Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Slight

How 'bout those Lady Bulldogs!!! Just read in this morning's paper that this varsity team, coached by Duane Ward and Will Love, clinched their league title with a win in Moscow last night.

We missed having Willie with us for dinner last night at Second Avenue, and his night of sleep was pretty brief as they're already on the road taking Swiss Miss to the airport.

Still, I think he's probably able to conjure up a little joy this morning. The Bulldogs have one more game before their district tournament, which will determine if they can move on to State.  Congratulations, team and coaches.  Well done!

Seeing this on Facebook this morning was a pleasant surprise for all who love Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.  We all share in the Schoonovers' pride in making the cover of this year's Idaho Adventure Guide.

Now, I have to go outside and tell Lily that the horse she quarreled with briefly on a wonderful September, 2014 trail ride with Janice Schoonover made the Idaho spotlight.

That would be the lead horse, ridden by Janice's son Isaac.  Janice invited me that day so we could ride our leopard Appaloosas together, and at one point while a photo was being taken, the two demonstrated a little disdain for each other.

Congratulations to Western Pleasure.  A truly beautiful picture. 

I call this photo and the two below the "Family Gets into the 12th Man Act" collection.  I'm sure there were thousands of similar scenes throughout the Northwest work places yesterday, but I chose these because there's a cousin, a niece and a daughter in this collection.

That No. 12---she's known as Lindsay, and her mom is my first cousin Loretta from Ephrata.  In the second photo, the lady on the extreme right is my niece Maureen, daughter of my brother Mike and his wife Mary.  And, Miss Annie "Two Thumbs Up" Love can be found in the bottom photo of Groundspeak employees.  

All this Seattle pride is fun for all Seahawk fans and probably a lot of others who've jumped aboard the band wagon of late.  Here we thought we had the "12th Dog," and there's that Brian with another.  

And, what a sports weekend this is!  Zags meet Memphis tonight in what should be one of their major challenges of the season.  We're looking forward to a great game, hopefully with a favorable outcome.

And, so it goes----that's about it on this Saturday except for one more celebration: January has ended for another year!  Robins have been flitting around here for a few days, and we can smell spring.  

Happy Saturday. GO ZAGS!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Respect, Accept, Celebrate

You'd never catch me doing what my younger brother Jim is enjoying in the video above. Of course, I should not use the term "never" because a lifetime has taught me that a lot of the "never's" along the way have a way of breaking down. 

My youngest brother loves hang gliding.  My two sisters love horses.  My daughter loves traveling. My daughter-in-law thrives on helping and guiding people.   

My son says, "you can never watch enough basketball."  Another brother loves politics and numerous activities associated with his personal military history, while another brother from Montana has spent a good portion of his life standing in a stream with fishing equipment or walking up a mountain slope on the hunt. My husband loves a good hike to a mountain top or a late afternoon fly-fishing adventure. 

In my case, I have finally decided that my most fervent, lifelong passion has been embracing people and learning their stories.  

I truly enjoy photography, gardening, horseback riding and traveling but I've become aware with each new day that from start to finish in my life, it's the people. 

When I was 5, I got in big-time trouble for talking to AND taking a ride home with some perfect strangers.  That was back in 1954 in little ol' sleepy and safe Sandpoint, but the incident still set off some sharp, memorable words from my mother. 

From that time, I didn't take rides from strangers, but when I was a sophomore in high school, and my mother, my two little sisters and I were taking a road trip to Michigan, another situation of "Marianne visiting with some perfect strangers" might have gotten us into the scariest situation we'd ever encountered.

That night someone tried to break into our motel room in remote Northern Michigan. I had just gone into snooze mode when Mother, who was putting on her curlers for the night, heard the fidgeting at the door in the hallway and then saw the light from outside shining in.  

She woke me up.  The fidgeting stopped but not our scared-straight adrenalin.  We grabbed cans of Franco American spaghetti and sat in our beds, armed and ready if whoever was out there tried the door again.

We sat the entire night, shaking and staring and finally took off with the first light of day. Two weeks later, when we came through that town, the same car was parked in the spot next to where we had parked.  The man who owned the car had told me he was just staying the night. 

So, we surmised or, should I say "assumed" he may have been the culprit trying to enter our room. 

Anyway, once again, I learned a hard lesson that being friendly to everyone is not always wise. Still, I've never learned to curb my love for meeting new people. I just try to be more caustious. 

All this talk about what I love and what my family members love fits in with my frequent thoughts over the past months, especially since I started working on our 50th-Year reunion. 

In 50 years, our expected cookie cutter pathways in life have taken a few slight detours. Social situations which we could never imagine back in the 1960s have not only opened our eyes but have changed some of the ways we look at the world and the people on our planet. 

"I would never do that or even have anything to do with that," has lessened considerably in many situations.  We have learned that our black-and-white view, just like that on the television sets we watched, has a few shades of gray and some pretty colorful twists. 

Over the years, I have found myself much more accepting of situations I could hardly have imagined as a youngster, because all the slight detours I've taken have taught me that not everyone walks the same beat nor should they. 

Just like I would never strap on a hang glider and jump off a cliff like my brother loves to do, I respect him so much for following his passion, and I accept the fact that, even though hang gliding is not for me, it certainly is for Jim. 

I love horses but probably not quite as much as my sisters do.  My respect and admiration for their truest and most pure passion is indescribable.  The same is true for all the aforementioned family members. 

Yesterday, a classmate and I visited over the phone, and this general topic arose.  I told her some of the wonderful stories I've learned since contacting long-lost classmates, i.e., the fascinating, unpredictable directions their lives took them.  

This particular classmate and I have led completely different lifestyles and have landed in completely different environments, but we still share commonalities that have provided a wonderful bond of friendship over the past 50 years. 

We talked yesterday about how we've learned of the importance of accepting and respecting everyone for whom they are and how important it is to celebrate ourselves and each other.  We hope to generate that spirit at our reunion in September. 

Our class motto, if I remember correctly, was so profound and maybe even a bit juvenile:  We Were Here!

Well, 50 years later, for those of us still here, that motto is definitely is something for all to celebrate.  As the video above suggests, while we are here, "do what you will while you're able." 

Thanks, Jim, Mike, Kevin, Barbara, Laurie, Willie, Annie, Bill and Janis and countless others. I celebrate you and all the mix of inspiring people who make this world so fascinating. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Packing It In with Swiss Miss

Dear Fritz and Caroline,

Thank you. Our extended family is facing the end of a very pleasant interlude in our lives, thanks to your daughter's visit with us and our community over the past few months. 

You have done well as parents with Laura, whom we have fondly called "Swiss Miss" more often than not.  We have all appreciated her talents, her good manners, her love for animals, her quick but subtle humor and the extended opportunity of getting to know her in a variety of ways.

Yes, Laura is a typical teenager, but along with that comes a mature young lady very astute, knowledgeable, open to being seen in public with old ladies like me and, more importantly, willing to embrace all aspects of living with a close knit rural family, et. al. here in North Idaho.

Laura took on challenges during her stay here----most notably learning a brand new sport and giving it her all.  Of course, having a coach for a surrogate dad made all the difference in that we can confidently say that she performed the best basketball screens of anyone else on her team. 

That team faced an uphill battle with only one experienced player, but they never faltered and gave it their all----even winning one exciting game in over time after starting out their season with a 69-0 defeat.  Now that's progress, and Laura contributed significantly to that progress.

Laura also exhibits a pleasant sense of humility, never bragging about her skills or talents. Instead, these traits quietly emerge in the doing, and whenever that has happened, we've all been so impressed. I saw this firsthand with her horsemanship and also when I turned my camera over to her. 

And, yes, I do appreciate Laura's sense for the quirky, exemplified yesterday with that camera when she saw her first-ever pile of elk droppings.  

"They're so big," she said, pointing the lens downward as we stood on a hillside above the scenic village of Hope, overlooking the main channel of beautiful Lake Pend Oreille. 

That moment marked the finale of a fun-filled day spent with Laura, driving the Bonners Ferry, Troy, Clark Fork Loop, which is officially part of the Pend Oreille Scenic Byway. 

We did not have too much on the agenda except for making sure we arrived at Clark Fork in time for the mid-afternoon elk feeding session and later the added benefit of talking to the locals about Viggo. 

Along our way, we did stop at the signs, though, so Laura could officially note that she had, indeed, visited Idaho and Montana.  

After driving a ways up the Yaak River Road and visiting the ice cold Yaak Falls, we moved on to visit the spectacular Kootenai River Falls but had to turn back when the rather steep, narrow trail to the river turned into a solid sheet of ice.  

Still, we enjoyed the beautiful babbling brook in the forest and the wonderful sign at the park entrance.  

And, yes, we made a "feeding" stop or two at the Mennonite eateries along the way. First, Bread Basket Bakery north of Bonners Ferry, then Big Sky Pantry at Bull River and finally The Pantry at Clark Fork.

No, we did not eat THAT much food.  What we did consume, though, was melt-in-your mouth delicious with every bite.  Those cream cheese, blueberry filled "pillows" at the Bread Basket are to die for.

Laura grazed off from her cinnamon roll for a couple of hours as we admired what scenery showed itself beneath the clouds.  The sun appeared a couple of times, but for some reason, it wasn't in the mood to stick around.

We did not let that bother us because, in addition to scenery and good food, the conversation was wonderful too. 

Getting to be the surrogate granny and taking Laura on an outing was a true pleasure for me, one which demonstrated all the more that your daughter is truly someone special.

We're gonna miss her when she takes off Saturday and heads home to Switzerland and, later, to Malaysia to see her mom and dad.  All good things must end, and we can all truly say that the young lady you entrusted to Willie and Debbie in this student exchange is a "keeper."  

And, let me add that Willie and Debbie have done everything in their power to ensure a wonderful experience for Laura.  I might add that Brooke and Todd have done the same as have my sisters, Barbara and Laurie.  

As Mom Love, I've been really proud of their continued dedication to her best interests and toward providing her some phenomenal experiences while living in North Idaho. 

Today Laura is packing her suitcase (s) with a friend.  Tonight Debbie is hosting a pizza party and movie night.  Tomorrow, probably more packing topped off with dinner at the same place where she started last Aug. 19.  Where else?  Laura's choice:  Second Avenue Pizza.

Again, thank you for trusting all of us with your daughter.  We hope the opportunity comes some day for both of you to accompany her back to Sandpoint where we promise:  dinner at Second Avenue and a trip to the Bread Basket Bakery!

P.S.  I would add that Laura has properly become a full-fledged ZAGS fan with her ZAGS apparel, her participation in our ZAGS eatfests with virtually every game, her attendance at a ZAGS home game, thanks to a certain ANGEL I know and finally, her mastery of the first words learned minutes after her August arrival at Spokane Airport, "GO ZAGS!!!" 

Maybe she'll greet you with that proclamation when she arrives in Zurich!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Red and White Night and a Montana Day

Sandpoint High’s pep band was putting out some great sounds last night when Coeur d’Alene’s Vikings came to town to play the Lady Bulldogs.

The Dance Team presented a great show at halftime.  And, the flag hanging from the ceiling at Les Rogers Gym looked beautiful, as it always does.

Before the Sandpoint-Coeur d’Alene varsity game began, some proud families stood in the gym, honoring their senior players and the International players who competed on JV teams.

So, of course, two sets of Loves show up in enthusiastic support for our Swiss Miss aka Laura who ended her first-ever basketball season last week.

As we sat in the crowd, Laura said she already misses playing in the games and going to practice.  I think the experience for her turned out to be very positive, especially with all the new friends she made.

When the Dance team left the floor, Debbie asked me if their performance was bringing back memories, to which I quickly responded, “Yes.”

She must have been reading my mind because I was thinking about all those drills over the nine years I spent as Ponderettes adviser and how the exit from the floor brought forth a variety of emotions.

Often, those emotions ran to the extreme.  As the performers filed into the locker room, it was my job either to concur that they had, indeed, “nailed it,” or to disagree that “really it wasn’t THAT bad.”

All dream team alums who performed in “The Hustle” back in the mid-‘70s would surely concur that Mrs. Love put on the biggest lying fest ever after they wept their way from the gym floor into the locker room.

Let’s just say that their baseball-bat props or even a sledge hammer could not have “nailed it” that night when the music COULD NOT BE HEARD!

We definitely went through a rebuilding phase after that disaster AND I’m very proud to say that the Ponderettes bounced back, never looked back and SMILED a lot through the rest of that year.

Last night’s Dance Team probably left the floor quite pleased because they put on a great show.

Today will be another special day for Swiss Miss.

She’ll be visiting Montana for the first time, and if the fog will lift, she’ll see some spectacular scenery. 

If it doesn’t, we still can’t go too wrong with stops at The Bread Basket Bakery, a Montana lunch eatery and in Clark Fork where she can watch the elk dine with the turkeys.

Speaking of Montana, yesterday on Facebook, my dear friend Myra posted a wonderful video from Western Montana, complete with old barn photos and an original song about the beloved structures.

Hope you enjoy! Expand to enjoy the full effect. 

Happy Wednesday. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday TwitterdeePrideComethbeforetheFog

Let me start off this morning expressing some deeply felt Sandpoint pride.   The lady above has been a part of my life, as a close friend and former student,  since she was maybe 10 years old.

I gained my first real appreciation for Jeralyn Lewis Mire back in the mid-1970s when she rode her Pinto horse 20-plus miles on a very hot July day as a participant in the Bicentennial Pony Express Scrolls project.  

I even knew her when she was "First Toddler" of Jerry and Pat Lewis' at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Back then, Jeralyn, would occasionally walk up and down the church aisle during Mass. 

Even at that age, her big, bright, beautiful, brown eyes exhibited that wonderful mirror of a very special soul, just as they did last night when she participated in an educationally oriented forum on an Idaho Public Television special called "The Journey to College." 

Jeralyn has worked for a number of years as a counselor at Sandpoint High School, so her role in the forum was to answer questions about all things pertinent in the search for higher education. 

And, what a job she did!  Her warmth, her humor and her knowledge all shone brightly throughout the first hour of the program.

Sandpoint High School was one of five schools featured in the 90-minute program, and so several SHS students participated, including my sister's yearbook editor who aspires to be a veterinarian.  

Another student, whom Bill and I know, led off the program.  Brady Lux lived on Woodland Drive in our old neighborhood.  Bill and I also have known his parents, Dave and Nancy, both Forest Service employees, for years. 

Having watched Brady grow up, it was so impressive to see what a multi-talented, articulate young man he has become. 

In fact, throughout the program, I was so impressed with all the students, be they from Sandpoint or Kellogg or the other schools represented.

This was an excellent program, filled with wonderful perspectives from professionals and students alike. Later, I learned that one of Annie's roommates, Jenessa, a broadcast professional in Boise, participated in the production. 

A great package, to say the least, and a special personal pride, seeing Jeralyn.  Have I ever mentioned that she's one of my favorites?  Good job, Jeralyn.  Good job, students and professionals and good job, Idaho Public TV.

That aside, yesterday's morning fog turned into noon fog, afternoon fog and evening fog. In fact, it's still hanging around this morning.

I read somewhere that when the weather is lousy, get out there and embrace it.  Good advice, I've learned, and I've been following that advice more and more over the last year or so.  

When you do embrace the rotten weather, at least you're not sitting inside whining and miserable.  At least, if you're miserable outside, you're doing something, and it's probably more healthy than sitting on the couch. 

So, when the fog would not go away yesterday, I grabbed my camera and decided to see what was out there, showing up or showing off in low visibility. 

Turned out to be a fun adventure, which took me down Selle Road for my favorite pair of trees, then on to the former U of I experiment station where I saw John Olsen for the first time in a while.  He and his wife were cross country skiing. 

Another lady and her dog were just enjoying themselves, and some of the trees begged for photo attention. 

Then, I headed to the south end of Boyer and Memorial Field, where the walk way above the river showed just how low that water is for the winter months. Lakeview Cemetery at the end of South Division offered some artistic settings conjuring up thoughts of folks who made area history, especially those two stones with the name "Selle." 

Then, it was off to the south end of the bridge, where the fog did not disappoint.  

As cars and trucks rumbled overhead, across "that bridge," which, yesterday, most likely did NOT lure any new residents  I captured several images of the surreal scene below.

Finally, I drove a short way down Woodside Road, back in Selle, and snapped photos of trees where other foggy views on past drive-by's have made me wish I had a camera. 

Well, yesterday I did, and the scenes turned out lovely. Plus, Brian Wood rolled up alongside me, and we enjoyed a nice visit. 

So, I embraced the fog yesterday.  Don't know what I'll do if it stays around all day today, but plenty of "to do's" will make the day go by quickly. 

Happy Tuesday.  Enjoy the photos below.    

Monday, January 26, 2015

Stunning Sunday Drive

It was like a Sunday drive of years past--let's say the '50s and '60s of the last century---only minus a few people, minus the uncomfortable hump in the back seat between two brothers and missing the occasional bacon thin doled out from our mother from the front seat. 

We headed east, we went to Montana and we saw deer.  On this trip, Bill and I also spotted some white swans sunning themselves while floating along in cold water AND we watched elk and turkeys enjoying their Sunday dinner together in a field at Clark Fork. 

From start to finish, we marveled at stunning scenes, accented with everchanging layers and hues of color on an already gorgeous landscape. 

Mother Nature seemed, indeed, both happy and busy yesterday as she provided one of the best natural shows I can ever remember on a Sunday drive. 

Fog helped out in yesterday's photo special as it simply floated in mid air or enveloped whole stretches of land, allowing ghostlike trees or clearly visible mountaintops to take center stage 

Had we started earlier than 2 p.m., I could have filled a memory card with snapshots of sheer beauty.  Those above will have to suffice.  What a wonderful gift for a late January Sunday!

And, I didn't even miss the bacon thins!