Monday, November 24, 2014

Off To New Zealand!

Hey fans....

While I mainly wrote in this blog for my own amusement, it occurs to me that there were a few other people who would check in from time to time who might be wondering what happened to me.  No, I did not fall off the edge of the earth.

My dear husband and I are no longer in Boise.  We left on October 19, 2014.  We will be gone for the next two years, serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We have been assigned to serve as Area Family History Support in the Auckland, New Zealand Mission.   We will be living in Takapuna, a suburb on the north of Auckland.  We will be living about two blocks from the beach shown above.

In addition to the work we will do supporting and training those who serve in family history libraries across the top part of the North Island, we will also have responsibilities in some of the outer areas such as the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and a few other places.

I will miss my gardens, my beloved basset hound, my family and my friends.  But I am excited about this new adventure.   If you care to see posts about the mission, you can check out my other blog over HERE

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Road Trip to Stanley, ID

We have had two of Larry's sons from AZ visiting with us so Sunday afternoon we took a road trip to Stanley, ID where we had a lovely supper  at the Sawtooth Hotel (yum!) and then drove over to one of my all time favorite places - Red Fish Lake.  It was very different seeing it this time of year as compared to later summer which is when I had visited in the past.  No lush green vegetation growing everywhere, but also no mosquitoes and no crowds.  We had the entire shoreline to ourselves.   It was really quite lovely.  

Uh Oh

There is a reason I have not been posting anything lately:

Three weeks ago, while on a trip to Seattle for work meetings, I fell and broke a bone in my right hand.  I've had it in a cast and am having to learn to get by with only using my very NON-dominant left hand.  It has been a struggle.

Yesterday I had my original plaster cast removed and now am wearing a special sort of hard plastic cast that laces up tight.  I  can remove it for an hour or so each evening and do a few exercises to get movement back into my hand.

I will do this for about another three weeks and then we'll re-evaluate how the healing process is progressing.  Hopefully with some physical therapy I will get back full strength and range of motion.

For now, I'm learning lessons about patience, accepting my limitations and asking for help--none of which come easy for me.

So it goes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Review - Wild Tales: A Rock 'n' Roll Life

I recently listed to the audio book version of Wild Tales: A Rock 'N' Roll Life by Graham Nash.  I was interested in this story because music of the band Crosby, Stills and Nash (both with and without Young) was pretty much the soundtrack of my youth.  Several of my key life experiences between 15-25 come rushing back to me with uncanny clarity whenever I hear specific songs.  I played those albums endlessly and their music was often on the radio during those years.   I still listen to a lot of their work on Pandora.  So I was intrigued to learn a bit of the back story from Nash's point of view.

Frankly, it left me a bit disappointed.   I didn't care for the cavalier treatment of bad behavior.  I give Nash points for candid disclosure, but honestly, I could not help thinking over and over it is ungentlemanly to kiss and tell.   The thing about the '70s is that it was a pocket of time right after the Pill became widely accepted and before we were faced with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.   In that period of time when the baby boomers were at their hormonal peak, there was a whole lot of casual sex going on.  Then compound that with lots of drugs and you pretty much get the story that Nash unfolds.  Yes, he talks about the music and the various people he had opportunities to meet and make music with.  But over and over throughout the book it seemed more about the drugs and the sex, leaving me with an image of an old guy beating his chest with a leering grin to brag about the warrior days of his youth.  Not what I really wanted to hear.

The nice thing about listening to this book rather than reading it on print pages is that it is read by the author who sings little snatches of songs as he talks about the writing of them and what was going on at the time.  That's a nice touch.  Many times when choosing my audio books I deliberately avoid "read by author" volumes, preferring those who have invested in skilled dramatic readers....such as Will Patton reading James Lee Burke.    Just because a person writes well does not always mean they are great readers and more than once I've been distracted from the power of a story by a voice that was not pleasing to the ear.

With Nash, it was perfect to have him read his own words, both because it captured his English accent, keeping the listener firmly aware that his life experience was very much that of a guy from North of England who came to America and had this wild adventure of a life, and because of how he shares the songs that I grew up listening to.   Even  hearing just a snippet of Guinevere,  Lady of the Island, Teach Your Children, or other songs from the very source of those songs was a delight.  Learning the back story of Marrakesh Express and others was fun.

I would not recommend this book to teens, because I think it really does over glorify and attempt to justify all the indiscriminate sex with little regard to marital vows and it clearly portrays drug use in a positive light, despite the horrors of David Crosby's addictions that nearly cost him his life.   My current value system firmly rejects both of those as unacceptably destructive, so having him paint those behaviors as glamorous was not comfortable for me. Still, having lived through those years and remembering those times, I acknowledge that it is an accurate picture of how things were.   So what else would I expect?   I concede that for someone who lived the life that Nash describes, it would be nearly impossible to tell it any other way.

I find it tragic that all that excess cost a generation the lives and creativity of so many amazingly talented people who were casualties of the scene.   

The thing that comes through that I like about Nash's story is his consistent bond to the music - more than getting rich, more than being famous - it was about the music itself.   There is no question in my mind that the band Crosby, Stills and Nash created something very special and their body of work remains a treasure for us all.

The truly amazing thing is they are still touring, still making music, all these years later.  Graham Nash and David Crosby are now 72 years old.  Neil Young is 68 and Steven Stills is 69.

There is some great footage of Graham Nash's life on the show Biography which can be seen HERE.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A new favorite place

I have found a new favorite place.

I can't believe I have lived in Boise for three years and am just now discovering the beauty of this spot  One of the fabulous things about a city with a river running through it and a fairly progressive commitment to conservation is that we get places like this right in town - I pass by it all the time.  I finally decided to check it out this weekend to take my grandkids geocaching.  It seemed like a logical choice because it is just a short drive from my house and there were four different hides in the same general area so we decided to pay it a visit.

It was love at first sight.  Or was it the sounds?  The whole place is a cacophony of bird song.  We saw many different species of birds, along with bluegill, bass and, turtles.

Larry and I went back again today, this time with Morgan the Wonder Dog in tow for a nice hike.  This will definitely be a favorite spot to watch the seasons change.


Known by a variety of names, the Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve or Hyatt Wetlands, is a 44-acre haven for birds, animals, and people located on the edge of Boise's West Bench (5301 N. Maple Grove Road). It is also the site of an innovative stormwater treatment project featuring sand filters, stormwater piping, a porous pavement parking lot, Hyatt Logorestroom, an access bridge, pathways, public art, and educational kiosks. In addition, the park features environmental education opportunities with lessons taught by Boise WaterShed staff.

Monday, April 28, 2014

I stand corrected...

Many thanks to  John Fako who commented on my earlier post about Dead Nettle.   (which is the name someone TOLD me that THIS is:

John said:   "looks like yellow archangel to .me"  so I looked it up and found THIS
 Not only does this seem to be the correct identification, I now know more about this plant.

THIS is one of the primary reasons I love garden blogging.  It expands my knowledge as I reach out to a wider community of folks who appreciate plants.   It has also helped me make some dear friends right here in my own community who I would have met no other way,  like Kim and Victoria over at Our Life in Idaho.

So I own John appreciation on two counts - both for helping me correctly identify this particular patch in my gardens and for bringing me back to this blog.

Spring is exploding with color in my gardens right now. The tulips have been glorious.  I have spent more time appreciating them than writing about them.   I've got photos taken over the past two weeks, just haven't gotten any of it put online yet.    John's comment reminds me why I value this silly little blog.  I promise to be back soon!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Boise Spring Color Explosion

It is full on spring in Boise now.  Yards that get more sun than mine have tulips blooming all over town.  I'm not jealous.  Mine are a couple weeks behind nearly everyone else's, but they will be worth waiting for.  Besides, once April hits we get plenty of color to keep us happy.   The old adage says "April Showers Bring May Flowers".   For us it is almost always March rains that bring the blooms in April, so we are a full month ahead of the rhyme.

This spring will be particularly special for me, as it is the last one I will have here for a while.  Come fall my husband and I plan to leave home for about two years to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   We have a lot to do to get ready.  One of the big things on that list, however, is to savor every day we can here and build memories of our sweet home in Boise.  I know we will miss it.  But I am just as sure that I am ready and excited to serve.

Friday, April 4, 2014

What I'm Reading - And the Mountains Echoed

I am currently listening to the audio version of  "And the Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini  I have previously read both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid sons, and have enjoyed Hosseini's work immensely.  So it comes as no surprise that I've feeling totally captivated by this book.

This book is described over at with these words:
"...a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page."

I have been very touched by the characters that Hosseini creates,  and as with all of his books feel his deep sense of honor for Afghan culture even while recognizing the parts that may seem brutal.

I like the way this book takes us around to different parts of the world, showing how inter-connected we all are and how are choices continue to send ripples of consequences for generations.

This is a rich, well written book that may become one of my favorites.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I do not like heights.   Perhaps I should rephrase that.  My entrails turn to jelly if I am any higher than 3 steps on a ladder.   So you can imagine my trepidation watching the guy who is up in our 50 foot pine trees.

These trees were planted about 30 years ago.  They are not particularly attractive, and they are far too close to our neighbor's fence.  Before the trimming started, there were branches all over our roof and the neighbor's roof  (of their 2 story house).  They constantly shed needles and pine cones and keep me from being able to grow much of anything in that part of the yard.   So we finally decided it was time to take them both down.

We had several different companies come give us bids on the job.  One guy said he would not take the work for any price - too risky so close to the houses.  Another guy quoted us a price that would have paid for a vacation to Italy.  We had one other guy come out last year who started the job, but clearly he was not prepared for trees this big.  We called it quits with him after a huge section of limb went flying and mangled  the gutter and shingles on the edge of our house.  It took us a full year to get the courage to try again.  This time, however, I think we've found the right men for the job.

I recently signed up for "Nextdoor",  a private social networking site that is specific to neighborhoods.   People use it to let folks in their neighbors know about services that are available, report lost dogs, give warnings of any suspicious behavior to be wary of, and other news relevant to a particular section of town or housing development.  Through that I learned about Mountain Tree Service.   Robert came out to take a look at the job and gave us a more than fair quote.  So we made an appointment that was two weeks out.

Today is the day we were scheduled to have him begin working on this tree removal.  However, I thought he might call to reschedule since it has been raining all day.  Everything is soaking wet.  But no - true to his word, he showed up, right on schedule.

So far I've been pretty impressed with his concern for safety and his respect for my surrounding plants.  Both he and his helper are being as careful as can be reasonably expected to lower big pieces down so they don't just fall and tear up the yard.

I'm excited that these two monster trees are finally going to be gone so I can plan something different for that section of our back yard.  I love trees, but those two will not be missed.

While Robert does the high tree work Brandon manages the ropes and clears brush
Great team work!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Boise Spring Unfolding

Days have continued to grow longer and we have been blessed with some good, soaking rains.  The combination of the two is working wonders in my gardens.   Here is what I have right now:

I love these vibrant fuchsia azaleas.  I have two big shrubs, each nearly five feet tall.  They are just beginning to open up and will be the highlight of my back yard for the next week or two.

I'm already beginning to wonder if I was out of my mind to plant Bishop's Weed.  It truly is invasive.  However, it is doing exactly what I wanted - completely filling in an area where not much else was growing.  It has pretty leaves and grows so densely it chokes out everything else - even the weeds.   I just have to do some take-no-prisoners trimming back a couple times each summer to be sure it does not spread to the areas where I don't want it.  For now, I'm really enjoying it.  But I have quite a big patch from having just planted a few sprigs I got from a neighbor.  This is truly a Borg of a plant, trying to take over my yard.  They say it is great for public spaces or yards of people who want something that looks nice even though they can't get out to do any work in it.  I'm counting on this baby to be my serious ground cover when I get to old and infirm to keep up with the maintenance I do now.

My Bleeding Hearts are coming along nicely.   I had to move one because we are getting ready to take down two 50 foot pine trees and I didn't want to risk it getting smashed.  But it seems to be doing well in its new home.  All the ones I have right now are the pink variety.  I'd like to get a couple white ones to add to them this year - especially if I follow through on my ambition to plant a moon garden.

I've had my big yellow daffodils blooming for a while now, but this week I've started to see a few other varieties appearing.

My Pulmonaria is starting to put out its multi color blossoms.  I love this plant and look forward to it every spring.  I have a whole chain of them that circle one of the few pine trees we are keeping.  

I planted these white Scilla just last year and wasn't sure how many of them would survive the squirrels.  I've been very pleased to see groupings of them popping up in all sorts of places.  

This sweet forsythia has been moved three times as I keep renegotiating the layout of my gardens.  I think I've finally found a spot for it to stay.  I need to keep in mind that although it's only a couple feet tall right now, over the next few years this thing will grow taller than the fence if I let it.  I am trying to keep an eye to the future as I decide which plants to introduce and where to put them.

My hyacinth bulbs are pushing out fat buds and will soon be opening to full color.

Another shade lover is my Brunnera  I have a couple different varieties.  I like the variegated ones with the lovely white stripes on the leaves, but this Jack Frost is always lovely as well.

Week by week I enjoy watching different things emerge and learning about each plant.  I am reminded of walks I used to take with my grandmother on the ranch in Oak Creek (Arizona).  She could name every single thing that grew on their property - even the weeds.  I admit I am not as enthusiastic come summer when days turn hot and my gardens compete with other interests.  But in the spring time there is simply no other place I would rather be.