Category Archives: Kansas

Wizard of Oz: The Movie (Pt. 2)

Welcome to WIZARD OF OZ WEEK! This week, I am featuring posts on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and it’s accompanying classic film, The Wizard of Oz.  Yesterday, I shared my thoughts on the film and today I wanted to offer more thoughts on the music and dancing of the film, as well as some “notable quotables” from the film.

Having participated in the musical myself on stage, I do have a certain appreciation for the music and dancing in this film.  From Dorothy singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to the continual “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” the songs perfectly fit the scenes and emotions of the characters.  My favorite scene, Dorothy in Munchkinland, offers not only colorful, kind characters, but also their cheery songs full of hope and gratitude.

When Dorothy and her pals arrive in the Emerald City, the Land of Oz, they are spruced up by the citizens, before they go to see the wizard.  They are treated with such care, as the Scarecrow is re-stuffed, the Tinman buffed, and Dorothy gets her hair done, all while the city’s citizens sing about their wonderful life.  The song is the perfect anticipation to see the wizard, as well as the perfect way to introduce the seemingly wonderful life the citizens have.


“It’s a twister, it’s a twister!”    -Farmhands

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”    -Dorothy

“Never let those ruby slippers off your feet for even a second or you will be at the mercy of the Wicked Witch of the West.”   -Good Witch Glinda

“What would you do with a brain if you had one?”     -Dorothy

“A man made out of tin!”     -Dorothy

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”    -Dorothy

“Poppies, poppies, poppies will put them to sleep.”     -Wicked Witch of the West

“Nobody can see the Great Oz.  Nobody’s ever seen the Great Oz.”    -Emerald City gate guard

“She may be dying, and it’s all my fault.  I’ll never forgive myself, never, never, never.”      -Dorothy

“I may not come out alive, but I’m going in there.”       -Lion

“Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my wickedness?”  -Wicked Witch of the West

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”   -Wizard of Oz

“Oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home.”   -Dorothy

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Kansas, top 100 children's books


The Literary Wife and the Wizard of Oz

I grew up in Kansas, y’all.  The supposed land of wheat, tornadoes and boring topography.  The land in which Dorothy Gale, heroine of the classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, hails from.  And because it is WIZARD OF OZ WEEK on the blog, I wanted to share with you my personal experience growing up with this book and movie hanging over my head.  Throughout the week, I will be offering my thoughts on the book and the movie, but for today, I present to you my love/hate relationship with the aftermath of the movie.

I grew up in the beautiful small town of Wamego, a town in which my family still resides.  A town which has great historical meaning, as it contains a Dutch mill, the only remaining working stone windmill in the state of Kansas.  A town with widely known festivals, such as the spring Tulip Festival and 4th of July festivities.  A town which offers a beautifully renovated historical theater containing paintings and artifacts from the 1893 World’s Fair.  A town which seems to be obsessed with The Wizard of Oz.  Ladies and gentleman, I present to you The OZ Museum, Toto’s Tacoz, the OZ Winery and OZtoberfest. No joking, folks, all of these wonderful attractions are in my hometown.  For fear of receiving another berating email from a Wamego citizen questioning my loyalty and contributions to the city, I will stop the sarcasm now.  And for fear of my loyalty and contributions to the city being questioned, I present to you proof that I did, in fact, contribute.

Yep, that’s me at age 10, dressed as a poppy (as in, the field of poppies that put Dorothy and her friends to sleep), ready to wow my fellow citizens with my ability to sway in the wind and look flowery.  More props should go to my mother, who spent hours (not kidding you, at least an hour after each performance) removing that darn makeup.  And if you should further question my love for The Wizard of Oz, here’s more proof:

And yes, those cute little munchkins (pun intended) are my wonderful baby brothers.  Not only did I suffer through a hula-hoop inspired costume as a poppy, I also stunned the crowd with my ability to look like a little person.  I am still bitter about the fact that I was the only one who followed instructions and stuffed my dress in order to look larger.  Bitter, I tell you.  In all honesty, though, I had a freakin’ blast in my performance of The Wizard of Oz.  As you will read later this week, I absolutely adore the film and the book was a great inspiration for this musical and theatrical masterpiece.

However (and this is a big however, guys), if one more person asks if I have a dog named Toto or an aunt named Em when they find out I was born and raised in Kansas, I might explode.  If one more person assumes that we live in basements in Kansas for fear of constant tornadoes, I might cry at their naivete.  And if one more Oz-inspired attraction is added to Wamego, I’ll. . . I’ll. . . I’ll still absolutely love my hometown and the wonderful things it has to offer.

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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Kansas, top 100 children's books


A Birthday Information Overload

Twenty five years ago, this crazy book blogger was born.  And in celebration, I have decided to share twenty-five facts about myself.

  1. My favorite movie is You’ve Got Mail
  2. I do not like ice cream.  I probably eat some form of it about once a year.
  3. My first job was working at our local baseball fields, running the concession stand.
  4. When I was in middle school, I bleached my hair on a dare.  My natural hair color is dark brown.  Disaster.
  5. My husband and I share one car.
  6. I took piano lessons when I was in elementary school.
  7. I will drink Pepsi anytime and every time it is offered or available.
  8. My wedding ring first belonged to my grandmother.
  9. I absolutely, positively, cannot stand dusting my apartment.
  10. If we subscribed to cable television, I would watch America’s Next Top Model marathons anytime they were on.
  11. The groomsmen in my wedding wore Converse All-Stars during the ceremony.
  12. I unashamedly listened to Ashlee Simpson’s music when I was in college.
  13. I am the oldest of seventeen cousins, all of which currently live in the same state as myself.
  14. Throughout the course of my life, I have only broken one bone.
  15. Denzel Washington is my favorite actor.  He may play the same character over and over, but I love him for it.
  16. I have spent time in the customs “interrogation” office of the Montréal-Dorval International Airport.
  17. My great-grandma turned 85 years old just a few days ago.  Yes, you read that right.  Eighty-five.
  18. I hold a bachelor of arts degree in geography from Kansas State University.
  19. When my second brother was born, I remember crying and not speaking to my parents because he wasn’t a girl.
  20. My husband’s high school punk band was mentioned in an issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
  21. I had a landline phone three out of the four years of college.  I know, kind of old school.
  22. I was born during the first month of my dad’s senior year of high school.
  23. I cry every time I watch Remember the Titans.
  24. My most commonly used childhood nickname, then and now, is Amberina Ferrina.  Ferrina, for short
  25. My favorite book is Charlotte’s Web.

There you have it, folks.  Is there anyone out there that knew all of these already?  Mom, you don’t count.


Posted by on August 30, 2010 in Kansas, Married Life


It’s a twister, it’s a twister!

Well, actually, no, it wasn’t a twister, but it very well could have been.  Yesterday afternoon and early evening, my city was hit by a tremendous wind storm with the makings of a tornado.  Gusts reached 90 mph in Manhattan and 50 mph in Topeka, our capital city.  The storm and the damage that resulted from it brought back memories of the tornado that blew through the city in the summer of 2008.  Yes, folks, tornadoes do actually touch down and do damage in Kansas.  Unfortunately, we don’t have the option of visiting the Land of Oz during them like Dorothy did.  Well, unless you’re in Wamego, where they are raising funds to make the main street into a yellow brick road.  Yes, my friends, in just a few years, my hometown might very well be the laughingstock of Kansas.  But, I diverge, and will return to the original topic.  I’ve had way too much coffee this morning and am beyond jittery and shaking.  Here are a few pictures showing the damage throughout the city of Manhattan.

Plenty of trees were uprooted from the ground, crushing cars and falling on houses.

This picture is difficult to decipher because I was driving when I took it, but the truck you see is a tow truck that is working to remove an entire tree that fell across the road way.  There was also a huge billboard along the highway that was completely uprooted from it’s stake in the ground, as well as a semi that the winds blew off the road and turned on its top in the ditch.  I am not playing with you, my friends, this seriously happened.  If only I would have been smart enough to snap pictures of it.

I was, however, quick enough to capture this moment, with the Sonic sign completely blow off.  Carhops were still hopping and in business this morning, though.

You might be asking yourself, “But, Amber, weren’t you scared? What did you do?”  Well, my friends, I am a true Kansan and was most upset at the fact that I was stuck in our shelter at work, with no windows to look out and see what was going on.  Seriously, for those of my readers that are not from Kansas, when a tornado warning or watch is in effect, people don’t go to their shelters, they go to their front porches.  I wish that I was kidding.

After being released from work when the air was clear of wind, rain and tornadoes, I headed home to check on my apartment.  Turns out my husband had joined the other residents on the third floor of our building and took cover in a basement apartment.  Everyone was safe and no cars in our parking lot were crushed by falling trees.  However, we were without power until about 11:30 pm.  Thanks to the hospitality of our neighbors, we enjoyed chocolate cake and white wine in the stifling heat that was their apartment with no air conditioning.

Lesson to be learned from this:  If you’re not from or living in Kansas, you should be.  The weather patterns make for great fun.

P.S.  If you click on the link to Wamego’s official website, you might catch a glimpse of my stud brother quarterbacking for his high school football team.  I’m a pretty proud sister, if you didn’t know that already.


Posted by on August 14, 2010 in Kansas, Manhattan, Married Life, Uncategorized


ghost town summers

My husband and I reside in the great city some lovingly call “The Little Apple.”  In all actuality, most call it Manhappenin’ or Manhappiness, but to outsiders, it’s the Little Apple, in reference, of course, to the Big Apple, Manhattan, New York.  From the statistics I can find, Manhattan’s population is about 60-65,000 people.  Manhattan, Kansas, that is.  But this is the population only during 8 1/2 to 9 months out of the year because of the overwhelmingly presence of Kansas State University right in the heart of the city.  Every year, about mid-May, 18-20,000 students migrate elsewhere for the summer or for good, leaving this small city a bit of a ghost town.  For some, namely those trying to keep their businesses thriving, this migration is the pain in the booty.  But for most, like myself, it’s a welcome treat.

I put in my four years at the great K-State, and never spent a summer here in town.  I was always gallivanting across the world, experiencing it while I could.  Last summer, however, because I had  a full-time job for once and was engaged and planning a wedding, I stuck around town and loved experiencing the difference in environment.  Here are a few examples of how summer differs from the rest of the year:

  • Usually it takes me ten minutes to get to work, now it takes me three
  • I don’t have any trouble finding a table at my favorite coffee shop, Bluestem Bistro
  • There’s no waiting involved in getting a table at the wonderfully awesome So Long Saloon, to enjoy a pineapple beer and the Red Hot Chicken sandwich
  • For those that like to walk, jog or take runs around City Park, you won’t be vying for room on the path with all those disgustingly in shape and fit college students
  • Plans are made much easier with friends, as most are not swamped with projects, tests and keeping up with their jobs
  • I can fall asleep with my windows open, as the sounds of Aggieville have dimmed from their usual chaos on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights

All in all, summer offers a quieter, more laid back atmosphere here in the Little Apple.  I wonder what summer is like in the Big Apple. . .

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Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Kansas, Married Life