In Sibling Life, Be Completely Present: Another Inland Empire Road Trip

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
Tao Te Ching

Fortunately at least twice a year my siblings and I are able to be together in the same place. We blog together every week with our Sibling Assignment and comment and email back and forth, but it is a great adventure when we can all be together for a day.

Friday was a day that we were completely present! We started another Inland Empire tour day with sugar and caffeine at Krispy Kremes as we delved into the problems of the world from a recent death penalty case in Idaho, to serial killers, to flowers that attract bees, to who got sent to the cooler on Huckleberries Online. We managed to go the full gambit and it was only ten o'clock a.m.

We did a leisurely drive to the north end of Spokane County to Green Bluff.
"Green Bluff is located about 15 minutes north of Spokane and is nestled at the foothills of Mt. Spokane. It is divided into two loops of farms, the East and the West. The farms offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables either picked or U-Pick. There are also unique items such as a winery, antiques, an alpaca ranch, a landscape nursery, U-Pick lavender, Homemade Italian Food and U-Cut Christmas Trees. The Green Bluff Growers' Association was formed in 1902. The group's initial mission was to protect local strawberry growers from outside competition. Now, the association helps local farmers with agricultural tourism. " We had to stop at Harvest House which is located at the heart of the small community of Green Bluff. It was the peach festival and a resident chow was right at home. I was amazed at the beautiful hanging baskets and wished this one was at my house. We also made a stop The Barn on Trezzi Farm and loved the roosters that greeted us. Here is brother Raymond Pert pausing for a snapshot.
Sister Silver Valley Girl got both of us to pose with the rooster.
One disappointment was that Fleur de Provence Lavender Farm was closed until afternoon. We admired the farm from the road and made a plan to return another time. To learn more about Green Bluff go here.

Next we headed to Fairmont Memorial Park to visit our Grandma Woolum's grave. I felt confident I could locate her plot because I remembered the location by a beautiful monument with praying hands that was very close. We went right to the location. She is buried in such a peaceful spot. I always love walking around Fairmont in the area she has been laid to rest.
Silver Valley Girl was the co-pilot on the tour.

We then took a drive to Nine Mile Falls and squeezed in some lunch before we met our mother and Silver Valley Girl's family for Mamma Mia. Silver Valley Girl and I got to see it a few weeks ago, but with more family members watching we had even more fun singing along with Abba songs and marveling at how much fun the cast had making this movie. That made it even more enjoyable for us!
What do you think? Do you see any family resemblance? I think I need to get glasses that match theirs a bit better before our next pose. It was a terrific day being completely present with my siblings as we enjoyed another beautiful corner of the Inland Empire.

Camera Critters: Strawberry Hill Farm Critters

Yesterday during a road trip with my siblings, we encountered a great group of farm critters when we stopped at the U-pick Strawberry Hill Farm on our tour through Green Bluff near Spokane, WA.
This was the first critter we saw as we arrived at the farm. He was just hanging around by the shady porch. I love black and white farm dogs with markings like this.
This chocolate lab has been with the farm for many years. He greeted people and wandered around the u-pick gardens even though he was moving a bit slow. As my father used to say, "he was a bit long in the tooth. "
This was the perfect camera critter (or critters) shot of the day. This mother cat (which looks like she could be sisters with our Lily) crawled up in this barrel on the porch and gave birth to these kittens a week ago. They haven't even opened their eyes yet. As the kittens enjoyed their lunch she rested and wasn't bothered by all of us snapping pictures and ooohing and ahhhhing over the litter. To enjoy other Camera Critters go here.

Photo Hunt:: Beautiful

an iris from the garden in the spring
to find other photo hunts using beautiful go here

Extreme Hall Makeover, Going Green, and Mohammad Ali

Today I went to set up my classroom at school. I got to haul in baskets, tubs, and and a crate of stuff I had at home over the summer. I really like the extreme makeover that happened in our hallway.

Some of my former students were hired to work at the school this summer. The girls painted a gorgeous mural in the middle of the hall. R.M. did a fine job with the Inchelium Hornet painted nicely in our school colors. I decided to "go green" this year with water bottles. I have a water cooler in my classroom for two reasons. Students don't have access to a drinking fountain and the water is not very tasty in the faucet because of old pipes. We used to go through lots of cups in a year. I decided we will start the year with everyone having their own water bottle. It makes such a difference when students stay hydrated!
I found my older Mohammad Ali READ poster I have had for many years. I think my students will enjoy seeing him a few years younger and also reading this book with a teddy bear. He is a hero to many. As I left to go home waaaaaaaay too late I noticed that this hallway will wake me up and brighten my days this school year. This deserted, quiet hall will be filled with activity and noise on Tuesday. Change always happens in any institution. My friend and principal decided in August to take early retirement after a scary car accident the day of graduation in June. My teaching partner will now be principal for most of the day, but will teach science in our middle school hall in the afternoon. I think the transition will work well for the students since they have already built relationships with their new principal. Tuesday will be here before we know it.

The Best from the Summer of 2008

As summer vacation winds down and I once again feel a chill in the air here in northeastern Washington it is time to reflect on the highlights of the summer.

The Best Ten from the Summer of 2008... in no particular order.
1. Camping at Canyon Creek with JEJ and the dogs. It is such a peaceful location and on that trip I practiced new shots with my camera.
2. The Writing Retreat in McCall. My summer always begins on a creative note when I am able to spend five days immersed in writing at a beautiful setting in Idaho. The highlight this year was having my brother as the visiting writer.
3. The Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge. This was the surprise of the summer revisiting this place close to home. After spending a day driving through the refuge and appreciating the scenic views, we returned to camp.
4. Phantoms of the Melodrama: the Wallace 6th Street Theater production in August. This was very entertaining and also starred my sister Silver Valley Girl and her husband PKR.
5. A visit from Z2. It was a pleasant time in the middle of July to have my niece come and stay. We fit in shopping, celebrating her birthday, going on some photo taking trips, and spending time with the dogs and cats.
6. Sister Day in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. We spent a fun-filled day recently that included shopping for used books, a stop for Mexican Mochas, Mamma Mia, and dinner at The White House restaurant.7. Enjoying our flowers through the blooming season, particularly the lilies.
8. The reading time I carved out for myself. Some memorable books I devoured were The Best Day the Worst Day by Donald Hall, Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber, The Beach House by Jane Green,Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff, Her Last Death: A Memoir by Susanna Sonnenberg, Odes to Common Things by Pablo Neruda, Long Time Gone by J.A. Jance, New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver, and Take Joy by Jane Yolen.
9. Relishing the taste of garden fresh tomatoes. They have been the most successful vegetable in our garden so far!
10. Also carving out more time to write, blog and experiment with my camera.

Friday we are rounding out the summer with a sibling reunion, which will also include the rest of the family later in the day. I am sure that will add one more favorite thing to the list.

Thanks Katney!

Thanks Katney for this lovely award. This is what she said about me on her blog: "I feel like I know Inland Empire Girl, who also lives in the Pacific Northwest. I thought of her when we spent a day with the kids at the lake last week because it is closer to her neck of the woods. Speaking of woods, she's almost as fond of them as I am, but her camping trailer is bigger than mine--lol. I'd love to meet you in person sometime, IEG. Maybe we should go camping. BTW, let me know if you come to Mt. Rainier and I will meet you there. "
I hope we do meet someday. We share many things in common. You can find her very interesting blog here.

Some Rainbow In the Sky!

After the storm Monday night we were blessed with this breathtakingly beautiful rainbow over the lake.
If you look closely you can see a double rainbow. I think the pot of gold was at my friend's house across the lake!!

“No vision and you perish;
No Ideal, and you're lost;
Your heart must ever cherish
Some faith at any cost.
Some hope, some dream to cling to,
Some rainbow in the sky,
Some melody to sing to,
Some service that is high.”

Harriet Du Autermont

Orange TV, Huckleberries Online, Used Books in Coeur d' Alene, and Mamma Mia!

SR photo of DFO

When I started my blog I had already been reading Huckleberries Online for a few months. It is a blog through the Spokesman Review newspaper in Spokane/Coeur d'Alene. "Dave Oliveria is the ringleader of this online circus known as Huckleberries, which began on Feb. 16, 2004." HBO keeps inland empire readers updated on news, opinions, political views, and much more. Through HBO I have met many online friends through comments and links to their blogs. You can find this blog here. It is worth a visit!

A few weeks ago I put out a thread that I wanted recommendations for used book stores in CdA. Silver Valley Girl and I were doing a sister day and I wanted to look for used books. I got lots of great suggestions. I also read the blog Get Out North Idaho by Orange TV which also runs as a print column in the SR. He featured information about events, concerts, restaurants and other things happening in the inland empire. I respect Orange's recommendations for places to dine. So off we went on Sister Day with the list of ideas for used book stores and places to eat thanks to Orange TV. You can read Silver Valley Girl's post of the day here.

Orange TV had recommended Calypso's Coffee so we began our day there. I agreed with his review of the place. It was comfortable, a great place to hang out, and we were glad we also ordered the Mexican Mocha!

Perfect! Add a blueberry scone to the mix and it was well worth the trip! Stickman and Orange TV had both recommended the Humane Society Thrift Shop on 3rd for used books. I agreed with them on this place. I found copies of books I had been searching for and yes, they did have a good variety. I loved also that I was giving my money to a good cause. I had my dog Emily because of the Humane Society in Cd'A. Sweet Herb and Angela had suggested The Bookworm and we went there also. For trade paperbacks it was a good stop. Nothing really unique, but if you love best seller paperbacks for half the price, it is your store! Reader had recommended St. Vincent dePaul and he/she was right about their selections also. Silver Valley Girl and I had the most fun there because we found so many books we had read through the years that we could hold up titles and laugh about a memory attached to that book. We also each found a nice pile of books there. Thanks DFO... we also stopped at`The Boy's Ranch and Women's Center Thift Shops. Both were a bit picked over this time through, but the stores were interesting just for browsing. By the time we reached Browsers Uncommon Books recommended by Bjorn and Matt we were a bit on book overload. I love this store. I have visited it for the last fifteen years. One thing I love about it is that it really doesn't change much except the collection gets updated.It is still owned by the same guy, it is a bit crowded, books sit on the floor, but it adds to the charm. I hit gold here in seeking volumes for my recently started poetry collection. That made it worth the trip. Here is one stack of books I have added to my book collection. I have wanted to read Planet of the Blind by Stephen Kuusisto since I read an excerpt a few years ago. Raymond Pert found his blog and had also recommended this book. So many people have told me I need to read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving so I bought it to add to my stack. Generally when you hear a book title come up over and over, it is worth finding the book and reading it. The poetry books I found that day included collections by Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, Rita Dove, Ted Kooser, Sandra Cisneros, May Sarton, and others. For the stacks of books we bought that day each of us paid a fraction of the cost. I felt like St. Vinnies and The Humane Society stores had the best deals. I must say the readers in CdA have excellent taste in books and I was glad to see so many recycled to used book stores.Continuing with the food recommendation list, we ate lunch at The Sunshine Trader. Orange TV's restaurant review was posted right by the counter as we walked in. We agreed again with all that was written and would give this place a thumbs up!! Nourished by great sandwiches, huckleberry lemonade and iced spice tea we were ready to make a few other shopping stops before going to the matinee of Mamma Mia! This was one of those movies I had heard about, knew it was based on ABBA songs, and knew who was in it. I decided I really wanted to see it. I love ABBA songs and had no idea what an enjoyable two hours that musical would be. I kept wanting to grab a perfume bottle microphone and join in singing down the aisle!! We loved it so much we are going again with more family members this week! We rounded out a perfect day by going out on a limb and trying a restaurant just because we wanted to eat there. We continued our Greek theme at The White House in Post Falls. It was a fun-filled day that included all the things the two of us love- laughs, good coffee, books, bargains, singing, dancing, talking, excellent food, and kinship. Thanks again HBOers and Orange TV for the great recommendations. If you need used books... now you also have some ideas.

sr photo