Gathering Graces 5/30/2018

*When I arrived at work this morning, there was a special little basket full of goodies from that awesome senior Rylee Marie Noto.  I am really going to miss her when she moves to Oklahoma at the end of the summer.
*This morning representatives from NIC came over again to help the last of our seniors get signed up for classes.  This has been awesome this year, having all of the help from NIC.  And they told me that our seniors numbers of being admitted and enrolled far surpass any other school they have been working with in North Idaho.  Our students are prepared and ready to go to college!!
*I remembered that today was the Senior Health Fair in Pinehurst, where I received my blood test results that were drawn last week.  I got there just as things were ending.  But I think my results are looking good. 
*The afternoon was spend sprucing up the grounds of KHS for graduation on Saturday.  Some NHS members and KHS United members walked around and picked up trash, planted flowers and repainted paw prints on the sidewalk.  It is going to look really nice for Saturday.
*The doorbell rang a little before dinnertime, and it was Brian White, the guy who is going to cut down our tree.  He had lost Paul’s phone number, so decided to stop by and set up a time to cut it down.  So our big, beautiful, unhealthy birch tree will be coming down on Friday.  No, it is not our beautiful tri-color beech tree, that is close to the house.
*I spent the afternoon and evening writing notes to each of the seniors to give to them at their breakfast in the morning. 


Gathering Graces 5/29/2018

*The day began with a bit of carnage in our backyard.  Yes, Clark, the mighty hunter, arrived on the back porch area with a freshly caught bird in his mouth.  Ugh! 
*A wonderfully full day today, working with some seniors as they finish their last couple days of school.
*Kellee Crall Mills and I had a long overdue lunch and visiting session catching up at Radio Brewing this afternoon.  Their Snow Crab Cobb Salad was delicious!!
*When I arrived home, a couple of packages had arrived, so we had some more items to add to the garden.  First is the St. Francis of Assisi statue.

*And we got covers for the butterfly chairs.  I don’t remember life without these chairs.  The frame is made with rod iron, I think, and they were a part of my parent’s backyard for as long as I can remember.  I said I would take them, and I found some covers to purchase, and now we have a bright, colorful fun new addition to our backyard.

*Tonight the KHS Drama Department presented “The Roaring Twenties” on the KHS stage.  It was a fun night of songs, dramatic presentations and improv comedy.  It was a really great time!!


Gathering Graces 5/28/2018

*What a glorious holiday weekend.  The weather was wonderful, we were able to do a variety of things, and we got to see Molly and Travis.
*Today Paul and I continued working in the yard, and getting quite a bit accomplished.  First though, Paul got up early today so I was able to experience the luxury of sleeping in, something I do not practice all that often.  Once up, I had some coffee, wrote my blog, then I was ready to head outside.
*I had some lily bulbs that needed planting, so I got those in the ground.  I also planted nasturtium seeds all over the place.  Paul made a new bed out front, and there I planted four varieties of sunflowers.  Oh, I sure do hope they grow.  Sunflowers are one of my favorites!!  Paul also got the lavender plants I purchased yesterday planted.  Lavender is another one of my favorites!
*I also planted two kinds of cucumbers, one burpless variety and one pickling variety. I found a packet of hollyhock seeds from last year that never got planted, so they got put in the back of a small flower bed to see if they will grow.
*A majority of the day was spent creating some areas where succulents will grow.  Years ago I had taken old wooden windows from our house when we lived on McKinley Avenue, and made flower boxes out of them.  We still have some around, and decided to use these for succulents this year, as well as a few other containers.  I planted these this afternoon and hope the succulents grow.
*We decided to order lunch from Best Shots.  I love their Cobb Salad, and it goes right along with the way I am eating.  Molly had the Ahi Tacos, and Paul and Travis both had different kinds of hamburgers.  It was all really good.  We enjoyed lunch out on the patio in the pleasant afternoon temperatures. 
*Paul and I took a break from our gardening work, and I continued reading my book. Molly and Travis left around 5 or so, and headed back to Moscow.  Paul made a delicious grilled salmon, and I made some cucumbers with cream for dinner.  The evening was so pleasant.  I was able to finish the book I was reading, and start on another one.
*I have felt like throughout the year, my life has reflected what is going on in the seasons.  Today as I looked at all the beautiful colors and flowers and vegetables in my yard, there is a promise of new things to come.  Flowers are ready to open.  Seeds will sprout, or start growing some kind of vegetable or bloom.   I realized this was like my life.  Right now, there are many things happening.  The seeds have been planted.  Some changes are being made.  And soon there will be a whole new look to my life just as there will be a whole new look to my gardens.  And I plan to tend my life with care, just as I tend my garden, to make sure things grow in the proper way.  

Gathering Graces 5/27/2018

*What a wonderful Sunday!!  Paul and I just went with the flow at church this morning after Simon needed to leave to help his wife take their youngest daughter to the doctor in Coeur d’Alene.  Without anyone to be in the sound booth or on drums, Paul quickly chose our worship set to be mostly hymns, and it worked out great. 
*After church, Christy and I drove up to the Greenwood Cemetery to lay flowers on Mom and Dad’s grave, Paul’s grandparent’s grave, and Paul’s younger brother’s grave.  I also visited my best friend April’s mother’s and grandparent’s grave.  What a beautiful cemetery, and it looked particularly wonderful today to see the flags next to all the veteran’s graves throughout the cemetery.  Our KHS JROTC students do this every year.  I meant to get a photograph of the flags.  There is a Veteran’s section at the cemetery, and it looked particularly stunning. Molly and Travis also came up to the cemetery to pay their respects.
*On my way home I stopped at Yoke’s to look at their flowers to see if there was anything I wanted to buy.  I still wanted some lavender to put in a section of our garden.  Yay!!  Yoke’s had some lavender plants.  I bought two different kinds to plant in front of the bathtub with the dahlias and glads.  I also bought two tuberous begonias to plant in the shade garden, and a pineapple sage plant and a stevia plant to add to my herbs.  The pineapple sage plant smells just like pineapple.  I looked up what culinary ways you can use pineapple sage, and I look forward to trying it this summer.
*Dinner was at 6 p.m. tonight at Christy and Everett’s house.  Paul, Bill, Debbie and I gathered in their backyard, and enjoyed some appetizers, and then a lovely dinner that Christy prepared.  We had a wonderful  “Loaded Cauliflower Casserole” that was delicious, some Baked Parmesian Zucchini, and a salad with Greek Vinaigrette.  We hadn’t been together for a family dinner for a couple weeks, so it was nice to gather together and get caught up.
*Back at home, it was a lovely evening outside.  I walked around the backyard, continuing to read Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson on my Kindle.  It was recommended by a friend as a “fun summer read”. 


Gathering Graces 5/26/2018

*At the end of the day at work on Thursday, I was talking to Tori Sheppard and Erin Schneider Stevenson.  Erin mentioned she was going to attend the St. Regis Flea Market in St. Regis, Montana this upcoming weekend.  I thought that sounded like a great idea, so I went home and asked Paul if he would like to go on Saturday.  We have been looking for funky items to put in our gardens in the backyard, and this might be just the place to find some.  We also asked Debbie and Christy if they wanted to go with us.  Christy said no, but Debbie said yes.  So we picked Debbie up about 9 a.m. and headed for St. Regis.
*It was a rainy drive over, but once we arrived, the weather was cloudy and cool as we walked around and looked a the various tables and booths with a variety of items.  Erin told me I would see all kinds of people I know from the valley, and she was right!!  I saw Jo Bluhaunka, ChuckandBobbie Donnenwirth, Peggy Figueroa, Nita Buhl and Steve Davis, Charles and Karin Clark, Colleen and Ted Pettis, and Casey Duncan, to name a few.
*After walking up and down each aisle, I found three items that would be perfect for our yard.  We also found my sister a large metal flower for her yard.  Debbie found a metal figure to put on the shelf in her kitchen.  Here were our finds:

Funky Metal Flower adds color to the garden

A Time Turner in the Harry Potter garden

An owl getting ready to deliver a message...let's hope it is not a Howler!!

A flower for Christy's yard.
Debbie's perfect find for her kitchen!!
*We invited Christy, Everett, Bill and Debbie over for a garden tour and party later in the afternoon so show them the work we have been doing on the yard.  We had a wonderful time showing them around the yard, and showing them the changes, and enjoying our beautiful place.  I threw together some snacks and opened some wine, and we had a wonderful, relaxing afternoon together.
*Bill had somewhere to be, Christy and Everett had to go home, but Debbie stayed, and was here when Molly and Travis arrived to spend the night.  Paul showed them around the garden and they got the official tour.  Before you know, I had whipped up a turkey meatloaf, Greek salad and watermelon for dinner, so we all enjoyed a nice meal.


Sibling Assignment 2018:6 A Tribute to Peaches...Woman's Best Friend

Christy’s sibling assignment for the month of March was this:  Write a tribute to a friend that is no longer with us.

Christy's tribute will be here, and Bill's tribute will be here.

I admit, I had a bit of trouble trying to figure out who should be the subject of this tribute.  I just didn’t know who to write about. And then it hit me.  I am going to write about a friend who has gone, who was this “woman’s best friend”.  And that is our dog Peaches.

Peaches came into our life very serendipitously.  We had a plan.  We would get a dog once we had a house with a fenced in yard.  Paul had decided he wanted a Keeshond.  He had done research on this type of dog, and thought it would be perfect for our family.  He was correct.

I remember it was a Sunday morning, and Molly wasn’t feeling well, so I stayed home from church with her.  I was online on the computer, and for some reason, I was looking at the Idaho Statesman classifieds.  This paper is located in Boise, Idaho, the place we had recently moved from.  In the ads I found an add for Keeshond puppies, and the owners were located in Meridian. I believe there was one female puppy and two male puppies.  When Paul arrived home from church, I told him about the add, and we put a plan into action.  He called his brother Kevin, who lived in the area, and he (along with his daughters Karlie and Taylor, if I remember correctly), went and visited the puppies, and gave us a good report.  We then told the people we wanted to female.  The female was named Peaches, because they had yarn tied to each of them to tell them apart, and her yarn color was peach colored.

Spring break was coming up in a couple of weeks for Paul and the girls (I was working at the local newspaper at the time, so I did not get a spring break back in those days) made a trip to Meridian to pick up our new puppy. 

When they all arrived home, it was wonderful having this little ball of fluff in our home.  I remember her not liking the crate training at first (the first night was awful, as I remember), but she eventually got used to her crate. 

One vivid memory I have right after she arrived was we had one of those early spring snow falls, and she loved playing in the snow.

When she was young, she was small enough to squeeze through the pickets in the fence in our front yard, and would sometimes escape.  But she would always come back.

As Peaches grew, she became a wonderful family pet.  We loved her and she was gentle, and would only bark when she felt like we needed protection.

A few years after we got her, we added another dog to our family, Molly’s Pomeranian Sadie.  I remember for the first two weeks or so, Peaches would not acknowledge Sadie’s existence.  She would look right through her.  But eventually, Peaches gave in to the little ball of fluff, and they became wonderful friends.

One thing Peaches did not like was thunder.  She would get very upset when there were storms. 

Toward the end, Peaches started slowing down.  Her breathing started getting very labored.  She suffered from arthritis. She couldn’t go on walks anymore.  We then had to make the difficult decision to have the vet put her to sleep.  That is always a tough decision, but when their quality of life suffers, you know it is best.

I remember sitting with her on the floor of the room at Kellogg Pet Medical Center, when Dr. Cook was giving her the medicine to put her to sleep.  She looked at me, and for a moment, I could tell she was at peace.  Then she was gone.

It was hard saying goodbye to Peaches.  She had been a part of our life for about 11 years.  She was born on Christmas Eve, so celebrating her birthday was always part of our holiday celebration.

Our pets do become a part of our family.  They are our friends.  They bring a special meaning into our life.  We love them.  We miss them.  And a part of our heart is taken when they leave this earth.

Peaches spirit lives on in all our lives.  She was a wonderful, sweet soul. 

A special, wonderful friend.

The day Peaches died, Molly wrote this on Facebook.  It sums up Peaches life perfectly…

Today the Roberts' family did a very difficult thing. Our beloved dog of almost 12 years was laid to rest today. For a year she was constantly in pain with arthritis and trouble breathing, and is finally at peace. As corny as this may sound Peaches was not only a dog, but a friend. A friend who helped me get through the move from Meridian, to Kellogg. A friend who helped me through depression, and heartache. A perfect companion. We could use some prayer, and positive thoughts sent our way this next week. I will end with a C.S Lewis quote “We treat our dogs as if they were 'almost human': that is why they really become 'almost human' in the end.”

Peaches Maximillian Holyday Roberts
December 24, 2001-September 16, 2013.

Gathering Graces 5/25/2018

*I guess I can officially be considered a “senior” today, because I went to Shoshone Medical Center to participate in their Free Blood Tests for Seniors 50 and over.  It began at 7 a.m. this morning, and I arrived about 7:05 a.m., and things were hopping, but I was in and out in about a half hour.  Next Wednesday, there will be a 50+ Senior Health and Fitness Fair in Pinehurst at the SMC Community Outreach Center (next to the Pinehurst Golf Course) so then I can receive the results of my blood work. 
*After coming home and enjoying my first cup of coffee for the day, I went to The Bean, our local coffee shop, and met my sister Christy and my sister-in-law Debbie .  We had a wonderful time catching up and filled that place with lots of laughter.
*My next order of business was to visit my friend Jane McShane, who said she would share some of her plants with me.  I got some curly parsley, flat leaf parsley, mint, lavender and a variety of succulents.  I brought them home and planted all the herbs right away.
*Around 1 p.m. I started getting really tired.  I ate some lunch, and then I took a nice, short nap.  Paul and I were maybe going to Coeur d’Alene this evening, but decided not to when he arrived home.  Instead we worked out in the yard, ate dinner, and I read a book as I walked around the backyard, getting in my 10,000 steps for the day.


Gathering Graces 5/24/2018

*Today was a busy, busy day at KHS.  I have been doing a lot of last minutes things with students, mostly regarding their financial aid at their colleges.  It was just go, go, go all day long.
*I ordered a “bean tower” to put in one of my raised beds to grow my pole beans this year.  It arrived late yesterday, and Paul and I put it together and I got my beans planted.  I can’t wait until they start growing up the tower.

Bean Tower
*This evening Paul and I went up to the high school to watch the spring Choir Concert.  It was a wonderful evening of singing, and Joy Persoon always does a marvelous job putting on a concert.  I want to thank Angelique Teranova for inviting us to come, and also enjoyed the performances of Anika Sundstrom, Grant Ray Turner, Drake Duce, Kelsi Steeler, Beth Langer and many others.


Gathering Graces 5/23/2018

*One more thing checked of my list as I wind down my time as a Gear Up Site Coordinator.  Today was the Scholarship Award’s Ceremony at Kellogg High School.  It is one of my favorite assemblies, as students receive scholarship money from generous local donors to help them pursue their dream and goal of getting a higher education.  I was MC for the ceremony, and what a pleasure it was to watch the students awarded their scholarships.  The State of Idaho alone are giving students going to Idaho colleges or university close to $149,000 just for the first year through students receiving the Gear Up scholarship and about 14 receiving the Opportunity scholarship.  I will be completing the list of scholarship winners tomorrow so we have a final tally of how much money students received.
*We had some guests for dinner tonight.  Cosette and Taylor drove to Coeur d’Alene during the day to meet her best friend Sidnee Grubb and her boyfriend Ben for lunch and some bowling.  Then all four of them came to Kellogg to join us for dinner.  We enjoyed giving them a tour of the yard, and Cosette gave a house tour.  As dinner was being prepared, Cosette drove them around Kellogg to give a quick tour.  When they got back home, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner of grilled London broil, grilled vegetables and a Greek green salad, and some watermelon.  It was delicious.  The only part of the evening that I had some regret about was not taking any pictures with our wonderful guests.  Sidnee just graduated from Gonzaga University, and Ben and her will be moving to Portland soon.  Sidnee has a job at a publishing house where she worked as an intern.  We wish them the best of luck!!
*I didn’t get my walk in this morning, so I spent some time walking around the backyard to get my 10,000 steps in for the day.  If I walk around my backyard once it is bout 250 steps. I had about 4,000 steps to get in, so that meant about 16 times around the backyard.  There was a TED Talk I have been wanting to listen to by Brene Brown titled The Power of Vulnerability.  This talk was recommended  by Carl Medearis, the author of 42 Seconds: The Jesus Model For Everyday Interactions, as something good to listen to regarding “avoiding the trap of trying to be too cool, and owning who we really are”.  Paul and I have been using this book for our morning devotion time.  In fact, we have gone through it once, and loved it so much, we are going to go through it again, and dig a little deeper into some of the things it says.  If you want to listen to a wonderful talk about vulnerability, you can listen here.  Apparently this is the fourth-most-watched TED talk of all time.
*Molly shared with us last night about taking her bunnies Booker and Bunz to West Park Elementary where she works.  It sounded like they were a big hit!!  Bunz was a little more friendly than Booker, but she shared some very cute photographs of the students with the bunnies.  Soon the bunnies will be coming to stay with us as Molly and Travis transition to their lives in the Post Falls area for the summer as Travis will manage the Fun Unlimited business, and Molly will take summer classes.  It will be fun to have the bunnies back in our home.


Gathering Graces 5/22/2018

*Another beautiful day today.  I didn’t get out in it much until evening, but I love these mild, spring days.
*Our office was busy getting ready for the Scholarship Award’s Assembly tomorrow.  This is always a very exciting assembly, as many seniors are awarded money to attend college.
*Later in the afternoon I went to the District Office to meet with Nancy and Jan to start work on the next Gear Up grant.  It was fun looking at the possibility for the future if the school district receives another Gear Up grant.
*Then I came home and enjoyed time outside.  I talked to Cosette for a while on the phone, and am excited for her and Taylor, and Sidnee and Ben to come visit tomorrow and have dinner with us. 
*I dug up my rogue summer squash seedlings and potato starts from my “salad garden tires”, and transplanted them in our, as I refer to it, big mound of dirt on the north side of our house.  This big mound of dirt has come in very handy, as we acquire plants and are not sure what to do with them, they go in the big mound of dirt until they find their permanent spot in the yard.  If the squash grows, I should have an abundance of summer squash by summer’s end.
*Another highlight of my day was talking on the phone with my dear friend Stephanie Bauman Broaddus.  What a wonderful visit as we got caught up on each other’s lives, and we started making plans for a possible road trip in the future together.  Watch out for these two women on the road together!!!  Stephanie called just as we were starting dinner outside, and just as the rain started pouring down, so I had to move inside so I wouldn’t get soaking wet.
*Paul was in need of purchasing a bag of peanuts (his new nighttime snack he enjoys) so we walked to Yoke’s and got him some peanuts.  What a beautiful night.  The rain shower passed, it smelled wonderful outside because of the rain, and I was with Paul, so who could ask for anything more?


Sibling Assignment 2018:5 KHS "Dracula" Production Was Quite Memorable

Here is the Sibling Assignment I shared for the month of March.  Yes, I realize it is now May, and you can totally blame the younger “slacker” sibling for holding up the posting of each of the latest sibling assignments.  I hope to do better in the future!!

My assignment was:  Share a memory from one of your times performing on stage at Kellogg High School.  Bill's post will be here, and Christy's post will be here.

I would like to share my experience of being in the production of  Dracula during the fall of my junior year of high school.

I was not originally cast for this production.  I was on the volleyball team, and so I did not audition for the fall play.  As volleyball came to an end, and the production was getting closer to opening night, the girl who was cast in the lead female role was missing a lot of rehearsals, and was removed by our director, Mary Rae Faraca.

Once this person was removed from the show, there needed to be a replacement.  Mrs. Faraca approached me, to ask if I would make the commitment to learn the lines and join the Dracula production.  Opening night was about two weeks away.  I was willing to take on the challenge.

I remember spending a whole day on the stage at KHS with Christina Crumm, one of Mrs. Faraca’s aides, and she helped me learn my lines.  And I did it!!  I learned the lines, and played the part, and it was actually an amazing production to be a part of that year.  David Dose played the lead role as Dracula, and he and his brother Gary and another student worked on special effects for the production.  I still remember a “bat” swooping down on the audience at one point of the production.

After we performed this play onstage, Mrs. Faraca shortened it into a One Act play and we performed it for drama competition.  I think we made it to state.  I know they also competed in some special effects category with this play as well.

A few years ago, Gary Dose shared with me a video of the production.  They were one of the only families I knew who had a movie camera in late 1970’s.  It was fun reliving that production and remembering all the special effects those boys created, and fondly remembering the cast that were all a part of the show.  It was a very memorable experience on the stage at KHS!!

Gathering Graces 5/21/2018

*Bill, Christy and I posted one of three sibling assignments today.  For this particular set of assignments, I was the total slacker in not getting them completed.  Hopefully this will all change soon, as I start focusing more on writing, and I can get the assignment written in a more timely manner.
*It was a wonderful evening outside.  I walked around the yard, enjoying all the color from the pots I planted over the weekend.  And I did a little weeding in my raised beds.  I still have some pole beans, summer squash and cucumbers to plant.  But I ordered some items that the beans and cucumbers can climb up, and one is scheduled to arrive this week, and one next week.  So I want to wait and plant those seeds.  Except I do have a lot of volunteer summer squash coming up in the tires I planted with salad greens this year.  I may have to dig them up, put them in little pots, and see if I can give them away.
*My heart breaks for my school community.  Things are in turmoil, and I particularly feel saddened for the students, who are the most effected by what is happening.  I love working at KHS, and love the students I work with, and want the best for them.  I also think we have a wonderful staff who really do care about the students.  But that is my story.  And we all have our own stories, and we need to listen to one another’s stories.  And if the sharing of these stories helps our students, school and community become better, than so be it.  But as you read and listen to one another’s stories, read and listen through eyes of kindness.


Sibling Assignment 2018:4 My Memories of the Kellogg vs. Wallace Rivalry

Bill gave us this Sibling Assignment for March:  The other night at the Inland Lounge I got into a conversation with a couple of Wallace High School grads about the Wallace/Kellogg rivalry. How did you experience this rivalry back in high school? The people I talked to Friday night thought the rivalry had weakened over the years. Had it started to weaken when we were in high school in the 1970s and 1980s? Or did you experience things that were evidence of the rivalry being very much alive when we were in high school? 

To read my sibling's take on this assignment, you can find Christy's here, and you can find Bill's here.

I really don’t remember a whole lot of rivalry that I experienced personally when I was in high school.  But I don’t remember having a whole lot to do with students from Wallace, unless it was through speech or drama competition, or possibly Rainbow Girls. I also knew some girls from Wallace who I had gone to Camp Aowakia with, a Campfire Girls camp at the end of Montgomery Gulch I attended as a camper and was also a counselor up through my junior high years. But there just wasn’t a whole lot of rivalry involved in these particular groups of people.
Perhaps if I was more involved in sports, I would have a different view of the rivalry.  But by the time I was in high school, Wallace was not in our sports classification, so we didn’t play them in league competition.  They were becoming a smaller school.  We still played them in the annual football game, and we played them in basketball and volleyball, and track and wrestling, but they were not in our league.
When I returned to Kellogg back in 2000, I think things had really changed with the rivalry.  I think students don’t even look at Wallace as a big rival anymore.  We have Wallace students coming to KHS for classes.  We share sports teams.  Wallace is still in a different sports league.  There are more opportunities in the valley for students in the valley to know one another and be friends.  We have students from KHS leave and go to Wallace, and visa versa. 
I often believe it is the older generation that wants to keep the rivalry alive.  This often comes into play when school consolidation is talked about, and not wanting to combine the three valley school districts into one.  A term I often hear is “the old guys in Wallace still sleep in their letterman’s jackets”.  It is a funny statement, but I think it goes beyond that.  I think it is more about pride.  Pride in community.  Pride in their own school system.  Often communities are defined by their school system.  It is a complicated issue that I am sure will continue to be discussed as the number of students attending schools in Mullan, Wallace and Kellogg continue to get smaller. 
But having a rival can be fun.  I love hearing some of the stories about setting the others homecoming bonfire on fire, or other harmless pranks.  But that was definitely from another time.