Places I Want To Visit

I have enjoyed traveling in my lifetime.

Maybe because we didn't travel much as I was growing up.

When I was in fifth grade, I accompanied Mom to a meeting she had in Boise, and got to visit the State Capital Building, and the Idaho History Museum.  I also got to spend some time with my cousins who lived in Boise.  I still remember visiting my cousin Angie's school, and going to see "Where The Red Fern Grows" in the movie theater with her class from school.

Once I got to high school, it was fun traveling to basketball tournaments and drama and speech competitions.  I was also in Rainbow Girls, and we would travel to Grand Assembly in the summer, which would be at various places around the state of Washington.

One big family trip we took while I was in high school was to Seattle.  Dad and some of his friends got tickets to see the All Star Baseball Game that summer.  This was the first time I got to really be a tourist in a big city.  It was a fabulous experience!!

While in college, I got to live in California during the summer of 1984.  I loved living and working in Southern California, and visiting many of the sights of the Los Angeles area.  We also got to attend the Summer Olympics being held in Los Angeles that summer.

I still enjoy traveling to different places.  Seattle is still a fun destination.  I also enjoy visiting Portland, Oregon.  Our family took a trip to Southern California during the summer of 2006, and enjoyed many of the highlights the LA area has to offer.

I have been to Washington D.C. three times.

I have been to New York City twice.

I visited Houston, Texas on February for a conference.  Was not a big fan of this city.

I've been all over the state of Montana, seen a lot of North Dakota, and visited the Black Hills of South Dakota, and Mount Rushmore.

I have been to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in Minnesota. I have driven through Salt Lake City, but never actually stopped.

We stopped in Las Vegas on our way to Southern California.  Vegas is not my kind of town.

Paul and I visited the Denver, Colorado area last November.  It wasn't what I expected.  The Mile High City was much more desert-like than I anticipated.

So I have had the pleasure of visiting quite a few places in this great country of ours, as well as a few places in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada.

So what is on my list of places I would like to visit in the future?

1.  Chicago
2.  San Francisco
3.  Pineville, Kentucky and the area where my Woolum/Wilson roots come from.
4.  Harrison, Arkansas where Paul's Roberts' family roots come from.
5.  Boston, Mass.

Outside the United States, I would like to visit:
1. England, and look for my Walker family roots.
2.  Jerusalem.  I want to visit the Holy Land, as well as go on a mission trip to Jerusalem.
3.  Scotland, Ireland, Wales
4.  France
5.  Spain

These are the top ten I'm looking at to visit in the near future.

I love to travel and experience new cultures and places.

Bon Voyage!!


Quiet Mornings

My favorite time of the day is early in the morning, when everyone is still sleeping, and I get to sit and be in the quiet of the morning.

The world is hushed at that time of day.  Not a whole lot moves outside or inside the house. 

It is a good time to think.

It is a good time to pray.

It is a good time to read the Bible.

It is a good time to write in my journal.

It is a good time to think about the day ahead.

In the summers, I enjoy it when the window is open, and often you hear birds chirping early in the morning.

In the winter, if it is snowy, like it is today, the snow tends to make outside even more "hushed", because the snow muffles the sounds.

If I don't get my time of quiet in the morning, I feel rushed.  I feel a bit unsettled.  That time in the morning seems to start my day off on a good note.

I like quiet.  I like morning.

And I especially like quiet mornings.


Downhill Skiing

It was always interesting growing up in Kellogg, and looking at a ski hill out the front window of our house, but not being a skier.

I would travel around the state, and Kellogg was known for the skiing.  I would always get asked if I skied, and people were often surprised to hear me say "no".  I always told them my parents thought I would break something.  (I'm not sure if that was true or not.  It probably had more to do with the cost of skiing than the injury factor.  I guess I need to ask Mom about this.)

There were a couple times when I was about 9-years-old when a family friend took me to both area ski hills.  At the time, the Kellogg Ski Area was called Jackass Ski Bowl.  There was also a ski area outside of Mullan, called Lookout.  I got a shot at both hills.  I remember being really scared of skiing at Jackass.  (And I never really got any lessons.  I put on some boots and skis, had some poles, and was told to go ski.)  What I remember about Jackass is skiing down the hill by the lodge, and thinking I would go over the edge if I didn't stop.  Lookout Ski Area I think was a little more beginner friendly.  I think I spent most of the day on the "bunny hill" and the tow rope. 

My next exposure to skiing wasn't me skiing, just watching others.  A friend and I rode the free ski bus on a Saturday up to Lookout to watch the skiers ski.  I'm not sure it was all that fun for me. I think I was in junior high when this happened.

Fast forward to my senior year in high school.  For some reason the KHS band members sold an incredible amount of something for a fund-raiser and had enough extra money to pay for band members to do night skiing at Lookout.  All I remember about that outing was it was really icy and the skiing was not that fun.

So, since I had all these rather negative experiences with downhill skiing, it is rather amazing that I decided to do some downhill skiing after we moved back to Kellogg, returning to the hill that I had gazed at out our living room window growing up.  Yes, I was returning to Jackass Ski Bowl, but it was now known as Silver Mountain Resort.

But once I took a few lessons, I could actually make my way down the hill, and I enjoyed it.  Back when Molly was in elementary school, Silver Mountain used to have a ski day for elementary age kids.  So I went up to chaperone, and survived and enjoyed it.  Throughout the years I skied off and on, and one year all of us in the family got a season pass to Silver Mountain.

Part of the reason I enjoyed skiing more as an adult was learning to cross country ski. That made downhill skiing not quite as frightening.

I'm not sure I'll ever go downhill skiing again. I think activity has come and gone.

But I think I will go back to cross country skiing.

Well....maybe I will, once the girls are gone and Paul and I will have some time to actually do it.
(Yes, Molly, Zoe and Coco....that comment was for you.  Ha! Ha!)



I like to write a variety of things, and have tried my hand at poetry here and there.

This is one of the last poems I wrote, and I really like how it turned out.

The inspiration was a photograph of some windows.  I thought it was the windows on the garages near where we used to live on McKinley Avenue, next door to the old Bunker Hill office building.  I imagined these windows were "eyes", and this is what I imagined these eyes saw as they gazed upon my hometown.

Keeping My Eyes on Kellogg
By Carol Woolum Roberts

Hard hat, silver lunch pail, Thermos.
Booted feet shuffling by on the way to the dry.
Cigarette snuffed out on the pavement.
Raised hands in greeting.
Keeping my eyes on Kellogg.

Brown hills, scrubby brush, rust-colored soil.
Smoky haze lingering on top of mountain peak.
Hills aglow with fiery lava.
New formations created each night.
Keeping my eyes on Kellogg.

Lead, arsenic, cadmium.
Milky white creek runs through center of town.
No one dares explore the banks.
Full of poisons from years gone by.
Keeping my eyes on Kellogg.

Neon signs, swinging doors, music blaring.
No parking places uptown on a Friday night.
Payday and everyone’s pockets are full.
Raising glasses and swinging fists.
Keeping my eyes on Kellogg.


Favorite Number

For as long as I can remember, 5 has been my favorite number.

I don't remember choosing this number, but I don't remember not ever having five as my favorite number.

My friend April always had a favorite number, too.  Hers is 7.

We grew up together having favorite numbers.

I think I like the number 5, because I like the way it looks.

Also, 5 was always easy to multiply.

It was also easy to remember.

I actually found a website online where you can submit what your favorite number is, and why you like that number.  It is here:  http://www.favouritenumber.net/

I'm not much into numerology, but I found it interesting to see what the number 5 means:

Adventure, change, freedom, exploration, variety, sensuality, unattached, curious, experienced, periodicity, knowledge seeker, knowledge teacher, traveler, imagination, child-like, playful.

I am into believing what the Bible says, so I had to look up to see if there were anything significant about the number 5 in the Bible.

Here are a few things I found:

The number five represents God's grace seen throughout the structure of the tabernacle in the wilderness.
  • The pillars were five cubits apart and five cubits high.
  • The brazen altar was five cubits by five cubits.
  • There were five pillars at the end of the Holy Place.
  • The sides of the tabernacle were reinforced by five bars on each side (Exodus 26:26-27).
  • The inner covering of the tabernacle was composed of five curtains which were attached to five other curtains for a total of ten curtains (Exodus 26:3). Notice the double five pattern.
  • There were five original priests: Aaron and his four sons (Exodus 28:1)
Five is a number of preparation as the followings:
  • First five books of the Bible prepare you for Israel's story throughout the rest of the Bible.
  • The five wise virgins were prepared.
  • David, in preparing for Goliath, took up five smooth stones.
  • To prepare and perfect the saints for ministry, some are called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers (Ephesians 4:11-12). Through these five outlets goes forth the gospel of Jesus Christ. Surely, you are prepared to fit into one of these five because of God's grace.

I don't know how many of us have favorite numbers, and how many don't.  Because I never remember not having a favorite number, I find it odd to find out there are people who don't have a favorite number.

Anyone out there want to share with me what their favorite number is, and a reason why it is your favorite number?  You can also share that information at http://www.favouritenumber.net/



"Keep your face to the sunshine
and you cannot see the shadow.
It's what sunflowers do."
by Helen Keller

How can you be anything but happy when looking at Sunflowers?

This is a field of sunflowers outside of Spokane, Washington that I travel past on my way to visit my sister.  Last summer I stopped and took some photographs of this field and some sunflowers up close.

For some reason I have been unable to grow these happy flowers in my yard since I have moved in the house I live in now.  So this is the summer I hope to get some of these flowers growing somewhere in my yard.
I remember when I was younger and Mom grew some big sunflowers in the backyard.  I took the seeds from the flower and roasted my own sunflower seeds to eat.
Mary Oliver does a good job of capturing a field of sunflowers in the following poem.
The Sunflowers
By Mary Oliver
Come with me
into the field of sunflowers
Their faces are burnished disks,
their dry spines
creak like ship masts
their green leaves,
so heavy and many,
fill all day with the sticky
sugars of the sun.
Come with me
to visit the sunflowers,
they are shy
but want to be friends;
they have wonderful stories
of when they were young —
the important weather,
the wandering crows.
Don’t be afraid
to ask them questions!
Their bright faces,
which follow the sun,
will listen, and all
those rows of seeds —
each one a new life! —
hope for a deeper acquaintance;
each of them, though it stands
in a crowd of many,
like a separate universe,
is lonely, the long work
of turning their lives
into a celebration
is not easy. Come
and let us talk with those modest faces,
the simple garments of leaves,
the coarse roots of the earth
so uprightly burning.


Flannel Pajamas

I love flannel pajamas.

They are comfy.

They are cozy.

They keep we warm and comfortable at night in the winter.

My friend Jane had given me a couple of her old pairs of flannel pajamas a few years ago, and they were so great to wear to bed.

But this fall when I got them out to put on, buttons had popped off, and they just weren't as functional as they had been.

So, when Christmas came around and I was asked to give some ideas, flannel pajamas was on the list.

And here is the pair I received.

I love the black with white polka dots on them.  They also have a little red on them, too.

They are so comfortable and cozy and warm.....everything pajamas should be when you go to bed at night.

Flannel pajamas.

It is just one of those little things in life that bring me comfort and joy!!


HONY (Humans of New York)

Around the time I visited New York City for the first time in the first part of 2012, I noticed my niece Adrienne was following a photographer on Facebook called Humans of New York.

Once I discovered this photographer, I started following his work, too.

This is how he describes his work on his website here.

My name is Brandon and I began Humans of New York in the summer of 2010. HONY resulted from an idea that I had to construct a photographic census of New York City. I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind. But somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character. I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs. Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained a large daily following. With nearly one million collective followers on Facebook and Tumblr, HONY now provides a worldwide audience with glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City.

Since 2010, Stanton has created his own community of followers on Facebook, his blog and Tumblr. 

Once he had a variety of his photographs for sale that you could purchase, that would be one of a kind photographs.  I purchased two of these and they now hang on my living room wall.

In 2012 Hurricane Sandy struck New York City.  Stanton teamed up with Tumblr to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief.  They used the website Indigogo.  Depending on the amount of money you donated, you received a certain item.  I received another HONY photo through this fund-raising endeavor.

The HONY community continued to grow, and before you know it, Stanton was getting a book published.  I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of the book from my brother Bill for my 50th birthday.

If you enjoy and have fallen in love with New York City as I and millions of others have, following HONY either on Facebook or Tumblr or the website is a great way to get a daily fix of the sites, people and stories of New York City.
One of my only regrets from our trip to NYC last summer was that we didn't run into Brandon Stanton and have him take our photo and tell our story.  That would have been a pretty awesome addition to my 50th birthday celebration.
Well, I guess I'll have to let him know next time we show up!!


Essay Writing

Tonight Paul made the comment that he would be reading and correcting essays tonight that his students wrote as part of their semester tests in his class.

It got me thinking about essay writing in high school and college, and the teacher I had in English 104 in college at the University of Idaho who made essay writing something relevant for me.

I'm not sure I really learned to write an essay in high school.  I remember taking a "Basic Composition" class, and an "Advanced Composition" class.  I believe these where the classes that were suppose to teach us to write an essay.

Then I got to college, and my first semester I took English 103.  Again, a class to teach that illusive form of writing, the essay.  In fact, I'm not sure we got past the introductory paragraph and the first two or three paragraphs in English 103.

Then second semester of my English 104 class we learned to write a whole essay.  But something even greater happened to me in that class.  The instructor gave the essay form of writing relevance.

He did this by using a Rolling Stone magazine.

He brought a current copy of this magazine, and showed us an article someone wrote.  Well, it wasn't really an article....it was an ESSAY.

What?  People write essays for the fun of it?  People write essays outside the realm of a high school or college English class?

I'm not sure anyone had ever explained to me that an essay was an actual form of writing, like a novel or a short story.

Until I saw this piece in Rolling Stone magazine.

And Rolling Stone continues to publish essays.  For example, here is an essay Laurie Anderson recently wrote, as she reflects on her 21-year relationship with Lou Reed and his final moments.

If you look up the definition for essay, it says:  A short literary composition on a single subject, usually presenting the personal view of the author.

Somehow this meaning got lost in translation as a high school student.  To me, an essay was an introductory paragraph with a topic sentence, a body with three paragraphs explaining the topic sentence, and a conclusion.  It was a writing exercise, not a literary composition.

I have actually read and enjoyed books of essays.  A couple of my favorites are Kim Stafford's "Having Everything Right:  Essays of Place", and Barbara Kingsolver's "High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never."

Here is a description of Stafford's book:

A collection of essays first published to critical acclaim in 1986, Having Everything Right revolves around the history, folklore, and physical beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Kim Stafford writes poetic and evocative prose as he reflects on such subjects as Indian place names, bears, and local eccentrics. An essay titled "Pine, Fir, Cedar, Yew," begins with Stafford describing his workbench, which he fashioned from scavenged boards, and slowly turns into a beautifully rendered meditation on wood. "Any table of virgin fir, any maple chair, any oak floor is a bundle of stories," Stafford writes, artfully pointing out what most of us would never take time to notice.

And remark's on High Tide in Tuscon:

Novelist Kingsolver (Pigs in Heaven) is not one to let her miscellany stagnate; she has revised or expanded many of the 25 essays included here, most of which have previously been published, and yes, there are thematic links in her view of family, writing, politics and places. The strongest link is Kingsolver's wise and spirited voice, animated by poetic and precise language.

I wish I knew that Teaching Assistant's name who taught English 104 back in the spring of 1982 at the University of Idaho, so I could write him a letter and thank him for showing me how essay writing can be a very beautiful and meaningful thing to read and write.


Hair Pulling

Hello, my name is Carol, and I suffer from Trichotillomania.

You know people often say they are so mad or stressed they "want to pull their hair out".

Well, I don't have to be stressed or mad.  I just pull my hair out.

But it isn't all the time.  Just when my hair reaches a certain length.

Once it reaches this "magic" length, I start playing with it, and pull it out.  Usually it is just a strand at a time.  But after you do it a while, it can have consequences.

Once I get my hair cut short again, I stop.  If my hair doesn't reach that "magic" length, I don't pull out my hair.

The term for this is Trichotillomania.

I think I first noticed doing this back in college.  I think it started when I stayed up for three or four days in a row to get a project done for a Public Relations group project I was working on.

After college, it would come and go, but there are times when I would really have quite a bare patch on the crown of my head.  Ask my hairdresser.  She'll tell you.  I think she is very relieved that I get my hair cut in time now, and don't wait until the bare patch returns.

It really drives some of my family members crazy when I start playing with my hair.

But I've learned to manage it.  I am fortunate.  All I have to do is get my hair cut, and it goes away.

That is why my hair never gets very long anymore. 

I have to keep it short to keep the hair pulling at bay.


Sibling Assignments

I am the youngest of three children.  I have a brother that just turned 60, a sister who is 59, and I am 50.

In 2006 my brother ventured into the world of blogging.  His blog can be found at www.kelloggbloggin.blogspot.com.  He calls himself Raymond Pert.

I started my blog in 2007.  If you are reading this, you have obviously discovered my blog in one way or another.  I go  by Silver Valley Girl.

Then my sister joined in a little after I did.  She can be found at www.gatheringaroundthetable.blogspot.com.  She is Inland Empire Girl.

Soon after my brother began blogging, I came up with an idea to have weekly Sibling Assignments.  They started out as ways for us to take a memory from our childhood and write about our perspective of that event.

The first Sibling Assignment was this:

Write about Thanksgiving at the Jerry and Corrine Turnbow house.

Raymond Pert's memory is here.  My sister and I were not blogging at the time, so we don't have these online, as far as I know.  I thought I had posted mine later, but I can't find it.

Here is an assignment where we all have something posted about my Grandma Woolum.

Mine is here, Raymond Pert's is here, and Inland Empire Girl's post is here.

Our blog writing and sibling assignments have had a bonus effect on the three of us that I don't think we expected.....it has drawn us closer together.

As we began writing we began sharing memories, and reliving our childhoods.  It then became a desire of ours to spend more time together.

We started having "Sibling Outings".  These were day trips we would take that often had something to do with memories of our childhoods, such as visiting the area in Spokane around where our Grandma Woolum lived.

Then two summers ago, the "Sibling Outings" became longer, and turned into the three of us going on a trip together.  Our first adventure was to the Three Rivers Resort along Highway 12 in Idaho, and last summer we went to Nelson, British Columbia.

Through all these experiences, we have developed a special relationship that we have discovered is quite rare in the sibling world as a whole.  It is rather unique that siblings all like to write, and to share those writings not only with each other, but publicly.

It is also unique that siblings take the time to go off without their spouses or children, and do something with just themselves.

And to make it more unique, to take the time to travel away together for a trip.

I believe part of it is a commitment on each of our parts to cultivate our sibling relationships.  We find this important.  And we really like being around one another, and admire and respect each other.  We like being in each other's company.

Our Sibling Assignments have gone by the wayside.

Maybe someday they will be resurrected. 

Then we will write more about the different ways we look at life and the world, and continue to show how these views have actually brought us into closer unity with one another.


Martin Luther King, Jr.---Blog Post #800

Shed a Little Light
By James Taylor
Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the Earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Shed a little light, oh Lord
So that we can see
Just a little light, oh Lord
Wanna stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh Lord
Wanna walk it on down
Shed a little light, oh Lord

Can't get no light from the dollar bill
Don't give me no light from a TV screen
When I open my eyes
I wanna drink my fill
From the well on the hill

(Do you know what I mean?)
- Chorus -

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh, Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the Earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood

I always sing this song to myself on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I love the words to the song, and at the end of this post, I have posted a video of James and his band singing this song, if you would like to listen.

The last time I visited Washington D.C., I was able to visit the newly created memorial for Martin Luther King Jr.

As I walked through the memorial and read some of the quotes he had said or written in his lifetime, I was amazed at the love and compassion and leadership this man possessed.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.  1963
 I took photos of some of my favorites, and the quotes that meant the most to me.  I think the quotes of MLK, Jr. always are  special to me, not only because of what he was doing at this point in history, but because it was happening around the time I was born.  For some reason, that makes me feel more connected to this time in history.
 I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.  Norway, 1964.
 If we are go have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional, our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.  Georgia 1967
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.  This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.  Norway, 1964

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.  1963
Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged us to shed a little light on our world.  A light that comes from love, not hate.  From nonviolent action, not violence.  From embracing our differences and helping that unite us, instead of making those differences segregate us and drive us apart.  But this wasn't a new message.  It wasn't one he created on his own.  It was one he had been taught his whole life, as he attended church every Sunday, learning the words Jesus Christ said in the New Testament.  King took to heart the verse in Matthew 22: 37-40 that says:

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Today, King's daughter Bernice King, Chief Executive Officer of the King Center posted this statement on her blog here

On the national holiday today, The King Center is calling for a moratorium on violence. Specifically, we are asking that there be no shots fired -- no shooting off at the mouth with our tongue, no shooting off physically with our fists and no shooting off of any type of gun! Just for one day -- on the King Holiday -- in recognition of my father, and as TIME magazine has said, one of our nation's Founding Fathers, let us honor the memory of one of the world's most highly regarded nonviolent proponents of peace on his holiday, with no shots fired. Instead, we ask that people engage in something positive and uplifting in service to humanity.

Shed a little light.  Engage in something positive and uplifting to service humanity.  What if we all took this statement to heart.  What if we all took one day to fire no shots.....to do something positive and uplifting in service to humanity.  What would the outcome look like?

I think for one day our world would be a much brighter place, and light would drive out darkness, and love would drive out hate.

Thank you Martin Luther King, Jr., for shedding your light, and letting your message continue to shine on our world today.



I love preserving food.

It is almost like an art form.

I love the sound of the "ping" when the lid has sealed.

I love looking through my canning books for new recipes.

Yesterday I canned some pears.

They are "Spirited Pears".  They are "spirited" because each jar has a dash of rum in them.

I can't wait to try a jar.

Here is how they looked lined up in the pantry.

Since canning these pears, I now have got the canning bug.

My freezers are full of frozen fruit and berries and hot peppers from last summer that are just waiting to be made into hot pepper jams of various kinds.

Tomorrow my plan  is to take an inventory of all the frozen fruit I have, and what kind of jars I have, and make a plan to make some different kinds of jams and other canned goodies.

Canned goods are always a nice thing to have on hand to give away as a gift. 

It also makes me feel like I have accomplished something good.  Something with purpose......like my word for the year....purposeful. 

Canning is very purposeful.


How Smells Take You Back in Time

Last night I was cutting some corn off  a cob, and when I cut the first kernels off, the air was filled with summer.  The smell of corn on the cob transports me back to summer.

Especially the summers we would spend a week at my Grandma West's house in Orofino.  Because corn on the cob was always on the menu.  And if we weren't eating corn on the cob at Grandma's house, then we were sitting outside at my Auntie Lila's enjoying corn on the cob.

Here I am at Grandma West's house in Orofino when I was little.

When I work in my garden, especially with tomato plants, I am back in Grandma's West's vegetable garden.  Orofino has a unique soil, very dark with a particular smell.  And for some reason I think of that smell every time I work around tomato plants. 

It is interesting how smells can transport you back in time.  A few years ago Paul and I were walking down McKinley Avenue in uptown Kellogg, past our old house, around where the Bunker Hill Mine workings used to be in that area of town.

One of us kicked up some dirt, and the smell again transported me to another time....to the playground at Sunnyside Elementary when you would be out for early morning recess, and there was a burning in your throat from the smelter smoke.  Because that smell was still in some of the dirt down on McKinley Avenue.

Every time I smell fresh green beans cooking on the stove, with a little bacon in them, I am once again a child in my Grandma Woolum's house on Bridgeport Avenue in Spokane, Washington.  Often Grandma would have green beans cooking on her stove that would fill her house with a wonderful smell. 
Here I am with my sister and brother outside of my Grandma Woolum's house in Spokane.

We have a small dresser drawer that we got from this same house, and, even years later, I can open those drawers and smell Listerine, a staple always in my grandma's medicine cabinet, and what her small little bathroom off the kitchen often smelled like.

Homemade bread baking in the oven reminds me of Sunday afternoons at home when I was growing up.  If Mom was going to make bread, that was the day she baked the bread.  And it was often accompanied by some delicious dinner.  Mom made the best homemade white bread!!

A friend in high school would always where "Brut" cologne.  If I ever smell that cologne, I am reminded of him.

 Whenever I smell Constant Comment Tea, it transports me back to the faculty room at Silver King School, because this spicy orangy smell was very prominent in that faculty lounge at the school. This is the school my mom taught at until I was in 7th grade, so I spent many hours at that school. Later, when I was in high school, I helped clean this school and the same smell permeated from the faculty lounge many years later.

These are just a few small examples of how smells transport me back in time.  Fortunately, most of the time these memories are associated with good things. 


The National Cathedral

I have had a privilege of visiting our Nation's Capitol three different times.  The first time was in June of 2007, then in July of 2008, then again in July of 2012.

During my second visit was the first time I was able to experience the National Cathedral.  I don't think you just visit cathedrals....you experience them.

I was in D.C. for a conference for my job.  I had arrived on Saturday, and didn't have anything to be at until Sunday evening, so I took advantage of some sight seeing on Sunday.  I hopped on the Trolley and headed up to The National Cathedral for a service and to tour the cathedral.

Below are some excerpts from the blog post I wrote right after I had my first experience at the cathedral.

Sunday was explore day. I didn't have to do anything until about 6 p.m., so I hopped on the trolley that drives you around D.C., and my first stop was the Washington National Cathedral.

It was breathtaking. I had never been to a cathedral before, and it was unbelievable.

When I went inside, the formal Holy Eucharist was just finishing in the nave. The Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral, but the bulletin says it is a church for national purposes called to embody God's love and to welcome people of all faiths and none.

At 10 a.m., in St. Joseph's Chapel in the lower level or Crypt level of the cathedral, I attended the Contemporary Folk Eucharist. When I arrived, there was a man playing a guitar, and going over the songs that would be sung during the service. From this moment on, I knew I would be blessed.

The service opened up with the Presider saying, Blessed be the one, holy, and living God.

We responded with, Glory to God for ever and ever.

The opening hymn was "We Gather Together", a song my mother likes to sing as we gather together for Thanksgiving dinner.

An Episcopalian service is liturgical, and everything that is said and responded to is written down in a bulletin. The lesson was from Romans 8:12-25. The Reverand Canon Preston Hannibal, who presided over the service that morning, based The Discussion on this passage of scripture, particularly the verses that say:

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? but if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

He shared some thoughts on hope, then posed some questions about hope to those of us sitting there in that small chapel, and we listened as people shared about hope to a group of total strangers, but strangers who were part of a family of Believers in Christ.

One lady talked about living in Egypt a few years ago, and found she grew up, and her hope and faith in Christ became stronger as she learned to live her Christianity in the mid east.

The man leading songs on the guitar shared about his journey with cancer and one of the ladies he met during his chemo treatments who reached out to other patients with her positive and hopeful outlook.

Another lady shared about her hope was in how Christ transforms her life each day.

After everyone finished sharing who wanted to share, the Reverend challenged us to go out and share hope with those who have no hope. The homeless person asking for money. The unlovable person. He said it is easy to be a Christian inside the walls of the church, but when we really give hope to others is when we share that hope with those in the world around us.

After the message, I joined in taking communion, which was quite moving sharing "The Lord's Supper" with brothers and sister in Christ from all over the world.  Then it seemed especially moving to recite the Nicene Creed with all those other Christians in that room.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen. 
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end. 
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

It was a joy to pray for the community, the church and the world with these other Believers. It was a joy to pray for George Bush our President, and the leaders of other nations with these people.

The Communion Hymn seemed very appropriate after the message we heard on hope.

It is called "Breath of Life", and the first verse goes like this:

Breathe on me, Breath of God,

fill me with life anew,

that I may love what thou dost love,

and do what thou wouldst do.

Then we prayed together...

God of abundance, you have fed us with the bread of life and cup of salvation; you have united us with Christ and one another; and you have made us one with all your people in heaven and on earth. Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue for ever in the risen life of Christ. Amen

Then we closed with they hymn "Just A Closer Walk With Thee."

I love worshiping with people from other churches, places and faiths. I always get such a bigger picture of God's Kingdom here on earth, and what He is doing throughout the world.

The next time I visited Washington D.C., Paul accompanied me.  It was again for a work-related conference that he also attended.  That Sunday morning we also decided to attended services at the National Cathedral.

This time the small service in the basement was not being held at the time we were there, so we attended the service in the nave. 

It was wonderful being a part of this type of service as well.  Not quite as intimate as my first experience, but beautiful in a different way. 

The Cathedral Singers sang beautiful songs, and The Reverend Dr. Francis S. Wade shared the sermon that morning.  Again, we were partakers in communion, The Lord's Supper, the Eucharist, however you want to describe it.  And again, I enjoy the sense of community you feel sharing in this experience with worshipers from all over the world.

As an extra, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite moments from the show "The West Wing".  This is a monologue President Jed Bartlett shares in the National Cathedral after his dear friend and secretary Mrs. Landingham dies in a car accident after she has just purchased her first brand new car.  The depth of his emotions in this still gives me goosebumps today.  And you know, because of previous episodes, that this man has a very close relationship with God, and that is what makes this even more powerful.  And, as you are watching, you can get a glimpse of inside the Cathedral.

A little National Catherdral trivia.....The Cathedral is so big, you could lay the Washington Monument down inside it and still have 55 feet to spare.....The Washington Monument is 555 feet, 5 1/8 inches tall.


Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

One of my favorite authors in Madeleine L'Engle.  While living in New York City, L'Engle was the Writer in Resident of St. John's Cathedral.  The first time Paul and I visited NYC, I put taking a tour of the Cathedral on our agenda, because I wanted to experience the place that inspired one of my favorite writers.

L'Engle used the Cathedral grounds as the setting for some of her books, so it was great seeing the grounds and understanding what they really looked like.

When we visited the Cathedral, we took what was called the "Vertical" tour, where we went all the way to the top of the cathedral, in the eaves right under the roof.
The whole experience was so wonderful, and learning about the community where L'Engle was a part made it even more special.

She was not only the writer-in-residence at the Cathedral, but taught at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's School, which is located on the Cathedral grounds.  In 1965 she became a volunteer librarian.

Since I never had the chance to actually meet L'Engle in person before she passed away, visiting the Cathedral was the next best thing to meeting her.


Burke, Idaho

Burke is a ghost town in Shoshone County, Idaho.  Once a thriving silver, lead and zinc mining community, it is far smaller now than at its height.  In 2002, about 300 people lived in or nearby in the lengthy and narrow Burke Canyon, about 300 feet in width.  In its early years, Burke was home to the Hercules silver mine, as well as the location of the Hecla and Star Mines.  After years of decline, Burke mining operations finally ceased in 1981, with the closing of the Star Mine, which reopened for a short period in the 1990s.

For the last three summers I spent time sharing the history of Burke with people who take the Ghost Town Trolley.  I enjoy learning about the history of the Silver Valley where I live, and sharing those stories with others.  And it is part of my own family's history as well, because my dad's family lived up in Burke Canyon before he was born.

Here are some shots I took of Burke last September on a photo walk with my brother.

If you want to enjoy a real ghost town, journey up Burke some day, and you will see what is left of a thriving mining area with stories that can fill volumes.