Sunday, June 16, 2013

Our Fathers

I drew the lucky card when it came to fathers.  My dad was involved in my life from the very beginning.  He was often the only one who could quiet my colicky cries.  He took me fishing, attended my school events and wiped my tears when I skinned my knees.  And he recorded everything on reels and reels of Super 8 movies.  Mom worked on Saturdays, so that day was just for Dad and me.  I’m not sure how much help I was on those days together, but at least I provided continual chatter as he fixed our cars, weeded the garden or painted the house.  He had a short-wave radio and we spent endless hours in the basement tuning the dials so we could hear people in far off places, like Colorado, talk over the air.  We learned Morse code together, he made me mahogany doll furniture and he explained the virtues of American Motors cars (he was a Rambler man through and through).  And he loved me through and through.  Never a doubt about that. 

Yes, I drew the lucky card.  But, I really wanted to hear what my friends and family think about their own fathers.  So, a few weeks ago I sent out an e-mail to ask.  As I entered the addresses I wondered how each would respond.  I know that some had fathers who had abandoned them.  Others had strained relations or dads who parented from afar because of divorce.  I wondered how my own children would respond.  I also wondered how many responses I would receive.  Not everyone loves to put their thoughts into print like I do.  But, I knew that the inquiry would at least cause people to pause for a moment to contemplate the question, “What did my father teach me?” I do think it is a question worthy of a bit of reflection.  And if my essays do nothing else, at least I hope they make folks think. 

So, I forged ahead. And oh, what wonderful responses came to my in-box!  I smile every time I read them and it makes me want to meet the dads I don’t know and hug the ones I do know. 

Ashley writes, “My Dad taught me to use tools, hang drywall, use a riding lawn mower, change a tire, change the oil in my car, how to fish, how to ski and how to canoe. My Gramps (Dad’s dad) taught me that pork will kill you (among other things)!”  Aubrey says, “My daddy taught me how to take care of a cast iron skillet, shop on a budget and how to make ‘whatever-is-leftover-soup’ (no, really…he taught me how to make something out of nothing.)”

Our fathers taught us skills we use every day.  They taught us how to have fun.  And not eat pork.

Mike shared that “when I was a small child my father would often make the comment, ’I’ve been to every country in the free world except for two!’ Mike inherited his father’s wanderlust and penchant for adventure.  In fact, he’s off on some adventure or other as I write this.  Alisha says, “Dad taught me to appreciate nature and the peace it can bring.”

Our fathers taught us to get out into the world.

Pam writes, “My daddy taught me to NEVER allow the color of anyone’s skin, their size, state of wealth, beauty or abilities dictate their worth.   God created us ALL in His image and we are ALL precious in his sight.”  Bobbi adds, “He taught me that being rich had nothing to do with money and that any piece of junk could become a treasure.”  Joey writes, “My dad taught me to be genuine and to laugh.”

Our fathers taught us how to be in the world.

Bobbi writes, “My father taught me how to be generous; every stranger could be a friend.”  Noel says of that same father, “Dad would always stop to help someone change a tire.  Back then, with those old jacks it could be dangerous thing.  I remember one time we were eating in a cafĂ© when the cook came out and told him that she couldn’t get the pilot light lit on her stove.  He didn’t hesitate to go back there and light it for her.  She’d left the gas on and he ended up getting badly burned and spent days in the hospital.  He always tried to help people.”  Alisha writes that her father “taught me the importance of doing things for others and expecting nothing in return.” 

Our fathers taught us to give.

Casey writes, “He loved family more than anything.  I think that one of the greatest things that Dad taught me was how to be a father myself.  Everything he did for me was out of love.”  Joey says, “I will tell you about how he went on my school history trip and how he bought me a pair of overalls that I really wanted…my friends thought my dad was the best!”

Our fathers taught us how to be parents.

Deenie writes, “As for my dad, he was the sweetest, kindest, most sentimental and loving father any girl could ask for and I miss him. He showed me what love looks like when he smiled and what it feels like in his hugs.  My dad was also a very unpredictable and short tempered man which unfortunately served to overshadow his best qualities.  As a child I was often afraid of him.”  Joey tells me, “My dad had an ugly side and people didn’t know what we were dealing with at home.  We kept secrets.  But he was, for the most part, happy.  He was genuine.  You would have loved him.”

Our fathers sometimes taught us how to be.  Our fathers sometimes taught us how not to be.

Many of you wrote that your fathers were just there for you….with hugs, congratulations, discipline, advice and love.  “He taught me the meaning of unconditional love” was penned by more than one.  Casey remembers, “One time one of my teachers called to say that he was very impressed with my work.  Dad didn’t even say anything to me.  He just gave me the biggest hug that I have ever had.  It felt GREAT!”  And along that same theme with that same father, Aubrey writes, “My daddy taught me that sometimes no words will comfort you…sometimes you just need someone to sit with you and hug you.”

Our fathers taught us to be there for one another. 

On a small end table in our den is a framed photograph of Mike’s dad, Les, taken in Saudi Arabia back in the early 1950’s when Mike was a baby.  Les was in the Air Force temporarily stationed in Saudi Arabia for about a year and a half while his family remained in the U.S.  In the photo, Les wore a native Saudi cap, held a pipe to his lips and his shoulder bore a tattoo of a propeller blade placed perpendicular through two, crossed air force wings.   It is quite beautiful.  A couple of months ago as a tribute to his dad, Mike took the photograph to a tattoo artist who duplicated the tattoo on Mike’s shoulder. 

Our fathers taught us how to honor those we love.

So, I guess it really isn’t about drawing the lucky card.  Maybe learning from our fathers is more about being a willing pupil.  I would love to take credit for the following summation and I was going to try and paraphrase it, but it is perfect just as it is.  So, here to wrap all of this up in a wonderful way, are Deenie’s very wise comments:

One observation Mike and I made as we discussed the gifts our fathers gave us over the years, was that by watching our parents live their lives it helped us gain clarity as adults in what we wanted our lives to be like and especially what we didn’t want our lives to be like.  They provided us the necessary contrast needed for us to become who we are as adults.  I think we pick the perfect parents for us to work out what we need to work out in life.  No mistakes.  We didn’t get the wrong mom or dad.  All life experience is a gift that offers opportunities for forgiveness, compassion, expansion and profound love. 
 Happy Fathers Day to all you awesome fathers! 
Live and love well!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Gifts and Small Indulgences

“Let’s go to the movie show when the new James Bond film comes out,” Noel announced one evening.  “I really want to see it…it’s supposed to be the best of Daniel Craig’s movies and we still have those five dollar coupons my mom gave us.”  I chuckled at his comment for a couple of reasons.  I just love it when he says ‘movie show’.  It’s one of his endearing phrases that never fails to make me smile.  I also smiled because indeed we still do have some movie coupons given to us for Christmas by his mother.  She died five years ago which tells you how often we go to the ‘movie show.’  It probably really did cost five dollars back then.  But, we carefully marked the date of the opening weekend on the calendar and when the time came, to my surprise we actually went.

Well, if you haven’t seen Skyfall you should.  It’s highly entertaining and although I’m not a huge fan of James Bond, I was intrigued by the plot, the new and old characters and the settings spanning the globe.  The bad guy is so bad I found myself almost snarling at him at one point.  Interestingly though, one of the things that struck me was 007’s unfailing commitment to a few things that he truly loves.  This latest James Bond highlights most of the indulgences that he has become known for over the years.  I’m talking about the gin martini (shaken, not stirred), the impeccably tailored suits; the vintage Aston Martin DB5.  Yeah, I know…this sort of stuff is product placement and we’re supposed to all run out to our local Aston Martin dealer and buy one or two…preferably equipped with machine guns and eject seats.  But, honestly you have to admire a guy who is loyal to a few things that he likes.

And so I’ve been thinking lately about indulgences.   I try very hard to be thrifty.  I scour advertisements looking for good deals and then check out the internet to see if I can beat local prices by ordering.  I buy most of our groceries on sale and travel to at least two stores to get the bargains.  I make about a third of my clothes, I buy a third out-of-season at deep discounts and the remaining clothes come from the thrift store.  Heals of bread go into a bag in the freezer to be made into salad croutons and crumbs for breading meat and fish.  Aluminum foil is saved and re-used until it no longer can be flattened.  Sometimes I shake my head in wonder at these money-conscious habits, but I can’t help it…it’s the way I was raised.  “Waste not, want not” and all of that.  But, sometimes my thriftiness backfires.  The bargain sweater for twenty dollars is made of acrylic that fuzzes up with one season of wear and has to be replaced.  I end up buying and replacing in a never ending cycle and often pay far more than if I’d just made a high quality purchase.  You’d think I’d learn.

Besides that, every once in a while I think it’s good for the soul to splurge.  There’s a great satisfaction in using a finely honed tool, wearing a cashmere sweater or spending an hour being pampered by a massage.  When I do treat myself to a little luxury I find that I walk a little taller; breathe a little easier.  Small indulgences reaffirm that I care for myself and that I deserve to be treated right.  Now, I’m not saying that I bust my budget for these things.  That would be counter-productive because I’d just wind up feeling guilty.  What I am saying is that any little thing can be a luxury.  Many years ago when I was struggling though the university living far below the poverty level I remember talking to a fellow student.  She was just as poor as me, but she said, “You know, I just bought myself a new box of stationery.  I saved some money out of my grocery budget and bought the prettiest cards I could find.  Now I can go on with the drudgery.”  Sometimes that’s all it takes to carry on without feeling pressed upon or bitter.  And here’s a bonus:  if we treat ourselves right we end up treating others right also.

This is the season of giving.  We give of our time, our energy and our money.  We spend our days thinking about the perfect gift for Aunt Helen or how to give our children memories of gingerbread, Santa and magical lighted trees.  We give and we give and we give.  Isn’t it okay to think about filling up our own reservoir?  Can’t we indulge ourselves just a bit this season?  If you ask me (and nobody did) I say Yes!   Everyone I know is worthy of a small luxury to make the season brighter.  So, as I’ve been ticking off the items on my Christmas shopping list and making special gifts for others I’ve also reserved a bit of time to think about myself.  I just might find something spectacular that says, “I value myself.”  If that seems selfish, oh well.  I’ll think of it as filling up my well so I can spread more cheer in this season of goodwill.

And so I urge you to treat yourself this holiday season.  Make a concerted effort to find the perfect gift that feeds your deserving soul.  Or simply choose to make a cup of tea and indulge in an afternoon of reading.  Oh, what will you do for yourself?  A soft pair of leather gloves?  A finely made tool?  A box of pretty stationery? 

But, since this was my idea, I would like to make one small request.  If, for some reason your indulgence involves an Aston Martin, I’d sure love a ride…

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Plans for the Holidays

Noel keeps a work calendar on his computer, and I keep an old-fashioned date book (the kind you actually write in) for my work.  We also write upcoming events on a calendar that hangs in the coat closet.  Don’t ask me how we ended up with this system; usually we’re able to keep it all straight. But, several weeks ago the calendars around here collided.  Noel came home from work announcing that a couple of friends from Idaho were coming for the weekend to go sailing.  He said, “I checked and we’ve got the weekend free.” 

“Wait!” I said, “what about the grandchild who is due at any moment?  When do you plan to go and see the new little one?”  Although we didn’t know it was a girl at the time, our granddaughter Maeve was overdue to be born.  On the due date I texted her Mom, Kylene and said, “Okay.  We’re tired of waiting.  Hand over the baby.”  It didn’t work.  Maeve obviously had her own calendar and was taking her own sweet time.  Then I took a look at the closet calendar and realized that we were supposed to have dinner with good friends on the weekend also. We realized that something had to give.  Noel told me that these out-of-town guests were super excited to come and he didn’t see how he could “un-invite” them.  So, I reluctantly cancelled our dinner plans and we figured that if the baby would only come during the week we could sneak in a trip to Missoula before our guests arrived.   The altered plan seemed like an okay compromise, but I was pretty bummed about missing the dinner.  I am, by nature, a planner and I like to know what is going to happen well in advance.  I don’t like it when changes are made at the last minute. Well, Maeve finally decided to arrive on Thursday and we thought that our new plan was working fine.  Then, our Idaho guests called late Thursday evening to cancel because of unforeseen travel due to work.  I couldn’t believe it.  We’d rearranged everything because they were “super excited” and now they weren’t even going to come! Noel put down the phone and said, “Okay, on to plan number three.  I don’t suppose you forgot to cancel the dinner plans did you?”

“Nope.  And I can’t exactly call and say.  Just kidding…we’ll see you on Saturday,”  I replied with maybe just a hint of sarcasm in my voice.

So, we decided to drive to Missoula to see our new little granddaughter on Saturday knowing that we could easily work around everyone else’s schedule who wanted to see the baby.  After all, we had nothing else planned for the entire weekend.  Then, the telephone rang again.  I said, “What now?  Did they decide to come anyway?”  Noel answered, and I saw big smile grow on his face as he listened.  He said, “I think that would be great.  We’ll be in Missoula anyway on Saturday.”  He put down the phone and said, “We just got two free tickets to the football game.”  So, off we went with plan number four.  I must admit that by the time Saturday came I was frustrated by all the changes and I was a bit miffed that we had accommodated everyone else’s schedule.  (Okay Maeve, you’re officially forgiven for coming late.)

Now, I know with a busy family this kind of thing happens all of the time.  I’m just saying, that with the two of us, things are usually pretty quiet and we are able to make plans that don’t change all that often.  Like I said, planning ahead is what I do.  Then I can count on things and look forward to them.  Everything seems to go more smoothly and I enjoy myself so much more.  Spur of the moment?  Not me.

I’ve been thinking about that weekend recently as I’ve tried to figure out what’s happening at the holidays.  Years ago we gave up celebrating on the actual day.  Thanksgiving can be anytime in November.  Last year we celebrated part of Christmas at the end of February.  In this day and age most families have to work celebrations around many others’ schedules…ex-spouses, in-laws, step-children, work…you know what I’m talking about. Our family is no different.  Add the fact that we’re spread from coast to coast and the problem grows bigger.  Even expecting to see the majority of our family at holidays is ridiculous.  Yet…we do.  We just want to have our loved ones around us some time near the actual day.  And we’ll do just about anything to make it happen. 

Come October I start thinking and planning…and that often is not a good idea.  I badger Noel, “Have you heard from the girls?  What are they doing for the holidays?” 

“I have no idea,” comes the familiar response.  I always know what he’ll say.  I just ask him as a reminder that the holidays are approaching…like he can’t read a calendar.

I sort of know what rotation the kids are on.  Some of them alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I tell myself that it’s only fair.  It is.  But on some level I still cry, “Pick me, pick me!  Pick me every time!”  And then the sensible me chides the emotional me for being selfish.

A couple of years ago I made some remark to Noel’s daughter Lindsey about the continual struggle of who’s celebrating where.  I think I said something like, “Sometimes I get frustrated knowing who is coming and what’s happening.  I just want everyone to come and celebrate with us.”

I’ve never forgotten her reply.  She said, “I used get upset that everyone seems to want me to be with them during the holidays and I can’t be everywhere at once.  But, I just remember that it’s only because so many people love me….and how can you get upset at that?”

So, as the holidays approach I am trying to remind myself that if I feel over committed or if plans change at the last minute it’s because the people I love are in turn loved by many others.  And like Lindsey said, how can you get upset at that?

So, here and now I drink a toast to the upcoming holidays.  May you have as many loved ones near you as reasonably possible.  May you cherish the moments you do have.  And may you be so loved by so many people that you are filled with joy just knowing that everyone simply likes to be in your presence. 
And if nothing else, may you remember the “happy” part in “Happy Holidays.”

Monday, October 29, 2012

Food for Thought 2

I'll continue presenting some of the information gleaned at a continuing education conference with Dr. Merrily Kuhn.  For more about her credentials, please see my first post "Food for Thought 1".
I've been reading more and more about the role inflammation has to play in all sorts of diseases.  Merrily spent quite a bit of time talking about chronic inflammation and its negative effects on the body.  Our bodies are pre-programmed to deal with inflammation.  If we have a tissue injury of any kind our bodies respond with inflammation which increases the blood flow to the area and the ultimate purpose is to prevent infection in the injured tissue and to heal.  This is an acute response and is 8 - 10 days from onset to healing.  However, chronic inflammation is another story.  Our bodies become inflamed through toxins in the:

~water we drink
~air we breathe
~products we put on our body
~food we eat (hormone laden produce and dairy, omega 6 fatty acids, transfat, chemically lined cans   with BPA and High Fructose Corn Syrup)
~household products we touch
and from sleep deprivation and obesity (62% of Americans are overweight.) 

Toxins cause oxidative stress (basically our bodies become rusty) which leads to inflammation.  Inflammation has been linked to cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and heart disease, to name a few.  So, we need to counter this inflammation and oxidation through ingesting anti-inflammatory foods and engaging in activities that promote health. 

Healthy habits that assist in decreasing inflammation include:
~Maintaining a healthy weight (especially losing belly fat)
~Avoiding excessive alcohol intake, especially beer and spirits because they have a depressive effect on the immune system
~Getting adequate sleep

Nutrients, foods and herbs that assist in decreasing inflammation include:
~Green tea
~Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa...not the milk chocolate kind)
~Red wines (these contain resveratrol found in the skin of red grapes.  Since white wines are not made with the skins, there is not the health benefit in white wine as there is in red.)
~Fish oils
~Red and blue fruits
~Cruciferous vegetables
~Fresh ginger, thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano
~Vitamin D

Merrily elaborated on several of the items listed above.  I'll write more about some of the most interesting ones in future posts.  I've just been trying to include more of the items from the list in my menus.  I really don't want to rust.  It just doesn't sound fun.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Smoked Salmon Quiche

Try this yummy quiche with a twist.  Instead of the traditional crust, it has a crust made of potatoes.  Fun!!  Although this isn't exactly speedy, it would be great for a special brunch, luncheon or have it for a weekend dinner like we did.  I think the smoked salmon gives it a wonderful flavor, but it could be made with shrimp or another type of smoked fish.  If you're in our area, we found some great and relatively inexpensive smoked salmon at Blacktail Grocery in Lakeside.  This recipe used four dollars worth.  The original recipe was from Emeril Lagasse, but I changed it up a bit like I always do.  The leftovers make a great cold lunch.


3 and 1/4 cups grated cooked potato or frozen hashbrown potatoes, thawed and squeezed dry (I used the frozen hashbrowns and they worked great)
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients listed above and toss to combine.  Press mixture into a deep pie plate or quiche plate, spreading to evenly cover the bottom and up the sides.  Bake until the potatoes are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the  oven and cool on a wire rack.

Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium leeks or 1 large leek halved and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperatrue
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
4 - 6 ounces smoked salmon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (I used 1 tablespoon of dried and it worked)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pour olive oil in a small skillet and set over medium heat.  Add the leeks and saute until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat.  Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and using a wooden spoon, stir in the leeks and lemon juice.  Add the eggs one at a time, stirring just until comibined.  Add the cream, salmon, dill, salt and pepper and mix well.  Pour this mixture into the cooled potato crust and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and the batter is set.  Cool quiche for 20 minutes before serving.  Serve warm or chilled.

*A note about leeks.  If you aren't familiar with them...they are usually very sandy.  I slice them, separate the rings and put them in a bowl of cold water, swishing them around so the sand falls to the bottom of the bowl.  Then scoop out the leeks with your hand, dry them on a towel and continue on.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Food for Thought 1

I went to a conference last Friday that was mind boggling.  The title was "Food for Thought:  How Nutrients Affect Mental Health" and was presented by Dr. Merrily Kuhn.  She is an RN who also happens to have three PhD's (Physiology, Holistic Medicing and Naturopathic Medicine).  All of the material she presented was very well researched and evidence-based.  The bibliography accompanying my course materials was seven pages of tightly spaced references.  In short, I believed her.  The day flew by as I listened with rapt attention. 

You know, I try to eat healthy.  I try to limit toxins in my immediate environment.  I try.  But, I also get confused.  One day I hear one thing and it is totally refuted the next.   The information I am presented with is often overwhelming and downright scary.  So, I was very pleased to get the information from this conference in a concise, thoughtul and organized manner.  But, I still was overwhelmed, and I must admit, a bit scared. 

When I met my daughter-in-law Kylene for lunch that day I tried to tell her just a few things I'd learned in the morning.  She was exceedingly interested as she sat next to her little baby Maeve.  This information is important for her.  It is important for children like Maeve.  It is important for all of us.  But, we need to be informed, not confused.  So, I decided to sort through the materials and post a few treasures that I learned.  I think I can best make use of the information in small doses so I will try to post it in bits and pieces that are easier to digest. 

I want to share the information about plastics first.  Of course, we are surrounded by it.  Merrily said, "I challenge you to go to the grocery store and not come out with a bunch of plastic and foam containers."  Here is the bottom line from the conference. Check the number in the triangle on the bottom of the plastic container and compare it with the list below.  Get rid of the crap.

What is NOT safe?
Polyvinylchoride is not safe.  Find it in #3 PVC plastic bottles such as some cooking oil bottles and in plastic wrap.

Polystyrene is not safe.  Find it in styrofoam and even clear plastic containers marked #6.  This leaches styrene which is a human carcinogen.  It's the same stuff used in the dry cleaning business.  Please don't drink your hot drinks from a styrofoam cup.
Plastics marked #7 PC.  This is sold as micro-wavable plastic; it is in plastic eating utensils and the lining for metal food containers (the industry lines the cans with plastic so that your food doesn't taste like the can).  It has also been used in Nalgene bottles and baby bottles in the past.

What is Safe?
Polyethylene is generally safe.
#1 PETE plastics that contain soft drinks and water bottles (but don't get them hot or put them in the freezer...this causes chemicals to leach into your beverage).

#2 HDPE milk and water bottles.

#4 LDPE wrapping films and grocer bags.

#5 PP yogurt containers and syrup bottles.

Why not change to stainless steel water bottles and avoid the confusion?  DON'T opt for aluminum bottles.  I found the excerpt below from The Mother Earth News website regarding how to tell the difference.
  • Aluminum sounds duller and has less of a ring than stainless steel. Rap your knuckles on the edge of the pot or bang it with a wooden spoon.
  • Aluminum feels slightly warmer than stainless steel at room temperature.
  • After being washed, aluminum tends to dull slightly, while stainless steel usually stays bright.
  • Because aluminum is softer than stainless steel, a key will scratch aluminum much more readily than stainless steel.
  • If a magnet sticks to the side of the pot (even weakly), it is definitely stainless steel and not aluminum. (Note: If a magnet does not stick, you still can’t tell which metal it is, but you can be sure it’s stainless steel if the magnet does stick!)
Read more:

Unsafe Handwashing Solutions
Please check your handwashing solutions to see if they contain Triclosan. Dial liquid soap has it.  This is a carcinogen that stays in your fat.  It has been banned by the European Union (EU), Canada and Japan.  Go to for more information.

All of these environmental toxins lead to oxidative stress and inflammation.  Inflammation is the leading cause of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer. 

I plan on going through my cupboards to see what I have.  And when I go to the grocery store, I think I'll start looking at the bottom of the plastic container as well as the ingredient label.  I don't want the bad stuff in my house.

Here's another sobering fact:  41% of the US population will develop cancer in their lifetime.  21% will die of it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Love in Full Color

I wrote this a few years ago, found it in an old file and present it here in a revised and updated form in honor of our 11th wedding anniversary.

Dear Noel,

I love you the color of the boulders that edge the paths in my garden.  I love your amazing reversible pink floral tie that matches your 80's pink silk shirt that I've thankfully never seen you wear.  I love you when you say things that make me blush.  I love you like the Stargazer Lilies that bloom in July.

I love you the pinkest.

I love you like crisp, shiny carrots newly dug from the eath.  I love you the juiciest of the best peaches at the supermarket.  I love you the summer sun as it sets behind the Rocky Mountains.

I love you the orangest.

I love you like the junipers that grace our land and of the moss on the rocks and the soft, spring grass that dances in the wind.  I love you the color that you say you do not like.  I love you more because I know that you secretly do.  I love you the fragrance of herbs that I snip from the garden and the green of the lake on a stormy day.

I love you the greenest.

I love you the fierce color of fidelity and white hot fire and daisies.  I love you the caps on the waves and the snow at Big Mountain and the color of our sailboat we named Tess.  I love you the white of the dishes from which we eat our evening meal and of the crisp paper on which I write.  I love you the moon.

I love you the whitest.

I love you the earth that nourishes and sustains and supports.  I love you the color of your eyes and your hair and your ever-tanning skin.  I love you like finely grained, but knotted alder polished to a soft sheen.

I love you the brownest.

I love you the colors of the garden.
I love you the colors of the sunset.
I love you the colors of the world.

Thank you for helping me garden with passion.
Thank you for showing me the fire of the sunset.
Thank you for giving me the world.

I love you.
Just you.