Category Archives: Wow!

I Wish He Would Write…

Carol sent me a link to a fascinating article in GQ  by Michael Finkel about Christopher Thomas Knight.

Christopher Thomas Knight (born 7 December 1965), also known as the North Pond Hermit, is a former hermit who lived almost without human contact for 27 years in the woods in Maine. He survived by committing approximately 1,000 burglaries against houses in the area, or approximately 40 per year. Apart from the fear and notoriety his many burglaries created in the local area, Knight’s unusual life also attracted widespread international media reports upon his capture.


Knight entered the woods in 1986 without saying goodbye to anyone, aged 20, and was captured during a burglary in 2013. His only human contact in that time was exchanging a trivial greeting to a hiker once. From Wikipedia


The article, The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit, is based on a series of interviews Finkel conducted with Knight while he was in jail completing his seven month sentence.

I highly recommend reading the article. It’s a captivating look into both the whys and the hows of Knight’s solitary decades.


He felt terribly about stealing, but I was intrigued by what he stole including books, lots of books.

Many victims of Knight’s thefts reported that their books were often stolen—from Tom Clancy potboilers to dense military histories to James Joyce’s Ulysses.

He stole hundreds of books over the years; his preference was military history—he named William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as his favorite book—but he took whatever was available.

Much of the article contains dialog between Finkel and Knight, and those dialogs show Knight’s love of the written word and the fact that for nearly three decades he rarely (in fact he only remembers one time) talked to others.

Jail was very difficult for him for many reasons. But communicating with others was especially difficult.

He tried several times to converse with other inmates. He could force out a few hesitant words, but every topic—music, movies, television—was lost on him, as was most slang. “You speak like a book,” one inmate teased. Whereupon he ceased talking.

As I read the article, I kept wishing that Knight would write a book. Any book. His precision with words belies his descriptive ability.

“Don’t mistake me for some bird-watching PBS type,” he warned, but then proceeded to poetically describe the crunch of dry leaves underfoot (“walking on corn flakes”) and the rumble of an ice crack propagating across the pond (“like a bowling ball rolling down an alley”).

I would read anything he wrote…

If you are intrigued, read the article. You’ll be glad you did.

Glory Hole

Meridian, Idaho

I’m going through some old pictures, deciding what to discard and what to scan electronically and then discard.

I came across some photos of when Rich and I visited the Owyhyee (oh-Y-hee) Dam just after we moved to Idaho nine years ago.

It was a wet year–probably the last one since we moved here. And there was flooding below the dam.

A friend in Nevada had told us to take a look at the dam because it’s so impressive. And it was.


From Wikipedia:

Owyhee Dam (National ID # OR00582) is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Owyhee River in Eastern Oregon near Adrian, Oregon, United States. Completed in 1932 during the Great Depression, the dam generates electricity and provides irrigation water for several irrigation districts in Oregon and neighboring Idaho. At the time of completion, it was the tallest dam of its type in the world (it was surpassed about two years later). The dam is part of the Owyhee Dam Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The dam impounds the river to create the Owyhee Reservoir, with storage capacity of nearly 1,200,000 acre feet (1.5 km3) of water. The more than 400-foot (120 m) tall concrete-arch gravity dam is owned by the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and operated by the Owyhee Irrigation District. Haystack Rock Road is carried over the 833-foot (254 m) long crest of the dam.

We knew it was a tall dam, but we had no idea what we were going to see once we drove up the road to the top of the dam!

Here’s a sequence of three shots of what amazed us:

A wisp of water misting up from the reservoir just a little bit away from the dam.


A hole underneath the wisp of water that went somewhere…


A HUGE HOLE that tons of water were sucked down into! GH-3

Turns out that’s called a Glory Hole. The hole is the spillway for the dam. It’s nearly 300′ deep and almost 70′ wide.

Here’s a video of water going over the spillway that someone posted on YouTube. Listen to the sound. Amazing.

Engineers can raise and lower the ring-gate control of the glory hole to help monitor water levels and run off.

Driving up the road to view the dam and then seeing (and hearing) the glory hole is a memory I will never forget.

Neither is watching one unlucky fish being sucked into the glory hole…


Meridian,  Idaho

I’m a sucker for any story about twins.  Here’s a great one…


Getting a celebrity to answer your messages is tough, but it helps when you look exactly alike.


When Anaïs Bordier spotted a woman who looked exactly like her in a movie trailer, she knew she had to write the actress.

“Dude, we’re totally twins!” Samantha Futerman wrote back.

They totally turned out to be just that.


Once they started talking, they discovered that not only did they have the same birthday, but they were also born in the same South Korean clinic before being adopted by parents in France and the U.S.

The two women met in London, had a DNA test and the results confirmed that they are identical twins.


And Samantha, who has appeared in “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Law and Order,” is adding a directing credit to her resume — she’s creating a documentary, “Twinsters,” about the unlikely reunion with the twin sister who found her.

I haven’t been to a movie in over 15 years . This movie is one that I might actually go see in a theatre.

I’m intrigued  by the concept of finding the perfect best friend in an instant and yet not sharing any past…


Little Love Gift

Meridian, Idaho

I received a wonderful little love gift yesterday!

Rich’s cousin’s wife, Renee, sent me some lavender sachets.

She grew the lavender in her yard, harvested the lavender after the bees had finished their pollination, removed the flower buds from the stems, and placed them in pretty gauze bags.

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So thoughtful and so welcomed.

Just lovely!

(And perfect to help make my car smell better because it gets so stinky after I am done playing pickleball. 🙂 )

Natural Art

Meridian, Idaho

I’m missing living in the mountains. I miss the natural beauty that provides art everywhere…

Until we can go for a drive in the mountains, or better yet, go camping, I’ll get my natural art fix from Andy Goldsworthy.


Andy Goldsworthy (born 26 July 1956) is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist producing site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings. He lives and works in Scotland. (Wikipedia)ag-5

I somehow stumbled across his on Netflix and watched the amazing documentary Rivers and Tides. Fascinating man and fascinating work.

He only uses materials found in nature.


The documentary is a perfect watch for a hot summer’s day…

ag-3 Enjoy!ag-1

40! FORTY! XL! 40!

Barcelona, Spain by way of Meridian, Idaho

Our son, Rich, is in Barcelona, Spain, watching a football game. Not American football, but European football–soccer!

He was scheduled to be in Germany for work meetings, so why not schedule in a visit to some friends in Finland before and a soccer match in Spain after and somehow only take one day of vacation leave…

You can follow along on his travels if you want by taking a look at his blog:

Here is one of my favorite pictures of him traveling while hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal:


Yesterday’s post listed highlights of each visit to 39 different countries in a little over 14 years. When he landed in Spain yesterday, it became his 40th country!

I’m biased because I’m his mother, but I love yesterday’s post and copied it here…

40! FORTY! XL! 40!

14 years, 2 months, and just about 2 weeks ago I set foot in a foreign country for the first time when I went to Jamaica for spring break. Today, I’m visiting my 40th country.

It is mind boggling to me that I’ve now been to 40 different countries. It’s almost unbelievable to me that I have been to 40 different countries in just over 14 years.

Over the last ~5192 days, I have been to a new country every ~130 days. That’s…huh. Wow.

I’ve been thinking back to some memories from my travels…

Jamaica – a foam party on the beach is just gross

Canada – watching Rob get pulled out of the bathroom at the border for using the facilities without permission

Australia – didn’t get punched by the guard at the American embassy for acting out a scene from the Simpsons

New Zealand – still not sure how I convinced myself to go bungee jumping

Germany – the feeling of “what do I do with this information?” when the guy making my döner kebab told me that Mohammed Atta was a regular in his shop

Czech Republic – the shockingly violent religious art everywhere…so many beheading statues

Switzerland – Zurich is the closest I’ve felt to home outside of Seattle

Austria – renting an apartment for Xmas and cooking Xmas dinner with some fellow grad school students

The Netherlands – “and we shall enter the night”

Poland – Lela probably coming closer to murdering Rob, Ben, and I for speaking in whisper voices the entire weekend than we knew

Italy – deep fried calzones

Vatican City – did you know there’s such a thing as purple marble?

Greece – “and then you just drive to the Meteora”

The UK – torturing my mom with 5 goodbyes as we dealt with constantly re-scheduled flights due to an air traffic control system failure

Ireland – the picture I have of my mom smiling at me while biking up a hill (and I’m pretty sure cursing me for taking her picture at that time)

France – I walked across the border from Germany and they didn’t hand the country over to me, did I do something wrong?

Iceland – Megan finding a natural hot spring on the northern coast where it was possible to be both in the hot spring and the Arctic Sea/northern Atlantic at the same time

Belize – exploring the ATM cave and in the process destroying a pair of socks

Guatemala – being inside a 19 seat minibus with 25 other people (though traveling with 26 others because 1 guy was on the roof) and riding that minibus on a ferry across a very large river that was powered by 4 outboard motors attached to 55 gallon barrels welded to the side of the barge with “pilots” inside  of them

Ethiopia – I saw the building the Ark of the Covenant is in (according to the guy who runs the church who is the only guy allowed to see the Ark)

Kenya – hot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara that finished with a champagne breakfast

Egypt – the air inside the pyramids is very ammonia-y

Norway – trying to hike through a snowstorm and eventually being smrt enough to give up and go back when the snow got to be over a foot deep (in August!)

Slovenia – getting lost while hiking to Bobotov Kuk and as a result having a much longer and much more rewarding hike with even better views…and still ending up at the top of Bobotov Kuk

Croatia – the guy walking the city walls who had an Adele song as his ringtone on the loudest setting ever…and also had zero fucks to give about it

Bosnia-Hercegovina – everyone in the stores was buying cigarettes. Everyone. Didn’t see a single person ever NOT buy cigarettes

Montenegro –  in the Prokletije mountains, one of the most remote mountain ranges in Europe…on the last day of my trip I run into a person with an Amgen backpack

Argentina – on a trip where I’d be spending 1/3 of the trip in my tent, and on the first day of summer in Patagonia, my first night in the tent…there’s a blizzard

Chile – returning from a brutal hike over slippery rocks in the pouring rain to find that a fox had ripped into all of our tents

(Antarctica) – penguins smell like shit

Uruguay – the sad horse that stared at the horse racing track 10 ft beyond his fence

Finland – eating sausages that were cooked in the sauna right next to a couple of naked bodies

Estonia – I ate bear. Do not eat bear.

Nepal – the best $160 I will ever spend in my life. Everest brought me to tears.

Malaysia – seeing a peacock mantis shrimp while diving in Borneo

Indonesia – nearly stepping on a spitting cobra while walking around looking at Komodo dragons

Singapore – black pepper crab

Panama – having a cop stop me on the street, point in the direction I was walking, say “no,” and put me in a cab because the neighborhood was too dangerous at 10:30 AM for a white person

Costa Rica – after the horribly long day of crossing the border from Panama and getting caught in some amazing  rain…getting to town and finding out the hostel we were trying to book didn’t actually exist

Luxembourg – the care that went into making sure the American memorial cemetery was the cleanest place I’ve ever seen


New (to us) Home!

Boise, Idaho

We did it! We put an offer in on a house and it was accepted. So we are buying a house!


First a short side story to set this post up…

When our son, Richie, was getting ready to go off to college, we had to buy him a suit and dress shoes as required by the football team.

Melissa, Richie, and I went shopping together on what was one of the longest days in our lives…

Suits didn’t fit well because, at the time, Richie was 6’3″ and over 230 pounds of pure football muscle. As an 18-year-old kid, he wasn’t interested in getting dress up clothes. And the shoes to go with the suit were nothing like Nike Air Jordans…


After multiple stores, we found a suit that worked. Then came the shoes. I think he wore a size 13 then, so it was challenging to find shoes that fit let alone looked good.

I held up yet another pair of shoes and asked, “What about these?”

His response, “They make me want to throw up!”


I never missed a beat and said, “Well, at least they don’t make you want to throw up twice!” And we bought those shoes. 🙂 *

As Rich as I were comparing needs and wants to find the best house and lot for both of us, I thought of that episode often.

We’d find a house that I loved, but the electricity was on the wrong side of the garage for the shop placement.

Rich found a shop that was perfect, and I’d leave the house nearly crying because it was so bloody ugly.

We almost got to the point of asking each other if the property was bad enough to throw up twice.

Then I checked again late one afternoon, and a new listing came up. We got in the Jeep immediately to go drive by. Maybe, this one might work.


We then called Katie, our fabulous real estate agent, who arranged for us to look inside the house that very evening.

And so the morning after the house listed, we made an offer and it was accepted late that night. There’s more to the story, but that’s for another post…

We hope to close within two weeks.

Still thousands of decisions to make. Big ones like do we keep Homer? How much are we going to travel?

And small ones like what Internet provider is best? How about for television?

We’ll get to those, but for now it’s nice to know that we’re no longer homeless.

And we’ll be in a home that’s on a lot that doesn’t make us want to throw up! 🙂

PS Richie never wore the suit or shoes. 😉

Best Street Banners Ever

St. George, Utah 

We have passed through hundreds of cities on our journey, and I love to look at the different ways cities and towns decorate with signage.

Last week I saw a series of banners in Bullhead City, Arizona, that brought me to proud and beautiful tears.


The program to spotlight active military members was initiated by a group of mothers who have children in the military.

Tri-State Military Moms

Shortly after 9/11 the Tri-State Military Moms was founded by a small group of local moms from Needles, CA, Bullhead City, AZ, and Laughlin, NV, to help support our troops!!!


The Bullhead City Area Military Recognition Program was created through a partnership with the Tri-State Military Moms, Inc., the city of Bullhead City, and the Arizona Department of Transportation, to honor and recognize active duty military members of our community. Banners will display the official military photo of the service member, name and branch of the United States Armed Forces.

Isn’t that the most wonderful idea for street banners?

How great would it be if every city in America did that?