Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cody Park animals

I'll leave it to the animal experts to come up with the identity of these animals. The park has the animals listed on signs on the fences but the gnats and mosquitoes were so bad I wasn't going to try to find the information. The animal above is the mother of the baby shown below I would guess. Anyway, she was quite protective as I was taking the photos.

A real cutie

You might think they are up to their necks in cool water, and you'd be correct. It was about 98 degrees yesterday, so they probably were cooling off. Perhaps more importantly, the flies, gnats and mosquitoes were enough to drive anyone/anything crazy. Standing in the water eliminates some of the area the bugs can get to on the animals.
If you haven't been to Cody Park, stop out. It's nice especially in the evenings, when the rides are going for the children and the snack stand has its delicious soft-serve ice cream available!

South Platte River June 28

Just goes to show how much difference a week or so can make in a river. I rather liked it running full.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Golf Courses and Rivers

So what DOES happen when you build a golf course along a river?

Most of the time, not a single thing. Most years the South Platte River trickles along lazily to the point you would almost have to work hard to find a place deep enough to get your ankles wet, I'd reckon. However, once in every 12 to 20 years you get a wet year, like this year, and that's when boundaries between the river and the golf course get a little blurred.

Speaking of blurred, this next picture is a little blurry but I included it anyway to show you how full the South Platte River is right now. I even saw someone canoeing on the river a couple days ago.

The picture below is on the southeast corner of the golf course.

More standing water on Iron Eagle Golf Course. It is rather pretty though, with the trees' reflections, isn't it?

And yet more standing water. If you look back of the trees and the grassy area, you can see just a tiny bit of the river showing.

You know, I look at all that standing water and I wonder how many and what size mosquitoes are going to be hatching out there.
However, the mosquito problem is a topic for another day. Just be sure to wear repellant, and wear long sleeves and long slacks - forget the stylish shorts and sleeveless tops.

Worth Reading

What, you might ask, do those who write blogs read? Other blogs, of course.

Here are four I read fairly regularly, or as often as they post.


Meredith writes The Ryan Files. Meredith's son has autism and she blogs about the small triumphs and joys in Ryan's life, but she also blogs about the frustrations of everyday life with Ryan. I do not know anyone with autism or whose child has autism, so I can understand only superficially. Meredith writes beautifully and honestly. I always come away from reading her blog having learned something new, and to celebrate tiny successes and achievements, no matter what the potential level.

* * * * * * *

What happens once you enter that stage of life known as "middle age"? Sometimes a person drops into a deep depression, or goes the other direction and lives as if there is no tomorrow. Others may get back into the work force now that their children are grown and out on their own, or they may throw themselves into volunteer work. J.R. Davis tries to blog through all that, and more. It's a new blog, and easy reading.

* * * * * * *

Muriel, who works at the North Platte Convention and Vistors Bureau, writes beautifully about the southwest/western part of Nebraska. Of course, much of what she writes has to do with events that are taking place at the time. The link above takes you to the Buffalo Bill rodeo and gives you a photo tour of a top-notch rodeo during NEBRASKAland Days. Tomorrow she may be blogging about wild flowers or making homemade bread. It's always a surprise, but it's also always interesting.

* * * * * * *

Jo is a newbie to blogging, but she does it so well I hope she continues. Jo is a member of PAWS-itive Partners Humane Society in North Platte and is one who doesn't just talk, but also puts her heart into action. Jo's speciality seems to be taking in abandoned, pregnant female dogs and helping them get through the birth of their puppies right up to the time the pups are old enough to be sent to their new fur-ever homes. Jo's love and compassion for abandoned and abused dogs shines throughout her blogging and you can't help but smile at some of her stories.

* * * * * * *
I hope you'll take a look at these blogs. I think they are worthwhile reading.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Secret Shopper

I wish I could have been a secret shopper this afternoon (Sunday, June 20).

I stopped at a favorite fast-food place for a sandwich. A man and his son, maybe 10 or 11, were ahead of me. The father held up a small electronic item - maybe a DVD player - and asked if there might be some place they could recharge the battery. He said he had looked in the dining room and couldn't see any outlets.

The young clerk looked at him rather blankly and said she didn't think there were any outlets in the dining room (remember, the father had just said there were not).

The father took it a step further. He nodded toward an outlet on the wall behind the clerk. There wouldn't be any place like that where we could plug this in, he asked.

Obviously what he was trying to do was give this teenager the hint that she could plug the item into that unused outlet.

She looked at the outlet as though seeing it for the first time. No, she repeated to the father, there are no outlets like that in the dining room.

The father looked at his son and said, "Sorry, Son, I guess we won't be able to charge this here."

Same restaurant maybe 2 minutes later, another man is talking to the cashier about what items came with the meals.

"Is there anything else you want on this?" another clerk asked the customer in what I would describe as a rather soft voice. He did not hear her as he was engrossed in his conversation with the cashier.

"Is there anything else you want on this?" the clerk asked him again. The man still had not heard her.

The clerk just shoved the order over to the cashier.

In less than five minutes, two clerks had failed to provide good service to customers. I'm quite certain the one who wanted to charge the battery on his son's electronic item was a tourist. The other customer probably was also as there were mostly out-of-state vehicles in the parking lot.

What do you think these customers will say about the service in this food establishment?

In connection with my job at the tourism caboose, I was required to complete the "Red Carpet Service."

This is an educational program that helps people who are on the front line - often service staff in restaurants, motels and hotels, and clerks in stores - learn how to promote tourism, identify and respond to traveler needs, and promote their community in a positive way.

The best way to drive tourists (and their dollars) away is to respond to their question of what there is to do in your town by saying in a monotone voice, "There's nothing to do around this place."

Let's go back to the first clerk. When the father asked if there was an outlet to charge his son's electronic toy while they ate their lunch, the clerk could have said, "I'd be glad to plug it in back here for you. We aren't using the outlet at the moment."

My guess is the father and son would have left the place with a charged battery and smiles on their faces and only kind words for the people they found in North Platte.

With the second customer, the clerk rudely tried to interrupt his conversation with the cashier. Not only that, but she did not speak up in a slightly more assertive voice when there was a break in the conversation.

She could have just as easily taken two steps to the left so she was directly in front of the customer and spoken louder and more clearly, "Would you like anything else on this?"

Employers, who have employees dealing with the public, should make sure their employees understand how the dollars tourists spend contribute to the local economy - including THEIR wages.

Little of This, Little of That

The Sower
This balloon is "The Sower," a replica of a sculpture that sits atop the Nebraska Capitol dome. The sculpture was completed in May 1930 by Lee Lawrie. It was raised to the Nebraska Capitol dome April 24, 1930. The bronze sculpture weighs more than 9 tons and stands 400-plus feet above the ground.

The Nebraska Humanities Council annually honors individuals, institutions, businesses and communities with Sower Awards. These awards are for contributions to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.

The Hub Bar float was a-smokin' and a-smellin' for quite a ways before it arrived in front of the crowd. Turned out the float wasn't on fire, just a smoking kettle.

However, if the Hub Bar float had been on fire, it would have been handy to have North Platte's new ladder truck available.

Politicians always like to make it to the parade

There Were Horses Of Course

No parade is complete without horses and rodeo queens.

A beautiful Morgan horse.

A Logan County queen representative waves to her fans.

A parade in western Nebraska isn't complete unless it has horses and a stagecoach.

Youth on Parade

Like hundreds of other youngsters along the parade route, this youngster picks up candy thrown by the parade participants.

There were drill teams....


and more dance teams.... plus bands.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

NEBRASKAland Days parade

Mid-Plains United Way is celebrating 60 years of partnership with the people of North Platte. More information will become available about special events. This pickup, provided by the United Way drive chairman, Bob Spady, will be at various events around the community to collect your change. Learn more about this special fundraiser in the near future.

The North Platte Jaycees have been one of North Platte's more active organizations over the years. Don't suppose these girls are waiting for candy, do you?

You might think a train represented a North Platte group, since North Platte is Rail Town! But no, it's a group from Wellfleet.

Harvest Christian Fellowship provided live music, bottled water, and even buckets of water for anyone who felt they needed to be cooled off. Several young people received a bucket of water over their head.

North Platte Baptist Church didn't need to do much decorating, as their bus is quite colorful all the time.

Tasty Tradition

OK, I realize this is a heart attack meal waiting for a place to happen, but it only happens once a year. It's what I do the other 364 days that hurts me more than this breakfast.

The annual pork breakfast served by the Eagles at the mall in North Platte is a tasty tradition worth keeping. They have the serving pattern down to a science and there is rarely much time spent in the line just waiting.

The pork breakfast is served on the Saturday morning of the annual NEBRASKAland Days parade. The weather was beautiful this morning so eating there was a pleasant experience.

Some years there has been rain and so drive-throughs are set up and those wanting to enjoy the pork breakfast can drive up, wait a few minutes and receive their meal curbside.

I've always said one of the best things about NEBRASKAland Days is you can eat your way through it, from prime rib sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, flapjacks, to the pork breakfast. For a few days in the earlier part of the week, there were sweet rolls available in the Sweet Saloon. If I've left anything out I apologize. Organizations work very hard, beginning yet this month, to prepare for next year's events.

Thanks to all who make this 10-day celebration so much fun -- and tasty.

Friday, June 18, 2010

USS Nebraska cake

Thanks to Kris Fisher, wife of Mike Fisher, captain of the USS Nebraska, you can see the crew's decorated cake.

Kris also sent the following note:

"My husband, Mike Fisher, is the captain of the USS Nebraska. After you took their photo at the memorial yesterday you mentioned you'd post their sighting in your blog, so I looked you up from that.

We are indeed having a wonderful time in North Platte. We had lunch today (Friday) at the Eagles and were thrilled to see that not only did their slapdash cake win second place (Greenhorn division) but I believe it fetched the highest bid!

My family is staying with the lovely Orville Kaschke family, and he shared with us a book about the North Platte Canteen. It appears that unconditional and enthusiastic support of the military is born and bred into the people of North Platte, and as a Navy spouse, I am touched and grateful.

Kris Fisher"

Congratulations to the crew! You did a great job, especially when you consider you didn't know what you would be doing until you walked into the event.

Thanks also to Kris Fisher for sending the photo. I did not have time to get a photo before I had to be at work and I'm so glad she sent this so I could share it with you.

I just have one question with two parts.

Thursday was a hot, humid day. The crew worked with colorful frosting. I would have had frosting all over me just walking through the display looking at the cakes.

How do you keep those white uniforms looking so white with sharp creases no matter what the weather and task?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Handsome Fellow

Unfortunately, the peahens were not evidently not in the mood because his prancing about went largely unnoticed. This is one of the peacocks at Cody Park in North Platte.

USS Nebraska Crew Celebrates NEBRASKAland Days

Above are representatives of the USS Nebraska, selected to represent the submarine's crew at NEBRASKAland Days. They visited the 20th Century Veterans' Memorial in North Platte Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, I did not have time to get their names in the order in which they are standing: Mike Fisher, commanding officer, Riverside, Calif.; John Nelson, engineer, Michigan; Bob Butterton, Chief of the Boat, Helena, Mont.; Jason Brettin, A Div., Leading Chief Petty Officer, Indiana; Mike Johnston, machinery division, Fort Worth, Texas; and, Nick Johnson, missile technician, Vancouver, Wash. USS Nebraska's home port is in Bangor, Wash.

The USS Nebraska is the second U.S. Navy ship to be named in honor of Nebraska, the 37th state. She carries Trident ballistic missiles, according to Wikipedia.

USS Nebraska shares her nickname, "Big Red," with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Each year the Big Red Sub Club invites the USS Nebraska to send its top sailors to NEBRASKAland Days, an annual 10-day statewide celebration in North Platte.

It gives them an opportunity to mingle with the community and show appreciation for their support, the sailors said.

Thursday night they were going to attend the Frontier Revue, a rolicking, original musical telling the story of Nebraska and North Platte. What the sailors don't know is that besides being introduced to the crowd, they would most likely end up on the stage as part of the cast for a dance.

Another surprise that awaited the crew this afternoon was the all-male cake-decorating contest.

"We thought we would just come in and put some frosting on a cake," one said.

Instead, they saw other competitors making "works of art."

"We had no idea what we were getting into," another said, with a chuckle.

By the way, they made their cake into a submarine. If I can, I'll try to get a picture of it to show you tomorrow.

The crew was looking forward to attending the rodeo Friday night. Several said they had never been to a rodeo.

Each year the honored guests from the USS Nebraska arrive not knowing quite what to expect, but they leave with a feeling of appreciation for Western hospitality.

One sailor summed up their feelings: "They take such good care of us it is amazing."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NEBRASKAland Days prime rib feed

Mick Litz just finished slicing a huge prime rib roast (see top photo) Tuesday evening at the annual prime-rib sandwich feed during NEBRASKAland Days in North Platte. The Lincoln County Cattleman's Association, assisted by the Downtown Merchants Association, figured the nearly 2,000 pounds of prime rib they prepared would serve somewhere between 1,700 and 1,800 individuals. Preparations for the sandwich feed began on Monday evening when cooks trimmed the meat and put on the seasoning. The meat was roasted on large gas grills, beginning about 9:30 Tuesday morning.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rain, rain and More Rain

Things are just a little wet around here this week.

No playing on this playground.

And no rides for the time being.

Lake Cody (just joking) - picnic grounds are a little wet right now.

He probably has one of the driest spots in the park today.

But never fear! The concession stand is open and they have the best soft-serve ice cream!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Please vote for new playground equipment

My niece, Jolene Brown Larson, lives in Tilden, Nebraska, a community of about 1,000 people. They need new playground equipment for their school.

According to the information, the newest piece of equipment was purchased in the early 1980s, with the older equipment being around 60 years old!

With the economy so tight, grants from large corporations are sometimes the only hope some communities/groups have of making improvements.The top 10 requests will get $50,000 each.

You do have to fill out a registration form but you make no other commitment.


you can vote every day. Voting ends on June 30.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cooling Off

There's no better way to cool off on a hot summer day than to jump in the pool.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

She should have retired

Veteran journalist Helen Thomas should have retired May 26.

On May 27, Thomas was attending a Jewish American Heritage Month celebration at the White House. A rabbi asked her, "Any comments on Israel?"

Thomas, reportedly a longtime critic of Israeli policy, is reported to have said: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine." She further added the Jews should "Go home" — to Germany, Poland, America and "everywhere else."

On June 4, Thomas issued this statement: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

There's no denying Thomas' reply to the rabbi was insensitive at best. No one can defend her comment.

Thomas was previously defined as one who, over the years, asked the first and toughest questions at White House press conferences.

At least for the present time, her career will now be defined based on one thoughtless remark. For most of us, people would have let the remark slip by with a shake of the head and a whispered comment, "She IS almost 90, you know."

Love her or hate her, Thomas - who covered U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Barak Obama - is leaving a long and distinguished career under a cloud of disgrace.

If only Thomas had retired May 26th, what a different tune everyone would be singing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Flylady's 'Vacation Banshee'

Vacation Banshee

by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

Does the thought of getting ready to go on vacation make you want to crawl under the covers and hide for the rest of the summer?

Vacations are supposed to be fun not a hassle. We don't have to dread going on vacation. We always have a good time once we get there. So let's start now and make it a joyous occasion. We can do this by taking babysteps using the tools that help us most: our timers and Control Journals.

I travel a lot during the year. Michele, my assistant, and I have gotten this down to a science. It is always fun to get away from home for a little while, but there is nothing much better than sleeping in your own bed after several days of travel.

You know that feeling you get walking into a fresh, clean hotel room? I want you to have that same feeling when you return home after your journey. You can do this very easily by not being rushed and with a little planning.

Let's first think about the way you want to come home to your castle. Walking in the door and being greeted with a clean home will make it all worth it. Then crawling into a bed that has fresh clean sheets. These things have to be done before you leave.

Sit down with a nice glass of iced tea and your note cards. I keep my Packing Control Journal on 4-by-6 note cards in a small photo album. These are personalized for me. I have a checklist card for clothes, equipment, my purse and carry-on luggage, food, toiletries, speech bullet points, first aid bag and things to do before I leave and when I get home.

Here are the headings for each card:
  • Travel Arrangement - tickets, car repair, directions.
  • Food - for car, for condo, to buy once you get there.
  • Clothes - This is a card for each family member with their specific needs.
  • Equipment - Baby bed, stroller, computer, sleep machine (CPAP), Crockpot, (you get the idea)
  • Toiletries - main bathroom bag and personalized toiletries for mom and dad.
  • Things to do before you leave - Stop mail, board dogs, set thermostat, check freezer door.
  • Things to do when you get home - start mail, get dogs, unpack bags immediately, start laundry.
  • Clean house checklist - change sheets, swish and swipe, dishes done, vacuum, hotspots checked.
  • First-aid kit - medications, bandages, sunscreen, bug spray.

Making this list now will help you get ready to leave without your becoming a vacation banshee. I have even made a Packing Control Journal just for you to download for free. Go to :


Have a great vacation whether you travel or stay home. I just want you to enjoy the process and not get stressed out over it. This summer is going to be fun if we will do a little planning now and not put things off to the last minute.

Are you ready to F.L.Y. (Finally Loving Yourself) into fun this summer?

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out her website and join her free mentoring group at http://www.flylady.net/ or her book, Sink Reflections published by Bantam and her New York Times Best Selling book, Body Clutter published by Fireside. Copyright 2010 Marla Cilley Used by permission in this publication.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Letting Go

Consider this quote:

"There are only three things you need to let go of: judging, controlling, and being right. Release these three and you will have the whole mind and twinkly heart of a child."

~ Hugh Prather

Every day I get an uplifting e-mail from http://www.walkthetalk.com/ and this was the quote for today, June 4.

My first thought was "Let go of judging, controlling and being right? Where's the fun in life if you give up those three?"

But then you read the last sentence and you see that by giving up all that hard work of judging and controlling, you actually come out ahead.

Judging is hard work! In fact, it's such hard work that the Bible tells us we shouldn't do it. So I TRY to remember that judging others is God's work and his shoes are waaaay too big for me to fill.

As far as controlling, my chiropractor - of all people - told me last week that I was a control freak! Doc Schufeldt, just because I don't relax so you can twist me up like a fat pretzel and then tell me that's the most fun you've had all day, that does NOT make me a control freak! On the other hand......

And as far as being right is concerned, now that I'm what they call a senior citizen (I'm still middle-aged in my mind - if you believe in people living to be 140 years old!) I don't worry about whether or not I'm right, because I KNOW I'm right. I've made about all the mistakes that can be made, with the exception of a few, so I've gotten a lot of experience rolled into being right.

One of my new favorite quotes is what a teacher said to a student: "I didn't get to be this old by being stupid!"

PS. Want to know who Hugh Prather is and why we should listen to him? He is an author, minister, and counselor who is most famous for his first book, "Notes to Myself." After looking up the information on him, I want to further check out some of his books.