Saturday, December 15, 2012

Idaho Aquarium

My beloved and I had an opportunity to go to the Idaho Aquarium recently.  It's not very big, but what they do have is well presented.   Just one more reason to love living in Boise.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Heart at Half Mast

With much of the rest of the country and the world, my heart is breaking today  over the senseless slaughter of children in Connecticut.   Like many, I tend to have a visceral reaction over the death of children.  But any death by violence, no matter what the age, is a a hurtful thing for which I  mourn.  I am wracked with sorrow for each of the families affected and for every person, especially the children,  who feels less safe in the world as a result of this mean, despicable act.  My mind reels at the wrongness of this tragedy.  Though I may not be personally acquainted with any of the families who lost loved ones today, an atrocity like this wounds us all.

Still, I try with all my might to hold on to the words I wrote to a friend on 9/11/2001 in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon building in Washington DC.  Those same words seem to apply more than ever today.

This is what I said back then:

My thoughts are with you on this awful day - when the world seems to be coming unglued.  I feel the need to reach out to those I hold dear to be sure the people I love are safe.

The tragedies of the the terrorist attacks in New York and DC were awful, but in a way the impact was made even worse by all the endless talk and images on the news, playing the horror over and over again.  I was torn between feeling the need to be informed and needing to seek balance in the type of energy I surround myself with.  Throughout the day I would check in with what was happening, but then I would turn it all off- take deep breaths, put on soothing music, pray, and look out my window into the beauty of the clear blue sky.

I kept reminding myself that every single day we choose where we will focus our hearts, minds and hands.  No matter how much the world may say "the sky is falling", and even indeed when all hell does break loose, each one of us has the opportunity and the responsibility for our own response.  We can get caught up in the current of the chaos or we can stand our ground - and remember to experience and express kindness at levels that take effort and commitment.  Our world needs that energy right now more than ever.

I am not suggesting turning our eyes away to avoid having to deal with the awfulness.  I believe it is important that we recognize the full scope of this and other horrors in order to respond in an appropriate way.  Only by letting ourselves truly know it is there can we reach out to do anything about it.  However, I am convinced that as individuals we can acknowledge the pain, yet still hold on to peace in our own way.  While the images of this awful attack were so prominent in our vision today, every day there are hundreds of people in the world who are dying from starvation or hunger related diseases.  Every day there are families ripped apart by AIDS, cancer, violence, natural disasters.  Every day there is pain and horror and anguish.  We just don't generally have ourselves bombarded with the deaths.

Just as every day there is tremendous pain in this world, every day there is beauty, laughter, kindness, peace.  I choose which of these I will focus on.  I do not have to be an ostrich hiding my head in the sand to choose peace.  I can see the pain and horror.  I can know of its reality.  My heart can reach out to those being affected in compassion, and when appropriate I can reach out to take action.  But even in the face of very real catastrophe,  sunsets and flowers, a baby's smile and true acts of generosity and tenderness between friends and strangers are just as valid and just as real.  I choose which to hold on to.  I choose kindness.  I choose peace.

Even when my heart is breaking for this sad, sad day I choose to remember we are God's children and we are blessed.  I will not allow myself to be consumed by rage.  I will grieve.  I will give blood.  I will donate to the Humanitarian Aid fun of my church.  I will look for ways to reach out.  But through it all, I choose peace.

I will remember all my many blessings.

One of them is you.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bobcat near Boise

My sister-in-law and I went to McCall and back yesterday to pick up some stuff that was needed and enjoy a nice drive through the mountains.   The fall colors were ever so lovely and the colors of the ever changing sky were stunning as snow began falling above Jughandle.   As usual, we saw the typical wild life on the way - deer, hawks, pheasants, etc.  However, when we spotted this guy sitting in a field around 55 and Dry Creek we were very surprised.  The photo doesn't do much to show scale, but this cat was BIG.   I've heard there are bobcats around, but this is the first one I've seen.  Amazing animal.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Autumn Color

After I got off work these evening Larry and I took Morgan the Wonder Dog out for a walk along the the Boise River greenbelt.   It was a lovely evening soaking in the autumn color show, listening to the crickets chirp and ducks quack and smelling the crisp fall air.  The pictures really don't do it justice.  I absolutely love this time of year.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Birthday in Baker City

Outside Photo of the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City from City Data

For my birthday this year my beloved took me to Baker City, Oregon.  We had a great hike up in the Anthony Lakes area then came back into town for some really good Mexican food and a romantic night in a scrumptious suite at the historic Geiser Grand hotel.  Built in the 1800's to be "the finest hotel between Salt Lake City and Seattle" it's still a pretty classy place.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sizzlin' Summer

 Here we are now nearing mid-August.  It seems nearly the whole summer has swept past without me posting at all in this much neglected little blog.  I was so busy living my life that I didn't take time to write much about it.

However, there were many fine days spent in gardens, among other adventures.  One particularly sweet time was a garden party at the home of Kim & Victoria of  Our Life in Idaho in early June.  My beloved and I had a delightful time perusing their lovely flowers and very much enjoyed conversation with other garden lovers.   (The photos immediately above and below were taken at their place.)  I fell in love with their feather lilies and am determined to find a spot to put some of those when I plant new bulbs this fall.

In May we spent a couple days at Shore Lodge in McCall.  I needed to be there for a work conference.  Since my sweet husband is now retired he was able to come with me and then we extended our time with a weekend at my brother's vacation home there for some fun on our own after my work obligations were over.  We found several geocache and enjoyed some nice walks, good books, and did a bit of fishing.  (The trout tacos were wonderful!)


Over Memorial Day weekend we did our traditional venture to Utah for a reunion of my husband's family.  Then in June I went to Lapwai (very small town on the Nez Perce Reservation near Lewiston) for five days as part of a multi-disciplinary team doing a community review.  I learned a lot in the process and enjoyed seeing some beautiful country on the ride up there and back.  The many canola fields were particularly beautiful.

Then the following week we went to the Seattle area to commemorate a "celebration of life" for an uncle who had died.  While it is always sad to lose one of our clan, it was a peaceful passing of a man who had lived a long and productive life.  Also, there was a lapse in time between his passing and when the service was held, so it was more celebration that sadness for most of us.  It was great to see all the cousins.  We spent two nights with one of my cousins in Tacoma and had a wonderful visit there.  Since my brother rode over with us we did a detour on the way home to see the waterfalls and hike some trails along the Columbia Gorge which was delicious.

In July we made a trip back to Athena, Oregon  where we used to live before coming to Boise.  We went to hear the homecoming talk of a young man we know who had just returned from an LDS Mission in Botswana.  We also got to take in some of the festivities of the Caledonia Games, an annual event celebrating Scottish heritage.  There were bagpipe players and Scottish dancers, Clan booths and fair food.  There were big strong guys in skirts (ok, they were kilts) throwing huge heavy things in some sort of competition I never could quite figure out and of course the ever popular sheep dog trials. 

We mostly enjoyed cruising through the many yard sales that are always abounding on that weekend, and found a few treasures.

It was great to see all our old friends from church when we attended our former ward in Milton Freewater, where we had been members of the congregation for about eight years.  One sad thing - We went by our old house in Athena and were disappointed to see the new owners had torn out all the beautiful flowers we had planted and replaced it with lawn.  It's their house now and they can do whatever they want, I suppose, but heart breaking to see after all the love and work we put into that landscaping - even winning a "Yard of the Month" recognition from the town.

At the end of July I went to San Antonio, Texas for a week for another work conference.   I got to see the Alamo and did some early morning walks in the park behind the convention center which was really nice.

As soon as I got back from that trip I turned around and left again to go to Idaho Falls for meetings over there.  I was ever so grateful to my road warrior husband for his willingness to do all the driving.  As long as I had to go it was nice he could accompany me so we could enjoy each other's company on the way.

Between all that travel I had my hands full with an 8 week online instructors class (professional development stuff for the community college work I do) that took way more hours than I had anticipated.   I spent MANY a night working into the wee hours of the morning learning new tools and re-crafting the learning units I will be teaching from this fall.  

But even with all that going on we found time to have some fun day trips - such as the time we went with our good friends the Knams to Celebration Park, Idaho's only archeological park.  We enjoyed exploring all the different rocks with pictograph art carved into them who knows how many years ago and speculating on their purpose and meaning. 

   Afterwards we went on to find several different geocache in various spots - including one that took us to an old cemetery in the desert that was interesting to wander through.   

Throughout the spring and summer we've hosted several pot luck gatherings - one for our neighborhood,  one for my Spring semester students, and several for friends of ours from our church.  

So I guess it really is no wonder I didn't do any blogging.   Life continues to be rich and full and interesting.  As much as we could,  we enjoyed getting out in the gardens, savoring each phase of our flowerbeds.  We've also had great success with our veggies again this year, getting loads of snow peas early on and now being inundated with heirloom tomatoes, fresh garlic, Walla Walla sweet onions, and squash.  I've been making lots of fresh pico de gallo which has been absolutely scrumptious.

All I can say is that it's a darn good thing the whole yard is set up with automatic sprinklers because with us coming and going as much as we have, it would all die if it had to depend on us dragging hoses!