#5 My Tree--Glenda the Good Witch Visits The Silver Valley

If what I say resonates with you,
it is merely because we are both branches on the same tree.
- W.. B . Yeats


James Taylor August 26, 2006 Your Smiling Face

James Taylor

I'm sitting here a few days late watching the Oscar telecast from Sunday night. One of the highlights for me was James Taylor singing the Oscar nominated song from "Cars". Boy do I love that James Taylor.

I was first exposed to his music in as a junior high school student when I joined the Columbia Record House Club and Taylor's album JT was one of my 12 free albums I ordered. For years I have enjoyed and sung along to:

Your Smiling Face

There We AreHoney

Don’t Leave LA

Another Grey Morning

Bartender’s Blues

Secret O’ Life

Handy Man

I Was Only Telling A Lie

Looking For Love On Broadway

Terra Nova

Traffic Jam

If I Keep My Heart Out Of Sight

I can sing along to each and every one of these songs, I know them by heart, and have for almost 30 years.

I think I own every CD James Taylor has ever made.

I've seen James in concert two different times, but the last time was 12 years ago when I was pregnant with Z2. It has been too long. I am ready for a James Taylor fix.

My sister, InlandEmpireGirl, wants to have the two of us, along with our brother, Raymond Pert have a James Taylor night if he comes up for spring break, and watch the PBS special "James Taylor Great Performances".

Here is what InlandEmpireGirl wrote in an email to intice us to watch the show.......

"OH MY GOSH! I finally had time to view it Sunday. It is incredible. Here is just part of the lineup... Dixie Chicks singing Shower the People, Sting, You Can Close Your Eyes, Sheryl Crow, David Crosby, and Jackson Brown doing Mexico, of course Carole King You've Got a Friend and there is more."

Well, sis, even if our brother doesn't make it, I think the two of us can have our own James Taylor night.....but it would be much better with all three.

Who else would enjoy a James Taylor night?
I've posted a James Taylor video for those JT fans out there to enjoy!!!
I hope it makes you all have a smiling face!!

#4 My Tree--In a February Snow Storm

Soak up the sun
Affirm life's magic

Be graceful in the wind

Stand tall after a storm

Feel refreshed after it rains

Grow strong without notice

Be prepared for each season

Provide shelter to strangers

Hang tough through a cold spell

Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring

Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky

Be still long enough tohear your own leaves rustling.

- Karen Shragg, Think Like a Tree


Response to Mommie Dearest's Post "Bad, Bad Working Moms!

Today, Mommie Dearest wrote a post called “Bad, bad working moms!” about how Idaho legislators killed legislation that would have set higher standards for daycares. She says in her post, “Some of the lawmakers who rejected the bill said us moms should be at home with our kids instead of putting them in daycare.”

She then goes on to share from nightmare experiences about her experiences with daycare.

I looked up what Betsy Russell wrote about the bill on Eye on Boise, and Sylvia Chariton, who testified in favor of the bill on behalf of the American Association of University Women of Idaho said exactly the same thing I was thinking…

“It’s ridiculous—those men live in a time warp, when 60 percent of all mothers of children under 6 years of age take them someplace to be cared for.”

I think we need to get away from the thinking that if we set standards for our current system of daycare, this won’t necessarily mean we will be luring other mothers to use the daycare because of the higher standards. How can this be a harmful thing if we are helping better care for our children?

It reminds me of an essay I once read by Barbara Kingsolver in her book “High Tide in Tuscon: Essays From Now Or Never.” This essay was called “Somebody’s Baby” and tells about the differences she sees in the United States versus other countries regarding our view of children.

Here are a few excerpts:

“If we intend to cleave like stubborn barnacles to our great American ethic of every nuclear family for itself, then each of us had better raise and educate offspring for itself, then each of us had better raise and educate offspring enough to give us each day, in our old age, our daily bread. If we don’t wish to live by bread alone, we’ll need not only a farmer and a cook in the family, but also a home repair specialist, an auto mechanic, an accountant, an import-export broker, a forest ranger, a therapist, an engineer, a musician, a poet, a tailor, a doctor, and at least three shifts of nurses. If that seems impractical, then we can accept other people’s kids into our lives, starting now.

It’s not so difficult. Most of the rest of the world has got this in hand. Just about any country you can name spends a larger percentage of its assets on its kids than we do. Virtually all industrialized nations have better schools and child-care policies. And while the U.S. grabs headlines by saving the occasional baby with heroic medical experiments, world health reports (from UNESCO, USAID, and other sources) show that a great many other parts of the world have lower infant mortality rates than we do—not just the conspicuously prosperous nations like Japan and Germany, but others, like Greece, Cuba, Portugal, Slovenia—simply because they attend better to all their mothers and children. Cuba, running on a budget that would hardly keep New York City’s lights on, has better immunization programs and a higher literacy rate. During the long, grim haul of a thirty-year economic blockade, during which the United States has managed to starve Cuba to a ghost of its hopes, that island’s child-first priorities have never altered.

Here in the land of plenty a child dies from poverty every fifty-three minutes, and TV talk shows exhibit teenagers who pierce their flesh with safety pins and rip off their parents every way they know how. All these punks started out as somebody’s baby. How on earth, we’d like to know, did they learn to be so isolated and selfish?”

To see the whole essay, go here.
When my daughters grow up, I hope they will be fortunate to have the choice, like I did, to work if they want, or stay home if they want, or maybe do a combination, whatever works best for them. And I hope that they don't have to make their way through a maze of daycare providers, like Mommie Dearest, playing the "Day Care Lottery" as it were, in order to find suitable care.
Because, maybe by then, some standards will be in place.

#3 My Tree--Losing her skirt of snow

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
William Blake, Proverbs of Hell, 1790


#2 My Tree--Drizzled by Rain

Blessed is the man who has found wisdom...
Her ways are good ways,
and all her paths are peaceful.
She is a tree of life to all that lay hold upon her.
- Proverbs 3:18

Kiki Aru and AAU

My youngest daughter Kiki Aru is on the 5th grade Silver Valley Stings AAU team. This weekend I spent Saturday and Sunday with her in Newman Lake, Washington at Mountain View Middle School watching her play basketball.

After the final game today, I asked myself, “Can I take seven more years of this?”

If the girls just played basketball, it would be fine. But there is all the other stuff.

Like the two fathers sitting behind me, whose daughters were on the team, playing “coach” throughout the game. Sorry, but my philosophy is, if you don’t like something the coach is doing, discuss it personally, don’t yell it throughout the game.

Like the opponent’s coach, who was a very nice man, but during the game pointed out to the ref that the officials could call more because the girls were getting hurt. Well, the official, again, a nice guy, got a little hot under the collar and told the coach he could do what he did best, coach, and he would officiate.

Later, our coach questioned the ref, and he said the same thing. Our coach got a little got under the collar. Man, do I hate the tension!!

At one point, our coach’s daughter was knocked down by one of the opponent’s players. Well, her mother started yelling across the gym at the player who knocked her daughter down, and making it clear she didn’t think that was very nice. Yikes!! Again, the tension!!

I was very proud of our girls. They didn’t win a game, but they didn’t give up, and during their fourth game today, they were finally running the plays and doing what they had been coached to do. But we did have a lot of injuries, and girls being knocked down. As one of the women in the stands said behind me, “You have a scrappy team.” Yes we do.

So, every weekend in March we have another tournament. She goes to Lewiston this coming weekend, but we can’t go since our play opens this weekend.

But then we have some others in Spokane again, and Coeur d’Alene. Maybe I’ll just find a safe little corner to watch the game from, so I don’t have to listen to anyone say anything.

I just want to watch the girls play ball.

I did see two interesting people over the weekend. One was John Stockton, a former professional basketball player for the Jazz. He was coaching one of the teams in our gym.

The third team we played was coached by one of my Tri Delta sorority sisters. It was fun seeing her and getting caught up on what she is doing. I hadn’t seen her in a while.


#1 My Tree--Early Morning Snowfall

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.

- Henry David Thoreau, 1817 - 1862


Huckleberry Book Club

Today I participated in one of my “highlights of the month”. I have certain things that are a standing monthly appointment on my calendar, and I rarely miss them. Today was one of them. Today was book club.

We have been going about two and a half years, and have seen a few changes in that time. When we originally began, the book club consisted of JR, SD, NP, VG and myself. Our first book was “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivil, a novel filled with Latin mysticism and wonderful chocolate recipes sprinkled throughout. That day we were asked to each bring something chocolate to share with the others. At most gatherings, white and red wine are also served, along with tea and coffee.

I tried my hardest the first few times we met to get a real discussion about the book going. I downloaded discussion questions off the Internet and tried to have meaningful discussions about the themes and characters in the book. But it became obvious that our group was destined for a much Higher Purpose.

We were destined to solve the world’s problem under the ruse of being a book club. As we gather together, we usually all have read the chosen book. We take about 10 minutes to discuss what we liked or didn’t like about the book, then the next hour and 50 minutes are spent enjoying fabulous food we have all prepared, sipping the beverage of our choice, and discussing how we can make the world a much better place….well at least through our eyes.

After our original group met for a couple of months, we added MV. We usually rotate whose house me meet at, and, depending upon the book, there may be a theme for the food we are to share. But when the food part got to the seven course meal stage, Jill decided we needed to pare it down a bit and each just bring a small snack.

The name of our book club came about after reading “The Blackberry Tea Club: Women in their Glory Years” by Barbara Herrick, a woman MV had been acquainted with when she lived in Boise. It is a fun book about women in their mid to later years being content with who they are and taking some chances. After reading this book, it made you proud to be in this sisterhood.

MV chose this book because the women in it reminded her of our group. Especially this paragraph that helps the reader understand how the book was titled.

“We've been friends for ten years, last count, starting with conversations late at night at a bar where we sipped Blackberry Tea—a lovely ferment of Triple Sec, Grand Marnier and blackberry tea. We talk children, men, jobs, weight, clothes, food, travel, gossip, politics, medicine, healing, spirituality, adventure, books—the works.”

But, since this is the Silver Valley, we didn’t have Blackberry Tea. Instead MV made us Huckleberry Tea, with all the fancy additions mentioned above. And believe me, a tea cup is all you need of that concoction!

As we started getting a bit more organized and planned ahead what we were going to read, we wanted to have Hastings start ordering our books so we could get the book club discount. We needed a name. Because of the fun we had with the Huckleberry Tea, we decided on the name The Huckleberry Book Club.

Some traditions have evolved in our group as well. When we meet at Christmas each year, we now have a cookie exchange. This year, along with the cookies I shared with the ladies, I composed a special cookie exchange writing to accompany my tasty treats. I got this idea from my sister InlandEmpireGirl, who did the same thing with her cookie exchange. She wrote about the cookie recipe she was sharing with her friends. The writing can be found here.

Last spring, VG moved away, and we had a lovely dinner party for her hosted by JR and her husband at their home, and our husbands were included. It was a wonderful way to say one last goodbye to our very dear friend.

This fall, MG joined our group. She has been a wonderful addition, and today marks our first gathering at her home for book group. She picked the book “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to reading it, because I found another book at the library that day to read, “The Devil in the Junior League” by Linda Francis Lee, a fun look at the social structure of the Junior League deep in the heart of Texas. I read that book, then started my blogging obsession, and didn’t quite get around to reading “Cold Mountain”. Ooops!!

MG prepared quiche and a chocolate dessert, and we all brought something to accompany that menu. I prepared my special potatoes, a dish I created myself where you fry potatoes (preferably red or Yukon gold) in olive oil, and add McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning and cream cheese. You can also fry up some onions first before you add the potatoes. And some days I add a few eggs to the mix. They are DELICIOUS!!!

Our ages range from me in my early forties, to a few early fifties, and a couple in their sixties. How fortunate I am to gather monthly with these women to learn and glean their wisdom and experiences each month.

Today we had a wonderful time at MG’s house. Her quiche was very tasty, and we also had my potatoes, a broccoli salad and an oriental cabbage salad, and some fresh blueberries. MG then served a wonderful chocolate dessert topped with a vanilla ice cream/kahlua mixture that was very tasty. MV brought us all a primrose to help us get in the mood for spring approaching. Which is good because the snow keeps coming down today.

Next month our book will be “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”, written by Kim Edwards. Other book recommendations that were shared today include:

“Amos, You Can’t Ride A Dead Horse” by Stanley Gordon West
“The Sojourner” by Marjorie Kennen Rawlings
“Woman in White” by Wilke Collins
“The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse” by Louise Erdrich
“Composing a Life” by Mary Catherine Bateson
“Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog” by Kay Burns Flory
“The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Time to get off the computer, grab a book and start reading. Let me know if you have any good books you have been reading lately. Our club is always looking for suggestions.

Christmas Cookie Exchange

The following post is a writing I gave to members of my Huckleberry Book Club with our cookies from our Christmas Cookie Exchange last Christmas.

Tonight has been one of those precious Christmas moments. I had an evening home, and I was able to spend it in the kitchen baking treats for five very special ladies and their families. I mixed, and patted, and stirred and melted and dipped, all while listening to the “24-hour all-Christmas Music” radio station and singing along with Alvin and the Chipmunks singing “Christmas Won’t Be Late”, Michael Bolton’s version of “The Christmas Song”, and “Silver Bells”, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “White Christmas”. To top the evening off, I got to sing a duet with James Taylor singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.

The two goodies I am sharing with you come from two parts of my life. The first is the Graham Cracker Toffee Bars. This recipe comes from a cookbook I received while living in Glendive, Montana. Glendive represented a simpler time in my life. In many aspects, my life was built on the foundation started in Glendive. I drove my first car to live in my first apartment and work at my first career in Glendive. The first years of my marriage were spent in Glendive. My first child was born in Glendive. In many aspects, many of my personal beliefs in my Christian faith were formed in Glendive.

This recipe is simple. It has only five ingredients, and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. But the results are very delicious. Please enjoy.

Graham Cracker Toffee Bars

15 to 20 whole graham crackers
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups butter
½ cup pecans or walnuts
1 12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips

Line cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with crackers. Combine butter, sugar and nuts in sauce pan. Cook over high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Pour over crackers. Place chocolate pieces in double boiler and melt over boiling water. Spread evenly over toffee mixture. Cool and cut into bars.

The second recipe is a bit more complicated. There are more ingredients and more steps involved, and the ingredients cost more. I discovered this recipe while visiting my sister this fall, and watching with her one of her favorite cooking shows, “The Barefoot Contessa”. She made this recipe on her show that day, and it looked so good I tracked down the recipe on the Internet and am sharing it with you today.

Just like the recipe, my life is more complicated these days. There are more ingredients, and life costs more, and there are more steps involved. I am on my fourth car now. I am living in my sixth home since being married. This house is bigger, and full of a lot more stuff. I am now on career number seven or so since my first career move in Glendive. I have now spent 20 years with Paul as husband and wife. We now have three children. I am thankful for the things I learned in Glendive regarding my Christian faith, because I often have to lean on those Truths as I wrestle with answers to life’s complicated questions that can often shake my faith.

But often Christmas brings all that is important back into focus. How God sent His Son to be born in a simple manger, to a young, scared girl who realized she was giving birth to the Savior of the world. One of my favorite parts of the Christmas story is after Mary is informed by the angel Gabriel that she is giving birth to God’s son, and Mary is so accepting of what is ahead of her, with her response, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word."

When seemingly impossible or seemingly insurmountable circumstances come my way, I want my response to be like Mary’s, accepting of what life is bringing me, and moving on, realizing the hard times will birth something even greater in the future.

So the Pecan Squares (actually for you they are “Walnut Squares”) are representative of the now, the more complicated life I now lead, with the many aspects and layers I deal with every day. I hope this recipe also brings enjoyment to you and your family this holiday season.

Pecan Squares

Crust: 1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3 extra-large eggs 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt
Topping: 1 pound unsalted butter 1 cup good honey 3 cups light brown sugar, packed 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 1/4 cup heavy cream 2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

I’ve enjoyed our book selection this month, “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. In the spirit of this book, I’d like to make my own entry into my own encyclopedia.

Huckleberries Book Club

This is a group of women I meet with once a month to discuss a book we have read during the previous month. It started out with SD, JR, VG and myself. Later MV was added. VG left us in the spring of 2006, and MG joined us in the fall of 2006. We gather together each month sharing a potpourri of gourmet delights, accompanied by either a glass of red or white wine, coffee or tea. We are lucky if we spend 10 or 15 minutes on the book discussion. The other 1 hour and 50 minutes of our time together is spent solving the world’s problems. I so appreciate these women in my life. We belong to a special tribe….one comprised of readers, thinkers, lovers, friends….each month we provide a shoulder for each other to lean on and share ourselves from the heart. We draw from one anothers lives.

Thanks to all of you for the special part you play in my life. Merry Christmas!!!


Silver Linings--TV on DVD

I would have to say one of the things my family enjoys most for entertainment is DVD’s. And, I think, more than watching movies on DVD, we enjoy watching TV shows on DVD. While watching a TV episode, you don’t have to make the time commitment you do with a movie. There are no commercials—a definite plus!! And you don’t have to wait from week to week to see what happens next.

Another reason we enjoy the TV DVD’s so much is we have chosen not to have Cable TV in our home. And, if you don’t have cable or satellite in the Silver Valley, you don’t have TV reception. So we watch a lot of DVD’s or my mom tapes the shows we like to watch, and we can choose when to watch them, and zip through all the commercials.

One of the only drawbacks to this setup is when I am forced to watch TV in “real time”. It is excruciating having to wait during the commercial breaks. And, I swear, there is never anything on, even if there are 152 channels to choose from!

We have quite a collection of TV shows on DVD. We have the whole collection, seasons one through seven, of The West Wing. It was hard saying goodbye to President Bartlett, Leo, Josh, Toby, C.J. Donna, and all the others, but, fortunately, they now live on my bookshelf and can be revived at any time.

PKR’s sister got us hooked on The Gilmore Girls. What a fun show. I have never watched it on “real time TV”, but I love it, and we now own up to season five. We’ll invest in the other seasons as soon as we can. I just wish Luke and Lorelai would get married already!!

The Princess loves “Family Guy” and “CSI”. She has four seasons of “Family Guy”, and three seasons of “CSI”. This is the original CSI, the one in Las Vegas. She also has the first season of Mad TV.

Kiki Aru has season one of “Monk”. What a great character Tony Shaloub has created in the OCD detective who is brilliant at solving crimes. She also has “The Best and Worst of American Idol”.

Z2 enjoys “The Gilmore Girls” as well.

PKR had a gift card from Barnes and Noble for Christmas, and purchased the first series of the original Mission Impossible series.

For Christmas, I received the first two seasons of the British comedy “As Time Goes By,” a show I used to watch and enjoy when we had public television in Meridian. I have put future seasons on my Netflix Queue. I received and watched season three, but season four has a VERY LONG WAIT. Why all the clamor for season four of an obscure British comedy? Who knows? Maybe Dame Judi Dench has a bigger fan club than I realized.

We also have two “Carol Burnett Show” DVD’s. Nothing beats Dinah Shore singing “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” in a polyester jump suit. On one of these DVD’s we fortunately have the classic skit “Went With The Wind”, with the classic scene of Carol Burnett descending the stairs with the curtain rod over her shoulder and the drapes tied around her. I saw it when it originally was aired, and it still makes me laugh so hard I cry every time I see it.

Currently, I am making my way through the first season of NCIS. Mark Harmon is really good looking. And he smiled a lot more in the first season, was a bit more playful. Recently, Jethro Gibbs has become a bit moody.

Well, I have to go. Another Naval Officer is in trouble and NCIS is ready to solve the case….besides, I want to see Mark Harmon smile one more time!!!


The Coming of the Black Robes

The coming of the Jesuit priests to the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe would prove to be one of the most providential encounters in the tribe's history. Their encounter would change the tribe's view of their world, and their culture. Some of the changes were good, some were not so good. But it ultimately helped them prepare for what would be their destiny of moving to reservation land and farming to make a living.

The following is taken from a December 2005 issue of "The Prospector", the newsletter of the Idaho State Historical Society's Junior Historian Program. The following article was written by Glenn Newkirk.

Before the European settlers arrived in America many different types of religious beliefs already existed among the Native Americans. Many of the tribes still practice their traditional religions today. But in some cases, the arrival of the Europeans and their religious beliefs changed the way Native Americans practiced religion. This is the story of the arrival of Jesuit missionaries in the northern Idaho area and how this changed the lives not just of the Native Americans but also of the Jesuits. When two groups of strangers start to live, work, eat and pray together they sometimes create a common culture between the two.

The Jesuits were founded as an order of the Roman Catholic Church in 1534. They thought that education was one of the most important goals in life and built many schools. They became excellent teachers and had little trouble “roughing it” in the wilderness of America because they lived modest lives, without a lot of material goods. The Jesuits were known for dressing in simple, ankle length dark robes. This is where their nickname, the black robes, comes from.

The Jesuits came to Northern Idaho in a rather indirect way. Around 1820, a group of Iroquois Indians who were working for the Hudson’s Bay Fur Company visited western Montana. Several of the Iroquois stayed after they had finished their work and began living among the Salish Indians. As the men settled in, they started to share their ancestors and history. The Iroquois Nation has roots in the eastern part of America and so some of the Iroquois already had met the “black robes”. The Salish and the neighboring Nez Perce, fascinated by the stories, started planning to have some of the “black robes” come and live among them.

It took about ten years, but in 1841, Father Pierre Jean Desmet and several other Jesuits arrived in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. They built a small settlement called St. Mary’s and encouraged the Salish people to settle nearby and take up farming. Soon other Indian tribes in the area, including the Coeur d’Alene, heard of the arrival of the “black robes” and came to see for themselves what all the excitement was about.

In 1842 Jesuit missionary Father Nicholas Point entered what is now Idaho and began living among the Coeur d’Alene and in 1843, the first Jesuit settlement in Idaho was built. The humble mission stood on the point where the St. Joe River and Lake Coeur d’Alene met. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a poor location. During the spring thaw the mission often flooded and swarms of mosquitoes were a common nuisance. Still, Father Point went about his work diligently. He encouraged the Indians to take up farming and taught them the rituals and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. His hard work paid off. Within a couple of years, over one hundred Coeur d’Alene became Christians. This does not mean that they necessarily gave up their religious beliefs or way of life, although that may have happened in some cases. More likely, the Coeur d’Alene adopted only some of the Jesuit’s beliefs, mixing them with their own cultural traditions.

Eventually, the decision was made to relocate the mission and the rest of the community to higher ground along the Coeur d’Alene River just west of the present day town of Cataldo. This new location turned out to be much better than expected. Not only was the mission safe from spring flooding, but it turned out to be a crossroads of sorts for many travelers who stopped to rest, eat and share stories with the community. The Mission moved once again in 1877 to its current location on the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene, but the Cataldo Mission is still standing. Although neither the tribe nor the Jesuits live there today, the building has been preserved and is open for daily visitors.

Life at the mission was an interesting mix of cultures. The Coeur d’Alene people lived by hunting and gathering their food from the wild. The tribe had no written language, but instead used a system of oral storytelling to pass information from generation to generation. And, of course, the Coeur d’Alene people had their own religious beliefs that included plants, animals, and land around them. The Jesuits, on the other hand, believed that farming skills were essential to civilization. Their schools emphasized the art of reading and writing. And the Christian religion they practiced came from much different traditional beliefs developed across the ocean in Europe. The story of the Jesuit missions in Idaho isn’t just about historic buildings. It is a tale of two different groups of people living together in the harsh wilderness of early Idaho.


Three Toots!!

Usually I tell the stories here, but here is a chance for you to tell your story, if you have one.

My brother, Raymond Pert, had/has a student at Lane Community College whose grandparents or great grandparents (some relative anyway) helped run a small gas station at the bottom of Page, a small town between Pinehurst and Smelterville. The name of the station was Three Toots. When it was operating, it was located on then Idaho Highway #10. Now we just call it "the old road".

My questions is, does anyone know the real story of how this gas station was named?

My mother has been asking all the old timers in the valley she can think of for the answer, and I think of the 15 people she has asked, she has gotten 15 different stories.

Anyone think they know the true story behind Three Toots in the Silver Valley. Please comment if you do.


Tuesday night in the Silver Valley

So what is going on in our home tonight in the beautiful Silver Valley?

The Princess is working on her online course with PKR. She attends 4 periods at Kellogg High School, and then takes online courses as well. It is a system that works well for her, and students are fortunate these days they have many different options of earning their high school diploma. I am a firm believer in public school education, but I also believe it doesn't work for everyone, and that we are fortunate that our children have many different options, from Richard McKenna High School, the online school my daughter takes classes from, IDLA that PKR uses at Silver Valley Alternative School, the valley's alternative high school, and many good home schooling programs, not to mention private schools, if you choose that route. Here is PKR and The Princess working on U.S. History.

Z2 is putting the finishing touches on her cricket she is making for her 7th grade science project at Kellogg Middle School. With the help of her dad and myself, we found enough materials to construct this 3-D creature that will soon join many others in the insect kingdom and hang from the ceiling in her science room. She also put her cricket in its' habitat, so hopefully she will earn an extra 20 bonus points.

Valentine's Day has been extended by a week at 5th grader Kika Aru's school because it was shut down last week due to 41 percent of the students and teachers missing because of a nasty flu bug. So tommorow is the day they get their Valentine's parties. I helped Kiki Aru make a very original valentine for her classmates. She is giving her classmates "Cupid Poop".

Here is what the card says:

I couldn't send you flowers
and candy wouldn't do
and mushy cards just didn't
say the things I want them to.
So I got you something special
and here's the inside scoop
I found you something very rare
it's genuine Cupid poop!

I hope her 5th grade classmates like it!!


Love Letter From God

Last Tuesday I was asked to share at our MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) group that we have at our church every month. The topic was suppose to center on love and Valentine's Day.

In preparing for this talk, the song "Jesus Loves Me" kept going through my head. As I shared with the mothers at the gathering, I shared the words to the song, and asked them if they really believed the words to that song.

"Is it a song you just teach your kids, or do you really believe the words when they tell you that Jesus Loves You because the Bible tells you so?"

Then I shared with them "A Love Letter From God." It is a letter someone has put together paraphrasing about 50 verses from the Bible that focus on what God thinks about you. You can find it here.

And look here for more about God's love.

See what happens to your outlook on life if you listen or read this love letter the first thing in the morning. I believe your life will change.

Silver Linings--Sleepin' In

A-h-h-h-h-h-h. The quietness of a house of sleeping girls.

It is almost noon, and my three daughters are still sleeping. Yes, we tend to encourage sleeping in at our house. They don't have school today, so they get to rest. Plus, there has been this nasty bug going around that shut down the elementary school where my youngest daughter, Kiki Aru attends. Last Tuesday there were 41 % of the students and teachers gone from the school, so they shut it down and they will return tomorrow. Fortunately, no one in our family has gotten it. Thank you, Lord!! I stayed home today from work, because I have been fighting off a cold, and a sore throat, so I don't want to take any chances.

My oldest daughter, The Princess, is one of the better sleepers in our home. It is a hobby with her. Middle daughter Z2 is learning the art of sleeping in. Plus, she is the one with the sore throat yesterday, so let her rest. Kiki Aru, the youngest daughter, does not want to be sick, and takes pride in the fact she never misses school. I am surprised she hasn't woken up yet. Wait, I just heard her door open. It doesn't surprise me that she is the first one up, even though the clock says 11:59 a.m. Wait, I hear some coughing downstairs. Must be Z2. Not sure if she is actually out of bed, but I do hear her. Ah, she makes her appearance. But, unfortunately, she is stuffed up this morning.

PKR also slept in, which is a real rarity in his life. Didn't use to be, but anymore, his sleeping in days are few and far between. Today he didn't get up until about 10:30.

I slept in until 8 a.m., which is sleeping in for me. Then I had about 2 1/2 hours of complete quiet until PKR joined me. Quiet mornings are one of my favorite things.

Approaching the Portals of our Domain

At the end of my former post, Chief Twisted Earth spoke these words:

"You have seen now the first of them to come. And as I was instructed many years ago by my father, Circling Raven, I met them with my wise counsellors when they approached the portals of our domain."

The Chief was referring to the encounter he and two others had with the Corps of Discovery on May 6, 1806. This story, from the Coeur d' Alene Tribe's point of view, is told on a wonderful website titled The Lewis and Clark Rediscovery Project at http://l3.ed.uidaho.edu/Sites/ShowOneSite.asp?SiteID=50.

Below is their story.


Upon their return trip from the Pacific coast, near the confluence of the Clearwater and Potlatch rivers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and the Corps of Discovery camped with the Nimíipuu. Not unlike any other day, there were other visitors in camp as well. On this day, May 6th, 1806, William Clark and three Schitsu'umsh first set eyes upon each other. Based upon the resulting exchanges, the journal entries of Lewis and Clark record some 120 Skeet-so-mish lodges with "Probable No. of Souls" of 2000 (Thwaites 1904-05 (6):119). Also referred to was "Waytom Lake" (Lake Coeur d'Alene) which is "10 days around it, has 2 Islands and is 7 days from the Chopunnish" (Thwaites 1904-05 (5):94).

While a couple of Schitsu'umsh families have kept the knowledge of this meeting alive for generations within their family's oral histories, for most Schitsu'usmh of 1806 the actual encounter was of little immediate concern. There is no recollection of a great council of elders held to discuss the event. Like so many other tribes along the Lewis and Clark trail, knowledge of the "strange people" from the east and their coming west was well known and anticipated long before their actual arrival. As long as the suyepmsh (white people; swiywiyepmsh refers to the plural form; sometimes hear: suuyapi) respected the ways of the Schitsu'usmh there would be no need for alarm.

Nevertheless, while the encounter was brief, the long term consequences were pervasive and would continue to reverberate in the lives of the Schitsu'umsh. The lands of the Skeet-so-mish would soon be frequented and inhabited by many more Euro-Americans. A door was opened wide to a new and most challenging chapter in the history of the Schitsu'umsh. An alarm was sounded, but much too late.
We invite you to continue your journey with us as we explore many of the specific consequences resulting from the encounter with the Corps of Discovery and their aftermath, as well as the broader repercussions associated when two very distinct cultural traditions collide.

For example, what are the effects for an indigenous people such as the Schitsu'umsh of having their sovereign rights undermined, or of being forced to accept an alien religion, or an alien way of determining property and land ownership, or even an alien way of coming to know the world?
We certainly cannot and will not speak for the experiences of other Indian tribes, but our hope is that by addressing some of these larger issues, you will better appreciate the struggles faced, as well as the aspirations dreamed in Indian country today following those fortuitous meetings during 1805 and 1806.

Below is the journal entry William Clark wrote about the encounter:

Journal Entry
On May 6th, 1806, near the confluence of the Potlatch and Clearwater rivers, William Clark wrote these words in his journal:

"at this place we met with three men of a nation called Skeets-so-mish [Schitsu'umsh] who reside at the falls of a large river dis[c]harging itself into the Columbia on it's East side to the North of the entrance of Clark's [Fork] river. this river they informed us headed in a large lake [Coeur d'Alene] in the mountains and that the falls below which they reside was at no great distance from the lake. these people are the same in their dress and appearance with the Chopunnish [Nez Perce], tho' their language is entirely different, a circumstance which I did not learn untill we were about to set out and it was then too late to take a Vocabulary." (Thwaites 1904-05 (4):363).
It would be another 40 years until another significant encounter with the white man would come to the Schitsu'umsh. This would be with the Black Robes.


Circling Raven's Vision

Artwork by Brooklyn Baptiste, Nez Perce

Most people in North Idaho are familiar with the name "Circling Raven" because it is the name of the golf course at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley. But I'm not sure when this Schitsu'umsh chief had a vision hundreds of years ago that the casino and golf course were a part of what he saw.

This is one of my favorite stories about the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. I think because it has such a connection to the Cataldo Mission. In the book, "Beneath These Mountains", by Russell A. Bankson and Lester S. Harrison, the first chapter retells Chief Twisted Earth telling his son Tecomtee of his father Chief Circling Raven's prophesy.

"It was prophesied to me by your grandfather, Chief Circling Raven (unfortunately, the authors had the name wrong. They refer to him as Circulating Raven, but we now know different.) many years ago, even when I was very young like you, my son, that these strange people with the white skins, would come. In the time of my father, and his father before him, and his father before him, it was prophesied that these people would come from far away across the great waters, where the rising of the sun begins.

It was prophesied even in my time by the great and venerable Chief Circling Raven, my father, who was gifted of the Gods to know and understand the future. He saw that these white skinned ones would come first in small numbers and then in ever increasing numbers, and that there would be a time when they would seek to take our native lands from us by trickery or by violence. They would come carrying long sticks filled with the thunder of their Gods, against which no arrow nor spear could stand.

It was told to me that we must not pit our puny strength against their mighty power, lest we would be destroyed, every one, to the last man, woman and child. It was taught that when they come, we should meet them with offers of peace.

I have not told you this before because of the tenderness of your years. But now you stand on the threshold of manhood, and there will come that time when I, too, will be old and my spirit will depart from my body to join those of our ancestors.

The prophet, Circling Raven, wisely ruled our people for an hundred years from the time that is called 1660 to 1760, when at the age of 150 years his spirit departed. Then I, at the age of twelve years, was called upon to rule our people with the council of our sub-chiefs. This I have done now for 45 years.

I would now also tell you of other revelations and prophesies which were given to me by my venerable father, all of which are relieved and reverenced by our people.

He saw in his visions the birth many centuries ago of a great Savior of all the peoples of the earth. And he visioned the cruel death of this Savior at the hand of those who would not believe.

He saw the coming of emissaries of our Savior, and they were dressed in black robes, bringing the true words of hope for all peoples. They will come and they will teach us the ways of friendship with those who follow, so that there will be understanding among us.

For an hundred years your grandfather searched through the mountains and the canyons of our land for the Black Robes. And I have since searched diligently. Then one day three ravens possessed of the spirit of your grandfather, the prophet, flew to my teepee and sat upon the ridgepole. And they spoke to me in the tongue of my father, saying to have great patience and strong belief, for it would be from fifty to sixty years before the Black Robes arrived.

I, my son, know in my heart that they will come, but it may be after I have departed from my body. So I charge you that if you then are Chief of our people, you will receive them and believe them as they will bring the true words of faith.

But before the Black Robes, there will come many people with the pale skins. And this I charge you, my son, that when they come, we who possess this land can make peace with these strangers who destroy life with the thunder of the Gods.

You have seen now the first of them to come. And as I was instructed many years ago by my father, Circling Raven, I met them with my wise counsellors when they approached the portals of our domain."


The Condo Explosion

The Silver Valley is experiencing growth, as least in construction. I am daily reminded of it as I look out my front window, and my landscape has changed from viewing the hills around Kellogg to now having an up close and personal view of Phase III of the condominiums at the Morning Star Lodge at Silver Mountain. Workers seem to be working around the clock to finish the construction on this phase.

Now, I'm not praising or blasting this growth. I wouldn't be in the lovely home I live in now if it weren't for the new developement. Our former home was bought out by condo builders to tear down so condo's could be built. I think it is just the newness of it all.

As I left Kellogg yesterday, heading to Pinehurst to pick up middle daughter, Z2, I glanced to my right toward McDonalds, and the sign on the building that used to say "Taco Express" now says something like "Alpine Village Resort Condominium Sales". In the paper this morning, the front page news is about a grand opening being held today for the sales of theses condos. These are located uptown on Ohio Avenue, I think behind the also being remodeled McConnel Hotel (which houses one of the coolest coffee shops in uptown Kellogg. As a child, the McConnel Hotel always kind of scared me, because it always looked run down, and the people who hung out there were scary looking. It is nice to see this building get a new face lift.)

When I arrived in Pinehurst, I was quite surprised by the new building that has risen up at the old KOA Campground. This one does pull at my heartstrings a bit, because the KOA has done a wonderful job since the summer we moved back here in 2000, hosting a 4th of July celebration and fireworks show. It had become a family tradition. Now, the beautiful campground is being changed. And the building is right up against the park, too. Well, it caught me off guard, and I'm not sure I like it.

The new Bee Hive Homes on the main street in Pinehurst look beautiful.

Z2 was at her friend's home in Pinehurst working on their upcoming History Day project. Her friend's aunt was a friend of mine in grade school, and I remember going to this house when I was younger, because her grandparents lived in this house. As soon as I drove down the street and spotted the house, I remembered. It is funny, but one vivid memory from that time at this house was watching Elton John and Kiki Dee singing "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" on TV.

Okay, back to the new construction. Another development from the paper this week is Shoshone County putting an emergency moratorium on any development in the county (not including inside city limits) so they can take some time to review county ordinances that have not been updated in over 20 years. One of the county commisioners launching this moratorium is newly elected commissioner Vince Rinaldi. I have know Vince my whole life, and he is now a neighbor. I have talked to him in the past regarding growth in the Silver Valley, and I believe he has a nice, balanced approach to the situation, and has good ideas to help the county plan and manage growth.

What blows my thinking about all of this is the plans Silver Mountain is planning around the new golf course and up on the mountain. Will people really come and fill up all those proposed houses, condos and hotels? I guess only time will tell. But it boggles the mind!!


Silver Linings--Sword Fight

PKR and I are currently rehearsing for the upcoming production at the Sixth Street Theater in Wallace called "Madame's Been Murdered, Tea Will Be Late", a British murder mystery comedy. We have been rehearsing since the beginning of January, and have two weeks to go until opening night.

One of the highlights of the play has been the sword fight. My character, Matilda Trent, and PKR's character, Bobby Totter, the nephew of the aunts who own the manor house now turned quaint little inn, find themselves swordfighting to prove if either of them is the murderer. Last night at practice, one of the director's family was present, and you could tell they enjoyed watching the sword fight.

I also enjoy speaking in an English accent during the play. And learning a character. I haven't done a play for many years. I have done some of the musical theater, and a melodrama, but not a play for quite some time. It has been a wonderful experience, and one that comes very naturally for me. I do want to work on more character development in the next two weeks. Karin, one of our directors, who is a professional actress from Los Angelas, gave a great tip. She said to give your character a story, come up with parents, and a life for the character before the play happens, and that helps her develop the character. Very good advice.

If we can just get the timing right on this play, things will fall together. But it seems like we can never get our cast to all be there at the same time. We have our first dress rehearsal on Friday the 23rd, and then another on March 1st with opening night on March 2nd.

If you are in the Silver Valley March 2,3,4,8,9,10,11,16,17,or 18, please call for ticket reservations and come see the production. I believe you will be highly entertained. For more information go to http://www.sixthstreetmelodrama.com.


Silver Linings--Valentine's Day Songs 2/14/2007

Good things are always happening around the Silver Valley. These are those "Silver Linings" you find in every day life. When I share about those wonderful happenings around here, I will refer to them as my Silver Linings.

Today my husband joined three other men to spread Valentine's Day love across the Silver Valley by performing singing Valentine's. I was one of the fortunate recipients at work today. Not only was I serenaded by these gentlemen, but I also received a balloon, a card and a box of chocolates. It was very nice.

Then I enjoyed hearing PK's (my husband) thoughts on his afternoon and evening of singing. More than once he brought a tear to the recipients eyes. Some of the singing was planned and paid for. Some the group had time to kill, so they just sang to those around them. They stopped in at the Silver Spoon for dinner, and delighted more than one table with their songs. One girls, about 5 or 6, was all dressed up in her valentine's dress, and received a song. PK sang to one of his former students and her mother.

PK felt their group had done something good this Valentine's Day....spreading love in a special and unique way around the Silver Valley.


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Idaho's Oldest Building

Today I accompanied my husband and two of my daughters to some friend's home for a Super Bowl party. They live up above Canyon School in "the Canyon". On our way to the party, we passed the oldest building in the state of Idaho, The Cataldo Mission. I am fascinated with the history of this building and the people who lived there, worked there, and worshiped there. In the upcoming days, I am going to share some information about the mission, and some of the stories I have read about this fascinating building.


The First Inhabitants of the Silver Valley

Often the "discovery" of the Silver Valley is attributed to fur traders, or John Mullan, or Andrew Pritchard, or Noah Kellogg, along with other white men who passed through this area. But they were not the first to enjoy the beautiful mountain, rivers and meadows of the area in North Idaho. No, like most of the United States, it was the Native Americans who first inhabited this land. And it is with the Schitsu'umsh that the history of the Silver Valley and her stories begin.

To find out more about the Schitsu'umsh, or the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, and they are more now commonly known, to to their official website at

On this website you can find out the past, present and future of the tribe. Right now my interests are in the past. Here is an excerpt from the website:

Because there was always a commitment to the future, so will there always be a commitment to the past. The modern Coeur d' Alene Tribe is the sum of uncounted centuries and of untold generations. In the tribe's own ancient language, it is called Schitsu'umsh, meaning "Those who are found here," or "The discovered people." In this remains a land abundant in beauty and resources, a legacy of leadership, and a lineage that continues from time immemorial. The Coeur d' Alene's are who they always were and who they will always be.

Below is a map of the original Aboriginal Territory that spanned more than 5 million acres of todays Washington, Oregon and Montana. As you can see, the Silver Valley is right in the middle.

There is a book titled "Red Thunder" by David Matheson that is a fictional account of the Schitsu'umsh. It is a good story, and gives a good perspective on the tribal life before encounters with the white man. I enjoyed looking at the maps and figuring out where places were they he wrote about when the tribe was in the land that is now the Silver Valley. If I remember correctly, they had had summer camp in what is now Kingston. And what is now I-90 was simliar to the trail they used to travel to what is now Montana to hunt buffalo.

I often like to let my imagination wander, and think about what it must have been like when the Schitsu'umsh roamed the hills, creeks, meadows and rivers of this valley. When I am around Coeur d'Alene Lake I often like to "listen" to the Schitsu'umsh rowing their canoes across the lake and singing their songs. How beautiful the lake must have been in those days.


Happy Groundhog Day!

No shadow seen by the groundhog today in my backyard. Looks like an early spring in the Silver Valley. Which may not be a good thing when you enjoy two ski resorts within half an hour of each other. Believe it or not, the above picture is a color picture, not black and white. It was of a recent dump of snow here in my back yard. Just so much snow, you don't see a lot of color.
Today is the day to start my blog. My brother, at www.kelloggbloggin.blogspot.com has inspired me the last few months by his daily posts regarding growing up in the Silver Valley, his three beautiful things, and his new digital photography hobby. But what I have got the most out of his blog is getting to know him on a whole new level.

I guess that is what I want to accomplish with my blog. I want my readers to get to know the Silver Valley on a whole new level. Through my eyes. I love the stories about this area, and there are many. When I used to be a local journalist, my favorite stories were the human interest pieces about people who lived and grew up here, and the stories they would share.

I hope to share some of those on this blog. I also want to share some of my experiences about my daily living in the Silver Valley. Also my observations about living here. And share other people's observations about living here.

So welcome. I hope to hear from others who love the Silver Valley as much as I, and maybe I'll even get a few converts who want to come check this place out sometime. Yes, the fact we are a Super Fund Site is part of the history of this area, but there is so much more to know about us here. Enjoy!