All Write, TV

In Which I Run Around and Thor Makes His Television Debut

IMG_20181003_180928Whew! TV is hard work!

In this recent Front Porch segment on Fox28 Spokane, I tell about the time I accidentally went for a run.

Speaking of exercise, my tubby tabby Thor makes his network television debut in this episode.


Click here to watch the whole sordid story and tune in to Spokane Talks Sunday, October 7 to hear about my encounter with the PC Police at the grocery store!

Columns, War Bonds

Of Boys Lost and Boys Found

Spoiler alert: This week’s column has a happy ending. I wish all stories about lost children could end the same.

Stepping lively, I dodged traffic cones dotting the street, thankful the end of roadwork season is almost here.

I savored the glorious October sun, knowing my regular treks around the neighborhood will soon be replaced by boring indoor workouts at the gym.

Adjusting my headphones, I cranked up my walking music and my pace. A tug on my arm startled me. I’d been so focused on boosting my heart rate, I had failed to notice the approach of two small boys.

“Do you know where Standard Street is?” one of them asked. “We’re lost.”

If this scenario sounds familiar to readers, I’m not surprised. I seem to collect lost boys the way other folks collect license plates or trading cards. From a tiny autistic boy who’d escaped from his house to play on a busy street one Sunday morning, to Ricky who got confused when he got off the school bus one afternoon, I seem to be a lost-boy magnet. This time there were two of them looking at me with anxious eyes.

I’m embarrassed to admit my route is so familiar I don’t pay attention to street names.

“I think we’re on Standard,” I replied. “But there’s a sign on the corner – let’s check.”

We approached the sign and verified we were on Standard, but the boys weren’t reassured.

“Actually, we need to know where Lyons Street is,” the spokesboy said.

“What’s your address?” I asked.

Two pairs of eyes stared at me blankly.

“I don’t know it,” the smaller boy said.

“Me either,” his friend admitted. “But it’s apartments.”

Taking a deep breath, I asked them their names and ages.

“I’m Marc with a ‘c,’ and I’m 9,” the taller boy said.

“I’m Luis, and I’m 8,” his friend replied.

I asked them how they got lost.

“Well, we got off the bus at a friend’s house after school,” Marc said. “But he couldn’t play, so we decided to walk home, but we don’t really know where we are now.”

“What school do you go to?” I asked.

“Linwood Elementary,” he replied.

Linwood is about 2 miles away from my Shiloh Hills neighborhood and across bustling Division Street. They couldn’t remember where they’d gotten off the bus.

As we chatted, we kept walking because I assured them that Lyons was north of Standard, and if we kept walking north hopefully they would be able to spot their apartment building.

“How about I call your parents?” I offered as we walked. “Maybe one of them can come pick you up.”

It was 4:20 and the boys said the bus usually had them home by 3:30.

“We’ve probably been walking for HOURS,” opined Luis, who didn’t know his phone number.

Marc said his mom was home and gave me her number. I called repeatedly from my cellphone as we walked, but no one answered.

“She has MS and sometimes she doesn’t answer the phone,” he said. “Especially if she doesn’t know who’s calling.”

By this time we were almost to my house, and I estimated they still had at least a half-mile to walk.

“If I give you guys a ride do you think you could show me your apartment building?” I asked.

“Yes!” said Marc.

“My legs are really tired,” Luis admitted.

I offered them some water, but they declined.

“I’d like some crackers if you have some,” said Luis.

I dashed inside to grab my purse and discovered we were out of crackers.

“What are you doing?” my son, Sam, asked.

“Taking some lost boys home,” I replied.

“What? Again!?” he said, shaking his head.

The boys buckled up and Marc opined that my car was similar to his mom’s. He knew the make and model of her car. It would have been more helpful if he knew her address.

However, as we approached the neighborhood park, they got excited.

“Hey! I know where we are now!” Marc yelled. “We’re almost home!”

Sure enough, he spotted their apartment building and I dropped them off.

When I wrote about my afternoon adventure on Facebook, a friend said, “I hope you gave them a lecture about getting in cars with strangers once you safely delivered them home!”

Honestly, I was just so relieved I’d been able to get them home; I never thought to scold them. I did lecture them about learning their addresses.

“You need to know the name of the apartment complex and the street address,” I’d chided.

They’d both just shrugged and nodded.

My relief at the happy outcome gave way to dismay. I wished I’d scolded them about getting off the school bus at someone else’s house without first making sure they had permission. I was horrified that they seemed to think it was acceptable to go to a stranger’s house and then get into her car.

They were so trusting and sweet and had absolute confidence in my ability to get them home. And that’s what really made me sad.

Because I’d like to think we live in a world where grown-ups are trustworthy. Where parents have confidence that when their children are out of their sight, other adults are watching out for them.

And mostly, I want to believe that all lost boys return home safe and sound.

Contact Cindy Hval at She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” You can listen to her podcast “Life, Love and Raising Sons” at Her previous columns are available online at columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval.


A visit from the Frown Fairy


In which I’ve come unglued. Or something. Seriously, aging isn’t for the faint of heart– or weak of ankle.

Squinting at my phone, I rubbed my thumb across the screen, certain there was a smudge on it marring the photo I’d just taken of my friend and me.

After posting it on Facebook, I checked the enlarged photo on my computer and that shadow I’d seen between both of our brows was still there. Only it wasn’t a shadow – it was most definitely a crease. How had we both suddenly developed frown lines right between our eyes? Neither of us is prone to frowning.

And not for the first time, I realized I should have listened to my mother.

Sometime in her late 40s in an effort to combat wrinkles, my mother came up with an innovative solution to prevent pesky frown lines. Before going to bed at night, she affixed a corn plaster right between her eyes. She dubbed them “frownies” and was confident the plaster would prevent wrinkles from creasing her forehead while she slept.

 The only problem was sometimes those frownies migrated during the night. She’d come to the breakfast table with one in her hair or on her cheek. This was the subject of great mirth to me and my siblings. To Mom, not so much.

I’ve noticed other signs of increasing decrepitude. A few months back I started having severe pain in my right elbow that radiated down my forearm.

“How could I have tennis elbow?” I moaned to my husband. “I haven’t played tennis in 25 years!”

I took ibuprofen and soldiered on, unwilling to spend time or money on a doctor visit. A colleague heard my groans and diagnosed the issue. Turns out it wasn’t tennis elbow – it was “mouse elbow,” a common problem for people who work at computers all day.

She sent me a chart about how to sit at my desk to help alleviate the pain. I adjusted my chair and desk, bought an elbow brace and before long, the pain was gone. Who needs a doctor when you’ve got a journalist?

It’s a good thing my elbow felt better, because lately I’ve been limping. The pain radiates from my Achilles tendon, making walking miserable. This is not good news because I walk several miles three to four times a week and need this exercise for both my physical and mental health.

Achilles tendinitis is most common in runners, and I can assure you I only run if something or someone is chasing me. Baffled, I tried ice and heat and ibuprofen. Nothing seemed to work.

I took several weeks off from my walking routine, but it’s not like I can go through life without walking anywhere.

Even my journalist friends were baffled.

Then one day while sitting at my desk, I discovered the source of my strain. While writing, I often cross my legs and push my right foot against the back of my desk, flexing my Achilles. I also often tuck my legs behind me, flexing my right foot against the chair leg.

Bingo! Pain solved. Kind of.

Keeping my feet on the ground while working has fixed the source of the problem, and I’ve been able to resume my walking routine, but hills are still painful and if I walk too much, the limp returns.

According to Google, this type of injury can take up to two years to heal. Google further said this problem is also associated with the aging process.

Sometimes I really hate the internet.

So, there you have it. Apparently, I’ve reached the age where frown fairies sneak into my room and slap a crease between my brows while I’m sleeping. I can hurt my elbow by typing and my Achilles by sitting at my desk.

This morning I woke up, stretched my arms over my head and sighed when I heard my shoulders snap, crackle and pop. I didn’t bound out of bed, I cautiously tested my tendon and groaned when I felt the familiar ache that told me I’d walked too many miles yesterday.

I took the stairs to my office one at a time and carefully adjusted my mouse pad, keyboard and chair before I began writing.

As I type my feet are firmly on the ground. At this rate, they’re going to be the only firm thing about me.

Like Bette Davis famously said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.”

Which could be why she also said, “There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.”

Contact Cindy Hval at She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” You can listen to her podcast “Life, Love and Raising Sons” at Her previous columns are available online at columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval.