Glorious light from the east
illuminates dewy shades of green and white,
Under an umbrella of maple and pine
the fragrance of lilies fills the cool air.
Creating a sweet melody
the crossbills perch on a faded birdhouse.
On this summer morning
pull up a chair and dream.
Here is the second Saturday surprise. I would like to give The Blogger for Positive Global Change to Crafty Green Poet. Her blog is here and she uses her poetry, reviews, and opinions to remind us of what is needed to keep our world a green and healthy place. The two parts of her blog I love the most are the crafts she shares using recycled materials (I already have a list of projects to do with students connected to writing in the fall. ) and her haiku. She is very deserving of this award.
The third Saturday surprise is a creation by JEJ. He is a very resourceful person. He used a CB home base antennae we had behind the shed, a saucer from a plant pot, and a blue bowl we use for camping to design a lovely birdbath for our feathered friends that are searching for water on these hot days. Because we do have dogs and cats, the birds are hesitant to use our other ponds and fountains in the heat. This is a perfect set-up. I wonder if people living below us think we have a new Verizon receiver in our back yard. I love it and I can't wait until morning to see how the birds respond. It is easy to fill, but cleaning it out may be a challenge. Oh well, out of sight, out of mind!
Raymond Pert’s is here. Silver Valley Girl’s is here.
When I grew up in the Silver Valley we spent time in fourth grade studying Idaho history. I knew some information about the Cataldo Mission. I learned all the counties so when we played license plate game I knew them by the letter and number. I knew we had natural resources and we were called the Gem State. As I grew older there were things about the Silver Valley I just carried with me. I heard stories of gold in Murray, the big fire in Wallace, and often read the brown Historical Site signs to learn more as an adult. Then I became a fourth grade teacher in the Silver Valley and I taught those same important facts about Idaho.
What I didn’t learn about the Silver Valley as a child or as a first-year teacher was the importance of work ethic. Through conversations with my sister as she has researched the Silver Valley for her novel I have learned that the people in the Silver Valley have always worked hard. My dad worked his five shifts at the Zinc Plant every week, oftentimes was on call in the evening, and moonlighted on week-end nights at the Sunshine Inn to save money for his children to go to college. My mom was a wife, teacher, mother, Sunday School teacher, member of PTA and the local teacher association, and did college courses and workshops. She worked hard.
As a child I did chores, babysat, and had summer jobs once I was old enough. I also worked part-time when I was at college. I just worked because it was what everybody did. When I finished college and began teaching it was a continuation of school and the work involved. I always felt like I needed to work harder to be better. I remember Mom bringing schoolwork home so I knew I would do that. I continued my education in the summers and went back later and earned a Master’s degree. I had high expectations of myself and I worked and worked and worked. I didn’t see it as a job though. I saw it was an extension of my learning.
How did I change my thinking? There was a point in my adult life that I was overworked, overstressed, and exhausted. I went to talk to a counselor. After I shared my concerns she told me something profound. “Everybody doesn’t try to fill a week with as much work as you.” I was alarmed. I think I always felt if I worked harder my other difficulties of life would be fixed. She then asked me about the work ethic of my family. As I began to tell her about my hard-working grandmothers, parents, and people that surrounded me she helped me see that strong work ethic is good, but there needs to be a balance.
My thinking changed that day about my family and the people I knew in the Silver Valley. Everyone in the state, country, and world didn’t work that hard. I had a higher regard for the working people in my life, but also remembered that many of these people played hard. As a child I thought they earned a cold beer, a night out bowling, or a pack of cigarettes. It had been a hard week at work.
It has created a challenge in my life. I am constantly struggling with that balance of work and rest. I am still surrounded by people that have a strong work ethic. There are times I get this feeling in my gut and know there is something else I should be doing. I am focusing on improving that balancing act. I know I can leave work at school that isn’t done. I can stay in the house when it is 100 degrees and not pull weeds and deadhead. It is okay to forgive myself for not reading my whole basket of books for summer learning. Maybe it is because I am older, but I like to think it is because I am wiser.
Mommy Dearest made my day by recognizing the "Silver Valley family of bloggers" for the Blogger Refection Award. The blogging family is myself, my brother at Kellogg Bloggin' and my sister at Silver Valley Stories and you can go here and read her heartwarming words. I appreciated her line "this family is Good People".
This week’s sibling assignment came from Raymond Pert. We were to write about thirteen. You will find Silver Valley Girl's thirteen books to read about the Silver Valley here and RP's soon here.
This week I have been shuffling through pictures, calendars, and boxes of memories from my adult life. I came across my date book from thirteen years ago. As I looked over photos and checked on events I recalled the summer of 1994 was the summer of change. I left the Tri-Cities area of Washington state after teaching there fourteen years. During that summer I taught a course at U. of I. in Coeur d’Alene, I went to visit Z2 shortly after her birth, interviewed for a teaching job, packed up my stuff, sold my house, loaded up my dogs, and moved. I must have just been on autopilot. Just reading all those events today puts me into meltdown mode. I left behind good friends, good times, and a school I loved, but I wanted a change of scenery. I wanted to relocate closer to my hometown of Kellogg, Idaho, a smaller school district where I felt I could make a difference, and after a difficult divorce I also wanted to retreat to a quieter place. When I interviewed in Inchelium, Washington I had to find the town on the map. I didn’t realize you crossed a ferry across Lake Roosevelt to get there or that there is another set of Twin Lakes in Washington. I went from a school of a thousand middle school students to a K-12 school of 250. Since Inchelium is located on the Colville Indian Reservation I learned a high percentage of the students were Native American. Between the move, the new job, different cultural traditions, and isolation I certainly got a change of scenery. Now I love the small school setting and the family feeling at the school and the community. It was a smart move and I have never looked back with regret.
When I first relocated teacher housing was available close to the school. As I was leaving Kennewick my friends kept saying, “You’ll never make it. There are no latte stands, banks, or plant nurseries. Can you even get a fountain pop?” I did make it. Later I moved from the community up the lake about sixteen miles. You do learn to live without certain things and trips to town are very organized! It was a treat to get a latte, a bouquet of fresh flowers in winter, or dinner out in Colville. I was blessed with gorgeous scenery, no commute, and a football field for dog runs each night.
As for my award, it is called The Blogger Reflection Award. Why? The reason for the title is because this award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy... of knowing them and being blessed by them.
My five nominees are women who blog about things that matter here in the Inland Empire (one of which has been named honorary Inland Empire Girl). When I was in the early stages of my blogging each of these women encouraged me with thoughtful comments that gave me the confidence to continue each day. Each of their blogs have reflected encouragement, humor, and love plus set an example for me.
Silver Valley Girl: Yes, this is my sister at Silver Valley Stories. She has shared stories about her Christian faith, her love for the history in the Silver Valley where we grew up, and impacted others with her stories about events such as the Sunshine Mine Fire, saying good-bye to her former house torn down to make room for condos, and daily events in her family. She created the sibling writing assignment the three of us do once a week and still finds time to work, be a mom, perform in theater, and garden. She has also been an encouragement and source of love to me.
Mommy Dearest: After I met MD on Brodh2o through my brother’s blog I also began to read her insightful articles in the Spokesman-Review. This is a woman that does an incredible balancing act of covering crime for the paper during the day and being a mom and wife to a family that means the world to her. Her blog shares the simple joys of motherhood, great tips for quick housecleaning, videos of her many talents, and her views on topics of concern today. I was moved by her post about daycare centers in Idaho. I always know when I go to this blog I will laugh, cry, or leave with something to think about.
Katrina at Notes on a Napkin: Again, Katrina was a blogger I began reading even before I joined the blog world myself. This mom takes everyday events from family life and turns them into fascinating prose for all audiences. I have seen her son dance on YouTube, teared up when she paid tribute to her husband on their anniversary, and laughed at her posts on toilet paper, Spam,and conversations with her children. She has moved to fewer posts to balance her work and family, but the quality reins! I always leave her blog wanted to read more.
J’Belle at Notes from the ‘Kan EWA has her chows busy typing up posts that reflect on beautiful places around the world, her love for family and friends, gardening, and her North Idaho roots. Whether she is sharing personal views of a recent novel, displaying beautiful pictures of her roses, sharing recipes with a new dad, or taking us on a bike ride along the Hiawatha Trail she reveals a keen knowledge of the world and what is happening around us. I have been touched by her prayer to the nation, picture collections of her children on their birthdays, and her words about the garden she created in memory and hope. Those chows do amazing work!
My last is Marmite Toasty at Twaddle Everyday Rubbish. Marmite would say “this is the ramblings of everyday life in a madhouse”, but she gives us stories that make us laugh until we cry about toilets, her chicken Janet, and a gift from Starr. She reveals her “memories that are stacked on the shelves of her mind” which show a woman that is full of love, strength, and gentleness. She is a forgiving soul that has a house in England full of sons, laughter, animals, jugs of flowers, and smiles. Her Mother’s Day post impacted me that day and still does today.
Thanks to each of you for encouraging me. If you want to pass on this award return to Lorthlorien's site for what to do.
I can’t say Shelby and Annie are guard dogs, but they do love to watch. Sometimes we can’t even tell what they are watching. A perfect example of the wicked watchers happened yesterday. They sat at the gate and after about a minute of intense watching, we figured out two of our cats were below in the bushes. They wanted the cats to come and play. Last night Shelby was watching a tree. She stared so intently at the tree we figured a stray cat was up there. No, she was just watching a pretty little bird. That is all she did was watch and observe. It was wicked. Their favorite watching place is on our bed. The window above our bed has the best view of the gate. If JEJ is gone they will watch out the window for hours. They take the job seriously. They will rest their chins on the window sill and just stare. If he is arriving in a vehicle they usually hear that long before they observe him coming down the driveway. This is when I hear the wicked bark. It is an excellent bark that announced that someone is home. I have been told they do the same routine when I am gone.
When we travel they once again are wicked watchers. Shelby, being the herding dog she is, always notices animals. Of course it helps that JEJ says, “Shelby, look see. Cows, horses, sheep (fill in animal)”. Annie watches for the destination. She understands when we are close to a place that they will get out for a run. She is definitely a wicked watcher when we arrive at my mom’s house. How do they always know where we are? We may give it away when JEJ says, “ Look! Are we at Mary’s house?” I know voice inflection helps with the wicked watching.
There greatest feat as wicked watchers was keeping four eyes on their dog food. The food used to be in the patio. For awhile every morning they would run out and sniff around and we would discover food was missing. We figured it was a raccoon. One evening the dogs got excited and wanted out. We figured this was our time to check on the raccoon. We should have figured a bit more before we let them out. The food stealer this time was a skunk. The wicked watchdogs were stopped in their tracks. The wicked skunk did what skunks love to do. He left a wicked stench that stayed on the dogs' fur when came into the house.
I believe at that moment is when I, Inland Empire Girl used my wicked tongue. Then I mixed up a wicked brew of skunk odor remover.
If you want to see other wicked reponses go to Sunday Scribblings here.
Later in the day it cleared, but still stayed cool. I was able to pick flowers that would last longer that a day in a vase because there had been some moisture. Although the hot weather causes hardship, it also helps flowers like the sun-loving zinnias burst into bloom. I was able to gather enough today for a bouquet.
Today was the first day in a long time I saw rain. I also saw the evidence of fire. When I studied the outdoor thermometer early this morning it was below 80 degrees. What a change. When I looked at the sky it was hazy with smoke from forest fires. I am relieved for the cooler weather. It meant I could work in the garden weeding and deadheading without wilting and getting a sunburn. I am also apprehensive for the thunderstorms that may come tonight. It is always a balancing act with summer weather.The headlines of the paper today said that the firefighters got weather help. The Bulldog Fire is north of us about thirty miles. The Tunk Grade Fire further west is close to Omak which is about 100 miles away. It is the largest fire in the area and has burned 16,000 acres. A ban was put on open burning in our county today. Our fire danger is high.
We live in a community with our own water system. The well pump quit working today so our system tank was half empty. All of this is a concern to homeowners that live in a rural area that is very dry. Everyone in the neighborhood is conscientious and ready to help. I love that about Martin Creek Community.
I'll sleep better tonight because the weather has cooled. I will hopefully get to work more outside tomorrow. I will also watch the sky, weather reports, and fire updates to see what is happening in our area. I will lay awake though if I hear the sound of thunder and the sight of lightening. Also I dread the smell of smoke as it fills the night air. This is what the fire season holds for us in northeastern Washington.
All the pictures of the Tunk Grade fire are courtesy of Jed Conklin/The Spokesman Review. The firefighters are seen above through their fire-retardant-covered windshield along the fire line near Omak.
A mouthful of language to swallow:
stretches of beach, sweet clinches,
breaches in walls, pleached branches;
britches hauled over haunches;
hunched leeches, wrenched teachers.
What English can do: ransack
the warmth that chuckles beneath
fuzzed surfaces, smooth velvet
richness, plashy juices.
I beseech you, peach,
clench me into the sweetness
of your reaches.
She is also a good teacher. Here when she was visiting Memorial Day week-end she patiently taught her sister the proper way to make and enjoy a s'more. Finally her sister decided to try a s'more for the first time. We have all been blessed with Z2's talents, sense of humor, love of nature, and enthusiasm for life for thirteen years. It is fun to have another teenager in the family. Have a great year Z2! Happy Birthday!
You can see Silver Valley Girl's post ( her mom!) about her birthday here.
was the moment my dad was barefoot and stepped on a clippie, a brush curler, or a bag of plastic curlers in the bathroom. We brought out the Cuss Box when that happened. My brother probably had his moments of annoyance as a bobby pin had to be fished out of the toilet or curlers fell in the bathtub. They always seems to be where they didn't belong.
When I was older suddenly everyone wanted just body in their hair. Dippity Do was the product that helped when we rolled our long hair in orange juice cans or huge plastic rollers. We kept our bangs straight with pink hair tape. I remember not having pink hair tape one time and using scotch tape. Not a good idea! The pink mark across my forehead took days to fade away. Then we ratted our hair, smoothed our hair, lightened our hair with lemon juice, and grew out our bangs. It was amazing the rituals we suffered through in becoming a woman just to be beautiful. I laugh now when I hear someone say, " I am having a bad hair day." Try having a bad hair decade! There was relief when it was cool and hip to wear bandannas over your hair and it didn't mean you were in some gang!
Today I'll take an occasional curling iron burn or hair that needs a trim over bobby pins, skull busters, and Dippity Do! To find other Sunday Scribbling posts on hair go here.