Huckleberry Snack

Last fall, Hubby took me on a trip, so I could see our son’s old stomping grounds. We flew into Spokane, Washington, rented a car and drove to Spokane Valley. We made a little pit stop to our son’s old residence. The apartment building looked pretty nice – new siding had been installed since my husband’s last visit. Then we headed to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which is about a 25-minute drive.

We quickly checked into our hotel and went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful town of Coeur d’Alene along the way. The downtown area was busy with people exploring shops or going to dinner. After we stuffed ourselves, we went back to the hotel to get some rest. The next day we would head to Whitefish, Montana, so we could explore Glacier National Park.

The next morning, we made a stop at Lake Coeur d’Alene. We were “up with the birds,” seeing as the seagulls were the only creatures to greet us! We took Interstate 90 eastbound to St. Regis, Montana and enjoyed seeing the beauty of the mountains towering above us. Soon we were surrounded by patches of fog that obscured our view. When we got closer to St. Regis, the fog had lifted, and we started seeing billboards advertising huckleberry malts at various cafes. When we entered the small town, we saw a Betty Boop statue in front of Winki’s Diner. When the hostess greeted us, she informed us that their malt machine was broken. We decided to stay and enjoyed delicious hamburgers and fries instead.

Highway 135 lead us to Plains, Montana, where we headed north on Highway 28. The landscape slowly began to change to rolling hills, with mountains off in the distance. It seemed as if we were traveling at a fast speed, but I didn’t mind. I felt we were quite alone amongst the tumbling weeds.

A sense of calm enveloped us when we stopped to admire Flathead Lake, which is 28 miles long and 15 miles wide. The towns of Kalispell and Whitefish were not far off now.

We stayed at Pine Lodge, which is located on Whitefish River. After checking in and locating the pool and game room, it was time for dinner. We walked along the river path towards downtown to find a bar/restaurant, which seemed to be a favorite spot of the locals. When we left to walk around town, an ice cream shop was a small distance away. We headed towards the shop to find plenty of huckleberry ice cream. It was a nice spot for a huckleberry snack!

Stay tuned for the next day of our journey.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Good things come to those who wait. ~Violet Fane


Discovering Red Wing – Boots on the Bridge

If you didn’t get a chance to visit Red Wing, Minnesota last summer, you missed seeing these fabulous boots. Here are eight creations. The boots are a part of the “2005 Boots About Town,” which were created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Red Wing Shoe Company. These decorated fiberglass boots were located at the beginning of a one-mile route along the Mississippi River on the West End Riverview Skyway Pedestrian Bridge. A few more boots could be found further along the route and some continue to be on display in the downtown area.

It was fun to see all the different works of art. If you’d like to read more about the boots, click this link.

It is curious how a man* can stamp his personality upon earthly things. ~Christopher Morley


* Or woman!

Talking ‘Bout My Generation

Bobby Sherman

My generation was pretty good at obsessing over boys. Not only did we have Bobby Sherman’s face to decorate our lunch boxes and posters, we also obsessed about all the guys from The Monkees. If you ask any lady who you know who is from my age group, who their favorite Monkee was, you will get many different answers. Each Monkee had their own cuteness about them, and the fans have a favorite for a different reason which does not include just being cute.


The Partridge Family was on TV back in my day, and a lot of my friends thought that David Cassidy was really cute.   We didn’t say “hot” back then.


Then there was Donny Osmond,

Little Joe Cartwright from Bonanza, also known as Michael Landon,

and the only reason I ever watched football:  Joe Namath.

Maybe I am out of the loop, but it seems like something is not right here.  Things change, and maybe it’s better for girls to not have cute guys to watch on fun TV shows.  I bet poster sales are way down now from when I was a teen.

Kreativ Blogger Award

On December 12, 2011, Jodi Stone at Life with Sampson and Delilah, the 411, awarded my blog with The Kreativ Blogger Award!  I am a bit behind on accepting this award, but thanks Jodi for the nomination.  I really appreciate it.  I like how the colors of the badge go so well with my blog.  🙂

This award comes with a bit of direction, the first being share ten things about yourself or your blog that people might not know.

1.  I can be really picky about some stuff.  For instance, it bugs me that “Kreativ” is spelled wrong in this award!  Yet, I still feel honored to receive it, and I will not change the spelling.

2.  I am working on writing a book.  It is in first draft format.  I am all over the place in this book right now.  As of today, my first draft has 7,789 words.

3.  I have been keeping track of how many words there are in my book on the sidebar of my blog.  I am trying to keep up with Jodi Stone.  Jodi posts how many words she has written on her book at the end of each of her daily posts and she is farther along than I am.  This keeps me motivated.  Thanks, Jodi!

4.  I admire people who blog everyday.  I, however, do not think that I will ever be able to accomplish such a goal.  I find that most times when I write a post, I have to go away from it for a while, think about it, make more edits, if needed, and then publish it.

5.  However, there have been a few times when I have written and posted a blog in one day, and I feel like I am taking a huge step when I do such a thing.  Recently, I did a one-day write and post called “It’s Nice to Get Noticed.”

6.  When I was 13, I secretly decided that I wanted to be a writer.  I only shared my secret with a few people.  I kept my dream tucked away for many years.  Part of me thought that being a writer was so beyond me because I admire writers so much.    

7.  I think I am at the stage in life where I am getting brave enough to write.   

8.  Starting up this blog came at the right time.  Our two daughters are in college right now, and I miss them very much.  Soon our son will be going off to college too.  My blog is just what I needed to get me through this stage. 

9.  I read everyday while I am commuting to and from work.  If a book keeps me awake, I know it’s a winner!  Don’t worry, I take public transportation.  I mostly read fiction, memoir and books on writing.  I have read and enjoyed “On Writing,” by Stephen King, and “Shimmering Images, a Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir,” by Lisa Dale Norton.   The work of fiction that I am currently reading is “Memoirs of a Geisha,” by Arthur Golden.  I found that “Memoirs of a Geisha” put me to sleep a little in the beginning, but now that I am towards the end, I am keeping awake!  I am glad I stuck with it.

10.  I like to cook because I like to eat, but I never watch cooking shows on TV!

In no particular order, I have the honor of awarding six other bloggers with The Kreativ Blogger Award.  

I feel lucky that I ran across These Are Days when I first started blogging.  Terri always has something honest to say, tries to look on the bright side of things, and she often posts some very beautiful pictures on her website.  Plus, I like to read about her family; her dog, Lucy; and her weekend cooking accomplishments. 

I also discovered Katy’s blog, Story Telling Nomad, when I first started blogging.  Katy recently started posting about her A-Z Eurotrip, and I feel as if I am going on an adventure every time I read her posts.  Check out Katy’s great pictures and excellent writing style. 

So Much to Say, So Little Time.  Kathleen blogs on a variety topics.  I especially like reading about her day-to-day life as a Mom to four young children.  Plus Kathleen has some very inspirational writing going on here, too.

Recently, I have been running across the writings of The Lucky Mom.  Lisha will have you laughing out loud!  If you need a laugh or want to read a great blog, check it out!

Another recent blog that I have been checking out is Empty House, Full Mind.  I appreciate Sharon’s honest opinions on current topics.  This blog gets me thinking.

I often visit Not Just Another Mother Blogger.  You will find some interesting, honest and thought-provoking stories at Tina’s website.  Plus, Tina does not like it when people spell words incorrectly!

I hope that you check out these blogs and that you enjoy them as much as I do.

Thanks again, Jodi!

What an Angler

While I was in the moment, I had a little inkling that it was too good to be true. I sat right under a beautiful, multicolored umbrella. The lounging chair was in a perfect position for me to read through my lines for the upcoming show.

I checked and saw that the children were busy making a sand castle with their Dad. I was a little sad that I was not spending time on the project too, but I told myself that it was good for the three of them to hang out together.

Colors from the umbrella shined through and hit the pages before me making a rainbow. I worked on blocking out the sounds around me and concentrated on the words. I quickly turned the pages to see what the next joke was. Occasionally I noticed that others looked in my direction, but still I found it difficult to stifle my laugh. It was going to be fun to work on such a witty comedy.

“Kate,” I think I heard my name being called. I could not lift my eyes from the page.

“KATE, KATE,” someone was yelling at me.  It was my husband.

I quickly jabbed my fingernail on the page to make a little indentation of where I left off.

“KATE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? COME HERE!” he yelled even louder.  Mike was holding Beth up in his arms, and she was crying. She had her little arms stretched out towards me. George’s face was starting to crinkle up into the crying position. He stood next to the castle with a red shovel in his dimpled hand.

I threw the script on my chair. I tried to run, but the first steps in the sand got me off-balance. Once I found my footing, I ran towards my family and their partly-finished sand castle.

“What happened?”

“Something bit Beth. We were digging in the sand. But, the thing.  I think it came up with the waves.”

“That’s a jelly fish,” said an older man who stood nearby. He wore a Santa hat while holding his fishing pole in one hand and his tackle box in the other. His red trunks covered his legs to his knees, and his taut and tan tummy looked like leather.

I looked to where he was pointing. The jelly fish looked like purple jelly. It  looked dead.

“Beth, show me where it bit you,” I said.  Her breath came out in jagged sobs.

“Momma,” she said. She pointed to her leg, but I couldn’t see any marks.

“Where, honey?” I smoothed out some of her blond curls that had lightened up from being in the sun. Her little face looked so tan against her hair, and her blue eyes were as bright as the sky. She scratched her leg starting to make a mark.  Her gaze was glued to the ground.

“Momma, nothing bit me.” Her shoulders lifted up and fell down with her sobs.  “I just wanted the shovel. George took it from me. I’m sorry, Momma.”

The fisherman winked and walked away.

“Honey, you scared us so much,” I said, as Mike rolled his eyes at me.

I went to the pile of stuff by my chair and found another shovel.

“Here, we have more. Next time, come and tell me. Let’s not make up stories just to get what we want, okay?”

Her sobs started to subside.

“Okay, Momma. Will you play with us?” She asked in one big breath.

I knelt down on the ground next to the castle.  George stood next to me and twirled his warm and sandy fingers through my hair at the nape of my neck. 

I was glad Beth was all right and that the jelly fish was dead.  What made me even more happy was to be angled back into the group.

This post was inspired by Write on Edge’s Red Writing Hood prompt. We were instructed to pick four numbers between 1 and 10. The prompt listed different topics for each number. The first number is for your character (actress), the second your setting (beach), the third the time (December) and the fourth the situation (a family emergency). Then take the four elements and combine them into a short story.

Valentine Surprises

The day’s clouds hung thick and gray.  The snow piles were old and melting and blended in with the color of the sky.  My mood mirrored the day.

I missed my Dad and Mom on that Valentine’s Day.  It was my first Valentine’s Day away from them.  I was 20 years old and had moved away the previous summer.  I had only moved a mile away!  That didn’t keep me from feeling homesick.

I remembered other Valentine’s Days, when Dad would come home from work with two surprise Valentine hearts filled with chocolates:  one for me and one for Mom.  Each year, the size of the box of chocolates grew bigger as I did.  The cellophane wrapper crinkled to reveal a little plastic rose decorating the top of the box.  The inside smelled like a combination of paper and cocoa.  The thick white wrapper that covered the chocolates and the small brown papers that held each piece were carefully kept in place even after I tasted each delicious piece.  I saved the box for months just to open it, remember how it had first smelled and listen to the paper crinkle as I played with and folded up all the little papers.

Now that I was all grown up and on my own, I didn’t expect a surprise Valentine heart filled with chocolates.  Though it was difficult, I secretly said good-bye to my Dad’s tradition.

After dinner I got busy washing the dishes, and the telephone rang.  It was Mom.  She asked me if I had gotten the mail.  I hadn’t because I had forgotten all about it.  I had been thinking about childhood Valentine’s Days.

After chatting for a while, we hung up. When I went out to the front porch to get my mail, I was so surprised and happy when I saw the very big Valentine surprise heart sitting on my pile of mail.  That was a day when I really appreciated all the love and kindness of my parents.

It’s nice to still be a little kid in your parents’ eyes, no matter how big you get!

A Few Clouds Freckled the Sky

Beach with Ferris Wheel

“I’ve never been on a Ferris wheel,” I said.  We kept holding hands even though it was a little sticky.  I didn’t want him to let go yet.  Maybe he would hold onto my hand a little bit longer.  I realized that I didn’t know when he would think he was too big to do that any more. 

“Really?” he asked.  His grip grew a little tighter as we walked across the bumpy sand.

“I don’t know why I have been so afraid to go on one.  One day I went on a roller coaster three times.  A Ferris wheel seems less scary than a roller coaster.”  I stared at that Ferris wheel.  The closer we got to it, the bigger it grew.  The sun bounced off the shiny parts as it moved.  My fear started to bubble up inside of me again.  I wondered if we should wait and go another time.

“You’re right, Mama.  A roller coaster looks a lot scarier than a Ferris wheel.  Remember when we were at home, and you were scared to go down the big slide at the pool?  That wasn’t even scary,” he giggled.

“I know!  I don’t like rides.  One year at Whiz Bang Days, I didn’t even go on any rides, but I threw up when I got home anyway, just from watching my friends twirl around on the scrambler.”

“I like rides,” he said.  The thin shadow of the wheel blocked the sun.  As we climbed inside the car, it wobbled back and forth.  We strapped ourselves in, and a man closed the gate.  We lifted up, but just enough to let the next car get filled with passengers.  The higher we went, the more we could see.  There were only a few clouds to freckle the sky; the only blemishes on the ocean were the swimmers close to shore.  We slowly circled around and around.  Not one butterfly made my stomach flutter.

“Look at the blue umbrellas,” he said.

“They’re all in a straight line,” I said. 

“Are you scared?” he asked, as he looked at my hands holding onto the bar in front of us.

“No!  This is so much fun.”

After we got off, we went right back on again!  Around we went, and towards the end I held his precious hand. 

This post was prompted by Red Writing Hood @   

The Evolution of a Coupon Clipper

Have you ever seen the TV show where people have enormous amounts of coupons and end up getting money back from the cashier when they are finished with their grocery shopping?  This show baffles me.  Friends and family see this and wonder why we actually have to pay for our groceries.  I tell them that show is not really real, even though I really do not know if it is really real or not.  I made up this explanation to defend my evolving lack of talent when it comes to coupon clipping.

When I first began clipping coupons, I looked through the Sunday newspapers.  I used to make a pile of coupon booklets and diligently go through each page and cut out all the coupons I thought I would need.  I did this even if it wasn’t right before I was going to the grocery store.  Imagine how organized I was.  I then arranged those coupons in my coupon box.  Some people have their coupons organized in categories, like produce, dairy, cereal, etc.  Okay, I used to do that a very long time ago, because I had little dividers, but I don’t anymore because the dividers ended up getting lost on purpose somewhere.

I recently noticed that since I have been clipping coupons for a while now, that I have changed my clipping routine.  Sunday is no longer designated coupon clipping day.  Any day I go to the store, I might dig through accumulating piles of newspapers just before I head out.  I grab the coupon booklets and rapidly page through them to see if there are any worthwhile coupons.  I clip some or else I just leave the booklets in the pile for me to look through next time, hopefully before their expiration dates. 

Sometimes I find coupons that are so valuable that they end up being admitted to the coupon box for future use.  Nowadays my coupons are categorized in reverse chronological order.  New coupons to be admitted to the box get to have their place in the very front.  Even as I am trying to search for new coupons, I do look through the precious box in case I find a treasure there.

Recently I have noticed that coupons are mostly for worthless stuff.  I feel lucky if I find a coupon that I can actually use.  The fact that I am not having much luck finding coupons should discourage me from even looking.  But it hasn’t.  If I did not search for coupons, I would wonder if I was missing my chance of finding a really good deal.  Yet, deep down I wonder if trying to find coupons is a waste of time.  Is the actual 25 cent coupon really worth the time spent trying to find it?  Plus all this accumulation of coupons makes it necessary to take on the task of tossing away the expired ones.

Honestly, the thing that makes me a coupon clipper is seeing how much money was saved after each trip.  I instantly look at the bottom of the receipt.  I need to know how much money was saved and what the percentage of savings was.  Even though my coupon clipping talent has not evolved to the Internet or even gotten any better over the years, putting these helpful facts on the bottom of the receipt will forever keep me clipping.

Why My Dog is a Drop Out

When we first got Lila, we realized that she probably should have some type of dog training because she didn’t even know the command “sit.”  The Animal Humane Society (AHS) offered classes at a discount for people who adopted their pets there.  So, I signed us up. 

Before bringing Lila to training, there was a class for the humans to attend without the dog.  The instructor gave tips on how to train your dog not to pull when you walk with them.  We also learned about house training and what types of products to use in case puppy has an accident on the persian rug.  Instructions were also given on what to do if your dog bites or mouths people.   

The instructor then talked about clicker training.  When dogs get used to the clicker training method, all they have to do is hear the clicker, and they start salivating.  Yum!  The classes are set up in levels.  The levels are repeated over and over until you pass onto the next level.  The humans need to bring about 100 small treats to class, and she recommended not feeding your dog before training so that they are hungry and attentive.  Everyone would get a clicker when they got to class, and she informed us that there are special bags available for purchase to store the treats. 

Lila and I were all set to go the first day.  We fed her a little bit because I didn’t want to look like a piece of prime rib to Lila.  I made sure that Lila had her gentle leader on because I wasn’t sure how she was going to react to the other dogs.  Luckily I was able to strap on my own blue fanny pack which carefully held the treats that were cut up into small bite sized pieces.

I was a little worried about bringing Lila back to the AHS because I thought she might be sensitive and maybe she would worry that I was dropping her off there for good.  I was wrong.  She was very excited to go back.  Hmm.  She knew which way to go and went up the stairs to meet the grouchy receptionist at the front desk. 

“That gentle leader is not on properly,” said the receptionist.

While the receptionist tugged and pulled the gentle leader and made sure that it was as tight as could be, she stomped back behind the desk.  It wasn’t too tight because the treats still got through to the proper receptacle. 

I barely got our names written on the name tag, and Lila pulled me into the gymnasium.  We were instructed to go back in the corner.  Treats and toys were up on a table at the opposite wall of the entrance.  Chairs lined the other three walls.  Thankfully, Lila and I were close to the watering bowl.

The trainer, Bill, came over to meet Lila.  Lila barked and panted.

“Panting is a sign of being anxious,” announced Bill.  Bill swaggered around the room with his special bag of doggie treats that obviously were better than the treats I brought because I noticed that suddenly Lila was very attuned to Bill.  Lila barked and barked at Bill.  It was if she was saying, “Come back, come back.”  It was very distracting to the class, and I was slightly embarrassed.

“Feed her treats, if she barks,” said the receptionist who was now the trainer’s helper.  I thought that might be bad to feed Lila treats just because she was barking. 

Bill came back to see Lila.  “Here are our newest members,” he said.  “I am going to pick on them,” he laughed.  Bill showed us the sign for sit.  While holding a treat in your hand, hold it slightly up from the top of the nose of the dog and slide it back toward its rear, and the dog will sit.  If the dog performs the trick properly, the owner is to click the clicker and give the dog one of the treats from the special bag.  Since food was involved, Lila caught on right away.  She sat just great.  I was so proud.

After the dogs and the people learned the sign for sit, we taught the dogs how to sit by voicing our commands.  If the dog did not listen to us, we were to use the sign.  We taught them how to sit by our side while being greeted by a “stranger” (i.e., Bill or the assistant).  The dog also needed to be able to eat treats from our hand without biting us.  Lila did this very well!  I, though, had a hard time holding onto the clicker, getting a treat out of the fanny pack before Lila forgot why she was getting a treat, and holding the leash down with my foot so my dog wouldn’t escape and tackle the treats on the table.

When the class was about halfway through, Lila decided that she had enough, and laid down to take a nap.  She must have been full, plus it was right around her bedtime.  She laid down, paws out front and yawned, her head resting on her legs, obviously bored.

The next Thursday night we did the same thing.  It was like that movie, “Ground Hog’s Day.”  Everything was repeated, except that the gentle leader did not have to get readjusted.  Lila and I stayed in the same level for about five weeks just hoping and dreaming to graduate onto the next level.  In order to pass the class, the dog has to do all these things without treats.  I knew we were doomed from the beginning. 

I helped Lila become a drop out because I rarely practiced with her.  The time of the class didn’t help either because Lila gets tired during that time of day.  I mean, how many treats are you suppose to give a dog?  All those treats upset the natural order of things, if you know what I mean.  Messy!

I guess the class was worth it because at least Lila knows how to sit on command now, and we do communicate a little better with each other.  There are still times when I think Lila could use some more training so I think I am going to go to the library and get a book.  Let me know if you have any good suggestions. 

This type of training is not all its clicked up to be.

What a Treasure is in a Book!

I have a book that has been following me around for years. First the book was in the bookcase of the house where I grew up. It stayed there for a long while because it used to belong to my Dad. The book followed me to all the places I have lived since then and now resides on a table in our home. My parents must have seen me page through the book many times, and they must have thought that I liked the book so much that I needed to have it live with me. Little did they know that I only read the first few pages several times. After that I just looked at the pictures. Sometimes kids think that there are too many words in a book.

Now that it looks like I am not a kid any more, I have noticed that there really are not that many words in this book. The print is large, and there are about 160 pages (including pictures). I thought that reading the book, The Little Swiss Wood-Carver, by Madeline Brandeis, © 1929, would help remind me about Switzerland and woodcarving, and it did.

I always knew that Switzerland was a very beautiful country from the stories that I heard and the pictures I have seen. This made me wonder why Grandpa left such a beautiful place; he never complained about living there. I know he came to America to find more opportunities.  Reading about Seppi’s life in the mountains made me realize that times were not always as good as I thought they were. Most of the wood carvings made by Seppi’s father were sold to shops in the village. The village shops were only busy during the tourist season. Seppi and his father would sometimes run out of food during the long, cold winter months when the tourists didn’t bother to visit.

The part of the book that charmed me most was how Seppi wanted to be a wood carver just like his father. He longed to go to woodcarving school, but his father could not afford it. The villagers thought that Seppi’s father was rich because he was so gifted. So Seppi secretly carved animals while he tended the goats for one of their neighbors. The way that Seppi honored his father’s woodcarvings reminded me of how my Dad felt about my Grandpa’s work.

The feeling that this book conveyed was just what I was looking for to help me write about my Grandpa. If I could write and explain how my Dad honored my Grandpa, and how Dad taught his kids to do that too, what a treasure that would be. It’s good to notice and see what has been following you around, and then figure out why you have been holding onto it for years.