31 October 2006


The witch at the dumpsters told me it probably wasn't going to hurt at all, but I decided that 11 am isn't too early to drink a few prophylactic beers.

This afternoon, in order to have a small tumor removed from my cervix, I'll be going in for a short procedure, where the doctor will use an electric knife in a place that should never get within a mile of any knife, and probably shouldn't be around electricity either.

I was assured that if I took four advil before going in, that should probably take care of any pain.

It's not the pain that I'm worried about, it's the fear! I just don't handle fear well.

I'm pretty frightened at the thought of sneezing at an inappropriate moment. Or coughing. Or even moving.

And why does it bother me that this is happening on Halloween? Did I watch too much Screaming Yellow Theater when I was growing up?

I'm also a little worried about my firewood. I mean, I worked all weekend, and I still have a pile of wood that now features an eighth of an inch of frozen snow on its surface.

I think the lawnmower's still out in the yard somewhere, too.

Of course, this year I'll have an excuse for that - my procedure.

28 October 2006


It might not look like much, but I made some progress on my wood pile today. Need to get everything split before I have some minor surgery on Tuesday. Not sure if I'll get more done today as my hands hurt bad... I'm a weak little girl. Even more impressive, half my house is clean and I got almost all the laundry done... and the day is still young.

26 October 2006

Stolen Email

Now that I'm "staff" with the LPO School District, I get the "global" emails that go out to everyone. This one came from our new Superintendent, and I thought it was great writing so am re-posting it here. I sent him an email to let him know... but even though that email went out to something like 500 people, it's probably not kosher to do it. Still... I'm doing it. I'll take it off if he objects, but I'm betting he won't. In the meantime, enjoy.

I grew up in the city. I walked or rode my bike to school every day until I could drive to high school. It was a pretty simple plan. The only time I rode a school bus was when I went on a field trip and that did not happen very often. When it did, I really enjoyed that bus ride; big green seats, windows, and a noise level that was a kid’s idea of mayhem. In short, I loved the experience.

Many of our students ride the yellow bus to school as a day to day way of life. The friendly drivers are the first people they see who represent the school district. Each morning sleepy eyed students clamber on to warm buses for a journey that they will remember forever……I can’t tell you how many times I have heard ”Remember when Johnny did (you name it) on the bus?” U-Haul claims to be the” Adventure in Moving”. I am convinced transporting students to school is the real adventure in moving.

This week was School Bus Safety Week. Students practiced emergency exit drills, safe riding procedures, etc. It is important to be prepared However, for all of us, it is also a time to thank our drivers for the good work they do every day as they transport their precious cargo. I don’t know about you, but at aged 55, I am pretty tired of driving. Maybe if I sported around in a fancy car or a Vespa, it might be different. Yet, every morning I see drivers with smiles on their faces greeting students and making sure they safely arrive at school. I would be curious to know how many miles these folks have put in behind the wheel. Amazingly, they are still smiling.

I also like to sleep. That too may be a factor of age. How is it that these good people can get up before dawn to drive a huge machine down the road? How about driving that beast on snow or ice with young kids on board who might be singing, laughing, or doing what kids do? I know when my dad was behind the wheel of the 1959 Ford Fairlane, we had to take the oath of silence…even when there wasn’t snow. One word or giggle when he was driving a snowy road led to banishment to the basement of the house. It was serious business because we never knew what evil lurked in the basement. Only my mother could intervene at that point.

So, next time you see one of our drivers, doff your cap, salute, bow, or offer them a simple thank you for a great job. They are the first step in a successful day for many of our children. We appreciate all that they do. Enjoy your weekend.


Thinkin' 'bout Gunfights

Scrolling through the morning news I came across this opinion in the New York Times regarding the "Gunfight at the OK Corral which took place 125 years ago today.

If the link doesn't work for you, consider this one paragraph. "Then there’s gun control. The Earps didn’t debate gun control; they enforced it, alienating those who considered it their God-given right to carry guns. A decade ago, Pat Buchanan, with gun belt, made a campaign stop in front of the O.K. Corral." If he had done that 125 years ago, he might have met the same fate as the cow-boys, at least two of whom were carrying guns in blatant defiance of town ordinance."

Even though I'm a history buff, I never knew that Tombstone (along with many other Western towns) had a gun control law. I always bought into the mythology that the wild west was just that - wild, and that laws of this type didn't come around until a lot more recently.

The opinion, by the way, isn't about gun control - it simply shows that issues of today were issues even then. It also mentions federal versus local law jurisdiction and illegal immigration. Something to think about going into a frosty Thursday.

25 October 2006

Just for you Brad

Brad, the only reason I don't have a dog is 'cause the one I want is owned by someone else and she won't give him to me. This is Kujo, my favorite dog in the whole world and the "top dog" at the Keokee Publishing office in Sandpoint. He and I always play when I'm there... almost every day.

I don't think the dog and cat thing is a conservative/liberal thing. As I wrote once years ago, it's far more complex. See, dog owners prefer to use a Mac, while cat owners like to use PCs.


If I'm hearing the gossip correctly, yes, a lot of liberals will be voting for Karl Dye this election.

It's Way too Early

In fact, most of this week it has seemed way too early. This time, though, I have to get on the road to Spokane so I can take flyers from Larsons into the printer and have them inserted in the new issue of the River Journal. So I need to be on road in the next ten minutes or so. If you want a sneak peak at the paper, see it here.

24 October 2006

I did it again

The Doofus cat is stuck on the roof. He does this frequently. Once he's up there, he can't seem to figure out how to get down - he's more than earned his name. Whenever I go out on the porch, he runs to the edge of it, and cries for me to save him. If I try to crawl up on the porch railing and rescue him, though, he runs off. Doofus cat. He wants me to go find the ladder, crawl up on the roof, pick him up, cradle him in my arms, and crawl down with him again. He forgets that I'm afraid of heights. Or else he doesn't care.

The latest issue of the River Journal is uploading to the printer as I type this. I know I've said it before but... I HATE ELECTIONS! Glad this issue is done, and please pick it up and read all about the candidates because it took me hours and hours to put all this together. I'll let you know what I think about this election - after it's over. I'm not a fan of endorsements... it's just me here, and if you're relying on my opinion, you haven't been reading enough about the candidates and issues on your own.

Distribution tomorrow... wish me luck.

23 October 2006

Another One Bites the Dust!

And it only took 16 hours straight for me to catch up. Now tomorrow is free for proofreading, double-checking that everything's in there, creating pdf files and uploading pages to the printer. Oh, and cleaning the truck out so that I'm able to pick all the papers up in Spokane on Wednesday.

For now, though, I'm looking forward to a hot bath, and a good book, and an early night.

No Sympathy

My Gandalf cat has absolutely no sympathy for how hard I'm having to work today, as you can see in this picture. For those of you keeping track (that's you, Jinx)I have five pages yet to go before the paper's done.

It's not my Friday

In fact, it's not even a regular Monday. It's a deadline Monday and here I sit at 4:45 am with 11 pages yet to finish on this week's issue of the paper. Unfortunately, my anti-virus program is set to scan in the wee hours of the morning, and it makes everything run r e a l l y slow... especially my memory-hog design programs. Which gives me time to catch up on the blog before I catch up on the paper.

It was a busy weekend. Clark Fork hosted the District 1A (North Star League) volleyball championships on Saturday. I was at the school at 8 am and got home again close to 7 pm. Clark Fork's young team put up a bit of a fight for it, but will not be going to state. They came in third, beaten by the league champion Wallace Miners (for the third time this season) and losing a second match to Coeur d'Alene Charter, after taking them in three games in the first match. It was a fun day as a spectator/scorekeeper and one of the Wallace girls had a t-shirt I plan to buy for my oldest daughter. It read, "you WISH you could hit like a girl."

Yesterday David and I drove down to Coeur d'Alene for the North Idaho Aids Coalition Wine Auction where I once again proved that I should never be let loose in an auction with money. (Because I'll spend it.) I didn't do too badly, however. I bought two lift tickets to Schweitzer Mountain (I don't ski, but my children do) and a beautiful, black and white print of a barn with snow taken by the one and only Ernie Hawks.

Interesting email sent out today by Marcia Phillips, a compilation of some headlines from the Bud Mueller years as County Commissioner - or, what we used to refer to as the "Bud and Larry Show." (Bud is running again this election season after winning the Republican primary.) A republican herself, Marcia is encouraging people NOT to vote for Mueller or for Lewis Rich, who's also running for a commissioner's seat.

Oops... virus scan done so it's off to work on a newspaper.

21 October 2006

It's a Volleyball Day

Well, I'm awake now. Was drinking my first cup of coffee while sitting at the computer, taking care of emails and catching up on the news when my stereo system (that would be Windows Media Player)segued from a run of John Coltrane into a performance of Georgia... a RAP performance. I trade music with my kids all the time, but that was one I hadn't realized was in my list of songs. (And it shouldn't be - there's some rap I like, but Georgia? Man, that song's a classic and should remain untouched.) Of course, in the time it took me to write this, the music has now moved on to... a spoonful of sugar. It's quite a variety I listen to. :0)

I'll be heading over to Clark Fork High School shortly to set up a 'hospitality room' for the District 1A Volleyball tournament that we're hosting today. I'm the scorekeeper for Clark Fork, so will be at the school most of the day (the first game is at 10 am, the last is scheduled to begin at 3:30 pm). Lucky for me, volleyball coach extraordinaire Cindy Derr offered to share scorekeeping duties today, so I'm going to ask her to switch off with me this morning. It will be my first chance this season to get some pictures of the girls playing. If any turn out well (it's hard to take pictures of volleyball... at least, it is for me) I'll stick 'em up here.

Continued changes are going on at the River Journal. I'll be unveiling my newest "re-design" of the front page in our issue that comes out on the 25th and you'll meet a new columnist on November 8th. We're saying good-bye to Mike Gearlds this month (he's off to greener, and hopefully more lucrative, pastures after a disagreement over editorial content) and I'll miss his take on local issues. But we have a couple of interesting replacements lined up, and I think readers are going to enjoy our newest voice. Not that I know who it is yet... I'm waiting to hear if the "number one pick" wants to take on a monthly column, but the number two pick is also very good.

There's a chance we'll have a new cartoonist as well... so don't miss your River Journals in the issues to come and let me know what you think of the changes.

Okay, I have some Rice Krispie treats that still need to be made this morning so it's off to the kitchen.

17 October 2006

Random Thoughts

Been scrolling around through various news archives as is my early morning habit, and on Molly Ivins column (click here to read it) she gives the best description of a reporter's job I've ever heard, right in her opening sentence: "I sacrificed an hour Friday evening to watch the Texas gubernatorial debate on your behalf, since I knew none of you would do it."

The New York Times writes that "expunged" criminal records are still readily available through private "data companies" and that the offer to expunge records just doesn't mean much anymore. Here's a great quote from the story: "Thomas A. Wilder, the district clerk for Tarrant County in Fort Worth, said he had received harsh criticism for refusing, on principle, to sell criminal history records in bulk. “How the hell do I expunge anything,” Mr. Wilder asked, “if I sell tapes and disks all over the country?” "

Shouldn't it be illegal to sell information like that?

Project Censored (click here) asks an interesting question about the power of media: "If a national movement calling for the impeachment of the President is rapidly emerging and the corporate media are not covering it, is there really a national movement for the impeachment of the President?" Of course, what I really enjoyed was the "top 25 censored news stories of 2007." Do they know something we don't, or are they just as prone to numerical typos as the rest of us?

My dial-up internet connection has kept me away from two intriguing stories posted at the Mother Jones website: a radio piece on "is Google evil" and a video piece where Colin Powell discusses his termination. I did enjoy this piece, however, on more ethics violations in Congress. Do you ever get the feeling that, once elected, politicians (of whatever party) think that gives them open season to do whatever the hell they want?

Now, no one wants to take less than seriously a very serious situation, and Harpers Weekly reports just such a situation - but it happens to include one of the best quotes I've seen this week. (We writer-type people appreciate a good quote even more than a cold beer - most of the time.) No, it's not the soldier who said "that damn marijuana," (though that was good, too). Seems a couple in Virgina are trying to "give back" the 15-year old boy they adopted after discovering he's a sexual predator. The mom's comment? “They just told me he was hyperactive."

There's snow on both Bee Top and Scotchman today. Unless I want all my income to go to Avista this year, I'd best get away from the computer and build a fire in the wood stove, then build a fire in myself by splitting a little more firewood.

15 October 2006

Should Athletes be More Accountable than Other Students?

I was reading in the New York Times this morning about college and university responses to what happened at Duke University last year, when members of the Lacrosse team were accused of rape. (Here's a link to the Times story, but you may have to sign up for an account in order to read it.)

It seems a number of institutions are making tougher rules for their student athletes. According to the Times, "Scores of colleges and universities have begun enforcing codes of conduct for athletes that are more strict than those applied to the rest of the student body, officials said. More rigorous standards for athletes were among the recommendations of the panel investigating Duke’s internal response in the rape case."

I know we've been steadily developing a culture of "guilty until proven otherwise," but is this the wisest thing to do? And are we saying, "If you rape somebody, there's gonna be trouble, but if you happen to play football and get accused of rape, it's gonna be worse?"

I understand the temptation of the "Caeser's wife" approach - after all, the actions of an athlete are far more likely to be considered "newsworthy," - at least by the national media - than the actions of an average student. But I suspect that these new "rules" are just one more example of how we always seem to overreact to any new situation we face... or any situation that becomes news because, let's face it, accusations of rape are hardly uncommon on college campuses.

Of course, it's gone even farther than that. Some new rules (and some contracts) also hold the coach responsible for what their athletes do - even when not in school - and it's now clear that the coach can be fired based on student actions. "On the advice of United Educators and sometimes on the counsel of high-powered conference commissioners, colleges and universities have rewritten coaches’ contracts to specify that they can be fired for their players’ misbehavior."

When did we forget the simple truth that without authority, you can't have responsibility?

13 October 2006


I like that phrase, "Thank god it's Friday." And I get to say it today, because it really is Friday for me. The next two days are the only two days I actually get "off" in the month. Of course, I have a lot of tax stuff I need to do, so I'll still be working a little bit... but hopefully not a lot.

I go tonight to see the Heron Players perform "The Pedigree Murders." I'm a little nervous - Dick Hale is an enormously talented and funny scriptwriter, and I hear in this play, the cast uses the River Journal to find the clues to solve the mystery.

Clark Fork hosts the District 1A volleyball tournament beginning Wednesday next week. The Lady Cats will go up against the Lakeside Knights.

I read in the New York Times today that China is considering implementing labor laws that will make unions more powerful - and American corporations are opposing it. I don't know enough about the issue to determine which side I believe is correct... but given China's image of labor abuse, I don't think this position makes our businesses look very good.

I had an email from Paul Krames telling me that his letter to the editor in the Bonner County Daily Bee had all references to myself and the River Journal 'purged.' It's something they do a lot. Our English teacher at Clark Fork had her class do a story on time management, and told the students the winning essay would be printed in the Bee (per an agreement with editor Caroline Lobsinger, who assured Chandra she'd be willing to print student work). My daughter won the contest... and she wrote about me. It will be interesting to see if the Bee keeps its promise.

The political season must be well underway 'cause I just heard some nasty (and completely untrue) rumors about Rep. George Eskridge this morning. I wonder why it is that people feel so comfortable in making up stuff about the candidate they don't want to vote for?

I just got the following from the Bonner County Democrats... a schedule of upcoming candidate forums.Mark your calendars and go learn firsthand what the candidates have to say:
Monday - October 16: Sandpoint Bee forum @ High School - County Candidates 6:30 p.m.Tuesday - October 17: Sandpoint Bee forum @ High School - State Candidates 6:30 p.m .Wednesday - October 18: Sandpoint Bee forum @ High School - All Candidates 6:30 p.m.Thursday - October 19: Priest River Chamber Forum @ PR Jr High - All Candidates 6 p.m.Friday - October 20: Blue Lake Grange Forum @ Blue Lake Grange - All Candidates 7 p.m.Saturday - October 21: Blanchard Grange Forum @ Blanchard Grange - All Candidates 6:30 p.m.Friday - October 27: Edgemere Grange Forum @ Edgemere Grange - All Candidates 7 p.m.

11 October 2006

Oh My

Well, another issue of the newspaper is off to the printer and should hit the streets this afternoon. Get a sneak peek if you want here.

Congratulations to Helen Newton, who won the contest to "Name that Column." Scott Johnson's new sports column now goes under the appellation: As I See It, Scott Johnson puts a Spotlight on Sports.

The "spotlight on sports" part was something Scott really liked, but As I See it was the winner in a contest that sported (pun intended) some rather odd entries. Here's what we had to choose from:
20/20 Sportstalk
Are you Ready to Fumble
Armchair Quarterback
As I Saw It
Balls Balls Balls
Critical Analysis
For Love of the Game
From the Sidelines
Game Gab
Jabbering Jocks
Jock Talk
Play by Play
Scoring with Scott
Scott's Hot Shots
Scott's Scoreboard
Scott's Sport Spotlight
Scott's Thoughts
Scott's Turf
Shoulda Coulda Woulda
Speaking of Sports
Sport Up North Idaho
Sports Cast
Sports Edge
Sports Splash
Sports Talk
Sports Yarns
Time Out with Scott
The Best Damn Sports Column Period
The Couch
The Couch Coach
The Crowd Goes Wild
The Inside Pitch
The Jock Strap
Unofficially Speaking
Wade Boggs
Wade Through Boggs

Tired this morning. We had a volleyball game in Mullan last night and, on the way home on the bus, one of the girls jammed her thumb badly and it looked like she might have broken it. So we spent a while at the emergency room at Bonner General. (The lady there was so cute - I had come in once to use the restroom and she slid open her little window to ask, "Do you have a busload of kids out there?" Yep, we did.)

Got home about midnight, then spent the next hour finishing uploading all the new stories to the River Journal website... plus the graphics that go along with the story about solutions to traffic congestion in Sandpoint. Hope people go to look at them (head to the homepage here). There's graphics showing the current road design at the railroad underpass just north of the chamber of commerce on Fifth Ave., and at the intersection of Highways 95 and 200, plus graphics showing how it could be, at little more than the price of paint. Sandpoint's Public Works committee was so impressed with the ideas they're recommending the City Council hold a special workshop to see if these changes couldn't be accomplished before the snow flies.

Okay, time to go pick up the paper and get it delivered. Happy Wednesday folks.

09 October 2006

The Frost is on the Pumpkin

Well, I don't have a pumpkin yet, but there's frost all over the firewood, so I guess that counts. It's a chilly fall morning here in Clark Fork today.

After a miserable day yesterday, I find I'm feeling much better this morning. The crud is moving out of my head and down to my chest. I don't much like the coughing part, but really appreciate that my head no longer weighs the 6,000 pounds it weighed yesterday.

Have you ever wondered just how much... well, snot a person can generate and carry around in their head? I have, and as is typical for me, once I come up with a question, I want to know the answer. So I started trolling the internet.

Well, I learned that sex can clear a stuffy nose (somehow it helps your body produce antihistamines) and that your ears secrete more ear wax when you're afraid than when you're not. Finally, in the 1800s, it was believed gin could cure stomach problems. Of course, we know now that it's whiskey that's the big cure all - according to my grandmother, there's nothing much that can't be fixed by a nice hot toddy.

The closest I came to learning about my original question, however, was one website that stated, during a cold... "enormous amounts" of phlegm can be produced. Well duh. Anyway, I have a newspaper to finish, so can't spend the time continuing to search. If anyone knows the answer, please let me know. Conversely, if I manage to find out the answer despite my deadline, I'll let you know.

06 October 2006

On a Sick Friday

Wonderful homecoming game last night at Clark Fork where we tromped the Lakeside Knights 28 to nothing. What fun, sitting in the stands with a bunch of friends, cheering 'til I was hoarse, watching my team on its way to victory.

Now I'm sick.

No, it wasn't the game probably, just the crud that's getting passed all around the county now that kids are back in school. Sore throat, achy eyes and the last thing I want is to be on deadline, but I am, so I'll sit here at the computer and work.

Of course, if this is the worst thing that happens to me this month, I've done good.

04 October 2006

Happy Birthday plus one day

Just to let Dave Olivera know... I'm not afraid of my age. I turned 44 yesterday - I'm just a spring chicken!

Okay, the girls didn't beat Wallace (said to be the best team in our conference) but man, did they give them a game. I haven't seen rallies that long in quite a while. I was really proud of our Lady Cats.

Long day today, though. I tried to post this morning, but the website was either down, or I just wasn't awake enough to make it function. The second is a distinct possibility. I got to bed about 1:30 THIS morning, and had to get up early to teach a class at the school. And the day has gone on... and on. Think I'll make it an early night tonight.

03 October 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Okay, everybody, sing it!

I'm thrilled to have made it to another birthday and look forward to a fun day of celebration with my friends and loved ones. And to a rousing game of volleyball, as the Clark Fork Lady Cats travel to Wallace and (hopefully) beat them in honor of my birthday. :0)

02 October 2006

So just how modern are we?

Here's a thought... would you vote for someone who does not utilize email? Not necessarily a fair question in this forum, as it's obvious that anyone here is probably fairly comfortable with computers. But I'm askin' anyway.

BTW- To answer my own question, I might, but they would have to be a pretty exceptional candidate.

01 October 2006

Sunny Sundays

Not much to post today as I spent most of it lazing around in bed, reading, or online doing genealogy research. And now it's time to head outside and split some firewood, so I can get it all stacked up under cover for the winter. Hope all are having a wonderfully relaxing Sunday, too.