Saturday, December 4, 2010


When the wind isn’t blowing, a walk to work in falling snow is good fun.
  Although crossing streets is a little chilling, especially in a town
 where college students are still learning to drive in slick white stuff falling from the sky.

 But I wear my knobby treads and give the traffic lots of room.

Even though I promise myself to allow extra time to enjoy the expedition,
 I never quite do.  So I have to hurry along without the spare moments…

 to look at my footprints.  Or to kick trees…

to see how much I’ll get dumped on.  
I did stop to snap some quick photos with my little pocket camera.

Snowy weather keeps aromas close to the ground 
so I savor the scents of fried chicken coming from the grocery deli, 
and the heavenly fragrance from the donut shop.  
It’s all I can do to walk by the bakery …

 where I can see back through the store to the warmly lit kitchen.
There they are preparing dough for cinnamon rolls and whole grain breads.

On I trudge through the softened morning light. 
All sounds are muffled.
 Even the big trucks hauling sand to spread on the intersections 
whisper by.

The city crew has decorated the streets for Christmas 
and the snow adds to the holiday look.

 I sneak some photos of a resident artist putting final touches on a window painting. 

 She gets extra work this time of year when merchants are in the mood
 to fork out a little additional cash to bring in shoppers.

“The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats is a wonderful children’s book.
 It’s a Caldecott Medal winner from 1963 and is still a great story to share or give.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

You Thought THAT was crazy

Okay, I'm getting a lot of hassle for riding a raft down a river for a few days.
Yes, it's true I found out a life jacket does save lives.
But the weather was warm and the scenery was beautiful.
And except for a few long seconds of sheer terror...
and some wild rides through rapids...
and some getting up close and personal real fast with some boulders...
The river trips were fun.

Not painful.
THIS is insane and painful.
The kind of pain like when you accidentally stand up and hit your head
on an open cupboard.  Or slam your hand in a car door.
Right up there with giving birth...that kind of pain.

I went ice fishing with DH and friends.  I hated it the first time.
But to make sure it wasn't just a bad day, I went again.
My feet and hands have never been so cold.

You may be able to tell by the above photo taken by my sweet husband
that the ice was very NOT thick when they made their traditional
After Thanksgiving Day Dufus Trip to Catch Fish Through the Ice.

Two inches thick.  They tip-toed across the lake
until they were over water that was about nine feet deep.
This is our son Bobert pretty much frozen in place.
Although he did catch the first fish.

Son in law Brian was a little smarter.  He stayed near the shore.

Beavis is hanging on to a bucket in case everything caves in on him.
I didn't know until I saw these photos that my baby went without 
his snowmobile suit.  He was so spooked about falling through
that he confessed to having nightmares about it.

They brought home enough fish for a big fry.  Great flavor those fish.
But you may be able to see in this picture how the fish are still
frozen solid even after traveling over an hour in the truck back to our house.

I'm not sure what drives the guys to go to this extreme, but they 
do it often every year.  They're going again tomorrow!

That is just WRONG.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


“Only urinate in the river and only defecate in the bucket.”  I was the only female on the float trip and I broke both those rules.  I didn’t have the plumbing to casually empty my bladder while standing up in the raft.

“Wear a life jacket.”  The life jackets were dirty and smelled like wet dog and mildew.  But after the first rapid I was convinced they had a purpose.

DH and I were last minute members of a white water trip down the Main Fork of the Salmon River a.k.a. “The River of No Return,” which flows through some of the wildest country south of Alaska.

 Carefully approaching Salmon Falls

Our group went four to a raft with the experienced paddlers in back as rudders and those in front to provide the power.  Or, as in our case, to flail at the air when the nose came out of the water and to take drenching every time we hit a wave.

The rudder guys in back were out for a good time so our route was always through the wildest part of the rapid.

Two rookies trying to look cool

At the end of a day of white water we camped on the sandy beaches.
 Every raft was loaded with ice chests full of tasty food.

 DH wondering when I will put down my camera and help with the meal.

After evening meals we swam in the river 
or sat on lawn chairs around the campfire and visited. 

At night the weather was so warm we left the rain fly off our tent 
and watched the stars go by.  

 Working to loosen a raft high-centered on a rock

By the end of the week we’d traveled through plenty of rough rapids and beautiful scenery.  The last few miles were mostly through slow moving water as the river widened on its way to meet the Snake River in Hell’s Canyon. 

One of the guys in the back traded places with one of the boys from another raft so he could travel for a while with his son.

We were within site of the take-out point. The low water had exposed some car-sized boulders and made white water of what were usually ripples.  Two of the rafts ahead of us took the left side of a wide falls that dropped over an eddy.  We followed, but the lack of experience on the back left us too close to a huge rock. 

I reached in with my paddle to pull my side of the raft forward in the current. Then I saw we were shooting off a shelf of rock.  I stood up and turned to grab for the security of the netting which held down the gear in the raft.

 Another raft taking a dive into white water

Too late.  The raft bounced to a halt and I took a back flip into the swirling pool below.  The flight through the air was short; but long enough for me to grab a lot of air and think to myself, “This is not happening.” 

I was tossed around in the whirlpool like socks in a washer .  The water was so full of bubbles that I couldn’t find enough purchase to swim out.  I came up once long enough to suck in some water and was slammed on the head by the raft as it lodged itself on the shelf of rock.  DH unsuccessfully tried to fish me out with his paddle.  Finally my life jacket brought me up and I floated free.  I looked back and saw the guys in our raft trying to work the raft off the rock.  My hat was floating next to me and I grabbed it.  A few yards down, the guys in another raft hauled me into their boat like a sack of spuds.

I had a cut over my eye and a lung full of water but otherwise was okay.  And I was SO in love with that dirty, smelly life jacket.

The next summer DH and I joined another expedition down the Salmon.  This time nobody took a spin in a whirlpool.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


When it's twenty degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-29 C)
 with a wind chill of minus forty, sometimes I wonder, 
"Why am I here?"  The list below is a reminder.  
But it doesn't keep me from dreaming of bare toes in warm, white sand. 

Who said all that tuition for art classes went to waste?

Sunday, November 28, 2010


We signed papers and moved into our first house in December of 1975.  As decades passed we’ve gone through the old house room by room and ripped out walls and replaced and repaired and added on.  Two years ago we finally admitted the bathroom needed another makeover.  This time even the fixtures went out the door.

Underneath the old cast iron tub we found 
a layer of dried mud left behind by a flood 
just six months after we moved in.

We replaced our old tub with a deep jetted bath. 
It fits in the same space so no major remodeling was needed.

 I LOVE this tub!  Most mornings I only have time for a quick shower.  
But I try at least once a week to crank on the water and the jets 
and let the bubbles take me away.

This tub works great as a kid-washer too.  Just toss in the little munchkins, add soap and water, turn on the jets, and in no time at all; peanut butter, boogers and toe jam are washed away.

There are several mermaids in the younger generation who hold the record of two hours in the water and bubbles.  The boys have not even come close to that entry. 

 Because of hard tap water we have a water-softener. 
 This means LOTS of bubbles from a little soap.  
No bubble-bath is allowed when kids are washed. 

Shampoo plus jetted water results in…

 …lots and lots of wonderful bubbles!