Monday, May 27, 2019

It's Still Officially The Weekend Version Of Ten Things Of Thankful

I took a couple of weeks off from the TToT, because the school year was winding up and I was SWAMPED. Don't feel too sorry for me; it's preschool, not high school, but there is still a lot of work to do to get the year wrapped up and get my littles graduated. Now that it's all over, here are my thankfuls:

1. Got them graduated. I was pretty sure one of them was going to fall off the risers, but every time he nearly toppled over, he caught himself. Bear in mind that if he HAD gone over, he would have taken several other graduates out as well in a domino effect, so this is a pretty big thankful.

2. Funny things preschoolers say, especially when they don't mean to be funny. I was testing my kids, one-on-one, with flashcards to see what letters and numbers they knew (I go through upper case letters first, then lower case, and then numbers, and for the clarity of the following conversation, I am careful to tell them what cards I will be showing them).

Me: *holding flash card* What's this one?
5 year old girl: R?
Me: Close. It's a 9.

3. YouTube. One of the headlights on our minivan (shut up) has been out for a month. I bought a replacement bulb for it but had never taken the time to change it. I knew it was only a matter of time before I either got pulled over for it or found myself in a situation where I REALLY NEEDED the glow from that light in order to see, so I looked it up on YouTube and fixed it in a jiffy. Or I fixed it in a jiffy after I learned how to do it on the wrong bulb first.....

4. Adventures with my dad. He has been wanting to buy an army surplus field kitchen (don't ask me why), and he found one on an on-line auction site, bid on it, and won the bid. There were a few hurdles involved in picking up the field stove, including the fact that it was located over 200 miles away, the only day it could be picked up was one of the days I work at the photo studio, so I had to take the day off, and there was threat of severe weather. Short version of this is we drove to Junction City, made it safely through torrential downpours and some lightning and thunder, the flood waters all along our route did not cause road closures, and made it back safely.

5. Silver linings, a/k/a Part 2 of Thankful #4: When we got to Junction City (which is located in the Flint Hills of Kansas and is a truly beautiful area, probably even prettier when it's not pouring down rain), we finally found the place we were looking for down a partially paved road (as in it used to be paved but much of it had deteriorated to gravel) that ended with a sketchy trailer park, a salvage yard, and, oddly, a double wide trailer IN THE ROAD and set on cinder blocks. Like, taking up the entire left half of the road, and you had to drive around it to get to the entrance to the salvage yard and to the trailer park. ANYWAY, we pulled into the muddy, gravel drive of the army surplus place, found the field stove, and got help getting it loaded into the van. HUGE thankful that we had help loading it.

Road ended at the trailer park. Salvage yard
driveway to the right. Kicking myself for not
taking a picture of the trailer permanently
parked in the road, but it was to my left.
Beyond it was the army surplus stuff.

6. Silver linings, Part 3: When my dad found the field kitchen among the other surplus, he was so excited! He had been telling me how the cook could serve three meals a day to 50 soldiers off that stove, and how all the pans and utensils fit inside it, and how you could even bake a cake in it. Then he opened the door and found...nothing. It was only a stainless steel shell and all the guts had been stripped out of it. Oh, how his face fell! This may not sound like a silver lining, and it wasn't to my dad, but I think he has learned a lesson about online auctions.

Back home with his shell of a treasure.
Tears of a clown....

7. Silver linings, Part 4: After the disappointment of the unappointed field kitchen, we hit the road. I wanted a picture of the Flint Hills, because they really are lovely, so I pulled off the freeway to take a picture. Even though it had FINALLY stopped raining, the skies were gloomy and I couldn't get a good picture. I did, however, see a sign for a scenic drive, so off we went. We wound around through the hills, took a few turns, then stumbled upon the Native Stone Scenic Byway. There you will find miles of stone fences that have been preserved, and it is amazing! You can read the sign, below, for more information.

These photos do not do the area justice.

Most of these hills are dotted with cattle. The
grass here is supposed to be some of the
most nutrient filled in the country.

I never knew this before.

Isn't this amazing?

As far as the eye can see.

No mortar. Just stacked carefully.

If I had to live in the middle of nowhere, I'd pick here.

8. Silver linings, Part 5: We didn't run out of gas! I didn't check the gas gauge until we were well off the beaten path, and since the tank was down to 3/8 full, I decided to cut our scenic route short and try to find civilization. This was a little tricky, as we had no service on our phones to use gps and we didnt have a paper map, but we did finally make it to the town of Alma (and, interestingly, made a U-shaped trip and ended up not so terribly far from where we started our scenic drive), and the first thing we saw when we approached the town was a sign for the Alma Creamery, where they make their own cheese. My dad hasn't met much cheese he didn't like, so off we went, and we bought some of the best darn cheese I've ever eaten!  They do mail order as well, and my dad is already planning his first order from them (hopefully it will go better than the field kitchen fiasco).

Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
For real, my dad bought me an Alma
Creamery t-shirt with "nibblin' good" on the back!

9. Basements. We have had several nights this past week of terrible storms. May is the peak of tornado season, and it sure let us know about it!  Wednesday, the 8th anniversary of the Joplin tornado that wiped out a third of our town and killed 161 people, we had tornado warnings. My husband and I were in the basement, preparing to take cover as the meteorologists projected the path of the tornado to be headed for our neighborhood. It passed us to the north, and while 21 homes were destroyed and another 20 seriously damaged, plus 200 more with roof damage, there were no serious injuries and no deaths here. (The same system was responsible for 3 deaths further east and also caused much damage to Jefferson City, the state capitol.) I am so very thankful that we have a basement to go when severe weather strikes. Big shout out to the people from far away who checked on us!

10. Red Cross Tornado App. This is kind of a continuation of #9, but I have set my app to monitor Oklahoma City, where my son is in med school (plus several other locations where family is located) and I was able to keep on top of the tornado warnings there. My son was at his girlfriend's house Saturday night when a tornado came within a mile or so of them. (Unfortunately, there were several deaths from this tornado.) If you live where there is threat of severe weather, get this app. Trust me.

It's officially summer, folks! I know I'm thankful!

Ten Things of Thankful


  1. Oh my! Tornados, road trips, field stoves! How do you put all that together and still graduate the littles? You had an amazing week. I am J-E-A-L-O-U-S of your daddy adventures and the stone fence adventures and who doesn't like a good, albeit dry, road trip? Let's hope this week is dry and safe. Enjoyed your TTOT!!

    1. Thank you, Lisa! Fortunately, I got the littles graduated before all this happened! My daddy and I have lots of adventures together. Hope we can get another one in this summer!

  2. I love reading your posts! I can't remember the source--probably a meme shared on Facebook--but I read recently that the end of the school year is as busy as Christmas, only without the presents. Glad you survived the end of the year craziness!

    Super glad you were safe through the tornadoes. It's amazing just how powerful storms can be! Maybe because I haven't experienced one, or most likely because of fear-inducing films in 3rd grade (not the Wizard of Oz, but that probably figures in, too), but tornadoes terrify me.

    (I used to have the Red Cross earthquake app installed so I could know the strength of earthquakes!)

    The road trip with your dad sounds like it was a lot of fun, even if the kitchen didn't turn out exactly as expected. Those stone fences are really cool!

    1. Thank you so much, Kristi! And I saw that meme, too, and I am in total agreement!

      I really thought we were going to lose our house this time. The only other time it has been that close to us was the one 8 years ago. I'm terrified of them, too, which is why I insisted we buy a house with a basement when we moved back here 22 years ago. The Red Cross earthquake app would definitely be something you would need in California!

      So much sadness on my dad's face when he found out what he had paid for! Finding the cheese factory helped a lot!

  3. What an amazing road trip! Thank you so much for posting the photos of the rock fences. Those are incredible! The amount of hours it must have taken to build those fences is mind boggling.

    Your #3 made me chuckle. It sounds like the kind of mistake I might make, although I have never actually tried to replace a headlight bulb. Yeah for YouTube!

    When I worked in a preschool as an aide when one of our firstborn was that age, I totally enjoyed the experience. The things little children say crack me up.

    I have a weather app and an earthquake app to track the weather where family members live. I guess this just goes along with being a mother even when your kids are grandparents. LOL

    So sorry that your Dad's field kitchen didn't have the utensils included. What a disappointment. I'm sure he enjoyed spending that traveling time with you though!

    1. The fences were amazing!

      I wish the wrong bulb had been the right one, because the right one was realllly hard to get to!

      Preschoolers are da bomb!

      I monitor my son's weather, my daughter's, my dad's (two different places), the town where my husband works, and our town. And almost all of them are affected by the same storms, even though they are hundreds of miles apart! During storms, my app is going crazy!

      The field kitchen was a huge disappointment to him, but we DID have so much fun!

  4. I wanted to write something amusing or profound but all I could come up with it, "Thank the lord I don't live in tornado territory!" Glad you've got that basement, chica.