Flying Adventure: McCall, Idaho

Hubbie and I finally had some time yesterday to break away for awhile. The builders are still putting new siding on our house. I'm not quite retired yet, but getting very, very close. (It's something I cannot yet wrap my head around.) Next weekend, hubbie will be busy preparing for harvest. I'll be babysitting three grandkids for three days, and so we decided it was now or never. Well, now or not again until September, when we hope to fly to Utah over Labor Day weekend. ; )

So yesterday, we hopped in the RV-7 and flew 200 miles to McCall, Idaho, which is one of four exciting resort towns that we've discovered within a 200-mile radius of the Palouse where we live. We're sure there are many similar towns in beautiful WA, OR, MT and ID, that other people have discovered, just not us, not yet.

We left at 11:00 am and got there around noon. The flight was serene, entirely uneventful. It felt like we were driving along in a car, only at 10,300 feet, over mountains. We had expected some mid-summer, hot-air, mountain-flying turbulence, but found none. 

On our flight back, we flew directly over Hell's Canyon, which is the deepest river gorge in North America, even deeper than the Grand Canyon. It was pretty amazing. I would've taken some pictures, but unfortunately, I wrecked my camera before leaving McCall.  

Once in McCall, we discovered that the McCall airport has four bicycles available for the taking. The bicycles left a lot to be desired, but they were better than walking, and so we hopped on and headed for the center of town, about a mile away. 

McCall is tiny, but being a resort town, it boasts many eateries. We've eaten at most of them in our trips to McCall over the years, and they're all good. But instead of eating where we'd eaten before, hubbie wanted to try something new. We headed toward a public beach a little ways outside of town, to see if we could discover something along the way. 

We found a place across the street from where we took the picture of a public beach at Payette Lake, above. If you are so inclined, you can ride your bicycle all the way around the lake. It's only 25 miles. We did that once on our own bikes, which we stashed in the back of our former airplane, a Maule. A bush plane, it had more room for luggage than our current airplane. 

As for lunch, I won't name the restaurant where we ate. I didn't think it was so bad, but hubbie spent the rest of the day complaining that it had the worst food in town. I would say, rather, that it had the healthiest food in town. He didn't like the salt-massaged kale salad (with chopped apple, hazelnuts and huckleberries), or the herbal sun tea. The turkey sandwich with bread from a local bakery, and goat cheese from a local dairy, was too bland. I'd have to agree about the blandness. Gimme heat. Gimme spice.    

After lunch, we went to Gravity Sports and rented a two-person kayak, $35 for three hours. We'd never been in a tandem kayak, although our son's been talking about buying a couple, and wanted to know if we wanted to go halves. Hubbie decided after only a few minutes that a speed boat would far better define his idea of fun. 

But we spent an enjoyable hour out on the lake, getting tossed about like a cork by the wakes of passing speed boats and other water craft. Water sloshing up over the edge left me completely soaked, but refreshed. It was sweltering outside. There's something about an 80-degree afternoon when you are (almost) one-mile high that makes the heat feel just that much hotter.  

After kayaking, we hopped on the bicycles and went out to the campground area, where there's also a ranger station, and you can rent some fantastic cabins, should you decide you want to stay awhile. We saw they were already booking the cabins for 2013. 

We bought some ice cream bars, then rested in the shade of some towering pines before heading back to the airport. By then, it was around 5:00 pm and time to start thinking about our flight home. 

McCall has a few lovely, upscale shops that are fun to browse if you are so inclined, like the one above. If you are seriously into shopping, you'd find more stores and more trinkets in Whitefish, Montana, or Sandpoint, Idaho. 

Below is another view of the area around this shop. When we passed by, a string ensemble was entertaining people with classical music selections.  

The final picture, below, is a view of Main Street just before I dropped my camera on the cement sidewalk. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve the pictures from it, but alas, it's jammed up and the lens will open no more. 

McCall is also a wonderful area in the winter. Brundage Mountain Ski Resort is located just outside of McCall. 


Inspired By ...

No, I'm not breaking my blogging hiatus, except to mention that my friend Kim has posted an interview of me on her website.

Since the beginning of the year, she's been doing a monthly feature called, "Inspired by," about one of her many creative friends.

I met Kim when she first started bringing her daughter Molly to the library to attend lapsit programs. I don't remember how or when we learned that we're both writers, but that connection began an enduring friendship. I invited her to a children's writer critique group I'd started in 2007. She's been a great friend ever since.

She's also one of the most talented writers I've met in our area. It's only a matter of time before you will be able to read middle grade fantasy written by Kim Harris Thacker. Besides posting reviews and posts on other creative subjects to her website, Kim is also a regular reviewer at "Bookshop Talk."

The picture is of me and hubbie at Elk River Falls in Elk River, Idaho.


Tearing Down before Building Up ... and a Blogging Hiatus

If you read my last post, you're aware that we're in the process of changing out all of the windows in our house. That will start on Monday.

Hubbie also dickered with the people who will do the residing, and got the bid down to an acceptable price. He's currently outside removing the old siding himself. The professionals will put up the new siding.

Once I finish this post, I'll go outside and start putting the old siding that's lying on the ground into the bucket of a wheel tractor. When the bucket's full, hubbie will transfer the refuse to a grain truck. When that's full, there'll be a trip to the local landfill.

We're still waiting on a bid for a new heating/air conditioning system. Geothermal costs a fraction of anything else that's available to us, but will the overall extra cost pencil out? The bid will answer the question.

Hubbie's still hoping there will be time to put up a deck before winter sets in. (Yes, there is still all of August, September and October, but that spans two of three of hubbie's busy seasons--harvest and fall planting). The deck would go directly below where he's standing in the picture. I'd like one with some kind of lathe-like roof for shade. When I designed the house 33 years ago, I designed it with Passive Solar in mind. That was the Big Thing in those days; therefore the lion's share of the windows face south.

It's also meant our patio and deck have always gotten more sun than we'd like. We're reaching a time in our lives where we might actually spend a bit of time on a deck, if it were shaded. If conditions were right, I could enjoy sitting outdoors and reading, or possibly eating a meal. I really look forward to having time for gardening again. The area around our patio will look beautiful, once I have some time to put into it!

As for my retirement ... It is now only a little over two weeks away!!!! Summer Reading is on the downswing. It's been a lackluster year for total sign-ups, and I take full responsibility for that. It looks like we'll finish out at about 850 sign-ups. In years where I've been insanely motivated, and knocked myself out to provide many exciting programs, and done far more publicity than I did this year, and had a lot more help overall, I've seen sign-ups go to 1000-1100. This year, I am witnessing with my own eyes that it is truly about how many programs are offered, and how exciting or appealing those programs are to the children. Being that I'm retiring on July 31, I just didn't have the necessary oomph, besides that I'm working a 32 hr/week shift instead of 40 hrs/week.

I do hope the woman who replaces me can keep all programs at least as strong, or build something even stronger, than my own legacy. Children's Programming plays a huge role in bringing patrons into the library. It's a job that carries a huge amount of responsibility with it.

The library is still in the interviewing process. Twenty-two people applied for my job. The hiring committee winnowed it down to seven who got phone interviews. From those, the committee will further winnow it to four lucky ladies who will go through the grueling process (for everyone involved) of an all-day, 12-hour interview for each one. The interview includes at least two meals with various staff, a meet-and-greet session, an extended interview with the hiring committee, and a storytime performance, complete with a live audience of 30 (or so) 2-6 year old children from Moscow Day School.

I STILL remember how exhausted I was after my interview, all those years ago. I'm also glad that the competition wasn't as stiff for me, or I might've missed out on one of the biggest highlights of my life, which was my tenure at LCLD. I was truly blessed with the opportunity of having this wonderful job, and am so grateful to the people I've worked with all these years, for being the wonderful people that they are, and for hiring me in the first place. I'm grateful to God that he deemed me worthy of the job.

As for blogging and writing ... Do I have plans? You bet I do. I can hardly wait to have the chains unlocked (from my other job), and to be able to see what I can do, and where I can go, given total freedom to explore my possibilities.  Woohoo!

But until then ... For the next several weeks, all of my free time will be about getting our house put back together. This weekend, I need to take down all curtains and shades, wash them, and get all areas around all windows cleared away for the window replacement project. I'll return to writing and blogging when I'm able to, but I suspect it will be mid-August before I'll be able to sit at my computer again.

I'll miss you all, but I'll still be reading your blogs. I love to learn about what you're up to.



I hate for my blog to devolve into a diary of what I've been doing, and especially as it's been "all work and no play" lately. But that's what my life's been.

Except for my official 60th birthday. I've been saying I'm 60 for a few months now. It became official last week.

We squeezed in a birthday dinner between two of my evening Summer Reading programs. Between Brad Byers at East City Park, and the Palouse Discovery Science Center, making Gallileoscopes, in front of the library. The astronomy program was surprisingly well attended, with about 50 persons. Unfortunately, a thin layer of clouds obscured the full moon.

At home, in preparation for retirement, I've been doing a lot of housework. There's still more to be done, and will be way more, once we begin our house updating in earnest.

The middle of July, we're having all but two of our (aluminum framed) windows (not counting our basement windows) replaced with vinyl windows--14 windows in all. That means taking down curtains, wooden shades. It means the Window Guys will be ripping down the wood sills from 4" to about 2.5", replacing them, and then re-tacking the trim. Our patio door will continue to open to about a 12' drop-off.

Hubbie tore the deck down last summer before he and my son-in-law re-roofed the house. There won't be time or money to replace the deck this year. I'm toying with the idea of putting a solar greenhouse or sun room out there anyway. It'll give me another year to research it.

We're also replacing the siding, however hubby was not pleased with the $20,000 bid. He believes they're charging twice what they should for the siding and, of course, labor is expensive. If he removes the old siding himself, he could save enough money to buy, in the fall, a new heating/air conditioning system, of which we are definitely in need. No air conditioning for us this summer, alas. Good thing we both tolerate heat. Good thing the Palouse is generally hot, but not too hot, in the summer. ;).

We also need to replace our garage door. It's so heavy (made of solid, thick wood) that when we need the automatic door opener the most, i.e., in the winter, it doesn't work! Actually, it never works. The door is so heavy, I can hardly open it, even if there isn't a foot of ice and snow surrounding it. Hubby thinks a lighter aluminum door would make the door opener work. That'll also happen this fall, crossing my fingers.   

So that's what's going on with the house. Lots of getting bids and working out details. I want my sliding glass door to have the effect of a French Door, and so there's been a lot discussion about how to get the look I want. There are several options.

As for exercise, I walked/jogged 14 miles last week, plus did 5 hours of housecleaning. (No weight loss.)

As for WRITING--writing? I tied up a couple of loose ends. A friend has been doing a very nice series on her blog called, "Inspired By." Once a month, she spotlights one of her creative friends and their art form. She asked me to do a write-up. By the time I'd answered all of her questions, it turned out to be seven pages' worth. I won't be hurt if she trims it. 

I also reorganized the 101 books (literally 101) on my Kindle, changing the titles of most of the collections. I put information--image, title, author, historical period, series-- into Microsoft OneNote for all of the Harlequin Love Inspired historical novels I own, both print and e-book. 

I'm targeting my next manuscript for that line, and so I need to read a lot of books in the line. One way to keep track, and to take notes on my reading, is to organize them in Microsoft OneNote. Until yesterday, I'd never tried OneNote. I'm very impressed with the ease of use and organizational capabilities. It is so easy to copy images from the web, and simply drop them into OneNote. 

Last but definitely not least, I broke ground on my new manuscript. I actually began what will be the hero's first scene. Over the past few months, I've been doing a lot of prep work on it, and so once I begin writing, the words should fall out like a string of dominoes. Famous last words? We'll see. 

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