Sunday, December 08, 2019

Sunday Blend

If it had snowed as long and as much as it rained yesterday, we would probably still be digging out this morning.

Once again, I proclaim:  let it snow, snow, snow in the mountains, and for Christmas here in North Idaho, let it snow enough to make things pretty but not enough to cause heart attacks or chronically sore muscles.

That's all I ask, and I think I may not be alone in that "All I want for Christmas" wish list. 

The rain has finally stopped, and this morning the mountain is covered with a whole new blanket of snow while we have greener grass and easy walking down here in the valley. 

"Yay," for all involved. 

Yesterday's rainy day did provide opportunities to dive into Christmas "to do's" here in the house as well as Gary Pietsch's book signing down at the museum.

Twas nice to see Gary and to visit with him and several other hometown folks who came to purchase their copies. 

Later, I went for a walk in our dark and wet woods
 where about the prettiest sight I saw was a deer standing in the trees about 100 feet away looking back at me.

We enjoyed a brief visit, as I said, "Hello, Deer." 

Actually, I did all the talking and she did most of the looking before finally flipping her tail up and prancing off into the woods.  

That's when I noticed that she had a sidekick hanging back out of sight. 

One of these days, one of those resident deer will stay in place and maybe talk back to me rather than flitting off  from the Lovestead peeps. 

Heck, we see each other in the yard, in the woods, out in the pastures or even on the road often enough. 

Ya'd think they'd settle down and just be friends.

Probably not to be. 

Today I'm hosting the ZAGSfoodfest when Gonzaga plays the Washington Huskies in what promises to be a competitive shoot-out.  

We're having Wood's German sausage sandwiches and whatever the others bring for snacking and dessert. 

Don't know if they'll hang around when we flip the channel to watch the Seahawks try to maintain their first-place division ranking. 

Anyway, it's GO, ZAGS and GO, SEAHAWKS. 

Down below you'll see a couple of photos from over the pond.  One was posted yesterday by my favorite Irish artist Billy Austin, while the other appeared this morning on the Facebook wall of our family friend Catherine from Normanie in France.

Hard not to be emotionally touched by the scene. 

Happy Sunday.  It actually looks like it will be a much welcomed SUNday. 

Longtime friend and newly published author Gary Pietsch.

His book about the early history of Sandpoint is available at the local museum and at local bookstores as well as Sandpoint Super Drug. 

A beautiful, touching reminder
and tribute to WWII American sacrifice. 

For the first time, the association Wreaths Across
America has deposited this Saturday 9,300 Christmas wreaths on each of the
graves of soldiers buried in the American cemetery Colleville-sur-Mer in
A tribute to GI's coming to liberate Europe in 1944.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

December Seventh, Two Thousand Nineteen

It is, indeed, somber on this morning of national remembrance.  

Though rain is falling, skies are gray and fog is hovering, I did find a ray of sunshine early this morning when I read the results of last night's Sandpoint High School Bulldog basketball games vs Spokane's Shadle Park High School.

Both the boys and the girls won their games and decisively too. 

Sandpoint girls played at Shadle Park:  59-44

Sandpoint boys played at home:  65-58

Bill and I are especially happy for Willie and his team, as they're coming off from a three-game losing streak. 

Twas a sweet victory, and we, as parents, are proud.

May the good times keep rolling for SHS Bulldog sports.


In other news, my friend Connie from Hope has a new blog entry with some thoughtful comments about women and flag jewelry.  

I hope you enjoy her thoughts as much as I did. 

Finally, this IS a national day of remembrance as we mark the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Fewer and fewer citizens each year remember the details of where they were that day and how they reacted to hearing that it was a "Day of Infamy," characterized by President Roosevelt in a speech to Congress.

Still, countless visitors to the Pearl Harbor Memorial, representing younger generations, will always remember the solemnity, the quiet reflection, the reverence they experienced while strolling through the Arizona Memorial and other historical monuments and museums associated with Dec. 7, 1941. 

Such a visit is an unforgettable experience as it should be.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Ta Da To Do Ta Da To Do

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you be of good cheer
It's the most wonderful time of the year

It's the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It's the hap-happiest season of all

There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much mistletoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
It's the most wonderful time of the year

There'll be much mistletoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It's the most wonderful time
Yes the most wonderful time
Oh the most wonderful time
Of the year

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Eddie Pola / George Wyle

Howz about a little seasonal upbeat on this dark and dreary day!

It's supposed to get better and then get worse, wet-wise, that is. 

Hardly a festive scene outside, but what the heck!  

It's a wonderful time of the year with lots of ta-da's and more than enough to-do's. 

Don't get the wrong idea.  

This is all fake cynicism but really am in an upbeat mood this morning, as long as I don't look out the window.

Picture taking is at a minimum right now, 'cept for the Christmas decorations slowly appearing around the place. 

My mind is feeling cluttered with all the different "to do" lists, many of which have gotten off to a slow start, but at least there's progress with the cards, the decorating, gift selections, etc. 

Lots more to do, though, along with numerous activities quickly filling up the calendar.  

We actually have a day next weekend with at least five major items keeping us going in five different directions. 

One of those:  Swiss Miss is coming, and we are excited to see and enjoy her visit over the holidays. 

This weekend, I'm hoping to attend one special event.  

It's the book launch for my longtime friend Gary Pietsch's 165-page collection of Sandpoint historical stories. 

Basic information:  book sells for $19.95.  

It's a paperback.  Gary will be at the Bonner County Museum tomorrow from noon-2 p.m. signing books and at Vanderford's next Saturday, Dec. 14 from 1-3 for another signing. description:  A complete history of Sandpoint, Idaho, from wilderness to its settlement by Native Americans and later white pioneers, to the modern era.

As noted, Gary and I go back a LONG ways.  

Our personal history of friendship includes a few summers of my working for him as a feature writer for the Sandpoint News Bulletin

Gary gave me several fun assignments over those summers, including a series of features about the 1973 National Boy Scout Jamboree at Farragut, which not only resulted in a tabloid paper filled with pictures and text but also a husband. 

Yup, I owe it to Gary, first and foremost, for meeting Bill.  The rest is history and almost enough to fill a book of its own. 

Sandpoint certainly has some fascinating early history, and since Gary's family lived here through much of that, who better to document it!  

Gary is truly a "Pietsch" of a guy, always a gentleman, always generous with his time and truly deserving of accolades for all he has contributed to this community over the years. 

He also contributed to another wonderful asset for the world at large, his son Chris, a fabulous, creative and award-winning photojournalist in Eugene, Ore. AND a longtime, valued friend. 

Today is Chris' birthday.  

I know that factoid because this morning while scrolling through Twitter,  I spotted the photo taken of him on Eclipse Day in Oregon a few years back.

Of course, I noticed the lovely dogs in the photo first!

Just kidding.  One of Chris's friends posted the photo along with birthday greetings.  So, Happy Birthday, Chris.  Hope you have a wonderful day. 

Nice to see you IN the photos for a change!

And, good luck to Gary as he sets off on the journey of authordum.  It's a fun gig. 

Finally, another individual sure to make her mark in the world is celebrating a 14th birthday today.  

Happy Birthday, Terra.  Hope you also have a wonderful day.  

And, with that, it's off to do some more ta-da's and to-do's. 

Happy Friday. 

Thursday, December 05, 2019

TBT: in the Cards!

I don't know how far in advance of the holiday my mother started on her Christmas cards each year, but I do vividly remember the years when her cards alone were a major production in her Christmas "to do's."

Creating those custom cards eventually led to her fulfilling the promise of her art degree from Nazareth College which sat on hold through the rearing of six kids. 

Mother wasn't exactly Grandma Moses, but her art career blossomed relatively late in her life. 

My first memories of her Christmas card production date back to the days (1950s) when we had a beautifully marked black and white Appaloosa stallion named Ponderay's Fancy Pants.

For at least a couple of years and maybe even more, Fancy served as the model for her annual hand-crafted annual card. 

When I say "hand-crafted," I mean that literally. 

After sketching a scene (one year's edition featured Fancy as a foal jumping through a Christmas wreath) Mother cut out the image on linoleum blocks.  

This process took time, concentration AND precision, as the image was carved in reverse.  

Then, if I recall correctly, she would take the finished block to the local printer who would use it to print off a certain number of cards. 

Then, came the painting. 

She added watercolor to each individual card.

As each card was finished, she wrote reams of news inside, BY HAND. 

I can remember her sitting well into the night finishing those cards.

Having a spot on Mother's Christmas card list was a special treat for all recipients.  Many kept them almost as family heirlooms. 

Later, as technology improved, Mother abandoned the linoleum block process, sketched her cards either in pencil or pen-and-ink and then took the prototype to the printer. 

Of course, even having multiple prints did not slow her down.  She added water color to each print, a process which required great concentration and many, many hours. 

Again, inside were the generous hand-written notes.

As her vision deteriorated and her patience, she and my sister teamed up, using a copier to produce multiple copies of each year's scenes.  

Those were amazing years, watching my mother put her whole heart and soul into Christmas projects, including the gifts and the cookie plates. 

I think we're getting a bit lazy these days by comparison.  

It's still work to get those cards done, and I know that my notes inside the cards are minimal compared to the epic efforts of my mother. 

Still, in a world where so many of the traditions have fallen by the wayside, I cannot---even though I plot it sometimes---let go of sending out those cards. 

My list gets shorter every year, which is both sad and a bit of a relief (on the work load), but I like to receive the cards, and I hope that whatever effort is put in to those I send makes somebody's day----especially those who don't get out much any more. 

So, yesterday, I purchased my cards, and I'll get started, hoping to have this year's batch sent before Christmas. 

The memory of my mother's Herculean efforts and knowing how much those efforts meant to others serves as the major impetus for keeping the tradition going. 

I decided to use some Christmas cards I've received from year's past in today's Throwback Thursday edition. BTW:  my friends at St. Joseph's may recognize and remember who sent me one of the cards in the collection.  

It's kinda fun to see the wide variety and the perspectives that people adhere to when selecting and sending their cards.  

Plus, they're pretty.  

Hope you enjoy. 

Happy Thursday.   

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Slight Detour Milestone

George W. Bush had just been elected for his second term President.

Martha Stewart was going to jail. 

Mark Few was coaching ZAGS notables Brian Michaelson, Ronny Turiaf, J.P. Batista, Erroll Knight, Adam Morrison, Derek Ravio, David Pendergraff, and Josh Heyfelt, to name a few.

Multi-champ Ken Jennings had just lost after winning more than 2.5 million dollars on Jeopardy.

We lived on a ten-acre farm on Great Northern Road with our horses, Rambo and Casey, Labrador dogs Ebbie and Annie and cats Festus, Licker, Fuzzy Wuzzy and Lonesome Love. 

After graduating from Boise State University, our daughter Annie had moved to Seattle where she was working at the Lake Union Courtyard Marriott.

Meanwhile, Willie was working in Newport as a reporter for the Gem State Miner, while his wife Debbie was finishing up her college degree at BSU.

Bill was still working for the State of Idaho as a woodland forester.  

I was in my second year of retirement but still freelance writing. 

I had just completed one of the stories of my life for Sandpoint Magazine, featuring actor Viggo Mortensen.

My good friend Helen Newton was wrapping up her final months as Sandpoint City Clerk.   

We were still receiving daily print copies of the Spokesman-Review where Dave Oliveria had started a new online feature called a "blog." 

Turned out to be a bit of a pyramid scheme cuz some of who liked the idea, started our own and the "Blogfather, as we called him, promoted our work in the regional newspaper.  

And, so it began, 15 years ago today . . . .

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Slight Detour

Welcome to the inaugural night of "Slight Detour" coming to you from beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho. I cannot take credit for the title. 

 That honor goes to my brother Jim, an architect, artist, cartoonist in Grants Pass, Oregon. It's because of Jim and his cartoon series called "Slight Detour" that I have initiated this blog.

I hope that as I learn more about this publishing process Jim's cartoons will begin to appear. At this point, I've followed the three steps to blogdom and have spent some time typing. Let's just see what comes next.

I guess the next step I'll try is to link all readers to my website, where you can find information about my two funny farm books (now three) and read some examples of my freelance writing, including an exclusive interview with actor Viggo Mortensen. So, here goes. Keep your fingers crossed. 

 Go here: [Note:  this site is no longer active]

Comment:  Blogger Bluemax_36 said...

Well, it looks like something that can use up a lot of time. I don't know what happens to this, so I don't know how visible it will be. I don't think that I'm ready to do the blogging thing. 

 First, I don't have that much to say that meets the threshhold of being interesting to others. Secondly, it looks like something sorta time consuming, and I'm not sure that I need another absorbing activity that diverts me from stuff that needs to be done....
4:22 PM

Update on Mike's comment from ten [now 15] years ago.  Well, the blog has taken up a lot of time, Mike, but it's been good time.  I thoroughly enjoy the 7-8 a.m. morning slot spent here at the computer.  

And, since that night ten years ago, it appears to me that you have gone against your assumptions and spent your own time at "another absorbing activity that diverts me from stuff that needs to be done."  

Or, was your book Missile, Missile Missile:  A Personal Experience (available at in Kindle and hardcover, by the way), published in November, 2013,  on your list of "stuff that needs to be done"?  

Whatever the case, I'm glad you took the time to complete and publish the story of your Vietnam helicopter shootdown, et. al. 

First turn-off

Well, it's a baby blog, so give me a break. I've got a lot to learn about how all this blog stuff works, and I'm hoping Jim's brains combined with mine will help us get going on this new adventure.

Since we're in a slight-detour mode, we've got an excuse to get off course as often as we want.

Okay, maybe I've figured out one more step in the process. I mentioned that article about Viggo Mortensen in my first post and put my website, but it didn't turn into a link. So, let's try clicking here  [
no longer active in 2019]

Hey, it worked. So, if any visitors run across this blog, try that link above.

Take a left

Yup, it's fun. Two infant blog postings and they don't look too stupid, so let's try a couple of other baby steps. I'm going to send you to another important location. 

He's my favorite blogger and cranky conservative, Mr. Oliveria. I owe this guy a lot cuz he's provided some great exposure to my website. He also does a pretty interesting daily web journal, so bookmark him [no longer active; Dave retired a few years back].

Update ten years later:  As of today, 6,939 entries have appeared on "Slight Detour" since its launch Dec. 4, 2004.  In the early days of blogging, I often started completely new entries, rather than continuing in the same post, so that bumped the numbers up a bit. You'll see the first three entries on Dec. 4, 2004, focused on experimenting on how to match up the entities of the cyber world and to see if it all actually worked.

A lot of time spent writing has led to this milestone.  I discovered, with time and feedback, that I truly loved sitting down for an hour a day and coming up with something out of my head or from my various camera lenses.  

Posting on this blog for nearly every day over the past decade has turned into a delightful, sometimes challenging daily discipline.  I think I may have missed posting six or seven times [maybe 10 now] from 2004 to 2014.  

Two of those absences occurred when we moved to Selle in 2006 and had to wait for our Internet to be hooked up. 

By 2012, the regularity of the blog appearing at just after 8 a.m. each day turned into a necessity, especially thanks to my friend and head daily editor, Helen Newton.  By that time, if I was running late, I could always count on an email around 8:08 or so from Helen asking, "Is anything wrong out there?"

And, so in the fall of 2012 when my sister Laurie contracted viral encephalitis and we spent the night transporting her to and sitting with her dressed in space suits at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d'Alene, I left her room around 7:30 a.m. and scurried to the visitors' room to call Helen and to explain why the blog would not appear that day.

She was sworn to secrecy since, at the time, we did not know if Laurie had a contagious variety of encephalitis and did not want to alarm the community.  Turned out she did not, which was especially fortunate because she's an elementary teacher. 

This morning I wish to thank Helen and assistant editor Cherry of Sunnyside [she came on board after Helen]  and everyone who has stuck with this experiment for the past ten years.  That includes you, Julie of Orlando, formerly of Selle. 

It's been a fun run, and I so appreciate the folks who inspired me to get started---younger brother Jim and Blogfather Dave.  

And, I'm especially thrilled these days that blogs have become so common in our social media that-----like the GonZOGa learning curve, people have gradually learned that this medium is not a "BLOB." 

Now, for more Jim Tibbs cartoons.  Besides his artwork, Jim is passionately involved in hang-gliding, so much so that he even produced a national hang-gliding calendar with his cartoons. 

He has also illustrated some children's books and continues to design beautiful structures in Southwestern Oregon. 

I've always envied and admired Jim's talents, even more so this morning when it's so apparent that his cartoons, penned a decade or more ago, remain timeless, thought-provoking and very funny. 

Update on Jim:  he's still an architect in Southwest Oregon. 

On this 15th anniversary of my blog/blog, I can say that it takes a streak of craziness to post virtually every day for more than 5,400 days. 

I'm thinking it has to be a record.

I'm not really sure why I've kept at it this long, but I do know that the positives outweigh the negatives. 

It's a morning discipline for keeping up my writing and photography skills.  

It's also an outlet for what little creative juices I have. 

It's also heart-warming to hear wonderful responses from those who've moved away from Sandpoint, those who love Sandpoint and even those who never ever heard of Sandpoint until they read the blog.

Plus, I don't mind sharing the blessings I experience almost every day while living this life as a "muttering country hick."  

It's a fun gig, especially with my latte at my side.

On this celebratory day, I have no idea what the future holds for a blog called "Slight Detour."

Nonetheless, I do know that I love and appreciate my readers.  

Moreover, for as long as it seems reasonable to keep taking those verbal slight detours, I'll continue with the same general goals:  make someone laugh, accentuate the positive (yes, with occasional sarcastic quips) or just plain bring a smile to a reader's face. 

In my mind, those three items are priceless every day of the year. 

Thanks for hanging in there, for your support and for taking these fun little journeys through life with me. 

And, special thanks to my brother Jim for providing the initial inspiration:  you need to get back to cartooning, Jim.