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Copyright 2007.  Cynthia Harris.  All rights reserved.

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My blog: Cyn in the Flint Hills
 
 
 
April 28, 2007--A Glorious Saturday!

The sun is shining, the wind is calm (which is not often in KS), the grass is green, flowers in bloom, and the trees that were hit by the freeze are starting to get new leaves. A good sign that Spring is here (as long as there is not another freeze).

Many people have this stereotyped thought that all of Kansas is flat as a pancake. That is not so. The east and central part of Kansas is home to the Flint Hills and the Tallgrass Prairie Reserve. When the wild flowers bloom the land is beautifully filled with color.

In October 2005, the late R. W. "Johnny" Apple, Jr. was driving from Kansas City to Kansas State University to see me. When he called he told me he had just passed the airport. When he arrived I asked why didn't he take the first exit off the interstate instead of the second one. He said, "I was looking at the beautiful rolling hills and landscape, and missed the first exit. My GPS system told me there was a second exit, so I relished in the sites."

Now, if you have ever heard the name R. W. Apple, Jr. then you know I am talking about the big time New York Times reporter who was a war correspondent and in his later life turned to writing about food. His books APPLE'S AMERICA and APPLE'S EUROPE list Johnny's favorite visiting and eating places.

Unfortunately, Johnny passed away last fall from thoracic cancer. Ironically, this is the same type of cancer that Paddleford had. While Paddleford survived about 37 years after her diagnoses and surgery, Johnny survived about 1 year. Both these people left an impact on American food traditions.

Enough for today. While the wind is calm, I must work outside.

May 21, 2007-Memorial Day Around The Corner

Memorial Day is right around the corner--next Monday--and many folks will be traveling, camping, barbecuing, visiting cemeteries, hanging out.

When I was a young child, growing up in Northeastern Kentucky, my parents always visited the cemeteries on Memorial Day and the nine of us kids had to go along. My grandmother is buried on top of a small mountain top and the only way up was to climb. How they got her and the others to the cemetery is beyond me, even to this day. My guess, would be horse/mule and sleigh.

Anyway, while the adults pulled weeds, removed old dead flowers, and sometimes faded plastic flowers, they would talk about the dead and tell stories of when they were children. Did I or my siblings pay attention to these stories? Sometimes, but I can't remember them. Most of the time, us little ones went off to play and to check out the old plastic flowers that had been tossed off the graves into a large heap pile. At that time, it wasn't considered littering, just a junk pile. And you can't believe today, what pretty items we found. Old baskets to carry our treasures in, faded ribbon to decorate our baskets, and it is hard to tell what other items we wanted to tote home. I don't remember mother ever letting us take home our finds, but we didn't care--they would be there next year.

My father has been gone for 25 years and my mother just put the old homestead up for sale and moved to town. No more do the children all get together to climb to the mountain top to put flowers on grandmother's grave--grandfather is buried in the same cemetery as my Dad, several miles away from grandma. My parents grandchildren and great-grandchildren never experienced those days of climbing up and up to the flat spot which is the resting place of one of their ancestors.

A few years ago, I climbed that mountain and found that someone took pity on those that continued to climb and carved out a road--need a 4 wheel drive to get there--but a road nonetheless. I didn't have a 4 wheel drive, so my feet did the walking and as I climbed, I found that I remembered the old pathway we took so long ago--which actually never seemed all that long ago.

April 03, 2008--It Must Be Spring

It must be Spring. Now, why would I write such a thing? Well, it is not because of the tiny buds forming on the trees and bushes, or the tulips that are pushing up from the ground.

Hop to it already!

It is because of the Grass Smoke in the air!

Yep, that is it. In my area we know that spring has arrived when the farmers and ranchers light that dry brown grass, watch it smolder, and burst into flames. The flames race across the prairie and everything that was once brown turns black.

In a couple of weeks---might be days if rain follows the burn--everything will turn lush emerald green. And as the grass and wildflowers grows they will sway gently on the breeze---nah, more like it they will hold on for dear life as the strong winds try to rip them out of their snug place in the ground.

Oh, Spring....a time where anything could happen and something probably will---flooding, tornadoes, strong winds, gentle breezes, warm sunshiny days, blustery cold days that can chill your bones, or maybe a spring freeze or a spring snow.

January 26, 2008-Kleio Historical Society

Well, when I get an idea and I think it will work, I am like a dog with a bone.

After attending a reunion last August to give a presentation I looked around the room and saw that most of the people were over the age of 75. They come together each year to celebrate the small town they used to live in, but was flood in 1957 to make way for the Dam.

Later I checked the local history society and found that not much information had been compiled on the small towns that were wiped out of the valley when the Dam was put in.

I started talking to people and everyone was interested and they even had thought that something needed to be done about preserving the history of the rural communities, yet no one had the ambition to do anything about it.

I have always heard, when you want something done, ask a busy person or do it yourself.

After doing tons of research into what it takes to form a non-profit organization, I got together with another person and we got busy. I did the telephoning and collecting of documents and she built the web page. I filed the necessary paperwork with the state, then sat about finding us temporary accommodations and succeeded. One of the small towns impacted by the Dam survived by moving to higher ground, but never got as big as they once were, and they welcomed us.

Thank goodness this all took place while I had some down time with Miss Clementine (the subject of the book I am co-writing) because I have got to get back on this project so the book can be published later this year.

Tomorrow afternoon we will have our first informational meeting and we can show those who think we are a scam society, because they never heard of us, that we are in fact a recognized society by the state because we have the paperwork from the secretary of state to prove it. Now we can file the IRS paperwork for our Non-Profit 501 (c) (3) status. YEAH!

If you want, check out our web site at www.museofhistory.com to see what all we are doing.

This first year we will not ask for membership dues and those who join will be part of our charter membership.

One of our upcoming fund raising events will be a Crock Pot Cook Off. And we are planning events in different rural communities in the county we live and a couple of the surrounding counties.

So, if you don't see me here on the blog site, just bookmark the web page above and hop over to see what I am up too.

And, one of these days I hope to have a high paying position as Director of Kleio Historical Society, then I can quit my 40 hour week job and pretty much do as I please as long as I continue to raise funds and become an expert in grant writing.

Then who knows, I might have enough time to write another book, to write contributing chapters to books, and to write more articles.

And, the big one....might have time to give my house, basement, and garage a thorough cleaning from top to bottom and finish up all the project I have started to the house and with my crafts and sewing.

November 17, 2007-Thanksgiving

This past week I have been working on a 21 day challenge. A Complaint Free World was started by Rev. Will Bowen near Kansas City.

I have found this a very hard challenge. Bowen said he went through 3 bracelets before he reached his 21 days of being complaint free.

During the week, I went one day of complaint free and that was because I was home with my 2 cats and dog, and I love being around them and watching all the funny things they do.

I am learning who and what pushes my buttons to cause me complain, therefore, I am trying the techniques that Bowen wrote about in his book. One of his biggest points, is the energy behind the words we use.

At work, 3 others in my office decided to take the challenge along with my supervisor and her supervisor. One of my co-workers had a meeting with our supervisor and the supervisor told her she had gone 3 days complaint free. My co-worker said that she had not made 1 day, because as we read through the book and learning more about being conscious of complaining she found that she often complained about food when she ate out. This co-worker reported to us, that the supervisor then had to admit she had not gone complaint free.

What I just wrote could be called gossip. Bowen stated it was normal and Okay to gossip as long as what say, we would also say to the person's face or the gossip is complimentary.

According to Bowen, and we all know this, everyone complains and everyone gossips--it is normal.

As for venting, that is also complaining.

Complaining is when we want something to change.

A statement of fact, is when we say something that is true and knowing we cannot change them, nor do we want to change them, or maybe we do. It is the energy we use behind the words that gives it the category of "complaining."

For example, "President Bush has not been a great leader of our country." Many people believe this to be true, therefore, a fact.

If I had wrote, "President Bush is the worst president this country has every had!!!!" This would be complaining.

According to Bowen, it is a matter of watching what words you use. And, I have been trying very hard this past week to do that. Many times I caught myself and was able to change the words used in what I wanted to say without making it sound like I was complaining.

More times than not, when I was around certain people, I caught myself complaining because these individuals knows what topics and/or subjects (mostly other people) that pushes my buttons and off I would go on a tangent. All the while feeling guilty that I was doing it, but for some reason could not stop myself.

In one section of his book, Bowen wrote about Sylvester. The name he gave to the little thing that reigned chaos in his mind.

Do you have a guardian angel? Then you have an evil being as well.

I have started calling my evil being: Evil-Lyn...after a character from a cartoon my son watched on TV many years ago, called "He Man" because she is my conscious that loves to complain about certain things.

According to Bowen, once you get your complaining under control, you find that your life is much happier, you are much healthier, and you start to feel great and see that your dreams come true.

While myself and 1 co-worker are taking this challenge seriously, one co-worker, said she was not going to bother moving the bracelet, because all she would do is move the bracelet every time she spoke.

This particular, is one of the co-workers that knows how to push my buttons. I am trying hard not too abandon her, because she can be fun in many other ways. After the first of 2008, my section will be moving to another area in the building--0n the same floor, but far enough way that I probably will not see this particular co-worker unless I make a point of visiting her. And as my new work space will be right next to an elevator and stairwell, I find visiting this person highly likely. Right now I must walk past her office to reach the front reception area when my 2 student employees work several hours during the week.

After the move I will see if it is this particular person that causes me to complain, or if I seek her company because she allows me to complain. This is a wait and see.

In the meantime, I hope that those who read this blog, will visit the A Complaint Free World web site and read about the challenge.

 October 06, 2007--Limestone School House
Entry for October 06, 2007--Limestone School House magnify

I spent my morning doing laundry and straightening up the house, but now I must go change into jeans and some sensible shoes. I am off to check out some more limestone buildings in my area. I will be meeting up with a friend and I will show her this building, an old school house, then we will tootle on to a farm where we will help a farmer do paperwork to get his barn and home and this old school house which is on his property, onto the National Register of Historic Places.

Once on the Register, we are hoping he will receive some grant money to help restore the buildings. The old school will become a place where school children can go for a day and get a taste of history of classes being in a one room school together and we hope a place where people in the farm community can come together.

Must run, or I will be late....must remember my farm boots---don't want to go walking around the barnyard in tennis shoes

September 22, 2007--Computer Crashes !@*@!

Right when I thought I was back to blogging, my computer took a nose dive during a storm and it has taken several weeks for the Geek Squad to retrieve my files--I did have most of them backed up, but not all--especially my photos.

I am behind in reading everyone's blog, but have tried to read as many as I can on my breaks at work. Now that my computer is back--I plan on spending lots of time blogging and reading blogs--that is till my agents returns the manuscript for revisions--it has to be in the best shape possible before December 1, the deadline date to the editor.

Being frustrated with computer crashes is one thing I had to deal with this pass month. Another has been a new interim boss who is power hungry and does not know the rules and regulations or the policies and procedures of the organization and who has made so many huge personnel mistakes it makes me wonder how they managed to get to their position. Needless to say, it has also been frustrating at work lately.

On top of this, my husband has been ill and the specialists have not given us a complete diagnoses. What we know is that he has an abnormal heart valve--could be a leaky valve, but the cardiologist only put him on a wait and see list and scheduled another sonogram for February. He also has a lung problem which the pulmonary doctor thinks is caused by the heart problem, and he has a kidney problem which the kidney doctor can't figure out. Since June he has been to at least one doctor a week and several tests.

So, as you can see, our household is normal--because when it rains it pours--or so they say. And this too shall pass.

On the upside, I have been involved with starting a non-profit organization to help preserve, protect, and promote, the old limestone buildings in my area and the history of the small towns that have disappeared in the area. I have been amazed of how many people feel and believe the way I do about the history of county.

The county I live in is long, running north and south. The county seat is in the south end (town) and everyone forgets about the north end of the county where I live which is a rural area. I have often said that an invisible wall exists in the county dividing it in two parts; the north half does not get the same benefits as the south half but have to pay the same kind of taxes, etc.

The county historical society is located in the south end and when I approached them about the history of the north end, they pretty much said, if you do the work we will take the oral histories only, but have no room for artifacts and manuscript collections.

Now that my computer is working again, I plan on saving my blogs to a CD and plan on checking out what all is going on with Yahoo 360.

August 19, 2007--How Time Flies

Entry for August 19, 2007--How Time Flies magnify
Geez, time seems to fly right past me these days. Here is another photo taken on the way to work. This photo belies the heat of the day :)

August 09, 2007--An Early Morning Sunrise

Entry for August 09, 2007--An Early Morning Sunrise magnify
Somedays the photos turn out and other times they don't. Here is one that turned out pretty good. It shows how early I go to work.

August 07, 2007--Visitors

Entry for August 07, 2007--Visitors magnify

During hot weather, like now, we take our dog, Daisy, to the lake so she can swim. Each evening, while splashing in the water we have company.

How do you like our visitors?

August 06, 2007--Red Fox In My Neighborhood

Entry for August 06, 2007--Red Fox In My Neighborhood magnify

For years we have had a Red Fox in our neighborhood. Several years ago we decided the fox was a female because we saw her carrying her Kits. We are not sure if this fox is male or female but it has made