Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Around the Neighborhood

When we sit down to watch the Game One of the World Series tonight, we'll be enjoying dinner prepared by the folks at Selle Valley Carden School.

They're in the midst of a fundraiser with hopes of raising $1,200, and they're preparing main dishes for whoever wants to participate.  I saw the announcement the other day and immediately ordered up some lasagna, which includes some Wood's Meats.

No price set on these delights----just whatever you want to donate.  In my mind, if it turns out to be gold-plated lasagna, that will be okay because I love the school and its students and staff that much. 

So, thoughts of not fixing dinner and probably loving that lasagna prepared with a country touch are starting my day off just right.  Adding the World Series with the Cubs is okay too.

It was pretty neat to watch CBS News last night and immediately recognize where some of the interviewing about the Cubs took place:  Harry Carays Restaurant.  We ate at one of the franchises honoring the former Cubs announcer when we visited Chicago in August. 

In other news, if the rain stops, as predicted, later this morning, I'll continue my yard projects from yesterday.  The first round of picking up leaves is complete, and the garden has been rototilled for the winter. 

I know I'll be going round and round with the leaf pickup for a few weeks, as I do every fall, but I always figure that every leaf that goes in a pile will mean that much less yard work in the spring. 

Cleaning up dead flowers and pruning perennials will lead the list on today's agenda. I also have to figure out what's making our big water trough leak.  Not fun filling it up and finding it only half full the next day. 

Hoping we don't have to buy a new one. 

Anyway, all is well here this morning, and we're still enjoying the beauty of fall. 

Happy Tuesday.  Go, CUBS!

Our friend Maryann's Arabian gelding Capone.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Gold in Them Thar Hills

Disclaimer:  If you're not fond of the colors of green and gold, you'd better bypass today's post.

That said, this is the time of the year when the hills around this country are alive with the golden radiance of Larch.  

In some areas, like along old HWY 2 east of Bonners Ferry, just fingers of gold appear randomly among the evergreens on hillsides.   Meanwhile, other areas, like the Yaak River drainage, are loaded with gold and green as far as the eye can see.

Those fine and fragile larch needles will be falling soon, so if you like to see the trees in all their late autumn splendor, don't waste any time hopping in your car and taking a drive to the mountains.  

And, if you've got time, drive up that Yaak River drainage.

Stunning, to say the least. 

After our almost overpowering introduction to the "golden larches" of the strikingly beautiful and wild Yaak drainage in Northwestern Montana, we took a side road on Saturday.  

Neat and tidy patterns green and gold continued as we continued to gain elevation.

Then, as we drew closer to the summit,  a new dimension added that much more glory to the scenes:  tall, stately aspen reaching to the sky.  Not exactly photo bombing the green and gold backdrop but the occasionally taking up the foreground as if to say, "We're here too."

I've never seen an aspen I didn't like, and these were especially beautiful as they provided esthetic interludes to the majestic scenes of gold and green.

Our trip up that side road inspired me for years to come.  I told my sisters yesterday that when fall days come where they won't be in the classroom "teaching the children," we'll have to explore every single one of those roads not yet taken. 

And, when we do, we'll likely be blown away with the brilliance as Bill and I were on Saturday. 

We may not be able to spend that gold in them thar hills, but the images of those golden larch amongst the greenery definitely give the eye a magnificent bang for the buck. 

Happy Monday.   

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Very Good Day, Indeed

Bill and I came home yesterday afternoon from our maiden experience with the new travel trailer and with the dogs, pleased as punch.

And, the day got even better.

We were beyond thrilled with how well the dogs behaved during the overnight stay spent at breath-takingly beautiful Two Rivers Resort, which is located deep within a canyon below the small mill town of Moyie Springs, Idaho. 

Liam, Foster and Kiwi were, indeed, troopers throughout the adventure, 'cept maybe for a few short-lived squabbles inside the trailer.  

Before our trip, I harbored very real fears that we'd never get a drop of sleep with dogs feeling uneasy in the new surroundings of that trailer.  

Admittedly, Liam, being lowest in the pecking order, according to Kiwi and Foster, probably experienced the most unease as he did everything to stay out of their way. 

I think Liam slept well last night during his first-ever night in the garage outside his crate. I doubt he slept very well in the travel trailer, but I know he seldom moved a muscle throughout the entire night.  None of the dogs moved from the time the lights went out Friday night until they came back on again early Saturday morning. 

Definitely a triumph for our plans to take them on future travel trailer adventures. 

Our Saturday began with Bill fixing a nice breakfast of huckleberry hotcakes, sausage and bacon while I went to the one and only hot spot at the resort, sat at the picnic table and composed my morning blog.  

Later, Willie came to visit us after enjoying a nice breakfast at the Bread Basket Bakery just a few miles away from our campground.  We enjoyed a cup of coffee and then walked with him to the beautiful spot where the Moyie and Kootenai Rivers meet deep in that canyon. 

When Willie went on his way, the morning sun followed suit, so we went for a drive through some stubborn rainstorms on old HWY 2 and, later, up the Yaak River Road.  

Eventually, we turned off on a side road, leading us up through the mountains and the most beautiful, expansive stand of gold larch I think I've ever seen.  I'm saving those photos for another day because the experience deserves its own moment in the spotlight. 

By the time we arrived back at the campground, so had the sun.  So, Bill took off for a quick fishing trip, and I finished up a project at the trailer with the dogs. 

Then, we all headed over toward where Bill was fishing.  On our way, we met Jackson and Emma who were enjoying the playground equipment.  They wanted to pet dogs.  Jackson also wanted me to count how many seconds it would take him to jog around an area in the playground.  

So, I counted out loud for 37 seconds as he circled the area twice.  

Then, I went on my way, occasionally getting tangled up in dog leashes.  When Kiwi saw Bill out there in the water, she really wanted to join him. 

After all, she's a fly fishing collie.  We were able to convince her to stay out of the water since we were leaving soon. 

As I separated from Bill, Kiwi and Foster to go make a call at the hot spot, I turned to see Jackson and Emma running my way with gifts they had gathered near the playground. 

What a warm and wonderful feeling to see this brother and sister with such a spirit of generosity for a new acquaintance.  I'm thinking we'll be friends, and I told them I hoped to see them again, which is possible since they live near the new hatchery at Twin Rivers. 

After organizing and preparing the trailer for the trip home, we both agreed that it had been one fine experience, especially because of our "good dogs." 

We arrived in the driveway in time to clear most of the necessary items from the trailer, grab a bite to eat and sit back and watch history as the CUBS emphatically and brilliantly won that all-important fourth game in their best-out-of seven National League Championship series.

And, now they'll try to the World Series for the first time since 1945 when they played in the Series but lost. 

That was the year my mother left Chicago with my brother Mike and her English Setter Peggy and began a new life in Sandpoint, Idaho. 

And, this was the year that we Love's, as a family, went to Chicago and saw the Cubs in Wrigley Field.  A nice parallel, I'd say.

What a wonderful display of athleticism and community pride to watch, and what a phenomenal and positive diversion from so much of the ugly, continuous negativity we have all endured through this endless and divisive Presidential campaign. 

I remember reading the wonderful book Seabiscuit and learning how Seabiscuit's incredible success in the Thoroughbred racing world provided a positive and unifying distraction from otherwise negative events during his era.

I look at what the Cubs have accomplished this year and how they've accomplished their historical and proud achievement, and again I say, "nice parallel." 

As Alex Rodriquez said last night after the Cubs victory, "This transcends sports." 

Go, Cubs!  Thanks Twin Rivers.  Thanks, Emma and Jackson.  What wonderful memories from a very special day!

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Saturday Slight Detour

It’s  5 a.m. Saturday.  Bill and Marianne are sitting in a toasty travel trailer listening to the BBC on the radio  and to occasional growling of some dogs thinking other dogs need to be kept in line. 

That would mainly be Foster who has emphatically expressed the most frustration of our three traveling pooches about pecking order and eating order.

While Foster sits in the main aisle of our new trailer, Kiwi is enjoying a fine breakfast, having interrupted Foster’s feast.  Liam lies on the Murphy bed watching the doggie disagreements and trying to stay out of the conflict.

The doggie dynamic while occupying our Hideaway seems to be the only challenge we’ve encountered since pulling into Two Rivers Resort at the confluence of the Kootenai and Moyie Rivers, northeast of Bonners Ferry, ID, yesterday afternoon.

It’s a beautiful spot, and this time of year,  we are fortunate to be sharing the place with a bunch of plump deer who have been enjoying rich lawn grass since Rex, the manager, quit mowing a few weeks ago in their behalf.

We have walked the grounds with dogs, enjoyed a fine dinner surrounded by dogs and, happily, slept fairly well through the night with dogs.  When these three go to bed, they go to bed.  Not a peep and nary a move out of them once they found their resting spots for the night.

So, we’re thinking this maiden run with our new trailer and our canine family has been a relatively great success.  I don’t know if Foster will ever decide that he doesn’t need to keep Kiwi and Liam in line while traveling with the trailer, but for the most part, I think they all will enjoy this new aspect of overnight recreational outings as much as we have.

It’s been a good first run, and we have what looks to be a fine day ahead before returning to the Lovestead where Elisabeth has been watching after the horses.  Thanks, Elisabeth.  Much appreciated.

And, thanks , Rex, for your warm welcome and great conversation. You operate a beautiful and lovely resort.

We’ll be home, refreshed and in time to watch the Cubs as they resume the National League Champion Series at Wrigley Field.

In closing, Bill just announced that “there’s harmony in the canine family.” That is a good thing.

Go, Cubs!  Happy Saturday. Enjoy the photos.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Drip, Drip, Drip and Hillary's Nose

My photos this morning were taken two days ago with my cell phone. No way I could take any pictures yesterday without ruining a camera.  

It was that wet, and it stayed that way all day long. 

I tried delivering ZAGS posters to some of the folks on my list.  Had to stuff them under my coat to get them from the car to each home or office, etc. 

Yup, we had a seriously wet day yesterday, but it has stopped this morning, and that is good.  

I saw some hate talk other than politics on Facebook by late afternoon.  Some folks were going stir crazy cuz of the rain while others said they were forming gills and they were ready to escape to some place dry. 

We, in North Idaho, have been pretty spoiled the last couple of years because we haven't endured too many cases of the "days-on-end" drip, drip, drip.  

Showing no mercy with any even tiny sun breaks, yesterday's steady downpour reminded us of the usual weather patterns which we locals have experienced for a lifetime, 'cept over the last couple of comparatively dry years. 

During a portion of the day I had the TV on and worked on indoor projects while listening to the ongoing Presidential debate analysis.  

That said, I want to dispute something I heard and watched during the late afternoon. 

Before disputing or "debunking" I want to issue a disclaimer for anyone with short fuses these days before the election:  my observation is in no way meant to be politically biased.  Instead, it's based totally on personal experience.

During one particular segment, a body language expert was analyzing facial expressions and hand gestures of the candidates during the debate. 

I was casually listening at first but stopped in my tracks when the moderator promised that the body language expert was gonna let us know what Hillary's hand gesture of lightly sweeping her hand across her upper lip and nose area during debate discussion about emails or Wiki-leaks.  

But, then they said we were gonna learn  why she made that hand motion AFTER the commercial break. Gotta be on edge of our seats overflowing with curiosity when those breaks come. 

So, I went on about my business with an ear cocked to the TV so as not to miss this highly enlightening scoop of information. 

After all, while speaking in public, I've swept my hand over my face in the area of my nose a time or two.  

What intricate inner secret message could this telltale act be sending to observers, especially to body language experts????

I was actually getting a little nervous about what aspects of the "inner me"  had been transferred to folks in my audiences over the years----like my students or book lovers. 

So, when the body-language person came back on, I tuned in closely, even standing very near the TV, taking great care NOT to swipe my hand over my face, lest Wiki-leaks was secretly videoing me through my television set. 

Turns out Hilary's action, according to the body language expert, suggested anxiety and possibly guilt.  Well, that make a good story, especially when one considered that she performed this gesture right during the Wiki-leaks discussion.

But wait!  I was standing close enough to the TV to see that Hilary actually had some liquid just below one of her nostrils.  

Could it be?  

Could it possibly be that Hilary's nose was running and that she had tried discreetly----without stopping to reach into her pant suit pocket for a great big wad of Kleenex to wipe away the liquid that had "leaked" from her nostril? 

I looked even closer at my TV screen the next time they showed the gesture, and, sure enough, it was shiny wet under Hilary's nostril. 

The upclose and personal observation took this particular body-language interpreting novice back to some of those times, especially during the years of all those speeches I gave about my books, etc., when suddenly in the middle of my speech, my nose would decide to run.  

It's awkward, at best, when this happens in front of a bunch of people staring right back at you, while you're trying your best to remain poised and perfect and not have to reach in your pocket for that big wad of Kleenex and then dab it over your nose to try to stop that wicked leaking. 

Then, I remembered back a little further when this phenomenon in the midst of public speaking first started dogging me and, in those days, I had not yet learned to put a big wad of Kleenex in my pocket.
That was really awkward cuz then those uncomfortable moments would take me clear back to grade school when we were always advised by adults to quit wiping our noses on our hands or our shirt sleeves but we really had no choice because we didn't have Kleenex or a handkerchief in our pocket.

Those first few times of being Kleenex-impaired while speaking publicly were torturous as I had to endure the uncomfortable feeling of liquid seeping from my nostril and do my best when I thought no one was looking to quickly swipe my hand past that spot and get the damn nostril to quit leaking on me in front of all those people. 

While listening to the body language expert yesterday, I also thought about those times and did some quick analysis of my inner soul.

"I really don't think I was any more nervous than usual while speaking,  and, really, the only guilt I was feeling at the time had to do with my nose running in a very public setting and not quite knowing how to deal with the situation gracefully"  

Yup, that's what I recall about those quick hand swipes during my speaking experiences. 

The other aspect I recalled was that my nose tended to start running a lot more during public speaking situations when I was in my 60s than during my 50s or 40s.   

Sorta like Willie when he had lice in the third grade and announced to us at dinner one night that his head itched a whole lot more in third grade than it did in second grade. 

We took care of that propblem with some special shampoo, and eventually I took care of my ever increasing nasal drip in front of crowds by remembering to put a big wad of Kleenex in my pocket. 

Now, as far as Hillary is concerned, I'm betting she didn't want the audience of 60 million or so to see a big wad bulging out of the pocket of her white pants suit, so she decided to wing it and hope that her nasal passages would behave better than Donald's do when he is doing his public speaking. 

So that's what she did, and the nose ran and then the body language expert confidently concluded that she was feeling guilty and anxious----neglecting to note the moisture under her nostril that I could clearly see yesterday, even without my glasses. 

I'm wondering how much the body-language expert got paid by the network for that astute analysis.  Whatever the case, it made good TV, and probably only old codgers who've had runny noses while speaking public would dispute the claims.  

So, that's what I've done this morning.  I'm just one voice, but my journalistic background implores me to suggest another interpretation to that Hillary hand gesture. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

Happy Friday.     

Liam sez hi and to have a good weekend while he has a ball.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thursday This and That

A good carrot year.  Two planter boxes worth.  They now reside inside a cardboard box in the barn surrounded by sand.  We'll see if that storage method keeps them nice for the winter.

No cars behind me on Boekel Road yesterday, so I could grab this quick picture of a lovely and stately barn on the prairie. 

The essence of late fall with the appearance of  larch gold on mountain sides and slash burns during moist, cooler weather. 

Kiwi and Lefty preparing for the Third Debate. 

Pretty much one of the last roses of summer.  

Life is complete.  I have my ZAGS posters and will deliver. 

The Cubs won big last night.  The Presidential debates are over. Bring on Trump TV! 

The Blue Jays lost.  One guy in Rogers Center, where Cleveland earned its way to the World Series yesterday, apparently lost some of his clothes and took to the field in search. 

Annie and thousands of other cell phone owners in the stands caught what they would not show on TV during the final portion of the game----the guy getting arrested.

Though Toronto lost, Annie's take is that Cleveland will be in the Series and now Chicago MUST win the National League Play-offs so that she will be able to say she saw both World Series teams play.  Hope it happens. 

In other news, I drove to Spokane yesterday, with Liam and Foster aboard, and picked up my Gonzaga women's and men's basketball posters.  It's become a ritual, and I must say that with all the other stuff going on yesterday, it was a quick trip. 

Seems the days are going that way as we move from fall into the winter season.  As I walked out of the door of McArthey Athletic Complex, I uttered my usual gratitude to the receptionist:  the ZAGS help us make it through the winter. 

While I'm on the ZAGS, I must add a nice little anecdote.  I left some Sandpoint Magazines from last year's winter edition which included a story about ZAGMANIA in the Sandpoint area. 

That story began with Swiss Miss's (Willie and Debbie's exchange student from a couple of years ago) initial experience after she landed at Spokane Airport for the first time.  My first conversation with her as we sat in the back seat involved teaching her "GO, ZAGS." 

Well, Laura eventually got it mastered and can now shout it out with the best of ZAGS fans.  And, now Laura is finishing up her last year at the International School in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, where her father serves as technical director for the national soccer association. 

Earlier this week, I received an email from Laura entitled "Surprise Visitor."  Twas a recruiting representative from Gonzaga University visiting her school.  Somehow, Laura happened to be wearing her "ZAGS" hat.  

I have a feeling the surprise may have fallen more on the representative than Laura. After all, how many times do these folks meet up with someone from Switzerland going to high school in Malaysia who can shout out "GO, ZAGS!" ?

It may have been a first.  

Who knows? Maybe Laura will find a way to attend Gonzaga!

And, so the fall beat goes on, and we're down to the teens in days left enduring to the daily litany of lies, lies, lies, nasty women, "I don't think so women," bigley problems, debunked stories, snorts, bad hombres, fraud and Wiki-leaks.

And, during election week, we should survive, especially if the Cubs are playing in the Series, Seattle Seahawks keep winning and the ZAGS begin their respective basketball seasons.

I think it will be fairly easy to change gears and tune in. 

Happy Thursday.