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Entries from blogs tagged with “Lifestyle”

I like pie

My youngest son, Michael, has a fascination with pie. A few years ago when he was six or seven, my husband let him write the digital signature for paying with credit at our local lumberyard. Instead of writing his name, he scrawled "I like pie." So that was the signature on the printed bill! Michael is the baby of the family. He is ten years younger than his oldest brother and seven years younger than son number two. He is a freckled redhead with warm brown eyes that twinkle with mischief and merriment. He's smart and he loves a good joke. We have all laughed at his antics since he was just a baby, which has only encouraged him. At 11, he is still funny. His teachers even tell me how much they appreciate his sense of humor.The other day Michael asked his dad how to change his log in password on the computer. His dad told him how to make the change. Today, when my husband tried to log in to the computer, his password wouldn't work. When he clicked the help button, the hint for the password was "food." So he entered "pie." Apparently, Michael changed all of our log in passwords to his favorite food!

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On The Fence

It is Monday before Super Tuesday and I'm waffling. Me an admitted feminist! It's not that I don't think that Hillary is right for the job. In spite of the rhetoric from those who oppose her; she is qualified and ready to lead. And I believe that we desperately need a woman president. Not just to break the glass ceiling. I believe we need more women in power to balance out the confrontational nature of our current male leaders.So why am I waffling? I am inspired by Obama's ability to engage young voters. The enthusiasm of these young people gives me hope that America can be great again. For the first time in awhile I feel good about handing over the reigns to the younger generation.Lately it seemed that people had forgotten that our government is of the people, for the people, by the people. Obama seems to embrace this. Perhaps that is why so many youth and others are becoming engaged in the political process this election.What do you think?

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Meditation on Mexican Coke

http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... Lawrence, there are a few places where you can still buy a glass bottle of Coca-Cola. You could go to the Mexican store next to the Payday Loan on 23rd street. Or you could go to Checkers and visit the ethnic food aisle. In both instances, a real glass bottle of Coca-Cola is yours for the asking, and a small price of about two bucks. Why pay twice the price for a Coke in a glass bottle? Well, it's all in the sweetener. Supposedly, the Mexican version contains only pure cane sugar as its sweetener. Our American version? High fructose corn syrup, of course. In other words, take a drink of a cold, crisp cane sugar sweetened Mexican Coca-Cola and you'll quickly realize: this is what Coke is supposed to taste like. No chemical aftertaste; no syrupy coating on your tongue, just pure unadulterated carbonated sugar water (with Coke's magical formula mixed in).Although, Coca-Cola's Atlanta Corporate response is that the Mexican Coke has "no perceptible taste difference," you and I know it tastes better. And if you haven't tried it, I'm telling you-- you're in for a treat. I hear you can even purchase cases of the stuff at Costco now, for a premium.Dr. Pepper fan? You're in luck, too. The Dublin Dr. Pepper plant in Texas has been producing the original cane sugar recipe for over a hundred years. And you can still purchase it at their store, or online. I don't know. I think the Mexican version of Coke has a much cleaner, crisp taste than the soda we're used to. Sure, it may be hell on your teeth, but what sweet treat worth anything isn't? Okay, well, I'm off to Checkers to stock up on my supply. (Yes, I've become a Mexican Coke junkie.)

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So Much to See #6 (2/3/2008)

Previous: So Much to See #5
Next: So Much to See #7

Where is it?
What is it?
Yes, the image is small. A hint or larger image each day.http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... #2http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... #3http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... is it?
What is it?
Who was it?
The full image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... is the front of Thomas Barber's monument:

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Douglas County’s Ninth Wonder of Kansas

The 8 Wonders of Kansas sponsored by the Kansas Sampler Foundation were unveiled by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today. I believe they are a good representation of Kansas. However, my suggestion, located right here in Douglas County, did not make the list.I suggested rocks, more specifically pink boulders found along the Wakarusa river valley.According to Glacial Geology, the pink boulders were recognized in northeastern Kansas by the French explorer, De Bourgmont in the early 1700s. Their origin was a mystery until 1868 when Louis Agassiz visited the area. He was a controversial scientist who popularized the concept of a recent Ice Age in earth history. He correctly identified the pink boulders as erratics transported from as far north as the now Minnesota region by an ice sheet.The following is a quote from Glacial Geology of the Kansas City Vicinity:"Along the edge of the ice lobes, glacial lakes were dammed in pre-existing valleys, and meltwater floods eroded spillway channels around the ice margin. All these features serve to identify the effects of glaciation in the region. During the late Independence glaciation, ice lobes advanced farther south and locally blocked the Kansas and Missouri River valleys east and west of Kansas City. Numerous meltwater spillways were eroded and glacial lakes filled and overflowed along the maximum limit of glaciation. These spillways are preserved as valleys parallel to and south of the Kansas and Missouri river valleys. Some of these spillways were later filled with sediment and others remain open valleys today. A good example is the Wakarusa River valley in Shawnee and Douglas counties, Kansas."From the quote, one would conclude the large number of red granite rocks in the area were brought here by the glacier and then dropped as it melted. They are beautiful, all sizes and very heavy.The Wildlife and Parks hunting area in the upper region of Clinton Lake is available for hiking. On the northern hills of the river valley, Minnesota granite rocks, protrude from the grasslands. They may appear flat in the grass but may be massive in size underneath. The rocks located near the bridge on the north end of Massachusetts Street were harvested in this area.Skye, the boxer, indicates the size of the rock. Granite rocks would not make Kansas a tourist hot spot. On the other hand, how they were transported and left here is amazing. I would consider it a wonder of Kansas.

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So Much to See #5

Previous: So Much to See #4
Next: So Much to See #6

Where is it? What is it?This is visible from one of the main streets of town (as defined by me). Each day or so I'll add a larger image or hint. Some complained last week that the image was to small and blurry. I confess, I'm trying to make them hard enough so that it will take at least a day or two to identify them. The previous 4 pictures were guessed quickly. FYI, here's a recap:

  1. 5th comment
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However, I am amazed that subjects of the pictures were identified so quickly. Nonetheless, I'm trying to make them harder.Here is this week's image first image:

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2nd image

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3rd image

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4th image

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The final image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/31/DSC_0726t.JPG
This house is just north of East Heights Early Childhood Family Center.Cody has done it again.

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Say Cheese!

For many of you, the following might seem an all-too familiar scenario: After careful clothing and hair preparation at home, you drag your child(ren) to the portrait studio for "picture day". Your dreams of pictures filled with smiling, beautiful kids are dashed when your 5 year old spills grape juice on his oxford shirt, your 2 year old throws an absolute tantrum when she can't have her blankie in the pictures, and your newborn sleeps through every photo. As a studio manager for a major retail portrait chain (name withheld to protect the innocent), I see variations on this ugly scenario every day. I also see parents who end up with a very successful portrait experience. I decided to compile a list of tips on how to make your "picture day" go as smoothly as possible.1) Prepare where it counts.Make a checklist of items you need to bring with you to your appointment. Don't forget your coupons, change of clothing, or checkbook. Smart items to also bring include backup clothes in case of an unexpected mess, your child's favorite toy, makings for a bottle or other drink (and I don't mean a flask for yourself!), and snack items for camera-room bribing (when all else fails). 2) Dress for success.If your child is under the age of 2, or particularly accident-prone, do NOT get them dressed at home. You will inevitably end up in the bathroom frantically trying to clean juice/spaghetti sauce/gummi bear residue from your child's best outfit. Bring them to the studio in their grubbies, then change them before the session starts. The only exception to this rule is if your child HATES changing their clothes. In this case, change them at home and wrap them in Saran Wrap (or put a bib on them) until you arrive at the studio.3) Arrive early.Get to your appointment 10-15 minutes early. This will ensure you go into your shoot right at your appointment time, not 10 minutes after it. There will be information that the photographer will need to get from you, like your contact information, who will be in the pictures, and if you have any background or posing preferences. If your studio of choice has a website, check it out ahead of time and you might be able to see your background choices before you set foot in the studio. 4) Request the best.Ask your friends and family if they have a favorite photographer from the studio you are going to. If you hear the same name a few times, then request that person when setting up your appointment. Be prepared to be flexible; not every associate works every day. If you cannot get any recommendations from your circle of friends, simply request that a manager shoot your portraits. The managers (usually) have the most experience at getting great photos.5) Know what to expect.Policies at different studios vary. Find out in advance how many outfits you can bring, how many poses will be taken, and how long your appointment time is. If your appointment (read: camera room time) is for 15 minutes, then don't expect to fit in 4 outfit changes and 20 poses. If that many changes of clothes is what you need, then be prepared to pay for multiple appointment slots.6) Be a helper.In most situations, your photographer will be working with your child solo. As such, they really need to be able to focus on the important parts of the picture, like setting up the pose, framing and focusing the shot, and getting your child to show those pearly whites (or baby pink gums). Be ready for them to ask you to help with: keeping your child in place in front of the backdrop, wiping up droolies, and even getting smiles if your child is the type who only smiles for people they know. These things will help your photographer do their job better and you will get better pictures for it. 7) Bring a friend.After the photos are taken, you will need to work with your photographer or another employee to pick out what sizes and poses to order. This process goes much easier and faster if you don't have children climbing in your lap begging for snack/juice/a nintendo wii. Bring your partner, a relative, or a friend to help keep your child entertained and happy so you can get the ordering process done quickly.8) If at first you don't succeed....Sometimes, despite all of your best efforts, the magical pictures of your little snowflake just aren't happening. Work with your photographer to try and figure out the cause. Most studios will be more than happy to let you take a break for feeding/diaper/etc if their schedule allows it. If you feel that it might be a personality clash, ask the photographer (kindly!) if there is another photographer in the studio who could try their wiles on your little one. I have had children scream at the top of their lungs at me, then when another person walks in and tries, they are giggling within moments. And sometimes, no matter what you try, you are just not going to get the photos you want that day. Don't let it stress you out, it happens frequently. Your studio should be more than happy to save any good pictures that they have taken so far, and set up a new time for you to come back and try again.Hopefully these tips will help you get the photos you want, and make your picture day the best it can be. May all of your pictures be as great as this one:http://worldonline.media.clients.elli...

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Show Me the Money

On Friday, Nov. 9th, Drake University played a basketball game at 4:30 P.M. (ET) against California-San Diego. The game was played at California-San Diego. Drake won, 81-63. One of the Drake players, Bill Eaddy, played for one minute. He had no free throw or field goal attempts. You can find all the box scores for that game online.Sometime ago, I don't know exactly when, the city of Lawrence built a roundabout at the intersection of 19th St. and Barker Avenue. I strongly suspect the construction involved a number of workers and took several weeks,, maybe more. I would also guess that it cost over a hundred thousand dollars. With some effort, I'm sure I could find out more about this project.I can find minutes from a city commission meeting in 2000 where the the roundabout was mentioned. I can also find information about the city budget process. The city budget for 2007 is available online. I don't see the 19th & Barker roundabout mentioned so it must have been built before then.To be honest, I don't really care that much about when the roundabout was built. I would be interested to see how much it cost.Am I the only one who thinks it ironic that detailed information about a basketball game is so readily available, yet informtaion about our local government and the millions ($67 million if I read the budget correctly) it spends is so much more difficult to obtain?I do commend the city commission in making the budget available online. The school board should follow suit.Show me the money, where it goes, and that it is used effectively, or don't ask me for more. We are each responsible for overseeing the actions and decisions of those we elect. Those elected officials should make it as easy as possible for us to do that.Even if the city and school district each needed to add a person who's only responsibility is to make the budget and financial information available to us, I think it would be money well spent.

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Tin Roof, Rusted!

So, we are six months in and I finally decided to write about my "pregnorant" experiences so far. Having a baby wasn't something that we were planning on ahead of time, so unlike many women who come prepared to motherhood, I feel like I have been running around like the proverbial headless chicken. As my due date approaches the flapping and clucking are getting more frantic, but at least I feel a little bit more knowledgeable as to what I am in for.Here is a short summary of what the first 24 weeks have been like.Week One: Take test. 2 pink lines, oh jeebus what does that mean? Take test again. Yep, still 2 pink lines. Now what?Week Two: Buy every book on pregnancy, parenting, breastfeeding, and cranky toddlers that the Lawrence Public Library book sale and Half Price Books have to offer. Set myself the goal of reading every single one in the next week. Fail miserably.Weeks Three-Eight: Life almost normal--eagerly anticipating first prenatal appointment where I am sure I will be told all I need to know about being pregnant.Week Nine: First doctor's appointment gives me a healthy dose of reality. After an hour of poking and prodding, I leave with lots of paperwork about childbirth and breastfeeding classes as well as a prescription for prenatal vitamins "guaranteed to make the restroom an adventure". Weeks Ten-Fifteen: I remain blissfully immune from morning sickness; but mood swings, fatigue, back pain, and a need to eat every 15 minutes more than make up for it. I manage a portrait studio, and this time span is the peak of our Christmas busy season. I begin to hate my life.Week Sixteen: Congratulations, you're having an alien!http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... Seventeen-Twenty Four: With the return of my energy, I enter the stage of "FRANTIC WORRIER". Why haven't I gained more weight? Will the baby be too small because I can't gain more? Will I be able to handle labor? Have I forgotten anything for my "baby list" of stuff to buy? How are we going to afford all of that stuff on the list in the first place? What hospital should I choose to deliver at? Ad infinitum...this mantra of worries, combined with pummeling of my tummy by the unknown lump, keeps me up at night....as well as the need to use the restroom every 30 minutes. That brings us current, twenty five weeks. I have managed to finagle a studio closer to home, so that I am commuting only 30 minutes instead of an hour and a half (1 way!) Sciatica was making the drive a nightmare, so I am happy about the switch in locations. Maternity photos will be done this week, so fat belly pictures will be on the way soon.Although this exchange with strangers on a daily basis has grown rather amusing:Random Person: Oh, look at you! What are you having?Me: A Baby.Random Person: . . .oh. . .kay. . .We are having a 3-D ultrasound in two weeks, which I am excited about. In addition to being able to see the little bugger squirming around in amazing 3D action (without the need for silly glasses, even!), we will finally know what the ninja in my tummy is smuggling between its legs. Speaking of the little one, it has chosen this moment to use my bladder as a trampoline. Until next time!

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Mont Blue to the Rockies-managing affordable ski vacations

Growing up as Kansas flatlanders, skiing was on water in the summer.It was the early 70s when a friend suggested we try snow skiing at Mont Blue, a busy little ski slope southeast of Lawrence. Always ready for fun, we jumped at the chance.Mont Blue had a base house with fireplace, refreshments and ski rental. Equipment fitted, we headed out to the "mountain." To get to the top, we grabbed the towrope and hung on. Once there, we proceeded to fall and slide to the bottom. Laughing all afternoon, we got better and were hooked on skiing.Mont Blue was the beginning but the Rocky Mountains had better snow. Quickly discovering a ski vacation is expensive, we managed to find ways to make it affordable for our family. These are my suggestions.First, it is helpful to find at least one other family with a similar interest to share lodging as well as food. Our children have many happy memories from these trips with friends. Take a lunch to the slope in a backpack. Sandwiches, cheese, fruit. candy bars and sodas taste wonderful after a morning of exhilarating runs. We "hide" the backpack in a snow bank and retrieve it at a designated time. Most all warming houses on the slopes have seating for picnickers. Do this or pay $6 to $8 for a hamburger.Ski rental is cheaper as a package away from the slopes. Equipment malfunctions will quickly ruin a day of skiing especially if the rental store is two hours away. Make sure there is a satellite shop or the store has an agreement with a rental shop near the slope. No need to purchase fancy clothing. Ski pants are affordable and any warm coat will do. Always layer. Toasti Toes help with cold feet. Mittens are warmer than gloves. If you are a first time skier, plan on at least a half day of lessons. It is money well spent and may include a lift ticket. Lift tickets are a major expense. Breckenridge is now charging $80 a day. Check some of the lesser-known slopes. They might offer a family discount. Right now a $10 purchase of gasoline at a Phillips 66 in Colorado will get you a voucher for a buy one, get one free lift ticket on Sundays at Copper Mountain. Grocery stores in Denver offer discounts also. An article recently on Arama.com entitled Discount Lift Tickets - Learn what Colorado Ski Resorts Do Not Want You to Know! has additional suggestions. Finally, be adventurous. Keep a good attitude and have fun. Don't give up after the first try. It gets easier. There is no feeling like swishing down a slope with breathtaking mountains as a backdrop. Suddenly all the planning is worthwhile. Since our first try at Mont Blue, we have visited slopes in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Three of our five grandchildren, all under eight years old, skied for the first time last week. We still laugh coming down the slopes-all three generations.

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For The Love of Grandparents

Stories My Grandmother Told Me premieres at the American Heartland Theater in Kansas City this month. The review wasn't very favorable, but reading about the play brought back childhood memories of time spent with my grandparents. I loved visiting my grandparents. When Grandma came to pick me up, I knew that she would keep me for several weeks. She would only allow one granddaughter at a time to stay with her so I knew that I would be the sole focus of attention while I was there. Every visit, she cut my hair and took me shopping for new clothes. I hated the hair cut. It looked like she put a bowl on my head and cut off any hair that stuck out and my bangs were ridiculously short. I could hardly wait until they grew back in. I would pull on them constantly trying to get them to grow. My sister said that I was lucky. Grandma gave her "permanents" when she was a little girl. My grandparents lived on a farm in Holden, MO. My grandfather farmed, raised cattle and kept horses. He and my grandmother rode horses in parades and horse shows. Gramps was 6'4" tall and Grandma was 5'1". They made quite a pair! Being a bit plump and on the short side, my grandmother had a hard time reaching the stirrup to lift herself into the saddle. She had a very gentle horse named Dan that she trained to "stretch out" so that he was low enough for her to be able to get into the saddle. Dan was the only horse my grandparents would allow me to ride by myself. Often during my visits, Gramps would have a new buggy for me to try out. He'd attach it to one of the horses and lead the animal around while I rode in the seat, grinning from ear to ear, having the time of my life. Gramps would also take me for a ride on the tractor and let me steer, only to pretend that I was losing control and we were headed for the pond. I would squeal and Grandma would yell at him to stop that before somebody got hurt. It was all in good fun though.My grandparents were also antique dealers. The house and the barns were full of antiques. They called their shop Granny's Antiques. They took me with them when they traveled to auctions. These trips started before dawn, at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. This was long before the life-saving benefits of seat belts were known and I would stretch out in the cab of the pick-up truck with my head in one lap and my feet in the other. Grandma was partial to fancy glassware but Gramps loved to restore furniture. Some people think that refinishing and restoring devalues antique furniture. I disagree. The way that Gramps stripped off the years of dirt and old varnish to reveal the beautiful wood underneath was like magic. He would sand until it was smooth, apply stain and then varnish. He also taught himself how to cane chairs. I marveled at his endless patience as he caned chair seats. That is painstaking work! When I was about five years old, I was outside with Gramps. He was working on a piece of furniture and watching me watch a hummingbird. The hummingbird was about a foot away. I was sure that I could reach out and grab it. Gramps read my mind. In his orneriness he encouraged me. "Go ahead, try to catch it," he said. I so wanted to hold that hummingbird, but I was hesitant. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to catch it, he egged me on. Ultimately, I didn't reach for it. I could tell from his chuckle and the glint in his eye that Gramps was just having fun with me.I miss my grandparents. I am grateful to have known them and for the memories they created and lessons they taught me. I am a better person because of their love and guidance.These are just a few of the fond memories I have of my grandparents.What fond memories do you have of your grandparents?

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The Moment of Truth - Fox’s new show

The Fox channel had its debut showing of "The Moment of Truth" Weds. evening following American Idol.

The show works something like this: pick a contestant and ask them fifty personal questions behind the scenes to get to know them and their vices and flaws.

Next, hook them up to a lie detector test in front of an audience, their spouse, their friends, and even their employer. Then comes the fun part as the contestant is asked the first six questions, which answered truthfully puts 10,000 dollars in their pocket.

It isn't as easy as it sounds, however, because some of the questions are down right demented! Some random questions from last night's show were

:"Are you addicted to gambling?"

"Are you currently a member of the hair club for men?"

"As a personal trainer, have you touched a female client more than was required of you?"

"Have you used the internet to flirt with other women?"

"Have you stolen a peek at another man's privates during a shower?"

"Have you had a sexual fantasy during mass?"

"Have you gone through a co-workers belongings without their knowledge?"

"Have you delayed having children because you don't think your spouse is your lifelong partner?"

The friends/spouse/employers have one out - they can push a large button that is centered between them (one time only) if they do not want to hear the person answer the question that was asked. The problem with that is it will be replaced with another question and the other question just might be worse then the first.

After the initial six questions, that can earn the contestant 10,000 if answered correctly, the next five questions, if answered truthfully, can get the contestant up to the 25,000 dollar mark. The higher you go, the harder and more revealing the question. Answer all 21 questions truthfully and you have $500,000 in your pocket. You may not have a job to go back to, your wife, husband, and friends have probably abandoned you, but you decide how important money really is in your life.

This show is destined to be a hit - audiences love to see people squirm in the hot seat, see their lives (and their friends and families lives) destroyed right in front of them - and the contestant most probably will end up leaving with nothing.

This reminded me of the games we played as teenagers: truth or dare and twenty questions.

Would you risk it all and tell the truth for $500,000?

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We Don’t Have to Like It!

I started this with the idea of mentioning the production of "Mere Mortals" by the the E.M.U. Theatre, a fund-raiser to support the EMU and Ecumenical Christian Ministries. Before I go farther, I hope you consider supporting both the EMU and the ECM.And the title "We Don't Have to Like it" is NOT about the production. It's about other things. But if you just want to support the EMU and ECM, you can stop right here, go to the link, find out when and where it is, and just go.Anyway, if you're still with me.....as I did a little searching so that I could write something without appearing as clueless as I actually am, I found a few things. One of them was the link in the first paragraph.......and that got me to thinking....and that usually means trouble.I've heard a lot of the same stuff you've heard about the Oread Inn development and I realize that I don't really know that much about it. Or the neighborhood. Or the economic benefits to Lawrence. Or maybe a whole lot more...Even if I did know more, I don't believe everything I read or hear.There are, however, a couple of things I do know. I've been through that area and I sort of know what it's like. I just kind of like it. From what I can tell the E.C.M. does more good than harm. Maybe a lot more... But it seems to me to be a benefit to the community.The other thing I know is I just don't like the idea of an eight story building there. Even if it is a modern, attractive building. Especially if it's a hotel that will probably cost more than I'll ever be willing to spend to stay there. No, I just don't like it. And I don't think I "have" to like it. And I don't think I need to know any more about it to not like it.If someone were to tell me that I don't know enough, that it will help care for sick and hungry children, then I would admit that I'm wrong and I don't know enough.But I don't think that is the case. So I think I know enough. And I am not for it. And it will take someone with a lot of important reasons for me to change my mind.Now...I don't really like to be "against" things, my personal philosophy is to be "for" things. So I could say that I'm "for" the E.C.M. or "for" preserving that community. But, in this case, I have to be honest with myself and just admit that I'm against the Oread Inn development.Oh, I realize it will probably be built. And it may even end up getting the land where the E.C.M is now. Twenty years from now it may well be a landmark of our community.Maybe I won't even mind it so much then, if I'm around.But I don't like it now. And I don't have to, and the reasons I have are good enough. I hear you asking, "What's the point of all this?" I know you are, because that's what my wife asked me.It's not that I'm against the Oread Inn (although I am).It is that we can't understand everything. Even I can't and my mom says I'm the smartest guy in the world. So I'm suggesting that we do the best we can and that we try to be fair and unbiased while trying not to oversimplify things.In the end, though, I don't want to feel bad because I can't understand everything about everything. I don't think you should either.And even though I have limitations, my opinion is still important. It might even be valid. But regardless, it is still all right to express it.

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So Much to See #4

Previous: So Much to See #3
Next: So Much to See #5

Here is this week's first picture. It might be anywhere (in Lawrence). It might be anything. Guess if you think you know it.No hints this time, in a day or so I'll add an ever so slightly larger image.

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OK, here is a slightly bigger picture.

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Obviously the first small image wasn't hard enough. Here is a still larger one.

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Come on. I know you can't wait. Here is an even larger portion of the picture. Only one more to go.

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And the complete picture, of Hobbs field:

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Do Computers Suck?

Do computers make you more productive, or do you spend so much time struggling that sometimes you wonder if they are worth the trouble?Do you have a questions about computers or the internet and how they work? Post your questions and I'll try to answer some in future posts.

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Brother Can You Spare A Tax Cut?

Today's middle-class workers are experiencing, like never before, job instability related to international competition, technological advances and outsourcing of jobs to China and India. Yet, our belief in the American Dream spurs us to strive ever harder in the face of greater unemployment levels; rising healthcare and energy costs; and the current housing crisis.Until recently, our economy has experienced a rise in overall growth and productivity; some say due to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Many businesses have experienced record profits while the middle class worker has seen decreases in wages and skyrocketing healthcare and energy costs. For some of these workers, the promised trickle down effect has come too late. Recently, talk of a recession has the stock markets falling and Washington considering an economic stimulus package. That has lobbyists and special interest groups scrambling to grab a piece of the pie, while Democrats and Republicans fight over economic ideological differences. Back in the real world more and more Americans are falling below the poverty line and middle class workers, like the forgotten Everyman in E. Y. Harburg's "Brother Can You Spare A Dime," ponder:"They used to tell me I was building a dream,And so I followed the mob.When there was earth to plow or guns to bear,I was always there, right on the job.They used to tell me I was building a dream,With peace and glory ahead --Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?"

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So Much to See #3

Previous: So Much to See #2
Next: So Much to See #4

Where is it? What is it?This is visible from one of the main streets of town (as defined by me).Each day or so I'll add a larger image or hint.http://worldonline.media.clients.elli...:
1. Not on the west side of town.
2. Slightly larger image
http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... the answer is:
East Heights Early Childhood and Family Center (formerly East Heights Elementary)
http://worldonline.media.clients.elli...

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The New Highway 59 is Coming to Town, or Maybe NOT?

A month or so ago, I happened to notice the highway construction for the new 59 highway the path for utility lines south of Lawrence. Recently, I drove around the area east of "old" 59 between N650 and N1100 Rd. Based on my travels, I did this ROUGH map of what the path into town appears to be. Note that this map only shows the highway starting from N600/650 Rd (1.5 miles east of Zarco south of town).Well, it appears this is actually the path for utility lines into town. Well, it was fun creating the map and taking the pictures. I recently posted on the subject of making mistakes and tolerance. In light of that, this is an interesting turn of events.
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The blue balloon is near where E1450 connects to N600/650. This following image shows the road north (towards Lawrence).
The yellow balloon marks where the highway crosses N800 Rd. The image below looks north towards town.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/12/DSC_0685a.JPGThe red balloon identifies where the highway crosses N1000 Rd (Wells Overlook Rd). The next image looks north.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/12/DSC_0691b.JPGAnd finally, this image looks the other way, back south across Wells Overlook Rd.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/12/DSC_0694a.JPG
The road continues on past N1100 Rd, but sorry, no pictures yet.

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The Power of One Word

One WordI don't know Kelly Tilghman except that she is a sports broadcaster and she is friends with Tiger Woods.During coverage last week, she inadvertently used the word "lynch" when jokingly suggesting that the only way other players could beat him was by removing him from the competition. It was unfortunate, and she apologized to the audience and to Tiger. Tiger released a statement that he understood that there was no ill intent.But that was not enough. Al Sharpton has called for her dismissal. The Golf Channel, who initially supported her, has suspended her for two weeks and her future is unclear.People make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are careless and intolerable. Sometimes the consequences are serious and we should do something about it. That is the case here.The mistake, however, is being made by those who are looking for publicity at the expense of others. Racism still exists in this country, but this episode is not really about that problem.The problem is that there are some who spread fear to increase their own power and influence. The fear that they spread makes me concerned that I might say something that people construe differently than I'd intended. It happened to her. It could happen to me and, no matter what your color or religion, it might even happen to you. That is the fear that I am left with. And to be honest, the thought that speaking out against this will cause me to be labeled a racist leaves me just a touch nervous.There are a lot of words that bring back memories of troubled times. One single word can have tremendous consequences.Sometimes, when people make mistakes, we should consider one word as our response:Tolerance.

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If Christmas lights are out, what’s in?

In our home, the fake greenery interwoven with little twinkly lights around windows often stay in place until Valentines Day. The bright, cherry lights of the Holidays leave a void when finally packed away. I like the ambiance of the low lighting.Feeling our home looks like a tacky restaurant, I sought a another solution for brightening the long winter evenings. I found it in timers-those little gadgets that automatically turn lights off and on at certain times. Like the ones used on my twinkly lights.Because of our home's layout, the kitchen area is not cozy. It is large, open and has seating at one end where we read. I plugged the three lamps in that area into my Christmas light timers. Now they come on around 5:30 pm and go off at ll:00 pm. What a wonderful welcome. Stumbling in with all my gear after work, I found the three lamps casting their glow. The chairs and soft lights beckoned a cup of hot tea and a minute to relax. Just what the doctor ordered after a cold, dreary day.Tonight, I finally removed the rest of the Christmas decorations.The timers will remain until the longer days of spring.

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