Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photo Challenge: Repitition!

Hello! It's another photo challenge Friday! This week's theme from Chania at RAZMATAZ was "repetition." I took inspiration from my ever-growing stiletto collection...

Have a wonderful last weekend of August!

What a Whirl Wind Week!

I cannot believe I haven't blogged since last Friday's photo challenge! This week has just been so busy. My "driving season" was kicked off by a trip to Butte on Weds. Preparing equipment for that trip took up the first two days of the week. Once everything was finally ready to go and wedged into the car, I enjoyed a lovely day of driving. It was such a beautiful day! It felt good to be behind the wheel again, hauling a load of supplies across the state, singing to my tunes. Next Monday continues the theme with a trip in the opposite direction, to Idaho. Should be a good drive with a backdrop of mountains, pine, and the roaring Lochsa river, and a return trip through rolling farm land. Love it! Ok, back to work I go! So busy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Photo Challenge: Pink!

Chania over at RAZMATAZ ( has started a weekly photo challenge! This week's theme was Pink. My favorite shade is fuchsia, and I found these party beads that I received at a delightful baby shower a month ago. Nothing quite says pink like celebrating a new baby girl! :)

I hope everyone has a marvelous weekend!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quite Contented

Today was an entertaining one. The joy obtained through some very simple things indeed. Work was full of cheer as we celebrated another Birthday with brownies and ice cream. Oh how I did not look forward to turning that oven on yesterday evening to bake. How hot it makes the house! But it was worth it today when I brought in my chocolate bounty and everyone ate up, quite pleased. The sun beamed strong and bright and it felt again like August. The real kind, not the maybe-it's-gonna-snow-tomorrow-Montana-kind. I met a friend for coffee and tea, respectively, over a baguette in a sunny spot. I took great joy watching the riding mower folks zip around the campus cutting the grass. It smelled so good! I love how purposeful the mower's path is, how straight the lines, like baseball fields. I especially like walking through the grass, thick as expensive carpet. (Though not a particularly good color choice for indoors.) Work progressed and as the clock hands rounded out the last hour of the day I packed up to go. I decided, back in May, to walk to and from work one weekday. I do not live far, but it can easily eat up a half an hour each way if I am distractedly moseying with coffee in hand. Even though I must wake earlier to leave earlier, I have enjoyed the relaxation of walking (versus biking) so much that I have been walking to and from my job for the last three months! It has proven to be a delightful way to wake up with the day, and calm down in the evening. With my bag slung across my shoulder today I began the familiar stroll home, but this time the rumble of thunder kept me closer to the tree-lined streets. I beat the rain to my house as the air continued to cool. It smelled heavenly! As the drops began to fall I cozied up with my newest book and began to read. My cat was curled at my feet until the lightning grew too close and spooked her. With her scooped up on my lap, a safe spot, she dozed. I continued to read until my sister prompted conversation. I ate well this evening. I enjoyed a sunset. The kind where the sun beams shine like gold thread, but the sky beyond is still the darkest gray. I listened for the neighbors' stirring. Finally quiet next door. This is a gift. I read more, talked more, enjoyed more, and am now so fully content that I intend to sleep more soundly than I have in awhile. Today has been a lovely day invested in the little things. I am pleased with its simple offerings and will head to sleep with a very pleasant smile on my face. I do hope you all enjoyed similar joy on your Wednesday!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lazy Summer Day

I am just finishing a lively cup of Lemon Zinger tea, and have retreated from the increasing temperatures outside. Earlier you would have found me out lounging on my wooden glider in the yard near the flowers. I have been enjoying my latest read, a work of non-fiction telling the story of a mountaineer on Everest. I love these books! My friend, who is an actual mountain guide and accomplished climber, laughs and calls me an "arm chair mountaineer." It has always been an interest of mine, however, and after my short experience in that world last summer in Peru, I can't put the books down. One of these days I'll get back up on a mountain too. But as for today, I will stay at my moderate altitude and enjoy a lazy Saturday. The preceding week fed us only rain and gray days in the 70s or high 60s. They were a quiet preview of the Fall to come--a season I adore, but am not quite ready to embrace just yet. So the extra heat today is welcome. It reminds me that though it is Montana, it is still Summer, and every so often Montana follows those rules. (Though we did have a winter weather advisory for locations above 7000 feet!). Good thing I don't live at 7000 feet. :) This time in August is always an interesting transition period. Fall will be here soon, along with a change in the attitude of the town. The students will flood back in during the next few weeks and start to fill in all the cracks of the city. As much as I enjoy the extra energy these students bring to my work place, I can't help being a little sad at losing my calm, relaxing, and very empty campus. But, without students, I wouldn't have a job. So I won't fuss too much. Instead, I'll do my best to celebrate with them the end of Summer. There are still a handful of festivals to attend, and the weather is still pleasant for hikes and exploring. Before the leaves fall, and then the snow, it's time to soak in the rest of the long, hot days to remember fondly later. :) So off I run to find myself a shady spot to do just that. I hope you're enjoying your August too!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth!

Just a couple weeks ago, my mother and I embarked on a journey for just us girls. We were headed to LA! On the list of things to do would be a trip to Rodeo Drive, a view of the Hollywood sign, two days in Disneyland, and then some beach time if we could fit it in before the flight home. We had a lot to pack into just 4 days. We were successful though, and made time to do and see everything we wanted--plus much more! Below are some photos to chronicle the trip. Some of my favorite parts were: driving around at night in all the traffic, listening to silly top 40 music trying to find our way back to our hotel; having amazing weather that we were not expecting for usually-hot LA; finding Fashion Island and buying the coolest pair of blue suede stilettos; and enjoying an absolutely gorgeous hotel with such nice staff and the ever-important free breakfast! Disneyland is always wonderful. I didn't remember a whole lot from when I was 10 and was visiting the first time. It was great to see it from an older perspective. If there's one thing it did, it restored my faith in humanity. The park and its visitors were such a breath of fresh air. There were little kids, dressed like little kids (not mini adults). There were parents actually parenting, "Bless you's" said after sneezes, "Excuse me's" from everyone bumping through the crowd. Couples kissed and fell in love again, kids' eyes lit up at the magic of it all, and people from all walks of life, from all countries, ethnicities, and religions, came together without prejudices. People helped each other. No one pushed or cut in line. Everyone smiled. So beyond Disney's enchanted rides and attractions, bright shows and sparkly characters--he created peace---even if only on a few acres. I enjoyed the experience thoroughly, and couldn't have asked for better companionship. My mother is a treat to travel with, and is as swept away by fairy tales and magic as I am. With grins we entered the park, and teary eyes we left. We played and joked and shared having no cares in the world. A beautiful time was had by all, and the memories will last a lifetime.

The rest of the family wondered how we'd do traveling together. We sent this picture, saying we were hating it! LOL. Of course, we were only joking!

When my mom said we should do something silly on the plane I said "No! We're gonna be classy on the plane!" Only because I planned to surprise her with tiaras for our "Disney princess trip!"

The night we flew in, we drove an hour north to see Rodeo Drive and all the big fancy houses.

Then it was time for Disneyland! I always cry when I see the castle for the first time... LOL

We started with my fave ride, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and after that we headed to the teacups!

Next up was a trip to the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique! We were the oldest folks there and definitely made everyone's day! We looked like very pretty princesses when we were done! :)

We had never been to California Adventure before, and were very impressed! The big ferris wheel was great!

One of my favorite parts of Disneyland is "New Orleans!" (Complete with fancy buildings and beads!) It is here that you find the amazing restaurant Blue Bayou. I was so excited to finally eat there!

We had a lot of fun running around Tom Sawyer's Island. (Looks like she's got a little captain in her!) LOL

This is the sign you pass under as you enter the magical land of Disney. :) I love it!

California Adventure was beautiful at night!

Our beautiful hotel lobby!

One of the beaches in the town of Laguna Beach!

We really enjoyed ourselves on Huntington Beach!

What a gorgeous beach! We had fun in the waves before we had to fly back home.

Thanks for sharing my adventure with me!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fondly Remembering Peru

I very recently traveled south to California, and had a wonderful trip, and yes I will blog about that very soon, but right now I'm in a much different place in my mind...

A year ago today I was gallivanting in Peru, adventuring with my sister and a group of others that I was to get to know very well, very quickly. Nothing breaks the ice with people quite like two weeks without showering, while struggling at altitude, cooking, cleaning and existing while trying really hard to speak a language no one really understands. That trip was not about dignity! I learned a great many beautiful things about the people I traveled with though and of course got an intimate look at a world much different than my own. Some characters I traveled with I'd known well before we ever set foot on a plane south. Other faces in tow were new but each added their own color and interest to the company.

There were two main canvases that we scrolled our adventures on, one being the natural world of mountainous Peru--one different than home, but still reassuring. I know trees and mountains, creeks and grass and snow. And cows. I definitely know cows. But the other backdrop was the city scape of bustling Lima and the more enlightening town of Huaraz. The urban environment has caught my memory's attention this evening. It was there that I faced my first shock of conflicting cultures, languages, ideas. It was there that I was gleeful at the sound of other American voices in the hallway of the hostel the morning after the scariest taxi ride of my life. We had many laughs as a group in Lima stumbling through Spanish and attempting to consume the new sights set before us. Our first look at Peru before we headed to the backcountry. We ate amazing food and then rummaged through phrase books to remember how to ask for the check. We drank free beer and listened to traveling performers. We also drank a very special cocktail called a Pisco Sour. Pisco is a grape brandy made in Peru and also found in Chile. For a Sour you add lime, sugar, and egg whites. Oh what a mistake I thought I was making with that first drink! It was one of the most important beverages in the country but I was so nervous to be drinking egg whites (when I was already in a country where I couldn't drink the water!)It turned out delicious though, and I understood why the locals loved them so much.

With Peru on my mind lately, and the Pisco Sour recipe a bit hazy in memory, I searched online for the ingredients. After reading up about the famed drink, I was lucky enough to find a dealer within my town who carried it. I had no idea anyone in Montana would carry South American Pisco! I picked up a bottle and giddily presented it to my sister. After cracking some eggs and shaking our cocktails (till the tell-tale foam forms on top) we enjoyed this drink once more, this time in the comfort of our home. I was immediately transported back to a little restaurant by the sea in Lima. Out on a terrace, under a night sky, up a little spiral staircase. Surrounded by old friends, and to-be friends laughing and enjoying the start of what would be the most memorable trip of my life so far. So cheers to adventuring and stretching the boundaries of comfort to enlighten the soul with the many joys this planet offers. I raise my glass of Pisco to you and your own adventures as I dream of the next opportunity to excuse myself from my every-day and enter the world of "life changing."

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