Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Arty Evening

The third Thursday of every month means Artini at our Missoula Art Museum. New exhibits are opened, a themed martini is served, and live music and/or demonstrations are performed. It's always a good location for people watching and letting the imagination run. This last event my sister and I were some of the first people in the gallery and though most of the art was interesting I think I had more fun taking pictures of my sis in the interesting building. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Fun!

What a fabulous weekend was had in Montana! The sun shone perfectly for two whole days. It warmed up to the 60s and EVERYONE in this town was out on foot or bike soaking it all in. I spent a lot of the hours painting on the outside of the house. A project started more than a year ago that I need to finish pronto. Felt good to get more done in the warmth! My sister drove off to Spokane to pick up a wake board for the kite-boarding hobby she's been starting. I had the house to myself and enjoyed every minute!

Sunday started with some sleeping in. Then after the hair was curled and my feet were slipped in their shiny shoes, I met my mother and we walked to church. We had never been to this church before and were curious how it would go. Everyone was very friendly and the stain glass was amazing! After lots of singing we headed out for coffee and donuts. :) Mmm. The evening consisted of an amazing turkey dinner with all the spring fixins, Easter egg hunts for us and then the parents, and then Easter baskets filled with goodies! My mom went and ordered special chocolates from Vermont Chocolates' nut-free facility. Yay for allergy free candy! :) Such a wonderful day and wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Photo Challenge: Easter

Happy Friday! Chania at Razmataz suggested we take an Easter themed photo this week. I have some porcelain Easter village figurines I got from my Mom. She used to have them set up in her living room every Easter, and now she lets me carry on the tradition at my house. It's a pretty peaceful bunny hamlet...until the wild cats intervene.... :)

Head on over to Chania's blog to see other entries, and have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Last Ski Day

Look how much neon is in this shot!!

Most folks in this town know of the holiday known as Snowbowl's Last Day. Snowbowl is our closest ski area and their last open day equals a pretty epic party. Being only 20 minutes out of town, a fair amount of participants don't even go to ski! Just to eat and schmooze. Your lift ticket that day includes a BBQ and a whole lotta people watching. Why is the people watching so good here? Everyone comes in costume! My sister wore a 60s dress with purple wig and big white sunglasses (with a few layers underneath for warmth). She was a little smarter than me. I wore my German barmaid outfit from a few Halloweens ago over metallic, gold leggings. Epic. Braids in my hair and a Peruvian hat on my head. Too bad it was so darn cold up there! Almost freezing was worth it though. Runs were made, and beer was drank while waiting in the lift lines. People cranked music from boom boxes and threw snowballs. Lots of dancing, lots of laughing. There were folks dressed in 80s garb, a guy dressed as Pac-Man (who had friends dressed as ghosts!), one skier in wet-suit with kayak paddle in hand, a gentleman dressed as wonder woman...you get the idea. Plain silliness. We capped the day off with Bloody Marys in front of the lodge fireplace. A successful ski year comes to a close. (At least as far as the chair lift life goes.) Sister and I will be back at it the rest of this Spring, skinning up the nearby mountains to get a few more slushy turns in. :) Probably not in costume at that point though...

Me in my dirndl with drink in hand, staying warm in the lodge.

Sister's lovely wig.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things I'm Loving Right Now

So much is waking up in this city this time of year. Trees are budding, people are out on foot enjoying the season, campus is alive again. I've been having one of those months where I feel so at ease and one with the rest of the universe. I feel I know exactly who I am, what I want and where I'm going. I am quite happy and peaceful and excited at each day that passes, and the possibilities therein. So, it's time for another edition of Things I'm Loving Right Now.

1. First up, reconnecting with old friends. I've had the pleasure of rekindling and reworking friendships lately. Dear people that have not been seen for years have paths that are crossing mine again, and it's delightful! I have a unique collection of people in my life, the ones that mean the most, and I enjoy their very different personalities, life goals, and impressions of the world. I learn so much from being a part of these people's lives. It helps balance mine and keep me level. I have acquired such a blend of intelligent, interesting, passionate and caring individuals. There is so much to mine for the soul from these relationships, and I am so eager to give all I have too.

2. A good book. Ya really can't beat a good book. I was into a Jane Austen affair for awhile but it just wasn't hitting the spot. So I went and rummaged through my bookcase and found another I hadn't touched in awhile. Since the first page, I have been swept away again and am loving it. I look forward to the moment I get to read each evening and explore more of the story. Gotta love that this latest one is chemistry based! Wahoo!

3. Babies! Oh am I ever in baby mode. Not for my own, mind you, but for others. I am taking such joy in watching the lovely ladies around me prepare for their new little ones. I am fascinated by the body changes that they go through, the process of pregnancy. How in love with their future children they are (and I am too). I simply want to bounce when I think of holding my future nephew and seeing his face. What will he look like? What color eyes? What will his first word be down the line? I hope he likes his Auntie! :)

4. iPods! I have finally joined the 21st century and acquired an iPod. My best friend visited this weekend to hang out when her latest baby shower had been canceled. We ended up having a wonderful day running around town together. She brought with her a very lovely wrapped gift. Oddly shaped, and it piqued my curiosity. She so sweetly explained how much our friendship means to her and the love I have for her and her future son. Well, duh! Of course I love them! :P He he he. In the package was a brand new iPod shuffle (in blue for the baby boy!). She even got me an iTunes gift card to get me started. It was so kind and unexpected. And I do love that, as she explained, the gift was from baby, to his aunt. He is already such a gentleman! :)

I am wonderfully loved and enjoying every minute. I hope you are too! Tell me what you're loving right now! :)

(books, friends, babies citations)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Dose of Spring

Our rain finally smells like summer thunderstorms, our sun is finally warm enough to dry the ground, the trees are finally full of buds and ready to pop. Spring has come and I have enjoyed watching it unfold. I have no blooming flowers in my yard yet. Only hopeful tulips poking out of the lawn.

A gift from the mommy-to-be at the baby shower was a bouquet of bright flowers and they have been tiding me over for the last few days. I just love the pops of color, the fresh scent and the cheery feeling they evoke.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mosaic Monday: Baby Shower Preview

It's a lazy Monday morning, and I am sipping coffee at my writing desk looking out at the over cast day. It will warm up to the 50s though later and I look forward to more sun. This weekend was incredibly busy, but in the best of ways. What took the cake? The baby shower I got to host for my best friend on Saturday. I will devote a post to this event after I get more of the photos, but for now here's a little sneak peak at some of the details. My mom and I had a craft day where we made bunny clay tags for bags of cookies. Every attendee got one on their way out the door. I had to rent chairs because of my limited seating, but it turned out great! And the last photo is of the table set up. I made a "pregnancy progress" tree with photos of the mom-to-be as her baby belly got bigger and bigger! More to come later... Have a great Monday!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Photo Challenge: Outdoor

It's Friday!! I am spending the day getting ready for my best friend's baby shower on Saturday. (I'll be sure to post lots of photos from that!) Today over at RAZMATAZ, our photo challenge theme is "Outdoor." I spend a lot of time outdoors and am always rewarded with great visions here in Montana. I was treated to even more when I traveled to Peru. (I've been on a Peru kick lately! Every Spring I start to think about traveling again.) Below is an outdoor photo showing Mount Tocllaraju in Peru. We approached this gorgeous peak as we made our way down the Santa Cruz Trek trail. It was a nice introduction to the Andes during this acclimatization period. You can see one of my friends at the bottom of the photo. We enjoyed the sunshine as we took a break before going over the pass and descending the other side. (We moved from the left to the right side of the picture.) As we finished our trek we came across lots of dwellings and that meant a lot of sheep! Always a fun meeting. :)

Please check out the other great photo entries on RAZMATAZ's blog!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Favorite....Shower?

I was reading one of the blogs I follow, Mom in High Heels, and she blogged recently about her very favorite shower experience. Hers was after giving birth to her first child, and the feeling of finally being squeaky clean and relaxed. It was an interesting post, and it got me thinking, 'what's been my favorite shower experience?' This isn't a terribly hard question. I'll tell you what it was: two summers ago my sister and I took off for Peru to take a 2.5 week mountaineering course. We spent a few days in a hostel in Huaraz before setting off on a 4 day trek, and then a hike into base camp after that. This meant about a week and a half of no showering. It was an amazing week of adventure, and I never really longed for a shower all that much. We were all in the same boat, so it wasn't so bad. I'll tell ya though, me in shorts? After days of not shaving? Yea, I had man legs... Other than that it was OK. Thankfully at base camp it was generally cold enough to warrant a hat at all times. Whew! I could cover up the messy hair! After our course ended, and we did the three hour hike out of base camp, and then the multi-hour bus ride back to Huaraz, we finally had a shower to use. There was a very limited amount of warm water in the hostel, so my shower was tepid at best. My sister's was just plain cold. (She was kind enough to let me go first.) I've never used so much shampoo in my life and enjoyed every little water drop that came from that sad, pitiful shower head. I felt human again! It felt so good to wash that part of the trip off of myself and get ready to come home. Best. Shower. Ever!

This is the hostel, taken from inside the court yard.
Not too shabby a place!

One of the best parts of this hostel? Roof top terrace!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I have a very dear love for....cows

Yes, some people collect their cow cookie jars, and cow print aprons and pillows. To be honest, I only have three cow themed items in my whole house. What I like a lot more, is seeing them in person. And in Montana, that's not hard to do. I don't know where the love came from, or when it started, but cattle have always made me smile. They have a huggable, Eeyore quality to them. I like their fuzzy faces, and their graceful moseying walk. I like their graceful lines while they're grazing. I love the oreo cows in their black and white, the brown ones with white foreheads, the dark black angus (who I assume must be the warmest in the winter). What do I love more than cows? Baby cows! Yep, I've mentioned it before, but I adore calves. I want one! Though I'm not sure my landlady would appreciate that...This time of year all my highway adventures involve cruising past A LOT of ranch land, and that means lots of calves! Even when I'm completely alone in the car I have a tendency to yell out "babies!" when I see them. As a passenger, I've been known to startle the driver too by my sudden exclamations of their cute-ness. Last year I even got to witness a cow birth! Now that was cool. :) A week ago as I wandered the backroads of Montana, I passed a field where all the calves were right up next to the fence. Perfect photo moment! I snapped away and cooed from my car (until the mama cows got upset!) Here are a few of my faves. :)

I love this one! Like a pile of cow faces. :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A New Hobby: Kite-Boarding

Living with my sister can be an adventure. Especially when her interests are vast and ever-changing. She's a snowboarder (and then became a member of snowboard patrol), she's an EMT, she dabbles in rock climbing, she's a sport kayaker, etc. I'm usually not far behind. I ski, I dabble in rock climbing, I canoe, and I travel with her on a lot of her adventures. We hike and journey around the state together. Heck, we took a mountaineering course in Peru! But her latest interest? Kite-boarding. In the Summer it will involve a wake-board on a lake, and in the winter she can use her snowboard on that same frozen lake. It involves one HUGE kite, a fair amount of arm strength and a lot of wind. She got the kite after trading in all of her old ice hockey gear (another old hobby of hers) and she's been trying to figure this new contraption out, sans instruction manual. Yesterday evening, before the next snow storm rolled over the mountains, with strong gusts west of town, we decided to try and fly the thing. No board of any type attached yet. We just wanted it airborne. I was her assistant. Holding on as it flapped around in the wind. Flipping it over when it went awry, launching it into the air when required (and then dodging it as it came back down ready to hit me in the face). A few times it collapsed around me, and my sister would run over, both of us laughing, to untangle me from my kite cocoon. We only once got the thing in the air, and it almost drug my sister through the field to the highway! After that, we had no luck and returned home to figure out what the problem was. Once we finally iron it all out, I look forward to joining her this summer on a lake and giving it a whirl. Yay for new hobbies!

My sister wrangling the kite as we fill up the air sacs.
(So it doesn't sink when it hits water.)

It's starting to pick up the wind!

Ready for launching. I was holding on to the other side of it,
waiting for a strong gust to push it towards the sky.

My sister at the ends of the strings, harness attached, waiting for wind.
Oh please, oh please, we need a gust!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Photo Challenge: Door

Oh it's late on this Friday night! Today was busy and I didn't get to post a photo earlier. This will have to do! I had big ideas about this week's theme: Door. There are lots of interesting doors on campus that I wanted to capture. My schedule limited me however, so as I killed time down the Bitterroot Valley today I went in search of a door. The photo I chose is the front door to the St. Mary Mission in Stevensville. This old church stands perched on it's immaculate lawn in front of a backdrop of some of the most beautiful mountains in the area. The mission was founded in 1841, and the area is considered the place where "Montana began."

Below is a look at the whole front the building. :)

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