Friday, November 24, 2006

November Friends

There must be something about the first few weeks of November and my karma. I've had both good and bad experiences in the weeks before Thanksgiving, but most of them leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

Bad Karma
November 18, 1988 - Grandma Fox dies.
I was the youngest of 11 grandchildren and spoiled rotten. Grandma suffered a stroke one week before her death during my freshman year at FHSU and my life changed forever. We talked on the phone quite a bit and she was quite a lady.

November 13, 2005 - Dee Friesen dies.
Dee was a true friend. We met in college and had a great friendship. She kept me going during grad school and was a great person to spend an evening with. As the stars would have it, my future wife-to-be worked with her aunt in Dodge City.

November 18, 2006 - Chris Orr critically injured in Lawrence, Kansas
Chris is an old friend. Now, he (and I) aren't old, we've just known each other for quite a long time - since the late 80's-early 90's when we met each other in the student publication labs at Fort Hays State University. Chris was a wild man then and still knows how to have a good time. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the Cat Tracker bus went under an overpass in Lawrence. Chris and another rider struck the overpass. Chris has life-threatening head injuries and we hope pray that he survives.

Good Karma
November 20, 1968 - Dana is born
My wife Dana was born in November, so it can't be that bad of a month. She is the love of my life and comforted me during my crying jag on Saturday when I got the news about Chris. She was also there last year when my friend Dee died. She's been by my side since our first date in December of 1997 - nine years ago and I know she'll be there to comfort me when other bad things in life happen.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Getting Older

Tomorrow we drive to my sister's house in Burr Oak, Kansas to watch the high school graduation of her oldest son, Jake. As I'm preparing one of his graduation gifts, I'm amazed at just how old I am. I remember the day I found out that Jacob Stanton Hesting was brewing in my sister's uterus. It was just a few days after I had graduated from high school (Senior 1987) and was moving my belongings to Boulder, Colorado to figure out what in the hell I was going to do with my life.

Jake made his appearance on December 18, 1987 and I remember him at our apartment in Boulder just one week later at our family's Christmas celebration. Now, I'm the youngest of the Stanton kids, so I had really never been around babies before. I was amazed at this little being and have been amazed at him ever since. This is a young man who is comfortable in his skin. He knows how to meet new people and keep the familiar people in his life. He has spent two weeks in Russia. He's a pretty good athlete and an all-around good young man. I see him play with my two kids and know that he doesn't have to pay any attention to them, but he does. He takes the time to explain what he is doing to my son, Jack and gives countless backrides to my daughter, Gracie.

I'm proud of him and I'm even prouder that he is coming to my alma mater (and current employer), Fort Hays State University. I know he will do well in college and I'm glad that I'll get to see him more often! Congratulations Jake!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stay-at-home parents

Well, I've been home for the summer break for a total of 3 1/2 days as of noon today and I'm really wondering how stay-at-home parents (both moms and dads) do it without going crazy.

When we first moved to Hays, Dana stayed home with the kids and I couldn't believe that she didn't have the house spotless and a five-course meal fixed each evening when I got home. I have the answer (which, of course, my beautiful wife told me last fall). There is no way possible that you can keep a house clean, prepare meals, do the laundry and everything else wrapped up in a household with a five year old and a two year old running around the house, destroying everything you have put back in place in just a few minutes.

I'm also not sure how people who work from home get things accomplished in their "home office" if there are kids around. I've been working on a freelance project this week and just trying to get some work done between breaking up the fights and changing dirty diapers is quite the challenge.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying spending time with my kids, but I'm learning that I also enjoy the quietness of my little office on the second floor of Malloy Hall on the FHSU campus.

So here's to all of the people who stay at home with kids and try to keep their sanity - you've got one on me!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Influential Women in my life

On this Mother's Day, I am thinking of the women in my life who have been most influential. Of course, my mom, Carol Stanton, ranks up there pretty high. She was the one who gave birth to me, fed me and has watched out for me for these past 36 (almost 37) years. But to quote Hillary Clinton, it really does take a village to raise a child. Here are a few of the women who have made me who I am today. (in no particular order)

Carol Stanton
The aforementioned mother, has always been there for me. Without Mom, I wouldn't have learned to cook as well as I do. I wouldn't know how to do just about everything I do.

Dot Stanton
Della Jane "Dot" Stanton, affectionately known as Grandma Stanton was a big-breasted, loving, but stubborn woman who was the "mother hen" of seven kids, a multitude of grandkids, and cooked meals for hundreds of kids at Logan Public Schools for a good portion of her life. My favorite memories about Grandma Stanton are flavored with food. Chocolate whipped cream, fried chicken, gravy, green onion dip on baked potatoes, root beer barrel candy, and many other goodies that Grandma had around her kitchen. I still have the red/blue flannel quilt she made for each of her grandsons. Although it is about ready to fall apart, it is one of Jack's favorite quilts to snuggle up in during the cold months.

Bernice Fox
Grandma Fox was an (almost) daily staple in my life from the time we moved to Logan in 1970 till the day I moved to Boulder, Colorado after high school graduation. I was lucky enough to live just two blocks away from Grandma Stanton and four blocks away from Grandma Fox during my days in Logan and spent a good majority at Grandma/Grandpa Fox's house. Grandma was my babysitter, my friend, my mentor and one of the sweetest women that I've ever met. The thought of her raisin cookies still makes me want a fresh batch (although I'm not a big raisin fan, her cookies were awesome!). I'd love some of her fried chicken, fried catfish or some of her calico beans in the brown casserole dish (I'm not sure why, but she always fixed them in the same brown corning ware covered casserole). I remember when I was about four years old, rocking with her so hard that we tipped the rocking chair over. We ate lots of wheat thins and apple juice and she had the most beautiful flowers in her yard. I know that she is reincarnated in our back yard here in Hays. A wild pink rose bush that is exactly like hers graces the east side of our house and every time I smell those roses, I think of her.

Frieda States
My first grade teacher.

Joan Simoneau
My high school music teacher - made me work hard and helped me be the musician I am today.

Dr. Sharol Little
My boss at Dodge City Public Schools. Taught me how to be the PR person I am.

Ruth Dobbins
High school Home Economics teacher who was one of my "surrogates" my senior year in High School.

Carol (Gokey) Long
My mother-in-law. I thank Carol every time I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night for giving so much love to my wife. She also makes some of the best rice krispie treats this side of the Mississippi!

Leah (Stanton) Hesting
My big sister. Why is it that we have to be adults before we can appreciate our siblings? She is the one who makes me laugh, gives me advice and reminds me to grow my spirit and creative side.

Dana Stanton
My wife. My best friend. My lover. Without her, I wouldn't be where I am today. She is my sounding board, my confidant, my accountant, my dream-sharer, and my partner in life. Tomorrow is our seventh wedding anniversary and I really can't remember much before I met her. My heart is alive because of her!

Linn Ann Huntington
College Professor. Friend. Colleague. My writing skills are much improved because of the dedication of this fine Okie.

Nancy (Demuth) Richards
I still remember the day that Nancy crossed her parent's back yard and into my grandma' Fox's back yard to ask me if I would sing in her production of "Logan Salutes America". It was 1975 and she had a red bandanna around her hair. Nancy showed me how to perform and sing and enjoy it!

Sue (Eckhart) (Krouse) Jackson
Sue taught me how to swim, then was my third grade teacher. Every time I'm in the pool with Jackson and Grace, I remember the days in the pool with Sue.

Grace Jo Yingzhen Stanton
My daughter. Wow, what would I do without this little woman in my life? She has opened new doors for me throughout the world! Getting Gracie was a life-changing experience for me and I am so glad we went to China to get her.