Browsing Archives for General Lunacy

Our Free Vacation!!!

July 7th, 2008

First you load up in the van at 8:30 AM the morning after the Fourth of July.
No one will be very happy about this ridiculously early departure on the heels of such a late night, except for the Country Doctor who loves suffering in all of it’s various forms.

Next, you drive to Lawrence and have breakfast at Wheatfields in Lawrence, Kansas.   

The breakfast is not free. 
It also does not cause suffering.
This caustic lack of suffering accompanied by real maple syrup and a side of bacon will make the Country Doctor a little grumpy… 
To compensate… he will order only a small bowl of fruit.
Next you will drive out to April’s Pig Farm, to pick up Seth.
Then on to…  
Kansas City.
Your first mission, upon arrival in KC is to try and find the original Fritz’s hamburger joint and have lunch.  And yes, you did just have breakfast and no, no one is very hungry, but that is not the point.  
The point is that you use a phone from your table to call in your orders…


And then this happens…
Oh dear!  
Fritz’s is also not free…
Fear not…
We are getting to the free part.
Relatively soon…

But first you must go to the Kansas City Union Station, which is very beautiful and also very grand and also very tall, and makes you wish you were born a hundred years ago and had a trim navy suit with a feather in your hat and gloves, and silk stockings, and a collection of small suitcases at your feet, one of them round, and you were being helped aboard a train, bound for California to meet the man of your dreams…

But you are not.

Instead you are noticing that all the attractions (except the weird fake horse) are very expensive.  So you use the bathroom (free) and you get back in the van and head to Liberty Memorial just across the way…

You are considering going to the WWI museum which is underneath the Liberty Memorial, but just as  you drive up to the Memorial, you get kind of creeped out about going to a windowless, underground WWI museum on such a gorgeous summer day, so instead you head south to the Plaza.

And you decide to wander around the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art which is  full of large sculptures made out of old tires and huge paintings of  red circles on a black background, and videos of a strange wolf like creature painting eyeballs on it’s hands.  

This museum is wonderfully free.

Next you will wander across a shady residential street to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.
Where these massive shuttlecocks grace the vast green lawn.

Did you know that the husband and wife team of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen designed and installed these sculptures while the Country Doctor was living in Kansas City and attending Medical School?   

In fact, the Country Doctor and his very stunning, young wife were living just a hefty stones throw from the museum itself!

The newlyweds, while very intent on each other, were occasionally distracted by news of the city which surrounded them, being engulfed in a frothy brou ha ha over the installation of these “birdie” sculptures.   Many Kansas Citians felt that the shuttlecocks were simply not important enough to warrant placement on the majestic, sweeping lawn of The Nelson.

Claes and Coosje also had incredibly difficult first and last names and no one knew how to say them or spell them and this added to everyone’s consternation…

Finally, Claes explained in a tired, yet noble manner, that in his visits to Kansas City he was continually stunned by the city’s mortality. Every grandiose structure (including the Nelson itself) was a war memorial, and he felt it was time for the city to have itself a little fun.

So he and his wife threw a party on the city’s biggest lawn.

And people have been partying there ever since.

Then Jack found a big stick.

Which he carried (or more likely had someone carry for him) the rest of the day.

Whereupon,  you will walk to the Plaza, go to Restoration Hardware, and sample the outdoor furniture collections.   
Which are not in any way, shape, or form…
even close to being free.

Then ice cream.
 (not free)…

And fountain…

And shower…

And architectural eye candy for the mom…

And finally… The Shakespeare Festival in the Park which is adjacent to The Plaza, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art AND  The Nelson…
(also marvelously free…)

Grumpy self portraits – free…

Happy self portraits… also free…

Wonderful day in the city….

almost priceless…

Tomorrow - 
Othello the Puppet.

My eldest son had a basketball game tonight.  Evidently, four boys playing baseball is not enough so we had to throw in one more sport.  I had to take him to his basketball game, which was very hard on me as I am still weak and shaky from his birth thirteen years ago, but somehow… someway… I gathered all my inner strength and hobbled off to his game.

I struggle mightily with how large of a place sports seem to occupy in my family’s life.  I really, really, really wish my boys could content themselves with pogo sticks, and tricycles and little bits of sidewalk chalk out on the driveway, but those days seem to be over. 
I’m sorry to tell you this, but even in my most heroic moments of motherhood I find it difficult to muster more than a dry raspy hoorah when my kids win an athletic event.
hoorah – I whisper weakly two minutes after one of my kids scores a basket…
woohoo I say thirty seconds after one of my boys cracks a line drive…
I find that I often clap for the wrong team, because I am clapping when others clap and not when my son’s team actually does something good.
I think the other team parents think I have a learning disability. 
There goes Calder’s mom clapping for the other team again!  Do you think she even knows which team her kid is on???  Do you think she even knows which kid out there is hers?  
I do have a hard time following the games. Mostly because I am too busy watching the unicorns play in the shadows, but also because the sparkly elfin nymph druids have just asked me to dance in the magic circle of pines.
Over the years, as sports have progressed like an aggressive scabby disease all over the face of my family, I have perfected a few ways to GET OUT OF GOING to all these games. With four sons playing ball and one son playing even more ball this has become increasingly difficult to do.  Still, I manage it occasionally and will now share with you a few of my well worn tactics.  
The optimal word for you to remember is wedge.
CD – Rechelle, can you take Ethan to his game tonight?  I have to coach Drew’s team up north in Onaga.
Me – Gosh honey – gee..  that is too bad… unfortunately I seemed to have wedged myself underneath the sofa and I can’t get out, so you will just have to take care of it…
CD – Um Rechelle – There is no way I am going to be able to get all four boys to all their games tonight as they all start at 7 PM and they are all in different towns.
Me – Oh wow that is really awful – but gosh – I don’t know how it happened but I seem to have wedged myself in between the window screen and the glass and I can’t get out…
CD – Dear!  Really!  I’m not kidding!   Tonight there is no way you are going to be able to sit at home wedged inside of anything because we have nineteen games in a row starting at 6:30 and ending when Hell freezes over.  You are going to have to show up.
Me – What… huh… I can’t seem to hear you as I am wedged inside of the microwave and also the dishwasher  and my legs are stuck inside the bathtub drain and my fingers are wedged up in the ceiling fan…and I…. I…. I am really stuck good this time.  You might have to call the fire department.  
But tonight - it didn’t work.  I couldn’t seem to wedge myself in or behind or underneath anything and was thus forced to attend a basketball game.
Which brings me to a super fun survey!
Tell me gentle readers… where does you and yourn fall along the spectrum of youth sports obsession???

A few nights ago, we headed out to Kay’s ( one of the CD’s Nurses) other farm which is located 40 miles north of us. The County Extension Agents were hosting a prairie walk through one of Kay’s pastures. We were under the impression that the walk would focus on wild flowers and native plants…

Which it did, but with an unusual twist…

When we arrived at Kay’s farm a large group of people were being told that this year’s tour will not focus on wild flowers….


This year’s tour will focus on prairie plants that are good for a cows healthy diet…




For the next two hours we wandered around a pasture, while our guide who was a very interesting mix of pointy headed plant person and down to earth farm guy explained in GREAT DETAIL the twenty seven different types of plants in that particular pasture that are GOOD FOR COWS TO EAT… AND WHY… AND HOW…. AND WHERE… AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON.

Except that it was actually more like nine thousand plants, because every once in a while, as we walked from plant three to plant four or plant six to plant seven or plant twelve to plant thirteen, our guide would bend over, swoop up another plant and say…

This plant is not on the tour…. but let me tell you about it anyway...

And then he would tell us ALL about it. Every detail… Every part… Every single square inch of that plant… and when a cow prefers to eat it, and whether or not it is palatable and whether or not it is a legume or a forbe, or good for nitrogen, or protein, protein, protein.

Here is a typical explanation from our guide and how the crowd responded…

Guide – Anyone know what this plant here is called?

Farmer 1 – Bovine Tongue Rot

Farmer 2 – Wiggle Bush
Farmer 3 – Sticky Sticky Cob Cob
Farmer 4 – Ladder to Hades
Farmer 5 – Prickly Papoose
Farmer 6 – Demon Thorn
Farmer 7 – Goat Grief
Farmer 8 – Pickle Thick
Farmer 9 – Old Squaw Hunchback
Farmer 10 – Rocky Mountain Hippie Stink
Guide – That’s right, but it is also referred to as the genus Tratteriopsis Florabunda Pasturiticulum goodohforocowoh. Now, can anyone tell me what type of plant this is?
Farmers – LEGUME!

Guide – That’s right! Can anyone tell me what the Native Americans used this plant for?

Expert Plant Lady With Magnifying Glass and Sketch Pad – They boiled the roots and made tea.
Guide – That is right!
…And then the guide would launch into greatly detailed description of the plant saying things like protein protein, protein, palatable palatable, palatable, forbe, forbe, nitrogen, nitrogen, protein legume legume, legume, mama cows, baby cows, palatable, protein, forbe…
Somewhere in the middle of his description my eyes would begin to itch and then stream with tears, my hands grew numb, all of my ligaments felt like they were on fire, my nerve endings recoiled in horror and my legs quivered like marshmallow jello.
Finally.. at the end of my strength… I fell back hard on the tall prairie grass… and I laid there motionless making tiny whimpering sounds which everyone around me completely ignored, especially the Country Doctor.
As the group moved onto the next plant that is good for cow’s to eat, I would dig down deep and tap all my inner reservoirs of iron clad perseverance and I would rise like the phoenix and hobble over to the next plant only to quickly fade once again.
Clearly, I was going to die if something did not change quickly.
Then the guide would pick up a new plant and hold it aloft saying…

Guide – Does anyone know what this here plant is called?

Farmer One – Sticklewort.

Farmer Two – Brisbane

Farmer Three – Snakebite on a Squaw

Farmer Four – Indian Blanket Bush

Farmer Five – Trickle Track

Farmer Six – Shropshire

Farmer Seven – Horns of the Devil

Farmer Eight – Satan’s Whip

Farmer Nine – Scourge Whip Scourge

Farmer Ten – Slippery Skunk Scrote.

Guide – Yes, yes that is all correct. Do you know what the Indians did with this plant?

Expert Plant Lady With Dictaphone and Belly Pack – They boiled the roots and made tea.

Guide – Correct.

Farmer 1 – Those Indians sure made a lot of tea.

Guide – Yes they did. Now, lets’ disc

uss palatability, protein, forbes, leave whorls, legumes, nitrogen, and did I say palatability yet? Oh! Looky here! Here’s a plant that is not on the tour, but it is very interesting. Anyone know what this is called?

Farmer One – Teensy Puffs

Farmer Two – Mock Lemon Daggers

Farmer Three – Nebraska Red Darts

Farmer Four – Prickle Pines

Farmer Five – Stinkbait

Farmer Six – Opossum Piss

Farmer Seven – Indian Feather Foot

Farmer Eight – Papoose Punch

Farmer Nine – Squaw Squaw Squaw Diddly Squaw Dee

Farmer Ten – What the… What? Huh? Squaw What?

Guide – You are all correct and do you know what the Indians did with this plant?

Everyone – They boiled the roots and made TEA!!!

Guide That’s right!

Finally, after miraculously awakening from my nineteenth coma of the evening, with my hair full of cockleburrs (also known as Cat Claw, Devil Dip, Indian Briar, Satan’s Scourge, Angel Tears, Sobbing Squaw, Bitter Life of Turmoil, Death in a Pasture, Choke and Die Slowly, Yellow Puss Boil Weed, and Sticker Patch) I decided to entertain myself by wandering off and taking some pictures.

As I walked away the rest of the group drew a big sigh of relief and a few applauded.

Then they turned back to the guide who was saying something like, legume, legume, nitrogen, legume, forbe, mama cow, baby cow, protein, protein, protein.

The sun began to sink.

We tried to take some “holding the sun pictures”.

We failed.

I took a picture of Kay who is pictured here driving the Gator. She is sitting beside a lady whose family homesteaded nearby land many years ago. The lady told Kay a story about her family’s homestead burning to the ground. At the time of the fire the kids were grown and married and gone, but her elderly father still lived on the farm. He did what any farmer would do whose place had burned down. He moved into a cave on his property and lived there for TWO YEARS!!!

Once during his two year cave stint, while taking a bath ( because you know, you can live in a cave, but not without a BATHTUB) a black snake dropped from the ceiling of the cave into the tub. The elderly man calmly took his cane beside the tub, and tossed the snake out.

And that’s exactly what I will do too.


When I am elderly and use a cane…


Then Kay took my boys off to her pond to do some fishing…

And left me alone on the prairie with a bunch of people talkin’ legumes…

Please don’t leave me here…



Take me with you!!!!!

Come Back!



And then the sun set on the prairie.
The end.