Friday, August 31, 2007

Absent Students

Thanks to Profgrrrrl:

Thursday, August 30, 2007
I've been saving this gem for a rainy day.

Dear Ms. Grrrrl,

I am registered in your Complexification for Future Leaders course, but did not attend class today. I want to apologize. Let me explain. I drove to campus and then could not find parking, no matter how much I hoped or prayed. At 12:30, when class was starting, I gave up and drove home. I had been looking for at least 10 minutes and no one left the lot or anything during that time. Then I thought about walking, but when I looked outside the sky seemed gray. I thought it best to not take any chances.

Please excuse my absence.

Staydry Sally

Dear. Sally,

Thanks so much for your note. I'm actually relieved that you chose to not attend class today when you found parking to be a challenge and then feared the weather too inclement to walk. It actually wasn't bad weather at all -- I should know, because I walked 20 min to the classroom building and 20 minutes back in blazing sunshine. There were a few white fluffy clouds, but nothing resembling rain. Anyway, I digress. I am glad you made this excuse because it means that certainly you will excuse me when I neglect to show up for class because of the rain --- yes, that pesky 20 minute walk from my office could mean that I'd get quite wet on the way to class. I suppose I could drive the 1.5 miles from my office to the classroom, but as you already noted, parking is hard to come by here. Even for faculty.

In the future, may I suggest using the campus valet service? From what I hear, they'll even escort you from curb to door with a huge umbrella! And detail your car while you attend your lecture!

Absolutely consider your absence excused. And feel free to not come in excessive wind (messes the hair) or heat (wouldn't want you to perspire), if you have cramps, if you have a blister on your foot, if your best friend is in town visiting, or any other situation in which you might experience a tiny bit of discomfort or inconvenience. I'll excuse you for all of these absences. Of course I will. As I'm sure you'll excuse me when I deduct from your grade for them, per the policy on the syllabus.

Love & long walks,
Dr. Profgrrrrl

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Seeing the Top

Things finally clicked today so that, while there are many impending deadlines, they appear to be manageable. In fact, most will be fun tasks to complete. I'm also gradually making progress on the yard - at least the growth should start slowing a bit as the side effect of all the recent heat.

Meetings are on tap for tomorrow. Then I should feel on top of the new teaching semester.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guided by History

Guided by History

This looks like an interesting blog!

National Archives-Kansas City Announces Move to Union Station

NOTE VIDEO link in online article.

National Archives formally announces plan to relocate branch near Union Station
The Kansas City Star

* Video from the Associated Press Union Station officials hope archives facility will build traffic, revenue

The National Archives on Tuesday formally announced its plan to relocate its regional branch to a site near Union Station at a ceremony where pork-barrel politics got a plug.

The federal agency, described as the “guardian of the nation’s history,” will renovate the old Adams Express Co. freight building west of the terminal. It is to become a 44,000-square-foot repository for more than 30 million records compiled in the Great Plains region dating to 1821.

The $10 million new home for the Central Plains Region is expected to open in late 2008. It will replace the facility at the Bannister Federal Complex in south Kansas City.

“The National Archives building is going to be part of the vision that Kansas City has for the Union Station and Liberty Memorial area,” Sen. Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican, told the estimated 150 people gathered for the announcement. “Our beautiful old buildings will be a vital part of Kansas City’s future while honoring and recognizing the past.”

While Bond saluted the concept and its backers, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat, offered some political commentary.

“There are people who are opposed to earmarks,” Cleaver said, referring to funding that lawmakers include in the federal budget for pet projects back home. “This country is better because of people like Senator Bond who have been able to bring dollars to the city.”

While the Central Plains project is not technically an earmark, Bond helped include funding in the National Archives budget.

Cleaver’s observation won applause.

The new facility is expected provide better access to regional documents for professional and amateur historians, and also provide electronic access to documents kept by the National Archives around the country.

The Central Plains Region has most of the records collected by nonmilitary federal agencies in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska until 1990. It also has some Indian agency records from Minnesota and the Dakotas.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Story of My “Second Life” � KellyKate Flanagan comes to (real) life…

The Story of My “Second Life” � KellyKate Flanagan comes to (real) life…

Friday, August 24, 2007

Off to Chicago

I'm off to Chicago to the Second Life Conference. Should be fun meeting some online colleagues in real life. Plus Chicago is always a good thing and will be a nice break from the August Kansas heat!

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Two Days in Casper

The last few days of vacation involved driving through Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks and then across some very interesting terrain I hadn't seen before in Wyoming as I headed to Casper. I had been to Jackson on a train trip so I detoured about 30 miles to visit the town and eat some Mexican food for lunch and gather up some great bakery items.

Casper was enjoyable and a good way to rest up for the last two legs home. One of the highlights of the trip was the Bureau of Land Management's National Historic Trails Interpretive Site. It was simply outstanding in its interactivity and the staff went out of it's way to greet and talk to visitors and make sure they had access to all the features of the site.

I also found a neat walking/biking trail - although it took until the second day to find the pretty longer part of it.

I then made it to Hays, Kansas, for the night. It's become quite the growing metropolis since I last was there about 3 years ago. I stopped by FHSU and then headed to Wichita for some Vietnamese food for lunch. I found an E85 station right by my hotel (right under my nose again) in Hays. I finally made it home by dinner time on Wednesday in time to go to opening meetings on Thursday. It was great seeing everyone at PSU - especially the folks I don't always get to see during the year since we're all in different buildings going different directions. It really doesn't seem like I was gone for a year on sabbatical.

I'll meet students in the teaching and seminar courses this afternoon and this evening.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Resuming our Broadcast

Am safely home and busy with the early semester duties that accompany classes starting Monday. More later - including rest of vacation blogging - how fats they go!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ScrappleFace � Rove Quits White House to Run Hillary Campaign

ScrappleFace � Rove Quits White House to Run Hillary Campaign: "Rove Quits White House to Run Hillary Campaign by Scott Ott (2007-08-13) — Karl Rove, the chief adviser to George Bush since 1993, in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, said he would resign from the Bush administration effective August 31, to spend more time with family and to head up the presidential campaign of Democrat front runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY. Mr. Rove called the move “a cold calculated decision to remain in charge of the U.S. government indefinitely.” “I crave power,” Mr. Rove told the Journal, “and I can’t get my fix working for a lame duck president. I’ve been informally advising future President Clinton for about a year. I have a lot in common with Hillary — mostly notably the ice water that flows through our veins and the unbridled lust to rule the nation with an iron fist.” President Bush plans to make a statement about the Rove resignation, as soon as he can find someone to tell him what to say."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Two Days in Helena and a Day in Bozeman

The end point of my travels west was Helena, Montana, where has a condo. She is a native of eastern Montana and wrote her dissertation on the redlight district of Helena. She shared lots of interesting stories about the area and the state museum was quite interesting - especially the recent food supply.
She treated me to a great dinner at the Silver Star. And I highly recommend the Great Northern Hotel. Don't let the Best Western affiliation throw you - it was by far the nicest of all of the pet-friendly accommodations I've stayed in during this trip. Too bad it was the one in which I spent the least amount of time.

After a few days in Helena, I drove back toward Bozeman to spend the night. The only miscalculation was that the Montana State University Bookstore would be closed on a Saturday and Sunday since school isn't in session. It was an interesting drive through the campus, however.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Butte, MT

Spending a day in Butte, Montana, was an interesting comparison to the mining landscapes I see all around me at home. The Rocky Mountains in Montana are definitely bigger and more spread out than those in Colorado (with which I am more familiar given the geographical relationship to Kansas). There was gold, silver, and copper mining here and the state university's technology campus is here. Go Diggers!

Had some interesting food and the people are indeed very nice.

More on Montana later. Now it's time to drive again.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Billings, Montana

I spent a night in Billings, Montana - it's clearly the "Pittsburgh" of Montana. I had a good family style Italian meal and stayed in a Holiday Inn - the part that hadn't been remodeled.

But, Big Sky Country and the views are great! I'm just not sure that Billings will be on any future lists except that I did enjoy the Western Heritage Center and had some good Thai food for lunch.

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Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (U.S. National Park Service): "Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Little Bighorn River text size: printer friendly QUICKLINKS: Directions Operating Hours & Seasons Fees & Reservations Live Webcams Home Page This area memorializes one of the last armed efforts of the Northern Plains Indians to preserve their way of life. Here in 1876, 263 soldiers and attached personnel of the U.S. Army, including Lt. Col. George A. Custer, met death at the hands of several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors."

I happened up on this historic site on my drive from Wyoming into Montana. All of the headstones really helps register how many men and Indians were lost here. At least the casino is across the street.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I spent two days in Cheyenne Wyoming. I found a great place for homemade Mexican - The Tortilla Factory. Walking around downtown was interesting. Frontier Days was just last week or so and you can almost feel the town winding down a bit. There was a great view from the hotel and some great sidewalk walking areas to get some exercise each morning.

An interesting pair of boots was among my purchases here. The scenery was great on the drive. Still not quite mentally on vacation but that finally happened when I made it to Montana and Big Sky Country.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Lasso Espresso

Gotta love this name - plus the cappuccino was great!

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Concordia POW Camp - World War II

As I was venturing out of Kansas, I went "off route" to tour this site. A new house has gone up on the section corner right across the road. This website gives the full story and better pictures.

I'll be on the road most of the day - primarily northern in direction.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007



Just what I've been looking for! and there's even texting instructions for cell phones

Vacation Day 1 - Kansas/Nebraska

After weedeating at the farm, I headed west to Wichita and then north to Nebraska. I stopped in Concordia KS at lunchtime and not only found a charming old family restaurant where I had a hot roast beef sandwich with REAL mashed potatoes and gravy - no powdered bases plus a salad with "Dorothy" salad dressing. No, not Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz but Dorothy as in Dorothy Lynch. I've had it on and off over the years but primarily at home and not in restaurants.

I also found an interesting quilt and gift store. I haven't really quilted in a couple of years and they not only had an outstanding quilt fabric selection - including Kaffe fabric - but also some great clothing fabric. They were even advertising the "Make it with Wool Contest" that I have both participated in and judged.

Willa Cather spent time in Nebraska and I stopped by the historic sites in Red Cloud. A company from Fort Scott had the front of the actual historic site roped off for renovation (too bad I didn't find that in any of my web searches) but I found an interesting bookstore across the street and the owner pointed me down the next block to the WC Foundation site where I bought a few things.

Then, it was on to Kearney, Nebraska, where I settled into the hotel room and later ate at Whiskey Creek. This morning I had a chance to explore the marvelous trail along the river and we spent almost an hour walking/jogging it. The heat was low although the humidity was still high.

As I mentioned before, some posts may lag a day or two so that we can err on the side of overly safe. The crazies are everywhere . . . .

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Almost on vacation

I was more tired than I thought yesterday and mowing in the heat and humidity made it so that I knew I couldn't drive all day today so there's more organizing and cleaning on deck today before I head to the farm.

A recent murder up in what is normally considered a safe suburb of Kansas City has me wondering if should post my vacation so that it's not easy to know exactly where I am until a day or so afterwards. Not that that many people are that interested but that it only takes one weirdo to be a problem. One of our teachers mentioned that the girl who was killed mentioned on either her Facebook or MySpace page that she was headed to Target and that's how he targeted her. I am surprised I didn't see that aspect played up more since, so many times, the attackers know there victim somehow even if their victims don't know them and/or aren't aware of them.

I'm sitting in my home office right now watching roofing shingles come tumbling down on my hydrangeas and lantana - we do have them somewhat covered and the guys are trying. Just the nature of the beast of getting the work done - at least it's the end of the summer - but the hydrangeas haven't bloomed yet this year and the lantana is pretty hardy in the heat.

So, more chores - at work and at home - off the decks today and I'll head out late in the afternoon so that I have time to do any outside work that needs done at the farm and then head north and/or west tomorrow and get to another state by the end of the day. I am definitely mentally ready and, by the end of the day, I should be physically ready.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Home Again

There's nothing like sleeping in your own bed. And, lucky for me, I woke up just in time to be up and ready for the world when the roofers arrived.

Had a great research trip with Paul and did some early fall shopping on my way home on the KC Country Club Plaza to try to wait out the traffic standstill in the Grandview Triangle. Found a few things to ease into the fall season and, for the FIRST time, received good service at the Eddie Bauer store there. I've not had good luck in the past and usually end up ordering online from the catalog phone because no one has noticed I want to buy clothes. Sometimes it takes one personnel change to improve things and I know it's increasingly difficult to find good workers who want more than just a job and actually want to work while they are at work. I worked retail in a previous life - both big department store and specialty women's retailer . .. much more fun to wait on customers - means you don't have to fold as much and do as much inventory - although I did absolutely love unpacking the new boxes of clothes as they came in.

I'll try to get everything that has to be done around here before I head out for vacation. I'm hoping to spend the night at the farm and leave from there but only time will tell. Am probably going to climb up to Nebraska first but need to check out what is going on with the Montana wildfires so that I don't end up in the wrong spot-especially given that the "next road over" is usually quite a ways over in a state like Montana.

I'm definitely ready for the break and will get back just in time for school to start. Being in the wide open sky out West will do wonders - it really gives you perspective on things.

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