Category Archives: Pal



verb (used without object)

  1. to pass, spend, or survive the winter.

This guy doesn’t just pass, spend, or survive the winter; he thrives, rolls in it, gulps it up, and basks in it. We could all learn a thing or two from him. He never complains about the low temperature. He surveys his surroundings, wags his tail, and carries on, forcing a slow smile on my face full of cold rosy cheeks. Every walk is full of mystery and adventure and smells and his pep proves this.



These were taken on March 17th. While Big Pal overwinters, Small Gal might be over winter. Isn’t it mind-boggling to think about how many tiny, intricate snowflakes made up this snowbank? I’m ready to be mind-boggled by wildflowers.





noun, plural sockeroos. Slang.

  1. a notable success.

What might be a notable success to me might not be a sockeroo to you or Sue or Aimee Lou. I think this is something to remember and to hold true. A sockeroo for you might mean a promotion at the job you’ve had for a few years or teaching your toddler the alphabet. And that is so incredibly awesome.

My sockeroo is not waking up to an alarm clock or sitting at a desk, but being surrounded by miles of wilderness with Pal, coming back into town and being around people and trying to make them feel cared for and special, paying attention and writing about things I find fascinating, and connecting with customers over their prime rib dinner.

I received a message not long ago that said, “Are you just out there enjoying yourself? You’re a smart girl, you must have goals.”

Yes, I have goals. They are being accomplished as rapidly as the snow is accumulating outside and there’s about four feet of the fluffy stuff right now. Today was a complete sockeroo for me. I hope yours was for you.



1. readily or plainly seen, heard, perceived, etc.; obvious; evident: a palpable lie; palpable absurdity.

2. capable of being touched or felt; tangible.

PALpable love. I can’t imagine my life without this big fella after only three months of rescuing each other.



This photo was taken by the talented Bekka at the animal shelter and it makes me smile so big.



adverb, Chiefly Western U.S.

  1. very; exceedingly.

Season changes in Idaho overwhelm me. I thought nothing could beat autumn, but I find myself tearing up because of the beauty of spring. After a long cold winter, it’s as if each flower is a message from God. One is saying, “You did it! Way to go!” Another: “This is for walking to work in 12 degree weather!” “This daffodil is for embracing the chilly skate ski mornings.” I listen to each flower’s sentiment and smile back.

I talk to Pal like he’s a person. “Bubs, look! Oh my gosh. To the left! Look at the lupines up there! We must get closer.”

Spring is larruping beautiful. It’s as if Pal reads my mind as he finds a cluster of wildflowers and sits among them. I take photos and laugh like a giddy child. The smell of the mountainside is intoxicating. Maybe that’s why I’m laughing so much, I’m wildflower drunk.


[wofuh l-stom-perz]

Plural noun

  1. ankle boots with ridged soles, used especially for hiking.

I feel very lucky to now have many people in my life who will strap on their wafflestompers and go on an adventure with me and my polar bear. About halfway through the hike, they start brainstorming about what they want for brunch. Waffles hopefully. Some place where breakfast is served all day. With endless coffee. We’ll fit in while we eat our waffles in our wafflestompers and hiking apparel because we live in the mountains of Central Idaho.

For a couple years, I only wore big leather wafflestompers whilst in elementary school in Florida. I loved to dress like a hiker and daydream of mountains and trees. I tied a flannel jacket around my waist, knowing I’d never have to use it in the 99 degree weather. I loved growing up in Florida and playing ball and being near the beach. But I feel like I can breathe deeply out here in Idaho. The fact that I can jump in Sangria Kia and turn left to hike in the Pioneer Mountains, turn right to explore my favorite Boulder Mountains, or run up the mountain in my backyard (part of the Smoky Mountains), is overwhelming and refreshing. The wide open spaces are so good for the soul. And the calves. My waterproof wafflestompers have practical use. Sometimes I wear them even if I don’t have a hike planned, because you never know.



IMG_20160415_125234 (1)





noun, plural cognomens, cognomina


1. a surname.
2. any name, especially a nickname.
On our way up a mountain, Pal pranced up to a tiny five-year-old gal. She squealed, “He’s the biggest dog I’ve ever seen!” His nose touched hers. She giggled and put her little hand on his huge head. I beamed like a proud mother, even though I had nothing to do with it. He came to me this way, gentle and gigantic. And with a fitting cognomen.

Pal is like a little Romeo who doesn’t even need words. While on a walk, a car was pulling into their driveway and he patiently waited for them to get out and say hello. Pal leaned into them as if he had waited months and months for this moment. He spent time schmoozing the husband, then went over to the wife, and then back to each of them one more time, his tail wagging wildly. Fair and square, a sweet meet and greet. I’m learning he urges people to stop and talk, so I should check my hair and brush my teeth before morning walks. Eh, they’re not looking at me anyway 🙂



[ri-nasuh nt, –ney-suh nt]


  1. being reborn; springing again into being or vigor.

The warmth of the first day of spring feels renascent and Pal can feel the vigor as much as I can. There’s a pep in his step that increases my pep exponentially. I shed layers maybe prematurely because the breeze is still cool. My skin soaks up the warmth of the sun. Spring. Pal walks along on the snowshoe trail, stopping only to gaze longingly at the dogs running free.

“That will be you as soon as you listen on my first command,” I don’t have to lean down to pet his head. “If I say ‘come’ and you ‘come’, I will let you run free like those lucky dogs.”

He doesn’t respond and we walk along.

I love the obvious change in seasons here. I think it’s even better than New Year’s resolutions. Hobbies change, perspectives shift, and the trees watch it all and bloom under the extended sunlight. Windows are rolled down. People bring out their lawn chairs to utilize the lawn again. It’s as if you get the excitement of moving to a new place without having to rent a U-Haul. Fly fishing and mountain biking and hiking without post-holing in the snow. Pal is stoked. After our hike, I tie his leash to a long rope and then wrap it around the tree in my front yard, giving him more freedom he’s had in a month.

This is where he chooses to sit:


I lean into him and say, “Had I not loved you before, this would’ve been the moment I would have fallen in love with you.”

And this what a giant polar bear looks like by a fire:


May your skin soak up an abundance of sunshine, may your step be pepped, and may spring be one full of vigor and rebirth for you, friends.