Category Archives: News

Get your hand basket out

friends-tv-showWow, I don’t know about you, but it really seems like that old saw “the world is going to hell in a hand basket” is really happening. Maybe not for me (I’m knocking on the proverbial wood right now) and hopefully not for you — but lately I’ve been inundated with super sad news about my friends — and their friends or family members.

I find some of the sad news on Facebook. In my newsfeed, where I like to dilly-dally and scroll through funny videos of cats terrorizing dogs, or babies and puppies sleeping together, I’ve been stabbed in the gut with updates that are definitely not warm and fuzzy. And again, I don’t know about you, but every time it happens — and like I said, it just seems like it’s happening more and more — a small part of me that I am definitely not proud of, makes my finger waver over the thumbs-up “like” button. Sometimes that small, almost tiny part of me (thank God it’s nearly infinitesimal) rolls on by to the next, hopefully, much more upbeat update. Maybe another funny cat video.

But I really do like my friends — even all of my Facebook friends, some with whom I am really not that well acquainted.

And I do really want to help if I can — with a kind word, a sympathetic sentence or two. It’s a kind of a new way to reach out, and I’m not sure we are all yet comfortable about it. God knows, we have a hard enough time reaching out in person. I think it’s harder yet to do so with the buffer of a computer screen or phone scroll. Nobody knows you’re really there, right?

But like I said, I do, I want to help — and, when I can muster it up, sometimes a “comment” is all I’m good for. And many times, so many times, I wish I was better at saying something special or meaningful or coming up with some magic words that will ease my friend’s pain or suffering. Or maybe help her find a smile. maybe make him laugh.

Because, me too, I hate cancer, house fires, car, motorcycle and bicycle accidents. I despise crippling diseases, autism and Alzheimer’s. If I was a billionaire, I would give all my money to all my friends, hoping that in some way, I could buy them what they need or at least make it so their pain might be lessened with 500 pounds of ice cream, or their burden eased by an exclusive, intimate Louis C.K. in-home concert.

But all I got is words. And here they are. Today, although I am heartsick about one of my friend’s sister’s recent cancer diagnosis, and another of my friends whose husband was in a tragic motorcycle accident, and another one who is dealing with the mind-numbing trauma of visiting her mother who doesn’t remember her name or her face — I am going to single out two of my friends who are dealing with hardship. I am going to tell you about them, I’m going to tell you their stories, and maybe you will tell your friends about them and maybe they will tell their friends — and maybe we can just all pitch in to make a difference.

And if we can do that, we can be as good as billionaires toting suitcases of cash. We could bring as much joy as ice cream and maybe even bring as much happiness as a night with Louis C.K.

My friend Christine: Christine (who many call Queen or Queen of the Universe) lost her home and all her worldly possessions — yes, even her iphone — in a fire just before Christmas. She ran out of the blazing inferno with only the clothes on her back — and those were hacked off in the emergency room. Oh yeah, and she miraculously came through this ordeal relatively unscathed, except for eyebrows, eyelashes, singed hair — and a really nasty third-degree burn on the back of her leg. She just completed her third skin graft at the burn center in Salt Lake City.  There is a fund set up for her that you can donate to:

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/ffIA7?psid=a3a73a8e07ca45edb9d03d5fca5d3380&fb_ref=share__c2h9p3

And my friend Will is putting together an event fundraiser that will be held at the Visual Arts Collective Feb. 21. Music, art, silent auction and more with all proceeds after bar tab going to Christine.

Here’s my second friend’s plight and plea: Meet Alex’s sister, Monica

When my brother Dan passed away a few years ago, one family who came to his memorial was not one familiar to me — but one with whom Dan had become close to. They worked at Dan’s favorite restaurant, Baja Fresh. He went there at least a couple of times every week and they knew to start his order — he always ordered the same thing — when he pulled into his parking space.

Alex — her name is actually Alexandra — had dropped out of high school and Dan constantly chided her about it, telling her to get her G.E.D. — “I’ll pay for it,” he would say. Alex did get her G.E.D. just a month ago. And, sort of filling in for her Dad and his promise, Dan’s daughter Dana stepped in and paid for it. I was the lucky person who got to deliver the check: 1619589_10202452354262866_1224159130_n

Well, while I was there, Alex told me about Monica, her 25-year-old sister. Monica has kidney failure and needs a kidney transplant, and hey, she also just had a stroke and found out she has a bad heart. Her mother, who, yes, is still working at Baja Fresh on Broadway in Boise, is frantically trying to figure out ways to make money to help her daughter. They need to raise $5,000 for the surgery and so far are up to a little more than $1,500. You can donate here:

http://www.gofundme.com/63j8dk

This is the only way I can think of to help my friends. (Not a billionaire, remember?) And I vow to help as many as I can. I vow not to skip over their Facebook posts for funny cat videos — I will still watch the cat videos of course, but only after I say a few heartfelt words to my friends.

I turn now to the Beatles :

Please let me know if you have friends who need a little help from their friends.

Peace and love

A Seasonal Survivor

people-at-post-officeI’m a survivor. Not only do I feel like one, Linda, the U.S. Postal worker at the window where I eventually landed, corroborated it. “Congratulations – you survived.”

Today I went and did one of the least intelligent things one can do. I went to the Post Office. On the busiest day of the year.

In my defense, I was sure Wednesday was the busiest day. And, that I had beaten that marker by two whole days. I even sort of patted myself on the back, all kind of gloating about it. After all, I’d wrapped presents all day Saturday and Sunday, all 31 of them. Fourteen each for my two sets of in-laws – we do “the seven days of Christmas” (don’t ask) – and three more for my mom-in-law and sis-in-law who each have a January birthday. More gloating because: why, I was so clever to get the birthday gifts in the flat rate boxes.

My smugness was short lived.

I arrived at the U.S. Post Office a little before 9 a.m., bag of wrapped gifts, separated into two piles. A line of bedraggled and confused looking people snaked to the outer door. A postal worker sang out: “Number 104!” I pressed the button and got my number: 122. Oh boy.

Well, I thought, I will just mosey over to the flat rate box self-packaging area and get started – I’ll be totally done by the time my number is called. That was my first misstep. Because there are a number of self-service packaging areas, and I didn’t see one labeled “flat rate.” A fellow DIY-er had to show me where to go. So I sat down my Santa Claus bag and got started.presents

Misstep No. 2: The presents wouldn’t fit into the “medium” sized box. After I had splayed them out across the counter and folded the cardboard edges, it was clear they weren’t going to fit. OK, I’ll get the large box. But the large didn’t have self-stick strips on it like the medium one. I looked around for some tape – not really frantic or anything (yet). No tape in sight.

I stuffed the gifts back into the bag and walked into the main room to find tape. “Tape? Do you see any tape?”

There was only “priority” tape and I was planning on sending my flat rate boxes as inexpensively as possible – that’s why they call them “flat rate,” right? So, no thanks for the priority, which, I assumed, would cost more.

“If you don’t have any tape, there’s some on the wall. Labels, too,” called out a postal worker who must have noticed my where’s-the-tape glazed over eyes. OK, now we’re getting somewhere. I grabbed my packaging implements and started for the worktable out in the hall.

“You can’t go out there with the tape and labels – you’ll have to do all that in here.”

OK.

“Number 112!”

I started to sweat. I was wearing my winter coat and faux fur hat and I was going about 100 miles an hour trying to jam the presents into the boxes – and get them taped up and labeled – before my number was called.

Then, another postal worker pointed out that I did not need the tape and labels I had grabbed from the rack – yes, my boxes were flat rate, but, they also were “priority” mail. Huh? So, that meant I could use the priority tape and priority labels, free of charge.

Alrighty then.

“Number 114!

I began assembling box No. 1. The priority tape was really, really sticky and kind of hard to maneuver. Plus, I found out – but not soon enough – that it was not in the kind of dispenser that cuts the tape for you. The dispenser had a pair of scissors chained to it for that purpose. Huh. Awkward.

“Number 118!”

Beads of sweat popped out on my brow. The line of people waiting was growing. I couldn’t get the tape to stop snarling. I was still on the first box.

“Number 120!”

Now there were about four of us using the same tape dispenser with the ball-and-chain scissors. We all were trying to hurry and at least once I worried that I had maybe snipped more than the end of the tape as a flurry of clumsy hands kept grabbing at it because we all wanted to hurry, hurry, hurry to get it done before our numbers were up.

I started on the second box.

“122!”

Oh no!

“Hey,” I called out to the people in line, “that’s my number, but I’m not ready, does someone want to switch numbers with me?”

“No number switching!” A really cross looking postal worker gave me the stink eye. “If your number is called, go ahead and finish and just approach the counter and wait. We will get you after the next person in line.”

I finished taping both boxes, filled out my labels and was just about ready to move to my place at the side of the line. I looked at my labels. I looked at my boxes. Both boxes were the same size. In the frenzy of the tape and the cardboard folding and the numbers being called out and the line getting longer and the Soup Nazi Post Office rules – I totally forgot which was which. I thought I knew, but what if I was wrong?

I couldn’t handle the idea of that, so I did what I imagine a good third of the DIY Christmas packagers do – I opened one of the boxes to peek inside. Just to make sure. After carefully setting the proper labels on the correct boxes, I moved to my designated slot. Finally. I stood there bedraggled and confused like everyone else looked, and marveled at the fact that I was a professional business person, got a real paycheck and everything, but here, perspiring and laden with lumpy boxes wrapped with gnarled taped, in the bowels of the U.S. Post Office, a week or so before Christmas, I felt anything but bright.

“Next!”

Nearly two hours after I had arrived, Linda began processing my boxes and ringing me up. “It’s pretty busy today, huh?” I was attempting small talk. “But this isn’t the busiest day, that’s Wednesday, right?”

“Nope. Today is the busiest for shipping. Tomorrow is the busiest for mail processing, and Wednesday is the busiest for delivering.”

“You mean, I came to the Post Office on the busiest day of the year?”

“Yep,” she smiled. “Congratulations. You survived.”

The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver 420 million packages this year for Christmas – a 12 percent increase over 2012. If you haven’t gotten your packages in the mail, I suggest you hurry on down to your local U.S. Post Office, take a number and give yourself an hour or two. Oh, and, you might want to box up your presents before you get there.

My take on it

filmz.ruWARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Kill Your Darlings is a well-acted, semi-interesting, peek-a-boo-style look into the early machinations, mischief and misdeeds of the literary Beat Poet geniuses Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.

I say “semi-interesting” because some of the more graphic stuff I really could have done without – especially with my poor, sweet, innocent mom-in-law along for the ride. Little did she know – or I’m sure ever would have imagined in her wildest imaginings – that my little “writer’s group assignment” outing to the movies would be something she would “try to pretend” she never saw. I know she wanted to wash out her eyeballs.

After we dropped my friend off and we were alone in the car post movie, I tried to break the ice with “Well, that was … interesting.” Her response, an outburst: “Another one of my icons bit the dust – first Hannah Montana with all her twerking – and now Harry Potter!”

I tried, in vain, to point out that he (Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg) really did a pretty good job of acting – “he didn’t have a trace of a British accent,” I said. The look I got in response could have gotten its own Academy Award nomination. I would say this about it: she looked daggers at me.

The fact is, the storyline is not merely about the early creative spurt that ignited the Beat movement – although, to be sure, there are frenzied scenes of drug-fueled, manic typewriting, book pillaging and cut-ups-slashing fireworks and library hijinks aplenty. But the real story here is a love triangle gone bad. Way, way bad. And, since the love triangle involves three males, and since the three males were attracted (one obsessively so) to one another during another time when such things were mostly considered to be taboo, and, since the whole thing explodes on the screen – in many more ways than I was comfortable with, especially taking into consideration my movie buddy – in the heady, jazz infused and debauched sleazy New York City/Manhattan confines, and since it ends with a murky death for one and messy denouements for the rest – well, that made the way, way bad worse. Story-wise, I mean.

In the end, I was struck with a sort of curiosity about the “honor” killing defense bandied about in the film – was that really real? Did that really happen? My, how things have changed — and what does that say about the tentative realities we believe in today — here today, possibly gone tomorrow?

I wondered if the drugs and sex stuff was amped up (haha – one of the drugs they took was Benzedrine, they put ampules of it in their coffee – good morning!). I wondered how they all not only remained friends, but, according to the prolific publishing that history shows came later as they birthed the Beat Poet movement, but also fueled one another’s success, as if egging each, one after the other, to climb higher and higher.

And, I came away feeling dazed and yes, a little heartbroken.

Harry, we hardly knew ya. Another one bites the dust.

Tangling with Mother Nature

Photo on 2013-09-23 at 15.16This blog may be of interest only to “women of a certain age.” I am not sure why, how or when that came to be a part of our lexicon, and I for sure am not happy with it, but I have to admit I fit the criteria.

Most of the time, I don’t think about it. My health is pretty good, although I’ve had a bit of a tussle with my lower back off and on. And when I sprained my ankle during the summer by sort of falling off of my really adorable wedge sandal while walking to a lunch meeting, it did cross my mind that I probably should have taken more heed to the calcium-is-your-friend advice. But overall, except for about 20 pounds that crept up and have taken happy residence on my thighs, bum and tum, I’m pretty healthy.

It’s true, my hair has changed into a color I like to call silver, but I only recently discovered it when I decided to “go natural” and find out what was really sprouting out of my head. Ever since I spotted my first grays, probably in my early 30s, I have been close friends with Lady Clairol and her cohorts. And, oh, what fun we’ve had together, mixing and blending colors like chestnut, auburn, fire-engine red, brunette, auburn, mahogany, blonde. But yes, silver is my newest shade.

The thing is, I may be of a certain age, but the age I operate from is of a much younger age. I just don’t feel of a certain age. And I sort of resent it when it confronts me. Like yesterday.

It was at my annual — that’s what we women call our yearly appointment with our lady doctor. One of the things I wanted to talk to her about was the whole hormone thing. I was of the notion that not taking medication must be better than taking it. She said I was wrong.

She then told me, this woman of a certain age, in no uncertain terms, that after women go through menopause, their bodies, well, begin to die. “Our purpose, according to Mother Nature, is to make babies,” she said. “When we run out of eggs…” She clearly must have seen the rictus of horror on my face. But she bravely went on: “You see, we fool Mother Nature with hormones. Otherwise, our bodies just go into decline, they’re not useful any more.” She said women of a certain age who do not embark on hormone therapy statistically develop brittle bones, arthrosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart disease, they lose their hair, get wrinkled and shriveled up, sex becomes really painful if not nonexistent (sorry, but like she said, everything becomes a dried-out husk) — and the list goes on and on.

So, yeah, this woman of a certain age left my doctor’s office with a hormone prescription (low-dose, bio-identical cream). See, I don’t mind my new silver fox ‘do, I can camouflage a few pounds with smart-looking empire-waisted jackets and dresses.

But hey, not that excited about shriveling up and having a heart attack. I’ve got things to do, people, and I want to be around to dance with my grandchildren and maybe even my great-grandchildren.

And I don’t care if it’s not nice — I’m gonna keep fooling Mother Nature, at least for a bit longer.

Bobbleheads: They’re ba-ack!

You may still be able to get one of these.

You may still be able to get one of these.

Last year, when I stopped to get a Kellen Moore Bobblehead at Jacksons I was denied! I couldn’t believe it – by 8:30 a.m. I was two hours too late.

I wasn’t about to miss out this time. They released the Jamar Taylor bobbleheads for sale at 6 o’clock this morning.  I was there one minute later.

At first, I was worried I still didn’t make it in time. After all, anticipating last year’s bobblehead frenzy, Jacksons had issued a press release stating they would begin passing out numbers for queuing up in line at 2 a.m. When I pulled up at the Fairview Jacksons – purportedly its most heavily trafficked store – there were quite a few empty parking spaces. Inside, the line was average – I was the fourth one back.

Had the rabid bobbleheaders already come and gone?

As I stepped up to the counter, I caught a glimpse of telltale bobble boxes stuffed into my fellow shopper’s bag across the aisle. The woman at the counter told me the limit was two per person.

“I thought there would be a line,” I said.

She rolled her eyes. “I thought so, too. I got here at 2,” she said. She added two others got their line numbers right after she did. Then a couple more stopped in to wait until the magic hour. But all in all, it was not the mad rush of yore. The store had received 76 bobbleheads, and there were still about 70 to go.

When I called the store at 8:36 a.m. and asked if they still had bobbleheads, someone named Bobby said, “We sure do.”

“How many?”

Pause.

“A lot.”

I pressed Bobby as to why the run on bobbleheads was so different from a year ago – did he think it could be because the Broncos had hit a bit of a slump?

He didn’t skip a beat. “Oh, yeah.”

Now, even if that’s not true — although I did hear ticket prices have recently been lowered  — the thought that Boise Bronco fans could possibly be so fickle really bothers me.

I like to think of my hometown fans as a better lot than that. Bronco Nation should keep the Bronco Mania steady as she goes, right? After all, it’s much, much bigger than the expanded Bronco Stadium with the attached Steuckle Sky Center and the 34,000 blue-and-orange-clad attendees. Our Boise State Broncos have generated impressive team revenue, ramped up Boise State enrollment, and many say they’ve boosted our local economy big time. In fact, Jana Jones, director of economic development services at Boise Valley Economic Partnership, said being a Broncos name dropper opens economic development possibilities for Boise nationwide.

They may not be winning every game, but they haven’t lost their cachet, she said. Just say the word and conversation blooms. People start talking about their own Fiesta Bowl experiences — “I was up until the morning watching it,” said one East Coaster. “I couldn’t go to sleep until it was over.” Or they just want to know about that blue football field.  “For us, it’s still one of the things that opens doors for consultants and business owners across the country – especially on the East Coast. There are so many fans there who live and breathe college football.”

In an article this summer on Forbes.com on the economics of football, the Broncos were singled out for the impressive revenue the program generated in the 2011-2012 season — $15+ million.  Reporter Alicia Jessop said Boise State generated a higher net income than schools including Texas Christian, Northwestern and Louisville.

Tell you what: I hope all of the Jamar Taylor bobbleheads are sold today. If you hurry, you might just snag one. And I’ve get my iPhone calendar set to alert me at 5 a.m. on the rest of this year’s bobblehead release dates – Oct. 11 (Shea McClellin), Oct. 25 (DJ Harper) and Nov. 8 (Buster Bronco). I’m going to get them all (fingers crossed).

But if you missed getting a bobblehead and really, really, really want one – like I wanted the Kellen Moore boblehead last year – (read about the surprise ending here)– send me an email. IBR reader Beth Hagen of Kuna came to my rescue last year and offered me one of her Kellen Moores, inspired by the Starbucks customer who had anonymously bought everyone behind him a coffee that morning.

I’m ready to take her lead and pay it forward.

‘Children’s deaths trigger gun safety project’

auoraI’ve been stewing on this for a while – at least a month.

You see, I am a non-violent peacenik. At least, that’s what they used to call us in the ’70s – not sure what the nomenclature is today. I grew up opposing violence, guns, wars – in high school, one of the most inspirational and defining books I read was Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun.” I wrote papers espousing nonviolence, wrote a speech on “Love” and performed it in forensics. I still remember the first line: “Love, a four-letter word meaning … what? What does love mean to you?”

When my children were young – 3, 4 and 8 – we lived in Aurora, Colo. At the time, there had been a spate of accidental shootings – you know, kids playing with their parents’ guns or their friends’ parents’ guns. It scared me, and I worried about my children and their safety. When they were asked to go over for a play date to little Jimmy’s or Lisa’s house, I wanted to first ask: Well, do you have any guns?

I researched and wrote a story about gun safety, knowing that no publication would touch an article on gun control. It was my first paid article, published Nov. 19, 1986, by the Aurora Sentinel. I think they paid me $35 – I’ve got the check stub somewhere.

The article talks about how much toy guns look like real guns (they still do). It talks about what you can do to make your guns safe (keep them unloaded, bullets and guns in separate locations). I interviewed Aurora Police Officer Joe Petrucelli, who had been a first responder to one of the accidents. He described the heart-wrenching scene: one boy fleeing the house, blood on his shirt. Inside, a distraught father standing over his 14-year-old son, who was bleeding from a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

I was living in Denver at the time of the Columbine shooting. My kids were in high school, too, and my youngest had almost attended Columbine that year – it was in his dad’s neighborhood. I remember it as the first tragedy I saw play out on my computer screen instead of the TV.

On July 20 of this year, I woke up to read about the horrific shooting in Aurora. One of my sons, now in his 20s, lives in Denver. He had called me the night before. He was excited because he was going to a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. I tried to call him – no answer. I can hardly describe my terror. I was out of my body, calling the Aurora police, hospitals where the victims had been taken. I called every one of them. I had to tell them my son’s name. Every time they checked, I felt myself going more and more numb. My stomach fluttered; I was sweating, weeping, shaking. What could I do? I was so far away. I kept calling his number: no answer. I called his dad, said: You need to go check on him RIGHT NOW.

Finally he called me back. He had gone to a different theater; just woke up. His phone had been recharging. He was fine; didn’t even know about the shootings yet.

I felt relieved. But connected somehow to all the parents and loved ones of the theater shooting victims. I began following Denver news so I could keep up with all the related stories. I felt like a cousin or aunt or sister to all the victims.

Fast forward to today. Why I am writing this blog.

As the IBR special sections editor, I get to work on a variety of annual publications. Right now, I am conducting interviews for the IBR Women of the Year. There are 50 of them, and they are all amazing women. I am awe-struck at their stories and inspired by them.

Near the end of an interview, one of the women looked up and saw the first article I had ever written, the one on gun safety. It is framed and hangs on my office wall.

“Wow,” she said. “You wrote that how long ago? You could have written it today. And you were in Aurora? You should revisit that or use it to re-open the conversation.”

I’m not an idealistic 16-year-old peacenik anymore. I am an idealistic mother and a grandmother. This whole gun thing is goofy, in my opinion. If I had my way, we would toss all the guns in the river. I know, that is not realistic. But the way I look at them? They are death sticks. And right now it’s easy for angry, drunk, sick, disturbed people to grab them and use them. I believe that if they weren’t around and people had to get creative to kill someone, there would be fewer deaths from enraged people, drunks and sickos.

But I know – and you know – that’s not going to happen. Nobody in this country will ever – at least in my lifetime – invoke a ban on all guns.

So, how can anyone be so upset by making some rules to keep people safer? To make it harder for humans to shoot and kill other humans? You do not need an automatic weapon to shoot game or wildlife. You do not need high-capacity magazines. You do not need to allow felons or the mentally ill access to guns.

Do you?

In closing, I want to give one of our IBR Women of the Year a shout-out. Thank you.

And consider this conversation re-opened.

Julie Huff (01-15-18 – 06-15-2000) and me, Jeanne Huff, circa 1995

Julia and Jeanne Huff, 1995


Treasure hunts, wet cats and memoirs

The other night I was bemoaning to Bob the fact that I had gone to a great place and, if I was still doing my Treasure Hunt newspaper column, I would certainly write about the experience. Then — just like one of the smoke hazed revelations of my youth — I thought, I don’t need a newspaper, I have a blog!
And so, ladies and gentlemen, witness the return of Treasure Hunt, where I go out and about and write about what I find.
All this because I really, really, really want to write about John Berryhill’s new breakfast stop, “Bacon.”
It’s right around the corner from the restaurant and is less like a cafe and more like a counter with some tables, chairs and there might even be a couch. You order — bacon is $1.25 a slice and there are like eight versions, including Berryhill Bacon (the one that started it all) and yes, chocolate covered bacon. All I can say is, you have to try it.
There is a variety of baked goods and you can also order steamed eggs and such.
When I went, I ordered the Berryhill Bacon (it comes to the table in a paper cup, with the top of the bacon draped over the edge). It is savory and sweet and really tasty.
My son was with me — he was in town for a friend’s wedding — and he ordered Kurobuta bacon. This one was strictly savory and had some sort of herbs sprinkled on.
I also had the bacon and white cheddar scone (the last one!) and Tyler ordered a giant pretzel, like the ones you get at the mall only better.
It’s a fun place to trade snips of bacon, talk and look out the big windows onto the day. And really, how can you go wrong when bacon is the centerpiece of the menu?

Cats really don’t like water
Some of you who know me from Facebook will already be aware that I gave our cat Mister a bath the other day. I wore gloves (they are special cat handling gloves I got at Petsmart), an apron (the kind that ties at the neck and waist, to better cover you, my dear), jeans jacket and heavy jeans. Suffice it to say — not near enough padding. I believe I would have needed metal-plated armor and even then, if there had been seams of some kind, you know any place a thin sliver of a claw could snag into, well, I think you can guess what could happen. And of course, it did. I did not come away unscathed but Mister did come away scented with baby shampoo smell (much improved) and a fluffy sort of cat coat. But there were moments of that bath when I really knew I was dealing with an animal that was in the fight or flight mode (he chose fight!) and I was on the answering side of his be-fanged and some 20-clawed weapons of mass destruction. Thank God for a kitchen hose that works!

Memoirs
My brother Dan died on Friday, May 13. My dad died March 21, 2004 and my mom died June 15, 2000. My brother Bill died in August 1995 and I hate that I can’t remember the day.
I guess what I’m saying is, I miss them. My family, the folks I grew up with and who knew me and I knew them, I don’t know, probably more than you ever know most people. It is sad to lose those people who care about you and know all your soap opera life and which year you did what boneheaded thing and remember when mom got so mad when we found her driver’s license and knew how old she really was? And remember when dad drank too much beer and couldn’t pee and had to go to the hospital? When my cat terrorized mom’s bridge club? When Uncle Al jumped into the river looking for his glasses he’d dropped in? When Dan got stuck in Africa? When Bill put chocolate syrup on the mashed potatoes (he thought it was ice cream) and then ate it anyway?
You don’t know those stories. Now, nobody knows them but me.
I think it is my duty to give some of these stories to you so I won’t be the only one holding the bag. It’s too much for one person to handle, at least that is what I’m telling myself. I think really, I just want some company.
So if you’re so inclined to read them, I am inviting you to come back from time to time for some of my family stories. Some of them are doozies.

Here We Go Again!


Happy New Year!

It’s 2011 and wow, am I excited! If you are one of the regular readers of this blog, you’ll know I started this whole thing as a sort of knee-jerk reaction to getting laid off. And, because my life-changing experience happened at the same time our entire country was devastated by a plummeting economy resulting in bad news, bad news and more bad news, the theme of this blog was good news.

And even in the darkest of times, with unemployment climbing, house sales and spending in general plummeting to historic numbers, there has never been a shortage of good news to report: from the cast away, two legged puppy miraculously learning to walk upright to Wishing Star recipients teaching us about the real superheroes to others in our community staunchly determined to look for the good around us, and finding it.

I took a soul-searching trip back to my roots and took all my readers along in my pocket, sharing the guilty pleasure of the lip-smacking, never-to-be-replaced-by-the-Colonel Chicken Mary’s (or Chicken Annie’s) fried chicken, the exuberance of my dog Payton’s leap into one of the few remaining Kansas strip-pits and the simple joy of rekindling old friendships and revisiting the past.

I told you about my disappointments, how it felt to be laid off, unemployed, one of hundreds of applicants for each and every job posted. The agony, worry, dashed hope; hours spent searching, dreaming, writing dozens of resumes, hundreds of cover letters. I created my own company, took on part-time, temp jobs, worked on projects and freelanced for magazines and newspapers.

Today, I am sharing some more good news: I have landed a job. A real job, the job that seemingly was made for me, one of those Mary Poppins jobs, “practically perfect in every way.” Starting tomorrow, I will assume the duties as Special Sections/Project Editor for the Idaho Business Review.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am, but maybe you already know. I keep pinching myself but with each re-reading of my SIGNED offer letter, the words sink a little deeper.

I.Have. A. Job. THE job.

Practically perfect in every way.

Thanks for tagging along with me on this journey. I hope you will keep the good news faith. I’ve got a feeling there’s going to be more where that came from.

And, of course, I have a gift or two for you. Here are a few of the more popular First, the Good News Videos from 2010 and 2009.

A real win-win

Doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says come Saturday—the Boise State University Broncos are already winners.

The players and Coach Pete are teaming up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to give one little guy his dream come true: the chance to coach the BSU Broncos! Stephen, 12, has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and is flying up to Boise all the way from San Antonio, Texas to join the Broncos Saturday, Nov. 6 on the blue turf at Bronco Stadium as they take on Hawaii.