Our House is a very fine house-with inspiration from Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young

Gertrude Jekyll  Roses with Lavender


I don’t know how people blog every day, much less once a month.  My last entry was in May and the campaign season was starting.  The ballots have been mailed and Steve and I returned ours in the mail yesterday.  Voting has gotten easier and more open in the state of Washington.  People can vote that were jailed or imprisoned as long as they aren’t on parole.  I don’t know if the restoration of voting rights is shared or how easy it is to register now, something to share in the spring.  I did 3 canvases for political candidates, invited people to my home to meet a local candidate, got yard signs for a candidate,  invited neighbors to attend a town hall meeting to hear a candidate speak, and attended 2 political fundraisers.  I also attend two meetings of the Regional Board of Health and several City Council Meetings.  It was the spring and summer of political activism.

I started attending garden club and Master Gardener programs and learned about rose species and gardening in my environment.  We had to remove 4 quaking aspen from a flower bed.  I didn’t know that they were fragile trees and needed much more water than the lawn. I learned how to support hummingbirds, butterflies, and pollinators by increasing flowering plants in my yard.  I loved watching the hummingbirds and bees hovering over the flowers.

I planted 3 rhododendrons, 2 azaleas, 2 hydrangeas, 1 butterfly bush, 3 sage species (salvias) that have blue blooms, 3 peony plants, 5 Asian Lily bulbs, and 2 day lily plants.  I also planted multiple roses. I didn’t realize that the peonies and roses take a few years to be established.  I have a Gertrude Jekyll which is a huge climber with pink roses.  I have multiple pink shrub roses-2 Savannah, 1 Jubilee, and one the name escapes me.  I planted a red and white shrub rose and a red climber.  They are doing so well with fertilizing and lots of water. I filled in with marigolds, nasturtiums, dahlias, gladioli, asters, petunias and geraniums.  I saved bulbs and seeds so I will have lots seeds to try next year. I will buy an additional 2 roses in the spring and dream of a true English garden in a few years.




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Paul and Silas, bound in jail / Had no money for to go their bail / Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on / Hold on, (hold on), hold on,

Hold On–I was fortunate to work “Mo Town” the musical this winter. The Civil Rights movement faced an uphill battle. People were jailed and killed. They stood up to the same people that want to take away civil rights.   There was a Poll Tax to vote.  Some citizens were required to “Recite the entire Constitution”.

The voting rights bill was passed in the U.S. Senate by a 77-19 vote on May 26, 1965. After debating the bill for more than a month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 333-85 on July 9.


As I canvass for Lisa Brown for Congress, I will tell people that Lisa Supports the 2nd Amendment but she supports all the Amendments.  I am out today because I REALLY Support the 15th and the 24th!freedom riders



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Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep Dreaming about the things that we could be….we’ll be counting stars. One Republic

Active- the word for 2018

I have been listening to the podcasts by Gretchen Rubin.  She wrote the best selling book, “The Happiness Project”.  She has written other books and now has a podcast about happiness.  The subject could be trite but it is well researched and for those of us not living where we are worried about surviving day to day,  strategies to be mindful of daily happiness.  She said to choose a word for the year. My word for the year is Active.

I want to be more Active in my community.  The late Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, said “All Politics is Local”.  People respond how their lives are impacted.  My husband and I and our neighbors got involved in local politics.  We supported 2 local candidates with contributions, attended candidate forums, and a yard sign.  They were elected.  Our congressional representative does nothing for the local district but there hasn’t been a good candidate until now.  We have attended a meet the candidate and campaign training and will be Active volunteers. I want to do everything I can to make positive changes.

Active in my church– I am teaching Sunday School, organizing  a  family food ministry, greeting, and being part of a fellowship dinner group.

Active outdoors-I have been working with the director of the City of Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation.  The city has a wonderful walking/biking trail called “The Appleway Trail.”  The first mile ran out of money for planting so it is a mile of weeds.  The rest of the trail has funding for vegetation and maintenance.  We are developing a pilot section for native pollinators that are drought resistant.    I joined 3 garden groups to help this project although I found out that only 1 will provide active volunteers.  I also joined a women’s hiking group, Ms. Adventurers.  I have been able to explorer wonderful hiking areas in my community.

When I first retired, I got the best advice.  “Try lots of activities but don’t commit.”  I have found that I really enjoy selling tickets for the Symphony, learning to play the piano, hiking with my women’s hiking group, new activities in my church, launching a civic pilot garden project, expanding gardening projects in my yard, and raising money through a sorority function. Steve and I plan to actively travel.  We stayed closer to home having a new dog in 2017.   Lastly, joining a political campaign.  2018 will be an active year.






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Gift Giving and Receiving Suggestions

I was listening to a podcast by Gretchen Rubin.  She was talking about how she feels awkward sometimes receiving gifts.  Her sister, Elizabeth, said that she gave her mother-in-law a foot care package and her mother-in-law was a bit put off.  “It was something that I would really like which is a common measure of a gift.”  I say, “Forget something you would like.”  Give quality that you would like but gifts should be something the receiver likes, not you.

In the book, “The Love Languages” some people really like to show love by gifting and receiving gifts.  That person is listening and is aware of others.  My daughter’s new boyfriend is a great gift giver.  He listened to how much we liked our home town while he visited and gave us a book about the history of our town with great black and white photos.

I have another dear friend  that is the total opposite. She loves tea and tea parties.  For my birthday the past two years she has taken me out to high tea and presented me with a lovely single tea pot.  I only drink tea if instant coffee  or no decaffeinated coffee is available. I will never make myself a single pot of tea. I put the beautiful tea pot on a shelf in my office with travel mementos to think of her long time friendship.

My late mother used to ask for gift ideas.  She expressed love by giving the right gift.  She also enjoyed receiving a thoughtful gift or one she would use/enjoy.  Her mother would battle with her sister because they gave each other gifts they felt the other “should” enjoy.  Pastries to someone trying to lose weight; purple to someone that had gorgeous white hair but hated purple but– loved blue and red.

Lastly, if someone gives you a gift that you would never use or don’t like, smile graciously-thank them for taking the time to shop and wrap for you.  Having someone be able to give you a gift when people don’t have basic needs being met is a blessing.

In the Magic Art of Tidying Up, she said the most freeing of advice.  You don’t have to keep something just because it was a gift.  The gift giver gave it to you and then it becomes your property to do with as you wish.  You can  display a teapot if you never will make a pot of tea and think fondly of your friend when you see it.

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But I would walk 500 miles And I would walk 500 more Just to be the man who walked a 1000 miles To fall down at your door –The Proclaimers

On Sunday, over 100 people went on a brief hike to enjoy a waterfall in Oregon.  Some hiked in bathing suits, other trail runners planned a quick dip.  A wild fire started by a 15 year old without a fully developed frontal cortex playing with fireworks.  (He didn’t think about his actions.) Suddenly over a 100 people couldn’t access the trail back to their cars.  They had to hike out the other way.  A veteran and medic had people number off and had the strongest hikers go in front and back.  If someone needed assistance the group would stop.  Sparks ignited plants on the trail and people put them out with water bottles.  A forest ranger hiked in to meet them.  Darkness fell, the temperature dropped. The group stayed at a waterfall for the night because of space and safety. Food and space blankets were dropped.  The next morning everyone got a number on their hand because they would have a long, fast hike to get out.  Fleeing the smoke and flames the entire group hiked to safety and was transported back to the trail head where friends, family, and cars were waiting.

A family from my town were some of the hikers.  Only one hiker was prepared to spend longer than an hour on the trail.  So even if you go for a short hike, take a flashlight, extra food and clothing, water, matches, first aid kit,space blanket and a map of the area. Good items to have in a car too.

My hiking group collected 84 pairs of wool blend hiking socks for the fire fighters to use that will be delivered by an EMT working the fire.  Even when something awful happens, people can overcome it with acts of love and compassion.Morning on the Columbia River- Stevenson, WA looking toward the Oregon side- April 2017

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Tips and Tricks from my Daughters

The earliest one was parking for the local movie theater.  My daughters found a spot in the parking structure that most people miss because it is on the way out.  It is the same level as the ticket machines and ticket sellers.  Save the ticket and get a discount on parking.

How to use the updated movie theater.   The movie theater now has assigned seats and seats that recline.  It takes an additional 10 minutes to go downtown but getting the seat you want and being able to sit with your feet up and no one behind you will kick your seat trying to get comfortable is sheer joy.

Swifters for mopping.  I always used a mop and water but with laminate floors, the wet Swifters work great and don’t streak.  We get the generic from Fred Meyer because they are fragrance free.

Bicycle shorts make spin classes survivable.  I got a pair as a gift and felt like I was 7 ago on the spin bike.  Biking is more fun too.

I Phones allow you to access the world that you couldn’t on a cheap Nokia Smart Phone.  I can use Uber, Lyft, sync my Fit Bit, and more importantly Facetime and Text my daughters.  Also many of my family members would rather text than make a phone call so my text messages aren’t broken up and randomly compiled.  Although the Nokia Texts could be entertaining.

Don’t get a grocery cart on wheels if you are going to be walking.  Only use a basket that you can hold on your arm because you will be carrying the groceries home.   And get a folding re-usable bag that is the size of a wallet if you shop in Portland or Seattle.

The World of Podcasts is expanding and a great way to get the daily news.  I listen to Up First and Just a Minute for news.  Entertainment is the Paula Poundstone Institute,  Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, and Happy Hour all on NPT. To expand my knowledge would be How I Built This, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Ted Talks, and The Moth.  I know there are others I need to explore.  Walking Mr. Carson becomes longer and longer as I want to finish a podcast.  Chopping and preparing food is a joy.

I can load podcasts on my I Phone so I don’t have to carry to devices.  I can wear earphones so I don’t have to share my podcast with everyone in my neighborhood.

I am sure I will pick up another tip or trick this weekend while they are both home.  isla mujeres family

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Life Tips and Tricks or now known as Life Hacks

My husband and I were talking about some of the things that we have learned through life through either experience or ideas passed on from family and friends.  Here are a few:

Make extra house keys.  Give one to someone nearby in case you get locked out.  Carry another one in a different spot that you would take to work.  I carried an extra key in my sales binder.  Others keep one in laptop carrier.  Getting locked out has happened to:

someone working in the yard that tossed the keys with weeds/someone working with a manager and the manager locked the car with the keys still on the drivers seat/someone checking the keys in the suitcase and the bag was delayed

Have extra plastic cutting boards, measuring spoons, wooden spoons and  measuring cups.  I started buying at the dollar sales but now with the Dollar Stores, no one has to wait.  Cooking is so much easier if you don’t have to stop and wash utensils needed for the next step.

Still carry maps and printed directions.  GPS signals fail, roads change and have construction.

If you are hiking–have a map.  Have a Map!  4 young people recently had to be rescued locally because they went hiking using their smart phones and couldn’t get back to the trail.

Have flashlights, batteries, matches, and candles.  You don’t want to run down your phone using it as a flashlight.  Carry a flashlight and first aid kit in your car.  A blanket is a good idea too.  Blankets are good for first aid and checking out car issues.

Post a grocery list-add when you notice something is getting low and buy before you run out.  Especially helpful for condiments and baking supplies.

Buy stationary supplies, a file box and manila folders. Grown ups have rental agreements, work documents, health bills, credit card receipts, tax information. File it, don’t pile it so you can retrieve when necessary.

Purge your files in January. Especially important if you own a home. We’ve had directions for coffee makers, hair dryers, etc.  that we haven’t owned for years.

Keep an “old school address book” and calendar.  Cellphones and computers break. Also it can be so much faster to look up a date/birthday/commitment on a hard copy than loading/scrolling.

Doing something energizing when you have mid day energy slump.  Working, I would call on a fun account or take a walk.

Keep moving and make new friends. In the book, “Younger Next Year”, people that exercised and had social connections lived healthier, longer, and happier lives.  Friends leave our lives at any age and after leaving school,  we have to work to stay physically active.

What tips do you want to share?  Leave me a comment.








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