26 January 2007

Volleyball update

Last Tuesday night, the River Journal/Keokee co-ed volleyball team played our first matches of the Sandpoint City Rec season. After losing our first match (0-3) we realized our game problems were stemming from a complete lack of skill in, well, the fundamentals. That would be the bump, the set and the spike. Oh, and there were a few problems with serving, too.

I suspect the serving problems will iron out fairly quickly once we get used to having to hit the ball over the net on a full-length court. Our practice sessions on Sandpoint West's raquetball courts don't quite get you up to speed for sending a ball sailing over a net that's about 30 feet away from you.

And that net! About 8 feet high for co-ed, or a foot or a foot and a half higher than what we've practiced on. It doesn't seem that high until you're next to it, or until you see our teammate Carol Curtis (all 5 feet 1 inch of her) standing next to it. It intimidated the heck out of me. At least, that's my excuse for why I wasn't able to pop the ball over it when I was playing in the front row (much less jump up and slam the darn thing into the opponent's court).

We lost our second match, too, though we did win the final game. I had thought we had a chance in the first game until their power server took the court and aced us something like 14 straight times. Well, he didn't actually ace us, as we were connecting with the ball. We just weren't connecting with the ball correctly, as was evidenced by its wild path through the air and into the other courts out at the fairgrounds.

We practiced again last night, again at SWAC on the little court. I think I might have ticked everyone off a little bit when I insisted we work some passing drills. It just seemed to be that if we can't get control of the ball, then it's not gonna matter whether we can set or hit as we'll never get the chance to. Go ahead. Call me a volleyball nazi. I mean, I like to get out and play to have fun; don't get me wrong, it's not about winning. But I don't like losing! (I should mention, by the way, that if I had to rank my teammates in terms of their passing skills, I would have to place myself pretty near the bottom of the list. Like, right AT the bottom.)

I think we made some progress with the drills, and before our next game Tuesday night I'm hoping to have a little 'talk' about how to move your body from one part of the court to another, and where your feet and your shoulders should be pointing while you do it. I now appreciate the high school girls' drills on "shuffling." I'm kind of weak on that, too. I shuffle well enough from side to side, but when I have to go forward or back, I forget all about shuffling and try to run to the ball - which usually results in me tripping over my own feet.

We'll see whether they go for my 'pep talks' or whether they kick me off the team. I'll let ya know after the next game.

23 January 2007

Behind the Scenes - 24 January 2007 River Journal

It's 4:39 an I aim to be done with this post by 5 pm so I can call it a day. As I didn't start working until 7:30 this morning, it's a rather short one, especially considering that today was deadline. Yep, another paper has been uploaded to the printer - you can pick one up on Wednesday, or check it out here. You'll love Sherry Ramsey's investigation of the area's wine culture, and Marylyn Cork's sneak peek at the newly restored Naccarrato House in Priest River's Settlement.

That the paper is done is especially amazing given how I woke up a couple of mornings ago to find my computer had crashed and I have to say, it's not a nice way to start the day. (Read about it here)

It's also amazing as I've had just the slightest difficulty moving my arms. Yes, after waiting a full year to practice, the Keokee/River Journal volleyball team finally got together to practice last week. Surprisingly enough, we haven't improved over that year of no practice, which will make tonight's games (the first of our season) rather interesting.

Marianne Love's column this issue is a fascinating look at a term in the Peace Corps, seen through the eyes of Sandpoint's Betsy Dalessio. You can read it here, or at Marianne's blog (see the link to the right to Slight Detour) just as soon as I let her know she can post it.

We feature another new columnist this issue. Michael White, a Realtor with Sandpoint's Coldwell Banker Resort Realty and an estate land manager with a BS in Forest Resources and Ecosystem Management will endeavor, once a month, to keep our readers posted on the information that will help them manage their property wisely. Read his first column here.

Finally, we'll be sharing with you each issue a recipe from the Community Assistance League's new cookbook, "Savoring Sandpoint, Recipes from Across the Bridge." Here's a tasty treat to get you through the cold days of winter:
Serves four to six
1 ½ C Onions, diced
3 T Olive oil
1t Garlic, minced
6 C Chicken broth
1 C Carrots, peeled & diced
1 C Sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
1 C Rutabaga , peeled & diced
1 C Celery root, peeled & diced
2 Chicken breasts
3T Tarragon
Salt & pepper
In a large saucepan, sauté onions in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cook on medium heat until golden. Add broth, carrots, sweet potatoes and rutabaga, Partially cover and cook until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes). Add celery root and chicken, cook about 5 minutes more. Add tarragon, salt & pepper to taste. Cook another 5 minutes until vegetables are soft but hold their shape. Serve immediately.
The above recipe is one of over 250, double tested, recipes in Savoring Sandpoint, Recipes Across the Bridge, a cook book published by the Community Assistance League. Copies of the book may be purchased only at the Bizarre Bazaar, 105 Vermeer Drive, Ponderay, Idaho 208-263-3400

09 January 2007

10 Jan 2007 River Journal - a Behind the Scenes Peek

The inhalation of the last Mounds candy bar leftover from the Christmas stockings coincided with the last file of the current issue of the River Journal being uploaded to the printer. You can read it here, but first, how about a sneak peek at the 'behind the scenes' action with this issue?

Of course, where to start? First off, you might notice I've been tinkering with the look of the front page again. I do that a lot, mostly because I'm self-taught at design and layout and figure it can always be improved. If you like how it looks, let's give credit where credit is due - to the never-ending thoughtful advice of Keokee's design wizard Laura Wahl, who is responsible for the wonderful look of Sandpoint Magazine.
A big change is the "where in the world is the River Journal?" photo is now just one column wide, leaving room for a timely picture of happenings in our area on the front page. This is another item I've avoided, mostly because I didn't want to make the time commitment to attending enough events to make sure each issue had a photo. And then it hit me - why not let our readers provide the photos? And so the "River Journal Hot Shot" was born. Bonner Awards is making the mugs as I type, and let me encourage each and every one of you, right now, to submit those photos!
This first issue of the year kicks off with the first column of our newest columnist - historian extraordinnaire Nancy Foster Renk. Her column, Backtracking, will take us through the last 100 years of happenings in Bonner County, in honor of the county's centennial this year. Look for her column in the first issue of each month.
Cassandra Cridland took on, without hesitation, the stories of the CIRCLES project, despite my crediting the last story she wrote to Sherry Ramsey. We got her name in there correctly this time, and she did a great job explaining how a small group of people in Bonner County are working to eliminate poverty in our area.
Jinx may have a few surprises in store for people when they read her story on Family Violence, as she talks about her own experience in living through such a situation. It was her hope that in describing some of what she lived through herself, she can encourage others in that type of situation to take the action necessary to get out.
You won't see it online, but the print edition of this issue kicks off our first-ever (I'm pretty sure) crossword puzzle. I'm not sure why so many readers have requested a crossword puzzle, but I was never that excited about providing one - I mean, you pay for those things and it didn't seem worthwhile to me. But some folks, at least, want one and it finally occurred to me - why not make up my own? And make it all with local questions? It's kind of a 'local trivia contest' and I thought the questions might be too easy - but so far, no one who got a 'sneak peak' has been able to get them all right. It will be interesting to see what people think of it.
Another new feature is the "Top News Stories" of the last few weeks. Kind of a USA Today approach to the news - my attempt to provide our readers with at least some information on what's been going on, without trying to find the time or the room for in-depth features. As lots of people keep telling me, "you know, not everyone reads the Bee." (or fill in their local paper.) One thing I like about RJ is we're still a free newspaper - so we provide access to information to any who want it.
Jody got his "Surrealist" column ("Reel" Good Bad Films) in early, as he took off for a week in California, taking my now 16-year-old daughter with him. It was a great trip, he said, and never fear - he's back in time to get the print edition delivered to Bonners Ferry and other points north of Sandpoint on Thursday.
Finally, Lou Springer sent in a great piece on a little happening in Heron this holiday season - when a community came together to make sure teacher Kathleen Huntley, widowed this year, was kept busy thinking about her "12 days of Christmas surprises." As Kathleen was quoted in the article, "This is why I choose to live here. The community is filled with caring people..." Yep. That's why I choose to live here, too. What a wonderful group of people we share our surroundings with. Kathleen, by the way, was a teacher's aide at Hope Elementary back when my almost-20-year-old son was in first grade. And as a left-hander, she was able to teach both my left-handed children how to tie their shoes, something I had been totally unable to do. (Thank goodness they'd come up with velcro by then.)
That's it for this issue. I head to Spokane bright and early in the morning to pick up our newest issue "hot off the presses" and get it delivered from North Idaho College to Clark Fork. (Jody gets it to Bonners Ferry... and my mama takes it out to all the Montana delivery points. Yeah, it's a family newspaper all right.)

06 January 2007

Some feedback

I sent my little "weekly" idea off to the River Journal writers, and some of their feedback is too precious not to share.

From Boots: "We're right behind ya!" (So don't bend over.)

From Jinx: "You are the RJ God, you can do what you want to." (Did you get that - the RJ God! I may have to change my title!)

From Lou: "Can you live with a weekly deadline? And a (boatload) of more work? If so, go for it!"

From Jim Tibbs: "Would that mean a weekly cartoon? I'd be happy to oblige."

From Susan: "That would be interesting. My advice: outsource everything!"

05 January 2007

Looking for Feedback

It's that time of year when I look over what the paper has done in the year before, and what I'd like to see it accomplish in the coming year. And I'm always looking for feedback. We're already making some changes, so look for 'em next week when the first issue of 2007 hits the streets.

Here's the big question, though: should the River Journal go weekly? That's the number one question I get asked about the paper, for the last five years.

I've always responded "Never," because it's too much work. But what if we did a smaller RJ every week, say, 12 pages as opposed to 20?

There's a lot of pros and cons to work out and, as always, I'm looking for feedback. What do you think? What do you see as the pluses and minuses of doing that? I'll be interested to hear from you.

I won't make a decision right away but if we do it, the target date is July 1.

02 January 2007

Special for Tony

If you want to comment on a post, simply click on the link at the bottom of each one that gives a number of comments (usually it says "0 comments"). That will bring up a screen that lets you leave a comment, or a pithy observance, or a sarcastic remark, or an explosive exposition... good thing I don't know where my thesaurus is, I'd go on all night.

Are these resolutions?

I chained myself to the computer today as part of my goal to organize my time just a bit better this year, and got a number of pages of next week's River Journal laid out and ready to go. I also spent quite a bit of time on a new feature we'll be debuting. No, I'm not gonna say what it is, you'll have to pick up a paper to see. But I'm really excited about it. I also got to lay out our newest columnist's debut article - local historian Nancy Renk is joining our fold as of 10 January. I thought I would get 1099s done and ready for tomorrow's mail, only to discover, when I opened the envelope, that the IRS sent me 24 copies of the instructions for the 1099 instead of the 1099 itself. Hmm. Guess I'll be stopping at Vanderford's tomorrow.

I haven't quite kept up with the house stuff like I was planning to, but the night is still young. It's just possible the Christmas tree will come down and I'll fix that dryer vent yet tonight.

I'm back on the ab-buster (150 times a day) after getting ready for New Year's eve and discovering everything I own to wear is clingy. Even things that aren't supposed to be. The challenge now is whether I hate exercise even more than I hate my flab. Okay, the truth? 150 times on the ab-buster yesterday, none yet today. But as I said earlier, the night is still young.

I was thinking I would try to worry less about my kids this year, but so far it's not happening. The Princess (Amy) is on a trip to California with my brother Joe. They're in San Francisco tonight... and, of course, she's driving. Tomorrow she'll celebrate her 16th birthday in the big city and then the next day they'll head down the coast to Santa Barbara. I told her that it was up to her but, on the drive down (they flew into Portland, then rented a car there) I would prefer it if she didn't drive across the bridge at Lake Shasta. Lucky for me, she slept through that part of the drive. I would also prefer if she skips most of the coast (if they take 101) around Carmel, etc.., but I guess she's got to learn sometimes - and call her mother frequently to check in.

Then the Boy (Dustin) called tonight to let me know he's in the emergency room at Kootenai Medical having his leg stitched up. Seems he fell at work on a wet floor and landed on something not so comfortable. He told me he'd "text message" me a picture of the wound. I can hardly wait. I'm being good though... I'm not driving down to Coeur d'Alene. Yet.

I'm so glad we have New Year's. I might never make resolutions without it.

Happy New Year

And 2007 begins.

Although I've been waiting for Ernie and Linda to post the news of their New Year's Eve activities (they said they were planning to be in Venice for the show) their blog still has some wonderful information/stories/pictures about their days in Italy so far. Check it out here.

Marianne Love has posted actively throughout the holiday season. Catch up on the Love family news (and check out the new spotted filly roaming the Central Valley) here.

Despite my grandiose plans for the holidays (all the stuff I was going to get done) I spent most of it sleeping. When not asleep, I was reading or watching movies. Didn't do much more than that, and boy, do I feel better than I have for a while.

My pics: check out (in theaters) Night at the Museum. Hilarious... one we'll buy when it comes out on DVD. On video/DVD: Invincible. (the story of Vince Papale and the Philadelphia Eagles.... and yes, Dustin, I cried.) In books: (hard to pick just one but...) Gerry Spence's Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power: the Rise and Risks of the New Conservative Hate Culture. It will make you think... and not just about conservative hate, but how we respond to it ourselves. (I haven't spotted any great non-fiction books I wanted to read in the last month, so I re-read Terry Brook's Shannara series. Yes, a lot of ideas stolen from Tolkien but still a good read after all these years.) Music: I've been enjoying the heck out of the Corinne Bailey Ray music Misty got for me.

Football Highlight of the New Year: No, I didn't watch the BSU game (no TV, remember?) but here's what David said: "what a game !! Boise St was beating OK, then OK came back and took the lead. then on 4th down Boise pulled off a touchdown to tie it with like 7 seconds left. then it went into overtime and Boise St went for two, after OK had already scored and gone for one extra point. It was win or lose and Boise won. The are undefeated, wow!"

Football Highlight of the Old Year: I'm not sure how they pulled it off, but Barb's Kansas City Chiefs are in the playoffs. Yay for Barb! (da Bears would have been my highlight, but they went and lost to the stupid Packers at Soldier Field. I'll never hear the end of it.)

Vacation's over so it's back to work for me. The next issue of the River Journal comes out January 10, plus I have to close out the year and do all that tax stuff. Gonna be a fun week.