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)

It’s A Delicate Time

Kellyanne Conway is one of the crew taking our country through turbulent waters. She’s the hard working girl next door – plenty of savvy, brains and toughness to help the country face its challenges.

In our country’s history never has a president needed more astute, practical and savvy advisors.  It feels as if the country is going through a contentious divorce with everyone dredging up abuses from the past.

No wonder there are phrases like, “draining the swamp,” “getting rid of the prayer rugs in the White House,” or, differences of opinions about how large the marching crowds numbers were during and after the inauguration.

Moving ahead to balance the ship and to move it forward through the storms hitting it at all sides, is Kellyanne Conway, one of the president’s advisors or counselors, a 50-year-old mother of four, married to a corporate attorney, the CEO of her own company, someone to whom God gave brains as well as beauty.

She met Trump when she lived in one of his buildings and he came to one of their resident meetings.  And, then he put her in charge of his election campaign.

A look at her roots, shows she is a person of substance, morals and values.  When she was three, her parents divorced and she was raised by her mother who worked in a bank, her grandmother and two aunts.  All the women worked hard to make ends meet.

For eight summers, Kellyanne worked grueling hours picking blueberries at a farm in nearby Hammonton, New Jersey.  “The faster you went, the more money you made.  Everything I learned about life and business started on that farm,” she says.  At age 16, she won the new Jersey blueberry pageant.  At 20, her hard work and determination won her the world Championship Blueberry Pecking competition.

She’s also brilliant, graduating magna cum laude from Trinity College, Washington, D.C., with a degree in political science – then onto Oxford,  to receiving a law degree with honors from George Washington U.  Half Irish, half Italian, after graduation from law school, her first assignment, How Could the GOP attract More Women, she changed direction and founded a consulting firm specializing in marketing.

When a potential male client asked how she would balance four kids and work, she replied, “I hope you ask that same question of all male consultants, too.  Would they be willing to give up their weekly golf game and mistresses because they are really too busy?”

She is a long-time pro-life activist, 2nd Amendment supporter, stands with Israel and boldly defends the Biblical definition of marriage.

“It is incomprehensive,” she says, “To think that a man with no respect for women would hire one, but, the media seem to overlook that fact and try to bury it.”

Roll on, Kellyanne Conway, the ship of state is plowing through tough waters.

(Photo by PhotoPin)

Wonders of the World

Stunning photo of one Wonder of the World. Karl tells us what they’re like today

Karl, a round-faced guy in his early forties,  is sent round the world to see its Seven Wonders.  A branch of the British Broadcast System follows his journey to show how they are holding up.  In their DVD “Idiot Abroad,” we see these sites and we can’t get the images they shoot out of our mind.

The videos shot are like songs that go round and round and we continue to see the crumbling sections of the Great War of China (shown above in this image by PhotoPin) We see where Karl lodges and what he eats before we go with him and the other many tourists entering this historic site, rebuilt, to hear Karl say, “These blocks don’t look so old.  They look just like the ones we use.”  He goes to the very end of the wall to find gray blocks which really ARE crumbling.

In Israel there’s another gray wall built between their country and Palestine.  The wall is so massive in size as to be unbelievable.  The graffiti appears so tiny along it.

In Mexico at the ruins of Chicken Itza, Karl stares at one of the pyramids and says, “These people don’t care one whit about health and safety,” but, goes on later in the show to say that he has felt the happiest among the people of Mexico.

Karl assesses the people who live in the countries of these Wonders.  In India, he travels with hordes of sari-wrapped folks as they celebrate a festival along the Ganges.  Never have we seen so many people sitting row upon row just staring at a river.

In Rio, he’s fascinated by the “Jesus Statue,” the statues who has his arms spread out on a mountain top above the city.  He wants to walk up the 220 steps to a viewing platform to get a closer view.  “I don’t like the face,” he tells his guide.  “What’s that thing hanging off his chin?”  She replies, “It’s his beard.”

“Then, they should chop it up a bit so you can tell it’s a beard.”

Upon returning to England after floating around in the Dead sea, parading in costume at Rio’s famed Carnival, walking hours to get to an ancient site in Peru which he terms, “Not so good a vacation spot, although it has good views,” sleeping in a cave in Jordan in Petra across from one of its most pictured buildings in a city carved between mountains, remembering to put TP in his luggage because most countries don’t seem to care to provide it, he sums it up:

“The world is a grim place.  Colorful, yes, so much so that my eyes got tired.  There’s too many things going on like in India.  I couldn’t keep it all in.

“There were too many whistles, horns, people yelling, at all hours of the day and night.  There are places where announcers were calling over public speakers to go to prayer five times a day.”

Karl did not come to the U.S.  I’d love to hear his unvarnished remarks about the rollercoaster at Disney World that goes backwards in the dark, the intimidating viewing area at the Grand Canyon, the parade of monuments in Washington, DC.

You, the funny producers of “Idiot Abroad,” please send videographers to see all that America has to offer.  It’s a place of Wonder.                                       (PhotoPin image shown above.)





Rebuilding the U.S.

Huge to-do list ahead for the US.

Our nation’s infrastructure is over fifty years old.  It’s breaking down.

Hold onto your hat and fasten that seat belt.  A massive $3.6 trillion is needed in the next three years to upgrade our roads, bridges, etc.  Here’s how the ASCE report card sent to Congress three years ago read:

Roads and bridges: C plus   —   Mass transit  D  — Aviation  D — Wastewater  D

Solid Waste  B minus — Energy  D plus — National Parks   C minus — Rail  C plus

Levees   D   —  Ports  C

Notice that the one which received the highest score is Solid Waste.  Perhaps that is because our population has made an active effort to help in that area.  But, those of us who live in the U.S. see, but rarely notice, until the infrastructure mentioned we are using breaks down.   For example, hazardous waste, money at the Hanford cleanup site in my state of Washington has gone mostly for STUDY not cleanup.  For road improvement, just try driving through the Seattle traffic with its grid-lock.

Aviation has just been in the news with the first terrorist attack at Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

Who’s been following up on these dire reports of the ASCE?

There are more than 36 billion dollars up for federal energy projects just waiting for approval and better regulations.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported over a dozen energy projects have been nixed in the last five years, halted by regulators or pulled by their developers.

Our nation needs repairs.  Those of us who watch Congress are aware and are expecting a fight to surface again for such a proposal as the Trans-Canada Keystone XL Pipeline, blocked by the Obama administration, and, in Canada, by people there who are up in arms.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau says his country needs to get their oil to the port in Houston, TX, for export.  He backs a pipeline which would expand Canada’s export capacity.  And, so is Trump.

The U.S. needs strong cheerleaders to untangle the many problems we now face as a nation.

We’re  vital, diverse, capable people.  Our history shows that as a democracy we do argue and fight a lot as we work through our problems.  That’s why we need seatbelts, isn’t it?

( Image from PhotoPin)