the hyphens that define my life

Summer Breeze August 19, 2014

Seals and Croft got it right, “Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”

I love summer and all of it’s glory, the water, the sun, the smell of coconut sunblock, beach towels and vacations. Salt water, fresh water, or chlorinated pool water, it doesn’t matter, each spell a variation of summer.

Taking full advantage of our incredible outdoor surroundings, we have had an indulgent, fantastic summer.  We spent a crazy action-packed week with friends at Hoopfest (the world’s largest 3-on-3 street basketball), Silverwood (the local amusement and waterslide park), rafting the Spokane River, picking fruit in the orchards of Green Bluff, riding the Route of the Hiawatha, boating and tubing on the Spokane River, Lake Coeur D’Alene from multiple perspectives, lots of ice cream, lots of food, and a minor league baseball game (Go Indians!).  Cheers to you, our friends, for making the adventure possible.

Before we caught our breath, we found ourselves on a road trip destined to crash a Mormon Family Reunion.  Top that!  We learned our dear friends would be in Southern Idaho, approximately 8 hours away, so the boys and I  jumped in the Suburban and headed east, then south, destined for Bear Lake.  We ended up in Utah, much further than we planned but who cares!  We saw our friends, our kids got together as if a day hadn’t passed and the whole family reunion welcomed us, and fed us. as if we were there own.  I have always been a Mormon magnet, in the best of ways.  Family values, good food, and lots of laughs, what more do you need?  All families are wacky, we fit right in.

On the return trip home, the boys and I took the scenic route through Yellowstone National Park, one of my all-time favorite national parks.  Our oldest son was 6 months old the last time we ventured through the park, so 12 1/2 years later, Yellowstone was still a sight to behold.  We saw elk and bison and bear, billy goats, and deer.  Yellow stones and thermal ponds, bubbling mud and geysers too.  Lots of ice cream along the route to keep us cool and sane.  We took a photo outside Roosevelt Lodge where their by-gone Grandpa Frankie used to stay.  Grandma appreciated the picture of our wiley mutts.  In the midnight hours, we made it home, driving a delirious 13 hours that day, worth every minute of our Yellowstone detour.

Honey, if you’re tired, our summer is just half way through.

From our Yellowstone road trip, we regrouped and tended to home affairs.  The garden, the animals, oh and yes, work.  We had summer camps of Extreme Sports, Videography, a week long YMCA camp at a pristine lake in the woods and a visit with Grandma in Seattle.

Our final summer vacation took us to the majestic state of Montana. We boated and tubed Flathead Lake, aerial adventured and ziplined Big Mountain at Whitefish Resort and explored Glacier National Park. WOW!  If that isn’t enough, we shared a camp fire and s’mores with a Harley Davidson biker bunch from Chicago and made great friends with some Canadians! Eh?  Yes, you heard me, some good folks from Calgary.

Our daughter transferred to Washington State University this week.  She has worked hard and has transferred in as a Junior, studying Elementary Education.  I am so proud of her, my girl.  She knows school is BAE, before anything else.  My heart surges with pride for her wisdom and strength, and lack of entitlement.  She has worked hard, knows what she wants to do and has earned the privilege of an education. Go girl!

My garden is a vegetable producing machine, resulting in me putting up pints and quarts of vegetables for summer-in-winter deliciousness. I think of my sister with every harvest, every photo of my great nieces and great nephew, every interaction with her sons.  My neighbors stop me every day to tell me how much they enjoy the sight of my garden. My hard work has paid off with my sister in my heart.

The boys refuse to cut their hair and have become wildebeasts of the inland northwest.  Mugs only their mother could love, they are adventurous and brave, fun and crazy. Most days I feel they are trying to kill me, though, in reality, they are just being boys,, wild with spirit in their hearts and daredevil in their souls.  I do my best to woo the savages with cookies and good food to tame their wild weirdness.  My favorite moment of the summer was when the boys declared Dad to be “Scrooge” over me.   Dad was confounded and perplexed at the thought!  The boys said mom gets mad as hornets but does lots of nice things. Dad just gets mad.  You know I love a good victory lap and I took it, laughing the entire way!

As rosey as I paint our summer, it all hasn’t been grand.  There have been factors in my life that have sucked the summer breeze right out of my sail, disheartened and derailed my spirit. Because these factors are still on the active attack, I can’t go into further detail; however, as emotional as these instances may be, I am not beaten, I am still in the fight and I will prevail, one way or another.  For future reference, be accountable to the words you speak to me. don’t lie, don’t mislead.  Be true. Aside from this vague and aggravating issue, that is my expectation of every one in my life – be true, be honorable, be real.  Is this really too much to ask?

Summer Breeze, makes me feel fine.

Maybe it’s just the fan.

There is no jasmine in the great inland northwest, but there is jasmine in the memories of my mind.

Our summer provided incredible experiences and unforgettable memories.

The best part?  We still have two weeks to go….


Northwest Edition July 29, 2013

Today’s mail brought my new issue of Sunset Magazine, the Northwest Edition. I feel like I’ve finally arrived. Sure we have lived in Spokane for 5 weeks but, in print, it feels official. Officially, I’m still sore from all of the gardening and yard work we tackled yesterday. I couldn’t lift my arms enough to type a blog post. All 5 of us mowing, raking, hacking, sawing, blowing and planting. With yard work done, we are beginning to look like the Northwest Edition too.

We met several of our neighbors in the midst of our sweaty, dusty, dirty efforts. Our sidewalk is a direct path to Manito Park and with cooler temperatures this weekend, everyone was out and about. We met people close by and those that live further away, all neighbors one and the same. Everyone incredibly nice and thrilled to have us on the block.

I have started planning my garden, in both the front and back yards for next year. I will have at least a 300 s.f. raised bed vegetable garden, a berry patch, a dahlia garden and, well, that’s all I have planned…so far. I planted 8 lavender plants this weekend that is my official lavender farm. I may add a few more plants, but this is a good, fabulously smelling start.

The Northwest Edition of my garden is challenging. We’re in a new zone with new soil and, gasp, weather. I have to pay attention to frost dates! I have to winterize!

The Washington State University Spokane County Master Gardener Program is an excellent online and physical resource providing everything a newbie like me needs to develop a fantastic vegetable garden as well as identify native plants. Browsing through the Extension Program, I learned that I – yes me – could become a Master Gardener. The requirements are straightforward, 64 hours of class time, passing grades on quizzes and tests and a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer time. I wonder if I get a badge that reads “Beth – Master Gardener”. Ooooh! Destiny.

Patience, grasshopper. First I must build the garden and experience the successes, miseries and tragedies of gardening in the Inland Northwest. According to the Northwest Checklist in my August 2013 issue of Sunset magazine, I need to:

1. Shop for spring bulbs as they are cheaper this time of year (I always love a bargain),

2. Plant Autumn Crocus, bulb to flower in 3 weeks. (Oooh! I can start now? Of course.)

There is information for those “West of the Cascades” aka Seattle, and prep, maintenance and protection projects that don’t apply to my garden yet. The checklist will be filed in my gardening folder already filled with advice and guidance, dream gardens and ideas.

Once I regain the full range of motion in my arms, I’ll get started on an autumn flower container garden for front porch color. I have nothing but time. Except for the time already allotted to family and work. My DIY furniture refinishing and upholstery projects fall next in line. You know I need my 8 hours each night too. Someway, somehow, I have all month, I will do my best to find some solace in my Northwest Edition of my yard.


Ready to Rumble July 17, 2013

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 8:37 am
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Are your ready to rumble?  I’m not talking about some WWE smackdown. I’m also not talking about any given minute with my boys.  My favorite rumble is in the sky.  Tonight a thunderstorm is predicted in Spokane skies.

Growing up in Ohio, summer showers are a regular occurrence.  My cousin posted on Facebook the other day that it had rained 16 days straight in Ohio.  Summers in Northern Arizona are hot until the afternoon when huge monsoon clouds would roll in, thunder cracked and rain poured from the sky and cool off the temperatures.

We missed the changing weather while we lived in Southern California.  Southern California is fantastic for its consistent temperatures and we enjoyed the warmth while we were there.

Now living in the Inland Northwest, we have loved the cool weather on our arrival, rainstorms, and fantastic thunder and lightning storms.  We’ve had our share of high heat too which I’m ready to turn off.  They say Spokane only has two seasons, July and Winter, and we’re halfway through July.  Tonight, with only a 30% chance of a storm, we are hopeful for some weather.

Yes, I have nothing else to post about other than the weather.  Call it writer’s block if you will.  It was just a day, nothing extraordinary, all straightforward, simple and true to form, for which, I am thankful.  No additional broken bones, no calamities or crisis.  I did submit my photo of Vince jumping into the Spokane River to the Spokane Valley Photo Contest. I also returned some items I bought online. I watered the grass (the sprinkler system is broken).  Thunder and stormy skies are exciting.

With the first rumblings in the distance, I say goodnight.


Oregon! June 21, 2013

We have officially left California after what was truly the longest day of the year.  There is nothing like driving with a 7-year-old (and his whole package of emotions, nonsense and hilarity) at 60 mph (who knew I could drive so slow?) looking at the back of a trailer for roughly 600 miles.  The tire issue with the trailer offset our schedule along with stopping for a sit down Mexican food lunch in Williows, and an ice cream break and gas fill up in Redding.

Though this wasn’t our first trip to Lake Shasta/Mount Shasta area, the natural beauty never ceases to amaze.  Andre, our 7-year-old, had to call his friend to tell him about all the beautiful trees and lakes and the otherwise “totally long and boring” all day car ride. If Andre is inspired to discuss anything than video games, pay attention.

We missed the chance to take a photo of Weed, next 3 exits and at the Oregon border.  At those points it wasn’t about the journey, it was about covering as much ground in daylight as possible.

Oregon is beautiful.  We drove the 97 from Weed, CA to Bend, OR.  Nothing but trees, lakes, rivers, truckers, campers and us on the road. We had another slight glitch last night.  The gas gauge on the suburban broke.  One minute it read 1/2 tank, the next it was screaming E.  It wouldn’t have been any big deal if we were anywhere near civilization, or near anywhere that stayed open past 8 PM.  It also wouldn’t have been a big deal if my darling husband remembered, or wrote down, his mileage when he filled up last. With none of these boxes checked, Vince did the next best thing.  He pulled into the first mom & pop RV campground/general store/gas station we saw and knocked on the door of their residence and asked them to open up so he could get some gas.  Are you surprised?  Me, just another day in the life . The best part was that the wife had to come out, open up and pump the gas.  Vince didn’t know that in Oregon there is no self-service at the gas pump, only full service, after hours included.  The suburban, it turned out, had plenty of gas to get us to Bend, but we felt much better knowing.  Be proud of me, I did not once say any unkind, are you freaking kidding me, what the hell comments to Vince like…hello…we’re on a road trip…monitoring gas levels is essential. Nor did I call him a dumbass (out loud).

We woke to 50 degrees and rain in the forecast from here to Spokane.  A perfect welcome to the Inland Northwest.  We are definitely not in Southern California anymore.  I wish I would have packed shoes other than my flip-flops.  All is fair in love and war…dumbasses unite.  Yes, Vince and I are a pair.

Today is the day we arrive at our new home.  We can’t wait.  In fact, the others are yelling at me to think and type faster so we can get on the road. Gotta roll…