Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Twitterdeedum

I love this scene of Taylor's field and Gary Finney's woods any time of the year. And when the sun appears above the Cabinet Mountains on an April morning, it's a nice wake-up for the day.

The photo was taken yesterday.  This morning, with grandpuppies back home with their parents, I took a walk through our woods. 

Keeping track of five doggies rather than three weaving in and out of trees and bushes can be challenging, especially when one, in particular, loves to sneak off and visit the neighbors on the other side of our woods fence. 

So, the three home dogs and I enjoyed the outing.  Sniffers were busy in the pine needle carpet checking out what invaders had come through the woods since their last visit.  

I simply enjoyed walking on the soft needles and observing Bill's forester projects of limbing, cutting down small trees into wood and arranging neat piles of firewood in several places. 

Life is getting back to normal, even in the early mornings when I drink my first cup of coffee, crank up the new assortment of Irish music and scroll through my favorite Internet stops.

One, in particular, turned out more interesting than usual today.  For about a year I've been reading The Daily Prep blog with New Englander Muffie Aldrich.  She shares all things preppy, New England culture and history and often uses large format photos shot by her father decades ago.

It's obvious they're a connected family as famous politicians often appear in the photos she posts. 

This morning Muffie focused on a museum exhibit in Westport, Connecticut,  featuring The New Yorker's Geraghty Era.  According to the exhibit images,  The New Yorker's art editor, James Geraghty,  chose illustrations for the magazine's cover from 1939-1973. 

His choices enhanced the careers of artists in that area as well as the area itself. 

Most interesting to me, though, was learning that Mr. Geraghty was born in Spokane, Washington, and graduated from then Gonzaga College. 

For more on this interesting story, you can visit http://www.muffyaldrich.com/.  

Always nice to learn of local or area connections, and again, a nice reflection on Gonzaga.

Sounds like Debbie has arrived with the grandpups, so this will have to be brief.  The day ahead will include firing up the rototiller and working up garden dirt along with more seed sowing, so I need to get out of here anyway.

Happy Tuesday. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Miscellany

Sun peeking through old barn wood:  twas a nice sight along my morning walk as I passed by the old Lockwood place with camera in hand. 

On my way back, a school bus and two cars passed me.  The second screeched to a halt; the driver rolled the window down and asked if I'd seen the elk.  

She said they were about a mile down the road in the field near the road---about 30 of them. She offered to pick me up, but I told her I was walking on purpose.

I thought about hopping in the car once I arrived home and driving down to take some photos but then figured they'd be gone with all the Monday morning traffic. I've heard the elk have been showing up in fields along our road lately.  

My friend Janice posted a photo of them taken from her home, which is located just across the road from the photo above.  

One of these days maybe they'll make it down our way. 

In the meantime, even without elk herds the mornings have been cold and glorious as spring continues to unfold in our neighborhood. 

We seem to be getting a jump on the usual routine, and I wouldn't be surprised if leaves start popping out on trees and bushes soon. 

The weather has been great for getting the yard and garden cleaned up. I haven't enough fingers to count all the cart loads of dead grass, needles and other assorteds that have been raked up and taken to the garden for burning. 

That project will be completed today, and it won't be long before the lawn-mowing program begins.  I'm probably going to have a new mower this year. Tony, our repairman who also runs PAC West Parts, has talked me into buying one of those "zero turn" riding mowers.

He says they're much more efficient than my Craftsman, and I'll have to take his word because the Craftsman is running on borrowed time after eight years of intense Marianne mowing.  

Should be a fun new era in the yard-work department.

Today is the day we deal with the news I received via a telephone call while standing on one of the Cliffs of Moher a couple of weeks ago:  paying that big tax bill. It stings but we have no choice; will just have to write the checks and forget about it. 

As I type, Bill is talking on the phone to someone about resolving the three charges that appeared on our gas credit card while we were in Ireland. Only problem was we did NOT use our credit card in Ireland.  

Someone in Kansas and Oklahoma used it, or there's a big glitch.

Can't figure out how they could do that since we both have our cards and the company sent us new versions in the mail. 

Fun and games of this new world of credit card compromising, especially with the amount of time spent resolving the issue on the phone.

Guess that's enough babble on this beautiful Monday. Have a great day. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

SUNday Stuff

I'm back to spending several portions of my day with the Border Collie Nation Plus One. 

Little Mr. Plus One was off doing something else in the field when I caught this shot of the Queen of Folgers Cans Miss Kiwi and the three siblings:  Kea, Todd and Brooke.

Happy to say that, except for his hairdo, Todd is back to normal. We're all thrilled with his recovery from that traumatic cougar-followed-by-dog attack. 

His coat hasn't grown in completely, and that may take a couple more months, but he's active, happy and glad to share a few Todd thoughts when the group gathers for a doggie summit in the field. 

We have what looks like a perfect weather day in store:  not a cloud in the blue sky. 

Today in San Diego, Willie, Debbie, Barbara and their newspaper/yearbook students await and hope for the best in this morning's JEA National Convention Awards program. 

The Cedar Post kids are already feeling pretty good, though, as the Best of Show Awards for newspapers were announced late yesterday afternoon.  The SHS Cedar Post took third place in their category, and their web paper took ninth.

Except for one year when the Cedar Post took a second, that's the highest finish ever for the paper in national competition.  So, Willie and staff, Mama Love sends a huge congratulations. 

I've heard great reports about the group and their behavior and the fun everyone seems to be having.  They all went to the Padres game last night.

Meanwhile, yesterday Laurie and I took a basket of flowers to our parents' grave in honor of Harold's birthday.  It wasn't an easy moment as the sting of Mother's passing nine months ago today is still very tangible. We miss them both. 

Later, we went to the home and garden show at the fairgrounds and learned from Moose Valley that they'll be sponsoring a farmers' market this gardening season on Friday afternoons and Saturdays.  

In addition to produce, they'll have all crafts imaginable.  Should be a fun new addition to this spring, summer and fall's "places to go, things to do." 

We also visited with a friend and teaching colleague who's been ill for the past couple of weeks.  While we were visiting, Bill was fishing at his favorite stream south of town. 

It's been a nice somewhat relaxing weekend, and I'm looking forward to more of the same today with a little yard and garden work. 

Life is good on this Palm Sunday.  Have a great day. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Slight

Harold would have been 98 today. He died more than 10 years ago, but we think of him often with all the reminders about daily living and caring for animals that he instilled in us. 

Batch One got to know Harold when we were of the single-digit age.  He was the neighbor down the road at Racicots who loved and owned horses.  He had a herd of Hereford cattle which pastured on the Bill Neu place at the base of Schweitzer.

Harold also owned a tractor.  After he and Mother were married, we always joked that she had the land for those cows and horses and that he had the tractor. 

It all worked, and so did his fatherhood.  

Later, his fatherhood would include Batch II.  He remained "Harold" to Batch I and "Dad" to Batch II until his dying day----just like Mother was "Mother" to Batch I and "Mom" to Batch II.  

It all worked, regardless of names.  

I thought about Harold this morning while on my walk. 

Those thoughts included images of him in his sweaty, bent-up Western straw hat on his various tractors in the fields, his sitting at our yellow kitchen table rolling smoke after smoke while telling us story after story of life on the ranch in Montana or of horses he'd owned over the years or of the Kootenai Indians and Simon Francis, their interpreter. 

Harold got his start riding horses for Simon Francis. As his life moved on, so did his horsemanship.Our family horse lovers like to say that he was a "true horseman" in every sense of the word. His horsemanship was known worldwide even though he seldom left home. 

Harold charmed many a friend with his stories, and we could tell many on him. The best, however, would be about his role as our dad and the sense of stability he brought into our family.  For that we remained eternally thankful.

Happy Birthday, Harold, from this Batch Oner. 

Sad this morning to think about the final word which hit town and the nation yesterday as Coldwater Creek announced the closing of all its stores and an eventual liquidation of its assets.  

An era has ended here in Sandpoint, and times are sure to be tough economically.  On a hopeful note, though, I believe Sandpoint will withstand this blow, thanks to the community spirit and legendary resilience of its people. 

I had some time yesterday to reflect a bit on time spent at the school in Buncrana, County Donegal, Ireland, where we visited last week and left Mother's cards along with a set of my books. 

While reflecting, I googled and found a fun video which shows that the students at Scoil Mhuire (School of Mary) enjoy some fun times.  

So, I'll leave you this morning with some upbeat stuff from County Donegal.  It's called Scoil Mhuire's Lip Dub, one of the first such schoolwide productions in Ireland.  

Enjoy, and Happy Saturday. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Toilet or To Let: an Urgent Question

The Irish are welcoming, warm, friendly, helpful, fun-loving and SADISTIC. 

After all, many Irish put their faith in the two G's:  God and Guinness.

Reminders of both are well-represented throughout the country.

It would be safe to say that we indulged in a little more Guinness than God during our visit.  After all, we were on "holiday," and I'm sure God is happy to grant some vacation time to anyone.

Shortly after our return home, Tim Cochran asked Bill if he had a Guinness. 
To which Bill responded, "No, I can't say that I had A Guinness."  Well, Bill spoke truth.  We had a Guinness with every sitdown meal in Ireland.  

That's a pint, by the way.

For some of us, a pint of Guinness creates almost instant bladder stress.  And, considering that we often walked long distances from wherever we dined to our hotels, bladder stress turned into bladder urgency.

Like the old Western movies when cowboys were out in the desert miles from a water hole and their intense thirst caused them to see mirages of wet stuff in the distance, I often suffered a similar fate while walking home from dinner to our hotel.  

A bathroom, any bathroom would do, especially knowing that we had proportionately further to walk than my bladder had inches to stretch.

With the increasing urgency, I often saw the mirages and early in the trip reveled at the possibility of relief off in the distance with the "toilet" sign.  

Well, those dang Irish call 'em "toilets rather than restrooms and they want "to let" rather than "to rent."  

And, so the mirages would come and go, and especially on the night when Bill, Margaret and I were walking home on an unfamiliar street that seemed much too far away from our hotel, I walked by all those "to let" signs cussing Guinness and praying to God that I'd make it home without wetting my pants. 

Thank God, I did.  

Seems I'd never learn because the next night after the previous night's urgency had long passed, we'd sit down for dinner, and I'd happily sip on the other God and worried about the "to lets" later. 

My fave.  Yup, one wants to "give way" all right after one's consumed a pint of Guinness. 

Always a welcome sight. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Routines and Memories

Many thanks to Annie for this image which pretty much captures the essence of a pleasant memory among many which will flutter around in my mind forever. 

Travel does cost money, but with memories like these, it's about the best bang for the buck, in my opinion.

Geese are honking. The sun is shining. 

Willie, Debbie, my sister Barbara, Randy Wilhelm and the journalism students have made it to the Spokane Airport for their morning flight to San Diego and the national Journalism Education Association convention.

From what I've heard, this will be the first-ever flight for some students and from what I remember of San Diego, they're gonna love every minute of their upcoming adventure.  

This trip will be very different for Willie and Debbie, where in Ireland they were dealing with the old codgers.  Probably comparable behavior as Debbie reports boarding passes left behind, new boarding passes for some and Willie having to make two trips through security to make sure everything was okay.

Here at the Lovestead, doggies have been out for their first run of the day.  Todd and Brooke arrived here about 4:10 a.m. with their beds, and they'll again be doing sleepovers here through Sunday. 

Bill is getting ready to go to work, and I think we're both feeling somewhat human again after a reasonably good night's sleep. 

In fact, he just hollered upstairs about the Bonner County history write-up in this morning's paper, mentioning my brother Mike and some other local cadets at West Point who were participating with the Corps of Cadets in the funeral procession in New York City honoring Gen. Douglas McArthur. 

Somehow 50 years later, it seems that Mike has some bragging rights to a significant day in the history of the United States. 

So, with the morning paper routine, doggie walks and my solo down South Center Valley Road where I saw three dear bounding through Meserve's field on this beautiful April day, life is returning to normal.

Sadly, however, I must note the passing of a good friend, colleague and even a family relative by marriage.  Shortly after we arrived home Tuesday evening, I received word that Ron Hunt had passed away in Phoenix. 

The Hunts, the Beaudoins, the Iversons and others travel together every year with their motor homes to spend winter in the desert.  In early February, Ron was taken to the hospital with low oxygen counts, pneumonia and heart problems.

He's been in four hospitals all together with medical teams doing their best to help his recovery. Unfortunately, that was not to be, and I speak with confidence when I say that his family, our Sandpoint High teaching family (past and present) and the community have lost a very special friend and human being.

Ron was fun, he was funny, he was kind, compassionate and empathetic about the needs of others. He truly walked the talk, using his leadership skills to spearhead fundraising events, manage our staff social events, speak up when others would not and work behind the scenes for people in need.

We Love's were recipients to his generous, thoughtful ways when our house burned down in 1984. I shall never forget what he and the staff and the community did for us to patch our lives back together.

I shall never forget his gesture of pulling Annie aside one day and suggesting that she join the golf team. It was a time when someone like Ron had influence that Mom did not.  

Annie joined the golf team and excelled, competing at state every year for four years. She never knew that I had asked Ron to intervene on that suggestion until she read it in my book years later. 

After the "old fogey" contingent at Sandpoint High retired in a three to five-year wave, Ron and his wife Linda launched an annual party at their home for the bunch of us each year on the very day that other teachers had to go back to work. 

I could go on and on about this man who sought no recognition, who simply saw needs and quietly persevered on seeing them through a solution.  

On this day, a multitude of people---among them former students and athletes---who crossed paths with Ron could tell similar stories. His loss definitely leaves a deep hole in many hearts. 

My prayers and love go out to Linda, Ron's daughters and the entire family. 

RIP Ron Hunt . . . you were a good man and a treasured friend!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Last Postcards from Beautiful Ireland . . . .

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NOTE:  I meant to publish this posting this morning.  Had set it to appear but did not push the right button.  So, now I shall, since we're home safely.

We'll be heading out for the Dublin Airport at pre-oh-dark-thirty tomorrow, so I'm preparing this post before the marathon trip home begins. 

Bill, Margaret and Annie are visiting Newgrange, a prehistoric tomb in County Meath north of Dublin.  Since Annie and I visited there three years ago, I chose to stay back and enjoy a relaxing day of solitude.  

My morning, spent alone, allowed me time to better organize my over-sized suitcase and, later, to spend some relaxing time at St. Stephens Green not far from our hotel. 

Of course, the camera went along.  At this point, I am very thankful that the camera's crash to the ground back at Blarney Castle did damage but not the kind that would prevent me from taking photos.

Many photos await, and I hope that some day we can return for another visit to this enchantingly beautiful country and family homeland. 

Many thanks to all the wonderful and warm people we met along the way, especially Patrick who worked overtime to see that we enjoyed ourselves.  Patrick checked in almost every day, and we appreciate that very much. 

The trip met and exceeded expectations.  

Now it is time to return home---via a brutally long time squashed into airline seats and then the seemingly endless drive home from the airport.  That two hours is the most difficult---this time because we'll be exhausted but more so because of those beloved animals waiting at home.

I can't wait to see them, but I must. 

Again, thanks to all who showed us Ireland's special brand of hospitality and those who followed the journey via Facebook and the blog and seemed to enjoy it as much as we did.

The blog may take a day or two off while I decompress and rest my brain.  So, thanks for your patience.  

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Back to Dublin . . . .

Bill and Margaret, standing in front of St. Lawrence's Gate in Drogheda, north of Dublin.  Their family roots on the Love side trace to Drogheda. 

Downtown Drogheda

A very fine restaurant in Drogheda where the food spread (below) looked pretty tantalizing as we walked through to use the restroom.

The pedestrian bridge across the River Liffy in Dublin. 

Margaret, enjoying our leisurely and pleasant Sunday afternoon walk through Dublin. 

Annie's geocaching event attracted cachers from several countries and parts of Ireland to this hotel.  Cachers below represent Ireland and Belgium. Koen (left) a cab driver in Belgium, extended great hospitality to Annie during a visit a couple of years ago. 

Bill and Margaret on our Sunday walk. 

Colorful and cute cars here in Ireland. 

We came across a photography club setting up scenes with minis, including toy soldiers. 

Just a few of the typical scenes around Dublin. 

The simplicity attracted me. 

Typical yards and flowers along the sidewalks. 

Soccer and brews kept folks engaged at this pub where we used the restroom. 

Not all dog owners abide.

Posing at the River Liffy. 

When we visited Trinity College earlier on our trip, the 200-year-old doors were impressive.  This time plywood is providing a temporary replacement after some crazy driver rammed the doors last week. Sad.
Dermott Hayes, writer and journalist, also serves a wonderful meal at Bruxelles, near Grafton Street. 
We met the Rapshires of the Kansas City area.  They had spent time in London for their son's wedding and additional time in Italy before a one-day stop in Ireland.  Nice folks. 

This was NOT one of the sights of Dublin, but I had to post it because it's my Lily.  She's the horse, and her little friend is Quinn, the daughter of one of my former students and friends, Erica.  Erica was kind enough to snap this picture Friday and post it on my Facebook wall.  I miss Lily and all our critters.  Will see them soon. We fly out from Dublin early tomorrow. 

Remembering the hard times for the Irish.  The nation has certainly rebounded from this chapter of its history, the potato famine.  The sculptures are haunting and poignant reminders of our ancestors' struggles.