Category Archives: People

Magpie Murder

Meridian, Idaho

My dad will turn 95 at the end of July.

For 95, he’s in amazing health. Heck for 80, he’s in amazing health. 🙂

He lives with my sister Mary Lou in her gorgeous house that sits in a park-like setting on the Carson River in Fallon, Nevada.

Wildlife is bountiful including deer grazing on the pasture, neighborhood dogs stopping by for a Milk Bone treat, and a plethora birds.


For some reason, this year there has been an abundance of magpies. And Dad can’t stand magpies!

I’ve always rather liked magpies, but many people don’t. I think part of the reason is that they are clever, and the other part is that they have a reputation to steal things.


Magpies are part of the crow family, and the Eurasian magpie (pictured above) is considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world, and the only non-mammal species able to recognize itself in a mirror test. (Wikipedia)

Dad taught all his girls lots about the outdoors. We went on a camping trip most every summer. We learned how to fish in streams and on lakes.  He taught us how to catch lizards using dental floss and a stick. We hiked to the top of Mount Rose, the highest mountain near Reno. (I’m pretty sure I complained the whole way because it was a tough hike and freezing cold, but now it’s one of my fondest memories…)

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Dad taught us many of the things he loved doing as a boy. He loved sharing and teaching, and he also enjoyed doing those things again.

And apparently that continues…

He asked Mary Lou for a sling shot for his birthday. She ordered one and gave Dad his gift early.

And now he’s doing target practice for magpie murders. 🙂


You Play Well — for a Guy

Meridian, Idaho

I had a fabulous time playing pickleball yesterday morning.

Even Henry couldn’t spoil my fun.

Henry, not his real name, is a great player and an interesting man. He used to be an accountant for a Fortune 500 company. He retired, grew bored, and started several businesses. Sold them and retired again.

Henry and his wife celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary yesterday.


They spend their summers in Boise in their house on a golf course, and they spend their winters in their 50′ motor home on a golf course in Palm Springs.

I like Henry. He’s fun to play with. We’ve had some interesting discussions.

But Henry is a misogynist, and he doesn’t even know it. Nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is derogatory towards women.

For example, he asked Mary, his playing partner for one game,  the score. She told him. He then asked Bill, his opponent, across the court, “Is that REALLY the score, Bill?”

Today I was his playing partner for one game, and we played against Jim and Judy. Jim and Judy beat us by a couple of points. As we all walked off the court, Henry told Judy and me, “You know, you both play very well, for girls.”

In his mid-seventies, Henry grew up in another time.

But unlike most people his age, part of Henry didn’t change with time.

Part of the reason I like Henry is because I’m not around him for long periods of time. If I had to work with or for Henry, there would be problems…


Part of me is really thinking about telling Henry, “You know, you play really well for a man.”

Henry won’t get it, but Judy and I will. 🙂

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…

If Miss Manners + Dirty Harry Had a Child Together…

Boise, Idaho

I witnessed something disturbing yesterday when a customer accused the cashier of stealing from him while at a local Dollar Tree store.

And earlier in the day I watched a video of a young ESPN reporter who berated a towing company’s employee after her car was towed.

After watching these two people’s behavior, I was wondering what has happened to civility?

Then I thought, “Maybe Miss Manners could advise these people on the proper etiquette.”

They probably wouldn’t listen.

But how about if Miss Manners and Dirty Harry had a baby together–an etiquette maven and the toughest cop ever?


So the Miss Manners part of the baby would advise them to “Be Polite!” and the Dirty Harry part would caution “Go Ahead, Make My Day!” If they continued their unpolite behavior, Dirty Harry would shoot them.

Maybe this child could help bring civility back into our world! Wouldn’t that be grand?

Here’s what happened at the Dollar Tree store:

A youngish man (maybe 35) accused a younger (maybe 20) cashier of short changing him.

The manager was involved along with another cashier who had witnessed the entire cash exchange.

The manager ran a system check on the register and had the cashier balance his cash to the register. The actual cash balanced exactly to what the system said he should have, but the customer insisted that he had been cheated.

He kept saying that he had given the cashier a twenty dollar bill. The cashier calmly said that it had been a ten dollar bill.

But here’s the thing… There were no twenty dollar bills in the register!

After several minutes of arguing, the customer changed his attitude and started getting nasty and making very rude comments to the employees. The manager offered to call the cops to have them arbitrate the situation.

After that, the customer issued a racially motivated slur to the manager and stormed out of the store.

The manager took note of the customer’s car license number and most likely reported it to police in has the customer tries this trick with other stores.

And, in case you haven’t seen it, here’s the video of the young ESPN employee who earned herself a week’s suspension:

The Cowboys

Baker, Nevada

While driving around the Panguitch area the other day, we ran into a cattle drive. A real cattle drive with real cowboys and cowgirls…

My count estimated about 100 cows and 14 cowboys and cowgirls.

The road we were on is well traveled to a unique geological site, so the cowboys had to deal with lots of cars.

The couple in the car coming towards us through the herd had huge grins on their faces. They were from California, and I doubt they’ve witnessed a cattle drive before let alone drove through one. 🙂


We were really lucky and ran into the drive both ways.

Cows are much easier to drive through if you are hitting them head on. They easily veer to the side of the road to get out of the way.


But if you are driving the same way they are walking, they are content just to meander slowly along their way.




This cow was one of five that wore a bell. Within a herd a small number of cows wear bells for several reasons:

  • to help ward off predators because of the constant clanging,
  • to help other cows stay near because they know where the rest of the herd is,
  • and to help the cowboys locate cows when it’s roundup time.


Take a really close look at the cowboys in this picture.

0327151459cYep, they really are cowBOYS! The boys are off on spring break and they are helping with the drive. They were so incredibly cute. They were fully outfitted from spurs to chaps to hats. Their hats were nearly as big as they were. 
0327151548 And their grins were even bigger! 🙂

Part Time Lovers

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

One of the couples I met in Yuma while playing pickleball has an amazing story to share.

Mike and Chris have a lot in common…

Both were married to their former spouse for 38 years before they divorced them. The former spouses were very similar in temperment.

Mike and Chris each own a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  Both prefer to travel by bike and tent camp as they travel.

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They enjoy their time in the Arizona desert for six months of the year from March through April.

But here’s where Mike and Chris differ other couples…

They live in two totally different Canadian provinces the other six months of the year. Chris lives in western Canada in Victoria, British Columbia. Mike (I think ?) lives in central Canada in Manitoba.


So while they live together and share a park model at a resort in Yuma during the fall and winter months, they live over a thousand miles apart during the spring and summer months.

They are truly the quintessential Part Time Lovers!

Chris told me their story while we were waiting for our turn to play pickleball.

She said that she and Mike met while traveling with separate groups on motorcycle trips to and through Baja California.

Chris needed an ‘escort’ for part of the trip because it can be challenging for a woman to travel alone, and Mike graciously agreed.

They talked it over and agreed to travel together for a while. They each agreed to just be friends and to specifically “Not Fall in Love with Each Other!”


They even shook hands on that last agreement.

A few weeks later, they agreed to break that agreement. 🙂

After getting to know them both just a bit during our short stay in Yuma, I can see why they did. They are both delightful people and obviously enjoy each other’s company tremendously!

Come mid-April, they will each jump on their Harleys and ride off home–alone until they reunite next spring!

Now that’s a unique love story!

Mike and Chris, I apologize for any inaccuracies I have included in your story. My memory’s not the best. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Wishing you happy and safe travels, Kathy

Canadians, eh?!

Yuma, Arizona

The park we’re in is full of Canadians. By my unscientific count, at least three-quarters  of the residents are Canucks.

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While Canadians have been in every resort we’ve been to, this park has the highest percentage.

The Canadians are easy to spot. They smile a lot. Every sentence ends in “Eh?!” or “Ya?!” They drink a lot. And most cuss a lot. 🙂


If you tease a Canadian about saying “Eh?!”, they’ll come right back at you with, “Yep, and all you Americans say is “Huh?!”

Basically, Canucks are the people we love to be around because they are just so much fun!

I’m not sure what makes Canadians, by and large, so much happier than Americans. Is it their water? Or that they drink their alcohol like it’s their water? 🙂

Whatever the reason why, they just seem to have a joie de vivre that’s contagious.

They light up the resort streets every night regardless of the season.



Their signage politely asks others to behave…


They use humor to get their point across.

And they are respectful of both American and Canadian cultures and currency.


I will forever fondly remember one pickleball player shouting, “Ssssshhhhhiiiiitttttt, eh?” as he was running to get a ball I lobbed too far over his head to get to it in time.  🙂

I just love Canadians, eh!

A Rootin’ + Tootin’ Good Time

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Our friends Jan and Wayne hosted a Blazing Saddles dinner party last night.

What fun!

Blazing-SaddlesAlas, Rich is still in Boise, so he wasn’t able to join the rest of us as we focused on the feast with the Superstition Mountains in view.


We’re in the middle of a bit of a chilly spell, so neighbors Rita and Stewart provided the outdoor heater. 0224151809

Much of the menu focused on the famous farting scene from Blazing Saddles.

(Side Note: I met Slim Pickens (the guy who says, “I’d say you’ve had enough!” at the end of the scene) at the Reno Rodeo many years ago. 🙂  )

Two types of ribs smoked to perfection!


Barbecued chicken legs.


Rib sticking potatoes.


Cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet.


And, of course, two types of beans!


We all dressed the part including Mike in his cowboy hat and Brothel Inspection sheriff’s star.


A rootin’ and tootin’ good time was had by all!


Gold Canyon, Arizona

I went to two gatherings the other night at our RV park. One by mistake, and one on purpose.

The meeting I wanted to go to was in The Prickly Pear Room which wasn’t where I thought it was.

So I happened upon the weekly Bunco gathering .


The woman at the door asked, “Are you here for bunco? ” in the cheeriest and most sing-songy voice I’ve ever heard.

She looked so incredibly sad when I told her “No” that I almost stayed…

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She did, however, tell me how to get to the Prickly Pear Room.

So I went to the meeting for Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. The room was packed.

images (2)But here’s the funny thing…

I’ve never been in a room where nearly everyone there was hard of hearing.

Everyone was talking so LOUDLY that we could barely hear the person next to us.

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A man came in just before the meeting and sat next to me. He had his hearing aids in unlike half of the other people there.

He leaned over and quietly  said, “Wow, is it LOUD in here.” 🙂

Go Hawks

El Mirage, Arizona

Yesterday was our last day at Pueblo El Mirage Resort.

And today’s Super Bowl Sunday. For the record, I don’t care who wins. I just hope both teams play well and that it’s a close game.

As Sophie and I took our last long walk around the resort, we passed by dozens of Seahawks fans.


Many of the parks’ residents are from the Pacific northwest.

And they are very proud to be part of the Legion of 12.


Young and old, it seems like the northwest crews around here are all rooting, “Go Hawks!”


Their allegiance runs closely below their patriotism.


I’ve seen oodles of the Seattle Seahawks balloons floating around the park.


But surprisingly I haven’t seen two of the same banners or flags.

I did, however, see a Boise State Football flag that made this Idahoan homesick. 🙂