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)

The Legacy

Joy is infectious.
If you lead a successful life, then you leave a legacy of helping others.

She breezes in like a breath of springtime.  Always upbeat when she arrives, she brings with her a “goodie” bag.

Most items in it are educational or a food delicacy of some sort, but on this memorable visit, one item in the bag of treats must have contained what will be her legacy.

A legacy is a gift, a bestowal, a hand-me-down of value.  Her present this time is one which will last a lifetime.

It’s also a lot of fun.

My friend who I’ve met years ago on a tennis court introduced her idea, saying, “My sister and her new boyfriend like this playing so much they start their day with Spite & Malice.”

During Sherrel Bradford Roshdy’s last visit to the ranch, she taught  us to play this game composed of two card decks and their jokers.  It is something like solitaire.  It’s more competitive though and each game has unique challenges.

“Don’t forget your play pile,” she’d encourage as we learned to play against her one-on-one.

We’ve joined the ranks of those like her sister who find a way to sneak in a game or two during the week.   You can find the easy to learn rules for the game on the Internet.  My husband often says after winning, “That’s how it is.  I must have been more spiteful.”  For the loser, those are fighting words and I’m raring to go again.

Trapped in a Snow Bank

A winter story of how neighbors help each other. Or, how Bud made it after this happened to Ellensburg to talk about Indian wars in the area.

Over a stretch of a rutted back country road, driving over watery ice, the car, moving under 30 mph, catapults forward on its own accord.

It hits a snow burn, flips over, trapping us upside down in five foot of snow.  We’re twenty miles from home and twenty miles from Colville.  It’s around eleven in the morning.  We’ve seen a car in the ditch, so we’re slowing way down to see if someone might need help.

We’re on our way to Ellensburg where Bud is to be a featured speaker.  Suddenly the car explodes as if shot from a cannon, speeding off the road into the trees.  Inside the car, the greenish-gray air is deathly still.

In a calm voice, my husband asks, “Are you hurt?  Can you release your seat belt?  Can you open the door?”  I’m fine.  He appears so, too.

I stretch to retrieve my bent eyeglasses and notice puddles of snow at my feet.  No windows appear broken.  How did all this snow get in?  I am fascinated with sight of a passenger airbag.  It’s about two inches thick.  A large metal book rack has flown from the backseat and lays between us.  My husband is stuffed behind the steering trying to get to his cell phone.  No service.

“I’m thinking,” he says.  It’s unusually quiet.  Suddenly, there comes a hard sound, like someone hitting the top the car.  “Is anyone in there?” Bud asks, “Who are you?”  “UPS,” says the driver, who shovels tiny paths to the car and doors can open.  We clamber out.  “Can’t give you a ride; against the rules,” he says and rushes off.

We stand at the highway.  Bud takes a photo of the car.  Jan Fisher drives by, stops to ask, “What can I do to help?”  We answer, “Call a tow truck, please.” We know on this very icy day that even the most experienced of drivers are encountering similar conditions, that we must somehow get to Ellensburg and that so many may need a tow that we’ll be waiting here for hours.

After her, Bud’s fire chief, Mark Smith, and his wife, Siena, stop. “We’ve been slipping and sliding, too, on our way to the airport to pick up kids, but let’s see if the neighbors are home.” They take us across the road to Jan and Gordie who welcome us to their ranch, fix coffee and let us use the phone.

Capt. Andy Harbolt is now at their door.  “As soon as I check the condition of the four other drivers up the road, I’ll be back to ask dispatch to check the status on that tow truck.”

Barry St. John, a fellow fire fighter from District Ten, arrives.  “I’m here to help any way I can.  I’ll stay with you, do whatever is needed.”

By five o’clock we’re on the way to Ellensburg in a rental car, all made possible by Barry and so many other fine neighbors.  It’s the way of the West, where neighbors pitch in to help.

In all the years we’ve driven this road to town, we’ve been cautious to watch for deer or other animals, but, after this event, we’ll be especially alert in the winter for the places in the road which get little sun.  It’s a small price to pay to live in the mountains.  As the saying goes, when you’re lucky to live in the mountains, you’re lucky enough.






A Fun Adventure

Red Cowboy Boots
I love cowboys. These red boots of mine are going to a special event this weekend in a pair just like the ones pictured above.

Cowboys of every variety gather at The Spirit of the West festival in a few days.  Music concerts, open mike, kids events, workshops during which they take part happen in the Kittitas Valley in the charming frontier town East of Seattle called  Ellensburg.

   Time: Feb. 17-19.  Place: Ellensburg Fairgrounds.

Winter weather is predicted but folks are bred tough here.  Cowboy Clint Goodwin, a local sheepshearer, seeing that FC (Bud) Budinger will be a featured speaker, wrote to him on Facebook.  “I’ll be shearing in the area and will be coming around to hear you.”

At ll:45 Friday, in Army uniform from the mid-l800’s, Bud portrays Artillery Corporal Hans Schuler.  He’ll be an old soldier fighting with Lt. Col. Steptoe in a contingent of l58 men marching north from Ft. Walla Walla on a peaceful mission under orders to protect Indian lands and to evict White squatters.

Suddenly they find themselves outnumbered, outgunned and surrounded by Indians on top of a little hill in Rosalia.  It’s night.  It’s a hot day.  They’re out of water and ammunition.  Water is available.  But, it’s below them where Indians are dancing around a blazing fire waiting to continue the fight the next morning.

On Saturday at ll:15, Bud returns to explain how Seattle defended itself in January l856.  The little berg is just beginning when hordes of Nisqually and Yakama warriors descend upon them.

Both Bud and his gal in red boots will be available during workshop afternoon sessions.  Here’s what we’ll be doing:

Of course, Bud can share even more information from his book: Courage Beyond Expectations and I’ll take Snowbirds and Rusty Springs, a contemporary Western novel.

Bud  is the Skipper in my book, Snowbirds, a memoir about travel in a cheap little rv.  We’ll both be happy to answer questions and give tips about how to take to the road in a recreational vehicle, an affordable way to seek adventure.

Ellensburg features so many restaurants that surely a few will merit my review as a Senior Advisor on Trip Advisor.  My eyes blaze with excitement as I remember the town and its many exotic historic homes in the college district.

Best of all – the town will be brimming with Cowboys galore!  I wrote a story about a special one.  It’s titled: Casanova Cowboy.  A fun read.  Not in print yet, but coming soon.

(Photo by Photo Pin)

A Girl’s Best Friend — Bridge

This blog is written for those who PLAY bridge and for those who could care less. It’s a memoir of sorts so you might find it of interest.

My family played cards of all sorts.  I played Pinochle and Poker with adults and kids so in college besides playing Canasta, I slid easily into playing bridge.  As an Air Force wife at Perrin Air Force base, TX, it suddenly got more serious, and, then, even more so when playing couples bridge in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

On a trip to London, a game was arranged by the hotel.  Then, bridge engaged all the senses because “Don’t all Americans play for money?” said the opponents.

The game took on even heavier dimensions at Duplicate Bridge sessions in California when my brother, a Master Player, and I were partners.  Every Duplicate player knows several of the 23 or more codes, the signals systems between partners which they must DECLARE at the table.  Jack and I as siblings never used a “convention.”  With him, we always came in first “shooting from the hip.”

Therefore when in San Miguel, MX., I tried Duplicate.  My partner before the session began asked me to name the “conventions” I played.  He gave up after asking: Do you play a weak two? etc.  During the game, he was so frightening, that I froze when bidding as he growled across the table, “Well, you’re going to have to play a hand sooner than later.”

Duplicate is as different than Party Bridge as the color orange is from white. Party players become good friends, although at the table they do not, as Betsy Lerner, writes in her memoir, “The Bridge Ladies,” we don’t Revel, Pry, or do too much personal sharing.

Her memoir analyzes the ladies who arrive for one of her Mother’s Monday luncheon games who each throw a dollar for the winners.  In my awesome group of ladies today, I finally was able to get Louise Stevens, to agree to pony-up twenty-five cents.

Betsy, too, freezes at one of her first bridge games.  I loved her for fessing up, but, this can happen to even “seasoned” players.  It’s a time when time stands still to a player on the spot who is either leading or making a bid.  Confidence wilts away just like their bad bid exposed on the table.

Table talk reports Betsy is okay if its on generic topics such a opinions about vacations, kids, grand kids, but never about anyone who has stumbled or lost their way.  Betsy weaves into her story in-depth character sketches of members of her mother’s club who have been playing together for over 50 years.  She learns from them away from the bridge table answers to “Was sex okay before marriage” – (Unwritten but okay if engaged) – “Is the world better now than in the 50’s?”  (all agree, but it is more dangerous) – food  (people have more allergies to food than ever before).

Her books shows the way things were for women in the 40’s and 50’s.   Not different when it comes to bridge, although there are fewer who take the time to learn.

Not only is bridge playing one of the most long-term brain exercises, as she writes on page 238, “it’s absorbing, incredibly fun.  You don’t need to be anyone’s best friend, teamwork naturally develops between partners.”

Best of all she says, winning a hand at bridge can be as exciting as shooting the rapids or outwitting a fox at the same time.  Bridge is delightful.  I’m glad Barbara Braff loaned me Betsy’s book.

(Ace of Spade photo by PhotoPin)