Throwback Thanksgiving

Mom & Leanna Goofing Off

Today, dear readers, is not just Thanksgiving, USA, 2014. It’s also Throwback Thursday, the day of the week for reminiscing and posting old photos that make people snicker and comment about how much you’ve aged since then. Although you wouldn’t know it from the number of photos I post of my dog, I never used to be a big photographer of anything. I once went to the Czech Republic and came back with fewer than 10 photos (which I have lost) so it’s no surprise that my photo library is not filled with photos dating back earlier than a handful of years. This is kind of a bummer, because I can’t remember much of anything between 1984 and 2004, except maybe the Howard Jones hair. Today, as friends and family across the country gather, overeat, and count their blessings, I’m throwing back to 2008 and Thanksgiving spent with my wonderful … Continue reading…

Lunch Peak Lookout

Lunch Peak Lookout Sign

Out every window, I see mountains. The window directly in front of me, in fact, displays the rusty tones of autumn as the ferns turn red and the aspens shed yellow leaves onto a hill rising, rising, rising until almost out of my view. Living in a river valley as I do, tucked between tree-covered slopes that cast shadows on the barn well before the darkness falls across the lawns and landscapes of our neighbors, I’m always looking up. I always have trees and hillsides towering above me. It’s enough to make a person feel downright insignificant at times. So for me, going to a place like Lunch Peak Lookout is a treat. Going there with my sweetie and my parents is even better. We started off at Base Camp Clark Fork (a.k.a. my parents’ house) and drove up Lighting Creek Road for several miles, where we unloaded the ATVs and headed further up the dirt road with … Continue reading…

An Afternoon With Geezers and Rae Ellen Lee

Author Rae Ellen Lee signing a copy of The Bluebird House.

About twenty people sit on folding chairs in the meeting room of the Priest River library, a comfortable space with modern reddish brown walls above a pine wainscot. Framed photographs of Priest River’s early days adorn the walls and a large projector screen dominates the front of the room. On the screen is a slide showing the colorfully illustrated covers of five books. From where I sit, the room is a sea of mostly salt and pepper hair (more salt than pepper), but the faces are friendly and everybody’s eyes sparkle with kindness and anticipation. We’re here to listen to author Rae Ellen Lee discuss her latest book, “A Field Guide to Geezers: An Illustrated Look at a Curious Branch of Hominids.”   The Field Guide is written in the style of traditional field guides, classifying the species and detailing the habitat and notable behaviors for identification and educational purposes. “Recognition is step number one in … Continue reading…

The Pecan Sandy Experience

I have inherited many traits from my mother. Beyond our physical resemblance, I’ve also grown up to share her love of naps, Mexican food, and repeatedly singing out loud the two lines of whatever song is stuck in your head at the moment. The other thing we share is this notion that baking is a great way to fill an hour that hasn’t otherwise been committed to something else. I’m not sure I’d call it a “love” of baking. It’s more like a compulsion. Have bananas in the kitchen that are starting to turn brown? Better bake some bread with those bad boys.  Oh dear, that rhubarb isn’t going to last forever in the freezer. Better “crisp” it up! No cookies for work lunches next week? Get on it, woman. And, today, the pecans that I bought a few weeks ago screamed, “We’re not going to eat ourselves, you know!” … Continue reading…

Finding the Nuts in the Tree

A few days ago, I was contacted by a man named Timothy Widgren who was researching his family tree. Timothy wrote, “With a name like Widgren, we have to be related!” And he was right. Second cousins, it turns out. What struck me is that a second cousin is a pretty close relation. Our grandfathers were brothers and yet we had never heard of each other until Timothy stumbled upon this site, introduced himself, and sparked in me my own quest for family knowledge.  So here I am, digging. I’m poking and prodding around the past like it’s the kitchen junk drawer and I’m curious about what’s tucked all the way in the back. I’m pulling out bits and pieces to examine as I work my way backwards in time, perhaps skipping around a bit as some shiny object of history distracts me momentarily. I’m starting my journey back with … Continue reading…

Reply All

“Nothing good comes from hitting ‘Reply All’.” – Unknown. I recently experienced the torrent of abuse that always results from a mistaken “Reply All.” The funny thing was, my accidental “Reply All” was a response to someone who had spammed, like, a gazillion people with a hateful, racist e-mail against Muslims. My cousin, bless him, replied to everyone with his disagreement and, like a fool who jumps right in, I wanted to share my agreement with his disagreement (are you still with me?) and say how mortified I was that anyone in my contact list would support racism and think that I should, too. However, I meant to just send that message to him and a few others, including the sender, not the whole gazillion of her friends, but was a little too quick on the trigger finger and shot it out to the world before removing the strangers. To … Continue reading…

House Sitting, Day 2 – Kitty and Cougar

Today is Day 2 of house sitting for my parents, who are now somewhere on the great prairie, having spent 24 hours unwillingly in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, trying to get the Found On Road Dead (FORD) dealership to diagnose a major malfunction in their shiny, new, less-than-2000-miles-on-it, still-has-that-new-car-smell Fusion.  They gave up, left their lemon at the dealership, rented a car, and pressed on toward Wichita, Kansas, where good food and great company awaits. I only mention this to warn you that this may extend their intended time away and I may be writing “House Sitting, Day 7,” long after I’ve run out of things to say.  By then, my post may look more like a Facebook status update than an actual entry in my ridiculous chronicles.   “Day 7. Got up, fed cats, drank coffee.  Mmmm, coffee.” But it’s only Day 2 and I still have much to marvel at! … Continue reading…

House Sitting, Day 1

So, today is Tuesday.  Last night was the first night of a week house-sitting for my parents.  Just me.  Well, just me, three cats, some deer, and possibly a family of racoons – but they all stay outside.  This is the chronicle of my time away from my home and living in someone else’s. I decided to take this opportunity to clean out my sugar-and-junk food-infused system and return to the clean blood stream I knew and loved in my pre-Mike days.  Today is Day 1.  So far, I’ve done well.  No junk food, period.  Salad, salad, coffee, oat cake, and more salad. Dinner was booty from a raid on my parents’ garden (fully sanctioned of course) – corn on the cob, green beans, a carrot, and a cucumber.  After the gorging came the workout to sweat out some of the crap I ate over the weekend (and last night’s … Continue reading…

An Apple (or More) a Day

This year the tree was late getting started.  Winter held on several weeks longer than usual and the bees that normally pollinated the blossoms were staying out of the cold, wetter weather.  Eventually, they came out and made their rounds, and now after several weeks of hot, dry weather, the branches are so heavily laden with tart, crisp golden apples that they seem to bow to passersby and implore us to ease their burdens. I obliged. Fifteen minutes of picking yielded enough apples to make me cry out, “What in the world am I going to do with all these apples?!”  It was almost as if I were being controlled by the notion that I must use the apples wisely or risk retribution from the universe.   There was even a tinge of fear of failure.  See, what I normally do with store-bought apples is to put them into a … Continue reading…