1. lively or energetic spirit; enthusiasm; vitality.

If you are a Beth of Fresh Air follower (hi, Grandma!), you know that I’ve been trying harder to DO more instead of watching more, attempting to live a life worthy of writing about.

About two months ago, a bartender whom I adore was out with his wife and this is rare so we had a couple drinks to celebrate. The evening turned to one full of vim very quickly. We were the obnoxious group in the corner but it didn’t matter enough to feel the need to quiet down. Sometimes the vim mustn’t be tamed. Bartender’s lovely wife mentioned the Sawtooth Relay race that she’s doing in June. Six runners, sixty miles, all the way from Stanley to Ketchum.

“I’m afraid our sixth will drop out and we won’t be able to do it!”

I took a sip of my Moscow Mule, held it up in the air for some reason, and said, “Oh if she drops out, I’ll do it.”

“Really?” asked the runner.

“Really?!” asked my friend who knows I’m absolutely not a runner.

“Well, if you are in dire need, sure, I will learn how to run,” I said.

A week and a half went by and I totally forgot about the interaction.

Then…a text came through that simply stated, “You’re in! She dropped out!”

I stared into space for a long while. Ten miles. Five miles twice. Here we go, New Beth, this is different, you can write about this, you dummy. So Pal and I started running. He stops when he’s had enough which is usually a quarter mile, so I started going to the YMCA most weekdays at 2pm to watch Ellen. Because she’s full of vim, it’s easier to match her liveliness and run longer while I laugh like a loon.

The race is now four days away. Am I excited about it? Absolutely not. It’s going to hurt. Will the camping in Stanley and the camaraderie and the fries and beer after be incredible? Oh yeah. Do I plan on wearing the shirt on most days even if it’s not that cute? Oh yeah.




noun, plural pufferies.

1. undue or exaggerated praise.

2. publicity, acclaim, etc., that is full of undue or exaggerated praise.

Oh if anyone gets puffers a plenty, it’s the polar bear, Pal! He sits behind the register at the bookstore and people pour out the puffery with their words and their cuddles and their oooh’s and ahhh’s and Pal acts as if it’s the most natural thing in the world, because he’s always been handsome and loving and not at all humble.

Some ask, “Do you know how handsome you are?” And he winks as if to say, “Ooh yes, yes I do, thank you.” He’s like the Robert Downey, Jr. of dogs. It’s a confidence that is very attractive so then he’s even more attractive and the pufferies continue and his chest puffs up and he demands belly rubs. 




1. a faculty or facility for forgetting; faulty memory.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have power over our forgettery? I’d choose to forget the feeling of Pal’s poop hitting my foot this morning because of a faulty bag. I’d like to forget the demeaning tone that some people use to speak to those in the service industry. I’d choose to not think about when I fell between two tables in my tiny cowgirl skirt when I tried to pick up a lady’s napkin. Actually, that turned out to be a good story so I’d keep that one.

But we don’t have his forgettery power. Instead, negative and frustrating things stick with us much like the scent of dog shit on a leather sandal.


[ker-fuhf-uh l]
1. Chiefly British Informal. a fuss; commotion.

If you ever want to know how well-liked you are, tell your coworkers you lost something dear to you and see if anyone starts looking for it.

On a chaotic weekend at the saloon, a gal lost an earring her dad had given to her. She was visibly disheartened.

Over the next few hours, when I went to the bar, the backroom, downstairs, etc., I saw people searching frantically. The prep cook was on the floor looking under the oven. The manager was checking the salad bar.  Servers were retracing the steps that she would’ve taken. The bartenders didn’t care and were still serving margs. I’m kidding; they were looking, too.

There was an absolute kerfuffle because someone we all care about lost something she cares about. I had the quick thought: hmmm if this had been someone else who isn’t very loving and kind, would we all stop what we are doing and search high and low with great concern and effort?

Probably not. So if you love your earrings and want a personal search and rescue team if one ever goes missing, be kind always. Your kerfuffle will be well-deserved.

Oh! The earring was found in the menu box the following evening.




  1. Usually, orts. a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.

When a customer leaves behind orts on their plate and they say something like, “Oh, I tried! I just couldn’t finish the huge Idaho spud!” I like to wink and say, “You’ve got to leave a little behind to have a little behind.” I usually walk away before hearing their response so I don’t know if I should stop saying this or not.

Not long ago, I accidentally dropped a fork on a customer around my age. With a quick smile he said loudly, “What the fork?!”

Then when everyone was finished and I asked if I could take his plate, he said, “Yes, stick a fork in me. I mean, please, not again!”

I should’ve used the “behind” line on him! I think he would have really appreciated it.



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.






  1. a person with an optimistic and confident outlook.
  2. a person who habitually agrees with or is submissive to others.

President’s Weekend has lasted all week in Ketchum–the weekend mentality, the smiles, countless families on vacation gathering to eat at the Pioneer.

After meeting an exceptional family from Seattle, I shook my head in disbelief as I said to my coworker, “Have you had outrageously kind people lately? These families are lovely.”

She said, “You always say that.”

“Oh, I do not!! Not when people are flailing their arms about while putting their jackets on, not even looking if I’m carrying hot plates full of Idaho spuds. Or when people have demanding tones. Or are demeaning!”

“Mmhmm,” she said as if she stopped listening before I said ‘not’.

I’m not being a delusional yeasayer, I’m just saying these people have looked me in the eye, told me how much they appreciate me, and have called me by name. I call that lovely. They are families who tell me all about their Sun Valley adventures, they smile so big as they toast each other, the youngest joining in with his milk. A dad the other night said, “Wow, Beth really made this night special for us! What do we say?” and the blonde little toddlers beamed and in unison said, “Thank you, Beth!”

The restaurant has been full of people who seem to really enjoy the people they’re sharing their table with and it’s made me into an occasional yeasayer, I reckon. This isn’t always the case. It’s near impossible to get out of an irritable mood if I go in with one. Blonde toddlers help.

I am sure you folks treat your servers well and make them into yeasayers, too, and I’m proud to know you. You never know what kind of experience they had before you showed up. I am sure you tip 20% because you know they’re working very hard and might have a big polar bear to feed. We thank you greatly. 

Here you'll find whimsical wonderments on's word of the day about traveling around the US and NZ, help exchange, meeting fascinating people, and now, my handsome polar bear, Pal.

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