Ready for spring already? Sort of me too, but if winter hits us for a little bit longer I’ll accept it. Till then, you can still curl up with a fun, adventure-style book that’s “got food in it.”

Here’s a sample of the first book in the “Appetite for Idaho” series, all about Folks, Food, and Fun:

The greatest shortcut I can pass on to someone first encountering Idaho is the visual of a giant, steaming, buttery bowl of mashed potatoes at a dinner table laden with friendly, yet hungry, people.

Envision the chef, someone well-versed at providing hearty meals, telling you to help yourself, and then adding a phrase I’ve heard at many an Idaho dinner: “If you starve, it’s your own darn fault.”

Although it’s called the Gem State, and for good reason (it hosts over 200 different types of minerals and semiprecious gems), in my mind, it’s also the “help yourself” state. If you’re not loving it, you’re probably not making the effort to help yourself. The beauty, adventures, and welcome are all right there, but a lot of the time, you’ve got to step up, dish up, and put a heaping portion onto your plate.

The other thing about Idaho is that it’s eclectic. When a beta reader commented on how these stories in any particular order, she immediately added that this seemed so appropriate, “just like Idaho.” How true that is, in the state where you’ll find a single-wide trailer home situated across the highway from a multimillion dollar country mansion, and rugged mountains just minutes away from cities or farmland.

There’s more.

If you’ve got a short attention span, this is the place for you. Within twenty-four hours you’ll get sunshine, a sprinkle of rain, intensely hot weather, then torrential rain, and maybe a little hail or an unexpected burst of gale-force winds, just because Idaho can. Another well-known fact is that it’s completely possible to boat, golf, and snow ski, all in the same day, and you won’t have to travel far to do it, either.

The heart of it, though, was described best by a Korean exchange student. My family and I had climbed Table Rock near Boise one day, and at the top, a group of high school seniors were giving a goodbye party to a young Korean boy. When asked what he liked best about Idaho, he stood near the edge of Table Rock overlooking the entire Treasure Valley with its sunny, cornflower-blue sky backdrop, held his arms out wide, and said:


His city of origin did not have these wide-open skies, only tall buildings blocking out sunlight.
“This,” he said again, holding out his arms and looking around, “this is what I’m going to miss.”
Idaho’s very geography encourages souls to expand, to dream, to imagine, and, ultimately, to dare to live a larger life than they otherwise might have, had they not encountered this gem of a state.

That’s what Idaho has done for me.

So go. Dream. Dare.

Grab your fork, help yourself, and dig in.

*You can find the rest of “Appetite for Idaho” in e-book form on Amazon.

Have a FUN week!


Girl Scout Cookie Booth Sales
Feb. 27-March 15
Thin Mints, anyone? Samoas? Get the cookies that only emerge once a year. Booths will be all over the place, so stock up and support your local Girl Scouts.

Balance Fitness One-Year Anniversary Party
Sat., Feb. 28, 8-11 a.m.
Balance Family Fitness 1247 E. Fairview Ave., Meridian
How does a free full workout and free athletic advice sound? Plus, it’s a party with a really cool raffle.

Junior Duck Stamp Art Day
Sat., Feb. 28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center 13751 Upper Embankment Road, Nampa
Kindergarten to High School age artist can create their own masterpiece, to be submitted to the Duck Stamp art contest. Everything’s provided, so just show up and art out.

BAM Off the Wall Call for Donations
Sat., Feb. 28, 1-5 p.m.
Boise Art Museum 670 Julia Davis Drive, Boise
Do you have new or gently used artwork to donate? BAM will also take frames, home décor, ceramics, art books, and jewelry for its fundraiser, slated for March 13-15. Taking donations during designated times on Jan. 10, Feb. 5 or Feb. 28 only. Donations are tax-deductible and donors are invited to the preview sale on Friday, March 13. FREE 208-345-8330

Drop-In Writing Workshop
The Cabin 801 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise
Are you a writer, or do you want to be a writer? Hone your skills and beat the dreaded writer’s block. Poet Danny Stewart has a brand-new prompt to help you, AND you’ll havwe time to share your work and invite constructive critique. FREE

First Generation
Tue., March 3, 6 p.m.
Boise State Special Events Center 1800 University Drive, Boise
When four high school student set out to break the cycle of poverty they were born into, their families and communities gain hope. See the inspiring story, then take in a discussion with a panel of first generation and low-income local students. FREE

Idaho Day 2015
Wed., March 4, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Idaho State Capitol Building 700 W. Jefferson St., Boise
It’s IDAHO DAY! I’ll be there giving away a free “Appetite for Idaho” book to some random person. (It might be you!)
President Lincoln created the state on March 4, 1863, and we’re going to celebrate with a ceremony that’s open to the public, the Governor’s reading of a proclamation, student performances, art, and cultural presentations. FREE