Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Stuff

I'm feeling worn out this morning and am betting I'm not the only ZAG fan to feel this way.  

Twas a grueling, frustrating time watching the ZAGS play San Diego last night, even to the point where I wanted to turn off the TV.

Instead, I DID walk over and grab my Irish rosary, holding on to it and mouthing some "Hail Mary's" through the entire second half.

At first, it seemed like even that effort wasn't gonna get the balls to go into the baskets for the ZAGS.  Eventually, however, because prayers might move oh so slow, just like our computers sometimes.  

Well, the message finally must have reached the head office, and, happily, the tide turned during the last four minutes of the game, albeit erratically so.

A win is a win, no matter how ugly, and I'm guessing last night's win probably added a few white hairs to Mark Few's head and, in some cases, maybe a few were pulled out on others' heads.

So, this morning we can look back on last night, take a deep breath, revel in the fact that the No. 6 ZAGS maintained their road winning streak and, more importantly, improved their record to 26-4, and notched at least another share of the WCC championship for this year. 

And, then there's tomorrow night.  

I'll be clutching that rosary from start to finish with the BYU game.  I told Bill this morning that "redemption" should be the word for tomorrow.  

Last year the Cougars ruined the ZAGS' perfect record and their senior night.  Well, the Cougars don't have a perfect record this year, but they do have senior night tomorrow, and we're hoping the ZAGS return the favor at the Marriott Center in Provo. 

Whatever the case, this young team in its "rebuilding" year has managed once more to remind us and the nation that the ZAGS are for real. And, as usual, they have once more helped us through the winter.

Speaking of which, the experts say more snow is coming and that the temps are supposed to warm up a bit.  This morning we had zero degrees here at the Lovestead.

Finally, if you have not signed a petition aimed at having an Initiative for Medicaid Expansion in Idaho added to this year's general election ballot, you'll have an opportunity to do so tomorrow. 

Volunteers will out and about with petitions, or you can go to Evans Bros. coffee to sign.  Thanks. 

And, with that, I'll just shut up and say "Happy Friday."  Be sure to read the press release below.  We're very excited to learn this news about Swiss Miss's aka Laura's dad. 

In the "Swiss Miss Could Become a Kiwi" department, here's some news about her dad Fritz.  

New Zealand Football announce Fritz Schmid as the new All Whites Head Coach. 

[Note:  New Zealand's rugby team is known as the "All Blacks."  Team names refer to their jersey colors.]

The 58-year-old Swiss, who earned his UEFA Pro-Licence in 1998, becomes the 17th coach of the New Zealand men’s national team on a four-year contract. Schmid has been tasked with the goal of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Schmid comes to New Zealand with the experience of coaching at the highest level for both club and country. New Zealand Football Technical Director Andreas Heraf believes he will add huge value to the All Whites as they look to qualify for their third FIFA World Cup.

“We are pleased to confirm Fritz as our new Head Coach for the All Whites,” Heraf says.

“Fritz has a proven track record at the highest level of coaching in Europe and we believe he will take our national team to a new level. He has the experience and the vision to help the All Whites achieve the goal of winning on the world stage at pinnacle events.”

Schmid boasts a CV of significant coaching experience. He was the Assistant Coach for the Austrian National Team (2011 – 13) and Assistant Coach for FC Basel in the Swiss Super League (2002 – 09) when they achieved incredible success byt winning the Swiss Championship four times, the Swiss Cup four times and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League twice.

Before his success with FC Basel, he was the Head Coach at SC Kriens in the Challenge League (2000 – 02), Assistant Coach of FC Zurich in the Super League when they claimed the Swiss Cup in 2000 and in the late 1990s he was an Assistant Coach at Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.

Alongside his long list of coaching qualifications, Schmid has vast experience as a Technical Director, he has completed a Masters in Sport Management and is a qualified journalist.

Schmid, who leaves his role as the Technical Director for the Malaysian Football Association to come to New Zealand, is looking forward to working with the national team.

“It is a great honour to be named as the 17th Head Coach of the All Whites,” Schmid says.

“I am excited to be here in New Zealand and build on what the team has achieved in the last four years. The All Whites are an exciting team and have huge potential. Our ultimate goal over the next four years is to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and I am confident we can achieve this.”

Schmid will begin work in March once his visa application has been completed. The All Whites are preparing for the upcoming international friendly against Canada in Spain on 24 March.

The All Whites, who will arrive in Spain on 19 March and leave on 25 March, will have a training camp in Murcia with the main objective of beginning the new era under their new coach.

Schmid will work with Des Buckingham (New Zealand U-20 Head Coach) and Jose Figueira (New Zealand U-17 Head Coach) as his All Whites Assistant Coaches.


Congratulations and good luck to Fritz on this new assignment in one of our favorite countries.  Some of us might just have to come and visit.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fake News, Local Essay Ladies and Floral TBT

Last fall, I added about 150 new daffodil bulbs to add to my collection around the Lovestead.  

"This will be really neat in the spring," I thought, especially because those added the year before had already made a lovely difference in last year's early spring color show. 

I can't wait until the green grass and daffodils come to the Lovestead, but I'll have to wait because the ground where all those daffodil bulbs live is frozen, covered with a couple of feet of snow in some places and even deeper drifted snow in others. 

After seeing something on Facebook yesterday, though, I'm getting worried.  

Seems our longtime family friend Colleen already has daffodils showing up along the driveway over at her place on Rapid Lightning Road.  

I'm happy for Colleen but worried for me.  

Are my daffodils trying to push their way through that frozen ground or have they already done son, only to be hidden by all that snow?  

It's a very concerning thought because I personally think that green grass provides a much nicer, prettier contrast with daffodils than snow. 

Maybe Colleen's line of pretty yellow flowers is a special genetically modified variety with extra long stems that only comes up during the dead of the winter.  

I hope so cuz I sure don't want mine to be thinking they've gotta get up go, just yet, anyway.  

Another thought has occurred to me after going back several times to look at that picture, which I eventually I stole from Colleen's Facebook wall.  

Maybe, just maybe, that pesky Colleen is so desperate for spring she is spreading fake floral news with fake flowers.  

Heck, someone even suggested that she went down and bought those daffodils from the Dollar Store. 

I'm thinking today of driving over there where she lives and seeing them firsthand for myself. 

In the meantime, I'll devote a portion of my prayer beads to asking God if he'll please keep my daffodils nestled away in their winter beds for the next few weeks.  

Of course, most of the rosary work will be needed to ensure another ZAGS (No. 6 this week) win as they take on the up-and-coming and very tough San Diego Toreros tonight at 6 p.m. PST on ESPN2.  

We're going to need a lot of prayer beads in action twice this week, which the coaches say the San Diego game and BYU match-up Saturday will probably be the toughest part of the season. 

On another subject, I'm posting a TBT photo taken last July at the Panida Theater.  

It was a great thrill to introduce my former student and Vatican News Service Bureau Chief Cindy Wooden to esteemed and brilliant American literary giant Marilynne Robinson. 

Marilynne had come to Sandpoint, on her own nickel, to talk about the importance of public education, as part of a launch for the Reclaim Idaho movement.

Cindy was home on vacation and had come to listen to one of her literary heroes speak.  An opportunity rose that evening where the two could meet briefly. 

Well, yesterday when I read that Marilynne Robinson has just released a book of essays called What Are We Doing Here?, for the second time in about a week, my hometown pride instincts rose to the surface.  

Once again, as has happened so many times during this post-career segment of my life which allows me much more time to observe and to trumpet the achievements of others from our community, I saw a wonderful connection.

These two women, both having risen to the top in their chosen vocations, have released books of essays in the past week----collections of essays likely to be read round the world.

And, they are both from Sandpoint, Idaho!

In Cindy Wooden's case, the essays from A Pope Francis Lexicon, written by 50 plus writers, stem from words often used by the Pope.   

Bill and I have received our "His and Hers" copies of this collection, and, so far, I've read about "discernment," "judgment" and "joy."  Lots more to go, but so far, I've enjoyed the insights offered by these writers.    

Most of Marilynne Robinson's essays included speeches she has made over the past few years, leading up to the last Presidential election.  

According to what I've read in news reports, one personal essay was written specifically for the collection.  

More information in a review about this new release can be found at 

Plus, for those who wish to order a copy, the book can be found on Amazon at

In short, it's been a great week for our Sandpoint products in the literary world. 

Finally, for Colleen and for all others who are sick and tired of looking at snow, I'm posting a few Throwback Thursday photos to remind us that pretty times, they are a'coming!

Enjoy.  Happy Thursday.  GO, ZAGS!


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Frosty Drivel and Leftovers

Yesterday, my friend and blog editor Helen suggested that I purchase some electric socks.  

And, THAT comment came when I had told her over the phone that my feet were cold after coming downstairs from writing my blog post.

With her suggestion, I thought about the box of hand warmers sitting just inside the door here in the computer room.  

Dah! I could have put them in my socks and enjoyed a much toastier experience of pounding on my keyboard.

The last few days have necessitated wearing several layers to come up here and sit at my computer to work on the blog and some story assignments.  

In fact, this morning, my upper body ensemble totaled four tops, including a down vest. 

It's cold again today, and while sitting up here for the first cup of coffee and Internet surfing, I could have assigned a math exercise when my friend and former student Kari sent me an email, noting that she's in Maryland where it's 80 degrees.  

Yup, I should have told Kari to figure out what ten percent of 80 degrees is, and that we were sure wishing that we could be as warm as her final, final answer. 

Instead, I simply told her how many tops I was wearing.

Later, before going out to the barn to feed the horses, I did some math of my own and figured out that when I walked out the door and headed to the barn, I was wearing 17 items on my body and those did not include my earrings and hair clips, which would bump it up to 23. 


It does take a long time and some intensive effort to get dressed for this cold weather, and ya wanna know something???  

I'm getting tired of spending that much time several times a a day dressing and undressing and carrying what must be at least 30 pounds of clothing outside. 

Yesterday I made the mistake of NOT thinking about putting the hand warmers inside my socks before going over to my sisters' farm to see little CB.  

When I arrived, Laurie was plowing out the mailbox and the ends of the driveway while Barbara was outside taking one of the dogs for a duty walk. 

We hadn't seen each other for three days because of the stormy weekend, so we had some catching up to do, which we did outside, IN THE cold.  

By the time, we had finished our debriefing, I realized that the soles of my feet had gone numb.

"Well, I'd better get down to see CB," I announced, "before my feet break off."  

So, we said our good byes, and I moved on down to the corral where I saw my little guy for the first time in three days.  

He could have used some electric socks or foot warmers too, but he seemed to be dealing with snow balls velcroed to his legs much better than I was doing with two pairs of socks, boots and snow pants (by the way, that made 18 items cuz I wore no snow pants to the barn this morning). 

It was obvious, as it always is, that horses are a whole lot tougher than people.  Our visit was short but sweet, and soon I went on my way. 

Actually, the cold is not too bad if we can keep moving.  I did go for a long walk yesterday and never once thought about the cold.  It's just when we stand in one spot for more than ten seconds that it gets to the bones and quickly. 

With luck, this cold stretch will eventually end, and then we can start complaining about standing water and mud once again.  We're all hoping that spring will soon be on the way.

For now, we'll keep loading on those clothes and warming up water buckets for the horses after scooping up frozen poops.  

Which brings to mind:  my dogs are also having a rough time during this cold weather.  

Their teeth need to go to a whole lot of extra work to chomp down those horse apples in the manure pile. 

Life will get better.  Enjoy the photos, some of which are definitely leftovers from the pretty day scenes around the place on Monday. 

Happy Wednesday.  

I wonder if I dribbled a variety of colorful, flavor juices over the top of these fence cones, the horses would eat them.

Might have to give it a try during these cold days. Even if they didn't eat them, it would be pretty.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Meadow Creek, Moyie Outing

What to do.  What to do when it's cold, the skies are deep blue and the outdoors is calling. 

Bill and I decided an afternoon drive answered that question yesterday, so we loaded up Kiwi in the pickup and headed toward one of our favorite back roads.  

The Meadow Creek Road off HWY 2 northeast of Bonners Ferry extends along Meadow Creek, through beautiful McGinnis Meadows and on to some phenomenal views of the Moyie River. 

The road ends at Good Grief, where, if you want, you can go on up to the border at Eastport, take another road to Copper Falls, or turn south on your way back home.

We have many reasons to enjoy that route-----family history at Meadow Creek where our dad's mom taught in a one-room school house in the 1920s, more recent family history with our parents on picnics, our siblings and kids and eight dogs on a camp-out, and, not in any particular order but pretty supreme on Bill and Willie's list---fly fishing. 

Plus the drive is downright beautiful pretty much any time of the year. 

I have always loved McGinnis Meadows and even did some journalism work there once while writing features for the Northern Lights' Ruralite Magazine.

That's where I met up with a "welder with an attYtude," who lived in the area of the houses and barns in the photos below.  

Yup, that's what he called himself.  This welder, who'd had lots of experience in the oil fields, had put together some video tapes (the VHS kind) on the how to's of welding, and at the time, they were selling like hotcakes to vocational schools around the nation. 

What a character he was with a great story!  

I don't know if he's still living up there, but I do know I have fond memories of the assignment.  I also don't know if those VHS tapes have been updated.  It's been 20 years-plus since I did that story. 

When we approached the area where my welding friend had lived, I asked Bill to stop the pickup, let me out and drive ahead where I would catch up with him.  

Yesterday afternoon, that little stretch of Meadow Creek Road was, indeed a photographer's dream with the gorgeous sunshine, pure white snow surround and covering the new and old structures. 

I was in Heaven with my camera, and, except for the cold, would have just kept walking and snapping. Twas nice to get back in the warm pickup. 

Later, we arrived at Bill's beloved Moyie, and, of course, had to stop a couple of times to admire the frigid waters rushing over and around snow-covered boulders and beneath various layers of magnificently artful ice. 

Our final highlight occurred as we turned back on to the highway and headed south.  That's when I brought up the reminder that our friend Marv had told us about the cheesecake at Wild Horse Mercantile just down the road. 

Marv said that cheesecake was so good that on his birthday, they had cheesecake before dinner.  

So, I suggested we give it a try.  We had been to the Mercantile when the owners held their grand opening a few years ago.  Since then, a small restaurant has been added. Unfortunate for us, the restaurant is closed on Mondays.

But wait!

Jean, who was clerking yesterday, told us the owners would not want to hear that we came for cheesecake and went away empty-handed.  

We did not want to impose but finally said we'd take a piece for the road. She made sure all conditions with that piece of cheesecake were perfect, even going back to get some whipped cream on top of the huckleberries for artistic presentation and, of course, more supreme tastiness. 

After a short photo shoot, we returned to the pickup and within seconds, forks were at work as were our tastebuds.  

Oh my, Marv was right!  That is, for sure, that best cheesecake I've ever eaten:  somewhat like New York cheesecake, a slight hint of coconut and a bit of a brown sugary crusty layer.   

We should have ordered two pieces because our slice was gone within a mile down the road. 

I'll definitely go back for more, next time we take that drive.  And, we shall.  It never disappoints, and many aspects of the route always seem to take us back a bit in time, which I love.  

Another beautiful, cold morning out there.  Don't know what today will bring.  Stay tuned. 

Happy Tuesday.