Category Archives: People

May I have this dance? Thrilled, I’m sure!

Thrill photoWho would have thought that one of my job titles — at the great and fabulous age of 59 — would be “Thrill the World Boise Event Producer?” Not me. And yet, I am loving this job!

I have learned the Thriller dance! I could do it in my sleep — and often recite the moves as I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night: “Roar-turn, roar-turn.” When I am dancing, everything else goes away. It takes all my concentration and, in my mind’s eye, there I am, in that game-changing video, a zombie alongside of MJ.

I absolutely love it.thrill

For those of you in the Boise area, this is a shameless plug: Come see me (and about 200 other zombies) as we attempt to break the world record for the simultaneous dance to Thriller at 4 pm Oct. 25 at the Boise Spectrum — get there early, we have an official countdown and will start at PRECISELY 4 pm according to the World Clock.

For those of you outside the area, see if there is a Thrill Day in your neighborhood. If you are so inclined, learn the dance (there are official tutorial videos on Youtube). You’ll be glad you did, it is really, really fun.

Years ago, my dear friend Holly taught me the power of dance. We all are hard-wired to do it and to love it. When you are dancing, you are celebrating and loving life.

And oh — this year, our fundraising recipient is the Treasure Valley Family YMCA, as a thanks for letting us practice our moves there.

Da-da! Da-da-da!

 

A little Kindness goes a long way

wizard-of-ozWell, here I am, once again with an update on the continuing saga re: The Owyhee’s Kindness bar/lounge. Mostly, I am lamenting that, contrary to what I wrote in my last post, I did not stop in for drinks there on my birthday, which was last Saturday. I tried — but when we traipsed up to the doors we were met with a stern employee who said “It’s not open.” With my little entourage surrounding me, I felt kind of like Dorothy with her friends trying to get into Oz, but then told by the guy at the gate they couldn’t get in “no way, no how.”

Fast forward to today (and don’t worry, we were able to have a fine birthday bash down the road at The Modern, always a classy choice). After trading a few emails with Christina Navarro, who is handling PR for Kindness (it’s a word with meaning, people — use it!), once again, I found out some new news.

First, the lounge/bar’s name is not The Oasis (which I am a little sad about,  I was humming Midnight at the Oasis all last week, so bummer). It is “The Owyhee Lounge by Kindness.”

Also, while Kindness the restaurant is slated to open 4-10 p.m. Aug. 7, The Owyhee Lounge by Kindness is now open, Navarro said, for coffee and cocktails: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

our boothOne more update: If you are a Gamekeeper Oysters or Prawns lover, rejoice. I tried out the recipe posted on last week’s blog. All I can say is, when I closed my eyes, I was right there in our old booth, sipping on a Bob-and-Jeanne martini, listening to Kevin Kirk and Sally Tibbs — and tantalizing my tastebuds with the most succulent, divine appetizers on earth.

A Willy Wonka of Idaho

willy-wonka-and-the-chocolate-factory-gene-wilder-image-600x337When Jackson McKenzie was in the sixth grade, he felt like his life was pretty boring. So, at a school show-and-tell he decided to beef things up a bit. “I made up that I liked to beat world records,” he says. Fueled by a lifelong love of reading Guinness World Records – “I’ve read every one since 2000” – McKenzie had stuck his foot firmly in his mouth. But then, something magical happened. After contacting the Guinness people and finding out that the easiest record to beat was creating the world’s largest M&M mosaic, he actually made his show-and-tell proclamation come true.

“I did it,” he says. His mosaic was a picture of a tree, a monkey and a sun. He glued the M&Ms onto a plastic grid and created the whole thing in his room. “But, it wasn’t official.”

Now, McKenzie wants to do it again, only this time, he wants to make it really matter. He has contacted the Guinness folks, and knows what “evidence” is required. He has designed his creation – a 124-square-foot mosaic that includes the state of Idaho and a snippet of our state song, “Here We Have Idaho.” (The current record is: 74.92 square feet.) McKenzie estimates it will take close to 30,000 M&Ms.

Jackson McKenzie, 17, and his M&M mosaic plans. Photo by Jeanne Huff

Jackson McKenzie, 17, and his M&M mosaic plans. Photo by Jeanne Huff

With the help of his dad (Idaho State Sen. Curtis McKenzie), he reserved the rotunda at the Idaho State Capitol for two weeks to allow he and his team to assemble the mosaic. “We will be working from July 27 to August 9 and the record breaking mosaic will be in display the following week,” McKenzie says.

Originally, he posted his project at $6,000 on Kickstarter, but he says he overestimated the costs. His new goal is $3,500 and he has a website set up for fundraising at http://jacksonmckenzie.com/.

Anything he receives over the amount needed for materials – M&Ms, Elmer’s Glue, a plastic grid, and paper and wood for support – McKenzie plans on giving to Go On Idaho, http://www.go-on-idaho.org/, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Idahoans continue education past high school.

So, if you want to help McKenzie actually make his sixth grade declaration a reality, send him some M&M money. In addition to his website, you can contact him by phone – 899-0753 – or email: mckenziexjackson@gmail.com. He says all project finances, including every donation and expenditure, will be tracked and publicly accessible on his website.

Whadya say, a little help to help jazz up McKenzie’s summer – and to give summer tourists something extra to see at the capitol?

Let’s do it!

Go, Jackson McKenzie!

Go M&Ms!

Go, Idaho!

Or, in the words of Willy Wonka: “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…”

For real.

On the Fly is SO fly

L-R: Brick 29 and On the Fly owner and chef Dustan Bristol and manager Doug Stinson cranking out sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts for the lunch hour crowd. Photo by Jeanne Huff

L-R: Brick 29 and On the Fly owner and chef Dustan Bristol and manager Doug Stinson cranking out sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts for the lunch hour crowd. Photo by Jeanne Huff

I have a new favorite sandwich joint. It hasn’t been open long — officially, just a few weeks — but I have been there about 10 times already and have tried just about every sandwich and soup of the day. Everything is delicious. At least for this comfort food loving girl from Kansas, it is truly comfort food kicked up a notch. Well, actually, quite a few notches.

And that’s exactly what On the Fly’s chef and owner Dustan Bristol intended when he came up with the idea. It’s what he had in mind when he added bacon jam to his egg salad sandwich. When he decided to take on that mother of all comfort food sandwiches – bologna. He remembered his favorite bologna sandwich from his childhood. “My grandparents had that bologna with the olives in it,” he says. And, of course, they served it on Wonder bread with mayo. So, his take on the classic bologna sandwich includes green olive tapenade, aioli, organic arugula, sliced tomato and house-made bologna — “that way I know what’s in it,” he says — on white bread custom made for Bristol by Mathieu Choux of Gaston’s Bakery. “It’s like Wonder bread on crack,” he says with a smile.

I don’t doubt it for a minute. I am one of the addicts that start lining up around 11 a.m. hoping to grab one of the sandwiches at the ready — the egg salad and the bologna regularly sell out early. Or, if I’m feeling extravagant, I might sidle up to the counter and order a fresh, made-to-order hot sandwich. The regulars include grilled cheese Panini (sharp white cheddar, Monterey jack, shaved red onion and pear), a Reuben panini (with house Louie dressing and Swiss cheese fondue and roasted cabbage tossed in vinaigrette in lieu of sauerkraut) and a daily special.

My friend Jason says On the Fly’s roast beef sandwich (with Manchego cheese and house made Bearnaise aioli on a baguette) is the best he’s ever had.

All the usual suspects are there so whatever your go-to comfort sandwich is, you won’t be disappointed; rather, you and your taste buds will be delighted: turkey (house brined and rotisserie-cooked with roasted red and green peppers, smoked gouda cheese, aioli and dried chili pesto on baguette), chicken salad (again, house brined and rotisserie-cooked chicken tossed with vinaigrette, fennel, red onion, raisins, blue cheese crumbles, fresh basil, toasted walnuts with aioli, organic arugula and sliced tomato) and how about this: cashew butter and jelly (house-made cashew butter, boysenberry conserve and fresh banana on that better-than-Wonder-bread bread).

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of other sandwich places downtown, many of which are pretty good to great: there’s the Bleubird (my second fave), Subway and of course Jimmy John’s, to name a few. And there are restaurants aplenty where you can get sandwich specials of the day as well. You can get a sandwich that will satisfy your lunchtime hunger in any of those establishments (the Bleubird will tickle your taste buds with panache, but you have to wait on line, and some of the fare is a little more spendy). At On the Fly, most sandwiches are grab-and-go, and cost about five bucks, a few a bit more, some less. And that’s a pretty great price point for deliciousness. The place also has ramped-up soups, salads and desserts. I dare you to sink your teeth into the Rice Whiskey Treat (think of  your childhood’s rice krispie treat on steroids — comes with salted caramel sauce for dipping) and not flutter your eyes in OMG ecstasy. And if you like breakfast sandwiches, I highly recommend the Croque Madame (fried egg, house ham and Swiss fondue). The only downside I could find on my trips there was that if you want one of the hot sandwiches that are made to order, you do have to wait a few minutes while they make it. But in my experience, the end result was worth the wait.

Bristol, also owner and chef of Brick 29 in Nampa, says he modeled the sustainable, local, whole food, real food, grab and go concept on the trendy and wildly popular Pret a Manger, that started in the U.K. and now has locations in Hong Kong and New York. And, he already has plans to take the entire On the Fly enterprise up a notch or two: he envisions online ordering and bike delivery service in the near future that will rival that of the competition’s. “I would love to have a concept I could standardize and duplicate. We want to be aggressive. I think we offer a better value than Jimmy John’s.”

He wants to be the sandwich king.

One bite is all it will take to know that if anybody can take on Jimmy John’s, Bristol can.

 

IF YOU GO:

On the Fly, 800 W. Main, Suite 200. 344-6833. http://ontheflydeli.com.

On Facebook: On the Fly Rotisserie Deli.

It is in the new Eighth and Main building in downtown Boise. Just hang a right at the top of the escalator.

Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts. Also grab and go entrees.

Today’s word is: responsible

photo 1It all comes down to being responsible, people.

Yes, I’m talking to you, dog owners who don’t bag up your dog’s poo.

And, yeah, I’m talking to you, too, dog owners who bring your furry not-socialized friends along for the hike.

You, too, trail bike riders, with no regard to “hiker’s only” signs — or to hikers.

And, most emphatically, I’m talking to you, dog owners who have no business owning a dog.

Here’s why I’m talking: I’ve been doing a lot more hiking lately. Trying to get in shape because the old middle-age spread is not an old wife’s tale, like I kept hoping. So, while walking up Tablerock, I’ve been noticing there is a lot of dog poop. Fresh and gooey, dried and shriveled, teeny-tiny and ginormous. Right. On. The. Trail. God knows what is out in the wildflowers, weeds and boulders. Why? Why? Why?photo 2

There are handy scooping bags conveniently placed at the trail head and they’re FREE. So, why all the poop?? “Part of being a responsible dog owner is picking up the poop,” this is what I told my grandson Max when he, my daughter, Tracy,  and my granddaughter, Julia, inherited Puppet. We practiced in my back yard where there is usually a fair number of poop scooping opportunities. Yes, he hemmed and hawed, “I can’t do it, I’ll throw up, it’s so gross!” But finally, herking and jerking, he passed the smelly Easter egg hunt test. If he can do it, so can you!

And about you dog owners who bring your snarly, aggressive companions along for the walk — don’t. At least, not until you and your friends take a class, there are a number of dog training classes available, some even free. Call PetSmart or Petco or Zamzows or the Idaho Humane Society. We took Payton through the Scotch Pines Dog Training and he actually graduated. He got a little cardboard graduation hat and everything. And he is “socialized.” So, if he passes another dog, or a group of 10 dogs, a person using a walker or a baby in a stroller — he is not a threat. Sometimes, he even lays down to let others pass. If you have a dog, even if he is on a leash, that you are unsure of, “I don’t ever know what THIS one will do,” LEAVE THAT DOG AT HOME. Because, I don’t want your dog attacking my sweet little Puppet.

Bike riders who share the hiking trail: pay attention. Scootch over. Slow down. Once, I saw a guy on a unicycle coming down the trail. No kidding. It doesn’t matter what you’re riding as long as you ride it — and the trail — responsibly. There are families, kids, babies, dogs, grannys, people with walkers, canes and disabilities — you need to watch out for all of us.

Finally, I have to say a few words to you who do not deserve to be dog owners. You let your dogs — untrained, aggressive and vicious — roam the neighborhoods. Your animals are not wild animals they are domestic but because you are so irresponsible, they act like wild animals. They terrorize other animals and people — two of them murdered my friend’s sweet kitty. He was just sitting in his spot. In the early morning sun. Shame on you. Give your dogs to Cesar Millan (he’s the dog whisperer, he knows how to rehabilitate dogs but I think training you is hopeless).

It’s just about being responsible.

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.