At the end is the FINISH line

Today my daughter Z2 had her first cross country meet of the season. I drove with my friend NR today about 3 1/2 hours so we could watch our daughters participate in the meet in Libby, Montana.

Since Z2 is in eighth grade and in middle school, the length of her course is usually 1.5 miles. Today, since this was a new venue for the race, the length of this race was about 1.6 miles.

Z2 ran a very respectable time of 12.42.1. As she started the race at beautiful J. Neils park in Libby, her goal was to run until she crossed the FINISH line, then her race would end.

As she crossed the FINISH line, she ended the race in third place.

Way to go Z2. A very good time for her first race, and to get third place was awesome.

Kellogg hosts their home meet on Thursday.

I look forward to the season, and watching my beautiful Z2 "run like the wind"!!

And, as an ending to this post, here are some pictures of the beautiful Cabinet Mountains we could see from the course today.


Lack of Discretion


the quality of being discreet, esp. with reference to one's own actions or speech; prudence or decorum.

Where has discretion gone in our society? People seem so free to share every private detail about their personal lives anymore.

It is like constantly watching The Jerry Springer Show or Maury.

I am amazed at the information my high school-aged daughter knows about the sexual lives of her fellow classmates...and these aren't even close friends.

But it isn't just teenagers.

Couldn't Senator Larry Craig have been a little more discreet? I actually saw Senator Craig two or three days after the "incident" happened while on my trip to Washington D.C. last June. One of his staff was giving us a tour of the Capitol Building, and we ran into him in the corridor.

And we were also in the Minneapolis Airport that week because we switched planes there. Thank goodness we didn't know of the things going on.

Idaho Escapee at Atmospheric Ruminations shared his thoughts on the subject here, and his thoughts got me thinking.

Why do people share their "dirty laundry"? Why do people make choices that could very well become public, when they are public figures themselves?

Is it a lack of

self control?

1. control or restraint of oneself or one's actions, feelings, etc.

I just finished reading a book by Gregg Olsen called "Confessions of an American Black Widow" a true crime novel about a woman whose lover killed two of her husbands. She was the poster child for lack of self control. She married for money. She killed for money. She lived for what she wanted. She had sex with whoever and whenever she wanted. And ended up in jail with no chance of parole until she is in her 80's.

In my world, discretion and self control are pretty big on the list of things to do in your life. The Bible talks about self control as being one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. So to me it is pretty important. It isn't always easy, but I know I try and live the way I believe God wants me to, so those fruits are lived through my life. I believe He helps me and gives me strength to have self control.

I've learned I can't do everything I want to do in life. I can't have everything I want. Giving in to my every desire is dangerous. It is good to show restraint.

And that way I don't have to know so much about everyone's business.

TMI (Too Much Information)

Can you all just keep that stuff to yourselves?


Withdrawals are Making me Cranky

This fall brings lots of new changes.

So why not throw in exercising regularly and eating healthy into the mix.

I decided to stop drinking coffee in the morning, and limit my sugar intake.

So tonight I am having withdrawal headaches from caffeine and sugar. My head hurts, I'm cranky, and tired, because I have been getting up early and exercising.

These things are REALLY needed, and it is good for me. But there is always that period of adjustment.

And I have a sneaking suspicion when I go to the doctor next month, my cholesterol will be high.

It is about time for me to get serious about my health.

More fruit and vegetables. More whole grains. Less meat. No trans fats. No refined sugar and flour. Drink lots of water.

I know what to do... it is just doing it.

I am such a stereotype. Well, here is to hoping I realize the importance of my good health and stick with my plan.

Here's to HEALTHY LIVING!!!!


Still Life of My Tree

This is my contribution for this week's Sibling Assignment given by Inland Empire Girl, where we are to illustrate the words Still Life in pictures and words. IEG's assignment is here, and Raymond Pert's is here.

Since February I have been taking pictures of the tri color beech tree in my backyard. Here is a sampling of how it has changed each month.









Where The Deer and Antelope Play

As summer ends, and life gets busier with school, new jobs and other activities, we decided to head to Big Sky Country.

We drove to Hot Springs, Montana, and stayed at the Symes Hotel and Hot Springs. It has some natural mineral hot springs to relax and soak in and a pool. It is a wonderful mix of retro old hotel, new age hippie types, antiques, gourmet food in the dining room, and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
There is Cabin 5 where we stayed, with our green van in front. Saturday night we were treated to live music in the dining room from Spokane singer/songwriter Cheryl Branz. Find more about her and her music here.Today we drove to the National Bison Range in Moiese, Montana. It is a two hour drive that lets you drive and see all kinds of wildlife. In the parking lot of the visitor's center, there is this diplay of different kinds of antlers.
We saw a few buffalo. The girls broke out into their own version of "Home on the Range". It did feel like we were where the deer and the antelope play.
Here are a mother mule deer and her little one. We missed seeing a mama bear and her cub by just a few minutes.

Here are a couple of Bighorn Sheep. Below is one of three antelopes that were grazing on the side of the road. We also saw some elk down by Mission Creek, and below is one of them. We also saw lots of golden eagles flying overhead.

Our day ended driving to Plains, Montana and having lunch at Benji's, then driving back to the Silver Valley through Thompson Falls, and over Thompson Pass. Above and below are views from the top of Thompson Pass. This was a wonderful adventure, and not far away. There are many other things to see in this area, including the St. Ignatius Mission, also built by the Jesuits, who built the Cataldo Mission here in the Silver Valley. The Mission Valley isn't really touristy and the accomadations are very reasonably priced. I'd highly recommend the area for a great weekend get away.

So would The Princess, Kiki Aru and Z2.

#93--My Tree--Concealing summer's swift decrease


By Helen Jackson
From A Calendar of Sonnets

Silence again. The glorious symphony
Hath need of pause and interval of peace.
Some subtle signal bids all sweet sounds cease,
Save hum of insects' aimless industry.
Pathetic summer seeks by blazonry
Of color to conceal her swift decrease.
Weak subterfuge!
Each mocking day doth fleece
A blossom, and lay bare her poverty.
Poor middle-aged summer!
Vain this show!
Whole fields of golden-rod cannot offset
One meadow with a single violet;
And well the singing thrush and lily know,
Spite of all artifice which her regret
Can deck in splendid guise,
their time to go!


I get that sinking feeling when...

I haven't posted a Sundy Scribbling in a while. This week's prompt is "I get that sinking feeling..." This post is kind of a downer, but these are the things that give me that icky, sinking feeling in my stomach. Here are some more Sunday Scribblings here.

1. I have to go to work and tell the people I have been working with the last two years that I got another job and I will be leaving them.
2. My oldest daughter tells me that her two best friends are going to go to a high school 40 miles away and she feels all alone as she starts her senior year.
3. I say goodbye to Rainee, a little Pom we have been dogsitting that I grew attached to in a very short time.
4. I plan a brunch for a bunch of wonderful ladies, but the timing was bad, people are still busy with summer plans, so only a few are able to show up.
5. Words come out of my mouth that may be hurtful to someone, even though this was not my intention at all.
6. I hear "The Loud Family" across the street yelling at each other, yelling at their kids, and their kids swearing at each other while they play outside.
7. People say the "F" word around me. I just hate that word.
8. I see the effects of meth on the face of a woman in the store.
9. A child is the target of a bully.
10. I see an animal who has been abused.


Victims in the Centre of the Universe

PKR, The Princess and I were victims in Wallace tonight.

I got shot in the leg. PKR was taken hostage in the local hardware store, then shot in the back. The Princess was shot and killed.

At least that was our performance for this evening.

A little bit of a departure from our normal Sixth Street Theater performances, but that is why we got this gig.

We got to help Shoshone County Law Enforcement with a drill tonight in Wallace.

They needed three actors to help with the drill, and we have a friend in the courthouse who is also on the theater board, so it worked out for us to help.

It started with me making a phone call to the dispatcher and I said this:

"I've just been shot!!! Two men were inside of the hardware store and they shot me. One guy I saw go into the courthouse and I think the other is still inside the hardware store. I am hurt, please help me. My daughter is here with me but she is hurt really bad."

At this point, I am on the steps of the Public Safety Building which is across the street from the Courthouse and hardware store, and The Princess is laying on the bench behind me. PKR is being held hostage inside of the hardware store.

The dispatcher asked me questions, which I answered until an officer came out and told me to hang up.

A while later I was told to call back and say I was bleeding really bad and was told to be really upset.

At one point, PKR came out of the hardware store with his hands up, then he fell down like he had been shot, and he laid on the sidewalk outside of the hardware store. By this time the "sniper" had been "shot" on the roof of the courthouse.

After PKR had been "shot", a team of officers in black uniforms and guns and helmets assembled across the street to go into the hardware store. Then a "flash bang" was set off in the back of the hardware store as a diversion (that thing was LOUD!!), and the team went into the hardware store to find the gunman.

PKR wasn't sure what to do at this point, so he came across the street and joined us on the steps, and some medical personel came to assist us. Then the team went to the courthouse to assess the situation and let off another flash bang device so they could go up to the roof of the courthouse and take care of the sniper.

Once it was all over, we got to go be a part of the debriefing session.

As we sat there and listened to the officers talk, we realized how fortunate we are to have these men and women trained and ready to handle this type of situation. The comments were very positive on how the whole drill went, and all who were a part were very pleased.

What a remarkable experience. To watch the officers do their work, and then as they talked about their plans afterwards, it was amazing.

The most odd part of the whole evening were the people in Wallace who were either on foot or driving by while all of this was going on. They didn't shut the street down, so people could still drive or walk down the street, and, from our vantage point, people didn't seem too alarmed to see the tactical forces bunched together ready to go into the hardware store with their rifles as my husband is laying on the ground in front of the store.

I guess all three Spokane news stations, channels 2, 4 and 6 heard it on the scanner and were sending crews until the sherrif called them off. They had made it clear it was a drill when it began on the scanner.

A very eye opening experience. As one of the officers in the debriefing said, "Most people are just sitting home watching TV tonight, but look at what we get to do."

I admire the job I saw performed tonight, and my esteem of these officers increased as I saw a glimpse of what they do to make our county safe.

Thanks. We really appreciate it.


Time to GEAR UP for my new job

Since graduating from college, I have had a long and winding career path, from college admissions director to radio announcer, to newspaper reporter, to office manager.

Next week, I add GEAR UP Site Coordinator to the list.

I got a new job. It was one of those serendipitous occasions where everything fell into place and all the stars aligned and I was approached about this position and I applied and went for an interview and got the job.

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

The goal of GEAR UP for the Kellogg School District is to provide comprehensive early intervention services for Kellogg Middle School students in cooperation with their parents that will help them learn about, prepare for and succeed in college.

The mission of GEAR UP Idaho is to inspire students to become active in their educational experience and to ensure they are academically prepared for advancement to post-secondary education; and to increase the economic development and quality of life of Idaho residents by offering avenues to post-secondary education.

So I get to spend the next five years working with students helping them become more successful as students and to show them how getting a high school education and education beyond high school can open up a whole new world for them.

This has been a passion of mine since my first job as the Director of Admissions and Public Relations at Dawson Community College in Glendive, Montana.

I can't tell you how excited I am to help develop this program.

I am flying down to Boise next month to find out more about the program and get some training, and also attend a conference in Spokane to learn more. These two things will help me get started.

So I'm phasing out of my old job and phasing into the new one.

Lots of changes in our household this fall. PKR changing teaching jobs and going to Kellogg High School, me working at Kellogg Middle School, The Princess starting her senior year, Z2 going into 8th grade, and Kiki Aru starting 6th grade at KMS.

We are all looking forward to the changes...


Happiness Is...Performing in a KHS Musical

I was in charge of this week’s sibling assignment. It goes like this: Is there one single thing you performed or achieved while attending Kellogg High School that stands out above the rest? Pick one and write about it. Inland Empire Girl's is here, and Raymond Pert's is here.

I grew up listening to Broadway musical soundtracks. From the time I could remember, I would sit upstairs in the “hall” and put the soundtracks to many popular musicals. I can still sing all the songs from “The Music Man” and “Oklahoma” and “The Sound of Music” by heart.

As I grew older, my dream was to be a performer on Broadway. I loved to sing, and I loved to act, and I loved to perform.

My last year in high school, I came close to fulfilling that dream. (Okay, so the stage at Kellogg High School is quite a ways from Broadway, but this is my dream we’re talking about, and I’ll take whatever I can get!!)

The achievement I am most proud of from attending Kellogg High School was being a part of the production “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” my senior year. I got to play the part of Lucy Van Pelt, and it was one of the greatest experiences I had in high school, and definitely on my top ten list of performances I have given in my life.

There had not been a musical performed at KHS since “The Music Man” in 1974. (I think that is right). But two of my friends and I had performed in plays with the drama teacher Mrs. Faraca all through high school, and so I think she knew this may be a good year to attempt this production.

As I look back on this experience, it seemed like we performed it for weeks, but, as I look at my scrapbook, it was just two weekends in February of 1981. We did seven productions at KHS, but I also remember, because of how popular it was, I think we took the show on the road and performed it at KJHS, too.

One of the parts I performed was called “Queen Lucy”, and I still get people today, after 26 years, who still remember me performing that part today.

The cast was so fun, with Jim Boyd as Charlie Brown, Eric Benson as Linus, (I remember getting to punch him in the mouth every night), John Brower as Schroeder, and Lisa Ruff as Violet. The role of Snoopy was pretty demanding, and Mrs. Faraca didn’t feel like any students were up to the part, so she got Randy Brooks to play Snoopy. Randy had done some Community Theater, and was the program manager at KWAL, the valley’s local radio station.

Musical theater is a special art form for me, that tells a story in a way no other art form can.

I am proud to have been a part of this musical tradition at Kellogg High School, and hope to perform in many more musicals in my lifetime.


#92--My Tree--Hesitating in August

Hesitate in August.
Be shy.
Let your toes tremble in their sandals.
- Anne Sexton


Day Two--One Giant Step For Coco

President John F. Kennedy had many great quotes about space exploration and was a strong advocate of the program.

One of his quotes is, "We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share."

Last Tuesday, my daughter Coco had the unique opportunity to fully share in the years and years of space exploration began well before her mother and father were even born.

Tuesday was the day Coco would get to talk live to four astronauts in space and ask them a question. Her, along with 17 other students from the state of Idaho, would participate in this historical event.

This event took place at the Discovery Center of Idaho in Boise. DCI received a grant to have this NASA downlink and involve the children from across the state. To see a video of the event, go here. Coco is the second student to ask a question. In fact, she got to ask it twice!!

Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, a NASA astronaut there for the day, spent about an hour talking to the students. She also did the "warm up" in the VIP room before the the downlink began. She was one of the most interesting parts of the whole day. I was very impressed with her.
Here Coco is practicing asking her question again. I had to take pictures at this time, because I was videotaping during the event, and I couldn't use flash photography.
Here are all the students who asked the questions, with Dottie in the middle in the back row.

The downlink was scheduled to begin a little after 3 p.m., but we were told to be in the VIP room by 2 pm, because then the doors would be closed, and nobody would be allowed to enter after 2 p.m.

The program began with some Idaho dignitaries taking the podium, including Lori Otter, the first lady of Idaho, gave a proclomation, Senator Mike Crapo and Congressman Bill Sali addressed the crowd, and Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna and Boise Mayor David Bieter also talked to the kids.

Then Dottie did the "warm up" until the downlink. Then the big event started.

The DCI staff made the NASA connection, and it was a go. As we watched the big screen TV, the four astronauts were introduced by Idaho teacher Barbara Morgan, who was the main reason all of this was made possible.

"Good afternoon, we're happy to be here with you. This is Al Drew, Clay Anderson, Dave Williams and I'm Barb Morgan and we're ready for your first question. Welcome on board the International Space Station."

From asking how fast a baseball can be thrown in space, to how do you prepare for a space walk, the students asked question after question, until all of a sudden, DCI staffer Woody Sobey was making a signal. We thought the downlink was getting cut off before the final students could ask their questions. But the International Space Station did a gimble roll to realign with the satelite signal so they could finish the questions. And they did. There wasn't a dry eye in the place when it was finished.

I received an email from Woody today, and here is what part of it said: "NASA said it was one of the best downlinks they'd seen, so well done to you."

I thought it couldn't have gone any better. Everyone involved was so wonderful from Woody to the Idaho science teachers Kevin and Barbara.

So, once the program was done, the students were sent into the media frenzy, with newspaper, T.V. and radio reporters vying for their attention.

Here is Coco being interviewed by Spokeman Review reporter Betsy Russell. She was also on FOX-12 TV in Boise, and Channel 6 TV station in Boise did a voice over with her question. A crew from an outfit that does documentaries for NASA also interviewed Coco.

And now it is done. Coco is at a friends house in Clarkston, Washington for a few days, and they she'll be home Sunday.

But I know she will always remember the day she talked to the astronauts on the International Space Station.

It is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.

— P. L. 85-568 U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958.


Space....the final frontier--Day One

On Monday, August 13 we took Coco to the Discovery Center of Idaho to get her ready for her big chance to talk to the astronauts in space. She got to explore the DCI for a while, and become an astronaut herself for a little while.
The head of NASA education greeted all 18 students.
A NASA public information specialist prepped the students on how they should handle the media interviews.
Coco got her question, and the kids started practicing how they would ask their questions. Coco's question was, "When you were a kid, did you think about becoming an astronaut?" Unfortunately she didn't get to ask the questions her dad and I thought up, which was, "Did watching Star Trek as a kid inspire you to be an astronaut?" or"Can you see the Starship Enterprise from outer space?"

Somehow these questions didn't make the cut!

Here is Coco practicing into the microphone with Idaho Science Teacher Kevin Collins who was a big part of why the everything went to smoothly.

Next up.....day two....talking to astronauts in space.

Uncle Harry

Uncle Harry and "his women".

On our trip this past week we had a wonderful time visiting my Uncle Harry. Harry was my dad's older brother, the only living sibling from my dad's family. He lives in a retirement home in Boise.

Uncle Harry treated us to lunch at Roundtable Pizza. We had fun visiting Harry, and to have us call us "his women". I spent some time asking Harry about growing up in Kellogg and Wardner, and the places they lived. First they lived on Brown Ave., then they moved to Wardner and lived on Courderoy Hill, then they moved the 3rd Street in Kellogg, which is the same house my babysitter Mrs. Price lived when she took care of me. I look at this house now and never realized how tiny it was. Harry is my last connection to my dad and their life in the Silver Valley.
PKR also got a turn on Uncle Harry's lap!!

Harry made us laugh as he told us stories of playing Bingo with the ladies at his residence who were 102 and 98 years old. When we got back to drop him off, one of the lady residents was sitting outside, and he referred to her as a "real fox".

He shared about his faith and church and how he has realized over the years that someone doesn't have to go to one particular church and be right, but that as long as Jesus is your Saviour, it is okay. Amen to that Uncle Harry.
Z2 laughs it up with Uncle Harry.

Harry has been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for over 50 years. He did substance abuse counseling at the VA hospital in Boise for years, but now he says he enjoys staying at his home and making the older ladies feel special.

His wife, my Aunt Phyllis, passed away a couple of years ago, and he still chokes up talking about her.

Kiki Aru and Uncle Harry, too!!

Uncle Harry kept saying we made an old man's day, but I think "his women" were also blessed by the time spent with Harry.

Harry is a goofier version of my dad, but in a very good, loving, special way.

I love Uncle Harry's open heart and giving nature.
Uncle Harry...The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy!!

When we droppped him off, he invited us up to his "bachelor pad" as he refers to his small apartment. He kept bragging about how he could play his bugle for us. He explained that when he was a student at Kellogg High School, he was a member of the Drum and Bugle Corps, and often shared this fact with his friends. Well, his friends heard it enough that one of them purchased him a bugle. We were fortunate enough to hear him play his bugle.

He said he often goes down to the dining hall and plays the bugle for the residents. He said they aren't ever that impressed.

I am so glad we spent a few hours with Uncle Harry. The girls got a big kick out of him, and they enjoyed his humor and his jokes.

Connecting with family is very important, and spending time with Uncle Harry this past week was a very special blessing.

#91--My Tree--Smoke From a Distant Fire

In vain thou kindlest all thy smoky fire,
For virtue hath this better lesson taught,
Within myself to seek my only hire,
Desiring nought but how to kill desire.
- Sir Philip Sidney

Don Sausser's Favorite Tree

A special thank today to Coeur d'Alene resident Don Sausser who took me up on my offer and sent a picture of his favorite tree. I encourage others to send me a picture of their tree. I will post it and what you have to say about your favorite tree.
Here is my favorite tree. Favorite because I nearly had it removed.

We purchased rental property at the corner of 12th St & Walnut in CDA. In the Spring we were upgrading the property by removing two old tired fruit trees, removing a 1920's Model A garage, replacing the lawn and adding sprinklers. The Black Locust tree blooms about one month later than other trees and it looked totally dead. The arborist said I didn't want to remove it so I had him properly prune the dead branches out.

When it bloomed I couldn't believe it. Very fragment small white flowers. Unfortunately they are short lived (prior to leafing out) & blow all over the neighborhood.

But with it so stately reaching for the sky, it will no doubt outlive me (72).

Don Sausser


What a Trip!!

My trip to the Treasure Valley was quite a trip. Two highlights included having lunch with my Uncle Harry and watching my youngest daughter talk to astronauts in space.

I've been in a car all day today, and the car thermometer said it was 114 degrees while we were in Lewiston today, so it is time for bed. And I get to feel the comfort and joy of sleeping in my own bed.
More blog post coming tomorrow.

Until tomorrow.......