Monday, January 23, 2017

Dawson Lake Outing/ 3-Mile Memory Lane

Mother Nature gave us a gift yesterday-----a lovely day with a slight hint of spring.  When I went out to do the morning chores, I saw light in the eastern sky.  Daylight is noticeably increasing, and that is nice.

Then, came the sun, and it hung around for most of the day.  I remember moments of consciously soaking it up while watching the dogs play.

Later, Bill, Kiwi and I climbed in the pickup and headed north.  Snowshoes remained planted in a mass of snow which has been in the pickup bed for the past several weeks. We planned to use them if the opportunity arose.

And, it did, as we drove the Meadow Creek Road northeast of Bonners Ferry and saw strings of other tracks across Dawson Lake.

“Let’s go here,” I suggested.  So, Bill drove a little ways further, turned around and then parked along the roadside just above the Forest Service restroom and a dock leading out to the lake.

On came the snow pants and then the snow shoes.  Bill and Kiwi had already trudged about halfway across the lake by the time I headed down the hill with my camera.

The entire experience was exhilarating, 'cept for maybe when I fell down and my camera took a dip in the snow.  While lying there drying it off, I noticed that just below the snow were water deposits and soft ice.   

Thinking this was not good, I called for Bill to come and help me up, figuring that the less I tumbled around in my usual clumsy sumo wrestler-type moves, the chances of breaking through ice would lessen. 

After Bill helped me up, he assured me that there was plenty of ice between me and the cold waters of Lake Dawson. 

So, we moved on toward an area where some locals from Bonners were enjoying a fishing outing.  At first, we could see just their ghostlike figures near a fire they had started out on the lake.  

They were wrapping up for the day and eventually came into a clearer view.  After a quick visit, we moved on and eventually back to the pickup.  I loved the experience because it was out in the open with plenty of sunlight and no real destination except enjoying parts of the lake which we normally don't see.

As we were driving back on HWY 2, Bill asked if I wanted to stop for a minute at the 3-Mile Antique Mall.  I've driven past the place at the junction of HWY 95 and HWY 2 dozens of times and always thought it would be cool to see what's inside cuz the outside decor is filled with eye-catching antiques.

So, we pulled in, parked, told Kiwi she would have to stay in the pickup and walked inside to a nostalgic wonderland of the past.  Literally thousands of items are attractively arranged in such a fashion that one feels transported to another time.

Memories of childhood abound while strolling through the aisles to visit numerous nooks and crannies filled with yesteryear.

So many items were my favorites, like the copper statues reminding me of decorations on our end tables and Charlie Russell paintings hanging on our walls back at the old North Boyer house.  

I certainly thought of my parents a lot during the visit and even mentioned to Mike McGinnis, who owns the establishment with his wife Denise, that my dad grew up on the north bench. Mike noted he lives on the north bench. 

The 20 minutes or so spent inside that virtual museum of treasures, gleaned from estate sales and general buying and selling, inspired me to think of future visits, maybe even with other family members who would equally enjoy the many tangible items providing vignettes to our rural upbringing. 

Twas a wonderful day, filled with sunshine, a great snowshoeing adventure and a fabulous sentimental journey.  

Thanks, Mike, for graciously letting me take your photo.  Hope to see you again. 

And, this Monday is filled with fun.  In precisely an hour, I'll be sitting at Farmin-Stidwell School pronouncing words for the rescheduled school spelling bee, and in another ten hours or so, we'll be sitting in front of the tube, cheering on the ZAGS to victory No. 20 with no defeats.  We hope and pray anyway!

Go, ZAGS!  Happy Monday.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pink Catharsis in Sandpoint and Round the World . . . .

Good Riddance/Time of Your Life
--Green Day

Another turning point a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don't ask why
It's not a question but a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable but in the end
It's right I hope you've had the time of your life

So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth it was worth all the while
It's something unpredictable but in the end
It's right I hope you've had the time of your life

It's something unpredictable but in the end
It's right I hope you've had the time of your life
It's something unpredictable but in the end
It's right I hope you've had the time of your life

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Saturday SLICES of Life

Well, it's been quite a week.  This time last week, Annie and I had spent the first night in our condo at Marina del Ray, Calif., and had gotten to know the neighborhood.  

Later, we took off for a marathon day of seeing the races at beautiful and historic Santa Anita Racetrack, then exploring downtown Los Angeles where we met some friends for dinner and, later, attending a hockey game.

It was a good getaway, especially considering the challenges we've experienced weather-wise since my return. 

Last night during our family gathering at Sweet Lou's, it was fun listening to the ice-provoked war stories involving the folks living on Center Valley Road. 

Our daughter-in-law Debbie shared the most recent tale.  She had fallen hard on the ice just before coming to dinner.  Her jeans were still wet in the rear where she landed.  

Debbie's other ice experience during the week was the first of the ice stories shared with me on Thursday morning by my sister when she texted, telling me not to worry about the spelling bee cuz there would be no school. 

Laurie also told me that the night before Debbie had to make two runs at the upward slope of Center Valley Road just after she turned off the highway. 

Finally making it to the driveway, she opted for parking her car on the downward path right next to my sisters' house.  

That way she figured that when she had to head for work the next morning, the car would at least go out the driveway, down the hill and eventually roll onto the highway. 

When another Center Valley resident stopped by our table last night, I learned that the ice had caused somewhat of a "get-to-know your neighbor" situation as several residents ended up in the ditch Wednesday night. 

We still have more than enough killer ice this morning, and I'm loving my Yak tracks. 

In other news, Willie had a good night in Rathdrum as the SHS girls basetball squad came off with a big victory over Lakeland. 

In the milestone category, two of my classmates, Janis Puzuhanich and Robin Melior, turned 70 today.  Each time I'm reminded of what's gonna happen to me in a few months, I cringe.  Still, reaching that point in good health and every point beyond is good news.

Happy Birthday, Ladies.  I'm happy to defer to my elders!

Speaking of looking ahead with positive thoughts, this week marks the nine-month mark in Lily's pregnancy.  She still seems to be doing fine and continues to prefer her alfalfa and grain to a midnight snack on ice cream.   I wonder if horses go through strange cravings like humans when they're expecting.

We watched most of the fanfare associated with the Inauguration yesterday.  I think my favorite part of the pageantry is the military review when the colorful Revolutionary War-era contingent and its accompanying band playing "Yankee Doodle" come marching past the President.

The Inauguration is always quite a show and a reminder that, for the most part, our transfer of power goes pretty smoothly and that regardless of the political situation, the event is filled with great American traditions.  

I did, however, learn from a friend and from a cousin's post on Facebook that maybe some dancing lessons might be in order for some of the folks in the spotlight at each of the balls last night.  

When I shared that information with Bill this morning, he quipped, "Well, maybe it's best that Donald Trump sticks with 'The Apprentice' rather than 'Dancing with the Stars.'"

Leave it to Bill!

So, today will be a good day---ice and all---cuz the ZAGS are playing at home vs. Portland at 5 p.m. PST on ROOT.

And, since the Love's are hosting the eatfest, that means some scrambling around to get the house in order and the goodies that go along with Bill's pulled pork and ribs portion of the menu. 

My brother Mike is in town, so if he and Mary come, we'll have a houseful-----that many more to cheer on the ZAGS. 

Hoping for victory No. 19 with no defeats.  GO, ZAGS!

Happy Saturday. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Turning the Page

I took this photo yesterday while walking around Sandpoint on sidewalks where the ice had been cleared.  In my lifetime, this stately structure has served as the community post office, the library and a title company. 

More than ten years ago, my mother signed a contract inside this building when she sold a plot of the family farm to Litehouse, Inc. I accompanied her that day, which probably is the last time I set foot inside. 

I've always considered this landmark as a beautiful, iconic building.  It is located on North Second Avenue in downtown Sandpoint across from the present hospital and just kitty corner from the old hospital overlooking Sandpoint where I was born in 1947.  

A great story associated with the notable local structure came one day decades ago when high school students transported books from the "old library" to the new library when the latter opened on Division Street in West Sandpoint. 

It seemed like a neat thing to do at the time, especially for the students involved, and I'm sure that remains a permanent fixture in the memories of all who participated in an historic and meaningful community event. 

Speaking of books and historic events, today we turn the page in our country's history. While  I have not looked forward to the chapter which is about to begin, the page will turn today. 

We know not what will transpire.  Some of our population are extremely hopeful while a plurality of millions, like me, are cringing and feeling very sad that the Obama era is ending.

I have greatly admired President Obama and his wife Michelle.  I thank him for his service and for ever present positive outlook and the steady hand with which he has assumed his duties as President, especially while meeting with resistance virtually every step of the way. 

I am not looking forward to a President Trump because throughout my lifetime I have judged my leaders on their character, their general decency, how they treat people and if their principles and values generally reflect my own beliefs.  

Through my adult life, my votes for President have gone to each party.

After months and months of observation and hoping for the best, it has been nearly impossible for me to feel any connection with Donald Trump. 

That said, he will be inaugurated today, and he will be our President. 

I will accept that, begrudgingly.  

As a patriotic American who has always loved our country's traditions and its core values, I plan to watch the inauguration this morning and will continue to search for reasons to conjure up a glimmer of acceptance toward this new President. 

At times like this in my past life---especially while teaching---I have always been reminded that it is important to cling to what you know and to what you believe, especially in darker moments. 

Whenever challenges beyond my control came along during my teaching career, I would eventually realize that rather than struggling against unknowns, my wisest approach was simply to go into my classroom, shut the door to outside interferences and teach the children to the best of my ability. 

That approach usually diminished distractions and most often proved productive. 

Yesterday afternoon, after completing my chores at the barn, I walked out to our road to see if it was safe for walking after warm temperatures throughout the day had melted most of the killer ice we had seen in the morning. 

I found that if I planned my steps carefully, the road was relatively safe.  While walking back toward our driveway, my friend, neighbor and classmate Gary Finney drove by and stopped to visit. 

Gary and I differ politically, but we respect each other and can carry on a fun conversation, even when it's peppered with politics.  

During yesterday's conversation, we both agreed that we've been very fortunate to have good lives and that through it all, the most important influences in our lives, as simple country folk, have always been family and community. 

That brief conversation reminded me of the basic credo which I follow:  treat other people, treat the animals and treat the earth as you wish be treated yourself, and generally all will turn out well. 

That approach is not quite like shutting the door to the outside world but still it's a comforting and simple way to sustain oneself in times of frustration and uncertainty. 

And, the best part about all this:  tomorrow morning and for many mornings after, when Donald Trump is our President, my buddy Liam, comes wiggling up to me with his overflowing Border Collie basket of love AND the ZAGS will still be the only undefeated team in the country. 

When the page turns in our nation today, we will still find reasons to smile, and that is vitally important.  

God Bless America. And, thank you President Obama. 


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Meltdown, Ice and Throwbacks

School is cancelled again today, 1/19. Sleet and rain overnight, then below freezing temperatures have turned the roads into skating rinks!

I was already to head outside this morning to do my chores when Bill strongly suggested that I add my YAK tracks when going out to get the papers. 

He had been out earlier with the dogs, and when he saw how shiny the road was, he stuck just the toe of his boot on the edge and sensed that it would not be a good idea to walk on that stuff without some sort of ice accessory. 

So, I heeded, and took the broom with me as a walking stick.  The YAK tracks helped me to and from the paper box, but each time I put the broom handle on the road surface, it just slipped away. 

The school superintendent did the right thing when he cancelled school for a second straight day. 

Bill kinda thinks it will still get worse before it gets better, so we'll be taking care, especially with where we walk.  Kinda disappointing because with this much snow, the road offers the only place to head out for a good walk----unless it's a sheet of ice.

I may have to go to Home Depot, like some of my friends do on a regular basis, to get some decent walking in today. 

Yesterday's walk changed abruptly after I headed north and just about the Meserve property line, the road surface had already begun developing into its present condition.

So, I turned around and walked south, across Selle Road and on to North Kootenai Road. I noticed on my way back that the Murray mailbox had been victim to the snowplow.  Ours was earlier in the day, but Bill was out there at the time to put it back into place.

Anyway, we've got a lot of wet stuff---in various consistencies---to deal with on this Thursday.  

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled out the new doggie dryer since the dogs were not drying off in the garage.   

I started with Foster, who thought, like he always does, that he didn't want to go through the ordeal.  As soon as that warm air started, though, Foster decided this was all right. 

And, Liam, who runs and hides instantly at the sight of anything mechanical, suddenly appeared, and lined up next to Foster waiting for his turn.  

Liam loved his session too, and then Kiwi.  She wanted to be invited, but once I brought her to the dryer, she was in Heaven.

Never ever thought they would take to it so fast.  

Since it's Thursday and Throwback Day, I once again visited the family photo albums and found a few classics to post today.

Regardless of weather, this is a good day cuz it's a ZAGS day.  The ZAGS will be playing at Santa Clara tonight, looking for Victory No. 18 vs. no losses.  It's a late game----8 p.m. on ESPNU. 

So, have some extra caffeine and be ready to cheer them on.  GO, ZAGS!!!!

Enjoy the photos below, and Happy Thursday. 

We still have icycles but not for long.  I watched the entire mass of snow on one side of our shop roof slide and crash to the ground this morning.  Lucky no living being was anywhere near.  That was a LOT of snow.  

Extra challenges for the postal carriers today. 

It's the old fairgrounds, as folks who've been around this area for several decades will remember.  That's my sister Barbara showing Omar and my sister Laurie showing Tiny, probably at a 4-H horse show when they were second and first year 4-H'ers, respectively. 

They're competing in fitting and showing, and it looks to me like they were doing a pretty nice job, which has never been unusual for my sisters. 

The old fairgrounds now serves as home to the Bonner County Heritage museum and the Lions' Club work shop (in one of the old fair barns. 

Little brother Jim as a youngster walking across the ditch at just about the same spot where I enjoyed my daily mailbox activity as a youngster about the same age.  

Older brothers Mike and Kevin standing in front of our house on North Boyer.  We don't have too many photos of the original house, so it's neat to see at least part of it. 

My mother was still making an effort to make a lady out of her eldest daughter when this photo was taken in our North Boyer driveway eons ago.

The loading chute at the end of the driveway provided one of my favorite places to stand when my brothers would get on the school bus.  I wanted to go with them but had to wait until I turned 6. 

Little adorable darlings Scott, Willie and Annie enjoying some marble cake.  Scott is my brother Kevin's son. 

I think this was my Arabian gelding Nadji, but I'm not quite sure.  I do know that's my sister Laurie showing her perennial winning equitation form way back when. 

First, I must apologize to Carlyn Coulter Blacker, who is riding the horse on the extreme left.  Unfortunately, I could not get the entire photo in the reprint.  That said, this is our Schweitzer Valley Dweller's 4-H Club entry in the 1976 Fourth of July Parade.  I do believe we may have won the sweepstakes.

Lots of fun memories of great horses and people from those old 4-H days.