2013

Living - and already savoring - the Adventures across the backroads of western Idaho and eastern Oregon!

25 February 2015

Recalls, Recollections and even Zeppelin-esque Xylophone Bands

Where to start?  How about with the important stuff:

I was told that some of these models were sold in our area – and there are 4.6 million nationwide being recalled:

It got me to thinking tonight about our own home safety, something we’ve not reevaluated since moving in two years ago.  Online, I found the City and County of Denver’s brochure on “Home Fire Safety.”  I found it very useful since it’s official, from a major metro area, well thought out and formatted, and because it covers our range of concerns:  “Maintaining and Using Home Smoke Alarms, Fire Extinguishers and Carbon Monoxide Alarms.”  Check it out - and make it happen in your home for your loved ones.

Recollections are easy today:
  • We haven't gotten more than a couple inches snow since the turn of the year
  • We do not build igloos and snowshoe to work like the folks in Boston (darn, I am SO very jealous, Mizz M)
  • Mizz Ellen's humor has more sparkle than a fine wine, ever as witty as her own powerful spirit
  • Wash DC.  The Beltway World.  Traffic and road rage.  Counting the minutes as we raced through the weekends.  Whiling away too much of my life on the commuter bus.  Snowmageddon in Feb. 2010.  
  • Cedarville State Park.  Maryland's splendiferous state parks and their passionate volunteers.  Activity, Life in Motion.  Budd's Creek raceway.  Watching our boys grow into young men.
Lastly - but don't miss it - Anne Girl says it best:
     "...is this teacher a xylophone freak???"

11 February 2015

J.R. Acosta’s Riposte to J.R.R. Tolkien's Epigraph to The Lord of The Rings

Three Rings for the Pseudo-Platonic Politicians under the sky,
            Watch Wall Street’s follies, the sucking maelstrom of the
Military-Industrial Complex, and the spigot of Taxation Failure

Seven for the Cultural-lords in their halls of stone,
            Ponder gay rights, abortion haters, hate, greed, avarice,
mistaken pride, and the jaded train of expectations

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
            Too much, too lofty, never enough but usually just fine.
Snowstorm nights:  unexpected babies, arugula boxes for the rich,
dusted-off DVDs, calls to Mom & that long-unsought cousin.  A
dive into your dust-covered book, and reminiscing far afield.

One for Jester Lord Jose on his throne, a paper sun,
            Picture another space and time, where the One Ring confounds
and solves them all, where it all makes sense

In the Post-Industrial Land where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them,

In the Land of Complexity where the Shadows lie.

03 February 2015

Misty Mountain Hopping

This poem is just a raw and poignant thought, that hit me while I drove the 15 quiet miles to a nearby town.  It’s not particularly good, even by my low standards.  But for once I offer no apologies.  

If we polish our every jagged emotion, refine each "OMG!" moment that hits us along the lonely highway, and over-analyze those songs we sing in our quiet moments, we’ll never experience naked honesty, Long live that that honest-to-God rock ‘n roll feeling!

Thanks, Carol ... “Jazz man, take my blues away …”

There I go,
   Watching the headlights flash by,
   Stark winter’s twilight coming down.
   Led Zep hums me along,
   And the world spins anew.

Paint it Colorful,
   Stairway’ing to Heaven,
   Open window blowing in unsought advice.
   This should be easy,
   But how can I absorb this moment?

Oh No, Oh No,
   Have I been gone too long,
   Working in a plastic world?
   Baby, is it the last time,
   Or do I get to sing my own new song?

31 January 2015

Balancing the Olivias of our World with the Snacks

I'm sick, dragged down by some chest cold/achy body kinda thing that's run rampant.  You know it, the blah-ness that gives you every right in the world to bury yourself under the blankets and zone out.

Fighting that urge, I did some Super Bowl reading.  I avoided all those recently-mentioned tribulations around rooting for a team, instead focusing on this one that I must share today, and whose title says it all:

The only 10 Super Bowl recipes you will ever need

Then I tripped over a story I've been meaning to share.  It's about Oliva Barker, a USA Today reporter and mother of two who recently died of breast cancer. I found this story uplifting, as she obviously made her last year a Super Bowl of Life while seeing the juggernaut of death coming toward her dear family.  Sounds like she was a fiery woman who lifted the newsroom up:

USA TODAY reporter Olivia Barker dies at 40

I hope the connection is clear, the message simple.  I see so many analogies these days between sports and life, about try-and-try-again, and living in the moment.  Play hard, snack away, get out in your relationship/family/community and make an impact.  One day there won't be another season, another tomorrow, so make it count now.

My part today is puny, so I'll leave the heavy lifting to you.

29 January 2015

My Sports Fan Tribulations


Arsenal:  this British Premier League soccer club is famous in the UK, which is why I heard about them.  I like their moxie and the coach, so why is it they razzle and dazzle yet recently only flirt in the top 4?  I guess this is what life in the UK is like, watching your club year in-and-out, sometimes rising up and sometimes falling flat in the various tournaments they participate in?  However, an ebb and flow much easier to take since you root for a team, a tradition (though no one in ID seems to recognize my Arsenal scarf!)

Peyton Manning:  then there’s Peyton, whom we’ve rooted for since his Indy days.  But what up?  We endlessly cheer for him, though I don’t know that I care much about the Broncos outside of Peyton.  So, it almost hurts to see this neat guy struggle in the playoffs, no thanks to the media who seem to expect so much of one person.  It’s clear to me that the NFL is a hero sport, not so much focused on a team, except for some clubs like the …

Buffalo Bills:  where to start?  The Golden Years.  Roaring through four years of playoffs and AFC championships, just to lose in the Big One.  Sad at the time but I’m so proud to wear the colors of a team that flattened half the NFL year after year.  And now Jim Kelly, just clear of his battle with bone cancer, what a man.  New owners, a new coaching staff, no designated starting QB, but so what – this is an underdog team worth suiting up for!

Lacrosse season out west:  I loved watching, and attending, lacrosse matches back east.  Towson, Georgetown, U of Maryland – those were exciting places to catch a match.  Uplifting, simple, powerful and fairly civilized.  The only school out west that hits the national stage is Denver, too far away for a road trip.  The season starts soon, so consider picking up a new interest!

Big Ten Wrestling:  Now this an awesome freebie on my Direct TV.  My channel 610  boasts some studly tournaments with guys from the likes of Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa and Penn State.  Even some smaller colleges can kick butt.  I miss this sport, esp. out here, so catching it on TV is fantastic.

So many sports, so many hours and so many championships to dream of.  You know where to find me (glued to the tube at home)!

My URL Pick du Jour:  
A Gorgeous Look at Some of the Oldest Trees on Earth

25 January 2015

Too Much Media, Too Many Stripes

(Yes, I’ll explain that weird subject line, OK?)

First, I just remembered what I forgot.  When I stepped outside last week, I saw two jet overhead and stopped in my tracks.  Two!  At the same time!  That hasn’t happened in the 2.5 years since we moved here.  It’s sad to think about what jazzes me up these days, huh?

Back to the present.  There I was, tooling by Costco after a long day at the office being a meeting host.  The weather was cool and getting foggy, so color me disappointed when the radio started wailing in pain.  Well, the young so-called singer caused me the pain, and in my case I envisioned hammering the stereo with a hatchet.  But I felt pity, worried about the pain she must have been in, though her manager is the one who should be wailing.

As I gassed up, I felt so grateful at $1.76 because I think it can’t last.  Too bad it’s wintertime and we can’t take advantage of it.  I then checked the headlights and realized they were filthy and gas station had no squeegees or water.  Road safety, what’s a guy to do?  I know, win the Spit Dispute; as in, why do guys spit and woman wince in disgust?  My testosterone meter pegged at 10, the headlights came clean — for the cause of safety — and I win the ‘dispute.’

Back onto the Interstate, up to the 65-mph speed limit and I Honda Odyessy’d smoothly past that advisory point to about 72.  Ahhh, we hummed along so nicely.  So, when I hit the outskirts of the last town before those 14 miles of deserted road before my exit, I was nicely prepared to get it up near the 80-mph flight path I’ve come to love.  See, my smooth driving habits are helping the environment!


Then I exit The Fog and change my habits, using the center stripe like the stripe along the runway.  The road, she is mine, all mine!  Especially because with the dense fog, I wouldn’t see any oncoming cars anyway.  Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit because I only do that when it’s clear outside!  Lastly, a stop sign?  Fine, I’ll take that also under advisement… I threw the dice and made it home.  Good thing I usually telework.

21 January 2015

There I was, dreaming of The Southern Cross

I stepped outside, catching some chilled air as I checked on the chickens.  Frosty clear.  And it got me to thinking that I love our night skies.

Orion the Hunter graces our own sky, a hub around which to see those winter constellations when the low humidity lends a crispness to the slumbering world.  The thing that blows me away about Orion is the red giant star in its armpit, Betelguese (yep, pronounced beetle-juice) (seriously, like the movie).  It’s the largest thing in our night sky, size-wise and I just checked to find out its 430 light years away.  Now that’s a trip I’d like to take. 

Of course, the Horsehead Nebula is where in Orion’s direction I’d want to point my Zebulon-powered hyper-drive starship.  That place is fascinating because we all grew up seeing the fabulous hues of this stellar nursery.

Crux, the legendary Southern Cross in the deep southern skies, is where I’d want to point my sailboat.  You’ll never reach it but the journey toward Antarctica would be memorable, unless you fell off the edge of the world.  Crux is featured in modern folklore and music like CSN&Y.  Maybe one day Michele and I can head south, wake up with the sun and be at one with that sea.

Lastly, I just found this neat poem, check it out:

Of the Australian national flag, the Australian poet Banjo Paterson wrote in 1893:

The English flag may flutter and wave,
where the world wide oceans toss,
but the flag the Australian dies to save,
is the flag of the Southern Cross.


18 January 2015

We got our Street Cred

So how do we get those street cred’s?  Well, you decide to not scrimp when it’s time to buy a fridge.  Our fridge was acting flaky again after last year’s repair, so we decided to replace it with something fun, knowing it’s a 10-year decision.  We succeeded, with a kinda fancy model from LG, a Hollywood fridge with LED lighting and fancy doors.  Toss into the truck’s bed a nice Rheem water heater with 12-year warranty, and it was a good day.

  • The Guy’s Angle:  You get that cred by slowly tooling your bright red pick-up truck through town so everyone can see your nice new purchases, with a couple extra purchases just 'cause so.  I think that’s like the John Wayne movie, The Quiet Man, where Maureen O’Hara becomes a kind of trophy wife at the end.  Picture John’s buggy full of her dowry as they tool toward the Irish cottage after he “won her” while fighting her brother for her honor.  Everyone cheers and says, “Wow, what a man, what a corker!”


OK, OK, I didn't do anything nearly as dashing or manly as that.  But I’ll admit it was a good feeling to take the country route home, 45 mph max, and watch the scenery while knowing we’ve replaced two of the five main home appliances.  Gotta love those extended warranties too.

  • A Woman’s Angle (maybe):  My pot-bellied slacker of a deadbeat husband finally turned off his British Premier League Soccer (yes, “God Save the Queen and the Arsenal Gunners”) and stopped talking about the NFL playoffs enough to jump onto a once-a-year financing deal.  And here I thought his occasionally making the bed was good enough.  Yeah, I’ll humor him but, gosh, he sucks – the sheets cry.  Now, "Hah!"  My friends can come over and sigh as my fridge almost serves me breakfast in bed, it’s so awesome! 

Well readers, we have a blog post about appliances and showing off.  Woo-hoo, I opened an email for ... this?  Is this really what country life is about?  

I'll say this:   there's one work-from-home cowboy who says, “Oh, heck yeah!” 

15 January 2015

A favorite Movie: My Side of the Mountain

Before I do a jaunt back into my youth’s first passion (living outdoors), first a serious thought.  Only 0.75% of our country’s population actually participated on-the-scene in the Iraq and Afghan debacles.  So how do we involve our voting populace, also too small a segment, in the conversation toward a stronger America?  We’ve spent a full generation’s blood and treasure on … what?  The Parisian terror, that’s now spread to rural eastern Belgium, brought this unsought concern to mind, along with the PBS News Hour.  I read mostly international news feeds, so tell me if you’d like to broaden your horizons.  Or I’ll just broadcast it for you the next time I get fired up.

Back to our show:


Last night I watched this movie that I’m just so sure was a flashback to my childhood, to the young He-Wolf Joser:  1969’s My Side of the Mountain.  100 minutes of action- and thought-driven time in a young teenage boy’s life.  He runs out of patience awaiting his parents’ promises of going out camping, so our intrepid Canadian youngster runs away from his Toronto home and buses it to the wilds near Knowlton, Quebec. I just know I saw it because I loved [hah, you thought I'd give you a spoiler.  Nope.] 











Don’t bother Google Map’ing that, since our Frenchophilic friends apparently renamed it, Lac-Brome, QC J0E.


No exaggeration or bragging – looking at the map, and having seen three ski runs in the background of his forest retreat, I know where on the nearby slopes it was filmed!  An awesome time though not everything was so happy and chipper.

Walk back in time, when you dreamt of taming wildlife for your own needs and foraging for all you needed.  When you didn’t need a house to survive, and what you knew in your head could easily be supplemented by a nearby library.  And a librarian in a small town who didn't ask a stray boy any tough questions.  And where stray bohemian folk singers can wander into the script and be characters of strength and redemption.


That’s my angle, live large on the land and from the land, just like young Sam.  Watch this movie, will ya?

14 January 2015

I've seen all Good People

Interesting evening....

I was cleaning up our younger son's stuff from years ago - yeah, without his help.  Legos, photos, early generation Nintendos,  a message from a Holocaust survivor (from a school presentation), memories of times gone by, apparitions of a young man who will never be the WOW! that you envisioned.  Smiles, rueful thoughts, flares of regret.  Then the tears of disappointment, of never fulfilled potential, again hit me.  

Mental illness in a loved one sucks.  Damn, too bad I already graced Mr. Treadmill with 43 minutes of my best self.  Now have to deal with the moment, or again hide away.

I think the prog-rock group Yes captures tonight well:

      "Don't surround yourself with yourself
      Move on back two squares
      Send an instant comment to me
      Initial it with loving care."

No, I really don't expect 99% of folks reading this post to understand my feelings, my pain and true anger.  But I know you can understand disappointment, loving perseverance and never-ending hope.  

As Yes says, "... I'm on my way."  Toward patience, toward hope and - holy #$^! - maybe toward some kind of enlightenment.  Mental illness is devastating both to the person and their loved ones, but if you're in the fight you never drop your guard and you never give up.  Because you've then given up on yourself too.

Now smile.  Because we're talking about another day, an average day, and even being here to to think about its merits is a flippin' miracle straight from God.

Back to Yes, to affirmation, to just hanging in there:

      "And one peculiar point I see,
      As one of many ones of me.
      As truth is gathered, I rearrange,
      Inside out, outside in, inside out, outside in,
      Perpetual change."

(Sorry, non-Yes fans, this post is a bunch of hooey, huh?!)