Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sunny Scenes and Thursday Throwbacks

We were supposed to have a bad day weatherwise, but if this is bad, I'll take it.  Hearing of the chance of snow on the ground this morning, I took advantage of every bit of sunshine possible yesterday.

That included some apple-tree pruning.  One of our trees tumbled over on its side this winter, and we'll have to remove it when the ground is more solid. Sad to see it go.

The other tree really needs a professional pruner to remove an abundance of growth that has been allowed to keep growing all directions for years.  Some of those limbs are much too big for me to handle, so I do my best to remove as many upstarts as possible.

I was snipping them off pretty fast yesterday from my ladder, but missed once with the little saw and tried to snip off my right pinkie.  The saw blade pierced my glove, and, within seconds, I knew it was band aid time.

So, I took care of that and then headed to town with my camera. As usual, the sun was adding its extra touch of beauty to the area, including little diamonds on the cold water of Lake Pend Oreille. 

I'm sure that a bigger telephoto would have revealed a few moving human dots enjoying the sun and the snow on those Schweitzer runs. 

The almost-finished railroad depot had no welcome signs--just yet---so I spent a short amount of time, simply walking around snapping and hoping no railroad official would suddenly appear and kick me off the property.  

Yellow tape around the south end reminds us that the job is still under construction. The building is looking beautiful, though, in its prominent spot between the Seasons of Sandpoint and the Byway. 

After grabbing a cup of coffee, I headed back home with plans to do some more pruning on the apple tree.  All went well until the last upstart sprig.  My saw slipped and grabbed hold just below the knuckle of my right hand, a notch down from where it had sliced my little finger earlier.

Lots of blood this time and a need for two band aids.  That area throbbed last night, but this morning, at least I can punch the computer keys with my little finger.  It's just a Less Nessman day for me with the band aids. 

After doctoring up my second pruning wound, I came upstairs and saw that my longest friend Laura Delamarter (she attended my birthday party at age 1), had posted some pictures on our Sandpoint High Class of 1965 Facebook group site. 

It was sixth grade at Lincoln School with teachers, Mr. Scheibe and Mrs. Ekholm (also our principal) standing with the group. Approximately 54 years ago, Laura had taken the time to write the names of each student on the back of the photo. 

I doubt that too many of us viewers combed through the list of names before taking the time to study Laura's magnificent penmanship and to remember how penmanship was drilled into us---even us "handicapped" left handers.  

The Lincoln School staff saw to it that we developed perfect cursive handwriting---for that particular era anyway.  What set our style at Lincoln aside, I do believe, was the unique method used for forming our "r's." 

Some of us fell short of developing the conventional style quite to the level that Laura has mastered, so many of our classmates 54 years later are likely marveling at her skills from way back when.

Left handers were given a bit of a pass and maybe slightly shunned (in our teachers' minds) in those days because, after all, we were born with a disability. Still, those same teachers didn't mind marking our report cards with "U's" for certain penmanship categories. 

While enjoying photos of our class, Laura's handwriting and of a day when the girls of Lincoln showed up at Sandpoint High School decked out in gypsy costumes, I also noted Steve Hendershot and "what a cutie" he was and "whatever happened to him?"

Well, leave it to the curiosity of a journalist, just a couple of Googles later, I was talking to Steve on the phone.  

Our conversation was unfolding only 54 years since the last time when he, who lived at 314 Euclid for one year---just a block down from the Browns of the early '50s---moved back to Montana where he had lived before and still lives. 

Steve and I had a great conversation.  I learned about his experience in the Navy with nuclear submarines, his talents for journalism which nabbed him a Montana state award, his current career as a saw repairman and his lifelong love for playing in a rock 'n roll band. 

So, yes, today is definitely a day for reminiscing the good ol' days---like when Laurie came back from a National show and put on an exhibition for her students down where the community gardens now grow.  

And, with another Seattle Sounders soccer season right around the block, Annie Love of Sandpoint, ID, has definitely stuck with her sport for a long, long time. 

Today is also a ZAGS day and a day to rejoice that a ZAG, Mr. Kyle Wiltjer, was honored as NATIONAL Player of the Week for last week's remarkable performances AND he's on the cover of Sports Illustrated

Doesn't get any better than that for the No. 2-3 ZAGS, who, of course, according to pundits, don't play anyone important. 

So be it.  That doesn't make us love them any less or look at them as our No. 1.  So, go ZAGS!!!   Let's finish off this season with a couple of wins!  And, yes, Mr. Angel, I'm getting pretty excited!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Just Stuff

Seems like there's nothing earth-shattering or pressing on my mind this morning.  Maybe that's a good thing.  Every once in a while it's nice when everything is on such an even keel that nothing really stands out.

Guess this lovely Wednesday is one of those days.

We have one more day with sun and then an interlude of wet, cold and maybe even snowy weather.  The nasty stuff is supposed to end by the weekend.

So, that might be good too.  I can stay inside and do a little house cleaning.

Except for a few planned activities in town or otherwise, I've spent the majority of my daylight time over the past week working on outside projects. 

Horses are getting some grooming, as is the yard area.  Yesterday I finally spent part of the gift card from then Big R now North 40 that Willie and Debbie gave me for my birthday last June.  

I purchased a new lawn rake and a nice rubbery comb for manes, tales and long winter hair on the horses.  Both got some action yesterday.

The other lawn rake had met its match with some raking under the row of cedars north of the driveway.  I've been removing many of the lower limbs, but the tines still grabbed hold of some extra limbs hidden in the dead grass.

First, one tine (about the fourth or fifth for the rake) fell off; then the whole bottom of the rake cracked halfway across its main body. 

Hard to believe I'm doing all this outside stuff this time of year, but it's pretty nice to get a head start and maybe eliminate the frenzied mindset that usually comes on with spring when virtually every outdoor scene spells "WORK." 

While raking out by the road, I visited with a local horse shoer who was passing by from a shoeing job in the neighborhood.  He's having a hard time believing that he's nailing shoes on horses this time of year.  

My two will wait until April or May, as usual. Still, it would not be too out of line to saddle up if I wanted to take off for an early ride. 

Another aspect of this lovely weather that I've noticed is that my aging body is having the opportunity to get into shape much earlier than usual for the nonstop springtime work ahead.  

Seems like the older we get the longer it takes avoid that feeling of throwing the rake aside and going inside for a break within five minutes of starting an outdoor project.

My endurance is improving every day. 

So, today, I'll keep at it with the rake and trimming protruding ends from shrubs that poke me every time I drive by on the lawnmower.  Hard to believe that lawn mowing isn't too far off, unless we have a real winter, that is. 

And, of course, the horses will get another good rub down.  

Should be a good day ahead, so that's about it on this basically steady-as-it-goes morning where Mr. Jay is starting his usual song and the resident crows are cawing out to anyone who'll listen.

Happy Wednesday. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday TwitterdeeLOVIN'THE SUN

 I refuse to fall for the guilt trip. 

"Oh, don't ya love this beautiful weather?" I've said a few times while meeting people in the grocery line.

Then, comes the "big BUT" response. 

" . . . . BUT we need the snow in the mountains, or . . . ," a person, much wiser and cautious than I, will often counsel back. 

I often infer from the remark that instead of rejoicing, I need to immediately take back my words of praise, retreat into the misery of my hole and repent.  Often, I just nod and say, "Yeah, you're right."

Yesterday, however, instead of recoiling in shame, I went assertive.

"Well, I'm not gonna let that bother me," I shot back.  "I'm gonna enjoy it."  

That remark led to a lady in the line who's visiting from Dallas to lament about the horrible weather she left back home.  

To which I added my revelation that a few months ago, I had advised some Californians, who think they might want to move to beautiful North Idaho, to "come in February . . . that's when everyone wants to leave town."

Well, they took my advice and came last week during some more unusually beautiful Sandpoint weather.  What do I know, anywho, having lived here almost 68 years!

Well, my advice might be lame, but my word is not. 

After leaving the grocery store, I went out and thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent spring sunshine yesterday.  

What better place to do so than the trip along the north end of the lake, including Pack River flats where the "Pack" flows into the lake. 

I know I've taken numerous other photos in some of these same areas, but one can never get enough of North Idaho beauty on a sunny day any time of the year. 

To be able to walk along the shoreline, where the lake has receded, in my Kivas with no worries of sinking into mud or coming back with wet socks-----that was nice. 

And, to approach a tree with an regal inhabitant enjoying the glorious day as much as I was---what a treat!

Throughout my shoreline interlude late yesterday afternoon, I did not feel one ounce of guilt, for, with my 68 years living here, I know we must always maintain the "Pay me now or pay me later" attitude.  

Yes, we shall pay for these beautiful February days----surely with a few miserable cold, wet stretches to come.  

So, in my mind, choosing to embrace the beauty and the freedom that a few snowless days in the valley bring during this month definitely trumps the alternative of being cooped up inside and unhappy. 

I  think even Mother Nature, with all her fickleness, would approve of our enthusiasm toward what she has dished out for us weatherwise.

Thank you, Mother Nature.  I'm sure I may be cussing you later, but this delightful weather has been much appreciated good for the soul. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Horsin' Around

It was "treat" day yesterday as I took a former student/good friend over to Cheney, Wash., to visit with some nice folks I had not seen since the days when they'd come up each summer and perform the secretarial duties for the Spots of Fun Open Horse Show.

I think it's been at least six years since I saw them last, but we pretty much picked up where we'd left off yesterday. 

Beautiful weather for February and my friend Kari's ongoing quest to find a good looking Appaloosa trail horse made the decision to simply hit the road for the afternoon pretty easy. 

While visiting with Larry, Avalon, Charlene and little Miss Claire, we walked the barn yards, looked at the herd and occasionally pushed away friendly equine noses. 

Larry and Avalon own an assortment:  a very nice pony which keeps the grandkids happy, some mules and Annie---she's donkey and mule, and she's a character.  

Plus, they have some nice working Appaloosas which have put in hundreds and hundreds of miles on annual Chief Joseph Trail rides, other scenic treks through the Wallowa Mountains of Oregon, etc.

It's obvious these horses and mules and Annie get their TLC, and there are plenty of tales to go along with each.  

Kari looked at a mare named Fancy---10 years old.  She's had some riding experience in the canyons near Asotin and some other experience with a 4-H'er.  As Avalon says, even when their horses don't get ridden much, ya just saddle them up and off they go. 

We had the opportunity to see Fancy in the barnyard, in the barn for saddling and in the round pen for some groundwork and riding. 

All the while the conversation was flying.  It was a wonderful afternoon reconnecting with my Cheney friends and with yakking to and from Cheney with my friend Kari.  

The week ahead is looking busy with tax stuff to drop off, a class reunion meeting, a visit with a classmate coming to town and whatever else comes down the pike.  

As fast-paced as this winter season has been, pretty soon we'll be saying "What winter?" and mowing lawns and riding horses.  Love it!

Happy Monday. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

And the Winner IS "Physicalness" and "Teamness"

Physicalness . . . . 

Let me start on this morning of winners---on a day which will be topped off this evening by winners of Oscars---with some new coaching vernacular.

I don't know if these words, coined by coaches after a couple of Bulldog games yesterday, will make it to Merriam-Webster's list of favorites for 2015 or even into their dictionary, but they sure worked in the post-game interviews.

"Physicalness" came dribbling from the lips of the Rigby coach whose team had lost in a heart-breaking buzzer beater the night before.  

On Friday night, a Skyview last-second 3-pointer put Rigby into the consolation round, matched up with the Sandpoint Lady Bulldogs on Saturday's trophy day at the Idaho State Basketball tournament. 

After the Bulldogs defeated the Trojans, Rigby's coach characterized the "physicalness" of Coach Duane "Woody" Ward's team as a factor in his team's second tournament loss.  

Be it "physicalness," grit, talent, skill, community support or whatever, that third-place trophy brought out some big smiles and team pride for the Lady Bulldogs, their coaches and their faithful followers. 

Congratulations, Lady Bulldogs. What a phenomenal year!

                                                                                     Photo, courtesy of Charity Schoening

Teamness . . . .

Some English teachers might look Gonzaga coach Mark Few right in the face and say, "You're no William Shakespeare."  

But that's okay.  If Coach Few's "teamness" did it for the "United We ZAG" Bulldogs last night, we'll take it.  

I hope everyone who might have been suffering chest pains or other pains during that match-up with St. Mary's stayed alive long enough to see that the ZAGS did, indeed, win their 28th game last night. 

My chest, stomach, jaw and overall body tension which built up through the first three quarters began to subside in the last minutes of the game only to be replaced by bruises to my upper left arm.

That's cuz I suffered sister abuse every time the ZAGS dribbled up the floor, made another shot, ran back down the floor, grabbed another rebound several times to take the lead after a 17-point deficit and a whole bunch of missed, easy shots. 

My sister Laurie pounded away at my upper arm after at least three of those made shots. Finally, she promised to leave me alone.  

In the last few seconds, when it was evident that the ZAGS were actually gonna win this scary game, I reciprocated with a few punches (much more gentle, mind you) to Laurie's right upper arm. 

It was downright dangerous on that couch AND in a lot of living rooms, I believe.  

I loved Lori Weiler's take on the game:   Oh my Zags ~ mental toughness on the court ~ heart failure in the living room! Way to fight guys!

Now, those English teachers who might be looking down their nose at Mark Few's "teamness" characterization would highly approve of Lori's eloquence. 

For the record, this English teacher doesn't mind yesterday's "coach word-coining creativity" one bit because sometimes words just don't exist in the dictionary to aptly describe situations like those two wonderful Bulldog victories. 

How sweet they were!  And, we faithful followers are recovering from our battle scars this morning but SO proud!

Congratulations to the ZAGS for winning yet another West Coast Conference League Championship.  The bruises were worth it!

Now, we move on to tonight's Oscars, which should be much more placid as we learn who "the winner is . . . ." several times.   

Who knows, maybe we'll even hear a few more new words for dictionary consideration!  

Happy Sunday. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Slight

I didn't get started as planned with this morning's post because someone came an hour early, and someone let us know that the platform at the bird feeder was void of peanuts.

Someone----that would be Mr. or Mrs. Jay---has a very loud mouth and uses it at morning feeding time.  Usually someone shows up just as I finish my blog post.

Maybe someone thinks we've already switched to daylight savings time. 

Well, knowing I was gonna be distracted if I did not feed the noisy, hungry mouth, I went outside, grabbed a handful of peanuts and saw both Mr. or Mrs. Jay and Stella (that's what Bill wants me to call the Stellar Jay).  

They bounced around from tree limbs to the ladder to the television antenna uttering their shrill pronouncements as I emptied the peanuts on the platform.

Within seconds of my walking away, Mr. or Mrs. sorted through the peanuts, picked a good one and flew off.  Stella waited on the TV antenna until I rounded the corner to go back into the house.  When I walked inside Stella had landed and plucked his/her peanut.

Now, all is quiet, and I can think about this Saturday.  One week ago today at this time my sisters and I were soaking up the Arizona sunshine at the Scottsdale Arabian Show.  

On this day, a coating of overnight snow reaches about halfway down the mountains.  So, I'm guessing the skiers will be happy today at Schweitzer. Looks like a lovely day ahead, albeit a bit crisp outside. 

The consensus around the area seems to be quiet but definite approval of this year's winter. Oh, I do still hear, "but the mountains don't have enough snow."  When I hear those comments, I just think about all the years when we've more than made up for what we've lost in moisture.  Maybe this year will be the same.

Last night at Friday-night eat-out at Sweet Lou's, Barbara brought her laptop so we could watch the Lady Bulldogs take on the top-rated team in Division 4A.  

Once the game started, all visiting ceased, we enjoyed our dinner while watching and trying to hear the score.  The Bulldogs had a strong first half, trailing by just 2 points before the break.

As we listened to the third quarter on the car radio while traveling home, it was apparent that the Bulldogs' scoring had turned cold and that Century's success at the basket had turned up a notch. 

The Diamondbacks dominated the second half, moving on to the State Championship today, while the Bulldogs will play for third place at 10 a.m. PST.  Again the game will be broadcast on streaming video at

This has been a wonderful run for the Lady Bulldogs.  In our perspective it has also been a wonderful experience for our son Willie to work with head coach Duane Ward---who always insists, "We're co-coaches." 

Duane Ward, the more "senior" guy of the two, knows basketball and may even love basketball as much as Willie does----although I wonder how that could be possible. 

In addition to his coaching knowledge, Duane offers anyone who works with him a phenomenal example as a human being and a true gentleman.  

Sports scores and victories are great, but it's been a true delight for us parents to see Willie to be working alongside Duane as a friend and a coach. 

Same is true of Duane's wife Marilyn.  The two just celebrated 50 years of marriage.  They are family people through and through, and at each game, the Ward contingent filters into the gym to watch Dad, Grandpa and Coach do his thing.  

So, this season has meant much more than a successful basketball run, and we're thrilled that Willie and Debbie have enjoyed their time spent with Duane, Marilyn and their family. 

In other news, I spent part of my afternoon yesterday, slapping address labels on a mailer promoting the upcoming school district levy.  It was fun to meet some new people at the worker bee table and to exchange chuckles with the group in general. 

I also brought home a sign for my yard, considering that we live on the back road to the dump where a steady stream of pickups and trailers, filled with goodies for the landfill travels by every weekend. 

The levy is March 10, and its purpose is to replace the last levy which has generated operational funds for the school district, including staffing, books, supplies, techology, etc. 

So, if you're local, please pass the word to support our public schools with a "yes" vote. With continued phenomenal achievements at all levels of the educational infrastructure, our students and teachers deserve this showing of support. 

And, if you're a ZAG fan, we have an important game tonight.  The Bulldogs can clinch the West Coast Conference title, and, of course, keep that increasingly magical record of wins alive and well. 

GO ZAGS vs. St. Mary's----tonight at 7 p.m. PST on ESPN2.  

Happy Saturday. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Doing It Right

When I advised the Sandpoint High School newspaper back in the 1990s, we had a sign in the Cedar Post layout room tacked to the board above one of the work tables. 

I think it might have been a part of that work area for several years.


That emphatic phrase served as a constant reminder to uphold all aspects of key elements of journalism: accuracy and professionalism. 

Whenever things weren't going right with our high-school paper production, I would remind my students of the sign's message. 

It's a pretty easy guideline to follow, maybe not always so easy to fulfill.  

Nonetheless, if we're striving toward "doing it right" through most of what we do during our day, we probably complete our projects with a pretty high percentage of perfection.

This morning I'm thinking that sign needs to be copied off and distributed to the staff at the Spokesman-Review newspaper---the paper that did not show up in my box for the second time in the past few weeks. 

It's also the paper I have regarded and would like to continue to regard as the premier paper in our region.  I'm complaining but hating to sound like a nitpicker because I know how hard the folks in journalism work.  

Still, journalistic pursuits do require somewhat of a nitpicking attitude.

After all, the public expects accuracy and a high level of professionalism from a long established icon like the Spokesman. 

I did not receive a paper this morning, so I called the 800 number for the Spokesman-Review. Last time I called about not receiving a paper, I talked to a human being.

This time a menu with a male voice---alerting me that the menu had changed---directed me through a litany of instructions, which included pressing "1" at least half a dozen times 

I also listened to the revelation that my delivery problem could not be rectified and a further revelation that I could press "1" to be credited.  Finally, I was instructed to hang up to end the call. 

I later told Bill that in all the years that we've subscribed to the Spokesman I've never seen any sign of a "credit." My bill is always the same or maybe even more whenever a new increase in subscription price takes effect.

I would like to know how I will ever collect on my credits.  Will I have to cancel my subscription?  I just don't know that answer.

It does remind me, however, of a time several years ago when I signed on to pick strawberries at a neighbor's patch.  

After picking thousands of big beautiful berries for several hours, I mustered up the nerve to ask about my pay per hour.

I was told that my pay was coming in more strawberries, which I would need to pick on my off-hours.  

Dumb as I am, something definitely seemed really wrong with that picture, so I inquired further to another member of the administrative operation who chuckled and then assured me that he would pay me actual money for my work. 

In the newspaper's case, do I have to work extra hours or live a few days after my death without reading my paper to get my credit for papers not delivered.

Moving on from the absence of this morning's paper, I must note the information posted in yesterday's paper about how we could watch the ZAGS game last night.  

I checked the Spokesman sports section above the wonderful article about Gary Bell, and the paper said we could watch the game on KHQ (Channel 6) at 8 p.m. 

So, while posting my usual ZAGS game teasers on Facebook, and for my friend Kathy who always wants to know where and when she can watch, I included the time and the channel. 

Later, someone lamented that they don't get cable and that the game would NOT be on Channel 6.  Doubting the accuracy of her posting, I went back to check the Spokesman.  It still read KHQ at 8 p.m.  

So, I posted that information again.  Silly me.  

She noted in another comment that KHQ, during its evening news, had announced that the game would not be broadcast on their channel but instead on ROOT, Cable Channel 687. 

Hmmm.  This may not seem like a big deal.  Well, actually, it IS a big deal for the ZAGS faithful, but this is also one of the many times I've looked at the paper for similar information and have sometimes even found two different versions in the same paper on how we can watch the game. 

To anyone other than ZAGS fans, these mistakes might seem trivial.  

To me, it's not because of the high regard I have always held for the Spokesman, where mistakes used to be a rarity. 

Bill agreed with me this morning that he has been seeing mistakes much more frequently in the Spokesman than in past years.  

It all adds up, and when you've had a 24-hour period like I've experienced with what used to be called "GOOD PAPER," you start thinking that the "DO IT RIGHT" sign needs to come out as a reminder to uphold the paper's historically stellar reputation. 

DOING IT RIGHT does involve extra care, and we are humans who are very capable of mistakes. 

Nonetheless, in established professional organizations like the Spokesman or NBC Nightly news, checks and balances should be in place to see that those mistakes or errors in judgment or whatever we want to call them do not appear in the final product. 

On a lighter note, it was a "DO IT RIGHT" day for three sets of Bulldogs yesterday. 

Congratulations, SHS Lady Bulldogs, Gonzaga Men's Bulldogs and Gonzaga Lady Bulldogs on their wins!

A great day for local basketball, and I sure would like to have read about these games in the Spokesman!

Finally, Willie texted me last night and said today's semi-final game of Sandpoint vs. Century is at 8 p.m. MST.  

We did discover that watching yesterday's game on streaming video was pretty nice.  

If you want to watch tonigt, go to, click on "GameStreams" in the top menu offering, and the game will magically appear in the center box just before tip-off. 

Happy Friday.  Now, I'm hoping that Helen or Cherry will check for any mistakes in today's posting, and, if there are, I'll make them right. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throwbacks on Thursday

I needed a manila envelope the other day.  No empties around the house, so I found one in good condition and no writing with a stack of photos inside.

They’re still strewn across a bed here next to the computer.  It’s always fun to see those photos and take part in the Facebook throwback theme for Thursdays.

That stack could keep me going for several weeks as it represents fun times in our family as well as the people and happenings of my school career.

This morning’s offering, of course, includes one that melts my heart.  

It’s a “back in the day” when we lived on the Great Northern farm, and the kids were little.  They did like each other---most of the time, if a TV remote wasn’t involved!

They had a lot of fun in the fields and out at the pond on the old place, and they still have a lot of fun in the fields on this place---these days with some similar toys and with some black and white dogs.  And, as far as this mother is concerned, my heart still melts when I see their pictures. 

Actually, my heart melts a lot.  Just can't help it because being a teacher and a mother, there tend to be a lot of people out there who bring on such emotions----just like the trio below. That would be Debbie Love, Alana and Rachel (both classmates of Willie's and former students). 

And below that photo:  maybe more chuckling than heart melting with my former colleague and partner in "crime" Mike Flaim and another colleague named Mike who was not a school house "criminal."   These days Mike Flaim is teaching in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, but he and his wife Monica (another former student) are planning to return to Europe at the end of this year. 

And, that other Mike, who's not a criminal, has retired and seems to have a good time traveling the world and the United States visiting his kids and grandkids. Both Mike's are/were English teachers at Sandpoint High. 

A few years ago when I was advising the Cedar Post at SHS, we published alumni editions each spring to make money for our trips to the National Journalism conferences.  Peggy, in the black and white photo, graduated in 1969 and never has forgiven me for putting the "F" on her essay----as a joke, of course.  

After all, before she was my student, we rode our horses all over our neighborhood and even stayed one scary night down at the old fairgrounds where the local museum is now located. Peggy went on to work her way up into managerial status at the local bank. She's now happily retired and living not far from me in Selle. 

And then, there's Keith, the author and professor extraordinaire from Clemson University. I hear he has a new book coming out this year and that he will launch it at the Wallace Brewing Co., owned by his friends, the Sanborn brothers.  I can't remember when this photo was taken, but we were at some event together, and I was popping my buttons with pride at Keith's accomplishments. 

Finally, those sullen looking, somewhat strange, sometimes normal folks below were a set of Cedar Post editors with whom I worked over a period of three or four years.  That would be Courtney, mean Mrs. Love, brilliant Matt, hard-working Chad and creative Kyle. 

All have gone on to great heights as writers, graphics specialists or computer-related professionals.  It's fun to see them from time to time, and I don't know what prompted the crazy picture.  I do have a lot of those.  Must be the water!

Anyway, Happy Throwback Thursday.  

GO BULLDOGS (Ladies at 5:15 our time on Radio KSPT) and GO BULLDOGS (ZAGS, that is at 8 p.m.)  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Alive and Kicking and Not Giving Up . . .

While reading the Spokesman-Review a few minutes ago, I suddenly had to pinch myself and make sure I was breathing.  

All body parts seemed to be functioning well as I read in the Wednesday obituaries announcing my death, my leaving behind a husband William and my having worked for many years as a teacher. 

Thankfully the teacher part saved me from any additional concern.  

Mary Ann Love, a woman in her 60s, wife of William and longtime teacher, has died.  

I knew my name was not spelled like that, even though I've spent a lifetime explaining that I'm "Mary" with an "i," Ann with an "e," and all one word.

My sincere condolences do go to the family of Mary Ann Love, and I'll commit to making the most of whatever life this Marianne Love has left. 

A moment like that does give one a jolt.  I just told Bill about the obituary.  He seemed a little shocked.

"That's something," he said, especially after I reassured him that I was upstairs here breathing and typing away. 

And, so being alive and well on this Ash Wednesday, I've been trying to think of what I'll give up for the next 40 days.  

I've read in different media what others plan to do----in one case, an individual has publicly announced that she is removing Facebook from her cell phone and she will eat no chocolate.

Sounds like a good sacrifice, but I don't know how to remove Facebook from my cell phone, so I've got an excuse on that idea.  

In regard to chocolate, I'd have to think long and hard about that one.  We do have two big sacks of M & M peanuts, and my husband William Love gave me a box of Russell Stover's in exchange for the Whitman heart I gave him.

I noticed when I came home Monday night that his heart was already down to just six samplers.  That means he's eating them as fast as he can to give up chocolate for Lent. 

I think if he really wants to sacrifice, he could give up those half dozen cans or bottles of green tea that he drinks every day.  Now, there's a sacrifice.  And, while he's at it, he could remove the dozen or so empty green tea boxes out there in the food pantry. 

I could give up watching TV, but I don't think the Pope or half the Catholic population here in the region would approve because what would Gonzaga do if I were not watching them in their final games.

Oops, I was giving myself too much credit.  They did just fine Saturday night when neither my sisters nor I were watching.  I'll tell you it was tough having to monitor the game by texting back and forth to Debbie. 

Speaking of which, I could give up texting.  That would be a fairly mild sacrifice in my high techie lifestyle.  

But then, how would my sister Barbara know if we're going to dinner on Friday night and if we are, when and where?

You see each Friday somewhere between 4:30 and 5:30, my cell phone goes "bluurrrp" with a text message.  

"Dinner plans tonight?" it says. 

"Yup," I text. "Same time, meet here." 

I don't think I want to give up texting because that could foul us all up on Friday night and I want to keep peace in the family and enjoy my usual meal out. 

Of course, I'm gonna have to eat fish for the next six Friday's when we go because during our lifetimes those of us old Catholics have gotten off on the hook by going from no meat on Friday, every Friday, to simply skipping the meat and eating fish only on Friday's during Lent. 

So, that's pretty nice and it's not too much of a sacrifice cuz those fish and chips plates at the restaurants are pretty good.  

While thinking of what to give up, I even went to the Internet this morning to get some ideas.  And, no, I'm not giving up the Internet!  

I found a site for teens.  On this site, one said she/he was giving up shoes except for work projects or going on a plane.  He/she will also avoid going places that require shoes.  

Another said he/she had given up spoons and forks and used chopsticks, which opened the way for conversation about Lent. 

Still another suggested giving up the bed and sleeping on the floor.  I cringed at that idea but then remembered these were teens NOT old ladies.  I'll pass on that suggestion. 

And, another admitted that he/she suffered from vanity, so he/she decided to wear the first outfit out of the closet each day rather than pulling out, putting back, pulling out, putting back.  

These all sounded like good ideas, but the problem I've seen with a lot of planned 40-day sacrifices is that they often fall short after a couple of days.  

How many of us have dieted faithfully for one day only to weaken when someone pulls out a bag of Cheetos and offers to share?  

I read some great ideas, some quirky ideas and some mildly inappropriate ideas (gotta wear shoes or boots to the barn).  

In my mind, however, it seems like giving up stuff is okay but who benefits?  

Others get ALL the Cheetos if you say, "No, I gave that up for Lent," and those chocolates Bill gave me for Valentine's day are probably gonna be pretty tasteless by April. 

In all seriousness and with respect to the suggestions above,  I prefer to take positive approaches to improving ourselves and the lives of others.  Often, that is a sacrifice in itself. 

In the case of the suggestions, I liked "trying to listen more" and "to work more on giving" rather than "giving up." 

So, with this Ash Wednesday, feeling relieved that I'm alive and well, I'll work on those two ideas.  No promises cuz we're all a work in progress, and all we can do is our best.

I think God would appreciate that sentiment, as will the ZAGS when they learn that I'm NOT giving up watching TV. 

Blessings to all during this season of reflection.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Home, Horses and the Heard

DICKS Restaurant in downtown Spokane seemed like a great place to end the official aspect of our "Sisters" weekend in Arizona.

After all, the trip marked several firsts and sampling a Whammy, those fresh cut fries and a shake would add one more box for my sister Laurie to check off on her list.

I don't know that DICKS was on her bucket list, but she'd never experienced the DICKS ambiance, so I suggested stopping there and both sisters said "yes." 

Laurie liked her Whammy and I'm pretty sure my sisters loved their first trip to Arizona. For me the delight of this past weekend's experience ranks right up there with a Whammy, maybe even a little better.

We had a wonderful time from start to finish, with the exception of one little but stressful glitch at Sky Harbor Airport yesterday.  Throughout the weekend, we sisters kept track of each other, helping each other remember where we put things---important things like boarding passes, car  and hotel keys and cell phones.

But wait!  

We experienced one breakdown in communications when the instant Barbara reminded me to grab my phone charger cable from the rental car, a rental car official appeared at my door with his hand-held tabulator-computer.  

"Just leave the motor running," he said as we prepared to get out of the car and retrieve all our bags.  So, I did. 

Then, he needed the rental car agreement.  I found it on the second try.  After all the hotel receipt and the boarding pass were in the same area of my wallet. 

Then, he said we were done, handing me back my agreement and noting the final pricetag. 

We walked off with bags in tow and in hand. 

I made a decision on this weekend's trip.  Don't ever go the duffle bag route again, especially yesterday after Laurie asked if she could put a bag inside my bag because her bag had gained weight and lost room for things over the weekend. 

Even a walk to the rental car shuttle bus seemed a bit much as I clutched the big red bag with two hands and remarked that I felt like a weight lifter.

We made our way on to the bus. I sat down first and decided to check on new notifications in my cell phone bookmarks. 

No cell phone.  

Barbara and Laurie immediately started remembering what I did when I pulled that cord from the car.  While they were remembering, I was announcing to everyone on the bus, "I don't have my cell phone." 

Then, Laurie tried calling my cell phone number. 

"It's not here,"  I was still announcing, "I don't have my cell phone." 

Leaving my seat, I headed for the door to the bus, which had just closed.  Other people chimed in as I tried to get out the door.  

"She's missing her cell phone," one lady hollered to the driver.

I'm sure by that moment Barbara and Laurie were convinced that their older sister had gone nuts, totally nuts.

Well, it was close, but even through the stress of losing my whole window to the world for at least the next four hours and probably several days, I kept a relative cool and eventually found the desk where we had been given the keys to the rental car.

A very nice young lady from Payless Rentals jumped in a car, holding my rental agreement and drove to another lot.  The most beautiful sight came five minutes later:  the young lady held something in her hand besides the rental agreement:  my phone!

She got a great big bear hug, and I was off.  The minute I boarded the shuttle bus to the terminal, a man suddenly jumped up from his seat, initiating a self-patdown. 

"I don't have my cell phone!" he hollered. "It's not here.  I don't have it."  Luckily for him, his family members started reminding him what he'd done with the phone and in this case, he found it deep within his pants pocket. 

I felt better, knowing is wasn't the only idiot who goes ballistic upon discovering a cell phone loss. 

Barbara and Laurie were waiting for me near the Southwest check-in, and all went well from that point on.  

Our morning had been spent taking pictures of the magnificent bronze sculpture in front of our hotel and then moving on to the magnificent Heard Native American Museum.  

We had a rather hurried tour, but still managed to enjoy the exhibits, which included a new display focusing on Native American sports and those who distinguished themselves in mainstream sports.

The gold medal above belongs to Billy Mills aka Makata Taka Hela of the Oglala Lakota Souix Tribe who won the 10,000 meter race in Tokyo in 1964.  

The museum offers exquisite displays and wonderful education into the history and culture of Native American tribes in the Southwest. 

Later, while waiting for our flight, Barbara downloaded her photos from the museum to her laptop, Laurie momentarily lost track of her cell phone but kept comparatively calm about the matter, and I visited with familiar faces.

In one case, a voice yelled out from the food court, "Marianne!"  I looked over and there was Brian Luce, one of Willie's classmates and one of my favorite students from the Class of 1995. Brian played basketball with Willie  at Sandpoint High School and often stayed at our house after school for practice or games. 

Brian went on to become a veterinarian.  He owns his own hospital just off I-90 near Post Falls.  He was in Phoenix to cheer on his wife who ran a half marathon at Apache Junction. 

Later, I saw a lady with a baby.  Her face looked familiar, so I asked, "Are you Kendra?" Sure enough, she was Jack and Robin Dyck's daughter-in-law who graduated from Sandpoint High. Kendra spent some time visiting with Barbara who had been her English teacher. 

Always fun seeing people we know in a faraway place.  And, it's always fun coming back home, especially when beautiful February weather welcomes us. 

I hope my sisters and I can plan some more trips and some more "firsts' in the future, and, of course, if we do, when we return to Spokane, we'll have to keep the DICKS tradition of Whammy's, fries and shakes alive.  

Happy Tuesday.