Craters of the Moon

On the return leg of a road trip to Montana—we stopped at Craters of the Moon National Monument in the Snake River Plain in central Idaho. To see it, you’d think you’d just stepped off a spaceship onto another planet. Here’s a photo of the terrain:

According to the brochures we received at the visitor’s center:

“Craters of the Moon is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush—a volcanic wonderland that is fun to explore. In 1969 NASA astronauts Alan Shepherd, Edgar Mitchell, Eugene Cernan, and Joe Engle explore the monument while training to visit the moon.”

It made me think about life on other planets; lifeforms we refer to as “Martians” or “Aliens.” If they visited us, they’d probably feel extremely out of place. On the flip side of that coin, we’d probably feel extremely out of place on their planets too.


When was the last time you felt out of place?


Katydid – Or Did She?

Walking along I saw what looked like a leaf laying on its edge. Curiosity piqued, I went over and took a closer look. A katydid!

The detailed veining on their green, oval-shaped bodies makes each one look like a leaf— phenomenal camouflage when you spend the majority of the day eating leaves in tree tops and don’t want to be seen by a predator.

With ears located on their front legs, katydids rub their front wings together to sing. Preferring to walk and climb, they have the ability to fly short distances, but do so only when they feel threatened.

This little gal wasn’t scared of me. In fact, she let me give her a ride out of traffic on a twig.

When was the last time you hid in plain sight?


The Odd Couple

We live within walking distance of Boise Little Theater—Idaho’s longest running, all volunteer, community theater, where local thespians tread the boards.

Do you remember the television show The Odd Couple? When our little theater presented the female version, we couldn’t pass it up. In this gender-reversed rendition:

  • Oscar Madison is replaced by Olive Madison.
  • Felix Unger is replaced by Florence Unger.
  • The Pidgeon sisters are replaced by the Constanzuela brothers.

Instead of the poker party that kicks-off the original version, the curtain opens to Olive Madison’s messy living room where the girls have arrived for an evening of Trivial Pursuit.

Each of us has tendencies:
Some — like Oscar and Olive Madison — lean toward easygoing, creative disarray.
Others — like Felix and Florence Unger — lean toward fastidious, apple-pie order.

Which way do you lean?



One of my friends, Shirley, received a writing fellowship and is currently enjoying a temporary home. Another friend, Janet, recently wrote about her love affair with an island home. Marian downsized homes and moved across town. Sandi moved from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast.

Home. Unlike turtles, most of us don’t carry ours on our back:

  • For some it’s a geographic location… the place they were born, or grew up.
  • For others it might be a person. When my mother was alive, if I announced, “I’m flying home,” Len knew that meant I was going to visit my mom.
  • For many it’s a feeling—a safe place with emotional attachment that has less to do with the physical structure, and everything to do with positive, loving energy.
  • For some it is a specific, tangible structure.

What is home to you?


The 59ers

On September 28 I begin the 59th year of my life. My fifties have been grand, and I have so much to be thankful for. In no particular order, following is a list of 59 things that I am tremendously grateful for:

  1. Breathing—the ability to breathe with ease
  2. My senses: taste, touch, vision, hearing, smell, equilibrium, intuition, and my sense of humor
  3. Health — body, mind, and spirit
  4. Connection with divinity, family, friends, and companion animals
  5. A world of ethnic cuisine to enjoy (especially Asian)
  6. Trees
  7. Travel
  8. Books and libraries
  9. Photography
  10. Farmers—”no farms, no food”
  11. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds
  12. Gentle dog groomers who work with animals without scaring them
  13. Blue skies
  14. Thunderstorms
  15. Mountains, log cabins
  16. Oceans, lakes, rivers, streams
  17. Creativity
  18. Music and singing (I’m a rock star in the car!)
  19. Exercise: yoga, bicycle riding, swimming, hiking
  20. First responders: Red Cross, firefighters, police, paramedics
  21. Teachers who make positive, life-long impressions on their students
  22. Healing: traditional, complementary, integrative, and alternative
  23. Color (especially green)
  24. Laughter, smiling
  25. Personal safety
  26. Treats: peppermint ice cream, red licorice, BBQ chips
  27. Peace
  28. Intentional kindness
  29. Manners
  30. Backgammon
  31. Spontaneity
  32. Flying with a safety conscious pilot (Len) who keeps the ease of his passengers — seasoned or otherwise — in mind
  33. Imagination
  34. Mental acuity: focus, memory, concentration, and understanding
  35. Sensitivity
  36. Comfort with being alone (enjoy my own company), personal getaways
  37. Sunrises and sunsets
  38. Flowers, color
  39. Drinkable water that flows from a tap
  40. A roof over our heads
  41. Geothermal heat
  42. Proximity: we can walk or ride our bicycles to everything we need
  43. Dreaming
  44. Indoor plumbing, electricity
  45. Volunteers and humanitarians such as hospice, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, Conservation Society, Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, and Conservation International
  46. Curiosity, observation
  47. Color blindness — nonjudgment based on skin color
  48. Philanthropy
  49. People who leave places better than when they found them
  50. Ergonomic desk chairs
  51. Scented soy candles
  52. Glasses that help me to see clearly
  53. Physicians, surgeons, dentists, optometrists, medical technicians (etc) with well-developed bedside manners
  54. Flying kites
  55. Appliances: refrigerator, stove/oven, microwave, coffeemaker, etc…
  56. Enjoyment of learning something new
  57. Entertainment: screen, stage, and sidewalk (i.e., buskers)
  58. Uncluttered space—inside and out
  59. My lifelong partner, Len

Big, little, tangible, or intangible, name three things you’re grateful for.

Note: we are currently traveling. I won’t be able to respond to comment until Wednesday.

It’s All About Attitude

I took this photograph from the passenger window of a Cessna 172. What you see in the cleft between the mountains is not clouds. Rather, it’s smoke from the ongoing Pioneer Fire that’s responsible for burning more than 150,000 acres in southwest Idaho.

Outbound flight from Boise to McCall

Outbound flight from Boise to McCall

When I was in the corporate world I designed and delivered a workshop titled “It’s All About Attitude.” So imagine my surprise on a return flight from breakfast in McCall when we hit turbulence—like a zealous toddler with a balsa-wood airplane—and Len said:

“It’s okay Laurie. I’m going to make a change in attitude, not altitude.”

Len didn’t mean his emotional attitude. When hit by choppy air, if the pilot tries to maintain altitude (the higher/lower aspect), the plane can suffer damage.

If, however, the pilot keeps the attitude of the plane straight and level, you’ll keep flying, get through it, and the plane will remain in tact.

From my perspective, that’s a great analogy for life. Sometimes we encounter turbulence on the journey. When that happens—and it will—it’s important to keep a straight and level attitude. If we do, we’ll keep going, get through it, and remain in tact.

When was your last patch of turbulence?


Full of Hot Air

Typically the term, full of hot air is used in a derogatory fashion. For example, “Don’t pay attention to her, she’s full of hot air.” Not so at the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic that takes place annually on Labor Day weekend. In fact, it’s a requirement!

The sound of hundreds of dragons breathing fills the air as spectators get an up close and personal look during inflation and liftoff. And while these ginormous bags of hot air look a bit unwieldy on the ground, they exude delicate dignity as they float gracefully against the backlit morning sky.

No strings attached, the pilot and passengers aren’t tied down to anything; they’re quite literally untethered.

Do you have any strings attached?