Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Unforgettable Thanksgiving

There are some things in this world that we simply cannot forget.

Today I am writing about a To Do list. One that I wrote probably six or seven years ago in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner, which I have hosted for my family and friends almost every year since I've been single. One that only stands out in my mind because of the P.S. attached to it.

I wish I would have dated it, but I guess it doesn't really matter the year. What matters is how it made me feel. How I feel every year right before Thanksgiving when I am busy getting the house ready for company and the food prepared for the big day.

That was one of the first years I made my itinerary for the day – probably to keep me on track and to make everything seem manageable. Planning and carrying out this dinner can be difficult by myself. For some reason, that year I must have been more stressed than usual.

As a reminder to myself I wrote this little note – serving two functions. One to remind me exactly what this day is about, and to be thankful for all that I have. The second to make a practical list to follow so I wouldn't forget anything. I don't know how many times I've left important dishes in the refrigerator or microwave until long after dinner and dessert.

So here it is, in all my humdrum glory. I typed it up (so organized!) and set it on the counter at night. When I woke up in the morning and took a look at it – this is what I found...

My daughter added that last part. You know, the part that says everyone loves and appreciates me even if it all doesn't go as planned. You know – the part that brought tears to my eyes when I first read it. The part that still does.

Oh, my wise and loving daughter. You really "get" it. You truly understand. Those few words have stayed with me through many Thanksgiving preparation times, and no doubt will remain with me until the end of my days.

What a wonderful gift. What a treasure. Perhaps you never knew your words would touch me forever. They will, my dear. Always.

So this Thanksgiving, I am doing it all over again. I'm getting better at planning ahead, but still, this Thursday it will be busy, a bit crazy, and hopefully I'll get all the menu items cooked and ready to serve, and the cat hair off the sofa, before my guests arrive.

Whether it all goes as planned, or it falls apart like a house of cards in an earthquake, it will be fine. We will laugh, we will reminisce, we will tease and joke, take pictures, and remark on how the little ones have grown so tall.

I am so blessed every day, because there is love around me. In the end, nothing else matters. This Thanksgiving, I'm sending a special thanks to Cera. I will always remember, and cherish forever, that simple postscript from a Thanksgiving many years ago.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Love Thy Neighbor

I previously blogged about some of my neighbors, and how helpful they were when I was trying to re-landscape my front yard (take out two monster shrubs that threatened to eliminate anything in their paths.) 

Now, during an unusual November cold snap, I need to add to it.

We were hit with a record-breaking eight inches of snow. It's unusual this early in November. Usually the first snowfall sort of meanders to the earth, sometimes melting, sometimes sticking around until the sun hits it.

Last night we had snow, about an inch and a half. I merrily scooped it off my three-car driveway. Haha, what great exercise, and nice, fresh air...

Then this morning I woke up to about three or four inches. Rats.

I had places to go.

I spent an hour outside, managing to clear the sidewalk, the walkway up to my door, and a little path up the driveway. Grateful that I chose a vehicle with four-wheel-drive, I went to lunch. Two hours later I returned home.

The snow was almost seven inches deep. Curses...

So I bundled up, grabbed my shovel and proceeded to join several neighbors attempting to get ahead of the weather. I noticed that the downpour of snow seemed to be lessening. Then to my surprise and delight one of my subdivision angels had driven his 4x4 with snowplow attached down our street. He visited each driveway that had a person shoveling (I assume he didn't want to plow driveways without permission) and proceeded to clean off the rest of my snow in five minutes. It probably would have taken well over an hour by hand.

Wow! I was so thankful! He went up the street, and helped several other folks out as well.

Aren't people grand? Most folks just want to do the right thing, to help their neighbors, to make this world a little better place.

I'm so thankful for the blessings I've been given. There is so much in my life to appreciate – my family, my friends, and even this awesome neighbor that I barely know.

Happy Snow Day. Happy November. Happy Thanksgiving. Please remember to always count your blessings!

Monday, October 13, 2014


I admit it. I am sometimes easily distracted.

Especially when I hit a snag in writing, or I've been editing for too many consecutive hours. Or when what I'm doing has become monotonous or tedious and I need a break.

I've noticed if I stay in front of my computer too long and my dogs and cats get bored, they will do almost anything to get my attention. The cats jump on my chair, and try to sidle onto my lap. The dogs will push against me, often bringing a favorite toy so we can have some play time.

The other day I was on a roll, figuratively speaking. The words were pouring out of my head and my fingers had trouble keeping up with the flow. It was great! However, something was amiss.

Where were my fur-babies? They weren't bugging me. I turned around to look for them and here's what I saw:

Thankfully I had my camera at hand so I could take several photos of Atticus Smash, sleeping while Luca kept a watchful eye on me. After several photos, I thought the law of averages would be in my corner, and I had captured "the look."

I went back to my typing, but a short time later turned around again. I made some oohing and ahhing noises at the bundle of kitties. Out came my camera, and several snaps later I was satisfied. My cats, Atticus Smash and Nemo, slept through it all.

Third time was charm – not only with my typing but also with the last of the animals. 

Dude was trying to look as cute as could be. I thought he succeeded quite readily.

So it went on all afternoon. They all looked so cute, and sweet just lounging around, sleeping, being perfect angels.

It worked. I broke down and took the dogs for a walk, and cuddled with the cats.

Sometimes it's nice to be easily distracted.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Yes, I Am a Runner

I'm a runner. I didn't start running until a little over seven years ago. And after all this time, it still feels a little awkward to just come out and say it. Mostly because I'm a wimpy runner. I walk uphill, mostly run on flat land, and manage to pick up the pace on downhills. I'm still slow though.

Cathy and Zan - Famous Idaho Potato Start
Despite the humble way I get those miles in, it's a fact. I do run. I've done numerous races – 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons. Thirteen miles is about my comfort level for an organized run. It forces me to train, but it's not so daunting it makes me nervous.

I've run several half-marathons more than once, including Zeitgeist, which is a fun race on rolling hills, all of it paved. And the Famous Idaho Potato run, again all on paved roads or paths, but it's a flat course mostly by the river on the Boise Greenbelt, which makes it a wonderful run. 

The most challenging one has been the Race to Robie Creek, starting at 2725 feet, climbing 8.5 miles to 4797 feet, then dropping for the next 5 miles to 3065 feet. After the first mile, when we start our big climb, I always regret signing up, but I get over it by the time I make it, wheezing and gasping, to the summit. 

The only marathon race I've run was a beautiful 26.2 miles in Susanville, California, the Bizz Johnson Run. The entire course was on trails, first carved out from an old railroad trail, then on a lovely path that meandered along an awesome river. It was an easy course for a marathon, but was a tough one for me because of the distance.

It was true for me what they said about hitting the wall. Around mile 22 or 23, I just lost it. Everything in my body that could feel, hurt. My stomach decided to treat me to gastrointestinal problems. I was exhausted and discouraged, but on I trudged.

Finish Line at Bizz Johnson Marathon
The nice thing about these types of races are the people. The volunteers, race directors, and especially other runners. One runner, Manny from Texas, ended up walking and slowly running with me the last few miles, encouraging me, and telling me I would get the first sip of the ice cold beer his friends had waiting for him at the finish line. He even hung back a second so I could run across the finish before him. When I realized I had made it and completed my first marathon, I burst into tears. It was so awesome!

Finish Line at the Buffalo Run
The next big challenge for me was the Buffalo Run on Antelope Island in Utah. I chose the 32 mile option – a 50k ultra-marathon. Although I thought I had trained sufficiently, this one totally wiped me out. My "run" across the finish line was more like a stagger. My feet were killing me, I could barely move. But I did it.

I am signed up for one more ultra-marathon in June – this one is the Bryce Canyon Ultra, and again I'm running the 50k. Doesn't this look spectacular? It should be an amazing experience, with the scenery along the trail. I'm sure initially I'll wonder why in the world I would subject myself to this torture. Until I start running past the breathtaking scenery, and then again when I make it to the finish line, that is. It does have a nine hour cutoff though, and I almost hit that with my previous ultra. I guess I better start training in earnest now.

Thanks Steve Moore!

I'll be posting a few pictures in June. Hopefully none that look like this...

Thursday, January 9, 2014


In my previous post I mentioned I love music. I would like to add that I really like almost any kind. I was raised on a mixture of classical (from my dad and mom), sixties and seventies (from my older brother), and a bit of country thrown in (from my friends). I admit that some of the rap and hip hop music I could do without. But there is that certain beat...

Here's a picture of my daughter's boyfriend of three years. His name is Slay. He is awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I am letting him take over half of my garage to turn into a shop. He's fixing up his 1947 Dodge pickup truck, and also just finished putting together an old Yamaha motorcycle. Slay is clean, keeps his workspace organized (more organized than I am in general) and loves my daughter, my dogs, and my cats.

This past weekend my brother was at my house. We had a great visit. On Monday, we were invited to lunch, which I accepted at the last moment, which meant I had to take my shower fast. I told Marty to go ahead without me and I would be there as soon as possible. I took a very fast shower, dressed, and headed out of my bedroom, whistling some happy tune.

When suddenly... I realized as I rounded the corner to the kitchen, I was not alone. At first I thought it was my brother, and wondered why he hadn't left already. Then I realized it was Slay. He was sitting at my counter, eating his lunch before he continued working on his truck.

First I was a little embarrassed whistling my way down the hall. Then I thought – what the heck? So I made some comment about my penchant for music, and guess what? Slay wasn't laughing at me. It was really no big deal. His girlfriend's mother was a little wacky and definitely happy, so... so what?

Yes, I thought to myself as I continued this conversation in my head. Whistling? Not the worst thing anyone could catch me doing.

We proceeded to talk about his current progress, and how he and my daughter were getting packed for their trip to Hawaii. Our conversations are comfortable. I like Slay, and I am really happy he is with my daughter.

I'll continue to sing. To whistle. To hum. I'll try to tone it down when I'm out in public, but I can't offer any guarantees. What can I say, my life is good, and I'm happy!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Music - I Love Music!

I love music, and love to sing along with my favorite songs. That's quite normal, right?

I'm sure I'm not the only one to sing in the shower, and possibly not the only one to sing at the top of my lungs in my house when I'm alone. I can carry a tune, although I don't have a "recording-ready" voice. But that's not important, not for me.

Today I caught myself singing away while I was doing laundry. I don't even remember the song, or if it was one I made up. I just stopped and thought to myself – "If someone came in the door right now they would be laughing like crazy!"

And that's okay. I guess. I've been caught before, and after a fleeting moment of embarrassment, my life does go on.

I remember when my son and daughter were little. Almost since they could walk and talk, they loved music. It was a big part of their play. I think back fondly on their breakfast ritual before school – they sat at the table, humming merrily along between swallows of milk and cereal.

The part that made me smile – big – as I futzed around in the kitchen, was that they were both humming different songs, and totally oblivious to the other. It was cute, and it made me happy to hear them sound happy.

Now my kids are young adults, and last year they informed me that I used to hum all the time. They thought it quite the fun game to start humming some tune I would know, and... wait for it... I would start humming along. Then they would laugh silently at me. I'm sure because it was cute, right?

What is wrong with humming? It's happy, downright joyous! So I would say – there is nothing wrong with humming, or whistling, or singing. But if you are caught unexpectedly in the middle of a tune – is that embarrassing? Tune in tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Tomorrow my brother Marty travels back to Coeur d'Alene, after spending the entire weekend with me. It was so much fun, and we were busy from the time we both eventually rolled out of our beds to the time we said goodnight. Today I thought about opting out of a few invites so I could get other things done but at the last minute thought – hey why not?

This particular invitation was to lunch with my brother's son's girlfriend's parents. Got that? 

See, Marty came to Boise so he could visit me and our other brother, then drive his son (my nephew, Jake) back home to get ready to go back to the university. I met Jake's girlfriend Taylor on Sunday, and today Jake wanted to introduce my brother to Taylor's parents.

I told Marty it sounded serious, and he just laughed, a bit nervously. After all, both kids are not quite twenty years old, but seem quite smitten with each other. Anyway, the six of us had a wonderful time getting to know each other.

We then spent the afternoon with my older brother and his wife. He's had some very serious illnesses the past several weeks, spending almost two weeks during two visits to the hospital just before Christmas and just before New Year's Day. He's recovering well now, which is great. We went to see some property they own that they hope to build on in the near future. You could hear the excitement in his voice as he talked about those plans.

Then Marty bought me dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant, and we topped the evening off by visiting my niece and her family at their new-to-them house. After a fun time talking to them and seeing almost every toy and costume their kids had (they are so cute!) we headed back to my house.

Marty leaves tomorrow. It's been a great visit – he's an awesome guest. And I will miss him.

So today, all the plans I had for organizing, cleaning, writing, editing... they all went out the door. Instead I spent time with family and friends, and the entire day passed so quickly. Life is too short. More specifically our lives are too short. We need to be with the ones we love while we can, and support the dreams of our friends and families. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, but today is already here and waiting.

I can edit tomorrow. I can write tomorrow. Today was for family and for memories.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Goals, Goals, Goals...

Ha, well this goal of writing a blog post every day didn't last very long. It sounded good on the first of January! Perhaps I should revise it – to every other day.

It's a good lesson though. And I love those things I can learn and grow from.

  • If I'm going to set a goal, and make it public, I have to follow through successfully. Or else get called out on it. And I do not want that to happen again. 
  • It does make me accountable – either to do what I set out to do (write a blog each day) or to make more realistic goals. 
  • On only day three, I have already fallen short of my goal. However, the good thing is, I am writing something. It might only be a little explanation for my tardiness, but it's something. 
  • When I want to write, I must make it a priority. I can't waste time checking my social media for way too long, or doing anything else that isn't productive in some way. Reading is productive. Thinking is productive. Taking the dogs for a walk is productive. And writing is productive. But going through each and every one of my friends' posts to see what I might be missing – well, that is not the best use of my time.

The good thing is, I now have two blog posts in three days. If I keep this up, I might end up more prolific than I have been in the past. I miss blogging, not so much for the writing part, or the sharing part (which can be a little scary and/or uncomfortable for me) but because when I blog I also check out the blogs of my friends, and I miss doing that.

Let's see where this takes me. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I took on a once-a-day blog challenge for the month of January. It can't be that hard, right? I can certainly think of topics to blog about. Such as the New Year.

As a matter of fact, I like this idea. A new year. A challenge.

Last year seemed to be a time of building for me. Relationships, writing, and new beginnings. Sort of laying the foundation for things to come.

I realize that change can happen at any time. We certainly don't need a new year to change our less-than-good habits, lose weight, write the great American novel, or do anything else in our lives we've been putting off. But there is something about having a specific date that appeals to people.

I made a goal for myself. I wanted to get healthy, and strong, and finish the challenges that were before me. I didn't start today. I started four days ago, and so far, so good.

As far as any new resolutions for 2014? I suppose it's exactly the same as my current life goals: I want to have a healthy body and sharp mind. I will finish and publish my first novel. I will continue to make a living writing for other people. And I will never take any part of my life for granted. It's too precious, and too short.