Manhattan Meanderings #1

The dogs and I have been in Manhattan for a month now (Suzanne came over in April) and we are beginning to settle into a routine. Well, to be honest, I’m beginning to settle into their routine.

I’ve been getting up at 6:00 a.m. and going to the recreation center at K-State. Suzanne and I signed up a few days ago and so far, I’ve made it over to stretch and walk three times. Since I don’t have a parking permit for any of the campus lots, I have to make sure that I leave the rec-center before 7:00 or risk getting a ticket. There are a few parking meters and parking is free before 7:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m., so those are my target hours. Before I leave the house, I turn on the coffee pot so Suzanne will have hot coffee when she gets up. When I get back, I let the dogs out for a couple of minutes, which begins their day. I usually get to have a cup of coffee before they are ready for breakfast. After they eat, they are ready for a nap for a few minutes and I get to sit and check the news on HLN and finish my coffee. By this time, Suzanne is ready for work and the dogs are ready for their morning constitutional. They’ve figured out a few routes they like to walk. We live about two blocks from Cico Park, so we go up that way sometimes or walk a block over to Claflin, one of the main east/west roads. There are sidewalks along both sides of Claflin, so that keeps everyone relatively clean and dry. We’ll see who shovels their sidewalks come winter, but for now, it’s a pleasant walk. We occasionally venture onto some of the side streets, but our walks are usually less than a mile or so; Harry can’t make it much more than that these days, but he’s game for the adventure.

When we get back to the house, I give Harry his Shen Calming capsules. Harry is almost 14 years old, so he’s lost a lot of his hearing and some of his eyesight. When he thinks that he is alone, he gets a little anxious, so the capsules help to calm his nerves. In the evening, he gets Hindquarter Weakness capsules to help with his back end. Our vet in Leawood, Dr. Sally Barchman, has been practicing holistic animal medicine for a couple of years now and Harry has been getting Chinese herbs and acupuncture to help with the weakness he developed. Now that we are in Manhattan, we will continue with the herbs, but I’m not sure we’ll find an acupuncturist. I’m taking Harry for a visit to the K-State Vet School next week, so we’ll see what they may recommend.

Harry’s herbs come in powder form. I tried sprinkling them on his food for a while, but they are rather bitter and he finally decided he’d had enough of that, so I bought a “capsule machine,” a little plastic gizmo I use to fill gelatin capsules with the herbs. I can fill 24 capsules at a time. He gets nine Weakness capsules at night and nine Calming capsules in the morning, all with peanut butter to make them go down easily. So, we run through a lot of peanut butter and I fill a lot of capsules.

PillsAfter the dogs’ breakfast and a walk, I attend to things that need to be done after our move. We have a contract on our house and close on the 20th. I have one more trip to make back to Leawood to gather up the last couple of pieces of artwork and garden tools, and to dig up and divide some heirloom irises that I’ve been moving from place to place. I have four that I got from my grandfather’s garden in Monett. He was a champion iris-grower, which seems improbable for an engineer on the Frisco Railroad, but it was his hobby and he was good at it. I also have an iris from our friends in Columbia, Lynda and Dan Dunham, and one from Suzanne’s mom’s old house in South Holland, Illinois. Our friends Dave and Amy and Buck and Sherri have agreed to “foster” my iris until such time as we buy a house here in Manhattan, probably next summer.

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Last week, Suzanne and I got a tour of the K-State Vet School. Our other vet in Leawood, Dr. Vern Otte, is a graduate of K-State, so we decided to check out the school here. We had a good experience with the vet school and hospital in Columbia, at Mizzou, when one of our dogs, Maggie, had to have some surgery. Harry and I will be meeting Dr. Nelson next week and seeing what she might recommend for Harry.

Before I moved, Suzanne sent me a link to a place on the K-State campus called the Sensory Analysis Center. It’s a unit that does product research on all kinds of things. You can sign up and participate in product testing, for which you get a small stipend. Depending on your interests, you might get to test foods, beverages, cosmetics, fabrics, packaging, paints, health care, personal care products or fragrances. I participated in a preference test related to dog food a couple of weeks ago . I’m not supposed to reveal the details of the test, but I felt really full after it was over. I’m doing another one tomorrow; I hope the samples are smaller.

Getting to know a new place takes some time. It helps to have had several geography classes in the past; I’m good at reading maps and once I figure out which way is north, I’m hardly ever lost. Discovering the major east/west, north/south streets helps, too. North/south streets in Manhattan are numbered, up to 17th Street; after that, they have names. East/west streets are all named. So far, I haven’t found any “rhyme or reason” to the naming. There are a couple of neighborhoods that seem to have a bit of a theme, one in which the streets are named for states (Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Montana and Utah) and one neighborhood with street names of Ivy League schools (Princeton, Dartmouth, and Harvard), and for some reason Amherst, but it seems pretty random. We live on Cherokee Circle, but across the street, Givens, that our cul-de-sac is off is another cul-de-sac called Sioux Circle. Why not Cherokee or Sioux for both of them? There’s a Chippewa Circle in our neighborhood, but also a Bigfoot Street. Odd.

One of my goals over the next year is to eat at all the non-chain restaurants in Manhattan, or at least most of them. We are doing pretty well so far, but it’s easy just to grab something at Panera or Dairy Queen or Olive Garden rather than putting in the effort to seek out the local joints. More on our culinary cruising (as well as success/failure in finding a doctor, dentist, barber, the Goodwill store) in a later Meanderings.

From the Little Apple, the #1 Most Livable College Town in America (according to…

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