Sunday, May 31, 2009

Carrie's birthday

Carrie's birthday gave us a good excuse to gather at Denise's house on Saturday night for dinner and a rousing game of "Time's Up." (Since it was her birthday, we let her win....)

Carrie with her hubby, Joe, and Jaime and Carter in the background. They will marry next fall.

Mike McMillin at the buffet line. We had Denise's amazing carnitas again. They are so good we just can't get enough.

Little Miss Lexi kept us all amused, as usual (see below.)

Nancy Blanchett and Deanna Harms enjoying cocktails.

Denise, downing her white sangria, and Jim Blanchett and Mike.

Jim and Nancy Blanchett, Deanna Harms and her partner David Kamerer.

And now, a few photos of Dale and Lexi amusing each other. They are so darn cute together.

Who's happier here??

Dale knows how to show a girl a good time.

Country friends

We spent a couple of hours Friday night visiting Molly, a friend from Dale's KPTS days, and her husband and 18-month-old son on their country estate near Sedgwick.

Dale and Molly, who now works at Newman University. Molly is showing us her garden.

Dale, enviously surveying the squash plants.

Molly pulled a couple of onions for our dinner. The plants are nearly as tall as her.

Dale with William.

Dale and Molly at dinner in her pergola.

Monday, May 25, 2009

More wildlife

The squirrels at our house just make themselves right at home. This one was just chillin' today on the fence. He just looked at me as I approached with the camera. I think I was more afraid of him than he was of me.

Same goes with the one below...

He came within about two feet of me and just looked at me. I felt pressured to go find him some food.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rites of spring

For the fourth year in a row, Dale and I have watched the same ritual unfold in the open fields near our house: the hatching of the killdeer.

Killdeer are birds that lay their eggs in very shallow holes in fields and lawns, and have even been known to build small nests in parking lots and similar urban spaces. When the nests are in fields like this one, they are very well camaflouged, but Dale's become an expert at finding the nests. Killdeer are fascinating because the parents will try to distract people who come near the nests by flying a few feet away from the nests and pretending they are injured (rolling over on their backs, for instance, or dragging one of their wings along the ground as if it's broken.) they hope the intruder will see them as weak and damaged, and thus, easy prey, and will go after them instead of the nest. When that happens, the adults then fly a little farther away from the nest so that the intruder will be led even more astray.)

The killdeer lay four eggs. This year, all four hatched but sadly, Dale found one of the babies dead a few feet away from the nest the day after it was born. We're not sure what happened to it. It was not mangled or bloody, as if a predator got it, so it's possible that it was just too weak to survive. The killdeer, within a day or two after hatched, will run to nearby cover until the babies are ready to fly. We have no idea why the adults don't just place their nests in the cover, to avoid having to make that run, but that's just nature, I guess.

Here is what an adult killdeer looks like. Pretty bird.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pork and poker

I lost $30 but I sure did have fun playing poker with friends and sharing a fabulous meal at the home of Molly and Mike McMillin.

It was a little chilly on this May night but we braved it and played outdoors.

Even Lexi, Denise's 4-year-old, participated in the fun until about this point in the night, when she was tucked into bed at a spare room in Molly's house.

Carrie, Leroy and Dale at the table.

As usual, Dale shared dealing duties with Mike McMillin.

But first, there was dinner, and it was quite a feast. Denise made the most flavorful and tender carnitas, which we ate with corn and flour tortillas, along with pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese and sour cream.

And... these wonderful grilled veggies contributed by Molly and Mike.

I made jalapeno poppers with a sour cream dip.

Carrie made these decadent Mexican-style potatoes.

Mike grilled corn on the cob, and he also made homemade strawberry ice cream with an ice cream maker he bought recently at a garage sale for $5.

This was the way it looked after we all had our fill.

Molly provided the most amazing adult beverages, including this colorful champagne cocktail of which we drank copious amounts.

As is his wont, Dale likes to both antagonize and play with small children. Here he is threatening to steal Lexi's strawberry ice cream.

Here he is attempting to abduct her. I like this photo because he's carrying her and she's carrying her new Barbie.

And playing.

Molly taking a break from her hostess duties while Denise tends to her iPhone (shocking, I know.)

Then it was time for cards. Lexi helped her mom win this night.

And here I am contemplating how to lose my money. Thanks to Molly and Mike for a memorable evening.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cirque du la Symphonie

My friends Tess and David Knadler invited us to sit at their table last night at Cirque du la Symphonie, which was a combination of a Cirque-like show with music by the Wichita Symphony.

The show was incredible. The conductor promised we would be on the edge of our seats and that was true much of the time. Above is a contortionist who did things with her body that are not to be believed, unless seen.

These dudes were the highlight of the show, however. They are strongmen/hand balancers, and the feats they performed were jaw-dropping.

But the performances were also artistic and even haunting, and the symphony was in great form.

Before the show we were able to dine on food and wine that each of us contributed to the table. We had a French theme going, so we had lots of cheese, sausage, pastries, fruit and bread. I made pate a choix from scratch and filled them with curried chicken salad.

Our group included Tess and her daughter Caryn and David Knadler. Their generosity for providing the table was so much appreciated.

David Kamerer and Deanna Harms joined us.

The convention hall was about 80 percent filled, with the only open seats those in the nose-bleed section. We had great seats, of course, being at the much-in demand tables on the floor.