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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Patriotism rang true on parade route

Editor’s note: This Front Porch column was incomplete in some editions of Thursday’s Voices. When I received an invitation to appear in this year’s Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, I had mixed feelings. My only previous parade experience hadn’t gone well.

Patriotism rang true on parade route

When I received an invitation to appear in this year’s Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, I had mixed feelings. My only previous parade experience hadn’t gone well. In seventh grade I rode on our church youth group’s float in Moses Lake. The theme? Daniel in the Lion’s Den. I had a major crush on the guy chosen to be Daniel, so I agreed to ride on the float. I pictured myself as one of the angels sent by God to shut the lions’ mouths. Instead, they made me a lion, complete with furry suit and painted-on whiskers. My mane was made of cardboard, and I kept poking my fellow feline’s eyes with every turn of my head.

Cindy Hval: Relationship with GPS getting there

To say that I am geographically challenged and directionally impaired might be an understatement. I’ve been lost in every city, town, state and country I’ve ever lived in or visited. Yes, you can get lost in Ritzville. It’s difficult but not impossible. Don’t get me wrong – I can read a map. I can plot routes, identify highways, parks and mountain ranges. The difficulty comes when I try to integrate map knowledge with driving skills.

Totally lost in marital translation

Many marital experts agree that a little mystery in a relationship adds spice. For Derek and me the ongoing challenge of translating woman-speak into man-speak continues to add intrigue, even after 23 years. Indeed, I’m afraid any more mystery might lead to heartburn. We must not be alone, considering a quick search of Amazon.com reveals 2,419 book titles under the topic “marital communication.” Even though I’m a professional communicator, occasionally Derek finds my skills somewhat lacking. For example, Saturday morning, I awoke to the smell of French roast brewing. “Is the coffee ready?” I hollered to Derek who was in the living room.

Cindy Hval: Gift creates Wii Fit of frustration

Knowing that every year my New Year’s resolution is the same (to regain the figure I had at 21) this Christmas my husband thoughtfully provided a gift to get me going in the right direction. No, I didn’t find a personal trainer under our tree, nor did I discover a gift certificate for liposuction. Instead, Derek bought me a Wii Fit Plus. Wii Fit is an exercise-themed game made by Nintendo. You step on a balance board and it measures your weight, tests your balance and tells you your fitness age. The Wii Fit Plus is an enhanced version of the original game. I think the “Plus” means extra frustration at no extra charge.

In midst of chaos, the rocking chair

In the midst of unearthing Christmas decorations, I surveyed the downstairs family room. Actually, “wreck” room is a more apt description. Green and red bins burgeoning with tinsel and ornaments perched precariously on tabletops. Blue bins overflowing with winter garb towered with ominous instability in opposite corners. And stacks of paper on the floor revealed last year’s resolution to stay current with filing has been a dismal failure. Overwhelmed, I looked for a place to sit. And then I saw it – my rocking chair. Banished to the basement when my youngest grew too big to cuddle comfortably with me in its confines.

Autograph seekers find rogue love

While other media tried in vain to interview Sarah Palin on her recent book tour, Huckleberries Online simply embedded a Berry Picker with the ex-VP wannabe when she visited North Idaho. Christa Hazel was in the right place at the right time to be drafted by the extended Palin family into helping with the book signing in Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint. Christa sent photos and text messages to Huckleberries Central throughout the day. Afterward, she provided this personal account of the Sandpoint native who’s the talk of this country: “I sum her up as gracious, charismatic, engaging and energetic. She seemed to be in a zone meeting/greeting/ signing. She was unbelievable in her stamina for all the signatures. She smiled as brightly in the evening as she did in the morning as she was boarding the bus from the (Coeur d’Alene Resort).” And: “I never saw her frown, look tired, sigh from fatigue, or rest. Todd Palin was the same way. I also noticed that she spent extra amounts of time in Sandpoint for the students that interviewed her for a school assignment.” At Sandpoint, Sarah Palin endeared herself to her fans further by wearing a UIdaho sweatshirt. Seems her fortunes, like the Vandals, are on the upswing. More Palin

Tour opens new view of region

As someone who has lived most of her life in the Spokane area, I consider myself quite familiar with the city and all its amenities. But when an invitation crossed my desk to see Spokane through a visitor’s eyes, I was intrigued. The CVB (Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau) offers a four-hour class to train Certified Tourism Ambassadors (CTAs). The class, part of a nationally recognized program, educates frontline hospitality employees and volunteers by providing information about the region’s attractions, history and assets. “More than 400 people have completed the program,” said Gina Mauro, visitor services manager for the CVB.

Winter might just worsen fall season

I made a painful discovery on Spokane’s mean streets a couple of weeks ago. You might say it just hit me: Falling down hurts a lot more at 44 than it does at 4. Now, I’ve been walking and talking, sometimes even while chewing gum, for quite a few years. I don’t mean to boast, but it’s a skill I’ve worked hard to develop, and I’m pretty darn good at it. Yet, as my editor and I left a downtown coffee shop, I suddenly found myself facedown in the middle of the street.

Memories deepen with sons’ voices

Last week I woke to the sound of men’s voices in my kitchen. I checked the clock and sat up abruptly. My husband had already left for work. Who could be in my kitchen at 6:30 a.m.? I swung my feet to the floor and searched for the baseball bat my husband keeps under his side of the bed. Then I fumbled for my bathrobe in the dark room. A robe – even a fluffy pink one – is necessary if one plans to menace intruders with an aluminum bat. Menace is difficult to achieve while wearing an eyelet-trimmed nightgown.

Cindy Hval: School projects inspire creepy dreams, fewer sweets

There’s a butterfly in my freezer. And a moth, a stink bug, an ant, a fly and something green with wings. I tend to forget they’re there, but when I asked a guest to hand me the ice cream the other night, her shrill scream reminded me. She pointed to the plastic sandwich bags that had slid out of the freezer along with the Rocky Road. “Bugs!” she gasped. I also often forget that not everyone has small boys in their home.