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….


Join the Club July 25, 2013

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 10:47 pm
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There are some days when my husband’s over zealous research pays off.   That is to say that there are some days when his over zealous research makes me feel like a hamster on a wheel.  Tonight was not that night.  Tonight, thanks to his research, we Unlimited Fun at Red Lion’s Templins Resort on the Spokane River.  Unlimited Fun just saved me a ton of money (renting a boat for 5-8 trips vs buying and storing and maintaining a boat) and provides, truly, unlimited fun.

Unlimited Fun provides boats to rent (at a great price) on the Spokane River and the nearby Lake Coeur D’Alene.  Plus we get VIP privileges for unlimited use of their stand up paddleboards (SUPs) and Kayak/SUP hybrids and access to their private beach.

If that isn’t enough, on Thursday nights Red Lion Templins Resort offers an all-you-can-eat BBQ, live classic rock/county mix music, full bar and dancing.  Yee-haw!

Folks, if I haven’t sold you on this incredible deal yet, here’s a testimonial from their newest 7 year old member (my son Andre):

“This place has BBQ, live music, ice cream, and tons of stuff for us to do, we should just live here, it is paradise.”

Andre is serious.  He is willing to give up video games every day if we will take him to the river.  Andre was paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, boating and chowing down on BBQ today. If you’ve read my posts up to this point, this is not my youngest child’s typical behavior.  He broke his mold and found himself in seventh heaven.  Or, he just aged 60 years and is ready for retirement.

When we left the house tonight after work, our plan was to just check it out and maybe take a dip in the river.  We packed bathing suits and towels and headed out the door.  I had made a pot of beans this morning for bean and cheese burritos for dinner.  We were set for a relatively quick out and back trip.  We told the kids, “Get in the car, we’re going to Idaho”.  That’s a phrase I never thought I’d ever say, even living here it feels odd.  To Idaho we went.

Then we got there.  The Idaho panhandle is ridiculously beautiful at every turn.  We have been going to Lake Coeur D’Alene and with each visit in constant awe. Today we stopped in Post Falls, a town on the Spokane River that started as a sawmill owned by a man named Post.   Lake Coeur D’Alene drains into the Spokane River before emptying into the Columbia River at Roosevelt Lake approximately 112 miles downstream.

Red Lion Templins Resort is 10 highway miles west of Lake Coeur D’Alene on the Spokane River.  The beach and river fun is unsuspecting as you park on the hill above and walk down to the marina.  The wide clear water river spreads out before you with a mountain on the other side, dotted with mega-houses with private docks.  There is a boat launch and marina and resort services, boat and jet ski rentals, SUP and kayak/SUP hybrid rentals an a snack shack and bathrooms.  A private beach with a grass volleyball court is just east of the marina.

For the few weeks we have left of summer [the locals tell me this high 90 degree heat isn’t going to last forever, only until mid September, enjoy it while it lasts], this is our summertime fun package.  Boat, check. Trying new things, check.  Easy access beach with amenities, check. All of the kids love it, check.  Mom and dad are happy, check.  The downside is that we don’t explore all of the surrounding lakes.  We’ll get there.  We will eventually buy a boat, just not yet. Renting a boat is perfect solution to get us off our butts on the beach and out exploring on the water.

Our month of August is jammed packed with activity.  Our daughter, Jessica, arrives on the 31st for 10 days and we are all super excited.  She loves to SUP and the boys can’t wait to SUP with her.  We all can’t wait to share our adventures with her.  Right after she leaves, we have our twelve year old buddy, Kyle, coming to visit for a week.  He will not want to go home with all the thrills and excitement we have planned during his visit.

One thing for sure, our dog days of summer will be spent on and in the water.



The Spokane River: An Introduction July 13, 2013

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 10:25 pm
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With Andre, our 7 year old, breaking his arm, our Spokane adventures have been halted to keep the boy and his arm mellow without exertion to allow healing and avoid surgery.  A sling is not much of a restraint from his wild antics so we have decided to stay home, work on getting settled and limit all activity.  That successfully lasted a week and now we’re all stir crazy.

Whenever Vince and I meet someone new, whether the paint store guy or the bank teller or just anyone, we ask which is their favorite lake and their swimming hole in the Spokane River.  We have been given great insight to the local waters, natural waterslides off Lake Pain D’Oreille (pronounced Pon-dor-ray), great fishing spots in the lakes and rivers and a lead to a rope swing into the Spokane River.

Today we decided to check out the Spokane River.  Not check it out, we’ve seen it every single day since arrival.  Today was the day we were jumping in and going for a swim.  One guy told me about a swimming hole west of town.  The bank teller told Vince about the rope swing.  When discussed with the boys, hands down, the rope swing location won.  We left the house around 3 PM and headed to this not so secret spot.

Forgive me, the place is managed by Spokane Parks and Recreation.  I saw the name of the place on a sign.  I meant to take a picture so I wouldn’t forget, but I forgot to take the picture so I have no hope of remembering the name of the rope swing spot.

We climbed down this short, loose-gravel-slippery path to the river’s edge.  Houses with docks were scattered along the opposite side of the Spokane River.  Our side of the river had trees and big boulders dropping into the river with spots to swim.  The highlight of this location was the rope swing.  A very generous, show-off of a guy, demonstrated how to grab the rope, where to hold on and when was the best time to let go.

Vince and the boys were stoked!  Woo!  Who will go first?  I had a full panic attack.  Spines snapping, paralysis, broken bones…my babies.  I seriously thought I was going to vomit.  Vince and the boys thought I was ridiculous.  I asked the daredevil demonstrator about water depth, when shouldn’t they let go and other panic stricken but legitimate questions.  Vince made me sit down, with clear instruction to stop talking and just watch.

Andre was pissed off.  He couldn’t swing, which we discussed before arrival and he accepted.  When he saw how dangerous it was and that he was missing all the fun, he made it clear to all that he was not happy.  Because there wasn’t really a beach, he couldn’t wade or play either without quickly being in over his head, unable to swim with one arm.  We sat together, misery loves company.

Vince was the first one to launch.  He performed a mid-air twirl.  He swam the long way around  the rocks before getting out to enjoy the cool (read: freezing), crystal clear water.


Trace was up next.  I held on to Andre and broke into a cold sweat.  I was stressing heavy.


Then my Niko took his turn.  I had a hard time watching, let alone taking photos.


Of course they loved it.  Of course they want to go back.  Our first introduction to the Spokane River was a great experience by a 3-2 split vote.  Andre and I have no plans to return to the rope swing. We are all ready to check out the other recommended spots both up and down stream.


Forgive me for not posting yesterday.  I have allergies (maybe all those dead flowers in my front lawn?) or a cold and I opted to sleep yesterday rather than post.  This has been a rough week.  I’m glad it is done.

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Time to Celebrate July 4, 2013

Today we celebrate the 237th year of United States Independence.  For most, the day is not recognized or celebrated for our separation from England.  The 4th of July is a glorious celebration of red, white and blue flags and banners waving at the beach, picnic, barbecue, summer fun and fireworks.

How are you spending your Independence Day?

We are declaring independence from moving!  No unpacking, cleaning, organizing, building, shopping or arranging today.  At least for a few hours.  Today, we are blindly following a lead that promises an ideal swimming hole for our first dip in the Spokane River.  We’ll barbecue at home then make our way to see the Spokane Fireworks Extravaganza at Riverfront Park.  Simple fun and good food are the makings for a good day ahead.  Whatever your plan is for the day, I wish you and your family a Happy 4th of July!  Go USA, long may our flag wave.

Enough star-spangled hoopla.

Did you know that I am a huge fan of Ball Mason Jars?  This year, Ball is commemorating their 100th Anniversary by recreating blue colored mason jars like the jars they made years ago, specifically from 1898 – 1937.

Not only do the jars have a symbolic nod to their past, their blue hue is very timely for 4th of July festivities.  Smart marketing!  I have no time to can or jam at the moment, but canning and jamming are weighing heavily on my mind.  I need to get this house in order so I can get stocking up for winter.

This week, we spent time in the basement of our 1942 home, checking out exciting stuff like the mechanical room, available storage, and because it is a partially finished basement, the 3′-4′ crawl space showing the exposed pipes and other eye-crossing stuff.  I really didn’t do anything other than enjoy the twenty degree cooler temperatures found in the basement compared to the 100+ degree temperatures in the rest of the house and outside.  Vince, on the other hand, was grumbling and puzzled why contractors or previous owners did the wacky building or repair jobs.  The curse of being a general contractor.  To me, it looks like a bunch of working pipes and wires.  To him, it is a jumbled Rubik’s cube begging to be corrected.  Whatever, do what you want, I’m chillin’.

Eventually I surfaced to the main level to deal with the seeminly unending supply of boxes.  Vince ventured upstairs later with the boys in tow, tracking me down in the living room declaring that he had a gift for me.  Had to be a dead rat or something horrid if they were all interested, I thought. The gift turned out to be an old half gallon blue ball mason jar!   Internet research tells me that Ball stopped making blue mason jars sometime around 1937.  The lid is zinc, and the #3 is the mold number used to form the jar.  Peach-something was once housed in the jar but no more.  Based on what I know, the jar is at least 76 years old.

ball mason jar ball mason jar 2

US Independence was declared in 1776. Looks to me like I have a new 4th of July decoration to treasure.