dime.” I fidgeted.

“Please hold still,” came a voice from outside the shaft of shame.

I watched as the lights and numbers revealed how much time remained. Three minutes. I could do it! No! My body betrayed me at the one-minute mark. I was trapped and helpless so my nervous body did what it does best: it farted. I released gas with the intensity and conviction of a team of sumo wrestlers after a chili-eating contest. And the confined space caused the sound to be amplified as if a dozen foghorns had simultaneously activated. I didn’t know whether to cry, giggle, or call my son and brag.

“Well now, I think we have enough images,” the handsome technician said, suppressing a laugh.

The magic bed moved backwards into freedom, bringing along the putrid stench of decay. I was mortified as my imaginary meadow became a ravaged pasture full of rotting manure. What in the hell had I eaten? I avoided eye contact with the timid technician and hobbled back to the dressing room. Once again, I accepted my fate of being the perpetual, reluctant clown, the oddball, the one who farts during a complicated medical procedure.

If I ever need another MRI, I’ll request a facility in Texas. Everyone farts there.

Follow Elaine Ambrose on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ambroseelaine

11/3/2014

INTRODUCING THE NEW KING AT THE PALACE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 10:55 am

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From left:  Amy Hoffman, my neighbor across the hall; Brad Radatz, the new executive director of the Palace; Leo Lake, a new resident, but previously, a long-time volunteer at the Palace.

Radatz’ first job was a certified nursing assistant at the hospital in his hometown of Lindsborg. It’s not a big town, and it’s not a big hospital, which meant Radatz was often idle or sent home.

But Radatz, who was about to start college, wanted more shifts and more experience. He was surprised when that put him on the path to working in long-term care. “I liked the learning curve with hospitals,” Radatz said. “I didn’t think I would get that same learning curve medically in long-term care, but I learned quickly that was not the case.”

He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in life sciences from Kansas State University in 2010, with a secondary major in gerontology and an emphasis in long-term care administration. In July, he was named executive director of Salina Presbyterian Manor. Previously, Radatz had been lead administrator with Frontline Management, responsible for the day-to-day operations of Garden Valley Retirement Village in Garden City.

The appeal of long-term care, Radatz found, was in building relationships with residents. He also wants to make it easier for residents to develop stronger relationships with each other and with employees. “We really want to develop our environment to be more of an actual neighborhood,” he said. “We want people on a particular hall to feel like they’re part of a smaller, close group.”

That means giving residents and employees more opportunities to interact, Radatz said, and listening to their ideas. He hopes they’ll be able to develop more family-like relationships instead of the traditional caregiver-patient dynamic.

“Ten years ago, health care was more physically focused,” Radatz said. “Now we want to make sure we’re also caring for their emotional, psychological and social needs.”

Radatz and his wife, Amy, are excited to be in Salina – partly because they have season tickets to K-State football and basketball, and now they’re closer to Manhattan. The couple met in college and married in 2012.

from PMMA Community Matters…

10/31/2014

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM THE PALACE…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:21 pm

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Today at the Palace is filled with Halloween fun.  We had sittercise with some Halloween music followed by a parade of employees in their Halloween costumes after lunch. Dylan won again, in my estimation, but Shanna was great in her yellow banana costume.  The “Identity Thief” had people’s name tags stuck all over her clothes. Karen was a pretty cute Smarty Pants with weird contact lenses and Smarty candies stuck all over her pants.

Tonight we have a Halloween dinner in Dracula’s Diner starting off with Bloody Marys followed by Haunted Manor’s garden salad, spookghetti with eyeballs and Frankenstein Fingers all while wearing witch hats.  That should be a sight.  Employee Goblin Trick or Treaters come at 6:00 when we load them down with enough candy to last until Christmas. They are so cute and it’s fun to have them come visit.  It’s nice to be on the beaten path again for Halloween in order to see the little kids have so much fun.

Thanks for tuning in…

10/30/2014

FOOTPRINTS OVER THE YEARS…

My grandson, Tyler, does a lot of traveling and, from time to time, he asks me to tell him where I’ve been, or about one of my favorite destinations. That’s hard as every trip had it special highlights.

There are many places in the US I haven’t seen, but I’ve also had the opportunity to see and visit many places, some many times.  The only two states I haven’t visited are Rhode Island and Delaware.

I thought it might be convenient for Tyler, and interesting for me if I could list the places outside the US where Brit and I, Ally and I, Dane, Mackenzie and I or I alone, have visited…not just passed through on the way to some place else.  The journey brought me back many memories.

Brit and I went to Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Taxco and Aculpulco on our honeymoon.  We also drove to Mexico randomly just because we loved it so much.  One trip was to Tampico to meet Vera and Reuben Sparks. We went to Aculpulco again with Karma and Paul Aylward and stayed at Tres Vidas, which may have been dissolved by the salty ocean water.  It was a magnificent place.

We also made four trips to Hawaii which were wonderful, but they don’t count in this list.

Brit was the People-to-People leader for a group of Kansas bankers we took to China for an extended visit.  We took numerous tours with other groups…and by ourselves. Many were trips that Dane arranged.

Ally and I drove 7,000 miles during our trip to visit Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.  We ate only at locally owned restaurants and slept in locally owned motels/B & B’s. Ally played golf with a group of guys we met over a sack of garlic we happened to have and that they desperately needed.  No fast food/franchise patronizing. We stayed in Baddeck for a week or so and loved Lunenburg where she took the helm of a large sailing vessel and was invited by the captain to stay and sail for him.  She’s that good. I love Nova Scotia.

Ally and I also took a 17 day trip through the Panama Canal on the Norwegian Wind and racked up some wonderful memories.  Another time we spent 10 days in Cancun where she spend her time cave diving and I luxuriated at the Grand Mayan Resort.

Another memorable trip was one that Mackenzie and I took to visit Dane in Hungary when he was there working for the Eisenhower Foundation assisting Hungary to return to a democratic government.  That was a wonderful trip and holds special memories not only of Hungary, but other countries as well. .  Mackenzie lost a tooth while we were there so we launched it in to the Danube and figured some day it would  be inside a big fish in the Black Sea.

I didn’t list a family cruise we took in the Caribbean or the bucket trip the family took with Brit before he died.  Of course, we didn’t venture out of the US for that.

Brit and I had three trips to London/England and I went another time to visit my friends, Ann Harrison, and John and Geoff Spearman (Ally and I met them on the Panama Canal trip). I remember one flight to from New York to London where we were served 7 full meals before we landed in London and we didn’t go to bed until our return flight home two days later.  We were young then.

I don’t have my passports with me which would give me a better idea of what I may have missed, but for all practical purposes, this list will cover most of my travel destinations.  I’ve always had an itch to travel…Dane, Todd, Mackenzie, Tyler, Drew and Ally all have the same gene.  Before he’s finished, Tyler will put my list to shame.  He’s already way ahead of most 26 year old travelers who have to do it on their own.

My Travel To Non-US Destinations (more than just passing through):

Jamaica
Bermuda
Bahamas, Nassau
Costa Rica
Cartagena, Colombia
Panama City
San Blas Islands
Panama Canal
Australia, Sydney
Australia, Canberra
Australia, Melbourne
New Zealand, Rotorua
New Zealand, Queenstown
New Zealand, Christ Church
Indonesia, Jakarta, Jawa Barat
Indonesia, Bali
Philippines, Manila
French Polynesia, BoraBora
Japan, Kyoto
Japan, Tokyo x2
Malaysia, Jahore Bahru
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Thailand, Bangkok
Macau
Singapore
Hong Kong
China, Shanghai
China, Beijing
China, Guangzhou
Canada, Victoria
Canada, Vancouver
Canada, Banff
Canada, Jasper
Canada, Lake Louise
Canada, Medicine Hat
Canada, Calgary
Canada, Edmonton
Canada, Quebec City x2
Canada Montreal
Canada, Nova Scotia, Kentville
Canada, Nova Scotia, Baddeck, Cape Breton Island
Canada, Lunenburg
Canada, Digby
Canada, New Brunswick
Canada, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Mexico, Cancun
Mexico, Monterrey
Mexico, Puerto Vallarta
Mexico, Mexico City
Mexico, Taxco
Mexico, Aculpulco
Mexico, Tres Vidas (where is it?)
Mexico, Cuernavaca
Mexico, Guadalajara
Mexico, San Angel ?
Mexico, Tampico
England, London x3
England, Southern England Petworth and Pulborough
England , Stanley, County Durham
Scotland, Edinburgh
Scotland, Tighnabruaich
Hungary, Budapest
Czechoslovakia, Prague
Austria, Vienna

The end.  My traveling days are over.
Thanks for tuning in…

10/27/2014

PALACE FRIENDS AND HAPPINESS TIME…

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Living here is like a nice bowl of cherries or attending Korean summer bible camp…however you look at it.  It’s all cherries and happiness time for me.

In recent days I’ve had wonderful friends stop by for chats, some bearing good things to eat. It’s always this way.  If I were still living at home alone, I would not experience this kind of activity.  Family yes, but my friends at home work and I couldn’t  get out and about to see them except infrequently.  Everyone is busy and I understand that.  Moving here separated me from lifelong good friends who I didn’t see all that often, but it put me in a position here where I am surrounded by people, some have become good friends.

I have an open door policy here so anyone who wants feels welcome to enter anytime.  Most often, they just walk down the hall and wave as they go by, but even that is better than sitting home alone, as I would be if I were still living in Ellsworth.  There are people working on the jigsaw puzzle in the lobby or having coffee at the coffee bar all the time…day and night.  So, if I had a spell of loneliness, I could always find someone to chat with at any time.   Insomnia goes with old age so someone or another is roaming around.  I really do like the people who live here as they come from all walks of life and are interesting in their own way.

The main highlight of recent day visitors was Tyler who was able to come from Cincinnati for a short weekend.  He was here Friday night for our Five-Hundred-Thousandth Annual Palace Soup Supper, a day of football with his dad in Manhattan on Saturday and back to Cincy on Sunday.  That’s a lot of road time for such a short time here, but he doesn’t seem to mind.  We love it that he can be here, even if only for a few hours.  Tyler does good work, good things.

Todd, Karen, Ally, Jan Paull, Lynn Taylor, Ann and Terry Headrick were all here before we split up and went downstairs to eat chili and chicken noodle soup.

Other friends have been in and out:  Ellen Morgan came by for green tomatoes and a visit, Lynn Taylor stopped for a glass of wine and a break from working pie detail for the soup supper.  My neighbor,  Carolyn Eland, was here for a wonderful afternoon of chatting about family, music, ballet, travel, politics and other topics of common interest.  She loaned me a couple of books her PhD brother wrote which I’m enjoying reading.  Faithful friends, Ann and Terry, we in and out a  couple of times, once bearing beer and hard cider.  Yum.

Dalene Anderson and her daughter, Leah, came by to deliver a case of Two Buck Chuck’s wine from Trader Joe’s.  I really appreciate that.  Dalene, whose dad lives here, is a peck of fun and I love it when she’s here visiting.  She and her sister, Karen Collins, and their kids and grandkids are frequent visitors and delightful/fun folk.  They’ve become wonderful friends.  If I weren’t living here, I never would have met any of them.  That’s one of the special things about living here.  I’ve made so many wonderful friends just by living here and being part of the big family of friends of other inmates.

Jovita Christensen who lives up on the 6th floor by Ivy, stopped by with a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls and my neighbor, Hazel, arrived with a bowl of wonderful baked apples, warm from the oven.  Jovita and Hazel both have reputations for being excellent cooks…and are famous for their baked goods.

Margie dropped by with two Harry and David pears that were wonderful and stayed for a glass of Malbec.  I go through a lot of wine.  Red wine is especially good for old people, they say.  No one here argues about that.

I was downstairs when Barbara Houdek arrived with one of her famous Dutch apple pies, so I bought it at the food sale.  It was fabulous.   I shared some of it with Hazel, Ivy and Margie.  Barbara still makes angel food cakes from scratch…no mixes for her…and beats those egg white with a whip by hand.

Last week Ally was here running errands so I had her drop me off at the Korean Restaurant where I  had a wonderful bowl of Korean Ramen chicken veggie soup that was both steamy hot and spicy hot.  It was wonderful.  I spent the afternoon at the restaurant visiting with Joomi and Tim and reading a Lee Childs book that was easy to absorb in bits and pieces. The restaurant is light and airy, the odors that waft through are wonderful and I just blend into the wall paper. Later in the afternoon Joomi made bananas Foster with scoops of ice cream that she, Tim and I devoured. They are very nice and treat all their customers like the family we are. I love that place. It’s my home away from home.

Mabelle Maes, another neighbor of mine, stopped by for some of Ally’s tomatoes. She accidentally dropped one on the floor and it rolled under a table and a couple of chairs where it lodged up against the wall.  In a jiff she was down on her hands and knees and under the table retrieving it even though I insisted she leave it where it was. I can’t pick up stuff off the floor and do periodic pick ups with one of the half dozen picker-upper tools I have strategically placed around my apartment.Mabelle is agile as a fox….and 96 years old. She’s another good cook. The other day she brought me a plate of monster cookies she’d baked.

Amy Hoffman left a bowl of white chili in my kitchen that was wonderful.  Ally arrived with potato soup, chili and other good things.  Somewhere in the mix Karen came and changed the sheets on my bed. She keeps me in a clean bed and runs lots of errands for me. Without help from her, Todd and Ally, I’d have a difficult time living where I do. They do wonderful things for me.

I also caught up with Mackenzie yesterday as she came to my rescue on a computer problem I was having. As usual, she sorted through it in short order and walked me through a fix. It was not a common problem and should have only happened if I were using two monitors. Kenz loves living in St. Louis, works for Asynchrony where she’s a senior web developer learning new things all the time, lives in a wonderful complex, has good friends who do interesting things.  Tyler spent the night with her Thursday on his way home so they had an opportunity to catch up on cousin news.

I’m looking forward to this weekend as grandson Drew and his girl friend, Christy, will be here from Boulder for a quick visit. It’s always fun to catch up with them as they lead very busy, interesting lives. Since that is the weekend of the KU vs K-State rivalry everyone around here will be drawing up sides for their team and donning all kinds of very old, worn out college shirts and hats. We’ll have special gatherings for the game.

The same is true for Halloween Happenings, which is the 31st. There will be a “Draculas Diner” the 31st. I’m not sure what that is…is it a dinner in a diner which maybe should be Dracula’s Diner Dinner…or it is supposed to be a dinner for many Draculas…as in Draculas’ dinner…or are there lots of Draculas in a diner? Grammar is grandly abused around this place which doesn’t help the split-infinitive-challenged crowd. It will be an evening filled with Bloody Marys, spookghetti and eyeballs, Frankenstein fingers…etc. But, the best thing is that the employees bring their children to the Palace after dinner so we can pass out candy and see them in their cute costumes. That is always fun.

Lunch was especially good today…nice fresh fruit, good cheeseburgers with warm buns and good toppings, potato salad, and much, much better than usual baked beans.  I took some of Ally’s mustard sauce, a sliced jalapeno pepper and fresh tomatoes to top my burger.  Hazel, Ivy and I  enjoyed our lunch and lively conversation.  Doris wasn’t there at “her” table and we all miss her enormously.  She has something contagious so we can’t visit her.  She is one very special lady.

Thanks for tuning in

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