Gathering Graces 8/17/2018

*We have a toad that lives in one of the window wells at our house.  We call him Mr. Toad.  Today he was out peering in the window.  Usually he isn’t this visible.  I went to the garden and dug up a few worms for him.  I think he liked the snack.
*I had to go to Coeur d’Alene to get some routine bloodwork done, so Paul said he would go with me.  After finding LabCorp and the correct entrance in the building, I easily gave my blood sample and was on my way.  Paul and I headed over to Le Peep for breakfast, since I was quite ready for something to eat after fasting since midnight for the bloodwork.  Later I was called with the results, and everything looked good, including my cholesterol, which means I can remain off of my cholesterol medication.  Yay!!!
*After breakfast, Paul and I went to Lowes to look at some flooring.  We are redoing some floors in our basement, and are trying to figure out the best way to do them.
*We also made a stop at the Dollar Tree.  I bought some goodies for teaching, and also ran into Alania Chambliss and her mom.  Alania is getting ready to begin her second year of college at NIC.
*Then it was time to head home.  We spent the afternoon a bit concerned because our cat Clark had not returned home the night before, and we had not seen him all day.  Finally, around 3:30 p.m. he strolled into the house.  We were glad he made it home.
*Paul, Tim Arnhold and I provided musical entertainment for a fund-raiser dinner at our church tonight for our friend Brenda Erickson.  She is getting a service dog to help her know when her blood sugar level get too low.  In order for the dog to come to her home, she needs to build a fence around her backyard.  The dinner tonight was to help with the costs of putting up the fence.  I think this dinner provided money to help her complete this project.
*Despite a little bit of rain earlier in the day, the evening turned out to be rather warm, so it felt good to enjoy some time out on the patio. 


Gathering Graces 8/16/2018

*One of the first things I saw after I woke up this morning was to read a wonderful message from a friend letting me know she was thinking about me, because she knew today was the one year anniversary of my mom’s passing away. 
*I found one of my favorite photos of her and I from last summer, and posted it on Facebook.   Then the tears started to flow.  Paul came over, wrapped his arms around me, and let me cry on his shoulder for as long as I needed.  But, as always, I am glad for the tears.  I am glad for the memories, and the fact I still miss her very much.
*Bill and Debbie arrived back from their trip to Eugene, and we all gathered in Christy and Everett’s backyard and raised a glass to toast to Mom.  I am glad we could all spend a little time together this evening to visit and remember Mom. 
*Our friend Beverley Wolff shared a poem that was perfect to read today.  I read it to everyone as we gathered together in the evening. 
Death Is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.
Henry Scott Holland


Gathering Graces 8/15/2018

*The air was a little hazy again today, as fires continue to burn all around the Silver Valley.  And temperatures continue to remain high, with no rain in the forecast.  A nice rain and cooler temperatures would be very welcome.
*The world continues to come to Wallace, Idaho.  I met a couple from France today.  We briefly visited about my visit to Italy last summer, and they said next time I need to visit France.  That is definitely in the plans!!
*Paul had a tooth extracted today, and had some procedure done to prepare him for an implant, which will happen after the first of the year. 
*Since Paul had been to the dentist, he can only eat soft food.  I decided to spiralize some of my zucchini and make “zoodles”, then pick some tomatoes, cut them up and make a sauce.  I sauteed some onions in a pan, then added the cut up tomatoes  I added some red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning  I reduced it down for bit.  I put the zoodles in a bowl, and added some small mozzarella balls.  I covered the zoodles with the tomato sauce, and topped it off with fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.  It was SO GOOD!!
*This Friday evening, Paul, Tim Arnhold and I will be singing songs at a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser at our church for our friend Brenda Renfro Erickson.  Brenda needs money for a fence to be built around her backyard so she can bring home her newly acquired service dog, a Diabetic Alert Dog, specially trained for Brenda by SDWR (Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers).  Tonight Paul and I sat outside on the patio and practiced some of the songs we will be singing.


Gathering Graces 8/14/2018

*As I headed out to walk this morning, the sky continued to be hazy from all the fires burning in Washington and Montana.  Our air quality isn’t horrible, but there is a lot of smoke in the air.
*Many people asked today at work about the fires, and if this haziness was normal.  We had a tour bus out of Canada with a group of people from Australia at the mine tour today.  They had to change their plans and not go into Glacier National Park because of the fire burning there. 
*There were two gentlemen in the gift shop today, and one of them asked me about a photograph that is on the wall of the gift shop.  It was a photo from 1903 with the streets all decorated for the arrival of Teddy Roosevelt.  They also asked about some of the other photos on the wall, that I was able to tell them about.  Then they asked me if I knew where Yellow Pine, Idaho was, and I told them I did.  They said about 15 miles outside of Yellow Pine, (which is located in the Payette National Forest east of McCall, Idaho) is an abandoned mercury mine called Cinnabar that they have visited.  It was interesting talking to them about this remote mine location that abruptly shut down in the late 1950’s, and the buildings are still standing.  These two men were on a motorcycle journey, and were heading to Clark Fork today on their motorcycles.
*Paul had a meeting tonight, so things were pretty quiet when I arrived home.  I walked around and checked out the yard, ate some dinner, and worked on some things on the computer for a while.


Gathering Graces 8/13/2018

*What a wonderful day I had today visiting and reconnecting with people.
*The morning began talking with April M Lee in Italy.  We both couldn’t believe how fast the time went by as we visited this morning.  It was a very productive talk, reminiscent of the times we would spend together at the local coffee shop talking.  It was a great way to start the day.
*For lunch, my friend Carolyn Meade came over.  She was a bit delayed because of an appointment she had with her insurance agent.  But no worries.  I am glad we were able to have a nice visit out in the yard.  We enjoyed the bounty of my garden, enjoying a “cheeseburger without the bun” meal, with lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers all freshly picked from the garden.  Yummy!!!

Lunch table in the backyard.

*For dinner, we had more company.  Since last fall, we have been trying to have Gordan and Carolyn Turner over for dinner, and we finally made it happen this evening.  What a wonderful evening of good food, good conversation, and a good exchange between Carolyn and I sharing our expertise with one another.  I spent time sharing with her information about what her son Grant needs to do this year to apply for colleges and scholarships.  She shared with me what I need to do to set up an LLC (Limited Liability Corporatation), which is the first step in some future plans Paul and I are working toward.  While Carolyn and I “got down to business”, Paul and Gordon sat under the lighted arbor and had a great time visiting.
*For dinner, we tried a new zucchini recipe that was a bit hit, and I want to share it with anyone who is suddenly overcome with zucchini and wants to find different ways of preparing it.  We made Grilled Garlic Parmesan Zucchini.  It was so delicious, and a perfect way to prepare our round Ronde de Nice summer squash.  I did a little variation, where I didn’t use fresh parsley.  Instead, I picked fresh oregano and thyme, then added some Italian Seasoning to the butter mixture as well.  The recipe is here, and here is a photo of what they looked like.

Grilled Garlic Parmesan Zucchini
*I love days like this, when I have the chance to reconnect with friends, and find out what is going on in their lives.  I have made a point to try and do this with many people throughout the summer, because I feel like relationships with people are so important.  I have some trips planned this fall so I can reconnect with people I haven’t seen in a while.  I look forward to having those face to face connections again.


Gathering Graces 8/12/2018

*Today kind of seemed like a blur.  I went to church and came home, and was very tired, so I napped some in the afternoon.
*My friend April M Lee posted this great picture of her and I back in June of 1973.  We put on a Magic Show in her yard for some of her neighbors.  What a fun memory to recall today.  I think I still have the book I used to perform all the magic....I need to look for it!!

*We had a salad potluck for dinner tonight at Bill and Debbie’s house.  Christy made a Chef Salad on a Stick, Debbie made a Shrimp, Avocado and Cucumber Salad, I made a slaw with everything fresh from my garden, including cabbage, zucchini and radishes.  The dressing was avocado oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, celery salt and coriander. 
*Bill and Debbie are taking a quick trip to Eugene tomorrow, so Debbie brought their Corgis over to stay with us for the week.  It is always fun having them around.


Gathering Graces 8/11/2018

*My morning started very early.  My alarm went off at 3:30 a.m., because I had a VIPKID class scheduled for 4:30 a.m.  When I got downstairs to my classroom and turned on my computer, I saw I had a student signed up to do the trial class.  A trial class is one where a student is trying out the VIPKID program to see if they want to use it.  I was not familiar with this particular level I would be teaching, so I quickly found the slides and went through them, gathered some props, and prepped as best I could.  At 4:30 a.m., the class started, and I taught a girl named Coco.  She was 11, and did very good with the material presented.  I received a “5 apple” rating from her parent, which in VIPKID world is the best rating you can get!!  The experience taught me a lot about what I know, what I need to improve on, and how I can prepare for more classes in the future.
*Waking up at 3:30 a.m. through off my rhythm for the day.  Plus it was kind of hot, too.  But I spent a lot of the day working on VIPKID things, I harvested vegetables, and watched some TV.  Between these things, I slept off and on.  It was fun going outside to see what I could harvest, and dug through my squash patch that is taking over the side yard, and picked some acorn squash, one black and two white, some summer squash that look like a cross between a butternut squash and a zucchini.  I also picked more zucchini in my raised bed, and actually found a good sized cucumber.  Earlier this summer, I was a bit forlorn about how my cucumber plants were not doing well, but they have now rallied, and I may get quite a few cucumbers.  Later in the evening, Paul and I picked some radishes from our radish bushes growing in the garden.
*It was fun preparing a stir fry for lunch that included mostly ingredients from the garden.  I sliced up zucchini, pea pods, radishes, tomatoes and mushrooms.  It was really good.  We also had some cucumbers and tomatoes as a salad.
*Paul grilled some steaks for dinner, and sauteed some mushrooms in butter to put over them.  I went out and picked a variety of salad greens, and made a nice salad with greens and tomatoes.  It was a really delicious dinner.