Last stop....Baltimore, Maryland

On my trip back east with Z2 a few weeks ago, we spent five days in Washington D.C., then spent the last two days in Baltimore, Maryland.

The harbor area has been recently renovated and has lots of shops and restaurants.

But what is Baltimore famous for? Fresh crab. So I wanted fresh crab. Well, after crashing a taking a nap for a few hours, Z2 and I got up and looked at the map, and I found a place about 10-15 blocks down the harbor that had fresh crab. So we headed out on foot. It is about 8 p.m. at night.
One of the first places we saw on our walk was an Irish pub. I told Z2 if she hadn't been with me, I may have gone in and checked it out. It was named after James Joyce, and it sounded kind of cool.
As we kept walking toward the restaurant, we were in a neighborhood with houses really close to each other with stoops out front. I think they are called row houses, maybe. When we walked by one of these buildings, Z2 got really excited because there was a table outside one of the doors with a chess table on it, and two old men playing chess. She thought it was just like something you'd see in a movie.

When we were about five blocks into our walk, I stopped and wondered if this was such a wise thing to do. This was uncharted territory for us. But I guess we are more adventurous than I thought, because we kept walking.

We made it to the restaurant, and actually ate at the wrong one, but that's okay. We did get crab, but not sure how fresh it was.

We headed back and toyed with the idea of hailing a taxi, but we had no idea how one goes about doing that, so we walked.

I headed us up a few street too far at one point, and as we were walking down the street there was a big police station, so that made me feel pretty good. But then we got to the crosswalk, and on the side of the building across the street it said "videos, lingerie and books" I figured we shouldn't keep walking that way, so we took a left past the "Gospel Mission" (another red flag), and told Z2 to now walk quickly.
Most of this area actually seemed safe, but we did go down one street with a vacant lot, and, as we got closer to this vacant lot, a big black rat scurried across the road into the lot, carrying a plastic grocery bag. The rat was about the size of our pomeranian Sadie. You gotta love the city!!

Well, I got us back on track, and we made it back to our hotel safe and sound. That was our evening in Baltimore.

The next day we visited a special piece of American history. More on this special visit in another post....


It's SHOWTIME folks!!!!

As you may have noticed, I haven't ventured into the blog world much this past week. The above picture is the main reason I have been missing.

Most of my free time has been taken up preparing for the upcoming July Production of the Sixth Street Melodrama in Wallace, Idaho.

The name of the play is "Nightmare at Dream Gulch, or...Wake Me When It's Over." The whole production is a family affair.

I wrote the script for the play. PKR is directing the play. PKR, The Princess and myself are all acting in the production, and are joined by fellow cast members Vickie Weil, Kyle Pettis and Don Sauer. Z2 and Kiki Aru are our backstage crew.

The play is based on a true story from the Gold Rush in Murray, Idaho, a small town up the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River. (About 20 miles from Kellogg.)

The story is about a preacher named Floyd Davis who comes into Murray and spends a few weeks learning about gold mining, then buys his supplies and heads out into the hills around Murray. About six weeks later he returns with gold, and tells a story about having a dream for many nights in a row, telling him if he came to Murray he would find riches. So he came to Murray and followed the landmarks from the dream, and found Dream Gulch, which still actually exists on the outskirts of Murray.

An actual account of this story is found in The Murray Sun, the newspaper published in Murray during that time. I read this story in the book "Beneath These Mountains".

After intermission, the cast then performs Kelly's Alley Revue, a set of musical numbers both funny and serious to entertain the audience.

The theater is located in Wallace, Idaho. The building the theater is located in is one of the oldest buildings in town. It was one of the only wooden buildings to survive the fire of 1910, that came through and destroyed most of the town of Wallace. Most of the other buildings in the town were rebuilt in brick. The theater was also a former bordello, and, if you look up at the pressed tin ceiling in the lobby, you can see original bullet holes from those "historic" days.

Our opening night is Thursday, July 5th, and we perform Wednesday through Sunday through July 29th, with performances on Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and matinees are at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

If you are looking for some fun entertainment this summer, and want to come to Wallace, I encourage you to come and check us out. I think you will really enjoy yourself.

For more information about the theater, go to www.sixthstreetmelodrama.com.

The Grandma Bushnell Rose

This rose belonged to my husband PKR's Great Grandma Bushnell. Her son Wayne had it in his yard, then PKR's Aunt Susie got a cutting for her yard here in Kellogg.

When Aunt Susie and Uncle Ralph moved this spring, we were fortunate enough to get to take the rose and transplant in our front yard flower bed next to the house.This rose is blooming for the first time this week. If someone from Meridian is reading this, could you please make sure Susie sees this post so she can see the pictures of the rose in bloom.

This rose is a symbol of the uniting of PKR's family and my own. Our families started way before we were married.

My Grandma Woolum lived in a duplex here in Kellogg, and next door Mrs. Bushnell lived with her children Wayne and Naydeen. (Naydeen is PKR's grandma). I would say this was sometime in the late 1920's or early 1930's.

I remember Grandma Woolum telling me stories after PKR and I were dating about remembering PKR's Grandpa Paul Taylor "courting" Naydeen on the front porch of the duplex. My Grandma spoke fondly of Mrs. Bushnell, and I think enjoyed being her neighbor.

Another connection before PKR and I were married was Uncle Wayne and my dad. For many years they both worked at the Bunker Hill Zinc Plant together, and Wayne would pick Dad up for work every morning around 7 a.m.

Wayne's wife Charlotte was a teacher, and I had her for seventh grade English at Kellogg Junior High School.

And now we have this rose to remind us of the wonderful connections that have been made over the years here in the Silver Valley.

#85--My Tree--A View From Down Under

It is not enough for us to prostrate ourselves under the tree which is Creation, and to contemplate its tremendous branches filled with stars. We have a duty to perform, to work upon the human soul, to defend the mystery against the miracle, to worship the incomprehensible while rejecting the absurd; to accept, in the inexplicable, only what is necessary; to dispel the superstitions that surround religion—to rid God of His Maggots.
- Victor Hugo


#84--My Tree--Rolling on into Summer

And so the seasons went rolling on into summer,
as one rambles into higher and higher grass.
- Henry David Thoreau


Camp was my own Damascus Road

When Raymond Pert gave the next sibling assignment to write about summer camp, two experiences came to mind.

The first one I thought of, I rejected, because it was too sad and depressing. It would be like reading the script to “Mean Girls II”. That was my one and only experience attending Camp Neewahlu, a Camp Fire Girls camp on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

So, I decided to go with the second story. Because this week of camp was a turning point in my life…in fact it changed my life forever.

It was the first time I attended Pine Acres Camp, a church camp sponsored by Meridian Gospel Tabernacle, a church in Meridian, Idaho. I was 18 at the time. The camp was located outside of Donnelly, Idaho at a 4-H camp along the shore of Cascade Lake.

I had always gone to church growing up, and was involved in youth group, and church choir, and I prayed and read the Bible. But it was pretty much on my terms, and I just went to church to see what I could get out of it for me.

The first time I attended church camp, it was similar to Saul who was struck down by God’s Holy Spirit on the road to Damascus. His whole life changed, and he became Paul and he was blinded for a few days until God removed the "scales" from his eyes.

For me, my sign was how I spoke. Overall, I was a pretty good kid in high school. I didn’t party, I was home on time, and I got pretty good grades. But I did swear more than I thought I should have, and I could tell pretty good dirty jokes. But the swearing started bothering me, and I felt like I shouldn’t talk that way anymore. I tried to stop, but it was such a bad habit that I couldn’t quit myself.

One day at church camp, one of the speakers spoke about how we were like a house, and Jesus could come in and clean out the different “rooms” in our house…or something like that. Whatever was said really spoke to me, and I was overcome with tears toward the end of the service, and really felt like there was a lot of repentance that day, as well as grace, mercy and forgiveness shown me by the Lord.

I’m not sure when I realized it, but one big change for me from that moment on was I didn’t swear anymore. I didn’t have to work at it, it just happened. Before, even saying “god” as a slang word bothered me, but I didn’t even do that any more. It was completely gone. My mind didn’t even think that way anymore.

For me, it is a reminder that God is real, and cares about even small things in our lives, and that he will take them away in the blink of an eye.

PKR and I were walking the dogs tonight and praying about many things, and one thing he prayed about was for God to intrude on our lives, like He did with Mary, the mother of Jesus, or like with Saul, who then became Paul.
God intruded upon my thinking patterns that week at camp, and completely changed the way I looked at life.

Growing up, when I went to church, I would go for what I could get out of it.

After church camp, I wanted to know what I could do for God.

People in our church call this experience I had the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

For me it isn’t a weird or freaky thing…it was and continues to be a way God moves on my life to give me power to live my life according to His plan, not my own.

And, it works for me. I find it a privilege to be able to talk with and have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

It isn’t that I’m special…..He wants to talk to us all…if we’ll just be open.

I love this picture, because it reminds me of what happened to me at camp.

Jesus knocked on the door to my heart, and I let him in, and, since I opened that door, nothing was ever the same again.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8


Three Things...but only if you are curious

I was over at Crafty Green Poet's blog, and she had written about the 'three things' meme.

I decided to take a break from writing about my recent trip and do this instead tonight.

So, here goes.

Three jobs I’ve had:

1. Director of Admissions and Public Relations at a Community College

2. Radio Announcer

3. Newspaper Reporter/Photographer

Three places I’ve lived:

1. Glendive, Montana

2. Arrowhead Springs, California

3. Meridian, Idaho

Three places I’d like to visit which I’ve never been:

1. The British Isles

2. France

3. New York City

Three most unforgettable places I’ve been on holiday:

1. Los Angelas, California

2. Washington, D.C.

3. Oregon Coast

Three things that bring me comfort:

1. Going to church

2. Cuddling with my husband

3. Sharing a meal and visiting with my family

Three of the most memorable books I read last year:

1. Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks

2. Mademoiselle Benior by Christine Conrad

3. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Three books that I started because I felt I ought to, but didn’t finish:

1. I can't think of any.....



Three songs that give me goosebumps:

1. Rhapsody in Blue By George Gershwin

2. The "Rocky" Theme

3. Pachebel's Canon in D

Three loved films from my childhood.

1. The Wizard of Oz

2. The Sound of Music

3. White Christmas

Three things I didn’t do as a child that I wish I had:

1. learned a foriegn language

2. learned to play the piano

3. paid more attention when adults were telling stories

Three things I’d like to do that I haven’t done yet:

1. finish my novel

2. see a musical on Broadway

3. act in a Shakespearean play

If you want to join in, please feel free! Leave a comment here so I know where to find your answers!


Arlington National Cemetery

One of the reasons I made a trip to Arlington National Cemetery last week was an unfortunate one. It was to visit the grave of an old friend.
Brad Conner was killed in action in Iraq on May 9, 2007. He was a 20 year Army Veteran and a Sergeant Major in the Army Special Forces "Green Beret". His grave was only a few weeks old when we visited, so he doesn't have one of the trademark white grave markers yet. But there were some rocks laid on his grave with special messages from family and friends.

He was part of a group of kids who hung out during the summers I was in college.

The war wasn't personal until I heard of Brad's death. Now the war seems much more real, and I think I understand more the sacrifice of the soldiers and their families. A little bit anyway. I don't think, unless he was my husband, brother, son or best friend, can I truly understand the loss of any of the soldier's lives.
As you walk through the acres and acres of white stone slabs at Arlington National Cemetery, the reality of war is even more clear.
The changing of the guard at "The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" is moving.

The quotes around the John F. Kennedy site
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility
- I welcome it. John F. Kennedy
and the eternal flame give cause for pause and reflection...

as does the simple grave marker for Robert F. Kennedy. While at the cemetery, we heard gun salutes as graveside services were performed.
It is common practice to put rocks or stones on top of the grave markers of those been who were killed in Iraq. Does anyone know the significance of this?
Across the lane from where Brad's gravemarker was, they were excavating some land. It made me and my two companions wonder if they are preparing land for more space to bury the dead. I hope that wasn't the reason.
I am thankful for the soldiers who have fought over the years in the wars to defend our freedom...but we must never forget that it comes with high price.

As we express our gratitude,
we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them.
John F. Kennedy

#83--My Tree--Arlington Magnolia

I have always thought magnolias were beautiful. So I was very excited when I kept seeing them on our trip. This picture was taken on a tree in Arlington National Cemetery. And they had such a lovely aroma.


White House Lawn Surprise

The night before we were going to leave Washington D.C. to travel to Balitmore, myself and two of my roommates wanted to go look at the White House, because we hadn't had a chance yet to see it up close and personal.
We walked from the Metro station in a downpour, with lightening overhead, and thunder clapping all around us.
The closest spot to see the White House is around back. Unfortunately it is fairly well protected and fenced off, but you get this view (above) from the back.
But seeing the White House wasn't the thing that excited me most that evening.
I am proud to say that I am 43 years old, and I can still get excited about little simple pleasures.
What excited me the most was seeing something that evening I had always heard of, but never seen with my own eyes.
I saw my very first fireflies flitting around on the White House lawn.
How cool is that, to see your very first firefly, on the White House lawn.
It was definately a highlight of the trip. Really. It was exciting. I live in a part of the country where fireflies do not exist, except in our imaginations or memories.
I tried to get a good picture of them, but it was very difficult to get them to stop and pose. They are probably so tired of all the photos taken around them each day, that it is understandable they were a little camera shy.
So, sorry President Bush. Your residence was upstaged by God's beautiful creation...
the firefly.
Next door to the White House and Oval Office is the Executive Office Building (or EOB as I heard it being referred to on The West Wing).
What a beautiful building. It was stunning.
It is now named in honor of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Such architecture. Absolutely breathtaking.

#82--My Tree--Flourishing Tree

A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
Proverbs 11:28


In My Room

'There's a place where I can go and tell my secrets to

In My Room

In My Room"

I can't remember how old I was when I moved from the downstairs bedroom in our home to the upstairs bedroom that I shared with my sister.

There were two rooms upstairs at our house.

One was the bedroom.

The other room we referred to as "the hall". The hall was the room at the top of the stairs with no doors, and it was wide open. There was a window in the room, with two storage closets on either side. The walls sloped down, and it had hard wood floors.

The stereo was in "the hall".

The current sibling assignment given to us by Inland Empire Girl was this:

Remembering a room:

Think of a room from our growing up years. It can be in one of our houses, another person's house, or a relatives house. Write about remembering that room and why it was significant to you.

Inland Empire Girl's assignment can be found here, and Raymond Pert's can be found here.

So, I did a lot of listening to record albums in the hall. Mom and Dad had a large collections of Ray Conniff albums, where I was exposed to a large variety of music from the Ray Conniff compilations.

I put on my own performances in the hall.

I created my own shows in the hall.

I dreamed of being a Broadway star in the hall.

One of the scariest moments living in my house growing up happened out the window of the hall. One night I was laying in my bedroom reading "The Amityville Horror", and there is a part in the book where a pig with red eyes looks in the window. After I put the book down and turned out the bedroom light, I was looking out the window in the hall, and all of a sudden, I saw red dots out the window.

I froze!! What is it? Could evil pigs be looking in at me and haunting my house?

Wait, I think our neighbor's have a fire place. Whew...it is the embers coming out of their chimney and falling down in front of the window.

I guess our little home in Kellogg wasn't possessed by an evil force after all.

My imagination soared in "the hall". From playing Barbie Dolls, to reading books, to writing in my diary, I did a lot of thinking and creating in that room.

It was a sanctuary.

It was a get away place to get lost in thought and place.

It was a place where I could tell my secrets to, because all little girls have secrets they must share with someone....

even if it is just a room.

#81--My Tree--Returns in a June Sunset

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
- Alfred Tennyson


Art Expanding My Way of Looking at Life

I am back from my trip to National History Day with my daughter Z2, and touring Washington D.C. and a day in Baltimore, MD.

Over the next couple of days I plan to share some pictures and memories from the incredible journey I have been on this past week. What a unique blessing to go on this trip, and to share it with my daughter.

I was quite surprised by the fact that all the things to go see in D.C. are free, including all the Smithsonian Musuems, the National Zoo, the Art Galleries, and other museums. D.C. would be a great place for a family vacation, because of all the free things to do there.

Z2 and I spend a little bit of time in the Air and Space Museum.

My favorite part of this museum was seeing the picture taken from the Hubble Telescope, and reading the captions underneath the pictures, that talk about looking at gallaxies that are 13 billion years old, and newly forming galaxies. It baffles my mind to think of these things, but I love how it makes you realize how big the universe is, and how much I don't know.

My favorite part was taking some time on Tuesday and Wednesday to explore the National Art Galleries. On Tuesday, I explored the East Wing of the Art Gallery. Two of the paintings that I really liked were painted by Jackson Pollock.

The first was this one..."Number Seven."

Also on display was "Lavendar Mist".

I'm not sure what it is about these painting that speaks to me. I'm not sure I have to understand right now...that is the beauty of art. Maybe I can relate to the troubled nature of Pollock's soul on some level. But I did make a connection with these paintings.

Now these did nothing for me. There was a collection of nine murals from Mark Rothko, and I just didn't get it.

These murals are huge, as you can see by the photo below, and the people looking at the murals.
These were found in the East Building. The following day, I was able to wander around for about 3 1/2 hours by myself exploring the West Building.

I was amazed, while wandering through galleries of paintings that were from the same time period but different countries, how the look changes so dramatically.

Here is a German portrait from the late 1400's to early 1500's. Then I found it interesting as I walked into another room, and viewed paintings from the same time period, but a different country, how different they looked. Here is a painting from during the same time period. It is from the Netherlands.
And here is "Ill Fated Lovers" from Antwerp from the 1500's.

After looking at European paintings for a couple of hours, I needed to "cleanse my palette". So I walked over to the sculpture area to give me something different to look at and ponder.

I loved the Degas sculptures, such as these pictured below.

What I liked about these sculptures was the realism Degas brings out in his dancers. They are not stick thin, but have real life figures and are beautiful.

Two paintings that were very stunning were Monet's paintings of the Rouen Cathedral. There were two side by side in the gallery, one titled "Rouen Cathedral, West Facade", and the other "Rouen Cathedral, West Facade, Sunlight". How did he make the two so completely alike, accept the lighting?

Art gives us such a unique way to look at the world. It expands our way of looking at things, and shows us history, and perspectives that are not our own. I loved the way visiting this gallery expanded my vision of the world, and the way I look at life.


Reflections on the Monuments

Practically everywhere we traveled in Washington D.C. on Monday, you could see the Washington Monument a 555 foot obelisk that was built between 1848 and 1884 as a memorial to the first President of the United States, George Washington. It is the tallest free standing masonry structure in the world.

Being at the World War II Memorial reminded me of my Uncle William Woolum. He died in the Pacific Theater during the war. Here is some information about him.

William E. Woolum
ID: 06540362
Entered the Service From: Idaho
Rank: Machinist's Mate, Third Class
Service: U.S. Navy, United States Naval Reserve
Died: Saturday, October 07, 1944
Memorialized at: Manila American Cemetery
Location: Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines
Awards: Purple Heart

I didn't know he was memorialized in the Philippines. I also didn't remember he had been awarded the Purple Heart.
I remember it was very hard for my Grandma Woolum to lose her son in the war. This monument is a beautiful tribute to the men and women who fought in this war.
As you enter the Vietnam Memorial, you see this statue, representing the men who fought in the war.
I had always heard the Vietnam Memorial Wall was a very emotional experience. There were many people there wiping their tears, and making a pencil etching of the names. Many flowers were left on the wall, and other mementos.
Frank S. Reasoner was from Kellogg, and I went to school and graduated from Kellogg High School with his son. Frank Stanley Reasoner was an officer of the United States Marine Corps who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War.


The Korean War Memorial, to me, was hauntingly beautiful. As you enter the memorial, the following words are engraved in stone...

Our nations honors our sons and daughters who answered a call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met. 1950 Korea 1953

The middle picture shows one section of the wall where faces of the Korean War are etched in the stone.

The bottom picture is also at the Korean War Memorial. I love this picture of this young boy licking the ice cream cone, and the words behind him.

The Lincoln Memorial is very impressive. You climb the front stairs and come into the monument, and find this statue of Lincoln. The words of the Gettysburg Address are on one wall, and his second inaugral address is on the other wall. I love his final words of this speech, and they are very relevant for today as well.

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

I don't think I have ever heard of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. It was beautiful, and had many wonderful quotes from FDR, including the one above. Again, words we should be reminded of today. It showed many depictions of the poor and oppressed and how FDR wanted to help these people. And also the effects of the war, and how it turned the world upside down.

Our final stop was the Jefferson Memorial. Inside is a statue of Thomas Jefferson, and the Declaration of Independance is engraved on the walls.

As we visited each of these memorials, the message I received was that war is not a good thing. Yes, the men and women who fought in the many wars for our country made a hugh sacrifice, but war itself is horrible. The loss of all those thousand and thousands of lives was a great loss for our country.

Can we not learn from our past? Why must we continue the same course time and again?

I often wonder if our congressmen ever take the time to visit these memorials while they are here representing us in the nation's capital. If not, they should. These memorials remind us of many things, and tell many stories, stories they need to see and read.

I don't think our country should make room for any more memorials.

They just need to learn from the ones we already have in place.