Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Would We Do Without Cousins?

Thanksgiving (2009) was coming with no Siblings, Saplings (married to the Sibs, of course), nor Spores (children of said siblings, of course) nearby to share it. What to do? However, could we celebrate this family-oriented celebration without Family?

Enter the phone call. “We’re having (wife) Marilyn’s family over for Thanksgiving. Can you both come . . . with a dish?” Cousin Neil saved the day for us, and with extended family that we had wanted to get to know better. Relief! We were no longer orphans.

Yea! We found a family to take us in! We’ll just cook our latest Epicurious.com recipe of Key Lime Cake, and add on top of that, Emeril’s famous Cranberry Sauce. This will be fun!

And then the phone rang again.

“Hi, Blackledges. We Blackledges are coming up from Grants Pass to share Thanksgiving with daughter Tomi and family and we would love to stop by the next day to enjoy being with you and seeing your new home in Washington.”

“Wow,” I heard myself say. “Are you kidding? We would LOVE to have you visit the day after Thanksgiving. We’ll just have a light dinner to celebrate family after Thanksgiving.”
And so it was.

Patti with Mary Anne and John Blackledge

What would we do without Cousins?
Dick with Tomi and son Nick

We’re the richer for our two Thanksgivings. Mind you, the word works: Thanks . . . giving. And we are thankful.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pagosa Revisited . . .in Kalama

Ah, it’s been many a moon since the “Dairy Queen Team” left Pagosa Springs, CO to visit, now in Kalama WA. That is to say two heroes of the Blide book, Heartfelt, reunited to enjoy reminiscing and remaking memories, many of them planned at the Pagosa Dairy Queen. . .which did not exist. But that’s another story. . .

When Ingrid and Doc Jim Knoll found their way following Jim’s “Locum Tenins” stint in California. . .up the coast to Patti and Doc Dick Blide’s “new” WA home of 4 years, they were reminded that it was Hallowe’en night. . .and so, were appropriately “knighted.”
The famous “Pagosa Stew” was served, followed by the charming “Posey Pot” (Oreos crushed to make “dirt” on vanilla ice cream, carefully “potted.”)

The ricochet-like memory talk was finally interrupted by yawns and reminders of tomorrow’s plan to visit the famous Multnomah Falls where we would Look, Climb, Eat, and Photograph:

And where these two photos were taken by Dick’s tiny Blackberry, saving the day due to Patti’s camera having been left at home! That’s we three up on the bridge, also!
If only we had photographed the yummy Sunday Brunch at the adjoining stone church-like-looking edifice. We four, I fear, ate for six.

The next day we went from the roar of cascading Falls to the roar of Mt. St. Helen’s eruption. But first we were gifted with Dick Blide’s famous Crab Cake dinner, seven layer salad and Key Lime Cake at home.
Luckily the Blide’s copy of “the real thing” of Mt. St. Helen’s eruption via DVD allowed us to stay at home that night by a cozy fire to watch the famous 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s in all its beauty and “horror.” This film of before, during, and after, was riveting. We decided further, even though actual mountain visits were closed for the winter, we would visit that part of the mountain always open: The surrounding forestation terribly affected by previous lava flow:

Only Ingrid was brave enough to get down into the “hole” left by rushing lava many years ago, which flowed around trees, that later died, leaving these gaping holes and tunnels under ground.

Thank goodness for the meandering man-made wooden trail for us to use without danger of falling.

Our final day was, by comparison, “A Walk in the Park” at lovely Kalama Park on the Columbia River, recognized by its 4 “tiered” Totem Pole which is at least 150 feet high. The art work on wood reminds viewers that Kalama was “discovered” and built up by John Kalama of Hawaii.

Our evening visit was Dick’s favorite down town Portland spot, Portland City Bar and Grill sitting high atop the enchanting vista of busy and beautiful Portland right on the meandering Willamette River.

This photo of our chosen evening courses is as serene and lovely as the entire remembered visit.
Life is Good

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Custom Home For Sale: WA (Call- 800 435 6184 ext. 2045)
Note: We have now taken our home off the market due to: 1. Better health, 2. Poor real estate market.

Front View

Rear View
You will wake up in the morning and wonder what you’ll pick from your garden today.

• You will look out across the expansive Green Mountain vistas and wonder if the deer from yesterday will come to visit today.

• You will love going out on your back deck to see what new flora has blossomed, and then up the rock steps leading to wooded paths.

• You will drive 10 minutes to beautiful Kalama Park on the Columbia River to walk and watch the ships go by, realizing that many have just crossed the Pacific Ocean.

• You will love discovering little “pets” in the pond under your backyard waterfall where a school of goldfish dash out to great you, expecting to be fed!

• You will wonder where the sounds of day have gone. These sounds are not cars rushing, horns honking, voices digressing. They are birds chirping, water trickling over rocks, wind whistling in the trees. And at the end of the day ...

• You will even lie on your back, once in awhile, simply admiring your lovely beams and ceilings. You will see them everywhere throughout your new home.

• You will know that you made the right choice to live “free!” on the “edge” of Vancouver, WA,
devoid of traffic yet full of nature’s beauty, and the knowledge that you are a mere 25 minutes from Legacy Hospital and 40 minutes from flights out of PDX Airport. LIFE IS GOOD!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


This week (late June, ‘09) Dick and Patti received The Gift of adventure, beauty, and solace at Lake Tahoe, second home of Bob and Diana Nehls, including beautiful Molly who offered us her gifts as well.

Our adventure started with (ya gotta love it) food. And lots of it at the famous Harrah’s Casino where we first wowed ‘em with our combined “luck of the coin.” Which is to say we were amazed at how carefully and simply we “ca-chinged” our eight quarters, provided by Diana, to oblivion. We succeeded much better at eating.

Then, the next morning Diana and Patti lept up at an early hour to beat the “run on lanes.” Patti swam back stroke the whole time and was mesmerized by the huge, beautiful trees looking down on her in the perfectly warmed outdoor pool.

The afternoon found us picnicking and enjoying more beauty during our walk down on Lake Tahoe. The pristine water showed it’s three signature colors, starting with emerald green and ending with dark blue, according to the water’s depth.

The afternoon was prime with fascinating information about beautiful Estates built at Lake Tahoe during the eighteen hundreds and well taken care of for visitors to see today.

It was the HoneyMoon Cottage that was most “jaw dropping.”

Wednesday was “Drive Around the Lake” day. . .and boy, what a day it was with sumptuous eating, seeking and sun setting: The Sunny Side Restaurant, Dick seeking out a hoped-for cousin, Mike Blide, and our watching the sun set from the Nehls’ long-known friend at her private home on the beach:

But wait! There’s more, here at “the bottom” so to speak: Yes, it’s the famous Butt Bridge where people are always found bending over to witness the feeding battle between the ducks and the trout.

Perhaps the most interesting was driving through Truckee, California the occupational home for Superintendent of Schools, Bob Nehls and for School Nurse, Diana Nehls with their long-worked, high energy jobs in an area they knew and loved. It was here that Bob had met and told Dick about, Mike Blide, who wasn’t there when we were, but all was not in vain as Mike’s wife was there and cards were exchanged. Truckee turned out to be a lovely homey town with delightful memories for Diana and Bob.

Thursday became “ship day” with Diana’s making reservations for our 2½ hour-long fascinating sail on “The Tahoe Queen.”

The beauty of the area, especially Emerald Bay, along with an on-going “story” being told of the old days with the story-tellers dressed in old-timer’s garb, including fake mustaches and long dresses, made for excellent learning and beauty-loving. This was Dick’s favorite.

The evening took us away to another country! Mexican food at the Nehls’ favorite restaurant was the plan for our last evening at Tahoe. The Margaritas were of many colors and flavors and Patti’s Taco Salad was declared the best yet enjoyed. Could it get any better?

Yes, our last morning before leaving was the Nature Walk with one of the paths leading back to the lake. And yes, it was Patti’s favorite.

Maybe it was because she got to smell a tree, a Jeffery Pine, known for it’s unusual, yet delightful aroma; Butterscotch!

This tree has a history known to most that “Jeff” as I shall call him, was too huge and impossible to cut down when all trees around him were taken out for “progress.” “Jeff,” therefore will never be cut. He lives! Forever! As will our memories. Thanks, to the Nehls. 6/27/09

Friday, May 22, 2009

To Become a Rogue & Claim a Valley in One Afternoon

Follow-up of “Medford Adventure”

Now let’s see. What does the dictionary say about “rogue” . . .as in ROGUE VALLEY?

“Rogue”. . “a rascal; a scamp. . .” Hmmmmm: “an elephant or other animal of savage disposition and solitary life. . .” Hmmmmmmmmm.

All right, I might be a little bit of each, but is there more?

Wait! There’s more! “a playfully mischievous person.” I like it; I’ll take it. I shall become it. . . and more so as Dick and I make our final decision to sell our beloved and beautiful home in Kalama, Washington to join the Senior Citizens of the world, whom we really hadn’t realized that we had become.

This very week we ventured down to the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon, once again, to make a final decision about retiring to the Rogue Valley Manor Continuing Care Retirement Center (http://www.retirement.org/rvm). Yes, that place, where I had worried and grumbled and tried to avoid on our previous visit (see “Medford Adventure” below). Howsoever, today I am a changed person and a happy camper for my number one ‘IF’ wish has happened and come true.

To wit: This lovely “Village” of condos, apartments and cottages is “home” to almost 1,000 senior citizens who have chosen to live in this particular retirement community in Medford, Oregon, up high on a hill, while looking over to a mountain range and down on lovely green valleys accompanied by shockingly bright colors of trees and flowers. Howsoever, for Patti, the move had to be for one of the 23 Lake Cottages built only four years ago in 2005. What were the odds? Most hopeful seniors wait from 2 to 5 years for any housing at Rogue Valley, let alone one of the 23 Lake Cottages.

Ah, but this year 2009, a surprise! A unique sale was to take place due to a new and third building, The Terrace, being built, as we speak, allowing for residents to move to the 26 new condos that will become available in September. Though we were “on the list” for a Lake Cottage from our last trip in March, we were cautioned that only ONE lake cottage was up for sale and that two couples were above us on the list for this one special cottage (it’s 2100 sq. ft. making it the largest). We gave up.

And then Cindy Hail, with Marketing, called with a most unexpected message: “Both couples ahead of you on the list have dropped out of competition for #1706 due to neither one being able to buy the cottage until having sold their current homes.”

Woe. That sounded like us. However, Dick Blide got out paper and pencil and with furrowed brow worked out a feasible plan for us that would allow our buying cottage #1706 now.

Third cottage on the right

Yea! Rah! We are thankful and ready to work like crazy to get our Kalama Home on the market and sold. . .in this horrible economy.

Side note: On the way down to Medford, a huge brightly colored rainbow lay arched and bowed end to end across the sky. #1706 might be our pot of gold . . . in the best possible way: Health-wise.

Life is good!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Friendship Festivities

Ah, many years and several emails ago the writing, working, winning team of French and Blide promised to stay in touch by wire, by phone, or person and this week was the “person.”

Alfre, né Alice, arrived by plane with a huge smile and a C-Pap attached to baggage. Which is to say that the Dick of “family-Blide” seems to have as much in common with Alice as does Patti. Both, as well being loved and admired by Patti, share talents in such as writing, computer “geekness” and game-playing . Alice used that darn I-Phone for everything but eating. It played music, took pictures, and Googled, to mention a few.

Arrival was followed by lunch at McMinimins on the Columbia River with its sailing boats and fishing for Salmon. Later, eating birthday cake with “potted ice cream” was on the agenda in celebration of Alice’s April birthday.

Day Two found we three off on a trip to Kalama’s Antique & Barista shop for Kelley’s famous home-made Chicken Noodle Soup with Curry Chicken Salad. It was Heaven!

Our artistic friend loves beauty and nature, so off we went to Longview about 15 miles North of Kalama. Longview is known for its huge lake right in the middle of town (about ten blocks long, 3 blocks wide) of lovely gardens, water fountains, bridges, and rolling green hills rimmed in yellow water flowers every where. Even with the season being a little early we managed to surround ourselves with Rhododendrons:

And finally one shot in the famous Buddha Garden:

Back home Chef Richard’s famous Crab Cakes and Patti’s new recipe for Chocolate-Orange Torte, led right into our entertainment of the evening: Dancing with the Stars!

At last! Day Three and what guest Alice was most waiting for: the camera trip of the Woodlands Tulip Festival:

On Day Four we enjoyed still more beauty of The Pacific NW with our car trip to the lovely Multnomah Falls coupled with a fabulous breakfast in their famous Falls Room.

Chef Richard rounded out the day with our trip to the Pacific NW Fish House for guest Alice to select a salmon to send back home and for Chef Richard to select our evening dinner. Guest Alice and wife Patti both ohhhhed and ahhhhed over our fresh Salmon dinner cooked to perfection by our personal chef. This was truly a beautiful finale to a beautiful visit of forever friends.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What I Did On My Easter Vacation

Dear family & friends,

Somewhat in my teacher mode, I decided to report on: What I did on my Easter Vacation

Our Easter was cool, somewhat cloudy, and full of new experiences for Dick and Patti.

Full of appreciation for the beauty and serenity of our life here, this early morning we jumped into our car and shot off for a new and unplanned adventure, in a near-by very small town.

That town would be Rainier, Oregon just up I-5 and over the Columbia River via the Lewis and Clark (fairly new) bridge where we started with breakfast in a real live "bar" that had boasted a sign, "Family Breakfast," which fact we fell for. However, very few people were eating, but a few more were enjoying the Las Vegas type slot machines with pictures and arrows and "no banana" in terms of making money. But wait! It was all worth it: we got a Happy Birthday phone call from brother Pete whom we shocked with the news that we were in a bar!

The other best part, was discovering the unusual "buggy" outside the bar making one wonder which local in that bar owned and had "decorated" such a "delight.

Later, just looking around and across the freeway, we discovered what looked like huge wood carvings. We abruptly turned off the freeway and found the right little road to drive into the Wood Carving place where we met "Robert" who proudly showed us his album of all types of carvings many of which had won awards. We especially fell in love with Robert's constant companion, Danny the Chocolate Lab, as well as with Robert's life-like carvings of dogs, which brings us to the reason for mentioning all this! As silly as this may sound, Dick and I actually started talking about having a Sibling-Sapling Totem Pole carved. Now, don't faint; it's just a thought. Bob's prices are very reasonable due to the fact that Washington is full of huge cedar trees so he gets them at low prices. The carvings would be caricatures of the siblings and saplings, the latter being, of course, the sibs mates.

Oh, well, just a thought. Feel free to reply in any sense. After all, Life is short. Yes?
At any rate our "exciting" Easter dinner planned, using the Woods b-day gift (wonderful, beautiful, just perfect cooking tool) was a hit! We bought fresh Oregon salmon, simply added greens/tomato salad and specially sliced, then baked the potato slices with chopped onions on top.

So there you are. It's the little things in life that we cherish.

Finally, there was also a worrisome Easter event. Dick had a call from his Heart Doctor's Nurse with info about Dick's needing another heart catheterization to ablate extra heart beats (equals less blood being pumped into his body) that have kept him so weak and tired. That surgery is planned for mid May; we'll keep you posted. Dick has full confidence in his cardiologist who did an earlier ablation (burning of the heart) for him.

So, it is not too late to say, HAPPY EASTER each and every one. Life is good.

patti with dick