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I just got back home earlier this week from a quick trip home to Kansas.  I do consider Kansas my home state.  Although my father was in the military for my entire childhood, he was stationed in Kansas longer than anywhere else.  And I graduated from high school there, headed off to college and even my first job as an adult was in Kansas.  In fact, I lived there for over 25 years.  So, I consider it home, even though I left there over 14 years ago. 

It was such a good feeling to cross that state line into Kansas and drive through Wichita, on through the Flint Hills and up the highway all the way to Kansas City.  Yep, Kansas City, Kansas City, here I come…that’s what I was humming as I drove down the highway.  I could feel myself relax as all those familiar places flashed past my car windows.  I stopped off in Matfield Green to see the Knute Rockne memorial, in Emporia to see Soden’s Grove, in Olpe to see the Olpe Chicken House, and in Leavenworth, I saw the federal prison, the front gate to Fort Leavenworth and the Missouri River.  

Kansas may not be that huge tourist destination, but folks don’t know what they’re missing.  People in Kansas are warm and friendly, helpful, open and welcoming.  And it’s kind of like stepping back a bit in time when you stop to see the beautifully old-fashioned town squares in the small towns that line highway 40 or highway 50.  Nothing is as much fun as hanging out with friends at the local high school football or basketball game and then heading over to the mom & pop hamburger place and visiting with everyone some more. 

This trip, I went back to my college homecoming and met up with friends from my college days that I hadn’t seen in about 30 years.  It was so much fun!  How do so many people not age???  They looked like they did in college and I would have recognized most of them anywhere.  And now, I’m looking forward to next year.  They say you can never go home again…well, I don’t know who “they” are, but they are WRONG!  You can go home again.  I did.  And it was wonderful.

 “You can’t appreciate home till you’ve left it, money till it’s spent, your wife till she’s joined a woman’s club, nor Old Glory till you see it hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town.” ~ O. Henry Porter

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How I hate to clean house. I love the end product, but there is so much to do that is much more enjoyable (translated–less boring, less tedious and less frustrating)). I love to read and I love to watch Food Network on the weekends.  I also love to shop and enjoy going to basketball games at a local university.  These are all activities that can (and usually do) trump doing housework.  So, I told my husband how much I hate it. 

We finally came to the agreement that since I work full-time and so does he, neither of us are that excited about doing housework.  In fact, he will vacuum, but refuses to dust.  I’m allergic to dust.  He will do the dishes (except the pots and pans) and helps a great deal with laundry.  Beyond that, we don’t want to do anything major…like windows, scrubbing floors, the bathrooms, etc.  So, we decided to hire someone.  A year ago.  And we still haven’t.  You might think this is another symptom of wanting to do fun things instead of work, but it truly isn’t.  We can’t agree on how to hire someone. 

I want to hire someone who comes highly recommended from someone we know or hire a lady at work who works in the housekeeping department.  She cleans houses on the side.  My hubby wants to hire a service.  I don’t want someone unknown coming into our house.  He wants someone who is covered by a big company’s insurance and has been screened.  I think that the people I was looking at HAVE been screened.  By the ones recommending them! 

So, a year after we decided to hire someone, we still haven’t.  Which means, I need to cut this short and start the housework–and do the necessary stuff and hope that we can come to an agreement before I have to break down and do the windows! 

“When it comes to housework the one thing no book of household management can ever tell you is how to begin. Or maybe I mean why.” ~ Katharine Whitehorn

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I need to be reading something every day; it was such an integral part of my life growing up and it has stayed with me.  It started with my love of reading Nancy Drew mysteries when I was a little girl.  As I grew older, my love of mysteries never waned.  I read Agatha Christy books and then moved on to so many other authors I can’t even keep track of them all.  In fact, I enjoy reading so much, at one point my apartment (pre-marriage) was starting to look like a used bookstore.  Books everywhere.  I couldn’t part with them.  I finally broke down and sorted through them.  I selected my favorite authors and kept only their books and a few other lifetime favorites.  The rest were donated or sold at a used bookstore for credit toward MORE BOOKS! 

I have finally realized that electronic books are my solution to storage issues.  I broke down and bought a Nook last year and love it!  It has the capability of storing more books than I could possibly carry with me on any trip.  And since I also love to read at night, at lunch, during road trips (when I’m not driving), in the bathtub, and anytime I’m trapped in line somewhere or sitting in a waiting room, my Nook is the perfect solution.  Books are…my passion…my escape from reality…my way to live vicariously through others…my relaxation.  Whether they are fiction or true stories, I love to read. 

In the last year, I’ve read:

  1. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
  2. Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
  3. Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke
  4. Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke (do you see a trend here?)
  5. Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky
  6. Fantasy in Death by JD Robb
  7. Farewell, My Subaru by Doug Fine
  8. Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson
  9. Fish Out of Agua by Michele Carlo
  10. Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo by Heather Wardell
  11. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
  12. Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke
  13. Purity in Death by JD Robb
  14. Running Scared by Lisa Jackson
  15. Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
  16. Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie
  17. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
  18. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  19. The Percy Jackson series of books by Rick Riordan
  20. The Shack by William P. Young
  21. The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner
  22. And several books in hard copy prior to purchasing my Nook in June.

I may have to track what books I’m reading in 2011.  But that would be another post (or page of my blog).   

 “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ~ Marcus T. Cicero

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This is actually the theme for a conference I attended in July, but I’ve just realized today that this should be a theme for my whole life.  We can hope that something good will come to us, but unless we actually take charge of our lives and take action to make sure what happens is what we want, we are destined to have to roll with the punches.  I’m not willing to be punched by life.  I want to punch back!  I want to make sure that the best things that can possibly happen for me actually happen.  So, today, I am taking action!  

It’s kind of like the lottery.  The critics of gambling and lottery tickets say we don’t stand a chance of winning.  Well, we definitely don’t, if we don’t buy a ticket.  Life is the same way.  I’m going to get my ticket and win the life lottery!  I’m working on getting my life sorted out.  This week, I’m starting with a major overhaul of my job search.  I can’t pin my hopes on one job, just because it sounds like the perfect one for me.  I have to get more and more and more resumes out there.  This weekend is a major overhaul of my organization system in the house.  And I can’t have housework looming over me while I’m trying to do an exhaustive job search.  So, each day, I’m dedicating 2 hours to chores and then I have to focus on the search.  And in writing down my plan, I have started to take charge. 

And tomorrow is the beginning of “Take Action!”  Today, I am creating a workplace that is conducive to intense work.  And I’m looking forward to this!  I already feel so much better. 

“A heart to resolve, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute.” ~ Edward Gibbon

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I keep thinking, as cold as it is in the house, it should be snowing! I think there may be something wrong with the thermostat, furnace or some part of the heating system and I’m freezing. Beau is coming home tomorrow and it can’t be too soon. I had a feeling we were headed for problems with the furnace…it’s over thirteen years old. We’ve been thinking that sooner or later it was going to go. I just hate to think it’s right now…at the coldest time of the year. I have been through something similar. Before we got married, I lived in Kansas City and I spent a night buried in blankets, clothes, down comforters and quilts, because a power failure that for some was over two weeks caused my place to have no heat. Fortunately, we were only out of power a couple of days. I was so relieved the power came back on and I was warm again!

I hope I’m wrong and I’ve just done something stupid and can’t figure out the thermostat. Beau will be able to figure it out tomorrow and maybe we again escape the cost of replacing the heating system. Before it gets any colder, I’m heading for bed and burying myself in blankets (again).

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” ~ Anne Bradstreet

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