Monday, February 08, 2016

Monday-Morning Reflections

Willie's chili was delicious, as always.  Our son has a different approach to chili, making it from scratch and using sausage instead of hamburger.  I asked him last year what seasoning he uses in his recipe, but I can't remember what he told me.

Willie chili served as a main dish for yesterday's Super Bowl party, as did two pizzas from that pizza shop on Bridge Street which I knew as Hayworth's Bakery during my formative years. 

Bill likes brick oven pizza, and since the men were the principals preparing the feast, he picked out what he wanted, ordered it and brought it home.  Of course, chicken wings were on the menu as were chips, cookies, candies, nuts and a fruit pie from Schwan's.  

I decided to add a pan of naked taquitos, preferring naked to smothered in cheese, salsa and sour cream because of the other high-calory items.

Well, it turns out my contribution had no calories at all.  I put the pan in the oven at the same time as the Brazilian cheese bread niblets (turns out Liam and I were the only niblers on the niblets).  

The cheese bread didn't require quite as much time as the taquitos, so I left the oven on and put the cheese bread pan on the food island. 

About an hour later, Bill told me he thought my tacquitos were done.


He brought them out to me for inspection, and I agreed----hard as rocks and dark brown. More than likely Liam would not even gulp down a sample.  They went in the garbage.

We had food aplenty.  Plus, we didn't really eat like pigs. We simply grazed for four hours. 

One reason Bill didn't eat that much (at least during the Super Bowl party) was that he slept during the whole second half.  Ya save on calories when you do that. 

To say the Super Bowl was flat in our minds might be an understatement.  We did get pretty excited and maybe a bit misty-eyed when Lady Gaga sang the "National Anthem."

And, it was pretty neat seeing all those Most Valuable Players, most of whom took very careful steps after being introduced, indicating that the 12-hour Aleve might not be doing its thing.  

Bill and I could identify.   

I even commented that those MVPs of 30 years ago looked just as old as those who had won the title during that first decade.  A few of the early MVP's were smart enough to stay home and wave at the camera. 

Just after the National Anthem, a former student Niki, who lives in San Francisco, told on Facebook how the fighter jets that flew over the stadium followed a direct path over her home. 

"The Blue Angels just buzzed our houses on the way back from the stadium. Cool!" she wrote.  "They were so low that I can smell their exhaust as it drifts overhead."

Our living room audience was impressed.  

After the game got started, however, the living room remained pretty quiet except for Foster's snarls at Liam.  Seems when there's company, Foster likes to remind folks that he's the boss over possible hand-outs, chew toys and affection. 

Liam spent a good share of his time under the chair for Bill's desk.  That's his new hide-out when life gets dicey for the rather sensitive pup who's starting to tower over Foster.  Size means nothing though when you're a sensitive soul, and Foster can keep him pretty intimidated.

Our crowd of three remained fairly passive even during the much touted halftime in a game that was beginning to look like a direct reversal of the Denver-Seattle Super Bowl two years ago.  Denver was dominating the Panthers, and the NFL's MVP Cam Newton wasn't looking so good.  

"Is it just me or our television or is the sound bad?" I finally asked Willie and Debbie as performers kept bouncing around on the stage. Willie suggested that it's always bad with the Super Bowl halftime.

To which I said it seems like they'd figure out a solution to that since millions are watching on TV as opposed to 70,000 in the stadium.  I saw a nod of approval.

It was soon after the halftime show had ended when Bill returned from taking Liam on his potty run, sat on the couch next to the bookcase and nodded off for that whole second half.  

He did not snore, which would have been noticeable in the quietude of our fan base. 

During the second half, the Denver defense continued to shine while Cam Newton did not. The game was far from being a nailbiter like we had watched the night before when the ZAGS defeated Pepperdine.  

Had it been a nail biter,  we probably would have awakened Bill and told him he was missing some real excitement.  No need. 

Denver won.  

Cam Newton, whom until yesterday I had viewed as an exemplary, impressive quarterback, disappointed me with his juvenile pouting.    

I remembered how he talked about the importance of leadership in his pre-game interview.  Guess that's only important when you're winning in some people's minds. 

With today a school day, Willie and Debbie didn't hang around too long after the game. By the way, when Bill awakened, I asked him how he enjoyed the game.  He just grinned and nodded that it was okay. 

Eventually, Foster got off his high horse with Liam and quit snarling.  That might have been when I took Liam out to the garage to beddy bye. 

All in all, we enjoyed a tasty meal and some delicious fruit pie.  It's often wise to have plenty to eat when the action isn't going so well on the TV. 

But then again, at least it offered a one-day break from the ongoing ad nauseum of this year's political campaigns.

And, that is a good thing. 

Happy Monday.  Hat's off to Lady Gaga.  Her "National Anthem" was pretty cool. Congratulations to Thunder and the Denver fans. 

Sunday, February 07, 2016

And, Now, a Word from Our Sponsor . . . .

From $75,000 per minute to $4,500,000 for 30 seconds, Super Bowl commercials have definitely inflated in value in the past half century.  

Plus, they've made us laugh and warmed our heart as we've learned about products ranging from cigarettes to sodas to cars to soap, to tasty munchies, to technology and, of course, fast foods.

It's been quite a run since that first Sunday when those of us from little 'ol Sandpoint proudly watched one of its first connections to the national scene with hometown football hero Jerry Kramer playing for the Green Bay Packers who defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. 

This morning I found a fascinating Chicago Tribune piece about evolution of Super Bowl ads and their pricetags. 

I was planning to grab just a couple but got so caught up in the nostalgia that every time I viewed a commercial, I couldn't resist.  Hard to pick a favorite but easy to say we've had some creative minds at work over the past 50 years. 

Obviously, you may not want to view them all, but if they work on the blog, you can always come back whenever you need a commercial break from whatever you're doing on this Super Sunday. 

Enjoy.  May the best team and the best ad win!  

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Lucky Dog Saturday

Well, the phone just rang.  

"Are ya watching "Lucky Dog?" Linda Aavedal asked from the other end. 

No, I had not remembered that Linda had told me at obedience training about the  7 a.m. Saturday morning show, which could be an entertaining and educational, especially for dog lovers. 

"Turn it on," she said. "Channel 2." 

So, this morning I'm watching the program for the first time and learning about Riley, who was "surrendered" to a shelter for being a supposedly untrainable dog.

And, ya know what?  Liam is lying on the bed next to my computer, and he's watching in between napping.

Liam watches TV more than any dogs we've ever owned.  And, since Liam seems to learn his disciplines without paying much attention at Doggie Obedience class, I"m figuring he may pick up some good tips this morning by watching Riley learn his lessons. 

The trainer on the TV show thinks Riley's a pretty smart dog, and he's looking for a good setting for the young dog's future home. 

He has visited a lady named Lisa who lives with her elderly dad.  Lisa, who likes to go on road trips, is looking for a dog that likes to travel.

Oops, first challenge:  Riley gets car sick, but soon his trainer figures out that a booster seat will help Riley keep his equilibrium.  

So, with that challenge aside, the Brandon, the trainer, starts Riley on agility skills. 

Two thirds of the way through the program, Liam must have gotten bored.  He's left this room and has gone downstairs, maybe to do some more chewing.  We had to stop at Yoke's last night after dinner to buy Liam a new leash.  

I discovered late yesterday afternoon that one part of the leash had been chewed to within a quarter inch of the edge. One more time outside running with his buddies and it was definitely possible that Liam would suddenly be Free Liam.  

We're not quite ready for that yet.  So, he has a brand new blue leash, wider than the first one so I have more time to catch him chewing the leash into two pieces. 

I'll probably be purchasing a new bed for Liam too.  Thankfully he doesn't eat all the stuffing he chomps from the bed. 

Oooh, back to Lucky Dog.  Riley just finished with agility training and received his "dream collar."  He received the collar for being a good dog, not a chewing dog.

Liam's back.  Guess he wants to watch the meeting of Lisa and Riley at Riley's new home.  

Lisa fell in love with him instantly.  Now, Brandon is showing her Riley's talents at the agility training center, and Lisa has completely fallen for Riley. 

The story definitely has a happy ending, which I'm sure happens on all "Lucky Dog" episodes.  Thanks, Linda, for reminding me.

I enjoyed the show, and Liam did, sorta. 

Tomorrow, we'll probably spend part of Super Sunday watching the Puppy Bowl.  This year is the 12th time the show has offered an alternative for folks who don't want to watch football. 

The 2016 Puppy Bowl contestants have been selected, and if you wish to pick your favorite, you can visit the following link:

In other news, relating to humans this morning, I want to send best wishes to my oldest brother Mike and his wife Mary who are celebrating 49 years of marriage today.  Hats off to you two, and enjoy your day. 

I can hear blasting up at Schweitzer where it looks like a great day ahead for skiers and boarders.  

Looking like a great day all the way around AND a long one:  Gonzaga doesn't play until 9 p.m. tonight, so we'll probably have to drink some extra coffee to stay awake long past our bed time.

Happy Saturday.  GO, ZAGS!  

Friday, February 05, 2016

Sights on A Snowy Walk

A few inches of new snow yesterday morning dressed up the countryside.  The overnight deposit required some plowing, blowing and shoveling but not too much extra work. With the new normal here at the Lovestead, Bill enjoyed having the time to plow.  

The overnight drop just made things pretty, and best of all, it started melting by afternoon. 

I took advantage of an opportunity to walk through our woods and fields and then on down the road to the Johnson's home (that would be Janice and Mark) for a pleasant
neighborly visit.  

Two wagon wheels in their beautiful yard created lovely images with the fresh coating of snow. 

With luck, we won't have a lot more snow, and it's looking like we may see a major melt-off in the next few days.  That will take us to the point where my sisters and I will take off for a few days in the sun. 

Having Bill home to take care of pets and the Lovestead and one of our brothers coming over to watch after Barbara and Laurie's animals will allow us to head off and enjoy the moments without worry.

This retirement stuff definitely has its benefits.  

The weekend ahead looks like an action-packed one sports-wise.  We'll attend the SHS girls' basketball game tomorrow afternoon and then come home for the late ZAGS game with Pepperdine.   

And, of course, Sunday Super Bowl will provide a full day of entertainment.  In keeping with tradition, the men among the two Love couples will take major responsibility with the menu.  Bill and Willie usually come up with some pretty tasty offerings. 

We don't have any favorites to win the Super Bowl this time.  I think it would be nice for Peyton Manning and the region if the Broncos win, but from what I've seen of the Panthers, they are phenomenal.  

It will be nice to watch a game and all its trappings with a neutral view and just appreciate the talent on the field. 

February moves along, and, thanks to all the good times  and fun projects (I'll start putting seeds in the pots after next weekend) ahead, we're quickly coming out of the winter doldrums. 

Happy Friday. 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Shoebox TBT's

Out with photos from the shoebox again.  Talk about a walk through memory lane.  

Most of today's photos were taken by my mother during the '40s, '50s and '60s.  I'm not so sure who took the photo of Ardis. 

Anyway, each photo, 'cept for those when I was pretty little, conjures up some wonderful trips to the past.  


Helen Schmidt Poelstra, aboard Darkie at the old fairgrounds arena, has been a family friend as long as I can remember.  She worked for Doc Eakin at his veterinary hospital which is now a hamburger restaurant on HWY 2 leading to Dover.

Helen was one of our mother's riding friends, along with Marian Wyman and Patti Hagadone and a host of others.  Helen reigned as a rodeo queen, and she loved good ol' raw Guernsey cream. Mother delivered a quart to the Schmidt home on St. Claire every Sunday morning while we went to church.  If I recall correctly, Helen drank that thick, rich stuff straight.  If her daughter Lynn sees this claim, she can check with Helen and verify it.

I think we owned Darkie before Helen bought him from our dad.  Darkie is the horse I rode when Mother would head off via horseback (three-four miles away) to Jack's Lockers in the north part of Sandpoint to pick up a supply of frozen meat for that hungry family of hers.  Darkie has been immortalized in one of the stories from my first book Pocket Girdles

Ardis Racicot aboard Toby I.  Our dad, Harold Tibbs, lived at the Racicots down the road from us on North Boyer before he married Mother.  When he moved to our farm, he gave Toby to Ardis.

This horse made our dad famous in Appaloosa horse circles around the world.  In fact, a picture of Harold riding Toby at the first-ever National Appaloosa Show appeared on the registration papers for the South African Appaloosa Horse Club.  I also stayed with a family in New Zealand who owned Appaloosas with the Toby I bloodlines.

Ardis and Mother were good friends off and on from my childhood through adulthood. A daily occurrence, usually around 9 or 10 in the morning, stands out in my memory when Mother would walk to the wall telephone in the living room, tell the operator "382, please" and then Ardis would answer at the other end.

Their telephone visits often lasted for at least half an hour, even though they had to stand all that time to talk on the phone. 

Howard and Mary Ellen Thomason, founders of the Selkirk Ranch, were close family friends.  The Thomason's started their herd of Herefords in the Sandpoint City limits and then moved on to Selle where they built one of the most beautiful ranches in Bonner County.

My brothers worked in the hay fields for Howard, and Mary Ellen cooked up phenomenal Southern-style meals for them.  I worked for them for two weeks one summer when Mary Ellen had gall bladder surgery.

I cleaned house, cooked, did dishes, fed cats, etc. Mary Ellen always had at least a dozen well-cared for and much loved cats. She also named each and every cow on the place. When we bought a great big heifer from the Thomasons, we named her in honor of our dear friend with one slight change: Mary Elephant.

My dad and Harold did a lot of stuff together while raising their Hereford cattle, including trips to Canada to pick up cattle and to the Missoula Top Cut Hereford Sale where Howard's Selkirk line of cattle became famous.  

Chip Lawrence and his family now own the Selkirk Ranch, which is not too far away from where we live in Selle. 

I may have posted this photo before, but I think it reflects the epitome of the life my brothers and I led on our 40-acre North Boyer farm, where after last fall's logging project there's little evidence of that farm, except a piece of ground.  

This photo features Largo, a Saddlebred-Morgan mare. My mother bought her as a yearling filly from Dub Lewis, one of Sandpoint's cops and owner of Dub's, which until his time was known as the Dari Delite.  

Largo's foal Shadow met a tragic ending when something must have spooked the horses one summer night, causing Shadow, a yearling by then,  to suffer a mortal wound in his stomach area.

My dad found him the next morning, dead next to a pool of blood.  At the time, it was one of the most horrifying incidents ever to happen on our farm. 

Anyway, on a happier day and somewhat laid-back summer day, Shadow and Largo rested while Mike, Marianne and Kevin hung out on the fence and stumps in our barnyard.   

Cricket, one of Mother's dream horses (half Saddlebred-Half Arabian), served as my first 4-H horse project.  Those were the days when horses were shown in those white leather halters.  

And, of course, Cricket's flaxen mane and tail, along with those four white stockings and strip, caught virtually everyone's eye.

She was a beautiful mare.  I'm not sure who's showing her in this photo, but it's about the time I was in 4-H. 

Batch Two, Barbara, Laurie and Jim in our family often displayed much more sophistication in their dress than rough and rugged Batch One.

That's not to say, however, that Mother didn't always try to make us look like angels as often as possible when we were little.  Our spit-shined appearance, after a Mother's attempt to dress us for success, did not always last very long.  For the moment, however, with all of us, we lasted long enough for a photo op.

Seems like that tendency to go hell bent for leather in those nice outfits moved on down to another generation, as I recall the day Willie and Annie were part of a wedding party, looking like angels long enough for the ceremony and then being stuffed into a car with their torn and stained white suit and white dress. 

Christmas Eve was especially fun for all of us when Batch Two came along.  There was no shortage of toys in those presents under the tree.  Jim, Harold and Laurie were having a fun time in this Christmas Eve photo circa 1964. 

My older brothers, Kevin and Mike, in the good ol' days.  We may have been living in our house on Euclid near the Sandpoint Events Center aka old high school when this photo was taken. 

I featured a Christmas card from my Waltho cousins in Ephrata last week, so it seems only fair to post one of the Skelton crew before Mary Jane and Don adopted Kenny.  The Skeltons lived in Pasco where our Aunt Mary Jane taught math at Columbia Basin College, while our Uncle Don traveled a lot with his job as an engineer.

Eddie, who doesn't appear to be too happy in this photo now owns the family fruit farm which overlooks the Columbia River. 

Twas a gathering at our North Boyer home when Harold's sister Wilma and her family came to town.  Since she was married to Esther Lines' brother George, the Lines' (Esther and Bert) were always known as our shirttail relatives. 

I proudly showed this photo to Bill yesterday.  He fishes the Moyie River on a pretty regular basis in the fall months.  This was taken a year or two ago when Mike and Marianne (with her Nellie Olsen ringlets)  spent some time at the river.  We often went to the Moyie for picnics, and the fishing poles went along too. 

My mother took this picture when the LaPrath house burned down on what is now known as Woodland Drive.  Nowadays, that spot serves as the parking lot for the popular Mickinnick hiking trail. 

In our childhood, we spent a lot of time with Bill and Betty Cross and their son Billy.  They were also Appaloosa horse lovers, and Bill often showed our stallion Pend Oreille's Fancy Pants.  Betty taugh P.E. and health at Sandpoint Junior High.  

This photo was taken at a Father's Day picnic at Lightning Creek near Clark Fork.  Bill and Betty had raised some fryer chickens, so our picnic included half a fryer apiece for the whole group.  I'm sure there was some fishing too. 

I'm guessing this must have been in 1947 shortly after I was born.  We lived on Euclid, and my two aunts, Rita (her husband George) and Mary Jane,  came to Sandpoint for a visit.

That's my brother Kevin holding on to Rita's hands.  Rita was my godmother. This could have been taken the day I was baptized, probably by Father Ahern at St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

Father Ahern preceded one of the most beloved priests ever in Sandpoint, Fr. Dooley.  For a time, our Grandmother Brown served as Fr. Dooley's housekeeper.  

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Big Sandwiches and Toilet Seats

Larinda Cook loves people. She also knows how to prepare a tasty, fulfilling and memorable sandwich.  

I met Larinda yesterday after Bill and I had taken a drive through the Bearpaw and Snow Valley. 

To get to the Bearpaw, one turns left off the Priest Lake highway a few miles north of Priest River at the Falls Inn.

When we turned off, I realized I'd never been to the Bearpaw, which is a beautiful area almost immediately suggesting a sense of being off the Beaten Track. 

This place is also a snow belt.  Snow Valley Road involves a short, scenic drive to a couple of farms. 

Part of the route passes through impressive stands of trees accented by hundreds of white-capped stumps, remnants of a bygone era when the Humbird Lumber Co. had a ubiquitous presence throughout Bonner County. 

After driving through this area dressed with a fresh layer of newfallen snow---even spending a few minutes in Washington---and passing a road to Mystic Lake, we turned around at the Bearpaw-Ojibway intersection. 

On our way out of the Bearpaw, we decided to stop at the Falls Inn. Earlier, Bill had mentioned the sandwiches from one of his visits a few years back.  

With doggie obedience class for Liam a couple of hours away, we decided one of those Falls Inn sandwiches would suffice for our dinner. 

That's when we met Larinda who has deep roots in the Falls and Priest Lake area, including a mother and another relative who were some of the first women to ever work for the U.S. Forest Service in that area. 

Larinda has been making sandwiches at the Falls Inn for most of 33 years.  She told us they sold the restaurant/pub once but took it back when the buyer couldn't make payments. 

She truly loves what she does because she's proudly a "people person."  Larinda even invited me to step behind the bar to take a photo of the falls from Priest River which put on a dramatic show of power while rushing beneath her establishment.  

That giant sandwich, made with smoked Virginia ham and the trimmings, did, indeed, suffice. I ate a third with sprouts and no onions, while Bill ate the other two thirds with onions and no sprouts.

I won't forget Larinda.  We'll definitely go back to the Falls Inn for another sandwich and to once again greet her friendly, welcoming face. 

For some baffling reason my daughter Annie thinks I should visit a rather unique museum next time I go to San Antonio. 

Yesterday she sent me the link to a YouTube video featuring the about the place and its owner Barney.

Warning:  this presentation could make you flush with emotion and smile with a sense of pleasant satisfaction. 


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Tuesday TwitterdeeFLUMES

I'm not exactly singing "Hallelujah's" this morning, but I am feeling a giant sense of relief. 

Seems the 24-Hour "News Circus" and its abundance of ridiculous side shows do not influence ALL the minds in this country, and that realization to me on this "morning after" is a good thing.

Yay, to Iowa citizens, for not swallowing all the garbage we've seen dribbling out of the mouths of numerous political circus stars via cable news throughout the endless lead-up to yesterday's caucuses.  

Before anyone gets irate about the comments above, please know that I am one of those voters who hasn't the slightest idea whose name will get my X in November.  Seems from talking to friends,  I'm not alone either. 

I do know, however, that some candidates did get a taste of humble pie yesterday, and I'm glad.  

Plus, I may not have to move to Ireland just yet.  We'll see what the next few weeks and months bring. The option's always open.   

That said, I shall move on to this Groundhog Day.  Why are some declaring it a holiday?

Seems I've seen that characterization on TV and in several Facebook posts, with cautionary comments about being careful "while staying home from work or school on this holiday." 

Is this a result of the 24-Hour News Circus where if you hear it often enough, it eventually becomes true?

Anyway, it looks like a fairly nice day here, and I think we North Idahoans don't pay much attention to whether or not the groundhog sees its shadow in Pennsylvania.  We get what we get and live with it the best we can. 

On this Groundhog Day, both Bill and I will be staying home and trying to be careful, but not because of a holiday.  It's because of the new normal where Bill doesn't take off at the same time to go to work every morning.

And, since that's the case, and I know that he now has more time on his hands, I'm posting a video, which I saw on a Facebook friend's page yesterday. 

My longtime horse friend, Leslie Jachetta of Priest River, has a deep-rooted interest in the video because of all her relatives who worked for Diamond Lumber Co. When I saw the word "amazing" used in reference to the video, I was hooked from start to finish. 

After watching for about 14 minutes, all I could think was that Bill was gonna love this if he'd never seen it before.  

Plus, I think anyone who has an interest in logging, which drove the economy in North Idaho during a major part of the Twentieth Century, would enjoy the production. 

The video is pretty basic in its narration but very informative as it takes us back to the days when lumberjacks and those associated with the logging industry made up a large percentage of our work force. 

As a lead-in to this video filmed by amateur photographer and diesel mechanic Ralph Morrow in the 1940s, I'm also including a couple of paragraphs from a story written by Michael Brodwater for the Spokesman-Review newspaper July, 25, 2010.

This isn’t about effects of modern logging but rather a time when axes, springboards, two-man cross saws, flumes, splash dams, steam boats/locomotives/donkeys and horses were used. By means of what we would call primitive equipment huge trees from old growth forests were harvested. Looking at historic photos, the logging of just one of the massive trees and transporting it to a far-off mill was a major undertaking. It seems that many who worked in the woods lived up to the legendary Paul Bunyan and his blue ox.

The many streams and lakes in the area were used for the transportation of logs because there were no roads. Getting the logs out of the mountains was accomplished by horse, flumes, or something called a splash dam. Flumes were built to send logs downhill like a water slide from a wooden dam upstream or creek. Horse-drawn logs were skidded to the staging area at the flume. They were then rolled onto the flume with a hand tool called a peevee. Water was released and the logs were sent one at a time to a lake or river. Either a mill was built there and the milled wood was barged out or the logs were tied together and towed down the lake by way of a steam powered tugboat which burned wood.

Logging was done this way along Indian Creek on Priest Lake. A 3-mile wooden flume with a dam 3 miles upstream was used to send logs down to a mill owned by Diamond Lumber Company. The mill is long gone and the land is now part of Priest Lake State Park and Indian Creek Campground. There is a short section of a replica of the flume displayed in the campground. But there are parts of the original flume scattered along the creek. Farther upstream, the dam still is recognizable. Up the east shore at Priest Lake and north of Indian Creek is the state park group camp. The buildings were and are still used as a dormitory and kitchen. 

Hope you and Bill enjoy the film as much as I did. 

Monday, February 01, 2016

They're from Sandpoint; We couldn't Be Any Prouder . . . .

Mark Perry, Kathie Brown-Welch, Darlene Brown-Wager and Pat Perry.  Not pictured and unable to attend the event in Richland are mom Carol Taylor and brother Mike Perry.  All are Sandpoint High graduates.

--------Caption from Facebook photo posted by Darlene Brown-Wager. . . . 

Had a great evening with family celebrating my brother Mark Perry's induction into the Washington State HS Football Coaches Hall of Fame last night! In great company of coach Steve Graff and his son Mac Graff being honored with a scholarship! Congratulations to all!  
                                                                                          ---Darlene Brown Wager

Mark Perry and his siblings are all exemplary Sandpoint natives.  

I knew them when they went through the high school and also met and appreciated his sisters, who were like big sisters to my then pre-school children, Willie and Annie, at Patti's Daycare.  

Patti is Mark's mother-in-law.  Darlene and Kathy's dad Wade served as Sandpoint's fire chief.

I'll refrain from giving too many details about the blue birthday cake Pat Perry and his buddy Gary Rench baked for me when they were sophomores in my English class.  I will tell that it was not my birthday, but the cake was delicious. 

Mark Perry, an outstanding athlete and student, graduated from SHS with my sister Laurie in 1979.  

A few years ago, the entire family was able to attend another special ceremony when Mark was also inducted into the Washington State High School Wrestling coaches' Hall of Fame. 

What wonderful and impressive honors for Mark, his family, Sandpoint High and the entire community.  

To Mark, "We're from Sandpoint, couldn't be any prouder!"  

Speaking of football and Sandpoint pride, it's Super Bowl week, but it's not just any Super Bowl week.  This coming Sunday marks the special 50th special anniversary for the extravaganza.  

And, there's a Sandpoint connection.

A Sandpoint High graduate played in the very first Super Bowl ever.  

In case, anyone doesn't know, that would be Jerry Kramer, No. 64, a right guard and a place kicker for the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s. 

Kramer distinguished himself many times over as one of the early NFL greats, including the famous block he executed for quarterback Bart Starr's sneak to the end zone that won the 1967 NFL Championship game. 

He retired in 1968 and has since been an entrepreneur, a broadcaster, a successful author and a rancher, living in Southern Idaho. 

No doubt this past year leading up to this Sunday's golden anniversary of the Super Bowl has been one filled with phenomenal and touching nostalgia, especially the experience Kramer had during a visit to Sandpoint last fall when he presented a golden football to his alma mater. 

It's no secret that he and the community are disappointed that Kramer has not yet been selected for the NFL Hall of Fame.  In spite of that, he remains a hometown hero to countless fans who have read his New York Times bestselling book, watched him play or had the opportunity to meet him in person. 

One follower of Kramer sent me some information via Facebook yesterday.  I don't know if I've had my head buried in the sand, but I was fascinated to learn that Jerry Kramer's NFL memorabilia is going up for auction later this month. 

Fifty-seven items, including his Super Bowl championship ring (already $60,000 bid), his kicking shoe, letters from Vince Lombardi and Jackie Robinson, jerseys, signed programs, hand-written game plans, etc. are among the items on the auction bloc, via Heritage Auctions.

My Facebook friend also sent me a link to a You Tube overview of the auction, including an interview with Jerry Kramer, which explains why he plans to sell the collection. 

So, with a big Super week ahead, enjoy this film segment about one of the original stars of the big games who has that Sandpoint connection.  

And, to Jerry Kramer, "We're from Sandpoint, couldn't be any prouder." 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bye, January

Artwork of Edward Hopper on my 2016 cherished gift calendar from a dear friend. 

My least favorite month has come to an end for yet another year.  I'm grateful, but my sentiment really has little to do with the fact that my least favorite month is almost over. 

In fact, there's much more appreciation for all the reasons that hating January CAN top my list of problems. 

It's really a pretty minimal concern---this annual disdain for the first of our new year's dozen months---in the grand scheme of things. 

Actually, life for me, even during January, isn't all that bad, especially when I think of situations in this world that could be a whole lot worse than what I experience. 

A quick inventory of the good and the great things in my life reminds me that my problems are relatively inconsequential, for I am blessed with home, family, animals, comforts, lovely surroundings, oodles of friends.  

It's all good, but there's also the consideration of relativity.

What's bugging us on any given day is usually a big thing to us on that given day.  It's central in our lives, and whatever the problem---perceived or real---- it forms an obstacle we must conquer in order to achieve the level of happiness which we perceive to be important. 

This 2016 January has had it share of obstacles, with outside weather conditions and the responsibilities of the new pup often keeping me inside a lot more than my moods can handle. 

The best part on today, however, is the feeling of satisfaction that I've weathered the storms both internal and external and that the future is looking good for when that calendar turns to a brand new month tomorrow.

At the end of January, our pup is getting to spend more time outside.  He can go to the dog run or to his kennel, which means I can once again go for my daily walks without worrying about his safety.  And, for me, that's a healthy and essential option. 

Also, Bill has finally taken the step to cut back on his work schedule, and, believe it or not, we've actually done okay occupying our house at the same time for more hours than usual this past week.  

It's been fun to watch him adjust to all extra time spent at home; plus, it's been enjoyable to have more conversation during the day----of the human kind. 

As he gets into the retirement groove, I'm actually reliving some of the adjustments I made 14 years ago during the months after my own retirement----especially figuring out just what to do with that unscheduled time.  The best thing: it's ours to choose as we wish. 

I've told Bill about coffee-cult possibilities with men like him who have time on their hands, and I've started a list of "honey do's" for him to attend to now that he's spending more time on the home front.  I have a feeling the shop will eventually become his man cave. 

The best part is that we haven't really gotten on each other's nerves that much. 

For us to do this well with Bill's transition into retirement DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY bodes well for the future.  I think we'll do okay with what is fast becoming our new normal. 

So, having January ending opens the door in my mind to a better month, a shorter month, a month closer to spring, a month where seeds are sown and foundations are laid for the many months ahead when we once again go into high gear, wondering if there are enough hours in the day to achieve the "to do's" that must be done. 

In essence, when January ends for me, it signals a time to close the hibernation door of winter blahs where we've had maybe too much slack time on our hands, providing us more opportunities to think about the miseries putting a damper on our daily moods. 

So, with tomorrow, new doors open, and the "busyness" will rev up substantially, and eventually I'll probably be longing for some of those long hours of couch potato boredom. 

Yup, it's all relative. 

Enjoy the day and the fond farewell.  Happy Sunday.