Dear Marianne,

It’s time I send you a letter that you can save in your pocket. This pocket is for those sayings we laugh at and yet know ring true. This pocket holds generations of anecdotes from women before us, women that have stood alongside us, and even women we have not yet met. This pocket holds hopes and dreams and possibilities of new paths. Your new path.


A woman’s wisdom is a gift that stands the test of time, meant to be treasured. Remember that no matter what. Sometimes the advice isn’t for you, but for the other person struggling. You may be confused at first, but your ah ha moment will come later.

Count to ten. Sometimes it takes me up to twenty, but the counting helps me think about what the heck is bugging me to the point of a slow simmer. I have learned several things since Paul died, and the most important is to let the other person have their say. And then, not respond. Give that other person their freedom to speak. I have found that the healing starts by simply listening. You will feel much better for It.

You are going to feel alone as you adjust to your new town. Get out and get outside. Volunteer. Create a Meet Up. Get a library card. Discover new recipes, maybe create a Pinterest board we can share. Check out all the thrift stores that you will take me to on my first visit. Interview your new primary care physician until you find the right person. Same goes for dentist. Learn yoga, it will be good for your wellbeing; take a few classes to get the hang of it and I’ll send you a few CD’s later. Figure out the best method to ship things to the family; I’m telling you, you will be sending and receiving packages!

Write a list of what you want. What you know you can do to accomplish your goals. Who you want to be going forward, the you that your children and grandchildren to look up to but even more so to come. How you want to communicate to others. How you can mold your new future with love and dreams. Where you see yourself in the future. Where you want to travel on adventure. When you can free yourself of the past. Most importantly, add whimsical items to your list. Make your list realistic and yet fun. I have a list. It’s my barometer for what I envision for myself.

Stake a corner in your new house and make it “yours”. Your place to read, to journal, to discover the world from an open window. For that matter, look out the window often at the beauty of your new surroundings. Get a special blanket for the chair in your corner. Get a good reading lamp, too. Daydream in your place.

Most of all, cherish the love you have found that is remarkable in so many ways. I am so very happy for you. You deserve this man that cherishes you back. Yay Sis!

One more thing, let’s Skype or Face Time often, ok?

Love always, Your Big Sister
Laurie Bee

#lifelesson #itsasisterthing #sisters #bigsisteradvice

Choose a Different Coffee Cup Every Day #BeTheChange

I suppose I can also hashtag “choose to change the world”. This morning I woke up early and thought, well, I can’t sleep, I may as well get up. So of course it’s coffee time. Earlier this year I donated all of my match-y kitchen serve ware and opted for vintage everything, especially if it does not match. Even my china consists of four different patterns.

Which got me to thinking this morning when I opened the cupboard door and went about my daily decision of just which tacky coffee cup will feel good holding today. Which made me think, hmmm, I start my day making choices. What about you?

When I choose a coffee cup, I feel as if I am choosing to do something special every day. I have learned a great deal about choices ever since Paul died. I have had a number of extraordinary circumstances occur the past two years, and these situations just keep on coming my way.

What do I do about it? How am I going to react? What am I going to say? Why do I feel the way I do? How can I make this a learning event in my life? What will I choose to do? How do I feel about my decision?

I try my best every day to do the right thing, to make the right choice. It can mean a number of things, but you always know the opposite sides of the scale in your deliberations.

Sometimes your choice may be to simply listen.

Sometimes your choice may be to be firm about your convictions.

Sometimes your choice may be to lend a hand to help or a shoulder to cry on.

Sometimes your choice may be to just be quiet. Or be heard.

Whatever your choice may be, choose wisely. Our actions have consequences. Our decisions should have meaning. Our choices are who we are.

I choose to be kind. I know I have said this before, but it is better to be kind than to be right.

#makegoodchoices #lifelesson #bethechange

Setting Boundaries Amidst New World of Poor Behavior #SetBoundaries

I had a number of topsy turvy’s, one after the other that came my way last week. Mind you, most of these experiences were great: reconnecting with a friend, enriching a friendship with another. Hanging out for an entire morning with a friend and colleague in a real estate offer situation. Spending the afternoon with a past client who has become a sweet friend. Life is truly great.


But one particular episode is the reason for this post. A contractor pushed my boundaries and tried to intimidate me about a job he submitted a bid on. I stood my ground. It was not easy but I just had to do so. It was not about winning or losing, it was about my client. That is my “job”, to represent my Buyers and Sellers. It is the fiduciary duty of a Realtor®

It was how he stated his intention that made me defensive. If you are a woman reading this, you will immediately know what I am referring to. I will admit, I was ruffled that morning. I had a lot on my plate for the day. As of late when things happen to me that I don’t expect, I get a stress headache. Instantly. I have found a solution to when something such as this arises.

I calmly say, I am sorry, but I need to hang up the phone. I don’t want to say something I will regret and I want the same for you.

The last thing I want to do is be hurtful. Buddhism has taught me to listen much better, to let others have their say. If I do not agree, I have found it is better to step back and think about it. After all, we are human. It’s better to think about it than to react. Better listening has been a key in the past two years of my healing process during my grief. Now better listening is the key of my future.

This also falls in to the category of what is taking place in social media during this election cycle. The anonymity of posts, replies and the like based on emotions instead of facts is deplorable. Okay, there, I said it.

I think we are all done with the rhetoric we are being bombarded with, now more than before.

Just hang up. Just hang it up. Go and smell a flower. Take a look at the fall colors. Walk along the river side of the greenbelt. Hike in the foothills on an early morning when the sun rises. Sit outside when the moon is full. Anything that will bring you joy.

It’s so much more important.

#settingboundaries #lifelesson #listenbetter #befree #bekind

Tweaking that #Marinara Sauce, Again! The Heartier the Better

My tomato plants have been pulled and what was green has slowly ripened for one last pot of marinara sauce. I made a pot of it last week and froze it, then vacuum sealed it to take with me for another trip to Southern California. I’m going to help my sister pack her house and wish her well for a new chapter in her life. My parents would be as happy for her as I am.

I am really digging adding a mirepoix to my marinara sauce this season. Once I learned about it and incorporated this method to my sauce, I am 100% hooked. Just so you know, a mirepoix is a roughly chopped vegetable cut, usually a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery; the traditional ratio is two parts onions, one part carrots, and one part celery.

Hearty marinara sauce with mirepoix

Since I have been making rather large amounts, I wanted to share my recipe for a big pot of sauce for canning, or a smaller batch for a dinner party. Bon Appétit!


For Large Batch to Can or Freeze For Small Batch for Dinner Party
3 tablespoons organic butter 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
2 large sweet yellow onions, chopped 1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 small carrots, finely chopped 1 small carrot, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, rib trimmed, finely chopped 1 celery stick, rib trimmed, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced 2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried basil 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¾ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
¼ cup balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup hearty red wine 2 tablespoons hearty red wine
5 lbs fresh tomatoes for sauces 2.5 lbs fresh tomatoes for sauces
WINTER: Three (3) 28oz cans organic whole or crushed tomatoes WINTER: One (1) 28oz can organic whole or crushed tomatoes, add small 14oz can of tomatoes if desired for a more sauce



Core the top and score the bottom of your fresh tomatoes. Blanch in hot water until the skin lifts – no more than a minute or two – and place in cold water, then peel right away. Cut or tear in half and deseed as much as you can. Set aside in large bowl. With your hands, crush the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces to simmer.

Heat butter or oil in large Dutch oven pot over medium heat. If you are going to can, use butter. Olive oil has a tendency to go rancid, even in a canned sauce. Why take the chance! Add onion, carrot and celery to pot and cook 4-6 minutes until soft, stirring frequently. This addition will give your marinara a heartier consistency. Add next 7 ingredients (to fennel seeds) and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar, cook less than one minute. Add your tomatoes and wine; bring to a simmer.

Cook over low heat on the lowest simmer setting for one (1) hour or until sauce thickens to desired consistency. Stir occasionally or just when you want to take a deep in breath of the aroma! Pulse through a food processor to make the sauce consistency you desire. Makes 12 cups or 6+ pint jars that you will be able to water-bath can. Follow canning recipe for tomato sauce.

NOTE: I have found the best sauce tomatoes are Roma varieties. This season I was given a box of Early Girls which were meaty enough for sauce and I added them to my Roma harvest. You want to pick a tomato that has as much flesh inside if possible.


Our Choices Are How We Define Ourselves #MakeGoodChoices

I have been thinking a great deal about the choices I have made since Paul died, almost two years ago. My goals – choices if you will – were to heal, to learn, to forgive, to live. Living was the key ingredient that got me out of bed every day and hike with Zeke, my sweet dog. He was a tremendous help in my recovery process of grief. Unconditional love and the great outdoors.


Then much to my surprise, Ronda Conger spoke at a brunch I attended Sunday morning. She told her story with the passion she always exuberates. I had no idea where she came from and how she was determined to break a pattern. My admiration for her soared to hear her story. She made good choices and it shows today.

Looking back at the past two years and the choices I made, I know now that I mustered wisdom in the midst of grief. I knew Paul may not have been ready to leave, but it was his time. I knew in my heart that he went to a place of great joy. My Buddhist practice helped me cope and understand. How I processed the grief is how I survived.

It all comes to the fact about making good choices in life. They are never easy and yet good choices are not so hard when you look back later. If your good choices come from your heart and the desire to be a better person, you have accomplished a great deal. No matter how small or large your choice was, you just know.

You know from the results. You know from your outlook on life. You know from your attitude.

I am in the process of celebrating all that I have learned in the past two years. The first year of grief was the life journey I had to swim through. (Remember, grief comes in waves!) The second year was getting to know myself again. I am who I am but what I learned has made me a better person. It’s not so much that I have changed but it is about what I have learned.

It was all about my good choices. I am free.

#makegoodchoices #lifelesson #grief #healing


Handcrafted on a 100 Year Old Printing Press #LadybugPress

If you live in the Treasure Valley, which is the metro area of Idaho’s capitol city of Boise, you have surely seen the unique and whimsical cards from Ladybug Press. I met the artist/owner at the Boise West Elm store, perhaps at the grand opening. I can’t remember except that when I asked if she made custom cards, Angela said yes and my brain buzzed with the possibilities.

I have been looking for personalized note cards since my last stash depleted. The store I purchased the cards at is no longer in business and the notecard is no longer printed from the original supplier. I was on a quest of finding a new source. Having the cards custom made intrigued me, but not as much as I was absolutely delighted when I visited her small studio.

The Blue Beast
The Blue Beast

You see, Angela uses a printing press that is 100 years old, maybe even older. There is a patent stamp on the machine dated 1887. Yes, you read that correctly, 1887. She calls the machine the Blue Beast and from the photos you can see why. This is a Chandler & Price press that features a variable motor, which is not original and yet still vintage. The variable speed motor allows her to work at a manageable speed since the process is part machine and part Angela’s hands.

The Beast Press
The Beast Press

I sent my artwork to Angela and she had magnesium plates created. The plates are mounted on wood and fit in to what she called furniture, a chase of wood blocks that are held together in a frame. A “quoin” helps tighten the entire frame of blocks because tension is what holds it all together. This furniture frame fits in to the press ever so precisely with the plates for the top of my card which is my row of houses and trees, and the bottom of my card which is my name in the font I use in my logo. Then there are gauge pins opposite from the furniture frame that the paper fits neatly for the press process to even happen.

Let’s Print!

And so it did! When Angela was ready, she said, “let’s print!”. I am grateful she let me learn about this special process and watch my cards evolve from a blank piece of paper in to my very own note cards. After the cards were printed with the houses and my name font, it was time for an ink change. Using special rags and solution, Angela cleaned the plate and the rollers before she could then use a mix of colors to achieve the green we chose for the trees that are in between the houses. Lining up the tree color to the row of houses took a few tries and then voila! She was ready for the last press-ing to finish the cards.

The exquisite result looks beautiful, feels extraordinary and gives me joy in just how the cards were created. Just watching Angela put the parts and ink together, then the cards in her hands as she pressed each one individually will forever be in my memory bank.

I am one happy girl with these beautiful cards. Now you know that when you receive a card from me, how special the work is that went in to the creation and how special you are.

PS If you want to check out Angela’s studio, I highly recommend touring the BOSCO Boise Open Studios, which is a weekend when local artists open their studio doors to the creative process!

Here is the link to the events that are Not TO Be Missed!

#ladybugpress #handcrafted #artworks #printingpress

The Wave of Grief Came So I Swam into My Kitchen #ItsHowICope

Grief has no particular time frame. The cliché that it “comes in waves” is the only tangible way to describe that overwhelming feeling one experiences when you least expect it. Just when you think you have your grownup bootstraps up just so, it all comes tumbling down. Cascading is another word that comes to mind for this emotional surf that engulfs you enough to stop right then and there.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but someone had the well intentioned and yet devastating suggestion that the second year mark of a loved one’s passing was far gloomier than that one-year mark. Thanks, thanks a lot.

Fortunately, I have my garden to keep me busy and preoccupied for this looming date. I had every intention of canning my tomatoes in to sauce this past week, but life got in the way. I did manage to blanch and peel and deseed over 50 pounds of tomatoes Friday night. My back is aching in pain but it was worth it. Canning the results will just have to wait. I am too tired!


My alternate task was creating a breakfast casserole. I have been noticing a great deal of recipes from blogs I follow and Pinterest about fantastic make ahead breakfast sandwiches. Whatever. For one thing, I would rather have my carbs in the form of a vegetable vs. a bread product. For another thing, I had five medium large Yukon potatoes I needed to cook up. A bell pepper and red onion from the garden plus a red jalapeno pepper. Farm fresh eggs were calling to be included!

Yukon Potato Breakfast Casserole


Five medium-large Yukon potatoes, washedse
1 medium red onion
1 bell pepper, color of your choice, I used orange
1 red and 1 green jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
1 one-pound package thick sliced bacon, baked & crumbled
1 roll Isernio package chicken breakfast sausage, cooked & crumbled
(reserve any grease)
2 cups shredded Asiago cheese or your choice cheese: feta, pecorino, etc
8 farm fresh eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon garden herb salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Using a 10x15x1 or 9x13x2 baking sheet with rim, melt 1 tablespoon of bacon grease over entire surface.

Shred the potatoes with a large hole grater, your food processor or what I used, a vintage Molineux grater/grinder. From my five potatoes, I ended up with 10 cups of shredded potatoes. Keep in large bowl of water and rinse twice. Drain in large basket colander and squeeze water with a towel. Set aside.

Chop the vegetables: red onion and orange bell pepper. The hot peppers should be deseeded and membranes removed before finely chopping. Chop bacon roughly and all these ingredients to a large bowl.potatoprep

Add potatoes to vegetable mixture, add the grated cheese and toss in 1 tablespoon bacon or sausage grease. Fold in to sheet pan and level ingredients. Beat eggs with garden herb salt and slowly incorporate into the potato mixture. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven temperature and your altitude. Brown on a broil setting, if desired.

I cut the potato breakfast mixture in to squares that I knew would make a meal. Let it cool completely before bagging or storing in your container of choice, sealed of air pockets.

Freeze until you use. Defrost the night before if possible to avoid too much moisture. Depending on level of defrosting, microwave 1-2 minutes then bake in 400° oven to brown.

I’m warning you, you may need sour cream and salsa for toppings!

#grief #CookingIsHealing #breakfastcasserole #recipe #makeahead






Life’s Lemons are Cucumbers #PickledLemonCucumbers

It’s somehow astonishing to think that this Fall it will be two years since Paul died. It took me almost a year to use the word “died” instead of “passing”. The first year I learned that he did not pass but that he died and it was all so very final. And at the same time, I have not been able to feel complete again until just this summer.

I must admit, my dog’s diagnosis of congestive heart failure woke me up to getting up out of that funk and getting on again. A bucket list that was truly part me, part Zeke was written and checked off over the summer. One item on the list was to plant a larger garden for client gifts from my seasonal harvest. Ok, some friends are the recipients of such gifts, too! You know who you are….

lemon cuke process

Going with this larger garden came the experimentation of planting vegetables I had not grown in the past besides my precious tomatoes. Lettuce. Arugula. Peppers. Squash. And, Lemon Cucumbers. Ok, so I like lemon flavored anything and everything. But what to do with these beauties once they started ripening? All of the sudden, I had at least five pounds!

I prefer rice vinegar and was not able to find a recipe that was simple. Most of the recipes had just too many flavors going on. I did not want to lose that hint of lemon. I came up with a simpler version, and chose ingredients that would complement the lemon cucumbers. Enjoy!


2 pounds of lemon cucumbers
1 red bell pepper
1 medium red onion
1 tbsp sea salt
1 clove garlic for each jar, peeled
¼ tsp mustard seeds for each jar
1 tbsp raw sugar
3-4 cups natural rice vinegar
This should fill 6 pint jars, sterilized according to canning instructions
If you are not going to water bath can the jars, then use or gift within a week or two and keep them refrigerated

Clean and peel the cucumbers before thinly slicing horizontally
Peel onion, cut in half, then in quarters and slice thinly
Cut red bell pepper in quarters, then each quarter in half and slice thinly
Toss all ingredients in a large bowl with salt and let it sit 30 minutes
Combine sugar and rice vinegar over low heat, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved
Place a garlic clove and ¼ teaspoon mustard seed in each jar
Fill each jar with the cucumber mixture, compressing evenly
Pour rice vinegar mixture in each jar, cover with lids and bands
I used a water bath canning pot for 10-15 minutes, it depends on your altitude

NOTE: for a spicer flavor, substitute mustard for coriander seeds and finely mince a jalapeño (discard seeds & membrane), divide evenly in each jar

#cookingishealing #kitchenismyhappyplace #gardenharvest #canning


What Are Your Realtor® Benefits? #REALTOR

As members of the National Association of REALTORS® we have access to number of benefits, business tools, real estate market data, educational opportunities, and discount programs. These tools are designed to help us succeed in today’s ever changing real estate market. I was taught long ago from my real estate mentor: My Success is Your Success. Rings true, doesn’t it? I am sharing with my colleagues of Boise Regional Realtors® what NAR gives us, a valuable benefit on a national level. The reason I am campaigning for NAR Director is to share this information so that my Realtor friends and associates will have the tools to remain successful!

realtor benefits

  • REALTOR Benefits® Program I highly recommend clicking on this link to get the details, but highlights include mobile apps to keep your real estate news current as well as critical issues in Washington DC. We also have special offers, discounts and business tool offers available to Realtors®.
  • Advocacy  This is my passion, as many of you may already know. After my breast cancer diagnosis in 1995, I lobbied on Capitol Hill with the National Breast Cancer Coalition for breast cancer research funding. As my real estate career grew, I became involved in my local association leadership. I was fortunate to visit Washington DC again to meet with elected officials on behalf of the National Association of Realtors. NAR’s Government Affairs division works to develop, advance and implement the federal legislative objectives of the REALTOR® Association. We do the same at a local level and throughout Idaho with the cooperation of the Idaho Realtors, our statewide association.
  • Library NAR is home to the world’s largest real estate library that covers a myriad of topics related to commercial and residential real estate. The collections include:
    • 4,500+ digital books, audiobooks, and videos
    • 6,000+ journals in digital format through EBSCO (link is external)
    • 12,000+ printed books, reports, and guides
    • 150+ journals in print format
    • 500,000+ historical documents and images from the National Association of REALTORS® historical archives
  • Research & Statistics  I am a geek, so this is a particularly helpful link for me. NAR’s Research division collects and disseminates comprehensive real estate data. They conduct economic analysis to inform and engage members, consumers, policymakers and the media with key information about the housing market. If you ever want to know about a real estate trend, bookmark this for your go to source!Just so you know, you will need your NRDS number to access your benefits. Please ask your real estate office, look on your mail label of your latest issue of Realtor Magazine or call Boise Regional Realtors to get your number. Write it down and save it!

Source: National Association of Realtors – Value of Membership

#REALTOR® #Membership #RealEstateTrends #MemberValue #BusinessTools

My Sister, My Best Friends & My #SisterFriends

I am hanging out with my sister, Marianne, this week to help her out after a double procedure surgery she had recently. Little does she know that the rest of the week, I am preparing meals my way. {insert laugh} It’s a sister thing with us, who has the better recipe. In all honesty, we both do because the recipes are just that much different to be just as delicious as the other.

Selfie after long day of Christmas shopping! Me and my sis, 2012
Selfie after long day of Christmas shopping! Me and my sis, 2012

Which gave me the inspiration for today’s blog post. Sisters are your best friends and your best friends are comparable to a sister. Sister Friends are what I call these unique relationships. You know, those sister friends who leave you a voice mail when you need encouragement. Sister friends who laugh at your super lame jokes. Sister friends who send you a text at all hours of the day, just to check in. Just to check in. Sister friends who will go clothes shopping and tell you the truth, that outfit is just not going to happen. Or sister friends that invite you to hang out or just drop by your house to hang out. Just hang out.

This weekend I had an invitation to spend an afternoon with two artists in Boise that I don’t know well, but that changed. There was another gal in the group whihc rounded out my experience. The time was splurged at a number of places I had not yet visited in Garden City. We ended the day under my covered patio with the fan blowing to cool us off while the temperatures took it down a notch from a warm day. I learned the stories of what inspired these ladies on their art methods, what classes they have taken in the past and what gave them joy in their creations. I sautéed some of my chicken thighs that had marinated in tzatziki sauce, made the vegetarian in the group a salad from my garden and opened one of the bottles of wine I won at a fundraiser in May.

patio art Say Aug 26

What I was reminded of was how important friendships are. Friendships that don’t waver despite words that came out wrong. Friendships that pick up where they left off years or months ago. Friendships that come with a broad smile of recognition from across a room that says hello again in the most special sort of way. What I discovered was how fortunate I am to have such friendships, old and new, close and casual, meaningful and even unintentional.

These relationships are what help us form the person we develop in to as we grow up. Ok, some of you will think, I’m never growing up. But you will despite your best laid plans. Because learning is growing and growing is evolving and evolving is a good thing.

I am so very grateful for my siblings and my good friends and my new friends that have been along in my journey of healing from the grief of losing Paul almost two years ago. Now I feel I am getting reacquainted with the person I was and have become after dealing with his death. I can help others in grief not so much because I “know” but because I felt that not so long ago. Grief is different for each person; it is how you plow through life in your journey that gets you to the other side.

I had a row boat that evolved in to a sailboat and I am loving the breeze again of peacefulness. The river boat was a surprise perk, just FYI. Sometimes you just have to go for it on the water…..

#grief #lifelesson #sisterfriend #friendship #itsachickthing