Wednesday, April 27, 2005

You Might Be From Kansas If... A quiz with commentary from an actual Kansan

YOU MIGHT BE FROM KANSAS IF..................

1. You no longer associate bridges or rivers with water.

This is true. In Dodge City, the arKANSAS river is just a dry river bed with a bridge over it.

2. You have never met any celebrities (Bob Dole isn't a celebrity; he's your neighbor.)

Kirstie Alley is also from Wichita, but I've not met her or Bob Dole. My dad met Kirstie's brother once, though.

3. You know the meaning of Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

To know this one, you would probably have to have more familiarity with University of Kansas to know. All I know is that it's a rallying chant for sporting events.

4. Your closest neighbor is more than a mile away and you can still see him from your front porch.

Not in the cities, but definitely true in western Kansas!

5. You can properly pronounce Salina, Basehor, Cimmaron, Neodesha, Kechi, and Osawatomie.

sah-LINE-ah, BAY-sore, SIMM-er-ahn, nee-OH-deh-shay, KEE-chai, and ah-so-WAH-toe-mee.

7. A traffic jam involves two cars staring each other down at a four-way stop, each determined to be the most polite and let the other go first.

It's happened in front of me. Very frustrating. But most of the intersections in Wichita are controlled with automated traffic lights.

8. A Mercedes Benz is not a status symbol. A Ford F10 4x4 is. (Except in Johnson County)

And except in Wichita. But people still enjoy comparing pickup trucks.

9. You discover that in July it takes only 2 fingers to drive your car.

Only because it gets so dang hot!

10. The terms Sooners and Huskers cause hairs on the back of your neck to stand up straight and your blood pressure to rise.

Well, I'm not a sports fan, but I know of many people who can't stand the Oklahoma Sooners or Nebraska Huskers.

11 You have owned at least one belt buckle bigger than your fist.

I haven't, but I have a few relatives who have and still do.

12. You think people who complain about the wind and weather in their states are SISSIES!

No joke!

13. You are not surprised to find movie rentals, ammunition and bait all in the same store.

Some of the gas stations near our lakes are like that. Wal-Mart sells everything including videos, but doesn't rent them.

14. You know that the true value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door but by the availability of shade.

Only because it gets so hot! Not as true for those of us who can't walk a distance, but that's why we carry sun shades and roll our windows down about an inch.

15. You have been asked, "Where is Toto?" more than once.

I've lost count.

16. You had at least one summer job that was bucking bales or custom cutting.

Again, handicapped people usually don't. But I did spend a summer at my aunt and uncle's farm when I was six. I got to milk cows, ride horses and lead sheep to be sheared.

17. More than once you've made a beer run to another state.

No, but when Ron was active on the Air Force base, we made runs there for beer on Sundays, when all of the rest of the stores were closed.

18. You learned how to shoot a gun before you learned to multiply.

Ummm... No.

19. Your school classes have been canceled because of the cold.

I can't remember, but it's very possible.

20. You know in your heart that K-State can beat Oklahoma in football.

Again, not a sports fan, but the prayers in Church change direction when the two play each other.

21. Traffic congestion is ten cars waiting to pass a combine on the highway.

Only in western Kansas. In Wichita, it's the construction on Kellogg Ave. (Highway 54/400) There's always construction somewhere in Wichita along Kellogg.

22. You have had to switch from heat to A/C in the same day.


23. You know everything goes better with Ranch.

No. Blue cheese.

24. Your school classes have been canceled because of the heat or cold.

It's an annual occurrance.

25. You have ridden the school bus for more than an hour each way.

Only because the kids on our route lived so far apart. My family lived only 15 minutes away from the school.

26. In August, you break a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:00a.m.

Don't laugh! It's true!

27. You instantly know someone is from Johnson County when they call everything west of Topeka... "Western" Kansas.

Well, not instantly, but it's a pretty good indicator.

28. A tornado warning siren is your signal to go out in the yard and look for a funnel.

Have you ever done it? It's fascinating to watch a funnel cloud form into a tornado from the safe distance of five miles when you're near your tornado shelter!

29. You know the real way to pronounce the name of Clinton's state and the river... arKANSAS.

Remember my response to the first question?

30. You think the opening day of pheasant season is a national holiday.

I don't, but there are countless thousands who would argue this point.

31. "Vacation" means going to Kansas City or Wichita for the weekend.

What?! I live in Wichita!

32. You measure distance in hours.

Remember my response to question 25?

33. You know several people who have hit more than one deer.

Ron hit one once, and I've known of many people who've hit deer. How many, I'm not sure.

34. You see people wearing hunting clothes at social events.

You mean that's not normal?

35. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

Typical in small towns. In the cities, you'd never leave anything unlocked unless you wanted it to get broken into.

36 You think of the major food groups as beer, beef and beans.

No to the first and last, but I've gotta have my beef!

37. You carry jumper cables in your car and make sure your better half knows how to use them.

Ron still needs to show me how to use ours.

38. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

Well, you never know if it's going to be snowy or steamy at the end of October!

39. You know the 4 seasons as: summer, road construction, still summer, winter.

Remember my comment about the road construction? Yeah. We have spring and fall, but they only last a couple of weeks apiece.

40. It takes you 3 hours to go to the store for one item even when you're in a rush because you have to stop and talk to everyone in town.

Only if you live in the country or know my dad, who loves to talk and doesn't read body language.

41. You lock the doors to your truck but leave the windows rolled down.

Only an inch. Remember? You don't want to invite thieves!

42. You call sodas just plain ol' "Pop"!!

I've always called it "pop." I never heard it called "soda" until I was a patient in the Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. when I was about six years old.

43. FINALLY..... you are 100% Kansan if........... You actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your friends from Kansas.

So, did I prove I'm 100% Kansan? I think I did.

This must have been written by a Kansan too, cuz guess what, no #6!

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Not since my senior year of high school have I gotten a phone call like this one:

"Hi! Is Erica there?"
"This is she."
"Hi, Erica. Do you recall talking to an Army recruiter recently?"
"No." (In my mind, I'm thinking "why would I talk to an Army recruiter?")
"Have you given any thought to joining the Army?"
"Not unless they've started accepting handicapped people."
No response.
"I was born with clubbed feet," I continued, "and I've had 17 surgeries on my feet."
"Seventeen surgeries, huh? Well, good luck. It sounds pretty painful."
"Yeah, it really is. I mean, I've not gone through childbirth yet, but I'd bet it's more painful that that by far."
"Wow. Well, you take care now!"

I mean, come on. Did someone give him my phone number and not realize that I can't be recruited by any branch of the military? They'd never take me! Even if I begged, which I'm not about to do. I'd never pass a physical! They'd look at my feet one time and say, "What the he**?!" And I'd be outta there!

A few of years ago, when I was walking to one of my classes on campus (this was before I got my BA, by the way), there were some guys on campus from the Army National Guard with a climbing wall, and they were challenging students to climb it and then asking them to sign up. I was wearing braces on my feet and ankles at the time, because it was the last alternative before surgery at that time. When I started my trek past their set-up, a guy asked if I was interested in signing up, and I said no. He asked why, and I pulled up my pantleg to expose my brace. He hung his head down like he was sarcastically sad.

His buddy wasn't as kind. He hadn't noticed the braces and asked me to try the climbing wall, and I told him no, that my ankles were too weak and that I had to wear braces in order to walk. He wouldn't let it die, though! I really wanted to sock him! But he got distracted by some other ladies walking by and left me alone long enough that I could get away.

I'm not sure who gave the Army my name and phone number, but if I find out, I might just launch one of those braces at them that I can't wear anymore! (Not really.) It's kinda fun to ask the military guys if they've started accepting handicapped people, especially if they see me standing or walking right in front of them. They have no idea something's wrong with me until and unless I let them see my feet. And I'll gladly take my shoes and socks off for them, if they want me to! ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

BTK Suspect Waives Preliminary Hearing

BTK suspect Dennis Rader was expected to plead not guilty this morning in a preliminary hearing, but his public defenders waived the hearing. The next step is the arraignment. It's scheduled for May 3.

For the associated press story on KAKE TV's web site, click here.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Monday, April 11, 2005

Just ducky...

Saturday, while on my way to visit with my mom, I passed a very humorous sight: a duck walking straight down the center of a lane of traffic, holding up cars and trucks that honked at him. He held his head high, and slowly placed one webbed foot in front of the other, as if the vehicles behind him were his very large, motorized ducklings. Of course, it was funny to me: I wasn't the one being held up by the bird.

The experience kind of reminded me of my husband: He often doesn't care what people think. Like the duck, he can sometimes be arrogant. But I love him anyway.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Letter from a Senator

Before Terri Schiavo died, I sent a letter to my Senator, Sam Brownback, requesting that he do whatever he could to sway the opinions of those who wanted to allow her to die. I also sent him a link to the post I wrote about this very topic.

I never expected to hear anything back, but I did, just today, by mail. Here is a part of it:

"The right to life is a basic founding principle of our nation. Every human life is unique and beautiful, and deserving of respect. As a human being, Terri Schiavo should not [have been] defrauded of this basic right.

"For this reason, I have co-sponsored The Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act of 2005, which was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) on March 8, 2005. The bill would amend Chapter 153 of title 28 of the U.S. Code to ensure that individuals like Terri Schiavo are granted the same due process rights under habeas corpus as those given a death row inmate.

"Habeas corpus refers to those legal rights authorized by the 14th Constitutional Amendment: 'No State shall deprive any person of life without due process of law nor deny any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.' Terri, in effect, [faced] a death penalty, since her life [ended] by a court-ordered removal of her feeding tube. I believe that every life is a precious gift. Rest assured that I will continue my stand for an individual's right to life no matter the age or situation. Thank you for your support for Terri and her family."
Here's just a thought, if you're still interested in doing something in memory of Terri or to prevent things like that from happening again: send letters to your representatives and ask them to support this same measure that Mr. Brownback said he's backing.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Well, it's almost been a year already...

...since the first of my foot surgeries last year. Remember? It was April 9, 2004: Good Friday. Gosh, Easter came early this year, huh?

It almost seems unreal. From that day, it took me about six or seven months to get to the point where I was able to walk again without a limp. I was still walking with a limp at the time I started my job at the Wichita Eagle in November.

It was kind of Biblical, you know? I was admitted and had surgery on Good Friday, and I was released from the hospital on Easter Sunday. That was the easier of the two foot surgeries, though. The second one, my left foot, the one I had done in July, kept me in the hospital two extra days. Man, I loved my morphine drip! Push-button pain management. How wonderful!

Thank you to everyone who prayed for me during the whole ordeal. Reconstructive foot surgery is not an easy thing to have to go through. Especially when you're falling asleep with a fork in your mouth trying to eat because the morphine and lortab are kicking your rear.

Hopefully, I'll never have to go through that again. I can tell you, though, that I can stand on my feet a lot longer than I could before. Before, I could only stand in one place for about two or three minutes before I started feeling pain, and in another minute or two, I was in excruciating agony! Now, at church, I only sit down when the rest of the congregation sits down. What a relief! It was hell to go through, but it was worth it.

I hope none of you ever have to go through anything like that. Now, I've never had a baby like Devona did, so I know nothing of the agony of childbirth, but I'd almost wager a guess to say that bone surgery is much more painful. Has anyone out there gone through both?

Special thanks, of course, to my wonderful husband, Ron, who went through all of it with me, helping me out with everything that I couldn't do for myself, for loving me even when I was screaming in agony and crying or sleeping because I was in pain and on strong medicine. Also, thanks to all of those from our church who supplied Ron and me with dinners every day for a few weeks. They kind of spoiled us. But we didn't mind.

I'm almost looking forward to when Ron and I are earning a decent income so that we can give back to all of those people who helped us out, including our church as a whole. You are all wonderful stewards of God's gifts, and to you I am very grateful.