Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Afternoon Light; New Read

Stressless in Sandpoint!

Yup, that's pretty much how yesterday felt to me, after a weekend of worry and even more improvement seen in Kiwi and a beautiful November day and time to casually rake up the last of leaves along my borders.  

I totally loved the day. 

And, it appeared that a lot of critters along the dirt roads I traveled yesterday afternoon were enjoying themselves too. 

Who wouldn't enjoy bare ground and soothing November sunshine!!!

Besides leaf raking, surrounded by three dogs back in sync, chasing after balls and growling, I took a trip to my sisters' house and sat down for a visit. 

Starting today, and for the next few days, one sister is gonna be "living on Tulsa Time" while attending a national Arabian horse meeting.  

She texted to me a while ago she had made it through early-morning airport security just fine, so she's on her way. 

Today I'm looking forward to visiting a friend with longtime Sandpoint roots.  Her parents lived in my folks' rental house back at what we called the "Upper Place" over on Great Northern Road. 

These days she splits her time between Arizona and Sandpoint where she works winters at Schweitzer.  

I have a feeling the conversation will be flowing in between the coffee sips.  Love visits like that. 

Speaking of locals, Daniel Roos from UPS brought me a package last night after dark.  

We talked about our old family dogs, which happen to be full siblings from the same litter. 

Daniel says Kiwi's brother has been run over and gored by a bull and he's got a hitch in his get-along that couldn't be repaired.  He's also deaf, so they don't take him out on the ranch too much for fear he can't hear their calls. 

Except for all that, he's doing fine, which was nice to hear. 

The package Daniel brought marked a first for me:  except for my own, I don't think I've ever gotten a book on the first day of its release. 

After hearing about the Michelle Obama special on ABC's "20-20" last week, I ordered the book and recorded the special.  

Monday night, while watching Robin Roberts interview Michelle and while Bill was on the couch in deep snooze, I yelled out, "There's Jeralyn!"  

Yup, our Jeralyn Lewis Mire (SHS counselor) got to stand slightly behind and to the side of Michelle in a Washington, D.C. ceremony a couple of years ago while being honored with others as her state's "High School Counselor of the Year." 

The ABC interview program used the clip from that day's events, a clip which, at the time, showed all around the world.

My excitement at seeing my friend and the loud exclamation summoned my dozing husband to momentary attention.  

That didn't last long.  

He was soon back in his slumber zone, while I kept on watching the interview. 

I've read only a few pages of the book, which is an easy and interesting read. 

One paragraph, in particular, took me back at least 50 years, about the same amount of time of reminiscing for a much younger Michelle who, at 4 years old, started taking piano lessons from her stern and proper great aunt Robbie who lived downstairs from their apartment. 

When Michelle mentioned "middle C" on the piano as a guideline, I couldn't help but think of the times I spent at the Delamarter family piano.  

From Michelle Obama's Becoming:  

The keys on Robbie's piano had a subtle unevenness of color and shape, places where bits of the ivory had broken off over time, leaving them looking like a set of bad teeth.

Helpfully, the middle C key had a full corner missing, a wedge about the size of my fingernail, which got me centered every time. 

Well, this morning, I can tell you that I do believe the middle C key on Delamarter's piano had a similar flaw, though the rest of the keys looked like slightly better set of teeth than what Michelle had described. 

No professional instructor ever taught me how to play the piano. 

Instead, I was a total plinker, who used that middle C to bang out just a few notes (no chords) to all of two songs, "Moon River" and "My Country Tis of Thee."  

On Thursday nights when Paul, Eleanor and Laura would go to choir practice down at the First Presbyterian Church---hiring me to babysit Frank and Marie---the routine usually included living room round ball games and Marianne trying, in vain, to learn the piano.

So, with Michelle's piano paragraph alone, I think I'm going to enjoy this brand new book penned by our former First Lady.

Looks like we have another nice day ahead, in spite of the forecast for overnight snow. So, I'm hoping to keep on with the routine of "stressless AND snowless in Sandpoint" and enjoy every minute. 

Happy Wednesday. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Thankful for Kiwi; World Kindness Day

--canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome--

It's not easy for the term above to come rattling off the lips, but Bill and I are not too concerned.

We're very happy, and we can both say the phrase with much more ease than when we heard it for the first time yesterday.

We're beyond thrilled because, for a day or so this past weekend, Kiwi's episode of, what our vet calls, "canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome" had us thinking we would be saying a permanent good bye to our "queen of the Lovestead Border Collie Nation." 

To say tears were flowing at our house Saturday morning would be an understatement. 

Bill had to meet a client in Elk, Wash. that morning, so he said his good byes to "the best puppy of all the puppies."  The latter has long been his daily message to Kiwi.  

Our plan was to take her to a veterinary clinic in hopes of finding any hope.  Both of us feared, however, that we would not be bringing her home. 

This dire situation with our 13-year-old beloved and beautiful dog started with no warning on Friday morning.  

Kiwi would not accept her glaucosamine chondroitan pills.  Most disturbing: she would have no part of her doggie biscuit. 

Just the day before I had commented to Bill that Kiwi is a real "operator" throughout the day and pretty much any time I come through the garage into the house.  

She knows the biscuits are on top of the freezer in the garage, and she knows that if she situates herself there, I'll weaken and give her a handout several times daily.  

So, that rejection of her Friday morning biscuit was the first sign I saw that something was amiss.  

Bill also told me he had watched her earlier struggling to get up, eventually dragging herself across the floor before finally getting up and appearing very weak when she went outside. 

Kiwi would not eat, but she did drink a lot.  

My first thought was dehydration caused from not getting up to go to the water dish.  Kiwi has a bad hip, so we figured something had happened the day before to aggravate the hip situation.

Friday was dismal, to say the least.  We were sure our old dog was facing her last days.  

So, we watched her closely and kept her comfortable throughout the day, occasionally taking her outside and noticing the weakness in her rear end, often leading to falls. She also seemed very disoriented.

Once Kiwi could get up and start moving in her outside travels, she wanted to play games with Liam and Foster, but it was noticeable that her actual participation had become very passive.  

She kept drinking water off and on throughout the day but would not eat one bite of food until evening when I offered her some cheetos. 

Kiwi ate every cheeto. 

That gave me some hope.  Later, I gave her some bites of cheese, which she happily ate. 

On late Friday evening and Saturday morning trips outside, it was more than painful for Bill and me to watch Kiwi struggle.  

That's when we decided to take her to a clinic for observation, knowing full well the dire possibilities. 

After Bill left for Elk, I started putting in calls to the local clinics, leaving messages on the answering machines.  I found out later that one was not open but the one I thought was closed on Saturday was, indeed, open. 

Waiting for responses turned out to be a blessing.  

As the morning wore on, I started noticing some improvement in Kiwi.  When I took her outside, she didn't fall as often, and I could hardly keep up with her as she walked on leash. 

Bill and I also noticed during this ordeal that Kiwi wanted either one of us close at all times.  That trend continued as did her refusal to eat her usual Atta Boy dog food, her biscuits and her pills. 

Kiwi preferred cheese and Cheetos, along with a little chicken noodle soup. 

About midday Saturday, I saw a message on my cell phone from Dr. Caldwell at Center Valley Vets. In my earlier message, I had described Kiwi's symptoms.

So, when I returned her call, the doctor said she would leave me some meds to help Kiwi through the weekend and that we were to bring her to an appointment on Monday morning. 

As the weekend wore on, Kiwi's improvement was increasingly dramatic.  Bill and I finally started feeling confident that her Monday appointment would be more for geriatric purposes than something worse. 

And, that's pretty much the way it turned out.  At our house these days, Dr. Caldwell and Dr. Kellner are our heroes.  

The minute Kiwi walked into the exam room, Dr. Kellner observed Kiwi with her head cocked and almost immediately rattled off that term up above. 

"Big words," I said, "could you repeat that?"  She did and then went on to explain the syndrome, which now we are happy to know was "an episode" with Kiwi.  

Kiwi received a thorough examination, a nail and duclaw trim as well as a manipulation with Dr. Kellner's "thumper."  We'll hear results on the blood panel today.

When we brought Kiwi home yesterday afternoon, and she went outside with her friends, we figured we'd seen a miracle.  

She resumed playing as if nothing had ever happened, even growled fiercely at Liam and put him in his place.  

It's obvious that a few residuals of this episode still remain with our old gal, but we are SO thrilled and so relieved that the "best puppy of all the puppies" will probably play a lot more ball with Liam and Foster and give us continued joy before we have to say a last good bye.

I share this story because, until this weekend's experience, we had no idea of this mysterious syndrome.  

To us lay folks, the combined symptoms are so dramatic and disturbing that they almost immediately suggest that the beloved elderly pet's end could be coming soon. 

So, if you have senior pups or kitties, it's worth reading the information in the link I posted above. 

Thanks again to Dr. Caldwell and Dr. Kellner for their caring and expertise in helping Bill and me and Kiwi through a very difficult time. 

Even though she's still dealing with some minor effects of her syndrome, Kiwi figures it's been a good thing cuz she's enjoying royal treatment like never before.  

And, we pretty much figure the "Queen of the Lovestead Border Collie Nation" deserves it. 

Happy Tuesday and, though every day should be one, today is World Kindness Day.  May we all find ways to extend kindness to others, including our pets. 

Finally:  I want to share one more link:  a wonderful multi-media presentation of yesterday's Veterans' Day Assembly at Sandpoint High School.  

Great job, Cedar Post staff!

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Pleasant Taste of Winter

If we could have weather like what we're experiencing right now, I would never complain about winter. 

On the grand scale of likes and dislikes about seasons, these past few days and those yet to come would top the charts of likes in my mind. 

It's dry, cool and crisp with a dusting of snow to accent the dull colors of late fall, along with easy walking pretty much everywhere.  

It doesn't get much better than that, as far as I'm concerned. I think I'm not alone with that assessment.

Stuff can get done, both inside and out, and that's pretty much what happened around the Lovestead as well as up and down South Center Valley Road this weekend.

After finishing up a batch of jelly yesterday (blueberry/raspberry yum, yum mix), I did something I haven't been able to do for a long time.  

I went for a walk up our dirt road.  

Busyness of past weeks and months has put a major dent in such opportunities.  So, I embraced the open moments and enjoyed myself every step of the way. 

Along the way, I met my classmate and neighbor Gary Finney who was out improving the position of his paper box.  

We talked briefly and that included gossiping to Gary about the new neighbors who are moving into the Butler place down the road where retired educators Dan and Debbie lived for 30 years. 

Turns out the new neighbors are the same couple I interviewed for the current Sandpoint Magazine feature "Natives and Newcomers."

Amber Trost Prins, a local optometrist, has deep roots in Bonner County.  

Her grandmother Louise Bandy and I were in 4-H together, and, her great-grandmother Leora was much beloved by pretty much any of us that grew up through the rural ranks of Bonner County.

I told Gary I found out Saturday when Debbie, Emma and I paid a brief visit to Amber at her upcoming new home that I also have known her grandfather forever through the Bonner County Fair.  

That discovery took place as I walked, with camera in hand, out toward their barn (built in the late 1800s) and one of the guys working on the structure immediately south of the barn took off his sunglasses.  

Yup, Tim Carey did know me, and as soon as those glasses came off, I knew him. He's from Priest River, and he recently retired from serving on the county fair board. 

For the next few minutes, reminiscing about old times down at the old fairgrounds next to City Park went viral as Tim and I visited in that crisp Selle Valley air.  

Anyway, Gary, who also served on the fair board, told me that he would plan to go down there to the new neighbors and introduce himself after Amber and her hubby Greg (a local dentist and Walla Walla native) move in. 

While I was enjoying my walk and snapping a few photos, Bill was enjoying some quality chain-saw time down in the woods.  After arriving home, I took Kiwi on leash to the woods to visit with Bill.  

Kiwi had a rough weekend, but she seems to be bouncing back from problems resulting from her ol' lady difficulties of not being able to get out of bed. 

Bill and I have since remedied that, and it's made all the difference.  Of course, Kiwi loves that cuz she's getting spoiled.  And, we're enjoying the opportunity to spoil her. 

In the meantime, the horses are now just going to pasture to do a little nibbling cuz I'm feeding them twice daily now that we've had some snow. 

Again, I must refer to the perfect weather, which is especially perfect for horses who like to stuff their bellies and then lie down for a nap and some quality sunshine soaking.  It's great to see them so relaxed. 

All that said, this morning, I'm quite happy to use the word "copacetic."  All is certainly well here, and I'm hoping we can say the same over the next few days. 

Happy Monday, and welcome to the neighborhood, Amber and Greg!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Salute to Veterans; A Veteran's Message

It's a solemn day of remembrance.

We remember today the sacrifices of our veterans through world wars and other missions where American military have gone to preserve our freedoms. 

In our family of six siblings, the first person who comes to mind is our brother Mike, the oldest. 

At 18 years old, he climbed aboard a train in Spokane, Wash., bound for West Point and the U.S. Military Academy. 

Mike graduated from the academy in 1966 in the same class documented by Washington Post reporter and author Rick Atkinson in his monumental book The Long Gray Line

Our brother served two tours in Vietnam.  During the second mission in 1972, while piloting a Cobra helicopter, he was shot down by a Surface to Air Missile aka SAM. 

With that shootdown, he and his co-pilot Marco Cordan earned the distinction of being the first Americans to survive a SAM attack.

Forty years later, he published a book recounting his personal experience as an American soldier. 

Outside our immediate family, we have all heard or read the stories of friends, students and those we'll never know who have paid their individual prices for the freedoms that we so enjoy and often take for granted. 

I do believe that, on this 100th anniversary of the end to the "War to end all Wars," we are fully aware that the hopeful phrase soon became a misnomer as wars have continued to break out around the world and probably will continue to do so as long as we humans inhabit this planet.

A sad fact, indeed. 

We, as Americans are also fully aware that since World War I, our soldiers have continued to go off to war and have sacrificed in the name of freedom.

We are at a time in our history where many of our freedoms that we hold so dear are enduring tests like many of us have seldom seen in our lifetimes. 

We sincerely hope that these freedoms survive and pass the tests that elements of our society, now governing from the top, have put forth in day-to-day actions. 

Yes, it is a solemn day of remembrance, but it is also a day to remember that those freedoms we Americans so appreciate and regard so seriously DO, and should have, a lighter side. 

First, I extend a deep felt thanks to all veterans.  

And, today, I send a very special thanks to the veteran featured in the link below who reminds us of simple, meaningful acts that we can and should practice as Americans: forgiveness and an ability to find ways to come together.  

I hope that his personal sacrifice as an American soldier and that his words uttered in last night's SNL comedy segment resound throughout our nation and that we can follow the example seen in this comedy script.

His participation in the skit is humorous but oh so serious!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

For Lynn: Remembering Rennie

Rennie and Sam Wormington at my mother's 85th birthday party. 

Rennie Poelstra came to my mother's 85th birthday party.  He also attended her 90th.

Actually, Rennie and his beloved wife Helen came to our house a lot, sometimes once a week for many years to deliver eggs. 

Rennie also came to shoe horses, and while he did that, my parents and Helen visited.  

Helen and Rennie Poelstra were like family to us.  My mother and Helen went back further than I can remember.  

Their friendship began back in the days when Helen, who lived in town on St. Clair, and Helen, who LOVED animals, worked for "Doc Eakin."  

Back in those days, I can't remember if there was a job title called "vet tech," but if there was, that was Helen. 

Over her years working with Doc and eventually having her own animals, Helen was often a "go to" expert Mother could call up on the phone for advice and, of course, marathon visits.

I remember the first time I ever saw Helen with her new boyfriend named Rennie.  It was when the Bonner County Fair still ran in early September at what's now the grounds for the local museum and Lakeview Park. 

Helen and a tall, blond Rennie came walking around the outside corner of the white indoor arena on its east side and said hello.  Twasn't long after that we learned they were getting married. 

We were thrilled for Helen.  After their marriage and their continued visits to our house, we could see this couple was a perfect match for our mom and dad.  

Helen loved horses and so did Mother.  Rennie knew and ran heavy equipment and so did our dad Harold.  They also talked hunting. 

In fact, there was never a shortage of things to talk about when these friends got together.  

Back in the early 1960s, Rennie, along with other local skilled heavy equipment/construction experts (Wayne Parenteau, Scottie Castle, Russell Oliver, Bud and Perry Palmer, etc.), helped build the Schweitzer Road, the main infrastructure, a 500-car parking lot, the first lodge and a mile-long Riblet chair lift. 

Later, he continued working at Schweitzer for its first-ever manager Sam Wormington.  Naturally, at our mother's 85th birthday party, Rennie and Sam, also proud military veterans,  did their share of reminiscing. 

Another similarity between our families came along a few years later when, in May, Helen and Rennie became parents of Lynn.  That same year, in October,  Mother and Harold became parents of their last child, Jim.

Lynn went on to excel at volleyball, eventually playing for the University of Washington where she received her degree.  Helen and Rennie were proud parents, to say the least. 

Helen left us last year, leaving Rennie with a broken heart.  More than likely Rennie happily re-joined her yesterday morning after passing away in Sandpoint at the age of 95.  

Both Helen and Rennie were admired by many, including family and friends. 

Both did their share for others, often in simple ways and always as a part of the solid fabric of old Sandpoint. 

It was evident from reading some of the Facebook comments posted on Lynn's wall,  that Rennie left a mark in many, many hearts with those egg deliveries, sessions of cutting up elk meat with friends and, as his niece Norma McKitrick so eloquently stated:

 I truly loved that man. He was as stubborn as my dad, had a heart of gold and a laugh that I always enjoyed. 

He made the best corn buns you ever tasted and he loved my homemade bread. 

Before I started work many years ago we saw your mom and dad every week, sometimes twice. I will truly miss him.

We'll all miss him as we do Helen and so many others of that generation who served as great examples of how generosity with the simple things in life, like eggs and good corn buns, leave the greatest and most long-lasting memories. 

A life well lived, Rennie.  Rest in Peace.

Our deepest condolences to Lynn and her husband Rik and the rest of Rennie's family. 

Rennie at my mother's 90th birthday party visiting with Myrtle Burnett. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

As Time Goes By . . . .

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure . . . . 

                          ------from "Time in a Bottle"  Jim Croce

I mentioned yesterday that the election turned out to be a mixed bag.

Seems like this entire week has kinda gone that way.  It's generally been the best of times, and I've definitely seen several bags filled with a mixture of leaves.  

The good news:  I can now put my lawnmower away.  

Whatever leaves want to fall from our trees, let them be. 

Happily, most are chopped up and now residing in piles around the place.

And, by golly, there are a LOT of them. I'm now betting those billions I estimated earlier may reach to the trillions.

The seemingly never-ending marathon Lovestead leaf pick-up did end about mid afternoon yesterday. 

Afterward, I stood several times admiring various parts of the lawn, each time feeling a deep and welcome sense of relief, knowing that this will all happen again----next year!

For now, the lawnmower can get a cleanup and then go to bed for the winter.  

Bill and I also wish to announce to all travelers and "turists" that we are taking NO NEW RESERVATIONS in 2018 for the travel trailer out behind the barn.  

That will happen again next year too. The trailer went to Lake RV for its annual winterization session.  When it comes home, it will reside in the shop for the winter. 

And, we will think of the good TIMES associated with our unique Lovestead accommodations as folks we love and some we hardly knew but now do love came and enjoyed all the comforts of home not far from the manure pile (always enhanced with colorful flowers for summer visitors. 

This week also involved some good times for some of our family members as they attended a Gonzaga women's basketball game.  And, some got to sit in prime time seats near mid-court right near the officials' stand. 

Will Love, now head coach for SHS girls varsity basketball and Duane Ward, now assistant coach for SHS girls varsity basketball, secured that prime seating, thanks to one of their former players who has started for the Montana Grizzlies the past couple of years. 

Along with the coaches and their lovely wives were Bill Love, father of Will, and Emma from Germany who attended her first-ever ZAGS game.

Coach Love also got to spend some time visiting with an SHS grad who plays in the Gonzaga band. 

A good time was had by all, 'cept maybe the Grizzlies who were defeated by the Lady ZAGS. 

We have been blessed with beautiful weather this week which has meant much-appreciated time spent in my yard, definitely something I LOVE to do. 

Again, I was surprised that flowers are the deck were STILL blooming, but I don't even want to look this morning.  We've had two hard freezes, and there's a light snowfall predicted today. 

The extended flower season was definitely a bonus.  It's sad to see them go, but next year all that will happen again. 

For now, I just say thank you to Mother Nature for all the good times you've dished out for us weatherwise this year. 

Those good times have meant even better time spent enjoying the beauty around us. 

One more thing:  some good times will be had for a while starting today.  SANDPOINT MAGAZINE is hitting the streets.  Be sure to pick up a copy. 

Happy Friday.  May you have good times, worthy of being stuffed in a bottle or maybe etched in your mind. 

Duane and Marilyn Ward