Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Thought I'd write a few lines. I guess I have had "post-boredom," and haven't felt like writing. Work has been a nightmare, but sales are slowing as we approach Christmas. Guess most people want to get their fabric early enough to complete their projects. (I thought I had, but - we'll see). [Not quite]. . .

We are finally getting some snow, and S is home from the University of Idaho for break. I told the Hunk that once she came home, it started to "feel" like Christmas to me. S & V are in my husband's study laughing their guts out! It's so nice to have them enjoy their time together.

They had an UGLY sweater contest at "Freedom" on Tues night, and the pictures are hillarious! Each contestant had to "pose" for the judges, and the pictures are really telling. Of course, S added captions that set the girls off!

V & M are finishing finals at Idaho State University, then we'll all celebrate by having dinner together at the Olive Garden Sunday evening. Last time we went together, our waiter was soooo funny - and he really hammed it up in front of our gorgeous girls.

Well, its actually Christmas now. 2:05 am here. I need to hit the sack- but just wanted to say Thank You to Inland Empire Girl for the awesome card and Silver Valley Girl for the good wishes for the HOLYday.

Merry CHRISTmas to all and Hope to see some of you in Northern Idaho (The Silver Valley) this coming weekend.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Birthday - M - a day late

Yesterday, was my oldest daughter's birthday. Let's just say she's catching up to the age I "feel" like I should be. . .

Today, after work, V took M and I to the movies. We saw "Dan in Real Life". I thought it was a really good movie. Laughed my guts out in several places. (This is why theater's are dark - so no one can recognize the laughing idiot after the show.) Steve Carell was both a sweetheart and a hoot in the roll! I got sick of the way his family picked on him, but he was the best of the bunch! One of my favorite lines is when someone asks him what his talent is, and he says, "The murderer of love." Well, don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I will say that I would see this one again.

After the movie, V and I watched M open her gifts then bit her adieu as M needed to get her homework done. V and I went shopping after that, and bought a few necessities for the house - and a couple of non-essentials.

I called my husband, and he said, "You got a package from Japan. Were you expecting that?"

"Yes, I was."

"Wow, did you buy something on ebay - or some other place?"

"Yea, I bought something on"

(But I can't say what I bought or for whom - as Christmas cometh, and there are many secrets to keep.) I can say that I bought something for myself -but that's all I can say.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The Regional Manager arrived last night, and began to cut fabric for customers. Several of us moved in to find out who was takin' over the store. . .

Actually, he was very nice to all of us including our store manager. She said to me later, "I've never met that man before!" Apparently, he was a changed man - for some reason - and we were all happy about that!

Today I worked at lifting the old scalloped cement edging from around my tree in the front yard and replacing it with newer "mondo" block. I wore a sweater, because it was only in the 50s. I was working in and out of the shade, so I got mighty warm. The dog was assisting me, by hanging around on her chain, but she soon got restless to go inside.

I still haven't moved all of my previous bulbs out of that flowerbed, so I turned over a couple of shovels of dirt and roots before packing in the shovel, bulb box, old scallops. Maybe we'll have a few more dry and sunny days before the snow flies again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Today I finished making the dog bed. Yesterday, I glued the two pieces of foam together and gave them time to "cure." Today, I marked, cut, sewed the vinyl into shape and stuffed the foam inside. I gave myself a B+ - because the work wasn't perfect, but it fits well, and the dog won't care.

I had to get "gussied up" for work tonight. The Regional manager is coming tonight, or tomorrow morning with the District manager. For the past week, we have been cleaning, organizing, and "froo frooing" up the store. My boss is beside herself - she's been telling all of us that she's gonna be fired. I said, "Well, if he fires you tell him you fired me first." (This was after she said they'd make me store manager - a position for which I am not ready.)

Apparently, he has threatened to fire her numerous times. . .but has yet to do so. I think he uses intimidation to get his way, but of course, I haven't met him yet. . .so I guess I should wait and see. I am not impressed by anyone who uses anger (or tantrums) to control people. Not professional, and not true leadership.

Been a great day. Sunshine, project completion, hubby loved dinner last night, and yea, I get to hang out at the fabric store and make some money. . .

Monday, October 22, 2007


Late October -

Where has the time gone?
Preparing to plant bulbs -
but the snows came.
Moving my crafts and sewing to the basement -

I am sidetracked by the need to make a new dog bed
and prepare

Can't wait to see his face
when he realizes I have been domestic today.

He usually cooks for me.
Breakfast in bed on the weekends.
Tea on Sundays.
Dinner when I am working.

When did we switch places?
Between college and launching the girls.
I began to work outside,
and he began to work inside.

Our lives have merged in many ways
transitioned through the years.
Today in the autumn of our lives
we are partners in every sense of the word.

I can't wait to see him today.
My best friend,
my husband,
my lover,
my partner.

He's here
I've got to go.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Slump

I haven't been blogging lately. I think I'm in a slump. I'm not too interested in continuing my life story in the Silver Valley for now. Don't have much going on right now except for work. Can't talk about the projects I'm working on (mostly Christmas presents).

The rest of my time I have been playing bubble shooter and watching the first 3 seasons of The Office in random order. (Can't seem to find all of any one season at the rental place at any one time.)

I am wondering if I am getting depressed again. Obsessive game playing on the computer - very little desire to call friends (could be that I am saving my minutes now that the home phone is kaput) - shorter days that bring feelings of melancholy - no desire to write on the book I started last October - don't want to get dressed on my days off -

The most exciting thing that has happened lately is that I bought a couple of new pillows for the Hunk and I to sleep on. They are really nice and comfortable. At the same store, the Hunk bought me 4 (FOUR!) cute hooks for my soon to be craft room downstairs. They look like dress forms with various corsets on them done in cream and black with a bit of a distressed look. They were $10 each - so I was surprised when he bought me all four of them! (Now I just have to wait for V to paint over the lime and orange paint in her former room, so I have crisp clean ultra-white walls on which to display my hooks!) I like the ultra-white walls for my Mary Kay room (natural light for matching foundations) and I want it in my craft/sewing room for matching colors.

Maybe I'm not depressed - just in a holding pattern. . .a bit overwhelmed by some of the changes that have been taking place lately. Additional work hours and responsibilities, losing the cat, losing the house phone, adjusting to cooler weather. . .waiting for Christmas, waiting for my youngest to come home from school, waiting for my new craft room, waiting for some new inspiration. . .

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Trashing Traditional Telephone

Tradition is a difficult thing to release. We all get attached to what is, and fear that which is unknown. We want things to remain the same, and we want our children to understand how life was for us. . .back then. . .

In the 1950s we had a heavy black telephone with a 5-digit number. 2-2922. Sunset 2-2922. The moniker was probably used when making long distant calls via the local operator who sat at a switchboard and literally connected the calls with plugs on wires.

1960s, when we moved back to Pinehurst, our number was Sunset 2-2862. We were on a "party line" of 4. "Parties" were households of people, not events for hanging out and eating goodies. Party lines included the home numbers of several neighbors, so when you picked up the phone you could encounter someone else on the line. It was like the home phones when you picked up the phone, and someone in the family was already using it. Technology hadn't advanced enough, and there wasn't enough wire strung to give everyone a "private line." (Hence the need to listen for a dial tone before calling. If there wasn't a dial tone, someone was probably already on the line.)

People had to pay more money for less "parties." We were lucky, with only 4 parties on the line, there was a good chance the line wasn't in use when you wanted to make a call. Calls had to be short, though, in case someone else needed to use the line. Phone etiquette indicated that if someone was on the party line, you were to quietly hang up, and wait 10 to 15 minutes or more before checking the to see if the line was free.

One of my friends was on a 10 party line - which was the most common. It was difficult to make calls at certain times of the day with so many families using the same line. Kids were not allowed to be on the phone for more than 5 to 10 minutes - even when doing homework. The rule was you make the call, get to the point, and get off the phone. When we were in Jr. High, my friend's next-door-neighbor boyfriend was on the same party line. They could pick up the phone and talk over the dial-tone, or if one of them called a friend the other could listen in on the conversations. I'm sure there was a lot of covert listening to know whether or not the other was "cheating" on their relationship.

I had a friend who lived in another state, who's party line rang into each person's home. The rings were different for each number, so you could tell which call was for you. One ring might be "one long" another "two short" and another "one long-one short" etc. If you were not going to be home, you could ask the neighbor to answer your calls and send along the message, or take messages for you. I guess this system worked well in the 1960s in the rural area where they lived. When I stayed with them, I had to learn not to answer the phone every time it rang. . .

We also had only one phone. It was beige. Phones came in colors, if you your local telephone company carried them. The phones at that time belonged to the company, and customers "rented" the phones. Later in the 60s, one could purchase a phone, and "plug" it into a wall outlet, similar to the ones we have today. When phone ownership was possible you could buy phones in all sorts of colors: turquoise, green, blue, pink, yellow, and in new styles - such as the Princess phone. . .(A phone I always wanted as a child, but never had. . .)

In 1963, long distance was anywhere outside of a few close towns, usually the closest ones on either side of your town. It was amazing to me when in the 1970s when you could call anyone in the Silver Valley without charge.

In the early days, our phone was in the living room. When it rang, my sister and I would run to see who could answer it first. My mom was probably grateful for this, since she was usually tied up in the kitchen, far from the phone. (It was amazing to me, that as we raised our kids, none of them were eager to answer the phone. Maybe it was because it rang so often, it wasn't much of a novelty to them.) In the late 60s or early 70s, we got a second phone for the kitchen. It was a wall-phone, and had a long chord, so we could answer it and still keep cooking or doing dishes. Ours was white or yellow.

Now we had two options for telephone chat, seated in the living room, or standing in the kitchen. We were still supposed to keep conversations short, although now we were on a "private line." We didn't have to be courteous to strangers who may need to use the phone, but Dad still wanted us to keep calls short and to the point. I was a teenager and liked to talk to my friends about boys, dances, school, etc. I could spend more time on the phone when he worked night shift and Mom was bowling. One afternoon, however, when Dad was home, a friend of mine called to chat. I was standing in the kitchen talking on the wall phone. My friend didn't have anything important to say, and was doing a monologue - or should I say monotonous one-sided conversation. She ran out of things to tell me, and was reading the advertisements from the newspaper to me over the phone. Dad noticed that I hadn't said a word for a loooooong time, so he said, "If you don't have anything to say, get off the phone." I tried to tell him, between my "u-huhs" to my friend that she was reading something to me. I think he just reached up and hit the receiver button. Dad's did that in those days.

When I started, I didn't plan to give a chronology of telephonology. . .so I will get to my point. . .today The Hunk shut off our wire line. No more home phone. No more running to the phone. No more, "It's for you" being hollered through the house. No more "Will somebody get the phone?" And no more "We're in the phone book." We are trashing the tradition. We've gone cellular.

So if you need to call me - email me first, and I'll give you my number.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Goodbye, Sweet Kitty

The Hunk salutes the Colonel

On Friday we had Colonel euthanized. He was 14 years old. We had gotten him when he was a kitten shortly after we had moved into our house here on Peggy's Lane. And for the next 14 years he was a celebrity member of our family: a feisty, dynamic, strong-willed, mouse hunter/killer and fearless defender of our home territory. On more than one occasion I witnessed him attack dogs -- many times his own size -- that had carelessly wandered into our yard (before our fence was complete). Once a stray pigeon tried taking up residence in our back yard. That was short lived. I've never known a cat quite like him. Many of our friends had said the same.

Over the last year, however, Colonel's health began deteriorating. He started losing weight and getting thin -- dangerously thin. The vet diagnosed it as diabetes. A few months later he started having trouble walking, particularly the use of his hind legs. Steadily he got worse. As a consequence he became more sedentary. His outdoor time became less and less. He began using his litter box almost exclusively, but eventually even that became problematic. He then showed signs of having trouble feeding himself. It was sad. Colonel was dying.

Realizing the inevitable, Sandie made the appointment with the vet. On Friday I took him in. While I was in the vet's office waiting a voice in my head kept saying 'No - you don't have to. He'll get better. Take him home.' I fought the urge; it was just wishful thinking. The vet entered. After a short discussion I gave him permission to proceed.

I brought Colonel's body home to a grave site I had prepared in our backyard. After carefully laying his shoe-box casket in it, I filled in the void space with dirt and folded the grass blanket back over the site. I then sat down in a lawn chair a few feet away and reflected. Dang this is painful. For 5 years I had kept in my gun safe a bottle of Russian cognac that Kim had gotten me when she, Pete and Mom were in Russia. Sitting under the tree that day, I finally opened it and took a shot.

Farewell Colonel.

Here are some pics of Colonel in better days. . .

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

'67 - Summer of Love (3)

(I changed the name of the Vacation (10) post to '67 Summer of Love (2) - as the title was more appropriate, and it happened all the same year. So this post picks up - that same summer - before my 8th grade year.)

We returned from Vacation early in July. Even though my crush was no longer interested, there was plenty of summer left.

In July and August the creeks and rivers of Northern Idaho are warm enough for swimming, and even though I was not old enough to swim alone, Dad would take me to the creek to swim.

This summer, someone had dammed up the creek near the south end of Weir Gulch. This made the creek near the Bauman Addition too shallow for swimming, but created a better swimming hole behind the Assembly of God Church at the end of Division Street. All the kids my age were going there to swim in a great green pool of water.

Dad took me there a few times, and that is where I met Tom. (Now Tom was his real name, and I decided to use it, because he has been deceased for quite a number of years now. I don't know the reason for his early demise, but it could have been the result of an accident or disease.)

Tom was a great looking kid with strawberry blonde hair and green eyes. (Ok, so his hair was red, but a soft redish-brown, and bleached by the sun. It's not that I have anything against red-haired guys, but I think my repulsion of Howdy Doody didn't help.) Tom was a year older than I, and for some strange reason he took a liking to me. I was a bit shy in those days, so he must have been the first one to swim over and introduce himself. I was fascinated by the fact that he was interested in me when he could have had a lot of girls after him.

The one event that sticks out in my mind was the day at the creek, when he scooped me up into his arms and hollered at my Dad, "Hey, Mr. Lewis, do you mind if I throw your daughter in the water?" Before I could process the fact that he lifted me up, my dad was saying, "Go ahead," and I was flying through the air toward the middle of the green pool.

Nearly every afternoon for the rest of the summer, I would go to the swimming hole. Dad didn't go with me all summer. I think he started to realize that I could swim pretty well, and that there weren't any creepy people to be wary of. I think as long as I had at least one friend along, I could go. Sometimes the Carver brothers would come down to the swimming hole, and I would feel safe, because they were all like brothers to me.

I never had to worry about Tom, and neither did my parents. He was a gentleman. He started coming over to my place to visit, and always spent time interacting with my parents. He'd usually say, "Hi" to me and continue on into the kitchen to ask my mom if she needed help with the dishes or whatever she was doing. Mom used to tease me by saying, "I think he likes me more than he likes you." But I knew that wasn't true!

Monday, September 10, 2007


Inland Empire Girl from Gathering Around the Table sent this meme challenge to me. . .

01. If you could have super powers what would they be and what would you do with them?
  • Ability to allow people to distinguish truth from error.

  • Ablility to keep people from saying hurtful things to the innocent.

  • Ablility to fly - because it would be fun!
I'd use the first two on everyone I came into contact with. I think they would help people to make better decisions and stop creating victims - especially of children.

The third I would use for my own recreation and entertainment.

02. Were you to find yourself stranded on an island with a CD could happen...what would your top 10 bloggers island discs be?
  • 9 Wow Worship CDs
  • Michael W. Smith's Worship Album
My focus would be on the Lord, since He would be the only one I could talk to (and hear from). Any other music would just make me sad for another time and place.

03. If you were a smell what would it be?

Vanilla sugar. Good smell that anyone would enjoy being around.

04. What bird would you most like to be?

Sorry, no bird. Their brains are too small and their lives are boring. . .but if I had to be one, I'd be a humming bird. Who doesn't love 'em?

05. If you were a bird who's head would you poo on?

Please, it's bad enough I have nightmares about bodily functions. I wouldn't want to poo anywhere, at anytime, for anyone to see - let alone. . .feel.

06. Are there any foods that your body craves?

Chocolate, mostly. Sometimes vegetables, if I haven't been eating properly. Sometimes beef.

07. What's your favorite time of year?

Spring and Autumn - just because the weather is more temperate and there is plenty of daylight. Love warm days and cool nights. I love the Winter snow, but not the short daylight. Love the Summer daylight, but not the heat.

08. What's your favorite time of day?

Evening. No more pressure to perform household tasks. I can rest without guilt, visit with my family, play on the computer, watch TV, work on craft and sewing projects, go out for tea and dessert, and sit on the porch to watch the sunset change colors. (Interesting to note, it is also temperate at that time of day. . .)

09. If a rest is as good as a change which would you choose?

Rest. Change is more stressful, even if it is good change. (I love variety, as in a work setting, but change - not so much. We used to move a lot, and at first it was very exciting. I finally got tired of always being "the new person" at church, in the community, etc. There is something to be said for longevity in place and among a group of people.)

10. If you could have a dinner party and invite any 5 people from the past or present who would they be (living or deceased)?

Jesus (my Savior, to be the guest of honor and to explain the questions of life), my husband (best friend), my dad (second favorite man in my life), Emeril (to cook -He's one of my dad's favorite chef's, and Rachel Ray is too cute and perky), and you (whosoever will, may come).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pinehurst: Eighth Grade

Is is true blondes have more fun?

Blonde was in. Summer Blonde. Born Blonde. Clairol Blonde.

Remember the commercial?

"Is is true blondes have more fun?
Why not be a blonde and see?"
"A lady Clariol Blonde, that silky, shiny blonde
a lady Clairol blonde.
Is it true Blondes have more fun?" [fade]

Blonde was back. . .Marilyn Blonde. Jane Mansfield Blonde. And now it was my turn. . .
I went blonde.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

'67 - Summer of Love (2)

Something happened the year I turned 13. I got a crush on an older kid. He rode his bicycle past my house everyday that summer of '67, and I was smitten. I sat out on the front porch in the evenings and listened to the radio play the latest rock tunes. Early one evening, he rode his bike past the house and stopped across the street at the street corner. He called to me to come over to talk with him. I was so excited, and so scared. (What if he tried to kiss me?)

I left the security of the porch and strode across the lawn and the street to the corner, by the stop sign, where he stood with his bike, under the branches of the neighbor's tree. He had leaned his bicycle against their fence, and was waiting for me. His eyes were blue and his hair blonde, and I thought he was the best looking guy I had seen in a long time. I was nervous to be standing near him.

We made small talk, then he asked me what I was going to be doing the next few days. "We are leaving on vacation in the morning," I confessed, wondering if he would try to kiss me good-bye.
He didn't move closer, but wanted to know where I was going and how long I would be gone. (He must really like me, I thought.) Soon the conversation ended. I don't remember if I was called into the house, or if he had to go, but he took off on his bike, and I sauntered home -glowing, I think.

I finished packing and went to bed early, because we were leaving the next morning. I remember getting in the car, and wishing I didn't have to go. I wanted to stay. Just when things were getting interesting - I was off for Utah for three weeks. I laid in the backseat and stared up at the telephone poles outside the car window. The telephone lines went up one pole and swooped down to the next. Up and down, up and down, just like the emotions in my heart. I had been so encouraged, so excited, and now I was down, down, down.

I probably cried off and on, but disguising my sadness from the family. We were not the kind of family that showed our emotions. . .especially sorrow and disappointment. How could I stand the wait - 3 whole weeks - before I would see him again. It just wasn't fair!

I don't remember any of the particulars about that vacation, except that my cousins were out pacing me in their experiences. My cousin, LD, who was two years younger, told me about kissing boys behind some curtains at her school. Good grief! She just finished the 5th grade! Another cousin who lived in Las Vegas, and was a few months older than I was going to parties where there was a lot of drinking and older guys. I felt inexperienced, but safe. I was glad I didn't have to deal with such pressure.

I probably had a lot of fun on vacation despite my sorrow. LD and I usually went swimming at the public pool in Provo, shopping, and to the 4th of July parade and carnival. We were old enough now that we didn't need to stay with the family all the time, and were venturing out on our own more. At the swimming pool, there were always guys who like to show off for us, and that was a distraction from my beau back home.

Finally, the day came for us to load up and drive home. I couldn't wait to get there. I was excited to find out what the future would hold for this "biker-guy" and I. We arrived home, and as always, I sat out on the front porch in the evening. I waited, and waited for him to drive by on his bike. . .but he did not. The next day, or two or three, I rode my bike to the store, past his house, just for a glimpse of him. . .

For some reason, only known to young almost women, I thought I could impress him by making him think I could eat anything I wanted, and never gain weight. I would walk past his house eating ice cream from the Tall Pine, and then refuse to eat sweets at any other time. I made at least one trip past his house everyday. I was sure as soon as he saw I was back from vacation, that he would ride his bike past my house around sunset, and stop to talk - or call me over to the corner. . .but it was not to be. I don't think I saw him again that summer. And while I was entering 8th grade at Pinehurst in the fall, he would be going to High School in Kellogg.

Looking back, he may have obtained his driver's license while I was gone or found someone else older and more interesting, who wasn't going on vacation. Maybe he realized I was just a kid, and he was a young man. Regardless, our "love" was a short-lived. For several years, I blamed the end of it on an ill timed vacation.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

College, fatigue, adventure


Last week, S, our youngest started classes at UI, and tomorrow V begins her semester at Idaho State. M, our oldest, will be taking night classes again through the ISU campus here in Idaho Falls. Tomorrow is also V's 22nd birthday, and my sister and her husband's 30th Wedding Anniversary. Whew! I have a morning appt, then I work tomorrow night.


Today, Sunday, was a short day - 6 hours. . .but it seemed long, because I was really tired. The store manager came in for a while and showed me how to do some of the weekly reports since the district manager needed them to be done today instead of tomorrow. I took notes to help me remember and to give me something to follow next time I need to do them. She began to show me some more stuff, but I think she noticed my eyes were glazing over. . .so she stopped there.

I am hoping to rest up between now and Wed, when I work the morning shift and we do the "mailer." (The mailer entails taking down signs from the last sale, and putting up the new signs for the "mailer" that will start on Thurs.) It seems like an easy task, but it takes several hours because of the size of our store, and the number of items we have on sale. (Sometimes we have to re-locate a particular kind of fabric that is sorted by color to an a new location for the sale.)

Tomorrow night, I need to inventory the fleece and mark the kinds we will need to order this week. Sorry, this sounds like my "to do" list, and not a regular post. These are the things that are on my mind tonight.


The Hunk took his 750 Honda for a ride into Wyoming today. Its the furthest he has ridden since his brother gave him the bike some years ago. I guess he had a great time enjoying his weekend and the nice weather. He also went boating Saturday evening, but I stayed home and tried to relax. He's been skiing on one ski this year, and has been getting in as much practice as he can. Early in the season, he biffed it really bad, and pulled some muscles and bruised his ribs, but he said they didn't bother him at all last evening (nor today).

Friday, August 24, 2007

Supervising & Quilting


I have been replete with my blogging duties. I hit the ground running when I came home, doubling my hours at work and learning my new Supervisory Duties. It is so much fun, but it is taking a while for my body to get used to standing/running 32 hours a week. Ah, sometimes I pine for the young body I used to have, but I am thankful for Ibuprofen - that keeps the pain at bay. . .

Of course, when I was younger, we couldn't afford for me to work for such small pay. . .

For those who care. . .I have been learning how to "open," "close," stock, display, supervise, make deposits and do special orders. I have been put in charge of ordering "fleece" for the time being - which is no small job, since we sell numerous bolts of it every week. We have the largest and best selection in this area.

Yesterday, I listed the tasks I thought that needed to be done around the store as well as a few the store manager and other supervisor listed and assigned them to the day workers in addition to the regular tasks of cutting fabric and running the register. It was fun. I got to pitch in and help where I wanted, pulled some bolts of fleece off the storage wall shelves and put them out. We rearranged some Home Decor, put out new bolts of fabric, and moved around displays. We got a lot done the past 2 days.

Tonight I work the evening shift, which is usually less demanding - except when customers come in right before closing and are looking to outfit their new homes with curtains for various rooms. . . I am planning to take a quilting class in the morning to learn some of the new quilting techniques so I can better assist customers in that area.


Most of my quilting expertise was learned growing up. During the summers, I would quilt with my mom, her sisters and their mother out in the shade next to Grandma's house. Most of the cutting, piecing (putting the smaller pieces of cloth together), and or embroidery (for quilts that had embroidered blocks) were already done. So I didn't do those things until later. I have made several quilts through the years of different kinds, but I want to learn more about cutting the fabric with the use of the cutting mat and various plastic guides that make the piecing quicker and the quilts more exact. (Growing up, we used cardboard for "patterns." My Grandma Smith made star quilts for each of her 40 something grandchildren, and traced her pattern over and over. Since there were several cousins between the ages of my sister and I, by the time she made my sister's quilt, the diamond pieces used to make the star had grown in size by nearly a third, making her star and her quilt much larger than mine.

When I was in my early 20s. I cut my "patterns" from clear lids to avoid the distortion one gets from using a cardboard pattern over and over. I would place the lid over the pattern and trace it with a permanent marker, then cut it out using industrial scissors. I was proud of my ingenuity, but my crude "patterns" are nothing compared to the precise pattern one can get from the factories these days. Additionally, I had to trace and cut each piece out individually, which was very time consuming (but I found rather relaxing.) With cutting mats, rotary cutters, and the plastic guides, one can cut several layers of fabric with one "swoosh" of the cutter, and cut 10s and 20s of a piece in the same time it used to take me to cut one - all without tracing anything.

But for now, I will go. Many things to do before work tonight. I have found it easier to catch up on reading blogs than writing - but I will try to do better on my day's off. . .

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Picture Post: To Victoria

Driving to the coast

Riding the ferry to Victoria

Coming into Orchas, San Juan Islands

Friday Harbor

Friday, August 10, 2007

Victoria, BC: Tea & Gardens

High Tea at the Empress Hotel

The Hunk and I beginning our tea time. I love tea parties, and this was a great experience. The setting was English, the tea was a mild to medium blend, the fruit, sandwiches, scones, cakes, cookies and candies were delicious! Best of all, I got to share it with the love of my life, and he enjoyed it also.

We had a male waiter, who served our tea with sugar (and cream for the Hunk). We drank out of special tea cups and saucers created by Royal Doulton for the Empress Hotel. The colors were my favorite: blues, purples and fuchsias. There was a crown on the inside of the cups on both the front and back. I thought about purchasing a cup and saucer as memento of the occasion, but changed my mind when they gave each of us a tin of The Empress Tea to bring home. (I will likely look online and see if I can still purchase a set, as I wish I had one now to drink from and show to my friends.)

The hunk likes to tell the story, but he embellishes it by telling the amount he paid for the experience. It was a lot, but I am just glad he did it for and with me.

Butchart Gardens

Oh, my goodness. . .55 acres of flowers, trees, shrubs, fountains, and ponds. Don't I wish I could get the weeds out of my wee "Victorian garden." I was inspired by the beauty of the gardens. My favorite part was the Sunken Garden. Mrs. Butchart - with the help of her head gardener and others - transformed an old quarry into an amazing land of ivy, flowers, trees, paths, benches, stairs, etc. I hope you can get a small idea of it's size from the picture. (Just look past the large lady and find the little people on the ground below. . .) There is a large rock formation in the center of the old quarry above my arm. It was covered by Mrs. Butchart hand planting ivy between the rocks. We were able to walk upon it, via a staircase, and over look the entire sunken garden 360 degrees around us. Below the dangling hand, you can see the heads of a couple who are part way down the stairs to the garden below. This shot was taken prior to entering the garden. I wish the Hunk would have taken a shot of just the garden, but he thought I should be in it. : (

Here's a few shots of the Fountain near the exit to the Sunken Garden. It was in a deep pool and kept changing "shape" as we watched it.

Can you believe this hedge? I love the way it is cut around the wooden arch. . .Can I have one???

One more picture to give you an idea of how beautiful Victoria was. This time it's a pic of the Hunk by the harbor. We were very fortunate to have clear skies and warm weather while we were there. I imagine that being on the tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria probably gets a lot of rain, like Seattle.

All in all - we had an amazing time. Please don't think I'm bragging - it took 24 years of marriage before we took our first "real" vacation, and this is only our third.

I have a few more pictures of the area, architecture, and our trip back on the ferry - but I will spare those who dislike travelogues from further angst. (Please don't offer to show me your pics of grand kids to pay me back!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Reunion Reprise

Thank you to all who planned and hosted the reunion this year. I wasn't able to attend all of the events, but I sure enjoyed the time I had with everyone at the park.

Steve Roth took some amazing photos. My favorite was the one of (right to left) Pert, the Deke, MW, and myself laughing our heads off. Wish I could show you the picture, but you'll have to go here: '71-'72-'73 Multi-Class Reunion and look at picture # 17. I'm not sure what we were discussing at that time, but we had some great conversations.

I really enjoyed talking with numerous classmates. It was great to hear where they were living, working, and how their lives have grown since we were kids. We reminisced a lot, and told (or heard) some stories about those times that some of us never knew before. It was a great time, and I wished I could have stuck around for more.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I'm Home

Just got back this evening. Will begin posting again soon.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Just a few lines from the University city of Moscow. After a rip-roaring weekend of fun. . .I have returned my daughter, S, to the place she loves.

Thurs. horrific bus ride. The good part, however was that I was adopted by 23 yr old kid and 70+ yr old woman. It was like having a whole new family.

Fri - drove to Moscow. Sat returned to my Dad's with daughter and shot the breeze with classmates - some I haven't seen in - goodness, since High School. Great time, but cut short by promises to meet family for dinner. (Actually, the family was my out in case no one talked to me). Had fun, but not enough time to catch up with some of the people I have missed. Told my husband that it was mostly the guys who spoke to me, but that hasn't changed since High School.

Sunday - Church at Silver Valley Girl's church, Birthday BBQ for my Dad with family, Driving daughter back to Moscow.

Time to sack out. Drive back to valley in the morning to hang out with my sister on her day off. No computer until - who knows when. I'm going through withdrawl, I tell ya.

PS. If anyone talks to Mike W, tell him it was my dad he spoke to at the Boat.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

North Idaho: Here I Come!

Leaving tomorrow via bus (not my favorite form of transportation, but if I want to go early. . .). Be in No. Idaho in the late evening.

Hope to see you all soon.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Summer of Love (according to some) '67

The Year: 1967
The Place: San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) by Scott McKenzie

Some call it The Summer of Love. It was the summer I became a believer in the change. It must have been part puberty, and part maturity - but I needed S-P-A-C-E. I wanted to think about things and I wanted to be alone. I started spending my evenings on the front porch, or inside my dad's pickup, listening to the radio. I was beginning the process of brainwashing.

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you're going to San Francisco
You're gonna meet some gentle people there

What was going on in San Francisco? Why was I in Idaho. Nothing was changing here, but in San Francisco, there was a movement that would change the world. I wanted to be a part of it.

All across the nation such a strange vibration
People in motion

This chorus hit me emotionally. Somebody was going to San Francisco. They were called the "flower children" and they were doing something that had never been done before. They were going to change the world.

There's a whole generation with a new explanation

People in motion people in motion

But hey, I was part of this "New Generation" I was a part of what was going to be "right" with this world. I felt empowered. I inhaled and meditated on the words. I was going to change the world.

Even though I didn't believe in "free-love" - I did believe in Love. Loving everybody. I soaked up all the "Love" Songs. I soaked up all the "live off the land" songs. I hated the establishment (what's love got to do with that?) and bought into the idea that poverty was superior to wealth. I wanted to be a liberated woman, in charge of my destiny. I would find someone who loved me, and we would live in a van and wear flowers in our hair. We didn't need jobs, or money, or position. We just needed love. Now, I just had to find someone who felt the same way.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pinehurst:: Seventh Grade


It was early in the school year, and may have been the first week. I was going somewhere, and needed to walk past the school. I was just reaching the breezeway, when I heard a "wolf-whistle." So I turned to see what was going on. A ninth grade guy, was standing by the doorway. He turned to his friend and said something about the "new" seventh-graders. I can't remember exactly what it was, but I had the distinct impression it was about my anatomy. I was mortified. (In those days you were.) I couldn't stand the sight of that kid from that day on, and if I went to the Tall Pine for lunch with friends, and any of the upper class men were there, I could not eat. I had to get my food to go.


In the seventh grade, at Pinehurst Jr. High, which was at one end of the grade school, I only had 3 different teachers. The first 3 hours was called "block" and it included English, Literature, Grammar, Writing, and Social Studies - or some combination thereof. Mrs. Clark was our teacher. She was a short lady who wore extremely high, high heels and a wig. She wasn't very old, but she must have had thin hair, because we never saw her without her wig.

I really liked her class. My favorite day was Friday, because we would play games and if we "won" we got a candy bar from her closet. I loved it when we took long words or phrases like "Merry Christmas" and had to make as many words as possible out of it in an alloted time. I usually won those contests! That's when I always picked a "Mountain Bar" - cherry or plain - it didn't matter. My second choice was either a Hershey Bar or something else chocolate.

In her class, we learned about prepositions. One day, I turned the tide on my enjoyment of her class. Now you have to realize I was a very curious student, and also very precise. If I was going to learn something, I wanted to learn it the right way the first time.

That day, she was teaching on the difference between the uses of "in" and "into." She said that one would use the word "into" when they were passing through a doorway or opening of some kind. I raised my hand to ask a question to clarify what she had just said. "So every time someone or something goes through a doorway, you use the word into?"

"Yes" she stated as a matter-of-fact.

"But you can't go into the outdoors, can you?" I asked trying to clarify her point.

She snapped, "Well, you don't have to act so superior!"

I was stunned. Did I act "so superior"? To whom? I was only 12 or 13. At the time, I was crushed, because she raised her voice and told me off in front of the entire class. Now I look back and wonder if she was intimidated by her students, and I just happened to hit on an exposed nerve.

My other classes were Science with E. Johnson, and Math and Study hall with W. Gilman. Now, Science class was okay, until we reached the chapter on reproduction. We were studying plants, but I thought that subject was "taboo" and was mortified that the word was in our books. One day when I was reading aloud, the word was there - right in the middle of my paragraph. I approached it cautiously, but when it was time to read "reproduction" I froze.

"Reproduction," Mr. Johnson said, as if I couldn't pronounce the word.

Quickly, I spat, "reproduction" and continued with the sentence. I probably turned 6 shades of red, also. Fortunately, I don't think any of my classmates noticed, as they had their heads buried in their books, afraid to look around.

My parents were somewhat concerned about me being in W. Gilman's class. I had known him my whole life, and they were afraid I'd call him "Wally" instead of Mr. Gilman, but I didn't. I was very respectful, even though he had dropped me on my head one time at Rose Lake when I was five. (He had given me a piggy-back ride down to the lake, and tripped. We both flew forward and I lost a chunk of hair out of my head. For a five year old, I was mad, and didn't want him to carry me ever again!) I didn't bring it up in class, however, or study hall either.

I don't remember if I had a study hall past the 7th grade. It may have been mandatory in 8th grade also, but I never took it in High School. I felt it was a waste of time. I wanted to get on with the schoolwork!


I was excited about being in Jr. High and getting to go to the dances. Some dances were held in the cafeteria, and some were held in the gymnasium. When they were held in the cafeteria, there was volleyball set up in the gymnasium. Most of the girls hated it when the dances were in the cafeteria, that meant all the seventh grade boys and some of the older ones were going to play volleyball all night, and there wouldn't be anyone to dance with. I don't think I was asked to dance more than once or twice each time I went, and sometimes not at all, but I still went because it was the happening place in Jr. High.

When a class "put on" (sponsored) a dance, members of the class volunteered to take care of the details. Some decorated, some "set-up" and some "cleaned-up." We also had volunteers who made cookies to sell at the dance, so the class could make some money. I used to make chocolate cake-like cookies with frosting on them. (The recipe was from D. Boje, who was an excellent cook, and raised a few great cooks). Those cookies were usually the first to go.


My seventh grade year, I was tapped for "Service Girls." Only 2 seventh graders were asked, and the positions were selected by a group of teachers or the principal or somebody "up there."
I felt honored and said, "Yes." C. Clemens was also a Service Girl and President that year. I was happy to serve with her and the other upper class girls. The other seventh grader was T. Cooper. Her mom was the school secretary, and I wondered if that is why she was chosen. I figured I was chosen for my grades. (Maybe we were chosen because we each lived about a block from the school! Now that I think about it, the Service girls that I remember all lived within the city limits and within 4-5 blocks of the school grounds!)

As a service girl, we got to wear cool green sweaters with Pirates on them - signifying our mascot - Pinehurst Pirates. They were similar to the cheerleader's sweaters, but their sweaters had a megaphone or a large "P" on them. We also had the "Girl's Service" insignia on our the upper part of our sleeves. I had to have a white pleated skirt made for me. I think it was Mrs. Weeks who did that. All she needed was my waist measurement. I wondered how she would know how many pleats to put into the skirt, but she did a great job. We also wore knee socks and saddle shoes.

I was so excited, because I got to go to all the basketball games free! We took money for tickets and stood at the doors to show people where they could sit. It didn't bother me that we couldn't sit in the stands until the 4th quarter - if there was any room! We may have taken tickets for other events, such as dances, but I don't remember.

I was a "Service Girl" for all three years of Jr. High. My freshman year, I was the President of Girls' Service as well as class President. One time, I was called upon by the Principal to escort a kid from first grade to the clinic in Kellogg for his immunizations. We rode on a school bus, just the two of us with the driver. I was astonished that they trusted me enough to go with him "out of town," and see that he got his shots. The kid was a hoot. I think he talked the whole way there, all the time we were waiting at the clinic. He made voices and acted out some really funny stuff. I don't remember the trip back to school, but I thought about him later when I was substitute teaching and thought he must have been a handful for the teachers.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Boating last Saturday

The Hunk sent me some pictures from his computer that were taken on our latest boating excursion. Too bad we didn't have any pictures of the 3 or 4 waves that washed over my head as we ploughed through some very LARGE wakes caused by the wind and GIGANTIC boats.

Here's The Hunk water skiing. Notice the lush (NOT) hillsides around Ririe Reservoir.

Next shot shows a happy Hunk in the water.

Lastly, the fat old lady, who is 1) not photogenic under the best circumstances, 2) who was nearly washed overboard by a giant wake on the way to this remote spot, 3) finds herself sitting on a dock in the hot sun with some guests who seem to be enjoying themselves, 4) notices her husband with the camera poised, and 5) asks the question on everyone's mind, "Are we having fun yet?"

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Immunizations: Then & Now

Pinehurst: Shots

Does anyone remember lining up for "Shots" - these were not gun shots, and not drink shots, but immunization shots. Everyone who was due for their shots were lined up and herded to the nurses office. There the nurse or two and a doctor would be waiting with huge hypodermic needles long enough to stick "clear through" a grade-schooler's arm. Some kids would start whimpering along the way, other's would wait until it was their turn, and pass out.

I noticed early on that a lot of kids dreaded those shots. I didn't. To me it was no big deal - a little pin prick, a band-aid, and it was over. I must have felt badly for the scared kids - especially the boys. They weren't supposed to cry or faint, but some of them did. I don't know when I started, but I would volunteer to go first. FIRST!

Some of the guys ahead of me would sigh "Relief" - because they didn't have to set the example for the rest of the class. It was the only time I was heroic. I'm not sure that anyone else saw it that way, but I figured if I went first, and said, "There's nothing to it." It would embolden the boys - after all, I was just a girl. It would also put me through first, so I wouldn't be there to witness the tears and fainting of any classmates who followed. (Especially the boys.)

Now-a-days, they don't give immunizations at school. I'm not sure why. Maybe they had to stop when they had to give up corporal punishment. Maybe it wasn't allowed, because it humiliated some of the kids and adults were no longer allowed to do that. Maybe the doctors got greedy, and decided it was best for them to charge an office visit and mega-bucks for each shot. The kids could come to them instead of them taking a day to hang out at the school for hours shooting hundreds of frightened, whiny kids.

Maybe they stopped because of the "free" immunizations clinics that sprung up all over in the '70s with the planned parenting freebies. Now, instead of a doctor doing "school" calls, he could let the kids come to him with their parents and all their siblings to get their booster shots. Now the parents could deal with their own kids passing out and crying. No more humiliation in front of their peers. No more nurses trying to drag the children close to the doctor. No more red eyes in the classroom. . .

Instead, the parents are humiliated. Have you ever gone to a county clinic for "free" shots? The worst one I ever went to was in California - San Bernadino County. I can't remember where it was located, but there must have been 30 people - mostly women and children, stuffed into a warm room about 10' x 15' all waiting for hours to see the doctor.

Now when mom's take their child to get an immunization, they have to drag along all the other babies and pre-schoolers in the family. This place was packed with crying, screeching, yelling kids. I thought I would lose my mind. I only had 2 with me; the under 1 yr old shot-ee and her 3 yr old sister. I checked us in, and looked for a seat. There were a few seats filled with people and stuff. There were bodies everywhere, and no place for an adult to sit down. Finally, someone got up to go to the back, and I was able to secure one chair for the 3 of us.

I am not fond of my kids playing on the floor of a public place with a hundred other snotty nosed children. We came to prevent disease, not to pick it up, but the odds were against us. I mean, there were kids drooling and sneezing and wiping their noses on anything available, then touching, touching, touching everything and everyone within reach. I tried to keep my two as close to me as possible in the over heated room. (There should have been air-conditioning, but either it wasn't working - or the combined bodies with all their BTUs stuffed into such a small space was over powering the system.) It was sticky and fragrant, but not in a good way.

We waited and we waited. More people came, but no one left. I think the doctor and nurses had all gone to a leisurely lunch at a posh restaurant with great air-conditioning and quiet ambiance. They were sipping on cool drinks and taking small bites of gourmet cuisine and chewing and chewing and chewing each bite. I went up to the little window and asked, "How much longer?"

"You'll just have to wait your turn."

Fortunately, the girls had held my seat. I sat down and let them wallow on my lap. It was hot. I was tired. No one was moving out. More people were coming in. Finally, one large family went back, and others quickly scooped up their territory. And we waited.

We were there about an hour and a half before we were called back for the 5 minute procedure. Why did it take sooooo long? I had a migraine, and I determined then and there - that I would NEVER, EVER, go to a public immunization clinic again.

I was so determined to avoid that place, that my youngest got behind in her immunizations. I even had a doctor chew me out when I went to catch her up before vacation. I don't know why some people chew you out - after you have decided to do the right thing. I mean, I was there, in his office for her to get her shots, and he's chewing me out! So, we got her boosters, and I changed doctors. From that time on - I avoided the clinics. . .until we moved to Idaho. At least the clinic here is spacious, and you can't get lost in the crowd. The wait is only about a half-hour, and they don't chew you out for coming. Regardless, most of the immunizations we have obtained have been in a private doctor's office. Sure, they charge a lot more than a clinic, but we are paying for the ambiance.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Smelterville: Frontier Days

Photo was taken (prob by my mom) behind the Wayside Market in Smelterville - circa mid-1960s. Left: Iona Huber, Center: Hazel Noyen, Right: Ralia Berry .

Frontier Days started as a celebration of the Wild West and the town of Smelterville. Since my mom worked in Smelterville, we would go to the festivities when we were young. There was always a carnival that came to town, with all the cotton candy, hot dogs, games, rides. It was really something for a kid to look forward to. In the early years, the employees of the various businesses dressed up in Western attire and everyone got into the mood of the Wild West. Sometimes the Old Time Fiddler's would play in one of the metal buildings near the Carnival on Washington Street.

During the day, the arena hosted various equestrian events, such as barrel racing, but on one night the highlight would be the Demolition Derby. Local people would paint their junker cars and enter them in the contest. The cars would be crashed into one another in an every "man" for himself bumper car [sans bumpers] contest. The last car running would be the winner.

As I got older, I went to the Frontier Days activities with my friends. I attended the horse events one year when Cheryl Spoor competed - probably in '74, as we had become friends at NIC during her first year. I think that was the same year, I accidentally dropped my pocket Bible in the middle of the Carnival area, and a classmate (whom I had once has a crush on) saw me pick it up. He said, "I don't talk to people who read the Bible." It hurt my feelings, but I felt even worse for him. I wondered what had happened in his life to give him such strong feelings against the most published and read book of all time.

Nineteen seventy-four was also a year of great change in my life. I had become a Christian in May of '73, but by the summer of '74 I no longer drank. It really gave me a different perspective on life in the Valley. Events that had one been "must" be there and participate had deteriorated in my eyes. Smelterville's early Frontier Days of the Wild West were gone: it had degenerated into a city-wide drunk.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pinehurst: Sixth Grade (2)

Someone wrote me an email that had nothing to do with this post, but I had some flashes of memory that made me think I could do part II.

My favorite song in the sixth grade was "Yesterday," by the Beatles. I learned it quickly, and the words ran through my head all the time. I sang it in the bathroom one day, when I was alone, and thought to myself. . .someday this is going to be yesterday for me. I will probably look back and think about this time and the fact that I don't (didn't) have any troubles. I will probably wish I was a kid again. (I don't, but it was interesting to me that I marked time with such moments knowing that I would remember later what I was thinking and how I felt at those moments. Also knowing, I could never go back.)

The second thing I remembered about 6th grade were the Christmas trees we made out of milk cartons and laundry soap. We added water and green food coloring to the laundry detergent (soap flakes?) so it became a thick paste. Then we covered the milk cartons in the goo and let them dry. After they had dried, we stacked them beginning with a large circle, and each successive circle being a bit smaller. It seems like we just made one big tree, but we may have made individual trees. I just remember the smell of the soap, the minty green color and Christmas all lumped together.

The third thing I remember about the sixth grade were the math contests we had at the board. Two students of similar intellect were asked to go to the board, Mr. Turner would give us a problem to write and solve. Whomever solved it first was the winner. One time I was called to the board with G. Carver. Now I had known him for a number of years (6), but had never been in the same class with him. I knew a lot about him, as we were friends, and I decided to use my knowledge to my advantage.

We were standing at the board with chalk in hand when Mr. Turner gave us the problem to work. I wrote the problem down, then reached up and scratched the chalk board with my fingernails. While G recoiled at the screeching noise, I worked the problem. It was sinister, but successful. I won that contest.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Pinehurst: Sixth Grade

Some of my readers are weary of my travels, so I will resume my incredibly long and uneventful years of schooling.

Male Teacher

In the sixth grade at Pinehurst elementary school, I had my first male teacher: Mr. Turner. I thought he was very old, but he was probably in his late 20s. In those days, teachers had to dress-up for school, and so while the ladies wore a variety of dresses, Mr. Turner wore a suit, jacket and all. He had an easy-going style, but was a no-nonsense kind of guy when it came to the boys acting up in the class.


I think they put all the problem kids in that class. Not that all who were in there were difficult, but we did have our share of second-year sixth graders. (Or Super-Sixth graders as my kids would say - if grade school kids were held back these days. They do call the second and third year Seniors "Super Seniors.").

We had at least one kid who was very poor, and also not so swift, I'll call him J. Then we had one Super Sixth-grader who was nearly too big for his desk, I'll call him B. Then there was another Super Sixth-grader who was pretty average - except when we had a substitute teacher - then he went psycho. (One substitute, a retired school teacher, locked this kid in the closet and called the Principal to remove him from class.)

Now J had red hair, and used to tease me unmercifully during recess. Once he threw an orange at me, and it exploded into the back of my coat. He got reamed for that. I got back at him (as I was vindictive then) by gathering together a "gang of girls" and we beat up the boys. It became our favorite recess activity. He was one of my favorite targets for my girls to "get." (Poor use of leadership skills during a time when the girls were actually bigger and stronger than some of the boys.)

Super-sized Boots

B, was a hoot. One day while the teacher stepped out of the room, B. was sitting in his desk (his knees scrunched up under the writing surface) and he began to sing "These Boots were Made for Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra. When he got to the chorus, "One of these days these boots are gonna' walk all over you" - he'd point at someone. Then he said, "My boots are going to walk on you, (and point at someone), and you (and point at someone else), and you (same indicator). Then he looked at J , pointed and said, "But not you, cause you'd get 'em all dirty." For some reason, as much as I am embarrassed to admit, I laughed.

Teacher's Helper

I used to work fast and well in sixth grade. I was always trying to be the first one done with all my work. Mr. Turner rewarded me often, by allowing me to write things on the board for him. The kids probably thought I was teacher's pet, but he also let others do things around the classroom when they were done with their work.

Birthday Cupcakes

One of my favorite things about Mr. Turner's class was the way we celebrated our birthdays in his class. There wasn't a big party or a lot of hoopla, but on each child's birthday, he would present him or her with a special Birthday Cupcake. The cupcakes were homemade by his wife, and she would frost the girls' cupcakes with pink frosting, and the boys with blue. Each cupcake had a single Birthday candle in the center, which was lit. When he brought out the cupcake(s). We'd all sing "Happy Birthday" to the lucky recipient(s). I waited a long time to get my cupcake, as my birthday was after Christmas break.

(Can you imagine homemade treats and a lit candle - what were they thinking?)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Vacations (9) - The Lewis Side 2

Grandma and Grandpa Lewis shared their lives with us. Even though we only saw them once a year, I know more about them than most all my other relatives put together.


Grandma was a story-teller. (Now this does not mean she made up things to tell, but that she told stories about the family and the events that made her who she was: that made us all who we are.) She liked to talk about her growing up years, how she met and married my Grandpa, about my dad and Aunt C when they were children, about their lives, the Depression, etc. My dad has filled in a lot of the details that I had missed or didn't remember, because, you see, he is also a story-teller. And, just in case you hadn't noticed. . .I like to pass along stories about our family, too.

Poetry, Songs, & Welsh

In addition to the verbal history, my Grandma, and Grandpa too for that matter, memorized and recited a lot of poetry. They were really big on Robert W. Service and memorized some of his epic poems: "The Shooting of Dan McGrew," the "Cremation of Sam McGee." (I particularly remember the latter.) Grandma also knew some of the poems by Lewis Carroll and taught me "Jabberwocky" (from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872) when I was a young teen. It wasn't until years later that I found a copy and read it.

Grandma & Grandpa knew all kinds of songs and ditties, from years gone by, and would burst into song on occasion to accentuate a story or to convey an idea. My dad and I do the same, but it wasn't until recently that I realized it was a family trait. (I just know that songs pop into my head at the strangest times. And a few years back, when I was teaching in a private school, one of my students dubbed me "The Master of Extrapolation" - which I had to look up - because I was always relating the subject matter to this song or that. But back to the elder Lewis').

Grandma used to say some rhymes and phrases that had originated in Wales. I only remember one, but in the telling, after several generations, it wouldn't likely translate back into recognizable Welsh.

Handcarts, Polygamy & Sugar bowls

Grandma's Great-Grandparents had migrated from Wales to join the Mormon Church. Her Great-grandfather took 2 additional wives (my Ggggrandmother being his first wife, as my grandmother was quick to point out), and the four of them, and any children at that time, came across the US in the hand-cart migrations. There are two sugar bowls in the family, that made the trip in hand-carts, and my sister and I each have one. (I let her have the one that is complete, and mine is either missing a handle or cracked in some way. It has been awhile since I have mine stored.) I don't know which Ggggrandmother either sugar bowl belonged to, but they are still precious to me.

Other handmade gifts:

When my sister and I were in grade school, Grandma & Grandpa Lewis made us a couple of chairs. They measured our lower legs to custom fit the height of the seats. The chair frames were made from thick branches, that Grandpa whittled smooth, and the seats were made of jute or some kind of thick string woven across the frame. The backs were entirely made from wood, and I think they were whittled flat to make the backs more comfortable.The cross bars between the legs were nailed on. I remember this because on the trip home, one of the crossbars got loose and scratched my leg from about my ankle to my knee.


Every year when the entire family stayed at the Lewis Grandparents, Grandma & Grandpa would take my sister and I shopping in downtown Lehi. The downtown was only a few blocks long, and they would take us to Pennys (not J.C. Penny's) but a small "five & dime" where my sister and I were allowed to pick out a toy or game. We may have been given a set amount of money - or a limit, but we could get anything we wanted. One time I bought a stick-on paper-doll set. Where the clothes were made out of a plastic that stuck to the dolls. Another time, either my sister or I bought some "sewing cards" with the holes around the edges that you could "sew" yarn through in a running stitch or cross-stitch. When I was older, I bought a bottle of Blue Waltz perfume. I can still "smell" it. It was a really sweet perfume & I'd love to have some now.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vacations (8) - the Lewis Side

Dad's Parents

I have already blogged about my dad being a goof-ball, but he didn't fall far from the family tree. My Lewis Grandparent's were a kick, and a lot of fun to be around. While we stayed at Grandma & Grandpa Smith's in Provo, for most of our vacation. Our family would always stay a night or two at my Grandparent's in Lehi, Utah, too. Now mom preferred to stay in Provo with her family, but would acquiesce to a night at the Lewis'. Dad always spent more time at his folk's place, and when he would head to Lehi, I'd go with him.


I loved to play with my cousins in Provo, but I couldn't wait to spend a few days with Grandma & Grandpa Lewis. Grandma and I had a lot in common. She sewed, I sewed. She crocheted, I crocheted. She danced, I danced. She sparkled. . .I hope I do, too. I truly believed that if we had been the same age, and lived near one-another, we would have been best friends. (I think I wrote and told her that when I was in college.)

Crafts and Puzzles

When my sister and I were about 10 & 5, Grandma and Grandpa Lewis made furniture for our Barbies for Christmas. They made each of us a chair, a couch, an afghan, and an oval rug. I thought they were the best! About the time I was 12 or 13, Grandma gave me all her yarn when I went to see her. I was ecstatic! She couldn't crochet anymore, because of arthritis - but she knew I loved to make things. I felt so privileged that she would give her stuff to me! She even showed me how to wrap the yarn so that it would feed from the middle, like purchased yarn. That way it didn't roll all over the place when you used it.

Grandma Lewis let me play the top 40 tunes when I stayed at their place, and she told me that used to teach dance when she was younger. She taught the Fox-trot and the Charleston. I later learned how to Fox-trot, and a wee bit of Charleston. I must get my moves from her. . .
While Grandma and I sat in the kitchen talking and listening to the radio, Dad and Grandpa would be sitting in the living room playing Cribbage. If they weren't playing Cribbage or Casino or some other card game, Grandpa would be playing solitaire. I think I got my love for games from that side of the family, too. Grandma taught me several solitaire games, so I wouldn't get bored with my small repertoire.

Grandma & Grandpa Lewis always had puzzles to play. They had 3-D store-bought puzzles, like wooden cubes or spheres that came apart and you had to put them together. They had puzzles made out of small twisted metal rods that came apart and went back together, but only if you figured out how to do it. They also had some homemade puzzles-games, like the one Grandpa made from a piece of wood, three nails and some circular disks. He had pounded the nails across the board at intervals, so the nail points stuck up. Then he made the circular disks out of thin wood and put holes in their centers, so they stacked small on top to large on bottom on the first nail. The object of the game or puzzle was to move the disks across the middle nail to the far nail one at a time. You could move them backwards, but you weren't to place a larger disk on top of a smaller disk in the process. The game ended successfully when you had all disks restacked on the third nail exactly like they were on the first nail when you started. It took me a while to master that one!

Grandpa Lewis was a rock hound, and picked up agates and all kinds of rocks here and there. He tumbled the rocks when I was younger. It seems like he had a tie clasp for a "Western" style tie -(String with two metal tips that the clasp moved up and down) that he had made out of a brown specked rock. I have always loved rocks, and wanted a tumbler at one time, so I could make them smooth, like semi-precious stones for jewelry. I wonder if I got the idea from him? Grandpa Lewis also liked to whittle. He carved me a bunch of different sized crochet hooks from various kinds of wood. I used one to make a rug from old jeans when I was in my teens. I still have them, and my daughters and I use them on occasion still.

He also made my sister and I "quarter rings." Now these rings were fashioned from actual quarter dollars, minted in the years we were born. The quarters back then were primarily silver and highly malleable. He measured our finger size with steel rings (like they have at a jewelers) then found a button that easily fit inside the steel ring that corresponded to our size. Then he took a hammer and began to tap the edge of the quarter turning it as he went. This caused the silver rim to spread out to each side and become smooth. It also made the writing inside the quarter lay over to the inside of the ring - on each side. When the quarter's new rim fit around the button, he cut out the center and polished it smooth. We still have our rings.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vacations (7) - Provo Canyon Reunion

One of the Family reunions I remember best was the year we all went camping up Provo Canyon. I was about 5 yrs. old. My parents have movies from that trip taken with Dad's old 8mm camera. It's interesting to watch the film and see myself and older cousins all as young kids. Our parents were young - 20s and 30s, and our Grandparents were still in pretty good shape.


I think we only stayed one night, but it was eventful. I don't think anyone had any tents, but some of the adults built a huge wall and overhang out of tarps. All the bedding was laid out under the "half tent" side by side, so it made one huge sleeping area, with everyone's heads next to the tarp wall. The kids all slept next to their own parents, so there wasn't any giggling, etc. Sometime during the night, Uncle J snuck away from the tent and threw Grandma Smith's fur coat over his head. He came back to the tent area, growling and rustling the bushes and scared the you-know-what out of a lot of adults.


One day, whether it was the previous day -or the next day, I can't recall. . .but something happened that I will never forget. You see, Aunt D, my mom's eldest full-sister had a weak bladder, and the fact of this was well known by family members and others. There was a story, that she actually "lost her grip" (as my dad would say) years earlier when she was sitting on the lap of one of her dates.

It just so happened that there was a playground near the campsite and all of us cousins liked to play there. Well, my mom and her 3 full-sisters decided to play on the teeter-totter. Now when you are 5 yrs. old, and your mom and a bunch of "old" ladies start playing on the toys - you want to watch, and I did.

The teeter-totters in those days were made of a plank of wood with half moon cutouts for one's legs on either side about a foot from the ends. They were fastened to a wood or metal device in the middle so riders could move up and down with ease. (I think there were two half-circles of pipe that were bolted to the top of the board on each side of the middle with the curve running under the pipe or wood that held the plank up at the middle.) Regardless, for those of us who grew up in the 60s, these teeter-totters were common. [When I was in grade school, I used to play at the school on the weekends, and I loved to run up the teeter-totter, and stand in the middle and make the sides go up and down - Or run up one side and tip it so I could run down the other.]

Back to the ladies. They were trying to decide who would sit where. (And none of the other 3 wanted to sit by Aunt D, because they knew if she started to laugh, she would also leak.) Finally, it was decided that my mom and one of the other Aunts would sit opposite of Aunt D & the other Aunt. I can't remember which of the other two Aunts sat where. I was glad my mom wasn't sitting next to Aunt D, because when you are 5 yrs old, you know better than to wet your pants and you are old enough to be embarrassed by such "accidents."

So the ladies started to teeter-totter. Up and down they went. I felt sorry for the Aunt who was sitting behind Aunt D, because they had all started laughing. Up and down. Laughing and laughing and laughing. I was standing close by my mom's side of the teeter-totter, and I was laughing right along with them. Then my mom and her sister, who were on the side opposite of Aunt D, decided to hold her up in the air. They knew that would really get her going - and it did.

There was one thing they didn't count on. They were laughing so hard, they couldn't push their end up into the air. Next thing I knew, a trickle started down the teeter-totter. It followed the grain of the wooden plank and slowly snaked toward Mom and her sister. I kept thinking - "You need to push up. You need to push up." They saw it coming closer and closer, but they kept laughing harder and harder, and trying to push up with their legs. It was too late. They couldn't get off the ground, and both of them were soaked through!

Finally, one of them crawled off and let the other side down. The Aunt who sat behind Aunt D, climbed off before the water reversed itself, and was the only dry one. She had been forced to sit with Aunt D, but escaped the consequences, because she sat behind her and water runs downhill.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vacations (6)

The Fourth of July - in Provo, Utah.

Nearly every summer we went on vacation, we spent July 4th in Utah. When I was younger we would stay at Grandma Smith's and wake up to the sound of cannon fire. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! (I think they had a cannon situated on each side of town, North, East, South, and West, and they took turns firing to welcome Independence Day.

In the late morning, there would be a parade down one of the main streets. Just before the start of the parade, a group of jets would fly over the parade route and get our hearts pumping. Then the parade would start. These parades were good sized as they lasted about an hour - and hour and a half. There were numerous large floats, bands, etc. My favorite times of going to the parade was when I was a teenager, and my cousin Lee Dawn and I would walk along parade route displaying our latest fashion and attitude.

Speaking of Parades

One year, some of my cousins came to Pinehurst for either July 4th or Pinehurst Days. We had a parade that year that started at the Creek and came past our house on Main St. We set up lawn chairs, and waited for the parade to begin. Our parades usually started with the sirens of the local fire department or police, followed by the color guard. We heard the sirens and looked up the street. "Here comes the parade!" we yelled to our parents, who were waiting inside. "Here it comes!"

Our parents came out to the lawn and sat comfortably awaiting their front row view of Pinehurst's parade. I think we had one float that year. . .and my Aunt D. could see the end from the beginning. She was astounded. The entire parade was only 1 block long. We could literally see the end of the parade from the beginning, and she started laughing. She thought it was the funniest thing she had ever seen. People were sitting out, waiting for a 1-block long parade. She has never let us hear the end of it. "You call that a parade?" She would taunt us. Then she would tell anyone who would listen about all the hoopla surrounding our 5-minute, one float parade.

Back to Provo's 4th of July celebration

Along with the parade, Provo also hosted a very large carnival for Independence Day. We would go and spend a lot of money on rides, toys, treats, and a great time. It was there I first rode an elephant, went on a mini-ferris wheel with enclosed baskets to sit in, one a prize at a booth, and ate cotton candy. I loved the carnival.

In the evening, My cousins and I would sit on either Grandma Smith's porch, Aunt H's porch (one block closer), eat watermelon, and wait for the 4th of July Fireworks to be set off at the BYU campus. It was the highlight of our vacation in Utah. When we were teens, we'd walk to the fence just outside the area where they were shooting them off. It was my first look at fireworks from underneath, where they were literally falling on us.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vacations (5)

Ruth Leone Taylor Hoover Boren Smith family reunion

When we were kids, my closest cousins and I played in Grandma Smith's backyard. See Vacations (1). In addition to hanging out at Grandma's we also had a family reunion every year at Grandma Smith's house. Usually all of our Aunts, Uncles, and cousins would be there. Since Grandma had had 8 children, and many of them had at least 5 kids of their own - the reunion gatherings were huge. Sometimes Grandpa Smith's sons and families joined us, and that made even more fun.

Water Fight

The defining event of the reunion was usually a huge water fight among all the family members. I don't remember exactly who started them, or how they became a tradition, but once the fight started it was every man, woman, and child for him or herself. Sometimes people would scoop water from the little canal running along side Grandma's place, others would grab the hoses around the house, and some even used pitchers, bowls and buckets. The main objective was to see how long you could hold out by not getting wet.

Some people would sneak around to the back of the house and surprise and unsuspecting relative who was focused on avoiding those in the front of the house. Sometimes the soak-er would tip-toe up behind someone on the porch and pour an entire receptacle full of icy water on a unsuspecting Aunt or Uncle. Sometimes two or three wet relatives would gang up on a dry one and hold them down while another drenched them.

As kids, it was fun to watch the adults blast each other. . .but eventually we all became a part of the fun. It was against the rules to hide in Grandma's house - so unless you ran into the street, there was no place you could go to evade the inevitable soaking.


When I was still fairly young, my Uncle J. was on the Las Vegas police force, then later worked for the FBI. His favorite thing to do, was to grab one of his sisters and handcuff them to the nearest immobile object - such as a street light pole or car handle. Usually, he'd just grab them, pick them up, and plant them next to the object of choice, and before they could get away. . .they were handcuffed tight. While handcuffed the aunt or Mom, would plead on deaf ears to be released for one reason or another. I think all of us kids thought it was really funny. (I was glad he never handcuffed any of us kids - or I would have been terrified.)

Eating watermelon

As kids, my cousins and I would sit on the front porch at Grandma Smith's and eat watermelon pieces. The sticky juice would roll down our arms and drip off our chins. We didn't care, because the watermelon tasted so good at the end of a hot day. We'd also spit or seeds onto Grandma's lawn. She was pretty fastidious about her home, but maybe she didn't care about the watermelon juice, cause they could hose off the porch, and the seeds would just add fertilizer for the lawn.