Questions and Answers

Meridian, Idaho

There are some of us who like to question everything, and there are some of us who like answers for everything…

Yesterday, Rich and I were at Lowe’s and Home Depot shopping for window blinds. Oddly, half of our new home has blinds while the other half does not. 🙂 So we’re trying to match the new with the old.


Rich was getting a bit peeved at me because I kept going off topic and looking at all the new items that are now available; they weren’t when we stopped building houses eight years ago.

I’m a questioner. Some of my often used sentences end in question marks:

Why? Why Not? I wonder how…? What if…?

Rich wanted answers: Who had the best matching blinds for the best price?

I wanted to look at all the newest and coolest items to see how they worked.


That got me thinking about how many questions I asked while growing up. Lots and then lots more.

In my family, asking questions wasn’t necessarily a good thing. If we questioned, then it was perceived that we weren’t respecting authority or the Church’s teachings.

That’s not how I saw it. I saw questions as a way to learn more.

The interesting thing is that I think our kids inherited both tendencies from us. They ask questions but they also stick to task when necessary.

Are you a questioner, an answerer, or both?

PS: We got blinds at Lowe’s: best to suit our needs at the lowest price. 🙂

Best Place to Donate?

Meridian, Idaho

Dear Gentle Blog Reader,

I need your help.

Like you, I am heartbroken about the earthquake tragedy in Nepal.


I want to send money to help, but I want my donation to do the most good.

Can you recommend a charity to me?

Aside from the terrible, terrible human cost, the economic cost to the Nepal will set the small country back at least a decade.

Nepal was dominated by agriculture, but it has been slowly moving to a more balanced economy. Agriculture was 70% of its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) a decade ago; now it is 30%.


Another 30% of the GDP comes from Nepalese workers who are employed outside of the country and send money back home. Much of that will be lost as those workers return home to help their families rebuild lives and homes.

Tourism accounts for 5% of the GDP because one million people travel there. Most go for hiking or mountain climbing.


Richie went there several years ago to hike the Annapurna Circuit. He commented many times on how warm and engaging the Nepalese are. Here he is on the Thorong La pass, the highest point on the circuit several years ago.


I have met several Nepalese at trade shows. Most are selling wares that are made back home. The traders I have met have all been wonderful to deal with–a rarity at trade shows. I bought a felted ball rug from one for Melissa. It was made by his family back home in Nepal.


Please, if you know of a good place to send monetary help, let me know…

A Treat to Eat, Too

Meridian, Idaho

We took a break from unpacking yesterday and had a great lunch at Firehouse Subs.

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We first saw them in Phoenix, but we didn’t get a chance to eat them until we went out with friends last week here in the Boise area.

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Their sandwiches are very unique because they make them differently than a standard sub shop:

We steam our meats and cheeses, releasing a rush of flavors, then stuff a serving that’s way over code on one of our toasted private-recipe sub rolls.

Steaming the meat infuses a moisture that brings out the flavors. The bread isn’t warm, but with a semi-hard crust and very tender inside, it’s a perfect way to bring out the best of the sandwich.


The shop is decorated in dalmatian prints and lots of pictures of fireman.

images (2)Started over 20 years ago by brothers  Chris and Mark Sorensen, both former firefighters, Firehouse Subs now numbers over 850 shops with plans to reach 2000 by 2020.

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If you see one near you, you might give it a try.

I’m glad we did. I loved the pictures of all the firemen hunks and the food is a treat to eat, too. 🙂


Meridian, Idaho

While staying with and visiting my dad last week, a couple of secrets came out.

He had a legal appointment where he had to sign dozens of papers.

As I watched him sign his John Hancock over and over again, I remembered all of the times I forged his signature during high school.


I confessed and told Dad and the lawyer about it. “This brings back lots of memories of signing your name on fake absence notes whenever I cut school.”

He laughed and said that he’d never had a clue. Luckily, I never got caught being truant.

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Melissa, the lawyer, laughed as well and said that no one had ever admitted that in her office before.

She then asked me if I had anything else to confess.

I said that after telling Dad that I had smoked marijuana last fall while traveling in Colorado I think that confessing two things was enough for this visit.

Dad will be 95 in a couple of months and I don’t want to shock him too much… 🙂

I’m Going Home Today!

Fallon, Nevada

For the first time in over 350 days, I can honestly say, “I’m Going Home!”


I’m driving 385 miles from Fallon to Boise/Meridian where our new home is.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be driving HOME to a HOME!


While living in Homer has been wonderful and I’m so very glad that Rich and I have had the opportunity to travel, see things, and meet people, there’s no place like HOME.


I won’t think about all the unpacking, cleaning, and hauling stuff we’ve still got to do until tomorrow because . . .

I’m going HOME today and I’m HAPPY!

A Labor of Love

Fallon, Nevada

We’re in Fallon for a few days, and we’re staying with my dad. He lives with one of my sisters in her house.

At least five times a week during the early evening hours for at least 30 years my dad has made rosaries for Catholic missionaries to give to people around the world.


Each rosary has 59 beads arranged in a specific pattern. And each bead represents a specific prayer to be said while reciting the rosary.


I love to watch my dad as he makes the rosaries. He has a choreographed routine to make them. And because Dad’s an engineer, each of those steps are broken down into ways so that the making of the rosary is as efficient as possible.


Straws are cut to a specific length and split down one side. Each of the five straws are stuffed with ten beads.

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One end of a cord that has been pre-cut to the correct length is waxed with a candle so that the end is stiff. That stiff end is threaded through the group of ten beads.


Dad then makes a specific knot using a tool that he made out one of the spines of an umbrella. It’s pictured in the middle of the picture below with the end near the top of the cross. You can see several of the knots in this rosary making in process.


Here are four of the five rosaries that Dad made last night. 0424151730

Both Rich and I asked Dad, at different times, how many rosaries he has made over the years.

He calmly answered each of us, “I’m not sure, but I think it’s just a bit over 50,000.”

Amazing! And as he makes each one I’m sure he’s praying for the recipient. Truly each one is a labor of love…

Blizzard Warning

Fallon, Nevada

There’s a dangerous blizzard lurking around.

Yesterday afternoon there was a blizzard in Reno when I took my dad up for an appointment.

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And there was another one in Fallon late last night after playing Pickleball with friends and family for a couple of hours.

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Actually, it wasn’t really a snow blizzard.

It was a delicious new flavor of Blizzard from Dairy Queen!

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Salted Caramel Truffle is insanely good. It should come with a warning that it’s so good you won’t be able to stop at just one…

If you are in the mood for a delicious treat, you might want to give it a try.

Rocky Mountain High (Part III)

Meridian, Idaho

I never did smoke any marijuana again.

Not because it was a bad experience.

But because I found something better!


After smoking my first joint, I started Googling marijuana options again to learn more.

Turns out that marijuana for medical patients comes in many different forms. And now that recreational marijuana is legal in some states, these different forms are available to all who decide to imbibe.

First off, a bit about the strains of marijuana. There are three strain categories: sativa, indica, and hybrid.

Here are the descriptions for sativa and indica:

indica sativa

While discussing options with the saleswoman in Telluride, we decided that a hybrid of sativa and indica would best meet my desires.

But, and I’m not sure why, the Telluride store didn’t sell any marijuana other than the actual cannabis.


In my research, I found out that other stores sell medibles–cannabis-infused foods.

So off we drove to Durango, Colorado, to a store that sold medibles.

There were dozens of choices from the quintessential pot brownies to lollypots (oops lollypops)  to tootsie rolls. There are even drops that you can add to your favorite drink.


I bought a few tootsie rolls to try while we were still legal within Colorado.

They were FANTASTIC! I didn’t cough my lungs up. I didn’t stink to high heaven (no pun intended). And I still got high.

When consuming medibles, the high takes longer to come through than when smoking. And users must be careful to wait a while before deciding to have more because it’s easy to consume more than you think you are.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my Rocky Mountain Highs.

Will I do it again? You bet! I’d love to go back to Colorado, Washington, Alaska, or Oregon and get high again.


I hope that some day in my lifetime marijuana is as legal as alcohol and as illegal as alcohol is to imbibe and drive.

On a purely personal note:

I have neuropathy. All four of my limbs are numb and tingly. My legs are affected from my knees down, and my arms are affected from my elbows down. It feels like I have ants crawling under my skin 24 hours a day/7 days a week. I tried the standard traditional medicine for it, and my sensations decreased by 50%. Unfortunately, after the second dose I started urinating blood, so I stopped the medication.

If marijuana were medically legal in Idaho, I’d be asking my neurologist for a prescription because on the few times I used marijuana (consuming medibles or smoking a joint) my sensations decreased by 75% while I was high.

I wouldn’t consume it all the time, but it certainly would be nice to fall asleep a couple of times a week without thinking ants are under my skin. 🙂

Rocky Mountain High (Part II)

Meridian, Idaho

I decided to try some of the marijuana later that same night.

We were staying in an RV park in Cortez, Colorado, but I just didn’t feel comfortable smoking pot in the park. The smell would be intense and very recognizable, and I still felt like a criminal.

I wrapped a joint and it turned out quite well considering how long it had been since I had wrapped one. Truthfully it took a few tries, but I was quite pleased with my efforts. 🙂


I actually Googled “How to Roll a Joint” and got lots of great advice on-line.

Rich and I drove out to a place in the nearby forest, and I lit up.

It’s just like riding a bicycle or riding a bicycle while smoking a joint–came right back to me. 🙂

bike-smokingOther than smoking marijuana less than a dozen times and smoking a cigarette once (and my mother caught me on the third puff), I have never smoked.

I was coughing and hacking within minutes. My nearly virgin lungs and throat were not ready for smoking a full joint.


So I smoked about half the joint.

Rich was keeping a careful eye on me. I kept assuring him that I was fine, and I was.

In fact, within about 15 minutes I was more than fine. I was HIGH!

I don’t like wine, but I’m guessing that a lot of what I was feeling was similar to what others feel after some wine.

I was calm and peaceful.calm

While I did have some internal dialog going on, it wasn’t rushed and I didn’t feel compelled to think things through to the end.

There were some warps in the flow of time. At times, seconds took minutes. At other times, minutes took seconds. It wasn’t scary; it just was…

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I put my headphones on and listened to some of my favorite music. It was DIVINE. The music felt like it was being created inside my head and choreographed with gentle waves throughout at the same time.

The high lasted a couple of hours.

I slept very well that night.

And, the best thing? No hangover in the morning!

To Be Continued…

Rocky Mountain High (Part I)

Boise, Idaho

During our travels in and around the western U.S., we stopped for a bit in Colorado.

We saw some amazing sights, but, for me, the best part of the stay in Colorado was my Rocky Mountain High!

Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana effective January 1, 2014.


I’d been looking forward to imbibing again for a very, very long time.

The last time I smoked pot was in 1979. It was not a pleasant experience because the pot was laced with something. I swore that I’d never smoke again until marijuana was regulated.

Who knew that regulation would actually happen a MERE 36 YEARS later?

Once we decided to drive through part of Colorado last October, I started researching recreational marijuana via Google.

There are a plethora of Web sites to help people find the best shop to meet their needs. There are also maps to show one how to best get there…


I ended up going to two shops: one in Telluride and one in Durango.

As we drove to Telluride, I kept changing my mind about whether to buy or not.

Once we got there, we stopped at a park to let Sophie run around. Sitting on the grass (no pun intended) were two guys stoned out of their minds as they continued to smoke.


Think of Beavis and Butthead. The guys we saw looked and laughed and spoke exactly like them. I told Rich that if ever there was an advertisement NOT to smoke, it was seeing those two guys.

I had only smoked a handful, well maybe two handfuls, of times before. I enjoyed the affects much more than drinking while I was a crazy teenager.

As we drove around the Telluride area, I finally decided to go ahead with my purchase because I might never have gotten the opportunity to do so again.

Rich dropped me off at the Alpine Wellness store. I had no idea what to expect as I walked into the door.


My driver’s license was checked at the first door to make sure that I was of age, but my license was not copied. The receptionist did add a line to her hash marks (no pun intended) count of residents vs. non-residents.


There were dozens of artistic looking bongs on shelves around the store. And the display shelves housed an overwhelming number of glass jars with a wide variety of colorful marijuana buds.

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I was greeting by a 35-ish year old woman, dressed very professionally who looked and spoke like she was a college professor.

I confessed that this was my first time buying marijuana ever and that I hadn’t had any for decades.

We talked a bit about what I wanted. I didn’t want to get crazy high. I just wanted to get mellow, relax, and enjoy some music.

Turns out that growing marijuana now is an exact science. Different strains of plants produce different experiences.


The saleswoman recommended a particular type and said that she thought it would be perfect for me.

She bagged up an eighth ounce. Then we talked about papers to wrap the marijuana into a joint. I said that I used to use Zig Zag. She retrieved a package for me.


I had forgotten to get cash, so I pulled out my credit card, and she said, “Oh, we don’t take plastic. But there’s an ATM machine in the corner.” I withdrew some cash and paid $30 for the pot and a few bucks for the papers.

(Banks are reluctant to process transactions for pot stores because while it’s legal in the state, it’s still federally illegal to buy pot.)

With my purchase in a brown paper bag, I left the store.

I have to admit that even though I was within my legal rights, I felt like a criminal and sheepishly looked about as I hurried out to the Jeep where Rich was waiting like a bank heist getaway driver… 🙂

To be continued…