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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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FRIDAY, AUG. 1, 2014

Charles Cowan, far left, stands next to his wife, Iowa King Cowan, and unidentified friends at Liberty Lake on a Sunday in July 1919.

What are the “Dog Days”?

I love the phrase “Dog Days of summer,” often interpreted as the days when it is so hot, the dogs just laze around. But the real answer is in the sky. When the brightest star Sirius appeared in the constellation Canis Major (large dog), summer…

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A sunset view of the Spokane River from the Knothead overlook in the Little Spokane River Natural Area. (Aaron Theisen)

Remember summer bedtime?

Bed in Summer Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894 In winter I get up at night And dress by yellow candle-light. In summer, quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day. I have to go to bed and see The birds still hopping…

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TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014

The July 12, 2014, full moon over Spokane was a "super moon." (Craig Goodwin)

Summer night - a poem

Back Yard Carl Sandburg, 1878 - 1967 Shine on, O moon of summer. Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak, All silver under your rain to-night. An Italian boy is sending songs to you to-night from an accordion. A Polish boy is out…

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MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014

Walkers in the rain pass the St. Ignatius of Loyola statue on the Gonzaga University campus on Thursday.  (Dan Pelle)

The “f” word

I loved him. He loved me, but when I left for college he couldn’t love me across the miles, so he wrote a good-bye letter, an ugly letter with untruths, cruel comments. I cried and quickly survived. When we met decades later, we laughed about…

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SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014

Summer sunset at North Idaho’s Priest Lake. … Makes you want to jump right in, doesn’t it? (File)

A summer's day

A friend hosted a wedding shower the other night. She asked guests to bring their favorite love poem. Do you have one? With all the twittering about, I wonder if lovers still share poetry or even poetic thoughts. Here is a classic: Shall I Compare…

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FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014

Thanks to Kia and its corporate parent Hyundai, the family sedan segment is awash in technology that a short time ago was the exclusive domain of the luxury segments.

Kia was among the first to understand that buyers of compact and midsize family sedans would spring for amenities common among larger cars. Hence the availability of such options as heated steering wheels, high-end leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats and ventilated front seats. (Kia)

Weather or not

Seems many adults have forgotten their small children in cars lately – hot cars. And the result is deadly. Spokane will experience hot temperatures in the following week. What is your reminder to check for your children, pets – all those riding in your vehicle…

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Sunset at Westport, Wash. (Jamie Dahlke)

Keeping the promise

Holocaust survivors ask that history remember their stories. Today, we remember the remarkable life of Yehuda Nir, a psychiatrist and Jewish man who, as a child, escaped certain murder by the Nazis. Nir died on Saturday in his Manhattan home at 84 years old. He…

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MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014

James Garner
 (The Spokesman-Review)

James Garner – what a guy

He was smart, sexy and still a regular guy. James Garner, 86, died in Los Angeles at his home on Saturday. His film and television legacy leaves us with entertainment to remember. Garner starred in more than 50 films. He appeared in comedies, a jederman,…

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Lauren’s Dark Grape heirloom poppy, with 5-inch flowers on 3- to 5-foot-tall plants, is available from Renee’s Garden Seeds.

Flight MH 17 passengers remembered 

Flight MH17 shot down over the Ukraine carried people who passionately loved life – and some of those people shared their remarkable skills seeking to cure HIV AIDS. The plane carried world leaders headed for the International AIDS Conference hosted this year in Melbourne. Dutch…

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Faithful fill St. Peter's Square during a solemn ceremony led by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 27, 2014. Pope Francis has declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints in an unprecedented canonization ceremony made even more historic by the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI. (Domenico Stinellis / Associated Press)

More, again, still - enough 

The desire to retain position at the cost of victims continues within the Catholic Church. St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt refuses to resign while the scandal surrounding him continues. Former chancellor, Jennifer M. Hasleberger, filed an affidavit claiming while the archbishop was informed of…

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MONDAY, JULY 14, 2014

The children must more

The children who are deemed mingi children in Omo Valley, Ethiopia must die. Mingi children are those born out of wedlock, or have their top teeth appear before the bottom teeth or other defined situations are considered mingi; their very lives bring a curse upon…

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ORG XMIT: SIN102 ** CORRECTS THE KIND OF THE BIRD TO MASKED LOVEBIRD ** A staff member at the city-state's Jurong Bird Park holds three baby Masked Lovebirds, a 3-week old, right, nibbling at a 4-day old, center, while a 3-day old, left, snuggles into his hand at the park on Tuesday, June 9, 2009, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) (Wong Maye-e / The Spokesman-Review)

Mama Birds

The Mama Bird arrived late in the season. She feverishly created a nest in our impatiens plant that hangs in a basket outside our front door. And then: we opened the front door. Mama Bird flew at us and squawked wildly. “Settle down!” I implored.…

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Danielle Owens walks through a display of wedding dress Friday at Storybook Bridal in Coeur d'Alene as she begins her wedding planning consultation with Cameo Events. (Jerome Pollos/press)

“But who wears the dress?!” 

Spent time with two sweet girls this week – 7 and 10 years old. We talked about the summer and how we are all busy with weddings. I attended two weddings of my husband’s colleagues. One couple now has a blended family with six children.…

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Demonstrators from opposing sides confront each other Friday outside a U.S. Border Patrol station in Murrieta, Calif. (Associated Press)

The children

A man kills five children in Texas… a woman gets off a subway, pushes a stroller with her toddler in it onto the platform and re-boards the train…children are fleeing violence in Central America and people in Murrieta, Calif. protest their arrival…Enrique rides atop trains,…

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The power of good

I read a lot of nonsense on Facebook, but then this story popped up today. In a world gone mad with adulation for rock stars and Kardashians – ugh – I love reading about people with courage and humility. Sir Nicholas Winton is one man…

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Pope Francis

A first step...toward healing

Pope Francis met with six victims of sexual assault; people who had trusted clerics, but were victimized through sex crimes. (Why do they call it “sexual abuse”? As though there is some standard of “sexual use” that is acceptable? It is a word thing, I…

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SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2014


John Bemelmans Marciano  has tried to stay true to a grandfather he never met, putting out the first all new "Madeline" adventure in nearly 50 years, “Madeline and the Cats of Rome.”  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Twelve little girls, in their lines

The stories are now 75 years old: those Madeline books of our childhood. She was one of 12 little girls, in their lines, leaving a house covered in vines. Madeline is on exhibit in New York at the New York Historical Society. The books, written…

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Morning fog covers the valleys near Bernbeuren, southern Germany, at sunrise early Thursday June 26, 2014. (Karl-josef Hildenbrand / Dpa)

StoryCorps: voices that inspire

If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. —Barry Lopez, in Crow and Weasel Our stories help to heal. When we tell our…

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MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2014

50 years since Civil Rights Act 

The men were teens and believed the new law was enough. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate against anyone based on race, color, sex or national origin at schools, workplaces, voting booths and “public accommodations.” In 1964, the nine black…

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Transform a dull backyard into a private fall retreat with a hammock from which to welcome the change of season.
 (MS / The Spokesman-Review)

Retirement: Last day at work 

My husband retired yesterday. He is one of 10,000 baby boomers who retire each day in our country. He had 10 people who reported to him and they loved him. At lunch yesterday, a few of the guys started saying numbers “six,” “three.” When my…

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A woman walks along a bridge at Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken, N.J., as fog blankets over the Hudson River, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Irish babies 

An earlier blog posted stories from Ireland about the babies who died at the Catholic-run orphanages – working houses for unmarried, young mothers. Apparently, some of the stories were embellished or misunderstood or misreported. A story from Monday continues the discussion on a sad and…

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TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2014

Kousa dogwoods have all the same characteristics of the popular eastern or Florida dogwoods but are much more resistant to the fungal disease anthracnose. (PAT MUNTS)

Faith, home and love

Murphy was lost for two years – and is finally home. The family dog, Murphy, was lost on a family camping trip in the Tahoe National Forest, but the family never gave up hope of a reunion. Murphy was spotted by a camper earlier this…

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FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014

Morning showers await: Jamie Waite, of Spokane, hits a bucket of balls at Indian Canyon Golf Course’s driving range under a dramatic sky Wednesday. The course opens today for the season. Waite has played four other courses this spring, but this was his first trip to Indian Canyon. The National Weather Service is calling for a chance of rain this morning in the Spokane area, with showers and possibly a thunderstorm moving in this afternoon. Highs today will be in the low 50s. (Dan Pelle)

One more week 

My husband retires in one more week. The journey has been looonnnnggg. Mostly, his commute on that freeway has been miserable. Soon, he will commute to the mailbox, golf course and woodworking store, when he likes. We will manage new routines, expectations and activities. I…

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.