Saturday, February 23, 2019


What a difference a week makes!

Where to start???

Okay, with Bill Walton. 

Last week, while most people we know had to listen to him and posted ubiquitous protests on Facebook, we occasionally looked over his direction at the announcers' stand during breaks in the Gonzaga-San Diego game.

This week, Bill Love suggests that WE may also have to listen to Bill tonight as the ZAGS take on BYU in the Kennel on ESPN at 7 p.m.



I think Bill Walton means well, but, like the fish out of snow in a photo below, he might do well to go find another audience. 

Possibly a lecture hall at UC Berkley or UCLA where he could come to class barefooted and, yes, in his tye dye shirt and jeans to opine about the good ol' days in the '60s.

Having heard of some pretty quirky, off-the-wall classes on college schedules these days, I'm thinking a "Bill Walton 101" could fit in just perfectly and keep him too busy to call basketball games.  

Give us play-by-play announcers please, like my favorite Jay Bilas.  

We turn on our TV's to watch college basketball, specifically the ZAGS---not revisit every place Bill Walton has visited in his colorful life. 

Anyway, some more about this past week:

Last Saturday Bill Love walked into Jenny Craig Pavillion  to watch the ZAGS game.  

Tonight, we'll see that he is "pre-positioned" in his spot on the couch with his leg up on a chair before the company comes.

Last week before the game, Bill and I visited a place Bill Walton would love and probably does:  La Jolla.  

We walked around town, then drove to Torrey Pines and watched falconers and paragliders.  

Then, we returned to La Jolla, searched for a parking spot and watched seals. 

We also checked out the gorgeous campus of the University of San Diego, went back to our hotel, grabbed some stuff, stopped at a take-out Mexican restaurant and then took in every possible aspect of the ZAGS-Torreros game, including all the locals who had also made the trip south. 

After the game, we stood outside the pavillion for about half an hour, waiting for the ZAGS to come out to their bus, even talking to a couple of them and some coaches.

Tonight, with Bill, who had foot surgery Tuesday, prepositioned on the couch, we'll wait until the company leaves before Bill gets up with his knee roller to go to the bathroom. 

Last week, we walked on grass and sand. 

Today, after making my way through ankle deep snow,  I started the morning, taking dogs out and then firing up the tractor to plow six more inches of fluffy but sticky stuff which fell overnight. 

In short, it's been quite a week, in so many ways, and all the happenings, good and bad and disgusting (the national level, ugh!) clearly illustrate that our lives can change dramatically in a short time. 

In one case, it took about 39 seconds for an entire gym full of fans who paid up to $3,000 per ticket to watch a college basketball phenom play, only to have his shoe blow up and his knee go bad. 

That incident, could have led to Zion Williamson's Duke team losing to North Carolina OR NOT!

We don't know, but we do know the split-second incident caused its share of hype and speculation during the week about Duke, about Zion and about Nike.

It also opened the way for our beloved No. 2 ZAGS to keep their noses to the grindstone and grind away a couple of victories which could elevate back into the top of the NCAA heap----No. 1. 

Yes, it's been quite a week for the ZAGS with Josh Perkins breaking and setting a new record and the ZAGS securing the WCC championship another year. 

So, Bill Walton or not, we'll all be tuned in tonight, keeping our fingers crossed, yelling out "YES" every time a ZAG sinks a 3-pointer, "NO," every time a Couger sinks a 3-pointer and "PLEASE" every time Bill Walton gets off the subject of basketball. 

GO, ZAGS!   

Friday, February 22, 2019

Snow Piles; Reflections

It's the fourth day since surgery. 

Bill has not needed a pain pill. 

He said yesterday he tolerates pain well.

I responded, "Yeah, on all levels, including me." 

Actually, we've done okay so far.  

Yesterday, we launched the first-ever "get from the house to the pickup routine." 

He's figured out how to get his roller over the door thresholds---wheels first, then left foot.  

He has also figured out how to get into the passenger side of the pickup---- point butt toward the seat, grab handle on ceiling, shimmy up there and pull that boot inside carefully. 

On the way back from our drive, we simply repeated the procedure of wheels first, then left foot, and he did just fine. 

With such a beautiful day, we drove to Clark Fork with a stop off at Trestle Creek.  

The final goal was sandwiches from the Pantry for dinner with the ZAGS.

The good side of all this:  I'm also having an easier time chalking up my Fitbit steps each day, with dog walking in the morning and night. 

Nonetheless, we still would both prefer that six weeks would evaporate with the blink of an eye, but we do feel pretty darned good about how Bill's recovery is going so far.


On another note, this has been a sad week, filled with matriarchal losses of friends and family.  

In each case:  these losses involved phenomenal women who not only left their mark on their respective family but on their communities. 

Condolences go out to the families of Marian Ruyle,  Leuta Pa’u Laumatia ( from Samoa and mother of our nephew Sefo), Lois Dundon (Lois and her husband Don lived in Sandpoint for years and attended First Presbyterian Church) and, most recently, Verna Mae Davis.

This morning I'd like to share a few thoughts and anecdotes about Verna Mae, whom I first met through her daughter Jayne and her husband Cap.

I had the honor and delight of working with Cap, one of our renowned local photographers, while advising the Monticola yearbook at Sandpoint High School.  Cap was then and still remains one of my most favorite people ever. 

I met Jayne my first year of teaching when she was a sophomore taking honors English.  For the next two years, she worked on the Monticola staff, serving as its editor her senior year.

Naturally, being associated with Cap and Jayne, I visited the Davis household and darkroom often, eventually meeting and teaching their other daughters, Tick and Liz. 

There is no way to properly capsulize (is that a word?) the multitude of wonderful experiences we, as a family, have  all enjoyed with the Davis family (and its later generations)

Heck, I could write a book about Jayne's and my experiences as high school teachers.  In fact, I HAVE included some of them in my last book. 

Seems like our paths have crossed SO many times and so many ways.  

As for Verna Mae, there's was a little girl who lived for a brief time at Condo del Sol, not far from the Davis household.  

This precocious little six-year-old had moved there temporarily with her family after their house burned in 1984. 

Twasn't long before Miss Annie love found Mrs. Verna Mae Davis, and a special friendship sprouted. 

Annie spent many a day, leaving the condo, crossing the open space toward the Davis house and serving as Verna Mae's shadow as she went about her household projects.

Verna Mae loved Annie.  Annie loved Verna Mae. 

I like to think that Verna Mae's spirit of adventure (a family staple) inspired Annie as an adult. 

Verna Mae knew all the mountains around the area because she had gone with Cap or had taken friends on hikes to those mountaintops. 

In her adult life, Miss Annie Love has climbed a mountain or two of her own. 

I also remember one beautiful fall day when Verna Mae, her friend Judy Hunt and Bill climbed to the top of Scotchman Peak.  The kids and I met them as they happily came down the trail.

Verna Mae also was honored as one of Sandpoint's Women of Wisdom the same year as my mother. 

Verna Mae and Woman of Wisdom Jane Evans
 a few years ago. 
She earned this honor for so many reasons, including a project where she partnered with a mutual friend Linda, crafting quilts for local cancer patients. 

I'm sure her community resume would reveal an almost endless list of ways she contributed her talents to this community, including her dedication to Girl Scouts.

 In my mind, however, Verna Mae's greatest contribution occurred daily:  an incomparable, positive and upbeat spirit along with the best smile ever. 

One could not help but feel on top of the world (or a mountain) in the presence of Verna Mae Davis.

Last evening Jayne posted a photo of Verna Mae and Cap on one of their many outings with the comment that Mom and Dad are now hiking together in Heaven. 

How fitting and what a happy thought!

When I think of these losses and I read the words that others have written about these phenomenal people, I cannot help but think that they are not gone.

Each of them has left valuable and treasured gifts within the hearts and souls of not only their families but also in each of us who were so fortunate to have known them through their journeys on this earth.

RIP, Verna Mae, Marian, Lois and Leuta. 

You have all done well. 

Your legacy will move on in countless and meaningful ways.   

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Marian: Memories Are Cherished

Marian Ruyle

SHS Alma Mater

To Sandpoint High

We sing to thee

You're worthy of our praise.

We proudly wear your colors fair. 

To thee our voices raise. 

The memories are cherished 

That you have given me.

So, Alma Mater, Sandpoint High, 

We pledge our loyalty.

             --Marian Ruyle

Educator, musician, orchestra instructor, wife, mother, grandmother, community and church participant, Woman of Wisdom honoree, loyal and good friend, overall venerable and honorable citizen and great example for all who knew her.


A few of my personal "cherished memories" of my teacher, colleague and friend, Marian Ruyle, in no particular order:

While waiting for my bus after school, watching Marian and her colleague Mary Parker walk to Mrs. Parker's car to head home.

I think the car belonged to Mrs. Parker.  For a long time, I didn't think Mrs. Ruyle knew how to drive. 

Talking too much in Latin class one day, probably to Marilynn McKenney who sat near me.  

 Mrs. Ruyle abruptly stopped her lecture (probably on Caesar), looked directly at me and asked,

"Would you like to teach the class?"

"No," I meekly responded.

Enough said. 

No more talking in Latin class.


A lifetime of constantly relying on those Latin lessons (later adding Greek to the mix through Word Clues).  Probably some of the most valuable learning ever for me. 

Receiving National Latin test certificates AND then there were those among us who won the coveted trophies.


I always considered Marian and Art Ruyle as one of the genteel couples in Sandpoint.  

Bill always considers Art Ruyle one of his first friends in Sandpoint.


Working with Marian Ruyle as a fellow English teacher at Sandpoint High School.

Speaking of that, I worked with her pretty much my entire career. 

After Marian retired, she came back to the high school and worked in the library. 

Not sure if my facts are right, but I'm betting she may have worked at Sandpoint High School longer than just about anyone. 

At least 50 years! 

We lost one of Sandpoint's finest when Marian passed away in Sandpoint this past Tuesday at age 98. 

Her talents and dedication as an educator and music lover touched hundreds and hundreds of young people and fellow musicians through the schools, her First Presbyterian Church and North Idaho College. 

In addition to her many accomplishments, Marian wrote the Sandpoint High School "Alma Mater."  

I believe she also did the same for her alma mater, Coeur d'Alene High School. 

In short, Mrs. Ruyle, you are, indeed,

 "worthy of our praise."

A few examples posted on Facebook:

from Mike Brown:  For the benefit of Sandpoint High School Class of 1962 Classmates. Mrs. Ruyle was my teacher for Latin, English, and Orchestra. 

She was one of a of the best! Bon voyage, Mrs. Ruyle! What an incredible woman!

From Sandpoint High Class of 1959:  Dear, dear Mrs. Ruyle, You were responsible for starting an orchestra at the high school those many years ago in the innocent 1950's. 

Your love for music and your musical talent shown through every day. What a blessing for so many students who were introduced to music by you. Thank you for all you gave to your students.

From Sigrid Thompson Brannan:   Good bye and God speed to one of my most memorable teachers! 

I was in her orchestras from 3rd-12th grade. To all my former orchestra “kids” who hang out with me on FB, this fine lady was your orchestra grandma!

From Kirsten Thompson:  Oh, I loved this dear lady so much. I will always be grateful for being in orchestra. It was a wonderful experience.

From Don Shaffer:  Absolutely one of the Best teachers that I have had the fortune to have in my life. She will truely be REMEMBERED, AND MISSED. TO ME SHE MADE A DIFFERENCE IN MANY LIVES!!!

From Sally Moon:  Marian was so devoted to God, Family and Music. We have been blessed to know her... her Church Family will miss her but Heaven just welcomed her home. 

From Beth Thompson Bruce:  A legend.  She brought so much music to our town.  And not just Pomp and Circumstance! 

From John Evans:  She deserves a book about how much she gave us all and the heartbreaking path she endured. I hope she knew how much her devotion meant to those of us blessed to have her in our lives. 

From Mary Brown:  She contributed so much to so many lives.  RIP, dear Mrs. Ruyle. 

From Ted Hadley:  I'm crying because she influenced so much of my life.  Godspeed, Marian. 


 Thank you, Marian Ruyle, for all you gave to so many during your remarkable life.

Ave atque vale [Marian Ruyle] !!

                                    --Herrick Heitman

Marian Heath Ruyle

July 8, 1920--Feb. 19, 2019


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Boot Scootin' Bill

Bill with his "caregiver companion" dog Foster. 

Usually when we come home after a vacation, there's a day of decompression as we gradually get back into our respective routines.

Not this time.

Bright and early yesterday morning, with no coffee to give him a push start, Bill walked into Pend Oreille Surgery Center to have some foot repair.

Four hours later, he rode a wheelchair to the white pickup and managed to get himself into the passenger seat, with a little help.

First stop:  the drive-in window at McDonalds for some chicken nuggets and bacon fries. 

A few minutes later, we arrived home and received a proper greeting from three dogs.

After all the wiggles and hellos, Bill exited the pickup and hobbled over ice and snow (carefully) to the house on crutches, eventually plopping into position at the end of the couch where pretty much everything a rehab patient could need awaited him:

ice water, Fritos, candy, soda crackers, newspapers, a book, his Kindle, sanitary wipes, his phone and, of course, the TV remote.

He then propped his boot leg up on a chair with three pillows and settled in.

Almost a day later, Bill seems to be doing okay with his crutches but life should get better. 

Sometime this morning, we'll get a call that his knee roller (I call it a scooter) is ready to pick up.

For the next six-eight weeks, Bill will be scootin' and hobbling around in his boot.

It's a "no weight-bearing" situation, which definitely means a different routine for both of us here at the Lovestead.

Bill won't be driving or walking the dogs or chopping wood or snow shoeing.

Still, we'll do everything possible to get out of the house and go on our usual drives to fun places. 

Just no hiking for a while. 

The nice part about his situation during this time of the year:  March Madness will be coming soon.  

The best college basketball games are happening now in preparation for March Madness----like, for example, tonight's match-up of Duke and North Carolina. 

I read last evening that to purchase a ticket to that particular game would require just under $3,000 because of Duke's Zion Williamson. 

Imagine the sticker shock should there be another Duke-Gonzaga game with Rui Hachimura AND Zion Williamson.

Our $40 price tag enabling us to watch Rui play and to see him up close and personal after the game with some of his fans seems like a real bargain. 

Anyway, our routine at the Lovestead for the time being is anything but the usual. 

Bill's being a good patient and I'm doing my best to be a good "caregiver."  

He's heard for years, through other surgeries that "I ain't no nurse." 

One day down, maybe 50 to go.  Nurse Ratchet and Loblolly Love can do this!

After all, Cocolalla Creek and spring fly fishing awaits. 

In the meantime, lots of good basketball. 

Happy Wednesday.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


The white, white snow of home. 

Yup, we left the green, green grass of San Diego behind.

Sure was nice while it lasted. 

Our timing turned out to be somewhat unbelievable. 

A punishing rain which had caused flooding and destruction around the San Diego area stopped almost the minute we arrived at our hotel in National City Thursday afternoon. 

As we were strolling around the grounds of Cabrillo National Monument late Sunday afternoon on our last "turist" stop , the rain began again.

So, we were thankful to have enjoyed three pleasant days of getting outside, walking on bare ground and shedding layers of clothing as the sun warmed up those ocean breezes. 

We made it home with no problems yesterday afternoon and were both almost stunned at the amount of snow that had piled up AND remained in the Spokane area.  

We don't see that very often. 

Of course, one of the delicious signs of knowing we're almost home is that colorful DICKS just off the freeway.

 Yes, we indulged with the usual:  a whammy and chocolate shake for me; fish and chips for Bill. 

As usual, one of the more spectacular hints of home, driving across that bridge,  was a breath-taking winter scene of ice, water and the mountains.

Back here at the Lovestead, the latest layers of snow remain relatively undisturbed by dog or human traffic.  

A unique sight soon after we arrived home was seeing Foster standing on a mountain of snow above the sliding glass door. 

It took some doing for the little guy to inch his way down the white mountainside (from roof dumps) to the one visible step by the door.  

The snow is beautiful, for sure, but another predicted drop tonight will ensure winter work ahead. 

For now, everything is accessible so today we'll just enjoy the scenery and get geared up for another stretch of plowing, etc. 

Twas a good trip, but, as always, we're glad to be home. 

Happy Tuesday. 

Enjoy the story of Timothy below. 


Timothy worked as a roofer.

He still remembers the day he fell from a roof back in the early 2000s.

He's been using a wheelchair ever since.


Timothy can walk about 100 feet whenever he needs to.

We kept seeing Timothy buzzing around the hotel parking lot in his wheelchair, with a cigarette in his hand, pretty much every time we walked from to our car or to the restaurant across the parking lot. 

One morning during our San Diego getaway, as we walked back to our room from breakfast, I told Bill I was gonna go meet that man in the wheelchair and learn his story.

Upon approaching Timothy, I told him I wanted to visit with him AND to avoid his cigarette smoke, adding that I once smoked myself.

There's nothing worse than a "reformed sinner," I added.

Timothy told me he wished he could quit. 

Well, I figured out that the cigarettes were what kept Timothy out in the parking lot.  

He was a hotel guest who had come to town from Clinton, Mississippi for the wedding of his stepson.

Timothy, who's 57,  and I enjoyed a two-smoke visit. 

He suggested several times that he and I ought to write the story of his life cuz we'd make a lot of money. 

I told Timothy I had written enough books and was content doing my blog every day AND that Timothy would be featured in one of my posts. 

I saw Timothy only once more inside the hotel after our visit and introduced him to Bill.  He noted to Bill that "she and I are gonna do a book." 

Timothy was one of the many new faces I saw and met during our four-day getaway to Southern California. 

We go on these trips to see different scenery and to enjoy new sights, sounds and people. 

I've always been a people lover, which drives some people I know pretty crazy.  

Still, there's always a great story and almost always an enriching experience, along with a new friend. Plus, spending time talking directly to people could lead to a more peaceful, happy world---one person at a time. 

While others get off on their own unique addictions/passions, my main high in life comes from meeting new people from anywhere and everywhere and learning the highlights of their individual stories. 

Timothy at the hotel was definitely no exception. 

He's proud that, as the seventh and youngest child of his mother (who taught him right), that he made it out of the rough and rugged atmosphere of Compton, Calif.

Timothy was really excited about when they would be leaving San Diego and moving on to Las Vegas where he has family.  

After all, he was eagerly planning to wrap his arms around a grandchild. 

And, when he returned to Mississippi?

A job at Goodwill awaits.  

They'll train him, and then he'll go to work.  And, when he's not working, Timothy will be out doing something else he loves:  fishing.

Twas a wonderful interlude of the many we experienced on our weekend getaway. 

An interesting display of ceiling art at San Diego Airport.