Away in a Manger

Away in a Manger

Friday, July 29, 2011

There's No 'Sub'stitute!


I like to cook and bake. But I also want to make the most of the time I spend in the kitchen. When Brent was home, I decided to do a little multitasking.

One of his mealtime requests was BBQ Meatballs. It makes a big recipe, so I put some regular-sized meatballs in the freezer for another meal. I use a regular-sized ice cream scoop to make uniform main dish meatballs. I put Curly's BBQ sauce on the main dish meatballs and then stuck them in the freezer to use later. (The original recipe had a homemade BBQ sauce; my family likes Curly's better. Who am I to argue when it saves me time?)


Then I used a smaller scoop to make miniature meatballs. These smaller meatballs also went into the freezer, but I didn't put any kind of sauce on them. I pulled them out for Meatball Subs, one of the suppers I transport to the field.

I thawed the meatballs and then browned then in a non-stick pan. For these sandwiches, I used a hoagie bun and put a mixed shredded cheese on both the top and bottom. Then I broiled it until the cheese was melted and slightly browned.

You could make your own spaghetti sauce, but I used a jarred sauce. I put a little in the skillet after the meatballs were cooked through. Then I spread a little bit on the bun before putting down a quartet of meatballs.

The verdict? They were better than Subway's version. (Of course, Subway isn't delivering to the field, now are they?)

Even if you're not carting meals to the field, this is a good way to make your family think they are getting different meals - even when it's the same ol' meatball. And it saves you a little time, too. Bonus!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Capturing a Moment

August 18, 2010, A Walk on a Dewy Morning


There are always two people in every picture:
the photographer and the viewer.

~Ansel Adams

Photographer Ansel Adams might have been talking about photography judging at the county fair. (I don't think he was, but he might have been.) That old wornout adage about "Beauty being in the eye of the beholder" certainly holds true for fair judging.

I entered photos in both the Stafford County and the Pratt County Fairs this month. As I said after last year's fairs, I've been exhibiting since I was 10 years old. Old habits die hard.

The judging format is different for each fair. At Stafford, a 1st, 2nd and 3rd is chosen in each class. At Pratt, it doesn't matter how many photos are in the class: Blue ribbon exhibits (in the judge's opinion) earn blues. Red ribbon work earns a red, and so on. Pratt also awards top blues in each class and then gives 13 purple ribbons in the adult division.

I had some success at the Stafford Fair. My spider web photo (at the top) earned Reserve Grand Champion (and the prize money helped me pay for all the enlargements and mounting board. Entering photos is not an inexpensive hobby.) I also got prize money for my rainbow photo taken in a hay field. Xi Zeta Eta in St. John will use it to illustrate their community calendar. I also picked up a couple of other 1sts and two 3rds at Stafford.

August 2009

But I guess the photography judge at Pratt and I "saw" eye to eye. I always agonize about which ones to enter. For an indecisive person who wants to make the "right" choice, sifting through thousands of photos taken during a year is not an easy task.

Plus, it's just so subjective. What one person loves, another feels "ho-hum" about. Judging is all about one person's judgment at one point in time.

So I was thrilled to see 5 purple ribbons on my 10 entries at the Pratt fair. Only one photo got a red.

These were all the purples:

Taken at our silo, April 2011

Taken in Valentine, Nebraska, in October 2010.

Brent's hand holding my great-nephew Braden's foot in September 2010.

This little bird fell out of a tree into my front driveway August 2, 2010.

This was taken in January 2011 at a neighbor's farm pond.

This one got a top blue in the still life class. It was taken June 14, 2011, when harvest was interrupted with a brief shower. I'd never had a photography judge call me before. He wanted to know if I'd used Photo Shop to "build" this photo. I didn't. It was straight out of the camera. (Of course, it was among several I attempted that evening. It just happened to be the best one.)


"Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."
~Ansel Adams

I hear you, Ansel.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Future Farmer of America

I got to spend the afternoon with a Future Farmer of America. Braden, my great-nephew, came with his Grandma Lisa to spend a little time with his great-grandparents.

I have no idea whether Braden will be FFA material. He's only 11 months old, so we'll give him a little time to decide. But, the old Fisher Price Family Farm got a workout during Braden's visit, just like it did when the first generation of grandkids came to call.

He appears to be pondering the high cost of farm equipment and how that will translate to his bottom line. It's serious business.

Braden really got into his work. A good FFA member wants to make sure his cows and horses stay in the barn and don't escape before a guy can shut the barn door.

It's always good when the livestock stays where it's supposed to be. Sure as shootin', that'll make a guy smile.

Braden also had his first outing to a county fair. A guy needs to check out the different species to see what he might want to add at his own barnyard. He and Aunt Abby explored the sheep barn at the Pratt County Fair.

It's always good to get advice from a veteran farmer.

Braden and Great-Grandpa Moore

Even hard-working guys need a way to unwind after a busy day of farming.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

4-H: A Family Legacy

Bob & Janis Moore, July 21, 2011

I pledge my head to clearer thinking

My heart to greater loyalty

My hands to larger service

And my health to better living

For my club, my community, my country and my world.

The 4-H Pledge, Written in 1919 by Kansas 4-H Leader Otis Hall

It would probably be a better world if all of humanity would think about the principles that 4-Hers vow to uphold. Clearer thinking, greater loyalty, larger service, healthy living, better living ... those are all attributes that would do this old world a whole lot of good.

For more than 100 years, 4-H has been changing lives. Back in 2006, we celebrated 100 years of Kansas 4-H. The youth program has been part of the national landscape since 1902.

The 4-H website says:

The 4-H idea is simple: help young people and their families gain the skills they need to be proactive forces in their communities and develop ideas for a more innovative economy. That idea was the catalyst to begin the 4-H movement, and those values continue today.

My family's involvement with 4-H started with my parents back in the 1940s. Both were members of the Lincoln Bluebirds 4-H Club in Pratt County, the club that my siblings and I later joined. All four of us and all seven of the grandchildren have been part of the 4-H program, two in Pratt County in the same club their grandparents attended, two in Stafford County and three in Clay County.

Last week, my parents received a surprise honor from the Pratt County Fair Association. The Kraisinger/Clarkson-Frisbie Service Award is given for outstanding service to the fair association.

During the awards presentation, my brother Kent read a couple of excerpts from life stories my parents wrote for their grandchildren.

My dad, who was a 4-H member for 8 years, wrote:
"I bought a bred registered Hereford heifer at the C-K ranch near Brookville, Kansas. The heifer had a calf, and I had a cow and calf project. I also had an Angus fat steer project. Sears and Roebuck had a program that would give a 4-H member a gilt. The only cost was your agreement to bring a gilt from the litter back the next year to the fair that would be given to another 4-Her. When I finally quit the pig project, I had many, many offspring from that gilt.

I remember going to the fair at the present location on the hill when there were no buildings. The cattle were kept under a very large tent. I stayed at the fair at night, sleeping on a blanket spread on the hay next to my calf. ... I gave project talks and demonstrations and learned how to conduct and participate in meetings."
My mom, who was a 4-Her for 9 years, wrote:
"I joined 4-H as a preparatory member at age 9. I belonged to the Hopewell club until the Lincoln Bluebirds Club was formed at Byers two years later. I gave the usual talks at meetings and for 4-H County Club Days. I attended 4-H camp northwest of Dodge City two summers. I was only gone for three days, but I was rarely away from home so it was a learning experience for me.

"In 4-H, I learned cooking and sewing, which is about all girls took for projects in those days. My mother was the sewing leader. I liked to sew and usually got blue ribbons on my work. My cooking, especially breads, was a different story. My sister always did well with breads, but I usually got red or white ribbons. I think she liked to play in the dough more and that is what it took to make good bread. My sewing carried on through school, and I sewed many clothes for my girls, including coats, dresses and casual wear. They learned to sew for themselves through 4-H and home economics classes at school."
As most former 4-Hers do, they again got involved in 4-H and the fair when their children were little. My dad served on the county fair board and fair committees. My mom was a community leader for the Lincoln Bluebirds (later Lincoln Climbers) Club, the very club she'd been involved with as a girl. She was our club's sewing leader from 1967 to 1978 and helped with projects on the county level as well.

But they didn't quit working with or caring about the 4-H program or the fair after their kids "graduated" from the program. They've continued to give their time and they've contributed financially to building projects in recent years, especially after a tornado destroyed many of the Pratt fair buildings in 2002 and to rebuild the livestock arena at the Stafford County Fair.

I think the award means a lot to the many volunteers who've received it through the years. The award was originally named for Steve Kraisinger, who was Pratt County Extension agricultural agent from 1950 to 1979. He was inducted into the Kansas Fairs and Festivals Association Hall of Fame in 1990. Jean Clarkson-Frisbie's name was added to the service award after her untimely death. She served as county extension agent for 36 years, from 1972 to 2008. Both were county agents during the time I was in 4-H and both were instrumental to the 4-H program and the county fair.

As it is with most 4-H families, we learned through example. My parents devoted time and energy to the 4-H program. As 4-Hers ourselves, we learned about how to conduct meetings, serve on committees, set goals and follow through on projects.

We used those skills to serve as community leaders for our kids' 4-H clubs. We've used those principles to serve in other capacities in our communities and churches. Our kids learned the same. And I figure that the great-grandchildren will eventually join 4-H clubs and experience the 4-H Motto:

To make the best better.

It sounds like something the world should aspire to.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Short Shorts & Tall Tube Socks

Photo from The Wichita Eagle's website

Do you know how hard it was to leave my camera in my purse when I had a front-row seat at a musical?

For my birthday, Randy got me tickets to Music Theatre of Wichita's production of Xanadu last week.

I got the tickets in June, but I didn't pay attention to the row number. Was I ever surprised when we got to Century II, and we were in the front row! I could have caught any roller-skate-wearing actors as they tumbled off the stage ... if there'd been any who fell.

It was pure delight to be able to see every expression on the actors' faces without binoculars. But I was good and didn't take any illicit photos after we snapped these prior to the start of the show.

Randy says we saw the movie Xanadu back in our dating days. I don't remember. Before I got the tickets, I didn't know that the failed movie starring Olivia Newton John had become a Broadway musical.

Even though the movie was a bomb, the soundtrack included five Top 40 hits, including "Magic," "Have You Ever Been Mellow?" and "Xanadu." The album by the Electric Light Orchestra stayed near the top of the pop charts for 2 years.

Music Theatre's Artistic Director Wayne Bryan told the audience that the 1980 movie version was "credited" with helping to kill the movie musical genre for a couple of decades. When Xanadu debuted on Broadway in 2007, critics couldn't imagine that a stage version would be any better. But it was even nominated for a Tony for best musical.

It's certainly not Wicked or Annie or The Sound of Music. But the spoof was just cheesy enough to provide an evening of laughs and a little nostalgia for the legwarmers, short athletic shorts, tall tube socks and the big hair of the 1980s. OK, maybe I didn't leave Century II longing for the fashion of the '80s, but I was definitely humming "Have You Never Been Mellow?"

For more on the show, check out the video on the Music Theatre of Wichita's website. And you, too, will have a flashback to 1980. Hmmm ... Is that a good thing?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Keeping Your Cool

Let's face it: Even the most even-tempered soul is finding it hard to keep cool and collected in this heat.

With the thermometer racing past the 100-degree mark on a daily basis, we're all looking for ways to stay cool.

I am not swimsuit material. So far, I haven't found one that has 3/4-length sleeves and capri length pants. So I have to find solutions for heat in any way I can. Salads to the rescue!

Check out my Lovely Branches Ministries' Food for Thought July message for ideas for cool summer salads and also some reflections about "DEPENDENCE" during this month we celebrate "INDEPENDENCE."

Stay cool - inside and out!

Here's one to get you started. Just click on the Food for Thought link above for more summer ideas.

Summertime Main Dish Salad

I don't really have a recipe for the salad pictured at the top. Make your own version, but here are ideas to get started:
  • I start with a generous base of romaine lettuce or spinach leaves (or mix them both).
  • Choose your own fruits. This time, I added canned mandarin oranges (you can also cut up a naval orange), strawberries, blueberries and green grapes. (Other options might be cutting up nectarines, plums, apricots - whatever is on sale in the produce aisle for the week. In the winter, when there are fewer options, I cut up an apple.)
  • Feta cheese (just a sprinkle)
  • Walnuts (again, just a few. Or you can choose another favorite nut. I like walnuts because of the Omega 3.)
  • A sprinkle of dried cranberries or other dried fruit (opt.) Again, watch the amount added because of the calories.
  • Grilled chicken, grilled steak or salmon (only use about 3 ounces for 1 serving. That's the size of a deck of playing cards.)
  • Light raspberry vinaigrette dressing. If you need to watch calories, measure the dressing instead of just pouring it on.
A sit-down restaurant would charge at least $10 for a salad like this. Make it at home and savor the taste ... and the money savings!

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Picture Perfect


New moms have some creative methods to record the monthly growth of their babies these days. My niece Paige has been taking monthly photos of her daughter Neelly with a stuffed monkey. Either the monkey is shrinking or Neelly is growing. Paige got the monthly sign kit as a baby shower gift.

The signs were a lot more rudimentary, but Moms back in the "olden days" also recorded the passage of time for their babies.

My Mom took this photo of me at 3 months.

September 1957

I continued the tradition with my kids (True confessions: I wasn't as consistent as I should have been. And I definitely should have put the photos in an album as I went so I wouldn't spend my "golden years" searching through plastic tubs for hidden treasure. Where, oh where, was digital photography when I needed it!?)

How's this for a random mile marker for Brent? I guess "7 Wks" is better than nothing. It appears that Jill also had to have her photo taken that day. We couldn't have Brent being the star of the show without a little equal billing, so she got a 2 3/4 yrs. sign.

I haven't been particularly consistent with photographing our "baby" Millie either. But she seems to be filling the backyard tub a little more these days, and she's losing her baby face.

July 19, 2011

June 13, 2011

June 3, 2001 - The day we brought her home from the Animal Shelter

Let's just say Millie will probably take a back seat in the picture department when a certain little Ladd arrives in January.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moving Lessons

The Mom and Dad Moving Co. caught a break last week. A moving company with a real logo and a bonafide truck pulled up to Jill and Eric's house in Omaha last weekend for the first leg of their move from Big Red country back to the Sunflower State.

Back in February 2010, I seem to recall the two dads saying this was their swan song when it came to providing moving services. Thankfully, Eric's new job included a provision for moving expenses. That's a fringe benefit I can really appreciate. (Eric's parents did end up with a truckload of possessions the movers wouldn't move and will serve as a way station while Jill and Eric wait on the go-ahead to move into their new home in Topeka.)

An aside: I just thought I'd use this photo so it might cool all of us off. On the day Jill and Eric moved into their Omaha house in February 2010, there was a lot of snow. Eric's dad Alan tried to find their back patio with a snow shovel. He gave up. Snow sounds good right about now.

However, last Saturday, as the thermometer teased the 100-degree mark and the humidity was off the charts, I was ever so thankful that there were three young guys sweating instead of me.

The moving company didn't get me out of the cleaning detail. But it was still cooler inside cleaning, even after the door had been propped open for six hours.

Jill and I felt sorry for the movers. However, we were both of the opinion that they could have saved themselves a few ounces of sweat by showing up at 8 o'clock instead of 10:10. We did offer plenty of ice water.

And I did feel somewhat guilty sitting there reading my book. I got more reading done while the packers packed on Friday and the movers moved on Saturday than I gotten done in a long time. (We even had time for the first round of maternity clothes shopping!)

One of the movers was a young guy named Juan. He looked like he was still in high school. As the morning turned into afternoon, Jill asked him if he was still in school.

Juan said he had dropped out of school because he had a daughter. But he was seriously considering going back.

"I don't want to do this the rest of my life," he told her.

I've always thought that any job can teach us life lessons like that. The summer between Brent's sophomore and junior years at college, he worked in Manhattan making t-shirts.

There was nothing wrong with the job. He collected a paycheck, though he ruined some clothes along the way with the ink. He and a fraternity brother worked in the un-airconditioned work zone all summer long.

And they both learned that they were glad to go back to school in the fall and ultimately work toward those bachelor's degrees. Still other internships helped Brent figure out he was on the right career path, and he' s now working towards his master's.

We all have those "a-ha" moments along the way. They are the signposts that point our way to the future.

So, I hope Juan really follows through and goes back to school ... not only for his own sake, but as an example for his young daughter.

There's certainly no shame in manual labor. And maybe Juan will work himself up and become the supervisor. But striving to be the best you can be is an important crossroads - no matter your age or station in life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This 4-Her Loafs Around!

We live in an instant world. Our cell phone is literally attached at the hip. Kids are just as likely to text a friend across the room rather than take 10 steps to ask them a question in person.

Bread baking doesn't exactly fit the "instant" mode. So it's encouraging to see 4-Hers still learning about bread baking, an art that's been around practically since the beginning of time.

Cody Burnett earned the Grand Champion rosette at the Stafford County Fair this year with a loaf of Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread. And, fittingly enough, she baked it in her Grandma Nina Seibert's kitchen with a family recipe.

That's what 4-H is all about. It's about moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas standing behind kids and teaching them things like how to bake a loaf of bread or how to clip a steer. But it's about way more than that: It's about learning to work side-by-side toward a common goal. And the feeling of family extends beyond bloodlines. It's that veteran 4-Her showing a new 4-H family how to get a bucket calf ready for a show. It's that older 4-H cook standing alongside the first-year 4-Her and showing her how to measure flour ... and gently correcting when the novice inevitably taps it on the counter in an effort to get more in the cup.

Cody is 13 years old and will be an 8th grader at Macksville Junior High next school year. She's been baking bread for about three years now.

She doesn't let the Kitchen Aid mixer do all the work, though she does use it to get started.

"I like to knead," Cody said. "That's the fun part."

What 13-year-old girl doesn't need a stress reliever every now and again? (Don't you remember junior high and adolescence in general?)

She practiced the recipe four different times, perfecting the kneading time and learning how to shape the loaf. By the time fair baking rolled around, she only had to make the recipe once to get the Grand Champion entry, which the judge praised as "a nearly perfect loaf."

It might not be instant. But it's sure gratification.

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup quick oatmeal
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 tbsp. yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. dough enhancer
3 cups bread flour

Put margarine, oatmeal, salt and brown sugar in large mixing bowl. Add boiling water. Mix well. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Cool slightly. Mix in egg after cooled. Add to first mixture. Add whole wheat flour and dough enhancer. Mix for 3 minutes in mixer. Put on dough hook. Add bread flour. Mix 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from mixer bowl and knead well.

Let rise until doubled. Punch down and then shape into 2 loaves or 24 rolls. Let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot and Bothered

If you think you're hot, just think about this poor mama with these four heat-seeking missiles. They are constantly pushing their wiggly, hot bodies against her in search of breakfast, lunch, supper and assorted snacks.

How would it feel to be the vending machine for this never-ending open buffet? Apparently, it's exhausting.

The mom has moved her four babies into a single-family home in our backyard - a.k.a. a window well.

So far, Millie hasn't bothered them, though she is constantly seeking playmates among the other felines lounging in the 100-plus-degree heat in the backyard. As cats are wont to do, they pretty much ignore her.

Randy is on his quest to tame these newest additions to the farmyard.

We'll see if the mama cat leaves them in their current accommodations or packs them up and moves them to an undisclosed forwarding address.

Let's hope she puts them to work on mouse-hunting detail soon. There's no such thing as a free lunch around here.

Farmchicks Farm Photo Friday

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yankee "Doodles" Dandy!

Whole wheat is definitely part of the dietary "buzz" these days as Americans are urged to add more whole grains to their diets.

And while I'm not sure cookies are what the experts had in mind, this Whole Wheat Snickerdoodle recipe is one we've been using around here for years.

It was a county fair winner back when Jill was just a beginning 4-H cook. What judge doesn't like a little bit of extra nutrition when choosing a winner? (So far, most 4-H fairs haven't figured out a way to have their young cooks enter their favorite salad recipes.)

Brianna & Jaycee make the Snickerdoodles at a recent 4-H cooking meeting.

Freshly grated orange rind packs a punch of flavor, along with the nutmeg and the cinnamon.

A cookie scoop is a great tool to use to make all the cookies the same size, especially important when baking for 4-H. If your family is like mine, a uniform cookie isn't their chief concern. But I guess a little beauty never hurts.

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. finely grated fresh orange rind
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
***
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cream shortening and 1 cup sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Blend in egg. Mix flour, baking powder, soda, salt and nutmeg in separate bowl; add orange rind. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk and vanilla, mixing well. Use a small cookie scoop to make uniform balls. Roll in mixture made from combining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon.

Place on greased cookie sheet; flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Makes 3 dozen.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Window on Another World

(A bakery window in Chicago reflects a street scene amid the decorated cakes.)

Travel offers a different window on the world. You can learn a lot when you travel:
  • My sister learned that I can stay on my side of the bed these days. (They used to fight about who had to share a bed with me because I was a turbulent sleeper as a kid.)
  • I learned that even though I walk nearly every day at home, it's decidedly different to wear "real" shoes instead of tennis shoes ... and I have the blisters to prove it.
  • I confirmed that you invariably take more clothes than you need to ... even if you have to cram them into a carry-on bag. This quote is so true:
When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.
~Susan Heller
  • And I learned that it's pretty great to spend time with your siblings as adults.
Our third and final day in Chicago had an art theme. After a breakfast brunch along the Chicago River, we went to the Gold Coast Art Fair in Grant Park, which featured more than 300 artists.

(I don't know any of these people. I was just struck by the view of the cloud-dotted skyline as I turned the corner in the sea of white tents.)

The only thing I got at the art fair was a sunburn, but it was still fun to look.

With some time before our evening flight, we went across the street to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Even the outdoor courtyard was artistic, with the old Chicago Board of Trade arch nestled among a rainbow of flowers and flanked in the background with new buildings.

My favorite stop at the museum was Marc Chagall's America Windows. Chagall designed the six-panel work for the Art Institute to celebrate the U.S. bicentennial, and it details the arts of music, painting, literature, theater and dance.

(This is just one of the panels.)

Another "have-to" stop was the Gallery of American Art to see Grant Wood's American Gothic.

I guess the appeal is kind of self-explanatory for this farm wife. Based on their sour expressions, maybe this pair hadn't gotten rain for quite some time either.

We also saw paintings by Monet, van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, El Greco, Picasso and a bunch of other old masters, using the museum's handy-dandy guide, What to See in an Hour. (We did have a plane to catch, after all.)

Before gathering our suitcases for the trip home, Darci took us by The St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church near her home.


The church was founded in 1899 in the Bucktown area of Chicago as a Polish Cathedral style church. They are in the midst of a $2.5 million restoration project.

Even with netting obscuring part of the dome, the cathedral was gorgeous.

I started this with things learned while traveling, so I'll guess I'll end with a couple more:
  • I wouldn't go so far as to say that I "mastered" riding the Blue Line train. But I did make my first and second excursions on it (though I must admit it would have taken me longer to figure it out without Lisa and Kent.) We rode it from O'Hare on Thursday, and then Darci dropped us off at the station closest to her house on Saturday, and we rode it back to the airport.
  • I learned that I should have sat in the "A" seat in the airplane coming back. Then, I could have taken photos of the K-State campus from the air as we approached the Manhattan Airport.But I really can't complain about the view out my window either.

  • There's no place like home. Chicago was a great place to visit. But I love my co-op skyscrapers. And I'm OK with the fact that my "museum" this week is the Stafford County Fair's photo display and the arts and crafts exhibits.