My Happy Place

3651 Shady Garden Platform

After the extravaganza garage sale this weekend, this shady garden will be the place to be.

Picture this: a tall gin and tonic with good friends, a few nibbles and chatter about the fun we’re having.

Although this is truly a remote area, there is a fishing derby taking place on the Columbia River not far away. Perhaps a few stray from there will come to see what’s happening.

Lots of surprises for sure!



Yoga at a Park

warrior pose
On a hill beside the beautiful Columbia River, yoga on Tuesdays. 

In the little town of Northport in Eastern Washington, a place close to the Selkirk mountains, peace and tranquility is part of the weekly during yoga class.

A little train whistles as it passes by.  The conductor waves at the students.  Swallows dip and dive along outside the wood pavilion.  Summer breezes waft by with sweet scents.

There’s friendship here, too, along with the common bond of increasing balance and muscle strength for students.  Yoga teacher, Michelle Hancock, shown here, smoothly shepherds her flock.action shot.

Yoga is a joyful way to savor summer.   Come over.  9 a.m. at the Northport Park at the Columbia River.  The first One-River Yoga class is free.  It’s the best health bargain available.  Yoga’s benefits are memorable.

Live Life a Little Less Ordinary

fence with garage sale sign

Come on over to my garage sale July 14-15 weekend.  A girl just wants to have fun (Thanks PhotoPin for this fun pix).  The way I put on a sale, it’s more of an EVENT.

Okay, I have a history of putting on EVENTS: a lovely platoon boat afternoon tea on a river cruise, an art event, where I asked ladies to come as their favorite lady of the night (even hired an actor to serve as butler who announced each one as they arrived), major pr ones like races, blood drives where board members dressed as street performing Santa Classes, as well as massage in the forest or putting on an UNO tournament at a large family gathering.

People in America love garage sales, well maybe not everyone, but those who do delight in finding a treasure.  “We bought a bread maker for five dollars,” Janelle said yesterday, “but it didn’t come with a recipe book so I’ve been trying to figure out how.  The first time, I used too much of everything and dough flew out all over the kitchen.”

If you choose one of the vintage garments, it could breathe new life and bring out your adventurous spirit, especially if you wrap yourself in the exquisite Mexican embroidered blouse.  Or, how about taking home a vintage Casio Keyboard, selling on E-Bay for $80, but here for $50.  It’ll be plugged in so you can make music while you shop.

You could be an absolute knockout in one of the Korean Mink bathrooms.  Or, how about a vintage tapestry to brighten up an outdoor porch.

For those folks who are here as special guests, Gina Tweit, running again for a district court position, or Sherrel Rhosdy who is coming to play with me from Spokane three hours away, they’ll both enjoy a charming lunch on the deck.

If a gal wants to try on an item, she can tell how lovely she’ll look in the mirror in my outdoor cottage up on the little hillside above the covered building where all the garage sale fun is taking place.  Bud was so afraid I’d sell some of his stuff that he’ll be here, too, showing off a little blue tractor with tons of accompanying attachments.  It’s hard to part with a beloved tractor, so I do have to sympathize.  It would be the same if I were selling one of my vacuum cleaners (well, actually I still may).

Although the sale is miles from no-where, folks like to play hooky from life.  This is a lovely place to do it – smack dab in the middle of summer.  It’s a lovely drive from anywhere to 3651 Deep Lake Boundary Rd, north of Colville.

My garage sales have just the “right” stuff. . . bargains – a great place to meet new folks – enjoy the surprises that take place.  Someone might, for example, pick up one of the Playboy magazines for sale and still be laughing over one of the jokes in it as they leave with the copy in their hand.

Don’t be shy.  Make a new rule.  Try out a new you.  Show off your Devil-May-Care attitude by coming to have or to add to the fun.  Jo Ann’s garage sale is the sure ticket.


Special! Yes!

today's china

Everyone’s heard of Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.  But do you know about cities like Shigiazhuang, Wuxi, Changsha, Suzha, Ningbo, Foshan, or Yanta?  (Thanks Photopin the huge number shown in the background of this picture.)

These big cities in China need big buildings and China has built some of the most amazing ones the world has ever seen.

Visitors like Vic Liderman, who just returned in awe from structures he saw in China, points out that President Xi Jinping said poverty would be stopped by 2020.  That’s really happening in their big cities as well as the little villages.

Together Shanghai and Beijing populations of around 46 million people house more folks than New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and Philadelphia combined.  Linderman calls Shanghai and Beijing two of the world’s largest advanced cities.

“Everywhere we looked,” said a guy named Sam Latter, traveling with Weiss Research, “We saw dozens of 30-story buildings in Shanghai looking as if they came right from Vegas, Manhattan or Chicago.  Everything from their fashion to their financial centers appeared like they are from the future.  Several were over l00 stories high (only three in the U.S. reach that height).

Not long ago this blog reported the Chinese are also busy re-building the Silk Road’s ports, trains and cities throughout Asia.  In the U.S. there’s only talk about the rebuilding that’s needed here for infrastructure of our bridges, freeways, highways and buildings.

It’s up-to-date or futuristic in China where men don’t carry wallets.  They pay for goods and services and even street performers with their smart phones.

Times are changing in China, but few people in the U.S. recognize the fact.  In 2005, the median age was around 30.  People there are living longer.  Life expectancy in China in l960 was 43 years.  Today, it’s 76 years.

To license a car in Beijing or Shanghai, there is a lottery system.  Over three million people last April competed for the fewer than 6,500 license plates available to keep the population down.  In Shanghai it cost $14,000 to enter, more than the cost of many Chinese-made cars.

In China, the engineering marvels go on and on.  (Sorry I have no photo of the newest and biggest marvel.  It’s a bridge called the Beipanjiang Bridge, the world’s highest at 1,854 feet over the Beipan River (equivalent height to a 200-story building). That sight of that bridge in the distance would make my knees quiver, and, I’d hope never to have to drive over it.

It’s a 15-hour flight from the U.S. to China.  Grueling yes, but, kudos to the Chinese.  Their efforts make urge us to get on with rebuilding the U.S.

Modern U.S. West at its Best Says a Reviewer

Casanova front cover (2).jpg

Barbara Scott of Feathered Quill Book Reviews has given Casanova Cowboy a 5-Star Review.  As its author, I discover that she zeros in on books the key features.

A few paragraphs now from her review:  “Joy Ann Oliver observes the ranch hand and wishes her husband, Larry, was just a little bit more like Lance.

“During his time on the Oliver homestead, likeable, hardworking Lance will join the local scene.  He attends a nearby gathering for folks who think the US is headed for at a fall and are saving up provisions for that fateful time, and later goes to a meet-up for former Viet Nam vets where he hopes to get some relief from the PTSD that riles up inside him periodically.  There he meets a strong-minded, soft-voiced woman named Alexis who has the power to take his bad dreams away. the power to take his bad dreams away.

“Lance finds himself needed most when wildfires start up and the winds are carrying the blaze to the Rusty Spring Valley.  He volunteers to go with a young man named Cole to do some emergency work near an abandoned mine.  Neither man realizes that old enemies of Cole are stalking the area, waiting for a chance to extract some long-festering revenge.

“These dynamics and more make Bender’s book a fast-paced adventurous read with some intellectual and spiritual overtones.  Lance is not “just a cowboy” – he helps Joy Ann save Larry’s life and keeps Cole from breaking down when the two of them are in grave danger.

“Bender seems to have an eye and ear for Americans who break with tradition, whether it is getting ready for the end times, or vets haunted by the horrors of war, or a cowboy who chooses to live like a Native American.  She also displays a pleasant way with language: early on Lance realizes he is losing his enjoyment of the simple pleasures of life: ‘There is no music in the soul of a man who cannot see the freshness of an early morning after a rain, or a night sky beginning the day.’

“There is plenty of action here, and romance, and some sexy interludes.  There is also the thread running through the narrative of Joy Ann’s mute longings for a more fulfilling relationship; yet she will not let these feelings destroy the bond she and her husband have been building for so long.

“Quill says: This is the modern West at its best.  Lance is a well-drawn hero with an eye for the  ladies and the guts to take on Mother Nature and some nasty bad buys.  In the end, he’s off again to chase a new kind of dream.  Does this alluring story beg a sequel?  Benders reads may well hope so.”

Do like this review with your vote for Lance as book of the month on OnLineBookReviews. Meanwhile, kudos to Barbara Scott for falling in love with Casanova Cowboy.





Our Electricity from the Mars – It’s Predicted


Nasa’s photo of the Juventae Chasma, shows a canyon covered in a sea of sand on Mars (shown here courtesy of PhotoPin).  Color density is due to the varying mineral deposits.

This could be where George Friedman, founder of STRATFOR, a private intelligence and forecasting firm, states that  earth will some day receive our electricity from Mars.

On page eight, in the introduction of his book, The Next 100 Years – A Forecast for the 21st Century,  he says, “tremendous technical advances . . . space-based electrical generation beamed to earth in the form of microwave radiation . . . will go from prototype to reality.”

This is one of the amazing predictions happening today in space.  Lockheed Martin engineers have already accepted the challenge of planning a Mars BaseCamp like the current International Space Station which will have habitat for crew, fuel tank and massive solar arrays for power and solar electric propulsion.

The U.S. company is a Pentagon contractor.   The cutting-edge groups there are working on cost-saving methods of building processes to colonize Mars using 3D print satellites and powerful data analytics systems.

Their efforts have reduced the cost of a single F-35A jet fighter plane, a program begun in 2014, from 148 million (plus additional expenditures for research, development and production costs) to 95 million three years later.

For the most advanced fighter jet ever produced, the engineers methodically found ways to reduce costs by using robotics, digitization, software and 3D printing.  (These facts  shared by Martin Weiss).  Prices are expected to fall to 80 million says Janet Nash, vice president of F-35 production, for four units a month to 14 with improved build quality.

At its closest orbit, Mars is 34 million miles away.  Getting there will require new ways to store volatile fuel.  Engineers are rethinking what they now know about data science, terrestrial communications and solar electric propulsion to build the biggest, most powerful Space Launch System ever imagined.

Another important point: 3D printing satellites in space will help lower the price for sending expensive rockets into space.

Meanwhile, we’re proud of a family member who is working at Lockheed with a group of engineers to clean up space debris. Space is huge.  It’s hard to think that we humans are already cluttering it up with burnt-out satellites.



Small Town America

Rosalia Battle Site (2).JPG

Rosalia, Washington:  On this lonely hill U.S. Army troops in l858, led by Col. Steptoe were facing thousands of angry Indians waiting below by the creek to attack.

This quaint little town, forty miles south of bustling Spokane, now puts on Battle Days.  It’s features everything folks like:

A cowboy breakfast by the Scouts, a parade, a huge classic car show, pin up girls, music, vendors, food.  If you like, the town has a small public pool.

We’ve been invited to be at their whimsical library to do our Snowbirds skit taken from my memoir at noon and l p.m.

The library is located in a vintage cottage with a darling big lady bug flying statue overhead.

Bud’s book, Courage Beyond Expectations, is the compilation of what and why these poor soldiers ended up on top this little hill out of ammunition and water on a hot summer day in June l858.

The men finally crept away in the middle of the night, and, still today no one knows for certain why the Indians, who would surely have heard their horses being led by foot, the men and the cannons, allowed them leave without attacking.

It’s going to be a glorious day tomorrow, Saturday, June 2, a little on the cool side at an expected 68 degrees, with much to see, learn and enjoy at this all-American small town.

Town folks will come in costume.  Bud wears an authentic l858 U.S. Army uniform.  You can’t miss him.  I may wear red cowboy boots.  They’re quite comfortable for a day of walking around the darling little town and being at our vendor site talking about our books.

Do watch the Rosalia Battle Days video also posted on this site.

Rosalia Battle Map.jpg


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