Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Small Adventure West

Sunday afternoon found me eager for coffee and my best friend. She was heading over to pick me up to start our mini two day adventure! We cruised past the Starbucks window, grabbed me a raspberry mocha, and sped out of town, heading toward the bigger city of Spokane. We were heading to the Rock & Worship Roadshow. What amused me most about the drive was how much we had to talk about. I speak with this lady every single day. But you put us in a car for 3 hours, and we still have things to talk about! New, interesting, exciting, thought provoking things to talk about! The hours flew by along with the miles and before we knew it we were approaching the hotel. Mind you, we were on the wrong street and couldn't make a left. I shook my head at our incorrect Google Map. Damn one-ways! Once we were settled in though, primped, polished, lookin' fancy, we headed out to find our venue. Seemed wise to locate the building before we went and had dinner. Good idea! It took us an hour of driving in circles to get there, requiring the help of my poor boyfriend over the phone. Thank goodness he could help us! Why did we have so much trouble in the first place? Google Maps!!! Oy! Never again! Well, all that driving chewed up our dinner time so we stuffed Taco Bell down our throats before waiting in line in the rain. We looked so silly! Thank goodness she carries an umbrella in the car! Well, the venue was cash only, to our surprise, so I had to run through the crowd, down the stairs, across the street to the nearest bank ATM. I was not the only nervous, rain-soaked, panting individual there. Ha ha! Once we paid the nice man to get in, we found seats and got comfortable. The whole Christian live music thing is a new one for me. I noticed some interesting things about the gathering crowd: they all smelled like good cologne, they were kind, no pushing, they wouldn't block your view when they passed you, they apologized if they bumped you, and they all could sing. Every time we were asked to lift our voices, and everyone did, it was very beautiful. Must be all the church choir practice! I had a great time, and an interesting one with a crowd of people different than I am usually found with. My buddy and I clapped our hands and sang the words and enjoyed a wonderful show. With souvenirs in hand we crept back to the hotel, tired. That rounded out our Sunday, but Monday was just as fun with a trip to downtown Spokane for some shopping (both real and window only). We gathered some goodies and escaped sudden pours of rain, running and giggling with catalogs as umbrellas held over our heads. Lots of great memories made! Back in the car home, we navigated the rain-soaked highway home, still talking for all 3 hours. It was a wonderful escape from our normal lives, and I couldn't think of someone better to spend it with! Thanks Jenn!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Autumn in Spring?

As I stepped my shiny red shoes to my bus stop this cool morning, I took a notice to the trees around me. It looks like Fall, doesn't it? Orange and red leaves everywhere. But instead, it is a lovely Spring day. Due to a strange frost this last Autumn, the leaves were all frozen in their tracks, and Spring has found our beloved Maples covered in last year's foliage. They have started to fall with the warm weather finally, as the new buds grow bigger and bigger. When the snow melted from our front yards, folks were out busily raking. With the cool weather and bright sunshine, it sure feels like Fall out there though! I took some photos this morning with my phone to capture some of the light on the trees. It was beautiful!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Miracle of Life!

Ah, to be in the right place at the right time! This last Tuesday I was treated to something quite extraordinary. After driving past fields of cattle, my colleague and I headed to our one and only appointment. This family had cattle too, and while the colleague was doing her thing, I peered out of the family's huge picture windows onto their property. I made casual conversation with the man of the house and ended up gushing about my obscure love of cows. He pointed to the fields and said that he had 15 ladies left to calve. I looked harder and found ~25 mini-cows already running around in the fields. He took me to the front porch and pointed at a cow far out past the house laying down. "She's about to have one," he told me. I must have been grinning, because after I checked on my lab mate to see if she needed anything, he invited me out to watch the birth! I excitedly took the offer and we hopped in his SUV. We went through the fences that separate the mothers-to-be and went out to the lone cow. She looked pretty content, considering she was about to have a baby. You could tell she was pushing, but she didn't look at all as stressed as human mommies look! He said it goes pretty quick. We made cow small talk and I learned so very much about these great creatures. The homeowner, though, kept saying that something didn't look quite right with our situation. He told me about all the things that could go wrong. As we quieted our conversation, two little prayers ascended from the SUV as we watched. Then poof! In an instant, with one more push, out shot a calf! Legs sprawling! And he was breach! That's what was wrong! The mother didn't look phased and immediately stood up and investigated her young. With a big pink tongue she began to bathe and stimulate the little guy. Breathless we waited for movement and exclaimed Hallelujahs when the baby shook its little black head. Hurray! We soon realized, after she sat down again, that she was going to have another one! Twins! While the newborn tried to use its new legs, she pushed out a second calf. This one was breach too, and unfortunately not as lucky as his brother. Even with the homeowner's valiant leap from the car to try and assist in the birth, this calf didn't make it. It was sad to see this one not succeed, but the feeling was matched by how amazing it was to watch the one that did. Within 15 minutes that little guy was already trying to walk. It just amazes me. And though we would have been happy that day to see two bouncing twins, we were pleased to see at least one make it. Still in awe and full of cow wisdom I left that house, an hour later than originally planned. What an amazing moment to witness! And my cow obsession only grows stronger...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

It has been almost a week! I guess I've been busy. The last few days have been very nice indeed, though. My 1 year anniversary was last week, and was a new type of occasion for me. I did not know what to expect. I awoke last Wednesday to my sweetie asking "Do you know what today is?" Excitedly I nodded my groggy head. He then, oh-so-sarcastically stated "St. Patrick's Day!" I glared, he wished me a happy 1 year and bounced out the door for work with a giggle. Got me chuckling. I went out to my kitchen and there found a single rose wrapped with baby's breath. He left a surprise! I smelled its delightful pink petals and then read the note he left. Hmm. A bit impersonal. Not signed with "love," and only stating a cold "See ya later tonight." Well, you win some you lose some, right? Still gleeful I headed to work. My coworker friend text me more than once wanting to know when I'd get there. I sent her word I'd arrived and unlocked the lab door. Coming around to my desk I saw what was actually my surprise---a 2 foot+ tall flower arrangement of orange lilies! They were beautiful! I couldn't believe how big and bright it was! And my favorite flower...? Lilies! He actually listened!

Attached was a new card, this one very personal, very flowery, and extremely sweet. I bounced with joy as said coworker bounded in to greet me. The grin on her face (and her not being surprised at all) meant she knew ahead of time, and it made sense now how he had gotten into my lab before anyone else. My coworker always works earlier than me, and I've told him this in the past. Clever dog! I put the flowers on the window sill where they stood tall and poignant. Passers by outside glanced in to see them and fellow employees oohed and awed. I felt like a princess! The rest of the day went by as usual---just me with a bigger smile than normal---ending with a nice dinner and my few token gifts for him. (I scrapbooked our first year together and made him a clay ornament symbolizing all the wonderful things he is to me.) What I still love most about the day though, is the thought of my manly mechanic, picking up flowers, hiding them in his car, sneaking around the house in the morning (placing the first rose to throw me off!), trying to drive with a huge lily arrangement in his front seat ready to tip over, and then getting my friend involved to help. It's the story behind the fun stuff that's always the best. :) With that week being busy we decided to spend a night at his lake cabin to continue our celebration on Saturday. The weather was beautiful and sunny, with a thick layer of snow still laying around up there. The breeze smelled of pine and the clear skies looked breathtaking behind the white lake. As the deer tip-toed by the front door, and the wood stove burned warm and aromatic, I was more than content. I couldn't be happier, both with my little celebration and with the man I shared it with. I am a lucky lady!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Warmth from the Bitterroot

Is it Spring here in Western Montana? I'd say so! In my favorite UM car I cruised South in the sunshine for another appointment today. It was 72 degrees! The sun was hot, and I even had the AC on. I am not used to being so warm! Should not have worn black today. The fields are busting with cows and birds. Every crop field, though void of people as I drove by, still felt alive. People have been working. There's new energy down South and it means things are waking up and getting ready. My visit was just as warm and I ended up spending an hour and a half talking to one of my homeowners. We talked recipes, and birthday parties and Ferris wheels. All over the map was our conversation! I got back in my car when we were through, and I could not believe the time! Quickly heading North I beat the sunset into Missoula. I gave myself the option of leaving the car and taking my bike home, and enjoyed pedalling the streets. It was rapidly turning dark but the songbirds where still singing their little heads off. Definitely Spring! Nice and warm, glove-less, in only a light jacket I cruised through neighborhoods smiling. The brewery near-by smelled like the fair tonight---like fry bread or something. It reminded me once more of Ferris wheels and Summer. Coming home, I crafted and scrapbooked for awhile to release some creativity that had bottled itself up. Now sleepy, I will soon drift off to bed. Tomorrow is St. Patrick's day of course (and I'll be wearing green) but it is also my beloved and mine's 1 year anniversary. I am excited! He seems as excited as I and I look forward to surprising him with hand-made tokens, and going out to dinner. It will be a warm and fuzzy kind of day. :) Till then, I bid you goodnight!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Good Book on a Noisy Night

My house is paper thin some nights. I can hear voices all over the neighborhood. I silently urge them to keep quiet with my mind, and hope somehow they hear. Though it is late, I am pushing away the urge to sleep with a new book. I am completely enchanted and page after ivory page I can't stop. Well, until this moment, where I rested at chapter 12 to check my fellow bloggers recent activity. :) I will return to this tale shortly, and continue to follow its ever-more wicked plot. How I love to be spooked by shear words and my over-active imagination. Delightful!

This specific piece of literature has me yearning for summer too. Warmer temps, full moons on stormy nights, growing things, exploring the remote corners of what's comfortable. The warmer it gets, however, the louder my neighborhood grows! Folks with their tinkling glasses of wine next door chatter all hours of the night, while their children run and scream early in the morning sun. Beer connoisseurs nearby talk blandly, and low, inaudible and irritating. Dogs, lonesome and outdoors, whine for their owners all afternoon long. Oh well! Such are the sounds of my residential corner of the city. And it could be worse. It does, though, make me look forward to time at the lake cabin, or in the wilderness tent-bound. A Montana summer is as much about solitude as it is about mingling, warm-spirited, among the town. I look forward to both...

...And also to the next chapter of my book. To warm covers I go, bathed in dim lamp light, comfortable and eager for more of this delectable and addicting story. :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

On The Road Again...

Today joined me and the highway once more. Happily seated in my car, I headed South among the fields. With a warm 60 degree sun shining, the trip started nicely, but wind gusts sprung up stronger than ever before this year. My poor car danced all over the lane as gusts came one after the other. With stiff hands on the wheel I made my way to an easy appointment an hour away. Drivers were minding the road for once, and wildlife was abounding. More baby cows spotted the fields. They looked more like boulders out there. Each mom cow, in dark brown, or white spots, would have a similar brown or spotted boulder curled up beside them. The population is continually growing. The sheep are poofy out in their flocks and a stately hawk soared over my car. As I zipped down the Eastside Highway, away from the slow-movers I got a glimpse of a sacred symbol of Spring---a robin! The first one I've seen yet! The farmland I passed is slowly being brought to life for planting. Slash is being burned too, with little blue lines of smoke lifting from both sides of the road. The glint of fire out of the corner of your eye is a bit distracting. It smells devine though. My appointment was quick as I bid adieu to another family from the study. Adios! As I pulled out of the drive, 3 curious cows kept their cautious stares trained on me. I took a photo, waved (looking a bit idiotic) and headed back home. Oh how I wish that drive could have been a 100 miles longer! It felt so nice to be back on the pavement. Me, my music, my car, and no GPS! Just my memory and a vague idea of when I'd get there. :) What a great end to the week!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Reunions are Devine

I had just finished dinner when I got two calls from two great friends. I hurried to assemble my messy hair and purse and bolted out the door. They were waiting for me at the coffee shop across the river. I had not seen either of them since I left for Peru this last summer. I had many stories to tell.
The walk was wonderful. The weather has been warm and has brought out the town to walk the streets and riverside. The river, which through the winter turned black and floated mini icebergs is now dark green again, and is floating kayakers. Bright as pieces of candy they bob in the current in front of an eager Spring crowd. Wee ones dapple the beach nearby and dare to put a hand in the frigid water. We are all hopeful for the warmth that's coming. Missoula is waking up. There are smiles abounding, people breathing deeply and looking at the very clear sky, void of snow. Sandal-ed feet pass me on the bridge. Downtown is starting to feel normal again. The smell of head shop rolls out and down the streets. A soft carpet for the hippies. Colorful folks are now again everywhere, speaking loudly, with their grand gestures and fashion sense. I could not help but smile. One more block and I was there. Two excited blonds waved frantically from the window. My brunette self found a seat in between them and sipped coffee over story after story. I presented Peruvian souvenirs and they gave me all their latest glories and gossip. I had missed these two very much. One visits often from her new home a few towns over, and the other one is planning a big move to Canada. Sometimes I forget how wonderful friends like these are--until I turn back to head home and realize I won't see them for who knows how long. The miles are getting longer between us, and it makes me terribly sad. Thank goodness for email and cell phones! It is ever-important to keep this type of sunshine in one's life. I feel so very warm. :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


How I delight in small pleasures: came home yesterday early, in the sunshine, with a shiny car (the roads weren't muddy for once!) and enjoyed the sights (those cute baby cows and sun-shiny mountains) and sounds (birds chirping to beat the band) of the Bitterroot. Rejuvenated I walked into my living room deciding what to do next. As I stood by my sofa I came to the conclusion I would....move the living room furniture around. Yep! Time for a change. As much as I adore the look of a fireplace, we have not used ours all season and I love change so very much when it comes to rooms. So the sofa is now in front of the fireplace. (Mind you, my fireplace does not have a grand, huge mantel that would look silly. My fireplace is very quaint and simple and thus now just makes an interesting backdrop to my couch. Brought out an area rug, moved around the bookcases, tables, vignettes. Stocked new tables with plants and decorative objects. And vacuumed everything. Voile! Looks great. It looks big too. (And all the cats are confused!) You can now watch the TV without straining your neck, and, more importantly, from any seat in the house you can see out the living room picture window. Wahoo! Next on the list to do? Need a new curtain rod for that window (I have never liked how my tab curtains look) and then some creativity in the kitchen. Some touch up painting is required, and it needs to look cuter. Once it warms up again I'll be working on the outside trim, painting. I must, certainly must!, replace the front porch light. It is old, and aged, and hard to change the bulb. Ugly! So I will find a pretty one that shines just the right amount of light. And then new house numbers too. It will be devine! Keep in mind, my property is a rental. So why all the work? Because, for one, it's fun (and not at my expense). And secondly, because of an old line from a book that I always held tight to. The idea is that most people, knowing that they will not be permanently at a residence don't paint trim, don't settle in, and never plant trees. And then many years later, they realize, to their chagrin, that if they had planted trees, they would now have shade. Ya never know how long you'll be where you're at, and you should never wait till every thing's "perfect" to plant your trees. (Both literally, and quite figurateively.) I am making my home beautiful right now, because that's where I am, right now. And it doesn't matter for how long. Life is short, and I will beautify this chapter of my life as best I can. I will never regret "not planting trees."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sun Shine on my Shoulders!

An enchanting weekend was had by me. The sun shined most of each day, and bathed my kitchen and cats in warmth. I can't tell you how long I spent reading a new book in a sunbeam with my cat sprawled out on the table in front of me on Sunday. So many people out and about that day. Bikes by the dozens rode by, kids in strollers and lots of walkers. I watched them from my warm window seat. The weekend started slowly but rolled into a happy Spring-like few days of relaxation and productivity. I had enough time to hang out with some of my favorite faces, and also enough alone time to clean the house and spruce things up. Opened windows and breathed in the smell of things starting to grow again. I realized I drove about 700 miles the week before for work. It was a lot of stress on the ol' eyeballs, watching for deer through snow storms and headlights, but went well. My destination last week was to Seeley Lake and with a full moon rounding itself out it was beautiful! Mostly clear skies made for a velvet backdrop for those twinkling stars. Driving past the open fields and frozen waters was like passing a perfect, glowing postcard---for 30 miles straight. I smiled and tuned my radio to the 40s station. I let the rat pack croon as I watched the road and enjoyed the skies. My body and eyes have now rested, and I hit the road once more heading South this week. It will be a delightful 60 degrees today and I can't wait to pass the baby cows and melting fields. Time to roll the windows down and take it all in! It's my last major week of travel and it's bittersweet down the Bitterroot. I will miss my daily road trips, but it will be nice to have time in the laboratory again---and get off at a decent time in the evenings! Well, now that it's March, I need to finish putting up my St. Patrick's Day window stickies on my lab window. Gotta keep things festive. Off I run!

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