Angie sent me many photos over the years

Angie and I met at college in Rapid City, SD.  She and her roommate were just down the hall from me.  At the time, I was a huge Slaughter fan – if you listened to hard rock before Nirvana changed it all you know who I am talking about.  Angie also enjoyed listening to them.  We became good friends and she ended up inviting me to go with her to visit her dad in Iowa.  We had a great trip – lots of loud singing and Diet Coke on the road.  We played pool and her dad let us smoke in the basement.  We jammed the Wayne’s World soundtrack and roasted marshmallows in her backyard to the Dream a Little Dream soundtrack.  We also practiced doing the Electric Slide in her dad’s driveway.  I remember us finding out we both made straight A’s and her dad taking us out to dinner.  We also drove to Ames to watch Wayne’s World again.

When I got married, Angie drove all the way from Florida to be in my wedding.  We stayed in touch – writing letters and talking on the phone occasionally.  Over the years our communications became less seldom but I still thought of her often.  One February morning, her husband called me.  I had never spoken to him before so I knew something wasn’t right.  Regrettably, I was not able to pay the same favor back to her by driving down to Florida to be in her wedding.  Scott said that he received my card but in a thick voice, he informed me that Angie had passed away from a massive heart attack the year past.  He cried and told me how strong their girls were trying to be for him and the last things they said to each other.  Angie lost her father not too long before she passed away from a heart condition she inherited.  She was one of the best people I have ever known – a deacon for her church, loving mother and wife, faithful friend, caring daughter and sister.  She was at her father’s side when he took his last breath.

I only have a handful of pictures of her and several handwritten letters.  Angie is part of the reason why I write letters and mail greeting cards.  I can see her handwriting and the little smiley faces she made.  I can hear her voice and her laugh in the loops and curves of her cursive letters.  In the age of social media, letters from a friend who I loved and cared for are priceless.  I encourage you to write a letter a week to a family member or a friend.  It is so much more exciting to receive snail mail from a loved one than a bill.  Have a lovely Memorial weekend everyone and be safe!

Coffee talk

Fireplace at Faster Basset
Fireplace at Faster Basset

Today was my day to get out of the house for a couple of hours.  Our van is in the shop until next week to have the back doors modified, so I took the chance while I had it.  The boys have grown so much that we are having the back doors enlarged and the opening made bigger so they can drive into the van without bending over.  We are so excited to have this done!  For the longest time, when we have gone places, we have had to limit the amount of stops or have the boys stay in the van for some of them so their backs wouldn’t become so sore from bending over.  What a blessing it will be to not have to worry about that anymore!

Anyway, back to the getting away bit.  When I am able to get out by myself, my favorite place to hang out is Faster Basset.  They are a locally owned coffee shop that started out as a food cart.  They are known for their crepes.  I have yet to try one.  They use direct trade coffee from Missoula and it is oh so good!   I drink my coffee black so I cannot drink Starbucks very often – talk about strong and making your mouth draw inward from dryness.  Remember when the coyote on the Road Runner show ate alum and his mouth drew in?  Yep.  Starbucks.


Back to Faster Basset.  Locally owned coffee shops are the best.  The sounds, scent of freshly ground coffee, the warmth of the fire.  This particular shop has the Public House on the other side.  They serve beer and there is a huge window where you can see the giant drums that they make the beer in.  I haven’t ventured over on that side too much but it seems like people enjoy it.  On the tables are flower arrangements from a locally owned flower shop called Voila.  Beautiful.  With my book and coffee, I am in my own little heaven.



Do you have a favorite coffee shop where you enjoy talking with friends or reading a good novel?






Just keep swimming!


I am having one of those days when my body does not want to cooperate with my mind.  Sometimes, despite my best efforts in my diet, I still experience inflammation.  Unfortunately, this does not mean that I can stop moving.  On days like today, I need to motivate myself and Dory from Finding Nemo is always there for me.  Remember when Dory and Marlin were descending into that deep pit in the ocean?  She started to sing “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”.  I used to keep a little plastic toy of Dory close by so I could be reminded to just keep swimming!  I also often have to remind myself that it is all right if I am slow because at least I am moving forward.

Maybe more of us need to be like Dory.  She was curious, joyful and full of life.  I find myself to be like Marlin, fearful of trying new things, a little uptight and sometimes needing someone like her to hold my hand as I swim down into the unknown.


If I need a good laugh, I can listen to her try to communicate with whales.

thI think that many of us can identify with at least one character in a Pixar movie or any movie and sometimes that can motivate us to keep on trudging towards victory no matter how we may feel!  Is there a cartoon/Pixar/movie character that you can identify with?