Thursday, August 31, 2006

Personal radio station site

I've been meaning to post about this for over a week, but just now remembered when I was near a computer.

My friend, Phil Mason, recently sent me an e-mail about a great web site. Since I come from a family full of music lovers and most of my friends are as well, I figure maybe all of you would enjoy knowing about it as well!

The site is located at . It is a free site, but you will need to register your e-mail address and create a password. Once on the site, it will prompt you to put in either an artist name or a specific song that you enjoy. The website will then tailor a personal radio station to you. (If you put in a specific song, it will take a couple songs until they play it--some licensing issue or something.) You will be able to vote as to whether the song was something you enjoyed or not, and then from your input the station will pick songs to play that would be among the same musical genres. You are able to have up to 100 different stations, so I have some that are "Winfield" like, 60's rock, classical, piano, etc...

The best thing about it is that it is a constant stream of music that is always exposing you to new artists that you will most likely enjoy.

I hope that you all enjoy the site! I love it!

I'm a chicken...

with my head cut off, or at least that is how I felt yesterday. I had an experience right at the beginning of the day that affected the rest of the day, and caused me to feel like I wasn't prepared or thinking straight!

Normally I leave my house each morning between 10 'til and 5 'til 8. Yesterday morning I got a phone call at 7:45 with Denise on the other end. I could tell that she was sobbing and something was terribly wrong. I could also hear Denise's three little girls screaming/crying in the background. Denise wanted to know whether I could come over and help her, she had fallen and she needed someone who could calm the girls down and help her. I told her that I would be right over.

When I pulled into the driveway, Taylor was standing in the middle bawling. Denise was in the garage, wedged under the suburban. She had fallen down the 2 steps between the house and the garage floor when she was trying to get lunches packed for school. She was sobbing, and the 3 little girls were all around her crying/screaming as well. I scooped up the toddler and started trying to soothe her. I also asked the bigger girls to go into the house and finish getting ready, and then to hop in the vehicle. While they were doing that, I tried to convince Denise that she needed to get a doctor to look at her leg, or at least to take some sick leave time. She refused, of course.

Once I got the girls loaded in the truck, I took Jayden to daycare downtown. I then took the big girls and dropped them off at school. Then I rushed back to Denise's house to see how I could help her. (My contracted time at work starts at 8, and at this point it was 8:15. I have kids in my room starting at 8:30.) Denise had gotten herself out of the garage and was sitting on the chair in the living room with ice on her. Again she refused to go to the dr. or to even take any time off. The only thing she would allow me to do was to pack the girls' lunches and take them to school. I pulled up to the school at 8:25 and hurried to my room. At about the same time I walked into my classroom, I got a phone call. It was Paige's teacher saying that Paige wasn't acting like herself, and that she was blaming herself for the accident. I said that I would come down and talk to her.

I headed down to see Paige, cuddle with her, and reassure her that this wasn't her fault at all. I reminded her about the conversation we had had in the vehicle before getting to school (time to be a big girl, needed to make sure this didn't ruin their day, etc...) I sent her back to class, but the teacher also wanted an update as to what was going on. By the time I got back to my class I had kids in the room without much supervision. :(

Denise was able to come back to school, but she has a big gash on her shin, and she limps around. The girls felt much better once they saw her.

The rest of my day felt so disjointed! I had never realized how important those last few minutes at home are to me. They help me process the day and what it holds. Those are the minutes that I use for getting my lunch together, grabbing any items I'll need for school, and any last-minute things I might need to do. I also have realized how important that 30 min. of contracted time is that I have before kids get to my room. That is the time I use to make contact with other teachers, run the copies I'll need for the day, and to make sure I have my materials laid out. Without that hour yesterday morning, I was constantly having to double check myself and rush around.

On top of all that, Mom and Dad were coming for supper, and I had planned on laying out the things for supper, and some general cleanup around the house. That didn't happen!

I ended up having to rush home during planning period, set out the salmon to thaw, and then also grab my lunch.

After school I exercised with Kym and then hurried home to get supper ready and throw anything that might be lying around into a closet or my bedroom!

Mom, Dad, Grandma and I had a great evening full of laughter and discussion. It was good to hear about their recent trip to Oregon, the goings on at Hesston High school, and to share my thoughts about crazy people from Goessel! :)

Monday, August 28, 2006

She put de lime in the coconut....

Oh, what a wild weekend full of stories! I've got lots and lots to say, but I'm sure I'll leave something out. First of all, this last weekend was the most restful time I've had in months. If I wanted to sleep, I slept, if I wanted to read, I read, if I wanted to talk, I spoke, but if I didn't want to do anything, I just didn't! :) What a concept! Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and can't wait to repeat the experience.

This post will be a collection of memories, not necessarily in any order...I'll make sure to include lots of pics though! This last weekend, the Buller cousins (and assorted other family members...among them adopted cousin Whitney) gathered at the reservoir for a weekend of camping in the RV. As the clouds rolled over Marion County, the cousins gathered. After several trips back to Marion to shop for food, gather ice, and other forgotten items (among which were about 10 cans of Pringles) we were finally all in one place. As the wind picked up, we discovered that we were without the most important ingredient--dum, dum, dum.........limes for the Corona. Anthony and Brian quickly hopped into a vehicle and headed to town, yet again. They ended up conning some poor guy at Sonic out of a whole cup of limes, at the cheap price of $9. We were set for the rest of the weekend.

We were in storm warnings for all of Friday evening, and so we all crowded into the RV. There was plenty of room for everyone (6 adults, a baby, and doggie Thor), and I'm sure we could have invited many more people. We would have had to stuff them into the bathroom and the freezer, but I'm sure they would have fit somehow. We entertained each other with stories and catching up on each other's lives, but mostly Whitney's escapades kept us laughing.

During the days we spent time playing Skipbo, great games of our Buller cousin favorite-Elephant Dominoes (I'm sure Tim will be disappointed to have missed the game), cuddling baby Adam, and Whitney and I spent several hours on the reservoir jet skiing. I have fallen in love with the jetski this weekend. It was very hard for me to leave it behind after Sunday. Carmen and B-ryan--we need to camp again soon! Whitney was kind enough to be my jetski instructor this weekend. We spent many hours laughing, and trying to actually get on the jetski! We had some serious problems with getting it to work correctly, and at one point were stuck in the middle of the reservoir trying to swim it back to Hillsboro cove. Thankfully we got it working again, but not until after we had spent at least 30 min. trying to swim/pull/kick it back to safety (and not making much progress). Anyway, even after all of that, I am able to say that I love the speed (although maybe not the sore muscles) that go with jetskiing.

Adam took a little nip off the bottle before getting back to the camp site (j/k!), it put him right to sleep, with plenty left over for the drunken watermelon.

Saturday evening we all gathered (cousins, aunts, uncles, and Thor) to share Hillsboro sausage sandwiches, Grannie's mustard, great salads and sides, and lots of laughter. Adam finally gave up trying to stay awake and buried his head to go to sleep.

It was wonderful to see everyone again, and to spend some needed time at the reservoir. Anyone ready to go next weekend?

Monday, August 21, 2006


Well, tonight was supposed to be the first night of classes for massage therapy. I've been so excited...I bought a portable table, and I purchased my books for the class. I've rearranged my schedule for the coming months in order to be able to go to classes Mon. through Thurs. evenings.

Anyway, I went to class tonight and waited for it to begin. I was the second one to arrive, and after about 5 min. another came. The professor, Carolann, talked with us asking why we were interested in Massage Therapy, etc... After waiting for about 10 min. she told us that we had to have a class of at least 7 people in order to meet. As of this evening there were only 6 of us, and only 3 of those had shown up! She made some phone calls, not being able to reach one, and another had dropped the classes...anyway, we won't have enough to make a class. I spent the evening returning books to get a refund, and dropping my classes for the semester. We are hoping that next semester will bring enough to form a class, but it was disappointing tonight... I did have the option of taking the classes in Andover, but since I work until after 4 each evening, I wouldn't be able to get there in time, plus the amount of money I'd spend on gas isn't feasible.

I'm very disappointed, and I think Carolann could tell. She knows me from church, works at the same place I get my massages and also was a regular customer at the coffee shop. She gave me a big hug on my way out, and I think we were both about ready to cry... I hope that there will be enough of a class to start next semester.

Instead of spending the evening in class, after I had gotten the drop/book refund stuff taken care of, I went to the grocery store to pick up some necessities. I spent the rest of the evening browning hamburger, sauteing squash and onions, and dividing out lunch portions for the week. I did manage to catch up on some of my news magazines as well, and enjoyed the rest of the evening in front of my chiminea with a glass of wine.

I better head to bed, I have a day-long meeting with my SPED director tomorrow. It is the one and only time each year that we all (all SPED certified staff for the county) get together, and while we dread the actual seat time, we look forward to the chance to catch up with each other.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Last Days of Summer

I've been spending quite a bit of time with Denise this last week. Next week I start evening classes, and so she's worried that she won't ever see me. The first week of school is always tiring, and we've both been pretty beat in the evenings. The girls have been so tired, they've fallen asleep on the drive home from school every day. Since that is only a mile, you can tell they are quite tired!

Thursday evening was muggy, we were sweating whether we were in the house or out of it. Denise got the garden hose out to water the plants, but ended up putting more water on the girls!

The girls thought it was great because they still had their school clothes on, and normally they would have needed to be wearing their swimming suits.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Reservoir Relaxation

The reservoir is a place that Heidi and I have spent many, many hours at. Mom and Dad brought us when we were small girls living in Marion, when we were slightly older and living in Lehigh, and when we moved to Hesston it was still a very special place for us to go. When Heidi and I went to college we continued to find time to go to the reservoir, either with our friends and parents for fun, or sometimes just by ourselves for some peace and quiet. Speaking for myself, I have many wonderful memories of times spent there: birthday celebrations with Elfie, swinging and playing with the Ogden girls, "skating" at midnight on the ice with friends from college, snipe hunting, family picnics...there are so many! This last weekend the Buller family gathered, as we do pretty frequently, at the Marion County Reservoir. It was a time for many celebrations--anniversaries, birthdays, and Adam's birth...

Some of the things I missed most when I was living in Germany, were the gatherings and the day to day parts of being a family. Knowing that this was the hardest thing for me, I guess I assume that this might also be a thing that Heidi and Tim will struggle with (although I may be wrong!) Although I can't do too many things to help, I do think that one way I can help is if I post as many pictures and day-to-day items as much as possible. Anyway, sorry to those of you who aren't interested in the following pictures!

"Nice to meet you, big guy!"
Adam Michael D. b. July 25, 2006

Mom looking chic with a new haircut! :)

It's a hard life being held all of the time!

The evening started out to be a very hot, humid Kansas evening, but a storm blew in while we were gathering. The temperature dropped and it was much more enjoyable.

The proud Buller-Donley family.

I'm visualing "whirled peas", how 'bout you?

Erica gave up the baby long enough for a few people to hold him...but not many!

Grandma B. seemed to have a good time and enjoyed holding the baby, but was a bit confused as to who exactly the baby belonged to.

The clouds were fantastic!

Adam was the focus of attention for new grandma Pauline.

What would a gathering be without food? Yummy smoked pork, great salads, and apple, cherry or strawberry pies made to order.

"So when are you going to get started?" We called Anthony on the cell phone and sent him a picture that looked a bit like this.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gone Fishing!

Last Friday was teacher's first day of school. Kids come on Tuesday. Friday we had inservice all day, basically a big pep talk on getting along and being a support system for each other. This is something that MES hasn't been strong at in the past, and we truly needed the "scolding". We are going to be applying the FISH! principles this year, and hopefully some of the backstabbing will stop.

FISH! is based off of a fish market in Seattle. Instead of coming to work each day depressed and angry (because let's face it, how much fun can working with smelly fish really be?), the people who work there make a conscious choice each day to have a great day and have fun at work. If you visit the actual fish market in Seattle you'll see them truly having a great time...loud jokes, fish being thrown, ...utter chaos actually. You can check it out at or there are several books out: "Fish!: A remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Result"; "Fish! Sticks"; and "Fish! Tales" all by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen (there is also a video)

Anyway, the four basic principles of Fish! are:
Play, Make Their Day, Be Present, and Choose Your Attitude.

Play: The fish guys have fun while they work, and fun is energizing. How could we have more fun and creat more energy?
Make Their Day: The fish guys include the customers in their good time. They engage their customers in ways which create energy and goodwill. Who are our customers and how can we engage them in a away that will make their day? How could we make each other's days?
Be Present: The fish guys are fully present at work. What can they teach us about being present for each other and our cusomers?
Choose Your Attitude: The fish guys are aware that they choose their attitude each day. One of the fish guys said, "When you are doing what you are doing, who are you being? Are you being impatient and bored, or are you being world famous? You are going to act differently if you are being world famous" Who do we want to be while we do our work?

We had a lot of good conversation on Friday, and I'm hoping that it will make a difference. Tomorrow we'll meet with our paras and go over these things too. I'm hoping that it is well received.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Waiting with baited breath

Heidi posted that she wanted an update on several topics: school, new hires, and the good farm milk. I shall try to satisfy her, as always! :)

School: I report tomorrow morning at 8:00 for teacher meetings. I spent the last few days since getting back from NE trying to catch up on stuff. Yesterday I spent the day with my friend Kym, we both got new haircuts, and I got some red highlights put in. We also went to Salina and ate out at Red Lobster, and then saw the new Pirates movie (which is great). Today I spent the morning at the school unpacking boxes, chasing down other teachers, and trying to communicate with as many people as possible. All in all, it felt like I didn't get anything accomplished. After going home for lunch, I felt like I didn't need to return in the afternoon...after all, it is my last day of summer. I tried to get some dishes, laundry, and small cooking chores done.

New Hires: As reported earlier in the week, 2 of my 3 paras quit on me over the summer (although, not because they didn't want to work with me!) Since school starts on Tuesday, I really needed to have people to fill those positions and fast. Evidently the principal started interviewing last Friday, but didn't offer a position to the person I requested until Tuesday. She accepted another offer for a different school on Monday. Needless to say I was a little disappointed. He also offered a position to another individual, who I think will work out nicely, but I still had a position left. Denise and I decided to move some other paras around, and one of them was moved down to take that 3rd position. There has been a bit of a mixup over the entire thing (between the principal and a possible hire) and it has turned into a pretty bad situation involving the school board, so we'll see how everything shakes out.

Good Farm Milk: Well, since I'm trying to cut out extra sweets from my diet, I decided I shouldn't make something I could ultimately eat. I decided against the Ostkaka because I wouldn't have been able to enjoy it. Instead I decided to use the milk and try to make some fresh cheese. Last year I ordered some liquid rennet off of a cheese making site, and stumbled across some interesting cheese recipes while I was there. After ordering the rennet, I also ordered some other cheese making ingredients for when I had time to play. :) I decided that today was the day I would try to make, (drum roll, please)......fresh mozzarella. It was pretty easy, and from the nibble I've already tried, it tastes excellent! I'm so excited since it is very hard (and extremely expensive when you do find it) to find fresh moz. in the area of the country I've chosen to live in. For those of you who would like to try as well, I'll include a recipe. For those of you who are currently blessed to be living in a foreign country where you can buy this, you can ignore the rest of the post!

Fresh Mozzarella
What you'll need:
*1 gallon milk, preferably fresh farm milk, but you can use store bought
*1 1/2-2 teaspoons citric acid
*1/4 tablet rennet, dissolved in 1/4 c. cold water
*salt to taste
*large (6-8qt.) stainless steel pot
*wooden spoon
*thermometer that will read from 60-120 degrees F
*2 qt. microwave safe bowl
1. Wipe down all counter and stove top surfaces with anti-bacterial spray.
2. Dissolve rennet tablet in cool water.
3. Pour milk into stainless steel pot, and add citric acid. Heat slowly to 90 degrees F. As you approach 90 degrees you will notice the milk begin to curdle.
4. When at 90 degrees add your rennet to the milk. Stir in a top to bottom motion for approx. 30 seconds, then stop.
5. Turn off the heat (it may have risen to 105 degrees or so).
6. Let the milk remain quiet for 3-5 min. The longer you let it be, the more firm it will be.
7. Cut through cheese in a checkerboard pattern, and then scoop out of whey and place in the microwave-safe bowl. Press the curd gently with your hands to get as much whey out as possible. (I did use cheese cloth for this part.)
8. Microwave the curd on high for 1 min. You will notice more whey run out of the curd. Drain this off.
9. Quickly work the curd with a spoon or your hands. (Rubber gloves might help, or I just used a rubber spatula.)
10. Microwave 2 more times for 35 seconds each time. Repeat the process of kneading the curds. Pour off as much of the whey as possible.
11. Pour it out on a clean surface (I used a cutting board) and knead as though it were bread dough until it is smooth and shiny. You can add salt at this point. At this point the cheese should be soft and pliable enough to pull like taffy.
12. Form it into a ball (I did several mini mozz. balls) and drop into ice water. Instead of putting salt in the cheese, I chose to make my water salt water, and flavor it in this manner. Cover, and put in the refrigerator.
13. Excellent in salads, sliced on pizza, or my favorite...wedges with fresh tomatoes out of the garden, fresh basil leaves, and drizzled with olive oil and balsimic vinegar and a few shakes of salt and pepper. YUMMY!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Home again, home again, Jiggedy Jig

I left this morning right after breakfast, driving off the farm at exactly 9:07 a.m. The drive went well. I drove through several patches of rain, and it was cloudy most of the way, but I welcomed that as I knew that it would be very hot once I reached KS. Even KS wasn't as bad as I thought it might have been, so that is a blessing. I drove into Hesston at about 3, so I made very good time.
I unloaded the good farm milk, and also the corn and quickly got them into the refrigerator and freezer. I also started a load of laundry which should be done soon. My cat Manje greeted me, and I was surprised at how big she looked. I guess I'm just used to the tiny kittens on the farm (or maybe Mom and Dad spoiled her while I was away). She hasn't shown any signs that she's happy to see me, but I guess that's just part of her normal temperament.
I'll be heading back to Marion tomorrow morning. I've got plenty to unpack and put away. Plus, I think I might make an Ostkaka, or maybe some fresh cheese since I have farm milk. I should really go over and work on my classroom, but I don't feel like it. I want to put it off for just one more day! I do need to talk to the principal and see if I need to do some interviews. I have at least 2 positions that I need to fill before school starts, that's exactly one week from now.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wanting a good home

So here's my latest love interest. Yup, it's a gray tiger striped kitten. Isn't he just precious? :) Very playful and sweet. Unfortunately, our love affair will have to end soon (Monday morning, to be exact), on orders from my father. Mom seems game for me to bring him home, but Dad has a resounding "NO!". Grandpa keeps reminding me that "you're a grown woman of 26, and you can decide for yourself." I keep saying that I'm also a responsible grown woman of 26 and need to have a babysitter for when I travel. If the babysitter isn't willing, I have to say no. Does anyone else need a really sweet kitten? Or maybe a volunteer for when I travel?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

Today is a cooler day, in the 80s. With the nice shade trees on the farm it was possible to stay cool most of the time I was working today. I finished painting in the screen house, and also painted the picnic table and another bench. I'm sure that I'll be able to complete it this afternoon. Then I'll be able to do whatever else Grandpa has on his list.

Grandma baked bread this morning--whole wheat loaf and rolls, plus cinnamon rolls for Sundays. She makes the best bread! After lunch I watched her roll out the dough and spread on the butter and cinnamon sugar. She's made them for so many years, she has it down to an art form! Mine don't look like hers yet, but maybe if I practiced more often they would! The baking smells coming out of the house this morning made it hard to concentrate on my work!

Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls

2 2/3 cup milk, scalded
2/3 cup shortening (lard)
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 pkgs. Yeast (2 scant TBSP)
¼ cup warm water to dissolve yeast in
8 cups flour

Scald milk. Add shortening to milk and melt. Allow milk to cool. Put sugar, and salt in the mixing bowl. Add milk, yeast mixture and eggs to bowl and mix well. Add flour in and allow to rise until doubled. Roll out ½ of dough and spread with soft butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll and cut. Allow to rise again, until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for at least 20 min. Makes approximately 40 small rolls.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Harvest time.

My job today was to help with the corn harvest. Sweet corn harvest, that is. Thankfully we had storms last night, and although we didn't have much rain, it did cool down the air a bit. Grandpa was in charge of choosing the corn from the patch, and then cutting down the stalks to feed to the dry cows. He then sat on the newly painted bench outside the screen porch and shucked them.

After Grandpa had shucked the corn I had the "tedious" job of making sure all of the corn silk was off. Grandma got impatient at the beginning because we weren't working fast enough, so she came and helped too.

When we had cleaned up the corn well enough I would go in and help grandma in the kitchen. Grandma was in charge of cleaning the corn, and then preparing it for freezing. She cut the corn off the cob, and then it was my job to put 4 tablespoons of corn in the plastic sack and double bag it for the freezer. We were able to get their 52 sacks (enough to have corn 1x per week), plus a few for me to take home.

Tomorrow I'll be back to painting. I asked Grandpa today what else was on the "To Do" list...he says its a secret! I think it will involve some weeding! ;)