Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/30/17: (4000th Post), A Bed!, Watts Shopping, Naps and Snacks

(I created kellogg bloggin' back on October 1, 2006, inspired by articles I'd read in the New York Times over the previous few years about weblogs. I thought a blog might motivate me to write more frequently. Before long, I discovered Clare Law's blog, Three Beautiful Things. I discovered that people around the world were writing within this structure, so I decided to give it a try. I've also participated in other writing and photography projects with other people. I used to contribute to the now defunct Sunday Scribblings and my sisters and I have written nearly two hundred sibling assignments and done several sibling photography assignments.

I bring this up because I am about to write my 4000th post here at kellogg bloggin'. I've had some periods when I fell off posting to this blog, but, for the most part, I've remained committed to doing what I set out to do: write something daily.)

1.  The Deke and I sat down and made a serious attempt to chart out what we want to get done around the house and when.  At the top of the list? Buy ourselves a bed!

We did that today. After much deliberation at the Furniture Exchange, we purchased a queen bed and it will arrive next week.

2. We are also planning to buy a gas range and a smaller refrigerator.  I realized that in all the years I've lived in the Silver Valley and in all the years I've visited, that I'd never been to Watts Appliance in Pinehurst.  We sauntered in. Sherri greeted us and provided us with copious knowledge about gas ranges, refrigerators, and range hoods.

I stepped aside at one point and glanced at the historical pictures of Pinehurst hanging on the wall and wanted to spend more time studying them and remembering the Pinehurst of 40 and more years ago. We knew we wouldn't be making a purchase today, but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Watts Appliance.  Sherri gave us a lot to ponder in a most friendly and helpful way.

3.  Back home, the Deke and I finished the leftovers from last night's dinner and we both collapsed into long naps. I guess shopping for a bed and looking at appliances exhausted us. The sleep revived us and before long we got the hummus, cheeses, corncakes, crackers, cream cheese, and fresh ground chili paste back out and enjoyed a dinner of snacks.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/29/17: Errands in CdA, Mad Bomber Brewing, Cheese Plate and Angus Tips

1. The Deke and I decided to nail down some errands in CdA: I got the Sube's wheels retorqued at Costco; we shopped for a few things at Costco; then the Deke picked up a picture she'd had framed at Michael's, a picture that has been in her life for sixty years; we bought some things at Fred Meyer, including a bottle of red wine, Effie's Crispy Corncakes, and three small chunks of cheese from the Murray's cheese counter.

2. In between Michael's and Fred Meyer, I introduced the Deke to Mad Bomber Brewing in Hayden. We ordered an eight beer flight with samples of everything from porter to red ale, rye ale to Oktoberfest, and black ale to IPA. The beers are bold and flavorful -- I especially enjoyed the Oktoberfest, the Scotch Ale, and the porter and loved my return engagement with the Fatman IPA.

3. Back in Kellogg, the Deke and I enjoyed a cheese and cracker plate, including hummus and some saltines topped with cream cheese and fresh ground chili paste, imitating a sample the Deke tried at Costco -- the sample was on a rice cracker, but we loved it all the same on the saltine. Later on, we had a delicious dinner. Costco sells Mission Hill Bistro Angus steak tips, carrots, and potatoes with gravy. I enriched the gravy by adding some red wine and we ate this over white rice. We each enjoyed a small bowl and left ourselves another meal for Monday.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/28/17: Bernie's Funeral, The Reception, Dinner with Jake and Carol Lee

1. I spiffed up late this morning and vaulted into the Sube and lit out for the Wallace Elks.  I climbed upstairs for the Elks Funeral Service in celebration of the life of Bernard (Bernie) Mattern.  I never met Bernie, but Bernie is Byrdman's father-in-law and I went in support of Byrdman and Stephanie and in gratitude for the Mattern cabin up the North Fork of the CdA River where I have spent and will continue to spend blissful afternoons and evenings with Byrdman and the extended Mattern family. The family has always received me openly and generously and Bernie was the Mattern patriarch.

2. As grow older, I have also learned that funerals afford all of us the opportunity to see longtime acquaintances and friends -- and sometimes I haven't seen some of these people for decades. Such was the case today. Now, I've seen Mary Lynn in recent years and we are Facebook friends, but it had been forty-five years since I'd seen her husband, John, as well as Wallace High grads Rob Gillies and Jerry Keane. I've seen Dan Carrico up the river, and it was fun to talk to him and to see his and Byrdman's brother-in-law, Tim.  Diane Hogan (KHS Class of '72) tends bar at the Wallace Elks and during a lull in the action, Diane and I slipped in a stellar conversation.  I ended my stay at the reception sitting with Byrdman, Stephanie, members of both of their families, and Rob Gillies. I learned a whole lot from Rob about his son's business in Eugene and a group of guys he hangs out with at different Silver Valley watering holes on Fridays.  I hope to catch them one afternoon at the Inland Lounge.

3. Once I returned home, the Deke and I piled into the Sube and glided out to Rose Lake for dinner with Jake and Carol Lee at their home on the lake. Carol Lee poured us each a Dark and Stormy made with black cherry rum -- that was fun -- and we gabbed for a while and then sat down to an epic dinner.

Carol Lee served rotisserie pork roast and cooked apples, a potato casserole, roasted butternut squash, cauliflower, and delicious bread rolls. It was a superb meal, paired perfectly with a blended red wine from Columbia Crest. A slow glass of Kahlua and half and half on ice topped it off perfectly.

We did a little more yakkin' and kept an eye on the World Series. We relaxed like this until about 8 o'clock when the Deke and I hit the road and returned to Kellogg.

We had a great evening for which we are most grateful.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/27/17: Tires Rotated, Midtown Deli, Kellogg Boys at Corby's

1.  I took the Sube into Costco in CdA this afternoon and had the tires rotated. I killed forty-five minutes looking around, eating a few samples, and trying to get the layout of this store affixed in my mind.

2. I went over to Byrdman's house and we drove to Post Falls and each ate a sandwich at Midtown Deli, a drive up sandwich shop housed in a little hut I associate with coffee stands. We sat out in the sun, enjoyed our food, and got our serious afternoon and early evening of yakkin' underway.

3. Byrdman and I headed over to Corby's. After a while, the proprietor Dave Corbeil (aka Corby or Big Pappy) sauntered in his joint and yakked with Byrdman and me for a while. A little later,  more Kellogg boys strolled in: Lars and Jake joined us and then Stu came in and Tony Rinaldi came over to our table to say hello. It's a lot of fun to sit around and chew the fat with guys I've known for nearly as long as I can remember and to enjoy the stories as they fly around the table.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/26/17: More Home Pictures, City Park Photo Spree, Exquisite Lager at Radio Brewing

1. Once again, I took some pictures in and around the house. I'm enjoying taking pictures again after a long layoff and it's especially fun to photograph the light and shadows in the back yard. I'll post pictures at the end of this post, including one of our house -- some readers of this blog have asked me to do that.

2. I needed to go to Yoke's for a few things and turned my outing into a shopping spree and photo spree. I parked in the swimming pool parking lot and with October light shining through the brown, red, and yellow leaves, I took a bunch of pictures of leaves and experimented with some out of focus shots -- they failed -- and with a shots where I opened my aperture as wide and nearly as wide as possible.  My inner jury is still out about the softness of these shots. I like that these pictures look less like the leaves we see with our own eyes -- it makes them a little more abstract. I'm going to live with these shots for a while longer, try some more of them, and maybe one day I'll arrive at a conclusion about how much I like this approach.  I love the bokeh the wide aperture produces.

If you'd like to glance at the pictures I've taken the last couple of days, I put everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly, in my flickr albums.  The pictures I took Wednesday and Thursday are here, here, and here.

3. The engineers over at flickr.com have been repairing problems the last day or two and today they seemed to have at least temporarily repaired what was broken. I was able to (slowly) upload pictures and create albums of my last two days of picture taking which allows me to more readily work with pictures on my Chromebook.  While I was working on this, Christy arrived and told us about the photo session she and Everett had in (or near) Osburn. They will have pictures to send out at Christmas now and to keep for other purposes.

The Deke and Christy went over to Jane's next door to look at all the work she's had done on her house. I joined them, looked around, and then the Deke and I needed to return to the store to buy what I forgot. On the way, we decided to take a detour to Radio Brewing.

I sat at the bar and realized I'd never tried their Golden Age Lager. It's one of the most pleasant, light, and tasty lagers I've ever tried. The Deke had made a fox ears hat for one of the owners, Ashley. Ashley was wearing it when we arrived and she was stoked. The Deke had a great time yakkin' with Ashley and Becky and I spent time in quiet bliss sipping on the exquisite lager in my glass.

Then Fitz came in and Becky introduced us and he and I got to yakkin' about the Milo Creek project, his work on the County Commissioners board, the Dodgers of the 1970s and early 80s, and about people he knows after living here for over twenty years who are people I've known since I was a kid: Abbie, Cas, Mountain Man Miller, and others.

Great stuff.

Here are some pictures, beginning with Mom's/our house:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/25/17: Sprinklers and Hoses, Guests for Dinner, Home Pictures

1. The guy came today to blow out the sprinkler system and I seized the moment and brought the garden hoses indoors.  Well, I brought one hose indoors. The no-knot floppy hoses that jump all over the place if I'm not holding them when I turn on the water? May they rest in peace. They went in the garbage can.

2. Next door, Mike is taking care of Jane's house while she is traveling in Italy. Tonight we hosted dinner with Mike and Christy and Everett. The Deke took over the kitchen and fixed a dynamite meatloaf and she baked all but one of the remaining potatoes Ed bought in Montana. The Deke also made a delicious celery, radish, apple, walnut, and blue cheese salad. Mike lived in the Silver Valley about forty years ago and stories about the good ole days and conversation about the beauty of places to go in North Idaho flew around the table.

3. Earlier in the day, I broke out my camera for the first time in months. To shake off the rust, I decided to focus on trying to take pictures of Maggie and Charly indoors and took pictures around the back and front yard outdoors. I'm also accepting the challenge of posting a black and white picture each day on Facebook, so I took some pictures that I hope are worthy of the challenge.  Here is a sampling of the pictures:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/24/17: Fillings and Blood Draw, Fall in Spokane, Chowder for Dinner

1.  First thing this morning, I took a little jaunt down the block to Bird Family Dental and spent about an hour enjoying the friendly and careful work of Dr. Bird and his assistants while they worked together to enhance my dental health with a couple of fillings. When I was younger, I dreaded going to the dentist, but over the last twenty years or so, I've worked with dental hygienists and dentists and their assistants who have not only made going to the dentist painless, but their manner and good work has motivated me to take increasingly better care of my teeth and gums.

I arrived home, got my blood draw kit together, and dropped in on the fine people at Shoshone Medical Center where my monthly blood draw for the Univ. of Maryland Transplant Center went smoothly. I left feeling very happy.

2. The Deke and I piled into the Sube and motored over to Spokane Valley to check out the Value Village on Pines and Sprague. It wasn't quite what the Deke was looking for and we decided not to go to any nore vintage or thrift stores. We drove down Sprague into Spokane and gawked at all the reds, vermillions, and golden tones of the great variety of turning trees, especially on the South Hill, and stopped for a stroll at the majestic Manito Park.  We wrapped up our day in Spokane with a short visit to Paradise Fibers, the Deke's paradise, for sure. It was fun to drive both aimlessly and purposefully around Spokane and to admire its beauty on this flawless autumn day.

3. The Deke and I have been talking a lot about purchasing some kind of cast iron soup/stew/chowder utensil. We stopped at Fred Meyer in CdA to buy some raw shrimp and other items in support of a potato, shrimp, and corn chowder recipe we wanted to try out. We also visited the kitchenwares and decided to buy an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.

Once home, I dove into preparing this evening's meal. I peeled and chopped a couple of the huge potatoes Ed gave us on Saturday. I did my best to chop the potatoes and the celery and onion into small pieces and I minced five cloves of garlic. Next I peeled the shrimp, put a tablespoon of butter in the Dutch oven, and cooked the shrimp, then set them aside. I then built the soup, step by step, cooking the onion and celery in more butter, adding flour and garlic to the mix, pouring in chicken broth and the potatoes and paprika, boiled it, let it simmer and then added the corn and let the mixture simmer some more. The last step was to add the half and half, Old Bay seasoning, and chopped shrimp and heat up the chowder. I loved how our new Dutch oven performed.

We served the chowder with slices of artisan bread. We loved the layers of flavors and the texture of the broth. I am especially fond of fish soup and loved the way the liquid from the shrimp harmonized with the chicken broth, half and half, paprika, Old Bay, celery, onion, and the garlic.

Next time I make this soup, I'll let the potatoes cook a little longer. The recipe calls for Yukon Gold potatoes and I'll use them next time. They might cook quicker than the russets we used. Following the recipe left the russets slightly undercooked. It was a small flaw in our otherwise deeply satisfying chowder.

Want to try it?  The recipe is right here

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/23/17: Notebooks and Changes, Mowing, Taking Notebooks Uptown

1. Moving to a new place with a different cost of living and figuring out retirement income takes some time and figuring out what changes we want to make in the house in the short term all required the Deke and me to spend some time with spiral notebooks and pens, writing down numbers and lists. We've moved from sorting out Mom's belonging to sorting out our new life.

2. I hadn't run Mom's lawn mower for a few years because Paul and Cosette had taken over the mowing duties. Well, this afternoon, on this clear, fresh, bracing  gold and vermillion autumn day, I decided to see if I could run the machine and mow our too long neglected lawn. I figured out how the grass catcher comes off and on. I figured out how to prime the engine. I knew how to pull the cord to start the mower and, after a few tugs, the mower came alive and I spent the next hour or so mowing rectangles in the back and front lawns. It turned out to be quite a workout for me and, when I finished, I ate a bowl or two of the delicious improvised rice salad the Deke made and lay down with the book, Facing Ali. I finished the book and my reward for mowing the lawn was a welcome and restful nap.

3. At first I didn't think I wanted to join the Deke uptown in advance of her Monday night Beer Ed class at Radio Brewing, but I thought how fun it would be to sit at a table with our spiral notebooks and continue our conversation about our living situation and finances and the near future. So we went uptown about an hour before the Deke's class started and continued to map things out, made some decisions, left some things on the table, and enjoyed a snack of smoked salmon flat bread.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/22/17: Hauling, Reward Nap, Family Dinner

1. On Saturday, I cleared out the storage closets. Christy and Carol sorted the items. Today, I took them out of the house. I made several trips up and down the stairs, more trips out to the garage, and, three times, I loaded up the Sube and went to St. Vincent dePaul's in Osburn twice and made one trip to the county dump. Now the upstairs is cleared out. The main floor is cleared out -- and, if not 100%, it's very close. I know I have a few odds and ends to take care of in the basement. The last project will be to sort out and move on Mom's different items in the back yard and the front. We started on this project in the summer, but we still have some things to make decisions about.

Slow and steady. We are gettin' there.

2. This afternoon, all this work caught up to me. The Deke and I shared a plate of saltine crackers, salami, sharp Vermont cheese, Oregon blue cheese, pickles, pepperoncinis, and Kalamata olives. Then I changed into my nightwear and collapsed into bed. My legs were rubbery from all the trips up and down the stairs and all the hauling of boxes, rugs, pillows, medical supplies and other things out to the garage and then to the Sube. I fell into a deep and hungry sleep, a satisfying sleep, a reward for getting a lot of good work done.

3. Tonight Carol hosted our Sunday family dinner. She fixed boneless and bone in baby back ribs with two different sauces, a cabbage ramen salad, roasted root vegetables, and a gluten-free and white sugar-free apple honey upside down cake. We all loved this dinner and enjoyed lively conversation before dinner with a hot apple brandy drink and the good yakkin' continued as we ate. After dinner, the Deke gave Paul another quick guitar lesson -- I'm starting to wonder if these lessons will be an ongoing part of our dinners on occasional Sunday nights. We'll see. The Deke is a superb teacher, by the way.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/21/17: Moving Day, Storage Closet Success, Party Time in Kellogg

1. It was a roaring day in our house today. Paul and Carol and Christy came over and before too long Paul drove off in Everett's truck with the double bed from upstairs and the dresser from the downstairs back bedroom and other smaller items from around the house.  Later, Carol and Paul hauled Mom's rolltop desk over to Christy's. I was going to go to the dump, but since Paul was going and had the truck, he took our stuff with his. I, on the other, hand swung by Carol and Paul's and added things to donate to St. Vincent de Paul's to ours in the Sube and made a quick trip to Osburn to the donation center.

2. Growing up in this house, maybe the two words I dreaded the most were "storage closet". This house was constructed with deep narrow storage areas, crawl spaces,  just under the roof on the north and south sides of the house.  Mom packed both of them with tubs of Christmas ornaments and lights and garlands, boxes of stuffed animals, a vintage wedding dress, old board games -- like Pass Out and Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, a box of newspapers featuring world events like the Kennedy assassination, the Gulf War, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the bombing of Baghdad and other events, old luggage, purses, and hats, and more.

I vowed today to move all the tubs and boxes and other items out of the storage closets. Luckily, it's cool outside. In the summer, the storage closets were thick with heat, seeming to be twenty degrees hotter than outside.  But, I was on my knees a lot, crawling to reach into the far ends of these closets to pull out boxes of pictures, a stack of books, boxes of used and unused greeting cards, the back brace Mom hated, and other things.

I succeeded. With the double bed and two rocking chairs out of the upstairs bedroom, I had plenty of room where I could put the storage closet things so Christy and Carol could sort through them, take what they want, decide what to donate to the Baptist Church's Christmas decorations sale, and decide what goes to St. Vincent de Paul's.

And, to my great pleasure, filling me with gratitude, Christy and Carol both came over in the early afternoon, completed their tasks, and now I know what to do with the things that were in the storage closets.

Yes, physically, we cleared out a lot of things today.

I also felt psychologically cleansed and relieved.

It's remarkable how much these things pile up in a house and weigh on my mind.

3. The Deke and I started our party soon after 4:00 up at the Inland Lounge where the Deke got to meet Eddie Joe, Bucky, Bucky's wife, Debbie, Bird Legs, and his wife Gloria. We drank a little Maker's Mark in honor of Debbie's deceased (2009) brother David's would have been 59th birthday which fell on the 19th of October.  We also got in some solid yakkin' and jokin' around with Cas. The joint was rockin' and it was a blast to be in on the party.

Then we walked up to Radio Brewing and split an order of fish and chips. Stephen and Cedris came up to the bar where we were seated and encouraged us to think about subbing in the local schools.  The Deke has definitely thought about doing this and I gave it serious thought for the first time listening to Stephen and Cedris. I had vowed, when I left LCC, to be done with teaching, but who knows? Maybe I'll give subbing a whirl. I'm unsure.

Christy had texted us, inviting us to Best Shots. We accepted and walked back to the car down on McKinley Ave. and glided over to Best Shots. Soon we were joined by Ed, who not only wanted to see us, but also brought me and the Deke a plastic bag of potatoes, each spud the size of the 1969 VW Bug I bought from Bob Svingen Motors back in 1972.  They are beautiful potatoes and will be fun to cook.

Wow! What a day! What an evening! Family, friends, food, memorializing David, more family! Moving, donating, sorting, partying: having a ton of fun in our new hometown of Kellogg, Idaho.

We are loving it here.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/20/17: Slowly and Steadily, Session at the Inland Lounge, The Deke's Way is Great

1. I buckled down this morning and did a little math and arrived at how Mom's assets should divide out between Christy, Carol, and me. Carol dropped by to sign some papers regarding the transfer of a grave plot Dad owns in Spokane and she had, independently of me, done some math of her own and our numbers essentially matched. We are still waiting to be able to deposit a couple of Mom's assets into her estate account. I'm very happy that the three of us agree on this division. 

Carol went to Wallace to transfer the title of Mom's car into her name and neither one of us had the legal acumen to realize that I, as the estate's personal representative, would be the one to release the title. So, Carol got the necessary paperwork in Wallace, drove all the way back to Kellogg, presented me with the papers to sign, and she drove back to Wallace and submitted the papers. Carol is now the rightful and legal owner of Mom's 2009 Chevy Malibu.

Slowly, steadily we are learning more about closing out an estate and we are getting it done.

2. I enjoy going up to the Inland Lounge just as it opens on Fridays and Saturdays at 3:00. It's usually not too busy and I can get in some yakkin' with Cas. I had a good session today for about ninety minutes. I enjoyed drinking a throwback favorite -- in fact, a favorite of Dad's -- VO and water, and not only did I get in some good banter with Cas, but had another fun time listening to Doug "Bird Legs" Burmeister tell me more tales about, among other things, bowling trips to Reno and Las Vegas, his observations of his mid-ninety year old parents, and what he sees as the prospects for the 2017-18 Kellogg Wildcat boys' basketball squad -- Bird Legs likes their chances to do really well.

3. Back home, the Deke got out some computer printing paper and a ruler and drew a diagram of our kitchen, with special emphasis on the cupboards and drawers and mapped out, in writing, what we will put in each one. She also cleared stuff off the walls of the stairs going into the basement. Her charting of the kitchen is a work of genius. Her plan is logical, increases the convenience of our kitchen, and will help us be even better organized.

Not only did the Deke work this out, she also prepared a spaghetti squash baked with ground sausage and Swiss chard. Christy and Everett joined us for dinner and we were all mightily impressed with the Deke's cooking and our meal.

I am staggered, in the best way possible way, by how much energy the Deke has for cooking, playing music, and other projects around the house now that she is retired. I have always loved to cook and was stoked over the last several years to do the cooking for the two of us, but now we are both cooking and getting other tasks done and it's mighty fun working together on these things.

It's especially fun to eat the Deke's cooking again: she's really good at it.

I mean, really good.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/19/17: Surprise Visit to the Dentist's Office, More Papers, Guys on the Road

1. Around 8:00, I was just getting ready to dive back into tasks when my phone rang. Kathy down at Bird Family Dental had a cancellation and so a spot opened up for me. I got myself organized and walked a block down Cameron Avenue and before I knew it, Kathy was x-raying my teeth and polishing and cleaning them.  When I lived in Maryland, twice I was in Kellogg when I needed my six month check up and saw Kathy. I am very happy that Kathy will be my regular hygienist now. Not only is she someone I've known for many years, but she's the best hygienist to ever treat my teeth. She's calm, personable, thorough, meticulous, unhurried, attentive, knowledgeable, and straight forward about any problems she sees and talks about them in a frank and even manner.

2. While Kathy was treating me, my cell phone rang. Debbie from Attorney Mike Peacock's office called to find out if I had the warranty deed for Mom and Dad's house. Well, it just so happened as I was spending those several days sorting through Mom's papers that I came across it and, for once, I was smart enough to do the right thing and not to put it in the shred pile. I kept it out, figuring it might be of help when it came time to transfer ownership of the house. I also knew, and this is the real miracle, right where I'd put it, so, when I returned home, I dug out the warranty deed -- marveled at the fact that it is fifty-five years old --, filled out the inventory of Mom's assets, and delivered them to Mike Peacock's office.  Waiting for me at his office was a letter to the Shoshone County Sheriff, telling the office that the Deke and I live in this house and that a transaction is underway for us to buy it. This letter will allow us to prove our residency when we go to secure an Idaho driver's license.

3. The Deke went on a series of errands to Osburn and Kellogg. One task was to mail the papers needed for my sisters and me to make a claim on a small life insurance policy Mom held for sixty-one years. Getting the forms and death certificates and everything in order for this task wasn't a huge deal, but an unfamiliar one.  Thankfully, I called the company the other day to make sure I had the papers we needed in order and learned that I had been missing one form. I filled it out. The Deke served as the disinterested person confirming that all was in order and now the papers are off to Michigan.

These tasks involving paperwork always take a lot out of me and I assumed the prone position for a couple of hours on the couch this afternoon -- I'd also been up since 4:15 a.m -- and napped and rested.

The Deke and I marked the end of another day of making progress by going to Radio Brewing for some late afternoon beers and I enjoyed yakking a little with some guys in their twenties or so from Pennsylvania and Ohio who were on a road trip across the country -- possibly they were looking for America (I forgot to ask them). One of them had the last name of Kellogg, so they decided they had to stop, come uptown, and check out this little brewery in this small town.

Radio Brewing blew them away: they were awed by what a great environment Ashley and Fred have created in the building and they loved the beer. 

The Deke roasted us a couple of chicken thighs with chopped baby potatoes and cubed squash for dinner. It was perfect.  I, then, turned in early, around 8:00, satisfied with the day, looking forward to getting more accomplished on Friday.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/18/17: Morning Business, Fun in CdA, Double D Pils with a Taco and Soup

1. I buckled down again this morning and took care of more business related to Mom's estate. I called the Woman's Life to make sure I had everything in order to make a claim on the policy Mom held and learned I had one more form to complete.  I'm glad I called.

I went to Wells Fargo where Mom banked and with the help of Cynthia, closed her accounts and set up an estate account.

I had a couple or three questions for Attorney Mike Peacock and took a break from my work with Cynthia to talk with him and I think I understand how the process toward settling things and how dispersing Mom's assets works.

Being the executor -- or personal representative -- of Mom's estate is a solemn responsibility and I am doing my best to make sure I do right by Christy and Carol as we work together to figure things out.

2.  By 11:00, I had completed this morning's business and so the Deke and I slowly but surely got ourselves ready to go to Coeur d'Alene to have a little fun. We were going to take care of some business there, but since we got off to a late start, we limited our activities to poking around in a couple of thrift stores and an antique shop -- we came up empty, by the way --, a walkthrough at Pilgrim's Market so the Deke could get a sense of the place and we could buy a few things, and doing a little shopping at Fred Meyer.  In a moment of spontaneity, the Deke dropped in at Bear Paw Quilting to buy what she needs to sew some placemats. We had fun taking our time, letting the spirit move us as to what we'd do next, and relaxing at these different stores.

3. We fully relaxed at Daft Badger. I ordered a short pour of the Double D Pilsner, named after and brewed in memory of Daft Badger co-founder Darrell Dlouhy's recently deceased brother Duane. It's a great beer. On the one hand, it pays homage to Duane's love of Coors Light by being light in alcohol volume and bitterness, but it deftly departs from Coors Light by being a much more complex and full flavored beer. For me, it was the perfect beer to drink with the very tasty order of spicy beef tacos the Deke and I split and the bracing cup of chicken tortilla soup I ordered as a side. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/17/17: Tasks, Working at Stein's, Green Curry and "America"

1.  I spent the better part of the day on the phone making appointments: gutter work, furnace tune-up, attorney, dentist, eye exam, bank, and on and on and then entered them all in my online calendar so I'll get reminders and notifications. My sisters and I have a claim to make on a small life insurance policy Mom took out many many years ago and I gathered documents for that and will call the company Wednesday morning to make sure I have everything they need to process our claim. Our family owns a grave plot in Spokane and I gathered the paperwork necessary to send it in so we can transfer ownership of it, by donation, to Hospice of North Idaho. Slowly, steadily I'm getting things either done or underway in the effort to both settle Mom's estate and get established in Kellogg.

2. I needed brown sugar to make our dinner tonight and I wanted to replenish our milk and half and half supply. I put on my backpack and strolled down West Cameron Avenue to Stein's. Every time I walk into Stein's, it's all I can do to stop myself from going to the back room and putting on a red apron and going to work stocking shelves, bagging and carrying out groceries, cleaning up breakage, incinerating boxes, or reorganizing the stock room. I walk in and still, forty-eight years later, expect to see Sally or Beryl or Vi or Olivia or Susan or Bernice or Donna or other checkers working the cash registers; I still expect to see Chuck over at the Customer Service counter or Gus butchering away in the meat department; I think of the great guys I stocked shelves with: Meryl, Dickie, Dale, Jim, Rob, Terry, Tim, and many others and I swear, as I picked up a pack of brown sugar from the baking aisle, that I could hear the voice of Sally coming over the store's sound system: "All boxboys up front please!"

Today Loverboy was playing as I shopped, a stark contrast to when we worked to an endless loop of Muzak that repeated -- what? on the hour? every two hours? Back then, when I got off shift I had to do something to get the Muzak out of my head. Sometimes I piled with Tim O'Reilly into his Datsun and he drove us through town once or twice and we listened to Neil Diamond or I'd go home and find a way to play some Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Led Zeppelin or Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Walking by the beer case reminded me of the time a customer walked up to me and asked me where the suds were.

I escorted him to the Tide/Cheer/Wisk aisle.

He got a little indignant and said, laughing at me, "Beer. Where's the beer?"

My face reddened.

That stung.

Still does.

When I shop at Stein's.

3.  I needed the brown sugar because finally, after too many months of not doing it, I cooked up some Thai green curry. Last week I bought tofu, fish sauce, green curry paste, and coconut milk at Pilgrim's Market in Coeur d'Alene.

I loved finally making Thai curry again. I cubed the tofu and wrapped the cubes in paper towels to drain. I looked up in past blog posts for a reminder of the ratio I like of curry paste to coconut milk and, oh yeah!, we like our curry on the mild side and one teaspoon of paste for each can of milk suffices.  Well, I tasted this and it seemed a bit too coconutty to me, so I added about a half a teaspoon of paste and seemed to hit the mark.

I heated up oil in the cast iron pan and poured in chopped onion and some fresh ginger. Soon I added the tofu. I boiled some cut up baby red potatoes and, once I could poke a fork in them, I added them to the pan along with a handful of frozen green beans.  Meanwhile, the jasmine rice was cooking and I added a tablespoon of fish sauce and brown sugar to the coconut milk and curry paste and let it simmer until the green beans thawed.

I poured the curry sauce over the stir fired ingredients and sat down at the kitchen table with a tiny cheese spread jar that held a single ice cube and a some George Dickel Tennessee Sour Mash Whisky and listened to Simon and Garfunkel sing "America" and I thought about how the last three years living in Maryland, driving the New Jersey Turnpike to New York (but not countin' cars),  hanging out in the Village and Lower East Side with Scott, talking about her social justice work with Mary at Fraunces Tavern in Lower Manhattan, seeing two plays with the Deke on Broadway, drinking Jameson's with bottles of Dirt Wolf with Mike and Ed at O'Hara's after going to the top of the One World Trade Center, touring Philadelphia, walking the National Mall, shopping at the Beltsville Costco, eating and drinking and listening to stories with employees of the Prince George's County School District, frequently spending Sunday afternoons at DC Brau, driving to Cooperstown and, much later,  the back roads of Pennsylvania to officiate Julie and Curtis' wedding in Huntingdon, motoring along the Maryland Eastern Shore, along with the many other things I did, added up to this: I was looking for America. I looked along the Chicago River, in the emptied out pre-apocalyptic mall in Elyria, OH, in the faces of cheerful patrons at the Laughing Sun Brewing Co. in Bismark, in the music of The Babes with Axes, and, back in Kellogg, I now look for America in the stories I hear at the Inland Lounge, the cast iron pots and pans at Sunnyside Drug, and in family dinners on Sunday.

The curry turned out beautifully and the Deke and I were both happy that we have found the right products here in North Idaho to fix curry we like. We look forward to more.

I concluded as Simon and Garfunkel closed out their performance of  "America" at Central Park that, for me, the best way to look for America is to let all of its variety and languages and landscapes tell me, teach me what America is. I haven't gone looking to confirm a predetermined idea of America.  The America I look for is not an idea. It's what's there.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/16/17: Slow and Steady, Afternoon Stroll, Walking Uptown on Memory Lane

1.  The Deke and I are working steadily at trying to get all the business taken care of related to living at a new address, helping out with Mom's business, and continuing to make decisions about the house itself. We made progress today -- more address changes in the mail, added more tasks to our list, worked more on figuring out the finances of being retired. We keep encouraging each other that we'll get it all worked out and done.  Slow and steady. That seems to be the key.

2. The Deke and I took a walk on this golden and scarlet autumn afternoon down to Cattails Antiques just to look at stuff -- like cast iron products and then we popped into the newly remodeled Sunnyside Drug where I looked at more cast iron products. We found the mailbox outside Stein's and mailed out a stack of address changes, post cards for the grandchildren, and our electric/gas bill and returned home. Neither of us has been out walking much in the past few weeks. I know all my exercise has been from loading boxes, gathering Mom's belongings, and filling garbage bags and hauling them places. I've doing this since late July when we started dealing with Mom's basement and garage and the many weeks have put a strain on my back. The good news is that walking helps ease that strain -- I'm sure flopping around at a pool would, too.  We didn't take a long walk this afternoon, but it was a gorgeous stroll and physically therapeutic.

3. In fact, I enjoyed that short walk so much, I took a longer one this evening. The Deke meets up with other women in the Valley at Radio Brewing for beer, conversation, and a class on the subject of beer and at about 7:30 I strode out the door and walked the quiet streets and the many lanes of memories of Kellogg. It's about a one mile walk with a hill to climb from our house to Radio Brewing. It's essentially the same walk I used to take many mornings and evenings to Kellogg Junior High and back. It's essentially the same walk I used to make to go to the YMCA. This evening, however, I wasn't carrying my baritone horn case nor my books and homework papers nor was I carrying a gym bag. What I did carry, though, is the same thing I carried uptown as a teenager: my thoughts. When I was in junior high, I had a lot on my mind and I usually walked to school and to the YMCA by myself and I thought about a lot of things: friends, life at home, sports, where I fit in, my fears of failure, who I feared, who were my buddies -- and I dreamed a lot about playing basketball and baseball -- I imagined a lot of heroic moments. I didn't dream about being a sports hero this evening. Those days are gone. But, I thought a lot about the Deke and me and this huge change in our lives and continued to believe that we'll figure things out and, possibly, before too long, have a bed of our own to sleep in.

This walk was also good for my back.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/15/17: We Can Print!, Family Dinner, Paul and the Deke Play the Guitar

1. This morning I took our new printer out of the box. I prepared our two old HP laptops to have the software downloaded on them. Then, for the next six hours or so, I fiddled around trying to get each computer to work with the printer. After much trial and error and without really understanding what had gone wrong when the two computer and device wouldn't work together, I succeeded. We are back to having printing capability in our home, along with copying -- next up, I'll work to figure out how the scanning function works and nail that down. By the way, the trouble I had today perplexed me: I have connected several printers and computers in our home over the last ten or eleven years and never had a problem until today.

2. Carol, Paul, Everett, Christy, the Deke, and I are going to have regular family dinners on Sundays -- we won't do it every Sunday, but we will get together often.  The Deke and I hosted dinner tonight and we put our collective skills to work to create a pretty solid dinner. I seared chicken thighs, took them out of the cast iron pans, and put chicken broth, water, and jasmine rice in the pans and brought the liquid to a boil. I then put the chicken back on top of the rice and liquid, covered the pans, and let the rice and chicken cook together. When they were done, I took the chicken back out again and mixed black beans with the rice and topped it with cilantro. I had fresh squeezed lime juice ready to mix in the rice, also, but I forgot to include it. It was one of those days -- so, now, I'm eager to make this One-Pan Chicken Thighs with Cilantro-Lime Black Bean Rice again -- and I'm curious how it will taste with the lime actually included!  Curious?  You can find the recipe by clicking right here.

The Deke roasted Brussel sprouts and a medley of baby carrots perfectly -- without a recipe!

3. We settled into the living room for some conversation after dinner. We are having another moving day this coming Saturday when Carol and Paul, with help, will transport more of Mom's belongings to their house, opening the way for the Deke and me to buy our own bed and set it up.  The Deke and Paul got to talking about playing the guitar. Paul is pretty much self-taught and so is the Deke.  She got out her guitar and showed him some techniques he might consider giving a whirl. I think it's very possible that they will get together from time to time and continue to build on their guitar skills.

A footnote:  The Deke has had out her guitar and played and sung more music since we moved to Kellogg nearly three weeks ago than she did the whole three years we lived in Alexandria and Greenbelt.  Retirement is treating the Deke well.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/14/17: Errands and Daft Badger, Tales at Radio Brewing, Chocolate and Cheese Party

1.  The Deke and I hopped into the Sube and struck out for an afternoon of errands in CdA. Mom's papers are securely locked in a bin ready to be picked up and shredded. A picture we love is being framed. We bought the goods for tonight's party at our house and for family dinner tomorrow night. We capped off our running around by splitting a chicken with mango salsa sandwich on a brioche bun and each having a cup of deep and rich goulash soup at the Daft Badger. This food was superb. I'd never tried Daft Badger's Hoppypotamus Pale Ale, so I had a couple short pours and I enjoyed what an expertly balanced beer it is. The payoff for me was in the slight sweetness -- the brewery's web page tells me it's a caramel undertone -- that complements the beer's pleasant hoppiness.  The Deke was very happy with her Fresh Hopped IPA.  I tasted it and agreed: great stuff.

2. Back in Kellogg, we made a quick stop at Radio Brewing and had a quick blast of fun and great conversation. We talked more with my Orofino cousin Lura's former neighbor, Sara.  Meredith told us the adventurous tale of how she and her family uprooted themselves from Maupin, OR and went on the road in search of employment and a new place to live and landed in Kellogg where her husband is the chef at Radio Brewing.  Meredith manages the tap room. Two of the Deke's new friends from the beer class she attends strolled in and so did Ashley, who owns the joint with her husband, and that meant more fun conversation.

3. Back home, I set up our party for Christy, Everett, the Deke, and me. I bought and broke up four bars of Moonstruck Chocolate at Fred Meyer along with a bottle of port wine, small blocks of Chocolate Stout Cheddar and Oregon Blue Cheese, both from Rogue Brewing's creamery and a small block of Long Clawson Wensleydale with Cranberry; I set out a gala apple sliced; I plated crackers, pepper crackers and Effie's Homemade Corncakes,  delicious cornbread crackers with a hint of anise. I've never set up a chocolate/cheese and port wine tasting before so I don't know if this combination of things might seem clumsy to those who know what they are doing, but for the four of us it was all fun and tasty. We sat around the kitchen table and yakked and had a fun time with the variety of flavors. Next time, maybe I'll read up a bit on this sort of thing and see what it's like if I half way know what I'm doing!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/13/17: Papers, Good Talk, Saturday Plans

1.  This morning I went through Mom's papers that she had stored in her closet and in her desk. I held out some more recent records and found more items to include in the family history archives located at Carol's. Unless some papers pop up out of a secret drawer or Mom has papers in the upstairs storage closets, all I have left to do now is to take about four boxes worth of old tax returns, cancelled checks, medical records, receipts, and other papers to a shredding service. This project also rendered about eight bags of materials like file folders, envelopes, and documents that I deemed not sensitive for the dump and I took them up there early this afternoon.

2. I picked up Ed around 2:00 and we made a trip to the Coeur d'Alene Casino. As always, it was the yakking on the way down and back that was the most fun. I told Ed about the projects that lie ahead for the Deke and me as we slowly work to transform our new house from being Mom's into being our place and he had some very helpful suggestions for guys in the Valley who might be able to do some of the work. In fact, he called one of them and I hope that guy and I can get things going.

3. Our trip to the casino was a short one. Neither one of us tried to buy our way out of lousy luck so I was home early in the evening. My early arrival back home gave the Deke and me time to talk and we decided we have a lot to do tomorrow in Cd'A and around the house. We also decided it would be fun to buy some chocolate at Pilgrim's Market and some port wine and invite Christy and Everett over after dinner for some sampling and the accepted our invitation.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/12/17: Shred Prep, Donation in Wallace, From the Outer Limits to Cheese and Wine

1.  Mom kept three or four boxes of receipts, tax returns, contracts, and other papers in the basement stretching back to the 1950s. I went through these papers today and now I have a sharper understanding of what Mom and Dad earned in their jobs through the years, what kind of a mortgage they took out in 1962, when the kitchen remodel happened, when the basement remodel happened, and a host of other things. Those papers are all ready for shredding now and my next move will be to go through Mom's papers in her desk and closet.

2. The Deke and I loaded up the Sube with medical supplies Mom left behind. Some of the supplies were left over from her hospital stay a year ago, others from her stay in the nursing home, and others were things that helped Mom live more easily in her house. We donated these supplies to the Shoshone County Women's Resource Center in Wallace, an agency administered by Kellie (Turnbow) Lavigne. I've known Kellie since the day she was born as our family and the Turnbows were close friends, so it was a great visit, not only in the charitable sense, but also because the Deke and I spent some time talking with Kellie and getting a tour of the facility she oversees.

3.  The Deke and I have been accomplishing a lot these last few days.  Yes, there is much left to do, but we keep chipping away and our list of things to do continues to shrink. After we dropped off the supplies at the Women's Resource Center, we dropped in at the City Limits Brew Pub for some beer, some sweet potato fries, and some first-rate conversation, ending with a fun chat with Mark Burmeister, the original brewer, an owner, and the day to day boss at City Limits.  I used to occasionally drink coffee in the morning at Johnny's Bar in Smelterville with his dad and a group of other men. Mark told me both his mom and dad were doing pretty well for being in their mid-nineties -- in fact, they'd just been in the joint earlier in the day.  Mark also got a kick out of the fact that Mary Idell West Woolum, in all innocence and without joking, used to call his business The Outer Limits. Now, the Deke and I always, with each other, refer to The City Limits as The Outer Limits.

We moved our party to Radio Brewing where I thoroughly enjoyed their Brown Ale. We returned home and I broke out the small blocks of Stilton and Hunstman cheese I'd bought at Pilgrim's Market and we ate off of a plate of cheese, pepper crackers, saltine crackers, sweet pickle chips, cherry tomatoes, and Kalamata olives. I had read that these cheeses paired well with port wine, so I bought a short bottle on Wednesday and we both agreed that the blue sharpness of the Stilton and the creamy nuttiness of the Double Gloucester (the Huntsman combines the two cheeses) was greatly enhanced by the sweetness of the port wine. What a blast!  

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/11/17: The List, Pilgrim's Market, Beer and Dinner with the Deke

1. I have a long list of things to do. Moving to a new state, moving into a different house, being the executor of Mom and Dad's estate requires a lot of tasks ranging from inventorying Mom's assets to getting an Idaho drivers license with all kinds of things in between like continuing to move things out of the house, figuring out repairs and improvements and furnishings, and getting back into a medical routine. I made some progress on these things and, with each item on the list that gets done, I breathe a bit more freely.

2. The Deke attended a knitting group at a yarn store in Coeur d'Alene that knits scarves for vets and I decided to use the time to scout the beer, wine, produce, groceries, and other goods at Cd'A's Pilgirm's Market.  The store strongly impressed me. I went straight to the beer section. They stock premium beers in great variety and sell create your own mixed six packs (unavailable in Greenbelt, Maryland!). They also serve draft beer and fill growlers. I didn't buy any beer today, but I will one day.  I bought some strong cheese and a little bottle of port wine for the Deke and me. I I picked up some curry making items. I got a block of tofu, some Nancy's yogurt, and a few other things. My plan is to be loyal to Yoke's and Stein's here in Kellogg, but to drop into Pilgrim's from time to time to supplement our pantry with what I don't find in Kellogg.  The baked goods at Pilgrim's looked awesome and so did their grill and deli and I saw some probiotic fermented carrots, jala and cabbage, under the brand of Cultured Mama, made in CdA, that also looked delicious.

3.  After my study of Pilgrim's Market and making a few purchases, I picked up the Deke and we headed over to Slate Creek Brewing and I enjoyed a superb pint of Rye IPA. Slate Creek's tasting room is cozy with cement floors and concrete walls. It reminds the Deke and me a little bit of the tasting room at DC Brau and we love it. We also enjoyed a bowl of peanuts in the shell. The Deke and I fell into some superb conversation and wanted to continue it, so we plopped down at the short bar (or as we call it, thinking table) at Daft Badger and I was blown away by the sweet, peaty, smoky, slightly bitter beauty of Daft Badgers Scotchy Scotch Scotch Scotch Ale.

The Deke and I arrived back in Kellogg before it was totally dark and the Deke went right to work making bacon, parmesan cheese, and cherry tomato blended with spaghetti squash. We each heated ours up a bit with Frank's RedHot and enjoyed a thoroughly delicious and deeply satisfying dinner.

I think we'll be ready to get back to the list on Thursday!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/10/17: The Committal, Lively Lunch at Radio Brewing, Improvised Soup

1. Christy, Everett, Carol, Paul, the Deke, and I met Debbie Mikesell this morning at Kellogg's Greenwood Cemetery to join together in prayer, a hymn, and Scripture as we committed Mom's ashes to Dad's grave, just as she requested.

We gathered in the soft light of October in the midst of golden trees.  The Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer provided us with beautiful passages and prayers, which I read, including a Prayer of Consecration and a Prayer of Committal. I read Matthew 11: 28-30 ("Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden. . . "). Carol led us in singing two verses and the chorus of the hymn "The Old Rugged Cross", one of Mom's favorites.  I read Psalm 148, a perfect hymn of praise. I am very grateful that back in August, Christy had recommended this Psalm for Mom's service and that we all agreed to carry it forward into our final farewell to Mom.

We closed with a prayer that the peace of God might take hold in our hearts and minds. I hope Christy, Carol, and I can be of quiet mind in the days and weeks to come, even as we continue to be faced with many tasks in the aftermath of Mom's death. It will be tempting to let our minds race, to feel overwhelmed by what is left to do, and to succumb to worry and apprehension. I pray the peace of God will prevail.

2. We lingered for a bit at the cemetery, talked a bit more about the Celebration of Life and said farewell to Debbie Mikesell and thanked her for all she's done to help us with everything related to Mom's cremation, Celebration of Life, and final committal.

Then we piled into our vehicles and wound our way to Radio Brewing for lunch together.

It turns out that a Radio Brewing employee named Sara used to live near Lyle and Lura in Orofino. Now Sara and her young daughter, Ava, live in the Silver Valley and Sha'lea, our server, brought Sara out from the kitchen so Christy could tell her that her friend Lura is our cousin and had just been in Kellogg for the weekend. It was a very fun "all roads lead to Kellogg" moment.

Over lunch, we all started talking a bit about the future -- when will we have family dinners? Shall we do them on selected Sundays? Who will be in Kellogg for Thanksgiving? How adventurous do we want to get with Thanksgiving dinner? Do we want to go to the Univ. of Idaho for a Vandal football game? When do we want to see the next two performances at the Sixth Street Melodrama?

It sounds like some fun times lie ahead.

3.  I surveyed the icebox late in the afternoon and I started to imagine a soup, maybe one that tastes similar to what might be served in a Chinese restaurant. I poured some sesame oil in the bottom of a pot, heated it up a little, and added chopped green onion and a few cloves of finely chopped garlic. I added chopped red pepper and a few chopped mushrooms and some chopped broccoli. Ah! We have a small chunk of red cabbage -- chop, chop, chop. After a brief saute, I poured a couple quarts of chicken broth over the vegetables along with a couple shakes of soy sauce. As the soup simmered, I beat two eggs in a bowl and folded them into the soup while fixing some jasmine rice. I poured the cooked rice into the soup pot, added a couple pinches of crushed red pepper and the Deke and I sat down at the kitchen table and enjoyed my pot of improvised soup. I'm happy to say that the soup I imagined before I began preparing it turned out to be the soup we ate.  Ah! Success!

I haven't been cooking much over the last month and it was deeply satisfying to spend some time chopping and cooking and, well, to create a tasty result.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/09/17: Monday Sabbath, More Reading, Committal Preparations

1.  I started today thinking I'd get to work on legal and house business matters. Then I reversed myself. I mostly rested and slept all day.

2. Each time I went into the back bedroom to lie down, I read more of Facing Ali: 15 Fighters and learned more about boxers like Joe Frazier, Henry Cooper, George Chuvalo, Brian London, and others. For each, their fight (or fights) with Ali had a sizeable and mostly positive impact on their lives, although other aspects of George Chuvalo's life are terribly grievous and Joe Frazier's experience with Ali deeply embittered him.

3. Tuesday morning, Christy, Carol, the Deke, Everett, Paul, and I will go to the Greenwood Cemetery overlooking Kellogg and pray over Mom's ashes and Dad's casket, consecrate the grave site, read from Scripture, enjoy a hymn ("The Old Rugged Cross"), and say our last farewell to Mom as she is committed to her final resting place. The one productive thing I did today was get the readings, prayers, and short grave site service in order and make sure it all was acceptable to Carol and Christy.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/08/17: Rest and Sleep, Up to Wallace, The Airport and Wings

1. After saying farewell to Lura, Lyle, Cathy, and Derek, I loved resting and sleeping in the early part of the day. It all hit me today: the sorting, packing, and hauling in Maryland; the drive across the USA; the sorting, packing, and hauling once back in Kellogg; preparing for Mom's service with Christy and Carol and putting it on; the excitement and joy of spending time with the many visitors we've had since moving to Kellogg. I read about the Chuck Wepner/Muhammad Ali fight in the book Facing Ali: 15 Fighters.

2. I was rested and refreshed when the Deke and Patrick and I piled into the Sube and struck out on
I-90 and headed to downtown Wallace, Idaho. The Deke was looking for a silver ring, I was looking for a tasty beer. Patrick was looking for the center of the universe. We all succeeded.  I especially enjoyed my 5 oz pour of Wallace Brewing's Strong Ale. You can see a picture of Patrick both being and standing at the Center of the Universe below.  I have no photographic evidence of the Deke's new ring.

3.  We continued our tour of the Silver Valley with a beer and some food at Radio Brewing. The Deke had figured out a different knitting technique and Paige was very interested in having the Deke explain and demonstrate it. I'm not bilingual.  I don't speak knitting. I cannot tell you what the new technique is. Then it was off to Spokane to drop Patrick off at the airport and bid him farewell -- I hope not for long. The Deke and I got back to Kellogg in good time and we decided to crack open one of our precious cans of The Wings of Armageddon Imperial IPA that we brought with us from DC Brau in the Capital of America and split it. In the best sense possible, this beer wrecked me with love and nostalgia and helped ready me for a full night's sleep.

Here's the Deke's picture of Patrick in Wallace:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/07/17: Breakfast at Sam's, Wild Tales at the Inland Lounge, Family Stories and Song

1. Terry, Nancy, Ed, Jake, and I sprang into action at 8:00 this morning and got together to yak and eat some breakfast at Sam's. Among other things, we started to look ahead to our upcoming get together in Pendleton in November and told some good stories about travel and what else is coming up for us. It was a good session. I bid Terry and Nancy farewell. They were heading back to Portland via a visit to Jake's place on Rose Lake. On my way home, I thought for a while about how I wasn't preparing to leave to return to Eugene or Maryland or anywhere else.

It's sinking in.

I live in Kellogg now.

2.  Cas opens the Inland Lounge at 3:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. I decided to go up and see him right at opening time to have a couple glasses of Pennsylvania's finest, Rolling Rock, and to thank him for coming in early Friday afternoon, on the spur of the moment, and opening the Inland Lounge early for the herd of us who wanted to get together in his joint after we left the reception in Carol and Paul's back yard.  After a bit, a longtime acquaintance and good friend of my Dad's, Doug "Bird Legs" Burmeister came in for a drink and he regaled me with a string of funny stories about my dad, Mike Turner, and a bunch of guys he used to go on booze drenched road trips with from Wallace to Missoula and other places.  Once again, listening to Doug, I realized what a tame life I've led. I'm reminded of this time and time again in Kellogg when friends tell me stories about all kinds of escapades. I almost never have a funny, wild tale to tell, but I sure enjoy hearing what all these other guys were up to. It might still be true, I'm not sure, but things could get pretty wild in this valley thirty, forty, and more years ago.

3.  Lyle, Lura, Cathy, and Derek had been up to the Snake Pit and when they got back, they joined Patrick, Christy, Everett, the Deke and me for a few rounds of drinks and some major league yakking in our living room. I will admit that yesterday, late in the day, the combination of travel across the USA, continuing to clear out Mom's belongings from the house, trying to get our house set up,  the preparations for Mom's Celebration of Life, the putting on of the service, the excitement of the reception, the thrill of our get together uptown, and the family dinner afterward all got to me and I was tired. But, I rallied a little bit in my own quiet way, enjoyed little flight glasses of the Sheaf Stout and Irish Death that Don Knott gave me Friday afternoon, and learned more about my family through the many stories that swirled around the room.  The Deke touched us all when, by Christy's request, she brought out her guitar and once again sang "Simple Gifts/Lord of the Dance", just as she did at Friday's service.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/06/17: Celebration of Mom's Life, Party at Inland Lounge, I Was Spent

1.  At the end of the Celebration of Life that Carol, Christy, and I planned and that we, along with the Deke, Zoe, Cosette, Molly, and Paul carried out, Christy, Carol, and I greeted each person as they left the church. Each person expressed gratitude for a service they all thought did our mother proud and one they told us she would have been proud of.

I agree.

Our family and friends entered the church as a wonderful playlist of music that Christy selected and uploaded to her i-Pod played.  Zoe, Cosette, and Molly touchingly sang a favorite song of Mom's, "Inscription of Hope"; Christy delivered, with strength and clarity, a moving tribute she wrote, built around the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, "Land of Counterpane". Her tribute honored Mom's caring nature as our mother. The Deke played Paul's guitar and beautifully sang her own arrangement of "Lord of the Dance/Simple Gifts", another favorite of Mom's.  I gave the eulogy.

Paul and Carol then joined together to stirringly sing "In the Garden" combined with "Church in the Wildwood".  Carol introduced their singing of these favorite hymns of Mom's by tearfully telling us about singing hymns with Mom outside at the nursing home and how she and Paul sang to her during the evening of August 16th until about 10:00 p.m., only to learn shortly after they left her that Mom had died.

The service closed with a slide show tribute to Mom and her long life and people filed out of the church, accompanied by the playlist music they'd heard coming in.

Christy's tribute to Mom is here.  My eulogy is here.

2.  Many people drove over the Carol and Paul's house after the service to raise a toast to Mom and to have some time to yak.

My friends from high school were out in force -- over a dozen attended the service and the reception and our 1969-71 basketball coach, Larry Curry, was also there.

At the reception, I suggested we all go to the Inland Lounge when it opened -- but Byrdman declared that that was too long to wait and so he got a hold of Cas to see if Cas would open his bar early.

He would.

He did.

So for a happy bunch of us who graduated from Kellogg High School, along with our spouses and other family members, the party moved to the Inland Lounge and the spirits, both out of the bottle and from our hearts, flowed freely.

And I got some gifts. Cas had a bag of books for me to read and Don Knott gave me a couple of premium bottles of beer and a Heidelberg beer cap, in honor of my dad.

People who hadn't attended the service streamed in all afternoon and I saw many, many long time friends.

This was one of the happiest afternoons of my life.

3.  I returned later in the afternoon to Carol and Paul's house for a family dinner. I was spent, in a good way. I ate some food, did some socializing, but the Deke, Patrick, and I left this party a little early.  As is often the case with me, I was ready hit the sack earlier than others. I let the many joys and reunions of this day wash over me as my head hit the pillow and I went right to sleep.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/05/17: Patrick's in Town, Relatives Arrive, Tech Check

1. The Deke and I vaulted into the Sube and raced to Spokane International Airport and when we arrived, lo and behold, there was Patrick standing under the Alaska Airlines sign. He hopped in the car and we descended into Spokane for lunch at Iron Goat Brewing. I felt like I was in Maryland again as I sipped my Back East IPA and I was very happy with my sweet potato curry served with brown rice.

2. Patrick bought a jacket at Kohl's near Sullivan Road and we blasted back to Kellogg where the Baugh contingent of relatives started to stream in. Lura and Lyle had arrived and before long Devon, Jaycey, Judy, Angie, Cyndi, and Dean arrived, then Paul and Zoe, and, later, so did Derek and Cathy. The Deke and I served Costco lasagne and Christy brought over a chopped salad and an olive tray and we had some tomatoes fresh out of Christy's garden.  We aren't quite moved into our house, but no one seemed to mind as the place was abuzz with stories and memories of Mom.

3. I went over to the church to join Paul and Zoe as they got the tech side of things ready for Friday's service. I feel comfortable with my microphone and was happy to see that things were working out with other tech details. The Deke came over and to get a feel for the room and decided to use Paul's guitar for the song she'll sing. It looks like we are in pretty good shape -- the goal with tech is always the same: no one notices it's being used because everything goes right. I am hopeful that the no one will be even thinking about the church's tech system Friday morning.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/04/17: Writing is Done, Furniture Exchange Memories, Party Time in Kellogg

1. After the Deke and I said farewell to Laura and David, I sat down and finished writing the eulogy and the prayers for Mom's Celebration of Life on October 6th at 11:00 at Mountain View Congregational Church across the street. I got a lot of help writing this from things Christy and Carol have said and written to me and from reading what many people wrote on the many cards we've received over the past several weeks and the comments people post online at the funeral home website. If you'd like to read Mom's obituary just go here and you can read the condolences people have posted, here.

2.  The Deke and I sauntered over to the Furniture Exchange here in Kellogg to start looking at beds and furniture we might one day buy to furnish our new house. Pat Elfsten owns the Furniture Exchange, as did his father, Don, and I've known Pat since we were at Sunnyside Elementary School -- he's two years older than me -- and Mom had done business with the Furniture Exchange as far back as I can remember, all the way back to when the store was on Mullan Avenue near Division Street. Mom bought paint, couches, chairs, dining sets, desks, big appliances, and all kinds of other things from the Furniture Exchange, but my favorite purchase of hers was when she bought me my first new bicycle, a red Rollfast whose brand name I took literally as I sped on that bike all over Sunnyside, over to the swimming pool, and, with Bruce Walker, on the yet to be paved lanes of the new freeway that was being constructed. Bruce and I rode our bikes up the Hill Street ramp down to the Bunker Avenue ramp and not once did anyone working on that new freeway intercept us or tell us to get off the site. It was exhilarating.

3.  After I picked up my dry cleaning, the Deke and I headed up to Radio Brewing with the idea we would talk about our visit to the Furniture Exchange. We immediately got sidetracked, however, by a woman in her late fifties who lives on a hilltop outside of Cataldo and who told us all about her life in the various places she's lived and how she and her husband landed in North Idaho.

A little later, Becky, who usually only works on Tuesday, came on shift because Trivia Night would be starting around 6:30 and a full house was expected.  Becky had a little bit of time on her hands and she explained her work as an epidemiologist and how her work takes her on the road and how she does a lot of it remotely, by computer, from Kellogg. Her research and work doesn't involve talking with people around Kellogg. She moved here because she loves it -- and she has a part-time gig at Radio Brewing.

The Deke and I decided to move the party down to the Hill St. Depot Pub for some smoked meats and ordered street tacos and chicken Caesar salad. When we  walked in, Harley Birchmeier was at the bar, celebrating his last day of work, and man was he happy! We got settled in and Brian Moore introduced himself and his wife Crystal to us. I've known Brian's mom and dad forever and went to school with his older brother, Butch. I hardly knew Brian so I appreciated that he introduced himself to us and I enjoyed getting caught up on what's happening with his parents and in his life.

We capped off our evening at Christy and Everett's and admired the flowers Christy bought for Friday's Celebration of Life and shot the breeze for a while.

We came back home excited about how much fun we had, again, meeting and talking with people in Kellogg and enjoying good food and good beer.

So far, retirement seems to be working out okay for the Deke.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/03/17: Clear House and Clear Mind, Maggie's Great Escape 2, CdA and Guests

1. I wrote much of the first draft of the eulogy I will give at Friday's Celebration of Life for Mom. My head finally cleared enough to get going on it thanks to clearing so much out of the house over the last several days. After I came to a stopping place in composing the eulogy, I took one more car load of donations to St. Vincent de Paul. That's it until next week. I know Christy, Carol, and I have other items to sort through upstairs in the storage closets and I'm sure some other things will pop up that need to be moved on, but I am now past the point where clearing out Mom's house is occupying most of my attention and can turn my mind to other very important tasks.

2. It turns out that wiring the gate shut on the west side of the house wasn't enough. There was also a small gap between the gatepost and the house that we hadn't noticed, but, today, Maggie did.  She left the yard to take a morning walk. The Deke looked out the back yard and noticed Charly sitting alone and forlorn on the deck and suddenly realized Maggie was gone. We thought she'd found a gap in the back fence or the fence on the west side of the yard, but when Maggie wasn't in either neighbor's yard, the Deke leapt into the Sube and went searching.

Two blocks behind us, against the hill, a local construction company has created a staging area for work they are doing on water lines and street paving in our neighborhood. Maggie had sauntered over to that area and was bark-talking to a dog who was on the other side of a fence. The Deke heard the conversation, screeched the Sube to a stop, called Maggie, and, thank God, Maggie bounded right to the Deke, climbed in the car, and our just a little too exciting morning saga came to a happy end.

Now we need to mind the gap.

3.  The Deke and I had a blast piling into the Sube and rocketing over the 4th of July Pass and landing in Coeur d'Alene. Many times, while living in Maryland, we sighed and told each other how much we missed having a nearby Fred Meyer store. Today we went to the Fred Meyer on Kathleen Avenue in CdA. I bought a jacket appropriate for fall weather in North Idaho and the Deke picked up a few items of clothing and I had fun browsing at the Murray's cheese counter and inspecting the beer offerings and discovering that this Fred Meyer has a growler filling station and the offerings are very solid. I got a haircut. Then we went to Costco and bought wine for Friday's reception along with some lasagne to serve family members who come to Kellogg on Thursday.  Things seem to be falling into place.

Back in the Silver Valley, we met our guests Laura and David at the City Limits Brewery and Pub in Wallace and had a fun dinner together. Back home, the musicians, that is, everyone but me(!), played their guitars and sang songs they knew and messed around with ones they didn't all know. It was a great evening of Tom Petty, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, Graham Parsons, CSNY, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, and many others. I sat in the kitchen at my Chromebook, taking it all in, and poured the Deke and Laura and me little flight glasses of George Dickel Rye Whiskey on the rocks with a drop of water.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/02/17: Getting Close, We'll Start on Time!, Tom Petty

1.  This morning, our living room held a pile of boxes filled with things to donate and things to dispose of and papers and magazines to recycle. I spent much of the morning making trips to the recycling bins up the street, to the dump, and to St. Vincent de Paul's in Osburn.  This evening, before I went to bed, I loaded up the Sube with more boxes of books and other things to take to Osburn. Today's work put us very close to having Mom's things dealt with and her house cleared out. Yes, two storage closets upstairs will need our attention next week. Yes, we still need to sort through Mom's papers and records and take the unneeded ones to be shredded. We have decisions to make about things Mom decorated her yard and gardens with. Carol and Paul have some large items upstairs to move. But so much is done. We've been working on dealing with what Mom left behind since July when we cleared out stuff on the side of the garage and began to sort out Mom's kitchen. I'm very happy that the end is in sight.

2. Christy, Carol, and I met with Debbie Mikesell at the funeral home this afternoon and finalized the logistics for the Celebration of Life on Friday at 11:00 at Mountain View Congregational Church in Kellogg and made plans for when we will inter Mom's ashes at the cemetery.  I think the possibility is pretty strong that there will be a good turnout for Mom's service and when I expressed concern to Debbie that there might be people arriving late and we might not start right at 11:00, she immediately straightened me out.

"We'll start at 11:00 sharp! If people come late, we'll help seat them. Starting right on time is very improtant to me!"

I loved hearing this and I am especially happy that all of us are going to the church on Thursday evening, to make sure all the technology is working for what we have planned.

3.  The reports were confusing throughout the day. It was certain that Tom Petty had suffered cardiac arrest Sunday night and by Monday morning had had life support removed. Reports of his death were premature, but he was actively dying all day and many of us began to feel the loss of Tom Petty.  We now know he died on Monday, Oct. 2.

I have been aware of Tom Petty's music ever since that odd, Mad Max inspired video of "You Got Lucky", featuring the hovercraft and the cassette player shrouded in bubble wrap, appeared on MTV. I first saw this video in late 1982 or early 1983 and his music didn't really hit me right away.

But, back a little over a dozen years ago when I became an XM/Sirius radio subscriber, I started listening to Tom Petty's superb radio show, Buried Treasure, on the Deep Tracks channel.

Then I started hearing more of Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker's music on the satellite radio and I was finally old enough and mature enough to be affected by Tom Petty's songwriting and the musical stylings of his band.

By the time the Deke and I moved to Maryland in 2014, Tom Petty had become the songwriter I most admired and the Heartbreakers became the band I called up on YouTube the most often.

I came to love Tom Petty's immediacy and his clarity; for me, his songs were immediately accessible and they expressed beautifully the American experience of longing, dreaming, growing up, falling in love, and disillusion in ways that move me and trigger more memories of my youth than any other songwriter.

All day today I was back at the Northwest Metal Workers Hall and the Kellogg High School cafeteria. I wasn't hearing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1969-72, but two of his lines kept going through my head as I felt gratitude all day for Tom Petty's writing and his music:

I'll be the boy in the corduroy pants
You be the girl at the high school dance

That high school boy -- me -- was learning to fly. He was running down a dream. He was free fallin. He longed for the great wide open.

As I have aged into my fifties and sixties, no one has helped me look back and experience and feel those years of starting to grow up, of all the confusion and yearning more than Tom Petty.

Tom Petty has died, but thank God his music is immortal.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/01/17: Breakfast with Laura and David, The Expanding House, Radio Brewing Social Hour

1.  Not long after getting underway with my morning routines, I buzzed over to Yoke's and picked up some breakfast groceries. Back home, I fixed a vegetable scramble with garlic, onion, mushrooms, red pepper, broccoli, and little red potatoes. To top the scramble, the Deke, Laura, David, and I could choose from Frank's RedHot sauce, halved cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, or grated white cheddar. We also had English muffins, Dave's Killer 21 Whole Grains and Seeds bread, and Dave's Killer raisin cinnamon bagels available.  This was my first cooking project since we moved into Mom's house and it worked out great.  Laura and David took off for Missoula late in the morning and will stay with us again on Tuesday night on their way back to Washington and Oregon.

2.  Around noon, Christy, Carol, and I met in Christy's living room to update ourselves on business details related to Mom and to make sure we all knew what needed to be done in preparation for Friday's Celebration of Life (at 11:00 at Mountain View Congregational Church -- formerly the United Church, across the street from our house) and for the reception to follow at Carol and Paul's house.  We then paraded over to Mom's house to sort through things upstairs. I made a trip to the dump afterward and brought several boxes of things downstairs to go to St. Vincent de Paul's tomorrow -- later in the day, I filled a few more garbage bags and made a pile of magazines and newspapers to be recycled. In the next couple of days, I'll deal with books, both upstairs and in the basement, more miscellaneous items that need to be cleared out, and start filling boxes or bags with old bills, receipts, bank statements, tax return records and other such items to take to a shredding service.

For years, we used to jokingly call Mom's house "The Incredible Shrinking House" because the house seemed to get smaller and smaller as Mom added another chair or a love seat or a bookcase or any number of things to the different rooms in her house and as the things she wanted to keep and not dispose of grew.

I am having the opposite experience now. Day by day, I feel like I'm living in "The Incredible Expanding House" and my hope is that the Deke and I will figure out ways to keep the house feeling roomy.

3. To cap this busy day of hosting friends and clearing out the house, the Deke and I went to Radio Brewing for a couple glasses of beer and some delicious parmesan-garlic truffle fries.  Paige came in with her husband and mother-in-law (from Connecticut) and we yakked with them; Paige was very happy and announced she had just passed her motorcycle operator test; Radio Brewing's owners, Fred and Ashley, were in and we introduced ourselves and gabbed with them, mostly about what it's like to move to Kellogg from other parts of the country; Johnny was working the taps and he brought his six week old Heeler in for us to see, hold, and pet; Becky popped in and I passed on greetings to her from Dick and Renae -- and she returned them; Becky played a dice game with a friend and her pal told the Deke and me about having been up Avery earlier in the day where he saw a dog on the loose -- he thought it was a German Shepherd, but it turned out to be a wolf and so he didn't rescue it. It turns out our conversations with people in Kellogg are not the same as those we had in Maryland and down at DC Brau in our nation's capital.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 09/30/17: Preparing for Guests, Nailing Down the Kitchen, Great Night Out

1.  With Laura and David coming to visit, I needed to clear out room upstairs to open the futon and this led to a morning trip to St. Vincent de Paul's and a trip to the dump. The futon needed some cleaning and the Deke vacuumed it and we found brand new bedding and laundered it and the Deke made the bed. I transferred things I want to consult with Christy and Carol about into the upstairs bedroom and I brought the rocking chair that's been in that bedroom for years down to the living room. We have more work ahead of us to get the top floor of the house cleared out, but I made a pretty good dent in that job today.

2.Back in August, Christy, Carol, and I went through Mom's kitchen and donated food to the local food bank, disposed of outdated stuff, and cleared out other things. Today, I made another pass at downsizing the items in the kitchen. I disposed of more things and I added other items to the St. Vincent de Paul collection. The Deke and I are rearranging things in the kitchen and I'm starting to really like how we've opened up space in the cupboards, reserved floor level cupboards for things we won't often use, and redefined, say, space that was once for dishes now storing food. When it comes to food, I can tell we'll be making decisions about how much to have on hand in accordance with the amount of cupboard space we have.  I enjoy making trips to the grocery store and buying small quantities of things and so this quirk of mine will coincide well with our kitchen's storage space and it looks to me like we will not store many canned goods and other food items in the basement -- a break from a long standing

3.  Laura (of the Babes with Axes) and David arrived around 5:30 and we piled into the Sube and headed straight for Radio Brewing. I had gone uptown a little while earlier to say hello to Cas at the Inland Lounge and got to meet City Councilman Ron Delcamp and say hello again after many years to Doug Yrjana and saw Mike Pierce pulling on a Bud Lite at the end of the bar.

Laura, David, the Deke, and I had an exceptionally good time at Radio Brewing. The place was packed and got even more packed when a large party of well-behaved, lively revelers stormed in, all wearing costumes from the 1920s. It looked like a Great Gatsby party.  The Deke and I often go to Radio Brewing on weekday afternoons when it's much quieter and it was uplifting to see the place so busy and to see so many people having so much fun.

Back home, I went to bed early and as I fell asleep, David, Laura, and the Deke were playing some music and I fell asleep to the sounds of Richard and Linda Thompson's haunting and sweet song, "Dimming of the Day".  It was a perfect end to another new day in Kellogg, Idaho.