Saturday, February 24, 2024

This is how I will always remember Ruth, head thrown back, laughing. I took it many years ago at Disney, she was dancing with a Mardi Gras band ❤️

 A few weeks ago I told my friend Ruthie I knew that the retired, active lifestyle we are enjoying right now, has an expiration date. She emphatically said “that’s right”. Ruth lived her life to the fullest and most of my biggest adventures were with her. She was just as comfortable flying business class to Europe as she was taking a bus with bullet holes through the razor wire lined streets of El Salvador (yes, we actually did both). Ruthie never let her fear stop her from missing out; helicopter rides, the big WHOOOSH ride at Great America, hiking the Nepali Coast, mountain biking in Sedona, she always gave it her best with a positive attitude, laughing along the way about where they would land the rescue helicopter. So much fun. Who could’ve know what a deep lasting friendship we would have when I met her in the mid 80s. 

Such an incredible ability to laugh at herself. One of my favorite memories was a long car trip, her daughters were doing the whole ‘she’s looking out my window, I’m taking your nose’ thing. All the adults were a bit frazzled from this,seemingly not Ruth until she blurted out “GIVE YOUR SISTER BACK HER NOSE!” The laughter was hysterical with the sudden realization nobody had anybody’s nose! No one laughed harder than Ruth. These and so many more memories make me smile tinged with a deep sadness. She lived life to the fullest and shared it with anyone that wanted to be there. 

I talked to Ruthie on the phone most days. We talked about everything from God to laundry, we were on the phone when the planes struck the twin towers. We cried together and laughed together.  She left us way too soon. Not much chance I have another 35 to foster a friendship like ours and no chance I will ever meet another Ruth. Here’s to you my friend, I will miss your presence forever

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Endings. Beginnings. or somewhere in the middle-ings

Today I pack up the last of my office. After 3 decades Rick and I are retiring from the best career anyone could hope for. Our last official day is October 28th. We leave with great excitement touched with sorrow. I'll miss being a part of this team. 

When we did the Race Across America our team leader said "this isn't about riding a bike across the nation, it's about solving problems". Cars and bikes broke down, drivers quit, each day had new challenges to overcome and all the while pedaling bikes 24/7 from coast to coast. Business is like that. Equipment failures, fire, flood, epidemic, power outages, we've had it all. Our team stood strong with us, many of them for decades. Some of my fondest memories are pulling all nighters to make fire lunches or build gondolas when we found all new shelving at a discount. Sand bagging and pumping water out of the lot are less fond but our people showed up when we needed them and worked shoulder to shoulder. They built Susanville Super just as much as we did. We have been together through the good and the sad, new babies, marriages, losses. I wouldn't have missed a moment. Thank you all. 

Our customers, you have no idea how sometimes a visit with you turned my day around. We have had the privilege of seeing local children grow and start their own families. We have mourned together. You taught me about community, history, cooking tips, gardening, so much information shared in these aisles. You stuck with us as we tried new things on our journey to be the Susanville Supermarket we are today. 

We leave you in good hands. Jessica Miller has been with us for 12 years, she started as a bagger and worked her way up. Jess will take over for us this week and begin purchasing Susanville Supermarket. Todd Eid has been our right hand for over 20 years, no one is better to guide her along, plus he's Jessica's dad. I know you will offer them your help and support just as you always have us. 

Rick and I won't be far. Lassen County is our home. I can't believe how lucky I am to retire with and spend the rest of my days with my very best friend. 

We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and we wish you all the best.

God Bless. 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veterans Day

Reading personal stories, blogs, articles, books, interests me. I thought I would share an excerpt from John McCain's book 'Faith of my Fathers' on this Veterans Day. Whenever I hear his name I remember this moving account of his time as a prisoner of war in a camp known as the Hanoi Hilton~

"One of the men who moved into my (POW) room was a young man named Mike Christian. ... Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.

"Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.

"One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it.

"That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all of us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could.

"The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room.

"As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to pledge our allegiance to our flag and country."

To me this story is about human spirit, unity when it really counts, loyalty, bravery, and of course, love. Love of country and our fellow man. 

To all our Veterans, past and present, thank you. Today we honor you.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Food holds so many memories for me. The aroma of my mom's soups, the rituals of preparing holiday meals, fresh baked cookies. Sometimes the nostalgia overtakes me. That is exactly what happens when we make things like Grandma Stewart's Persimmon Cookies.

Hachiya or Fuyu, I adore persimmons. Every year, around this time, Rick's grandma would make theee most divine cookies with this fruit. Chewy, spicy, sweet, frosted goodness. Today everyone in the family (4 generations) makes Grandma's persimmon cookies in the Fall. Then. We continue to make them until our waistbands insist we stop. Only Hachiya are used for this recipe but a few years ago I had a salad made with Fuyus and became a huge fan of these as well.

Fuyus are kind of flat, good when they're a bit crisp. Sliced very thin on my favorite salad mix of Arugula, Spinach, diced red onion all tossed in a small amount of Maries Poppy Seed Dressing. Trust me, DEEElish. Fuyus are also yummy to just munch on AND both are an excellent source of fiber, Vitamin A and C, Vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.

Hachiya Persimmons are longer and slightly pointed at the end. Loaded with pucker power if you should try to eat them raw and not too ripe. They should feel about like a water balloon before you use them. The easiest way to accomplish this is the way Grandma always did. Choose the beautiful apricot colored fruit, firm or not, toss them in the freezer. When you thaw the fruit it will have that water balloon consistency, just scoop out the pulp and throw away the skin. If you wanna try Grandma Stewart's recipe, here it is~

This is a month to remember all I have and have had throughout my life to be grateful for. The list is long. The other day some song came on the radio, maybe it was 'great day to be alive' or something like that, Rick asked if I feel that way, I told him at least once every single day. I am surely blessed. 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Neighbors helping neighbors

I don't know about you but my animals are my family. I whisper in The Bean's ear all the time that he is my best friend in the world. He knows. Everybody knows. When disaster strikes, like it has at this very moment for so many of our community members, they are the most important things for Rick and I to save. Can you imagine if you couldn't!? There exists some real-life heroes that will swoop in and save the day.

I first learned about this through my friend Ronnie Chandler owner of Critter Keepers in Janesville. She has offered to house animals during a crisis many times. I had no idea there was an actual group of volunteers out there.  Cowboy 911 started as a facebook group and according to their website now has 27,000 members across the Nation. They have rescued thousands of animals from fire, flood, snowstorm. Our local chapter has been mighty busy lately; running rescue missions for goats, chickens, horses, dogs, even people in a few situations. They still had animals and people from Beckworth fire sheltered when they had to begin running horse trailers into the Dixie fire. They cooperate with the first responders to save lives.
The Bean

Food, housing, transport, halters, lead ropes, kennels, cash and more all provided by generous donations. That's where we can help too. 

Check them out at or on Facebook

Cowboy911's tagline is Neighbors helping Neighbors. Really that's what it's all about. 

To all our Hometown Heroes volunteering with Cowboy 911, we thank you. God bless.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Stan Bales making our public land even more fun!

 Bureau of Land Management is one of my favorite things in the world. Just the other day I was talking with Stan Bales (I believe he is the Outdoor Recreation Planner for BLM) about all the work they've done on Bald Mountain and asked if you can camp up there, he replied "yes! That's why it's one of your favorite things." He is correct. This old BLM map that local historian Tim Purdy brought in to me today says it all "these are you lands to enjoy and your lands to protect." BLM wants me to use the land, they encourage it. Stan and crew made Bald Mountain such a great place to explore; on horseback, foot or bike. The single track is a blast, in the spring the wildflowers on top are stunning and Stan tells me it is a spectacular spot to watch the moon rise. 

What did it take to get this trail built? In the words of Stan:

"On May 23 through 26, our BLM Ameri-Corps Crew and I backpacked and horse packed up onto Bald Mountain to do trail maintenance from a camp up on Bald Mountain at 5,000'. We had great vistas up there over Honey Lake and to the surrounding mountains of the northern Sierra, Great Basin and Cascades. The full moon rose over Honey Lake while we were camped out out up there too - really nice !

From our campsite, the crew hiked along 5 trail loops grubbing out annual weed growth and sloughed rocks that had fallen on the trail, dug out rocks in rough trail segments making the trail much better for all trail users and padded some rocky sections with dirt to smooth out crossing those trail segments. Two crewmen also rode mountain bikes along 3 trail loops to reach loops further away from our campsite and also cleared sloughed rocks, grubbed out annual weed growth, improved a bermed trail turn and padded rocky talus slope crossings with dirt.

And after local horse packer and Back Country Horsemen volunteer Walt Reynolds helped the crew pack up heavy jugs of water, food and some tools on his horses, two crew members got to ride horses back down with Walt. Then the crew members switched to mountain bikes and rode back up to camp so the bikes would be available the next day for trail work. That was a long day for those tough trail riders !

While up there the crew met a diverse mix of trail users out enjoying the Bald Mountain Trails - hikers, runners, mountain bikers and horseback rider."

In another email he listed the necessary equipment:

"Student Conservation Association crew, a Sutter 300 Mini Trail Dozer we rented from Sutter Equipment east of Carson City that makes them. Sky Zaffarano, a great BLM trail dozer operator from our BLM Redding office ran it for us on weekends and our local BLM equipment operators ran it during the week. Diesel fuel was packed up the mountain by volunteers from the Back Country Horsemen. 5 gallons a day (40 lbs) adds up ! And we ran the little dozer for 3+ weeks." Last I heard they were now working on the Southside Trail that runs the Susan River. That's some fun and challenging single track!" 

I am forever amazed by the enthusiasm and encouragement I receive when I ask BLM for directions or guidance on a site. They truly want me to use our land. And as one of Tim Purdy's followers said when he saw the sunrise on Belfast Petroglyphs "that's some Indiana Jones $!#@ right there!" It really is. Hunting down petroglyphs and pictograms in our county is an amazing endeavor.  Rick and I have had so much fun exploring the notes from the ancients. 

Our local BLM crew is just one more in a long list of reasons to be Hometown Proud!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Fire and Flour

Local innovations. I know we're teeming with it but I gotta give a shout out to one family that has really excelled. I first learned about the Traphagans when I saw a photo of Jimmy Uruburu used in an ad for the Agri-Hydrant, an incredible fire fighting tool that taps a hydrant into existing ag irrigation, invented by Thomas Traphagan during the chaos of a massive fire on the Madeline Plains.

Wow. Right? Now the Traphagans converted their Ravendale farmland to grow organic wheat AND put in a mill. That's right they are milling homegrown wheat right here in Lassen County. Available varieties of  Mile High Mills Organics are, Whole Wheat, All Purpose and Bread Flour. Andrea Traphagan tells me she has enjoyed baking with other locals to test the new products. I can't wait to try it myself!

Both stories are a great read and you gotta check out the photography on their web pages, also done by Andrea;

To learn more about the Agri-Hydrant go to

All about Mile High Mills

We are so Hometown Proud and to carry a full line of Mile High Mills organics! Thank you Traphagans, for all you do.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

My unstoppable community~

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

Writing my little article each week has always been a challenge I looked forward to. Until Pandemic 2020. My excuses? At first the store was CRAZY busy, then as product came back in and folks adjusted to being in the midst of something the world hadn't seen for a couple of generations, business settled but I just couldn't seem to get back to my routine. Certainly NOT because there wasn't anything to write about. 

Dickens kinda nailed the feelings but no matter what was happening; economically, politically, socially or pandemically (I may have made that word up) our community was here for us. I would like to take a beat to give a shout out to some of those friends, family and community members that made this crisis bearable...and yes, more days than not, good. 

My girls that talk to me on my commute each day~
A plethora of people that take the time to visit in the aisles about everything and nothing~
The ones that stop in my office to visit or show up for a walk just when I need it~
My family~
My coworkers, many of whom I have been working with for over a quarter of a century~
Local first responders that set the example for excellence~
Local businesses figuring out how to serve~

This list could go on forever and there isn't enough room for all the pictures that populate my mind as I write this but right now is always the perfect time to count my blessings. I have more than I could ever live long enough to deserve.

This is Hometown Proud.

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This is how I will always remember Ruth, head thrown back, laughing. I took it many years ago at Disney, she was dancing with a Mardi Gras b...