Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

Submit or . . .

It seems that everytime I'm getting organized to actually send out my work, I have a technical glitch. Out of ink, the driver for the printer is mysteriously deleted, the kids have used up all of the printer paper to draw cartoons on, or I'm out of envelopes because the kid felt he should make packets of cartoons to send to *his* friends.

This week, it's my computer down. I did get a couple of email submissions out the door, and two paper packets out before the end of the month deadlines. I managed a few last month as well, so not too terrible, but not what I was hoping to get done before we packed up and hit the highway for our rather short move to Leavenworth, Kansas.

The move threatens to be all I can see right now. But when I'm busy, I need to write. So, I write. Life is good, no?

Sweet Tea and Summer Time

Although I was born and (mostly) raised in Indiana, which many people wouldn't consider "The South," I know that summer has arrived when there are fireflies over the garden and sweet tea in the 'fridge. It took me awhile to realize, when we lived in Georgia, that you could actually order sweet tea at dinner out on the town. And no matter how lovely that might be, it's still not as good as homemade sweet tea, made with Lipton's, diluted with ice, and served in a tall glass. I've changed to de-cafe, otherwise I don't know that I'd sleep all summer long.

Fill a medium sauce pan with cold water, bring to boil, tie 12 tea bags together. When the water boils, take the pan off the burner and add the tea bags. Cover. Wait for 5 mins. while the tea steeps. Take out the tea bags, add 1c. sugar to the hot tea, stir until the sugar disolves. Pour in 1 gallon pitcher. Add a bit of cold water, espcially if you're using a glass jar, to fill about 1/2 of a gallon. Top the rest of the gallon with ice. Stir well. Enjoy on your front porch while watching robins, the neighbors, or whatever happens to lurk on your street.

Ah. Summer.

More on Gratitude

I'm subscribed to Zen Habits, a blog that is probably best classified as a part of the "slow movement." Today's post is about incorporating gratitude in one's life. The post also is a challenge, which they ask the readers to share, so I'm sharing with you.

Characteristics of a Grateful Life

A life of gratitude is composed of three parts that combine to make a whole.

1. A sense of purpose in our lives

2. An appreciation for the lives of those around us

3. A willingness to take action to show the gratitude we feel

I think as a poet, I do pay attention and appreciate my life and the lives of others. I don't know that paying attention, alone, is enough. One of my shortcomings, I feel, is that I don't incorporate enough of the third characteristic in my life. Writing is often the most comfortable response; writing, though, is not always the most helpful response.

The challenge is expressed in practical (practicable) form:

* Spend three minutes every morning writing down a few things you are grateful for that day
* Devote a full morning or afternoon to composing a more detailed gratefulness list. (One tip: think both about what you are grateful for and also how you can show that gratitude)
* Make it a habit to encourage at least one person every day
* Review your finances to make sure they are in order and aligned with your values
* Plan something fun, like a trip to somewhere you’ve never been
* For one day (or more), say something positive to every person you meet

So, I'll start by adding three things I'm grateful (beyond my family-which of course tops my list each and every day) for this morning and I challenge you to do the same here in the comments section--or wherever you blog (leave a comment with a link).

1. Being able to wake up at an early hour without an alarm. For many years, I've been a night owl while my husband wakes up chipper each day. After a lot of practice and self enforced earlier bed-times, I'm able to wake up and spend a few moments over coffee with my husband before the day's concerns start to intrude.

2. Fresh fruit and vegetables. What a luxury to have strawberries and apples and bananas at my fingertips most every day. I keep a tray of fruit on the counter, often the basic apples and oranges, but their color brightens my day. And I know that my kids have healthy food at hand.

3. My silly dogs. I've learned much about love and trust from our two Italian Greyhounds. They make us laugh, too. During my chemo last summer, they sat by my side and kept me company. There were weeks when the only time I saw my husband's true smile was when the dogs greeted him at the door. They are so pleased to please.

There is always something to learn and always work to do.
Be blessed where you are, and bless others in return.

Tomorrow's Cleanup Information

Continuing Volunteer Cleanup Efforts

Via email from the Sunset Zoo list Serve:

All volunteers wanting to assist with the continuing cleanup from the recent weather event should report to the northwest corner of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium parking lot (near the corner of Kimball and College Avenues) between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Friday, June 13. Those volunteers should dress appropriately (long pants and shirts, work gloves if available) and will be transported to the affected areas.

In addition, all those with vehicles and equipment to use in support of the continuing cleanup effort should call 587-2489 or 587-2404 so they can be put in direct contact with those needing greater assistance. Any property owner or tenant needing this assistance from those volunteers with vehicles and equipment should call 587-2489 or 587-2404 to register for assistance.

I'm really impressed with the way the city of Manhattan has and is managing to get information out to the residents of Manhattan. My friend on the ground earlier today said that the Stadium parking lot was set up with a mobile command post. The stadium lot is about four blocks from the damaged area on campus- It is amazing to watch the community pull together to help each other.


The Ksu Foundation's Web Page with information on how you can help. They also have a media presentation and links to other stories about the June 11th tornado.

I have yet to see a specific page for the RED CROSS here in town, but I'm sure they are accepting donations as well.

Please also remember the Flint Hills Breadbasket which helps feed people in need in the Riley County area.


The Manhattan Mercury has a SPECIAL REPORT with more photos and will update as news becomes available.


The tornado was classified as an EF4, the second most powerful classification.


Eyes on Campus

1:40 pm.

Reports via cell phone from friend on campus:

Dennison Avenue is completely closed off and the area is being cleaned up as we speak. The building and grounds crews at KSU are hard at work putting tarps over the damaged buildings at KSU. Cardwell Hall has lost all the windows at the top and the ventilation system on the top of the building is shredded. You can see where the tornado touched down and pulled everything toward it. Many of the trees in the area have lost major branches, and there are branches strewed all over the ground.

The bottom level of Cardwell has already been boarded up. Danker Roofing has their crews on the grounds currently.

Burt Hall has many trees down, luckily the stone building has stood well in the face of the storm.

Waters Hall is missing windows and is roped off.

ECS seems to have escaped much damage (I spent much time there as a Grad Student.) although there is much debris. Chunks of the roof from the nuclear power plant are on the ground. The Engineering building has lost all the trees, many uprooted and knocked over.


Cars in the parking lot have been picked up and thrown. Hoods are torn off cars, and some are stacked on top of each other. (see photo in earlier post)


Campus is navigable thanks to the great response from the community and the KSU Grounds and Facilities Crew. Cleanup is progressing in an orderly manner. There are quite a few students walking around with their cellphone/cameras taking pics of the damage.


A special thank you goes out to Manhattan's first responders: the police, the firemen, and the EMS & Red Cross workers. They were out last night pulling people out of the torn houses. RCDP must be running on fumes as today has progressed.


As major news networks are now covering this story, I'm signing off for today. I am extremely grateful that Manhattan was blessed enough to have no lives lost. And grateful for the emergency system that warned local residents in a timely manner to take cover. I'm certain their work saved lives.


What is Left of the New Water's Hardware

Just opened in October, here's what is left: (again, embedded from WIBW's viewer photos,photo credit to "Rob S.")

Hardware store destroyed

Local Photos/ KSU Tornado

KSU RELIEF FUND The site has information about yesterday's events and a way for you to donate to KSU to help rebuild. This link is to the KSU Foundation.


Here is a link from WIBW with viewer photos. The website also has some early video. (The following photos are embedded from that site, photo credits to Justin Weibers for the KSU photos and "Steph" for the Amhearst photos) Click to see larger photos/or to comment at that site)

Amherst Area, Manhattan Damage

Amherst Area, Manhattan Damage

Photos from the Campus Area:

K-State Tornado

K-State Tornado

K-State Tornado

Amherst Area, Manhattan Damage

Here is a link to the broadcast of last night's storm at it occurred on KTKA

Cnn's coverage is spotty right now. But the I-report section has a few other photos: see here

Toyota on Seth Child:

Extensive damge to Manhattan

A photo of "a" Tornado during a lightning strike: EDIT: Good Grief-> awesome photo of the power of nature; NOT a photo from this tornado.


Another CNN "I-report" reporter has pictures available:

KSU: 20 million in damages

According the interview I heard earlier on the radio, K-State has an insurance policy that will cover much of the damages. However, there is a 5 million dollar deductible --I'm sure that there will soon be a fund for donations. When I find out those details, I'll post them.

There are students enrolling today at K-State, many who were sleeping in the dorms last night--and there will still be enrollment today but the location has moved to Bramlage Coliseum.
I'm certainly impressed that KSU has been able to respond so quickly and still provide the necessary services to the incoming freshmen. There is a shelter for students, too. At Putnam Hall.


Be safe out there today.


Volunteers call the RED CROSS or the Manhattan City Managers (phone numbers below)


The Mercury. com says they'll have pictures soon. update at 11:55 am : The Mercury has several photos of the damage now.


Friends & such Report

One of our friends in Amhearst reports that her entire neighborhood was out on the streets last night, talking in the street and making sure that everyone was safe. She says that the Amhearst Neighborhood is crazy with all the sirens and emergency vehicles.


Another friend near the Campus tells us that the roofs are torn off of buildings and that there are many cars damaged and much debris everywhere. I can hear the shock in his voice as spoke to me as he walked around the area.


Thank you to the friends who have called to check on us. Our home and neighborhood is safe; while some members of our church have damage to their homes.


Senator Pat Roberts said, "Kansas is not Katrina; Kansans will help Kansans" (via interview on FM 96.3 around 9:52 am.)


Outside my windows, it's a typical rainy morning.


Weather, too, is a Concern

8:59 am

We are expecting more poor weather likely today. If you are out and working please be aware that the weather might be an issue again today.

The RCPD will be doing sweeps again today to make sure that everyone is accounted for. FEMA is in the area also doing sweeps, as is the RED CROSS. National Guard is on site to also secure the damaged areas.

9:01 am

If you need shelter, there is also now a shelter for pets available.

The RCPD will have a press conference this evening

Gov. Sebelius & our 2 senators Brownback and Roberts will be coming tonight to view the damage at KSU and Manhattan


There are many great things about living in Kansas, tornadoes are not one of them. The community's response is amazing. Out of all the damaged homes, only 6 people needed to use the shelter last night.


K-Man, K-Rock still are running current updates.


Volunteers are Needed today after lunchtime. CALL City office at 587- 2489 or 587- 2404 for further instructions.


9:13 am

City Manager Ron Fear reports that they will be assessing structural damage and trying to mark any unsafe buildings in town. Most of the main roads are open in Manhattan. Please be aware that stoplights may be not functioning. Use caution when working outside as the situation is still dangerous--broken glass and nails and other building supplies and household items are spread over the area and still pose a hazard.


Picking Up

Manhattan KS 8:50 am.

After the night's emergency, it's absolutely amazing that there have been no serious injuries reported here in Manhattan. The neighborhood was a family neighborhood. Another friend who lives in the area, is out of town--so we know that she is fine but have no word on her home.

Reports indicate that $20 millions in damage at Kansas State Campus.

Volunteers should call RCPD if you are physically fit and are willing to help pick up and sort debris in the tornado hit area especially in the Miller Ranch Area.

Water's True Value is destroyed to just a slab.

Damage to apartments and some home on College Ave.

Potteroff Hall is still available as a shelter.

Cash donations should be sent to the RED CROSS.

Two arrests made for looting in the Amhearst Area. Good Grief.


I'll update as the day progresses as The Manhattan Mercury site is down from heavy traffic.


Manhattan Damage/ KSU tornado

About 30 houses in Miller Ranch area are destroyed to foundations, and the K-State Campus sounds like it has some serious damages as well: roofs torn off, power lines down, mostly near Weber Hall, and in the parking areas. Water damage, faculty offices damaged, and such. Reactor was hit by the storm, and the engineering building. But no real reports of injuries.

CAMPERS IN THE RESIDENTS HALL ARE SAFE, according to reports on the radio this morning.

It appears that all the storms are done for tonight. I think I will really go try to sleep.
Our quick review of our property didn't reveal any damages, but I'll look again with the light.

Amherst Area, Manhattan Damage

(If you've arrived directly to this page you may not see the latest information: I've embedded some photos--click photos from the archive links at the right of the page for the latest information I have from the area.)

June 11th Tornado

It seems that the tornado "bounced" three times across town starting at the south west corner of town near Eureka Drive (just north of Fort Riley Blvd) skipped across the lake and hit the ridge at Miller Ranch just west of Seth-Child and continued across to damage several businesses. (I'm sickened to hear that there was some looting at the Toyota Dealership) then the tornado skipped over and hit near campus, removing a roof *near* the Farmhouse Fraternity House, and damaging several campus buildings.

PLEASE STAY HOME! Unless of course you you and your family need shelter. The RED Cross # is 537-2180 and they are operating a shelter at Cico Park's Potteroff Hall with a backup shelter ready to go if necessary. (Pets are NOT accepted)

I expect that WIBW will have photos for us in the morning and the Manhattan Mercury.(although there is NOTHING on their site right now, besides a thread in the comment section.) and here's a link to the Manhattan Broadcasting's website.

And a better map, indicating the Miller Ranch Area.

Tornadoes Tonight in Kansas

June 11th, 2008 11:52 pm

Manhattan KS: Local radio reports a tornado touched down near Seth Childe Boulvd. within the last hour with cars turned over at /near the Toyota Dealership and on/near K-State's Campus.

We spent the hour huddled together in our storm shelter under the stairs. Luckily our friends who live in that area report power outages but are otherwise fine. We're under a watch until 3am.

We're staying near to cover until the worst blows over.

I'll update later in the morning.

Amy (wearing her red sandals just in case)


Live update via b101. 5 fm Radio

Amhearst neighborhood (one block west of Seth Childe) with severe damage, roofs off houses on north Dartmouth, with Miller Ranch area reported as more severe via RCPD. Gas leaks are presumed for this area.

No current reports of injuries.

K-state Campus is also reporting damage.

Updated: 12:37

Water's True Value (the new location) is completely demolished. Some houses in Amhearst completely destroyed according to live broadcast on FM 101.5 Miller Ranch area heavily damaged.

12:42 report from Campus:

University Heights has also been damaged as well as the Engineering Bldg on KSU campus

At Claflin & North Manhattan severe damage to campus soil labs (reported as uprooted/then dropped in parking lot).


Lee Elementary School reports damage and debris. Summer School for Manhattan (USD 383) is canceled until further notice.



minor injuries reported in Miller Ranch area such as broken bones. RCPD is going through the neighborhood right now.


K-rock, K-Man, B104.7 will have links on their web-pages with further updates... Pets will NOT be allowed at the shelters (yet to be determined) I'll add links asap.

On Campus: reports indicate

Cardwell, Bird, and another building damaged. Wind erosion lab is completely destroyed.


1:01 am

Eyewitness reports on the radio indicate about 10 houses completely destroyed to the foundation in the Miller Ranch area. Yet, most residents are accounted for with only minor injuries.
Red Cross is on the scene to take people to the shelter.


As of now, news reports probably 3 touchdowns in the Manhattan area. 1. Eureka Drive (west of Manhattan) 2.) Miller Ranch/ Seth Child/ Amhearst / and businesses 3.) K-State Campus (Now sealed from the public.)


Check with the above radio stations (and I'm sure that the video crews will have more for those who watch TV) for more update information as the night goes on.


I think I'll let the official people report from here. If you're here in Manhattan, please be safe and don't go gawking. The night's not quite over yet.


May God hold you in His hands


View Larger Map

Multiple Intelligences & Poetry

I was digging around a bit today trying to find out more creative approaches for homeschooling my sixth grader and one of the suggestions was to pay attention to a child's "multiple intelligences" so that they have a greater chance of success (and also to make sure that the child is getting the support they need to balance out their "weaker" intelligences.)

Out of curiosity, I took one of the web's tests to identify my strengths, and the results were a bit surprising--I actually scored highest in Musical rather than Linguistic ability although the actual difference was rather small. It would be intriguing to find out if other poets (as a group) scored in a similar manner. (I also scored surprisingly high in Naturalist--but I attribute this to gardening and a grandmother who insisted I learn the names of the birds and trees around us.)

I'm not sure that the questions are terribly accurate-- and perhaps this would be a good tool to help an adult bring more "roundedness" to his or her life--knowing for instance that I am poor at spatial ability --might be a good prompt to work to develop this skill more fully in my life. (In case I decide to take up sewing or quilting in the future, this would come in handy.)

On the last trip to my local library, I found an interesting little book, Wisdom of the Plain Folk, on the Mennonites and Amish life --beautiful photography paired with hymns and sayings. I've been working my way through some theology recently, I began with Bonhoffer's Life Together, and now I've picked up The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis in a translation by William Griffin. The wily introduction is by Richard J. Foster and contains those little comments in Latin that used to annoy me, but now pique my interest.

Latin has been showing up everywhere--in my son's book on Shakespeare, for example--and of course in my older son's vocabulary course. I have often thought if I just looked at Latin long enough it would begin to make sense. I am thrilled to know that there is always another subject to try, another project to undertake, and more books, and books!

In garden news, the pot holding last year's stalks of basil has suddenly sprouted a few young plants, long after I'd ceased to hope. But two leaves become four, become eight and so forth.
The thought of fresh pesto tempts. And many years after I first made pesto at home and after quite a few years of frustrated searching, pine-nuts are easy enough to acquire at the local grocery. Perhaps this summer, I'll try making the pasta myself. Small as a marble: the season's first tomato, and like a small furry caterpillar the zucchini inch into the world.

Poetry as Punishment?

Awhile back, some kids had a party and trashed the Frost House. Now, they've been assigned to take a class in Frost's poetry.
I suppose the impulse is good, but

Frost is one of those poets whose work seems "simple" at first glance, but with further thought, insight, and contemplation, the poems begin to open up facets of meanings--more than mere simple description, although that, too.

Try reading some for yourself. Here's a nice linked collection of some of Frost's work.
For Once, Then, Something

Others taught me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths--and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

Thanks to: Robert Frost page