The Top l0 Questions I Have This Fall

It's Fall!

l) What will touring with husband’s new historical fiction, Courage Beyond Expectations, be like? What will we learn?

2) The white blossoms on the Anasizi beans, will they turn into beans?

3) What other surprises lurk when dismantling the garden?

4) Will the deep frosts of fall take place AFTER the yellow flowers of squash plants issue vegetables?

5) Will Alfie, the cat, have another encounter with a wily packrat? (A standoff took place recently in the afternoon. In the Lazy Bee barnyard, Alfie and a packrat faced each other l0 feet apart; the first to move would lose their life. Husband had time to get a gun, load it and get off the shot that killed the horrible critter. Alfie was said to have jumped up ten feet in the air.)

6) What will the next fundraiser be for Friends of Fire District #10. The recent auction at the picnic raised $700 for 20 pies. Can we take it to a higher PIE level? Or chose to put on a different fundraiser?

7) Will the normal rains of fall during the first week of September bring relief to firefighters and those of us who live in the forests of WA. State?

8) Now that the ms. of Casanova Cowboy is ready for edit, what will be the setting of my next novel?

9) Will it be one about a white-collar criminal? The love story of an older homeless couple? A mystery set in a family who rent out two rooms in their house?

l0) What will turn out to be the most fun? Surely, it won’t be the decluttering of cabinets, even if that does bring a weird kind of joy.

What’s Uber?

Rent Your Car

A few hours to spare, a newer car or an extra room in your home, you, too, might want to be a Uber driver or Airbnb host.

Travis Kalanick, CEO, of a business that started in 2012, denies his company is a glorified cab company. He wants to ignore the red tape of rules, regulations and taxes burdening existing cab and limo companies.

His company uses cars of personal drivers who want to drive a few hours in a day. People like this because fares are cheaper.

Anyone who qualified after a background check, a clean driver’s record, a newer car and who is savvy about the local area can be a driver for as many hours a week as they wish.

Last year when Uber did a survey of these drivers they learned the following:
. That the drivers like the flexibility.
. 80% are employed but only 55% have full-time work.
. A quarter worked part-time and 8% were not working.
. The others who weren’t counted were renters, students,
or stay-at-homes.

. l0% have post graduate degrees.
. 36.0% have college degrees.
. 40% some college.
. 9.2% high school.
. 3% less than high school.

Most are between 30 to 50 years old, where typical taxi and limo drivers are baby boomers or older.

Uber drivers like that they can drive on a – just-in-time basis. Most employed won’t know their schedules week-to-week. Most are early-married or married with small children. 71% of drivers support dependents and 46% have kids at home.

“While there will always be ambitious people who choose to work more, it seems most likely that many Uber drivers wouldn’t be on the road if their primary source of employment paid enough to meet their needs.

“There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people desperate to grow their income, but can’t seem to get ahead the way their parents and grandparents did,” says Harry Dent.

Uber has competitors now – Lyft and Cabulous who may force Uber to drive down its fees. A court in California recently ruled that a Uber driver was an employer. The case is on appeal.

And, then, in our U.S. sharing economy there is Airbnb for those who rent out their homes.

It’s getting tougher for cities or states economies because they miss potential revenue. Uber reportedly has 160,000 driver-partners who gave at least four trips in 2014.

Says Harry Dent, “We’re going from a time where everyone has to own one of each to a point where lots of things can be traded for a fee-for-service and the result will be less waste.”

The Western Grange clubs used to do this with farmers sharing tractors and other equipment.

Tony Robbins, in his new book, Master Money, gives the best
insight here: “Invest in yourself. Learn and improve. Fill a need that everyone wants but no one is doing.”

I mentioned such a need to my dental hygienist who had to have another person there to take down the numbers. “Wouldn’t it be great some day IF you could have a little device on your wrist and just speak the numbers into it.” Great idea she said.

Look for a need and then make it happen and you’ll be doing better than your Grandpa!

My Easygoing Family

Phil Hockett, an East High school friend of my brother's wrote this essay about our family.

Phil Hockett, an East High school friend of my brother’s wrote this essay about our family.

The Packeys were not a typical family, at least in the sense of being ordinary. They played cards almost constantly.

Easygoing captures their way of life and I shall demonstrate:
(Scene: The Packey kitchen, about five in the evening. Mrs. Packey is busy preparing supper when the door opens and Brother John enter.)
Mrs. Packey: You’re home early, Jack. How come?
Brother John: I lost my job.
Mrs. Packey: Oh, you did? Well, sit down and rest. Supper will be ready soon.”

Notice that Mrs. Packey did not ask why brother John had lost his job and that he was not the least bit hesitant in telling her that he had lost it, probably because he knew that no questions would be asked and that by the next morning it would be forgotten that he had even had a job.

The family seemed to issue out of Wisconsin. I don’t know whether all three children were born there or not. Where the good people went from Wisconsin and how they got to Des Moines I don’t know.

What they liked, I did not, and vice versa. After a little time, I realized that I was going to have to start liking what they liked. I learned several card games, with the exceptions of cribbage and pinochle and of course bridge; then I broadened my tastes in respect to a few other things.

If the Packeys were to move away suddenly, probably the only thing I would be left with would be a rather sick heart and a long face. I learn that the family name was originally Klepacki, not Packey. Klepac is the Polish infinitive meaning “to hammer” or to “flatten,” and that the first Klepackis doubtless had something to do with hammers, either making them or using them in some way.

They were a more or less wandering family, but it also seemed, whether I had been there or not, that that had given to each of their temporary homes an air of being lived in. By that I mean making it seem as if they had lived there for a long time, enjoying one another’s company and life in general.

In my association with them, I heard quite a few names which I call “People I Always Hear About But Never See.” Perhaps the most prominent name was ‘Doris,” Jack’s girl friend. whenever I was at the Packeys and Jack was not there, he was seeing Doris. “Jack is with Doris tonight” . . . “I think jack is seeing Doris.”
Another name was Jurtz. He was a German sea captain who figured somewhere in Mrs. Packey’s ancestry. Another name was ‘Grandpa Hall.’ the only thing I learned about him was that he could play cribbage, and that he wasn’t a gradfather at all. Then came a group called ‘the Rholfs, and they lived someone up north. Then, there was my friend’s sister, JoAnn. I had seen her picture but the idea that I could really converse with such an attractive girl, gave me gosh bumps.

I did meet her and that’s why I’m writing this little essay. It’s because when she heard that I want to be a writer, she asked me to write something about her family.

I realized that morning how very content every one was in the Packey family. Everything was in complete harmony. On this morning, Jo Ann was writing a note to each of her brothers telling them to do the dishes when they got up, and upon finishing the notes, she asked for “Daddy Joe” to write his signature at the bottom, to make it more authentic. Bring a practical person, he saw no reason for this, but consented.

Over the whole thing there hovered what the Polish language so beautifully describes with the word jednosc.

I can only put in what I have seen of them and what I knew about them. Jo Ann loved her family; I merely enjoyed them. I had an obligation to a lady so no matter how pallid the result, with good intent I finish it. Enough has been said.

Decluttering a Secret Hiding Place

This blog is about storing your most precious items.  You may not have as many boxes as shown here.

This blog is about storing your most precious items. You may not have as many boxes as shown here.

Most of us have one: a trunk, hope chest, decorative box, or, even a can. Into these, we store “precious” things.

My son, John, uses the U.S. air force Academy box provided its cadets. Gina keeps hers in a cedar chest. Gretchen, a tin container.

Mine are in a 1840’s wood trunk carried from Sweden to Rush City, MN., by my great, great grandfather John Westlund. It is cherry wood and carved with his initials next to the huge iron lock. The key is made of iron and is four inches and made of iron. It is hidden away in the secret compartment of a jewelry box given to me by Fred Hauflin who made it as a Christmas gift.

We put things in these containers but seldom, if ever, do we take one out. It is a HARD task to face taking something out or to declutter one. Looking through my truck, I found a collection of diaries. They began in the third grade. The little five-year diary was picked up after a few entries and began again in high school.

That’s when I really picked up journal writing. I happened to read a few pages and learned that I was l09 pounds and I hated that boys would call me “red.” I am working after school and on Saturday at Silvers Dept. Store in East Des Moines, Iowa, tagging product in the basement and selling shoes upstairs on Saturdays.

I go to at least two double-feature shows a week, take piano lessons, name the boys who phone, walk with me between classes in the hall, or come to the house to wipe the dishes I must do as my chore every day.

I love it when my Dad brings me a new recording, or when I hope to make the East High Quill yearbook staff. I am to be a junior so both to-be juniors and seniors are eligible to write an essay. At an all-school assembly, I am named to the staff. Although I am happy, a certain other girl is not happy that I’ve won and she didn’t.

It’s below zero a lot in Des Moines and my walk to school is over a mile so I stop in a corner drug store to warm up. I’m glad I get l’s in history. I learn I might like to be a reporter some day. My typing score is 36 words per minute without error (when I graduate, it is l00 wpm).

For a while, it felt like being l5 years old again.

God’s Tips for Getting the Most Out of Life


If God was writing this post, he’d give you tips for getting the most out of life. I’m pretty sure about this because I’ve read Dr. Eben Alexander’s book, “Proof of Heaven.”

In that book, God shows us what a sublime adventure we’re going to have after we die.

God would say, “Look, I’ve given you a beautiful earth on which to live if you’re not be too busy to see it, the challenges which put you into situations so you’ll learn and grow, and, people who will help you along the way.”

People who seem to have extra-ordinary success know the law of attraction and know that their thoughts do create the reality of their life.

The highest and best way to live is to take each moment in your life and to life it fully. If you do this, you won’t miss the small and wonderful things that come your way.

Choose to be happy. All the while, death is waiting. Dr. Alexander shows us that if we live every experience fully, then death takes nothing from us, although it does change everything.

Dr. Alexander, a brain surgeon, unexpectedly lay in a coma, not expected to live. His family gathered around his bedside, prayed, sang and talked to him. During his visit to the exquisite time beyond, as a professional physician he tried hard to remember his experiences in heaven.

(Fran, a lovely doctor who I met recently at Washington University, wrote her thesis on the importance and significance of family being with you during at such a time as Dr. Alexander’s. She actually has met the doctor/writer.)

When he slowly returned from the coma, his son gave him the best advice anyone can give a writer. “Dad,” he said, “Don’t tell me. Write it down.”

Enjoying life’s experiences, however good or bad, is the rational thing to do. You’re here. Be filled with joy and let things you dream come true. Victor Frankl was even able to do so in a Nazi death camp and lived to write about it in “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

If God were speaking, he’d say, “The greatest gift anyone can give me is to be pleased with my creation.”

I believe he likes to hang out with a person who does.

Baked Oatmeal Recipes

She thinks you'll love this blog.

She thinks you’ll love this blog.

Oatmeal is thought of as a simple breakfast dish. These two recipes have the potential to prepare it for a high-class buffet or special guests.

My son, Tony, likes to move through life fast as possible so he just uses the packets from a box and pours over the hot water. He’ll be visiting the Lazy Bee in two weeks so this will be served along with the rhubarb pies and crisps he loves.

This “Old-Family” recipe is from the recipe boxes of Barb, Becky and Liz who bake it for family visits.


2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar (to add later)

Mix all ingredients together in an 8 inch square pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Remove and spread the brown sugar over the top. Return to over and melt 2-3 minutes under the broiler until bubbling.

This second recipe reminds me of an elderly guest I had at Hillside House, my B&B in Spokane. A memorable person because of the fact she had a harrowing escape from the Nazis. She said, “I’ve been making oatmeal a lifetime and this is the best I’ve had.”
I wonder how she’d like this oatmeal made in a crockpot.


1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 cups dry quick oats
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk

Pour the oil into a slow cooker and grease the bottom and sides.
Add the ingredients and mix well.
Bake on low for two and one half hours.

Resplendent Beauty

Ti-Pees are like a poem.  They bring great pleasure.

Ti-Pees are like a poem. They bring great pleasure.

“I’ve never been inside one of these before,” she said reclining comfortably within the just put-up ti-pee. I’ve always wanted to see what one is like inside.  This feels so soothing.  Makes me want to sit here a long time just doing nothing.”

Ti-pees in the opinion of my guest, as well as others, agree that they have an elusive beauty.  Perhaps once inside one, there is something that flits quickly as the special feeling that comes when two people are saying their wedding vows, one that’s quivery and brings a glow that has depth, meaning and joy.

The whiteness of its tall grandeur as it stands resplendently within the forest makes you want to see what the inside.  The quality of first sight of the interior is not easily expressed. In fact, it’s not what you’ve anticipated at all.  It’s certainly more spacious inside than it appears when viewed from the outside.  Once inside, they have an unexpected calm presence.

They come in many sizes.  The one at the Lazy Bee is neither too small or too large.  It’s looks just right as it takes its place in the forest as it creates a magical space place. both inside and out.

The hard to define moment upon first sight of its interior might be comparable to smelling fragrance of

Photo can't capture its inner beauty.  Venturing inside does the trick.

Photo can’t capture its inner beauty. Venturing inside does the trick.

sheets just brought in from the clothes line, perhaps the lingering sweet taste of lobster, or the sight of a mother speaking softly to a little child.  Defining moments.

A ti-pee is like a poem in its pleasantness either from a distance or when sitting within. The softness of the spell it can cast brings surprising joy into a stressful world.

Tips to Keep Bugs OFF Your Vehicle

You can keep bugs off your vehicle with an easy method.  Read on.

You can keep bugs off your vehicle with an easy method. Read on.

If bugs are bugging your vehicle, don’t be frustrated when you attempt to clean them off. They stick as if they found a way to embed themselves forever.

I’ve discovered a method that works.  I’ve used it on jeeps, my old convertible, RV’s, trucks.

Summer is the time when the living is easy.  WAR against these flying critters is frustrating and not the way to live.

Here’s what you do.  You get down to cleaning off the vehicle in whatever means you use: Soap pads, heavy duty detergent in water, etc.

Then, find a tall can of WD40.  Spray that waxy substance on the grill, bumper, license plate, car hood, mirror backs.

After your vehicle returns to home base, just wipe off the waxy ingredient and reapply.

Fans of Skin-So-Soft say that works, too.  You can make your summer more fun instead by eliminating the frustrating work of cleaning off unwelcome bugs.

The Specialist — The Trial of Adolf Eichmann

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann – The Specialist – shows the trial of a top Nazi who directed the transport of victims to concentration camps in WWII.

Watching Eichmann, a thin, precisely-speaking and dogmatic villain as he presents his innocence is not only compelling but chilling to view.

He was captured by Israel’s intelligence agency, The Mossal, in Buenos Aires with the alias Ricardo Klement.  The shape of his ears from his SS files concluded that his appearance had been altered but he was the same as Eichmann.

Asked to identify himself when he was kidnapped and taken to a safe house in Buenos Aires, he first gave his name as Klement, his alias.  On the third time of asking he responded in his usual arrogant manner, “I AM Adolf Eichmann.  This is indeed my name.”  Then he asked for a glass of wine.

He was charged with fifteen counts of crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against  humanity, war crimes and membership of a hostile organization.

An elaborate plan spirited him out of the country without alerting Argentinian authorities.  An El Al plane brought an official Israeli delegation to the city as a cover for taking the high-value target back to Israel.  He was passed off as a sick airline employee, dressed in an El Al uniform and heavily sedated in first class.  (If he had been alert, he would have FELT it to be only way to travel.)

The film, The Specialist, is of his trial in Israel in which 99 Holocaust victims gave evidence.  He was sentenced and hanged in May l962, the only time in Israel’s history that the death penalty has been enacted.  His body was cremated and the ashes scattered at sea beyond Israel’s territory waters.

One interesting piece of the Eichmann story is that Himmler’s daughter helped plan and execute the plans of many Nazis in major positions and gave them the means to escape with new identities at war’s end.  Every year on her birthday, they return to honor her.

Eichmann was identified by a Holocoust victim whose daughter was dating Eichmann’s son and became suspicious of the boy’s father.

The Specialist is not to be confused with another film, a thriller, with the same title where Sylvester Stalone and Sharion Stone give excellent performances in l994 and in which she wears exquisite designer clothes, even by 2015 standards.

Anyone interested in WWII may be interested in viewing “The Specialist, Trial of Adolf Eichmann.”

Presenting the Perfect Pie

No doubt, making this pie is one of the most memorable things I've ever done.

No doubt, making this pie is one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done.

I’ve been baking pies a long time.  I even won a medal once at Waterloo Iowa’s Dairy Cattle Congress for an apple pie, but this recipe for rhubarb pie is so incredible in all ways, that I must share its secrets.

The pie is so tasty, the balance of tart and sweet to perfection, the crust golden in color and depth, that I still sense the flavor two days later.  As soon as it came out of the oven, it had the persona of perfection.  Two days later I can still sense the taste and will be making it again this morning before it gets too hot outside.

You see I sacrificed the last remaining piece. I gave it to my pie-discerning neighbor Bob Yoder who pays big bucks for a pie at pie auctions.  Before I knew it, he’d returned with a pile of rhubarb from his garden and left it on my back deck.

Life is all about presentation: the way you dress, your hair style, the way you even arrange dishes in your dishwasher or on the sink, prepare flower arrangements, organize your home.  This pie is lives a life of perfection.

4 cups fresh rhubarb  (cut in 1/2 pieces and do USE fresh)

4 cups boiling water

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon quick-cooking tapioca

l egg

2 teaspoons cold water

Pastry for double-crust 9 inch pie (I use half butter and half lard)

1 tablespoon butter

Place rhubarb in a colander and pour the hot water over it in a big bowl and set aside.

In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and tapioca.

Drain rhubarb.  Add to the sugar mixture and toss well.  Let stand for 15 minutes.

Beat egg and water.  Add to rhubarb mixture and pour into bottom pastry. Dot with butter.

Cover with remaining top pastry and flute the edges.  Cut slits in top crust.

Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Reduce heat to 350 for the remaining 40 to 50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.