Appreciating Women

To determine the future, study history. We’re facing a rough time in the months ahead and I think about where I live out in the West. Those were even more hazardous times.

Miners came here to the Columbia River after the big gold rush in California. Settlers were starting to arrive like the Lind Brothers. Those boys could get more than a little wild without the influence of women. Their physical needs in towns like Boundary, Leadpoint, Trail and Northport had more than their share of saloons, gambling halls and houses of ill repute.

But here came the wives of U.S. Army officers, preachers and a few farmers. How did they view these places that weren’t even respectible towns yet?

Well, they did what women do. They threw a party, making it the best as possible with what they had on hand. They prepared food.

Maybe it was served on a wooden plank but there might be a few wild flowers. Possibly a musician or two with a violin like Clifford plays for Donna Gay Preace when she’s making dinner.

But where do you conduct an “event.” They made do in their settler’s cabin or officers’ mess hall. The Gallo House, now under restoration in Northport, udoubtedly held a lot of dances and events to tame the rambunctious cowboys.

So, women throw a party. It’s worked before if you study history. It can work again to bring our nation together. Not riots. Not debates. A party with food!


The Life You’d Like to Live

Thanks Photo Pin for showing us someone’s Vision Board. Read on to see more.

Any time my sister/friend Alice does a big favor for me , I like to take her on an Adventure.

We do something that’s unique, different from our ordinary country lives, and create a memory that can last forever.

A few weeks ago, she repainted my lifesize cougar statue. It was a time-consuming project. She collected paint samples for the various stages of painting the body, especially focusing upon its fierce eyes. She worked hard and deserved a very special adventure suitable to the Time of the Virus.

Here’s what I came up with for Alice’s Adventure: A Vision Quest.

I asked Alice to invite four friends to a luncheon. Afterwards we would each do a Vision Board. Before we sat down to lunch, we gathered in a circle with glasses of champagne to celebrate Alice, our time as friends, and our love of this place where we live.

I explain what Vision Boards are, gave reviews of my credentials to explain their meaning once done, as everything we do today needs a review, doesn’t it!

Once Beverly Greenslade, a psychologist/spitualist, and I presented a number of Vision Quest workshops, one for a big American Association of University Women in Spokane, so I had a little experience in explaining the interpretation of a Vision Board.

Vision Boards are an art form. They are collages of visual contents and headlinesthat represeent the life you want to live. They become tangible representations of the life you want for yourself.

From stages of pictorial magazines, Alice and her guests clipped pictures and headlines and then pasted them onto poster boards. After lunch when we collected on the deck, each of us stood and told about our vision. I helped then with a little more information, pointing out how each section of their board has a meaning.

Explained more. The center, main issues. Left side, what the soul was longing for. The right side, what you need every day. The top of the board, what you are reaching for and trying to get into your life. The bottom, more core issues of your life.

“Go home. Keep the board. You can look at it occasionally to see what the Universe is doing for the visions you are seeking.”

I love going on adventures. Some day I’ll tell you about the really, really huge adventure journey I’m on now.

Life Today

Family matters. This gathering happened over Labor Day three years ago. Not possible today. Who knows what’s in store for tomorrow.

It matters also that I know my great great grandfather came to America with his brother before the turn of the century. All his worldly goods were inside a cherry wood trunk that he built in Sweden and took to Minnesota.

It is l9 inches deep and 28 inches wide and 20 across the top. It opens with a huge iron key and is on its way to my Goddaughter Linda Armenta in California. My neighbor BZ Israel created a second iron key to send with the trunk. I will deliver in person the heavy special iron key Grandfather Westlund made to Linda when travel is possible. It is a very precious unique piece of history, too.

Linda writes, “My daughter, Mara, has come to me to say that she wants the trunk when I am through with it,” and my heart sings that this certifies the beauty of family tradition.

Shipping family heirlooms with such an abnormal size was difficult. Anything that big has to be in a box. Fed X, UP Ship, UHaul don’t sell such a box but I found that Rich Newcomb at Action Ship Depot at 11807 E Trent in Spokane, WA, and his family have been doing this for 32 years.

He’ll be wrapping the cherry wood trunk made by the Swedish hands of my relative with special wrappings, then enclosing it in a huge box he makes for a Fed X delivery. It would cost $2800 if I shipped by Mayflower Movers.

“We’re that last man standing,” Rich told me, proud to be able to get a family heirloom from one part of the U.S. to another as he does regularly.

We families MUST be thankful that someone like Rich is caring for our family and its traditions.

Your Handwriting Legacy

Your handwriting makes a statement about you.

It happened again. Someone commented on my handwriting. I was endorsing a check at a bank. The cashier said with awe, “You still use cursive.”

It was something everyone did once upon a time. Once we could all count out change, too, without using a computer or smart phone.

Is curvise handwriting an art form now? If you write with cursive, you can immediately recognize how you are feeling. If it flows beautifully on the page and is readable instantly, you’re in good form. If it wiggles about, going every which way, then you’re upset, in too big a hurry, or, it’s certainly a red flag.

Your handwriting is a very personal trait. It’s difficult for anyone to replicate.

It ‘s actually a legacy. One friend said recently when she received handwritten recipe cards of her Mother’s: “I caried when I saw her handwriting. It felt as if she were right there explaining how to make these favorite dishes from my childhood.”

Possibly the only time you use cursive writing is when you make a comment on a greeting card.

I love cursive handwriting. If the use of it dimishes and goes out of use, I’ll have to wonder “Whatever has happened to our once beautiful world.”

A Song That Matches the Day

King David sang a happy song to start his day. Words to his favorite are sung to the lovely tune known as Las Mananitas.

On this most beautiful day of the year here in the valley of Eastern Washington, I am recalling a few phrases from that song:

“Wake up, my dear, wake upn. It is already dawn,

The birds are singing and the moon has set . . .

The morning is coming now, the sun is giving us its light.

Get up, its morning, it is already dawn.

*Now here comes the best part of the song;

I would like to be the sunshine to enter through your window

to wish you good morning while you still are lying in bed.

Getting Back in the Happy Grove

Red Cowboy Boots (2016_07_23 15_36_42 UTC)

Critical for airplanes as well as humans is an instrument. In an airplane, it is the altimeter that helps the pilot adjust the pattern of flight.  In humans, it is our mental attitude.

My attitude meter had somehow gotten stuck.  If it happened in a plane, the pilot would notice immediately and take action.  It often takes place in a slower shift for humans;,but when it does, refueling can be the key to an attitude correction.

Being off course needs to be reset as soon as possible.   For me, this means a brisk three mile walk up the road to view the little lake lying below.

To get back on the course for a happy day, the recipe for attitude upgrade, or a refueling, requires a walk, swim, playing a sport needing stout mental effort.

The recipe says for every hour spent exercing equals three hours of energy.

The final result is worth the effort.  It’s a glorious day.





Ghostly Visit to An Old Southern Plantation – Laura upstream from New Orleans Lousiana

woman thinkingAlong Highway 18 upstream along the Mississippi river there are several plantations open to the public.  After a visit to San Francisco, we were passing a vividly colored one that was haunting intriguing called Laura.

The main building squatted like a toadstool behind four towering oak trees.  It was held high off the ground by thick columns of brick to protect it from flooding.  It was mustard yellow, bright green shutters with gray, rust and mauve trim.  Behind and all about the grounds were delapidated and crumbling wood buildings.

Entering through the huge front doors, the main floor in the center of this U-shaped building was a long dining table with tiers of candles ablaze.  The wallpaper was peeling and it all created a sinister feeling, just as if it were a Halloween haunted house.

Two men, the new owners, soon joined had me in tow for a tour.  They were Norman Marmillion, descendent of the nearby San Francisco planatation, and his cousin, Anthony Tassin, descendent of Whitney Plantation, both presidents of country historical societies.  They were detectives, too, in the process of buying back its priceless objects.

For example, they’d been able to locate the owner of Laura’s portrait, by viewing 5000 documents in Paris.

The house was painted brightly to let you know that the descendents were of Creole, or French, ancestry.  So it were pint, peach, green or blue it was Creole.

On the upper floor in a bedroom, Norman urged, “You must feel these 1840 slippers so see the softness of the leather.  Do stroke these tiny embroidered flowers on the toes.  Aren’t they enchanting?  Also notice that there are no left or right shoes at that time.”

In another room, he pointed out a spindle crib where 40 babies had been born, twenty-five making it to over l00 years old.  “If you want a little luck,go over and touch the crib,” he encouraged.

The original manuscript for the story written about Laura and the life lived there after the Civil War by the women when ran it can be found on Amazon.  One reviewer says, “She knew her way of life was wrong but her comforts outweighed the horrors she witnessed.”

Laura sat down .to write the stories when her nieces came running to her to excitedly tell her about the new movie, Gone With The Wind,  If you want to know about plantation life, I’ll tell you all about it.”  She wrote the story years later many years after she left that world with a new husband.

This is where the Uncle Remus 50 stories of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox were written in one of the slave quarters.

One priceless item is a gold and silver inland fan given to Laura when she was engaged.  At that time a fan was given, not a ring.

The plantation was a key distribution point as a premier wine center, and all run by the women of the plantation.  The wine came there from France and put into bottles of every size and shape.

Shadows of the former residents remain today.



The Road Trip

All it may take is a road trip to find joy again.

The brain wakes up. It remembers how to drive on a busy freeway or on big city streets witnessing more traffic than expected during this pandemic.

You drive slower in the country, always alert for a deer to jump out of the brush, so driving within a crush of rushing city folks is a challenge especially if buildings look taller, wider, newer, different.

The brain remembers Spokane, the city on hillsides, valleys, and places like five mile and seven-mile prairies that wind up and around scenic places unbelievably beautiful. Spokane, the river town, where Mr. Dickey has open another Ruby Hotel, this one smack dab on the Spokane River with a beautiful trail just outside the doors.

Returning back to the country, all acclimated to driving in a big city, following a brain with an interior map and not needing a GPS, the joy of the countryside brought the breezes of sweet fragrant hay ripening, a few choice scents of manure passing a farm, and gorgeous mountains looming in the distance above lightning greenery in the fields.

The only barrier to joy is it initially took a bit of courage to leave the country. It takes a little longer until I realize the real courage is IN the country. The challenges here are far larger than those in a city.

Looking for Lost Spanish Gold

A strange thing happened in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona.

The sun was hot as I trudged through the canyon and soon began hiking up the mountain to our new mining site in the Superstition Mountains.

“You coming?” I waved him to go on. We’d just finished a quick lunch over a little campfire. I was sitting in a little hammock hung from a mesquite tree branch enjoying the muted colors studded by cactus and small greenery below in the canyon and wanted to enjoy the solitude of the desert.

The time passed slowly as I waited for him to finish digging in the hillside below. Suddenly, I thought I saw two figures climbing the mountain across the valley. A feeling came over me. Was something terrible going to happen to the man and the woman in the distance?

The thought about writing a story about that couple and the treasure they found became real; I began to research people who go treasure hunting in these mountains. There was more to this hobby than I had realized. Treasure clubs exist up and down the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and it has become a hobby for so many.

A story came to be: Cries in the Desert. It begins in l703 when the King of Spain sends a Jesuit priest with a band of Spanish soldiers to begin what was called a Vista for the Pima Indians. After getting it established, the soldiers leave and take with them two women as their slaves. The Apaches attack. They take back to their village the Pima girl who has fought like a warrior.

After a book tour up and down the Pacific Coast, the book continues to be available in area gift shops and at the Superstition Mountain Museum. As one fan said, “It was just the kind of book I needed.”

Top Resource – A Writer’s Trunk

Moms write on calendars to capture the cute sayings of their children. Gardeners write on theirs: Weather terrible. Worried the rain will drown the carrots.

What do writers do? They tell stories about people and themselves in journals and stories.

It’s a fantastic thing to discover yourself by reading from past these journals and stories.

During a vast cleanup and organizational project here at my little ranch, it was a blast from the past to read stories I’d forgotten I’d written. They were the beginnings for my novels.

I was first intrigued by their titles:

The Fifth Season

By a Red Thread

Traveler in Wales

Utah White Water Rapids

Sun Over the Yucatan Ruins

Joy is a Warm Puppy

I’ll be sharing a tidbit from these in the coming months. I hope you’ll get a kick of reading them, too.

For example, in Ordinary People, a story about garbage men, I have them singing a ditty at the end of each chapter. Here’s one example:

Younger than Postmen are we

Stronger than Firemen are we

Strong are the arms we give thee

Toting your garbage for you

Loving the messes – we do