Monday, April 30, 2007

Camas and Bitterroot

My family dug white camas and bitterroot in the arid plains west of Spokane, following a tradition passed down for hundreds, or maybe even thousands of years. Many more attended than usual and created an atmosphere of warmth and laughter. And unlike other years, we had a traditional salmon feast during the event. It was a beautiful memory I won't soon forget.

Service Berries

Up until recently, I thought service berries were relatively rare. I'm not sure why, except to say I've attended many traditional feasts, and I rarely ever saw them. Then this year I dreamed about finding them, and I thought it would be difficult. Then last Friday, my aunt Thyra told me how to identify service berries, and now I see them everywhere. I drive down the highway, and I can see them from my car. I even found one growing in my neighborhood, less than a half mile from my house.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Nothing interesting to post today, just these old train tracks running through Hillyard, Washington, behind my job site. My current work schedule makes it difficult to get out and take pictures the way I normally enjoy. Perhaps this summer will offer better opportunities.

Fräulein Whitney

I can never pass up an opportunity to photograph Whitney's cute little face, even if she's being silly by wearing her father's shirt and pinning her hair like Fräulein Whitney from the Sound of Music. Some day she'll look back and laugh.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Guest Teacher

This post comes a little late, but I received the photography only yesterday. About a week ago, I was a guest presenter at my nephew's school, where I spoke about Spokane Tribal culture. I addressed only a few topics related to traditional foods and some spiritual concepts, and then answered student questions.

I have to say, they were a great bunch of kids. I truly enjoyed my time in their classroom, and would gladly present again if they asked me.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sherman Alexie

My friend Edward called me up yesterday evening to offer me tickets to hear Sherman Alexie speak. I heard him speak at least once before and really enjoyed it, so I decided to take him up on his offer. Edward, Tony, Carl, and I all went together.

I felt a little strange when I arrived at the Bing Crosby Theater (formerly the Met), and saw the lines of mostly non-Native people waiting for the chance to hear Sherman. It struck me as somewhat ironic that white culture tried so hard to silence Native voices for hundreds of years, and now people pay money to hear an Indian speak. Of course, this fact doesn't escape him either. He made several references to it during the presentation.

Sherman delivers quite a performance, and had us all in hysterics with his hilarious stories. I won't retell any of them here.

I had hoped to get a good picture of Sherman some time after the reading, and I actually had several opportunities, but as I raised my camera to shoot, I remembered a line from the movie Smoke Signals. The character Thomas says, "You know the only thing more pathetic than Indians on TV is Indians watching Indians on TV." And then I thought how pathetic it must seem to have an Indian acting like paparazzi to take pictures of another Indian. Needless to say, I passed up the chance to take a close-up shot. You'll have to settle for this grainy picture taken from the back of the room. :)

Actually, my favorite picture of the day has nothing to do with Sherman. I got this shot of the stage right before the show, and I just liked the lighting and the way everything seemed to blur together softly.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


We had a birthday party at our house this afternoon, complete with cake, ice cream, party games, and screaming children. It was a lot of fun. Happy birthday Whitney!

Fire Training

Driving by Whitworth College this morning, I was alarmed to see a nearby house completely engulfed in flames. My daughter and I stopped to see, and found the fire department conducting training exercises. We were able to get close enough to feel the warmth of the fire on our skin and take some pretty amazing pictures. It's not every day you get such a clear view of a burning house.

Of course, McKenna was excited to run home and tell everyone what she saw. She and I had a fun day together.

Earth Day

McKenna and I drove downtown this morning to observe Earth Day celebrations in the park. At first I thought no one showed up, but we finally found a small gathering of people near the gondola. We visited some of the booths and talked with a few friends.

This is a picture of McKenna on the suspension bridge overlooking Spokane Falls.

Long Lake

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped on my way to Wellpinit, and hiked behind Devil's Gap. I've driven by there hundreds of times since I was a child, but I never actually stopped. I walked about a mile and came to a high cliff overlooking the Spokane River near Long Lake Dam. These pictures show some of what I saw.

Friday, April 20, 2007


So my photographs mysteriously returned. In the meanwhile, I took a few pictures I kind of liked. This picture came from the other day as I was leaving work. It's just a fence, but I liked the way the sun was casting a warm glow over everything.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Missing Photographs

I logged in this evening and found my photographs missing. Hopefully they will return before long. I'll wait until the old pictures reappear before posting any new ones.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Expressions Hair Design

Laura Francis has become my regular hair stylist from her studio at Expressions Hair Design. This photograph represents my latest style, and I have to say, I'm quite happy with her work. I don't usually run advertisements on my blog, but she's a good friend, and she's offering a discount to any new client who mentions my name. Give her a call today:

Laura Francis
Expression Hair Design
6607 North Ash, Suite 100
Spokane, WA 99208

(509) 327-1934

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Living Room Fort

Do you remember making living room forts when you were a kid? I do. My daughter is a pro. She can destroy a living room in less than 60 seconds. Seriously. Here she is getting mad at me for taking her picture and disturbing her master work.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I drove out early today to have time for contemplation and reflection. After a busy week, I really needed some time to relax and re-charge my mental energies. I realize I'm somewhat of an introvert. I like people, but I also require significant amounts of time alone in order to re-balance my heart and mind.


The rapids on the Spokane River always impress me. They hold me in some kind of hypnotic pull when I see them. There's kind of a positive energy around waterfalls, rapids, and ocean shores.

Mike and Danny

I went to the dump and ran into the two most unlikely people I would imagine: Mike and Danny. Mike is one of Anthony's best friends, and Danny is Anthony's cousin, through his biological mom. I was so surprised to see them, I asked to take their picture. No one would believe me otherwise.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The sky on my way home from work this evening; it stopped me on the roadside, awestruck. I was rushing to another appointment, and yet somehow it felt disrespectful, even dishonest, to not stop and acknowledge the beauty of that moment. I pulled over to the side of the road, and literal ran to the nearest hilltop to photograph the sunset and honor the sky. I guess most of the time I take the sky for granted; it's always there. It is present so much I never think about it, but every once in a while it grabs me from my sleep-walk and reminds me that I'm alive. I'm thankful for that.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dixie May

Ryan and Cassidi are the proud parents of a new baby daughter, Dixie May. The baby is precious, of course. Congratulations!!!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Eggs at the Park

Easter festivities are drawing to a close with an Easter egg hunt at the local park. Rhonda and her mom went early to hide the eggs, and the children arrived a short time later. My nephew also joined us for the hunt and found his own share of goodies.

Family Picture

We got another family picture for Easter. This time Anthony joined us for the first time since 2002. We went to church in the morning, and then had a beautiful family dinner.

Easter Dresses

My girls got their traditional Easter dresses. Here they're sharing a happy moment with their mom, giving each other kisses and laughing.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lanith's Wedding

Yesterday my family attended Lanith's wedding to her second husband, who ironically enough, is also named Steve. Her first husband Steve Merchant was my wife's brother, and he passed away a year ago January. They were married in the Columbia River Temple, in the Tri-Cities, Washington. I hope it's not disrespectful to say everyone in the family was thrilled for Lanith, but it was also a hard day for those still grieving Steve's death. Bittersweet is the only word that comes to mind. We all wish Lanith well, and sincerely hope this new step brings her happiness and joy.

Lanith and Steve

Another picture of Lanith and Steve as they leave the temple. I believe the little boy in the picture is Steve's son from his previous marriage.

New Family

Lanith's new husband and their combined families posed outside the temple for a photograph. They remind me of a cross between the Brady Bunch and Cheaper by the Dozen +1, because they now have a grand total of 13 children. Also, Lanith's children are mostly girls, and Steve's children are mostly boys. Sounds like madness if you ask me, but Lanith grew up surrounded by numerous siblings, so I suppose it's all good. I wish them the best of luck in this new endeavor.

The Kids

This picture is a little out of order, but I wanted to show the kids from our small trip through the Tri-Cities, and later through Ritzville. After Lanith's wedding, we stayed overnight with Madonna and Loren and played a killer game of Settlers and Peon. We had a great time.

Columbia River Temple

The Columbia River Temple is the third LDS temple in Washington State, and certainly the most beautiful (more so than Spokane's temple). This particular temple belongs to the newer small-design temples, but the church obviously spared no expense to make this structure exceptionally ornate.


Rhonda posed here with our daughter behind the Columbia River Temple. She waited outside with me and the children while Lanith married her new husband.


I'm feeling lighter for the first time in days, after feeling under-the-weather and drugged from all my cold medications. I thought I might escape my yearly March illness, but I had no such luck. Oh well, things are looking up from here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spring Madness

Only two days into spring break and our children managed to totally destroy our living room. Just look at all the toys, dishes, and junk strewn everywhere! They really are talented little mess-makers, wouldn't you agree?


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