Prairie View

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Local School Consolidation Issue

This will primarily interest local people.

Our public school district is considering having all the 7th and 8th graders attend school at Haven. That would mean that Partridge and Mount Hope would lose two grades at their attendance centers.

Some Partridge patrons are opposed to seeing this happen. To make their position clear, a letter has been prepared, with signed copies going to each school board member. Anyone who agrees is invited to stop by the Partridge Grade school tomorrow to sign the letters. Enter at the front door on the north, and turn to the left to find the office, where I understand the letters are being kept. The letters will likely be mailed on Friday.

Although most of the readers of this blog do not send their children to local public schools, I think all of us who live in the Partridge area know that local schools do affect the local economy, and, in that regard, we all have a stake in what happens in the public schools. Beyond that, for the sake of my neighbors' best interests, I'm personally happy to cast a "vote" in favor of keeping local students at local attendance centers. I hope others will join me in casting a vote.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I want a new pair of athletic shoes. My current pair can't be properly cleaned anymore. They're fine for gardening and wearing around the house, but they're too dingy to wear away from home.

Hiromi is not convinced. Didn't you just buy a pair of shoes for school? Yes. Were they athletic shoes? No.

So I did the hesokuri (hess-oh-koo-ree) thing, only I didn't know I should call it that till Hiromi told me. I told him I'm trying very hard to acquire the habit of clearing the dining room table completely every evening before I head for bed. (This is a challenge since it's a magnet for all kinds of clutter.) Could I put aside a dollar for that pair of shoes every time I make sure the table is cleared before bed? He thought that was a great idea. He even offered to make sure he regularly had plenty of dollar bills in his billfold.

Today I found a new way to add to my money stash. I innocently asked Hiromi what he had for lunch. I was wondering if that leftover 'Tater Tot casserole was still around. When he chuckled a little guiltily I instantly knew why. "Oh, let me guess. You ate in town when you went grocery shopping." (Yes. Lots of sushi at the City Buffet.)

"Hmmmm. How much did it cost? I think I might put that same amount in my money jar." More chuckles from Hiromi. "Just $6.00. I get a senior citizen's discount."

Today at school Wes talked about paying for the time Norma and I covered for him when he went to Mark G.'s funeral. It feels a little silly to be taking money for that, but Wes seems to think that would be fair. Tonight it occurred to me that I could put that money in the jar also.


In a college literature class, we read "The Glass Managerie" by Tennessee Williams. (I think I'm remembering this right.) I really can't remember anything of the story except that I was puzzled by what our teacher identified as a childish tactic on the part of the wife in the story. She collected a secret stash of money--to surprise her husband with--to buy something they couldn't afford--I can't remember. I still am not sure what's wrong with that, unless it is part of a pattern of deception and manipulation.

I think my husband is rather proud of me for being as smart as those Japanese women have been for a long time. Thankfully hesokuri does not seem childish to him.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

High School Programs

From Facebook:

Lois Mast is thanking the Lord for a good evening of worship, listening to the high school's (Heidi's) final music program! I'm always amazed what Lyle Stutzman can produce with the students. He rearranged four children's songs and taught the congregation a new round also. They sang a hymn from the 1600s and one from the 1980s. ...They sang in Latin, German, and South African. It was all so beautiful!

Carolyn Kurtz
I hope the students know how BLESSED they are! I would have loved to have been a student under that musical direction! What a gift to your school!!


I don't know Carolyn Kurtz, but I wholeheartedly agree with her and my sister Lois' sentiments.

All year we teachers hear practices in another part of the school/church building, liberally punctuated with laughter and repetition. So it's really wonderful to listen to it after it all comes together, ready for presentation to an audience. I feel like smiling all the way through every program.

The high school choir this year had about 20 students. This included all the enrolled students plus about five homeschooled students. Choir is compulsory for enrolled students, so this group is not a select group of talented students. It is instead, a "regular" group of students who are learning to enjoy singing.

The first of three programs was recorded and can be accessed at In that program, the students thought it was not musically as good as some of the later ones, but they felt they sang more energetically the first time than the second time. At the first presentation, I thought they gathered volume and enthusiasm as the program progressed. Maybe it seemed that way because of the varying nature of the selections.

The seventh and eighth graders joined the high school choir for two numbers near the end. The volume increased amazingly when they helped. David Shenk and Holli Nissley were the soloists on "I'm Gonna Sing."

Some of my own high school music experiences were OK, but nothing nearly as uplifting and useful as what is available to students at our school. For more than ten years now, we have had a teacher whose college major was music--Wendell first, and now Lyle. Not only have they had good training, they are passionate about music, and have a lot of God-given natural ability.

Like Carolyn, I hope our students know how blessed they are.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Overheard and Observed

No one in the food production class is allowed to marry anyone else in the class, because if they do, all the knowledge they've acquired will be wasted, and the number of people who are able to survive disaster will be lowered. It would be much better for everyone to marry someone who did not take the class, so as to spread the knowledge around and get the benefits to multiply.

That's the gist of what I overheard after school today. Now you know.


When everyone at school is playing "In the Manner of the Adverb" and Mr. Schrock is to tell a joke in the manner of the adverb, this is what he does: 1) Carefully arranges his feet in spots precisely and flatly in front of where he is sitting 2) Adjusts his posture to a very upright position 3) Rises cautiously to a standing position, checks behind him to see that the chair is still where it was 4) Pronounces solemnly and carefully these words (as I recall them) :

There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

5) Checks behind him again to see that the chair is in place, then carefully lowers himself into it. He was demonstrating the adverb "carefully." Everyone applauded spontaneously after his superb act.

I'm positive that I could not have thought of a single joke if the job had been mine.


The composition class finally has a date for the promised party from last semester. Pizza Monday night at our house if it suits everyone. I'm glad that my life is crisis-free enough again so that I can look forward to this.


Phenology is a fascinating study. It's a little problematic, though when one saying tells you to plant cucumbers and squash when the lilac flowers are in full bloom, and another tells you to plant cucumbers and squash when lilac flowers have faded. Full bloom and fading are consecutive, not simultaneous events, so I guess I'll continue to plant my cucumbers and squash whenever I jolly well please.

I hope to do some tracking of soil temperatures this year to see what they are at various phenological benchmarks, most of the time using the common lilac as a marker plant. Pam, from the extension office, gave me a good site to check for soil temps at the Hutch K-State experiment field.

Guineas are really, really exasperating sometimes. Like right now, with the blowing snow bearing down on us, I'm really eager to tuck them all safely into their overnight shelter. But they are acting as flea-brained as ever. Twice now they've huddled around the entrance and pretended they wanted to go inside, but all it takes to dissuade them of the idea is for me to appear with plans to urge them on a bit and shut the door behind them. Then they suddenly have lots of urgent business in the driveway or the cow lot or the flower bed--anywhere but inside the shelter. So they're off. I come back inside and set the timer so I don't forget to check them again in a few minutes.

Lowell tells me that they read an article on guineas in the Atlantic at Joel and Hilda's house where they're staying right now. Apparently it's a well-written narrative about one person's ill-fated attempt to keep guineas. They didn't want to be kept, and promptly vanished, only to reappear (a few of them) many days and many nights later.

If I had known there was good money in writing about guineas, maybe I would have set my sights on the Atlantic rather than the "Prairie View" blog. But then I would have had to do a whole lot of polishing that is not required this way.

Update #1: The blowing has been in progress for several hours, and now the snow has commenced.

When there were five guineas inside and one outside, I bundled up and hurried out again. End result? All six of them noisily headed again for the cow lot.

Update Nos. 2, 3, 4, & 5: Ditto. With slight variations in numbers

Update #6: 7:10 p. m. Finally all inside. Door shut. Loud protests emanating from within.


Elizabeth H. told me over hot lunch today that she didn't know her granddaughter Holli could sing. Holli says she didn't know it either, but "there it went," her soprano voice singing a solo at the high school program. Her mother says that when Holli switched from homeschool to a classroom school, at the first field day, she swept the field in all the running races. No one knew she could run fast, and with some surprise, Holli observed of her feet, "there they went."


Elizabeth also confessed that last year, in a fit of foolishness, she announced that she's not having a garden this year. So Charity is stepping up to the plate, with plans for a garden. The seeds have been ordered, and some of the planting has already been done. Good for her.


While weekly cleaning jobs were in progress--

Brandon (to Heidi, who was carrying a watering can): What's that?

Heidi: It's fertilizer water. So if you want to grow taller, you can just open your mouth, and I'll put 28 drops of fertilizer into it.

At least I know she's got the ratio right--7 drops of the Shultz liquid fertilizer mix to one quart of water. She mixes up a one-gallon batch every Friday.


I got the numbers today for last week's glucose tolerance test. I had the last one in 2003, and the results were better this time. I'm writing them here so I can find them again. (I plead ADD.)

In 2003: Fasting: 102
One-hour reading after ingesting the "syrup": 171
Two-hour reading after . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . : 150

In 2010: Fasting: 89
One-hour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .: 131
Two-hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .: 148

My weight this time was 2 lbs. lower than in 2003. I have been both higher and lower in the interim.

None of this has anything to do with any good food supplements I've taken for about seven years. I have this on good authority since the US Government and the Attorney General of Texas both would be happy to join me in making this proclamation.

The nurse tells me to keep on doing just exactly what I'm doing now.


Tomorrow is Mother Iwashige's 95th birthday. That's what Hiromi has always been told, at least. The fact of the matter is that someone seems to have at some point merged her birth date and that of her oldest child, a daughter. Hiromi can't remember which one's real birthday is on March 20.


I looked up the score last night on KU's college basketball tournament game. KU was ahead, and I saw this morning that they won. What I found more interesting, though, was reading through the roster for the strange names some of them have. Tyshawn, Sherron, Markieff Xavier, and Tyrel are among them. More familiar names include Brady, Marcus, Elijah, Jeff, Thomas, and C. J. On the Lehigh side were Marquis, Holden, Zahir, along with another Cj, a Dave and a David, John, Michael, Justin, and Gabe. Some of these names may be more common in the African American community than elsewhere. They are for sure not so common here, to my knowledge. The spell checker doesn't like them.


Hiromi brought home some Vitamin D-3 pills tonight. With a winter storm warning in effect now and 30-40 mph winds, and up to 5 inches of snow in the forecast, I expect the only kind of sunshine nutrients I'll cash in on tomorrow are the kind that come in a bottle.

Friday, March 12, 2010

School Basement Games

One of the games we used to play a lot at Calvary Bible School was Round Table--a group ping-pong game. Today we played it at school, the first time in my memory when we did a Friday afternoon activity entirely in the basement. It was a miserably wet and windy day, so this was a good option. We played Round Table with a variation I am not especially fond of. Or maybe we didn't play it right all those decades ago at CBS. For sure, I typically survived longer at CBS than I did today. My personal fleetness is notably in shorter supply these days than it was then.

At CBS we used to drop out after we made one mistake. Today, no one dropped out unless they had three mistakes. And there was something about having to catch other people's mistakes to make sure they dropped out when they were supposed to. And, if I understood it right, you gained points by correctly pointing out others' ineligibility for further participation in the game. I liked it better when the game was more straightforward: Play ping-pong until you goof up. Drop out cheerfully and rejoin later for the next game. Things moved along faster in the old CBS version too.

Today those who were eliminated in the Round Table game had the option of joining the Amish Pool game. I keep wondering where this game originated. Do people play this just in Amish communities? Does it have other names elsewhere? Here's a brief description: A long table-height, carpeted "trough" has a "well" at either end. One player stands at each end of the trough, and they take turns rolling a cue ball to the other end, hoping to dislodge and "sink" the four balls positioned along the sides of the trough near the far end--before the opponent does so with the four balls he's taking aim on. The winner always takes on the next person in line.

Who can tell me more about Amish pool?

Quote for the Day 3/12/2010

I spent two hours in the Medical Center waiting room today, except for three trips to the lab to have blood drawn. Glucose tolerance tests are not on my "favorite things" list. Too many needle pokes and a foul-tasting, sickly sweet drink to scarf down within five minutes.

Because the endocrinologist I had seen is a pediatric endocrinologist (Hutch has no endocrinologist for adults, so she gets to see all of us who are referred to a specialist in endocrinology.), I got to see a lot of the comings and goings in this part of the clinic. I couldn't help overhearing a mother quiz her 14? year old son as she was filling out the forms for the doctor.

Mother: How many servings of dairy do you eat in a day?

Son: Huh? What's that?

Mother: You know, cheese and things like that.

Son: Oh. One.

Mother: How many vegetables?

Son: (Unintelligible response)

Mother: You don't eat any at home. Do you eat any at school?

Son: No.

Mother: How many hours of watching TV? Three?

I can't imagine that the doctor was thrilled with the prospect of keeping that kid well. On the bright side, maybe he was there to get approval for participating in sports. With that motivation, he might pick up some good nutrition pointers and find something to do besides watch TV.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Doldrums and Diversions

I can hardly believe I had the nerve to do this. When our Sunday School teacher asked me if I would take her place teaching the class for this week, I said no. I actually wanted to say yes. I like to teach, and I like to please people. But I still said no.

I knew it was the week for figuring report card grades, and I knew I would be gone every night of the week from Wed. on, if we went to that "relationships" seminar Nevin and Joann are conducting.

I didn't tell her this, but I also have an odious writing task to finish before Sunday. I am legally required to respond to what I consider a very unreasonable accusation. No, I am not at risk of being carted off to jail or even fined. But I hate being in this position. Let's just say my attitude toward a certain state attorney general needs some adjustment to make it into the neutral or positive range.

On other counts, it's been a strange week at school. One morning several days ago, someone from our natural gas provider came to school and told us the gas would be turned off immediately because a line somewhere had blown, and everything needed to be turned off for several days while repairs were being made. Fifty customers were affected. However, after some initial isolation of the break was accomplished, tanker trucks would be brought in to feed gas into the line at a distribution point close by. After the transition to the gas from the trucks, someone would come back to turn the gas on and light our pilots, etc. So we had no heat for the main part of the school day. The tankers were still there south of Elreka when I went to school this morning.

In another surprising turn of events, we realized at lunch today that there was a glitch in the plans when no one showed up to provide lunch at the usual time. We made a phone call, and reached the husband of the lady whose name was on the lunch schedule for the day. The wife was gone. He swung into action, and about a half hour later showed up with pizza, chips, and pop. Someone else found some ice cream somewhere, and we had ourselves a good lunch. After it was all over, he presumably went home and told his wife (who had by then returned from her walk) that he had just taken care of the hot lunch for the high school today. Kudos to him.

I told my family about this at the supper table, and finished by saying, "But I still hold the record. I've forgotten hot lunch twice. No one else has done this more than once." Dubious distinction, I know.

Choir was the first thing on the schedule at school today. After that we had chapel, which is usually the very first event of the day. This change was an accommodation for Lyle, the music teacher, who wanted to leave on a trip later today.

For most of this week we've had fairly warm, sunny weather, and spring seems like a possibility. True, the gusty wind today reminded us of one thing not to like so much about March. Every time the outside kitchen door opened, the inside door into the learning center slammed shut with a rude crash. Trips to my van to retrieve planting supplies my students wanted to buy were always very immodest affairs, thankfully carried out without an audience.

Also on the bright side, the seeds my food production class students planted, and the resulting seedlings they transplanted this week have thrived, and the whole experience is enormously rewarding. They're learning by leaps and bounds, their knowledge growing as fast as the plants.

No one missed school this week because of illness. That is a great improvement on last week's attendance record.

The sinks in the lab at school have functional drains again, after some very durable obstruction was dislodged by a plumber. I had cautiously mentioned at the last staff meeting that having access to that water supply and those drains would be very nice for the seedstarting we would be doing in that room. But I was surprised when things began to be set right the very next week. I learned though that the impetus for the repair was that when the new furnace was installed recently, the resulting moisture condensation needed to be routed into a drain line. Fortunately the same line that drained the lab sinks was the line they chose to route the furnace moisture into. But first it needed to be unplugged. So someone made it happen, and, ever since, we've been happily running water at the sinks and dumping water into the drains when necessary.


Shane and Dorcas are considering several short term international ministry opportunities for the coming months. Being in VS through June makes it look a little difficult to make enough money to pay their own way, so they're trying to decide whether saying yes is feasible or not.


On Wednesday of next week, Joel and Hilda leave for several months in Bangladesh. They plan to return on May 1.


We're inordinately proud of our guineas at the moment. Today Lowell's flock of goats got out and went cruising through the yard south of the house, taking refuge out of the wind west of the house. When Hiromi went out the back door to check on their whereabouts, they all streamed past the house again on their way to the road. Until they met up with the guineas, who had lined themselves up across the driveway, giving full voice to their displeasure at this disruption of the normal state of things. The goats came to a halt and then turned around and walked back into their pen. Fancy that.


I hope to plant peas tomorrow. That is, if the odious letter or overnight rain don't prevent it.


Grant starts landscaping work again next week. He's happy for the opportunity.


Marian, the miracle worker, is helping me with such jobs as organizing my dresser drawers and cleaning out my closet, etc. I'm so grateful for her help.


One of the things Marian unearthed was a suit Hiromi wore at least 40 years ago. He took it out tonight and wondered aloud what he would ever do with it. He tried it on, almost having to abandon the effort when the second arm wouldn't go into the sleeve without some twisting around. After it was on, he couldn't connect the two sides of the front. "This coat must have had some really heavy dry cleaning," he announced, in a vain attempt to convince me that the suit had shrunk. "I've really got lots more meat than I used to have. "

"Yeah. Especially in your stomach," I agreed.

"Save it for the grandchildren," he muttered unconvincingly as he stuffed it back into its zippered plastic case. Then, upon further investigation, "Oh look at these pants. They're all bug eaten." He sounded almost jubilant.

"I'm sorry," I said, examining the holes in the seat of the pants.

"I don't think I'm sorry. Now we can throw them away."

"Are they wool?"


"Then they'll make good rug rags. Don't pitch them yet."

So that's the plan: turning them into rugs.

Quote for the Day 3/5/2010

Student, breezing hurriedly into my office: What's a dime?

Me: What?

Student: A dime. What is it?

Me: Ten cents?

Student: OK. And a nickel is five cents, right?

Me: Right.

Student (exiting in a rush) : Thanks.

I sometimes have moments too when the obvious eludes me. We're all in good company.