Romantic Interlude

woman thinking

We want romance in our lives.  Classy J. Peterman’s story-told descriptions of hard to find garments gives us this in his lithe 5 X 7 ” catalogs.

Take a peek at this copy for a blouse: “This old thing.  It possesses effortless “just threw it on” look, like it’s some old cotton this or that.

“Closer inspection reveals delicate silk chiffon sequin-front blouse.  Sheer sleeves.  The astute ones notice the scalloped hem.”

Or this: “There was a palpable calm that I almost didn’t trust.  A subtle waft of sage.  Whoever ran this place made Zen the priority.

“There was also really good stuff.  Porcelain signs from the l930’s.  a Mohican chief’s blanket.  an excellent mid-century Grundig console radio.

“Then, there she was.  gliding.  Soft and wise.  She hadn’t said a word and I felt like I could tell her anything.  That was her energy.

“I jokingly ask where the yoga studio is.

“In the back through the bank vault,” she says without looking up.  Perhaps silk reminds you somewhere you might have been a prima ballerina, or a trapeze artist, or parachuted out of a plane.

“Some fabrics work their way into your uttermost feelings and desires.

“and, when you combine that within aesthetic of mid-century design, every step is a dance.  Every moment a blur of color for a silk-art skirt.”

I savor words no matter where I find them.  No matter that they are written in a sales catalog when it becomes a journey of adventure.  As a kid, I loved the thrill of Jack Armstrong told on the radio, or written on a cereal box.  Oh my, it was also a place to see where to send away for a silver ring.  Actually I do have an I love a Mystery secret decoder ring in my jewelry box.

For those who want these word adventures and to see unique, one of a kind woman and men’s garments, you can call customer service at J. Peterman’s: 888-647-2555 where you’ll read “Tuesday, the summer heat in Sevelle is the hottest . .  . ”

(Again, thanks to PhotoPin for an enchanting photo)



The Man from Atlanta


When I was doing the research necessary for my WWII fiction, I followed many threads of history.  The most amazing was how a man from an Atlanta advertising agency went to Germany in l929 to fight an up-hill battle to change their beer-drinking desires to Coke.

At that time, Ray Rivington, an ad man, 6′ 6″, went to Essen, Germany, in the industrial region to set up shop.  He found a worker and together they filled the first bottles and peddled them to laborers.  In his Southern accent, he’d shout, “Drinken Coc-Cola, kostlich und erfrescht.”

He made up pamphlets, “Was ist Coca-Cola?” and gave them out at sporting events, put these out on tables at restaurants.   As fast as restaurant owners tossed them out, he had his men replace them.

Soon more and more retailers carried the product but stashed it under cases of beer.  With Ray’s hard work, and his vigorous targeting of industrial workers with the slogan to “Mach doch mal Pause” (come on take a break) apparently derived from its U.S. slogan “the Pause that Refreshes,” German sales rose from zero to 111,000 cases in four years.

During WWII, Coca-Cola never mentioned it’s U.S. roots and successfully established itself as a German brand in the mind of the drinking public.  When German prisoners of war debarked in new Jersey in early 1945, they saw a Coca-Cola sign.  When they were asked why they were so excited, they exclaimed,  “You got Coca-Cola here, too?”

Although Coke was an outright collaboration with the Nazis, so was Standard Oil who sold AV fuel to the German war effort, or other American companies who worked with the German company, F.G. Farber chemical.

Coke’s commercial success was tied to a public image created thru mass market ads  It convinced Americans after Dec. l941, both on the war and home fronts that drinking coke was somehow synonymous with fighting against the enemies of democracy.

And, those were the days before the Internet and Facebook.  It might have proved easier in 1929 for the giant from Atlanta to introduce Coca Cola.

(Photo courtesy of PhotoPin)

Outdoor Herb to the Rescue

Comfry Herb

If anyone asks you what animal bite is the most vicious or potent, you can tell them it’s that from a domestic cat.

In this rural area, the nearest clinic for help is only open Monday thru Wednesday.   A bachelor mountain man was bitten on a Thursday.  He was petting a couple of cats cozy on his lap when his youngest male rushed to his side.  He bent down to pet it, not knowing it was being chased by his oldest Tom cat.  It sunk its teeth into his hand which immediately began to swell.

Fortunately, a herbal savvy friend came by.  The victim rushed to dig up a big Comfrey root like the leaves shown above.  She ground up the root in her little coffee grinder, made a paste of it with caster oil, wrapped a damp cloth around it and protected it all with Saran wrap.

“It wasn’t the cat’s fault,” said the sturdy outdoor man.  “I had one other terrible infection that I thought was painful.  One of my teeth got what I thought was a minor infection.  But, it lead to lock jaw.  This cat bite is worse.”

When the clinic opened Monday, they gave him the special antibiotic they have on hand just for cat bites or scratches called Amoxicillin Clavulanate.   The herbal poultice was removed for the trip to the clinic.  The swelling which had been going down, immediately started to increase again.  A test that the herb is good  for healing.

“I take it off a few times a day or I could end up with the skin of an elephant.”

He and the cat remain friends.

(Photo courtesy Photo Pin)

A Secret of RV’ing

Twin Rocks Cafe Bluff Utah

Conversations through the years with folks who are planning to purchase an recreational vehicle cheer us with their excitement as they  dream about travels on the open road.

Warning: If they choose the right style and size, they’ll be off and come back with wonderful memories.  If they don’t, and buy one that’s too big – their RV or travel trailer will sit at home never to be used.  We’ve witnessed this so many times.

The secret is to realize that they are not buying a HOUSE but one in which they CAMP out of.  Of course, if they plan to be full-timers for months or even years, then they must seek as long an RV they can pull behind their truck or Class A, one in which can they feel comfortable and safe as they drive down the road towing a car.

One journey of ours was in a 21′ vintage Class A purchased for on-site guest lodging, but we went off with it soon on a long journey from Spokane, WA., to Texas.  In Snowbirds, a memoir, I tell about that harrowing trip with fond memories.

She was traded when rain came through her fragile walls and roof;  a 27′ Winnebago Class A came into our lives, but it struck by a Canadian drunk driver on a highway going through a busy town.  The Winnebago shot down the highway along a slope and ran into a building

It was totaled.  Then, we found a 34′ South Wind diesel Class A we drove along the torturous  Apache Trail  in the Superstition Mountain area of Arizona.  We were going to Burnt Corral park from  where we would paddle up river in a two-person kayak and walk two miles into our mine site to search for lost Spanish gold.  Those adventures turned up in a book called, “Cries in the Desert.”

Finally, back to the forests and mountains of WA State, we too, no longer needed a HOUSE but a vehicle in which to camp out of and chose Sally, the 20′ Pleasure Way Van pictured above.  That trip was six-weeks in Utah viewing  Pueblo ruins..  It’s easy to clean and keep looking good because of the quality of interior and exterior materials used in construction.

It’s too bad so many potential owners don’t often choose the perfect fit.  If they do, they’ll relinquish their desire to camp or to travel the many scenic highways and byways in the U.S. and Canada.  Buying an rv can be as difficult as finding the perfect mate.

Just like we authors, who write and write, until finally we tell a better story, the purchase of an RV might take a few failures until the perfect one is found and it becomes a beloved vehicle, not one that’s left behind never to be used.



It’s S . . t

white clover manure

Do you know how a very popular word came into being used?  It’s fun to know more about this expression.  Fun brings merriment, cheer, delight, sunshine, distraction, plus a lot of other things.

I’ve just learned its background and can’t wait to tell you all that I have discovered.  Perhaps this is exactly what you say when you’ve been provoked, distressed, surprised, or challenged by someone or something.  I had a lot of fun finding its origin and I hope you do.

It’s a word even a four-year-old says and for which they may be reprimanded.  It all began in the 16th and 17th centuries when goods were carried in ships.  It was a time when sending dry manure in bundles to fertilize crops in other lands was common.

However, if these bundles got wet, fermentation would began.  It produced  methane gas below decks.  When someone came along with a lantern, the gas exploded.  After several ships went down, someone figured out why and from then on these bundles of manure were stamped:

Stow High in Transit.

But, don’t tell a four-year-old this words comes from an old custom.  What they don’t know is that only we who are adults should be allowed to say s. . . t.

We find it to be a powerful expletive!  The sound of it rings out true and clear even today for the world to see or hear.  Beware, it is a good thing to yell out what can happen if you don’t stow your manure high in transit.

Life Revolves

Revolving Door Slogan

Sherry Esvelt once said, “We live life in decades.  We do something ten years and then we start a new interest.”  So, life must be a revolving door through which we go.

But what happens when we find they are things we don’t want to deal with, however good they might be?  How does one cope with what we can’t endure?

The answer says Joan Chittister in her book, The Gift of Years, is that there is no such thing as NOT coping, the issue is whether we  choose to cope well or poorly.

There can be resistance to coping, an immature reaction to a life event.  Although we continue to get up and get things done, at the same time we’re not the same as we once were.  If we whine, place blame on others, our good personality, once balanced and pleasant, is now spoiled and blighted.

Learning to deal with the vagrancies of life is a long-term project.  The truth is there are no circumstances in life more important than to deal well with the changes that come at any time of life.

For example, Joan asks, do you question everything you do or have done?   I should have stayed . . . I should have wanted to . . . I should have spent more time with . . . I should have gone from this place, this town, this dull life . . .

Questions like these “nibble and bring weariness.  Years slip by and then it’s too late.”  In other words, the end of life is in sight.  It’s too late to take a trip to Turkey. . . to move to Florida . . . to begin again.

Worst of all, she asks, why did you do what you did in the first place?  Explaining only leads to depression.  “Don’t brood on the past, it sours the present.”  (Isn’t that a meaningful idea?)

“The notion of past chances – of the things we have done – can dampen the glow of what we can do.

“The blessing of life is to be able to live it with an open hear adjust well no matter through what stage of life you’re passing.

“Youth is a cauldron of hot issues – career and excitement, dating and mating, succeeding and failing.  Middle age culminates those – and, then you are immersed in bringing the decisions made in younger years to the some sort of completion – to raise kids – be established in business and the family and in social life.”

And then, she asks: Is your soul spoiled in the shell?

What is the soul?  According to my American Dictionary, there are several answers:

It’s the spiritual part of a person as regarded in its moral aspect, or, as believed to survive death and to be subject to happiness or misery in life . .  .  It’s the emotional part or the seat of feelings – It’s also high-mindedness, and noble warmth of feeling, spirit or courage.

Thank you PhotoPin for the picture and to Joan Chittister for her wisdom.


Revolving Door Slogan




What It’s Like in WA State

Third Graders

Andrew Lumino, a third grader in Mrs. B’s class at Langley School in McLean, Virginia, says he has chosen the “Great” state of Washington to work on his report about my state.

He says he wants information directly from anyone who lives in Washington State.  On sticky notes, I sent him a brochure about bears, a map of Stevens County up near the Canadian border and the Columbia River, the 2nd Edition of Favorites from the Lazy Bee.  The best thing of all for someone his age is the column written about the Lazy Bee, my ranch, by a Spokane reporter.

Doug Clark in his article includes quotes by Jason Oleinick, my grandson who was 12 years old at the time.  It’s quite funny so I think Andrew will get a big kick out of Jason’s comments.

In my letter on Lazy Bee stationary, with the sub-head – a rip-snortin’ Bed and Breakfast in the Spirit of the Old West – I told him I live in the forest and mountains so I can snow ski right off our back deck.  Soon as the snow melts, I say that I’ll be able to see the shooting range off in the distance and make plans to practice.

I tell him that we live 38 miles north of Colville, population around 6,000, another 15 miles from Northport, a little town of 300 people who once saw steamboats passing on their way up the Columbia River to Canada, and just five miles from the Waneta border crossing to Trail, B.C.

I continue: My husband is a volunteer fireman for District #10.  On Sunday the 12th, the Friends (of which I am one) will be hosting an appreciation dinner for them and their friends at the Fire Station.

Last summer, they were called out five times in one week to fight fires near by, and we’re hoping that this summer the wildfires will be less scary.  We don’t have poisonous snakes but we do have wolves, bear, coyote and cougar.  Therefore, we do need to protect ourselves when they are in the area.

(Photo courtesy PhotoPin)