Roads converge each year for KHS Class of 81

Kellogg High School Class of 1981

The long and winding road

That leads to your door

Will never disappear

I've seen that road before

It always leads me here

lead me to your door.

The class song for the Kellogg High School Class of 1981 was The Beatles tune "The Long and Winding Road". I am fortunate each holiday season that the long and winding road of some of my classmates converge at a certain point and we get together for lunch and a gift exchange.

Today, CC, PW, TD, BE and myself gathered at Noah's Canteen at the Silver Mountain Gondola Base for lunch and a wonderful afternoon of visiting and reminiscing about old times. Unfortunately, CF was unable to be with us.

Three of us, CC, BE and myself have known each other since kindergarten. TD and PW joined us in seventh grade. They were two of the "wild" Pinehurst kids. When we were all in school, all the seventh graders came together as one class at Kellogg Junior High School. Students from Sunnyside Elementary, Pinehurst Elementary, and Canyon School all came together, and we "innocent" students from Sunnyside always thought the kids from Pinehurst were so "wild".

We have been doing this holiday tradition for seven years now. We began the year I moved back to the valley. The first year we did it so our friend AV, who then lived in Alaska, could see some of her old friends. Then we continued it every year. Sometimes we meet in restaurants in Coeur d'Alene, since three of the group live over there. And sometimes we meet in the valley. It is always a great time.

We joke about how CC always seems to know every detail of all of our lives, and remembers things the rest of us don't. But I think we are getting wise to her. Did those things really happen the way she tells them, or is that her own special version of the story? H-.m-m-m-m.

Today the talk was about fundraising, and how, when we were sophomores, we sold a ton of World's Finest Chocolates, and didn't have to earn any more money for graduation. We were talking about his, because TD and myself both have seniors at Kellogg High School, and now it is the parent's duty to raise money for the end of the year party. Ugh!

And, the older we get, the more our talk tends to veer toward health issues. Sad, isn't it? Today, it was about our eyes, and how the blinding snow hurts our eyes, or how when the cold hits our eyes, they tear up.

After lunch, we came to my house to do our gift exchange, and I served hot buttered rum. My daughters got a big kick out of hearing our conversation and thought we were all pretty crazy. I always feel I laugh harder with my oldest and dearest friends than anyone else. So I'm sure as my girls heard our stories and listened us laugh, they probably did think we were a little crazy!!

I'm glad my girls get the chance to sit and listen to me and my friends share out stories. I was reading Starr's Go Figure blog the other day, and he was talking about recording the stories of those who came before us, so we understand better of who we are. Sitting and listening to my friends and I tell stories help my daughters understand more of where I came from, of who I am, and who they are.

I'm glad our road's converge at year's end, so we can remember who we are, where we come from, and share it all with each other.

#107--My Tree--New Year's Eve

The only way to spend New Year’s Eve
is either quietly with friends or in a brothel.
Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off,
someone is bound to be left in tears.
- W.H. (Wystan Hugh) Auden


A Simon and Garfunkle Kind of Day...Feeling Groovy

Feelin' Groovy

Slow down, you move too fast.

You got to make the morning last.

Just kicking down the cobble stones.

Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.

Hello lamppost,What cha knowing?

I've come to watch your flowers growing.

Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?

Doot-in' doo-doo, Feelin' groovy.

Got no deeds to do,

No promises to keep.

I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.

Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.

Life, I love you,

All is groovy.
What a luxury it has been these past few days to not have a schedule, not have much planned, and some days to take it easy.
Yes, I am, as Simon and Garfunkle sang in their The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy), dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep...which is what I've been doing a lot of these past few days.
The last phases of a cold have also contributed to my groovy attitude as well. The last two days I think I went through two boxes of Kleenix tissues. But I got to sleep in today, and all the rest and naps I have been getting over the last few days have helped the cold go away. I hardly had a sniffle today.
Since sending out Christmas cards didn't happen before Christmas, my New Year's cards are all sealed and addressed. Now they just need stamps and put in the mail, which should happen on Monday. Yesterday and today I laid around in bed, watched "Due South" dvd's (Santa gave me all four seasons for Christmas) and got my Christmas cards done. Yeah!
I am getting caught up on laundry, so I'm not totally vegging out. But boy does it feel good to not have to go, go, go. It is nice PKR, the girls and myself are all on the school district schedule now and have two full weeks off for Christmas break.
Life I love you.....all is groovy!!


Raymond Pert Alive And Well at Birthday Celebration

For many of you who like to read the blogs of myself, my sister Inland Empire Girl, and my brother Raymond Pert, may wonder what has been going on with Raymond Pert, since he hasn't posted on his blog since Dec. 19th.

The first family of blogging: Inland Empire Girl, Raymond Pert, Silver Valley Girl

Well, I am here to report RP is doing fine, and is alive and well. We just celebrated his 54th birthday tonight over at our mother's house here in Kellogg.

Here are the pictures to prove it:

Raymond Pert begins to open his birthday gifts.

The Woolum family: Inland Empire Girl, Raymond Pert, Grandma Mary, Silver Valley Girl

Grandma Mary

Here are PKR and Snug enjoying the party.
RP will soon get back online and resume his blog posting. He has had a bit going on this past week, which I will let him share with you soon.
Happy Birthday, Raymond Pert!!

Happy Endings...We Found A New Car

2005 GMC Envoy XL

This morning we went down to Dave Smith Motors and met with our friend Rob Ross, and he had this 2005 GMC Envoy ready for us to take a test drive. It only has 13,000 miles on it. It met all our criteria:

1. It is a 4x4

2. It had seven seats

3. It handles well in the snow

4. The gas mileage is comparable to the Grand Caravan.

5. The payments are lower than before.

Yeah!! And it was actually pretty painless. And, thanks to my father-in-law who was recently going through the same process of getting a rebate on his warranty, I realized we should get some money back on our warranty of our totaled vehicle. They checked it out for us, and we ended up getting about $715 we weren't counting on to be put toward our down payment.

So, now I believe I will feel much safer on these snowy winter roads this winter. And, thanks to Rob, we got a really nice deal!!

#106--My Tree--Winter Twilight

There’s precious little to say between day and dark,
Perhaps a few words on the implacable will
Of time sailing like a magic barque
Or something as fine for the amenities....
- Allen Tate


#105--My Tree--Hushed...Solemn

The cold was our pride, the snow was our beauty.
It fell and fell, lacing day and night together in a milky haze,
making everything quieter as it fell,
so that winter seemed to partake of religion
in a way no other season did,
hushed, solemn.
- Patricia Hampl

Christmas Day memories

This year we had a Fraser fur for our live Christmas tree.

Last night at dinner I thanked my mom for always making our family gatherings at Christmas a special and memorable time to look foward to each year.

I never dreaded Christmas. My sister, IEG and I were visiting as we were preparing the French Christmas Eve feast, and she was sharing about how many of the blogs she read had writers who did not like Christmas, and that is wasn't a special time for these people.

That has not been my experience. I always looked forward to Christmas. And I believe that continues with my daughters as well.

Maybe it is because we don't have a million social obligations.

Maybe it is because we have some special Christmas traditions we tend to follow each year.

Maybe it is because we don't overdue it with the sharing of Christmas presents.

Maybe it is because I enjoy spending time with members of my family and we enjoy the chance to come together and visit and enjoy some special meals.

I am fortunate in these respects. And I believe this comes from the pattern set by my parents and my husband PKR's parents.

And that is one of the most beautiful and precious Christmas gifts of all.

Here is Sadie surveying the Christmas festivities.

Here is PKR modeling his new coat.

These two photos show Z2, Kiki Aru and The Princess all enjoying opening their gifts on Christmas morning.

Joyeux Noel!!

When The Princess was born, and we were living in Glendive, Montana, we started a tradition of picking a different country each year, and take the food and traditions of that country and celebrate these traditions on Christmas Eve.

Our first Christmas Eve we celebrated and English Christmas. 17 years later, we are gathered together in our home in Kellogg preparing a French dinner.

Here is this year's menu:

Gougere--Gruyere Ring

Pumpkin Soup

Radis Rapes--Radish and Watercress Salad

Main Dish
Coq Au Vin Rouge--Chicken in Red Wine Sauce

Ratatouille--French Vegetable Ragout

Bouche de Noel and Cream Puffs

Only a few disaster happened as the meal was prepared, and were quickly remedied. You can read about the dessert fiasco IEG shared when she arrived from Kettle Falls with her husband JEJ here.

I also had a little problem with the bread, the Brioche. When making my schedule of when to start preparing things, I hadn't read the Brioche recipe closely enough, and I should have made the dough and let it set 8 hours before baking. Oops. Oh well, I thought to myself, we'll just have it for Christmas Day dinner. As soon as this decision was made, the mixer quit working. Plan B...send PKR to the store for some baguettes. When he returned, no baguettes, but there were freshly made croissants at our local Yokes grocery. They worked perfectly.
One of my biggest surprises preparing this dinner was finding French wine at Walmart in Smelterville. Who knew?
On Christmas Eve in France, children leave their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts from Pere Noel. The Princess, Z2 and Kiki Aru set their shoes in front of the fireplace on Christmas Eve.

And on Christmas morning, their shoes were filled by Pere Noel.


Real Christmas

Yesterday our church put on our Christmas pageant during the morning service for our congregation, friends and family. I wrote and directed this production. The kids did such a wonderful job, and I thoroughly enjoyed helping put this pageant on.

Scene 1 opens at the North Pole, with the Head Elf asking people at the North Pole to come and audition for the upcoming North Pole Christmas show. St. Nick wants the acts to have something to do with the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.

Scene 2 shows some of the auditions. First Frosty the Snowman comes out and recited Bible verses about snow. Next Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer sing and dances to "This Little Light of Mine". The final audition is The Grinch with a pretty grouchy and grinchy Christmas comedy routine. The Princess did a fine of job covering all three of these roles. I had some kids unable to be in the show, so she filled in and was great.

Scene 3, we are in the North Pole Television (NPTV) studio for the premier of the new reality show, Real Christmas. This show has the four finalists from the previous auditions come and compete to find out what symbol of Christmas shares the best of what Christmas is really all about.

The stage manager elf goes down her checklist, making sure the lights are ready, the music and cued, and all is ready to go. The Head Elf from earlier takes over as the band leader of the NPTV Elf Band, and the show gets under way.
The host for the evening, played by Z2, is Suzy Snowflake. She comes gliding down the aisle, twirling and swirling up on the stage.
First she introduces the judges for the competition, which are the three wise men. Caspar looks like Elvis (you know, The King), then Lester our ventriloquist dummy makes an appearance and Balthasar, and we also had Melchior. The first act to come out were the Christmas Lights, which were the two and three year olds.
The second act were the Angels.

After a commercial break, the Christmas Tree and Decorations came strutting down the center aisle like models on a runway.
The final act was the box of Candy Canes, sharing with the audience the Legend of the Candy Cane. Kiki Aru was the Head Candy Cane. She if the cane on the far left.
After another commercial break, the judges announced the box of Candy Canes as the winner. Instead of receiving a gift themselves, they handed out candy canes to the audience, which said the following on the wrapper:

The Meaning of the Candy Cane

Many years ago a candy maker wanted to make a candy that would symbolize the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus.

The hard candy was shaped like a “J” to represent that Jesus is our rock of all ages. The candy was made of white to stand for the pureness of Jesus. The red represents the blood that Jesus shed to save us from our sins.

So the next time you see a candy cane take a minute to remember the real meaning of Christmas.


Santa drives a pick up

I've been enjoying watching Paul Gross' work on television and movies. I found this Christmas song he wrote for a Special Olympics holiday album in Canada. Just another facet of Paul Gross to enjoy. Merry Christmas!!


Twas One Week Before Christmas

Twas One Week Before Christmas
And All Through The House
Many creatures were stirring,
2 dogs, 5 cats, 3 rodents, but not a mouse.
I still have the stockings to hang up with care
Is it only seven days until St. Nicholas is here?

The children are finally nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of Christmas break dance in their heads.
And papa’s fixing the leaky washing machine, and I’m sorting gifts,
When will that two week vacation begin?

When down in the basement there arose such a clatter,
Papa sprang from his chair to see what was the matter.
Away down the stairs he flew like a flash,
Opened the storage room door, and in he did dash.

The furnace wasn’t blowing, oh where was the heat?
Papa found the reset button, boy that was sure neat.
Now the furnace is blowing the warm air once more,
Only seven days til Christmas, can we take any more?

Remember that little old driver, so lively and quick
That would be me, the one who wrecked when the road was slick.
More rapid than eagles the insurance papers came,
And now we must play in the settlement game.

Purchase a Dodge, a Ford, a Chrysler or a Buick,
A Honda, a Kia, Toyota or Chevrolet,
Dave Smith what can we find on your lot
That will get us driving on our way today?

As the snow and the rain continue to fall,
Next on our list is having a ball,
With rehearsals for the upcoming play at our church,
Still looking for props, I’ll continue to search.

And then, in a twinkling I heard from mom,
Wanting the menu for Christmas Eve dinner at my home,
Joyeux Noel, this year we celebrate France,
Maybe we will even do a special Christmas dance.

Tonight I am dressed in my comfy pajamas,
While To Do Lists are swirling in my mind, because
There are only 24 hours in my way,
I’ve got six more days to go until Christmas Day.

So, it is wrapping, and preparing menus, and being quite merry
As it is time for the family to gather, please don’t tarry,
But I pray you safe journey and you drive through the snow,
Don’t be like me and need your car to get a tow!!

It is getting late, and this blog post is too long,
So I’m not going to quite finish the whole Christmas song,
A Merry Christmas to all in vast blog land tonight,
I’m going to sleep, my slumber I’ll no longer fight.


#104--My Tree--Love to Think in Winter

We love to think in winter, as we walk over the snowy pastures, of those happy dreamers that lie under the sod, of dormice and all that race of dormant creatures, which have such a superfluity of life enveloped in thick folds of fur, impervious to cold. Alas, the poet too is in one sense a sort of dormouse gone into winter quarters of deep and serene thoughts, insensible to surrounding circumstances; his words are the relation of his oldest and finest memory, a wisdom drawn from the remotest experience. Other men lead a starved existence, meanwhile, like hawks, that would fain keep on the wing, and trust to pick up a sparrow now and then.
- Henry David Thoreau


Ministry of Reconciliation

This is the assignment Raymond Pert gave us this week for our Sibling Assignment:

My WR 121 class has been studying reconciliation and reading all these papers about their struggles and successes with reconciliation makes me want to write about reconciliation.So, write a post about an experience you have had with reconciliation. It might be a successful reconciliation with a person you were in conflict with. It might be reconciliation with your self you were out of sorts about. It might be about a reconciliation that has never happened and maybe never will. It might be coming to reconcile yourself with an idea that had bugged you for a long time. I think these reconciliation posts would be enhanced by each of us writing, at some point in the post, about what we understand "reconciliation" to mean and where we look in our lives for examples of reconciliation that help us measure our successes and failures at reconciliation. '

RP's post will be here, and IEG's post is here.

When Raymond Pert posed this assignment to us, my first thought went to 2 Corinthians 5, where the Apostle Paul shares about the Ministry of Reconciliation. As a Christian, I often turn to God’s Word for the answers in my life, and to understand what things mean.

2 Corinthians 5: 11-21

11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin
for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

When I was 18 years old, in the summer of 1981, I made a decision that changed my life…literally. When I decided to truly believe the Jesus Christ was the Lord of my Life, and I wanted to serve Him with all my heart, soul and mind, my whole outlook on life changed. And I was reconciled with the Creator of the Universe by accepting His Son, Jesus Christ.
I’ve mentioned this before in a blog post, but one of the more obvious things that happened to me was the absence of swearing in my life. It was just gone.

Before this choice was made, I felt like I went to church to see what I could receive from God. Now I wanted to see what I could do to serve God, not be served by God.
In the above verse 17, it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” That is what happened to me. I was a new creation. My whole mindset changed in what seemed like an instant. Old attitudes and ways of thinking were changed. No, I wasn’t perfect, but my heart attitude was sure different.

To me, reconciliation is a restoration of a relationship with another. Through my reconciliation with Jesus Christ, relationships were then easier to restore. I can love others with a strength other than my own. I can more easily ask for forgiveness and say “I’m sorry.” Over the years God has given me the grace to not be as bitter and unforgiving towards others, and try and see things from another perspective other than my own.

I’ve learned that harboring bitterness and unforgiveness toward others really doesn’t harm them in the least. I am the one who suffers. I am the one that misses out on sharing love with others instead of hate.

I hope this doesn’t sound simplistic, because it isn’t. It has been a very hard journey to learn these lessons. Learning to love others when they have hurt you, or those you love is very difficult. It is easier to hold a grudge, and often we like the way it feels, for a while. But then the bitterness just eats at us, and it starts to consume us, which isn’t a very productive way to live.
Reconciliation could be a wonderful gift to give yourself this Christmas season. It is what Christmas is all about…about God’s pure light shining on us all and filling up the dark places in our heart with the light of His love.

Silent Night, Holy Night
Son of God, Love’s Pure Light
Radiant Beams from Thy Holy Face
With the Dawn of Redeeming Grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy Birth, Jesus, Lord at Thy Birth.


Sarah Mclachlan - Wintersong

Each year I try and buy a new Christmas CD. This year I purchased Sarah Mclachlan's "Wintersong". I absolutely love it, with her lovely voice, and her versions of many old and new Christmas songs. Enjoy!!


Shrinky Dink Memories

I got an email today from one of my mom's former students. He wrote this:
Silver Valley Girl,
I thought you would be interested in seeing this. It is a "Shrinky-Dink" ornament that your mom (and one of my very favorite teachers) made for me. I have hung it on the tree every year since 2nd grade! Of course when I moved out and on my own, my mom let me take it. Here is the picture of it in all its glory on our tree this year. Feel free to share it with your mom.
Merry Christmas!
What a wonderful surprise to receive this picture from Simon. I remember the Shrinky Dink phase in our family. For those of you not familiar with this phenomenon:
Shrinky Dinks is an arts and crafts product for children. Thin, flexible plastic sheets can be coloured with felt-tip pens, colored pencils or crayons and cut into shapes. When heated in the oven or with a heat gun, the plastic shrinks by about 5/8ths and becomes thicker and more rigid, while retaining the colored design.

Shrinky Dinks were invented in 1973 by Kate Bloomberg and Betty Morris from Wisconsin. The first kits were manufactured by the major toy companies of the time such as Milton Bradley, Colorforms, Western Publishing and Skyline Toys. The shrink plastic is still available from many retailers and can be used for anything from charms to pins.
I remember taking a picture and tracing it and coloring it with magic markers. Then we took a paper punch and put a hole in the top so the ornament could hang. Then the sheets went into the oven, and curled and folded and became thicker. It was like magic. It was a fun craft project to do as a kid. I still have a few Shrinky Dink ornaments in my ornament collection that are often hung on our Christmas tree as well.
Thanks, Simon, for taking me down the Christmas Shrinky Dink Memory Lane.


Three Beautiful Things: Z2, The Princess and Kiki Aru

Almost every day my brother Raymond Pert focuses on Three Beautiful Things from his day.

Today I am focusing on these three beautiful things....my three daughters.

What a joy they bring to the lives of PKR and myself.

Barbara Morgan: Up Close and Personal

Coco and I traveled to Boise last weekend so she could meet Barbara Morgan, an astronaut who she spoke to this summer on the International Space Station. (See more information here and here.)

Morgan was gracious enough to come to Boise and meet with the 18 Idaho students who took part in the NASA downlink in August. 14 of the 18 students came. They got the opportunity to ask her any questions they wanted to ask her.

"What did you miss about earth when you were in space?" was Coco's question. Morgan said she really didn't miss that much since she was only gone for two weeks, except her friends and family. But she said some of the crew members on the International Space Station who had been there for almost six months did really miss their families, and could communicate with them through a type of computer satellite phone system.

She also shared about getting into space, and feeling disoriented for about a day and a half. Even though she knew her body was right side up, she felt as if she was upside down.

I really enjoyed her describing her last night in space. The astronauts get into sleeping bags to sleep, and are strapped in so they don't float around. She decided to stay awake for awhile the last night on the shuttle to see what it was like at night.

"It was like the stories of all the toys in the nursery coming alive after dark," said Morgan. "Things started floating around and moving."

She was particularly concerned about a pair of scissors she had lost earlier, that was floating near one of her crewmates heads that evening. She wanted to get out of her bag to retrieve the scissors, but didn't want to disturb the other crewmates. So she watched them float around as long as she could. The next morning they were stuck in the wall of the bathroom.

Always the teacher, Morgan also shared how she used geometry skills to use the robotic arm to move things on the outside of the spacecraft.

Coco said it was fun meeting her in person, and to learn more about what it was like to be in space.

Later that day, Morgan spoke in front of about 2000 Treasure Valley students at the Morrison Center at Boise State University, and also spoke to the public that evening. Then she was going back to McCall, Idaho, where she taught school for many years, to spend some time in that community.


My Writing Life is Like Playing Pinball

Inland Empire Girl posed this sibling assignment to Raymond Pert and myself. What does your writing life consist of? What works for you? What advice would you share with other writers? You can find IEG's here, and RP's here.
As I think about my writing life, it reminds me of playing a game of pinball.

I pull back the plunger and I let the ball of ideas shoot out onto the playfield.

And it ricochets around for a while.

If I’m lucky, it lands in a target, lights flash, and I earn some points.

Those are the days I write something of use.

I have no set time to write.

But I write all the time, almost every day.

I write a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

I earn some points the days…

I write a newspaper article.

I write a blog post.

More lights flash if I do the following…

I write a play.

I write a Christmas program at church.

I create a video.

But often the ball of ideas come out, and the board is like my mind, with that ball going back and forth, and, if I’m good enough, I don’t lose the idea because I keep thinking of it, and flipping it back into my mind to germinate.

A lot of my writing happens in my head, and my ideas kick around there for days, weeks, months, sometimes years.

Then I sit down and have some time to devote to a particular project I am writing, and it seems to flow out. Then I become “The Pinball Wizard”. I’m in the zone. Everything comes together and it is as if my body and the pinball machine become one, and I keep racking up points, and lights flash, and bells ring, no tilting, and I earn all kinds of bonus points and replays.

“He stands like a statue
Becomes part of the machine
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean
He plays by intuition
The digit counters fall
That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball”

My writing is often very intuitive. I just let it develop. I think some research has often been done, but again, it has rolled around in my head for a while, then comes out in the form of something written.

That is how I wrote my play. I thought about it, consciously and subconsciously for months, then had a Saturday where I could sit, uninterrupted for a day, and I wrote the first draft in a day.

I have been writing a book for a few years. Currently, one of my characters is going to be a psychopath. I research a bit here and there on the subject, and try and remember all the creepy men Ann Rule has written about in her many books.

I’m always writing short little performances for events in our community that PKR and I are asked to perform at, such as a Harvest Party at church, a Cabaret at the Wallace Elks, or a skit at school telling about my GEAR UP program.

It is fun to take a song and rewrite the words to make it fit a certain performance.

But there are times and a need to journal, and write down what is going on in my life. My journaling is writing letters to God. He is my audience.

There are so many things I want to write.

I have so many ideas floating around in my head.

Ping, ping, ping.

And that is my problem sometimes.

Ping, ping.

I find it hard to focus, because there are so many things I want to write about, and stories I am developing in my head, that it gets overwhelming at times.

Ping, ping, ping, ping, ping.

But then, I find those rare occasions when I do have a day I can sit down, and it all comes out at once.

What advice do I have for other writers?

Write. I don’t care what you write, but just write. And try and do something every day.

Read. Read authors who write well. I think you soak it in whether you realize it or not.

Experience creativity in many forms. Go to plays. Look at art. Listen to music. Read Shakespeare. See good movies. Watch good television.

Be a creative person, and live a creative life.

All of this will help you become a better writer.


First Friday at NIC

The Princess and I attended First Friday at North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene today. She is planning on enrolling there next fall, so we went and visited the campus today.
It was fun being on a college campus, and learning about all the opportunities students have available to them as a student at North Idaho College. I told The Princess it almost made me want to go back to college!!
Right now she is planning on majoring in Theater. We filled out a short career survey during the session today, and Molly and I were both in the artistic category. And, as I looked at the list of careers in that category, I had already participated in about 6 or 7 of them. I guess I have made the right choices.
I'm excited for The Princess to move on to this next phase of her life (is she really a senior? Sometimes it seems impossible. Where have the last 17 years gone?), and experience college life.
After the NIC visit, we went and got the rest of our personal effects from the totaled van. (sniff, sniff)
I took The Princess to Moontime in downtown Coeur d'Alene for lunch. It is such a cool place to eat, and such wonderful food. I had a potato encrusted Ahi with corn cakes covered in a crawfish cream sauce, and The Princess had Roasted Tomato Ravioli. Yum! Yum!
It was a wonderful, beautifully sunny day in Coeur d'Alene today, and it was a bit scary driving over the Fourth of July pass a little less than one week after my accident, but I survived, and will travel that road again tomorrow as PKR takes Kiki Aru and I to the airport to fly to Boise for yet another adventure.


Sharing Time With Those We Love

Today was one of those rare days when my friend Carolyn and I set aside a day to leisurely spend some time together and enjoy one another's company.

Our plan was to drive east to Wallace, and visit some of the new shops that have opened, or older ones we haven't been to in a while, have lunch, and maybe get a little Christmas shopping done.

Idaho Silver Shop was our first stop. My friend Rayma, who I graduated from high school with, was a big help as we looked at all the beautiful jewelry. She is such a wonderful asset to the Wallace Business Community, and has been for over 20 years.

Then we went down the street to The Price Tag, and antique store housed in the old Coeur d'Alene Hardware building. It is a cool old building. The shop's owner, Anita, has some wonderful items for sale, and I hit the jackpot when I found 11 big plastic candy canes to purchase for our upcoming Christmas program at church.

Next we stopped in the Silver Capital Arts store, where I found a gift for someone on my list. Then we went to the antique shop located in the old Rullman's building, and visited with Terri, who runs this shop.

We had lunch at the 1313 Club. I had a wonderful Reuben sandwich with coleslaw, and Carolyn had fish and chips. Fortunately she opted to have the beer batter fries for her "chips", and I got to help her eat them. Yum!! To find out more about the 1313 Club, go here.

After lunch, we traveled back to Kellogg, and visited eMGee's, run by my good friend Mary Gail. Her daughter-in-law makes this wonderful homemade soap, and one of the bars is anise, or black licorice flavored, and I bought a bar to put in my bathroom. Now everytime I enter my bedroom, I can smell that wonderful anise smell. M-m-m-m-m-m-m.

We all need to take time to spend with friends. We had such an enjoyable time. Carolyn grew up in Wallace, and raised her son in Wallace, and it was fun as she would run into people she knew on the street.

At lunch, we visited about so many wonderful topics, mainly about finding balance in life, and learning to serve God through that balance.

I enjoy having friends of all ages. Carolyn is probably 15-20 years older than me, but we have a very special relationship, and one I am glad we continue to nurture through times like these.

As the Christmas season is upon us, this is what the season is all about...sharing our time with those we love.


Car Wreck Update

Well, I heard from the insurance adjuster today, and our van is totaled. So The Princess and I are going to visit NIC for their First Friday program on Friday, so we will go see the van one last time, and get the rest of our personal belongings, and say goodbye.

Then we figure out what kind of car to purchase next. Do we buy another Dodge Grand Caravan, or go with something else? I really wasn't ready to have to make this decision, but I guess we have to, so we will.

I like the Grand Caravan because it is comfortable, it has a lot of room in the back to haul things, and it has seven seats. I never did like how it handled in the snow, but then we didn't have snow tires.

But, I haven't looked at anything else. So, I guess the research for a new car purchase begins.

Anyone have any suggestions?


Still A Little Shaky After Today's Events

Well, as you know, I was in Coeur d'Alene today for the State Drama competition. The kids didn't make it into semifinals, but wanted to stay and watch the final competition, so I wasn't needed anymore, so I decided to go do a little bit more shopping, go have a sandwich at Schlotsky's and read some more of my book, and head home.

The snow had started coming down, and going up the hill toward Exit 17 going eastbound on Interstate 90, they didn't seem too bad. But as I started going down the hill, I started hitting icy patches, and as I hit one, my Dodge Grand Caravan started slipping and sliding and the next thing I knew, I was sliding into a turnout just past Exit 17, I closed my eyes, my van hit the barrier about three or four times, and I stopped with the van's rear door up against the last barrier.

So I'm sitting there, not quite sure what to do. I feel very fortunate to have lived in Idaho and Montana during my 44 years of life, and this is the first time I was driving that I have been involved in a car wreck.

I tried to call The Princess' cell phone, but it just went to voice mail. I tried to call my mom's house, and it was just busy.

Then the tears came, and I started crying. What do I do?

So I started looking through my contact list on my phone, and I called my friend Stephanie, who always has her cell phone with her. Fortunately, she was at Costco in Coeur d'Alene, and just getting ready to leave, and was on her way.

While I was talking to her, a man started walking toward me. I rolled down the window, and he checked to make sure I was alright. I wasn't sure at this point what the van looked like, but I was surprised it took that long for someone to stop. This gentleman, fortunately, was a police officer from Priest River, and had seen the wreck happen as he was traveling in the westbound lane, and had gone up and and turned around and came to check on me. He called the Idaho State Police for me, and described a bit what the front of the car looked like.

From what I can tell, my driver's side door must have hit the barriers, the front of the van hit the barriers, and then somehow I stopped in the pile of snow at the end of the barriers. The front grill was smashed in, and you could see things hanging down below the car. Fluid was pouring out from under the car. The driver's side door was smashed.

I am very fortunate it all happened the way it did. A little ways further, I probably would have slid into some traffic. I was still in a place where I had cell service. My friend was able to come and help me. As soon as she arrived, she started hauling all of "Santa's goodies" out of the back of the van and put them in her car. Fortunately she had plenty of room. She told me to take Ibuprofen, because it would help with some of the stiffness I might experience. Her and her girls were my angels tonight, as we waited for the tow truck.

And it was a rather long wait. The accident happend around 3:30 pm, and the two truck didn't arrive until almost 6 p.m. Why, you ask. Because of some miscommunication between ISP and the tow company. Finally, at one point, Stephanie got the bright idea to call the towing company and get an estimate on how long it would take. That is when we found out they hadn't been contacted. But, I was just thankful they finally showed up. And it gave Stephanie and I a chance to visit and get caught up.

So now our van sits in Coeur d'Alene at an autobody shop, ready to be estimated.

I am thankful in all things....even when it is hard sometimes.

It is good to be home.


How Much Would You Spend At Costco?

Well, I was ready to call it an evening, when I clicked on my email from Costco to peruse the latest deals, and something caught my eye.

The Ultimate Hot Rodders Garage Package

When you click on the picture on the email, it gives you a bit more information about this purchase.
The Ultimate Hot Rodder's Garage Package Includes:

Kirkham Motorsports 427 KMS/SC component vehicle (engine and transmission not included)
MBI Silver Vein 4-piece Garage Storage System
456 square feet of Black and White MotoFloor® Garage Tiles and 40 female edges. This is enough flooring to cover a standard 2-car garage.
1 Arcan Heavy-Duty Service Cart
2 Arcan six ton capacity ratcheting jack stands
1 Arcan XL-35 three and a half ton capacity professional low lift height jack that can lift to a height of 21 3/8"
31-cubic-foor Premier Vault by Liberty Sage
2 Westinghouse Gray Twin Turbo Garage Lights
So, you spend $79,999.00 on a car and fancy car garage equipment, and the car doesn't even run, because the transmission and engine are not included.
I think if I had $80,000 to spend, and wanted to buy a fancy car, I don't think I would buy the "only 1 available" car offered on my costco.com website advertisement.
But, maybe that's just me.

Hangin' Out at State Drama Festival

Tonight I am in Coeur d'Alene spending the night, and helping chaperone the KHS drama students who made it to state competition. My husband, PKR, is the Drama Coach, and our daughter The Princess, made it to state drama as part of a Humorous Ensemble.

They are doing a montage from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." It was fun watching their performance this evening, at Lake City High School, where the competition is taking place. The Princess makes a great King Arthur!!

The ensemble did some unique and clever things with their performance, and I am proud of all of them. They have done 2 rounds, and do another one bright and early at 8 am tomorrow morning. Then after the 3 rounds, they find out if they make it to the semi-finals.

I arrived in Coeur d'Alene with the mission of getting some Christmas shopping done. First I went to Best Buy, and being in there drove me nuts!! There was just too much stimulus in that store, assaulting all five of my senses, with loud music, projections TV's, brights lights....it was just a little much. I did find a few things to purchase, though.

Then it was off to Target and Fred Meyer. I made a really great purchase at Fred Meyer, so I was happy about that!! There will be some more shopping done tomorrow.

I did have a rare moment for dinner. I went to Wendy's and got my food, and sat at a table all by myself and read some more of "Eat, Pray, Love". I have finally made it to Indonesia.

I got a call during dinner from The Princess saying PKR needed some pain relievers, so I went to Safeway to get some, and also some snacks. Well, Safeway was having a bit of a crisis when I want to check out. All of there check out stations had frozen up. They apparently attributed it to the Hagadone Corporation and Dave Smith, because they apparently purchased a large amount of gift cards, and they were processing them, and it froze up the system. One lady had no cash or checks, so had to leave her groceries. Fortunately, the rebooted the system, and they were back on track.

In the meantime, I'm standing in line to check out my groceries, and The Princess calls wondering what I was doing. I told her I was stuck in the line at Safeway. Their second round was beginning soon, and I was hoping I wouldn't miss it. I did get there a little late, but I could go into the room after the first performance was done, so I didn't miss it.

So, now I am at the Shilo Inn, watching some interesting show on PBS with lots of violin players dressed in country costumes. It is pretty cool. Apparently I am watching Barrage: Vagabond Tales, which is described like this:

Barrage's fast-paced violin music is set to a story of impossible love between Luna of the Moon People and Sol from the people beneath the sun.

We don't have cable television at home, which means the only things we watch on TV are what my mother has taped for us, or we have on VHS or DVD. But I do miss PBS programming. Right now Barrage is singing "Birdland", and there are about five or six performers playing violin, with one main woman doing a scat solo, with the violins accompanying her. A very interesting performance. To find out more about them, go here.

Well, I'll return tomorrow with the results from the Idaho State Drama Festival, here in Beautiful Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.